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So, Here we go… I recently have enrolled on an apprenticeship program with Richard Brown of The Property Voice podcast.This is in no means meant to be an ad for his apprenticeship or his podcast I just wanted to document my progress, what I am learning along the way in the hope that how I go about things and what I learn along the way will help inspire others and show everyone that it is possible to get started in property with just a small amount of money and that with enough determination and motivation it is possible to turn a small amount into a larger amount and make property your full-time job.
First let me talk a bit about my background. Like the title suggests I am 24 and living in Berlin. I moved here 5 years ago alone and have been working here ever since. I have no previous experience in property but it has long been a huge interest of mine and for a while all that I have done has been a build up to hopefully one day go full time in property. I am now in the position where I am able to save up around 1200€ - 1500€ a month by being careful how I am spending my money.
I listen to 3 - 4 different podcasts on property and an extra 3 on investing in general plus I manage to listen to between 2 and 3 audio books based on either business, property or investing a month. I find all this reasonably effortless to do as I do not see it as a chore at all. Like I mentioned, property investing really is a passion and I do believe if you don't truly love property then it will be 10x harder for you to actually become successful.
My plan with this thread is to post a weekly update that will be followed by either a weekly or bi-weekly video as I find both a interesting and exciting way to share information.
“The greatest gift you can give someone is the power to be successful - giving people the opportunity to struggle rather than giving them the things they are struggling for will make them stronger” - Ray Dalio (Principles)
As you may have already guessed this won’t be a typical progress journal as it will go from the bare bones of starting a property business, the mindset, the risks, and the general progress which I believe could be of value for both newbies in property and people more advanced.
Some small details I didn’t mention in my first post is that the apprenticeship that I am participating in now is 100 days long and there are three other people participating at the same time from beginners to somebody already with around 6 properties looking to go to the next level. The mix of talents and experience is one of the great benefits of the program in my opinion.
But alas this is a progression journal of my progress and not in any way an ad for the apprenticeship but it will be difficult to not mention it as, along with my hard work and dedication it is one of the biggest contributors to my journey right now.
So what have I learnt?
Already a lot! When starting from the bottom it is important to really start from the beginning. What exactly do you want to achieve and how exactly do you want your life to look. It’s important not to just jump right into a strategy before really taking a step back and questioning yourself and what you want to achieve.
A great piece of mind opening value I received from Richard was ‘If you were to look back on your life when you are 50 how exactly would you have liked it to look?’ The answer to this will, of course, be different for everybody but I would love to be a person that is able to help others on both a large scale and a small scale. I like the idea of sharing my ideas to a stage of people, making YouTube videos, giving advice and writing a book. Partly to earn an income but also as I truly would enjoy it, for a fee of course. Everybody has to make a living somehow, it’s just are you going to do it doing something you love?
But I also love the idea of helping people that have really been dealt a bad hand and are completely out of luck. This, of course, would be free. I would love to take people from 0 to 100 and hopefully showing other people may be in a similar situation that it really is possible!
So understanding this and other things we can then start to build a picture of my strategy and how I will accomplish it.
I don’t want this post to be too long so I’m going to leave it there and will in the next post discuss my strategy and how I will implement it. By then all should be much clearer for me!
Feel free to add my social media if you’d like to connect further!
Facebook - Facebook.com/martinjdevans
Instagram - Martinjdevans
"Failure to plan is planning to fail"
I don't know who said that but it's never been truer in my life than right now.
Before I talk about what I've been doing the past few days I will let you all know what kind of strategy I have chosen to be able to quit my job as soon as possible and go full time in property.
It won't be much shock to most of you that this strategy is sourcing which I am very happy with. I love to waste hours looking at properties on Rightmove and Zoopla and I love to meet new people and look forward to working with agents and helping vendors solve their problems. I won't be sourcing a specific type of deal but more becoming a 'problem solver' if a vendor has a problem hopefully I can find a strategy that will fit a solution. Perfect for me!
So knowing that I then had to choose an area in the UK I would like to live and do this. I won't pretend it took me a long time. I don't really mind where in the UK I live and would more like to make sure that I have the right surrounding to get the best chance at my new life so I chose Leeds and I also chose a move by date - September 1st.
A lot is happening at the moment so it could be that my updates get slightly more frequent as I'd like to document the journey as best as I can and give insight to as many people as possible as to exactly how much effort and dedication it really takes to make it work full time in property.
So back to planning. I have been doing a lot these past few days. I have already contacted places in Leeds that I could possibly get a part-time job at in September just for the weekends (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) as I don't want to use all of my savings to live and I think the least amount of property meetings, emails and calls will be happening on these days.
I also spent a few hours yesterday rearranging my before and after work daily plans. I've used a routine for before and after work for a while now and I can recommend it to anybody. It really is vital when having so many tasks to complete to make sure everything has their own time slots, even if some tasks only get an hour whereas others get 3 hours the compounding effect will ensure that each is a success, although I wouldn't recommend having too many different tasks or goals going at once. If anybody would like to see how I structure mind just let me know, I'd be happy to post it.
Time management is something I am ok at but not yet perfect. I still have to spend 30 minutes in the morning checking my phone, emails, etc and find myself wondering off tasks every so often for a few minutes adds up slowly but it is something I am getting better at.
I had a great call with Richard recently where he gave me some tasks to do that are very closely related to sourcing which I was more than happy to take on, any hands-on experience can only be a great thing and I'm very excited to get started but it will take some hours of my day hence the recent shuffling of things around.
Tomorrow we have our first group call so I'm very excited to see how that goes!
Instagram - Martinjdevans
Hi Martin and welcome.First of all, it is very generous of you to be willing to post regular up-dates and share your journey into property. I also commend you in your desire to make a success of it.How do you see yourself moving forwards from your starting point in terms of strategies that you can follow?(*Edit - 2 instalments were posted while I was writing this).The most important thing in my mind for anyone to do before embarking on any form of training or mentorship, is to speak to a reputable mortgage broker to understand which mortgage products they can access with their personal circumstances, finance being the lifeblood of a property business.You may also be interested in our "Young Entrepreneurs" content. and our FREE deal sourcing courseGood luck and I will watch your up-dates with interest.
Vanessa Warwick Landlord and Co-Founder of PropertyTribes.com **If you have got value from Property Tribes, find out how you can support it in remaining a free to use community resource**
Yes, somehow I had not heard of Property Tribes before (shame on me) so had to back post a bit. Hope that is ok!
Yes, of course. It is also okay to mention your mentor. You are in safe hands with Richard and I am glad you found your way to him as there are a lot of unscrupulous trainers and mentors about!This thread should also be of interest:So I thought I'd be property broker / sourcer
"We must give more in order to get more. It is the generous giving of ourselves that produces the generous harvest" - Orison Swett Marden (founder of SUCCESS magazine)
A fitting quote for this weeks post.
This really is the type of apprenticeship/mentoring that you get as much as you give. I really am loving every day at the moment, each day is met with new challenges to accomplish, new reading material and new things to learn.
A lot of people I believe think they can pay a mentor a certain amount of money and they would automatically be guaranteed success, these are also the type of people that think getting rich should be quick and easy but as most reading this will already know that simply is not the case.
Progress has actually been quicker than I expected but I am also giving it my all, I am already evaluating deals, ringing agents and generally immersing myself in this new world I find myself in. There have been years of reading books, listening to podcasts and generally educating myself on property that has led up to finanlly taking this action and I couldnt be happier.
There are 4 different types of learners in the world, visual, audio, reading/writing and kinesthetic (a doer). It's is very important to know which one you are to make educating yourself on a subject easier and most effective. I am a mix between audio and kinesthetic, I know this because reading makes me tired and visual is just not my thing.
Richard has realised this also and has been giving me tasks to complete almost on a daily basis which is growing my confidence while teaching me something all the time, from smaller things like property specific acronyms I didn't know before to slightly more important things like how to value a HMO. I have already been finding my own deals on Rightmove too which have 10% ROI and sometimes even 30%+! Who said there were no deals out there?!
Although my mindset right now is in a good place I am still slightly apprehensive about taking the leap and moving to Leeds in September (although its 100% happening) but I am taking all precautions to keep planning for this. I have already started learning about the local area by trying to find deals around Leeds while at the same time taking notes, for example, if the area seems a nice one or not and the overall value of the houses in that area, slowly building a picture. Although as scary as it may be I can not wait to get on the ground and get to work.
Our first group call was great. It was great to meet everyone else in the apprenticeship and hear their story. We talked about what made us start in property, what we've already accomplished in life, the challenges we currently face and where we want to go from here. I wont share these details here as I'm sure you can appreciate with a small group like this it is important to respect others privacy as not everyone is so open to sharing like this as I am but you can hear a small snippet that we recorded on the podcast and I'm sure Richard will be doing updates on our progress.
I have a call with Richard later on and there are some questions I can't wait to ask, how can I start while in Berlin? How can I best design a daily action plan for both while I am here and still working and for when I get to Leeds? Best questions to ask investors to gain a better knowledge of the area? And a few more.
I hope this is bringing some value to at least one person out there and maybe entertaining one or two more but at least for me I am really enjoying the process of writing this and will look forward to seeing how it progresses on from here.
Until the next update!
I think it is great that you are immersing yourself in the sector and becoming a property sponge.Having a strong desire to learn and grow is paramount to any business success and you seem to have that, which bodes well for your future.I do hope you are reading and digesting the links I have provided. They will help you see the picture on the box, not just the pieces of the puzzle that you are currently fitting together.Moving to Leeds is almost instructing your brain that you will not fail! Go big or go home!Until the next instalment ....
Yes, thanks for all the links, I've been reading them and enjoyed the videos also!
"You can't manage what you can't measure" - Peter Drucker
A simpler quote this time but sometimes the simpler things are the most powerful.
It's been only a few days since my last post but I have had a lot on my mind recently that I felt like sharing and quite a bit has been happening also.
For around 3 years now I've been tracking my expenses, cent by cent, every time I spend money, no matter what on, I track it. I do believe anybody who wants to save money everybody should track their expenses, it is the 'secret' to how I am able to save so much money in a month and has literally changed my life and continues to do so. Not only does tracking you expenses let you have an overview of where your money is going but it also shows you where you can cut back on and that is the trick to saving money, notice you spend £300 a week on going out? Budget £100. There you go that's £200 back in your pocket that you can save towards whatever it is you are striving towards. It may not be that simple for everybody but I would recommend trying it for a month and I'm sure you'll be quite shocked at where your money really goes. I use an app called Toshl (completely free, never used the paid version) to track mine and it's become such a habit my hand automatically gets my phone out of my pocket at the cashier's now.
After tracking my expenses for so long I can't believe I've never considered tracking something even more important than money, time.
Richard mentioned that he had been doing it recently and sent me over an Excel spreadsheet that he's been using which I absolutely love! I've only been doing it a few days now but I can already see how powerful it will be. It doesn't just show me where my time is being spent but I find myself trying to be more productive and use my time more wisely so I don't have to use that dreaded red colour that represents time poorly spent... another thing I highly recommend giving a try.
Talking of time poorly spent, the J-O-B has been on my mind. I've had a few bad days recently which inspired me to reach out and tell the others in my apprenticeship group, which is one of the great things about having like-minded people around you just like a mastermind, everybody is there to support one another. One pointed out that I should let my circumstances motivate me to work harder, which is a good way to think about it. Richard also had some great advice. I will just give a very short round-up of a particular point that stuck out to me the most and motivated me to dive deep into planning.
When setting out on a journey like mine planning really is one of the most important things you can do especially before leaving your job. If you were to quit work tomorrow how long could you pay your personal and business costs before you had no more money?
To put it into slightly more measurable terms, Richard spoke about the 'burn rate' which would be your personal and business expenses after taking your regular income into account and the 'runway' would be how many months you have ahead of you depending on how much capital (in my case, savings) you have. Savings/burn rate = runway.
This made me go into planning mode. I, of course, should have written a business plan already but I was so concentrated on the doing and the physical learning that I just kept putting it off, although I knew the time would come, and now it had!
Once I had my business plan written I realised I needed to estimate my monthly expenditures.
Personal wasn't too difficult, rent, car, food, contingencies. As I mentioned I will be getting a weekend job once I get to Leeds and I will also have some work that I can do on my computer which will bring me in an extra £350 a month so that's all the basics covered plus I am happy to live on the bare minimum for a while, I have practised delayed gratification for a while, whats a year or two more.
When it came to the business planning I realised I couldn't plan my expenses if I didn't have a clear plan what strategies I would use to source my deals, it's at this point I began to get excited that I am really starting to plan my whole journey out, it feels like it is coming to reality as I begin to see it clearer and clearer. It took me quite a while to think up a list, which Richard looked over and added some other points. Once I have completed that all that is left is to choose which ones I can use with the budget I have, how long my current budget will last me and how much longer I will really need to work in order to give myself a burn rate of about a year.
I'm not completely through the planning stage yet as I want to make sure I have everything as clear as possible in my head and once it's clear to me I can then update here again on my next plan of action!
My days are still full of looking through properties to see if they stack up as deals, which is going well, I'm enjoying the process and am slowly building a system to make it more time efficient, if you've never done it yourself you won't believe how much time it can take to check through a deal and how many hours of your life can be spent on Rightmove, as I said, I enjoy it, but it will be the first thing I outsource so I can focus my attention on areas that could possibly give me a higher return on time invested.
BUT we've viewed and put an offer in for one of the deals I found for one of Richards clients! Now, that's exciting! 24 days ago I had absolutely no idea how to even find and evaluate a deal and now I'm ringing agents and putting offers in! I have to admit I'm probably more excited than I should be about that news but to me, after so many years of learning and dreaming of working in property, to me this is a huge jump forward plus if all goes well I will also be getting credit for this which can only help me move towards leaving my job sooner, a real win, win, win situation!
I feel things are going great so far and look forward to what the next 74 days holds.
“It’s when we take those risks, when we make ourselves feel uncomfortable that the beautiful stuff happens” - Rob D (Talking about his recent development project)
I have good news and I have some other news.
let's start with the other news.
Costs are something I keep finding. I don’t really mind though as it’s better to know them now than to be shocked later. That is after all the whole reason for the planning stage. This does mean, however, that it looks like I won’t be moving over with a whole year's funds like I’d hoped for in the beginning.
Does this bother me? Not one little bit. I believe my funds will last be around 9 to 10 months but again I am very confident that this length of a runway will still not be necessary.
In my last post, I spoke about the fact that I was estimating a monthly budget list for both business and personal which I completed and have moved on to trying to plan a rough months schedule day by day. I am enjoying this and finding it both rewarding to plan my time as efficiently as possible and exciting to think about how I will be living my life come September. Doing this also showed me some other costs I may not have previously considered, which is, of course, a good thing as it is just bringing more clarity and allows me to plan more precisely.
Some other ‘other’ news is the weekly time tracking that I also mentioned in my previous post. A few days ago I completed my first week and it was actually shocking! I spent 32% of my week working and 37% of the week sleeping. I have to admit sometimes I do sleep a bit too much which I was already aware of and trying to combat but seeing just how much time I was loosing from sleeping more than really needed and how much time I was losing working my job was crazy! Imagine what I could do with that time! To convert that into hours for whoever is interested (even though I’m slightly ashamed but want to be as open as possible), I worked 50.5 hours in the last week and slept 58 hours which is around 10 hours more than I should, that's 60 hours in total lost time!
Another thing that I noticed was that I only managed to spend 9.75 hours working on myself which is shocking but also reassuring because I feel like I got an ok amount achieved in this time so it makes me think, imagine what I could achieve once I have those 60 extra hours when I leave my job and stick to 7 hours sleep per night.
After seeing this, I can only recommend, again, you track your time, it may shock you at first but it will be a game changer once you learn to use time as efficiently as possible.
So, to the good news.
I am now more and more starting to plan my move to Leeds even though it won't be happening until September.
Of course, I need a car so I reached out to my father who said that since my grandad is too old to drive anymore he has a car I can use it just needs around £400 spending on it first which is great as I was expecting to spend around £1000 - £1500.
I also need a new laptop as I’ve had mine for around 5 years and is sadly not really able to keep up with me any longer. I’ve set some price notifications on 2 laptops I’m looking at and will buy sometime during now and September. I’m looking not to spend more than £600 - £700.
Now let's get on to more property related subjects.
The offer on the house I spoke about in my last post was rejected, we went a bit higher and that was also rejected and now the deal slowly starts not to make sense anymore but that’s ok. Like I’ve mentioned, I realise its a numbers game and we’ll just move on to the next one. Not a problem!
Something else happened recently that taught me a lesson but also gave me a possibly game-changing breakthrough moment. I was looking over potential deals around Manchester for one of the clients and needed to get a rough street price for a 2-bed terraced house. I have done this quite often in the past, not in Manchester so much but around Leeds, Sheffield, Nottingham, Liverpool and surrounding areas and I would say 95% of the agents were more than happy to give some tips, pointers and advice but I rang 5 different agents around Manchester today and all of them said that they couldn’t give rough prices on houses without viewing it or they wouldn't value a house I didn’t own. Now I’m not saying that I learnt all agents in Manchester are unhelpful, far from it. I’m sure I just got unlucky with who I rang or something like that. In fact, my point has nothing to do with Manchester at all.
This experience made me think back to the agents I rang around Leeds and Sheffield (My area of choice), how helpful they were and how far above my expectations some of them went. This, in turn, made me realise that now is the perfect time to start making relationships with agents around my area. When I ring them I will be open and honest about what I’m doing and the ones that help me out the most and seem the nicest I can start to build a relationship right away. A simple “Thanks very much for all your help, just to give you a bit of information about me, I’m currently living in Germany but will be moving to Leeds in September as I have a few clients that are looking for different types of deals around that area. You’ve been really helpful with the information you’ve just given me and maybe if I give you my email we can keep in touch and hopefully work together before and once I arrive in Leeds”.
This seems like the perfect plan to get ahead and something I will definitely be trying. Maybe once I have a few that I have been speaking to I will even take a few days in the UK to go and meet them all before I move fully.
Sunday I am flying to the UK to meet up with Richard and the other team members. We are going to look around some current projects Richard has on the go which I am so excited about. I’ve never actually seen or been able to discuss projects that are under renovation as I’ve never done one myself but it will be a 2-day experience and I know I will gain a lot from it.
I will probably check in again right after my UK visit and look forward to updating on how the trip was.