Living far from your
Property Investment Area
How do you invest when your property investment area is at the other end of the country? With a ten hour round trip, Rosie Charles and her partner did just that, and have created an amazing success story. Living in the South East of England, it was necessary to invest much further north to make her investment strategies work. In this interview excerpt, Rosie discuses some of the challenges and provides some great tips on how to make long-distance investing work.
Choosing your Property Investment Area
Having completed all of your online research you may have singled out the best area to invest in property. However, as Rosie experienced, when you actually visit your investment area, you may need a degree of flexibility to shift your plans.
“We knew we needed to go further north where you could get properties a lot cheaper. We went up to [Birmingham first}, then Liverpool and the agents didn’t have any time for us. If you’re investing away from home you need to build those relationships with the agents [otherwise] if they do not have time for you, it’s very difficult to learn the market. So we decided to look a bit further outside of Liverpool. We liked the houses, we liked the areas, and most importantly, the numbers worked.”
A System for finding the Best Property Investments
Putting a system in place will be very beneficial, helping you to adopt habits that lead to achieving your goals. If you live close to your investment area your system may look very different to if you live far from the area. The key element either way will be to have consistency and commitment to the system you put in place.
“We went up religiously once every three weeks and it was tough going. We decided that we just wanted to go and view everything that was for sale. I think that’s a really good way of getting to know the market. You get to see the agents a lot and you get the inside information about the area.”
“The week before going up I would call all the agents and get viewings booked. Then the following week I would go to the area and view the properties. The [third week] I would be putting all the offers out and doing the due diligence. Then it was back to booking [the next block of viewings], so it was a nice three week rotor.”
The Power of going Direct to Vendor
To find the best property investments it will often be necessary to build a relationship directly with the seller, called going Direct to Vendor. This is particularly important when investing from afar, where being able to view properties at short notice is not an option, as Rosie explains:
“We followed the Asset Academy model of going direct to vendor. [Going] direct to vendor helps because if the property is not [yet] on the market, there’s less of a rush. We did leaflet campaigns plus contacting people on Gumtree and Facebook groups. We did what we were taught [on the Asset Academy courses] and it has worked. A lot of what we found at the start was already on the market but we were [still] able to get direct to vendor.”
The logistical challenges that come with increased travel time to your property investment area will present unique hurdles. Depending on your own circumstances, overcoming these hurdles may require a different type of relationship with your power team.
“You are not going to be able to have the same relationship with the estate agents as someone who is living five minutes down the road. You can’t just drop everything and go for a viewing at short notice, so of course you are going to miss deals. If an agent calls you and tells you about an amazing deal, you cannot just be there in in two hours. You have to book your trip and book your accommodation, so it’s a slightly different relationship. Making sure you’ve got the [power] team members you trust is a huge thing.“
Working with your power team
Having a strong power team is a recurring theme for property investors and it is especially important for long-distance investing. However, it is not just a case of finding the right people. Understanding how to manage those people will be critical, increasingly so when it will take five hours to drive to the property.
“We found a letting agent who could also project manage a build. However, it turned out that he was not a project manager and a six week refurb took six months. You have got to be really careful, especially working from a distance, you need to be on top of them, even if you’ve got a fantastic build team. When we do a refurbishment, we try and go up every two weeks and in the week that we are not there we do a video call [with the build team] and go through everything. I think good builders are very difficult to find but it’s also very difficult to find a good letting agent.”
Whether investing from afar or investing locally, it will be essential to build strong relationships within your property investment area and have a reliable team in place. This is true if you are investing in Flipping properties, Buy-to-Let properties or even Commercial rental property.
The further away from your investment area you are, the more reliable you will be on your team however. You can listen to the full interview with Rosie here or to gain a different perspective, you may enjoy our podcast: Remote vs Local Investing: Which is Better?