"I have always worked on a contract basis, so I never had a pension. Now I have three properties and can't wait to invest in my next one. I'm seriously looking at doing property investment full time."
Vicki and her sister had spent three years trying to work out how they could invest in property with a limited budget – but with no success. Having always worked on a contract basis, Vicki was well aware that at 45 years old, she didn't have a pension and it would be unfair to rely on her children to bail her out in her retirement. She happened to meet Agi Eugenio at a seminar and arranged to meet him. She decided to invest and explains how it worked:
"I bought my first property in 2005 and was fortunate to see its value rise from £150,000 to £200,000 in a year. I released that equity and bought my second property, which also quickly gained value, so I did the same again and now have three properties. I plan to continue buying as soon as there is enough equity to release. Agi's the expert on which property to buy so I will continue to take his advice.
"I got a five year lease on my first property and have already been told the lease will be renewed next year. Whether you've got one property or half a dozen, it takes very little time to look after them. In three years, I have only had three phone calls from one tenant, all for minor repairs which I sorted out myself. If anything bigger came up, I know Agi has some great contacts.
"I didn't work last year and I had a fabulous time relaxing and travelling. This was only possible because of the property. The kind of life I want is to be able to work for two or three years, then take a year off. If everything continues to run as smoothly as it has so far, that is a very realistic ambition."
"For people who don't have the time to do it themselves, this armchair service is ideal, especially because of the security the long leases bring.."
Andrew Horn, 43, did not have a pension and had been worrying about how he could provide for his wife and two children in his retirement. He met Agi Eugenio and liked his idea. In the first half of 2005, he bought five 2-bed properties. He adds:
"All my properties have just had their leases renewed for another three years. All I have had to do is a little bit of refurbishment, as well as the maintenance that needs doing from time to time. The surplus provided by the monthly rent over the monthly mortgage payment has paid for all the maintenance and refurbishment work.
"I bought these properties as a long-term investment. I am quite happy to ride out any fluctuations in the market and I fully expect the investment to pay dividends as I approach retirement age."
"This has been a really good experience. As a novice, I have relied on being able to pick up the phone any time to Northstar – and they are always able to answer immediately."
Reuben bought his first property two and a half years ago and was able to use the equity from that to buy his second property 18 months later. He says:
"I have wanted to get into property for a long time but I thought I couldn't afford it. When I learnt about how Northstar's system works, I saw how simple it all was with none of the hassles of doing it yourself. Northstar deals with everything.
I have been fortunate that the surplus monthly income I get from the two properties is around £900, which is a significant income considering I made the investment primarily for the long-term benefit.
I have been told that the lease on my first property will be renewed shortly and I may be able to get an even longer one than three years. I will continue to invest as and when equity becomes available, as long as Northstar believe this is the wise thing to do. I would hope to retire (I am 48 now) with around seven properties to my name."
"It's very different to doing it yourself, where you're always worried about whether your tenant is going to move out, how you'll afford the mortgage without them, how much you have to pay an agent every time you need a new tenant and so on. Northstar takes all those worries away."
Naomi King already owned a couple of flats, which she was letting, before she heard about Northstar through friends. She met Agi Eugenio and, knowing how buy-to-let works, she was very impressed with the method he had devised and the professional way in which he operated. She explains:
"When my husband died, I had some money for my two boys (aged 17 and 21) and this was the perfect way to invest. I bought five properties with Northstar within three years. These investments will be my pension and also investments for my boys. I will advise them to keep investing, and I plan to keep my properties for a number of years yet.
I got three or five year leases on all the properties and they have caused me very little work. When the occasional bit of maintenance needs doing, I call one of the firms recommended by Northstar and they sort everything out for me quickly, economically and well. I have no direct dealings with the local authorities or housing associations apart from the occasional form to sign. All the properties make a profit each month.
Agi Eugenio has made this whole process very simple. He is very efficient and on top of everything. I certainly don't begrudge paying the Northstar service fee because I know he earns it. He negotiates well on purchase price and he has the refurbishment off to a fine art. If there are ever any issues, he just says, 'I will come back to you with a solution', and he does just that – every time."