In this episode, Legislate meets Kay, co-director fo Ricketts Rentals, family run business that offers property management services and specialises in a number of property strategies.
In this episode, Kay tells us all about the different property investment and management strategies and how they operate, ranging from rent to rent to joint ventures, and also tells us of the importance of bespoke contracts as part of your service.
Learn more about Ricketts Rentals
Learn more about Legislate
And why you should always read contracts before you sign them
And why it's important to explain contracts
And how to overcome red tape in contract negotiations
And how to your protect your IP as an early stage founder
Charles Brecque: Welcome to the Legislate podcast, a place to learn about the latest insights and trends in property, technology, business building, and contract drafting. Today. I'm excited to have Kay on the show, a property investor, entrepreneur, and co-director of Ricketts Rentals. Kay, welcome to the show.
Would you like to introduce yourself and tell us a bit more about Ricketts Rentals?
Kay: My name is Kay and I'm co-director of Ricketts Rentals along with my mum and my sister. It's a family run business where we look at a number of property strategies, starting from Rent to Rent, looking at joint ventures with other property entrepreneurs, looking at the Buy Refurbish Refinance strategy and anything property related to be honest. So yeah, we're at the start of the journey about five months in, and I'm hoping that we can make a success of it.
Charles Brecque: Great. A family business, that must be quite exciting. What got you to start this five months ago?
Kay: My mums always wanted to get into property. But it's just something that sort of never really crossed my mind because I've worked in banking for the last 15 years.
So, she's always kept saying it, but never put anything into practice. And then when lockdown came, there was so many people on Instagram showing property videos, lots of different bits in to do with property. So I thought, let me have a little look into it. So, I started joining some of the free webinars in lockdown, going on to zooms, reading upon Google and I thought, oh, actually, this is quite interesting.
So, I got my mum and my sister together cause we're really close and said, you know what, let's try and give it a go. And yeah, gone from there.
Charles Brecque: Great. And you mentioned Rent to Rent, joint ventures and refurbishment projects for our listeners who might not be familiar with those terms, would you mind just explaining what they are?
Kay: Yeah. Rent to rent is a strategy where you use a corporate let agreement, which can also be called a company let. That agreement is between you and the landlord. But then you will find tenants to then house. So that could be on short term lets or longer term lets. It could be just single people or it could be shared accommodation.
So yeah, Rent to Rent is the legal way of subletting. Because subletting is actually illegal.
The Buy, Refurbish, Refinance strategy is where you buy a rundown house that is in need of refurbishment, bring it up to its true standard, and then refinance and hopefully get your original investment back out. It really depends on the numbers. And then use that to move on to the next question.
Joint ventures. There's a few different ways you can do Joint Ventures, but the main way is somebody who's potentially inexperienced will join with somebody experienced. They may put the money in and the other people put the experience and they do a project together to get the learning behind that.
Joint venture also might be somebody who's just literally got no time. Somebody else who's got the time they join together and do projects and share the profits. So yeah there's so many property strategies out there at the moment, but I'd say that they're the main ones that people are doing. And Flips. Flips are a sort of light buy, refurbish, finance. Where you buy a property, you do it up to standard. You make money on it, you sell it, make money on it. And you've got a profit.
Charles Brecque: Very exciting and very entrepreneurial. So you've been doing this now for five months. What have been your favourite moments?
Kay: The most exciting part I would say is getting our first Rent to Rent contracts within the first month to starting. It was a Rent to Rent serviced accommodation that we ran in Skegness and we found the landlord through a free online platform, which was Gumtree.
He was advertising and saying he wanted somebody to manage the caravan for him. So yeah, we decided to take that on. As you can imagine with the staycation boom, it was really busy the whole summer.
And we learned so much. We had a burst pipe one day. I'm a hundred miles from Skegness. It was very hands off. We had a cleaner that went in but had a customer saying you know the pipe has burst. So, I had to find a plumber remotely. We had the door that wouldn't shut. It fell off the hinges while the customer was in there. So again, I had to get that arranged remotely.
We had the gas run out and we hadn't put things in place to tell the customers how to change the gas, so I had to deal with that. That was actually quite funny because the customer was cooking chicken nuggets at eight o'clock in the morning and the gas had gone on the cooker. So how was I meant to deal with that remotely?
Yeah, I think it was really exciting getting our first project. It was also really interesting and a learning point really. We had to learn how are we going to manage this a hundred miles away. But we managed to get systems in place to allow us to manage it remotely.
I did all the bookings myself. So again, I advertised on sort of Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree, but I got customers trying to book the caravan at two o'clock in the morning. My phone was ringing, honestly, it was a nightmare.
So yeah, I think going forward, it will be sort of, booking sites where I've not got to physically do those to avoid things like people ringing me at two o'clock in the morning. I don't wake up at three o'clock in the morning thinking, let me try and book a caravan, but obviously people did.
And then the TV stopped working and again, I'm getting a call at four in the morning, to say the TV is not working and I'm having to explain: 'I can't do nothing right now. It's four o'clock in the morning.'
So yeah, it's been really exciting, really challenging, but really insightful and a learning curve
Charles Brecque: That does sound like a lot of problems on your plate and must be quite difficult to manage a hundred miles from the caravan. So well done. And a good transition to my next question, which is what do you wish you'd known before starting Ricketts Rentals?
Kay: So, I joined a lot of seminars and webinars online, a lot of free ones. And some of the people that are running these programs make it sound like it's really easy. They make it sound like it's a get rich quick scheme and actually it's really not. You know we did get our first deal within the first month, but there's other people out there who've taken months to get their first deal. Everybody's different. It also depends on how much work and how much time you actually put in. It's about taking massive action. But when you say action, it's still might just not be as quick as you think it is. So wish I'd have learned that it's not as easy as some people make out.
The biggest thing I've learned is that you need to pay for your education. You need to invest in yourself. There's a lot of YouTube out there and don't get me wrong, there's some really successful people who haven't paid for education. But there's also with property or you can make a lot of money, but you can also lose a lot of money.
So, the education is so important. So I wish from the start. Get your education. We have done that now. Ricketts Rentals have done a lot of education. We've actually invested quite a lot of money into that. And it's just the little things that you don't think of that the education shows you and you think, oh gosh, I probably would have forgot about that. And it could have cost me a lot of money. So yeah. Invest in your education. And also property, it's a bit of a slow process. Once things get going and things are all in place and you've built your contacts with your landlord and stuff. Yes. Things can get a bit easier. And also working with agents, some agents are absolutely brilliant. Some agents are a little bit more tricky to work with. So it's a lot about patience. Patience is the biggest thing in property, I would say.
Charles Brecque: And any tips then for people who are about to get started. I see you mentioned on the education side, are there any webinars or courses that you would recommend?
Kay: It's so hard. One person will like this particular educator, one person may not like this particular educator. So all I can say is really go out there and do the research for yourself. Some programmes cost a lot of money. Some programmes are a lot cheaper. You have to look at them and decide for yourself. I wouldn't want to give any recommendations because like I said, someone who I might think is good, other people are going to have negative connotations to that person. So, there are so many out there literally go on Google. There's a lot of actual news articles that list the best property educators. So just look on there or on Instagram, type in ''property and that there's lots out there. But there's so many, I couldn't say.
Charles Brecque: Sure I understand.
Where do you see Ricketts Rentals in the next three to five years?
Kay: The next three to five years, we'll be building our own property portfolio. So, Using the buy refurb refinance strategy where we buy, run down houses, do them up.
We actually want to keep those and start filling them with tenants. So we basically could become a landlord. We also want the Rent to Rents as that's more of a hands-off approach where we manage properties for owners, but we don't actually own the properties. So that's good because, it's a cheaper way to manage properties and make money.
We've also recently started deal sourcing so we help people to find deals that they're looking for. So again, a lot of people don't have the time or the expertise, so we can help you find the certain type of properties you're looking for. So yeah, in the next three years, build a property portfolio; do more networking, which is honestly, the networking is the biggest thing in property. Everyone seems to want to help each other. So your network is really important. But yeah, just building a property portfolio and continue to help landlords that are struggling with their properties.
Charles Brecque: Yeah, we had Zoe Conning on the show and she said: ' In property, your network is your networth.'
Kay: I was going to say that but I thought: "Oh I a little bit cliche. So I won't go there."
Charles Brecque: So, you mentioned quite a few different topics. What are the key contracts that you interact with?
Kay: So at the moment for ourselves, the key contracts would be Corporate Lets or Company Let Agreements. That's what you use with the Rent to Rent model. We use joint venture contracts, to protect yourself and the people you're doing a joint venture with so that everything's written down, exactly what you're expected to do and they're expected to do in the contract. And then NDA agreements, which is a nondisclosure agreement. It's basically an agreement between you and somebody else that they're not going to put you out of a deal. So when you're finding a deal for somebody before you introduce them to the landlord or the agent you'd have this agreement in place so that you can't be quite out of the deal.
So yeah, they're the three contracts really corporate/company let, joint venture contracts and non-disclosure agreements.
Charles Brecque: And in those contracts, are there any common objections or negotiation points that you need to overcome?
Kay: Yeah, a lot of people use just templates. So you get it sent over to you. There's issues, there's errors, there's wrong information because they just used the template from the last deal, which it doesn't always, it's not always the same.
I think the biggest thing as well is just having the time to read through that contract, the person who's sending it out, and just remove things that are not relevant to that particular deal. It's just about putting a little bit of effort in and making it a bespoke service rather than just firing out a standard template that doesn't always fit. It can't always be one shoe fits all. So yeah.
Charles Brecque: I think that's one key thing that Legislate, we try to highlight is that every single contract is custom in its own way. Contract terms are highly connected, which means that if you do try to edit your own template, you know, if you remove something, you also need to remove it elsewhere. And if you don't, it doesn't make sense where it could have legal implications. Every contract must be custom. And especially with technology there are ways to do that without needing to go through a lawyer. So that's really interesting. And with all those contracts and you mentioned you can't just use the same template how do you go about then working with those contracts, do you use a solicitor or is there somebody in your team who has expertise?
Kay: So with the training that we've gone through, the training we've invested in, they've actually given us the contracts. So we've done a different, a few different training courses. So we've got a few different versions of the same contract. So what we did when we first came home from the training is sat down with a fine tooth comb and actually went through the contracts, word for word to actually understand. Becuase I think that's the other thing, people get contracts and just send them out and they don't even actually understand what's on the contract. So we took the time to actually go through the contract to see what is this contract we're actually sending out. And then what we do, with each deal, we've got one printed version and we've got bits highlighted that are the bits that will potentially need amending. And so when we're doing a new contract for a new deal, they're the bits that we focus on to know they're the bits that are amendable in different circumstances.
Charles Brecque: That's very smart and efficient way tackling a complicated problem.
So, I'm conscious we've already taken a lot of your time. So I'm going to ask the closing question: if you're being sent a contract to sign today, what would impress you?
Kay: What would impress me, is it being very straight to the point, clear and concise. And also it coming through via a website where at the bottom you've got the signature strip that you can literally click on and physically type it on your phone screen or on your laptop. Because again, you getting PDFs sometimes and when you're on the go it's not always easy to go onto a PDF, on your phone and sign it and send it back. So when they use the sort of programs or websites where it can come through and you can do your signature there, and then it's just so much more time efficient.
Charles Brecque: At Legislate, we definitely agree- I'm not trying to plug Legislate, it's just very hard to not comment.
Thank you very much Kay for being on the Legislate podcast, it's been a really insightful conversation. Best of luck building Ricketts Rentals, and hopefully we can have you on the show again.
Kay: Thank you. Thanks for having me.