When we consider the changes afoot for the property industry, one thing I’ve seen over the last 16 years owning and managing HMO’s (over 1,000+ rooms over this time period) is that in order to be ahead of the game, it’s important to embrace new changes and ensure that your HMO is fit-for-purpose in today’s world.
Here’s a few things for you to consider to improve your HMO.
1. Easier Transparent Contact
The way we contact each other is changing. As landlords we need to embrace newer methods of technology and offer tenants a multitude of different ways for them to contact us including:
Messenger apps – facebook/whatsapp
2. Live & Work Spaces
More and more people are living and working in different ways and its important that we recognize this. Tenants are no different to anybody else and we need to embrace this by offering
Additional facilities such as work-study desks
More access to local co-working spaces
3. Shorter / Longer Contracts
We live in a mobile society where jobs are often for months if not week rather than years. With this more transient society means that we may need to consider short-term contracts (something that does not really exist right now apart from the somewhat spurious licence agreements) so that tenants can move into a unit for a shorter period of time.
At the same time, tenants have been pressing for longer term contracts which is again something that may be considered in order to allow for more security of tenancy.
This could of course disrupt the internal dynamics of the housemates relations but should be considered as something that will happen and thus we should begin to make compensation for this.
4. Community Integration
One of the accusations made towards HMO tenants is that they do not integrate with communities. Given that we are under pressure to deliver 300,000 homes, I see no other way through which this could happen without the help of HMO’s.
We therefore need to encourage more community interaction and engagement with our HMO tenants including education, liason and getting involved with community projects.
5. Smaller or Large HMO’s
Council-driven regulations seem to be honing down on the ideal 4 and 5 bed HMO’s as standard. This is disappointing given that for me, the sweet spot has always been a 6 bed HMO but more and more councils seem to be preferring the smaller HMO’s as they have ‘less impact on the community’.
All anecdotal of course but then at the other end, we see more and more applications being approved for the monster HMO’s of 10, 15, 18 or 20 bed units which to be fair have to be run in a completely different way to a small HMO with more hotel-type facilities and a higher-level of management.
6. Larger/Smaller Rooms
Recent regulations have come out enforcing 6.51m2 as the smallest allowable room for a HMO tenant to live in. However, is this the smallest room that somebody may CHOOSE to live in?
We’ve had a few rooms in the past measuring 5-5.5m2 which have been eminently suitable for contractors only wishing to stay a few days of the week but under new regulations none of this rooms will be now available.
How many box rooms in the country will now be unavailable as a unit of accommodation? 10,000 – 30,000 – 50,000?
And how does this regulation impact the ‘Rent-a-Room’ scheme where a homeowner can rent out a room? Different rules, same accommodation?
At the same time, a tenant would generally prefer a larger room and this could be possible through new methods of build and technology but only if these are embraced by local planners and councils – modular homes anybody?
7. Home Automation
With the advent of technology being amongst us there are now more opportunities for both tenants and homeowners alike to take advantage of the wonders of home automation.
Imagine being able to ensure the hot water is on when you come home to have a shower or that your heating in your room is at your preferred temperature of 20° or even that you can put on your front porch lights before you get home.
It’s here, it’s here to stay; how can you utilise this to attract more tenants to your HMO?
8. Integrated Entertainment
More and more tenants are demanding the best possible entertainment.
Forget digital channels such as Sky or Virgin; today’s tenant is more likely to watch Netflix or Amazon Films so how do you utilise this growing trend to attract tenants? Group Netflix accounts are here so why not consider extra accounts for your tenants?
9. More Bathrooms / Ensuites
People don’t like sharing bathrooms. People don’t like sharing bathrooms.
Enough said but how do you facilitate letting people have their own ensuites when its possible the Valuation Office may revalue your ‘all ensuite’ HMO as individual units?
Simple; have a mixture of ensuites and shared bathrooms for up to three people.
Want More Tips or Ways To Improve Your HMO Business?
Why not consider grabbing my 'HMO Optimisation Toolkit'; this is a physical product mailed out to you with 50 tips that you can use in your HMO business.
Based on my experience of building a multi-million pound portfolio and managing thousands of units over the last 15 years, you can grab a copy (whilst stocks last) for FREE and pay only £3.95 postage and packaging.
The toolkit is a handy playing card sized product, easy to use and carry and if you implement one tip a week this will keep you busy all year round.
I want to spend some time talking about myths that are going on right now in the property industry, because there are a lot of them, and explain some of the things that are plainly, plainly wrong.
So, here goes.
Property Myth One
The first one that I want to cover is; there is a myth out there that is predicated, and positioned, and proposed by a lot of educators, and training companies, and so-called gurus that to invest in property, you don't need any money.
And in fact there's been books written about no money down property investing and I want to debunk the myth that that's actually not true.
You do need money to invest in property investment
As to how much money you need, that is a different question entirely.
So when we look at the amount of money that's required; let's say that you're not going to actually purchase a property, but you're going to do some kind of rent to rent or lease on a property.
If you did that, you would have to find the money to pay the first month's rent, and pay the deposit more often than not, potentially pay some admin fees. And you would then need to furnish the property.
Now this is because most properties that you're going to rent or lease in order to make a return on the difference between what you're renting it at and what you're renting it out for are going to be done through some kind of HMO or potentially even serviced accommodation combination.
So you'll have to get furniture.
Now, there are ways in which you could rent furniture for sure, but most people when they're getting started are probably going to buy the furniture outright.
And you may have to put in things like fire alarm systems. You may even have to get white goods and brown goods. So you're going to be looking at really four, five, six thousand pounds in terms of doing that to get into a rent-to-rent or a lease option.
So when people come on and say, "Oh, you don't need any money," that's not true. It's just not true.
Now, I'm not saying that you can't find people to help you with the money, and obviously there are investors out there that potentially would give you the money, providing that you position the deal and it is a good deal.
But if you're just getting started and it's your first deal, that's going to be pretty tough to do.
So the first myth is, no money down is not true.
You'll always need some money, always. And we haven't even talked about anything to do with legals, brokerage, surveys and all that jazz – if you're buying a property.
There are ways in which you can purchase a property and refinance it and pull a lot of money out.
But in terms of having the money in the deal and not having any money leave your bank account and go to the vendor's bank account, it's just not going to happen.
The second myth that I wanted to share with you is, there's a myth out there at the moment as well that you have to be in this whole property investment arena full time in order to make a success of it.
And again, you don't.
There is a myth out there that if you're not full time in property, and you've not given up your job, and you've not gone into it 100%, and you've not burnt all your bridges, and you not said goodbye to employers; you're not a real property investor.
That is not true.
You do not need to be full-time in property investment to be successful
It is perfectly reasonable, and in fact I have many clients that are still in a full time job or run a full time business that are building a property investment portfolio on the side as side income. And because they're doing that, that means that they're able to still benefit from the job that they have and the credit that comes along with that job; in the end, the potential ability to borrow that comes along with that job.
It also means that they're able to build this pot, this portfolio, which grows, and grows, and grows the more, and more that they develop it and effectively build more properties and refinance over, and over again.
So when people say, "Oh, you can only do this if you're full time," it's not strictly true.
And in fact, I firmly, firmly believe and am of the opinion that you can get involved in property investment in probably around five hours or so a week and make a success of it. Absolutely.
So it is a myth that's out there and I think it should be taken with a pinch of salt.
Obviously, if you are spending all of your time and energy on it, then you're potentially going to accelerate a lot quicker. However, at the same time, you are not necessarily going to be any better off than the person that is still employed or in the business and building a portfolio on the side.
So you don't have to be full time property to be an investor.
What you have to have is the right tools, the right power team, the right structure in place in order to make it successful.
The third myth that I want to get out there, and this is one I see time, and time, and time, and time, and time again, is people talk about, "I've got to get a deal," and it's all about the deal, and nothing else matters.
And I'm here to say that that is actually wrong.
What's really crucial when you are investing into property and you are effectively wanting to build a portfolio, it is not the deal to begin with.
It is not the deal, because I could show you a deal right now and say, "Hey, here's this deal. Here you go."
Let's say I have a deal and I say to you "Here's the deal. It's a great deal. It's 20% below the market value and you're going to make £1,000 a month, and it just needs a small refurb and you going to make all this money, and it's great, and you should buy it."
But you don't know anything about where it is.
You've just been told it's a deal.
A deal is not a deal if it’s in a location you don’t know
And the thing is, it's easy to present a deal if you don't know the area. It is really easy. It's almost, basically, it's a little bit like pick-a-mix to some degree.
You can go and you can pick something, but you're not really sure what you're getting, but you know you're getting a sweet.
And it's the same thing in chasing deals. You've got to stop chasing the deal. It's the wrong thing to do, and everybody is doing this. All you have to do is focus on chasing the location.
This is what people do wrong over, and over again. So chasing the deal is not the right way to go about it because unless you understand and know the area in intimate detail, it's just a potential deal.
Now, if one of our agents rang me today and said, "I've got a deal," and it's in our local target area where I buy all the time, I would know pretty much within seconds of him or her telling me what the deal is, is it actually a deal?
And the majority of times it is, it is a deal.
Sometimes it isn't, but you've just got to be aware of this that from the perspective of really focusing on what's out there and what's happening in terms of deals, it is very much, a deal in an area that you understand, and if you understand an area and you know it well, then it is a deal.
But I'm so, so frustrated with people, even clients calling me up and say, "Oh, I've got to deal. I've got a deal." "So, where is it?" And it's in an area that they're not researching. It's like it's not a deal. It looks like a deal, it ain't a deal.
The fourth myth. This is something that is very rarely mentioned by a lot of the big training companies, big gurus, the big people that run around the stage, jumping up and down, getting you excited and speaking really fast, then moving their hands around and getting you to invest in nonsensical 2 grand courses that deliver naff all; you know the kind.
Property investment is made and is at the same time killed through your tenants.
Now what do I mean by that?
Effectively, your tenants who pay your rent effectively pay your mortgage.
Anything that's left over from that, it's where you make some cash, which you can then reinvest into other properties, reinvest back into the property, take something to live off, build up your savings, whatever it is you're doing.
But it's tenants that do all that for you.
So if you're not looking after your tenants and you are not making sure that the property is safe, clean, it works, everything works, and you're addressing maintenance issues, and that they're happy. Then without having tenants being happy, then you run into problems and issues.
And this is when tenants stop paying the rent. It's when tenants basically start moving and getting into this whole issue around causing problems.
And this is when we run into issues regarding the eviction of tenants through Section 8 and Section 21, and they're not leaving, and then I have to get bailiffs involved.
A happy tenant pays on time and keeps the property in a good condition
So the fourth myth that no one talks about, but is actually the foundation of which property investment is made, or isn't made, are tenants, look after your tenants.
So if anything, if you're going to be a property investor, and even if you're going to be one that is say, having this as a side income and you either outsourced some of that to let's say an agent, you've got to make sure that they are looking after the tenant for you.
Because if you're not looking after the tenants and they're very much around this whole issue around not catering for the tenants' needs, looking after them, then you will run amok very, very quickly.
You could have the best deal ever in the world. But if you're not filling the property with good tenants, then the deal is not a deal, right? It's just not a deal.
So that's the kind of fourth myth that's kind of out there.
The fifth one, and it's the one I want to end on is really around this other myth that's out there at the moment that again is being positioned, and proposed, and talked about by a lot of big training companies, and a lot of these so-called gurus out there is that you can be a jack of all trades.
What do I mean by this? You’ve seen these sales pages and videos and they say, "Oh, you're going to come along to this event and we're going to teach you how to do buy-to-let, we're going to teach you how to do HMO, teach you how to do service accommodation. We'll teach you how to do flips, going to teach you how to do small developments, going to teach you how to do to big developments, we're going to teach you how to do this, this, and this."
And in the end it's like… you don't need any of that stuff.
You just do not need any of that stuff.
What you really need to get started is a thorough understanding of what it is you actually need from a revenue and income perspective, how much it is you need to live on, and then you need to look at what strategy allows you to do that the quickest.
The reason why this is so relevant is because when I first got started in property investment, and you can check out previous articles/videos in terms of how I got started and why I got started; I focused on DECIDING.
But when you're starting to get going in property investment, you really need to look at, where you're at the moment, and where you want to get to.
And what I quickly realized is, it will be impossible for me to go and buy standard buy-to-let properties and replace my income, which is what I wanted to do at that stage.
I was in a position where I had to leave my money, my job, my world, my career. It would just be impossible.
So this is why I specialized in HMOs, which became rent-to-rent, lease options and refurbishments, small developments, and so on, and so forth.
But going down a very similar route, which is, the whole thing around HMOs, whether it's boutique, or professional, or student, or whatever.
Now, it's really easy to get into the whole shiny penny syndrome and think, well, let's say that you're in an area and bread-and-butter buy-to-lets work really well for you. Let's say you're in the north and you're getting nine, 10% deals, and you think, "Right, well now I need to start doing something else."
So you start maybe doing some small developments, and then they don't work as effectively because you're not necessarily an expert in that area.
You don’t necessarily have a power team behind you and you've diverted your attention from where you were, to something else.
Being a generalist in the property investment world does not work.
All the people I know that are making really good money and are really crushing it are focused on probably one strategy, two maximum, but certainly one main strategy.
And the second one is a side strategy and it gives them some income, but on a periodic basis, not every single month.
So, if you are getting started in property investment and you're thinking that you've got to do this, this, this and this, you don't have to do all those things.
You don't have to run around doing four or five different strategies at once. It will be foolish for you to do that. You want to start, and you want to focus, and you want to go really deep into a strategy to make it work for you. And that way, you'll start to build up your income really, really nice.
So, just recapping where we are in terms of these myths then, because there's five myths that I explained.
The first myth is everyone says out there, you don't need any money to get started in property. I say that's bulls**t, you always need some money.
Now it may not be yours, it may be an investor's and if you can persuade an investor to give you their money and you don't have any experience, then well done, you've done really well.
But for the majority of people, that first deal that you do, you're going to have to put some money in. And the lowest amount of money you're going to be putting in is probably five to 8,000, probably around that figure.
The second myth is you don't have to be full time to do this.
Everyone tells you, you've got to dive in. There's this whole thing around ‘I want to become a property investor so I can leave my job’. It may not be the job that you hate, it may be the fact that you're reporting to someone that you don't like, and it could actually be that your industry is still really good for you, but don't leave too soon.
Start percolating, building it up in the background and really start focusing on having that income coming in, whilst you then build up your career at the same time. Maybe move company's get someone better, and keep building that portfolio up.
The third myth is that you shouldn't be chasing the deal.
What you should be chasing is the location, and then the deals will come to you in the location.
Don't get focused on, "I've got to find a deal. I've got to find a deal, I've got to find a deal." What you want to be focused on is, you've got to really focus on getting the right location right, and then when you've found the location, then the deals will come to you.
The fourth one is, in order for this property investment to work, you have to have tenants.
You have to look after your tenants, you have to respond quickly to tenants, and you have to make sure that they are happy.
Happy tenants pay your rent, and unhappy tenants do not pay your rent, but the best rule in the world, you will always have at some point issues with tenants and you will always have issues with them not paying money. This is going to happen. It will happen to you. So do not go into this with your eyes shut thinking this is not going to happen. It will.
The fifth one is the fact that you cannot be a generalist.
You can't be doing three, or four, or five strategies.
You've got to focus on one strategy. You've got to get really good at that one strategy. You've got to go deep into that strategy. You've got to master it in your chosen area.
Then when you've hit those target levels that you're aiming for in terms of perhaps you have all of your bills paid for so that you can then potentially leave your job and go and do some charity work or set up another business, or do something different, but have an income level in place that you're aiming for, and at that stage, maybe think about doing another strategy, but don't do it too quickly.
The focus needs to be on doing one strategy really, really well and really then leveraging off the back of that.
Don't worry – the sun will keep shining … (Or in the case of most of Britain, the rain will keep falling) even if I did Vote Leave.
This is an extract / reworking of a few posts I put up in 2016 on social media platforms when the referendum to leave the EU first took place.
After last nights diabolical shambles I felt I needed to put pen to paper again to share my views and despair about where we are headed as a country.
I've lived in Great Britain all my life. First a Yorkshireman then an Englander. Then this thing came out about Europe…
When I was at school I was President of the European Society and organised talks with Export Directors of major companies including Rowntree/Cadbury and ultimately ended up organising a one day European summit.
When I look back to the Maastricht treaty and the promises of a brighter future – on paper it all sounded magnificent. A Europe with no borders with freedom to travel and work.
With university and work and then my own businesses later down the line, this "ideal" for me became even further removed from the sad reality of that bright promised future.
The problem is as I see it and nobody wants to tackle this is that fundamentally we are talking about 28 different countries who have their own language, customs, cultures, laws, perceptions (and some their own currency) all trying to be shoehorned into something that doesn't "quite" work.
I love France, I love Italy, I love Spain, I adore Switzerland and Austria amongst others – but I'll be damned if I understand them. I'll never understand or quite get the quaint customs or places or people or way of life that make them unique but I'm eternally grateful for them.
But – do I want to have the same laws that apply in France apply in Great Britain?
I'm all for free trade (which we don't have incidentally as the EU has not negotiated trade deals with several countries – how long does it take) but I have no interest in someone I wasn't involved in electing or voting for tell me how I should run my business or my life.
We have plenty of that already here in the UK thank you very much.
I own a lot of property. I did this because 20 years ago I foresaw that I would not have a big enough pension to worry about what I did for 20-30 years AFTER retiring. If the vote was stay then I would probably have made a ton of money from capital appreciation. If the vote was no as it needed up being, I'll still make money but it will be from cold hard earned cash from rental profits (the way any business should operate ironically) and maybe some from capital appreciation (but the very fact that you can make 100,000 in 6-8 years from your property without doing anything is incidentally complete down to the buffoons in national government, local government, national house builders and the nimby that exist everywhere.
I run a business. I'm forever hampered by this EU regulation or this EU law about X,y,z which I can maybe see at a high level "could" work but it was made as usual by people who are trying to shove a round peg In a square hole.
I vote for Europe and always will do but I don't vote for the EU. I vote leave.
The founding fathers would be horrified if they could how it has ended up; the wastage; the not-in-my-backyard politics, the behind closed doors deals (TTIP anyone) and more shockingly the forced view that if you are not for combining your countries armed forces, currency, democratically elected government and so on – that you are actually against progress or freedom or friendly relations with other countries.
What utter tosh…
For me – this comes down to having a say.
I believe that you and I are more likely to be able to "make a difference" and have our opinion counted than where this all originating from Brussels/Strasbourg or wherever the EU is meeting today. This is why I Vote Leave.
A lot of talk has been made about trade agreements and how we will be worse off. Utter poppycock.
A lot of European countries need our money as much as we need theirs. If there is a will there is always a way.
Will the Germans stop selling us BMW's? Will the Italians stop selling us Ferrari's? Will the Spanish no longer welcome us to Costa deal Sol? Will IKEA refuse to serve us because we're British?
Can the EU enforce a trade tariff that is not in our interests? Yes. But would the countries stand for it??? No, they would vote leave as well.
My hope for Europe is that this experiment comes to a shuddering halt. And countries start to question why, what, where, how – the EU can be truly reformed for the BETTER for the PEOPLE for the good of ALL.
When we voted leave on June 23rd 2016, I was astounded to learn that our Government led by David Cameron has been instructed to make no plans at all to leave. None.
But what’s more interesting to me is the amount spent on this referendum as published by the Electoral Commission.
Just read these figures and wheep …
Remain In the EU Campaign
Liberal Democrat’s £2.2m
Richard Branson £0.5m
Best for our future £0.4m
European movement £0.3m
Labour Leave £0.5m
Democratic Unionists £0.4m
TOTAL £16.95 million
Vote Leave the EU Campaign
Vote Leave £6.7m
Aron Banks £0.6m
Mr Harris £0.4m
Brexit Express £0.6m
Democracy Movement £0.4m
TOTAL £9.3 million
That’s a £5 million pound difference yet the British public still vote LEAVE.
What on earth does that tell you folks?
We could also talk about the £9.3 million pounds our elected Government (who should have been neutral in this matter) spent to send a glossy 14 page booklet to every household in the UK telling them why they should vote REMAIN.
And it still didn’t matter.
When oh when oh when will the ruling classes and the elite in this country recognise when there needs to be change and change needs to be led by working together?
The reason everybody is scared is because they all know that once we are out, then it’s just a matter of time before a toppling domino effect with France, Germany and Italy having their own referendums and also voting to come out.
I believe that from these ashes could be formed something magnificent that could really take shape and promise the Europe that many of us have dreamed of but which for the majority of us does not exist (except in dreamland…)
And I am absolutely sick and tired of so-called business and government leaders telling us that without The EU (note I didn't say Europe) that we are just Little Britain!
Come on people – let's be proud to be British. Show some spirit and backbone.
Here's just 10 things we invented here that CHANGED the world!
World Wide Web
railway steam locomotive
All on our own. Didn't need Uncle EU to help us out did we?
The vote happened and it was leave.
Whether people agree with it or not, it was a valid result that should ensure that we leave but why oh why are we still messing around at the 11th hour?
Again, we have another proposal another negotiation another vote that says no.
It is because in my honest opinion because our so-called leaders, our so-called democratically elected members of parliament have forgotten two things.
ONE – we the people voted to leave so you must do all that you can to make this happen even if you disagree with the decision (and if you seriously disagreed that much you can always resign as an MP and lose all of your cushy benefits can’t you?)
TWO – there is this thing that happened during the terrible world wars we had back in the day and it was called WORKING TOGETHER. I fail to see any of the parties working together and I believe they are all as bad as each other and ultimately – whether you’re in government or you’re not in government your voice SHOULD be heard in this awful time and you should bury your snide remarks, your upmanship, your ridiculous notions of power and work together on behalf of this country to demonstrate to us the people that you are listening, that you do care and that you are actually elected for the right reasons.
Right now, it seems that everything we hear about is the imminent end of the world but consider this.
I didn't notice the sun not getting up today nor people not going to work nor the electric/gas/water still not coming into my home and the Internet still works – so I'm thinking it might just be ok?
It is every MP’s and the Government’s CONSTITUTIONAL duty to act on behalf of the people we call English, Irish, Welsh and Scottish that make up the Union who by democratic right have voted to Leave the EU.
It’s really not that hard.
As I said way back in 2016, here’s what I would do if I was in charge …
10 point plan
Article 50 enactment set in place immediately (eventually we got there 29th March 2017 a full 9 months after the vote)
New budget with projected agreed redistribution of EU tariff including protection for NHS, education, farming and fisheries.
Trade agreements agreed with major trading partners and reclamation of our fishing grounds
Movement of people within Europe policy agreed
Immigration policy and border controls
Legal uncoupling from EU
Financial uncoupling from EU and stabilisation of London financial services
EU Grants/loans review of existing contracts with grandfathering in for agreed contract and formation of new grants body
Military reorganisation with uncoupling from EU forces where appropriate
Relaunch of Great Britain
I suggested at the time that MEP's probably won't have jobs for long so perhaps they could be utilised to help with transition, trade and foreign ambassadors and then offered appropriate roles in government to replace over paid and unnecessary quangos and consultants.
Quite simple really but then I'm just a businessman who likes to have a plan!
I am quite frankly sick and tired of MP’s postulating and trying to get air time to give their tuppence worth on the vote, the proposals, the vote, the proposals. Oh it is so dreary. Look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself – do YOU have a vision for Great Britain in 2050 – what is it, what does it look like, where are we in the world, how are we impacting global issues, how you will be involved – and then bury the hatchet and open up meaningful deep honest and open dialogue between your parties. This is NOT the time for bi-partisan politics, this is the time for NEW GREAT BRITAIN.
I and 17.4 million people vote leave.
Let’s join forces, let’s get a plan and let’s get it moving!
Based on psychological works by Broadwell, Burch and Maslow, this model for learning has been used as a basis for learning new skills since the 70’s and is a perfect model for understanding why humans learn in the way they do.
Here's what typical competence learning patterns look like
The Four Stages of Competence
Unconscious incompetence The individual does not understand or know how to do something and does not necessarily recognize the deficit. They may deny the usefulness of the skill. The individual must recognize their own incompetence, and the value of the new skill, before moving on to the next stage. The length of time an individual spends in this stage depends on the strength of the stimulus to learn.
Conscious incompetence Though the individual does not understand or know how to do something, they recognize the deficit, as well as the value of a new skill in addressing the deficit. The making of mistakes can be integral to the learning process at this stage.
Conscious competence The individual understands or knows how to do something. However, demonstrating the skill or knowledge requires concentration. It may be broken down into steps, and there is heavy conscious involvement in executing the new skill.
Unconscious competence The individual has had so much practice with a skill that it has become "second nature" and can be performed easily. As a result, the skill can be performed while executing another task. The individual may be able to teach it to others, depending upon how and when it was learned.
If we look at how we can utilise this model for the purposes of learning new skills, you can see how the more time spent in learning a subject and becoming immersed in it means the better we will become at this skill.
The best and quickest way of doing this is to work with a coach.
A coach will:
Ask you the questions that you don’t know to ask
Get you to question your skillset or mindfulness about an activity
Challenge you to grow your skills
Re-inforce learnings that allow you to speed up your activity
Get you to break-down and out the skills you need
Show you how to teach others what you learn to build your team
A good coach will drive you through the stages of competence so that you then start thinking about a higher level of intuition as demonstrated below.
Once you start to then anticipate and rely on your own internal levels of understanding and rational thought, you can then begin to expand your own levels of activity and awareness.
Property Coaching isn’t just about building a portfolio; it’s also about working with you to improve you, your mindset, your health, your level of awareness and your finances.
You absolutely DON’T need a coach to invest in property. You DON’T need to be held accountable for your actions. You DON’T have to have a plan, you can just wing it. You DON’T really have to manage your money or your finances to suceed. You DON’T want to be inspired, its best that you live in hope.
In fact, having a Property Coach could be the worse thing you ever did.
Because it will do the exact opposite of the above and turn you around into become the person you always wanted to be but couldn’t find the way to get there.
Picture this. Most people who start a property investment portfolio begin because they are unhappy.
Unhappy at work.
Unhappy with life.
Unhappy with what they are earning.
Unhappy with the relationship they are in.
Unhappy with their home.
Unhappy with their health.
And a whole bunch of other problems. But property investing seems to provide the answer. Property investing can
Make you rich.
Give you time freedom.
Allows you choices.
Creates a financial security for you
Provides you with legacy options
Helps you escape a job.
Give you back your freedom
But most investors don’t go down this path.
They start down the path of competence and the problem with this is the sharp ascent to the top.
Because of this, many give up at the first hurdle.
You remember what it was like when you first discovered something for the first time; maybe a restaurant, a club, a book, a park, a holiday destination or a new way of doing things?
You were excited, you were giddy, you were happy because you’d discovered something different and something new, you couldn’t wait to tell other people about it. You were passionate about this and for a while the passion could drive you on. But then, when reality kicks in and you find yourself sitting at home again watching netflix, or down the pub for Friday drinks or dragged to the rugby match which turns into an all-night session or the kids need taking to 8 locations in one day with 13 changes of outfits –then all of a sudden, the excitement wanes, the dullness sets in and before you know it; you’re exhausted and you’ve put those things to one side.
Ask yourself this very simple question and be very honest.
How many books have you bought that if you read them could have made a massive difference in your life – but you CHOSE not to read them and instead add them to the self-help shelf in your library?
The number is for you alone but its important to acknowledge it as this is the major reason most people buy a new self help book every 18 months. And this is why learning alone is not the answer.
Its not even close.
The quickest, fastest and surest way of building a property portfolio is through
Giving up things
Having a plan
And most importantly BEING HELD ACCOUNTABLE.
This is where a Property Coach comes in as lets face it, no matter how sound your partner is, they are like you – a novice in the property investment arena or if you have some experience, probably at the same level as you. A good property coach can help you
Be held accountable
Create a bigger company faster
Become the property investor you wish to be
Check out our options today for how you can grab a free 30 minute strategy call to discuss how a property coach can help you build the property portfolio of your dreams. Oh, and save your life at the same time 🙂
Every year I read a TON of books. And I mean a lot.
I’ve always loved reading and I believe the urban myth somewhere states ‘leaders are readers’ and certainly, I’ve always found that if I am stuck with a problem a book will often present with me numerous solutions.
Here's a selection from the numerous books I read in 2017 which I think will massively accelerate your success in business, sales, financial investments and health.
Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh
This book blew my mind when I read it. I'd heard about Zappo's of course and their eventual purchase by Amazon but when I had some staffing issues last year, I took a deep dive into the world of co-working, company culture, team dynamics, hiring and firing, profiling and this book came flying out of the pack.
Wow - what a company first and foremost.
I knew when I was searching for books on building teams that one of the things that was highly important for me was creating the right culture
And Zappo's are renown for having one of the best team cultures in the business.
They do this through a set of 10 core values including
Deliver WOW through Service
Do More With Less
Create Fun and a Little Weirdness
But the thing that really glues this all together is the way the whole hiring process through to induction through to employee integration into the company is fully backed and driven by the company values.
Some crazy things at Zappo's 🙂
they offer all new employees $3,000 to leave after the first 4 week induction.
you have to pass the cultural test first before you even get quizzed on your specialist skills (50% of the interview process)
every new employee spends at least three to four weeks in the call centre before they go to the department that hired them
10%-20% of every department's time is spent on employee team building activities
you can tour their company headquarters and last year I organised a tour for a private mastermind of 50 people to tour their facility. Awesome and Crazy are two words that come to mind.
The refreshing thing for me was that the book was easy to read; it tells the story of how Zappo's built their company and it also details how they built their core values and culture.
If you're serious about building a team and a culture, then get this today! You'll pick up loads of ideas that you could implement right away.
Highly Recommended. 4 / 5 Stars
Head Strong by Dave Asprey
Wealth is nothing without health and this book will change the way you view light, food and drink, sleep and toxins.
In short, it's a life-bio-hack on how to perform better, work smarter and effectively think faster within a two week period. Provided you follow the book's plan of course.
I'd heard a lot about 'bullet-proof coffee' which is what attracted me to Dave's book in the first place but what I was not expecting was the level of information, references and quotations from bona-fide genuine authoritative sources to back up his claims.
Because if you can claim that coffee can make your brain work smarter, you really do need to have tested this out in laboratory conditions.
Well guess what; they have.
But what I found more interesting was all of the other daily things that we take for granted that do impact us on a molecular and cellular level.
Things such as the amount of mould in our food and how this affect our bodies; what do bright strip lights do to our brain and how does damp really affect the way we process information.
So for anybody that has any level of interest in how to become a better faster smarter version of themselves, I'd highly recommend you check this out.
Within 2 weeks, you could be a different man or woman!
Recommended For All Health Conscious and Life-Hackers Everywhere. 4 / 5 Stars
Unshakeable by Tony Robbins
I did debate putting this higher in my Top 5 but as you will see from the books that made the Top 3; all of them are world-class but for different reasons.
Tony's book is to all intents and purposes, a cut-down of his behemoth 'Money Master The Game' but easier to dip into and full of great advice.
The thing I always like about Tony's books are twofold
you get step-by-step actions you can take
Tony interviews world-class experts to get a unrivalled view on a subject
This means that when you read 'Unshakeable' you are already benefitting from the advice of people actually doing what Tony is interviewing them about - and have been mega-successful in their endeavours.
For this book, Tony interview 50 of the world's greatest financial minds and with the advice given in this book, makes it easy for anybody that has any interest of understanding how money works - and from that to achieve financial freedom.
Tony delves down into common mistakes most investors make, how to prepare for the financial maelstrom coming, how to avoid paying outrageous fees and charges on your investments and pension plan and then in the latter half of the book provides one of his playbooks on how to take these principles and distill them into every investment decision you make going forward.
I'll be honest, I'm a huge fan of Tony's but this book surprised me because of how easy it is to dig into - and in fact, I've given out dozens of copies of this to my mentees over the past year because I rate it that MUCH!
If you've not got it well here's a few more reasons why you need this book.
Once you understand how to make the right decisions, then you also need to understand how to navigate crashes and corrections in order to protect your financial freedom. This is covered in detail with Tony wrapping up the book talking about psychology.
Now this may surprise you but when I attended 'Business Mastery' last year in Palm Beach, Florida, the entire first day was focused on psychology of business.
Because it's that important and pyschology is everything if you are going to succeed.
And by understanding the common mistakes investors make and how to avoid them, this allows you to build real wealth in the long term.
Includes a handy 22-page checklist on fortifying and protecting your wealth.
Highly Highly Recommended If You Wish To Build and Protect Your Wealth
Way Of The Wolf by Jordan Belford
I'm sure most people are aware of 'The Wolf of Wall Street' film and like him or loathe him for dubious business practices in the past which led him to being jailed, Jordan Belfort is one of the greatest living talents around who can show you how to persuade and influence people to buying a product or service.
The book is effectively a stripped down version of his popular online/live programme 'Straight Line Persuasion' and is a really easy read but filled with tons and tons of actionable content.
It's great for anybody who has to persuade anybody to buy something from them - so pretty much the entire world then!
What I liked about 'Way Of The Wolf' is how by sharing stories and case studies, it was easy to see how you could then implement it into your own business.
Now I've been selling for many years but even so, I was blown away by the amount of content that Jordan put into this book.
It's almost as good as being in the room live with him; there is that much information contained within the 248 pages.
Jordan describes the crucial 'first four seconds' and what happens if you get it wrong, how to use tonality and body language, the critical importance of state management and how to implement this all so it becomes seamless.
He then puts this into his 'ten rules for prospecting' and as I said earlier gives so much content, its rapidly becoming one of my go-to books every time I make a sales presentation of any kind! In short:
if you are not getting enough sales, buy the book.
if you are skint or broke, buy the book.
if you want a new house or car or toy, buy the book.
if you want to crush your competitors, buy the book.
(if you've seen the film, you'll know why I just did that)
5 STAR RECOMMENDATION FOR ALL BUSINESS OWNERS & SALES PROFESSIONALS EVERYWHERE!
Traction by Gino Wickman
This book saved my life and my business too. When I had experienced significant issues in 2016 resulting in two members of staff leaving on the same day, I knew I had to change my entire business, team culture and how I managed my team.
The result after hours of searching was this BIBLE of how to really 'get a grip on your business'
The beautiful quality about this book is that it takes a dry subject and makes it absolutely compelling; so much so that you are itching to get going with your business make-over from day 1.
But hold on; as with all books it's best to take it as the author intended and whilst there are countless exercises and action items to do, I'd recommend holding off until Chapter 10 when everything is explained about how to 'get started'.
Effectively the book centres around the idea that every business needs a Entrepreneurial Operating System (R) and without this in place, a business will often lose money or even close.
The fundamental components of this model include:
Vision; what are the 8 questions you should ask and how is this then shared by the employees and stakeholders in your company
Data; how do you measure what you do through a scorecard
Process; what is documented can be followed, outsourced and delegated
Traction; you move forward by creating the big rocks (goals) and holding regular formulaic meeting
Issues; by reviewing these in a systematic way blockages are removed quicker
People: ensuring the right people are in the right seats
The book is fabulous because it's easy to start a business but what is difficult is scaling up. And this book takes you through a process of starting to manage your team and yourself in a much more effective structured and accountable fashion.
6/5 STAR RECOMMENDATION: IF YOU BUY ONLY ONE BOOK TO IMPROVE YOUR BUSINESS, BUY THIS ONE!
Cracking The Property Code by Matthew Moody
Now as this is mainly a blog aimed at people wanting to build a property portfolio, I thought it only right to end with a book that whilst published a few years back was re-released last year in its 2017 Edition.
If you're after a book that really gets down to the business of creating a property empire, how to choose your strategy, how to create an organisation, how to construct systems and processes and how to manage your team; then there is no better book out there.
But don't just take my word for it; have a look at what the guys and gals from 'Your Property Network' the leading monthly property magazine said in their review:
CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE LARGER REVIEW
If you are thinking about starting a property business, then do yourself a big favour and grab a copy.
If you're already in the 'property business' but not managed to extract yourself from day-to-day operations, you know what to do - grab yourself a copy.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED BY 'YOUR PROPERTY NETWORK'
So there concludes my top books that were published last year.
I'd heartily recommend you get one or two or even all of them and set out a plan to read them diligently step-by-step.
Here's a few suggestions as to how you may do that.
Building a business
Way Of The Wolf
Cracking The Property Code
Cracking The Property Code
All graphics are copyright of their respective owners.
Buy a book and let me know what you thought about it.
You're a V.I.P. baby; I appreciate your time here today!
There is a serious problem in the United Kingdom which is not being addressed by governments either current or past.
Housing is at an all-time high due to inward pressure from a burgeoning population and external market forces from overseas demand.
In short: the housing market is at a tipping point.
It is the intent of the author through this white paper to illustrate trends that he has seen over the last decade and by using current statistics and predictions from industry bodies; paint a picture of what the future may be for our housing stock.
It will be focused on a niche sector of the private rental sector commonly known as a HMO being the sector within which Matthew Moodyl the author has been operating multiple businesses over the last 14 years.
Furthermore the author will make several recommendations as to how we could solve these issues going forward.
The rise in the private rental sector of HMO’s has come in part from several sources including restrictions to bank funding, the removal of sale and rent back, restrictions upon house class, growing student population, increasing transient working class and a booming training market.
2027 The HMO Sector
What we now need to consider is what the future of this sector looks like 10 years from now and create appropriate but actionable solutions to move forward.
With the future of the private rental sector in sheer jeopardy with the folly of recent and past government actions, one has to wonder; what does the future of the HMO sector look like for us?
In this blog post, we will review the following areas:
Housing Act 2004
Housing Act 2004
Let us begin by reviewing this Act.
Despite the Stature being 13 years old; the foundations of the current approach to Housing is the same as it was back in the early part of the millennia.
Successive governments have tampered with the Act by introducing additional legislature and amendments, but no one Housing Minister has been brave enough to introduce a brand new act to cater for the growth in the private rental sector.
We now found ourselves with yet another ‘White Paper‘ and pseudo-fake consultation on the future of the sector.
What we need to review and contemplate is the very Act itself; what it is designed to do and where it needs to end up.
Given the recent Government concessions that the private rental sector will continue to grow and that we may be moving more towards the continental model; we do need to concede that the current Housing Act is obsolete and needs replacing quickly with a more modern and forward looking approach to the challenges we face.
As to the very nature of this and its contents, this is something that author will consider within the various elements that make up the Housing industry and what could or should be considered moving forward.
Our housing market has changed dramatically but unless the government takes on the task of reviewing and revising this Housing Act; we will end up in a situation where more and more people become homeless, regulations become over-burdensome and the supply of housing will become choked.
Long the bone of many a home-owner and also a landlord, the very notion of council tax based on bandings from the 1990’s seems at first preposterous and at second, wildly out of tune with the times.
Needless be it for me to kick myself or my fellow landlords firmly in the foot but surely it would be better for the government to consider a legal-of-age ‘per person’ taxation rather than the rather quaint system currently enjoyed where it is entirely possible for a landlord to take a normal terrace property paying Band A or B council tax and transform this into a 5-7 bedroom property BUT still remain paying the same council tax.
Indeed it would almost be fairer if a person just paid a ‘housing or living’ tax as this is what it is no matter where they abode – and certainly for those transient tenants, this would actually raise MORE revenue for the government rather than less.
At the same time, we must also address the current ludicrous decision made by failing councils due to inept financial controls and out-of-control spending to tax a property investor who is refurbishing a home to improve the standard of rental stock or who is looking for a new tenant because the previous tenant left.
It seems unfair to me that a single person qualifies for a 25% reduction in council tax yet an empty property qualifies for no discount at all.
Yet again, landlords are being used as a scape-goat for an ever increasing and desperate government who have sold the family silver, gold and still wish to eat their cake whilst the cupboards are bare.
By moving to a per person ‘housing’ or ‘living’ tax, this would ensure that services are being paid for by the people using the services and move the responsibility from the property owner to the occupant to pay this tax.
Law concept: computer keyboard with word Licensing, selected focus on enter button background, 3d render
The focus on licensing since 2004 has been nothing short of incredible.
Despite what the government would want you to believe; licensing has done little apart from tax the good landlords and allow the rogue landlords to carry on operating.
Whether the licensing scheme be mandatory or selective or additional, the rogue landlords will continue to proliferate and bring down the private rental sector because there are still too many of them, there are far too few council staff and most tellingly, the good landlords effectively continue to subsidise these bad landlords.
We are seeing councils implement ‘Selective‘ or ‘Additional‘ licensing schemes across the country in a desperate attempt to shore up bank balances and create a revenue stream despite the Government’s insistence that a licence fee should be a cost-neutral exercise. We have seen departments of 8-12 people spring up overnight from new licensing schemes created leading us to ask the question; if this is cost neutral why are so many new employees needed to run the scheme and secondly if there is a serious attempt to crack down on rogue landlords; why is there not a Rogue Landlord squad on each council – similar to a Fraud Squad or similar who investigate financial crimes.
We are also seeing no consistency in approach led by councils on the licensing of properties which leads to uncertainty in the market and certainly will inconvenience the institutional investors the government are so fond of.
It is necessary to have a licensing regime but at the same time, I believe that the scheme should be national in nature; centralised training should be provided at government level on ‘interpretation’ of the licensing scheme and that more help and assistance be given to the good landlords who are trying to comply in order to improve the housing stock.
So let us know what your opinion is regarding the future of HMOs!
Leave a comment below and share your thoughts with us!
A new minimum bedroom size and the extension of licensing to thousands more properties are to form part of a government crackdown on rogue landlords who cram tenants into overcrowded homes. As rents have risen in recent years some landlords have attempted to maximise profits by squeezing tenants into rabbit-hutch properties. Family homes have been divided into bedsits, with some landlords letting spaces that are just three metres squared, or advertising rooms that are shared with other tenants.
There have been rumblings since the original measures of the act came into force in 2007 that the HMO definition needed to be revised to make it all encompassing and not just the three storey, five people, two household rules for mandatory licensing. The strict definition of an HMO has been the point of conjecture amongst both enforcement agents and the landlord fraternity, and in some cases the legal definition has been challenged to the full extent of the law.
Even now, I have to correct, albeit as diplomatically as I can, some beliefs around the definition of an HMO and in some cases, these are people who should know the difference between an HMO and a property that needs a mandatory license. Too often HMO is a term used to describe ‘a licensable property’ and the confusion to a certain extent can be firmly laid at the door of the councils of England and Wales. In some cases I have dealt with on behalf of landlords in the East Midlands, I have needed to re-educate Council Officials on the difference between an HMO requiring a mandatory license, and a property that is an HMO but only requires planning permission to comply.
On top of that, bedroom sizes, have become a sticking point. Again in some cases, it could be argued that the ‘size’ of a bedroom has been used to restrict the occupancy of a property under a license as a way of the council controlling the proliferation of multi-let properties under their jurisdiction. A guideline or directive from central Government does not have to be followed by a local council as it is not a legal requirement,. Hence councils have been allowed to implement their own guidelines on room size. Legislating will remove this ambiguity and create a level playing field for all property owners.
I do, however, have one niggling and recurring thought to all of this; Will additional or refining existing legislation really curb the appetite of the ‘Rogue’ landlord? or, as is the case to date, will it just push up the costs associated with renting a property. whether that be landlord or tenant costs?
Does the Private Rented Sector (PRS) need any more regulation?
What are your thoughts? Have you seen the impact, good or bad, of the current legislative regime on your housing stock?
In the property world, investment in property works where the money you invest (or not) is geared to generate a higher level of return. In the case of property the ‘tool’ is a mortgage.
If you borrow money at a lower rate than you can get Return on Investment (ROI), then you are, by definition, gearing your money. In some cases that gearing or leverage can be infinite (that’s not for this article go to our blog for the ways to do this).
So how do you leverage your online marketing, and more importantly, get it done for free?
Please note that I did not say it wouldn’t cost anything, I said it was free.
As with anything in life, there is a trade off, in this case it is time.
So how can you leverage both?
Enter Social Media. Now don’t switch off, this is a catch all for everything that we do online in an interactive way. I have lost count of the amount of times I have had to explain the difference between Sales and Marketing. Marketing is the journey from a want to a desire, and Sales is the conversion from desire to action.
Lecture over; Online marketing is therefore a journey and unless you have the ‘silver bullet’ a lot of what you do online is trial and error.
So how do you ensure you are using the right tools?
My advice is in two parts:-
Choose Your Battleground
For smaller businesses (SME) it may not be appropriate to use all of the channels at once and in spreading yourself thinly across multiple platforms you could be damaging your brand. One esteemed colleague of mine made it very clear on one of his talks to a local business group when he stated’ “It is nice to be on all of the Social Media Networks, but if you don’t socialise with your network you can do some real damage. It is better to NOT be on a channel, than be on it and be silent.”
The important thing to understand is that your Social Media presence is your window to the virtual world. It is worth investing time in posting, tweeting etc so that the world can see what you do.
Social media means a SME can have the same impact in terms of marketing, as a large multinational, but without the large overhead cost if it is done correctly.
The only tip here is that SME should concentrate on TWO or a maximum of three channels, otherwise they will be spending all day on marketing on nothing on delivery. Unless you have the budget to hire an in-house specialist, but even then it would be prudent to be selective with the channels you pick.
Be in the room!
The other thing to consider is only use the channel where the majority of your clients ‘hang out’. Some networks have a specific demographic and unless your clients fit within that demographic then you will find it difficult to gain any traction. According to Hootsuite, Instagram have a younger user base (53% aged 18 to 29) so if your target market is over 60 then this channel is not for you.
There is a chain of thought that a B2B company would do better with utilising LinkedIn, whereas B2C would do better using Facebook and Twitter. This sounds okay, but individual businesses would need to do their own customer avatar research before taking this as any form of guidance.
We have prepared out Top ‘5 Top Tools for Marketing your Business’ which you can download, that we use on a daily basis. They all have FREE versions which we use, and all of them allow us to leverage our time (and obviously money) to great effect.
If you need any help with configuring them or want to know how we use them, then drop us a line!
Remember all the tools are FREE, and we all like that, don’t we?
Whether you are trying to raise money for your business or just want to perfect your business strategy, a solid elevator pitch is an essential tool for achieving your goals. An elevator pitch can be delivered either verbally, ideally in 60 seconds or less, or as a one-page overview of your business. Think of the elevator pitch as an executive summary that provides a quick overview of your business and details why you are going to be successful.
The original concept of an elevator pitch, unsurprisingly, came from our cousins across the pond and according to Wikipedia is credited to Ilene Rosenzweig and Michael Caruso of Vanity Fair Magazine and refers to the time you have got to pitch an idea to someone, if you were ‘stuck’ in an elevator with a potential investor travelling between two floors in a building. Originally a ‘thirty second’ monologue, it has been used to describe any ‘pitch’ to a potential investor where time is of the essence. It is more commonly used at networking events as a way of introducing you and your business to other people in the room.
So it goes something like this;
“Hello Dragons, my name is John Smith, and I am here today to ask for £10,000 in exchange for 10% equity in my company – Do As You Want”.
Sometimes you peak interest, sometimes you don’t. So exactly what should you be saying, and more importantly what should you NOT be saying.
In Dragon’s Den, budding entrepreneurs come face to face with (now) five well known (?) business owners that are considered established in the ways of business strategy and growth. The SEVEN things that make a good elevator pitch are listed as;-
Problem – Identify a problem that needs solving and why?
Solution – How will you solve the problem?
Target Market – Who will buy?
Competition – Do you have any?
Team – Who is on your side already?
Financial Summary – How much and when?
Milestones – Ambition?
This seems a lot to squeeze into what will possibly be just SIXTY SECONDS, but this is a proven way of condensing your message.
In reality, the whole thing can be intimidating, but if you get it right, the end result is people talking to you about your business. You have ‘earned the right’ to your next ‘exposure’.
There are a few things I would like to add to the list above, as more of a ‘don’t list’;
Alienate – do not criticise anyone in your pitch
Distract – use a real life example of success
Fantasise – realistic achievable figures only please
Make it up as you go along – be prepared – see later
Waffle – keep on track
Dress Up – be presentable (unless you are pitching fancy dress)
Always be prepared. Most networking events have some kind of ‘elevator pitch’ and it is important to have TWO or THREE pre-prepared scripts that you have rehearsed over and over again in front of the mirror so that they become second nature.
Because you don’t want to be the one in the room that stumbles, reads from a scribbled note, or looks as white as a sheet. I have seen some awful pitches (why would anyone put themselves through it?) and I have witnessed some excellent ones. Take note all of you network leaders out there, whilst you may think it is funny, or a challenge; springing an ‘elevator pitch’ on someone when they have not prepared for it, you will not see that person again for a while. Make sure everyone at your event knows what is expected of them. You are a leader, communicate.
Being prepared (or the 5 P’s as I like to call them; Prior Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance) gives you confidence, and don’t worry if you don’t get it all in the first time, keep trying, keep adjusting, try it on the dog, your spouse, your children, or anyone else that will listen. It gets easier, I promise.
For some more great tips on ‘How To Survive Dragon’s Den’, go to our exclusive Four Video Giveaway on the topic