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March 20, 2006

Money making scheme?

Flash Pete and his missus come round for a curry. He brings his new Xbox 360 which creates a bit of marital disharmony on both sides, but that's another story.

Over lamb rogan josh, which my local curry house apparently makes with chicken (it was nice anyway), we discuss ruts. Or more properly Ruts, and being in them. It looks as if Pamplona will have to wait until next year for a whole host of domestic reasons, and I am consequently feeling a bit trapped and Ruttish.

My latest scheme, and something that I have been interested in for ever such a long time, is property development. I'm lucky to be quite capital rich but I'm cash poor; I've got property to borrow plenty against but have to add up the spare change to see whether I can snurk out to the pub.

Trouble is, the market has been wrong for a long, long time, and all the knackered old houses round me have been selling at auction for about the price that they can be expected to fetch once they are done up. If you're a buy-to-let landlord, this is stupid but not suicidal. You can make up the difference in the end. But if you're a buy-to-renovate-quickly-and-sell-at-a-profit developer, it's just suicidal.

So it's been on the backburner until market conditions change.

My mate Flyhalf Phil asked me as we were jogging across the pitch warming up for Saturday's game whether I was still in the market. Flyhalf Phil is an estate agent. Apparently, changes are afoot in this area. He sold a house to a bloke last week for 120 grand, needs ten spending, max, and will then be worth 160 grand. Mmmm, I said, seems to be too good to be true. I know, he said, it's cos builders who have bought to renovate are shipping the unrenovated houses back onto the market for anything they can get for them. They've overbought. And he has more similar.

Flyhalf Phil is a very useful contact. He's only young: just out of University. But I know his family and reckon he's trustworthy. And in this business, you desperately need a man on the inside. Go round the estate agents and explain in detail what sort of properties you're looking for and they nod and say yes a lot and then just send you a list of everything they've got every month, never mind that none of it is suitable. But a mate on the inside is a huge advantage: he can point you at the best ones before anyone else gets to see them. Quick deal, commission in back pocket, no time and money wasted with advertising and multiple viewings and suchlike.

Now, I bang on about how I love my job, and I do. So why, Flash Pete asked, do you want to do this? Stuck in a dank Edwardian terrace covered in dust and tiling grout and whatever. Good question. Made me think, did that. Couldn't put my finger on the answer straight away.

I've decided I do know the answer. It's cos I'm fickle. I need a new challenge every now and then or I stagnate, whether it's work or social or hobbies or whatever. I throw all my energies at it for a while and then move on to the next thing. Before blogging, it was online poker. Hardly bother to play any more now I do this. Hopefully, each house would be the same - get in, 16 weeks work, sell quickly for a sensible price - and find another new challenge.

I have time, I think. I'm ticking over nicely at my business, but I can find quite a few spare hours in the day, and evenings too. I'm not planning on doing heavy building work - I can do all the design work, obviously, and I can tile and paint and lay floor and project manage and labour and tidy gardens and make tea. Electrics and plumbing and RSJs and shit I will leave to my builder.

The LOML is cautious. She sees me on my SAD days, sitting around, tetchy, unwilling (= unable) to do anything constructive. She worries that the project would stagnate, and we would lose our profit in procrastination.

It might. But I ought to take the risk, I think.

I'll ring Phil.


  • one of the guys in the band gave up his *real* job to do exactly that - he's having a blast;

    someone else I know does it too, in his spare time;

    it seems the main hitch is not doing the building work per se, or even getting the planning permissions, but finding the right houses to start with - and then selling them in time to realise your investment and get going on the next one. . . before the bank gets too cross with you

    word ver: grandmother-eggs-suck-teach

    (re SAD - was the light box any good?)

    By Blogger don't chase it, at 5:40 pm  

  • very glad we were all here to help you make that decision, Crisis!

    I came to the same one some years ago. Even tried to start it off with some friends. But we fell out ((I still don't know why) and then they left me holding a bill for £800. So the Beep's enterp[rise still has some way to go before it actually starts work, but it will. One day....
    In the meantime, go for it.

    By Blogger the Beep, at 6:41 pm  

  • DCI: Didn't get as far as a light box. The dr said try getting out more. Ta for that. Still, that, and a proverbial mental kick up my arse, has helped pretty much. Agree with you on the finding the house thing. Hoping I have that cracked.

    Beep: I've heard all sorts of horror stories. I have a friend of a friend who's been left with an unsellable subsiding house in similar circumstances. Just have to be brave but have eyes open, I guess.

    By Blogger crisiswhatcrisis, at 7:07 pm  

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