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  • Property-a-holics

    Making decisions in challenging times

    Welcome to the next instalment of our "Smart Landlord" 2019 campaign, which we've launched to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the founding of Property Tribes.

    You've heard of smart phones, smart highways, smart meters ... well, this month Property Tribes champions the concept of the "smart landlord" as we believe that is the profile of the landlord who will survive the current challenging market conditions and taxation and regulatory landscape.

    Smart things are adaptive to change, problem solving and always seeking out efficiencies to operate more smoothly and at a higher level, and that is how the smart landlord approaches their business.

    Today, we are looking at the thorny topic of decision making in the challenging environment landlords are facing.

    It is very hard to make any kind of decisions in the current market conditions because there is so much unchartered territory, and so much uncertainty.

    For many people, this makes them unable to move forward to make active decisions about their business - they feel like a rabbit caught in the headlights.

    Your decisions make you and the choices you make today define your future.

    So it’s no wonder that when it comes to our growth and success, few skills are more important than the ability to make good decisions.

    I therefore thought I would write a few thoughts about making decisions in such challenging times.

    1.  Strip out the stress and emotion

    Property is generally a very long term investment, and therefore it is important not to make knee-jerk or rash decisions, often fuelled off the back of stress and emotion.  These tend to "colour" decisions, and could cause you to make a poor one.

    So the first thing to do is wait for the feeling of "crisis" to pass, and then strip away all the emotion around the decision so that you can see the problem very clearly.

    Once you are not making decisions in "flight or fight" mode, you can be far more calm, rational, and objective.

    One of my favourite sayings is "Real problems can always be solved.  It is only imagined ones that seem insurmountable".

    Look at the situation objectively and in the knowledge that there will be a way forwards.

    2.  Take an inventory of your current situation

    Decisions, at their core, are just another form of transaction. You’re choosing to spend a resource you have, be it your time, capital, or mental energy on a given outcome.

    All resources are finite to some degree, including intangibles such as self-control, forgiveness, and grit. As such, it’s important to understand just what resources you have at your disposal before making a decision.

    Whenever faced with a significant decision, start out by taking an inventory of your resources, both material and intangible.

    Only by knowing what you have at your disposal can you move forward with making a responsible decision.

    3.  Ask for input from multiple sources

    Reaching out and asking for advice and input has never been easier thanks to the social web.  Leveraging other people's knowledge, experience, and contacts, are a great way to help you make decisions.

    While you might think that the more input and opinions you get, the more confused you will become, this is not the case.

    You need to test all these opinions against your own views and your knowledge of your current dilemma.  This will help you form your own view on the best way forwards.

    In a meta-analysis of 50 years’ worth of judgement and decision making research published by Harvard Business School, one piece of advice for making a difficult decision that came up time and time again was to get an outsider's opinion.

    The researchers found that talking to those detached from the decision has three main benefits:

    1. Reducing your overconfidence about what you know

    2. Reducing the time it takes to make the decision

    3. Increasing your chance of entrepreneurial success

    We all have our personal biases when faced with a decision.

    We want to believe one way is right even if the information doesn’t stack up. Instead of staying impartial, we look for information or opinions in line with our own.

    The power of the outsider comes from escaping the cognitive biases we all fall victim to when working closely on a project—for example, the Confirmation Bias, described as the tendency to favor or spin new information so that it re-affirms what we already believe.

    Here are some examples from Property Tribes:

    Stick or twist - conundrum about next steps

    Keep or sell? Stick or grow? 

    Dilemma - Stick ,Twist or Fold.

    Landlord dilemma - 1 or 2 bed flat for BTL?

    4.  Think in years, not days

    Property is a very long term investment.  It is vital to think about the long-term consequences of your decision, not just the short term.

    From the moment our alarm rings, we’re in reaction mode—acting based on the stimulus around us rather than casting our eyes to the future.

    Evolutionarily speaking, it was important for us to be able to react to something new in our environment (you didn’t want to sit back and think about whether or not that lion really wants to eat you), but in the modern workplace we need to be able to calm those thoughts and think long-term.

    5.  Sometimes doing nothing is okay

    Our industry puts a lot of pressure on us to take action, and indeed, sustained and intelligent action on a daily basis is the true way to achieve success.

    But if you are at a crossroads, and not sure which way to turn, sometimes it is best to sit back and let a bit of time pass.

    Very often, and in my personal experience, if you do that, the answer will be presented to you and it might be something you could never have imagined.

    N.B.  This is not the advice to take if you are in a debt situation where you are struggling to meet your financial obligations. 

    In these cases, the sooner you seek advice, the more options you will have and the easier it will be to find a solution to your problems, while allowing you to hold on to some of your assets.  Property Tribes partner for landlord debt advice and solutions is Landlord Debt Advisory.  If you are struggling with negative equity and/or debt issues, then get in touch with them as soon as you can as they are specialised in assisting landlords through very challenging debt situations.

    6.  Once you have made your decision, commit to it

    I have always believed that if you commit to something in life 100%, you will make a success of it.  So once you have made your decision, then commit to it and see it through.  Trust that, whatever the future holds, it will enrich your life one way or another!

    A blog called Tiny Buddah shared these 30 useful additional insights which I thought well-worth including in this article:

    1. Consider whether or not you will be able to look proudly into the mirror the next day. -Marcia Jones

    2. Reflect on past difficult decisions and how you made them. The problems don’t have to be similar for the method to work the same. -Gentry Harvey

    3. Meditate and listen to your instincts. ~Stacey Chandler

    4. Meditate on how it affects balance within your life. Then have the faith and will to carry out by action. -Isaac Guest

    5. Set aside time to give careful thought to the decision. The worst thing you can do is act in haste. -Dana David

    6. Ask yourself, “Who will it affect and what does my heart tell me?” -Phyllis McBride Molhusen

    7. Imagine having made the decision. If you get a feeling of relief, that’s the way to go, even if it’s coupled with sadness. -Emma Gilding

    8. Ask yourself, “What is the most pleasurable choice, and where is the most fun?” -David Heisler

    9. Check with your internal compass. How will you feel if you make one decision? How will you feel if you make the other? -Kyczy Hawk

    10. Make mistakes and learn from them. -Sandra Leigh

    11. Talk it through with friends. Then after you have gathered as much info as possible, decide and act! -Charlene Wood

    12. Make a patient effort and have confidence in yourself as decision maker. Whatever choice you make is valid, as you can gain experience and wisdom through any experience, preferred or not. -Meagan Le Dagger

    13. Let go of fear. Know there is no “right” or “wrong” decision. Any decision is better than indecision -Deidre Americo

    14. Ask yourself three questions before diving into something new or daunting: What’s the worst that can happen? How likely is that to happen? Can you deal with it? -Long Ho

    15. Go with your first instinct. The minute you second guess yourself or doubt your choice, then it goes all downhill from there. -Kelsey Walsh

    16. Take a moment to think about the consequences of every course of action, and decide which course will be best for everyone. -Daniel Roy

    17. Try to see the situation from all angles. Also ask your elders for advice. They are always great sources! Sometimes you need to walk away from the issue for a bit, and then come back for a fresh look. -Lisa Marie Josey

    18. Remember this quote: “Your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s.” -Paulina Angelique

    19. If you find that you have to talk yourself into something, it is usually a bad decision. Good decisions usually feel right without much second-guessing. -Triana Avis

    20. One method is to contemplate options and select the one that you feel a sense of excitement for. -Katherine Melo Sipe

    21. “Stay in the tension” as long as possible. If neither choice feels right, try to delay making the decision. Sometimes a third option you hadn’t thought of before becomes open. -Jody Bower

    22. Listen to your emotional instinct. If it feels good, authentically good, then go for it. If it does not use caution and back away. -Dedric Carroll

    23. Ask yourself two questions: Is this choice good for me? Is this choice good for my family? Then listen to what your heart says. -Andrew J. Kelley

    24. Make the small decisions with your head and the big ones with your heart. -Emily Keith

    25. Take a step back and try to stop thinking so much. -Liz Morton

    26. Take two pieces of paper and write down your options on each. Put them in a hat, close your eyes, and pick one. If you feel disappointed with the outcome, then you know that is the wrong decision to make! -Dina Agnessi-Lorenzetti

    27. Reflect on my past decisions. Good or bad, each teaches a lesson. To learn by your mistakes is key, but don’t forget your triumphs. They are just as important. -Mick Roman

    28. Think about how you will feel when you’re 70. First, it will put the difficult decision into perspective (maybe it’s not as big a deal as you think it is) and secondly, it will help you make a good decision for the long term, rather than just for instant gratification. -Andrew Gills

    29. Have a good, deep, non-judgmental look at what’s inside you, and journaling also helps. -Indigo Perry

    30. Align your actions with your life purpose and personal values, and then it’s much easier to know the direction that is right for you. The prerequisite to this is actually knowing and defining yourself. Gain awareness. Be true to who you really are. Follow the path of least resistance. -Self Improvement Saga

    What do you do to help you make wise decisions?

    SEE ALSO  -          Kickstart 2019 - FREE portfolio review!

    UP NEXT -              Get some dates in your diary to fire up 2019!

    DON'T MISS -         How do you cope with landlord stress?



    Good article. Made my anxiety worse though Smile