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My franchise story: From housewife to HMO Landlord of the Year

My franchise story: From housewife to HMO Landlord of the Year

Supplying premium accommodation and earning an income for life made Platinum Property Partners an appealing business opportunity to Gertie Owen

In 2010, Gertie Owen found herself suffering from empty nest syndrome after dedicating 20 years to bringing up her children. With her husband having been made redundant from his job in the city, it was time for her to find a new purpose in life.

“I’d become a lady who lunched, had never driven on a motorway and had almost no computer skills,” said Gertie. “I’d lost my confidence and felt like I needed a challenge.”

Gertie had no property experience beyond buying her own homes, and as a woman, she also felt estate agents and mortgage brokers didn’t take her seriously… until she joined Platinum Property Partners (PPP).

Founded in 2007, the franchise operates a proven model of buying properties and refurbishing them as high-standard HMOs to rent out to tenants across the country.

Overcoming challenges

“I was one of the first female-only franchisees to join, with most others working in couples. After the first workshop, I was overwhelmed and started to doubt myself.”

Yet, in 2012, Gertie created the first all en-suite House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) in the network, going on to feature on Homes Under the Hammer. Gertie commented: “HMOs weren’t highly regarded in the rental market at all back then, but when it was valued by the estate agent for the show, he likened it to a hotel. I wanted to educate people that HMOs could be lovely homes and totally different from peoples’ perception.”

Aiming high for success

At the time, the founder of PPP credited Gertie with setting the bar high with properties of a standard that everyone should aspire to.

It was the start of a hugely successful journey for Gertie. In 2013, she was awarded HMO Landlord of the Year, recognised for her green landlord endeavours in 2014 and then named Small Landlord of the Year in 2016 by the UK Landlord Accreditation Partnership.

Gertie added: “From the start, I focused my business on offering the highest service, and treating my tenants like VIPS. I decorate my houses for Christmas, provide gifts and hampers, give Easter eggs and birthday cards. I do everything I can to make them feel welcomed and cared for.”

Milestones to be proud of

Gertie now has a portfolio of seven HMO properties with a 99 per cent occupancy rate, generating a six-figure annual income and worth over £4 million. She’s also diversified her portfolio, investing in two single-occupancy buy-to-let properties.

“I could never have done this on my own and Platinum was key to my success,” said Gertie. “They have been there every step of the way and now I not only have an income for life but friends for life too.”

She added: “My advice to any woman is don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. I was in my 50s when I started, and I’ve gone from being known in the franchise for my glamour to having screwdrivers and other tools in my handbag.

“I could barely change a light bulb and now I sort the heating out without calling a plumber. I feel the biggest sense of achievement.”

At a glance

Established: 2007
Number of franchised outlets: 200+ Franchise Partners, 700 + properties
Location of units: Across England
Investment range: £175,000 - £700,000
Minimum required capital: £175,000

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Expected Revenue After 2 Years

£50,000 to £150,000

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