MiNC essentially began when our father purchased his first investment property at an auction in 1977. Although the name ‘MiNC’ was to come many years later (as a variation on ‘Mahmood Incorporated’), the family’s history in real estate can be traced back to a run-down terraced house in Wandsworth.
The property was refurbished and ready for sale, but tragically, my father passed away suddenly. The property sold at a profit soon afterwards, but because there was no will in place, we could not benefit from any of his estate until probate matters were resolved over a year later.
These were incredibly testing times. My mother did her best to make ends meet by generating all the income she could from her sewing machine, but we had to rely heavily on the kindness and goodwill from friends and family in order to survive.
Despite this ordeal, my mother saw an opportunity in property investment. She could barely speak English and had no real work experience outside of her own home, but that didn’t stop her. As soon we were legally allowed to access the money from the sale of the Wandsworth property, my mother invested it in more property. This was a decision that was to shape the rest of our lives.
Thanks to help from friends and my elder brother Haroon, the investment cycle had gathered a fair pace by the early 1980s, even despite some difficult economic times for the country. Haroon spent a lot of his time translating for my mother, with bankers, solicitors, builders, auctioneers etc. This was all in his early teenage years, and so it meant he sometimes had to miss school to help keep the business going. However, my mother was always intent that her children would succeed in education, so once he neared his exams, it was then up to me to step in and help with the business where I could.
By 1990 we had done something in the region of 30 property transactions in just 10 years of trading. In that time we had all developed a diverse set of skills, including our mother plastering and browning walls as smooth as a sheet of glass!!
1990 was a critical year in many ways. This was the first time we had ventured into three projects at the same time, but unfortunately it coincided with interest rates reaching 15% overnight, and bridge funding nearly 30%. To avoid bankruptcy and the repossession of our family home, we had to mortgage the three investment properties.
The fall in the values of the three properties meant we had to re-mortgage our own home in order to meet the shortfall. This was just enough to mean we could complete the building work and find tenants, but almost all of our good work was undone in just three short months.
The pressure of the situation led to our mother falling seriously ill. Over 20 years later, our mother is still taking a cocktail of pills for various ailments.
The family needed to consolidate after almost losing everything. Haroon had graduated from Imperial College and got a great job as a management consultant, but part of his salary was needed to subsidise the shortfall in rent and living expenses. I graduated from Queen Mary College and got a finance role in the City, studying for my ACCA qualification via evening classes. Our youngest brother Irfan was studying Law at Guildhall University.
After a period of consolidation, property prices started to recover, so we took the opportunity to sell the flats in South London and recover some of the losses. Because Haroon and I were going through demanding periods in our careers, we felt we didn’t have time to manage more property projects, so we invested the money in the stock market.
This was only a temporary pause. Once I had finished my exams and became a qualified ACCA, I felt ready to explore property investment again. Thanks in no small part to my understanding line manager in the city, I spent a lot of my working day out in the property marketplace, and so began the next chapter…