Flip Project Renovations: Part Two

Hi Everyone! This weekend was packed with property choices for a flip deal, kitchens, colours, details; I love it! As ever, I can pick the most expensive things in the line up and then have to reign it in. Budget, Budget, Budget! It’s so important. I wrote about this in more detail previously at http://lifeaboutthehouse.com/renovating-a-house-on-a-budget/

I took my parents to the flip house a couple of weeks ago, I thought it would be really good for them to see what we do rather than the pictures of the “after shots”. Even at that stage, there was a lot of progress in the refurb, so when we went on Saturday we were so happy with the stage we are now at. The team have worked/flown in a short space of time and we are now at the point of picking the kitchens and décor, exciting times.

Get Organised

As with every project, being as organised as you can just helps the process along. We have learned in past projects about areas such as Building Control and the timings can really throw you out if you don’t get them in at the right point. Also make sure you allow for it in your budget.

Communication is Key

Communication is key with your team. Knowing what stage they are at and want to move onto next can help you with your own timings. We are ordering the kitchen, so we needed to make sure we get it sorted in time. We were sourcing the tiles, so we needed to know how many and by when. These very small obvious tasks, if left can cause delays for the team.

Get the flip updates on Instagram

The house is looking fab, you can see some of the progress shots on my Instagram http://@lifeaboutthehouse . The stud wall is up, the kitchen wall is down and the walls are ready for plastering and then painting. I can’t wait to see this one finished. I may feel a pang of jealously at how lovely it looks and that its completely done because we have to renovate our own home too…and we haven’t started yet haha!




Beware The Shiny Penny!

I love everything that sparkles, it has become a running joke that I have magpie eyes and love glitter. I used to collect gem stones or anything that was sparkly. There was a particular rock caller Pyrite, otherwise known as ‘fools gold’ and I remembered this when I was thinking about shiny pennies and this blog. In our quest to find treasure, do we potentially miss actual opportunities because they don’t sparkle as brightly?

shiny pennies

The ‘shiny pennies’ are those great ‘opportunities’ that come with big ticket promises. They are appealing because they can appear to shorten the work, planning and time it takes to achieve success or appear to be the equivalent of the business lottery ticket.

They can also be the distractions.

The importance of your strategy

In any business plan, your strategy will inform your plan of how to get there. This is a very basic simplification. The clearer you goals and strategy, the more you will be able to identify the action steps needed. Then it comes down to sheer hard work and consistency.

The distractions come when you see what others are doing, have done and have been successful at. We can overload our brains with the hundreds of different opportunities and ways of doing things. We can be swayed into changing our minds, then our strategy and then our plan. Do this too many times, every time a new shiny penny catches your eye and you end up doing nothing.

I am not preaching. I have been guilty of this. I love learning, so every time I learn something new, I want to do it. What I am now learning, is that it doesn’t all have to be done right now. I have moved to a new city, which has so much potential and opportunity, it can be overwhelming. The flitting between ideas only lost me time and mentally wore me out.


Sit down with your goals and really think about what they mean to you. Think about what you want and what you are able to do. This doesn’t mean limiting self beliefs of what you are capable of, this is the reality of whether you can travel regularly, the time you have available, how quickly you want to achieve a certain amount of income per month etc. This differs for everyone, so comparing your plan with what others are doing isn’t helpful. Yes we can learn from each other, but we don’t know everyone’s personal situations. I will share ours purely as an example of why we have chosen the strategy based on our goals, so you can see the process.

  • £xxx cash flow PCM by Jan 2020 (strategy will need to be income producing)
  • £xxx in capital by April 2019 (strategy will need to make chunks of money)
  • £xxx in capital by Jan 2020
  • Flips – will create the pots of capital
  • HMOs and Sourcing – will create monthly income in the time frame we have set

Birmingham – Due diligence and research to find locations

When I have this, I can focus now. I am not trying to see what others are doing, I am not constantly trying to find a new area or looking at every property under the sun. It stops the external noise and I can set to work.

Beware the shiny penny. There are always brilliant opportunities and bigger goals and projects. But if we never learn the craft long enough to build and grow our experience and work our way up, what we have will never seem enough. We will constantly be thrown by the next thing that glistens and we may just end up with fools gold.









Reaching Out For Help Isn’t A Sign Of Weakness

I have ‘ummed and aah’d ‘ about writing this. This blog is about my life as a property investor, the ups and downs, goals, habits, deals and projects. I aim to be honest and share experiences. It is also an outlet for me. It was mental health awareness day last week, there is a lot in the press about creating more awareness and support and first hand I know how important that is.

9 years ago I learned a lot about loss and mental health through the absolute destruction that is suicide. I have been through every emotion under the sun since. Losing someone this way is horrific and leaves you with an immense sadness that is quite frankly indescribable, obviously for the emotions that you experience, but more so, sadness for them. Sadness for the pain they felt, that was invisible to the rest of the world.

I myself battle with anxiety and OCD thoughts. I am in a lot of regards a confident person, my anxiety does not effect me in social interactions, nobody would know. So it’s always been easier to say nothing than to try and explain something that seems so out of context.

The mind is such a complex place, it can be immensely powerful and creative and it can become equally dark and exhausting; we just can’t always see when someone may be tipping over. Everyone has bad weeks, days, hours, there is a balance in life that seems to flow between the ups and downs. Life is chaotic, fast paced and we are in an era where the pressure to be ‘something’ seems to be far more prevalent. Our lives are public information through social media and that opens us up to huge levels of comparison and self-doubt, as well as motivation and inspiration.

When your mind is working with you, there is a flow and energy. You also have the ability to find some peace and contentment. Yes the day may have had its stresses, but in the bigger scheme of things, your brain is on your side. It is very difficult I feel, to be able to understand the complete irrationality that can come from various forms of mental health issues, (I can and will only ever talk from my own experience here). This can be difficult for the sufferer and the people around them. Trying to explain why, when everything to everyone else seems absolutely fine, you still feel like an absolute piece of crap, or extremely anxious or like bursting into tears and not leaving your bed because you are so tired; is like trying to make someone else see your dreams. Not because it’s a figment of your imagination, but because it’s in your mind, not out in the shared world.

I read/listen to all the great motivational, coaching and personal development content and I love it. I take so much from it, but if my mind is having a ‘day’ I am just glad if I get to the end of it having done something! Showered, cooked something, haven’t cried = a win! If I let myself get sucked into social media however, it can make me feel like I am making excuses, that I should be disciplined and crushing it every day. Look! Everyone else can do it, is doing it, what’s wrong with me?

When I am stronger I know what I am capable of and I don’t define myself by the way I feel sometimes. For me, the reason for a long time I struggled to talk about what’s really going on, is because partly I don’t even know how to describe it, fear of fear itself, fear of the word “admitting” I have a problem, like I’m confessing to something. More than anything else however, I just thought, I don’t want to be like this so if I can just get on with it, it will eventually go away. You become a person who can smile on cue, function and hide it. That’s when it can spiral.

There is no quick fix answer, but I promise, talking to someone helps. For those wanting to know how to help, just being kind, being patient with someone and encouragement is always a good start, (that advice, I’ve learned goes for how we treat ourselves too). I am lucky to have the people I do in my life, the people who have helped me the most aren’t just the professionals, but they are the lovely human beings who listen, make me tea and love me regardless. 

Please talk to someone if you are struggling, you may just need a chat with a good friend and/or you may need professional guidance. If you don’t feel like you have anyone, there are people out there who will listen. It may just be the first little step in giving your brain a break from carrying the all the weight by yourself. 

Progress Of A Flip Deal

Over the next few weeks we will be sharing our progress on our flip deal. A ‘flip’ to summarise is a property we buy, refurbish and sell, the profit is made through the value we add. Like I say, this is a very short summary; there are a lot of moving parts and things to carefully consider with these types of project.


The Flip Project

We initially viewed the house with options to either split the rooms for rental or to flip as these are our current strategies and the area can work for both. However, we never want to fit a square peg into a round hole; assessing the numbers and our target market, the best option for us was to flip. A predominately residential area, with good commuter links and a layout which would make a great family home were the reasons for this choice.

Go for No!

We view a lot of properties. It’s a necessary part of the process, not every property will be suitable and not every offer we make on the ones that are will be accepted. I think this is the part where property investors build their resilience, hearing ‘No’ to your offers is just par for the course. If you fear this small but powerful word when it comes to making offers, I admit, I did too. I was given a book called ‘Go For No’ and it changed my mind set, it’s well worth a read. Like ever, our offer was initially rejected as there were several higher offers, but, it eventually came to us. You just have to put yourself in the mix, you just never know.

Be a problem Solver

A very experienced investor and teacher on one of our property training courses said these words and they stuck. The bigger the problem you solve the more money you make. Not everything in life is about making money and not every problem you solve is for a monetary reward, but in this context I am an investor and I would be doing a pretty lousy job if we didn’t intend to make money from an investment. 

To make the most of the property we have decided to make a few changes. Part of our job is to be that problem solver and see potential. In this property the third bedroom is very small, but the bathroom is bigger, so we are switching them over to make a bigger bedroom and an upstairs shower room. Luckily the plumbing supports this move. That solves the bedroom sizes, but knowing the market for this house is likely to be a family; a shower without a bath isn’t going to be suitable. There is already a toilet downstairs and a large, awkward space that isn’t being utilised to its potential. So we are increasing the size to make a downstairs bathroom and utility space.

The kitchen needs to be modernised anyway but it doesn’t flow. We have decided to take down the wall and make it open plan with the back part of the living room, it will create a more usable space and a dining area which looks out to the garden, (which is currently overgrown, to the point we didn’t realise we had a good size garage with separate road access until our second viewing, bonus!!)


There is a lot of work to be done, but the difference it will make will be huge. I genuinely believe in purchasing properties that I would be happy to live in or would be happy to let my parents live in, so we don’t take shortcuts. When we are planning the refurb and the décor, I am thinking like a buyer. What would I expect for that money, what else can I get for that money? How is this better? You can never tick every box for every person, but how can you make your property the most desirable?

I was discussing the property market in my area with an investor and mentor and he discussed market trends and then said something in the currency I understand best, (food) if you go to two coffee shops and get the same priced coffee but one comes with a biscuit, you will keep going to that place because you are getting better value for your money. I love the simplicity of this. I also love biscuits.

I spoke about budgets in a previous post http://lifeaboutthehouse.com/renovating-a-house-on-a-budget/ and this still comes into play with flips just like any other investment. My mission is to find the affordable way of delivering a ‘wow’ finish. Right now, the wow is seeing everything totally gutted and ripped out.

I will keep you posted on the progress of this one! I would love to hear about any of your flip projects too!


Pushing Past Your Plateau

Where has this year gone? I must say this at the same time every year, but this time it seems to have flown at a scary pace. I have already broken my vow of no Christmas food before December and have freaked myself out seeing the last quarter as my last chance to achieve our goals. This year has been a learning curve and hasn’t always gone to plan. This has left me feeling like we have hit a bit of a plateau. If I don’t take control of my thoughts, I find myself in a tug of war with my mind; wanting to achieve everything now and knowing that I am not in a race and have time to get there.

The trouble with tug of wars are, when both sides have equal pull, you’re not going anywhere and you end up shattered. There is a quote by Tony Robbins, “people over estimate what they can do in a year, but under estimate how much they can do in 10 years”.

The plateau

Before we started our business, the plateaus I would have normally encountered would have been weight related. Start a healthy eating plan, do well, hit the plateau, get impatient and sabotage myself. To the rational mind of someone who doesn’t battle with weight, this seems stupid and easy to fix and on paper it is. To sabotage yourself makes no rational sense. Alas, the mind can be a challenging place at the best of times, so I will never be quick to judge someone who isn’t doing ‘what is totally obvious’. As I was told once by a pro, “there is a reason behind everything we do, whether it serves you positively or negatively.” This is why I don’t buy into a one size fits all approach to anything in life, we are all battling our own gremlins and react in weird and wonderful ways. We just have to get to grips with what ours are, so we can move forward.

Plateaus in business can be very subtle, you can be run ragged and not actually getting anywhere. Your fatigue and knowledge of how hard you are working frustrates you because of the lack of progress against your goals.

If you’re working hard and want it really badly, why do these plateaus happen? For us, we went hard, took massive action, got momentum, got smacked in the face with difficult times, encountered some sharks along the way and lost some confidence. The compound effect, (read The Slight Edge by Jeff Olsen if you don’t know about this little gem) works for you and against you just the same. It doesn’t take long for the momentum to drop and the effects to ripple out.

Get Honest

I genuinely believe that deep down we all know why something isn’t working. When you take away the excuses that soothe tired minds; the reason why the progress isn’t being made becomes a lot clearer. If you can face this truth for yourself,  (you don’t need to prove anything to anyone else) at least you will have the starting point for turning it around.

This process for me hurt.

Baby steps

Little actions, over and over again. Don’t try and get into a race/ competition however your brain phrases it; you will be put off by the whirlwind around you.


All the greats in business and personal development talk about this.

This week I sat and re-wrote our business plan. I felt like I had lost my way and needed to see exactly what I’m going for in black and white, mapped out with actions. I thought I was getting clear, I ran it past my mentor and I still need to drill down to the absolute core. This comes back to the “One Thing” another great book and a topic I wrote about.

Know your gremlins

My gremlins come in the form of; anxiety, cup of tea procrastination, self doubt and overwhelm. I don’t waste lots of time on social media, but I do freak myself out and drink 2 cups of tea before I feel mentally prepared. Whatever your gremlins are, you need to know them and how to get around them. When we say we don’t have time, usually we have let a few of these take over.

Patiently persistent

I think I am now writing about patience on a weekly basis. I speak to so many people who are just starting out in property and have to get through that initial phase of working really hard, taking big action and seeing no immediate results. The doubt has started to creep in as to whether it works and the energy can start to dip. There is a difference between a plateau because your progress has stagnated and things taking time. A plateau tends to happen when we stop doing certain things that get results or we become used to what we are doing and don’t push past that level. Being patient and persistent is part of the process and something you have to build your faith in. If you stop taking action, the results will never come.

For me, giving up isn’t an option. So I only have two alternatives, push past the plateau, make my peace with the fact that things have taken more time and get on with it, or don’t and waste more time faffing about and still come out at the same outcome.

Nobody wants to live in a groundhog day cycle.

How do you get through your plateau moments?