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  • Property-a-holics

    10 ways to simplify your landlord life in 2016

    As December is a time for reflection, I've been pondering how we can simplify our landlord lives.

    Purity and simplicity are the two wings with which man soars above the earth and all temporary nature.” —Thomas Kempis

    It was inspired by an event I attended before Christmas which was at a yoga studio and was about coping with stress.

    A few things came out of that event for me which I thought I could apply to my landlord life:

    1. Simplify things.

    2. Learn to say "No" to things.

    3. When making decisions about which actions to take, put your responses into three categories:

    i) Yes

    ii) No

    iii) Yes, but later.

    Inspired by this, I have researched 10 ways to simplify your landlord life:

    1. Buy properties within a 10 mile radius of where we live.

    This is certainly advisable for newbies when just starting out, but it definitely simplifies things having all your properties close by.

    See - 10 reasons to buy an investment property within a 10 mile radius of where you live.

    2. Have a "master" key system in place, where one key opens all our properties.

    Having one key means not having to manage lots of keys!

    See - Landlord wisdom - a brilliant post

    3. Use property management software.

    Here at Property Tribes, we're fans of Arthur.

    4. Use apps and digital tools

    For example, Property Tribes RepoList can help you source deals by finding repossessions, refurbishment, and auction properties from a real-time database.

    See - Are you going digital in your property business?

    An inspirational chat with google about property tech.

    Also, ensure that you can operate your business from the cloud:

    Do you need an office to run a property business?

    5. Undertake a regular portfolio review

    In this short video, Mark Alefounder of Property Tribes Financial Services explains the benefits of undertaking a yearly portfolio review.





    Property Tribes Financial Services are pleased to be able to offer PT members a FREE portfolio review to get your portfolio in shape ready for 2016. If you would like to book a review, please email mark.alefounder (at) ptfs.co.uk or call him on 01206 577 266.

    See also - Auditing your property business

    6. Systemise your property business

    This post from John Paul on the subject:

    We scan everything and keep it on a server but also have paper files per property kept in a slim line hard case that we keep on book shelves, not only does it look clean and tidy and give the professional look but it's also very durable compared to paper files or hanging files, which don't last very long in a busy office.

    We are trialling a lean office system and it really works, we have bought the files mentioned above and used a labelling machine on pretty much everything in the office, it has the professional look but also symmetry. We have bought smaller desks, so less "crap" can be kept on them and that's been a huge success despite EVERYONE in the office calling me crazy.

    As for when to get "systemised" I would say from day one, look at it as training for your property journey. Get in the habit of doing stuff early on and by the time it's critical and you have many properties or your business has grown, it will be second nature.

    Make document systemisation part of your overall aim of systemising the whole business.

    There's no point in having the best files or CRM if there's no policies and procedures of when to use, what and why.

    One thing that has really hit home over the last couple of weeks is how grateful I am for the fact I'm anal about systems. I've been on crutches and unable to drive so have been working from home. I went back to work on Thursday and reviewed all my emails etc to see if I'd been able to action them from home and see if I've missed anything. Not one of the emails was to the running or maintenance of the company, all my emails were either viagra, mail order Thai brides, or stuff in the pipeline to grow the business that only I can handle.

    All the management accounts have been done, suppliers paid, LL monies paid out and I had nothing to do with it. That's the power of systems!

    See also - Sack yourself

    How many properties can you manage?

    Here's a reprise of our video on this topic from 2012:





    6. Forget the small stuff

    Forget the Small Stuff (Go 80/20)

    You can't do it all so why try?

    Vilfredo Pareto's 80/20 rule states that in any particular pursuit that we undertake approximately 80 percent of the results may come from just 20 percent of our efforts.

    What this means is that many of us are spinning our wheels most of the time. Or put another way, we are majoring in the minors.

    If instead we identify and focus on the 20 percent that really matters (the big result producing stuff that means most to us) we are more likely to live a simpler life more on our own terms.

    Stop sweating the small stuff and choose the 80/20 route instead.

    7. Spend time disconnected

    We are spending more and more of our time plugged in. This can lead to obsessively checking smartphone messages, blogs, emails, tweets, etc. We're in danger of letting life pass us by while we click away.

    As fantastic and powerful as technology is, we need to make regular time to disconnect as well.

    With inspiration from 16 ways to simplify your life

    8. Reduce the number of goals

    Reduce the number of goals you are intentionally striving for in your life to one or two.

    By reducing the number of goals that you are striving to accomplish, you will improve your focus and your success rate. Make a list of the things that you want to accomplish in your life and choose the two most important. When you finish one, add another from your list.

    9. Ditch multi-tasking

    Research indicates that multi-tasking increases stress and lowers productivity. while single-tasking is becoming a lost art, learn it.

    Handle one task at a time. Do it well. And when it is complete, move to the next.

    10. Develop protocols

    Imagine what would happen if you were run over by a bus - how would your property business survive?

    Create written protocols for every aspect of running your property business that ensure that you do things efficiently and that someone could take over from you if you were incapacitated in some way.

    Simple things like creating a list of things you should not leave home without.

    See also - Landlord toolkit

    I would love to hear from other landlords on further tips to simplify our landlord lives!
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    My Landlord life is already very simple. I put that down to
    1) Using letting agents for all my properties
    2) Sticking to simple lets.

    All my properties but one are within 10 miles. The exception is my former home.
    That is also the only property for which I have a key.
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    (27-12-2015 02:10 PM)peter@pjackson.demon.co.uk Wrote:  My Landlord life is already very simple. I put that down to
    1) Using letting agents for all my properties
    2) Sticking to simple lets.

    All my properties but one are within 10 miles. The exception is my former home.
    That is also the only property for which I have a key.

    Interesting perspective
    I keep things simple by NOT using LA which cost a fortune and are unviable for my business
    My furthest property is 45 mins drive away and my others 30 seconds walk away
    I have all the keys to my properties
    I make money with nobody else interfering in my simple self management!!!
    A guess it is just different strokes for different folks!!
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    (27-12-2015 07:55 PM)paul_barrett Wrote:  My furthest property is 45 mins drive away and my others 30 seconds walk away

    30 sec walk away?!?! That's impressive! Do you live next to your rental properties Paul!?
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    (30-12-2015 08:39 PM)MNL Wrote:  
    (27-12-2015 07:55 PM)paul_barrett Wrote:  My furthest property is 45 mins drive away and my others 30 seconds walk away

    30 sec walk away?!?! That's impressive! Do you live next to your rental properties Paul!?

    Yep same block!!
    Bought 4 of them
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    (30-12-2015 10:52 PM)paul_barrett Wrote:  
    (30-12-2015 08:39 PM)MNL Wrote:  
    (27-12-2015 07:55 PM)paul_barrett Wrote:  My furthest property is 45 mins drive away and my others 30 seconds walk away

    30 sec walk away?!?! That's impressive! Do you live next to your rental properties Paul!?

    Yep same block!!
    Bought 4 of them

    That's the idea! Smile
    I was hoping for something similar a while ago, but the seller, who was supposed to sell me the flats above and below mine, changed his mind at the last minute Angry
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    (30-12-2015 11:05 PM)MNL Wrote:  
    (30-12-2015 10:52 PM)paul_barrett Wrote:  
    (30-12-2015 08:39 PM)MNL Wrote:  
    (27-12-2015 07:55 PM)paul_barrett Wrote:  My furthest property is 45 mins drive away and my others 30 seconds walk away

    30 sec walk away?!?! That's impressive! Do you live next to your rental properties Paul!?

    Yep same block!!
    Bought 4 of them

    That's the idea! Smile
    I was hoping for something similar a while ago, but the seller, who was supposed to sell me the flats above and below mine, changed his mind at the last minute Angry

    I have to say I made a fundamental purchasing error
    I didn't really consider the effects of ground rent and service charges
    £2000 per flat per year!!!!
    A very severe detrimental impediment to positive cashflow!!!!!!
    Give me 4 terrace houses any day
    You should consider you had a right result in not achieving your flat purchasing objectives
    I wish I could get rid of my flats for terrace houses
    Flats are very poor investment opportunities
    Something I'm only realising now
    My Southend house is shooting up in value
    Far more than my stupid flats!!!
    Service charges etc really have a severe impact on viability
    Don't get me wrong they are decent flats but not worth £8000 in total charges
    Avoid flats!!!
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    Hi Peter,

    Thanks for commenting.

    Do you use the same agent to manage all your properties, or do you use a variety of agents?
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    (27-12-2015 05:01 PM)Vanessa Warwick Wrote:  Hi Peter,

    Thanks for commenting.

    Do you use the same agent to manage all your properties, or do you use a variety of agents?

    I use one agent for all my local properties and a separate one for my former home in Reading.

    (27-12-2015 07:55 PM)paul_barrett Wrote:  
    (27-12-2015 02:10 PM)peter@pjackson.demon.co.uk Wrote:  My Landlord life is already very simple. I put that down to
    1) Using letting agents for all my properties
    2) Sticking to simple lets.

    All my properties but one are within 10 miles. The exception is my former home.
    That is also the only property for which I have a key.

    Interesting perspective
    I keep things simple by NOT using LA which cost a fortune and are unviable for my business
    My furthest property is 45 mins drive away and my others 30 seconds walk away
    I have all the keys to my properties
    I make money with nobody else interfering in my simple self management!!!
    A guess it is just different strokes for different folks!!

    My local LA was recommended by a family friend. I pay 10% +VAT for him to manage everything for my residential properties (half that for my commercial property). There is also a 1 month charge for finding a new tenant.
    For my former home that is 200 miles away I pay 7%+VAT, but the rent is much higher.
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    Such LA charges I find unbelievable and excessive
    No way is a LA worth that percentage
    Also nobody needs to pay such large charges for tenant sourcing
    Plus most LA referencing is useless
    I would NEVER trust LA referencing
    I use LRS
    Cost
    £100 and that includes an annual RGI policy!!
    LA are rip offs
    Thanks Tim Berners Lee you have saved me from the clutches of avaricious LA!!!
    You could visit your 200 mile property once every 3 months
    Very cheap plus you keep the personal service
    I wouldn't pay any more than 5% including VAT monthly if I really needed a LA
    LA from my perspective are very poor value for money
    But obviously it is a personal business decision as to whether a LA is considered worthwhile
    Each to their own!
    Many LL are increasingly choosing not to use the traditional High St LA
    The internet has greatly assisted mine and many other LL decision to dispense with the services of the traditional High St LA
    Of course every business may choose which services benefits its operation to maximum effectiveness
    It seems for you a LA is a requirement, for me it isn't!!
    Everyone's business dynamics are different
    My preferred business model doesn't include what I consider would be wasting money on a LA
    Academic though really as my business can't support paying LA fees
    Poor me!!
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    10% + VAT does seem fairly normal for full management. I did check out other agents,

    So far I have had no problems with tenants so their referencing seems to have been good. I trust their judgement over mine since they are experienced and I am not.

    I am better at dealing with numbers and computers than at dealing with people, so the idea of giving personal service does not appeal.
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