Our Notable Property Person today is no stranger to the Landlord Law Blog – Roberta Ward who writes the excellent My Property Mentor blog. Here she tells her story.
1. Please introduce yourself. Say a bit about yourself and your company
HI I am Roberta Ward and my company – My Property Mentor started life as a help site for landlords and new investors to learn about property investing safely away from the ‘get rich quick’ mentality of some of the larger clubs and marketeers. By way of 1.2.1 mentoring and networking events I spent time helping others. However, that has led to many great things.We are currently involved in an a much larger event in Essex called be2campeast, which is revolutionising networking, and something we are very proud to be asked to run.Besides that the company has moved away from mentoring and into the further promotion in various ways of ethical investing. I’m also a full time investor running my own portfolio and get involved in renovation projects.
2. How did you first become involved in property?
It all came from humble beginnings as my dad and several members of my immediate family are builders and trades people, so I guess you could say I grew up on building sites! I did my first renovation back in 1994, I also developed property in Ireland and later bought some buy to let’s which I rent out on multi-let basis.
3. What do you think is your greatest achievement so far?
Thats a hard question to answer because I am very proud of the folks I have helped and who have gone on to invest themselves. However I am also very proud of our blog which has been phenomenally successful.Through it and the use of various forms of social media we are now supporting the EACH Treehouse Appeal, have had media attention, famous people blogging for us, have written for magazines and have been involved with several viral campaigns. Our newer finance section is doing very well too.
4. Do you or your company have any exciting plans for the future?
Yes we do, unfortunately I cant divulge our biggest project yet as its still in production, but it is a slightly different tangent to what most folks will think of us for! Our finance arm are planning lots of webinars & workshops on tax mitigation and further investing strategies for long term wealth. Our aim is to teach you how to invest your money safely and ethically whilst at the same time showing you the best way to keep hold of it!
5. What do you think are the greatest problems facing the private rented sector today?
Finance is the main issue right now and the spectre of the interest rate hike which still looms large over a lot of investors. I’m not heavily involved in the rental sector, I am more involved in the buy to sell end so thankfully it wont effect us too much.
6. What do you think are the greatest opportunities?
Personally I feel the market will drop yet, so I am waiting to see what happens when it all shakes out in the wash! There are opportunities in any market, but I do think the change within the Estate Sales sector, with the move for an ever more online presence, will eventually radically change our property market for the better. I suspect there will be many more opportunities when the market opens up and we are involved with some of the prime people driving that change forward.
7. We have a general election coming up – what would you like to see in the winning parties manifesto as regards the private rented sector?
I think a proper tidy up and full rework of the myriad of regulatory aspects that an investor has to deal with would be a real bonus, plus maybe some tax breaks where the govt recognises that BTL is a business which helps them sort some housing issues, and it should be treated as such, without weighing down investors with useless bits of regulation that no one can understand.
8. Do you use social media (blogs, twitter, LinkedIn etc)? What place do you think it has in the future of the property industry?
Yes I do use all the above and it has made our business streamlined and fighting fit. As I said above, our use of Twitter led us to be directly involved with be2camp – which itself is a way to bridge the gap between social media and the built environment. Very exciting. Social media is a crucial part of any business strategy in my opinion- and why not? It basically a modern form of great customer service,which is something we should all strive for in business.
9. What is the most important lesson you have learned during your time in property?
Well there are so many! Here are a few of my favorites…. listen to your own instincts re the people you deal with; invest in things you feel safe with; get good advice from financial experts; finally- network like crazy on and offline, because its people who move you and your business forward not products. Surround yourself with great ethical people who you can trust.
10. What advice would you have to someone thinking of entering the property industry today?
( Dont do it!- just kidding)
Get a grip of your finances first- know your own position. Dont’ attempt to run before you can walk, learn the business at a steady pace. It is currently a very volatile market, even seasoned professionals have been caught out, set a clear entry and exit strategy for each deal and always have a plan B exit strategy! Work towards multiple income streams so that you never get stuck with all your eggs in one basket. Diversity spreads risk.
Great advice Roberta. And keep up the good work on your excellent blog.