After twenty years doing the same job, the yearning for change sometimes gets overwhelming. Especially after a bad day, that’s when you want to say: I quit.
So, I’ve been down this path before, and I soon learned a key fact many seasoned buy-to-let investors know: property is addictive. Once you’re in, it’s hard to get out.
The returns from property investment, despite continued government interference, are hard to match in many other asset classes. Of course, many people will wax about crypto, NFTs and a host of other stuff I don’t understand, and so I don’t buy. I get the gumpf about index trackers so I’ll invest in those, but, property, well… it’s still my favourite child I love to hate.
So, let’s get to why I hate it:
- It’s not passive
- It goes wrong
- There’s ever growing regulation
For context, my Vanguard index tracker has NEVER called me to complain about anything. It just sits there quietly like a cat next to a fireplace.
Cats next to fireplaces are all very well. They are relaxing and sedate and you want to curl up next to them.
But then there comes a point in the day when you want to get up and go for a walk. You want to get some fresh air, get some blood bouncing, and the cat, well, it wants to stay by the fireplace.
And that’s the thing (if you’re following my analogy), property gets your juices going. It fires you up for solutions to the multitude of problems it throws at you.
I’ve sold two properties in the last couple of weeks and I was talking with a fellow landlord friend about what I was going to do with the money. As I outlined my ambitious renovation of a property I’ve owned for the last fourteen years, he turned to me and said:
‘What a funny love/hate relationship you have with your portfolio. On the one hand you’re selling because you don’t want the hassle, and on the other, you’re creating even more hassle with these big projects.’
I didn’t know how to reply so I just said:
‘Your eyes are shining, and I can see how passionate you are. And it’s funny because you’ve told me how you can’t wait to sell a different property next month and yet you’ve just signed off for this major refurb and are planning more!’
Well, dear reader, I felt a bit stumped. I’d gone out for a drink, not a therapy session. But my friend was right: I have a funny love/hate relationship with property.
I’ve thought about it more over the last few days and I’ve come to realise how much I really enjoy doing what I do. I’ve loved creating plans, seeing the new fire doors that are available on the market(!), learning more about insulation (one of my favourite topics), moaning about the price of everything and the lack of supply, and all those things you do when you plan a major refurbishment.
Because in my little world, this is fun.
And I came to realise, as a landlord you can get bogged down in the paperwork paraphernalia, the tick boxing of smoke alarms, the lodging of deposits, the this and the that of every bloody piece of regulation, that you forget the fun part. The part where you get to decide what a property looks like. The bit where you can take control and say: what can I do next? How can I exceed the market? How can I stand out?
And that to me is the joy of property.
I’m really excited with where I’m taking my business. I’m delighted to be selling and I’m delighted to be renovating. And I know there will continue to be bad days when you wonder why you do what you do, but now I’m putting more of the bits of the job I love back, I can achieve more of a balance.
And I plan to have more fun, good days – and I can’t wait!