Now THIS Is What I Call Job Satisfaction

Yesterday I got a surprise text from a guy I’d helped with an Assisted Sale back in August last year.

 At the time, I was selling his house through an Estate Agent because the guy was on the brink of having his home repossessed for non payment of his mortgage and owing around 5k in arrears , this was due to an accumulation of circumstances.

 The guy (we’ll call him John) was estranged from his wife, lived by himself and had lost his driving job as a plumber due to a drink/drive offence (drowning his sorrows)

 From then on he ‘buried his head in the sand’ stopped making his mortgage payments and let himself (and the house) go until he couldn’t ignore the letters he was getting from the bank any more because they were threatening to take him to court to recover the debt.

 That’s when he called me, after receiving one of my leaflets through his door which basically said ‘Do you need to sell your house fast?’

 If you missed my previous post about the Assisted Sale you can read it here:

 What I didn’t say in my previous post is how depressed John was at the time. I’ll be completely honest about why I didn’t elaborate on it…. I felt guilty because although I was helping him to sell the house I felt I could’ve offered him a greater share of the profit.

The Download Music Festival

 I spent a lot of time chatting with him because he seemed lonely, he told me about his teenage son and his love of  rock music and  the ‘Download’ festival, which he’d attend every year with his son (it’s a heavy rock festival which goes on for days and everyone camps out in tents) There were photos everywhere!  

Apparently this was the first year he’d missed because of his financial difficulties, so his son had gone without him.

 He also talked about his Dad, who he missed and hadn’t seen for years due to an argument they’d had years ago. I had to ‘push’ him a lot to get paperwork signed and sort things out in the house, I felt like I was always ‘nagging’ at him to get things done!

 At the time we agreed that I would…

  • Pay off his arrears
  • Pay the mortgage until the house sold
  • Speak to the bank about giving us some time to sell the house
  • Put the house on sale with an Estate Agent and conduct the viewings
  • Pay all his Estate Agent  & solicitors fees

 Then he would get £1000 (which he owed his ex wife and wanted to pay back) and 15%  from the profit of the sale, and he was happy with that.  I know I could’ve offered a bit more and  didn’t want to advantage of his situation,  so on completion of the sale I gave him a cheque for an extra £500 on top of what we’d agreed as with hindsight I felt a bit ‘greedy’.

 As part of our ‘agreement’ I also said I would pay for his ticket to the ‘Download festival’ the following year which he was really pleased about.

 When the day came for him to move out (he was moving in with a friend) his ex wife called me saying he’d been taken to hospital because he’d attempted suicide, I had no idea he was feeling that low and I was beside myself with worry for him.

 I went straight to the hospital to see him, he did look a sorry sight and I felt so guilty at selling his home, but the alternative was losing it anyway and being left with a massive debt which he couldn’t pay. It’s a terrible, hopeless situation for anyone to be in and it made me think about others in the same situation who HAD been taken advantage of by unscrupulous companies.

Rather him than me!

 I spent ages talking to him about his life and how being more ‘positive’ would make a difference to him.

 I gave him a copy of ‘Rich Dad, poor Dad to read! and suggested he contact his Dad, which he did, and to cut a long story short he went to live with him in Wales for a ‘new start’.

 Anyway, last week I bought him his festival ticket, plus camping for 5 days and a return bus ticket from Swansea so he could get there and back. I sent it to his Dad’s address in Wales.

 Yesterday John sent me a text, here’s what he said:

 “Sue thanks so much for sending the ticket and for all your help. I’m more than happy here, getting on great with my Dad, I have a job, a new girlfriend and now my Download ticket, life doesn’t get much better than this. Thanks again for sorting me out, John x”

 I can’t tell you how much that meant to me, knowing that he was happy and settled, a far cry from the sad, sorry soul I’d first met.

Although I made a good profit on the sale of his house,  knowing that I have actually changed his life for the better has given me the most amazing sense of satisfaction that money could never buy, and that’s what makes it all worthwhile 🙂


Why Your Biggest Challenge Is Yourself

How often have you envied someone who has done something amazing or made a success of their life?

 How often have you said ‘I wish I could do that’ or ‘I’m just not lucky enough’ or ‘he’s just lucky, that’s why he’s made it’?

 I’m sure we’ve all said this at some point, but do you ever stop and think why you don’t achieve more in your life?

 How many excuses have you made to others (and yourself) about why you can’t do something?

 I tell my daughter Summer that she’s not allowed to use the word ‘can’t’. Instead she has to say ‘I’ll try’. Yes, she moans whenever I say it, but she will always remember it, and it will stand her in good stead for the future 🙂

 Have you heard the saying ‘We are what we think’? Often, the way we think determines whether or not we will be successful in what we set out to achieve.

 So if you start off thinking you’re not capable of doing something, then guess what? You’ll probably never do it. You may as well not even try because you’ve lost the battle already!

 Many of the millionaire gurus practice NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) which basically means that if think about something you want and really believe you will get it then your thoughts will manifest themselves into reality.

 The secret to their success is an ‘I can’ attitude. They don’t say ‘I can’t do it’. They say ‘HOW can I do it?’

 Now I’m not saying this is all you need, but it’s a great start! A positive attitude will go a long way and is what separates the successful people from the unsuccessful.

 It’s ok to try and fail. So you tried, and it didn’t work, but you don’t give up. You try another way, and then another until you make it work. There are many great people who tried, lost everything, then succeeded in getting it all back.

Thomas Edison’s teachers said he was “too stupid to learn anything.” He was fired from his first two jobs for being “non-productive.”

Thomas Edison. Invesntor of the light bulb
Thomas Edison

As an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb.

When a reporter asked, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”

 Negative Thoughts Produce Negative Actions

 Do you know someone who always seems to have ‘bad luck’ and whatever they do always seems to go wrong? This is not a coincidence at all, it’s down to mindset.

 They constantly tell themselves they’re unlucky and things will always go wrong….so guess what….that’s what happens!

 Positive thoughts produce positive actions. Give all your thoughts to what you want to achieve, see what you want in your mind, feel it, focus on it constantly as if you already have it.

 See yourself actually achieving your goal and you will be nearer to getting it.

 Did you know that 1% of the population own 96% of the worlds’ wealth?

 This is no accident, it’s not down to luck. These few people focused on what they desired, they believed in themselves and set out to get what they wanted. They are where they are today because of what they thought. There are other contributing factors but mindset is the most important.

 You can focus on the past and your previous disappointments, or, you can focus on your future and what you want to happen. So what’s it going to be?

 Because your biggest challenge is YOURSELF.

When Things Go Wrong

Inevitably there are times when things just don’t go to plan.

It happens to all of us as we all make mistakes but as long as we learn from them then that’s fine.  After all, there is no success without failures.

Anyway I’ve  had a bit of a set back 😦 If you’ve been following my posts you’ll remember me talking a while back about the ‘Assisted Sale’ I completed on and at the end of the post I said I had another one in the pipeline?

The 3 bed semi

Anyway, a retired couple had cotacted me (through my leaflets) saying they wanted to sell their 3 bed semi (in Leicester) as it was too big for them.

It was a non standard build property (BISF – steel construction) which can be difficult to sell (and get a mortgage on as some lenders don’t like them) however I’d spoken to my broker and he assured me there WERE lenders happy to lend on it depending on the buyers criteria.

There was no mortgage on the property, they just wanted to sell it, rent a small flat and live off the money as they had no relatives to leave it to. They’d been thinking about it for a while and decied to do something about it when they read my leaflet 🙂

It had a good sized garden

They were a lovely couple and I spent a lot of time with them finding out what they wanted to do and how etc. Eventually we came to an agreement. I would find them a nice flat in the area they wanted, pay all their legal fees, solicitors, Estate Agents etc and they’d sell the property to me for £60,000, market value was around £90,000.

They didn’t want the hassle of dealing withthe EA, showing people around, legal issues etc so I was going to do all that.

I found them a gorgeous flat exactly where they wanted and to their specs, one bed, ground floor, central location, that was being advertised by a letting agent. I picked them up, took them to see it, they loved it and wanted to move in asap but wanted the rent a bit cheaper.

So I negotiated the price with the landlord via the agent and got it at the price they wanted. They were delighted and decided to move in within a couple of weeks so I put the house on the market with an estate agent.

They didn’t have a lot of money behind them so I offered to lend them £2,000 so they could move into the new place (to pay upfront tenancy fees etc, and this amount would come off their share on sale of the house. (This was all written up in the T&C’s on the Option Agreement)

I’d already had it valued at 90k (by the EA) but was marketing it at 85k as I wanted a quick sale. I figured that if I could sell it for about 75k I’d still make a good profit after the legal fees were paid. I luckily made 12k on my previous assisted sale and was hoping I could repeat it! If you missed it You can read about it here

So to save a bit of money I thought we’d hire a van and move them ourselves, so my hubby Mike and son Nick and I got there early to start loading the van! It was a nightmare, I’ve never seen so much stuff and they’d packed most of it into black plastic bin liners…they were everywhere!!

There was Mike dismantling their electrics beds and Nick heaving the washing machine & fridge into the van while I was piling up a sea of black bin liners and going back & forth in an attempt to get as much as possible into the first load.  I don’t know how the hell they thought all that stuff was going to fit into a one bed flat haha.

As the old couple weren’t very moblie and the guy had a bad hip I didn’t expect him to do any lifting so I took them to the new flat in the car with a couple of chairs and made them a cup of tea while I went back to carry on with the loading.

We had to make two trips so it was a total of 40 miles in the van and a couple of car trips to pick up the last few bits, my car was covered in mud from all the bloody pot plants in the garden :/ but after 6 hours we’d done……or so we thought!

They then wanted help to put the beds back together, the washer needed plumbing in and they needed help to unpack the heavy items and make up the beds, plus I went to the local shop to get them some chips as they were hungry!!

Then we had to go back and start taking up the old carpets, stripping walls in the lounge & kitchen and re-painting it . There wasn’t a lot of work to do but it still took us another couple of days to finish it. we were knackered by the end of it but thought it would be worth it in the end.

The area where the property was situated was a ‘bit rough’ and we had a couple of problems, we visited the property regularly to make sure everything was ok and one time someone had stolen the bark and plastic underlay from the front garden, so it looked a righ mess,  and someone else had thrown a door and broken furniture over the fence into the back garden. So obviously we (Mike) had to clear this up!

Then there were the phone calls from the couple “Can you please do this for us” “Could you please come and show us how this works” “the Alliance & Leicester is shut, what can we do” etc etc! They were always pleased to see me though and treated me like part of the family bless em!

Initially there was a lot of interest in the property and we had an offer of 72k but the guy couldn’t get a mortgage (because of the build). The estate agent said people were put off because of the type of property. Two months later we had another offer of 70k from a guy who’d come from London to view it, he wanted to buy it to let.

I went to see the old couple to give them the good news and was astounded when they said (very matter-of-factly) that they’d had a nice time at the flat but had decided they wanted to go back home as they missed the neighbourhood,  ‘pottering about in the garden’ !and they didn’t think their BUDGIE liked it there!!!!!! Grrrrrrr

It’s a good job I’ m a patient person or I would’ve strangled them and buried them under the patio! After chatting with them for a while it seemed they were adamant that they were going back so I had to accept that, but also told them we had incurred fees which would have to be paid back (the £2000, van hire, EA fees etc) which they agreed to pay by getting a loan 😦

SO……they ended up moving back (with their own removal van this time) we had to tell the guy from London he couldn’t buy the property and the landlady of the flat wasn’t pleased as the 6 month tenancy was only in it’s 3rd month. And this is cutting a long story short lol!

We wasted a lot of time on this project but at least we recouped our costs, which made me feel very guilty as the old couple had to get a loan to pay us back. I’m a big softy and was thinking of letting them off but Mike quite rightly said “We’re not running a charity”.

They were fine about it, and said “Well at least we tried it out”  and asked me to keep in touch as they’d miss me!

Anyway, a valuable lesson was learnt, don’t mess with pensioners or non-standard builds again, and I have to ‘man up’ and stop being so soft! 🙂

My New Office!

I started my blog in September 2010 and finding the time to write is difficult when I’m still working 3 days a week at my ‘day job’, being a Mum, running the house and persuing my career as a property investor.

 However, I make the time and have a couple of interesting projects up my sleeve!

I recently have a new business partner, Vincent Audritt, who I met through a property course (the TMA) he’s a nice guy and has a great business head having run his own business for many years, he also has some brilliant contacts re the Internet Marketing side having recently spent a couple of weeks in the Phillipines on an intensive marketing seminar, and as a result has access to c70 Internet Marketing experts/IT workers who will be helping us with the business.

We’re currently in the process of setting up a couple of new sites. One  for lead generation (for ourselves) and we’re also looking to help people with:

  • Website design & building
  • WordPress Blogs
  • Video marketing
  • SEO & PPC management
  • Article marketing 
  • Social Media profile setup & management
  • And other stuff!
  • Business is about ‘pooling’ your resources, we all have different talents,  so Vince and I are combining our attributes and intending to put together a great business 🙂

    I enjoy being sociable,  so I’m intending to get out and about at property meets, make contacts (and friends) keep up with the Social Media side, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc (which in itself is very time consuming) and generally make ourselves ‘known’.  I also like designing marketing material, flyers etc, so that will be my job.

    I’m currently setting up a new profile on Facebook for our business with ‘Pagemodo’ which is a bit like a Fan Page but more indepth. Try it out for yourself  here:

    We’ll both be responsible for updating the blogs and newsletters…oh, and Vince is a great writer too!

    These things take time to set up, but we’re aiming to have at least one of the sites up and running within the next month, so watch this space!

    I’m also going to be working closely with my friend and collegue Colin Parker who jointly owns ONEPORTFOLIO, who provide a great portfolio building service for people looking to minimise risk, maximise net rental income and achieve great medium to long term capital growth.

    So….. I just need to find the time to do all this now haha!  But you know what they say…. ‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way’.

    I’ve just moved into my new office, which was once our old garage and was used as a ‘dumping ground’ for anything we didn’t have space in the house for (most of it was Mike’s junk as he likes to collect useless things… jokes please!)

    We’ve had a new shed to house all the things that we needed to keep…like my bike, I love cycling in the summer!

    It’s nothing glamourous, just a place to work from and at least we can get rid of all the paperwork that’s been cluttering up the dining table!

    I still need some more furniture in there as it’s looking a bit bare but the main bits are in place. There’s under floor heating so it’s nice and warm, if there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s being cold!

    There’s some ‘before & after’ pics:

    This slideshow requires JavaScript.

    So…….busy, busy, busy!!!

    I’ve had lots of help from some great people, a lot of whom have become friends, and I thank you all for your time and for sharing your knowledge, it’s very much appreciated and I hope we can continue to work together and help each other. PLEASE contact me if there’s anything I can help you with in return.

    Enough waffling, here’s to our success and I hope that 2011 is the best year yet for all of us 🙂

    If reading this as an email, click here to go to blog post: 

    And please follow my posts by clicking ‘follow posts’ on top right of blog!



    New Year Resolutions

    My first hello of 2011 🙂

    I hope you all had a great Christmas with family and friends. I did, although it’s always quite hectic in our house, it’s also fun! 

    Also I hope you start the year healthy.  There’s been a lot of nasty virus’s around so if you were unlucky enough to catch one I hope you’re now on the mend 🙂

    So, new years resolutions, should you make them? In my opinion I think it matters more how you make them.

    At some point or other we’ve all made resolutions we don’t manage to keep but it’s important to look at why we don’t keep them.  Lets look at a couple of resaons.

    This year I’m going to make lots of money  We’ve all made this resolution many times I’m sure, but how many of us have actually done it?  I’d like to wager none too many!

    Why is this statement on it’s own not achieveable?  Because it’s too vague, there’s no plan and you don’t actually know how you’re going to do it.

    You need to be a lot more specific.

    Make A Plan

    Nothing great was ever accomplished without a plan. If you fail to plan, then you plan to fail.

    • HOW MUCH money do you want to make?
    • Time factor. WHEN do you want to have achieved this by?
    • WHAT are you going to put in place do to make it happen?
    • HOW are you going to do this?
    • WHO is going to help you?
    • WHAT resources are you going to need?

    These are just some of the questions you need to ask yourself, and you MUST WRITE IT DOWN so that you have something visible to follow.

    Whatever it is you want to achieve, you must set goals, that’s important. Small, achieveable goals instead of something too ‘big’ that you know you won’t accomplish.

    Let’s just say that you want to have made £50,000 by the end of December 2011.  £50,000 sounds a lot in one go….. so break it down.

    You need to make this in twelve months, so thats, £4,166 per month, or, £961 per week, or, £137 per day, or, £17 per hour.

    Now what sounds more achieveable? £50,000 or £17.00?

    You might have an Ebay shop selling goods or a service that makes you £10 per sale. You’d have to sell just 15 of these to achieve the £148 per day. That sounds a bit easier than making 50k doesn’t it?

    Don’t just say “I’m going on a diet”. Write down:

    • WHEN you’re going to start
    • HOW MUCH weight you want to lose (remember, be specific)
    • WHAT DATE you want to have lost the weight by
    • BREAK IT DOWN!  If you want to lose two stones in six months, this works out to 28lbs in 24 weeks. So just over 1lb a week.
    • HOW are you going to do this? (join a club, follow a diet plan etc)
    • WHO can help (maybe you have a friend who has the same aim. It’s easier if you do it together)
    • REWARD yourself for each target you reach. ie; When you get to your first 7lbs go out and buy yourself something nice.

    So can you see that your resolutions will be much easier to keep if they are broken down into smaller goals?  

    It’s all about you being able to SEE that your resolutions ARE achieveable and I know this works because I’ve done it! I have a diary and I write down what I need to do on each day for the whole week, then every morning I check the list and make sure each one is ticked off.  I’m a visual person and need to see it written down to remember.

    We all mean to do things and don’t get around to it, you might have a bill that needs paying and say “I’ll pay it tommorrow” then you get distracted and forget. It’s easily done.

    So try it out, just for a week, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish!

    Good luck and I wish you all a very happy, healthy and prosperous new year 🙂

    A Christmas Message

    I hope you’re all ready for Christmas and managing to get out and about alright with all this snow!

    I’ve only had one annoying incident where I was stuck on the M6 for a while whilst coming back from visiting my sister in Telford….so I’ve been lucky so far 🙂 Actually it was more unlucky that I had three kids in the car at the time that drove me mad because they were bored!

    Mike and I have just been to the local Tesco today to finish off the ‘food shop’ where people were piling up their trolleys with enough food to feed them for a year, the shops are only shut for a day for goodness sake, why do they do that ?!

    Maybe because Christmas is a great excuse to EAT isn’t it?

    I went for a meal with family last night and stuffed myself silly, then got home, ate half a box of mint matchmakers and drank two glasses of Baileys… in bed! 🙂 ~ Luxury

    Our daughter Summer half -heartedly built a six inch snowman in the garden (probably the smallest on record lol) she’s excited about opening her presents but sadly doesn’t believe in Father Christmas any more 😦 so we won’t be leaving the usual mince pie for Santa and a carrot for the reindeer on Christmas eve.

    My cat looking not too impressed with her Christmas outfit!

    I hate it when that happens, a childs innocence makes Christmas time even more special, but I’ve often wondered how they feel when they find out we’ve been ‘lying’ to them for years about Santa bringing them presents (especially when we tell them it’s naughty to lie!)

    Hopefully you’ve all had a great year. Mine has been good, I’ve met some amazing people, made new friends and learnt some interesting stuff.

    Looking back I could’ve been a lot more proactive, especially the latter part of the year, but I intend to make next year AMAZING so watch this space!

    I hope we will all be grateful for what we have this year because although Christmas is a time for having fun and being

    with family for most, there are unfortunately some who are less fortunate,  those who are missing loved ones and those going through bad times,  so I ask that we remember and say a prayer for them.

    Anyway, I’m sending you all my very best wishes for a fabulous Christmas and a very happy and prosperous New Year,  be sure to make your resolutions ACHIEVABLE and GO FOR IT!


    Armchair Property Investment. Is It for You?

    What is ‘Armchair Investment’?

    People choose to invest their money in many ways, ultimately hoping for a good return on their investment.  ‘Armchair Investment’ is another way of doing this, and simply put means that your money is invested with a company that  looks after your interests on your behalf with minimum input from yourself, leaving you free to get on with your life (and reap the benefits in later years!)

    Obviously there are many fields you can choose to invest in but lets look at investing in property and how armchair investment features in this.

    Why invest in property anyway?

    The news is always full of doom and gloom regarding the property market which can be very off putting for someone who might be thinking of investing first time, and people tend to get carried away with the bad news instead of looking at the ‘bigger picture.’

    On average and according to trend, property prices double every 7-10 years. (you can see this on the graph below)

    Graph showing average house price increases from 1983 to present day

    Yes, there’s an element of risk when you invest in anything but as the saying goes ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’ so you need be aware and take calculated risks based on the current market.

    We will always have ‘dips’ and ‘peaks’ where property prices plummet and then rise again, and in the ‘dips’ some people can find themselves in negative equity.  

    This can happen when they’ve  bought or re-mortgaged just before the dip, as unfortunately no one can predict when this is likely to happen.

    I don’t profess to be an expert on the property market but I can read a graph! So lets look at the ‘bigger picture’.  If you look at this graph you’ll see that although there have been ‘dips’ in house prices over the years, on average prices still double every ten years or so:

    So if you had bought a property in 1983 for £30,000, even though prices started to dip in 1992 you can see that 10 years later in 1993 the value of the property had still risen to £60,000 (so it had doubled in value) and in 2003 it had risen to £120,000! (doubled again)

    You can see that prices started to dip just after 2008 when the last reccession started, so if you were unlucky enough to buy a property then you may find yourself in negative equity today if you bought at full market value.

    BUT even if you had bought at full value, as long as you’re not intending to sell the property right away, then eventually its value will rise again.

    If you can, it’s best to buy property below market value but not everyone knows how to do this.

     House prices WILL rise again in the long term, so, despite the current property climate and all the negativity surrounding the subject, property is still one of the best ways to invest your money to be sure of a good return in the future as long as you intend to hold on to it long term.

    Some people prefer to do their own ‘legwork’ when buying a property. This is great if you have the time, ability and the knowledge to do this. This would involve:

    • Advertising
    • Sourcing the property
    • Dealing and negotiating with Estate Agents
    • Negotiating with the vendor (seller)
    • Knowing how to assess the ‘condition’ of the property and spot building defects
    • Understanding the current property market and doing your own due diligence
    • Knowing the area you’re buying in
    • Knowing the property is in a good rental area
    • Applying for a mortgage
    • Dealing with brokers, solicitors and surveyors (and their fees)
    • Having the time to ‘chase’ the case’ to completion
    • Refurbishing the property to a good standard and having access to tradesmen to do this
    • Paying the mortgage until the refurbishment is done
    • Finding a tenant yourself or finding a reputable lettings agency to do it for you
    • Making sure the tenant is credit checked and referenced
    • Providing an AST (Assured Shorthold Tenancy) document for the tenant
    • Providing a detailed inventory stating the condition of the interior
    • Making sure the rent is paid regularly
    • Visiting the property regularly to ensure it’s being ‘looked after’ by the tenant
    • Dealing with maintenance problems and ensuring that any issues are resolved
    • Chasing the tenant for late payments
    • Knowing how to deal with an eviction if the need arises

    These are just some of the things you need to be able to deal with when you decide to use the ‘hands on’ approach to property investment.  Of course this also involves using finance by way of fees and refurbishment but by far the biggest problem for most people is having the TIME to do it!

    What are the benefits of  ‘Armchair Investment’?

    If you realise the potential of property investment but aren’t the type of person who’s  happy with the ‘DIY’ approach, or you’re not sure how to go about it,  or just don’t have the time to do it all yourself then you should consider Armchair Investment.

    If you have an idea of how much you want to invest and where, then an Armchair Investment company will do the rest. They will generally find you ‘below market value’ property and sometimes manage it for you.

    Up to now I’ve preferred to source my own property and be ‘hands on’ and there has been some negative press in the past regarding some unscrupulous companies so I was quite sceptical about the idea of armchair investment.

    That was until I spoke to a guy called Colin Parker who has a property investment company in the North East called ONE PORTFOLIO.  I first heard of Colin about a year ago after he answered some of my many questions on the Tycoons property forum (can’t remember which question – there were so many!) he was very helpful and I noticed he had a good reputation and was well respected by the other members.

    I spoke to Colin on the ‘phone regarding a deal I was contemplating and he gave me some sound advice. After speaking with him for a while I discovered he offered an Armchair Investment service which he told me a little about, however I wasn’t really interested because as I’ve said, I was quite sceptical at the time.

    I then spoke with him a couple of months ago and he invited me up to Newcastle to meet himself and his wife Karen who jointly run the company.

    Like a lot of people, I thought properties in the North were all run down and the areas were in a state of disrepair and this was why property up there was cheaper. I couldn’t have been more wrong!

    Myself with Colin and Karen Parker

    First of all, I found that Colin and Karen Parker were very welcoming, warm and down to earth people. They are honest, hard working and proud that they offer a second to none investment service, but the one thing that stood out to me was their genuinely ethical approach to their investors.

    They have built their company by showing respect and listening to what their clients actually WANT and their reputation for providing a great service is growing fast.

    Most BMV companies will provide you with a property that’s 15-25% below market value and charge you a ‘finders fee’ (around 2 – 10 thousand pounds depending on whether the deal has been ‘packaged’ or not)

    However, you have to be quick because these properties are sent out to everyone on the companies list. There’s no ‘having a look’  at the property before hand or getting your money back if the surveyor down values it!

    Also, once these BMV companies have sold you a deal then that’s it, they walk away, and the rest is up to you! There’s no guarantees that it will stack, or that it will rent, or that it doesn’t need a lot of money spending to refurbish it.

    If you were going to source property yourself, where would you look and why?  Well of course you’d look in your own area, because you’d know that area well, you’d know which are the good and the bad bits, you’d know whether the property was below market value and you’d know whether or not it was a good rental area and if you could find a tennant quickly.

    Which is why ONEPORTFOLIO only source property in their own area in the North East, because they know this area like the back of their hand and they know which properties will provide great investments to their clients. In fact they’ve been doing it for years!

    Why would you want to invest in the North East?

    Contrary to belief, properties ‘up North’ are not all run -down shacks, and it’s not all cobbled streets and mass unemployment!

    A lot of investors  from London and the surrounding areas choose to invest in the north because properties are  lot cheaper there and of course the yields are higher.

    They’ve found that as long as they get the properties at a good price, they cash flow well and they’re managed well they can have a ‘hands off’ approach and most of them never even see the properties, they don’t need to!

    Considering it was November when I went up to visit them it was cold, but the sky was blue and clear and Colin and Karen gave me a tour around the areas they buy property in.  Newcastle, Middlesborough, Sunderland and the surrounding areas, and I was pleasantly surprised at how neat and tidy the streets were and how much regeneration was going on.

    As we were driving around Colin was giving a commentary on the history of the area, pointing out properties they’d bought for investors, talking about the regeneration projects and answering any objections I had. It was clear he knew his area very well indeed and I was very impressed with his knowledge and also his obvious passion for the area.

    Properties sourced are valued between £50,000 and £150,000 and are purchased for between £40,000 and £120,000.  All properties can be purchased using buy to let finance so an investor would require a deposit of 20-25% of the purchase price. The typical investment required is around £20,000.

    I loved Newcastle, it’s an amazing place with some great architecture. I took some photos of the types of property sourced by ONEPORTFOLIO and other landmarks whilst we were driving around:

    This slideshow requires JavaScript.

    What ONEPORTFOLIO do is provide a personal service which is great value for money. Obviously there’s a lot that goes into making this a good service, but to keep it short, basically here’s what they offer:

    • You get a free one to one consultation with Colin who will invite you to have a look around the area so you can discuss your investment requirements and see the type of properties they source.
    • ALL properties offered will be GUARANTEED 20% below market.
    • When a property comes up that matches your requirements you will be offered it personally with a 12 page report on the property, it’s condition, rental & market value comparables, photographs, floor plans and any refurbishment that may be required.
    • If you decide to purchase, the mortgage will be arranged for you and a solicitor instructed on your behalf
    • A fully independent RICS survey will be instructed
    • On completion of the sale, if required, the property will undergo a FULL refurbishment.
    • ALL properties undergo a 192 point check list to make sure they are ready for renting and comply with safety regulations (Gas certificates etc)
    • A tenant will be found under strict guidelines, they will be credit checked and referenced thoroughly.
    • The property will be fully managed for you, so if there’s any problems with maintenance etc it will be dealt with swiftly.
    • NGU Lettings currently looks after 370+ properties for it’s investors.
    • All this leaves you to get on with your life – stress free!

    Some Armchair Investment companies have asked up to £37,000 for this type of service but ONEPORTFOLIO require a reservation fee to show you are commited of just £485  (which is fully refundable if you change your mind)  Then a further payment of £4,500 on completion of the sale.

    So the total arrangement fee is just £4,985 which includes ALL legal fees  (survey & solicitor) AND it includes a full refurbishment of the property if it’s required.

    Their full managment service is just 10% of the monthly rental fee.

    If you can find another reliable company that offers a service that’s better than this then please let me know!

    After our drive around the area, which took up most of the day, I went back to my hotel to freshen up then met up with Colin and Karen in the evening where they showed me the nightlife in Newcastle.  Or “Let’s go oot on the toon” as Colin put it haha!

    Although it was now raining,the bars were buzzing with people and vibrant. There was a great atmosphere and we had a lovely evening getting to know each other then had a sumptuous chinese meal before I was dropped off at my hotel, where I slept really well after a great day with good company 🙂

    I can thoroughly vouch for Colin and Karen and their company ONEPORTFOLIO, they came across as genuinely honest and sincere people who have invested a lot of time building an ethical, value for money GUARANTEED service. Indeed, many of their investors have gone on to buy more than one property with them when they’ve realised what a great service they’ve received.

    ONEPORTFOLIO Established 2007
    ‘Armchair Investment’ At Its Best
    GUARANTEED Property Discounts
    GUARANTEED Rental Income
    GUARANTEED Money Back Offer
    You Invest – We Do The Rest!
     If this sounds like something you’d like to discuss further please contact me:

    Happy Investing!

    Follow me by subscribing (free) to my blog at the top!

    Tribute To My Mum

    My Lovely Mum x

     This post isn’t property related but it is part of my life,  as is the blog, so I’ve chosen to publish it.

    I love Christmas time, decorating the tree for my daughter, buying and wrapping presents, frosty mornings (except when my car won’t start!) parties and fun with family and friends.

    Christmas wouldn’t be the same to me without my children and four beautiful grandchildren whom I love to bits 🙂

    I took two of my grandchildren to see Santa last Saturday (Oscar & Mia) and  just loved seeing their little faces light up when they were asked what they wanted Father Christmas to bring them on Christmas eve.

    Mia said she wanted a real pony and Oscar asked for a racing track!  I don’t think her Mum would appreciate clearing up after a pony in the garden haha.

    Granddaughter Mia with Santa (Grandpa Mike!)

    My husband Mike dressed up as Father Christmas (in my dressing gown) it didn’t really fool them but they thought it was fun 🙂

     Christmas is also tinged with sadness for me as I lost my lovely Mum on December 16th 2008, she’d been suffering from COPD for years and was only 66 when she died.

    I miss her every day. Even more so at this time of year as I’d never spent a single Christmas without her until then.

    I always went Christmas shopping with her, so just walking around the shops lisening to the Christmas songs they’re playing is enough to make me ‘fill up’, it’s so hard.

    However,  she’d want us all to have a good time and we will.  I still buy my daughter Summer a present from her nanna every year as they were very close and she misses her too.

    It’s ok to have ‘bad days’ now and then, we all have them, but hopefully these are outweighed by the good ones (thankfully mine are) 

    So have your bad days, remember those you have lost, do whatever it takes to make you fell better, scream, shout, have a good cry,  let it all out (you’ll feel better for it) then go and talk a good friend who really knows how to cheer you up.

    You can then count our blessings, laugh, think positively about the good things you have and what you want, make plans to ensure you achieve your goals and look forward to good times.

    Life is what YOU make it, so MAKE IT GOOD!

    I made this video as a tribute to my Mum and would like to share it with you (it has sound)

    Why Is It Important To Network?

    Hello again 🙂

    It’s been suggested that my blogs are a bit ‘long winded’ and I admit I do tend to waffle on a lot so I’m going to try and keep them a bit shorter so that people don’t get fed up reading half way through (and it’s less time for me to have to sit tapping on the laptop!) I can’t promise, I do like attention to detail, but here goes….

    Never underestimate the power of networking

    Anyway, networking, why is it important?  What is networking all about?

    If you look up the term ‘networking’ in a dictionary it describes it as:  ‘a supportive system of sharing information and services among individuals and groups having a common interest’  which sums it up perfectly.

    You really cannot underestimate the power of what networking can do for you and your business.

    I love going to networking meetings. I’ve met some amazing people, everyone is unique and has a different story to tell and EVERY time I pick up new tips and skills that increase my knowledge.

     So how can you network?

    • Attend courses
    • Networking meetings (held all over the country)
    • Post on forums (as many as possible, get yourself  ‘known’)
    • Sign up to all the social media sites
    • Call people you meet regualrly and keep in touch
    • Listen in to webinars
    • Attend relevant events (seminars, free events, workshops etc)
    • Go to social events (a great and informal way to get to know people)

    Whilst at these events, speak to as many people as you can, find out why they’re there.  What do they do? Where are they from? What do they hope to gain? What are they looking for? What skills do they have? Can they help you at all? and most importantly, how can you help THEM?

    Collect business cards, as many as you can, because you need to build your list of contacts, you can never have enough of these. Networking will help you to expand your contact list. This will help you to expand your sales base and bring you in touch with different requirements to help you to diversify your business.

    Join property forums, ask questions to build your knowledge.  Join in with discussions and help new investors by answering their questions, add people as ‘friends’ and keep in touch regularly. The one’s I currently use are:  TYCOONS:   PROPERTY TRIBES:  and SINGING PIG:

    Join as many social media networking sites as possible like: Facebook, Twitter, Digg It, Stumble Upon (there are loads of them) social networking is very powerful and members are growing in their thousands daily so you need to get your name and your business on there.

    When I started my first property course there was a lot of emphasis put on ‘networking’ and why we should all be doing it.  At first I didn’t give it a lot of thought. I told myself I’d try and make it to a couple of meetings if I had the time.

    However,  since I’ve been attending events, socialising, posting on the forums etc, I have met SO MANY PEOPLE, a lot of whom have become good friends and I’ve learnt as much from them as I have from paid courses. It has not ceased to amaze me how people have been and continue to be so helpful 🙂

    The more people you meet and network with, the more opportunities will come your way.

    Forums are great for making friends and asking questions and you can have a good chat on the ‘phone but I prefer to meet up with people face to face.  It’s much more informal, you can relax over a drink and get to know the ‘real’ person this way.

    Maybe it’s a ‘woman thing’- and I’m biased- but intuition plays a big part for me.  I can ‘sense’ if I’m going to like and trust someone pretty quickly, and I wouldn’t want to work with someone I didn’t like or trust.

    People I’ve met recently and learnt from through networking

    I’m only mentioning RECENT people I’ve met in the last month as I’d be here all day if I listed ALL my contacts.  I like to get around 🙂

    Vince Audritt and Laura Smithson

    I have a new business partner called Vincent Audritt who I met through the TMA course, he’s very intelligent, has a great head for business as he’s run his own company for many years, and is a really nice trustworthy guy.

    My husband and I have become good friends with Vince and his partner Laura (I love her, she’s great fun) and meet up socially regularly. 

    They have just flown off to Thailand on an intensive Internet Marketing course (wish I could’ve gone!) Vince is a great writer and also has his own blog:

    as does Laura:  

    Colin & Karen Parker

    Colin Parker:  I first met Colin through a property forum about a year ago when he helped me with a query I’d posted (one of many lol) 

     Last week Colin and his wife Karen (lovely person) invited me up to Newcastle for a couple of days to have a  look around the area and see how they run their very successful property investment company called ONEPORTFOLIO-NGU

    They were good fun, great hosts and took me out ‘on the toon’ ! I had a brilliant time, learnt a lot about how the company runs and was very impressed (particularly with their ethics)  and as a result of my visit I will now be working closely with them. More about this in my next post 🙂

    Rob Hubbard

    A couple of weeks a go I met up with Rob  Hubbard who I met through the Property Tribes forum.

    We met in Leicester for a drink and a chat, he’s a friendly guy, very knowledgeable and willing to help, he’s given me lots of tips on property investment strategies
    Rob is a property investor and sourcer who’s based in Wakefield and he recently did an interview talking about his views on ethical property sourcing  with Vanessa Warwick (another friend of mine and co administrator of the Proprty Tribes forum)

     We keep in touch and he’s invited me up to the next Northern Property Tribes meet to speak!!! OMG don’t know about that, I’m very flattered, but what could I possibly speak about!  I’d like to  go anyway as a guest, meet new contacts and make new friends 🙂

    Sue & Maksoom, property entrepreneurs

    Sue Elkington & Maksoom Hussein: Two lovely friends I met through Parmdeep Vadesha’s TMA course.

    Amazing people, they both had a difficult start in life yet have triumphed against all odds to become successful investors and now co- host the Birmingham Property meet which I try to attend regularly, they have some great speakers.

    We keep in touch and I met up with them for a lunch time meal in Birmingham to hear all about the interesting things they were getting up to. Sue is a dab hand at DIY with many years experience and would put many a man to shame, she’s soon running a course on Property Refurbishment which I can fully recommend:

    Philomena Connelly

    Yesterday I met up with Philomena Connelly who I met on the Wealth Dragons course, she’s a genuinely kind and friendly person who runs a home design business so can help if you need to dress up a property to optimise it’s sale price for resale or letting : 

    We met for lunch (she lives in Bristol and came out of her way enroute from Bedford to meet me)  and we spent three hours chatting, exchanging experiences and had a lovely time (you know what it’s like when women get together! )

    Philomena is determined, like myself, to pursue a career in property investment, as well as as being a teacher of Salsa! (Oh I’d love to be able to do that!) We shared our recent findings and experiences and will definitely keep in touch.

     I’ve also spoken to lots of people by email and on the forums in the past month, they help me and I help them, which is what it’s all about, you don’t just take, you give back. I’ve met sooo many helpful people in this industry, I love being  apart of it and get a great buzz from being able to help a ‘newbie’.

    Yes it takes up a lot of my time to do this but as the saying goes ‘Two heads are better than one’  so think of the possibilities of having many heads helping with your knowledge and building your business 🙂

    Tomorrow I’m in Milton Keynes all day for training as an apprentice for the Wealth Dragons.

    Until next time, Happy Networking Folks. You know it makes sense!

    Mmmm, wasn’t exactly SHORT was it? Sorry 😉

    How To Design A Flyer/Leaflet To Attract Motivated Sellers

    I recently talked about using flyers/leaflets to ‘find’ motivated sellers. If you can contact the seller BEFORE they contact the Estate Agent you have a much better chance of getting a good discount on the property. I have used this method several times and can honestly say IT DOES WORK!

    If you’re a new property investor looking to source bargain properties you need to be able to find motivated sellers and distributing flyers/leaflets is a great way to do this!

    I had a ‘motivated seller’ contact me because he needed a fast sale as his house had been on the market for over a year and not sold. As he’d moved out of the property and it was standing empty he just wanted to get it off his hands. One of my leaflets was given to him by his daughter who’d received it through her door and he called me to discuss selling his house quickly.  

    What Should The Leaflet Say & How Should It Look?

    Anyone can write an advert on a piece of paper, but if you want yours to stand out from the competition it has to attract attention. I am not saying you must design your leaflet this way, or that my way is best. I’m merely stating what I have learnt from  my courses, others experiences and trial & error!  It’s up to you to  make your own decisions and  use whatever information you feel will be of benefit to you.

    Basic Layout

    A5 is most commonly used (approx 21cm x 15cm) horizontally or vertically, whichever suits your design best.

     You can use one side of the leaflet or both. It hardly costs any extra to have double-sided leaflets printed so you may as well use the extra space.

    Use a relevant heading: The heading is THE MOST IMPORTANT!

    It’s no good slapping your company name across the top as ‘Joe Bloggs Property’ isn’t going to mean anything to someone who’s looking to sell their property fast.

    Make it big and bold so that it stands out.

    It has to offer something that your target market ‘wants’. It has to be ‘to the point’ and provide a solution to their problem.

    A good tip is to ask a question, ie; ‘Do You Need To Sell Your Property FAST?’   ‘Are You Looking For A Quick House Sale?’ ‘Do You Have Property Problems?‘  These are questions that motivated sellers can identify with and will make them want to read further to see what you can offer them.

    Let the reader identify that he needs what you are offering: ie:

    • Are you stuck in a chain?
    • Worried about repossession?
    • Having debt problems?
    • Are you relocating and need a quick sale?

    State the main benefits: Don’t be tempted to go overboard and write dozens of points, it will look messy and overcrowded.  Stick to the main points that the seller is going to benfit from. It usually looks better and tidier if you use bullet points for this, ie:

    • Property bought FAST with  no cost to you
    • No Estate Agent fees
    • No Solicitor fees
    • No more waiting for a sale
    • Get an offer in 24 hours!

    Offer something FREE:  People love to get something for nothing! So the word ‘FREE’ tends to get noticed.

    • FREE house valuation
    • FREE consultation with property expert
    • FREE ‘sell your property fast’ guide

    Use photos and testimonials: People feel reassured if they can see that someone else has used your service and was happy with it. It’s obviously much better to use genuine tetimonials, however, I appreciate that it’s difficult when you’re first starting out to have ‘genuine’ quotes, but you could use a testmonial from anyone you’ve helped in the past who can vouch for your character ie; a friend that you’ve done a good turn for.

    When using photos, if you can’t use real pictures of people you’ve helped, then use photos of friends or family (with their consent) and make sure they’re looking directly into the camera as they’re seen to be more ‘genuine’ (this isn’t my opinion, it has been reasearched!)

    Psychology: Use photos of houses with a ‘SOLD’ sign outside. People will associate this with their own house being sold.

    Use Scarcity: How many times have you responded to an advert because there was a ‘time limit’ on it? People don’t like to think they’re ‘missing out’ on something good, so if they think there’s a bargain on offer but it will be ‘sold out’ if they don’t act quickly then guess what, they’re more likely to act immediately.

    ie; ‘Call before the end of November and get a FREE valuation’ or ‘Get all your legal fees paid if you call before the end of the month’

    Colour or black & white? There’s been a lot said about this aspect and as I’ve never used black and white leaflets I’m not in a position to advise what’s best. It’s been debated that it doesn’t really matter as it’s THE CONTENT that matters most. I think you should try both and see whether it makes a difference, however I like to use colour as it looks ‘nicer’ and stands out better.

    If you’re going to use colour, don’t overdo it, it will end up looking fussy. You don’t need to use more than three colours and primary colours work well as they ‘stand out’ better. This goes for fonts as well, try to stick to the same font in not more than three different sizes.

    I use Photoshop to design my leaflets, in fact I use it for lots of things! You can just as easily use ‘Word’  or ‘Paint’ or if you’re not feeling very confident about designing your own, most printers will design one for you at a small cost.

    One of my previously used flyers

    Terminology is important. Personally I prefer to use the words property or house rather than home.

    The word ‘home’ is emotive, it’s personal and refers to a place you have ‘made your own’ with your family.

    You’ve heard the expression ‘turn a house into a home’, they are two different things and people can be defensive if they think you’re trying to ‘take away’ their home or suggesting it’s worth less than they think.


    Call to action: (your contact details) This should contain your telephone number, email address and website details (if you have one) and needs to be clear and prominent. Apparently it’s better to use a female contact name as these are seen as being less agressive and more approachable.

    If you can use a photo of yourself (or your partner) this is good as the person the seller is contacting is seen to be more ‘real’. Hence why I’ve used my own photo on most of my leaflets. I’ve actually had people call me and say “Is that you on the leaflet then?” or when I’ve gone out to visit them at home they’ve said “Oh I recognise you from the leaflet”. This promotes trust 🙂

    Should you use an 0800 number? Again this is debateable. An 0800 number is free to call from a landline but you are charged if you call from a mobile, so it would depend where the seller was calling from.  Some people feel it’s more personal to have a ‘local’ number on their leaflets or a mobile number. You could use both.

    Well I think that’s about it, if there’s anything I’ve missed or you’re not sure of then please contact me and I’ll do my best to help 🙂

    Happy Leafletting!

    Get  quality, cheap Flyers HERE

    Best Wishes until next time,

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