Creating a Pipeline of Deals

There are plenty of places to find deals, and creating a sourcing pipeline needn’t be difficult. You do need to be organised and have a structure in place to ensure that you maximise your chances of success. To find great properties and great deals you need four things

1.       Process

2.       Perception

3.       Paperwork

4.       Persistence


Without a process you won’t be able to create a steady stream of potential property deal. Without perception you could uncover a wealth of amazing properties but not know what to do with them. Without paperwork you can’t finalise the deal. Without persistence you can’t grow wealthy. As you can see, only two of these are practical actions – the other two are personal attributes. Finding deals needs you to be practical and personal.

1.       Process. Ideally you want to design a campaign. This gives your activity definition and purpose and allows you to learn each time from your mistakes and successes. I would recommend that you design a 4 week campaign, in which you agree to target a particular area of no more than 1.5 square miles.

·        Using a map, define the area you are going to target and find the postcodes that are part of this location. This will be the HMO location that you’ve already pinpointed. Now locate all the shops, post offices, takeaways and supermarkets that serve that location.

·        Next, you want to get some leaflets designed that tell people about you and how you can help them. We use www.smartpropertyleaflets.com who provide ready-made templates ideal for leaflet campaigns of this type. One thing to remember: you will want to repeat your campaign up to seven times before you see steady results. Order enough leaflets at the start to ensure you have enough volume to repeat your campaign regularly.

·        Find a reputable leaflet delivery service. There are many ways you can achieve this – one is by working with a local takeaway service who are already delivering leaflets in the area. Another is by hiring independent leaflet distributors. Make sure you have a way of spot-testing the coverage of the drop.

·        Write out a number of simple postcards that you can put up in shop windows locally. A suggested wording would be:

   ‘Struggling to sell your house? Do you need to move fast? I am looking for a house to buy and might be able to help you. Please get in touch to see if I can help you call Wendy on xxxxxxx’. A simple postcard with a call to action is the best way to get your message out there.

·        The third aspect of your campaign is direct-to-landlord letters. You can download a sample letter from the website www.centreround.co.uk. The letter needs to be direct, friendly and polite. It needs to state what benefit you can offer to a landlord and how you can help them. One piece of advice: persistence is the key. I regularly receive letters from well-meaning investors who have found my details online and are offering to help me rent or sell my properties. I always wait until I’ve had a second letter before I respond. The sad thing is, I’ve rarely had that second letter. Remember that landlords who may be ready to sell, want to know you are committed. One letter is not a sign of commitment.

·        Another great tip is to incentivise your recipients in some way to meet with you. I mentored a female partnership who had no money to invest and were looking for a rent-to-rent deal to get started. I suggested that to stand out from the crowd, that in their letter they offered to meet up with the landlord and pay for a coffee. As a surprise incentive, even if the landlord was not willing to meet in person this time, I suggested that they include a voucher for a free coffee. As a result they had a number of calls from investors, one which led to a profitable rent-to-rent deal making them over £800 profit per month. Be different.

·        Your campaign should also include contacting all the people like estate agents that you’ve already started to engage with, and should include networking like crazy.

·        Plan your diary so that you can give yourself deadlines and structure. You don’t need to complete all your actions in week one.

·        After you’ve completed the four weeks, spend some time analysing what went well and what didn’t. It takes time and experience to execute a great campaign. Now you need to wait for your seeds to flourish, plan the next campaign and follow-up any leads you have generated.

2. Perception. Perception gives you insight into the possible motivations of a seller so that you can delve into the real reasons for a fast and efficient sale. This is a vital skill as it means you can cut to the chase and start negotiating on terms that are meaningful to you both. Perceiving what will work is a core skill when negotiating with people, and if you rush into the details of an offer too quickly you may miss important details.

However, educating yourself about the various strategies available to secure property is also a must. Without education I would have overlooked many potential deals that crossed my desk. It’s by understanding what makes a deal work that you will be ahead of the crowd, and you’ll be able to work with vendors, agents, local people and your contacts with confidence and insight. Knowing how to adopt the right strategies in particular situations, coupled with understanding people, will allow you to find and negotiate great deals.

Knowing the different approaches for securing property deals will allow you to have a number of strategies to use in addition to the usual route of traditional buying. This will give you confidence to negotiate deals. It will also bring you a streak of creativity when it comes to funding. Many sellers are not necessarily looking for cash. Although their property is up for sale, and it apparently looks as if a purchase transaction is what’s required, many vendors have reasons they HAVE to dispose of the property even though selling is the least beneficial to them. They don’t know what you know and therefore choose go to an estate agent to sell the house. They simply don’t realise that other strategies are possible. It’s your job to work with them and use your knowledge to help them too.

Other vendors are desperate to sell and need a fast transaction. So in an environment where sellers want SPEED and CERTAINTY, how can you work with that? Unless you understand the process for executing a deal fast, you won’t be able to meet the needs of a seller and you will most likely lose out on a possible deal.

In the negotiation for a deal, then, perception and awareness is key. If you struggle with this, here are some tips to help you:

·        Put the vendor first. Make sure you listen more than you talk, and hear more than you speak.

·        Create rapport by asking pertinent and meaningful questions. Watch the person to see how they react to you, and whether they are nervous, shy or wary. Are they a dominant person, a decisive person or an impatient person? Take some time to find out a bit about them but be aware of their motivation. Don’t prod too far immediately, or spend too long on meaningless chatter. There is a maxim in psychology which is ‘pace, pace, pace, lead’. In other words, let the other person set the pace while you set the structure. Then you can mould the interaction and lead the discussion.

·        Have a list of questions already prepared, but sense when it’s time to stop. There are facts you’ll need to gather to assess whether you can form a deal or not. Some people want to get to the point of the offer immediately and others are assessing you to see if they even want to do a deal. Don’t rush into making an offer or saying something you’ll later regret. If you sense that the other person wants to rush you (which is common if they’re motivated to sell) just explain – ‘So that I can make you the best offer, I just need to go away and crunch the numbers. I’m sure you’d rather I got this right than messed you around?’. Most people will say yes to that.

·        After any interaction with someone spend some time reflecting on what you learnt. What did you observe? What were the give-away clues about the motivation of the vendor? What conclusions could you draw about whether a deal is possible on a personal basis? Did you rush the discussion? How were you feeling throughout?

·        It is impossible to predict the outcome of a discussion at this point. Stay calm and positive, and press on with your next steps.

3. Paperwork.

Having the right structure to do the deal once you’ve found a motivated vendor is vital. Before starting any paperwork, you need to gather some core pieces of information from a vendor (seller). These pieces of information are best gathered face to face. Your leaflets and postcards and letters will generate interest and phonecalls. You need to be prepared to take some basic information on the phone. However, the idea is that by meeting in person you can create far more rapport and trust and have much greater chance of creating a deal for you both. The aim is a win-win situation.

Without the following pieces of information you won’t be able to come up with a succinct, clear and precise plan that benefits you both. The core pieces of information to gather are:

  • Address and details of the property and the vendor
  • How long the vendor has owned the house/ property
  • How quickly the vendor needs to / wants to sell
  • What the reasons for the sale are (divorce, downsizing, moving abroad, pay off debt etc)
  • Why the property isn’t up for sale already with an estate agent
  • Are other people to be involved in the decision (partner, parent, siblings etc)?
  • Is there any debt on the property (mortgage, second charge, bridging finance)?
  • If there’s a mortgage, how much is it, what type is it and what’s the remaining term
  • Has a purchase of another property already been agreed?
  • Would the vendor be prepared to let out the property rather than sell it?
  • Has the vendor got plans for the money from the sale?

Once you have these core pieces of information you can then go away and crunch your numbers and come up with a suitable offer. There might be a number of different possibilities so be sure to present them clearly and slowly. Chances are your vendor has never heard of some of them, and was awaiting a simple purchase price offer. They will be pretty mystified when you start to talk about lease options, rent-to-rent and delayed completion if you’re not careful about avoiding jargon. Your communication skills in presenting a deal will be paramount to whether the offer is accepted or not. Practice your delivery with someone who can give you fair feedback if you are unsure of your ability to be clear.

Once you’ve had a successful meeting, you’ve come up with a plan, and an agreed way to proceed, it is vital that this is captured in a Heads of Terms Agreement. This simply lays out the roles and responsibilities that the partners in the agreement will take. This needs to be signed and each partner should have a copy. The Heads of Terms Agreement then forms the basis for your legal documentation. I always advise people to take legal advice on any deal. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that many general property solicitors are not well-versed in creative deal strategies. You may have to refer your specialists to your vendor in order for the deal to proceed.

4. Persistence. Sourcing an attractive deal takes patience and determination. It takes time to set up the pipeline, and time to negotiate with the vendor. It may take a few weeks before you see results from your persistence. You may get a few phonecalls that lead nowhere. You may feel like you’re wasting your time and money. However, in property, like investing generally, persistence pays off. Don’t let your early failures or lack of progress set you back.

After a number of months being seen and heard in our local area, telling people what we were doing and what I was looking for, I hadn’t seen much progress. I began to wonder whether it was worth all the effort and time I was putting in. I was sitting at my desk one day when I received a phonecall from a man who didn’t want to pay for an estate agent to sell his house. The house was a great size and in a good location for an HMO. I was first in the queue! By being known in my local area, I had a distinct advantage when it came to buying or negotiating a deal. He and his wife wanted to downsize, having raised their family in this spacious terraced property. However, the house needed some work to make it attractive to a family buyer – cash he didn’t have. I was able to sit down with him and work out exactly what he needed to move on, and how we could benefit too by creating a win-win solution that worked for us both. He was delighted to save the money that otherwise he would have spent with an agent, leaving him more to put towards a smaller house. In this situation, knowing the strategies that can be used in property deals is paramount, as a simple purchase transaction is only one of many that can be employed to buy and secure property.

So remember Edison’s famous words when you’re tired and feel like you’re getting nowhere, and when you’ve had little results from your efforts:

‘Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time’ ―Thomas Edison

Clarity, Momentum and Accountability

I really believe in clarity to create momentum. I believe in accountability to ensure completion.  If you don’t have any of these three elements (clarity, momentum and accountability) you will probably fail. It may sound depressing, but you know what human beings are like. We set great goals, have high expectations, and huge hopes, but week 4 after the diet has started, we’ve slipped off the wagon and are justifying why a Mars bar is a necessary mid-morning snack.

We all do it! It’s what is called RESISTANCE! The block to achieving what you want. You start but don’t continue. You start but don’t complete. You start but don’t finish.

In property, as in investing generally, unless you are part of a team, it’s very easy to slip. To procrastinate, to delay. And before you know it, you’re six months further off buying your first property. Prices have gone up, the market has changed, and you’ve been left behind. Leave it too late and you’ll be completely unable to invest at the prices and rates you once could. Leaving you with regret and pain. Instead, you need someone who will help you stay accountable, plan with you to deliver energy and momentum and help you focus on what is really important, thus giving you clarity.

Over the last 12 months, I’ve been totting up how much property my small group of mentees has purchased. It totals over £5.1m !!! That is an average of £340,000 per person. Many of these properties were in the North of the UK so costing less than £80k. This figure does not include the cost of the refurbs or the income they have created! What’s even more extraordinary is how they have done this with little or none of their own money! All of them have created high cashflowing HMOs using my simple five step system, saving them time and money, and enabling them to deliver results fast.

It’s because they decided to get clear on their direction, gain momentum on their journey and stay accountable to me (and each other) that this incredible result has happened. I’m really proud of them for all they have achieved. Many of them started with little to NONE of their own money!

If you’d like to be part of a close-knit HMO investing team who really care about you and your struggles, and will work closely with you to help you achieve your goals then please get in touch. I’d love to help you be part of this magnificent result.

Wendy Whittaker-Large; Best Nest

Diarise Property Viewings

If you’re planning on growing your property portfolio this year, the one action you will have to diarise is regular viewings.

Creating a system so that you regularly contact agents and vendors, organise viewings and follow-up is key to your actions if you’re going to find deals.

Create a spreadsheet with three tabs at the bottom – one for each area that you’re analysing. Better to analyse a postcode area than just a general town/ city wide area.

Within the spreadsheet create 9 rows…

  1. Average price of property sold in the last 12 months
  2. Population size & growth
  3. Large employers in area
  4. Growth plans and development
  5. Transport links
  6. Spare room average rental income
  7. Number of tenants looking for rooms
  8. Number of rooms available
  9. Views from local lettings and estate agents about HMO demand

How to Future-Proof your HMO

Future-Proofing your HMO is all about systems and processes that allow you to maximise your profits and minimize your costs while still providing excellent service and value to your customers – your tenants.

There are the three main parts of this process which are:

  • Maintaining Customers
  • Management of the HMO
  • Maintenance of the HMO

Maintaining Customers

Communicate with tenants regularly.  Simple steps like a monthly group email (try mailchimp.com) lets your tenants know that you care about the quality of their experience in the property. It’s a great, easy-to-use automatic email system that allows you to schedule emails in advance. You can gently cover topics that might become issues or risks to the overall smooth-running of the house by introducing the topic and then saying something about it in the main body of the email. We have found this reduces rather than raises queries, as tenants then understand procedures and policies more clearly and also what kind of behaviour is expected of them!

Using a telephone answering service is invaluable as it allows all calls to be answered and dealt with professionally while freeing up your time to attend to other aspects of the business. I have found that tenants like having ONE number to call and don’t cope well if you give them a variety of different numbers to call depending on the severity of the issue.

Management of the HMO

Keys can become a major headache for a landlord (or agent) if you don’t have a clear system for managing and tracking them. If you don’t want to go to the expense of installing a masterkey system (although I would heartily recommend it particularly if you wish to scale up your business), you need to develop a system using a spreadsheet and large cabinet! Code each keyring so that you  know which door the key opens in each property, always have at least one copy made and track them as they leave and enter your office!

Compile a list of tradesmen and maintenance people who you can work with to undertake the routine and emergency work that will no doubt be required from time to time, no matter how well you have Finished It! Always have a preferred supplier and a back-up for the times when your original tradesperson isn’t available. You may wish to set up a retainer or a regular payment to maintain the flow of availability. There are companies that offer landlord emergency cover for a small monthly charge and ensure an immediate emergency response to any problems in the property.

Maximising your profits

Ensure you are collecting rents on time and regularly checking them. Even a few days of late payments per month will make all the difference to your cash flow.

Keep a sharp eye on your outgoings – and take time to identify how you can reduce your bills on a regular basis. Reducing bills, even by 5-10% per annum will compound your cash flow and profits. If bills are rising fast you need to investigate and identify why. Keep an eye on new technological developments in the HMO industry. Whether it is a new piece of software that can help notify you of late rent payments, or an app that can control your heating remotely –  use technology to systemise your business, thus saving you time and money.

And finally, enjoy your investment! You have worked seriously hard to create a property that will serve you now and for years to come, so look after it and it will look after you!

 

 

How do you REALLY feel about setting goals?

I have to say I have to admit that I am very MEH about goal setting. I know I shouldn’t say it, and I know I need to do it – I just feel very MEH about it. (Is that a proper word? I think you get the gist even if it’s not in the dictionary yet).

I know it is important and that’s why I have an accountability buddy who I talk to each week about my goals. We discuss which ones we met and completed, which ones are in progress and which ones have stalled. It is very useful and gives me a massive kick up the bum each week!

However, I believe that PROCESS is more valuable than PRODUCT because I find that following the process actually achieves far more long term. This is because when we focus on doing the RIGHT things over and over again, it creates habits, patterns and thinking that translates into language, action and behaviour.

And ultimately that leads to you being in the right place at the right time in the most unpredictable way!

Often I have met people with money, or deals, or knowledge that I needed. Yet I wasn’t actively looking for them. I didn’t have it expressly identified on my goal sheet as ‘MEET SOMEONE RICH’. Instead my goals were : ‘ATTEND ONE PROPERTY NETWORKING EVENT’ PER MONTH’ and ‘SEND OUT REGULAR EMAILS TO MY DATABASE’. The goals were actions and processes that, when done regularly will create more momentum and growth than simply having goals that I can tick off a sheet.

So goals, in my mind, need to be more about your habits and activity than your outcomes.

With that in mind, you might find the following list of questions about goal setting very useful. So, whatever your view and experience of setting goals – remember, make them meaningful and process oriented. That way, you will find that magically, you will create a life of your dreams.

——————————————————————–

1. Which goal(s) do I think about the most?

2. Which goal(s) would give me the most energy if I could commit to it now?

3. What accomplishments would make me feel the most proud of myself?

4. Which accomplishments can I take with me forever, and/or which accomplishments would seem the most permanent to me? Is this important to me?

5. In ten years from now, how important will the goal be to me?

6. Which goals are in line with my true values?

7. Which goals are fully within my control, and not too dependent on other people or circumstances?

8. Is this goal an external ‘should’ or an internal desire?

9. What do I have a sense of urgency to get on with right away?

10. If I could take action in spite of my fear, what might I want for myself right now?

11. Which goals give me a heavy or lethargic sensation when I think about them, and which goals give me a positive “rush” of endorphins when I think of them?

12. Which goals and their required efforts best fit into the “flow” or pace of my life? Which fit best within my current life context and/or circumstances?

To your growth!

Wendy

Think Bike!

When you’re planning your next HMO, don’t forget bikes! Many HMO tenants will use a bike as their main form of transport – so you must consider where they can be left safely and securely.

The hallway of the house is not a suitable location for a bike! Not only does it create a safety hazard it is against fire regulations. In some areas, and where you need planning permission there is a requirement for cycle racks to be installed.

So consider access to the rear of the property for tenants to be able to bring bikes in, and also to move bins in and out. Think once, think twice, think BIKE!

Working full time and can’t make time to make money?

When I met Keith a couple of years ago he was working in the financial services industry. He didn’t really think that he could replace his high income with investment income. So he studied it, learned about it and tested his ideas – on me! He had worked hard all his life to get to where he was – and he had a lovely lifestyle. The problem was he had no time. His job was all-consuming and left him with little energy or passion to do much else. We met and spoke and I wondered if we’d ever see each other again.

A few months later I met Keith at a McDonald’s in Crewe, near where I live, and he peppered me with questions about what was possible and how property could become a vehicle to replace his full-time income. I explained how I had done it for myself and my husband with a handful of HMOs. Keith was hooked. But I didn’t hear from him again for over 11 months.

Almost a year later to the date, Keith decided that enough was enough. He wasn’t getting any younger, and had met the love of his life. It was time and the time was NOW. He didn’t want to waste a second more waiting to get out of the rat race. So Keith joined my mentoring programme, and within a few short months he had not just one but THREE fantastic HMOs on the table. A few weeks later, and another deal was sealed. After the refurbs, all four will be making him at least £1000 cashflow per month (a couple of them even more). The amazing thing about Keith is not that he has created 4 high cashflowing HMOs in a year, nor that he has a great (love-interest) reason to do this. No, the amazing thing is that Keith has done this whilst working full-time, using none of his own money, and investing 150 miles from where he lives!!

THAT is amazing.

And it’s happened because he followed a simple system. He made a decision, he took the leap and now Keith’s life is looking very different to the one he had before. He now has a plan, has a clear direction, has clear goals and is clearly a very different person to the one he was before. For many people, just four HMOs would be enough to give up their job. Keith will need a few more! But on his current course, Keith will be able to give up his job next year. What an incredible result.

He puts his success down to a few key things – “Meeting with Wendy was amazing because she not only has the knowledge but the systems. She mentored me to keep me on track and accountable. She helped me to overcome my limiting beliefs and she showed me exactly what to do and when. Without her none of this would have been possible”. But I don’t take the credit as it was Keith that took the action.

So if you want to get out of your job and have no time, and no money – what’s holding you back? I wonder whether it’s time to get out of your own way and get some expert help in!

That is, if you want to accelerate your growth and start to make serious, life-changing income from property.  Maybe you already have a few properties but want to get to the next level of income? Perhaps you have some income from property but are unsure how to scale and systemise effectively? You might have thought about mentoring as a highly effective way to get you to the next level of success but not sure what is involved and how it works.

If so, I’d like to invite you to an exclusive event that I’m holding on 7th September 2018. It is a Magical Mentoring Taster Day, which will allow you to experience what having a personal mentor is like and how being on a mentoring programme with me really works.  The day will give you a full flavour of how much growth and expansion is possible when you have someone to whom you are accountable and who helps drive your growth.

This is a personalised, individualised day which will enable you to break through to the next level on your property journey. You will learn

  • how to supercharge your property business to scale your income long-term
  • how to use other people’s skills most effectively, and who you need to be working with
  • when to give up the day job and go full-time in property (if you haven’t already)
  • what tools and systems the professionals use to go faster and bigger
  • what is holding you back from achieving your goals
  • how to find better and more lucrative deals
  • what to do when you run out of your own money

The day will start at 09.30am and finish at 5pm. We will be holding the day at a beautiful location in South Cheshire, at an exclusive hotel, where a delicious lunch, morning coffee with pastries and afternoon tea with cakes will be provided. You will be with other like-minded individuals who also want to grow their business and are ready to go to the next level. The agenda will include a hot-seating session, in a mutually supportive and fully confidential environment to discuss your individual business and current challenges,  and will include a 30 minute follow-up call with Wendy post-event to finalise the personalised plan of attack you will develop throughout the day to take home with you. You will learn how to spot where your black-holes are (energy drains) and where your bright stars shine (energy boosters), and also what stage your property business is at and how best you can accelerate your growth.

This is a special and unique day that is a one-off and which I have no further plans to run at this time. There are only 10 places available to make it a fully personal experience, and I know that once the word gets out, it’s likely that places will go fast.

Date: Friday 7th September 2018
Price: £175 plus vat
Venue: Rookery Hall Hotel, Nantwich, Cheshire CW5 6DQ
Time: 9.30am – 5pm

BONUS: You’ll get a 30 minute follow-up call with Wendy to finalise the powerful personalised plan of attack you will develop throughout the day.

Rookery Hall is a luxury hotel in South Cheshire where you’ll be served morning coffee with pastries, then a delicious lunch, followed by afternoon tea with cakes. You will be with other like-minded individuals who also want to grow their business and are ready to go to the next level.

Business or life partners can come half price. Please click on the link to reserve and pay for your place on this exclusive day.

www.hmosuccess.co.uk

52 Week Video Series – Week 5 – The Four Ps!

Do you REALLY know how to make customers return to you time and again? What are the four Ps that make them use YOUR services/ and business more than anyone else’s?

 

 

 

I look forward to hearing how you get on increasing your business by using these four Ps!

Have you seen the light?

Have you seen the light yet?
I could make a clever comment about how you can get great returns on HMOs compared to single buy to lets and how I think they are the best thing since sliced bread … and you wouldn’t be surprised or shocked would you?

 

You KNOW how I love the fact that there are many types of HMO, there are many reasons to invest in HMOs and there are many investors who have HMOs as just one of the many strategies they use.

But whether or not you have seen ‘the light’ about investing – have you seen the light?

That is to say, how you can use lighting effectively in your HMOs to make them safe, comfortable, welcome and just a little bit different. Here are some ideas that you could copy and which will help you save time and money…
1) Choose emergency lighting in the hallway that is low energy and has a PIR function so that the lights never need to be switched on or off. We have found that this keeps the hallway lit when needed and saves loads of electricity.
2) Fit the glitziest and most reflective pendant lampshades in bedrooms when you don’t want to install downlighters. These bring instant bling and extra reflective qualities to shine the light round the room.
3) Bedside lights always brighten a room – Dunelm Mill, Asda and The Range do a good assortment.
4) Where you do use downlighters (kitchens or dining rooms) make sure you fit warm, low energy GU10s, or you’ll be costing the earth when it comes to power.

 

I hope this helps you ‘see the light’ and makes your HMOs stand out as being the lightest, warmest and most delightful place for a person to call home!

Protect the downside

In property investing, as in life, it is always wise to consider the downside of any action you might be thinking of taking. You might decide to get married for example! While there are a lot of great aspects of marriage such as companionship, support, sharing life’s experiences with someone you love, fun and friendship to name but a few, there are downsides too. Any of us who have been married for more than a few months will know the need for compromise, swallowing your pride from time to time, say sorry on a fairly regular basis, and accept the habits (bad and good) of your partner with little hope of changing them fast.

In circumstances where your relationship is under great stress and where communication has broken down irrevocably , there is always a way out, but it is painful and costly.  Looking back on my divorce from my first husband, there were definitely things I could have done differently to ease the pain and heartache of our inevitable separation.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing though, isn’t it! I have tried to take some lessons from that situation and applied them to my strategy for investing. Here are some of my thoughts about protecting yourself from the downside. What are the downsides to property investment?

1) Having too many void periods

2) Not getting tenants of the right type

3) Getting low yields and therefore low cash flow

4) Not getting your money out of the property after you have developed it

5) Too many ongoing costs hitting your profits

6) Property values going down

7) Your business taking too much time … and many more!

So how can you protect the downside? Here are my suggestions …

1) Don’t over-gear.

2) Don’t under-gear. Yes these two points may seem to contradict each other, but you need to keep some liquidity in your back-pocket for when times are hard. You can’t achieve that if all your capital is tied up. Nevertheless if you have a huge mortgage, then when times are tough, this will be the biggest stress on your finances.

3) Ensure you save regularly into another account and keep some of this as cash to cover voids, maintenance and other spending

4) Manage your advertising, marketing and sales to ensure a good continuation of tenants

5) Re-evaluate your portfolio annually to see if you have any dud properties that you need to sell off or re-configure

6) Raise your rents!

7) Plan to re-finance when a number of factors have been met

8) Manage your maintenance with precision – don’t let bad workmanship, poor quotes, picky tenants or over-keen DIY men take your profits!

9) Break down your systems into chunks so that you can outsource, recruit help, and prioritise your time more efficiently.

10) Regularly review your finances with an accountant to see where your black holes are.

Finally – TAKE ACTION. Don’t procrastinate or delay. The longer you leave it the worse it will get and the longer it will take you to come back after a void, a costly maintenance job or a bad tenant.