People invest in property for all sorts of reasons. Some want it to support them in retirement, some invest to help get their children on the property ladder, children’s education, others for a bit of extra pocket money.
For me, it was about independence and having the freedom to make choices about your life.
My personal journey as a landlady started by accident. My marriage had broken down and I was left in the marital home with my baby daughter. Renting out rooms allowed us to survive and pay the bills that kept on coming.
After I trained as a lawyer I saved enough money to invest in buy-to-let properties and became a deliberate landlady. Initially as an amateur landlady, I learnt the hard way and made a lot of expensive mistakes. I then got financially educated and became a multiple award winning property investor. I have always treated my tenants as customers who deserve excellent accommodation and service, and I found this rewarding both ethically and I wanted them to make it their homes and stay for longer and look after the properties.
My investment continued and I was able to fall back on property income again when I lost my six-figure salary job in a law firm during the 2008 recession. When I became seriously ill three years later and was unable to work, the money from my buy-to-let properties once more become a life line and allowed me the time I needed to recover. Property for me is all about choices and preparing for the unknown, the uncertainties of life.
I built my portfolio part time and as a single mum. It’s something anyone can do with the right guidance and support. We can’t ignore the changes in the private rented sector at the moment, and particularly the tax changes coming into force at the moment. These may alter landlords’ investment strategies such as whether you should buy, renovate, and sell a property, or buy and hold onto it for longer. What it doesn’t change is the reality that quality housing in the private rented sector, in the right areas, remains in high demand.
Step by step
I’ve mentored hundreds of buy-to-let beginners and seasoned investors whose ultimate ambition is to become financially free to the point that they can choose to leave their job.
My advice is to work towards financial independence milestones in three phases:-
1. Calculate your monthly expenses and aim for your property to pay for those
2. Grow your property portfolio so that the rental income can replace your full monthly take home salary
3. Work out how much you need to support your lifestyle
Working in that way is more manageable than setting out with an immediate ambition of huge monthly income and allows you to learn about property investment at a sensible pace.
My own portfolio is now worth several million and I’ve made plenty of expensive mistakes along the way. So surround yourself with the right knowledgeable experts such lawyer, a skilled accountant, good letting agents, property mentor and be clear about your financial and personal goals. Financial independence is in your reach.