381: Behind the scenes of this first time HMO investment, with Courtney Bryan

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I think you’re going to love today’s episode as I chat with Courtney Bryan about his investment story so far, specifically looking at the details of his first HMO – what worked well, what didn’t go to plan, how he selected his investment area, sourced the deal, and so much more, including all the numbers of that first project. 

Courtney mentions our Inside HMO Investing programme a couple of times throughout the interview, and I’m thrilled it’s had such a positive impact on his confidence to get out there and invest, but actually most of our guests these days we’ve worked with in the past, whether it’s through our HMO programme, our Open Days or our raising private finance programme.

Some of our recent guests like Nikki Smith, Martin & Lauren Plummer, Howard Giblin, Jess Leader, and Kim Opszala have all invested in support and education with IPI, and as I said to Courtney after recording this, it’s so fulfilling 7 or 8 years after starting this podcast to be part of all of their stories, and I hope one day I can be part of yours as well.  Maybe even, I’ll get to discuss it with you as a guest on the podcast. But for today, let’s see what we can learn from Courtney Bryan and his own investing story. 

 

What we discussed in today’s episode:

  • Before Courtney Bryan started in property investing, he had a career in football. He was aspiring for the heady heights of getting signed by Arsenal in the past, he got scouted by pro clubs and had matches but he had a number of injuries which halted his career.
  • That’s when he went back to college and took a Degree in Multimedia Technology and entered into the corporate world of cybersecurity.
  • Ellie and Courtney built their property business from their own savings. His wife Ellie is now working part time for her corporate job while Courtney is still working full time. Building up their income from property is their focus but at the same time, having a stable monthly salary from their jobs keeps them mortgageable.
Courtney Bryan bought his first investment property in 2016 in South East London where he grew up 
Courtney Bryan’s first HMO investment that was completed in 2022
  • In April 2021, they started investing in their first HMO in Ipswich which is a 30–40-minute drive from their home. Their main reason for picking Ipswich was to invest in a location that’s within a radius that they can easily visit if they need to. They started doing analysis and research and learned helpful tips along the way; to talk to the locals at coffee shops and speak to taxi drivers because they knew more about the area than anyone else.
  • Their first purchase wasn’t the easiest as it was via the modern method of auction. The expected completion was 56 days but there were delays and the seller threatened to pull out several times. If they can do things differently from what happened, they might get a different bridging lender who specialises in auction purchases which could have preempted the issues they encountered.
  • It was perseverance and communication that Courtney was able to survive the whole frustrating process. It kept everyone on the loop and they tried to be proactive as possible.
  • The first project had a fairly big renovation and it was completed in March 2022 with the initial quote around £100,000 refurb. The builder was running late in starting the renovation and they were pushing things back slightly. Then one day the builder called Courtney that he can no longer do the job. He might have found an easier job. In 2021 to 2022, builders were cherry picking in their jobs like crazy.
  • Courtney learned from what happened and it gave him a dose of realism in property investing. Sometimes, things are out of control, the builder won’t show up and the lender solicitors take longer than expected. Everything happened for a reason and because of what happened, they found a better builder that’s truly amazing. It was a learning curve for him.
  • January is usually a pretty good time to get HMOs in the market because lots of people are thinking of moving for a fresh start for the year. Courtney Bryan knew the market was strong. He used a specialist and some HMO managing agent to advertise the finished property and within the first day of the advert going live, about 20 people had already booked for an open house.
  • The property in Ipswich was a three-bedroom property but they renovated it and ended up creating a six bed, five-bathroom, HMO.
  • Purchase price of the property was £208,000 including the reservation fee since it’s an auction purchase. They had a total renovation budget of £115,000 in the end including £10,000 additional work which was part of their contingency.
  • As of this time, they’re actively looking for a property to build another HMO in Ipswich. They know the area very well; they’ve got a good team and they met good people.
  • The couples’ roles and responsibilities are evenly split. They are actively involved in the analysis and sourcing of new deals. Ellie makes the shortlist and then Courtney contacts the agent for the properties that are of interest to them. Courtney and Ellie do viewings but Ellie likes to do more of the design elements of things, from interiors to the final finish of the projects.
  • Courtney Bryan’s future plan for his business is to use private finance to fund his upcoming projects. He wants to buy and renovate properties with private finance which takes away all the stress, headache and burden. It definitely has a lot of advantages.
  • Courtney’s advice to anyone who’s just starting out in property investing:
  • Surrounding yourself with the right people who actively does what you are doing and have done it, can be a support system for anyone.
  • Work on your mindset. In most cases, your mindset may stop you from doing what you’re doing so it’s important to train the mind to focus on the goal.
  • You can follow Courtney’s property investment journey on his Instagram page.

Episode Transcript

00:00:00:00 - 00:00:33:02
Unknown
And hey, folks, just a very quick intro to today's episode before we jump into it. I was thrilled to be invited on a podcast with Latoya McDonald. Her podcast is called The Outsourcing Your Property Business Podcast. And we had a chat about all things systems, processes and outsourcing in our own property business, particularly around the aspects of how we were able to build the team that allowed us to go and sail around the Med for the last four years.
00:00:33:02 - 00:00:52:24
Unknown
Now those days are behind us. The lessons are still super valuable if you're looking to create more time freedom in your life from your property business. So I hope you enjoy this episode. If you enjoy this subject generally, definitely go and check out Latoya, his podcast available on all good podcast outlets. And if you've got any questions about it, feel free to reach out.
00:00:52:24 - 00:01:05:06
Unknown
To me. Social media is the best place to reach us on Instagram, LinkedIn, or wherever You currently get your social media fix.
00:01:05:08 - 00:01:24:13
Unknown
So welcome to this week's episode. Today I am with Mike seen House of Enzo Property and this thing is actually one half of inside property facing you might know Victoria Austin houses wise. So if you were in the property scene and you probably have heard of Mike or Victoria or inside property is because they are, they are known in the property scene.
00:01:24:15 - 00:01:44:20
Unknown
They also trainings. Mike has a really good podcast as well. But what kind of got me really hooked on them was the life that they had whilst they were abroad, their beautiful bones. So I was intrigued and how they ran and grew their property business whilst living a life. Most of us property investors dream of. So today I want to cover some of that.
00:01:44:20 - 00:02:04:22
Unknown
So let's get into the conversation. So Mike, thanks very much for chatting with me today. No worries. Thank you for having me here. I'm I'm excited to be on the other side of the microphone. Yeah, it's a bit different for you. So would you be able to go into an intro sort of about your Victoria and so property investing and let us know a bit about you?
00:02:04:24 - 00:02:30:06
Unknown
Sure. So I will try to keep it brief, although that's not my specialist subject. So if I start to ramble, feel free to shut me up or cut me off. But we have been investing in part time for a long time now, probably close to 16 years. So where we're mid-thirties, I started investing pretty much straight out of high school, but it was like buy one, do nothing for two or three years and then buy another one and then nothing for two or three years.
00:02:30:06 - 00:02:52:12
Unknown
So it started off very slowly. Then Victoria and I met in a corporate grade scheme in Newcastle and I had just bought an apartment that I was going to renovate and live in. So she kind of got an idea of what I was up to through that. She helped me like stripping wallpaper. We were both very hands on, you know, trying to save money and our personal touch on things.
00:02:52:12 - 00:03:11:10
Unknown
So I kind of roped her into it from the early stages of our relationship. Then we did a couple of flips as I guess as a couple, you know, just kind of we made a bit of money. Maybe we'd make like 20 grand and we'd go on, blast it on nice holidays and fancy clothes and all this stuff that you shouldn't do when you're 20.
00:03:11:10 - 00:03:34:09
Unknown
You should save it and put it into other investments and all that good stuff. We did not pay any attention to that. We just had some fun. But it was good because we had we had decent jobs, we were earning good money, our overheads and Newcastle was and probably still is a pretty cheap state to live in. So we, we, we were in a good place and we were just kind of enjoying life, but we realized that actually property could maybe become like a out of the corporate world for us.
00:03:34:11 - 00:04:00:04
Unknown
So we, we gradually started to make a plan that was, you know, operation get out of the day job and that was based around HMO houses of multiple occupancy. So shared housing, kind of like student accommodation. We did it for young professionals and we made the decision that I would leave first, I would be like, this full time investor, build up our portfolio.
00:04:00:04 - 00:04:19:01
Unknown
Victoria would stay in corporate world and support us from an income point of view, helpful for mortgages and stuff like that. And then when we when we got to the stage that we could live off the income from the property, she made the jump as well. So then we were both full time in property and it didn't take a huge amount of time actually, because HMO was can be very profitable.
00:04:19:01 - 00:04:37:04
Unknown
We were talking like, you know, minimum thousand pounds per month's pretax profit per house. So, you know, a couple of them. And you replace in like the average UK salary, which is a nice place to be, you don't need a huge portfolio to have a massive impact on on your life. And then from there we, you know, we continued to build up that portfolio.
00:04:37:06 - 00:05:07:16
Unknown
We diversified a little bit. So we started buying a couple of serviced apartments, some single labs. We do a lot of commercial to residential conversions now, and that was kind of the basis of our property business. It was fairly traditional in a lot of senses. And then we realized, Wait, hang on, we're doing all of this stuff and I will start to grow a team around does so like our day job is pretty much sitting in an office in our home, elbowing each other because we were like side the desks next to each other.
00:05:07:16 - 00:05:24:11
Unknown
And, you know, I always on a phone call, she was telling me to shut up. She was interrupting me to ask for input on designs or, you know, So we were we were just getting like sat in the smallest room in our house for most of our life, thinking, surely there's something more than this. Like, we didn't need to go down to say all that often.
00:05:24:11 - 00:05:43:12
Unknown
We weren't in like, you know, we weren't commuting to work or anything like that. So we can we thought, well, you know, maybe we could do this from somewhere else, like keep working. I don't want to retire. I enjoy what I do. So we thought, well, let's maybe put a plan in place. Long story short, that plan became less viable and go sailing.
00:05:43:12 - 00:06:09:24
Unknown
So we sold our house this was probably like five or six years ago. We sold our house in the UK. We bought a boat. We we moved the boards and then we've spent the last four or five years sailing around, sailing around Europe. The plan was to sail around the world, but then COVID and all that stuff. So we kind of got stuck with Europe, but we've done like most of the year, like 6 to 9 months, depending on COVID requirements on the boats, and then come back to the UK for a couple of months every winter.
00:06:10:05 - 00:06:26:11
Unknown
And then we recently had a baby. So that changed our plans entirely again. And then we sold the move back to the UK. But you know, that's the kind of the high level in a nutshell. Yeah, I think there was a lot of people that was shedding tears when you saw that boat because we were all living our lives through it.
00:06:26:13 - 00:06:43:00
Unknown
Yeah, I honestly, I was like, Is our business going to collapse now? Nobody cares about us if we do of the boat. So what do we do next? We need to do something exciting. But no, it's been, you know, it was the right decision for us. But I mean, we're sad as well. But, you know, I think it's it's it's just the stage of life.
00:06:43:00 - 00:06:57:19
Unknown
You know, I'm thrilled that we got to have that adventure. And, you know, to be able to do something like that for even a couple of years and then come back and like, you don't need to wait until retirement to go off and have an adventure. You can have these little mini adventures and now we're home for a few years.
00:06:57:21 - 00:07:17:14
Unknown
We'll maybe have another kid and like, you know, kind of let them do their thing and then maybe it will go away again for a couple of years. So I think we're kind of like we we thought that it had to be this like once in a lifetime. But now we're actually thinking, well, you know, we can we can be a bit more transient and we can have different adventures at different stages of life.
00:07:17:14 - 00:07:40:13
Unknown
So we're kind of we're looking forward to the next one. As much as we're sad that the previous one has ended. Yeah. Yeah. And I think it's to me it was really interesting, obvious. It was beautiful watching the Instagram and your adventures, but I thought it was really interesting that you were still doing your, your property business in the UK that was still running and you also were doing your podcast as well.
00:07:40:15 - 00:08:00:21
Unknown
So I've obviously got this podcast and I'm I guess I was kind of looking at it and as it was going on month by month or so, this is quite possible for it. So not just me, but for a lot of property investors, this is quite possible that, you know, maybe not necessarily a boat, but like you had a lady recently on your podcast who was doing the vanlife around Europe.
00:08:00:23 - 00:08:22:16
Unknown
So, you know, when you start looking at it can be possible. So firstly, how did you cope with being away, like going on the boat knowing that business is still going to happen in the UK? Did you cope with that? Was it easy or was it like, Well, you're a bit straight? See, we're definitely stressed. Like we we thought it could work, but I guess until you try these things, you don't really know.
00:08:22:16 - 00:08:42:05
Unknown
So it was very much a case of like, well, you know, what's the worst that can happen if it all goes tits up? And I don't know if I can say we're on this podcast, but it's all goes if all goes wrong. So we move home and then we tried it and it didn't work out. And it's of loved and lost and never to a love to tell her what I've been saying.
00:08:42:09 - 00:09:02:21
Unknown
You know, we figured like worst case scenario, we can just move for and pick up the pieces and maybe we'd have a few tenants that had moved out or like, you know, the worst case scenario was in Destin. SIMON And destitute, destitute ness, whatever. So we were like, you know, let's let's give it a shot. We had we had a few things that we needed to sort out before we went.
00:09:02:21 - 00:09:30:18
Unknown
And so we needed, you know, I suppose the main thing was we already can. I got to the stage where we were and like I say, we weren't on site a huge amount of time. So we had a project manager that we trusted that was running the renovation projects for us. So our conversations about design and layout and schedule meetings and budgets, most of that was done either at our house, he'd come see us or we'd go to site it just because we wanted to, or we'd have a phone call.
00:09:30:18 - 00:09:54:19
Unknown
So we're like, Well, we can still have phone calls with him. We had a property manager, so we brought property management and house because we wanted to control that piece of the puzzle. So we had somebody that was working for us and she actually changed. I think I'm trying to remember exactly when I said I think maybe we had one person the first year that we were on the boat and we realized pretty quickly that that wasn't working out.
00:09:54:19 - 00:10:11:22
Unknown
So then we came home. That was like the first COVID lockdown. So we were stuck in the UK over winter and then for a few months into spring as well, and we hired somebody else and she's been with us ever since. Benson is phenomenal. So we had a bit of a personnel change there because we realized that the person we had in that role wasn't who we needed.
00:10:11:22 - 00:10:42:18
Unknown
So we'd start to build a team. We'd start to think about what kind of hands off or a predominant hands off business looked like before we left. And then as we last weekend, I had to tweak things, see if it actually worked in practice, and we changed a few things as we went. So your project manager that you had and then plus the person that you had during the Edmonton running of the office, are they or were they employed by you or did you have an employed project manager and a VA?
00:10:42:20 - 00:10:59:19
Unknown
How did that work for your business? So we actually we the first person that we hired was a VA. She still works for us just now. And so I think she wasn't one of the two people that I mentioned just because she's such a part of like my right hand. I'm just she does you know, she's she's just me.
00:10:59:19 - 00:11:23:11
Unknown
She does all this stuff for me anyway. So she'd been there for years, actually, since I started the podcast because I needed some help with scheduling calls and all that stuff. So that was she was already in place there and she started to help us out with some of the tenancy stuff. She does a lot of work on our Airbnb, like our serviced accommodation, speaking to guests and setting up block access codes and all that sort of stuff.
00:11:23:11 - 00:11:45:00
Unknown
But the two full time UK based employees that we had at CI was our project manager, so he was actually a plumber that had worked for us for years, then decided that he kind of wanted to go on to do more than just plumbing. So becoming more of, I guess, a main contractor and he was just doing projects for us.
00:11:45:06 - 00:12:03:04
Unknown
So instead of him just doing the plumbing, he would still do the plumbing and heating on our projects, but he would coordinate all the other trades as well. And a lot of the trades that we worked with were from recommendations from him prior to that anyway, so he already knew the electricians, the plasterers, the bricklayers. So that was quite an easy transition for him to look after that.
00:12:03:04 - 00:12:25:00
Unknown
But he was self-employed, absolutely self-employed. He was just kind of exclusively working for us for a number of years. And then Jess, who is our property manager, Slash No, like operations director, she basically runs the business. She was full time employee, although she actually came to us because she wanted a bit of a, I guess, an easier life.
00:12:25:00 - 00:12:45:02
Unknown
She was in corporate still doing property management, but wanted a bit more flexibility and yeah, just a bit more kind of control. So for us coming in to run that bit and have a team of I think she had ten people working under her in a previous job and she could source her when I was she was, you know, we knew she would get the job done, but she could do it when she wanted to.
00:12:45:02 - 00:13:01:14
Unknown
So she was full time but kind of flexible. And that worked really well because a big part of what we needed in our life was flexibility. So to try and, you know, we couldn't pay the most money, we couldn't offer the best perks and bonuses like a big corporate could. So we were like, well, look, what can we like?
00:13:01:14 - 00:13:23:16
Unknown
What's important to us is about time freedom. It's flexibility. If you need to drop your kids off at school or you want to take Friday afternoon off because you're going to the races or, you know, whatever, like doesn't matter, are going to have to live your life as long as you get the work done. So we've kind of focused on that from day one, like let's create as flexible a role as we can and will attract the right people, won't appeal to everyone.
00:13:23:20 - 00:13:40:10
Unknown
Some people will want more money and they'll leave us and that's fine. But if you look for flexibility like we can, that's one thing that we can offer versus corporate. So that's going to work quite well with our. But yeah, so we had one like full time employee and then one self-employed that worked for us and then our virtual assistant.
00:13:40:12 - 00:14:18:04
Unknown
Perfect. And is that the team that you've got today or have you expanded on there. So CI has gone but not gone. So he now works for other people as well as us. So he still does building work for us and he still does all of our plumbing and heating. But he's taken out. He's he's now no longer sort of full time focused on our projects because we took on another project manager in-house to help us effectively with all of like the since I was very good on site, but we also needed somebody to help us with like planning applications and managing the back end of projects.
00:14:18:06 - 00:14:35:02
Unknown
Yeah, we've taken on well, who now does that small time he's employed now as well. So again, you know, in terms of like the progression and we didn't need to hire somebody full time straight away, it was like, let's get a contractor or a self-employed person or a virtual assistant. And then as we scale, we can maybe hire them internally.
00:14:35:02 - 00:14:55:11
Unknown
So, well was like the next logical step for us. Jess is still with us. Jacqui, who is our first, is still with us. And we've got a couple of other Vas who work for us now as well. We've got somebody who works on bookkeeping. We've got somebody who's only been with us for a couple of months, but is now helping a lot more with the podcast side of things.
00:14:55:13 - 00:15:15:01
Unknown
And we've got sort of freelance graphic designer video editor because content is so important these days, right? So we've got somebody that is working on that for us as well. I was actually going to be cheeky and ask you, who does? Do you have somebody dedicated doing your social media and all your bits and bobs like that? So you got somebody.
00:15:15:03 - 00:15:40:09
Unknown
Yeah. So the voice is still mine, the content is still I still kind of I'm maybe still too involved in that, but, you know, it's my voice, it's my brand. So I feel like it's important that, you know, I'm selecting the, the, the topics that we're focusing on or, you know, I'm writing the captions, things like that. I've tried to outsource that a few times, but like, you know, I suppose I feel like that's where I can add the most value to our audience.
00:15:40:09 - 00:16:00:20
Unknown
Whereas, you know, whether the graphic that we use to go along with that is a really simple and pastel color is there is a bit jazzier and like I don't, I don't really care about that and we can test it and see what works, see what performs best. So like our graphics guy, he, he does all of like the design work, he does all of our video editing.
00:16:00:24 - 00:16:28:19
Unknown
But I work very closely with him on the actual like, you know, the subject matter, if you like, so awesome and you just have to look at my bits and bobs. I'm just saying nosey now, but. Oh, so tell us a bit about so you've got your property business and then you also have I guess are training side or what you do as part of your inside property investing.
00:16:28:21 - 00:16:48:19
Unknown
So is that is that just yours that you and Victoria, you have a team involved and their Nassau. So it used to very much be Victoria and I did a bit of everything. So I guess again we've kind of gone through transition. So when we first started, whatever needed done, either of us would just roll up our sleeves and get stuck into it.
00:16:48:21 - 00:17:06:19
Unknown
We realized pretty quickly that we had like we had skillsets that were unique, so it was more logical for one of us to work on our, you know, for me to do what I was good at and for her to do what she was good at. So we had a couple of years where it was kind of very clear what each was responsible for.
00:17:06:20 - 00:17:29:11
Unknown
And then latterly. So when we moved onto the boat, we realized that actually running and living on a boat was pretty much a full time job. There's a lot that can go wrong. There is whether to be monitoring like every second, because that can change pretty quickly. In the Met, there was, you know, which marinas we were going to get into our journey, like our route planning and all that stuff and then maintenance.
00:17:29:13 - 00:17:50:01
Unknown
I don't even want to go into the maintenance itself. Nightmares about the maintenance and, you know, but anyway, so Victoria was like Captain, she was that was her role and then became less responsible. So she kind of looked after the boat. I looked after the business, then we had a baby. So then she was looking after the boat and the baby and I'm done.
00:17:50:01 - 00:18:14:21
Unknown
I'm at capacity. So she doesn't work for either the property business or the podcast anymore. She still rocks up every now and again. She'll tell me when I'm doing something wrong. But you. Exactly. I mean, she's still she's still like a stakeholder, right? Like, if all goes wrong, she's right in the streets as well as I am. So, like, she cares about it.
00:18:14:23 - 00:18:39:15
Unknown
But like, day to day running responsibility is is me in the team. And then Victoria is kind of, you know, mum, housekeeper and dreamer like planning where we're going to go traveling next and all that fun stuff. So we, yeah, we, we came to that realization I think after like six months on the boat that, that was, that was a job in itself.
00:18:39:17 - 00:18:59:16
Unknown
And then since then we've kind of been removing her more and more. So she's now at the stage where she doesn't do anything on a on a day to day basis in the business. Okay. See, I always I just wondered how how it all worked. I just did this podcast with Michelle at Weiping yesterday and part of the talk that we were talking about was mums and property.
00:18:59:22 - 00:19:24:17
Unknown
And I just can't I can't get my head around it like I don't have any kids. It's also kids got the dogs and the cat. I can't get my head around it because it's just it must be mammoth workload constantly with kids. So. So is that something that you guys and the relationship and your and your marriage decided that you were going to not Siamese Victoria but that she knew that she wanted to be focused on her family?
00:19:24:19 - 00:19:47:05
Unknown
Yeah, exactly. I think, you know, so I think we probably realized before that before our baby came along that that was the route that we were going in. So when we we first sat down and came up with this plan to leave the corporate world, we had a conversation about what we wanted to achieve. And, you know, we had a pretty clear idea of what our goals were.
00:19:47:05 - 00:20:11:23
Unknown
Replace both of our incomes, get our a stage where we were like financially free from property and we got there with our portfolio. And I think the problem was we never really then sat down and reassessed what our next goals were. And in my head it was like, okay, we've done this now, let's keep going. Whereas in her head she was like, okay, we've done this.
00:20:11:23 - 00:20:30:06
Unknown
Now we can just enjoy life. And like I say, I enjoy the business, I enjoy the growth and the process of building the portfolio and I don't really want to stop that, but I just kind of assumed that it would keep going, whereas she assumed we'd set these goals to create financial freedom so that we could be financially free.
00:20:30:06 - 00:20:49:10
Unknown
How bizarre is that? So we kind of got to that stage and like I say, it was a communication thing. You know, most most issues come from poor communication and we realized that we hadn't going to reassess what we wanted out of this. So that was when we kind of realized that I was going to continue to focus on the business, because that's what I wanted to do.
00:20:49:12 - 00:21:09:24
Unknown
And she was going to go and pursue whatever else she wanted to do because we had got to the stage that property needed us to get to, which I think is important, right? Like property should be an enabler. It's never like the end goal itself. Like nobody wants to own property for the sake of owning property. There's no satisfaction when straight grooms win this event.
00:21:10:01 - 00:21:28:15
Unknown
Yeah. So exactly like you don't like the benefit of owning ten houses isn't owning ten houses. It's forever. The income from those townhouses can give you. And Victoria was much better at realizing that than I was. She was like, Well, no, we've got the income. So no, I can I don't need to work. I can go and do something else.
00:21:28:17 - 00:21:47:10
Unknown
Whether that was let's go sailing, let's have kids or as I like I say, I still kind of enjoyed the chase or the pursuit. So I want to keep going. So that stage, you know, again, that took us a while as well to before we sat down and had that conversation, there was a lot of tension because I was like, You're not pulling your weight.
00:21:47:10 - 00:22:06:24
Unknown
You need to work harder. Why aren't you showing up like you used to? And she was like, Well, you know why we we set this goal? We decided what was important to us. And you don't seem satisfied with that. And, you know, it was just kind of like unspoken, just like constant butting heads. So it took us a while to get to that.
00:22:06:24 - 00:22:22:16
Unknown
And then it was a case of, okay, well, I want to keep growing the business, but I can't put that pressure on you to do the same. Plenty of people build businesses on their own. So if it's not going where I want it to go, I can't blame you. Like this is this is all on me now. So at that stage we kind of said, Right, I'll focus on the business.
00:22:22:16 - 00:22:47:23
Unknown
You focus on like the family life and we'll we'll kind of you know, it was it was the right thing for us to do. It just took us a while to get to understand what the root cause of the problem was. Yeah, I bet this happens a lot with couples and properties. Yeah, that's like me and my partner were in property together and, you know, my expectations of what I expected his role to be and what what I had to perform.
00:22:48:00 - 00:23:07:23
Unknown
And but that isn't his nature and that's not what his goals were and what what he was excited by it mean that we were butting heads. And once he cleared the air and once you really saw it sorted out, sometimes a good argument is as helpful as well, get the truth out. But, you know, I once we got that sort of it was a lot better.
00:23:08:00 - 00:23:32:20
Unknown
So the business and I bet a lot of couples or husbands and wives and property, I wonder how much that actually happens. But one thinks they're on track for this and the other one thinks they're on track to that and just not really having that conversation like a business meeting together. Yeah, exactly that. And I think sometimes we're scared to have those conversations or we don't really know what our own feelings are and it can be difficult.
00:23:32:20 - 00:23:51:07
Unknown
But I think with hindsight, rather than having that six months of tension and animosity, it would have been far more productive to just sit down for a day, you know, lock ourselves in a room and say, let's get to the bottom of this. Like, let's put our feelings on the table. And yeah, I think we were just maybe for a while we didn't realize there was an issue then.
00:23:51:07 - 00:24:10:05
Unknown
We didn't want to admit there was an issue. And then when we did admit there was an issue, we didn't know what the issue was. So it took us a while to work through that. And I don't know if we could have resolved that in a day. Maybe that was the process that we had to go through. But yeah, I mean, like I say, you know, I think communication is is critical in any situation.
00:24:10:05 - 00:24:32:13
Unknown
But, you know, as you said, with a spouse or partner, when you're working with them as well, I suppose it can be very difficult. It can have do is have those conversations without the emotion, without it getting, you know, everything. And what are we going to do about our business? Well, you then removed the bloody dishwasher, you know, as you can, you need to create that separation.
00:24:32:13 - 00:24:58:23
Unknown
Like this is a business conversation. Let's focus on the facts and, you know, keep it kind of levelheaded and then we can argue about the dishwasher later on. It took us a while together, but we did eventually. Yeah. No, it's and you know, it works for you guys. And you know, you're now you're doing your thing. I mean, you clearly your relationship together your you know, we package you're a team but you're you're doing what you want to be doing and Victoria is doing what she wants.
00:24:58:23 - 00:25:22:09
Unknown
Doing it now when you come home is a lot happier. I guess. So that's that's positive. That's good. It works for years because I don't know about you, but I cannot I actually struggle with running businesses in the portfolio if my home life is it's not great. I don't know if you have something similar, like for me to be like my game and doing well, home life has to be good for me.
00:25:22:11 - 00:25:58:02
Unknown
Yeah, absolutely. And I think it comes into every aspect of being a business owner. You know, your home life is super important. I think you're on your own health is super, super important. Like if any of these things are off, I find if I'm not exercising, if I'm not eating well, if Victoria and I are arguing about something or, you know, if I feel like even if I'm not able to show up for for our baby the way that I want to, because work is I'm like, I'm too busy working to show up for the family that that impacts how I work because I'm like, well, I'm sat here at 6 p.m. writing emails when
00:25:58:02 - 00:26:24:02
Unknown
I should be doing best time, but actually I'm too busy thinking about the past and missing too. So yeah, it's all, it's all linked in. Like I had a great conversation on another podcast I think just before Christmas about burnout and, and dealing with that. And I said, you know, sometimes we need to step away from our business and give ourselves the time to look after ourselves so that we can come back to our business in the most effective way.
00:26:24:04 - 00:26:41:20
Unknown
And, you know, working more is rarely the right answer. Yeah, yeah. Usually. Usually when we feel like we have to work more, that's when we're going down this burn and, you know, we can, you know, just do a couple of extra hours and you start having your laptop on you in front of the TV and at the weekends, like, that's not healthy.
00:26:41:22 - 00:27:00:02
Unknown
So yeah, I agree with you completely. But, you know, I think it goes beyond just your those relationships at home. I say like every aspect of your life impacts. So if you feel like your business isn't going where you want it to go, there's a good chance that it's something external. This is probably not working for you as well.
00:27:00:04 - 00:27:24:11
Unknown
I'm thinking about that. When you were on the boat because I guess from the outside it looked like you were on a constant holiday, which I know you weren't. I'm not saying that. But when you were on the boat and you've got things on the go like, you know, you've got your podcast, you got those zoom meeting with the people back in the UK on did you, did you and Victoria have a proper cut off like, say, Thursday afternoons off for us or we have Saturday and Sunday.
00:27:24:17 - 00:27:49:23
Unknown
Did you have a cut off while you are overseas? We tried to and you know, it was kind of it was constantly evolving. But yeah, we tried to and we still do try to have that that routine break between work life and personal life. But it was it was challenging, you know, because I think particularly on the boat, I'm not saying boat life is tougher than Van Life.
00:27:49:23 - 00:28:11:07
Unknown
But, you know, if you're in a van, you can pull up in like a supermarket car park. You're not going to get blown away, you're not going to sink. You're not going to. So like, I'm I have very little sympathy for for designers and our viewers. I think the boat life is. Whereas if you want a true adventure and I only say that because I know like so there's so many people now that are going off adventuring and I like to wind up all these people.
00:28:11:07 - 00:28:28:01
Unknown
It was our we, we slammed on the boat. We had we had real experiences. But yeah, I mean, like we would have to make decisions on the boat based on the weather, based on where we could get access to different marinas who are like, sometimes it would take us three days to get somewhere from one place to the other.
00:28:28:01 - 00:28:45:12
Unknown
So I would say this and again, this was, you know, a bit of conflict. I would say this like ideal work schedule and be like, I'm going to work Monday, Tuesday, and then I'll take Wednesday off when we can do something fun. And Victor was like, Oh, well, the weather window says we're going to be sailing from Sunday through to Wednesday, so I'm afraid you can't work until Thursday.
00:28:45:14 - 00:29:02:16
Unknown
And then all the meetings would go out the window and then it will do. We stay here and it's dangerous because the weather's changing or we can't get to where we want to go. Or do we? So, you know, there is like doing anything like that. I think flexibility needs to be key. And, you know, I definitely let people down at times.
00:29:02:16 - 00:29:24:24
Unknown
There's there's no denying that I rescheduled calls and sometimes I couldn't show up for our team the way that they needed the support. So there are definitely going to be sacrifices. It was far from perfect. And, you know, we acknowledge that. And looking back, we the business continued to grow. It could have grown quicker had we not been there.
00:29:24:24 - 00:29:45:10
Unknown
So like I would never go into this naively advising anyone, Oh yeah, everything will be exactly the same and it will be fine. There are going to be sacrifices. You're going to have to choose between X and Y and you know, you need to be comfortable with the fact that, yeah, I'm going to go off and have this adventure.
00:29:45:10 - 00:30:09:03
Unknown
But the cost of that, there is going to be some cost. And in our case, like I say, you know, the business continued to grow, but it could have we could be further ahead now had we stayed in the UK. Am I satisfied that we had this awesome adventure more a little bit further behind? Absolutely. But you know, not everyone's going to feel that way and you need to be comfortable with that yourself before you decide if you're going to go off adventuring.
00:30:09:03 - 00:30:28:09
Unknown
Like, what is that slacker? What's that sacrifice look like? Yeah, I think any time away from your business as a business owner is going to cost you, that could cost you and being pushed forward, it could cost you and and lots of different ways. Me and my partner, we do roughly about six weeks at a time. So we go over to New Zealand, Australia, so but there's a cost to that.
00:30:28:11 - 00:30:54:13
Unknown
So, you know, you've got to it's got to be, you know, it's got to be taken into account with, with the business and your time off, whether that be six weeks or three months and Europe, that sort of thing. So, so something that I wanted to talk about is if people are like me, very interested in what you do, whether it be the boat or the person asking a name that you interviewed on your recent podcast, I was doing the Vanlife.
00:30:54:15 - 00:31:12:20
Unknown
So the most recent one was Kim Uppsala, I think its name is the band. She's got the little one pair and her husband and the little one. Yeah, exactly. So they just left the UK for another three months because obviously she can get no screws as all. So yeah, you got to love Brexit. So yeah, they're away to do their 90 days and then they're coming back.
00:31:12:20 - 00:31:32:03
Unknown
But yeah, there's, there's, there's a few people that are doing similar things. But yeah, Kim was on the podcast and I will be following her on Instagram and watching it all, so I'll be loving it. But you know, so people like me that haven't done it yet, but I'm thinking actually this is doable, you know? Have you got any advice for people looking to go on those adventures?
00:31:32:03 - 00:31:49:23
Unknown
What are some like key tips that you could give people? I mean, I think the first thing I'd say is like, is this is it's applicable to anyone, whether or not you want to go traveling, even if you just want to go on holiday, like if you've got a business, as you said, you know, there's there's going to be some tension when you go away.
00:31:49:23 - 00:32:14:16
Unknown
So even if you're just thinking, well, you know, I want to go away for two weeks over the summer and not worry about what's going on back home. You want to be thinking about what that looks like, how you can continue, how your business can continue to operate without you necessarily doing everything day to day. So I think, you know, the first thing that is a big subject, but ultimately, you know, it's I think it comes down to get help.
00:32:14:16 - 00:32:33:19
Unknown
Get help for what you're not good at, what you don't enjoy. You know, where you can add the most, where you can't add the most value to your business and, you know, actually start to treat your business like a business. A lot of us end up just creating another job for ourselves, and we're the one that does everything day to day.
00:32:33:19 - 00:33:05:07
Unknown
We're doing all the admin, all the email responses, all the bookkeeping, speaking to all the contractors, dealing with all the tenants. We've got 26 different WhatsApp groups on our phone with different people and okay, you can do that, but that's going to put a cap on your growth. It's also going to put a cap on the amount of time that you get back to to do whatever it was you got into property in the first place, for which, as I said earlier, it wasn't to buy property, it was to go traveling, spend time with your family, to go and open that sort of, you know, the business that you're really passionate about or go and
00:33:05:07 - 00:33:25:06
Unknown
play golf or whatever. So I think just the idea of treating it like you would treat any other business if you opened a bakery, you know, you wouldn't be doing it. I reread the emails recently, so this is front of mind, the example of the baker in there who's trying to do everything right, bakes a cake, serves the customers, sweep the floors, do all the accounts, and it's just overwhelming.
00:33:25:06 - 00:33:47:08
Unknown
So it's then seven day. Yeah, you need to run it like a business and that's probably in the first instance was like, VA is right getting help on on some of the admin stuff. I was sourcing it that way. And then you can start to grow, get on and take on another house. And I don't know, 20% of the profits to reinvest in your business rather than just spend all.
00:33:47:10 - 00:34:04:14
Unknown
So yeah, I think, I think that's the main thing. Just thinking about it as a business first and foremost, rather than just like, oh, another house, another thousand pounds a month, let's go and spend our lives, reinvest it into the next project, which is also important. You need to be investing in your business as well as in your portfolio.
00:34:04:16 - 00:34:31:04
Unknown
Yeah, you do some. It's interesting because I've done a couple of posts on Facebook and Instagram recently about investing in your business. So whether you're starting out and you've only got two properties or you're at year five with 25 properties at every point, you should be investing in your business. Whether that be a system to have all the text messaging and communication with tenants on one platform or a part time visa to give you some time back.
00:34:31:04 - 00:35:05:24
Unknown
Because the amount of people that I talk to that has got a handful of properties and they're still running on a spreadsheet and mobile side, I'm like, I'm working my head around all of them. Like, What are you doing? You know, it's this staying age point. And then once you get two years down the track and you've got a lot more of your time back there, it's time to do like you say this, this and that, or spend more time on high moneymaking activities where you actually doing the deals you want to be or like me and my partner move from doing, you know, the residential HMO thing and focused on commercial conversions, you know,
00:35:05:24 - 00:35:26:22
Unknown
So it's being able to spend your time and something that you want to. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I mean, you know, you're maybe spending like 100 grand on renovations, but you wouldn't spend £500 a month on a VA. I know, I know. I guess, Yeah, I could talk about it all day. I would turn blue on the fly face, but yeah, I think that's really key.
00:35:26:22 - 00:35:46:12
Unknown
If people are looking to get their lifestyle balance or adventure as just stop putting things in place today, this week, next week. You know, I gave some really good tips the other day on Instagram about something we do in our living agency is we outsource the phone to a call center. So we have the app on the phone and we've got the call center.
00:35:46:17 - 00:36:11:24
Unknown
I mean, this is something somebody could do. This week and a state's got size tomatoes. They've just got a ton of time back. So for sure, just, you know, people just is not actually that difficult to implement that particular system. So. Yeah Yeah Well thank so much for chatting with me today about that. It's been really interesting to get an insight into you guys and a bit more about what you do.
00:36:12:03 - 00:36:33:15
Unknown
So I will put some links in the show notes to your social media and I think it would be good to put some notes down below. But inside property investing because you've got some free trainings as well for people, why haven't you? Yeah, we help people. I mean, so Instagram and the podcast I guess is the bulk of our content podcasts pretty much every week.
00:36:33:15 - 00:36:50:11
Unknown
Instagram, a couple of times a week. We're trying to help other people who want to grow their property business and treat it like a business rather than just a series of investments. But there's a couple of things specifically we help people with. One of them is HMO is how we created this freedom in our lives, and we're still passionate.
00:36:50:11 - 00:37:13:00
Unknown
There's a huge opportunity there. So we run a free training on that, maybe like one sometimes twice a year. We've got one coming up and middle of April. If you're listening to this, if you're like straight off the off the gas Instagram, you'll be assigned the details of that, although we'll make sure the link is working with. I told me before we started that the language, the markets will get updated.
00:37:13:02 - 00:37:30:15
Unknown
We we help people with raising private finance as well. If you're looking to grow your portfolio, we've usually got a training of some description on that on the go as well. But again, you know, all of this we we talk about on the podcast or on Instagram. So if you if you catch up with us there, if you're a podcast listener, go listen to the podcast.
00:37:30:15 - 00:37:47:17
Unknown
If you're on Instagram, go check is out there and you know, going to see what we've got on how we can help you if you're interested in that. But, you know, I like to think the free advice is pretty good as well. So it's always a good place to start. Yeah, it's me. I'll put all the links below and yeah, I recommend that people definitely listen to a podcast mean on a podcast.
00:37:47:17 - 00:38:07:14
Unknown
Lazer I love them, but your podcast as one of my saves is on one of my and the top of my podcast area because you just interview really good people and you get good information as well. So. So yeah, it's a really good podcast. So if you are wanting to put one on then I recommend you one. I love it.
00:38:07:16 - 00:38:23:06
Unknown
Thanks. Oh, thank you very much. And yeah, and I will speak to you soon. Thanks a lot. Thanks for having me. And, and.

About the Show

On the show, Mike reveals all of his online business and blogging strategies, income sources, and killer marketing tips and tricks so you can be ahead of the curve with your online business or blog.

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Mike Stenhouse

Inside Property Investing

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