Financial Freedom and Process in Buy to Let Investment
About a quarter of my work is still focussed on helping private landlords make a success of investing in residential property. (The rest of the time, I am either managing my own residential property investments or I am helping organisations make a better job of their dealings in the private rented sector – I have helped mortgage companies, local authorities and housing associations among others).
Landlords or would-be landlords and property investors who approach me for advice sometimes will use words like “financial freedom” or they may be seeking a “road map” or “process” to allow them to achieve such financial freedom and to leave their day jobs. Mention of “power teams” – a whole raft of advisors, including property sourcers, mortgage brokers, bridging finance houses and refurbers (all linked via commissions to the main advisor) – is also a dead give-away.
At this point, I know that the chances are very slim that I will be able to help them in any way.
The reasoning is that by using these words and phrases they are giving away the fact that they have already been speaking to one or more of the many financial gurus out there who make money by promising that they have the ”Way the Truth and the Route” to financial freedom in property.
The client may have been promised that there is a Seven Step or Ten Step Process (or whatever number of steps) which acts as a route map or “journey” (another awful term) to fast riches in property.
Inevitably the would-be investor (they always see themselves as investors, never landlords who must deal with the mundane day to day jobs like getting fences fixed after storms) will have been hooked on mention of whatever is the latest “Get Rich Quick” technique that is currently doing the rounds. This may be “Rent to Rent” or “Property Lease Options” or investing in student pods or some other technique.
The fact is that I do not have any route map to offer them. All people have very different needs and road maps and set processes and prescriptions do not work.
The only way I can help people is to first understand where they are now, what their attitude to risk is, what they know already, what they need to learn, what they want to achieve and how fast they want to achieve it.
This does not take long but only then can I start to help them based on what their unique needs are. None of this initial fact finding nor the advice itself takes weeks by the way. I have seen many advisors claim that people need to go on courses for whole weekends or even months. This, in my view, is madness and is designed just to enrich the advisor.
In my view, providing people are happy to do some of the work by themselves, no one needs more than the equivalent of one day of one to one advice (which can be split over two or three days and done over the phone or face to face if the person prefers).
For people who are extremely time-poor, I sometimes do more of the work for them, including finding the properties and advising on mortgage finance. However, we often find that even these people get so excited by being more involved that they later find they want to be more hands-on than they had first envisaged.
This is what we like to encourage because as far as we are concerned, we think our advice should be limited wherever possible. I like to see our landlord clients as people who need some help, not cash cows to be milked for different bits of advice from a team of people linked to LettingFocus.
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We also write for property portals, speak at property events and we are regularly quoted by the media.
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We help landlords and property investors by showing them how to make money in the private rented sector using ways which are fair to tenants and which involve minimal risk.
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