Lessons Learned in 2018

Hi Everyone. I lost track of my days and missed posting it on Monday and woke up today thinking it was Sunday. So clearly my head is in the clouds this week. However, I really want to share our lessons learned in 2018. Not everything is sunshine and roses and I don’t believe in only posting highlights. Hopefully some of this can help you avoid the same mistakes.

I am going to share the top 5 lessons I have learned the hard way. 


Lessons Learned in 2018

Lesson 1

Paperwork! Oh my goodness this makes it to number one! I was used to being an employee. I got paid on payday and things like tax, NI, etc. was sorted for me. I didn’t track mileage, I didn’t need to keep receipts blah, blah! Except it isn’t ‘blah’ at all!!

I have been in a word, rubbish. I just haven’t got my head into business woman mode quick enough. Please be organised and sort things as you go. If you want to grow your business on strong foundations, get your systems in place.

Lesson 2

Timings! Whatever time you think something is going to take, add more. We do this anyway but not enough. The stress that has been caused this year by timings alone has been high. Plan for the worst case, re-finances, mortgages, builds, refurbs, building control; whatever it is, if you have a time limit, make sure you are super organised. Deal with things in good time and don’t leave things until the last minute. I will say, we don’t leave things to the last minute and I do my best to keep everything on track and we have still be caught out!

Lesson 3

Momentum. You may have heard the various of analogies for momentum? When you have to start really hard at the beginning, but once you’re going you can keep it going more easily. This is so true. Every time you have a knockback, you just have to keep taking steps forward. When you stop, a day becomes, a week, becomes a month. You lose your flow. Try your best to deal with the inevitable problems that come your way whilst keeping your eyes ahead on the goal. 

I have struggled this year with my headspace, confidence, things going wrong. But, if I had quit, I doubt I will have been able to keep on, keeping on with it. It’s easy to give up when it’s difficult, but you just have to find a way of having little mental breaks and recovery time. 

Lesson 4

“Comparison is the thief of joy.” This is not my wisdom, but I don’t know who the quote is from. Comparing yourself to others is the worst thing to do, if you end up comparing yourself for the purpose of putting yourself down. If you look at others as inspiration and motivation, then power to you. 

Lesson 5

Trust your own instincts. If something doesn’t sit right, if the numbers don’t stack up, you have a voice and a choice (un-intentional rhyming) You don’t have to tolerate being messed about. You are allowed to question something if it’s not right or you don’t understand. Do your due diligence and seek guidance from those more experienced. We have taken our education really seriously and we continue to learn and ask questions to avoid pitfalls. But ultimately, you need to take responsibility for every area of your business, because I promise you, nobody cares about it as much as you.

Here’s to 2019, with all the new lessons to be learned, but I won’t be repeating these ones! Mistakes aren’t a bad thing, not learning from them is what causes people to keep making the same ones.


The Finished Flip Property Project

Hi Everyone, We have been documenting the progress of our latest flip property in some of my previous posts. We are really happy to bring this update of the final product to you guys and girls.

There are a lot of factors to consider when you are buying and selling houses. I wish it was as simple as finding a wreck and making it pretty. We do a lot of research into our area, the target market and the finish we need to achieve. As much as we can control certain aspects, there will always be factors that we can’t. Political uncertainty, financial uncertainty; they all have to be considered and we react accordingly. Nothing comes risk free, you just need to make sure you are educated and have completed your due diligence.

So this aside, we have worked with our fabulous build team to turn this house around, we have chosen the layout, the design, the colours, fixtures and fittings, have designed the new layout and explored the options to maximise the property. We may not be able to do the work ourselves, but we definitely choose how the finished product will look, how to re- arrange the space and maximise the potential. 

The Numbers

In this deal we have had to work out the figures based on the following factors. 

Purchase cost, stamp duty, legal fees, investor’s returns on the refurbishment costs and the refurbishment costs, bridging finance and sale fees. 

I cannot stress how important it is to factor in everything when you are running numbers. These are the outgoings, we also factored in the profit. 

Our investors are extremely important to us. We pride ourselves on the standard of product we create and the bottom line, they get their investment back before we do. The only way we are going to continue to flourish, is by creating these win/win relationships.

The Sales Marketing

When picking your agents to sell your property, your business and ethos, in my opinion should align. Yes fees are a consideration and a cheaper sales fee may add to your profit, but we really believe in building relationships and picking the right team to sell the property. These are the characteristics we look for.

Prominence in the market. How many boards do you see when you drive around the area? Will they have a large contact base for potential clients? What types of properties are already on their books?

Sales, sales, sales… I do not respond well to in your face, stereotypical, intense sales styles. I can feel myself internally eye rolling. Do I want that sales style being used on potential customers? No. Equally, the other end of the spectrum, you want to ensure your property creates genuine enthusiasm. The amount of properties I have viewed, where I’ve felt they are just waiting to go to lunch/home. Do not underestimate how much these factors will effect potential buyers. 

Answer that phone!!!! My god this irritates me. Such a small detail but I think it’s huge. A lot of people do not like leaving voicemail messages. Every time the phone goes unanswered in the agents office for long periods of time, you may be losing potential viewers. Ring around a few and see what response you get.

Staging

Do whatever is in your power to do to maximise impact. Whether that is in the decoration, the staging of mirrors, furniture, soft furnishings. There is always competition, you want to be making sure you offer more. Play to your strengths or ask for help with it. If it helps sell the property quickly, it’s worth it. 

We do all of ours, ourselves. I love doing it so it is never a chore to me. We also do everything on a budget, I upcycle, make curtains, cushions, borrow items. But at the end of the day, you get out what you put in.

The Property

Here we are, the final product. I hope you like it as much as we do. I love the idea of someone falling in love with the house and being excited to move in.

5 Thoughts To Re-Charge Our Minds And Business

 

This week I found it difficult to narrow down content for one blog post. You know the saying, “coming along like buses”? When everything comes in at once; that has been the last couple of weeks. In our business we are in the last stages of refurbishing our flip, which you can see in my recent post¬†http://lifeaboutthehouse.com/flip-project-renovations-part-two/ , I have just got the keys for a flip property that I am project managing and another has just come in for a buy to let flat. We are re-financing our HMO and we have been working with the Architect on our own house, not to mention normal life.

I have had the pleasure of meeting a great new group of people over the weekend, all with the mindset of developing property knowledge and making progress forward. There is so much value to be taken from talking to people, sharing experiences and making the commitment to learn. So this week, I wanted to talk about reflection and planning. 

We went out for dinner with friends and we were just sharing and catching up on life. No competition, no bragging and Matt started to talk about what had happened this year, it wasn’t until I heard him recalling our experiences this year (good and bad), that I truly heard and felt what he keeps trying to remind me all the time. We are working really hard, making progress and building our foundations. We may not have hit every target, but we have achieved so much and persevered at times where others may have given up.

So this week I just wanted to share 5 thoughts with you, that have helped us keep on, keeping on.

You have the power to change course

What a simple yet freeing thought. If something isn’t working, if something needs to change, we can adapt and move forward. Sometimes, we can be blinkered by not seeing the possibility of alternatives. There is a difference between flitting between ideas and not committing to any, and sitting down with your business plan, assessing your next move and getting creative with ways to get to the goal. We don’t have to stay stuck.

You can choose a new beginning at any point

I listened to Brendon Burchard’s podcast and this was a mental game changer. Keeping energy high can be a test when you are tired, sad, un-motivated, the list goes on. But, energy is as Brendan talks about, one of the ultimate high performance habits. I would urge you to read his book, High Performance Habits.

He discussed the idea of starting over. This thought alone helped me massively. When things don’t pan out, or if things just aren’t working; we can view it as an opportunity for a new beginning and fresh start. This is a very simple concept, but a powerful one. There is a natural energy and excitement when you start a new project you’re passionate about. It’s when we feel that things aren’t going our way that the energy drops. This year we have tried lots of things that haven’t worked, after a while the sense of failure is draining. But after hearing this, I just thought, it’s fine, we can draw a line under it and can have a fresh start. I promise, this is a far more motivating and rejuvenating approach than holding on to the mental baggage of mistakes and struggles.

Face It

If you know the work of Brian Tracy, you may have heard his concept of eating frogs. Not literally I am happy to report, but metaphorically speaking, eating a big, fat yucky frog of a task. We all have them, hopping around our houses, minds, businesses. I have things that sit heavy in my head, like a mental weight and the only way to relieve it, is to do it.

I will never understand why we as humans will willingly hold onto something that is unhelpful or bad for us. But I get caught in the procrastination trap like everyone else! One thing I will promise you about starting out in your business, ignoring whatever challenge you are facing will not help at all. If you have made a mistake, find a solution. If you have a deadline, meet it. If you need help, ask.

Review and Improve

We learned a lot about our refurbishments by making mistakes. Our later projects have gone better because of it. Making mistakes isn’t a bad thing, repeating those mistakes over and over is avoidable. Review what has gone well and build on it, review what hasn’t worked and learn from it. If we don’t take time to review our progress and evaluate, we miss opportunities to improve.

You deserve a life

Everyone has their opinion on this and I am just throwing mine into the mix here. Yes we need to work hard, yes to get results you have to put the work in; but what is all of this for if we burn ourselves out and stop enjoying our current life? I was so guilty of this and my mental health suffered. This isn’t about allowing yourself 5 hours a day to watch TV, it is about making sure that you look after yourself and hold onto the things that bring genuine happiness. Our future lives aren’t promised, just make sure that you don’t lose sight of the most important parts of your life. I bet for 99% of us, it isn’t money!