Starting in 1998, we purchased some flats in Hereford. Our portfolio evolved over the years as property prices rose, and we joined up with partners Laurence Hughston, Will Edwards and Daniel Burke. We purchased more buy-to-let properties in Newport, Merthyr Tydfil and Cardiff, when the financial property appreciation offered a yield to cover the operating costs of the property.
Working with Daniel Dominic, a former employee on the farm at Caplor, we then purchased some flats in Krakow in Poland, trading as Capoland. As a result of his international experience, Daniel has more recently been pursuing a career in mortgage lending in Poland.
As we managed our portfolio, we were frequently involved with repair and maintenance work. This ultimately led us to setting up a small business that specifically purchased houses to renovate, with an end-point of either re-sale or adding to the portfolio. This renovation activity expanded with the anticipated slowdown of the housing market. It has had a strong environmental theme - for instance, improving energy efficiency through installing double glazing and putting in more efficient boilers. Between 2006-2010, approximately 20 houses were renovated.
Currently our modest portfolio constitutes approximately 40 houses, overseen by Sandy Hanson, who has over 10 years experience in property. Sandy liaises with our letting agency Martin & Co., which handles our properties in South Wales. Meanwhile Daniel continues to handle our properties in Poland.
Our objective for the coming years is to manage the portfolio so that it sustainably creates a yield over time, and over the long-term releases capital back to partners. In particular, we aim to continually update and improve the properties with an eye on environmental benefit, such as through increasing energy efficiency.