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Saturday, August 29, 2015

I've bought a penthouse apartment

Well, I've got to that time in my life were I'm due a mid life crisis.  It's either going out and blowing my savings on a ridiculous red projectile super car like a Ferrari that costs me a fortune to run and repair or some other rash statemental gesture to prove my youth and underlying vigor.

Being a sensible type of chap; I've opted instead to splash my cash on a penthouse apartment.  I'm rather glad I did.  I've been squirrelling away my spare cash into shares since the financial crash and these investments largely have done ok.  Looking at the uncertainties surround global stockmarkets and in particular China I'm quite glad I was forced to sell up.

When my penthouse opportunity presented itself because it was a repossession;  buying the property with was a huge advantage when it came to negotiations and the ultimate acceptance of my offer.  I will fill you in exactly why in future blog posts.

What features did I look for in my penthouse?

Lets be clear I never set out to buy a property.  I do love property.  It's in the blood.  I can't pick up the Sunday papers without ogling and swooning over the fantastic bits of real estate that you can buy, rent and visit.  Everything from cute country cottages, Georgian townhouses, grand country houses, exotic beach front villas. They all offer a visual feast and a split second of fantasy before they all crashing down as you realise buying a log cabin in Alaska probably isn't going to fit into your busy work and business life.

I would argue that my penthouse found me.  There it was.  All unloved. Raped and abandoned with it's spiral staircase ripped out and sold on eBay by the malicious owner to grab a couple of hundred quid before loosing the lot and getting booted out by the mortgage company.  This was love at first sight.  My penthouse, sat on a beautiful listed Georgian building in the centre of the historic Lace Market in Nottingham. A new build pod with mezzanine floor and glazing giving you a window on the world and out onto a proper balcony.  Not just one of those Juliet things that is no use to anybody.  Having refurbed a host of buy-to-let property in my time I am tired of buying apartments & updating letting boxes; with budget fittings, laminate flooring from wickes and the cheapest IKEA kitchens.  Don't get me wrong they can look good.  But it ain't ever going to give you the wow factor.  My penthouse was different.  These are the features that attracted me to my penthouse and ultimately why I think it's going to be more financially rewarding than owning a Ferrari.

The features that made me buy my penthouse apartment:

1. It was a proper penthouse apartment.  It was built as a penthouse.  It has double height ceiling space in the main living area rather than been crammed into a loft conversion with weird ceiling angles and protruding dormer windows.  It feels like a palace in the sky.
2. It's in a upmarket location set within a Conservation Area, above a Georgian listed building surrounded by beautiful Victoria lace factories.  There is no point in buying your penthouse in some dodgy part of town.  How are you going to live the dream if you have to run the gauntlet of alcoholics, drug dealers and urban squalor.
3. It has lovely electronically operated wrought iron gates.  Hey, when I pull up in my Porsche (not brought yet but I can still fantasize) I feel a million dollars when the gates swing open and I enter the underground car lift!
4. Most of the properties in the block are owner occupied.  These apartments in this block are brought by people to occupy generally as their home.  The astronomical service charge (£4000 a year) puts off most landlords looking for a decent net rental yield.  This means when I do sell I will be selling to somebody looking for a home not a tight arsed investor (I classify myself as one) looking for rental yield.
5. The property is unique.  One thing that this property has given me is the ability to create a unique pad.  With so many properties particularly in the city centre built to the same space cramming rabbit hutch format.  This place with it's glazing, mezzanine floor with spiral staircase and panoramic city view offers me an opportunity to create a pad that is truly unique and what's more somebody will be prepared to pay for.
6. The actual name of the property is the Penthouse.  This isn't an apartment that is stuck in the attic and the estate agent has euphemistically labelled.
7. I have always steered away from the luxury end of the rental market because of the risk.  However, the capital appreciation opportunities represented by my penthouse acquisition I suspect will far outway any marginal additional income from another mid range buy-to-let property.  However, what I would say is 'right property, right time'.

The chances of me finding a similar property investing opportunity would be non existent, I could search for years without finding something similar, which is exactly why I had to have it!

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