Matt Haycox is an entrepreneur and funding guru who has been building and growing businesses, both for himself and others, for more than 20 years.
Before the global financial crash, Matt Haycox was a multi-millionaire, who thought nothing of spending thousands on holidays with friends. Since the crash, he has bounced back and has set up an online consultation service to stop others making the same mistakes.
Underneath his lavish lifestyle, is a seasoned property investor, with a current portfolio of around 50 properties.
We sat down with Matt Haycox to ask him about his property portfolio, his advice for investing and what he predicts for the economy going forward…
Being a funding guru you must have had some lavish properties in your time. Which has been your favourite and why?
“I have lived in some great houses all over the world and they all have a story to tell. My 2nd house I bought was when I was 21 and it actually had a bar and a stripper pole in the front room – although we probably shouldn’t be talking about that here! After a rocky start the neighbours did grow to love me though…
“My favourite house was in Vegas, where I lived for about 5 years and bought a 5000sq ft property on a golf course. It had a master bedroom with a fireplace that looked through into the hot tub, and a fantastic cinema where I watched many hours of Jack Bauer! But my favourite part of it was definitely the wine cellar which I made by knocking out a downstairs toilet and turned it into a glass box, with room for 4000 bottles and a cigar humidor!”
How many houses have you owned in your lifetime? And how many do you own now?
“For personal residences, I have owned 5 properties in 3 different countries. Whilst I have bought some great houses, I have never been afraid to rent as well. My goal is always to efficiently allocate capital and I have no ‘ego issues’ with renting in my personal life, especially if that allows me to buy property investments that will provide better long-term gains.
“I have owned over 100 residential and commercial properties in the past 20 years. Now my portfolio has around 50 UK buy to lets. I have also just exchanged contracts on a 7500sq ft triplex penthouse in the marina in Dubai which I am very excited about – it actually has its own swimming pool on the roof!”
Are you a ‘hands on’ or ‘hands off’ kind of guy when it comes to renovation?
“I like to have enough knowledge in every area of business I work in to ensure I can’t get the wool pulled over my eyes. But I have to be honest, I will never be a tradesman, and I probably will never change a lightbulb!
“But I will always plan my refurb work myself and I have a great network of professionals and contractors, who I have worked with over the years.”
If you had just 150k to invest in any local property market across the UK, where would you put the money and why?
“If I had just 150k then I would concentrate on deploying it as close to home as possible, which for me is Leeds. Too often I see people buy individual properties all over the country, or even the world, and I think that whatever top line return they are getting is ultimately heavily eroded, especially when you take account of travel costs, lack of knowledge of local people when problems occur etc.
“Unless you have 100’s of millions to spend, there will always be enough investment opportunities on your doorstep, you just need to look hard enough.”
So now we know where you’d put your 150k, how would you invest it? What investment strategy would you opt for?
“I’m not one to heavily speculate when it comes to property, but there has been a lot of talk about the growth in property prices for houses with land or houses in the country, with people moving away from apartments and flats in a post Covid world.
“Personally, though, I am a yield guy.
“I think with some effort put into networking and developing knowledge of some niche areas within your chosen location, then anyone should be able to acquire sensible long-term properties that yield in excess of 10% and have nice upside for long term capital appreciation.
“I appreciate a lot of people make good money from trading and flipping, but for me and my personal investment plan, property is about buying it right and holding it forever.”
We know you invest a lot in business – does that mean you’d favour investment in commercial premises over residential?
“I actually prefer residential over commercial!
“The thing with property, and business in general, is that there are often no right answers, only the best answer for someone’s individual plan, appetite, and goals.
“As a funder of businesses, I know that someone’s historical performance means very little when betting on the future, so I don’t put much value in covenants on commercial property. If there is a genuinely strong covenant, then the yield is probably too poor to interest me.
“What I like about residential property is the fact that, if the tenant leaves, then you can have a new tenant in within days and keeps your voids to a minimum (that is as long as you have chosen the right properties and areas in the first place).”
Not many people can bounce back from bankruptcy! What would your advice be to any of our readers who are struggling financially?
“The key things for me are the belief in myself and a complete lack of interest in other people’s opinions on me.
“Achieving big goals takes risk and hard work – things will go wrong along the way, you just have to be prepared for that.
“As with most things in life, the fear of bankruptcy is much worse than the actual event itself. Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to trivialise it in any way, and I would rather it never happens again! But I would rather experience failure than regret and if you are going to dream big, then experiencing some failure is inevitable.”
If you were a first-time buyer with just a couple of thousand in the bank for a deposit, what would you do to grow your deposit fast?
“If I only had a couple of grand for a deposit on a house, I would really be asking myself the question if now is the right time for me to be buying.
“There is a real British romanticism about property ownership, but I would argue that most people who buy a house for themselves, ahead of property or businesses for investment purposes, are probably making the wrong decision.
“But for someone needing to earn money as quick as possible, I would be telling them to develop a skill set that they can use to generate big income by selling their services. That could be anything that suits them – sales, marketing, financial advice, hairdressing, gardening – anything! The key is to be able to generate consistent income at as high a level as possible, and then invest it stably.
“Rushing for quick returns with your only £2k of capital is undoubtedly a recipe to lose it!”
Where do you see the market heading in the future?
“A crash is inevitable, but I am not sure when. If you’d have asked me 12 months ago, I would say we were weeks away from it. But with all the government support pumping into the economy, it’s continuing the bubble of propping up zombie businesses, that should have gone bust a long time ago.
“I believe that most of the businesses that are in a real mess right now are in that state regardless of Covid. They have plodded along for years, robbing Peter to pay Paul and surviving due to the easily available of capital in the form of short-term loans, for example.
“I thought Covid was going to put an end to that and clean the decks – but I was wrong as no one could have anticipated the level of funds the government have ploughed into the system, and the reliefs that HMRC and other companies have given.
“And I think there is still plenty more support to come, but this will run out eventually. I think it will be the very back end of 2021, maybe 2022 when we start to see some real pain…
“But as in every economy and set of circumstances, solid businesses with the right fundamentals, sharp entrepreneurs, and quality properties will always survive and shine through.”
Have you got any recent events planned that we should be aware of?
“Over the last 12 months, I have been busy continuing to lend to UK SMEs. We never closed our doors, where most lenders did, so it has given us a great lead on the competition, who are only now cautiously starting to come back into the market.
“Lockdown has also been a great opportunity for me to record some podcasts with killer guests from the world of business and celebrity, with my podcast ‘The Matt Haycox Show’, being one of them. Make sure you check them out on iTunes, Spotify and my YouTube channel!
“You can also check out my website, for more information on me and how I could help you!”