I just spent a few months renovating a flat and was thinking of renting it. But along the way I learned a few good lessons. Here they are
1. Employ only one contractor or you’ll spend your life playing the buck-passing-tango. I was trying to get a plumber, tiler,a building control office and a project manager to admit responsibility for a gas leak that threatened most of Chelsea.
2. Write it down, no one remembers anything. Your builders will nod and mutter into their bacon sandwiches that everything is clear and understood. Then they will go away and do whatever they want. So unless you want a shower in your kitchen or light switches above door frames write it down. They will still pay no attention but it makes you feel better
3. Sweat the detail. No one cares like you do. Your project manager will care but everyone else sees your project and your cash as just poo sticks floating down a river of cash. Mildly diverting for a few moments but of no real consequense. When you do the snagging list become a anally retentive Nazi. You know you’ve always wanted to do this.
4. Never believe a timeline. 13 weeks became 18…21,,,,26,,,,29. It is an imutable law of physics that every builing job take far longer than you planned. So think of a number that sounds reasonable and then trebbble it. You’ll now be close to the finish date.
5. Never trust a estate agent. They will make up any number you want to hear. As a exercise, you should take a reasonable market rent for your proprty and add the gross national debt of Peru. Then tell your estate agent that’s what your looking for. You’ll be amazed that most will nod and agree with you.
6. Beware of estate agents driving Aston Martins. I had an estate agent come over to negotiuate their commission in an Aston Martin, convertible . Now can you spell I’M NOT PAYING YOU ANYWHERE NEAR 12% YOU USEROUS UPPERCLASS BASTARD
7. Don’t trust the French. I’d been testing an agent who specialises in the Lycee-Mum market. Despite the fact that these people are all ex-aristo Frenchies (Celine de Foiegras en Croute, Le Comptess de Froufroo, etc) their clients don’t have two beans to rub together. One looked me in the eye and said she was poor and could only afford 30% of my asking price. I polished my guiollotine. Let them eat MacDonalds.
8. Be broadminded. Trust disgraced bankers. I had a sniff from a disgraced Icelandic banker. Wonderfuil. I cared not a jot for his morals or impending incarceration. If he’d paid me two years rent up front he could have moved in. He’d probably have been a model tenant. If he got difficult and I’d have splashed his story all over the Daily Mail.
9. Be flexible. Welcome dogs, cats and crocodiles
10. Believe in yourself. Be bloody minded. Never say yes. And never invest in property development unless you want to work for low wages and increased blood pressure.