My Top 5 Books | Real Estate | Property Investing

Reading and listening to audio books is a great and inexpensive way to educate yourself during your free time. That’s why I thought it was worthwhile making a video on my top 5 books that I have read so far, which have helped me on my business and property investing journey.

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Links so you can purchase physical copies of the books:
Total Recall
The Slight Edge
Think & Grow Rich
The Richest Man In Babylon
Rich Dad, Poor Dad
Have you already read any of these books? What did you think? Or, do you have any recommendations of books that you think I should read? Please leave a comment below.


An Interview with Vanessa Warwick from Property Tribes

Property Tribes is the UK’s No1 Property Forum for private landlords, and I had the pleasure of interviewing the Co-Founder Vanessa Warwick.

I ask her several questions about the Property Tribes website and whether she prefers paint or wallpaper and more …

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How To Use Equity To Buy Investment Property

Using equity is one of the 7 ways (plus a bonus in the video), that I discuss for raising capital to invest in property on my Start Here page.

There are a couple of methods that can be used to extract equity without having to sell, which I talk about in this video:

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1. Remortgage
2. Additional Borrowing
Have you already considered using equity to start property investing? Would you do it, or would you prefer to raise funds another way? Please let me know in the comment section below as I would be interested to see your thoughts on this.



Why Do Property Prices Go Up In Value?

One of the key reasons people consider investing in property is the assumption that property prices go up in value over time. But have you taken the time to consider why this happens?

Having a good understanding will give you some confidence in the journey of property investing, and that’s exactly what I cover in this video.

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Review Of Housing Supply by Kate Barker – March 2004

The Government’s Response To Kate Barker’s Review of Housing Supply – December 2005

If you have any questions, or have something that you would like to add, please leave a comment in the box below.




The Power Of Leverage Explained

Leverage is a powerful wealth creation tool, and with the help of some simple pictures, I explain all in this video:

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I discuss:
1. Buying without leverage.
2. Buying with leverage.
3. My views on good debt.
If you have some experience with leverage and would like to add something, or if you are new to property investing and have some questions, please leave a comment in the box below.



5 Common Mistakes Newbie Property Investors Make

If you are aware of them, you can avoid them! In this video I talk about the common mistakes people make when they are considering, or starting out in property investing. Watch to see how many of these mistakes I have made.

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They are:
1. Thinking you’ll get rich quick.
2. Not doing your homework.
3. Not doing your due diligence.
4. Paying too much.
5. Not starting!
Are there any other mistakes you are afraid of making, or have made, when you first started? If so, please share in the comments below.



5 Reasons To Consider Investing In Property

I’ve done it! I’ve faced my fears and uploaded my first YouTube video. There is so much to learn about YouTube.

Anyhoo …..

In the video, I talk about the 5 main reasons why people get actively involved with property investing, and why you should consider it too, if your not already doing it.

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The 5 reasons are:
1. Secure Your Financial Future or Even Your Financial Freedom
2. Providing Homes For People
3. Make Your Money Work
4. Education and Personal Development
5. Leaving A Legacy
Please let me know which reason is most likely to get you actively involved with property investing, or which reason will inspire you to improve your current portfolio.

Or, do you have another reason?


My December 2015 Monthly Income Report

Welcome to my monthly income report for December 2015!

Every month I will summarise the activities which took place that had a direct effect on my income. My hope is that you can learn from things that worked out well, and those that didn’t.

There are 3 key areas that form my reports: Letting Agents, Utility Bills, Income and Expenditure. Lets go!

Letting Agents

I don’t believe it, I had another tenant leave Property 2 🙁

The letting agent told me that she had received a promotion at her work and that she needed to relocate ready for the new year. The thought of her not being happy with the property crossed my mind, but then I realised that most things can be fixed, and that the cost and hassle of moving is quite big, so she had no reason not to tell the truth. Besides, the other tenants all seem happy.

What surprised me, was that the letting agent asked me if I wanted to charge her an additional months rent for breaching her contract early! As one of the tenants had walked out the previous month, surrendering his deposit, I suggested that she should just do the same (a third of the price), which she was more than happy to do.

She is a nice person and was great tenant, and I wish her all the best in her new job.

I made one other change this month. I made the decision to let one letting agent of Property 2 go.  Having two letting agents manage the same property was starting to make communications difficult, so I chose to stay with the agent who had provided the most tenants, who ironically charged the cheapest fees.

I made the decision this month, but the figures won’t be reflected on my finance report until January 2016 as the rent had already been collected for December.

Lastly, I had one tenant in Property 2 who didn’t pay their rent this month.  This property has had lots going on since I got it up and running, and I hope it’s not a sign of things to come. In my experience, there are always teething problems at the beginning whilst things settle, so I won’t get too worked up about it now.

There are laws in place for dealing with non payment of rent, and I can’t take any legal action until two payments have been missed.  So I will hold tight and wait until January 2016.

Utility Bills

Last month, I wrote about the hassle I had with my utility provider for gas and electric in Property 1. I am pleased to report that after half a dozen phone calls amounting to about 5 hours of my life, the issue is now resolved.

My utility bill this month is bigger than normal, but that’s because I wasn’t charged anything last month while the two providers were trying to deal with the ‘erroneous transfer’.

My bills should be back to normal in January 2016.

Income and Expenditure

Here is the balance sheet for December 2015:

Property 1 – Let to 4 Students @ £115.00 pppw with bills included 

Income £1,993.33 (A)
Mortgage £612.65
Letting Agent Fees @ 5.5% + VAT £131.56
Insurance £18.96
Gas & Electric £270.79
Water £38.00
Broadband £31.50
Council Tax £0.00
Sky TV £24.00
TV Licence £12.12
 Total Expenses £1139.58 (B)
 Net Income (A-B) £853.75

Property 2 – Let to 9 Professionals @ £70 pppw with bills included

Income £2,309.99 (A)
Mortgage £459.46
Letting Agent Fees @ 12.5% + VAT* £270.90
Insurance £32.87
Gas & Electric £100.00
Water £59.45
Broadband £31.50
Council Tax £228.00
 Total Expenses £1,182.18 (B)
 Net Income (A-B) £1,127.81

*4 rooms @ 12.5% + VAT and 5 rooms @ 10% + VAT

Total Net Income November 2015 £1,981.56  

So my main learning this month is to only have one letting agent manage a property.  It’s the first time I have owned a property of this size and because it took me longer than expected to let it, I took what I was offered at the time.

If I come across a similar situation again, I will go with the first agent that acquires tenants and then continue to advertise with other agents for additional tenants, but on a finders fee basis only.  That way, I will only have one managing agent from the start.

My total income was slightly less than the previous month, and that is mainly due to a late payment of rent.

I hope you found this income report useful, and if you have any questions, please leave a comment in the box below.





Things To Consider When Searching For A Letting Agent

Some people choose to let and manage their properties by themselves, but I feel that I do not have enough knowledge and experience to succeed in this area at the moment.  I also value my time, and property management can be very time consuming, so I am happy to pay for this service.

Businesses are always evolving with the times, and letting agents are no different. There are now a number of online letting agents offering some attractive fees as they don’t have the typical overheads of a traditional high street letting agent.  However, I have not taken the giant step to try these yet, so my experience and advice is based on the traditional method.


The best way to find a reputable letting agent is by word of mouth, but if you are not fortunate enough to be given any recommendations, it is important to spend some time visiting and questioning local agents.

Letting AgentI approach at least 3 letting agents when I have a property to fill.  I also visit their shop to get a feel as to how they look and operate. Image can be important for a potential tenant, so I am always keen to checkout the shop front for myself.  The location of their office is also important to me as I like to see them located on a busy high street with a large footfall.  That said, most people probably search online when looking for somewhere to rent and then telephone and meet the agent without stepping foot in their shop, so maybe it doesn’t matter so much these days, but as a landlord and an investor, I struggle to ignore this factor.


1.  Since October 2014, all letting agents, by law, must belong to a redress scheme which provides a free, independent service, for resolving disputes between the letting agent and their customers.  Here are the 3 government approved letting agent redress schemes:

Ask the letting agent which scheme they belong to.

2.  For transparency, from 27 May 2015, letting agents must publish full details of their fees and charges for both landlords and tenants, on their websites and in a prominent position in all their offices.  I will always check the associated fees before I enter into negotiations with any agent.


There are 3 levels of service which most letting agents provide:
Tenant Find

    • Advertising your property on popular portals like RightMove and Zoopla.
    • Conducting viewings with prospective tenants
    • Tenant referencing and credit check

I was recently quoted £195 + VAT for this service.
Let Only
Includes all the above plus:

      • Issuing a tenancy agreement (contract)
      • Registration with a Deposit Protection Scheme
      • Taking the tenants deposit
      • Taking the first rental payment
      • Setting up any direct debits
      • Submitting meter readings to the utility company(s)

They may also offer additional services with an extra charge for:

      • Providing an Energy Performance Certificate
      • Providing a Gas Safe Certificate
      • Creating an inventory

You can expect to pay anywhere between the equivalent of 2 to 4 weeks rent for this service.
Full Management
Fees are typically broken down into 2 categories:
Setup fees:

      • Advertising your property
      • Vetting suitable tenants and obtaining references
      • Issuing a tenancy agreement (contract)
      • Creating an inventory
      • Registration with a Deposit Protection Scheme
      • Taking the tenants deposit
      • Taking the first rental payment
      • Setting up any direct debits
      • Submitting meter readings to the utility company(s)
      • Providing an Energy Performance
      • Providing a Gas Safe Certificate

(Note: Some letting agents charge separately for some items e.g. certificates, to give landlords the choice of purchasing them for themselves.  This can be cheaper for the landlord as agents typically add a percentage to cover their time for arranging these).

The agent will normally deduct all setup fees from the first months rent.
Management fees:
This covers regular inspections and the ongoing day to day management of the property.  The tenants will contact your agent, instead of you, if they have any questions, queries or problems.  This is a great option for landlords who are in full time employment.

Management fees will be a percentage of the rental income over their letting term and are deducted from the monthly rent you receive.  These fees typically range from 6 – 15% + VAT, although I negotiated with one of my agents and reached 5.5% + VAT (WAHOO!)

You can take a look at my Income Report for September 2015 to find out how much I paid for a recent setup fee with a full management service.


Remember what I wrote on my previous post about Making An Offer? – everything is negotiable!

Now that you have an understanding of the different types of services letting agents provide, you can start your search by visiting The Association of Residential Letting Agents website.


This is my last post in the Start Here section!  If you have read through all of them, congratulations!  This is the first sign that proves you have enough interest and determination to make a success from property investing.  Your next move is to TAKE ACTION and make things happen, one step at a time.

Property investing is a people business, but it can also be a lonely business at times. Please subscribe to my newsletter to receive further content in the future, that will be geared towards education and keeping you motivated to succeed.

Was this post helpful, or do you feel you still have some unanswered questions? Please leave a comment in the box below.  Thanks!