A university student from Sheffield has become a property mogul after setting up a business in between his full-time studies.
John Raybould, who is in his third year studying history and politics at the University of Sheffield, had a lightbulb moment after he realised that, like the landlord of his home, he could be making money from renting out rooms.
Now the 21-year-old co-owns two houses which he said will return a profit of around £2,000 a month once they are refurbished and the rooms let out. On top of that, his company’s portfolio includes two other properties which will boost his earnings substantially.
John, who was brought up in Ecclesfield, said this will give him enough of a passive income to cover his bills without having to work by the time he leaves university.
The former Birkdale School pupil began his business journey after being inspired by millionaire property entrepreneur Samuel Leeds’ book, Buy Low Rent High.
He said: “I remember I was in my student house reading the book and it suddenly struck me that myself and four friends are all in the same house paying rent on rooms.
“I’m thinking that’s adding up to quite a good deal. I was getting quite jealous of the landlord.
“That enlightened me and propelled me into the idea of making money from renting. I thought why wait till I leave university to get started.”
John decided he needed to gain expertise and enrolled on Samuel Leeds’ Property Investors Crash Course in May. He then joined his training academy which gave him the advanced skills and knowledge he needed to source successful buy-to-lets.
By that time he had already set up his property firm, Raybould Properties Limited, and persuaded his dad, also called John, to become a director. A quantity surveyor in the building trade, his dad had already started to dabble in property himself.
“He was initially sceptical about the crash course and the direction I was going in,” added John.
“I managed to change his vision completely and convinced him that the return on investment would be greater with a rental strategy.”
His dad was intent on doing up houses and then selling them on for profit.
John used his newly acquired skills to scour the country for the right investments. He located two properties in Burnley and Gainsborough which, when converted, will have a total of ten rooms. John did all the spadework, negotiating the best buy-to-let mortgage deals.
“My dad had an interest in development projects and also had equity in his house which he could use,” he said.
“We work well together and it’s strengthened our relationship. He’s been very supportive, but if he hadn’t come on board I would have found another venture partner. You have to show persistence.”
His staying power was put to the test when soon after meeting Samuel Leeds, chairman of Property Investors UK, he accompanied him and his brother Russell, chief executive of the company, on a charity mission to Uganda with several other successful academy students.
While there in July, they were taking part in a team-building, white water rafting experience on the River Nile when their boat capsized.
“We went over a waterfall. I feared for my life at that moment,” said John.
“There was a plunge pool below and I got sucked down into it, even though I had a life vest on.
“I was quite deep under so I couldn’t get back up very easily but when I came up from the plunge pool I was pulled straightaway into a rescue boat. Some people were dragged quite far down.”
John escaped with bruising and cuts, but his mentor Samuel smashed his kneecap and lost a lot of blood. He had an operation and spent 10 days in hospital. On his return home doctors told him he might never walk properly again.
Despite this, John said Samuel gave them all a rousing speech from his hospital bed and persuaded them to carry on with the purpose of the trip, which was to identify villages in need of fresh water wells.
Both the Leeds brothers are committed Christians who give 10 per cent of their profits to charity and have carried out extensive work in Africa to improve the living conditions of impoverished people. John hopes to follow their example when he has enough cash flow.
Samuel said: “For such a young guy still at uni John has done incredibly well.
“He’s got these properties going up in value and cash flow coming in which he will be saving and putting into other houses so that when he finishes his studies he’s never going to have to work unless he wants to.”
John said his friends don’t fully understand what he is doing but one said: ‘I hear you’re a property mogul.’
He said: “I’m trying to build my own brand. I want to set up a secure future for myself. Although university is a path a lot of people go down and then get a job, I’m planning to do things differently now.
“I want my dad to be financially secure as well and to be able to leave his job if he wants to. He’s 55 and has given me a lot in life, so I want to help him massively.”