Should you buy a chunk of Stan Laurel's childhood home for £500

Crowdfunding platform is offering investors the chance to buy a share in Stan Laurel’s family home. Should you?

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Stan Laurel's childhood home

You can buy a share in Stan Laurel's childhood home in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, for as little as £500. The deal is on offer through crowdfunding platform Property Moose, which estimates that you should get a yield of 6.12% on your money. But is this a good idea?

The property itself is a slice of cinema history. Stan Laurel is, of course the actor, writer and director who is best-known for being one half of Laurel and Hardy. He grew up in the property, before moving to Glasgow in his early teens, and as a result it features its own blue plaque.

The deal

The two-bedroom property was left empty for a while and had fallen into a state of disrepair, but it has been renovated, and is now on the rental market for £425 per calendar month. At the asking price, investors will get a 6.12% return.

The property will then go on the market in two years' time, a sale will be agreed at the best possible terms, and investors will get their share of the proceeds of the sale. If it is not a good time for a sale, investors will be able to vote whether or not to keep the property for another year.

Commenting on the announcement, Andrew Gardiner, CEO of Property Moose, said: "Laurel and Hardy have inspired generations of comedians in Britain, and remain hugely popular to this day. We are excited to have secured a property with such historical value, and expect strong demand from investors."

Should you buy?

It sounds like an interesting offer, but Patrick Connolly, a Certified Financial Planner with Chase De Vere warns: "People shouldn't just be guided by their interests, or they'd end up investing in things like wine, cars and their favourite football team, which would expose them to all sorts of risks."

Instead you need to consider the investment itself, and where it fits with the rest of your portfolio. In investment terms, you have to consider whether, given all the properties in the country, you would choose to buy in Bishop Auckland, where Zoopla says property prices have fallen over the last 1,3 and 5 years.

You also need to consider whether you are happy investing in a chunk of a property where you will not be able to make your own decisions on things like property maintenance and tenant selection. At the end of the investment term, although you will be able to vote on whether you want to hang onto the property in the hope it will fetch more money further down the line, your vote will not necessarily win the day.

Portfolio

In terms of how to fits within your portfolio, Connolly adds: "We would not recommend property investment to clients because usually they already have significant sums tied up in property and we wouldn't suggest concentrating too much of the portfolio in any one asset."

Even for those who are renting their own property, there are other questions around the liquidity of property as an investment. He adds: "If someone really wants to invest in residential property, there are funds available that allow investors to put their money in a range of buy-to-let properties, which is a better way to diversify their risk. But we would urge people to think very carefully whether residential property is the right investment for them."

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