Why Every Property Investor Needs A Team
It’s a year from now and you’ve just completed your first project. It might be a renovation, subdivision or small development. The value has been added to the site and you’ve sold the property for a substantial profit… it’s time to get paid for all your hard work!
Then you discover, the deal was structured in the wrong entity, or you missed a special clause on your sale contract and now 50% of your expected earnings goes down the toilet.
This could be you one year from now – unless you start building your team TODAY!
I learned the hard way that we are only as good as the team that surrounds us…. The funny thing is, I used to think that I could do it all myself.
My ego was telling me that I could do it cheaper, faster and more perfect than anyone else… the latter being my biggest downfall.
My Biggest Mistake
Being a perfectionist in this world will only get you so far. In fact, in my opinion it doesn’t get you very far at all. I know this because I used to be one.
I was always striving to line my ducks up in a row before I could fathom taking a step forward. I thought I was just being organised but when I took a real hard look at myself, I realised I was becoming my own worst enemy.
Self-sabotage is what it’s called, but that’s a topic for another blogpost!
I’m happy to say that these days I’m now far from being a perfectionist and have learned to engage others to do 95% of the work so that I can focus on the 5% that I’m good at.
Property investing is a people business. It’s not about building houses, it’s about building quality relationships with human beings.
If you take the longer-term view when fostering your relationships with consultants, colleagues and co-workers, you’ll become more successful with your property investing business.
Building Your Core Team
So who do you need on your team to create a successful property business that provides the financial outcomes you desire?
Let’s go through the core team first:
- Accountant – I always have this person at the top of the list. They need to know everything about your finances so you can be structured effectively. Choose someone that knows, understands and embraces property investing.
- Lawyer – Much like the accountant, you want someone that specialises in property and the creative approaches required to acquire deals and sell them.
- Mortgage Broker – I prefer a broker over a bank representative for two reasons: a) Flexibility: a broker has access to more products to suit your circumstance b) Longevity: a broker doesn’t get transferred to another branch or department after you’ve put in the hard yards of building the relationship.
- Mentor or Coach – A must if you want to fast track success, mitigate risk and minimise mistakes. Click here to read more on how to choose a mentor.
- Financial Planner – It’s always wise to have someone on the outside looking in at the big picture of your wealth creation plan. I always prefer to choose somebody that has a passion for property and works on a fee for service rather than third party commissions.
- Insurance Broker – Property investing is a risky business. In fact life in general is risky! You insure your car, you house, your life and it’s important to insure your income producing assets. Engage someone to minimise that hassle and benefit from his or her expertise.
- Real Estate Agent(s) – I like to think that there is 1 in 10 agents worth working with. By that I mean, they understand your approach and want to help build your property business. Find them! They are the source of your deals. Click here to read more about getting on an agent’s hotlist.
Bear in mind that while you’re building a team of quality professionals, you’re the one still in charge. That doesn’t mean you need to become a dogmatic, all powering, all conquering tyrant. Managing people needs to be done with diplomacy, respect and patience.
Ultimately though, you employ these professionals to provide you with quality, expert advice so that YOU can make a decision about YOUR projects.
Managing Your Team
In the early days of my team building process, I went through 3 different accountants in 3 years! Now that wasn’t because I had incompetent accountants working for me, I just didn’t realise the importance of employing somebody that understood my big picture and specialised in the specifics of property investing.
After 3 frustrating years, I turned the tables and took the approach that I was employing the consultant and I had to take responsibility for that.
Instead of abdicating the task and leaving my choice of accountant to chance, I interviewed 5 different accountants before I was satisfied that the chosen person would facilitate my needs and exceed my expectations. (Click here to read more about who got the job!)
Managing a team requires a fine balance of listening and acting on advice, coupled with the ability and confidence to make your own decisions without allowing ego to affect your judgment. It takes practice to perfect (there’s that p word again!)
Other Professionals You May Need
Now let’s take a look at some project specific consultants you will need on your team. This will depend on the strategy you are implementing so I’ll try and cover most bases.
- Town Planner – One of the key team members when doing a subdivision or development. Choose someone you resonate with and is willing to go the extra mile.
- Engineer – Civil, Structural, Mechanical, Hydraulics… engineers come in many flavours and will depend on the type of project you are working on.
- Builder – Can make or break your development. See page 53 of Chapter 7A in the DIY Property Development Kit on ‘How to Choose the Right Builder’
- Architect or building designer – It’s much easier to change the design before the concrete is poured! Don’t skimp on design… a good architect can add tens of thousands of dollars to the end sale value of each dwelling.
- Quantity Surveyor – Often overlooked even though a good quantity surveyor can put cash in your pocket by providing quality depreciation schedules to your accountant.
- Arborist – You won’t need one on every deal but a tree specialist comes in very handy when doing your due diligence on a site with vegetation that impedes your project.
- Home stylist or stager – Without a doubt, a home stager will bring your finished product to life by turning your house into a home. People buy with emotion and you need to invoke the right feelings during the sale period.
- Building and pest inspector – The best $500 you will spend during the due diligence phase of your acquisition (when holding or adding value to the dwelling)
- A Variety of tradespeople – these may be better managed by your builder but if you are very hands on you might need direct access to some quality trades including, electrician, plumber, painter, tiler, roofer, concreter, carpenter, earth mover and landscaper.
As you can see there are a stack of people you need to help you on your property journey to financial freedom…. but don’t let this list overwhelm you!
Just try to keep these three points in mind when building your team:
- Look to employ consultants for the long term. If you’re happy with their work, pay them well, reward them and respect their advice and contribution to your journey.
- Work with people that see your big picture and want to be a part of it. Ideally choose someone that is already a property investor or at least understands and supports the concepts.
- Above all, ALWAYS work with people that have integrity high on their list of priorities.
(And to save you heaps of time, you can use resources like my Property Investor’s Rolodex)
Let Me Save You Some Work. How About You “Steal” My Team?
Building a quality team can take some time… Time that I can easily save you. Instead of figuring it out on your own, I want to share with you the actual names & contact details of the most important people on my own team.
(These people serve any region in Australia, so no matter where you are, you should check this out)
Building a quality team is an ongoing task and your team will evolve as you expand and advance as a property investor.
Richard Branson said once that “If you look after your staff, they’ll look after your customers.” If we apply Sir Richard’s quote to property investing, staff can be replaced with consultants and customers can be replaced with your property projects. So we get:
If you look after your consultants, they’ll look after your property projects.
It’s that simple!
Just remember that no-one cares more about your property project than you…so always take full responsibility for everything that happens, even when it’s not directly your fault.
Manage your team effectively by integrating these key principles: integrity, respect, clarity and gratitude.
And now, back to you: What’s your experience with finding professionals and building a team around you? Are you missing one of the 7 core professionals I’ve listed? Leave a comment below and let me know!