What can I do if my partner won’t support me investing in HMOs?

My son Tom is ten years old, and for Christmas last year he got a magic set. He spent the first few days learning all the tricks in the box so that he could amaze all the family with his skills. A few weeks later and there are really only about three tricks that he’s remembered but he’s already close to auditioning for the magic circle. He can summon up these tricks at will, and all he needs is a pack of cards and a one pound coin.

Isn’t it great when you discover something new and exciting? When you learn a new trick, or a new approach? Especially when it’s something that will really help your family like learning how to make money or how to invest in property.

When I learned all about HMOs and realised the amazing cashflow I could make in comparison to my single buy-to-lets I was gobsmacked. I just KNEW that by hook or by crook, I HAD to get into HMOs. My nice little portfolio of buy-to-lets was never gonna make me enough money to leave my job. I just wasn’t making enough money.

So I was committed to getting into HMOs. I was certain. I knew that the way ahead was HMOs. There was just one problem. My problem wasn’t money, it wasn’t time. It was my Darling Husband, Andy! Love him to bits, but cautious? Sheesh, he redefines the meaning of the word. He was SOOOO uncertain it was untrue!! “But what if it doesn’t work, what if we can’t get tenants, what if we run out of money?” he said, his voice laden with doubts.

Ever heard those things from your partner? Or ever thought those thoughts too? Andy was exactly the same.

What I wondered was whether I could ever make this plan work without my husband’s backing. There were risks in going it alone, and I wasn’t sure that I was ready to risk my marriage for money. Deep down I needed to know that he was at least ok with me investing in HMOs, even if he wasn’t willing to do any of the work.

If you’re finding that your partner is less than enthusiastic about your new-found desire to create HMO magic, I might be able to help you.

  1. Don’t rush it. You’ve had more time to let your ideas and your new-found enthusiasm settle than your partner has. He/ she is way behind you in their thinking. They need to learn for themselves. The one way to put someone off something fast is to impose your ideas too fast, too forcibly.
  2. Make time to discuss your ideas. If your partner refuses to listen, ask them if they would allow you 30 minutes to explain your ideas and why you want to invest, without them interrupting or arguing with you. Then you give them 30 minutes to explain why they have misgivings. Then take 15 minutes to calmly discuss your feelings together. After you’ve each shared, leave the discussion for 24 hours. This takes discipline and commitment, but will let your partner see that you are as committed to them as you are to the whole idea of investing in HMOs
  3. Show them you’ve considered their objections by writing out a clear plan. In my experience, people who are cautious tend to be people who like clarity and structure. With a written plan and some thought behind it, your partner may well realise you are serious and have thought about the risks. This alone can shift their mindset.
  4. Accept that your partner’s objections could strengthen your business. Take them seriously and consider whether their reasons have weight. You might realise that if you work on addressing their objections, you could have a stronger business as a result.
  5. Don’t give up on your dream to practice HMO magic. If you are in the right relationship and your partner really respects and loves you, your persistence will pay off.

 

After a few weeks of doing none of the above and frankly nagging Andy to death, he made an excellent suggestion. Being an IT geek, he was used to launching new projects as ‘beta’ projects – trial ones that tested the core idea to see if it would work.

So we agreed that I would launch a ‘beta’ HMO – a trial small four bed HMO. It was the best way to test my idea out and see if it would work, with little risk. It made me happy and it satisfied Andy’s aversion to risk.

Thankfully the project was a huge success, and soon afterwards I could really press on with my goal to create enough HMOs to achieve financial freedom. Our marriage not only stayed intact, but was made stronger as a result.

You can create a magical income from HMOs and you can do it with your partner’s support if you are patient and kind. You never know, in future, they will probably thank you for it.

 

Look after the pennies ….

You’ve heard it said ‘Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves’ and it’s true that small amounts can compound into big amounts if you are consistent.

Look after the pennies

In Best Nest, we hold dear a phrase that has served us well – ‘Low-cost, no-cost ’ which we use as a yardstick to test and assess new ideas, tools and concepts. The other useful question is to ask ‘Is this action/ tool scalable?’. We want to build a big business that is profitable and operates with as little as possible of our time and energy! But as we all know, profit can easily be eroded by spending too much money on fripperies, doodahs or tat. (Technical terms which Andy applies to any spending that is not in the budget). Watch out Wendy.

 

As well as investing for your future, you need to think about measuring your return on investment, time and energy. If you are better served by outsourcing an activity, and leveraging that person’s time to do something you are better at, do it! As long as they can help generate income or reduce costs long term, they’re worth having.

 

Although you will have to invest in staff (or contractor) costs, as long as you don’t utilise that time for catching up on Loose Women, you’ll soon realise the power and efficiency of other people’s time and skills. There are some great websites out there to help you too –

www.peopleperhour.com

www.workable.com

www.timeetc.co.uk

 

So make sure you measure what you treasure – that is your time, income, profit and energy – and learn how you can employ them wisely in your business to grow and fulfil your lifestyle and income plans!

 

To your growth!

Wendy

 

My Top 5 Success Tips For The HMO Property Investor

7 Bed HMO in Stoke on TrentIf you have just started in HMOs you need to get off on the right footing! Here are some key tips on making you HMO work for you:

 

  1. Make sure you know the complete cost of the project before you begin. Always add in a contingency figure (5% on anything over 120k).
  2. Calculate the predicted ROI (Return on Investment) and if it’s likely to be less than 15% DON’T DO IT. You can get faster, cheaper returns by investing in other assets.
  3. Do the Spareroom numbers: if there are any more than 3:1 rooms available to tenants looking, NOW is NOT the time to buy in that area. Too much supply.
  4. Create your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) at the start, middle and end of the project. You will invariably change what you want to measure but your KPIs will probably include: monthly rental (predicted); monthly rental (actual); occupancy, advertising costs; length of voids; maintenance spend; time spent on business.
  5. Ensure you  (or your accountant) create a Profit and Loss statement that you analyse monthly.  Even if you just have one HMO this will keep you on track and get you to drill down into minimising costs and maximising income.

 

If you implement these first five steps in your first project you’ll start off brilliantly well! You now have the foundation to scale and grow.

To your success!

 

To take your knowledge to the next level, join my new 1-day Fast Track Course on the 14th October! Learn more.

Is a ‘paper-free’ office really possible?

Paper free office Creating a clutter-free and paper-free environment will massively help your productivity and efficiency.

When you run a business, however much you rely on technology to reduce your use of paper you’ll still find that there are office-dinosaurs out there who just LOVE to write things by hand, or type letters, or send paper bills in the post. It seems that you just cannot get away from using paper!

There are so many reasons why using paper wastes space, burns time and uses up valuable resources. Getting rid of it from your office will allow you to do so much more with the space you save and also give you a much faster working environment. So how do you reduce the overload, streamline your work area, and get rid of all unnecessary paper?

When we committed to running a ‘paper-free office’ in 2015 we had to invest in two key pieces of kit to help us do this quickly and well. I suggest you do the same – the first is a FAST double-sided scanner that saves copies to pdf.

  1. A ScanSnap S1500 scanner by Fujitsu ( discontinued now but the replacement is the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500). It isn’t cheap at £350. Worth every penny though, as it scans super-fast and then saves each document into your chosen folder on your drive. We use Google drive as it is so fast and searchable which means you never lose a document.
  2.  An efficient shredder, and a young shredding assistant to do the work! The former you can buy from Amazon – our latest one is the AmazonBasics 5-6 Sheet Cross Cut Shredder which is just £30.99 from Amazon. It is fast, takes up to 8 sheets of A4 at a go and also shreds credit cards. The shredding assistant is harder to come by unless you have a ready supply of children impatiently wanting to earn some extra pocket-money. A neighbour’s child will do if you can’t supply your own. A half hour of shredding for £3.50 in return works wonders!

Our maxim is scan-save-shred. We apply this to almost every little teency bit of paper we get in the house: receipts, useful articles from magazines, letters, bills – you name it. We pile ‘em up, scan them in, save them in an online folder and shred ‘em.

It has created cubic megameters in our home office. We no longer have paper clogging up our in-trays, or shelves full of magazine files, or filing cabinets bulging to the brink with documents. De-cluttering your office of paper will bring you mental as well as physical space. But you need to regularly attend to it or the overload happens incrementally!

If you want to know more about how to streamline and systemise your processes, we are running a Property Power Systems Workshop on 2nd Sep about how to use Google to build your business. There will be LOADS of useful ways you can save money, create time, and freedom by using low-cost and no-cost solutions just like this so you can reduce your overload and create true freedom.

 

For only £99 reserve your place on the morning workshop here: https://goo.gl/JkDzWk

Or the afternoon one here: https://goo.gl/rcSQfz

 

Why mentoring makes a difference

When I first started out in my property journey (over 20 years ago) I went to speak to a friend’s husband who had 5 student multi-lets to find out exactly how he had created this small but effective portfolio. I copied his model, learned how to raise finance from the bank before BTL mortgages were created, and studied tenant and landlord law to develop my knowledge and application. With Alan’s guidance and support, I began to make good profits from my very first student multi-let property, and I didn’t look back.

Over the years I have had other mentors – business, personal, HMO specialists – all people who have done what I wanted to do but didn’t know HOW to do it. In the past, I have also worked with a personal trainer and a spiritual advisor to help me grow and develop as a person and to this day still implement the practices I learnt with them.  Often I chose people that I wanted to work with because I could see that they had done something against the backdrop of challenges which I too was facing. My personal trainer for example, also had a young family, so could understand the difficulties of fitting exercise around a busy lifestyle. She also understood the problems of feeding a family when they want to eat egg and chips and you want to nourish yourself with avocado and feta salad.

If you need to find someone who is right to mentor you, it helps if you have an understanding of where you are now, and also what’s stopping you. You may have identified a goal that you want to achieve but you aren’t sure HOW to achieve it. You may look at others who are successfully running businesses, creating passive income or building property portfolios but just not know where to start. This confusion leads to you chasing your tail. It leads to indecision, procrastination and defeat. How do you avoid this trap? You need to find someone who has already demonstrated a PATTERN of success, that you can simply copy and paste. Also, someone who you can relate to and who has themselves proven that despite life’s challenges, they have achieved success.

The benefits to you in finding someone who has already done this are multifarious:

1) Not wasting time on U-turns and dead ends looking for answers that someone else has already discovered

2) You can build a business based on tried and tested principals and practice

3) Utilising someone else’s mistakes from which you can grow

4) Improving on the ideas you glean from another person’s implementation

5) Finding short cuts and faster routes to delivery (i.e. NOT reinventing the wheel)!

6) Staying accountable to your goals

7) Regularly measuring your progress

8) Having someone who’s on your side with whom you can confidentially share your worries, concerns and questions

9) Having your ‘blind spots’ illuminated and your ‘starshine’ magnified

10) Saving thousands of pounds and hours of time in non-personalised and irrelevant learning which doesn’t take account of YOUR situation, strengths, position and goals.

The question is – WHO do you need? And WHAT are you trying to achieve? THEN you can find someone who has done it successfully, COPY their systems and processes, and PASTE them into your life, with help and support tied in to ENSURE your SUCCESS! The only question is WILL YOU?!

Nike, Adidas or Puma -does your brand really matter when it comes to HMO rooms?

footwearBelieve it or not, what you do, how you do it, what you say and how you say it says a LOT about YOU. And that applies to properties and HMOs too. If you’re not convinced, let me share how your BRAND speaks volumes to your customer.

Let’s say you are a prospective tenant called Paul, a working young professional, perhaps starting a new graduate trainee scheme in a new area. You don’t want to rent a flat with all the encumbrances of bills and direct debits. You just want to pay one price for fully-inclusive rent. Simples! The answer is of course to rent a room in an HMO – a shared property where you have a private bedroom and possibly ensuite, but shared kitchen and outside areas. You will have to take on some of the responsibilities of emptying bins, locking up and cleaning your own room, but if you haven’t mastered those things by the time you’re 21 what use is good parenting or a University education??

So, you are quite prepared to take the ups with the downs of communal living, and you start searching on Spare Room (self-proclaimed number one website for house shares in the UK). There are a number of vacancies in the area you’re searching and you’re pleased with the choice. As you start to examine the photos and the descriptions of the properties, you notice some stark differences between the adverts. Some have great photos of lovely rooms, presented well and with detailed descriptions of what’s in the all-inclusive price. Others look frankly neglected – a mattress with obvious stains and an unmade bed; mismatching furniture, and blurry photos taken on a dated phone camera after the cameraman had had one too many lunchtime pints at his local. You’re reaction is ‘Yuk, who would want to rent THAT room?’

Two very different offerings and two very different brands. Probably two very different landlords and two very different sets of tenants. Not necessarily two different sets of profit figures though, which might surprise you.  There is a market for both. At the lower end of the market there is a need, a great need, for cheap, simple and basic accommodation. True, the tenants you attract may also be described as such, but as long as they pay on time and look after the place, are you bothered?

On the other hand, you might want to corner the local market for more up-scale, trendy rooms which demand a higher price tag but can also demand a more discerning and, ahem, a more demanding clientele. In this case, Paul has a choice. He can choose to pay more for a more luxurious room, but in his mind he might also be wondering, ‘Will the landlord be a pain, checking up on me all the time? Will the other tenants be high maintenance and always complaining about stuff?’. Paul then wonders about the other room. It’s certainly cheaper and less salubrious, but it probably means he can get on with his life without any hassle. On the other hand, if there’s a leaking tap, how likely is it that this landlord will be bothered to fix it?

As Paul ponders these questions, I want to put some questions to you, dear HMO investor. You see, the way you or your agency interfaces with tenants also says a lot about your core values – are you traditional (old fashioned some might say) and do everything with paper (remember that stuff that comes from trees)? Are you highly geeky and use all the latest apps and online tools but find that an actual conversation with a person is quite stressful? Maybe you are the next and upcoming editor of HMO Vogue and know your pantone colours from your RAL codes (paint codes for the colour ignorant).  Your HMOs are beautiful inside and out, but you have to rent an additional warehouse for all the arty additions displayed in your photos and you are VERY protective of your designer wallpaper.

What about communication? How do tenants contact you? Will you accept a text at all hours of the day or night? Or is it by telephone only during office hours? When a tenant moves in, what kind of impression do you create? Do you carry out an induction, explaining how everything works and the ground rules, or are you more laid back, letting know that the key is under the doormat, please keep the fridge clean, and we’ll see you in 6 months?

Each aspect of your business builds your brand – so examine WHAT you do and HOW you do it. You are conveying a message with everything you do. In marketing, professionals use the three Ms – Media, Message and Mode – and these can be directly applied to property too.

What Media are you using to communicate with your customers what does this say about you? What is the Message you are trying to convey (a better question is what emotion are you trying to elicit so that the tenant will rent your room and stay) and what Mode of communication are you using – and which modes do your tenants prefer?

The three Ms can be applied to all aspects of your business, none more so than in your interactions with the outside world – your market. For them, like Paul, they are assessing those three Ms subconsciously to be convinced that you have exactly the right room in the right house, and that they will be the right tenant paying the right price.