From underpants model to pawnbroker with 70 houses: this is Chiel Konings

1/5 Chiel next to one of the four central fireplaces in Den Bosch, which they discovered in one of his buildings.

He is 32 years old and has almost 70 properties. Chiel Konings from Den Bosch is making good progress with his own real estate empire. But how does he do it? “It’s hard work, taking risks and a matter of luck. It really is not that I get rich from one day to the next.”

Hinthamerstraat, in the heart of Den Bosch. A pompous, stately building in the bustling shopping area of ​​the city center has much less attraction inside. Walls are torn apart. There are holes in the ceiling and a dead pigeon is on the floor. You have to be careful, you will not sink through the floor.

How many see a ruin, Chiel Konings smells his chance. The building is one of his most recent acquisitions. According to him, it has been empty for 16 years. And he will turn it into 8 apartments. “Good for housing,” says Konings.

“I’m not going to lie. I’re making a lot of money. But it’s hard work.”

It is one of almost 70 buildings that stand in the name of Konings, or one of his companies, according to the land register. While many home seekers do not even have time to buy one house. How did Konings build his empire?

The facade of the buildings on Hinthamerstraat in Den Bosch.
The facade of the buildings on Hinthamerstraat in Den Bosch.

Around the corner, in Restaurant ff Swanjéé – coincidentally under a house that Konings also owns – he takes us to the beginning. But first, the local resident wants to say something. “Many real estate investors are now in the dark. They are crooks, crooks, think the outside world. As if we are abusing and getting rich from one day to the next. See: I do not have to lie. I make a lot of money. But it is hard work. “

Back to 2010. As an underpants model for Calvin Klein, Konings travels a lot. “It was wildly fun, but I like working with my head. Where other models went on the patio or took sun after work, I dived into the books. I was the only one who graduated half a year earlier.”

“I had no idea what was involved.”

Konings borrows as much as possible during his studies from the IB group (today DUO). After graduating, he won many contracts as marketing and commercial manager for renowned fashion designer Addy van den Krommenacker. Konings puts all the money he has in shares. And it works well.

In 2016 – at the age of 26 – Konings has enough to buy his first investment property. In Hilversum one is rented out with five rooms. “Back then, investment properties were still on Funda, you could haggle over them. It’s unthinkable now,” laughs Konings. “I had no idea what was involved. I went in, shook hands with the owner and said, ‘We have a deal.’

In the years that followed, King’s bought houses in Tilburg for one and a half tons. By starting his own business, putting his full salary and all rental income into new loans, he can buy even more properties. “They quickly became worth a lot more. I took the added value and put it in new buildings.”

For example, Konings’ property portfolio grew rapidly: from one building in 2016 to almost 70 now. His strategy: Buy everything. Literal. From houses that contained cannabis plantations to slums that no one sees anything good in. “We fix it and resell it or rent it out.”

‘Property is a special world with many cowboys.’

He makes no secret of Konings’ mission – to build an empire – with his purchasing company. In Tilburg, orange-blue signs with roaring texts such as ‘we buy any investment property’ are very conspicuous. He even offers 1500 euros for each tip that leads to a purchase.

But in Restaurant ff Swanjéé, Konings, sipping a glass of orange juice, is more reserved. He does not discuss exactly how much he owns (‘it could be more properties’) and how many people rent from him.

“I do not want to brag about it like that. There is a lot of envy and the property is a special world with many cowboys. I once removed a GPS tracker from under my car. Just before that someone just cycled through a deal that was almost in “It was too random.”

‘Only together can we solve the housing shortage.’

But why would King talk about it? “There’s a lot more to it than people think.” He shows his phone. “While we are sitting here, I have seven missed calls. I get up at 4.30 every day and go to bed at night. That was already the case during my studies when I dived into stocks. Later by throwing myself into the real estate market On a At that time I was no longer invited by friends, because I always said ‘no’ and was busy with this’.

Earn a lot. But also hard work. Konings thinks it’s unfair that many people look at real estate investors with disgust. “Look at what I do here in Den Bosch, for example. I’m building apartments in a building that has been dilapidated for years. The municipality is helping well.”

This while Den Bosch will also introduce a purchase protection for houses up to 355,000 euros. With this, the municipality will prevent investors from buying homes that are interesting for starters and renting them out. Konings is in favor of that, even if it does not bother him, he says. The 32-year-old says he buys more expensive investment properties that do not fall into the starter category.

“It makes no sense at all to antagonize investors. The government should actually cooperate more with us. Write it down: Only together can we solve the housing shortage. “

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