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We are progressing our website, newsletter and blog. We have created a logo and have a brand name for our investment side. We use this for the website. We decide however to brand the newsletter and blog separately as I will explain later.

There are a number of factors we have to consider for that website. The first is to find someone to design it. In theory that should be easy with so many websites being produced for so many businesses. But in practice our experience was it was much trickier than we anticipated. We went through 2 possible website builders before we came to the person who built the current version of the website.

Our experience was that using bigger designers seemed expensive and confusing so we did not appoint any that we approached. Using smaller designers gave more control and seemed superficially what we wanted but in practice we did not have a good experience. Maybe that was just the people we used or maybe that is the experience many people have before they get things right. As I have said this was very much a field none of us had experience of and I would welcome any comments readers may have about their experiences.

The newsletter and blog were much easier possibly because I had a much clearer vision for what I wanted them to do.

The first issue was a name and straightaway I came up with names I was happy with.

The newsletter we called “Invest in the North West” Actually we invest in the North but our main investments are in the North West and I thought that was a snappy and memorable title so I stuck with it.

The blog we called “Diary of a Property Investor” Again I hope this blog does what it says on the tin.

Where I accept, we were not so smart is in identifying exactly what our objectives were.

And even as i write this those objectives are not that clear. Are we looking for other Investors?  If so on what basis? Are we just promoting ourselves? If so for what reason?

Part of the problem was we were and are very busy without day to day business so just could not give this as much attention as we would have liked.

We certainly would like more Investors of the right type and we definitely benefit from having an online presence when we meet third parties. Increasingly we found that if we met people the first thing they asked was who are we and what is our website address so the work we have done fills a need.

So, we decided to launch the newsletter and blog and see where it took us which is what we have done.


You will remember in Day 12 we referred to a block of flats we agreed a price on in Sunderland.  It was 9 flats in 4 blocks with 4 separate entrances above a parade of shops.

The flats are right in the centre of Town and at £235,000 we think they represent exceptional value. They are what we call a “Jewel in the Crown”.

The reasons why they are going so cheaply we believe is because they have been very poorly managed.

In fact, the story of these flats is a classic example of what often happens when people from London buy up North the Owner is a person who lives in a well-known part of London. We would imagine they are wealthy because we are not dealing with them but their business manager. They have appointed Agents in Sunderland and when we see the property it is clear that it is in a complete state.

They only have 6 flats rented out and at very low rents. When we go around we see why. The flats are not in a poor structural state but they are in a very poor state of refurbishment. Basically, they have been run into the ground.

We would imagine the Owner is selling because they have just had enough and just do not have the time or inclination to come to Sunderland to sort things out.  When we take possession, we are contacted by the Council who are concerned about the state of the properties and if they had contacted the previous Owners that would be another reason to call it a day.

That is our USP. I am a London person who has actually moved to the North to manage the business. I do not think I could do what I am doing remotely. And many London Investors have had that experience. We come across examples of that all the time.

Anyway, we purchased the property and have started doing it up. One of its good points is because they are in 4 separate blocks you can go block by block and then let out the ones you have done before you do the next block.

We have completed the first two and put them on the market. Today we hear that the first one has let for £450 per month. That is FANTASTIC news.  It is at the top end of our expectations. If all the flats let for that amount, then our gross rental return will be a staggering £48,600. Not bad for a £235,000 purchase (although we will have to spend about £50,000 to do the flats up)

If you want to see this property, then here is a link to our video.


We are Remortgaging some properties including the mixed-use property (see day 7). The surveyor    comes to have a look round and do his valuation for the Bank. The top floor has two flats.

One is a one bed flat with its own entrance. The flat is large for a one bed flat. It has a kitchen, lounge, bathroom and bedroom It also has its own hall way outside and a staircase leading down to the entrance. The entrance is very spacious with room say for some bikes or hall furniture.

The other is an enormous maisonette with a large room many with character features such as original fireplaces. It has 3 bedrooms and a bathroom, kitchen and lounge. In London, this is a space that would-be worth a lot even above a shop.

But the surveyor’s take on these flats is interesting. He is concerned that the flat is too big for the market and will be difficult to let. This is not going to affect his valuation. He is just being friendly and giving his opinion. We like to accompany surveyors around properties which we mortgage because we often do get useful information like this. His suggestion is we should convert the flat into two flats.

He is an experienced surveyor who operates in this area. So, we would be wise to pay attention to his opinion. But in this case, he is actually wrong. The reason is this. We have identified that we can turn this 3-bed flat into a 4-bed flat. This space is so large that is going to be easy to do.

And we know that in this area there is a major shortage of 4 bed properties especially for those with larger families who can claim the 4-bed housing rate. That rate is £136.93 and we have already got a number of interested Tenants. So this flat in a property that cost £120,000 with 2 shops and 1 other flat is going to produce by itself £7,100. In other word 1 unit in this property is producing a gross yield of 6%. Many properties around the Country would be happy if they got a 6% return for the whole property.

The moral of this story is to show how important detailed knowledge of the areas where you invest is to invest successfully. That is knowledge that you only really get if you personally have it and if it is gained by direct experience. It is very difficult to get this knowledge from agents you employ such as letting agents and the like. Here even an experienced surveyor had not realised the real value of this property.


We had as a company and as a group of people almost no experience of creating a logo and brand name and no contacts with those skills. So, we started from scratch. As one does we asked around and got a recommendation. It was a disaster. The person concerned apparently was well known for their work but their thoughts on how we should go just made no sense to us. They came up with some initial parameters and colours that seemed horrible to us.

If, however you are someone without experience in a field it is easy to accept something you are not sure about on the basis that the person providing it is an “Expert” and so may know better than you. At the end of the day it is all a matter of taste and something that does not appeal to you may still be a winner.

But in this case, none of us felt we were on the right path. So, I started phoning around printing companies i.e. companies that do cards and brochures. My thinking was such companies usually do some design work as part of their brief. I talked to one company who seemed sensible and we went to meet them.

We went in explained what we wanted and spoke to Ian who said he thought he understood the brief and would send us a prototype for free for us to approve. As soon as it came back we all thought Bingo. This works this is right. The colours, the design, the picture everything seemed right to us.

And then he gave us his quote and it was extremely reasonable.

So, there is a lesson there. Expensive and complicated is not necessarily best. Sometimes it is a reflection of lack of competence by the person providing it. Often the real expert can do the job in half the time and for half the price because they know what they are doing.

We now had a logo and name (Property Investor Partners). The next step was a website.

We also wanted a newsletter and a blog. In future editions, I will explain how we set out creating those.


When we decided in the Summer that we wanted to consider expanding our business we decided we wanted to create a brand for that business. That would involve creating a brand name and a logo.

As you will probably have seen from our website our brand name is Property Investor Partners Limited. And our logo is a Pomegranate.

Why a Pomegranate? Indeed, why a logo at all?  Why a brand name?

Most Companies involved in property be it property developers, estate agents, auctioneers, surveyors or whoever have names based on the Owners or Founders. Think Barratt Homes or Allsops Barnard Marcus, Sothebys or whoever. Those names have become brands but they started as names. Very few have logos. Where they do they tend not to be strong logos that you remember. We wanted to be different. We liked the idea of a logo and a name that described what we do.

When thinking of a logo what comes to mind. Well the first logo most people probably think of is Apple and once you think of Apple you think of Orange and then you start to think about fruit as a logo and realise it makes a lot of sense. Fruits have bold distinctive colours and positive associations for most people. Furthermore, fruits have seeds that multiply and grow. As they say in the Bible “be fruitful and multiply” And once you think seeds then it is a short step to thinking about Pomegranates which probably have more seeds than any other fruit.

When you then think about Pomegranates you realise they are quite beautiful and have a strong distinctive colour. So, that was our logo.

Then we thought about a good brand name. Our business concept is to help people buy property. In one shape or another we are going to work with them on their property needs. So, we will effectively be their Partners and the people we are going to help will be Investors. We are not targeting residential buyers.  So suddenly there it is – Property Investor Partners. Amazingly that name is free at Companies House so we register it (although for the moment we are going to use it as a trading name and keep the Company Dormant).

Finally, we had to put the logo and name together. For that we needed someone with design skills.

This was an interesting exercise and again as part of this blog’s mission to show you how we do what we do I will spend time in the next blog discussing how we did this.

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