A simple seven-step guIde to becoming a property mIllIonaIre
By Ian Samuels
Property Tycoon is a little book with a big message. It is, as it says on the tin ? or rather the cover ? about becoming a property millionaire by building a portfolio.
Before you roll your eyes and think that this is another one of those books about making millions in twenty-four hours or living the lifestyle of a Russian oligarch ... stop right there! It?s not. The focus is on becoming financially free, yes, and doing so through property, but Ian makes it clear that it?s not an easy ride. He is honest about mistakes in the early stages, and also about how diligent you need to be with regard to changes in the market and in landlord and property regulations.
He is a man who advocates a plan. The book?s chapters are in fact steps ? the Seven Steps of the sub-title ? that form an approach to building a multi-million pound portfolio to sustain you in the long term.
This book comes in at less than 150 pages, is beautifully written, very easy to read and has been professionally published. I don?t think I could find even one typo or spelling mistake, which goes to prove that it is worth the effect to either a) find a publisher or b) get professional support when self-publishing.
Who Is It For?
It largely targets new investors and those in the relatively early stages of investing with, say, up to four or five properties. The main strategy relates to buying property and renting it out (most of the examples are about standard buy-to-let properties, but there are also references to Houses in Multiple Occupation), so you won?t find anything about strategies such as lease options or rent-to-rent.
That said you might still find it worth a read if you have more experience. Much of the information in the first few Steps might be familiar if you have several properties under your belt, but there are some salutary reminders about the fundamentals of finance in Step 2: Know Your Finances, which covers basics such as balancing the differences between investing for capital growth and cash flow, and an overview of property tax issues.
For me personally, the real essence came in Step 6: Developing Your Portfolio, which discusses strategies for transitioning from part-time to professional investing. Ian explains gearing clearly, but also refers to the impact of raising capital from your existing portfolio. All this is done with detailed comparison examples, presented in a way that is responsible, helping you build wealth on solid foundations rather than by maxing out and leaving yourself open to the risk of financial problems and future interest rate hikes, or by forgetting about capital gains tax.
Steps 3, 4, and 5, which cover the basics of buying, getting the right people around you and how to rent out and manage your portfolio, are intended for the novice although, as I have said on many occasions before, you can always pick up a tip or two whatever stage you?re at. The list of questions to ask a lettings agent will be particularly helpful to a new investor.
Your Grand Plan
Many of you reading this will already have a plan in place. Some of you might, either intentionally or otherwise, have no plan other than to buy as and when you can. And others among you may have a plan now, but wish you?d had one when you started way back when. Ah, the wisdom of hindsight! What we?d have done differently if only we knew then what we know now ... the properties we?d have bought, the ones we wouldn?t have sold ? or might have sold sooner. What focus we would have had if only we?d realised how important that was.
Here?s your chance. It?s never too late to focus, but for this you need to create a plan and this is covered in Step 1: Getting Started. There are hundreds, probably thousands, of books around on creating plans for business, and rather a large number in the property section that include chapters on the subject. Ian goes a step further though, in encouraging us to bear the property cycle in mind as we prepare our plans, and reminding us to revisit our plans regularly to check whether they are still valid.
Much of the fundamental information in the book can be found, in more detail in some cases, in other books, but what you get here is context. It starts with the big picture in mind. Many of the others start and end with how to invest, rather than taking you further along the journey. I?m not sure that I can put it better than Ian has done himself:
?There are books out there on being a landlord, and on the ins and outs of the buy-to-let world, and this book certainly covers that material too ? but here it?s as part of a larger approach, one that is very much focused on property investment from small-scale beginnings all the way up to the point where it can provide substantial and life-changing income.?