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.
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.