Emma. I worked in the hospitality industry for 12 years before I decided to work full time in property and be a full time Mum. I wanted more flexibility as my family have all relocated to Devon and being my own boss allows me to do this. The skills I have mastered in the sale and events industry have been transferred to running my own business and allowed me to scale quickly. Being my own boss has been tough and very long hours but I would not change it for a moment.
Away from work I like to keep fit and I play in the Croydon netball league. I also take huge pleasure in spending time with my son and my very close friendship circle who have been in my life since school.
Steven. I am originally from South East London but now live in Kent. I am very much into my fitness and have found myself in the Queensbury Boxing League with a fight on 7th March 2o19.
In terms of business, I have spent most of my life in sales but in the past few years have turned to property.
How did you get into property?
Emma. I bought a property with my brother in 2010 when our parents moved to Devon. Since then my brother has also moved to Devon so we rent this flat and we become landlords! I began Tungsten in 2o17 but it was not until early 2018 that I really started to drive the business. It was Stevens idea to look to property as a new career and after being in the same industry for 12 years it took me a while to agree! But I have never looked back and cannot imagine working for someone else again and working 9-5. With my current life situation having my own business and specifically in property has given me the freedom I need.
Steven. I become an accidental landlord about 10 years ago with 2 single lets close to home but 2.5 years I seriously looked at property.
Why did you choose HMO as a strategy?
Steven. We choose HMO’s as they offer higher cash flow than single lets and this is the strategy of Tungsten Management Group. We know via our training with Progressive Property that we needed a strategy that fitted our goldmine area. Luckily we found an area that offered property at a price that worked for our business model and also allowed our preferred strategy to function. The worse thing you can do is force a strategy into area because its your preferred strategy.
Emma. We also believe that HMO’s offer a buffer if you have a void period. With a HMO we have a set number of rooms that can be empty before we loss money, so we know that X number of rooms will cover our mortgage and bills. With a single let you know that if the house or flat is not rented then you have to cover the mortgage, so there is no buffer.
Emma. When I started working on TMG full time I was a full time new Mum so I realised that I could not cover all the roles in the business to my full potential. I therefore looked at areas of the business I could outsource which I did not enjoy nor optimise my skills. I found my sourcer on People Per Hour and she has become an integral part of Tungsten. She has a brief which is also evolving and from her search she created a spreadsheet with has the price, link to the website, commentary and address.
We communicate each week on email and talk what we have read or heard and discuss if it would help TMG. As she is knows our vision she is very much part of the vision and our long term goal.
Tell us about the HMO model and what hurdles you have found along your journey
Emma. Our first HMO was converted from a 2 bed end of terrace house to a 4 bed HMO with a shared kitchen and individual ensuite. We did not need a license for this HMO but we want to demonstrate to the council we wanted to make safe properties and learn good habits from the start. We learnt on this project about fire proofing the house which we now build into our budget. We had to build a wall with fire door along the kitchen as a bedroom was next door plus fire board both stairs.
Now we look for 3 bed residential houses to convert to 5 bed HMO’s which do require a license. We now roll out the same fittings and fixtures across all the HMO’s. This makes it easier for the building team as they know what the end vision is, the TMG team get to roll out the dressing furniture across all the properties which saves on costs, the management team learn how one property works and then reflect this over all future HMO’s and the licensing team also know that all our rooms are finished to a high level and we know what aspects we have to consider to make sure we will achieve our license.
We have not come across many issues but each property comes with a new aspect so we are always learning and evolving our knowledge. In the last project on a nice street the neighbours complained about the work. The council said we had nothing wrong but they said that next time we could create a board to go outside the property to explain what we were planning and how to contact TMG.
How do you manage your HMO's?
Emma. As with sourcing property we know that the TMG team would not be able to manage the HMO’s due to time issues plus we are not local to Gillingham. Through networking we found Homeshare who specialise in HMO letting and management. The team are a great fit to Tungsten Management Group. We have worked seamless with the team for nearly 2 years. They will advertise the rooms, conduct the viewings, take care of the referencing and then conduct the check in/out. Plus any management issues they contact me and I will deal with it via our building team or they instruct their contractors.
They are a very nimble and responsive business and we are proud to work alongside Homeshare