Sunday, 7 March 2010

It has taken the blind man 30 years to discover the entire shape of the elephant

After 30 years in Property I was a bit taken aback when a property person who I respect said ‘Jo, you need to define who you are’. We were having a conversation about Blogging and whether I had anything worthwhile to blog about.

I put a great deal of thought to this. My experience in property has been fairly extensive, wide ranging, detailed and very much ‘hands on’. But I’ve never specialised in any one area, preferring to be flexible. Flexibility has given me the ability to grab opportunities when they arise and respond to the unpredictability of the Property Market.

I have watched some Property People follow the herds and grow rapidly in one direction. But like herding elephants approaching an obstacle, the crash is sometimes inevitable. The elephants may have successfully trodden the route many times but as the herd expands and the unexpected happens there is no escape, the herd is too big and an escape route has never been considered.

Some of the best Property People I know have written some excellent articles in Property Network Magazine this month, giving a wealth of advice on how to make a career from Property. It is interesting to read how many different ways there are to achieve success, wealth & financial freedom by investing in property.

The message is clear - there is no ‘one size fits all’ in Property Investment and you don’t have to do the same thing over and over again to be successful. In fact it may be a disadvantage to do just that. If you grow too fast in one direction and the market changes will you have sufficient flexibility to adapt?

My advice is to take whatever opportunities come along - if the numbers stack up and you have done sufficient research. You must have a robust cash flow forecast in place to see the deal through to completion and beyond. Don’t be afraid to do something you haven’t done before, there are so many people out there to help you along the way. Keep networking and keep listening.

As Harry Shearer said “it has taken the blind man 30 years to discover the entire shape of the elephant”. I understand the elephant better now and I stay away from the herds.

I know who I am – a professional Property Person who adapts to change, uses several different strategies depending on market conditions and makes the most of opportunities. Do you know who you are?


richard said...

Jo that’s very much in line with my own inclination. I think it’s as much about temperament as anything else though. I’d get bored doing the same thing again and again, but I know others (Stephen Fay comes to mind) who are very successful working to a formula and continually refining it. Suits the methodical mind I guess. Me, I’m a maverick so I’m always on the lookout for new ways of making a crust.

Thanks for the link to the website BTW. I'm having a new one built for the development side which looks very different (less dated!).


Jo King said...

Yes, I think you've hit the nail on the head (pardon the pun Rich) - I was the maverick amongst Accountants and didn't fit.

Sounds very exciting your new build. We like the contemporary stuff too - was really taken by a contemporary home which appeared to be a building plot for £60k advertised in Watchett, Somerset which I found on RightMove this morning but is actually a design & build for £215k - nice design though.

We were discussing tonight how much we want to design our own SIPs German type Passiv house and see if we can compete financially with the traditional methods. We have to get these two current projects out of the way first though.

First challenge is to get the land deal sorted.