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Phil from Shanghai!

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Hello Property Hub!

this is Phil from Shanghai; well actually Cardiff originally, but I’ve been living out in China for the past 3 years. I work in Automotive for a Chinese car company.

I have a 3-property portfolio, and I’d like to expand and start taking it a bit more seriously. I have been a bit lax overt the last few years as an expat, employing the “leaky bucket” method of managing my properties- luckily more money is coming in than going out, but I definitely don’t treat it like a real business.  

My aggressive goal is £7000/month after tax passive income by age 40 (Sept-2025). And then retire from having to work in engineering and perhaps set up my own business and work on more charitable causes.

I’ve got a student HMO 5-bed house in the midlands, and two professional lets in  London (3bed) & another in the midlands (2bed).

I have seen a lot- having bought in 2007/2011/2015; the pain of buying the student house in 2007 has now bounced back, and buying in London in 2011 was great by 2015, but hasn’t done much since. 
Over the past three years I’ve been paying down my mortgages at a rate of knots (to stop me buying shiny, pointless things!) and I’m in a situation where I have about £470k debt on a £1.1m portfolio. 

I would like to expand, but will have to do it very hands off. We will be staying in China another 2 years (it’s still exciting and the Auto industry isn’t up to much in the UK at the moment..) so would probably come back to Europe in summer 2021. 

My current plan is to pay off my mortgage on my student property, which has £60k remaining on it. Fortunately I can access the money quickly by emptying out some underperforming UK equity funds.  It has a consent to let residential mortgage on a bad rate (4%) and it’s self managed causing me lots of annoying niggling problems. Then I would like to refinance on a B2L mortgage up to 75% LTV, put it through an agency and hopefully release £150k equity to buy 2-3 more. Then next would be the others, and keep going!

As a strategy, does the above sound OK to start?

Thanks in advance,



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Hi Phil 

Great position to be in , not easy to manage from overseas . Are you impacted by section 24 ? From April 2020 it will be applicable in full . 

Your plan sounds good , however if you are serious about expanding your portfolio why pay down the mortgages ? That money would be better invested in a project with high ROI. Obviously if you can afford to pay down debts and invest then happy days .

All the best 

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Hi Phil,

Great to hear you're managing to invest from overseas. I too am an expat, currently living in Sydney. I'm looking to start investing in the UK in the coming months but am keen to ensure that I set everything up in the correct and most tax efficient way. Would you mind confirming whether you're investing through a company or personally? From what I've read it's probably more efficient to set up a company but that it's obviously a more involved process.



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