Female landlord standing in front of a house.

The Manchester mum who turned a side hustle into thriving Buy to Let portfolio.

04 Jun 2024 | 3 min

As a first time auction visitor, Christina Dejonge had no intention of bidding on any of the properties at one of the last in-person auctions before lockdown. That was until she saw ‘Lot 68’.

The idea

At the start of 2020, Christina and her husband were looking for a side hustle that would provide financial independence for their family. Rather than opting for the often volatile worlds of stock trading or crypto-currency, they saw property as a more stable long-term investment.

“We went to one of the last in person auctions, only intending to look. We quickly realised that the first 10 lots weren’t worth bidding on, and we were never going to get them as they were being sold for sometimes as much as 30% above their market value.” Christina said.

That was about to change as ‘Lot 68’, a run-down house near Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium, came up for auction. Christina explains how both she and her husband instantly saw the potential in the property, especially with the area experiencing unprecedented urban regeneration in recent years.

“He told me to put my hand up and I went ‘no you put your hand up’. Next thing we knew, the property was ours, and we needed to pay the deposit.”

The enablement

“I think we broke every rule there is about buying at auction,” Christina said about that first purchase. Not only had they never seen the property before bidding, they were also unaware of the tight 28-day completion deadlines on auction purchases and they didn’t have their finances in place.

Christina turned to Together as a property lender that could approve her application and provide the funds needed quickly. We were able to provide the required funds of £52,499 on a 12-month bridging loan, allowing Christina to purchase the £75,000 mid terrace.

The project

Thanks to Together, Christina and her husband completed the purchase within the auctioneer’s deadline.

When all the funds, finance and admin of the sale was complete, they finally got to open the door to their new investment and see what they’d actually bought. Although the property needed renovating throughout, including a new roof and windows, the building itself was structurally sound.

It came as a relief to Christina, who describes her decision to buy that first property as ‘brave but risky’. She was able to quickly turn the building from run-down to rental ready, moving tenants in within months. Using a bridging loan gave Christina enough time to fully refurbish the property, secure longer term finance with a Buy to Let mortgage at a lower rate, and settle the loan well within the 12-month loan term.

The present

The entrepreneur credits that first purchase with giving her the auction buying bug, with the couple currently owning a thriving Buy to Let empire of 11 properties in the Manchester area, all bought at auction and financed by Together. Christina and her husband have also set up a limited company, E4 Property LTD, to help transition the venture from a side hustle to a successful full-time career.

Interestingly, considering their initial success in the auction ballroom, Christina noted that all of their subsequent purchases were made at online auctions. She isn’t alone in moving to the digital arena, with Auction House reporting that £62.1 million was raised exclusively through timed online auctions in 2023.

The future

The couple are now looking to expand their portfolio by two to three properties per year. They’ll utilise their knowledge of the local housing market, their new renovating skillset and a team of dedicated, trusted tradesmen, built up over the previous projects, to turn around properties in weeks.

“It’s important to trust your instincts. You choose what you want to do and who you want to do it with. Having a good team around you is so important to make sure everything runs smoothly,” Christina explained.

“And Together have been a crucial part of that team. They’ve come through for me every time with quick, trustworthy information about my finance options, and I look forward to building on this great partnership in the future. They’ve been pivotal to my success.”

If you’re looking to take the plunge into property like Christina has, buying at auction could be the ideal way to find your own Lot 68.

Find out more about your auction finance options and get a decision in principle to give you the confidence to bid for success.