Sisters in their 30s who invested in their first house aged 20 reveal how they built a multi-million pound property portfolio – and say all women should have the knowledge to do the same

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  • Ruth, 32, and Becky, 33, purchased their first properties in 2014
  • READ MORE: My daughter is an eight-year-old property investor 

Two sisters who began property investment at age 20 now own a multi-million pound portfolio a decade later – and are telling how they did it.

Mother-of-one Ruth Shipley-Palmer, 32, and sister Becky Shipley, 33, were students when they first got on the proper ladder by purchasing two homes in Bristol. 

The savvy pair now own a whopping eight properties worth more than £2 million combined, which earns them a £120,000 turnover per year.  

The pair, from Bristol, say their goal is to achieve freedom and financial security to spend more time doing things they love. They’ve also shared their blueprint in order to help other women achieve the same.

Becky said: ‘Landlords are usually painted badly so we wanted to say we’re not all like that.

Ruth Shipley-Palmer (right), 32, and sister Becky Shipley (left), 33, own a multi-million pound portfolio - and are telling how they did it

Ruth Shipley-Palmer (right), 32, and sister Becky Shipley (left), 33, own a multi-million pound portfolio – and are telling how they did it

The sisters were 20 when they first stepped onto the proper ladder by purchasing two homes in Bristol (both pictured with keys to one of their properties)

The sisters were 20 when they first stepped onto the proper ladder by purchasing two homes in Bristol (both pictured with keys to one of their properties)

The savvy pair now own a whopping eight properties worth over £2 million combined (Becky painting a kitchen cabinet)

The savvy pair now own a whopping eight properties worth over £2 million combined (Becky painting a kitchen cabinet)

‘It’s good for us to be role models for other women in particular – we’re making the most of life.

‘We want to represent a different type of property investor and help other people on their way to achieving time freedom and financial security’.

The sisters have set their eyes on an even larger mission, and plan on owning a total of 14 properties by 2030; with their ultimate goal to own 10 properties each.

For those looking to follow in their footsteps, they are sharing advice on how to do it.

Ruth explained: ‘We realised we wanted to find a way to keep a freelance career while being financially secure and started looking into how we could do that.

‘When we started, we didn’t have any friends buying houses and we ended up managing to buy two houses at same time in Bristol.

‘We refurbished them and turned them into self-managed HMOs in 2014.

‘We tried to find an angel investor – someone you don’t know who funds your investment – but we found a family friend who invested in us in the end’.

Houses in multiple occupation (HMO) are residential properties inhabited by three or more occupants and who share ‘common areas’ such as a kitchen or a bathroom. Such properties are often subdivided from a former larger household and used for flat shares and student accommodation.

The sisters invested in their first properties in 2014 after purchasing a four-bedroom home costing £150,000 and a five-bed for £160,000 (both pictured outside their first property in Bristol in 2014)

The sisters invested in their first properties in 2014 after purchasing a four-bedroom home costing £150,000 and a five-bed for £160,000 (both pictured outside their first property in Bristol in 2014)

The sisters got their start in 2014 after they snapped up their very first properties – all while studying at the University of West of England. Ruth enrolled in Fine Art and Becky studied Geography and Tourism.

The homes were a four-bedroom costing £150,000 and a five-bed for £160,000. They made the purchases after a family friend loaned them money for the deposits.

The sisters then refurbished the properties and rented them out, which provided a 10 per cent return on the initial investment.

After two years, they refinanced both houses which earned them an estimated £150,000 in capital. The astute pair immediately re-invested the money into another property.

They then used this to buy another four-bedroom property for £180,000, having taken out a mortgage in 2016 which they turned into a HMO.

Ruth strikes a pose in the kitchen of one the sisters' many properties

Ruth strikes a pose in the kitchen of one the sisters’ many properties

The pair, from Bristol, say their goal is to achieve freedom and financial security to spend more time doing things they love

The pair, from Bristol, say their goal is to achieve freedom and financial security to spend more time doing things they love

The sisters refurbish their properties before renting them, out which earns them a return on their initial investment

The sisters refurbish their properties before renting them, out which earns them a return on their initial investment

The sisters repeated the process five more times through refinancing.

Five of their current eight properties are buy-to-let, three of which are HMOs, and three of which are serviced accommodation. All of the properties have interest-only mortgages.

Becky explained that they both had no one to turn to when initially investing, and hope to inspire other women who may feel demotivated. 

She said: ‘When we decided to learn about how property works, we didn’t know anyone who was investing who could teach us what to do.

‘We went on a course in London and we were the only young women in the room – everyone else was a middle-aged man which was quite intimidating.

‘We’re wanting to share with other people how to do this for themselves, it’s knowledge everyone should have’.

Ruth and Becky plan to own a total of 14 properties by 2030, with their ultimate goal being to own 10 properties each

Ruth and Becky plan to own a total of 14 properties by 2030, with their ultimate goal being to own 10 properties each

The sisters have their own podcast titled Honest Proper-tea, as well as Instagram account, @honestpropertysisters, where they share advice for budding investors

The sisters have their own podcast titled Honest Proper-tea, as well as Instagram account, @honestpropertysisters, where they share advice for budding investors

She added that their inspiration for investing in property came from seeing their dad Nick Shipley, 71, work as a self-employed cameraman.

The ambitious sisters-turned-property-gurus also started a pet care company in university which they sold in 2023 to focus full-time on their property investment business.

Now, they say they’ve achieved financial security and more freedom, as they currently work on average 21 hours a week.

Ruth said: ‘We’re continuing to grow our property business by teaching people how to do it themselves.

‘A huge reason why we invested in property is we wanted to look after our parents when they get older’.

Becky added: ‘As young women, representation in property is important to us’.

Becky and Ruth have their own podcast titled Honest Proper-tea, as well as Instagram account, @honestpropertysisters, where they share advice for budding investors.