A successful Derby songwriter who penned tracks for pop legends like Britney Spears and Paloma Faith traded in the glamour of the music business and is now making over £1million a year renting out properties he doesn’t actually own.
Entrepreneur Simon Smith, 37, worked with Ms Spears on the song ‘Private Show’ which featured on the star’s last album Glory and spent time in LA with the star whilst recording.
Before taking up the pen and writing for others, Simon was a successful act in his own right and travelled the world with dubstep group Skream and Benga as a hype man.
He told MailOnline that the money in music had been good at times, but it was nothing compared to what could be made in the property world.
He says: ‘At the pinnacle of my music career I was probably making about £10,000 a month – now I do £10,0000 a month from the properties I own – and that’s before the rentals.’
Successful Derby songwriter Simon Smith penned tracks for pop legends but is now making over £1million a year renting out properties he doesn’t actually own
Costs breakdown: How the rent-to-rent finances stack up
Simon enjoyed a lucrative music career and travelled all around the world (Pictured: Posing with X-Factor star Fleur East)
During his touring days Simoon also rubbed shoulders with stars like Example
Prior to becoming a property renter, Simon penned tracks for Britney Spears (left) and Paloma Faith (right)
Prior to his financial epiphany, Simon was rubbing shoulders with some of the biggest names in the world – but his bank account wasn’t thanking him for it.
What is rent-to-rent?
Suzanne Morgan, Area Director at Purplebricks, explains: ‘Rent-to-rent is where a tenant rents a property from a landlord, and then subsequently lets the property to someone else or – more likely – a number of other people on a room-by-room basis. So, the landlord will receive their rent from the original tenant, and that tenant will have the opportunity to make a profit by subletting it.
‘This arrangement can be appealing to landlords because rental terms tend to be longer, which means a guaranteed income for that period – whether the house is sublet or not – which is often paid as a lump sum, and their tenant will generally handle any maintenance issues for the people they are subletting to.
‘If any changes are required to the property to make it viable for the initial tenant, this is often handled at the start, which can allow the landlord to be more hands-off (there is strict legislation for Houses of Multiple Occupation – HMOs – which may require structural changes to the property if at least three tenants are living there and sharing facilities). The landlord can also avoid agency and other costs associated with tenanting a property.
‘Landlords will need to make sure they trust their tenant, as ultimately it is still their property if it gets damaged – and the landlord could be eligible for a claim if someone is injured. And being tied in for a longer period of time could be a blessing and a curse.
‘As with any potentially expensive decision, landlords need to do their research, pick the right partner, and make sure any contracts and payment plans are watertight.’
The job that brought him the most recognition came from a six-month spell in LA he did in 2015 which culminated in him meeting and working with Britney Spears.
He says: ‘When you go LA, you’re nobody so when we got the Britney break it was insane. She was amazing to work with – when you watch the music videos that’s exactly how she is in the studios.
‘Her voice is fantastic, you’re in awe most of the time.
‘We worked on a song together but the problem with being a songwriter is its feast or famine. And the money wasn’t enough.’
Simon’s turnaround in fortunes from sleeping on a sofa in LA to being Derby’s premier rental mogul is down to mastering what he calls the trick of property investment: not actually owning the property.
He explains: ‘When I decided to move away from song writing I decided to properly give property investment a go.
‘I had just a few grand to my name so I needed to raise some money
‘After doing a few courses, I sold my flash BMW sports car that I bought when I was in music on webuyanycar. I lost like £30,000 off its value but I got £8000.
‘With this money, and a little help from my parents, I was able to get my first house which cost me £80,000.
‘After a renovation I turned it into a three-bedroom house share, I was ready to start renting it out. I was earning a grand a month, but it wasn’t enough. I ran out of money.
‘I needed to rethink my approach, so I returned to education and that’s where I discovered rent-to-rent.’
Unlike traditional buy-to-let property investment, where a landlord who owns a property rents it out to tenants, rent-to-rent allows renters to rent the property themselves at rents they set.
This gives the tenant the opportunity to make a profit on their rental.
Simon claims that upon this discovery his life was entirely changed.
He continued: ‘Suddenly I was making £1500 a month from one and I thought hang on I’m just going to do loads of these.
‘I soon had over 60 houses in my rent-to-rent empire mostly around Derby and Nottingham.
Simon says he is quite happy to have traded in the buzz of performing on stage for the benefits pf property investment
He now says he brings in about £100,000 a month which is ten times the amount he made at the pinnacle of his music career
‘I went from sleeping on a sofa bed in LA to being an AirBnB mogul.’
With these new properties, Simon now says he brings in about £100,000 a month which is ten times the amount he made at the pinnacle of his music career.
He said: ‘I got my first big break in the mainstream as an artist, not a songwriter.
‘When I was signing deals then, it was more money than I’d ever seen, some of the deals were six figures.
‘I was making good money but I wasn’t financially educated.
‘Now I would describe myself as a property millionaire.’