Stepping Stones: One Man's Property Story

Adventures in the property market
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The Independent Online

Accountant Badar Uddin bought his first house in 1983: "The attraction was not having to pay rent and my family background means that we don't rent, we buy." The house was a three-bed, semi-detached property in Wembley: "We saw it, we liked it and it fitted the budget." Badar paid £40,000 for the house which had been decorated and well maintained, although he admits: "At the time I wasn't financially astute, I was just looking for a roof over my head."

Accountant Badar Uddin bought his first house in 1983: "The attraction was not having to pay rent and my family background means that we don't rent, we buy." The house was a three-bed, semi-detached property in Wembley: "We saw it, we liked it and it fitted the budget." Badar paid £40,000 for the house which had been decorated and well maintained, although he admits: "At the time I wasn't financially astute, I was just looking for a roof over my head."

After marrying, the family lived here for four years and Badar dabbled in DIY: "It's the only time I've done that but I enjoyed it." When Badar's parents came to the UK from Africa the family needed more room: "We wanted more than one bathroom to avoid traffic jams in the morning." They found it in a four-bedroomed property nearby which, with its "tree-lined roads and many good schools", has a different feel.

Badar paid £140,000 at the top of the market in 1987: "Unfortunately it seemed like a lot but I was lucky. I didn't need to use the equity from our first house." The following year he sold his first house for £80,000 but the family still lives in their four-bedWembley home, although there have been many other purchases: "In total I've bought 18 properties."

Badar describes his most exciting buy: "It was a shop, a basement and two flats above, which I bought at auction for £50,000." He converted the entire property into flats, sold off two and kept the third "as a bonus" which he sold two weeks ago for £100,000.

Tactically he targets mortgage repossessions and buys at auctions, although he warns this method suits only professionals: "If you don't get a survey done you could end up unstuck, and if you do have one but then don't get your property you've lost money."

He began buying investment properties after the property market crash in the late Eighties: "I stopped until 1991 and after that I bought two or three a year for the next five years." After this he again stopped but admits: "I shouldn't have and after the next crash I'll start again."

His firm views on property have led to his recent disposal of around half his assets: "The market seems to run in 12-year cycles, so I've been selling off many of my investments in anticipation of the next crash." Badar believes the property market is inextricably linked to the stock market: "As long as it's buoyant everything is well oiled, there are good jobs and bonuses about, but as soon as it crashes everything dries up which has a dramatic effect upon the property market."

Badar believes the next crash will be in 2002: "I'd like to think it will happen then otherwise all of my tactics will have been wrong." He now owns five London properties and four in Southampton and estimates that in total his assets are worth around £1.5m: "It's just a hobby. My business is accountancy."

Is he ever tempted to sell his investment properties and use the money for his own home? "I'm looking to do it. I've paid off my mortgage so I've got a fair bit of equity, but I'll only do it at the right time. I won't pay over the odds and the year 2002 looks interesting."

Those moves in brief: 1983: bought three-bedroomed Wembley house for £40,000, sold for £80,000 in 1988. 1987: bought four-bedroomed Wembley house for £140,000, now worth around £300,000. Between 1988 and 1996: bought 18 investment properties. Still owns nine, worth £1.5m in total.

If you would like your moves to be featured e-mail ginetta@dircon.co.uk or write to: Jackie Hunter, Stepping Stones, The Independent, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL

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