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10 Things I’ve Learnt (Part 5)
Over the past few weeks we’ve been looking at some of the things which I’ve discovered over the last 20 years of investing in property, and one of the things which I’ve learnt – and learnt the hard way – is that you just can’t hurry property. There are so many things in this business that take time, and if you’re of an anxious disposition then it might just drive you nuts.
Over the years I’ve learnt that no matter how long you think something should take, you should always make sure that you actually budget for it to take longer.
A classic example of this is the simple act of just buying a property – especially if you’re a cash buyer. When you go into an estate agent and tell them you’re a cash buyer (in other words, you’re a buyer without the need for a mortgage), received wisdom tells us that things should be quite straightforward. Add to this the scenario in which you buy a property without undertaking any searches, and you’d be forgiven for thinking it should all move on without a hitch. But this isn’t necessarily true.
(Now, if you’re wondering if you can actually buy a property without conducting searches, the answer is yes. If you’re a cash buyer and you’re not taking out a mortgage, you could buy a property without searches and instead take out an indemnity policy which would cover you for anything that might have shown up in the searches).
So, if you’re not having a mortgage and if you don’t need searches, then surely all the solicitors have to do is produce a quick contract and TR1 form for you to sign off, and then that’s the job done? Surely that would be quick and easy?
Well, you would think so but in my experience, it’s not always that simple. There have been numerous times when I’ve tried to buy a property quickly for cash and yet it’s just gone into the system with the solicitor and has dragged on and on.
Solicitors will, of course, take as long as they have to take, but they are not the only party that’s instrumental in getting a deal done and dusted. Waiting for the valuer to turn up can take time, waiting for the bank to process the mortgage valuation can take time… and this can all be very frustrating.
And then there’s the refurbishment. Whenever you do a refurb, you need to not only budget for it to cost more than you think (because it will inevitably cost more), but also budget for it to take more time than you anticipated at the start.
When you collectively add all of these things together – from mortgages to solicitors, valuations, refurbs, and so on – it’s likely that what you want to achieve in property will probably take you slightly longer than you may realise at the moment.
What can you do about it? Probably not that much. You’ve just got to be aware that this is going to happen and you need to keep an eye out for the likely stumbling blocks so that if and when they happen, you can move in quickly and try to resolve them.
Really, though, the main thing you can do is to take a deep breath and accept that this is how property works; it will take as long as it takes.
Here’s to successful property investing.
Peter Jones B.Sc FRICS
Chartered Surveyor, author and property investor
By the way, I’ve rewritten and updated my best-selling e-book, The Successful Property Investor’s Strategy Workshop, which is an account of how I put together my multi-property portfolio, starting from scratch and with no money of my own, and how you can do the same. For more details please go to: