One thing that alarms me slightly is the number of people who appear to come into property with very naïve expectations that everything is always going to go well.
There is something to be said for that because I’d much rather that someone is positive not negative, I’d much rather that someone’s got an optimistic outlook than a pessimistic outlook and I think having an optimistic outlook generally speaking is going to help you to achieve more in life, property included. But we need to be real as well.
I see people on the forums and on the Facebook groups talking about their experiences of property and it happens that maybe they have a bad circumstance, something happens in their property journey or something happens with their first property, such as maybe the tenant doesn’t pay the rent or maybe the tenant doesn’t pay the rent and then does a moonlight flit and disappears, these things happen.
They will then go onto the Facebook groups and the forums and they’ll be talking about this like it is the most unexpected thing ever, as if somehow life has dealt them a bad hand, as if every other landlord and investor is having a fantastic time and this sort of thing never happens. I read these posts and it concerns me for them.
I don’t mean this in a judgemental way, I am not trying to say that they are wrong to be upset about it, but the reality is that when you go into any business there is always the potential for something to go wrong. Why would you go into property assuming everything is going to go right? Maybe it isn’t an assumption, maybe they just don’t think about what the downsides could be.
I know many of you have emailed me saying that you like my down to earth, tell you how it is kind of approach to property so let me tell you how it is. Sometimes things are going to go great, and sometimes things aren’t going to go great. But if you go into property not expecting bad things to ever happen, you are in for a rude awakening because it will happen.
I’ve had tenants not pay the rent, I’ve had tenants do a moonlight flit, I’ve had tenants not look after the property as well as they could have, I’ve had contractors saying they are going to turn up when they haven’t, I’ve had solicitors saying they are going to do a deal for me quickly and then they’ve done it slowly and I’ve lost the deal. All of these things can happen. I’ve had down evaluations.
Actually, I can beat that, I’ve had worse than a down evaluation. I’ve had a situation where the valuer wouldn’t even get out of the car to look at my property because he disliked my properties so much from the outside that he wouldn’t even get out of the car. But the way that all worked out fine in the end because I got another valuer to come out and he did get out the car and it was all fine.
But these things happen. There are going to be frustrations. I’ve had a situation where I’ve had a mortgage lined up and then the bank decided at the last minute that they weren’t going to lend the mortgage. This sort of thing does happen.
This is the point I am trying to make, if you come into property expecting that everything is going to go well all the time then you are in for a big fall. Much better to come into property hoping that things are going to go well but prepared for the times when they don’t go so well, then you can work around it.
The reason why I am saying this is because the posts I’ve seen on Facebook of people who suddenly had this realisation, you would think the rug has been pulled from under their feet completely and I don’t think it should be that way. A lot of these things are just doing business. Whatever business you go into something is going to happen.
Say you sell fruit and veg at a market stall, is someone going to come along and pinch the odd apple? I would imagine they would.
What if you ran a retail shop, will you get shoplifters? Yes of course you will.
Does that mean anybody who is thinking about going into retail is going to say ‘I’m not going to go into retail in case I get shoplifters’? No, of course they are not.
In fact, I read once that Walmart are being shoplifted every second of every day or something crazy like that, because it just happens. But it is just the cost of doing business. I am not condoning it by the way, I am not saying shop lifting is a good thing or we should be blasé about it, I am not saying that I am just saying that things happen.
If you want to come into property you are going to have to accept that somethings aren’t going to go smoothly. But when they don’t go smoothly it is not a big drama, it’s not the end of the world, it’s just something that happens, so we will work around it. Because we are professional property investors.
We will have systems and processes to cope. One of which might be that we take a bit of time to ourselves and we take 4 deep breathes while we let the news of whatever has just happened sink in. But we don’t get emotionally involved. We don’t say ‘my life is ruined’. It is not an emotional thing. It is just a business thing and if we keep it as a business thing then everything is going to be good.
Here’s to successful property investing.
Peter Jones B.Sc FRICS
Chartered Surveyor, author and property investor
PS. 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.
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