Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Why oh Why do we do Property Investment?


He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.” Friedrich Nietzsche

Why do you do what you do?

Why? is a potent question. This seemingly innocuous combination of three letters has the potential to cause havoc or an unnerving degree of anguish when addressing a sensitive subject.

Do you ever stop to think about why you …
… do the job you do?
… live where you do?
… drive that particular car?
… go to that particular holiday destination?

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I have to pause and revisit the reasons for my daily actions. Otherwise, the risk is that I fall into habits of activity, the original purpose for which may be long gone.

Why Property?

Going back many years, when The Other Half and I started investing in property, we simply bought what worked for us at the time – a holiday home, a pied-a-terre in London – and were lucky to ride the crest of an increasing house price wave. The over-riding reason was … fun! It added value to our corporate-centric lives.

Since those heady days back in the late 1980’s we’ve had plenty of ups and downs in property and life, acquiring a few rentals along the way. Years later, we eventually realised that property had come to form the backbone of our income, sustaining us through a multitude of moves, job changes, life and business challenges and too many hair-brained schemes.

When we started, the income factor was not important, but that has changed. Now, property is our business and the rental portfolio our primary source of income. If we don’t “do” property, we don’t eat. Quite an incentive to make it work, don’t you think? (Oh ok, I’m exaggerating just a little – but we wouldn’t be able to go to nice restaurants!)

What’s Your Why?
Chances are, in reading this you are either considering or already investing in property yourself. 

Why? What is your over-riding purpose? What is the ultimate reason for which you are purchasing property and renting it out, that will keep you going through the days when tenants can’t or won’t pay the rent, when they do a bunk and leave a mess, when you lose out on a deal that you’ve been working on for weeks or more? What is worth the time and hassle involved in renovating or flipping, or (gasp) the risk of losing money?

Some people invest in property because they love it – they relish getting down and dirty with the physical bricks and mortar, or thrive on the thrill of cutting the deal. For others, investing is a means to an end. There might be almost as many motives as there are readers, but examples for the latter group could include:

  •          Not enough pension for the lifestyle you want during retirement
  •          Being able to give up a hated job
  •          Having a more flexible lifestyle
  •          Helping your children get a foot on the property ladder
  •          Securing your family’s future
  •          Getting a decent return on your money.
I’m sure you can think of plenty more, but what does it for someone else may not do it for you. Your reason must resonate at an emotional level. I may want a decent return on my money, but that in itself is not enough to stir me to get off my rear end and build a property portfolio just to be able to see higher ROI percentage figures on the spreadsheet. Being independent and having enough freedom to pick and choose what I do and when I do it, is.

Let’s be honest. There might well be times you wish you had never started. So what is it that will get you through that and break through the pain barrier to the long term reward? You may not like going to the gym, but you do it for the gratification of good health and an enviable physique in the long term.

As Nietzsche says, it’s the why that will get you through the how’s. To find your why, ask yourself:
Why am I investing in property?
When you have an answer to that, ask:
What does that get for me?

Repeat the above question until you get to a word or phrase that resonates emotionally, a little mental “Ah!” of satisfaction and recognition that says “yes, that’s it, that’s why I’m doing it.”

Check in with yourself every year or so to make sure that reason is still valid. Circumstances change, attitudes change and it’s ok to uncover a different outcome with a different why.

Key point: to invest in property successfully, uncover the deep-down emotional reason why it is important to you.

Helpful books:

Jayne Owen
Writer: Your Property Network magazine
Mozaique Property, South & West Wales ( @jayneowen)
The Property Bookshop (@Property_Books)

Personal and Professional Leadership Coach

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