• Abbie Sorabjee

The Advice that Built My Business

Over the past 5 years of being a property investor, I have drawn inspiration from a lot of people. I’ve read books, listened to podcasts, subscribed to magazines and forums, been on training courses and worked with multiple mentors.

Through all of this learning, training and mentoring, I have come across a lot of advice.

Most of it has been incredibly valuable and driven me to achieving financial freedom and building a business which supports my lifestyle.

And, lucky for you, I am sharing the top three pieces of advice that I have ever received so that you can also benefit, wherever you are on your property investment journey. You’re welcome!

1. Find the deal and the money will come!

This slightly perplexing advice was given to me by my first property mentor. For most people…including me before I started investing…this is the complete reverse of how you think you should approach property investment.

Most normal people steadily build up savings or wait for a windfall and then go out and look for a property to buy.

But professional property investors aren’t normal people.

Professional property investors have learnt to make money work for them, instead of working for money.

Obviously, you still need to have money in order to buy and refurbish a property, but what’s so incredible about treating property as a business, is that the money you use doesn’t have to be yours.

If you find a property deal which is going to produce a good enough profit, then people who have money will want to invest in that deal.

Your job as a property investor, is to find amazing property deals where the numbers work well enough that you can easily afford to split the profits with private investors.

You do also need to spend time finding people who will want to invest in your business (check out my blog on Where to Find Investment Finance for more information!), but your primary focus needs to be on finding exceptional property projects so that you have something attractive for them to invest in.

This advice came into its own for me, when I agreed my 4th property sale – a lovely 2 bed terrace property, being sold about ¾ of the way through a refurbishment, in a perfect rental area and worth about £65,000…which I had agreed to buy for only £35,000.

I was ecstatic when the vendor accepted my offer, but also slightly concerned that I hadn’t yet finalised where I would be getting the funds from.

The vendor was in a rush to sell, so we proceeded quickly to exchange.

At this point, I had been networking to spread the word that I could offer investors great returns, but so far I hadn’t got an investor committed to this particular deal.

However, I remembered the words of my mentor and kept positive...

I wrote out how much I needed on a post-it and stuck it on my mirror.

I ran through the numbers of the property deal and pictured how fantastic the profits were going to be.

I visualised investors coming to me, asking to invest in my property business.

And then…

TWO investors who were barely on my radar approached me asking what returns I could offer them!

I had access to more money than I actually needed…so I got back out there and continued to look for more great investments.

2. Look for a win-win

A big part of my property investment training, was working on building a mindset which would help me to become a successful investor.

I was taught that the most successful investors always look for ways to make any deal a win-win.

The end result has to work for everyone.

This applies to property purchases…

I aim to reach a purchase price which is the lowest the vendor can accept but I still want them to be happy with the sale. This keeps the purchase ethical and it also keeps any estate agent on side so that they want to bring me more great property opportunities in the future.

It also applies to working with private investors…

I get access to relatively low-cost finance on flexible terms. My investors get an opportunity to make a great interest rate return on money which would otherwise be sat in a bank account making peanuts.

It even applies to finding good tenants…

I provide good quality houses, respond quickly to any maintenance issues and even allow some minor redecoration or pets in some cases. My tenants get to feel at home in their house, meaning they stay longer and treat my properties well.

To be honest, I have yet to find a situation in property or life where this advice doesn’t apply!

3. Failure is a part of success

I’ve heard this advice in many different ways from many different people.

Many of my property mentors and trainers have told me of their past failures and how much they have learnt from them.

Elizabeth Day has written a book and created an awesome podcast called How to Fail.

Denzel Washington gave one of the best motivational speeches out there all about failing…Fall Forward.

Even Will Smith has often spoken about how important failure is on the road to success…fail early, fail often, fail forward!

At points during my property journey I have been able to accept this advice.

But, when the journey gets a bit more tricky and I am staring failure square in the face, it always takes me a while to come through it and realise what I need to learn in order to move forwards (read my Top 5 Biggest Mistakes to hear about some of my more extravagant failures!!).

Steadily however, I am learning that there is something far worse than failure…stopping myself from taking action because I’m afraid of failure.

I wouldn’t say I’ve totally cracked it yet…I still hesitate sometimes, questioning myself and what I am doing.

But now I am conscious that if I have gone through my figures and I am confident that the deal stacks up, then what is most likely holding me back is the fear of failure.

What I have gradually learnt to accept is that to be a great investor, you have to feel the fear and do it anyway.