Wolverhampton boxer packs a punch as a property entrepreneur
A boxer who has just turned professional is making a real fist of life in business too.
Finley Cooper, of Wolverhampton, won his first professional fight in July, defeating Kristaps Zulgis of Latvia at the city’s Hangar venue.
Despite only just turning 20, the pupil of Highfields School in Penn says he is now proving to be a winner as a property entrepreneur.
He had to fight through 180 rejections to land his first property deal. But he stuck at it and is already raking in £4,000 a month from rents.
Finley, who lives with his mother Justine , brother Callum and stepfather Dave in Bradmore, first became interested in property when he was just 18.
He had saved up "quite a bit of money" working weekends and holidays over the past five years.
He tried different investment methods but concluded it would take too long to build wealth so, his thoughts turned back to bricks and mortar.
“I thought I’ve got a passion for property, so it would be about investing in something I love. I just needed to learn how to do it properly,” he said.
He followed the work of property people such as West Midlands entrepreneur Samuel Leeds and enrolled on courses to learn about the buy, refurbish, refinance and rent strategy.
“A month later I had an offer accepted on my first BRRR property," he said. "That was when I thought, OK, this is serious.”
He began searching for an investment property in the Wolverhampton area before switching his attention to the north of the country where houses are significantly cheaper and a property in Doncaster caught his eye.
“It was in a really bad condition and was listed for about £100,000, but it was obviously what we call a motivated seller. So, I went to the viewing and offered just £80,000.”
The owner turned him down but then accepted his revised offer of £90,000. As the house had no kitchen or bathroom, it was ‘un-mortgageable’ which meant he would have to pay cash for it.
During the Covid period, Finley found himself working seven days a week for his dad in the family business, sanitising bin trucks. He now had around £30,000 tucked away, and started to think a bridging loan might be his best chance of securing the deal but his grandparents said they would be happy to lend me the money.
“I said, I’ll give you five to 7.5 per cent on whatever you give me. I was happy with it because it’s better than what they’re getting paid in the bank," he said. "They were happy too because they were putting the money into me.”
Before submitting his offer for the house, Finley researched how much it would cost to do up the property and what it would be worth once the work was finished.
With a budget of £25,000 for the renovation, he calculated the end value would be £150,000. This would then allow him to take out a mortgage based on the new value, effectively giving him most of his cash back to reinvest in more properties.
“I had to spend about £2,000 on fees as well for solicitors," he said. "So, I’m leaving about £4,500 in the house. I’ve ended up having a five-bed house for £4,500 and that’s sweet.”
The house is currently being renovated and is set to make a profit of £1,100 a month when it is rented out.
Finley then began thinking of ways he could achieve a faster return from property.
He has read about the rent-to-rent strategy. This is where an investor agrees to lease a property from a landlord for a set number of years and then rents it out at a higher rate.
“At first, I really struggled to get a rent-to-rent deal," he said. "I think partly because of my age. It’s a bit difficult for people to take you seriously when you’re 19.
“I made about 180 phone calls before I got my first one over the line. I was either instantly rejected or I was invited to go on a viewing only for them to go with someone else’s application.
“You get this burning fire inside you and think, I’m just going to go for it. I ended up walking into a letting agency and talking to them. I even used my age in my favour because I was that confident.
“I thought what 19-year-old has already got a property they are doing up? That’s what gave me the confidence of walking in there. I was borderline arrogant. That’s what you’ve got to be, and then the letting agents will see you know what you’re talking about and buy into you.”
He soon landed his first rent-to-rent property. Finley has since taken on a four-bedroom house in Birmingham which is let out as furnished accommodation. He pays the landlord a monthly rent of £1,200 and then rents it out for a higher amount.
“This month it’ll make a profit of about £3,000," he said. "Last month it made £2,500. That’s probably what it’s going to make for a couple of months now because I had a direct booking from a bunch of contractors.”
His portfolio now consists of four rent-to-rents including two four-bed properties.
“Solely from the property business I’m making a profit of about £4,000 a month which is really good," he said. "I’m not finding a wage that’s close to that for my age.”
He balances his property business with his commitments as an emerging boxer. He needs to train every day – twice when preparing for a fight.
“It means I’ve had to put in the hours to get the business set up,” adds Finley, who says his biggest motivation for doing well is his family.
“That’s another reason which got me to work so hard – to pay back my family and give them everything they’ve given me in the past,” he adds.