One-on-one interview: Max de Kment, owner of Lovett International
Self-made millionaire, professional landlord and agency owner, Max de Kment earns £171,000 per month in rental income from his property portfolio, but insists that it's not money that drives him. Here, the owner of Bournemouth-based agency, Lovett International, talks to Clare Bettelley about the secrets of his success.
What's your biggest profit driver?
My core business is being a property landlord and developer. The main purpose of my agency business is to manage all of my properties free of charge. At the height of the market, in 2010, I had 497 properties bringing in £337,000 a month from rental income. Now I have slightly less than that, having gone through a divorce. I'm now very hard up and only make £170,568 a month from 226 properties.
What motivates you?
My business isn't led by financial success, but by the fact I want to bring up my six children, aged 11 to 17, on the South Coast in Bournemouth because it's a fantastic place for children.
What's the secret of your success?
Always being creditworthy, and being able to make friends with as many lending institutions as possible. This allows me to have the necessary funding to budget for any opportunity that may arise, because money makes money.
What's the property investment potential in Bournemouth?
I'm running a little company called Property Millionaire Mentor, where I mentor and teach people to do what I've done. I quite openly tell people that if you purchase a property in Bournemouth for £100,000, I believe in 20 years' time it's going to be worth £250,000.
What top tip would you give to property investors?
Buy as many units a you can, because just by waking up in the morning they're all going up in value and making you money. But what I concentrate on doing, which is even better than that is on finding rental properties that have some potential planning gain, however small. So with a top floor flat, there may be an opportunity for a loft, or with a little house there may be a bit of land on the side.
What's been your biggest learning curve as an agency business owner?
There's always one office that makes just as many losses as the others make profit. And now I've got into my forties, I realise that you've got to have staff who are as good as you, if not better.
How do you retain staff?
Giving someone an extra £5,000 or £10,000 and a car is an enormous carrot for them.