Always a businesswoman at heart, Antoinette Cunningham had left her career in the airline industry in Holland 25 years ago to start her own fashion business in the UK. Determined to make it a family business, she was joined by her daughter Alexandra who helped her to successfully run her numerous retail outlets until the business was eventually sold six years ago.

During this time, Antoinette continued searching for another challenge and in 1998, started to invest in single occupancy buy-to-let properties. Having built a sizeable portfolio of 15 properties, Antoinette went in search for yet another business opportunity. Being a widow, she also wanted to find something that would enable her to plan for own future as well as the legacy she would be leaving.

“I went to the Birmingham Franchise Exhibition out of curiosity and came across Platinum Property Partners (PPP). I saw the presentation by Steve Bolton and knew instantly that this was the company I wanted to join,” said Antoinette. “The HMO (Houses in Multiple Occupation) model would be a perfect fit with my existing property portfolio and would also be a tax efficient business that Alexandra and I could run together.”

Alexandra, who also works full time in her accountancy practice that she runs with her husband, was delighted with the PPP proposition: “We felt very comfortable with PPP – the company was transparent, very professional and ethical. Everybody we met was positive and there was an excitement in the air and a sharing mentality. A perfect fit for us!”

The mother and daughter team joined PPP in August 2013 and set up their franchise business in Southport. After spending some time with the PPP power team, they put a robust inheritance plan in place that would mean Alex would eventually take over the property business completely so that Antoinette can ‘go on a world cruise’!

Antoinette added: “Joining PPP was not only part of an inheritance plan for me but also a wise business decision. The return on investment offered by the HMO model is substantially higher than that of single occupancy buy-to-let properties and there is much less risk of an empty property as rooms are let out individually. The HMO market can be complex and we did not want to risk making costly mistakes on our own. We’ve received some brilliant support and advice and are thoroughly enjoying the journey and ‘standing on the shoulders of giants’.

While both of them decide on which properties to buy and how to refurbish them, Alexandra takes control of the accountancy side of the business and Antoinette takes care of the tenants.

Alexandra added: “We love spending time together so this is a great opportunity to do that in a working environment. There is total trust and it is great to combine my mum’s experience of business and life with my own accountancy and technology skills and up to the minute knowledge of the market.”

“It is also important to know that I can have a successful and profitable business to pass down to my own daughter when the time comes. By then, the property portfolio could act as a fairly hands-off investment, so she can choose whether to work in the business or hire a property manager and pursue another career. Nonetheless, it will give her an income for life with an underlying growing asset base.”

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