.We recently held a webinar with Fielding Financial founder, Gill Fielding, where we discussed her top tips for investing in property. Hosted by our CEO Jasmine Birtles, they discuss how Gill got into property investment to Fielding Financial’s courses.
When I decided to get myself educated, I had this strange notion that I had to provide accommodation.
I saved to get a deposit to put down to buy a flat, not realising the universities so supply accommodation.
Then, I moved straight back out again and moved in with some friend’s.
I let out the flat that I bought so I was an accidental landlord at the beginning.
I’d accidentally bought a buy-to-let, but it worked like a dream.
After university I sold that property for about four times what I paid for it because the market was going through another up.
I sold it and bought another one, and then I sold that one and bought two, and then suddenly the portfolio was up and running and here I am, and I still buy and still invest to this day.
How does Gill invest now?
About 25 years ago I stopped working for a living, and just concentrated on my properties.
I joint venture with what I call fancy pants deals – at the moment I’m involved in building a block of 26 retirement flats now.
I’m not doing it because I’m sitting here in my kitchen talking to you, but I contribute to that financially and strategically.
What do Fielding Financials courses teach?
We teach a structured approach to investing and it starts with the very first investment, which is a simple buy to let.
It goes up the different tiers through different types of refurbishment and HMO houses, serviced accommodation, up through capital projects and various fancy pants deals.
The journey of property investing, for me, is three different definitions of DIY.
So, when you first start you do it yourself, and as you get more experience to more knowledgeable you direct yourself which is the next DIY.
Then, when you get to my level you don’t involve yourself at that level.
We teach our people to calculate return on their cash flow.
We even teach people how to calculate to the penny which is the best investment because when you’re first starting you don’t know what you’re doing.
You don’t go broke banking cheques every month.
One of the principles of our organisation is to be as low risk as possible and obviously, you minimise your risk with education.
Do people who come to your courses need to understand that property investment takes effort?
I think property investing is one of the most commonly misunderstood topics in the world, because actually, it is a profession.
It’s a serious profession with serious ramifications if you don’t know what you’re doing.
It is a profession that becomes more profitable the more experienced you are and the more knowledge that you have.
It gets easier with time, but people think it’s easy.
What we teach is a process, it’s a methodological procedure.
You go through one step, and you get the tips, and you go through the next step and get the tips and then you go through the next step, and you get the tips.
If you go through, then the only thing left to do is to buy it and of course that makes it so much easier.
If you’re inexperienced with investing, or you’re not knowledgeable about that kind of thing, you’re always sitting there thinking should I buy it?
Whereas if you go through the processes it takes all of that angst away, it takes all the emotion and the fear away because you’ve got a tick in every box, therefore, the evidence is there and it works.
The thing is the differentiation really between what I call a domestic purchaser and a property investor, so it’s very much a business when you’re looking at the bottom line all the time.
Is property still a good investment even with tax and regulatory changes?
At the moment, the answer is of course, because a lot of the tax changes and the regulatory changes are changes in favour of the professional investor.
If you want to invest in a house of multiple occupation and you want to put students in it and so on you would have to get a licence from the local authority concerned so that would be a specific governmental thing.
I’ve always wanted that integrity. We actually were the only property education company in the country that is accredited.
We went through the whole hurdle of getting our courses accredited with AQA.
That immediately gives our students an element of credibility. They can go to a mortgage provider, go to the local authority and say actually I’ve got a qualification which puts them ahead of the game.
What courses do you offer?
We obviously start at the bottom, and we have a buy to let online course. People can sign up for six weeks. In fact, I love doing that one because I sit here jabbering away like I am now. The course is called ‘How to buy a buy-to-let in six weeks’.
We start with reviewing the market then finding the deal then evaluating. At the end of the six weeks, people should be able to buy a property.
There are general courses introducing all the different spheres of investing because that’s income-generating and capital generating.
We do specialist courses on Houses of multiple occupation and serviced accommodation because a lot of people are into that.
At the very top we have a developer school. Then you know how to build your own block of flats or housing estate that you know.
What would you say is the situation with the market at the minute?
A lot of people before the pandemic said it wouldn’t go up anymore. I was frantically talking on podcasts and webinars saying it’s going to go up because of demand.
I read recently that something like 22% so about one in five people are very eager to move next year. That’s when there’s a lot of transactions, prices keep going up.
The issue we have in the UK is we have a massive demand and very low supply. Supply during the pandemic is just almost ground to a halt.
I don’t think it will be quite as frantic next year as it’s been in the last year. My educated guess is that it will keep on growing along its normal trend line. This is up because the demand is so strong and that isn’t going to go away.