What To Consider Before Making An Offer

Property is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it.  There isn’t an entity that decides how much a property is worth, it is completely driven by the general population. It’s important that you buy at a good price!

The idea is that you start negotiations and let the vendor join in.  Effectively, you are showing an interest.  Don’t feel bad if you make a low offer, you need to keep your feelings aside.  You are not forcing the vendor to sell, you are simply given them an option to accept, decline or engage; you are making an offer.

Making an offer is the start of entering into negotiations.  This is something I have not mastered yet; negotiation is a skill, but I would like to share with you what I have learned so far.

Ways to be a better negotiator

You have already done your research and due diligence, so make sure you convey your knowledge.  View several properties before making any offers and let them know you understand the local market.  Asking well-informed questions is one way of displaying your knowledge.

Keep calm and don’t look too keen when viewing.  Take time to think about your options after all your viewings, and don’t rush into making any offers.

It is important to remember that the estate agent works for the vendor and not you.  They are professional negotiators and the higher the offer the vendor receives, the higher commission they receive.  Be prepared for bargaining tactics and take what they say with a pinch of salt.  You must remain calm and confident.

Buying as an investor means that you do not have anything to sell, and this can be very appealing to vendors if they have to move quickly due to work or a whole raft of other reasons.  Speed in the sale can be more appealing than the highest price to some vendors.  Make this clear to the agent or vendor when viewing.  If you have your deposit funds and AIP, you are good to go!  You can only be beaten buy a cash buyer in terms of speed.

If you want to develop your negotiation skills further, I can recommend Everything is Negotiable by Gavin Kennedy.  It’s a book packed with advice on how to handle negotiations in the world of business.

Making an offer

Remember this important statement – you make your money when you buy a property, not when you sell!

Here are some reasons why you would typically make an offer of 15-20% lower than the asking price:

  • A similar property recently sold at a lower price and the market hasn’t changed.
  • There are some repairs and/or improvements that would need to be carried out.
  • The property has been on the market for a while and hasn’t sold.

I prefer to make my offer in person so that I can read their reaction.  I then back up my offer in writing which also confirms my terms and conditions.

Here is a copy of my offer letter which you can use or alter to fit your circumstances.

You will see that it also emphasises that I am in a good strong position to buy with a predetermined timeline for completion of the sale.  Making your offer over the phone, backed up with an email with the offer letter, is fine.

Tip: If the vendor comes back to you with a counter offer, and you are happy to accept, it is worth requesting a condition before agreeing to that offer.

This happened to me when I was looking to purchase my first renovation project, and I agreed on the condition that I would be allowed access to the property between exchange of contracts and completion.  This gave me 2 weeks to remove the old carpets, kitchen, bathroom suite etc, before I had to make any mortgage payments. Time is money!

Once your offer has been accepted, you need to understand that it’s not legally binding (in England and Wales; there are different rules in Scotland) until the exchange of contracts.  Both you and the vendor can pull out.  It is important that your solicitor moves quickly once you have paid for any survey and valuation fees, as these cost hundreds of pounds and are non refundable if the vendor pulls out.  It is not too common, but it has been known to happen.

The main reason a vendor would pull out, would be because they have received a higher offer.  This is called “gazumping”.  If you are “gazumped”, you can either drop out or counter-gazump.  This is why it’s important to insist the vendor agrees to take the property off the market once your offer has been accepted.

Some estate agents will let you put down a non-refundable deposit to “lock-in” the sale for a certain period of time. This protects you against gazumpers, but not all agents will agree to this.  This is something I have recently learnt but have not yet tried.  If you do this, make sure the terms state that you will receive your deposit back if the vendor pulls out.

I hope this post has helped.  If you have any questions or any tips, please leave a comment in the box below.  Thanks!


My November 2015 Monthly Income Report

Welcome to my monthly income report for November 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.

I am going to starts this months report with a slightly new (and improved) format to make it easier for you to digest, and for me to write and keep on track.

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

Letting Agents

I had some sightly bad news and some VERY good news this month.

Firstly, one of my original 4 tenants from Property 2 decided to leave this month. He informed the letting agent that he wasn’t happy because of the lack of some communal features in the property and wanted leave.

The first I heard about this, was after the tenant had actually left. I was not happy! The tenant had emailed the letting agent several times expressing his concerns and I was not informed of this. Had I known, I would have done what I could to address the issues.

The letting agent suggested that he should surrender his deposit of £100.00 for breaking his contract early, which he agreed to.

After expressing my frustrations with the letting agent, they assured me that this would not happen again, and they found another tenant within a week.

Now the good news. Within 2 days of having my planning permission approved for change of use to the property, I had a second letting agent contact me to say they had 5 tenants who were ready to move in.

I spent the next 3 days assembling decent mid-range flat packed furniture from Ikea, and the tenants were in situ within a week. I hadn’t previously furnished those rooms incase my planning permission wasn’t approved.

The tenancy is through a company who accommodate local tradesmen and is on a 3 month rolling contract. This appears to be quite common at the moment with a new hospital being built and several big business moving to, or expanding, in the local area.

Utility Bills

I have been using First Utility for Property 1 for a couple of years now and I have been happy with the service that they provide.

A couple of months ago, I received an email from them informing me that they were sorry to see me leave. I immediately contacted them as this was news to me, and soon discovered that my letting agent had requested the change of supplier as a result of the new tenancy agreement that was signed on 28th August 2015.

I was fuming! What right did they have to change the utility provider?

They explained that it was standard practice for their office to do this when they arrange a new tenancy, and that details were in the contract which I signed. The fact was, I saw this tenancy agreement as a renewal because 3 out of the 4 tenants stayed from the previous year, so there was only 1 new addition.

I requested that the change be reversed as I was not willing to pay another utility provider, and the new provider did not have my payment details anyway.

The agent were unable to undo this, and when I contacted the new provider they couldn’t assist me either as my name was not on the account.  This became a total cluster to say the least!

After taking advice I reported this issue to First Utility who then recorded it as an ‘Erroneous Transfer’, and requested that the supply be handed back to them. It is now a waiting game for me whilst the two energy providers resolve the matter.

As a result, my utility payments have not been deducted this month and they will not start again until First Utility have full control over my energy supply.

Income and Expenditure

Here is the balance sheet for November 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 £0.00
Water £38.00
Broadband £31.50
Council Tax £0.00
Sky TV £24.00
TV Licence £12.12
 Total Expenses £868.79 (B)
 Net Income (A-B) £1,124.54

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

Income £2,578.30 (A)
Mortgage £459.46
Letting Agent Fees @ 12.5% + VAT* £341.25
Insurance £32.87
Gas & Electric £100.00
Water £59.45
Broadband £31.50
Council Tax £228.00
 Total Expenses £1,252.53 (B)
 Net Income (A-B) £1,325.77

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

Total Net Income November 2015 £2,450.31  

At last, Property 2 is finally self funding and generating an income. It has only taken 6 months! Far too long, but I have learned a lot and will approach things differently next time.

I will continue to chase the transfer of my energy supply back to First Utility and I will increase my monthly payments to Sainsbury’s Energy who provide the electric and gas to the second property, as I now have more people living there and using more energy.

Please leave a comment below if you have any questions, or if you would like to know more about this income report.




Calculations for Property Investment Purchases

It’s important that you have a positive net cashflow at the end of each month, if you don’t, you will end up with a property that will cost you money (a liability) instead of a property that provides cash in the bank (an asset).

There are 4 sets of figures you need to know to assess any rental property:

1.  Purchase costs – The price of the property and legal fees.

2.  Monthly rental income – Can be researched online and via letting agents.

3.  Monthly finance payments – Will be provided by the mortgage lender.

4.  Operating expenses – Based on the condition of the property and letting agent fees.

You may already have an AIP at this stage which will give you detailed information about your monthly finance (mortgage) payments.  If not, here is an online calculator that you can use to find out what your payments will be.

Here is an example:

The price of the property is £85,000.00 and is purchased with a typical 75% loan to value (LTV):
£85,000.00 x 75% = £63,750.00 (loan)
£85,000.00 x 25% = £21,250.00 (deposit)
Legal and mortgage fees are just under £2,000.00 which gives a total cash payment of £23,250.00.

The property can achieve an annual rental income of £9,360.00.  All figures listed below are monthly which includes a full management service with a letting agent and a mortgage interest rate of 3.89%, which is a comparable at the time of writing this post:

Rent £780.00  
Mortgage   £206.66
Insurance   £17.00
Agent (10%+VAT)   £93.60
Repairs (5%)   £39.00
Void (8%)   £62.40
Total £780.00 (A) £418.66 (B)
Net Income (A-B)  £361.34


1.  The percentage for repairs will depend on the overall condition of the property.

2.  I save 8% for voids as this roughly equates to 1 months rental income over a 12 month period, meaning that I have enough to cover my operating costs if the property stands empty for 1 month of the following year.

Your Net Yield is calculated as follows:

The annual net income, divided by the purchase price, multiplied by 100.

(£361.00 x 12) £4,332.00 divided by £87,000.00 = 0.049 x 100 = 4.9%

Your Return On Investment (ROI) is calculated as follows:

The annual net income, divided by cash paid, multiplied by 100.

(£361.00 x 12) £4,332.00 divided by £23,250.00 = 0.186 x 100 = 18.6%

The Net Yield and ROI are the figures you want to focus on.  They tell you the return you are receiving on the property and the money you have invested. With this example you can see that within a little over 5 years, you will have received enough rental income to have replaced your initial deposit for the investment.

Does the example make sense to you?  Is there anything I can add to help? Please let me know in the comment section below.


A Checklist For Viewing Investment Properties

Viewing properties can be exciting and it is very easy to be caught in the moment and be in awe of your potential purchase.  It is important to remember that you are shopping for a business and not a home.  You need to work with your mind and gut, not your heart.  If you walk in and fall in love with the property, I suggest you walk out and move onto the next one.

I have viewed 9 properties in a single day and it can be hard to remember the details of each property when you get back home.  To help me, I take plenty of photo’s with my mobile phone, and I have a checklist that I carry so I can simply tick the items and make notes as I walk around for reference later.

This is not a definitive list and you may think of additional items you would like to add, but here is a brief explanation of each area I check.

Please feel free to download my checklist for viewing investment properties:

1.  Roof – Does the condition look good?  Is it level and are there any tiles missing? Are the gutters clean and stable and are the drains clear?  Make sure the flashings and the facias are secure and in good condition.

2.  Walls – Are any of the external walls bowed and is the pointing in good condition?

3.  Doors – Do all doors close properly? If not, it could be a sign of structural movement.

4.  Cracks – Check all rooms and hallways for cracks.  If you are able to fit the side of a 10p into the crack, there could by a structural problem which will require further investigation.

5.  Boiler – Is there central heating and does the boiler and all radiators appear to be in good condition?  A new heating system will cost around £3k or more depending on the size of the property.

6.  Electrics – Do the sockets and fuse box look old or do they look modern and in good condition?

7.  Windows – Is there double glazing?  Open and check the windows, as they can also be expensive to replace, and make notes if the property is only part double glazed.

8.  Flooring – Does any part of the floor creek or feel bouncy and are the carpets, tiles, lino in good condition?

9.  Damp – There are many different types of damp and only a specialist will be able to tell you the cause and cure when you first start out, but it’s important to check for any signs of damp.  If the property is furnished, it’s a good idea to look behind the furniture and make sure you check the ceilings and not just the walls.

10.  Adding Value – This is what sets successful investors apart from the rest.  It doesn’t necessarily need to be something that you would do from the start, but if you identify the possibility of adding another bedroom, reception room, extending the kitchen or converting the loft, you could increase your cashflow as well as the value.  It’s also worth checking if other people on the street have added extensions as they will have set a precedence.  Adding value can also be as simple as redecorating and replacing the flooring if the property looks dated.

11.  White Goods – Are electrical goods included in the sale and what condition are they in?

12.  Tenants – Is the property already tenanted? If so, what type of tenancy agreement is in place, what is the income and how long is left on the agreement?

Depending how deep you want to go, the list could go on.  But checking these details first will help you purchase an investment with some piece of mind and will reduce the risk of any major hidden surprises later on.

Please let me know if you would like to see something else added to the list.  I will be more than happy to update it for everyones benefit.  Thanks.


My October 2015 Monthly Income Report

Welcome to my monthly income report for October 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.

Firstly, I would like to update you on my learning from September 2015.

Letting Agent Fees

Having received two unexpected charges within my initial set up fees from my letting agent, I contacted them for an answer:

1.  Deposit Charge £30.00
2.  Inventory Charge £30.00
They explained that the deposit charge was for the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) which is an annual charge they incur which they must pass on to the landlord.

I fully understood this and explained that it should be included in the cost of their set up fees as it’s compulsory, and not added afterwards.

They explained that their set up fee of £195.00 + VAT covers costs for marketing the property on the varies portals (RightMove, Zoopla etc), conducting viewings, time, paperwork and inventory.

Inventory being the operative word! So my question was ‘Why am I having to pay for this in addition?’

Without boring you for to long, the agent stated that as a gesture of goodwill, they will include the inventory fee as part of my set up fees for future tenants. I requested a refund of my previous inventory fees, but they refused to issue one.

Will I take this further and write to their head office? I’m not sure yet, I’m a busy guy! But I will put this down as a learning and I will not make this mistake again. I will insist on receiving all fees in writing before agreeing to any contract in the future. The amount isn’t earth shattering, but it’s the principle. I do not like people or businesses that do not disclose all information at the out set.

Rant over!


Over the last couple of years I have made an effort to shop harder and use comparison sites for my personal, and business, utility providers and insurance.

Last month I saw an increase to my Sky subscriptions for Property 1.  I was previously paying £29.75 per month and it jumped to £41.00 in September 2015.

After a brief chat with Sky on the telephone, I committed to another 12 month contract at the reduced price of £24.00 per month with the first month only being £17.94 (not sure why), which you will see on my balance sheet below.

You have to telephone the cancellation department to be offered a deal, but it is worth your time as Sky are highly rated for rewarding and retaining their customers. I have made a note in my diary to contact them next year before the price increases.

Planning Permission

On Tuesday 20th October 2015, I attended a Planning Committee Meeting held in Liverpool Town Hall. I was advised to attend by my case officer who was overseeing my application of a change of use from Residential to a House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) for my 2nd Renovation Project.

My application was successful and you can read my full blog post here.

I wanted to briefly mention this, as it will have a positive effect on my future income reports.  It is good news for me and working professionals in Liverpool!

Here is the income and expenditure for each property:

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% £131.56
Gas & Electric £155.00
Water £38.00
Broadband £31.50
Council Tax £0.00
Sky TV £17.94
 Total Expenses £986.65 (B)
 Net Income (A-B) £1,006.68

Property 2 – Let to 4 Professionals @ £70 pppw with bills included

Income £1,213.32 (A)
Mortgage £459.46
Letting Agent Fees @ 15% £182.00
Gas & Electric £100.00
Water £59.45
Broadband £31.50
Council Tax £228.00
 Total Expenses £1,060.41 (B)
 Net Income (A-B) -£152.91 
Total Net Income October 2015 £853.77

Property 2 is still being funded by Property 1, which is not ideal. I had initially hoped that my overheads would be covered from the rent of 4 tenants.

My council tax will reduce next year as I have had to pay double the amount for 2015/16 as the property was standing empty for over a year when I purchased it. I did not foresee this and I did not achieve my target of £80pppw. Both these factors have had a negative effect on my balance sheet.

Every investment property you purchase should fund itself and provide a positive cashflow. If it doesn’t, for whatever reason, you should implement your exit strategy.

I have a mid to long term approach with Property 2 though. The approval of my planning permission has hit my mid term goal. It was risky, but it was a calculated risk based on the knowledge I had gleaned from the local area. This means I can now rent out the remaining 5 double bedrooms which will result in a positive net cashflow.

The question now is – How long will it take to find another 5 tenants?

I hope you found this useful. Please leave a comment below if you have any questions, recommendations or advice about my October 2015 income report.



Things To Consider When Researching Investment Properties

Research, Research, Research ….. can make all the difference to your success. That said, there is something I want you to bear in mind when doing your homework, and that is this – there is no such thing as the perfect property!

There are many things you should consider, and I will write about the fundamentals in a minute, but you will find that you will probably have to make compromises.  You will have to decide which areas are not as important to your success of the investment as others.  This will become clearer later.

Ok, so what should you consider when researching investment properties? Here’s what I do, with some questions I ask myself (in no particular order):

1.  Employment – Are there big business’s and public services nearby e.g. supermarkets, hospitals, universities?

2.  Transport Links – How far away is the nearest bus stop and train station?

3.  Schools – How far are the nearest schools and what grades have they received on their Ofsted reports?

4.  Rental Demand – Check if there is a demand for the area and type of property you are looking to buy, by looking online and talking to letting agents.

5.  Regeneration – Are there signs of other private investors or the local authority investing money in the immediate area?

6.  Parking – Not critical but is good to have.  Not having parking can put some people off.

7.  Price – Are the vendors asking a realistic price compared to other recent sales?

8.  Market Growth – Do you expect to see growth in the short to mid term based on previous sales?

If you are looking to invest in a flat/apartment, there are a couple of additional areas you should check too:

9.  Lease – How many years are left on the lease?  This will affect the value as it will cost you more to extend the lease.

10.  Ground Rent & Service Charge – How much? This will affect your ROI as it’s another bill to be deducted from your rental income.

Have you noticed that 9 of these points can be researched at home before you consider arranging any viewings?  Thanks to the telephone and the wonderful ‘world wide web’, you would only need to visit the area to check point 5.

Now here is a plain example of why I said there is no such thing as the perfect property – If you like the idea of renting to young professionals you will not necessarily want a property that’s located next to good schools, but would rather a location closer to big business’s.  Although it would be great to buy near big business’s and good schools, you may find this hard to achieve.  This is just an example of a compromise you may have to consider.

If you have any thoughts or questions about research, please leave a comment below. Thanks.


How To Find The Best Mortgage For Your Property Investment

Ok, so you have your deposit, or maybe you are wondering what size deposit you require based on the price range of the property you want to buy.  It’s time to look for a mortgage!

Now, it is easy enough to look at the types of mortgages that are available by jumping online and searching through Google.  There are hundreds of mortgage lenders, who all have a number of mortgage products offering different interest rates, fees and terms, resulting in thousands of mortgage products.

You will see some very attractive interest rates and loan to values (here comes the but), but, it’s not until you drill down to the finer detail that you may find the mortgage will not meet your needs or that you will not be eligible for that particular product.  Using a mortgage broker will help elevate these problems.

Instead of shopping for a mortgage, I recommend shopping for a mortgage broker and a broker that specifically deals with Buy to Let (BTL) products and is also an investor themselves.  Any broker can tell you that they can find you a BTL mortgage, but if they primarily deal with residential mortgages, they are not going to have the same amount of experience and knowledge as a broker who solely deals with BTL’s, and you may end up with a mediocre product to fit your requirements.

Brokers will receive a commission from the lender for selling their product and they may also charge you a fee, but don’t let this put you off.

I met my broker at a property auction a couple of years ago and her fee is £500 which is paid once the mortgage lender has released their funds and I have control of the property, known as completion.    She has years of experience, knows my immediate and mid term plan and is always at the end of a phone or email when I have a question. She is a mentor to me and is worth every penny!

I won’t divulge her information here, but if you are struggling to find a reputable broker, please send me a message and I will give you her contact details.

Once a lender has been matched to your needs, an application in principle (AIP) will be written and it’s time to fine tune your research data before arranging any viewings.

Is there something you would like to know about mortgage brokers which I have not mentioned?  Or do you have any feedback about this post?  If so, please leave a comment below.  Thanks.


My September 2015 Monthly Income Report

Welcome to my monthly income report for September 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.

September 2015 was a good month for me as I started to receive rent from my 2nd renovation project (Property 2), which had been on the rental market since May 2015 (far too long).

My main learning this month is to always ask the letting agent for their fees in writing. In my ‘Things To Consider When Searching For A Letting Agent’ post, I wrote that 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 wasn’t aware of that change to the regulations when I spoke with my letting agent (July 2015), but I obviously asked them what fees they charged. They told me they charge a set up fee of £195.00 + VAT per room and a monthly management fee of 15%, which I was happy to pay. The total cost of those fees fall into the guideline of between 2 – 4 weeks rent for a full management service.

I was actually charged the following per room:

Setting Up Fee £234.00
Deposit Charge £30.00 (not expected)
Inventory Charge £30.00 (not expected)
Management Fee £45.50
This resulted in unexpected charges totalling £60.00 and a debit balance of -£36.17 per room on my first statement. This exceeds the guideline mentioned above. More on this later.

Ok, so here is the income and expenditure for each property:

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% £131.56
Gas & Electric £155.00
Water £38.00
Broadband £31.50
Council Tax £0.00
Sky TV £41.00
 Total Expenses £1009.71 (B)
 Net Income (A-B) £983.62

Property 2 – Let to 4 Professionals @ £70 pppw with bills included

Income £1,213.32 (A)
Mortgage £459.46
Letting Agent Fees @ 15% £182.00
Gas & Electric £100.00
Water £59.45
Broadband £31.50
Council Tax £228.00
Set Up Fees £1,176.00
 Total Expenses £2,286.41 (B)
 Net Income (A-B) -£1,073.09 
Total Net Income September 2015 -£89.47           

Not good! Had I not received my unexpected charges of £60.00 per room, I would have received a net income of £150.53.

When I write a post, I start by writing about my own experience and then, depending on the topic, I carryout out some research on the subject to make sure I’m delivering the best, and up to date, content to you. In creating this blog to share my journey, it is helping me to improve my knowledge. The issue of unexpected fees is a perfect example.

I have contacted my letting agent to ask them why their fees were not displayed in a prominent position within their office, or why the full amount was not disclosed to me when I asked. I have requested a refund and I am waiting for a reply. I will update you on my next monthly income report.

I hope you found this useful. Please leave a comment below if you have any questions, recommendations or advice about my September 2015 income report.




7 Ways To Raise A Deposit To Invest In Property

Saving a deposit to buy an investment property can be hard and time consuming.  It is also the first obstacle we can encounter when wanting to invest, so it is important to recognise the many options that are available.  I am not providing financial advice here, I am simply highlighting ideas that people consider to help speed up the process:

1.  Personal Savings and Investments – If you have savings or matured investments, the chances are you can increase your return on investment (ROI) by transferring those funds into bricks and mortar.

2.  Pension – Withdrawing a lump sum from your pension may give you enough to get started and some withdrawals can be tax free.  I did this with my Armed Forces pension to help me expand my business.  The introduction of new legislation which started in April 2015 will help many people.

3.  Equity – If you already own your own home you may have equity which you can extract to get started.  This is how I got started, although I sold to release the equity when I moved into service accommodation.  You can do this without having to sell your home.

Methods often referred to as using Other Peoples Money (OPM)

4.  Unsecured Borrowing – Using a personal loan and/or credit cards.

5.  Bridging Finance – This is a short term loan usually up to 12 months, but can be more, and some lenders will provide a 100% financing for the purchase and refurbishment works of a property.  The loan is secured as a second charge to an existing asset, i.e. your home or other investment property which you control, and is generally more expensive than a mortgage.

6.  Inheritance – Often the result of a very sad situation, but investing your inheritance will add to your legacy.

7.  Gift – From family or friends which can also be returned at an agreed time with interest.

Due to money laundering regulations and guidelines, you will need to declare where your deposit has come from.  Some lenders accept sources which others decline, so it is important to declare your source of deposit from the start when approaching any lenders.

Have you considered buying or have you purchased a property using any of the methods above? Or have you used an alternative method?