Church Street Sheffield: 23-year-old quits £100,000 Russia goldmine job to develop property
A 23-year-old Sheffield man who earned £100,000 a year working for a Russian goldmine company has left his job to seek his fortune as a full-time property entrepreneur.
After investing in five rental properties in Burnley and Manchester, Damon Wiseman is set to complete his first major commercial deal in Sheffield city centre. He has had an offer accepted on a building in Church Street which previously housed the Cargo Hold restaurant with office space above.
Damon’s vision is to create a new, stylish restaurant with up to a dozen luxury apartments on the first, second and third floors which will be available for rent on sites like Airbnb. He has won the backing of wealthy overseas investors after persuading them of the merits of the project.
Damon, who lives in Psalter Lane, Sharrow, negotiated hard on the deal before having an offer of £800,000 accepted. He estimates that once the building work is finished, the scheme will have cost a total of £1.5m.
“Realistically this will take at least a year to happen, but I’ve done my due diligence and the estimated return on investment will be in the region of 30 to 40 per cent.”
Damon has long been interested in making money from bricks and mortar and gained a Bachelor of Science degree in real estate at university. But he got temporarily lured away by the offer of a job in Russia, before turning full circle to become a property entrepreneur.
His first four investments alone have created a healthy rental income and remarkably despite being so young, he says he is already financially free.
Damon admits handing in his notice was a huge call as he enjoyed the work as much as the benefits. Spending stints of six weeks abroad followed by four weeks leave back home in Sheffield meant life was never dull.
Alongside his glamorous lifestyle, he got to learn the language and immersed himself in the culture.
“My stereotype of Russians before I worked there was completely wrong. I thought they were hardy and tough but uncaring. However, they are polite and humble people, always looking out for each other and very accepting of foreigners.”
In addition to having a fantastic experience, Damon also earned between £90,000 and £100,000 a year depending on the exchange rate.
He initially planned to invest in buy-to-lets close to where he studied, but found the prices were too high. He then came across a book which was to change the course of his life.
It was written by well-known property entrepreneur Samuel Leeds, founder of Property Investors, the largest training establishment of its kind in the UK.
Samuel has helped a string of celebrities to invest in property, including rap artist Krept, former Liverpool midfielder Kevin Stewart, pop star Rye Beaumont and ex-world champion football freestyler and BBC presenter Liv Cooke. He has also worked with Wales international footballer Christian Ribeiro and top professional rugby league players Jesse Sene-Lefao and Quentin Laulu-Togagae.
“When I read his book, my view on property absolutely flipped,” said Damon.
“I lived in an HMO (House in Multiple Occupation). I didn’t even know what an HMO was. I didn’t know about that investment tactic.”
Damon looked on Google to find out where the cheapest houses in the UK were and ‘Burnley popped up.’
“I found out that a university had started there recently, and it got my brain ticking. I thought I was a student, I had lived in an HMO, what if these students need to live in an HMO? Let me find a house near the university.
“So, I looked on Rightmove and found a house five minutes away from the university. That was like a little goldmine right there. I thought, I need to get that.”
The snag was that the property was in a bad condition, and he could not get a mortgage.
Undaunted, he used his savings and money made from shares to buy the house for £55,000, with some additional help from his parents.
The plan was to convert the spacious, three-bedroom property into a five-bed HMO, but Damon could not obtain any bridging finance either. Fortunately, with earnings from his job and a little more assistance from his parents, he was able to fund contractors to do the work for £50,000.
With legal fees and stamp duty, the total cost of the project came to £108,000. Damon says the house is now worth £125,000 but has a commercial value of £150,000. As it is now mortgageable, he is refinancing it and will enjoy a profit of £900 a month after all his expenses. That even accounts for maintenance and paying a management company to rent out the accommodation. All the rooms have their own bathroom and are currently being let for £400 a month each to workers from the Boohoo warehouse.
Refinancing the house means he can pull out money to repay his parents and settle the bill from the builders.
Damon has since bought two more HMOs in Burnley, upping his monthly profit to £2,500.
He has also just completed his fourth acquisition in the town which he plans to sell it for a quick profit once he has received planning permission for various improvements. He will not personally carry out the work but will sell it as an investment opportunity.
In addition to his HMOs, Damon is also making a profit £1,000 a month from another property deal in Manchester.
While creating an income for himself, the young businessman says he is also bringing rundown properties back to life and providing much needed quality accommodation with fair rents.
“If it’s done properly and ethically, it is a win-win situation for the investor and the tenant and can also help breathe new life into both residential and commercial areas.”
Damon’s advice for anyone thinking of following in his footsteps is to make sure they learn the ropes properly first.
Originally from Zimbabwe, he came to the UK in 2016 to study real estate but says his most valuable education was learning ‘real life investment techniques from real life investors.’
“My steep learning curve started on the free Property Investors Crash Course and I’m now a member of the academy. I’ve completed various courses, including a three-day Deal Selling Masterclass which gave me the skills to source property deals for investors. I even sold my first deal for £2,000 while I was in Russia before I left my job. I’ve now set up WiseAsh, my own deal sourcing business which I’m hoping to expand.”
Damon’s progress has not gone unnoticed by his guru, Samuel Leeds.
“Damon had pretty much climbed to the top of his ladder. He went to university, got a job working on a goldmine and got a good salary – but then realised he was on the wrong ladder!” said Mr Leeds.
“Now, he already owns several properties mainly in the Burnley area, which are providing him with a healthy, passive income and he is making money from property in other ways too. And he’s still only 23.”