There are many things I have learned over the years as a property investor and landlord. Most lessons where good from the start but a few where difficult and required some grit and determination to carry on. I can honestly say that all the lessons I have learned have been worth my time and effort and I can now reflect, and share, on my experiences.
There are several ways in which investing in a buy-to-let property can change your life for the better, both financially and professionally. If you are willing to take the time to understand the costs and requirements in owning a buy-to-let property, you will be able to enjoy these benefits to.
I didn’t start by actively investing to make money and secure my financial future, I actually started as an ‘accidental landlord’.
In 2003, whilst serving with the British Army, it made sense for me to sell my own home and move into military accommodation. Once I sold, I wanted to put my cash back into bricks and mortar because I feared I might struggle to enter the property market again at a later date if I spent my cash on luxury holidays and fast cars.
I also knew that I didn’t want to own an empty property. A property which is unoccupied is obviously at risk to vandalism and frozen pipes if the facilities are not used regularly. So, I made the decision to talk to some estate agents about my plans, in an area where I had extended family that could help in an emergency.
That was it! That was my total effort to getting started as a property investor and landlord without realising what or whom I was actually becoming.
After all these years of experience, I am excited to share 8 ways that investing in buy-to-let properties have changed my life for the better, and how they could change your life too.
1. You Can Leave A Legacy
This is my favourite reason! This is what gets me fired up and makes me realise that every moment I spend thinking, learning and doing, makes it all worth while – EVERY SINGLE MINUTE!
You can hand down a property portfolio to future generations – you cannot hand down your corporate job.
I served in the British Army for 22 years. During that time I developed my personal and professional skills and climbed the ranks. I travelled to places and saw parts of the world that I would not have seen otherwise. I had some good times (amazing times) and some bad times. I worked hard and played hard, and received some great opportunities.
I always recommend the Armed Forces to anybody who has an interest and is considering joining. After all, we all need to earn a wage to convert into a passive income stream, right?!
However, I could not hand my job and income over to my children. If they wanted to hold the same rank and earn the same salary, they would have to start from the beginning like I did.
With a property portfolio that I have spent the time, energy and money building, it is completely different. I can hand them the portfolio and they can continue from where I left off. Yes I would need to educate them on all areas of being a property investor and landlord, but that won’t be difficult and I have actually already started in subtle ways since they were a young age.
The same can be said for my Army and private pension. When it’s time for me to leave this planet, my pensions will die with me. But the rental income from my property portfolio will still keep coming.
With property investing, you’re not just setting yourself up, you’re setting up your family and future generations. By training and educating your beneficiaries, they can expand and improve on it too.
You do not have to build a property empire to leave a legacy. Owning just one buy-to-let property is still a good legacy to leave.
There is one more point I would like to add. A buy-to-let business can be very passive compared to other businesses. For example, if I built a successful furniture removal business, my beneficiaries would need to have a passion to take over and run that business for it to continue to be successful. A buy-to-let business wouldn’t require the same commitment as the management and day-to-day running can be outsourced.
Ok, you could outsource the management of a furniture removal business to, but that would hit your bottom line far greater than a property rental business.
2. Property Investing Can Give You Financial Freedom
Financial freedom occurs when your passive income exceeds the amount of financial income you need to pay your bills and enjoy life; or in other words, the amount of income you need to live.
Building a property portfolio which will allow you to gain financial freedom is not easy, but it can be done over time. And I believe property is the best asset class that will allow you to achieve financial freedom in the shortest amount of time.
Even investors who decide to manage their portfolio themselves and save the expense of paying a managing agent, still spend way less time working compared to people who work a regular job. Of course, this will depend on the size and type of the portfolio, but it’s a path that investors can choose to take if they seek financial freedom.
3. You Can Enjoy The Financial Benefits In The Early Days
You can receive income from your investment within a matter of weeks of your purchase. Who doesn’t enjoy some additional income? Any extra income that you would receive on a monthly basis can be enjoyed in numerous ways.
Maybe you would like to use the profits from your buy-to-let property to fund a nice holiday once a year. Maybe you would like to employ a cleaner on a regular basis to free up your time in the evenings and weekends when you are not working. Or perhaps there is an expensive hobby that you have considered doing which your rental income could fund.
On the other hand you may also wish to save all, or some, of your rental income during the first few years to help grow your new business and fund your next investment property purchase.
The choice, is of course, yours. But I just wanted to point out that the financial benefits can be enjoyed in the early days of your new rental business.
4. You Will Learn To Take Calculated Risks
Some people view property investing as high risk. I can assure you that you only need a small amount of the right knowledge to significantly reduce the risk of owning a buy-to-let property.
By dedicating time to carryout some research before you buy, you will soon learn what can be achieved to help manage your expectations. Download my free ebook for a step-by-step guide to help get you started.
Ok, there are no guarantees, but the process of taking calculated risks will force you to learn and evolve as a person. If you have ever stepped out of your comfort zone before, you will know that it can be liberating and lead to results that safe choices simply cannot provide.
5. You Will Be Helping The Local Community
I view this in two ways. Firstly, I provide a nice home and an excellent service to my tenants by responding to questions and issues quickly and promptly. Basically, I treat people in the same way that I would like to be treated.
Secondly, I am supporting local business’s every time there are maintenance issues with the property. Whether I require an electrician, plumber, carpenter or gardener, it makes sense to seek the service of a local tradesman.
Each investment property I have is operated as a single business. This helps me to maintain high standards, and I would even go as far as saying that I am helping to raise standards within the local area. That doesn’t mean I have the most luxurious properties, but it does mean that mine stand out from other comparable properties in the same area.
6. You Will Gain Business And Entrepreneurial Experience
Creating and running a business is not easy, and being a landlord and property investor is a business. That said, I would argue that buy-to-let is one of the most easiest business’s that a beginner could be involved with.
Why? I can give you a couple of reasons. Having the funds to buy an investment property is almost like buying a business in a box; providing you have bought right. By ensuring there is a demand for the type of property you have invested in, it shouldn’t take long to find people who would like to rent the property from you.
And secondly, there are many service providers that can help you at each step along the way. Specifically managing (or letting) agents. Depending on how hands on or hands off you want to be with your buy-to-let investment, you could pay for a level of service to match.
During my first 10 years as a landlord, I was very hands off. I used the services of a letting agent to fully manage my businesses. This suited me at the time because I was in full time employment and I didn’t feel I had the time or skills to manage the properties on my own. This of course meant that my running costs were higher, but I still made a profit every year from the rental income, plus I benefitted from capital growth during that time too.
Even though I was very hands off during that time, I learned a lot about the requirements of being a landlord and what was expected from me. The fact that I had someone managing the properties for me, didn’t mean that I was exempt from any liability. In fact, far from it. But I was experiencing real time hands on experience with the guidance from a professional body.
The knowledge I have gleaned over the years has enabled me to learn the systems and identify areas to improve the efficiency of my businesses. You will develop both personal and professional skills as a property investor and landlord, some of which, will be transferable to other business ideas you may have.
7. You Will Meet Positive Like Minded People
Want to inject more positivity into your life? Then speak with another property investor. Ok, there are occasions when property investors and landlords have a hard time like any other profession, but on the whole, property investors are forward thinking people who take the approach of what can be done, as opposed to what can’t be done.
Property investors talk to other property investors and they learn from each other. There are many experienced investors who enjoy talking and meeting with other investors.
You will soon discover that you will be surrounding yourself with successful people who have done more than most. You will likely meet positive people who are generous with their knowledge and will be more than happy to engage in a conversation with you about your plans and ideas.
“We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.”
– Jim Rohn
For me personally, when I look back I know I have met a lot of successful people that I wouldn’t have met if I hadn’t of ventured into the world of property investing. As a result I know my confidence, personal and business skills have developed more quickly by engaging with other successful investors. You can browse my YouTube Channel and watch some of my interviews to get a feel for the point I am trying to make here.
Property is very much a ‘people business’ and you will meet people that you wouldn’t have come into contact with otherwise.
If you are busy and don’t have a lot of free time to go out and meet other investors, I would highly recommend joining the Property Tribes online forum. It’s completely free to register and use, and it’s a great way to learn, ask questions and talk with other successful property investors.
8. You Could Create Long Term Wealth
It will probably come as no surprise to find that property is a frequent source of income for people listed in The Sunday Times Rich List.
You would be right in thinking that the majority of the wealthiest people throughout history have an affiliation with property.
But I want you to be realistic and acknowledge that property investing is not a means to create wealth quickly, but it is a means towards creating long term wealth over a period of time.
It takes time and money to buy a property, but by building a portfolio slowly and methodically, it’s possible to generate enough wealth to allow you to retire at an earlier age than most.
I read somewhere that ‘wealth is measured by time and not money’, and I buy into this concept. For me, wealth is having an income stream that isn’t dependant on the amount of time I have to put into it. If my property portfolio income stream is greater than the amount of income I need to live and enjoy life, then I would consider myself wealthy.
“Ultimate wealth is having the free time to live how you want to live.”
– M J DeMarco
There are many positive benefits to owning a buy-to-let property. When you compare the many upsides to the few potential downsides, I hope you will soon come to the realisation that it is worth spending a bit more time to learn more.
My life didn’t change overnight when I became a property investor and landlord, but over time, I have learned a lot about business and I have no intention of stopping. I am excited for what the future could hold.
I also feel in control of my financial future. I view every buy-to-let property as a pension fund. If you buy into a private pension fund, there is a good chance that the fund will use real estate as an investment vehicle to provide your returns in the future. Why not cut out the middle man and take full control yourself?