Selling a property is the biggest mistake in buy-to-let!

Brett Alegre-Wood
December 18, 2008

Don't sell whatever you do,

At various stages along my career as a property investor, I've had the opportunity to sell various properties that I own. It's a great feeling to be in a position to sell a property for more than you bought and even more than it may have cost you in expenses and possibly even hassle.

It also makes you feel proud that you can make just as much from the sale of a property as you can from a whole year working. That part can make you cry too. 40 hours a week plus travel for 48 weeks a year.

Having said that, the one piece of buy-to-let advice I can offer from my own painful experience, (and by painful I mean expensive painful) is:

The money in property investment is in the holding!

In 1999, I bought a beautiful river-front home on Australia's Gold Coast. At the time, it was was run down and in quite a bad state. But it was in a fantastic street with awesome fundamentals. I structured it in a way that I was able to get in and renovate the property before I bought it which meant that by the time I was finished it was worth about $120,000 more than I was paying for it. I ended up living in it until I sold it for $580,000 to move over to the UK in 2002.

But that's not the end of the story

I enjoyed traveling around Europe for the next 2 years and thought nothing of the property until a mate of mine in the property game called me to give me the news: ‘Brett, you idiot, you just lost half a million!' I laughed and asked what he meant.

‘Your property on the Gold Coast just sold for $1.1 million. Don't you feel stupid?'

He always did have a way of rubbing my nose in the reality of a situation.

I remember even before I bought the property, Pete one of my mentors, said, ‘Brett, one day you'll come to regret selling a property, and that's the day you'll learn the lesson of never selling.'

The reality was setting in. Pete's words had come back to haunt me. I knew I should not have sold it. Damn. But the good news is that I learned my lesson, that was the last property I have ever sold.

You see the money IS in the holding. The longer you hold, the more money you will make, so never sell a property, and you will always make money on it.*

The exception to this rule: if a property has turned from being a property investment into a donkey then you may be better placed selling it and buying something else; ride the winners and cut the losers as they say. But if it still has good solid fundamentals then keep it! Never, never sell it!

I have been in the property business long enough now to know that people that hold rather than sell property will invariably be the ones making the money.

Live with passion,
Brett Alegre-Wood


Buy-to-let property

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