How to think like a pro when you inspect investment property

UK Property Investment

Eliminate emotional barriers to leap into successful property investment

In my previous article, I described tips to conduct a successful site visit when you invest in property. But knowing and doing are two very different things. Even though you now have the tools to inspect an investment property like a pro, you may never do so.

The sales agent has the upper hand with most beginner property investors, and many experienced ones, too. They know that there are some emotional barriers that stop investors asking the questions they should when they inspect a property. Why? Because the investor is nervous.

If you are the nervous type, it’s always better to have a professional do the site visit for you (or certainly take a professional with you). If you go it alone, you risk the agent feeding you the information that they want you to hear, and they control your movement around the property. In most cases, they even ferry you to and from the property in their car. And you’ll let them. You are about to make one of the biggest – if not the biggest – investment decisions in your life, and you hand over control to an agent whose only ambition is to sell the property to you and then move on to the next chump!

How do I know this? Because when I was an agent, this is exactly what I did. I controlled every detail down to making sure the owners weren’t home when I was conducting a viewing.

It doesn’t have to be this way: take control of your emotions and get over the fear of taking control. Here are the two emotional barriers you are likely to need to overcome.

1.      The fear of asking hard questions

Most people hate asking the hard questions. Even when the agent ‘doesn’t know’ the answers and promises to get back in a couple of days, we let them get away with it, and conveniently ‘forget’ what we asked in the first place.

The hard questions aren’t hard once you’ve asked them a few times. They will give you a really good idea just how much the agent really knows about the property, the area, and their clients. Asking hard questions is expected. It’s not as embarrassing as people expect. Most agents respect the people that ask those difficult questions: it shows they know what they are doing and are serious about buying.

2.   Fear of negotiation

This is the biggest fear of all. Most of us are content with what the agent thinks and follow that advice. WRONG! Never forget that the agent is acting on behalf of the seller and that it is in the agent’s interest to sell at the highest price possible. The only time that negotiation may not be necessary is when you are using a buyer’s agent: an agent that you have employed and who you are paying.

In most cases though, the agent will be batting for the other team and not act in your best interests, but simply getting the deal done in their own best interests.

There is one rule about negotiating on investment property that you must stick to: always start low. The very worst that can happen is that the agent/seller says no. Do this and you’ll begin to react the way I do – some of my biggest frustrations have been when my first offer has been accepted: I feel like I’ve failed, and that I could have achieved an even better price!

When I’m in hard-nosed negotiations, I expect bids, counter-offers, and counter-bids to go back and forth at least three or four times before an agreement is reached.

Don’t be nervous of site visits and property inspections. Learn the rules of the property investment game. Call Gladfish today on +44 (0)207 923 6100. Let us help you achieve your lifestyle objectives with property, as we have hundreds of others.

Live with passion

Brett Alegre-Wood

About the Author

Brett has over 20 years experience in all facets of property, he owns various companies centred around property and is the driving force behind the education and training at Gladfish. His companies have sold over £850 million in UK and London property and he manages over 1200 properties through his estate agency chain. Today he shares his time between UK, Australia and Singapore. He is married to Arlene and together they have 4 kids.

>