Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY -

San­dra has been a land­lord in Selby for nine years and en­joys ev­ery minute of it.

She has a port­fo­lio of 13 buyto-let prop­er­ties and is the founder of the Jig­saw Let­ting agency and chair of the Selby and District Land­lords’ As­so­ci­a­tion.

She re­cently won the NLA Prop­erty Woman of the Year Award for York­shire and the Hum­ber.

Judges said that de­spite the ad­ver­sity of the mar­ket place, San­dra showed de­ter­mi­na­tion and a savvy busi­ness ap­proach mak­ing her a cut above the rest. Here is her story: Concerned that she had no pen­sion, San­dra bought her first buy-to-let in 2001.

It cost her £45,000 and is now worth £110,000.

“I started to get wor­ried about hav­ing no pen­sion and de­cided I’d bet­ter find an in­vest­ment,” she says.

“I saw a ter­raced house in Selby and bought it with a 15 per cent de­posit.

“My hus­band and I worked re­ally hard clean­ing it, paint­ing, lay­ing lam­i­nate floors, buy­ing cur­tains, blinds and light fit­tings. When we had fin­ished, I stood back and was so proud of how we had turned the prop­erty around.

“I was pay­ing £300 a month in mort­gage and got £400 a month in rent and that was it. I was hooked.”

Within six months, San­dra had bought six more prop­er­ties in the Selby area us­ing her hus­band’s re­dun­dancy money for the de­posits. Al­though she was work­ing full-time as a PA, she ren­o­vated and man­aged the rental prop­er­ties her­self.

“I’d be work­ing in Brad­ford dur­ing the day and then at night I’d be at a house work­ing.

“It’s im­por­tant that they look good and I’d never let a house I wasn’t pre­pared to live in my­self,” says San­dra.

Since then she has bought seven more prop­er­ties and, us­ing her hands-on ex­pe­ri­ence as a land­lady, she started her agency Jig­saw Let­ting in 2002.

Af­ter pass­ing a raft of pro­fes­sional prop­erty ex­ams, she is now a mem­ber of the As­so­ci­a­tion of Res­i­den­tial Let­ting Agents and she em­ploys six mem­bers of staff.

She says: “I make it my pol­icy to treat land­lords and ten­ants alike with re­spect and lis­ten to what they have to say.

“I have ten­ants in my own prop­er­ties that have been there for eight years which gives me the sat­is­fac­tion that I am do­ing a good job in look­ing af­ter them.

“But while I am com­pas­sion­ate, just be­cause I am a woman does not mean I am soft or fluffy, I do not suf­fer fools and I am straight talk­ing.

“If a ten­ant is in breach of con­tract, I take the nec­es­sary ac­tion re­quired. I also make sure land­lords are aware of their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.“

San­dra has plans to ex­pand her busi­ness and to buy more houses for her own port­fo­lio, but she stresses that her suc­cess hasn’t been easy.

“The phone never stops ring­ing and that’s 24/7 and the let­tings mar­ket is very com­pet­i­tive.

“You also have to deal with ten­ants who don’t pay their rent. I’ve heard ev­ery ex­cuse in the book.

“For any­one in­ter­ested in prop­erty in­vest­ment I would say it can have its re­wards if you buy prop­erty at the right price, but be pre­pared for a lot of hard work and a few knocks.

“Plus, it’s no use look­ing for a quick fix, prop­erty is a longterm in­vest­ment.”

SAN­DRA WID­DRING­TON: Needed pen­sion pro­vi­sion.

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