How to start on the property ladder – Useful Tips
Welcome back to my investment series. In today’s blog, we’ll be having a closer look at one of my biggest passions – property investment. If you missed my previous post, but you’re interested in learning more about investing, I’d highly suggest that you give a read.
And, should you happen to be a newcomer, looking for green living and eco-friendliness advice, you are probably wondering why you’re finding this sort of content here. Well, here’s a quick question for you – can you truly lead a happy and fulfilling life if you’re always struggling for money? Sure, you don’t need to be super-rich to enjoy your life (I’ve actually covered this in a previous post as well!), but some financial stability can really go a long way. Knowing that you don’t need to worry about money will give you a new outlook on life, make it easier to support your family, and allow you to truly work on the things that you’re passionate about! If you are interested in reading more about my eco life, click here.
I would like to share with you very briefly my story of how I started to invest in properties.
As most of my avid readers already know, I wasn’t born in London – I was born in Bulgaria. And, when I first came here, 19 years ago, I had quite the rocky start. Not only was I strapped for funds (I had just shy of £500 to work with), but I also couldn’t speak a word of English. I had to fend for myself, work a couple of part-time jobs, and learn the language at the same time!
During my first year here, I was continually changing accommodation – I’d go where the jobs took me, trying to make the best of a bad situation. Eventually, my roommate and I found this really nice place in Muswell Hill, London. The room was quite spacious for two people, and our landlord was the sweetest old guy that you’ve met. He’d drop by every Sunday evening to pick up the rent and see how we’re doing. Our conversations would often get cut short by him, remembering that he still has to drop by some other properties and pick up the rent there before the day is done. Eventually, my curiosity got the best of me, and I asked him – “How many properties do you have?” “Ten”, he said.
Well, wasn’t that something! Collecting rent from ten properties would mean never worrying about how you can pay the bills, you’d have all your shopping needs covered, and just think of all the shoes that you could buy! Well, at least that’s what was going through my head after this conversation. The whole part where you have to pay taxes, look for tenants and deal with agencies wasn’t really a concern for me, at least at the time.
And so, I vowed to myself that, one day, I too would have ten properties to collect rent from!
Did my dream come true? Well, let’s just say that I’ve been pleased with my progress in the real estate business and let’s leave it at that!
Right. Now that we’ve gotten this out of the way let’s focus on the subject at hand – Investing in properties. And, more specifically – why is investing in properties is really worth your time.
There are a few key things that make real estate an excellent target for new and experienced investors alike.
- Property investing helps you build equity
- Properties will, when handled correctly, increase in value over time (more on that – later!)
- Properties are reasonably easy to finance and leverage
- Property investments are, again – when handled correctly – one of the safest (and fastest) ways to generate passive income
- Property investing is actually beneficial for the community as a whole!
- Studying property investing in detail will help you build a lot of useful skills
The list can go on and on, but these are the main points that make property investing one of the best options – at least in my book. As with all of my other posts, I’d like to remind you that I am by no means a certified expert on the matter, and this entire write-up is based upon my personal research and experience. Before introducing any significant changes to your life – be they professional, personal, or financial, you should always do your own research as well!
How to start on the property ladder
Before you begin your investing journey, you will need to do a couple of things, starting with research. As per usual, doing your homework pays off, and this is doubly true when it comes to investing. You will be doing research on the market and economy as a whole, on the area in which you’re going to invest, on the nearby schools and universities, companies, restaurants, shopping centres and even transportation options! Furthermore, you also need the help of some professionals (and yes, you could potentially get away without that, but I would advise against it!). If you want to be successful with your investments, you’ll need to ensure that you’ve got:
- A solid mortgage advisor
- A great credit rating
- A solid grasp on how to save and budget your money
- An experienced accountant
- A good relationship with the local letting agents
- A few professional handymen and plumbers (or a company that handles these tasks)
Property Investing Tip№1 – Don’t delay
This is absolutely crucial. The earlier in your life, you begin investing, the better. And while I realise that this is more of a general “how to win at life” tip, I feel that it really belongs here. Most people tend to overthink and over analyse things. They would rather prepare a solid backup plan (which I’m all up for), and a backup of the backup, and then get perpetually hung up on the details, never really moving forward… If you want to succeed in life, you will have to ensure that you never get stuck in these kinds of loops.
Whenever I do something – be it in my personal or professional life, I always approach it with the mentality that I might need to do it twice. Sometimes you just can’t succeed on your first try. That’s not something to beat yourself up over. Actually, it’s quite the opposite – you can learn just as much (if not more) from your losses than from your wins!
Yes, you’ll sometimes fall flat on your back. But you need to be able to get back up on your feet straight away!
Property Investing Tip№2 – Master Budgeting
As I already mentioned in my previous post, budgeting is the key to financial freedom! You need to know when and what to spend in order to save a sufficient sum. If you were to have a look at your bank statements, let’s say over a period of 6 months, you can very easily track your spending and see which areas you should focus your attention on.
If you’re looking for budgeting tips and tricks, you can have a look at some of my articles on the subject here.
Property Investing Tip№3 – Get a Good Financial Advisor
Learning how to deal with mortgage issues can be difficult at first. For me, it was an entirely new concept, as we didn’t have much access to credit or mortgages in my home country. But all of this changed as soon as I found a good financial advisor. I met Nigel at a BNI meeting in Mill Hill in 2004, and we’ve been great friends ever since! He is the one who helped me get a good grasp on the mortgage situation, and he’s my advisor on the matter to this day. I highly recommend his services.
If you would like to get in touch with Nigel you can reach him at:
If you do get in touch with Cobalt Financial please mention my name.
Property Investing Tip№4 – Find a Good Accountant
Ensuring that your operation is backed up by dependable accountants is just as crucial as getting the right advisor. They will not only advise you on your purchases and help manage the entire ordeal, but they’ll also have your back in case of market changes. When the market drastically changed in the UK a couple of years back, my accountants saw it coming way in advance, gave me a heads up and supported me through the entire thing.
I met Riz at the same BNI meeting in Mill Hill in 2004. I have been using RA Accountants since then and I highly recommend them.
If you do get in touch with RA Accountants please mention my name.
Property Investing Tip№5– Keep a Good Credit Score
If you’ve already got used to having a bunch of credit cards to fall back on, you’re most likely on the right track – as any experienced investor will tell you, you can leverage credit cards to great effect. They’re simply invaluable. But there’s one very important thing to be mindful of – you always need to pay off your credit card debt by the end of the month. I’ve very rarely used my 0% interest, but whenever I needed to, I always paid it back in time. This ensures that you’ve got a good credit rating to work with and, believe me when I say this, it really goes a long way! If your credit score is less than ideal, you should immediately focus on improving it!
Property Investing Tip№6 – Connections and Networking
If you want to get ahead in life – and this goes way beyond investing – you need to know the right people. Having good connections will, more often than not, put you at the right place at the right time, get you better deals and secure contracts much more quickly. When you get good deals, people will want to invest alongside you.
Expanding your personal network is all about getting out there, talking to people and making a good impression. If you’re inexperienced in this, I’d suggest reading up on networking and negotiations. Knowing how to properly conduct a negotiation to get a better bargain is a crucial skill, applicable to all areas of life – you can leverage it in your day job, in various business discussions, in friendly get-togethers, or even mediate problems at home! In a business context, this will allow you to get much better prices for buying and renting properties, secure more contracts, and convince both sellers and buyers that you’re someone to do business with.
Having good networking skills will also help you build a better relationship with your local estate agents. As any experienced property investor will tell you, making sure that you have a good connection with the right estate agents is vital for your success! Sometimes, you might even get a call or two about good deals before the properties even show up on the market!
Property Investing Tip№7 – Maintenance
Not every property you buy will be in pristine condition. As a matter of fact, you’re guaranteed to find some fantastic deals in pretty poor shape. And that’s where your maintenance crew comes into play! Having a couple of solid and reliable construction, maintenance and clean-up crews a mere phone call away will allow you to quickly and easily add value to any property.
When is the Best Time to Get Started With Investing
As I have already mentioned on a couple of occasions before – if you want to get into investing, there’s no reason to delay. You don’t need to wait until you get a promotion at work or until your own business gets off the ground or anything else of the sort. Even if you currently lack the funds to put forward, you can still get started with the research bits while you’re working on your budgeting and saving money. Especially if you’re young and still live with your parents – this is the ideal time for you to begin!
What about you – Were you familiar with property investment before reading this article? How are you doing with your savings? As always if you think that I should add something to this article, or if you’ve got any tips and tricks of your own to share, please drop me a line – I always love hearing from you!
If you would like to learn more about investing in property, I recommend the following books:
If you’re not a fan of reading, sign up for a 30 Day Free Trial on Audible and you can listen to these books:
Thank you all for reading, and I’ll see you next time!
Stay green and motivated!