10 Things I’ve Learnt (Part 7)
It’s impossible to know what’s going to happen to you in property; but what I’ve learnt over the past 20 years of investing for myself is that if you just keep going, everything will (usually) work out fine eventually.
Regardless of how optimistic you are, you need to be aware that things will come along which will try to trip you up. No matter what the reason may be, at some point something will happen to derail you or give you a setback. When this happens, you have a choice. You can either choose to let it overwhelm and stop you, or you can choose to pick yourself up and to work out a solution.
If you choose to pick yourself up, to carry on and to work around the problem, then you’re going to succeed. But, if you choose to let it overwhelm you, then you’re going to be stopped in your tracks and are probably going to fail. It’s as simple as that.
When you go into your property business – and every day thereafter – you need to resolve to overcome whatever the day throws at you. You need to have firm in your mind that you will continue.
In my last blog post, I alluded to a setback which I had after my first year. When I went into property perhaps I was naïve or slightly delusional, but although I didn’t have any money of my own, I knew I was going to make it happen. (I had to make it happen – after all, I’d just been made redundant and had a family to feed).
When I started out, I’d managed to get hold of some money and had made it my goal to own 50 properties and have £5,000 cash flow per month. By the end of the first year I’d bought eight properties. Then, I had a major setback.
My principal lender told me that they weren’t going to lend me anymore money for a year and that they were putting me on sabbatical to make sure I was a competent investor and landlord. Now, in this day and age this might not seem like too much of a setback. Nowadays, there are so many lenders offering so many different products that if this were to happen today, I would quite simply head off to find a substitute lender. But back when I first started out, this wasn’t so easy – plus, I had no money of my own and considered myself lucky to have found a lender that actually wanted to lend to me in the first place.
I thought that was the end of my business and spent the first couple of months sulking. Then I realised I had a choice – I could either let it overwhelm me and stop me in my tracks, or I could pick myself up, find a solution and carry on.
I did the latter. I went through the process of finding a new lender, building new relationships and having valuations done. Eventually after about 10 months, I got my hands on some more money and went out and bought some more properties. After the 12-month period, the new lender was happy to lend to me again. However, the money which I got from this second lender wasn’t actually on very good terms. So, what I did was to refinance all of my new properties back to my old lender.
Should I have taken that money? Yes, because it kept the momentum going and it kept me moving forward.
At the time, this setback was a real struggle and I could have easily given up completely – but I didn’t. Instead, I resolved to keep pushing ahead.
And that wasn’t the only challenge that I experienced either – over the following 20 years there were many more to come. From valuers down valuing properties to a valuer who actually refused to look at a property – he wound down his car window, stated that I had to be joking and just drove off.
When this happened, I had no choice but to dust myself down, call my mortgage broker and have him arrange a different lender. It did take some 6 long weeks to complete the process, but it all worked out in the end. I kept going and I had, in fact, made the right decision with these properties – I actually still own them and they’ve been fantastic rental units.
So, the lesson is to keep going no matter what. There will be setbacks with lenders, valuations, JV partners, refurbs and sometimes with the actual properties themselves, but you have to resolve to overcome the hurdles and to just keep going.
Because if you take definitive action, a big deep breath when things don’t quite go to plan and just carry on, you can become very successful indeed.
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: