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From Missing Out On Time With Her Children To A £1.5 Million GDV Portfolio, And Being Able To Attend Every Football Match And School Assembly!

Karen and Barry Marshall say joined Touchstone Education in 2019. After attending Six Figure Summit (now named Wealth Through Property) they signed up for Touchstone Education’s twelve-month property investment programme, going on to complete 15 refurbishments in their first 3 years, alongside setting up and running a successful project management business.

We spoke to Karen to find out more…

Karen Marshallsay

“Before property investment, I was a teacher. Despite being part-time on paper (and in wages) the reality was that it was full-time to keep up with the never-ending workload. Because so much of my family time was taken up with all the planning and marking, I was starting to resent my job which was not fair on the students. 

“The idea of giving up the security of a salary was daunting, but something had to give and I wasn’t going to give up my precious time with my children while they are still young.”

“We have always liked the idea of property and had a buy to let property we had taken on a few years before with no real idea or education. After discovering Paul Smith on Facebook we opted to join them for a two-day property investment course. It is not normal for us to sign up for things straight away (let alone things that cost a significant amount) but having been so inspired and convinced from that weekend we knew we could change our lives through property, so we invested in the full year package that very weekend.

“From there, we committed our time to learning about all the strategies included in the online training and quickly realised we needed to focus on one to actually move forwards. Our plan was to perfect one strategy before moving on to diversifying with others. We initially decided on BRR (buy, refurbish, refinance) combined with Rent to Buy as we loved the idea of combining business with helping others too.

“Our first project was a 2-bed terraced property in Stoke on Trent (where we are based). We did a full renovation, including adding a third bedroom, which took around 8 weeks to complete. By advertising it as a Rent to Buy, we had it filled before the refurb was complete. This meant the tenant was ready to move in as soon as it was finished. It also created a waiting list of tenants who wanted Rent to Buy properties so that we could almost purchase to order. By using BRR, we added equity to our portfolio straight away and it has already gone up in value significantly since we bought it which is great. 

“Our latest project was a bungalow flip. This was our first flip and our first fully investor-funded project, which we did as a JV with another couple we met through the Touchstone community. We managed to turn round a £55K refurbishment in 7 weeks and made just under £60K profit – a fantastic result for us. We managed to pay back our investors early, another big win.

“We did have challenges as the weather delayed the warm deck roof on the existing extension but my husband is amazing at project management, so he was able to adjust plans to account for this and we all mucked in to get it done quickly.”

Karen Marshallsay

What does life look like for Karen now?

“Our portfolio currently has a GDV of around £1.5m. We are on target to complete 15 refurbs in our first 3 years and we also run our own Project Management business – Gold Star Property Group – alongside our own portfolio. We are now focusing on increasing our monthly income which we are fortunate to be able to do through helping others as a result of our refurb successes and being approached for guidance. We are also adapting our BRR strategy to HMO and commercial conversions.

“Our goal was always the long game to build a legacy for our children and build equity, which we are proud to be making happen.

“My life has changed massively. It wasn’t about making big money for us (although of course that is welcome) but my stress levels from teaching are gone and I never miss anything that the boys do from football matches to school assemblies.”

“The boys play a lot of sport and without the flexibility property investment has given us, I would not be able to take them everywhere they need to go so they would miss out.”

What would Karen say to somebody considering studying with Touchstone Education?

“If you are determined to succeed in property and work hard you need the right education to get you there. Touchstone Education has allowed us to push forwards in our journey in the right way and with the support and guidance of their mentors both in mind-set and strategies, their encouragement has been fundamental in our success.”

What’s next for Karen and Barry Marshallsay?

Next for us are bigger projects which we now feel ready for. We currently have some off-market commercial properties we are working on whilst also pushing forwards with HMOs and other JV (joint venture) opportunities which have all come about as a result of being part of the Touchstone network.

Karen Marshallsay

What Can Touchstone Education

 Do For You?

If you're inspired by Karen's journey and would like to learn more about starting your own property flipping portfolio, Abi Hookway's Flip or Flop: The Ultimate Guide to Property Flipping includes all the tools you need to start finding, funding, and flipping properties in as little as 6 months. And, we’re giving you a copy for nothing!

Don't wait for tomorrow to build the life you've always dreamed of. Start today, and let us guide you every step of the way. Your future self will thank you.


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