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Graham Awards


Former Big Brother star now has large buy to let empire

The first-ever winner of Big Brother in the year 2000 says his best decision was not going on the show, but going into buy to let.

Former bricklayer Craig Phillips made hundreds of thousands of pounds directly and indirectly from the show on Channel 4. 

However Phillips - who lives in Liverpool and now hosts DIY shows on the website mrandmrsdiy.tv - says his real business is buy to let.


He told the Daily Mail: “My best purchase was probably a four-storey house in Liverpool which I bought at auction for £11,200 in 2002. I spent £140,000 doing it up and have been renting it out ever since. It's probably now worth between £350,000 and £400,000.”

Phillips owns 23 BTL units - some houses, some apartments - in and around Liverpool.

He’s recently built his own home on the outskirts of the city. “The land cost me £300,000 and the build itself has cost me about £750,000 because I did a lot of the work myself. I think it's probably worth about £1.5m.”

He adds that he favours property over both pensions and dabbling in the stock market.

“My mum and stepfather had saved into a pension plan and it didn't work out well for them, so I lost faith in pensions. I don't invest in the stock market either. I don't feel I know enough about it.”

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  • George Dawes

    That'll all come crashing down like a pack of dominoes soon enough


    Why ? only if he has too much debt, I got into BTL for the same reasons, had every spiv in a suit trying to sell me private pensions, there're a scam, a total rip off, I was the guy in the auction room that bought the worst property of the day, for cash, then got into them renovating, let them out , then back to the auction room for the next one, never looked back, and certainly no regrets.



    I agree with Andrew. Craig seems to have bought responsibly and put his own effort into improving their value and rentability. His biggest risk is Government policy of both colours protecting the shirkers and rent dodgers.

    As said in a nearby post, it's a pity no party currently supports hard work and effort. Both main parties support the non workers at both ends of the spectrum.


    Only if you are forced to sell. Those with minimal lending will ride out whatever challenges we face. If there is one thing i've learned over the years, it's not to panic. Those who panic will be the ones that lose the most.

  • icon
    • 30 November 2020 09:35 AM

    At worst, house prices will remain static, as there is no extra housing capacity to allow people to buy or rent.

    As usual, the rules of normal supply and demand will ensure a static market, or at best a small increase in place due to inflation.


    Does it matter if house prices do drop, it's only a loss on paper, stick with them and keep drawing that rent, and if they do drop buy some more.

  • Mark Wilson

    Love the optimism!


    Optimism based on years of experience, diligence and realism - protected by effort and pragmatism.

    Anyone could and can do what Craig and many of us have done but too many listen to the doom peddlers like you and remain poor. However, on reflection, thanks very much! We need these people to remain too many so that market forces prevail and our rents continue to go up whilst our costs are in the main sunk costs (mortgages paid off) or stable, making our margins grow with every rent increase,

  • icon
    • 30 November 2020 10:09 AM

    So - What is going to happen please Mr. Oracle?
    I am sure you will gladly inform us of your never ending wisdom and advice.


    Over the past 30 yrs the only advice I have ever needed is my gut feeling, the so called experts with letters after their names normally get it totally wrong.



    Luckily there are some "professions" like surveyors and valuers where they and their frequent mistakes don't matter as we tend to ignore them.

    Thank God they didn't decide on careers in medicine, science or engineering! However I suspect they and the University Entrance Systems recognised their lack of potential - or their actual potential!

  • icon

    I'm with Mr Townsend, bought rundown property and learnt the skills to do them up and used tradesmen where required.
    Will not be buying more but paying off mortgages getting ready for retirement.
    Established landlords should not become unstuck, though can see people selling if the Government try to over legislate.
    That said do not take your eyes off the ball, Covid has had some devastating effects on up to now bullet proof jobs, so no room for complacency.


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