Donald Builds Instant Property Portfolio with Borders PSL

by Scott Douglas

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

Donald Cameron was so attracted to the private sector leasing scheme in the Scottish Borders – he decided to sign up four properties in one go.

The 43-year-old TV production location manager said the range of available properties and the affordable prices in the region made it an easy decision for him to take when he was planning his next move in property investment.

Donald said: “I had been doing a lot of research on where to invest in buy-to-let in Scotland.  I have another property in London that I rent out through a PSL scheme in that council area so I was aware of the attractions of the scheme.  Initially I had looked at the Edinburgh PSL scheme but with my budget, the prices in the Capital were virtually prohibitive.

“I then heard about the launch of the PSL scheme in the Borders and when I started to investigate the property market there I found the prices for the types of homes I was looking for extremely attractive.”

Donald, who is originally from St Andrews but now lives in Edinburgh, decided to put in offers on several properties in Hawick to try to maximise his chances of success – and to his surprise he secured deals on four.

He said: “In the past, in Edinburgh for example, I’ve gone after a house and found because I was often competing with 10 other bidders I lost out.

“But the Borders market is excellent for buy-to-let investment as the competition is not so fierce. It is a real buyers market just now so you are able to negotiate and buy at good prices, which are hugely competitive compared to Edinburgh.

“I didn’t set out to buy four properties but when I found I had the chance of them, I decided to go for it and take them all on at once through Orchard & Shipman.”

Donald, who is first landlord to sign up to the PSL scheme in the Scottish Borders, has tied up the properties – three two-bedroom and one three-bedroom homes – on five year fixed price mortgages, linked to his contract with Orchard & Shipman. In each case he has been able to work out his sums so that he doesn’t need contribute his own money to meet any shortfall between the rental income and his mortgages.

He added: “To me PSL is very appealing. I wanted to invest in property, particularly after seeing my ISA fall in value so much because of the stock market uncertainty.

“But what I didn’t want to get into was a situation where I have to chase people for rent or worse still look to remove them if they are not paying or being difficult tenants. That simply doesn’t happen with PSL.  The guaranteed rent and knowing someone is managing my properties are big winners for me.

“But more than that, I really like the idea of knowing that through my investment I am helping other people find a place.  There are really strong ethical values with this kind of investment in property.”

Donald is looking to tie himself into the PSL scheme for the next five years, after which he’ll review his portfolio and future plans.

He added: “I’m very pleased with the way things have turned out.  I have four properties which will make me a modest income in rental, and hopefully gain in capital value over the next five years, and I know I am helping some people who perhaps in a difficult situation.”

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