Learning how to invest in property is a minefield. TV programmes are all about the glitz and the glamour of property development but getting onto the property ladder, home ownership, becoming a landlord are starting a property portfolio are all much harder than they look.
Too often they gloss over the fundamental things you need to know before investing in property and they barely cover what is required to actually get started building a solid portfolio.
But these TV shows can be even more misleading than that. Each episode gives the impression that it is following a development project from cradle to grave when in fact there are key pieces of information about the project that is being missed out. Unfortunately, too many would-be investors are relying on these programmes to form the first part of their property education and are therefore attempting their first investment with considerable gaps in their knowledge.
For more information on the fundamentals of investing in property you can see our ‘Investment Property Checklist‘ or read on to learn how to learn more about how to get started.
What Are the Options?
So we’ve established that TV shows are a bad starting point to learn how to invest in houses. The question is, therefore, where do you go to learn? Well, on this subject there is good news and there is bad news.
The bad news first…
There are a heck of a lot of options!
So, what’s the good news..?
There are a heck of a lot of options!
Confused? Don’t worry, after reading this article you won’t be.
Here we are going to look at the options available to you. We’re going to cover how to you can learn to make money in property starting from nothing. Then we will dive deeper down into the trenches of property development and refurbishments training right the way through to property investment education.
150+ Years Of Property Investment
Property investing isn’t new. The very first land certificate, Title Number 1, was voluntarily registered at the Land Registry (which opened its doors on the 15th October 1862) in 1863 by Tory MP, commercial lawyer and judge Sir Fitzroy Kelly, for his property Crane Hall and The Chantry. Of course investing in property goes back much further than this date but this is when land registry records began.
Now, you might be asking yourself why I am looking so far into the past. Actually, it’s to make one simple point which is that for many generations investing in property has been the cornerstone of wealth.
Property in The Modern Day
Obviously, a lot has changed in the last 150 years. Primarily our society has become a lot more egalitarian. Investment opportunities are today more democratic, which is to say, investing in property is no longer the preserve of the rich and title holding elite.
Now of course we have access to buy-to-let finance, bridging loans. There are property auctions and estate agents. Most recently the internet is creating new models for buying and selling property such as Purplebricks. Increasingly there are ever more inventive ways of putting together joint ventures. Increasingly raising capital though (or contributing to) crowd sourcing is becoming a legitimate strategy for investment. Most importantly however we now enjoy the free flow of information so if you want to learn how to how to start investing in real estate then the information is there in a click.
The take home message is this…
Never before has property development and investment been so accessible to the general population.
Access to Property Finance in the Modern Day
It is access to finance that informs most of the property investment strategies we see today. It is through an understanding of finance that investors make a success of investing their money in bricks and mortar.
The modern divergence of finance options is what has opened up the playing field and created the opportunities that surround us. When you combine these opportunities with access to the right information and training – when you practice due diligence, you develop and follow a strategy, a plan, a road map – then there is some fantastic money to be made in property.
Property Investment Training/Education
If you want to learn how to invest in property you have three options:
Each of these routes into investment in property is very different and each come with a trade off of time versus money. Teaching yourself by reading books or scouring through articles like this one, costs almost nothing but will take a lot of time. The alternative is to spend more and leverage the skills of someone who is already experienced. It’ll cost more but your gains will be faster.
In the next section, we will look at each of these three options.
It’s not the fastest or the prettiest way to learn but sometimes it’s what you need.
Self-education or autodidacticism is the hard and loose way of getting educated on any topic. To do it right, you need total immersion.
There are property investment blogs like ours. There are podcasts like the one over at Property Geek (which we recommend). There are property Youtube channels, books, magazines. There are online downloads and presentations…
For any topic you want to learn about, property investment and development being no exception, there is no shortage of content and no limits to you being able to immerse yourself in information about it.
Self-education is great but it’s also a very time-consuming way of learning skills. You can spend weeks, months, years trailing through different resources and data trying to pick out what looks to be good information before you feel ready to take action.
Alternatively, self-education can be about jumping into action early, knowing you’re unprepared but willing to take risks in order to learn. There is nothing wrong with learning by doing if that’s the way you are inclined. However, when it comes to investing in property, there are considerable expenses in going about things in this way. Property can cost a lot of money to get into, so I wouldn’t advise going in feet first unless you understand basics such as how to calculate rental yield or how to go about spotting a BMV (below market value) property.
Learning For Free
If you want to learn any topic for free it will be a long, slow process. The truth is that if this is your plan the opportunity-cost ratio will cost you dearly in the long run. There is a good chance that your property education won’t be free in real terms either. When you try and turn your new found knowledge to practice, the inevitable gaps in your knowledge could end up being very costly.
This said, however, if you want just want to get a base level understanding of a new subject then self/directed free learning is great. After a quick dive into the content, you can then swim deep enough to see if it’s for you. This is often when one of the other options kick in such as structured training or JVs (joint ventures)/mentorship schemes.
Self Directed Learning: Summing Up
So, there are lots of avenues to explore if you’re looking to learn how to invest in property on your own. The most obvious is on the ground learning, making mistakes and improving as you go along but be warned, you can easily lose money this way. I easily overspent by £10,000 on my very first buy-to-let property. Houses are after all very expensive and mistakes are going to be costly.
The good news, however, is that there are a lot of great resources available to help you on your way with your property investment education. There are many great books on property investment that you can buy from Amazon. You can subscribe to TPN (Your Property Network), follow Property Investor News or visit forums like the one at Property 118, but remember that the key to this kind of learning is to maintain total immersion and to do it for a long time.
This approach will be right for you if you’re short on cash and have oodles of time. It is also the best route to start down on if you’re still trying to work out whether learning how to invest in property is what you really want to do.
But (and this is a big BUT), property investing and development can be an expensive business that you don’t want to get wrong. The greatest and quickest results are seen by those who take the next step in their property education by investing in some training or by those who partner with someone who really knows what they are doing.
In the long run, learning from someone else’s mistakes is far cheaper than learning from your own.
An Investment in Knowledge
As Benjamin Franklin famously said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest”, but it’s important that your investment is in the right kind of knowledge and this is where structured property training courses come in.
Structured property investment courses are very popular and come in all shapes and sizes.
They range from being general (just focussed on buy to let properties) to extremely niche specific (for instance, local, housing allowance tenant strategy or property development) and of course you can find them everywhere in between.
Learning how to become a property developer/investor by taking part in structured property investment training is a great way to give you a running start and a sure fire way of getting you on the track to making money faster.
Now, the right course will help you to plan your goals and show you in detail how to develop a solid strategy and implement it. It will also give you ALL the tools you need to get out into the real world and take action. But the true purpose of a well put together investment course is to allow you to leverage the experience, time and knowledge of the company or individual that is providing the training. It is through this aspect of training that you will be able to fast-track your learning.
With the property training I offer, I’ve distilled everything I do in property into a 3 month online course. This is 10+ years of property investment experience, investing my own money and working in property joint ventures as a property sourcer, prior to which I worked as an estate agent. During my career, I have dealt with 100s of property sales.
All this knowledge I’ve presented in an easy to follow, step-by-step online property course, where you can learn the industry from the comfort of your own home.
In the long run, property courses will help you make more money and cut out the expensive learning curve of self-education by stopping you from making all those school-boy errors that many of us make when we’re starting out.
The 3 Styles of Property Investment Training
Property training tends to come in one of three formats:
- Seminar: A hotel conference suite for a one day’s training or a weekend course.
- Online: Training from the comfort of your own home.
- On-site: Visiting properties and development projects.
There is no right way or wrong way. The best way is simply what works best for you.
For instance, if you have a busy work schedule and already struggle with your work/life balance then travelling 180 miles a day to get to and from a property investment seminar – in order to try and cram years of knowledge into one weekend of 10 hour days – might not be the best option. If this is your circumstance then maybe an online training course, where you can learn at your own pace, might be better suited to you.
You also need to consider what level of detail the course you are looking at goes into. If it’s too general then it won’t give you enough information to actually be actionable. If it’s too niche then you would be better getting a couple of deals under your belt first so that you understand the industry generally before you drill down into more specialist strategies.
It’s a balancing act and a case of examining the available options carefully.
If the seminar format is your preferred choice then there are plenty of options, many of which are listed in YPN. If you do decide to go down this route, I suggest a bit of due diligence when it comes to choosing the course provider. The costs of these seminars vary from £500-£10,000 and in my opinion, many of the courses priced at the higher end don’t provide anything like enough value to warrant the price.
One thing many of the people on the UK rich list have in common is they have all have mentors in one way, shape or form.
High profile entrepreneurs like Richard Branson and Karren Brady recommend mentoring as the best way to achieve much greater success and fulfilment. It is a standard part of received wisdom in the business community that you will achieve much more with a mentor than you ever could on your own.
The Shapes and Sizes of Mentorship Schemes
Mentoring can come in all shapes and sizes. It can come from your peers, from business contacts or from a paid property mentor. it can take the form of a one-on-one relationship or be delivered in a group mentoring environment.
However, it comes the idea is that you are helped to achieve more. Mentoring also opens doors. Often you are given the opportunity to leverage your mentor’s contacts. But the primary purpose of a mentorship scheme is to keep you on track and on your way to achieving your goals.
When You Should Consider Finding a Mentor
Finding yourself a mentor should really be the next tier of your property training, as in one tier up from a structured training course. It works best if you have some property or business experience before you dive in with a mentor or a joint partnership. This is really a simple case of making sure you know the basics before you start paying someone to teach you the tricks.
Wealth training or company mentoring will involve the greatest financial commitment out of everything we have discussed. It will also provide the fastest and biggest gains of all the educational methods we have mentioned. It’s the combination of skills and contacts that will guarantee your success.
They say, you can’t buy experience. True, but you can partner with it. This is what you get from a joint venture or mentorship programme.
No One Size Fits All
Mentorship schemes and joint partnerships are defined by the people involved and their aims, ambitions and goals.
One on one mentoring and group sessions both offer something completely different. Every mentor and JV (joint venture) partner will have different skills, different personalities, different experiences to bring to the table. Often with these kinds of things, it is less about the costs involved and much more about finding the right match.
So, my advice is to never jump into a JV or a mentorship scheme with someone you don’t feel 100% comfortable with. You need to practice due diligence. You need to know what you want to achieve and feel sure that the person (or people) that you are looking to work with will help you to achieve that end. Ideally, you want someone who has already achieved the result you are after and is therefore ahead of you in that particular game.
Join Our FREE Training
Thank you for reading this article. If you liked this content then why not join our free online property training course?
In there we cover a range of different property strategies to help you get started on building a long-term property portfolio or creating a cash flowing property business.
We also look at ways to increase your return on investment with any of the properties you may be considering and we also have a couple of cheat sheets and downloadable documents.