Lee Barber with MS refuses to allow his disability to hold him back as he turns to the property market for a passive income.

Video games designer, Lee Barber, has what many people would regard as a glamorous job, working for a subsidiary of Warner Bros. on well-known titles such as the popular Lego Movie series.

He is well paid and has the satisfaction of knowing that his creative skills are helping to entertain thousands of people around the world.

But in 2013 Lee’s mother, who had brought him up as a single parent, died of breast cancer and a year later he suffered another hammer blow when he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

Realising that in future he would need a passive income to fall back on as his illness progressed, the 39-year-old lead designer with Wilmslow-based TT Fusion, turned to property investing.
It all began when Lee inherited his mother’s terraced house in Salford with his stepfather.
Although there was still a mortgage on the house, this was the start of his property journey as he bought out his stepdad’s share and turned it into a single let.
He also used money that his mum left him for a deposit on another house a few streets away from where he now lives.
Deciding he needed to gain knowledge in the field, he enrolled in a free course led by 28-year-old multi-millionaire property investor Samuel Leeds.
Lee said: “That was a pivotal moment for me as I learnt that you don’t need a lot of spare cash, or even own any houses, to build a property business”. That was just over a year ago.
Now Lee is earning a steady income from five rental properties, including a five-bedroom houseshare in Penny Lane, Liverpool – the street that inspired the famous Beatles song – and two £120 a night, three-bedroom apartments in Salford Quays’ Media City.

 

One of Lee's properties
Penny Lane apartment in Liverpool
Lee is proud that the flats continually receive ten out of ten ratings on booking.com the fifth property is a four-bed, multiple house let in Middlesbrough, where he went to university.
Lee has an option to buy the Penny Lane house in future but remarkably does not own any of these properties. Instead, he pays the landlords a fixed monthly rent and then lets them out at a profit after installing new furniture and making other improvements.
Lee lives with his fiancée Louise and their little cocker spaniel Dave. He is also looking forward to getting married in Italy later this year. Louise was recently made redundant, but his passive income provided a safety net which took the pressure off the couple.

 

Lee Barber and fiancee Louise
Lee Barber and fiancee Louise
Sadly, Lee’s condition is deteriorating. He used to go running and participate in combat sports but can now only walk with the aid of sticks. But despite this, the former Eccles College pupil says disability is no bar to achieving your ambitions.
“I go around the country doing deals. You can’t let it stop you. It’s all down to your mindset. You have to push yourself, and that’s what I’ve done since day one. You can never let it hold you back because, if you do, you are going to miss out. You have to find ways around your disability, educate yourself, persevere, and eventually, you will see success.
“My MS is irrelevant. I get other people to do a lot of the work for me, such as bringing in furnishings and art for the walls. I also have apps which allow me to run my property business from my phone, and I have a good power team around me.”
Lee is also receiving a new treatment for MS, which he hopes will provide a better outlook for the future.
He added: “Investing in property has not been all plain sailing. Just before going on the course, I put a £25,000 deposit on an off-plan property in Liverpool which still hadn’t been built two years later. I extracted the equity on my house to buy the apartment, and it’s now due to be finished early next year.
“The other day, I thought all my Christmases had come at once. My phone beeps all the time telling me there’s a booking come through. Usually, it’s two to four nights, but this one was for 29 nights and was worth £5,000. Later it came through as a cancellation because the credit card used for the booking was fraudulent.
“This is the up and downside of it. I’ve also had properties that have taken a long time to complete and that aren’t full, but overall I’m making a good, four-figure sum each month on top of my salary.
My mother’s house, which she bought in 1982 for around £4,000, is now worth £130,000. So I’m benefiting as well from the incredible growth of property prices in Manchester.”
Samuel Leeds, chairman of Property Investors, based at Hilton Hall in Essington, near Wolverhampton, said: “Successful people are those who despite setbacks try to find a reason why they can do something. Lee is an inspirational example of someone who has done just that.”
Main Pic. Lee Barber with his ‘property guru’ Samuel Leeds.