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On board USS Small Enterprise, Star Date 2022


I am a starter – this means that I am comfortable setting things up, winding the clockwork handle, but then like to see things roll away. 2022 brings another new start for me so happy days.

Suburbia-a strange new world 

I am not so good at keeping things rolling, once the excitement wanes I need to hand over to other competent souls. Once I discovered this, my business improved immensely.

2022 will start with a bang. The new project is a bungalow in Plymouth, it is already adapted for disabled guests, it will need the 'usual' array of work, stripping, plastering, kitchen and bathrooms. I will be travelling down tomorrow with my trusty wallpaper stripper to prepare it for builders. I don't often get my hands dirty these days but it is helpful to be all over a property at the beginning, to get to know it intimately and fine-tune the schedule of works. This prevents nasty surprises and solves any problem that start with 'I wish we had….'

I will be joined by my son, Sam. Sam has foresworn University to join me in the property business and is willingly starting at the bottom. He is really very useful, as a woman in her 50s it is surprisingly useful to work with a 6'4'' chap who suffers no aches or pains. Insurmountable physical tasks become easy and ceilings become reachable without a ladder. My JV partner, Sylvia Mahal (the Facebook face of the enterprise) will also be coming to work. This will enable us to fine tune our JV agreement, set out the time frame for getting it rolling out and finalise the all-important cash-flow so that we don't run out before we are trading!

This project is new to me in several ways. All my properties (both rentals and holiday lets) are flats in Southsea, until now I really have been an extremely local investor. My recent broken ankle means that it has been some weeks since I visited the properties, which has given the opportunity to test the 'hands-free' systems that were not strictly necessary before. This has given confidence for investing 'away'. We will need a good local housekeeper and handyman (anyone got a contact in Plymouth?) but can manage the bookings etc. from here in the office.

The second 'strange new world' for me is that of the suburban bungalow, it is physically and socially different to urban investment. We need to add solid wall insulation as it is a single-skin 1930s model, think about maintaining a garden as well as being kind to the neighbours. Southsea has a relaxed vibe. So long as you are not a nuisance almost anything goes. We already get the feeling that the neighbourhood watch is all over our new project. Fortunately they are in favour of our end-product, helping disabled guests have a well-equipped holiday or respite break, and may help us to find those all-important local workers to make the project run with ease. I hope that the endless cups of tea don't hold us up though!

Long distance investing
Life from the sofa...

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