30th May, 2013 BACK TO ALL PODCASTS

This week we’re talking about how to put together your property dream team: what professionals should you be working with, and how do you pick the best people for the job?

So these are the team members we picked out:

Solicitor: You don’t have a choice about using one of these (unless you are one), so the key is to choose someone who suits your style of investing. We tell you what to look out for.

Letting agent: We talked about agents extensively in Episode 5, but Rob B still has a few more tips about how to pick a good one.

Mortgage broker: “Best Buy” tables will only take you so far – a good broker can save you thousands of pounds in interest payments over the years, but you need to make sure they understand the needs of investors as opposed to owner-occupiers.

Property sourcer: Why would you pay someone to find you a property when you can just walk into an estate agent’s office? We’ll tell you why it might be a better idea than you first think.

Accountant: You can do your own accounts, but what value do you put on your own time and sanity? As with all professionals, a good accountant will save you much more than you pay them.

Mentors: Do you need to pay for the services of a mentor, or could everyone in your team be a mentor? We talk the issue over.

Resource of the week

News 24 and a quick flip through the Metro isn’t good enough for Rob B – nope, he’s got three killer apps that he uses to bring the most relevant news to his iPad.

First up is Flipboard (Apple only) which presents the news beautifully, then Trapit (Apple only) which brings the news to you. Finally, Pulse (Apple and Android makes the news easy to share.

On a less techie note, we also talked about AllAgents, which is a really useful source of genuine reviews of estate and letting agents.

This week’s news

Two news stories this week – first, Mervyn King expressing concern about the government’s “Help to buy” scheme.

The news was also announced this week that the UK missed its house building target by a country mile, as it has done every year in recent memory. We put it in a global perspective, and talk about what it might mean.

Mentions and shout-outs

Rob B was in the Investors Chronicle talking about student pods this week. Spoiler: he’s not a fan.

We also made our weekly mention of Pete Matthew from Meaningful Money – yup, if ever two podcasts needed to get a room…

Tell us what you thought of the show!

Who’s the linchpin of your property team? Or do you prefer to do things on your own?

Did we miss anything out, or was there a part of the show you particularly enjoyed?

Just let us know by leaving a comment below!

If you enjoy The Property Podcast, please leave us a review on iTunes

Reviews are really important in helping other people to find the show, so by way of thanks we read out every single review we receive.

If you’d like to hear your name on the show, leave us a review on iTunes here. Not sure how to do it? This video shows you how to review and subscribe.

Full transcript

Ric:                                         Welcome to The Property Podcast, the home of news and debate about building long-term wealth from property investment for beginners and experts alike. Now for your hosts; before I met them BTL was a sandwich. It’s Rob and Rob!

Rob Bence:                         Welcome to The Property Podcast, episode eleven! You are a community of thousands of listeners who join us each week. We are delighted to have you. I’m Rob Bence and joining me every week as always is Rob Dix. Rob, welcome back.

Rob Dix:                               Thank you very much, Rob. It’s good to be here, I’m really excited about this week. We’re going to be talking about how to put together your property dream team. We’re going to be talking through the kinds of professionals whose knowledge you can tap into, and we’re going to give you some advice for picking the best people for the job as well. We’ve also had a load of really great comments from listeners saying how much they enjoy the resource of the week, especially tech and productivity tips. We’ve got another really great resource of the week if you stick around to the end as well.

As always, we’re going to be starting by thanking you for your reviews. Rob?

Rob Bence:                         As always, we don’t take you for granted. A massive thank you to the following who’ve left us these lovely five-star reviews.

Jay Team says, “Guys, this is a great podcast. It’s provided me with lots of useful insights. Thanks for taking the time to produce it.” Gareth says, “Very informative podcast. Pitched the right level for me. Thanks for the little extras; the book reviews, especially the resource of the week. I’ll have you downloaded, add the notes and drop box. Keep up the great work, guys.” Thank you, Gareth. RW says, “It’s unusual to come across a podcast that provides practical guidance on investing. Most of them constantly try to sell you something. As an investor looking to take his first steps in property, this podcast have been invaluable, helping me develop a clear strategy and at the same time highlight some of the problems that investors will deal with. Love the resource and tips as well.” Thank you very much, RW. Andrew says, “Fantastic research advice. A newbie resources mentioned are informative and inspiring. Keep up the great work from a property enthusiast.” Thank you, guys. Holly Jones says, “Really informative and engaged listening. Thank you both for taking the time to record them. Love the resource of the week, really useful. Once recommendation would be to include show and refurbishment, buys to sell, which is what I’m involved in. Keep it coming.” Well Holly, you’ll obviously be pleased that the last episode was buys to sell so that was especially after your request. Holly, we are listening; and the refurbishment episode is on its way too. Keep your ears peeled for that one.

Rob Dix:                               Thank you very much for all the reviews. It really motivates us to keep doing this; we really enjoy reading them. If you haven’t reviewed us already, do so by going over to iTunes, you can find a link over to that on the show notes which are at thepropertypodcast.com/11 because this is episode eleven.

Rob Bence:                         Yeah. I would like to add Rob that the international reviews; we are not going to leave you alone. We appreciate your reviews too, so next week we’ll go international. In the spirit of Rob, or what you do; we’re going to go around the globe and pick out some of the reviews our international friends have left us. Listen out for that next week.

Rob Dix:                               We know [02:54] by iTunes crashing every time we have to change to look at a different international store. We’re going to persist and make sure we read out everyone of those.

Let’s move on then to talking about what we’ve been up to this weekend. You’ve been getting some media mentions, Rob.

Rob Bence:                         Yes, very nice as well. I wrote some article a while back. It was mentioned last week on student pods and the journalist from the Investor Chronicle, which is a magazine put out by the same people as the Times went ahead with the article which is apparently inspired by the article I’ve written last year. I’ll link to the notes of my article; I’ll link to the Investor Chronicle article as well so you can have a read. That was really pleasing because it’s something I’m really passionate about. There are some fantastic property investments out there, not just what RMP do. We don’t only have the good product, lots of people do; but for every good product, there are a lot of dodgy ones. It’s great to see that it’s getting some national press coverage as well. A lot of people have invested in Student Pods, it’s not to say that you’ve wasted your money; not at all. The reason for my coverage for the situation is I do feel your money can work harder. Don’t worry; you’ve not lost hopefully your money. It’s not like you’ve thrown it down the drain. But I just feel that the motivation behind the selling of student pods is not that they are great investments, it’s that it pays the people very well who sell them.

Rob Dix:                               Yeah, I think it’s really important that you’re taking a strong position on what you think is and isn’t a good investment. It all comes back and down to goals and objectives again, doesn’t it? There are some types of investments that are going to be right for you and others that aren’t. But there are some types of investments that just are primarily marketing-driven and possibly not the best option for anyone. It’s just a reminder to look into all that and not just take anything at face value and look into the motivations of whoever is pitching you on a certain product.

My big news of the week is that the Property Geek Podcast is back. It’s the other podcast which is actually where Rob and I first met, when I interviewed him on episode two of my own podcast. I’ve had a break from it for a few months, but now, as of the time of listening, the first and possibly second episode will have gone up. It’s going to be putting up a new episode every Monday. The first one is a really great overview of the main legal issues that investors need to know about. Tessa Shepperson from Landlord Law came on and she gave a really great overview and brought a lot of clarity to the kind of things that you need to be thinking about. I know that the legal stuff scares a lot of newbies and a lot of established investors as well, because you hear all these horror stories about how you can come on stuck on such a huge way. Tessa really gives a really great overview of all that. If you want to check out the Property Geek Podcast, you can either go and listen on propertygeek.net or just like this podcast, you can subscribe on iTunes. I’ll put a link on the show notes to help you do that. You can also just search for Property Geek on iTunes. If you do subscribe, you’ll get that new episode dropped in to your inbox every Monday morning.

Also, there’s a special episode of The Property Podcast coming up very soon. It’s special because it’s an episode that you can get involved with. I’m not going to say anything more at this stage; all we’re going to say is that the best thing to do, if you haven’t joined our mailing list yet, do that now. Then you’ll be the first to know about this special episode and you can make sure you can get in on it. If you go over to thepropertypodcast.com, put your email address on there. Not only will we let you know about every episode as it comes out, but you’ll also be the first to know about this very special episode that’s coming up.

Rob Bence:                         You big tease, Rob. You should work in the movie industry with your trailers, building people up into a frenzy.

Rob Dix:                               I’m going to need a more gravelly voice for that one.

Rob Bence:                         Yeah. Next week. We’ll get Ric to do it.

Rob Dix:                               Yeah, I’ll get Ric to do it.

Rob Bence:                         Moving on from those crazy movie trailers, there’s been some serious news this week as well. First of all, Mervyn King, as you may be aware, is stepping down from his role at the Bank of England. He’s stepping down as the governor. Interestingly, he’s been very neutral all the way through his reign, all the way through his time there; he hasn’t really jumped off the fence either way to say what he actually thinks. He’s been very guarded with his opinions. Good on you, Mervyn, you’re coming out firing towards the end. He’s finally coming out with what he actually thinks is going to happen and what he thinks shouldn’t happen. I think it’s fantastic, I wish he’d done it sooner.

How does this relate to property? As you may have heard on the news over the last few weeks, the government is going to starting helping first time buyers get on to the property ladder by guaranteeing the mortgages. That’s a very similar system to what happened in America. America, the government, guarantees all the mortgages over there. What Mervyn is warning against is this becoming a permanent measure. I can understand why, a few reasons. One, the government then is hostage to the property market, so it makes a lot of sense not to get involved. He hasn’t said this; but reading between the lines, I also think he’s worried that too much intervention from the government could create a new property bubble. I know the property bubble will happen at some point because it’s a cycle. What will happen is the prices will start to rise and then people will start to think they’re missing out. Everyone will jump on the bandwagon then the little bubble will happen, then the crash will happen. That shouldn’t happen for a while, but what I think Mervyn is worried about is that this government’s intervention will accelerate that process. There are two sides to this. You can say there’s an opportunity here for the next few years to take advantage of what may be potential growth. Then you have a take a view that at some point, that policy will end again like it has to in every other decade. Very interesting that he’s starting to express his views , I’m sure there will be more to come after he’s retired from his role as well; but I find that quite interesting, Rob.

Rob Dix:                               I agree with you there. It’s nice to see he’s finally coming out on having an opinion; maybe he’s been saving the rest of it for the autobiography up to now, I don’t know. It’s good that he’s saying that and I have to say I agree. The big question is what happens in a few years if the world hasn’t magically sorted itself out by then? As I mentioned last week, I’ve been [08:41] whenever I think about this scheme, I think about the collectivisation for risk and lack of skin in the game and suppression of volatility and all that stuff. You’ve got to read this book, you know what I’m talking about. It’s really interesting. I thought it was interesting that you mentioned the property cycle as well because another book I’m reading at the moment which I’ll probably mention next week when I’ve finished it. It talks about the emotions and other various things drives the market overtime. It’s really interesting. The amount of government intervention that there should be could be argues either way, but it’s nice that someone is taking a position on it.

The other story that we’ve pulled out is the fact that no one’s building any houses at the moment.

Rob Bence:                         No, not anyone. And they haven’t been for a long time. A bit of history; in 2004 Kate Barker released the report that said that we needed to build more houses. She said to keep on track with current demand; we needed to build between two hundred twenty to two hundred fifty thousand new homes every year. The latest figures this year are out. In the last twelve months we’ve built a hundred and one thousand new homes. A drop from last year of a hundred and eight. We’re not even halfway of what we needed to be at to keep pace. Scarily, we’ve not ever hit that target since she released the report in 2004. What does that mean? How does that affect us?

It’s basic supply and demand. Property investment is more than just supply and demand. The prices are affected by more than, but it’s a big part of it. If we don’t have enough of something, there’s a lack of supply of it, therefore it is desired more so the price is then increased. A very simple example would be eggs. I had a lovely omelette for breakfast. Let’s say next week the UK only had half as many eggs produced. I’m going somewhere with this Rob; don’t worry. Therefore, the lack of eggs would increase the value of them because a lot of people would still want them but there are less of them so it would drive the prices. Therefore some people would be priced out; the prices of eggs would rise because there’s a lack of supply of them.

That’s what’s happened in property. There’s not enough property that have been build for over a decade now. That means that we’re continually behind on the supply side of property investment and that’s building block. The lack of lending has suppressed the market since ’08. We’re five years odd now and that’s kept the market down. What I believe has stopped it falling further is that one, yields are very good. There’s a lot of value in terms of where the property prices are at the moment so they don’t really need to go any further down. But also, the lack of supply means that that’s keeping prices stable as well. The pressure is building up in the background where soon we’re going to see that supply issue come to force and the prices will start pushing up again. It’s bound to happen because it’s under the cycle and I’m inclined to listen to what you’ve got to say Rob after reading that book about emotion and so on. It’s all about cycles and this lack of housing supply and lack of lending has sort of balanced things out and I’m thinking in the future we’re going to see this lack of supply having effect on property prices again.

Rob Dix:                               I’m not an expert in this at all, but in most countries where you get a boom and then a bust in housing specifically, there’s always kind of elation in the market and there’s loads and loads of new housing being built. Then something happens and you end up with an oversupply of property and these developments that have been started, but there’s no demand for it. In the UK that’s just not happening. As you say since 2004 we haven’t built enough houses in a single year. It’s just a really, really bizarre situation, whether it’s a good thing or not I don’t know. You probably shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that homes are actually places that people need to live as well as instruments to go up and down in price. It’s a really interesting point and it’s going to be interesting to see if at any point the government does anything to seriously tackle the issue and get more houses being built.

Rob Bence:                         I love this every week because I ramble about the story and you’ll do a nice summary for me so people go, “oh okay, that’s what he meant.” You look at Ireland, you look at Spain, you look at Dubai, you look at America – Detroit being a prime example – there’s whole villages, towns even, that are lying empty. That didn’t happen in the UK. It’s not that our market was driven by an excessive greed and we’ve overbuilt and overdone ourselves, the property prices weren’t too high; but the supply side at one point never caught up. Even during the top of the high of the market when it felt like a lot was being built, we only got close to what was needed. It’s very interesting what happened over the next few years. It’s not that it’s good or it’s bad, it’s just the rules. As a property investor, you’ve got to assess what’s happening then play to those rules that we’ve been given.

Rob Dix:                               Once of the fascinating things about property is that there’s a real micro level where you’re kind of working out the best place to invest for you and even down to how you’re going to furnish your house to attract the right type of tenant. There’s also this really big long-term macro stuff and you kind of look at all of it and see how you think it’s going to affect you and how you should move. It’s all really, really fascinating.

Let’s move on to our topic of the week which is about how to pick your property dream team. Although property looks like an individual sport, it’s a lot more fun in multi-player mode, if you ask me. I feel really strongly about getting advice and support from other people when you’re looking at property investing. That includes your peer group, which we talked about a bit in our episode about social networking; but it also includes buying in the knowledge of professionals who know more about their particular area than you ever could and about valuing your own time by not just replicating the work that someone else has already done. As part of this topic, we’re going to talk about all the different people in turn who you can choose to work with. We’re going to tell you why you might want to do that and give you some tips for picking the right person for each role.

But before we go into all the optional parts of your team, there’s one professional you basically have to have on your team and that is a solicitor. Rob, maybe you can start by explaining why that is.

Rob Bence:                         Okay. When you buy a property there’s clearly contracts involved. There’s a lot of legal work, stuff that you cannot do. You’re not qualified, unless you’re a solicitor, you’re not qualified to do that. I’ve worked in property eight years, better part of a decade and I can’t do my own conveyancing; the legal work required to purchase a home, or an investment property. You need to have a solicitor, but they are not all created equal. There are some fantastic solicitors and there are some abysmal solicitors and I’ve had my fair share of them. I’ve had solicitors that won’t answer the phone even though you’re paying them. They don’t want to know. I’ve had solicitors who will move heaven and earth to make sure that you meet your deadline. It’s about using some of the principles we talked in how to find a good letting agent to find a good solicitor. The number one is ask people for referrals. Speak to people about who they’ve worked with, can they recommend a good solicitor? Preferably a solicitor who has worked with investors as well so that you understand the issues and the mindset of the investor. They often understand that tenants are going to go in, that sometimes deadlines are important. This is something I can rattle on for months; to get the deal done you need this wrapped up in three or four weeks. It’s finance solicitors that are on your wavelength that understand, that have experience with investors. A great solicitor is someone that can make your life so much easier; it’s definitely someone you need as part of your property team. You don’t have a choice; but make sure it’s someone who really adds something to your team not takes away from the experience.

Rob Dix:                               You touched on it. Picking someone who understands what you’re trying to do is really important, especially if you’re doing a certain type of investing that involves either something that might not be understood but the mainstream solicitors or as important that you move really, really quickly. You do need to know, because the conveyancing process has baffled me; how it can take such a long time even for really straightforward situations. If it’s important for you to move quickly, you’ve got to make sure you pick the right person who isn’t going to drive you nuts. Also, I would say that for mortgage purposes it’s probably a good idea to choose a solicitor who’s near you or near the property if you and the property are not in the same place because mortgage lenders are increasingly looking at something called plausibility which is where, if all the parts of the team – the property and you – are spread out all over the country they can start to smell a rat and think that it might be part of some kind of scheme rather than a legitimate purchase. Having a solicitor who is near the property is probably or possibly a good idea anyway because they’ll have an understanding of the area and maybe they’ll anticipate issues that they’ve seen before.

As you said Rob, I think the main thing is you just find someone who understands you, understands what you’re trying to do whose style of working suits yours.

Rob Bence:                         The next group of your team are all optional. The solicitor you have to have, but the rest of the following are a choice. However, I would strongly advice that you take up the services of most of them. We’ll explain why that is at the end. Having this team will make your life so much easier as a property investor.

The first one is a letting agent. In episode five we talked about how you can find a letting agent; go back and listen to it if you haven’t already. The letting agent again, will make your life so much easier as a property investor. If you’ve got an agent who not only finds tenants quickly but finds great tenants quickly and when it comes to management of the property, they manage it for you. They’re on the ball, they know the legal side if anything goes wrong, they know what a big problem is and what something minor is so they don’t just call you up for the smallest little things that have no real important that can be solved by someone with half a brain. Believe me, there are letting agents there that don’t want to make any decisions for you even though you pay them to do that. Go back to episode five; listen to how we find good letting agents. Actually, list of the resource and tips as well because I’m going to throw a little bonus in there as well on how you can use research to find a good letting agent. A letting agent will make your life so much easier. I use them for all my properties to not only find tenants but manage them because if you value your time; this relates to all of the group, if you value your time, then a good letting agent will save you time and save you money.

Rob Dix:                               That covers off the letting agent. Another part of the team which you might not have thought of; when you think of property investment you think it’s letting agents throw it away, you might not necessarily think mortgage broken and that’s the next person we’re going to talk about. If you’re buying with the help of a mortgage – you don’t have to, of course – but if you do then it might be worth employing the services of a broker. The main reason for that, I think is that you can look at the best buy table in the paper or whatever that will tell you the headline rate that you get charged for borrowing the money; it might even tell you all the different fees that are involved. There are so many different fees that just comparing the interest rate itself doesn’t necessarily tell you anything. Also, there are so many criteria about who they will and won’t lend to as individuals and what kind of properties they will and won’t lend on and those criteria are changing all the time. To keep on top of all of that yourself is a lot of work. If we’re talking valuing your time then rather than spending a day going through all the terms and conditions for each lender and trying to work out what to do, you can just talk to a mortgage broker who in five minutes will go, “Yeah, these are the options for you.” That just saves you so much time. If you use a broker who is whole market broker and isn’t attached to any particular financial institution, I wouldn’t say it was a good idea to talk to someone in-house at your bank or who an estate agent is trying to force on you because they might have their own motives and they’re not looking at the whole of the picture just for you. You want someone who’s got your interest at heart and really understands what you’re trying to do.

Another advantage of using a broker is that they get to see hundreds of applications, that means they know what tends to get flagged and what just sails through. They also have relationships a lot of the time with the lenders so they can get actual answers to hypothetical question like “Would this be okay?” If something gets refused they’ll find out why rather than just getting a general computer which says no kind of thing, which you’d probably get if you were trying to do it by yourself. As I’ve already said, you want someone who is going to be looking at the whole of the market. Another decision you can make is whether to use a broker who will charge you or who don’t. Brokers tend to get commissions from the lenders. Some will also charge you a fee and some won’t, they’ll just take the commission. I kind of like it when they do charge you a fee because it means that they’re not just going to have the temptation to force anything on you that happens to give them the biggest commission. Whatever you do, the initial advice should be free. You should only get charged at the point of making an application. You should be able to get some advice from them and get a sense of direction without having to get your check book out. I’d say that a broken, in general is a really great person to have on your side because they’ve got a really good overview of the whole of investing because they get to see so many investors in action over a period of time; all investing in different things, all using different strategies and that means that they get to see how this pans out, what’s working for them, what isn’t, where people can get unstuck. I think there are a few people who’ve got a real kind of insight into so many different investing styles at the same time.

Rob Bence:                         At RMP Property we’ve got a collection of brokers we use. We don’t employ them in-house; we just have a panel of brokers to choose from for our investors to work with. That’s taken me a long time to put together because like solicitors, for every great broker there is a broken who has done his qualifications but really doesn’t know much about mortgages. As crazy as it sounds, sometimes you find educating them rather than the other way around which shouldn’t be the case. To avoid that, there’s a really simple way of assessing your selection. Find out if they invest in property themselves or two, work with a lot of property investors because a broker who just works with your moms and dads to get their home; lovely, that’s great. But a buy-to-let investor has completely different needs and strategies from someone who is just buying their own home. Go and ask them that question because it really will help. For example; your strategy may be to try and refinance after six or twelve months. I’m not saying that it is, but that may be one of the cases. If your broker puts you at NatWest, NatWest doesn’t allow you to do that for two years. But if your broker just goes because NatWest have got a good rate and not looked into your strategy and don’t understand how investors work then that’s going to stop you from moving forward. That’s going to put at least a twelve-month delay on your plans. I know that because it happened to me.

The great thing about this podcast is you can learn from our mistakes. You learn from our experiences. That’s one of the ways you can assess a broker; by understanding their prior experience.

Rob Dix:                               That’s a really, really great point, Rob.

Rob Bence:                         Next. Again optional, but it could make your life easier is a property sourcer or a property company. A property sourcer can be an individual who goes out and sources property; there are plenty of them out there. Or it could be a property company like RMP Property. This is optional, I have not put this in the “must have” even though that would be great to put it there. You don’t need to use property sourcer; you don’t need to use a property company. You could walk in to estate agents and buy a property. The advantage of using a property company is that they should, if they’re any good, be able to get a better deal than you ever would because they’ve got the experience. They’ve got the know-how; they know how to network with the right people to bring the right deals to you. That should be far better than you would ever do yourself. I say should, because like all the other industries, there are people or companies that are fantastic, and there are absolute lemmings as well who will probably cost you money rather than make you money. It’s about doing your research and making sure that the company you choose to work with a good one. [24:11] podcast come back to him again, but episode eight did a podcast on how to find good IFA. You can use some of the tips to find a good property; actually all the categories are used. What we’ll probably do in the comings weeks is a podcast on how to find a good company, also how to avoid the sharks because there are plenty of them out there. The key point here they can make your life a lot easier, they should be able to do a better job than you ca. Therefore, they can help you accelerate your plan and maybe even make you more money than you would do going out alone.

Rob Dix:                               The real point here is that you can, by all means, use a sourcer but you need to understand what you want and how they can help you get that because there’s a whole trust issue with the whole thing. I’d like to say there are so many dodgy companies and they just want to push on you whatever they happen to be selling, whatever they’re getting the commission for that week. What I love about your approach is that you make sure that people really, really understand what they want to buy and why and how it’s going to help them get to where they want to be. That’s a really important step. Because of all the trust issues and because of all these dodgy companies, I used to have real issues with using a source of any kind because, how do I know? At least if I do it myself, I’ll know that I’ll own my own decision and I know that I’m doing things for the right If you educate yourself and you know what you’re doing then you’ll be able to assess everything that people are saying to you. Using a source who’s got better connections and better access to deals than you have is not a bad thing. If it costs you some money then you’ll be charged a fee but if you worked out that fee over the amount of money that this property is going to bring you into terms of monthly income and capital growth over the term of your investment which could be twenty or more years, that’s actually very, very little. Using a source can be a really useful thing as long as you’ve got that base knowledge to start with.

Moving on, the next member of the team that you could use is an accountant. We should possibly do an episode on tax at some point because, that’s not an interesting area but it kind of is. I always used to think the more tax I pay the better because it means I’m making more money but there’s a lot more to it than that. I am self-employed so I use an accountant anyway but if you are employed in a job then you don’t necessarily need to use an accountant for the property part of your business as long as you’re confident enough to fill in the extra form at the end of each year and keep a record of the money you’ve spent and everything else. You could probably just read a simple book about it or read a few articles and know enough to be able to get through that process yourself if you wanted to. The real benefit, though of using a property specialist accountant is they’ll know exactly what deductions you can claim. If you’re doing it yourself, you might be in the position where you either don’t know about a certain thing that you can quite legitimately offset against tax or you might kind of suspect that you can do something, but not have the confidence to put it down because you just don’t know. That’s the great thing about an accountant. They will be able to tell you exactly what the rules. Again, from working for lots of other people they’ll know all the tricks that you can pull to minimize your tax liability. The key thing here is using a property specialist if the accountant is purely for your property business because there are many, many different  flavours of accountants. There are good ones and there are bad ones there are some who are good at one thing in a general kind of sense but they’re just not property experts. There might be things that they don’t know. As we’ve mentioned before, I think the best test is to look at someone who has property invested themselves because that really shows that they’re properly engrained in the business and they’re going to know what you can do. The record-keeping, whichever way you do it, whether you do it yourself or would use an accountant isn’t that arduous, but by using a professional, if they understand the business properly it means that it’s going to save you time because you’re not going to have to sit there crunching over the numbers and worrying about what to put in which box at the end of the year, but it will also save your some money.

Rob Bence:                         Yeah. An accountant, if they’re any good, will save you more money than they charge you. It’s as simple as that. That’s the way you have to deal with all these things. They will charge you money, but if they’re good they will save you more than what they charge you. That’s the whole reason why you should develop this team. All of them tie in really nicely to this last spot.

The last one is a mentor. You can have an indivual mentor or you could have one of the above being your mentor, or all of the above being your mentors to help you on your property journey. Let me explain what I mean by mentor. Mentor is somebody with more experience than yourself who will help you guide you through the process of becoming an investor and when you’re an investor expand it to the next stages of your portfolio. I’ve been in property eight years but it wasn’t one day I didn’t know anything about property and then the next day I worked up all the bat scenarios going, “Oh, I’m an expert!” It didn’t happen that way. It took time, it took experience but also, it was working with people who are more experienced than me; learning from them, effectively mentors who helped me become a better investor, help me know more about property so that I could get to the point where not only can I advice people about property investment but actually know more than ninety-nine per cent of people out there. It takes time but a mentor can help you accelerate that process. You can go out and find somebody, a mentor, who will take you through that process. Some people charge for that, but a lot of people though will do it for free. If somebody has a passion for property, if you approach the right people, I’m sure they’ll guide you to become a property investor. That doesn’t mean they’ll start working for you full time. That might be an hour a month on the phone, maybe two half-hours spread out to just give you help and advice. But as I said, you can go for an individual. Don’t feel that you have to because if you assemble the rest of the team that we’ve gone through and they’re good people; a good solicitor, a good letting agent, a good property source or a good mortgage broker, and a good accountant, they all should become your mentors as well. That’s the whole point of this. You can’t find an individual, but the rest of that team that you’ve assembled, your dream team; they should be able to act as mentors for you as well.

Rob Dix:                               A mentor doesn’t have to be one person. A mentor doesn’t have to call themselves a mentor, and the mentor doesn’t have to charge you money. Really, you should be learning from everyone and having this team is probably the best people you can learn from. A good broker, solicitor, sourcer, accountant, agent will not just going to do the job that you pay them to do and just going to give it to you and then there you go. They will advice you as you go and that knowledge and all the conversations you have with them you can pick up so much from. Having a formal mentor, whether you pay them or not, can be a great thing. There’s no reason why you wouldn’t necessarily pay them if you knew that there was a particular that you wanted to get out of it; like say there was a particular strategy that you really want to know about, HMO investing in a particular sector and you knew there was one person who had done that. You could see they’d done it and you wanted to buy some of their time so you could replicate what they’d done and skip all the mistakes that they’d learn along the way, that’s fine. You might also be able to find someone who’s very, very enthusiastic to help you out doing that for free. Mentoring doesn’t have to be a thing that you pay money for then receive a certain amount of time in return from. It’s a relationship with lots of different people and it’s just a mentality that you want to be learning from lots of different people in lots of different ways.

Rob Bence:                         That really sums up the whole thing here. This team that you assemble, they’re going to make your life a lot easier. They’re going to be able to mentor you, they’re going to be able to save you money, they’re going to be able to save you money, they’re going to be able to hopefully make you money, and they’re going to make your whole journey in property investment a lot easier. The narrow-minded people are the people who think, ‘Well, actually I can save a few pounds here and there by doing it all myself.’ Actually, they’re the people who have fallen slightly to be as successful in property investment because they don’t value their time. If somehow you don’t work an hour in the week and you want this to be your new job, then fair enough. But most people do work. If you do work, then do you want to spend all your weekends and evenings making sure that you’re good at letting your properties, you’re good at managing your properties, that you can source your own mortgage deals, that you’re getting the best ones for your strategy, that you can go out and then find all the deals, you can do better than what other people would do, then you do your own books. Madness. I have all of those people in my team. In my company, I don’t do the sourcing. I have somebody full time who does the sourcing for me. I even have somebody there. I have sourced previously, but I have somebody who is better than myself. My strength is in helping people with their strategies, their plans and their goals and running a business. That’s why I have someone in my team that does that for me. Letting agents, mortgage brokers, property sourcers or companies, accountants, a mentor, whether that’s individual or all of the above. They can really make your journey as a property investor so much easier and so much more successful.

I think this is a really important episode if you’re new to property or you’ve started and you haven’t got that team assembled, go out and get it because it really will make your life easier.

Rob Dix:                               Let’s move on to our resource of the week, which a lot of people enjoy. You’ve got a triple whammy for us this time.

Rob Bence:                         After those lovely reviews I thought I’m going to really reward everyone this week. I’ve got not one, not two; but three resources and a bonus. Here we go.

This is mainly for, I believe Apple users. Whether you’ve got an iPad or an iPhone, you’ll be able to download these apps. They may be on Android and we’ll have a look and if they are we’ll link them up to the show notes. As I’m an Apple user I know they’re all available on the App Store. What these apps do is they allow you to collect news or information on your chosen subjects. This can obviously relate to property here, but if you have other interests outside property; which even Rob and I do as well believe it or not, then you can also get the news for that type of stuff too. Let me give you the first resource.

The first resource is Flipboard. That’s Flipboard. Flipboard is an app that takes your social network feeds; your Twitter feeds, your Facebook feeds and you can select your own category as well. It takes the news from those feeds and turns it into a really aesthetically pleasing magazine, something that you can look at and go, “This is great.” It really makes it easy to digest the good pieces of news. It’s free; it’s really easy to use. If you’ve got a lot of property people on your Facebook and Twitter feeds then you will find a lot of property articles in there, but it takes the photos out of the feeds and create a magazine. It’s really pretty, really useful and it’s free. If you’ve got an iPad or an iPhone, go download it.

The next one is called Trapit and not Tripit as I said to Rob before, which is a whole different app. Trapit. What it does it is if you type in the subjects you’re interested in; I’ve got certain subjects but amongst them all are ‘property’ and ‘UK property’. What it will do is it will troll the net and find out articles that are related to that industry. What’s really interesting though is you can rate up and rate down articles so it starts to learn what types of articles are useful to you. If a property article that comes in that is really not that related to what I’m looking for at any point then I’ll down-rate it and it won’t hopefully send me articles like that again; very clever. Again, it’s free. It’s got really good social integration as well so if you want to tweet your articles you can do that very easily with just a press of a button. That’s Trapit. Again, free and very useful. It’s slightly different to Flipboard but another one to add to your armoury.

Finally, Pulse. Pulse is where you choose the news. You go into your Pulse app, you can set up categories so property can be maybe one of them, you can then input all your property websites which I’m sure The Property Podcast will be one of them, UK Property Geek and RMP Property will all be there of course and some of this. You can make sure that all the news is always there in front of you and get in source of the magazine format. It’s not quite as pretty as Flipboard, but still a lot better than an RSS feed. You can therefore hopefully never miss the news that’s important to you. Again, it’s free, it’s really good, and it’s a really impressive app. I think LinkedIn actually built the Pulse for a fair sum of money not so long ago so they’ve seen the potential in it.

Flipboard collects your social profiles. Trapit finds the news for you. And Pulse is the news that you’ve chosen.

Rob Dix:                               It all makes me feel very left out as an Android user. But some of those might well be available on the Google Play Store, we’ll have a look. If not, I use Google Reader to get all my needs, but they’re shutting that down at the end of next month, I think. I’ve been looking into something called Feedly as an alternative which seems like kind of a highbred of what you’ve been talking about. It’s for reading your news, getting social recommendations and all that kind of thing. I haven’t really drawn any conclusions about it yet but that might be a future resource of the week if that turns out to be any good. I know people are feeling left out as well but you’ve got another little bonus for them, which is more directly property related.

Rob Bence:                         I have. I’d like to say, I do own an Android phone as well and I’ve got a PC so I’m not a crazy Apple fan boy. I’m balanced. For those non-Apple users; this one is for anybody, actually. I don’t want any people to feel left out this week and feel that they’re not getting anything from it. A website I’ve been using recently is called All Agents; that’s All Agents. It will be in the show notes so go to thepropertypodcast/11 and we’ll link to it there. It’s a review site for letting agents. Some review sites have very few reviews and it doesn’t really seem to have any real relevance or impact on helping you do your research. This website is busy. It’s got loads of reviews; I’d be surprised if any letting agent who has been around for a while hasn’t got reviews. It’s good and bad; there are some agents that are doing very well and there are some are getting panned. It’s something that I’ve been using only in the last few weeks, so episode five I’m referring to earlier on how to choose a letting agent. This is an extra step. Don’t base your decision solely on this, but it can help you make your decision. Use all the tools that we gave you in episode five and this All Agents website and you should be able to nail down some great letting agents for you to use.

Rob Dix:                               If you want to feel a bit better about your life, just go and look at the worst rated agents and read through some of the reviews and some of the stories on there. You’ll be very grateful you don’t have some of the problems that people have been describing. Agencies are really cutthroat business and there are real problems with things like Google places or stuff like that with agencies leaving bad reviews for other people and all that kind of espionage stuff. All Agents, as I understand, they’re doing quite a good job of cutting all that out and making sure there is genuine reviews from genuine people. It’s a really, really useful resource.

Well, I think that about wraps it up this week then, Rob. Next week we’re going to be talking about first time buyers.

Rob Bence:                         Investors, don’t switch off; this is for you, too. We’re going to look at this two-fold. We know there are first time buyers; a lot of them have got in touch that listens to this podcast. Before we do an episode on how to get on the property ladder, this is going to be really exciting for you. But also investors, we’re going to look at the impacts that the governments have started to implement on the market, all these first time buyers come in to market and how it’s going to affect things. It’s going to be a lesson to learn about how to get on the property market. I think for investors it’s quite interesting as well to understand how first time buyers can dent on the market now. We’re going to look at how it’s going to affect the market. Don’t worry if you’re a, experience investor, there’s something for you. If you’re a first time buyer, then this is going to be gold, you’re going to have to listen next week.

Rob Dix:                               Yeah. I’m really excited about that. It’s going to be a great episode. As ever, if you enjoyed the podcast please leave us a review on iTunes. We really read out all the reviews, we’re a bit behind at the moment but we’ll get there. You’ll get to hear your name on the show. You can do that by just going to iTunes, there’s a link to that on the show notes. You can also leave us a comment directly on the show notes. If there’s anything that you found interesting about it, or you you’ve got a question on this week’s episode; maybe you want to let us know about your views about the kind of property professionals you should be working with or experiences you’ve had. You can leave the comment there. You can also get your voice on the show. I always forget exactly what this service is called. Basically, if you head over to thepropertypodcast.com there’s a little box on there in the bottom left where you can just record a message directly into your computer. That will get sent to us as an audio file that we can play out on the show. If you’ve got a specific question that you’d like us to answer, you can leave us a voicemail, that’s probably the easiest way of doing that.

Rob Bence:                         Speak pipe.

Rob Dix:                               That’s the one.

Rob Bence:                         It’s a great tool. As Rob said, there on the website. We want to hear your voice. We talk a lot, it would be great if you could help us out. We’d love an episode where your questions were just recorded and we answer them. That would be a really easy week for us. Get your voice on there, don’t be shy. You can re-record it if you’ve got it wrong so it’s not like you’ve got one hit and you’ve got to nail it. Go on, it’s free; and we’d love to have you on the show. Pete, Matthew did it a couple of weeks ago. He’s obviously a professional, but don’t worry, you can re-record it. I recorded one for his and I had to do it three times. It’s a great tool. Go on, we’d love to have you on the show. After this, go to the website and do it.

Rob Dix:                               I just want to remind everyone; join the mailing list. While we’re talking about interactions, we’ve got a special episode coming up and you want to get in on that and be the first to know about it. While you’re over recording your voicemail for us, make sure you join the mailing list as well so you’ll be the first to know about that.

Rob Bence:                         Have a fantastic week everyone! It’s been a great episode. We’re really enjoyed ourselves. We all look forward to speaking to you next Thursday when we’ve got a bit of a bumper episode; first time buyers and how it’s going to affect the property market. We’ll speak to you then.

Rob Dix:                               See you next week!

Rob Bence:                         Bye!

Ric:                                         Thank you for listening to The Property Podcast. Don’t forget to check out the show notes and join the mailing list at thepropertypodcast.com