Armed with integrity and belief in herself, Valerie Highton has gone on to build a portfolio of seven HMOs with Platinum
PREVIOUS CAREER: Mum
PORTFOLIO LOCATION: Weybridge, Surrey
NUMBER OF HMOs: Seven
BIGGEST BENEFIT: The Platinum network
You have to be super rich to invest in property through a franchise like Platinum. This is a misconception Platinum Property Partners often hears – and one Valerie Highton’s inspirational story proves is simply not true.
“I had very, very little money,” smiles Valerie. “But what I did have was integrity and I believed in myself.” Valerie joined Platinum in 2014 after going through what she describes as a “very bad” divorce, which led her to re-evaluate every facet of her life.
“I’d been out of the job market for 25 to 30 years,” recalls Valerie. “I have no computer skills and no tech skills, although I do have a degree. I’d brought up my family over that time, although I had refurbished the properties we’d lived in as a family and I had a real affinity with people in their twenties as my kids were that age and all living in rental properties.
“I wanted to do something with the money I did have, and I was keen on franchises because there’s a better chance of succeeding. I knew I had to do something on my own because nobody was going to employ me! So, I went to a franchise fair to look at letting agency franchises, or property inventory businesses because I had that affinity with the kind of demographic that rents property. But I walked around the corner and there was Platinum Property Partners standing there.”
Sacrifices for success
Valerie purchased her first HMO in January of 2015 and has gone on to build a portfolio of seven properties just outside Weybridge, Surrey, where she still lives. But her starting position was uncommon among the franchise partner network, with her funding tight and her investment area expensive.
“Property is very expensive in Weybridge,” she laughs. “I probably shouldn’t be doing it in that area, but it was important to me to stay close to home as it was just me and the children at that time and I wanted continuity for them.
“When I did my purchase mentoring with Mike Dixon, we looked at Horsham and Crawley, but they were too far away, and I was actually concerned that the clapped-out Volvo I was driving at the time wouldn’t make it to those locations! I ended up renting a two-bedroom flat and sleeping on a mattress on the floor in the lounge for two years because I was so desperate to make what I was doing work.”
Power of a network
Now in 2021, Valarie has those seven HMO properties behind her thanks to a range of joint ventures and passive investment arrangements – proving that tight funding doesn’t always have to be a barrier to success. She’s been back in her own home in Weybridge for three years and she also remains part of the Platinum network through the Alumni programme.
“The network of franchise partners is unbelievable,” she says. “I can pick up the phone to any of them at any time and they’ll help me. On the mentoring side, Mike Dixon is fantastic and so is Kim Thorogood – the respect I have for Kim and her knowledge is immense.
“At the age I was at when I joined, it was so beneficial for me to meet the people that I have, who were as single-minded and passionate as I am.
“The last time I met people who give back with happiness, friendship and great banter, like the people I’ve met through Platinum, was when I was at university!
“So many of the franchise partner network are my close friends now and many of them have invested with me through joint ventures, too.
“I’m on my own, but I’m never on my own.”