I like my small business, it feels good to break free from work, shift for yourself and hear the ker-ching of money you have made yourself. This last 2 weeks has been eerily quiet so a great opportunity to reflect (as well as clean my much-neglected house).
What happens to your short term let business when guests, or weather events of Biblical proportions, let you down?
Diversify or specialise, think big or be content with small, be out there or safe in here..
There are many sorts of people, a few ways to put them in categories could be specialists vs generalists, big-picture vs attention-to-detail, risk taker vs risk-averse. Personally, I am each and every one depending on the day of the week!
Swept up in ‘this time next year we will all be millionaires Rodney’?, never fail to create a joint venture agreement. Pulling together gives great value but what happens when you are pulling against each other?. My transition from Teacher and landlord to Serviced Accommodation provider has been enlightening of the value of the unseen benefits, and some of the disadvantages, of working for yourself and together.
On a boat today, at the confluence of the muscular Chobe river and the mighty Zambezi. Where trucks wait patiently for 3 weeks to board the Kazangula ferry from Botswana to Zambia. Four great countries share a border midstream. Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia. Divided by culture, language, allegiance and ambition.
I am enjoying the fruits of my labour with a big family trip to Botswana. But what are the lessons for my business?
To welcome visitors? Or to huddle in our insular security? Portsmouth is very much an Island City both in geography and mentality. It is both what makes us special and hinders our progress. Whatever you view our place, it is a one-off location. This month I share some views from fans of our City, Pride in Pompey is strong and after 25 years here I am almost a local.
The net is closing on short term lets, are you in or out?
The RLA published an article this week regarding short term lets "There has been a massive growth in short term lettings and landlords are moving properties from long-term to short-term lets due to Government tax changes... Disincentivising residential stock... and promoting short term holiday lets does not increase the supply of homes." (Dr Tom Simcock).
Hardly rocket science but what does that mean for we landlords here in Portsmouth?
If you want a future in property, chances are you have little money. Those of us with 5, 10 or 20 years' experience have often accumulated some so it appears from the outside a good way forward.
If you have little money there is a good chance that you have come across the training companies, all of whom offer "no money/little money down" strategy courses if, naturally, you will part with £5000 to find out how.
Spring must be (almost) in the air. I awoke this morning, walked into my tiny office, pushed a pile of papers aside to try to find my laptop and decided that SOMETHING HAD TO BE DONE ABOUT THE MESS. I take great care to present immaculate apartments, houses and rooms but somehow my personal organisation falls short.
A year ago my resolutions were the usual motley collection of be braver, faster, more successful, thinner and healthier. As is the way with resolutions they mostly "went west" this year I turn 50 and I can, supposedly, no longer pretend to be 40-ish. I have taken a less progressive stance this year.
Another year nearly done, roof still leaking? Woodchip still up? Tenants still creating mess? Have you followed the golden rules of Property Investing?
Running this gig has taught me a lot about being a good guest, previously I was always first at the breakfast buffet stuffing plastic bags for a packed lunch, but no more! I have learned what goes into creating a great place and that has taught me appreciation in return.
Ever at the cutting edge of the news, Serviced accommodation featured in The Times this week (usually restricted to the industry press). The article below sheds a more positive light than the usual 'Airbnb nightmare' headlines that we have got used to. The Industry is very unrestricted compared to being a landlord and new ways of managing are springing up all the time. The freedom to manage as you like in a relatively unregulated field is refreshing and challenging. Portsmouth has been bypassed by the 'big guys' in airbnb management, luckily you know where to go! (other short let managers are available).
I am sure that most of you, like myself, have spent some time recently completing your self-assessment. While we are happy to pay our dues, few people would want the taxman to benefit by more than necessary. This is where shorts lets get interesting.
This time of year can be tricky, I look back over the changes of the last year and see that progress has been made but there is a nagging doubt, is progress a good thing? Is progress even progress? Am I barking up the wrong tree perhaps and should my focus be more personal, less business-y? Is my life ebbing away as I chase shiny pennies? Self doubt creeps in and I need a fresh start!
I pass a neat row of large BMW motorcycles lined up outside and enter the communal Kitchen of Blue Star House where 6 handsome young German men are tucking into a hearty lunch and chatting about their weekend ahead at Goodwood. They tell me about their drive form Germany and ask about local parking. In rooms upstairs are a student, a chef, a cocktail barman, and some weekenders visiting family. This weekend it"s a full house at the Serviced Accommodation.....
If it's such a great strategy, why isn't everyone doing it?
Holiday lets come and go. Fact: It really isn't everyone's cup of tea.Â
How frequently do you visit your property? Every month? Every 6 months? I have properties with steady tenants that I haven't been into for 5 years! (Yes, the checks and repairs still get done). Most landlords aim to be hands-off as much as possible.
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