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Successful landlords need a..

Do you ever wonder why so many successful people have a great story behind their rise to fame and fortune?

We all respond subconsciously to a great narrative. Could it be a primeval hangover stemming from our time sitting around the camp fire listening to our elders tales of wisdom and stories of how our forefathers overcame strife and prospered.

What successful business people need to propel them on their way is a narrative….a great back story. Successful landlords need to vision themselves as the hero or the heroine in an epic story. Slaying lazy bureaucrats, out-foxing greedy bankers, taming marauding tenants and all other hurdles on the way to the promised ‘buy-to-let nirvana’ that every ambitious landlord wishes for.

My story

My story is like so many other landlords. I didn’t want to turn up and do the 9 to 5 for my whole life. The thought of slaving away for somebody else and never getting recognised for my efforts depressed me.

As a young graduate I brought my first house with a little help from my parents and then let out several rooms. My great investment purchased at the height of the 80’s boom then proceeded to plummet in value. Sound familiar?

I was undaunted and full of youthful enthusiasm so I brought another property at auction and proceeded in my head to continue my epic story reshaping the wreck with guile and determination. Despite my heroic effort I failed to sell at a profit my gentrified Victorian semi so I resorted instead to renting it out and paying off my mortgage debt.

Onwards and upwards! I kept buying using equity from property and savings to invest in new property investment opportunities. These were good times to buy in the late 90s before every man and dog wanted to be a buy-to-let landlord and property values went through the roof.

Then in 2004; the sudden realisation that I didn’t have to get on my trusty cycle and go to work. I was free! I had battled the demons and won and could now pass through the secret valley into another world.

It was at this stage that I set up Property Hawk. I could have brought a plethora of property but I’d been there and done it and thought the housing market was at a crazy level. What I needed was a new challenge and maybe a new story. I made a few mistakes. The main one was that I failed to equip myself fully with a new narrative. I toyed with a few…….international playboy….not really me. The lack of focus and a convincing story cost me dear, I was plotless and clueless.

Then, the credit crunch; which hit me harder in the pocket than most thanks to some of my non-property related investments. Followed by a hip injury that left me contemplating a life changing hip replacement at 40. Not great!

Next chapter

Now fully fit I have a clear vision again as to where the story needs to head next.

I intend to add to my buy-to-let portfolio. I had lined up two purchases this year but pulled out both times. The first time because of an issue with the title and then because of the stratospheric service charge on the other property. I’m still looking but will only buy if I can get a really good deal.

Meanwhile my battle continues with the planners to try and get a reasonable scale of development on an extension to a block of apartments I own. The irony of it being that the system I worked in and spent my days saying no to others is now blocking my every turn.

Now I am about to become a landlord of a different sort. One that rents out market stalls to local food heroes. My new story is different than the one I had in my twenties. Thanks to my buy-to-let portfolio my financial independence is secure so I have had to come up with a new narrative. Building a completely new business based around people and food but using the experience and some of the knowledge I have gained from being a landlord.

Why do landlords need a story?

The fact is, landlords without a story or a strong personal aim are at risk of falling prey to the sharks and the property gurus who will be all to willing to feed them theirs ..for a fee. Without a clear vision it’s easy to end up with a bit part in somebody else’s pantomime. ( Remember, they’re behind you!)

The moral is that to really get ahead but also to get a life; a landlord needs a story.

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