There is a quality we need as property investors which I don’t often see discussed. In fact, I don’t think I have seen any videos or posts on this, and I certainly haven’t seen any training courses on this.
The quality that I think that we need as property investors, amongst many other qualities by the way, is this: we need to have a robust tolerance of stress.
Why do I say that?
I don’t want to make this post gloomy. I think property investing is great, I have been in property for 40 years and I have been investing for myself for more than 20 years. Would I change any of that? No, I wouldn’t. It has given me a fantastic lifestyle and I love it.
But there are times when you can feel stressed from it. I am just being completely open and honest, a lot of you have said that you like my open and honest style.
So, I am not going to sugar coat it for you. If you get into property, there will be times when you will get stressed.
I was thinking about this about a while back, because on one particular Friday afternoon, 3 things happened.
I have to say this is unusual, most of the time everything is fine, but occasionally these things happen.
And things don’t usually happen all at once.
But on this Friday afternoon, they did.
Here’s what happened.
- The first is that the managing agent who looks after my HMOs for me rang me up and said that one of the tenants of one of the rooms had basically done a bunk, and they had run off with my furniture, including the bed and the fridge, and there were various repairs that needed to be done to the room. How had they done that? I have no idea. The agent said that I should expect a call from the police because, “We’ve asked the police to try and find this person. We think we know where they’ve gone, and we are going to see if we can get your stuff back for you”. I thought good luck with that, I bet that doesn’t happen. That was event number 1.
- The second thing that happened that afternoon is that I got a call from my agent who is meant to be selling one of my flip properties. This flip has been going through for a while and without going into the longs and shorts of the story, as it is more long than short, basically the legal transaction hadn’t gone as smoothly as I hoped. The buyer’s solicitors in particular had been awkward about the whole thing. The buyers desperately wanted to buy, and I was very keen to sell. But unfortunately, the solicitors doing things solicitors do, put a few spanners in the works. It meant that although I thought we were close to completion, we weren’t. The deal hasn’t collapsed completely, and we are trying to put it back on track in a form that satisfies the buyers solicitors. At the time, added to my phone call from the agents about the HMO, it was slightly stressful.
- The third thing that happened that afternoon was that I got a call from somebody about a JV which I am involved in, and where I have put some money into the JV. I was expecting the money to be paid back that afternoon. As so often happens with a JV, things rarely run according to plan. There are quite often things that you can foresee when you go into the JV. It is best to go in with your eyes open, best to go in with an open mind, best to have some kind of agreement with your JV partner which covers the “what ifs” if a problem happens. But it just happened that, although the JV had been going smoothly, on that afternoon there was a hiccup and repayment of my money was delayed.
Those were three things that all happened on the same Friday afternoon.
The thing about late Friday afternoon is that it is probably the worst time to get any kind of news, because you then have 2 days over the weekend where everything shuts down and you can’t really do anything to put it right again. You have to wait until Monday morning. If you are anything like me, you will spend the whole weekend thinking that you can’t wait till Monday for everything to open, and that is really frustrating.
That’s when I realised, one of the things that I think helps me as a property investor, perhaps more than other people who decide that they don’t really like property, is that I have a reasonable tolerance to stress. I am not the best at it, but I have a reasonable tolerance to stress, which means generally I can cope when things don’t go to plan.
I have learnt over the years not to take things personally, not to get overemotional about things, not to get sucked in, not to allow my feelings to try and override everything, even though I am a very ‘feelings’ person, because if I ran on my feelings and not on my thoughts, I probably wouldn’t be able to cope. I’ve had to learn how to do that, and it is not the natural way for me.
Although, apparently, I appear as quite a calm person, I have the odd time when I rant a little bit, and I have the times where I have a little emotional explosion. It can happen, but I’ve learnt during my years in property that there is no point.
One of the things experience has taught me, is that no matter how big the problem, it usually gets itself sorted out in time. Often, it is just a matter of taking a deep breath, being patient, and not letting it ruin your evening.
And you have to accept that many problems have no instant solution.
So, that Friday evening I just had to chill, I had to let it all go, and I had to accept that I needed to wait until Monday morning before I could start doing anything to try to make sure all these problems were resolved
So, if you want to be good at property, think about how you deal with stress, because the better you deal with stress, the better you are probably going to do in property.
Because, like it or not, there will inevitably be times when property is stressful.
Peter Jones B.Sc FRICS
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