Friday, January 2, 2009


Alain Mbe, aka Mr No Deposit, is an entrepreneur who boasts extensive skills in Creative Property Investments. Like generations of immigrants before him, Alain Mbe arrived in the United Kingdom with little more than intelligence, courage, enthusiasm and the desire to succeed. He has been involved in property for many many years now and has a substantial portfolio of his own. Alain is an inspiration as he shows what ordinary people can achieve with sheer determination and the right advice and the right attitude.
Here below is my interview with him, happy reading y'all!

DC: What is your background?
AM: My first career was IT. I spent 8 years working within a Blue Chip company doing IT security. I worked through the ranks within this fast growing industry and company and I learnt a lot during this developing period. I travelled extensively, gaining major experience surrounding leadership and communication.

DC: What made you get into the property business?
AM: Paying rent for me was what made me to get into the property business. I found it very difficult to pay my rent and I knew that that was an issue I had to address and I did so by contacting my then landlord who together with an adviser helped me purchase my first home less than two years after arriving here in the UK.

DC: How did you start out?
AM: I started out by buying my first home here in London then when I left school to get a job, I moved to Oxford where the company was based and there I bought another place whilst renting my place in London. I then moved to Reading with my partner and again, I bought with her in Reading while still renting the place I had in London and Oxford. When we moved back to Oxford, I bought another again here and rented the place in Reading while still renting the places in London and Oxford. I found it extremely difficult to get rid of any of my properties so I used them as an investment.

DC: How many properties do you own then?
AM: Well the number of property is not necessarily a good measure oof someone's success, especially when you consider the commitments behind each property. However since people are obsessed with numbers, I can tell you that by the age of 32, I had 32 properties. Nevertheless, now, I have re-shaped my property portfolio to reflect my current goals.

DC: Did you have to train as a Mortgage adviser?
AM: Yes, I did. After I started my property business I decided to continue developing myself and one obvious move was financial services. In order to advise on any financial issues in the UK, you do need to be both qualified and authorised by the Financial Services authority

DC: How easy or difficult was it setting up your company?
AM: It wasn’t difficult at all because my WHY was clear and strong. The only difficult thing was trying to make sense of all the information that was coming from everywhere! There was a lot of help out there and a lot of sharks too. . Trying to make sure that the advice and help that was being given to me was tailored to my needs was my biggest challenge. Nevertheless, I was enthusiastic enough and highly motivated and charged to see it through. Though I am glad I did this back then because it would have been very costly to jump the waters in this present moment if I were to start out now.

DC: How crazy was the property market?
AM: I am not sure “crazy” is the right word but there were elements of being carried away. In my opinion, the willingness of banks to lend people vast sums of money and the ease at which anyone could borrow was all part of an open conspiracy for everyone involved to take advantage and this definitely worked for everyone for a long while. The banks definitely underestimated the ability of some of the people they were lending to, to keep up their repayments at all times and the bubble naturally did burst when interest rates reached its peak in July 2007

DC: Is it still possible to make money in this crisis period?
AM: Absolutely, absolutely – it is possible anytime especially now. At the moment, a lot of people are in a position where they are desperate to sell due to the economic downturn. The key to success in property is to buy smart and at below market value. You have to pick up a bargain and wait. Whatever you buy today, be prepared to keep it for the next 7-10 years and you will be sure to make money. Property business is a long term business. The downside however is the shortage of money available from the banks at the moment so those with liquid cash are in a stronger position to buy now.

DC: What do you think of those who overloaded themselves with hefty mortgages just so they can buy the big house and keep up with the Jones’?
AM: Because of the looming recession the government is doing their best to help them. The interest rates have come down significantly and may come down again in the New Year so their mortgage repayments will probably be halved except for those who are tied to a fixed mortage deal. This is a clear reminder that financial advice prior to choosing a mortgage is paramount.

DC: Were mortgage lenders wrong to lend these people such amounts?
AM: It is a business they are running after all. Most mortgage lenders are regulated and the government tries to keep an eyes on them so they do not get carried away. Nevertheless, as much as it is regulated, it is an industry that has evolved so much in such a small space of time that even the regulators could not keep up with the new trend in the mortgage industry. and the lenders were just making as much money as they could make. In my opinion, the regulators failed to understand the complexity and the practise that was going on and I would say that everyone involved got carried away. I wouldn’t pull a finger at the lenders only, the borrowers, the government and the advisers should have known better.

DC: Is that what drove the property market downhill in your opinion? (the easiness of mortgages)
AM: Erm, no. It is my view that what drove the market was the bad news that came from America. Things were pretty bad over there and the British press tried to amplify and draw parallels with what could happen here in England if things continued as they were. The industry went into a parallel of fear, everyone got scared to do business and this stalled the property market here. At the same time, it had to come from some where, things could not continue in the fashion that it was.

DC: You are known as the "NO deposit" man, how did that name come about?
AM: Erm, it came about because I was arranging a lot of mortgages where people didn’t need deposits through using a number of techniques. The name just stuck with me and that became my trademark. Obviously things have changed significantly and the name went with it too [he laughs], you can now call me Mr Fee FREE since I do not charge a fee for offering financial advice.
DC: Is it still possible to get 100% mortgages nowadays?
AM: It is still possible, yes, although it now largely depends on the person’s affordability and credit history. These factors are checked very thoroughly unlike before.

DC: Do you still hold property conferences?
AM: Erm, this year has been very very unpredictable and volatile and we had to put them on hold however, we are looking to resume these in January because of the interests people have shown in wanting to acquire more knowledge on what is happening in the market at present. We are now launching a workshop which addresses the current propery market issues.

DC: Did you ever forsee this happening?
AM: Well..erm…anyone who has been in this business for a while knows that although it is a property investment is always profitable over a long period of time (7-10 years, ). Property values like all classes of assets is volatile so it goes up and down. I knew that the prices will come down someday but little did I know that the market will stall so abruptly as it happened in 2007. Perhaps this is a reflection of the age in which we live in. The new technology makes everything so much faster!

DC: How long will we go through this crisis in your opinion?
AM: I think 2009 will be pretty much like 2008. The government will have to bring in new regulations and the lenders and intermediaries will need time to get used to these new rules, so, I see the market recovering from spring 2010.

DC: What is your advice to first time buyers?
AM: My advice is that they should not rely on what they read. They need to approach an adviser that they can trust and discuss their financial goals and needs.

DC: And second time buyers?
AM: Same advice applies. If you have to make that move, talk to someone you can trust first.

DC: To sell or not to sell? What is your answer?
AM: I would say, hold it if you can afford it but if your personal circumstances are such that you cannot afford it, seek advice first

DC: Many thanks!
AM: Thank you

To contact Alain Mbe, please visit
Tel: 0207 511 7178

DC: Dulce Camer
AM: Alain Mbe
Thanks for reading, all comments wellcomed! Thanks for making the last 4 months of 2008 a fab one for this blog. I hope we will continue to represent and present Cameroon and its many talents to y'all. We are always keen to post events, shows and issues happening around the Cameroonian communities in any part of the world, so please use the blog to advertise, promote, show, shout out etc etc. DULCE CAMER at your service!
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