About John McLauchlan
The year was 1998 and I was on the phone to the estate agent. I had just viewed my first rental property with an asking price of £24,995.
I spoke to the sales team, “I’ll offer £17,000.” The estate agent scoffed telling me the vendor would never accept such a silly offer. 20 minutes later, we confirmed a deal at £17,500 and I was in the property business.
At this time I was employed as a Police officer, so while I knew how to swing a truncheon, I had no clue about renovating houses or being a landlord.
11 months in and my hard work landed me two paying tenants and another rental property. I soon discovered that the secret to making money in property is when you purchase at the right price. Offering £10,000 on a £20,000 asking price and closing at £11,000 is an example of purchasing at the right price…
Understanding the numbers was critical and it wasn’t long before I had a growing portfolio in the UK and villas in Florida.
The emphasis was developing quality homes for tenants and holiday experiences for people vacationing in Florida. The result of that focus was a multiple 6 figure business while still working as a Police Officer.
From homes to homeless
As a Police Officer, I dealt with all kinds of people. The most tragic cases were always the homeless people with addiction problems. People that encountered hardship and couldn’t pull themselves up.
In 1999, my mum was diagnosed with terminal cancer aged 51. In the December she turned 52 and she died just after the Millennium. My mum was my emotional support and best friend. Mum and my dad supported my first wife and I when our baby daughter Emily died.
Now she was gone, I felt I had to step up and be strong for the family. The fact is, the opposite was happening.
In 2001 the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York finished the Florida business overnight, losing $500,000 of my very hard earned dollars.
The pressure on me to keep things going turned me into a hateful bastard, I separated from my wife and son and ended up living in one of my rental properties that had been flooded by the previous tenant. I continued trying to pull myself up, but whatever I did, just seemed to make things worse.
I was living month to month, and every 3 months I would receive a repossession notice from my mortgage provider.
I returned home from working on the tools one November evening to discover the front window had been smashed, and the gas company had broken in and removed the gas meter. What did the gas company care if I froze to death, I was just another scumbag with an unpaid bill.
From experience, I know there are many ‘fuck it’ moments in life. For some ‘fuck it’ comes after the death of a loved one. For me, my ‘fuck it’ moment was right there, laid on my settee shivering under a duvet, I wasn’t taking this shit anymore…
The Turning Point