Since last week's win, I have been inundated by people contacting me from the community who are just starting out on their property journeys. I've been asked for general advice, what books to read, courses to do, communities to be a part of... I have been trying to answer each of the questions individually, however, I'm starting to get behind (apologies if I haven't replied to you!), so I thought I would put together some advice over my next few blogs on what books/courses/events I have read/attended, the resources I use, some advice and a small bit of insight into how I've chosen and continue to progress my education. For those of you who are seasoned investors, this might not be of interest, but I believe going back to the basics is important regardless of your level of experience!
Please remember that this is all based on my own experience - every one of you will learn differently, will respond in different ways, have alternate opinions on what to do and will, in fact, have already started your own journeys differently to me. None of what I say is gospel, it is just my opinion, and in fact, I hope to stay neutral in my reviewing. Hopefully this will give some insight into how I started my journey and the resources I used to win New Property Investor of the Year after only eighteen months of investing.
In this blog I'll be focussing on what to read and listen to. Again, I would like to reiterate that this list is not complete by any means, these are just the items that have crossed my desk at the right time and made an impact.
Podcasts are a fabulous resource. Here's why... they're free! For that reason alone they are the best place to start your education. That being said, I must confess, I don't listen to podcasts enough (apart from My Dad Wrote A Porno, totally not relevant, however, if you haven't, listen to it, it's hilarious!). Despite my not listening to podcasts nearly as much as I should, I have to credit a podcast for starting my property education. Rob Bence and Rob Dix's podcast The Property Hub, was my first foray into property education (www.thepropertyhub.net/subscribe/). I had never really listened to podcasts and I find the two Rob's affable, fun and really easy to listen to. They talk about current affairs in the property world, their predictions for the future etc and their relaxed banter is very easy (yet educational) listening. Highly recommended, especially if you're just starting out in the podcast world.
Speaking of Robs, it would be remiss of me not to mention Rob Moore at this point. For those of you just starting out, Rob Moore and the Progressive Property empire will pop up (and then consume you) at some point soon - might as well be now! Rob's podcast, The Disruptive Entrepreneur (www.robmoore.com/podcast/) has over a million subscribers in 184 countries worldwide. Although Rob's entrepreneurial journey started firmly in property (upon meeting his business partner Mark Homer), the podcast is not property specific and talks about all things entrepreneur. There's a lot of mindset, interviews with inspiring business figures, discussions on skills needed in business and a lot about money. I strangely prefer Rob's live streams rather than his podcast, but they are a fantastic resource and have kickstarted countless property entrepreneurs. Disclaimer: I can't listen to too many of Rob's episodes back to back because his enthusiasm is larger than life and for me, this translates as a bit shouty, but this podcast is a must (even if you only listen to one or two in a row).
Finally, I have recently started listening to Tim Ferris' podcast (www.tim.blog/podcast/). Of The 4-Hour Work Week fame (read more about this below), I'm thoroughly enjoying the episodes. They are quite long (some are up to 90 minutes), so I find they aren't conducive to commuting, where I like to have shorter episodes that I can finish before changing stations. However, they are really enjoyable and the range of topics is limited to anything that takes Tim's fancy (which is basically anything). You might want to skip through the first 5 minutes of each episode as they're very advert heavy up until this point.
Before going on, I must confess I have a problem. It's a big one and I have genuinely considered taking medication.
I love books. I love everything about them, but in particular, the smell.
I therefore tend to neglect the audio book in favour of the paper back in pretty much any given circumstance. This is, quite possibly, one of the most controversial statements I will make - a quick glance on the Progressive Property facebook feed will demonstrate how every consummate property professional is never without an audiobook playing in one ear.
Personally, I can't get into them. I prefer paper, I like the smell, I take in the text. Otherwise I find my mind wandering and I don't absorb the information as much. With books I can reread a sentence with ease, examples of figures and sums are just so much easier when on a page in front of you and I just prefer it. This is personal and there are many more people who prefer audio. However, Mathew has just put up a new shelf with the specific purpose of holding all of my books, so I want to list a few that I recommend for property beginners.
Obviously you can listen to them. But remember they won't look as good on a shelf if you do!
Legally Avoid Property Taxes by Iain Wallis
I believe this book is important for all investors, both beginners and seasoned. Iain talks about a range of tips, tricks and structures in order to optimise your business and reduce your tax liability. As a result of reading this book, I arranged to meet with Iain and had a consultation with him - he now deals with both my personal and business tax affairs. Iain is an accomplished accountant, but more importantly he's also a property investor himself. Before Property 165 was established, Iain and I spent quite a long time discussing my/Mathew's plans for the future, what we wanted the company to achieve etc. We even talked about future children and inheritance in order to best structure the company from the outset. I firmly believe that establishing your company structure (however works for you) from the outset is extremely important. This book is a very good place to start.
Beyond The Bricks by Rob Dix
Beyond the Bricks contains interviews with nine investors who have found their property wealth in different ways. I enjoy reading about other investors - I find the personal stories inspiring and important to include, rather than just the manuals and technical reads. You'll see quite a few of Rob's books in my list - I was very inspired by his podcast and therefore bought a lot of his books when I was beginning my property journey as a result.
The Complete Guide to Property Investment by Rob Dix
Rob again. This is a fabulous book for beginners and I strongly recommend it for anyone starting out. Rob Dix is great at explaining property in a simple and understandable way. The chapters focus on different investing strategies, the investment process (including finance, where to buy and what actually happens when buying) and finally how to build your portfolio. This book really kickstarted my investing career and at the time, I learnt a lot from it.
Bricking It by Nicole Bremner
This book was published not long ago by the wonderful Nicole Bremner. Whilst the book isn't hugely instructional (it's more of a memoir rather than a manual), I am firmly in Nicole's camp and I thoroughly enjoyed reading her story. Nicole is doing wonderful and prolific things in property and I also admire her attitude towards social media (look her and her company, East Eight, up). I enjoyed reading about her journey and I am a big fan of championing women in property - I humbly follow in Nicole's footsteps in this regard. It's important to know about industry leaders in your field and if you want to get into property - Nicole is one of those leaders.
The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferris
Tim Ferris's novel outlines the steps that he took to go from over-worked internet employee to (almost) retired man of leisure, living the high life whilst only checking his emails sporadically. I think that the principals of this book are essential and after reading this I even went and employed a VA. However, I think that some of them are impractical to the extent outlined. Be inspired by the concepts and include them into your business from day one, but I would recommend adapting them to suit your own business needs. If you are aware of these concepts from the outset, it will be easier than trying to make change after routines have been established. But be realistic - how many of us are actually going to work only 4 hours a week?!
I Don't Work Fridays by Martin Norbury
In the vein of The 4-Hour Work Week, I Don't Work Fridays outlines how you can scale your business. There are handy 'Lessons To Learn' paragraphs throughout the book which I quite enjoyed.
How To Dominate Property Investing in the UK and Achieve Financial Freedom by Richard Alven
I really enjoyed this book as it's very practical. It includes really simple instructions on how to best optimise your Rightmove and Zoopla searches, a lot of practical websites to use, links to find builders, the essentials when refurbing, it even talks you through what to look for when viewing and what to say when offering. I am a big fan of practical books with action points and resources, and this absolutely fits the bill.
Multiple Streams of Property Income by Rob Moore
Multiple Streams of Property Income inspired the MSOPI live event (or perhaps it was the other way around, I'm not sure) and both the book and the event are a must for budding property investors (more on MSOPI in another blog). Rob Moore is a titan in the UK property educational industry; some people love him, others hate him. Regardless of your thoughts, this book is essential to get an understanding of the various ways of investing in property.
Life Leverage by Rob Moore
The ultimate instructional guide on how to leverage your time, money and/or skills. The concept of leverage is one that you must grasp early on in your property career - the temptation is to do everything and this isn't necessarily the way forward. What is your time worth? In short: pay someone £10p/h to do the ironing if you can earn £100p/h focusing on business. It's not always this simple and when you're starting out you will have the time to do the £10p/h tasks (no point paying someone to do them if you're twiddling your thumbs elsewhere). Trust me though, start outsourcing as soon as you can; it will feel uncomfortable and counterintuitive, but it is the foundation of business (after all, outsourcing is what you do when you employ staff!). This book will talk you through the basics.
Hustle Your Way To Property Success by Paul Ribbons
This book is worth it for Paul's five golden rules (chapter four). They sound simple and obvious; 1. Never Assume Anything 2. Never Rely On What You're Told 3. Always Ignore The Price 4.Never Offer The Price You Want To Pay 5. Never Get Emotional About Stock. Simple, right? However, I think we would all do well to remember these, regardless of your experience. The rest of the book is full of practical advice, similar to Richard Alven's book mentioned above. This includes how to access the information that you need to make informed decisions... I like practical advice and again this satisfies.
Property Investment for Beginners by Rob Dix
Another great book from Rob Dix, outlining more of the investment basics. The book talks about investment principles, developing your strategy and even goes into mindset and networking. It's a great pocket sized book and not as hefty as The Complete Guide.
100 Property Investment Tips by the Property Hub (Rob Bence and Rob Dix)
This book has a tip per page (nearly), so it's more like a bullet point list of things not to forget. It's good to read as a to do list and the titles of each page could almost become property investor memes.
Money, Master the Game by Tony Robbins
This is quite a heavy read and very USA-centric, however, I absolutely loved this book and it was one of my top reads for 2017. The book is not focussed on property per se, however investment in general and it's really great to open up your mind to other investment vehicles. As someone who doesn't have a diversified portfolio (on my list of things to achieve in 2018), this was a true education and I think everyone who wants to survive through to retirement should give this a read.
The Facebook Effect by David Kirkpatrick
This is is a bit of a wild card, however I thoroughly enjoy this book and it inspires me every time I read it. Obviously not property related at all, the book focuses on Facebook (you have probably guessed this) and the vision Mark Zuckerberg had for connecting the world, where the company started and how it's grown. Slightly outdated now (written in 2011), I'll admit there are probably more recent equivalents, however it was one of the first books I read in this ilk and I like to re-read it for inspiration every now and then.
Successful Property Letting by David Lawrenson
This is a great book for anyone looking to become a landlord. I have read this book many times and from it I developed every one of the protocols that are now in place for all of our tenants. I read this at the very beginning of my property journey, before I knew anything about being a landlord and it's very informative for a beginner. That being said, it's still quite useful to remind seasoned professionals of the basics that are sometimes overlooked and I refer to it every now and again for this reason.
The Richest Man In Babylon by George S. Clason
This book was first published in 1926 and is a collection of parables, containing simple lessons in financial wisdom. It's a completely different read to any of the other books in the list, told in story format. Stick with it, it's highly recommended as one of the most important books for anyone in business to read.
In addition to the ridiculously archaic paper backs, magazines are also a very good resource. They are updated regularly in a way books aren't, and therefore shouldn't be overlooked. There are three that I subscribe to, Your Property Network, The Property Hub Magazine and Property Investor News. There are a few others, but I would recommend starting with these three, as any more and I suspect you might find them piling up on the coffee table, unread. They all contain interviews and case studies with investors (yours truly will be featuring in a few soon, so keep your eyes peeled!) along with information on policy, events and articles containing everything from buy to sell to investing with your SSAS.
So happy reading (or listening). Remember, it's not important how you start, merely that you do. If you have any books that you recommend, feel free to add them in the comments I would love to read them. Next week I'm going to be talking about what live events and networking you should be doing, what you should and shouldn't pay for and how to make sure you get the most out of your time.