How specialist lending turned a chance opportunity into a career

Our partner, Together, shares a success story as a result of specialist lending

29-05-2019

Business

Specialist lender Together has a different approach to loans and mortgages – believing that treating you like an individual, and getting to know your circumstances, makes it easier for enterprising entrepreneurs to seize opportunities quickly and easily.

Established over four decades ago, they've been helping landlords grow their property portfolios by lending in circumstances when others refuse.

Recognising that many prime investment properties are sometimes considered 'difficult-to-mortgage', Together will happily consider lending on high-rise and non-standard construction properties, change of use conversions, and even complex cases like mixed-use and unfinished projects.

One life-changing example is that of Suki Barham, now a successful Birmingham-based landlord with more than 200 rental homes in London, the North and the Midlands - in a portfolio worth about £10million.

From little acorns

It all started with a £40,000 flat he'd agreed to buy but couldn’t afford.

He said: "I’d been working in a few jobs, including for an estate agent friend of my dad's and instead of blowing my wages like some of my friends were, I kept all my money, saving bit by bit.

"The estate agent offered me a little flat he said I might like, just down the road from my house and I agreed straight away. My intention was to refurbish the property and sell it on. The only problem was that I didn't have all the money I needed."

Suki was just 23 at the time. The financial crash of 2008 had hit three years earlier, and mainstream banks had dramatically scaled back their lending on property. His parents Vik and Narinder were supportive but sceptical that he would be able to raise the finance needed.

Suki, from Birmingham, said: "They thought it would be a 'no' from most lenders but then I remembered someone who’d worked with specialist finance company Together. I contacted them and within a day, they had come back with an offer in principle for the loan I needed. Within three weeks I owned the property."

He put down a 30% deposit of £12,000 to secure a bridging loan and made more than £24,000 by selling the renovated flat within three months. "I'd spent my entire life savings," he said. "But I made just over double what I'd saved up by selling the flat. It gave me the drive to carry on. I thought 'I'll have another punt on this.'"

Over the next three years he would visit auctions to buy then 'flip' - or re-sell - residential, commercial and semi-commercial properties.

Suki made £84,000 on a single deal by flipping a terraced house in Selly Oak, in Birmingham’s student heartland: "Every time I sold a property, I was making a few thousand. Everything I touched turned to gold and my pot was growing more and more."

A change of track

Suki’s reputation was in the ascendancy among property professionals in the Midlands and he gained his reputation as a trustworthy investor. Buoyed by this success, the property entrepreneur decided to take his first step into the buy-to-let market. Again, he drew on his relationship with Together to buy a house in Birmingham using a specialist mortgage.

Suki said: "In 2015, I bought four or five buy-to-let properties and rented them out. Then, slowly, I thought that if I buy one a month and keep it, it'll build up a nice little nest egg for the future."

Partnering for success

Since then, he’s purchased about 100 rental homes with Together's help.

"Together has become more than just a lender; the team there have become business partners and are more like friends," he said. "It's hard work building up a portfolio but Together have offered help and advice. I can speak to anyone in the business and they're there to support me with any funding I need."

Now a dad-of-two children under the age of 3 with his wife Rina, Suki hopes his children will follow his in his footsteps and join his property empire, Stratton Estates. He said: "I was helping my mum and dad with their buy-to-let properties from when I was 15 - mowing the grass and painting fences. Hopefully, one day, we’ll have three generations helping out in the family business."

Contact Together to find out more about how Together could help you or your clients finance needs.

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