Monday, 24 March 2014

Keep Your Knowledge up to date

Keep Your Knowledge Up To Date

An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” Benjamin Franklin
Have you noticed that the property investing landscape doesn’t stay the same for too long? Market fluctuations, lending criteria, regulation and budget changes all have a major impact on the day-to-day business of property investing. Any changes might usher in new methods of operation, or result in new opportunities or acquisition strategies.
How do we keep up with it all?

One of the challenges, I believe, of 21st century living is how to manage the volume of information that comes at us every day. This is not specific to property of course, but the e-revolution of the past 20-30 years has transformed the way information is distributed. As well as newspapers, industry magazines and books, we now also have email newsletters, online forums, industry specialist sites, RSS newsfeeds, blogs … the list can go on and on.
Then we suffer from information overload.

As investors and landlords it is our responsibility to make sure that we know what the current regulations are, and keep an eye on anything that might affect the value of our properties and rental yields. Over-reliance on one strategy could be heavily affected by a change in policy. While it might make sense to specialise in one particular property investment sector, it is important to keep scanning that landscape for signs of change at the same time.
Keeping up to date with change is essential, but what options are available to you if you want to avoid drowning in the deluge of information?

Professional associations. Joining an organisation such as the NLA or RLA is probably a no-brainer if you are a residential landlord. The information is reliable and most associations communicate regularly with members by email, post or both, and send out a regular publication of industry news.

Professional network. By this, I mean your network of professional contacts – brokers, surveyors, solicitors, accountants and so on, as well as organised network meetings. Updates can be conveyed via meetings, email newsletters, blogs or even webinars. Organised networking meetings may also deliver updates that affect the market.

Online property forums. The right forum can be a good source of knowledge provided you have the time and inclination to search for what you want. Beware though – they can be addictive and you could end up wasting many hours. Depending on how you value your time, it might be cheaper in the long run to pay for the information or advice you need.

Industry magazines. There are a lot of consumer property magazines around, though precious few specifically for investors. As a writer for Your Property Network, I must declare an interest here! It is not the only one on the market, and most investor magazines will keep readers abreast of changes.

Books. Being a book-lover, it is no surprise that I advocate books as a good source of information! For timely updates and changes though, you are better off with a professional association, your own network, magazines or forums. Books are a good place to start when you want to learn about something new or are seeking inspiration.

Courses. More expensive, very focused and generally a means of developing your knowledge of a particular subject, rather than keeping you up to date. Most landlords will benefit from a course that introduces them to the regulations and responsibilities of letting residential property, though whether to become an Accredited Landlord remains the individual’s choice at present. That may change, so watch that space. Numerous companies and individuals offer courses on property strategies and wealth development – choose your course and provider with care. Decide what subject you want to learn about first, then research providers carefully. Get recommendations from previous delegates.

Mastermind groups and courses. Often a high cost, these are more suitable either for ‘serious’ or experienced investors who want to develop themselves and their business, or for people who want to turn professional.
Key point: find the information medium that works best for you and avoid getting distracted by all the rest.

Jayne Owen
Editor: The Property Bookshop (@Property_Books)
Your Property Network magazine
Mozaique Property, South & West Wales
Personal and Professional Leadership Coach