Moving into the world of property development involves a steep learning curve – as the team at White Box Property Solutions know only too well, and is why they launched a service that makes that curve less daunting for those new to the sector.
Lloyd Girardi and Andi Cooke founded award-winning property investment company White Box Property Solutions in 2015, combining Lloyd’s knowledge of the mortgage industry and how lending and funding streams work, with Andi’s experience in construction with his firm, Red Box Developments.
Their first project together, a development of eight build-to-let homes in St James, Northampton, was successful but taught them a lot about the opportunities available, the process in general, and the pitfalls to be aware of. Over the past six years, White Box Property Solutions’ portfolio has grown massively, having involved more than £25m worth of deals, but it’s the bank of knowledge they have built up along the way that prompted them to launch a series of courses and training programmes to inspire others and show them how it is possible to become a property developer using little or none of your own money.
Lloyd said: “The early projects definitely led to a few sleepless nights. You’re dealing with an awful lot of money and we were learning as we were going and, as repayment deadlines loom there’s a lot of stress.
“But what we found is that once we’d gained confidence in our own business, and had a few different projects running, it becomes easier to manage and it’s something that pays fantastic returns if you’ve got the courage to take that next step.”
The idea of providing training courses and mentoring for property developers was born in the early days of White Box Property Solutions when the firm gained a lot of attention from others looking to get into the same line, but who were curious about how to get started and what it would involve.
After Andi found that he was regularly showing prospective developers around sites he was working on, the pair realised that there was a market for organised courses.
As well as a Property Developer’s Discovery Day, there are three online courses:
- Land Sourcing Academy – which, as the name suggests, advises on what to look for in terms of seeking out and investing in suitable development land
- Project Management Masterclass – which doesn’t aim to turn anyone into a project manager, but helps them understand the role of a project manager and what the process of completing a development will involve.
- Commercial Conversion Academy – which covers the potential of derelict buildings for conversion into flats or business premises
In addition, there is the flagship three-day Property Developer Secrets course that covers everything from starting to source finance right through the process to the final decision to sell or retain as an investment once the development is complete.
All those who take part in the courses are then able to continue with the Mastermind Support Programme which offers one-to-one or group mentoring for as long as it’s required.
Andi said: “We’d expect someone to be with us for around two years on average, then by that time they will pretty much have all the knowledge they need to continue their property development journey on their own.
“What we do is help them put together a blueprint, a roadmap, if you like, to work to. They’ll learn all the practical skills they need that will help them to find the right development opportunity and also help them understand the pitfalls and the risks to look out for.
“The training doesn’t mean that they have to use any of our services, although if they want us to, we can work with them, or put them in touch with any professionals that we work with and we know and trust.”
The message is that property development is an option many more would be likely to consider if they had access to help and guidance, and that the returns are more attractive than those within the buy-to-let market. White Box Property Solutions regularly releases YouTube videos and other free social media content to encourage those who are inexperience or uncertain.
“Figures show that the same investment in property development will yield far higher returns than in buy-to-let homes or HMOs,” said Lloyd. “There’s more involved, of course, but what we have found is that this is a sector where people are happy to share their knowledge and expertise. It’s not like some businesses, where people fear competitors. There’s scope in property development to do your own thing and not take business away from anyone else, so generally, everyone is happy to give you the benefit of their experience.”
Find out more about White Box Property Solution on 01933 426400.