There are many ways of investing in property, even if you don’t have any money. Lease options and Rent to Rent are two very popular strategies. You can create a lot of cash flow by packaging and sourcing deals for other investors for a fee. However, it doesn’t mean that if you don’t have money, you can’t invest in multi-million pound projects such as developments, commercial conversions or normal BTL properties worth a lot of money.
There are people out there who are waiting with their cash to invest in your deals instead of having their money in their bank where they’re unlikely to get much return. Money loses value every single day and after paying taxes, they may just break even or make a loss. That is why they look for new opportunities. Some of those people are cash rich and time poor, meaning they don’t have the time to find deals. These investors are looking for people like you to find and negotiate deals so they can finance it and share a profit with you. You need to start hanging around with these sorts of people; tell them what you do and build a relationship with them at the networking events, exchange business cards and after the event follow up with everyone the next day via email. You can say things like: “Hi Mr Smith, it was a pleasure to meet you at the property networking event yesterday. It would be great to meet up with you to discuss further business opportunities. Please let me know when you’d be free to meet up.” Or you can say things like “There is no free lunch, but there is when I am in town.” It all depends on who you deal with. This is just a simple example. If you are good at writing emails you can develop it, but try to keep it short and to the point. Remember: dress to impress; you can never get a second chance at a first impression. Who you hang around with is who you become and your network is your net worth. If you told us how much five of your friends made annually we could predict your salary.
We will name a few places and products where you can raise money for your property investments. Even if you have a lot of money and you start investing, you will eventually run out of money one day. That is why it’s very important to raise finances and use other people’s money instead of your own. All successful people do the same – they don’t use their own money.
Joint Venture (JV)
This is a very good way of building your property portfolio quickly with minimal risk and no capital required. JV partners could be people who you meet at networking events. Some have a lot of time and will bring you good deals, whereas others are very busy but have a lot of cash to invest. If you are working with private investors they will have business experience that can help you. This will be very beneficial when analysing deals, legal issues, profit and loss etc. It is much easier and quicker to build a property business with partners than by yourself. Before entering in any JV agreement, make sure you do your due diligence on the person you are dealing with and consult with your solicitor. JVing with other people has positives and negatives so you need to analyse it before you enter such an agreement.
For a joint venture to work, you need to choose the right partners; each partner needs to bring something different to the partnership. It’s important to have clear documents that outline how the partnership will work so you know who is responsible for what. You need to be honest and open with each other.
I (Damian) experienced bad partnerships many times and lost a lot of money in business but it wasn’t their fault – it was mine. You need to take responsibility for yourself. If I had done enough due diligence on the people I was partnering with I would never have gone ahead with the deal. But I am happy that it happened as it was a good lesson and I will never make the same mistake again. It takes time to find good partners and you might be lucky and find a good one in the first place. Remember there is a golden rule in business: trust but verify! I have done many good deals with my current business partners and it would never have happened if I didn’t go to networking events. Shane and I travelled all the way from London to Florida just to network and meet new people who we can do business with. That is called sacrifice; we do whatever it takes. Do today what others don’t, to have a tomorrow that others won’t.
You can also JV with your friends and family; you provide the deal and knowledge whilst they bring the money required. Once the work is done, you share the profit 50/50. There are many different ways of structuring JV deals. For example, there might be people who are not interested in monthly income but investing money for capital appreciation. So instead of sharing the profit 50/50, you take the cash flow every month and they take the equity. The amount the house appreciates in value will benefit your JV partner, but make sure you have an exit strategy in place so you don’t have situations where they want to sell the property but you want to keep it.
Remember that 50% of the deal financed by a JV partner is better than 100% of nothing.
Crowd funding is getting more and more popular. There are a lot people with a good business plan and models but with limited finances. Raising money from banks is difficult and bridging is expensive. Many investors look for opportunities where they invest their money for a share in a company or project in return. It is very common in this day and age to start big developing projects where there are few investors that fund the project together to build apartments, and once it is sold they share a profit equivalent to the proportion of the money invested. In some crowd funding projects, anyone can invest money and get, for example, a 10% return on their investment. Quite often there are hundreds of people investing in one project. This is an extremely powerful strategy and it’s now even used to raise money for start-up businesses and movies.
Credit Cards, Loans and Overdrafts
When we started our property journey we had no money and a lot of debt. Our favourite source of investment at the time was credit cards and overdrafts as we didn’t know many people who we could raise the money from. Most of our credit cards were maxed out, so we had to increase our credit limits. Our first property investments came from none of our own money! When you have no money you must start thinking outside the box as you have little choice. These tips came from our mentors, they showed us how to do it and what to say when talking to the banks as this is very important. If you tell your bank that you need money to invest in property then you can forget about them agreeing.
From being broke, we both achieved financial freedom in just one year of investing in property. It all came from knowledge that we acquired from our mentors, books and creativity, so we managed to crush the myth that you need money in order to make money! If you want to master the property game, you need to have the knowledge to be creative. That is how winning is done. Most of the multi-millionaires and billionaires are self-made; they started from zero or debt, so anything is possible. You just have to believe it, set up a plan on what you want to achieve and how you are going to get there; for your dreams to come true you first have to wake up! You can have anything you want in life, you just have to be hungry and believe that you can have it.
Sylvester Stallone (Rocky Balboa) is a great example of a self-made millionaire. He started from humble beginnings – he was evicted from his apartment and was homeless for a while. In March 1975 Stallone saw Muhammad Ali fighting against Chuck Wepner. After that fight, he went home and started writing a script, taking inspiration from both the fight and the autobiography of Rocky Graziano to start writing Rocky Balboa. Stallone attempted to sell his script to multiple studios with the intention of playing the main role in the movie. Although receiving enormous amounts of rejections, which went on for several months, he never gave up. He was finally offered $350,000 just for the rights to the script without him playing in the movie. He refused to sell it unless he could play the main character, so after a substantial budget cut to compromise the producers agreed to have him as a star, and the rest is history. He could have just taken the $350,000 which for him at that time was a lot of money, but if he did he wouldn’t be where he is today. That shows determination. There was a time in his life where he had to sell his dog for $50 because he didn’t have any money to feed him; after his success with the Rocky Balboa script, he bought his dog back for $15,000.
There are a lot of places to go where angel investors spend their time. All you need to do is search on the internet for the closest one to your area. Millionaires and billionaires come to these places and look for people with great ideas for a new business where they can invest their money for a share in the company in return. More importantly, not only will they invest, but they will also give you all the support you need, which is priceless. They usually have their own power team that has expert knowledge in marketing, branding and selling. Of course, you must know everything about the business and have a great pitch that will attract the investors to persuade them to invest in your company or project.
You need to make sure you know your numbers; know everything about your competition, if there is any, and have a great unique selling proposition (USP). Having a mentor that has already achieved what you want to achieve is precious! I (Damian) have invested and started many companies before property investing. I invested all the money I saved from my part-time jobs and I lost it as well as getting myself into debt. The main reason I failed in both businesses was because I didn’t know what I was doing. I had no guidance or a mentor to tell me how it needs to be done, what needs to be changed and what it is I was doing wrong.
When I started property investing, I had a mentor from the beginning and that is why I succeeded and I have done it in a very short space of time. I knew exactly where I was going and I knew that I had the support if I needed it. Every successful person has a mentor; imagine a footballer in the English Premier League or an athlete without a coach. Do you think Usain Bolt, the fastest runner on the earth, would be where he is today without a coach? We have paid a lot of money for mentoring and coaching, but with angel investors you can receive investments and free mentoring for a share in your business.
Family and Friends
There are a lot of people such as friends and family that have money sitting in their bank accounts without getting much return on their savings. Believe it or not, but money goes down in value all the time; inflation kicks in and prices go up. What you could buy for £10 ten years ago you can’t buy anymore. That is why it’s very important to invest in assets that appreciate in value. If you get a good deal, you can ask your friends if they would like to get 10 % return on investment on their money. I am sure they will like the idea as in the bank it’s unlikely they’ll get more than 1%. How you give it back is flexible; once the property is refinanced or pay them interest each month. It all depends on the individual and your agreement. Once they get their money back after the first deal, this will prove you can be trusted and they are likely to lend you money again.
What do we really mean by selling liabilities? A liability is something that takes money out of your pocket, e.g. if you have a car that is worth £10,000, it will go down in value every single year plus it will cost you money every single month. Car insurance needs to be paid, road tax, petrol, MOT test, car maintenance and repairs. If you sell the car for £10,000 and buy a property below market value, you can refinance the property after 6 months and buy a new car or you can get a new car on finance as you will have a passive income from the house you bought. Every single month the rental income will pay for your car without you physically working to pay for it, so instead of having just a car, now you have a property plus a car that is paid by the asset you have acquired. What would you prefer?
A bridging loan is a very good method if you need to borrow money for a property that you want to buy very quickly. It only takes a few days for the bridgers to accept your application and lend you the money; in some cases 24-48 hours. If you borrow for the first time and pay back successfully the next one will be much easier and quicker because they know that you are reliable.
Bridging loans are mainly used by investors buying houses at auctions where you have to complete the purchase almost immediately. You cannot do the same with a standard mortgage company. Bridging loans have very high interest, from 1-3% per month or more in some cases. You need to know your numbers and have an exit strategy in place as it’s a very risky loan. If you have never taken out a bridging loan, make sure you consult with a financial advisor beforehand or somebody that has experience in bridging so they can make you aware of the potential problems that can arise.
Social Media Groups
There are a lot of property investing groups on social media that you can join for free. You can ask questions, gain free advice and find potential business partners. You can even sell and buy property deals, subject to how active you are in the forums.
Before buying anything, make sure you do your due diligence on the person that is offering the deal and on the property they are offering. We had many deals that came our way but when we did our due diligence we found out that many of these properties were on Rightmove and Gumtree, revealing that we were not being offered a discount or, in some cases, they were trying to charge us above market value!
Seminars and Networking Events
This is our favourite way of raising finance, as most of the deals we have done and money we’ve raised came from people we met at seminars and networking events. Some people we know say that we are lucky because we manage to sell a deal or get a deal financed that made us a lot of money. But guess what? If we were sitting at home watching TV, playing PlayStation or going to the pub with friends, we would never have met the sources and our business partners. It’s all down to our hard work and the time we spent building relationships and our network. Your network is your net worth and it’s not who you know but who knows you.
You first need to invest some money into the relationship before you start to do business with anyone. We invite potential business partners for dinner, for example. Is food free? No, it isn’t! Is transport free? No, it isn’t! You need to pay for eating quality food, for petrol or a train ticket. People who say you are lucky forget about all the sacrifices, costs and hard work. Business relationships are similar to dating. You shouldn’t ask for sex on the first date; it’s the same in business. You need to meet multiple times and build a relationship with a potential business partner before you do any business together.
Private Members Club
There are many different types of private members’ clubs. If you are a fan of cars, you could look into a Ferrari or Lamborghini private members’ club. You don’t necessarily need to own one to be a member. People who can afford these kinds of cars are definitely the ones with money so it could be a huge benefit to hang around with them and build relationships that could add value to your business in the future.
There are also yacht clubs, gentleman’s clubs, luxurious concierge services where you pay a monthly fee of anything between £50-£200. You get access to the best clubs in your city for free where you don’t need to wait in a queue. Impressive restaurants and sold out VIP events from the world of music to theatre, film, sport and art. There are many different private members’ clubs to choose from – it all depends on what you are looking for and what interests you. You can find more information about private members’ clubs online.
High End Gyms
The gym is a perfect place to network with people. There are reasons for that. First of all, you will see the same people every single day or at least 3-4 times a week because if you want to keep healthy and fit you need to work out on a regular basis. When you meet someone every single day and you make eye contact with them they will remember your face, and eventually you will start talking to each other. You will share weights, benches and equipment together and if they like you, you might even come to the gym with them at the same time and work out together.
The main reason that we mentioned high end gyms and not just any gym is because this is where wealthy people go to exercise. Wealthy people won’t go to any local gym as they like luxury and great customer service – everything they need is in one place from nutritional guidance, private medical care, spa treatments to DNA testing to determine what exercise suits them best. They also want to hang around with other people who are successful because who you hang around is who you become.
High end gyms have very expensive joining fees, which could be anything from £400-600 and a monthly fee of around £185-240. The most expensive one in London is in Knightsbridge, which costs as much as £2000 to join and £500 per month. There are a lot of gyms to choose from that are also very good and attract successful people and cost much less. David Lloyds or Virgin Active gym will cost you around £70-90 per month. High End gyms cost a lot but sometimes it is money well spent. If you can find someone that could finance your project of £500,000 to £1,000,000 or JV with you, isn’t the £200 per month worth it? Some people spend £3 on a coffee every single day, £3 x 5 days= £15 per week! In one month, that’s a cost of £60. What if you could save this money instead and put it towards the gym membership that will be much more beneficial and healthier than your daily coffee?
There are many more places where rich people spend their time. A charity ball is a good place to go as people spend a lot of money there bidding and raising funds to help the less fortunate.
There are very cheap and also very expensive ways of raising money. Everyone’s situation is different. You might be able to pay the £200 for the gym membership or you might prefer to go to free seminars or networking events. If you keep working hard and you are out often meeting new people, you will build your network and you will find the people who you are looking for. It might take you slightly longer than the more costly route as it may attract wealthier people, but you will still make it as you might meet someone who knows somebody who has the money and would like to invest it or get a better return than the bank is giving. We had to choose the cheap route as we were in debt so didn’t have the money to join expensive clubs. We are a living example that you can build a big network without spending £200 per month on gym membership. We met most of our business partners and investors at networking events and seminars, but we worked really hard to build those relationships.