I don’t know whether it’s a phase I’m going through or what, but I’m feeling unenthusiastic about BTL’s at the moment.
Dealing with one or two properties/tenants is fine, but once you start expanding beyond, each addition becomes increasingly draining (with or without the help of a letting agent). My portfolio is minuscule, but honestly, the thought of buying another BTL makes me want to violently vomit and scratch my skin off with a toothpick.
Everyone has their limit, and I think I’ve just been introduced to mine.
I’m currently in the midst of a horrendously tedious 6 hour coach journey from Sharm el-Sheikh to Cairo, crammed in with the locals like a tin of sweaty sardines. I foolishly opted for hitting the open road because I was under the illusion that gazing through the dusty windows would expose me to a side of Egypt that I wouldn’t have ordinarily experienced through the regular touristic channels. I don’t know what I was expecting to see; perhaps herds of wild camels walking through the Sahara desert and/or an ancient Egyptian tribe in the middle of a 5 mile journey to restock their water reserves.
What a pile of shit.
4 hours in, and all I’ve seen is sand (which gets miraculously boring after about 5 minutes, go figure), several security check points, and stacks of rubbish and debris on the side of the roads. Sadly, I don’t expect the journey to get anymore exciting than this.
To add insult to injury, there’s a suffocating scent of stale piss and cabbage that quickly contaminates the communal air every time the toilet door is opened from the lower deck, which then takes the best part of 30 minutes to evaporate. It smells like an old people’s home up in ‘ere.
For Fuck’s sake, I could have gone to Southend and been as equally disappointed. I wish I paid the £50 extra or whatever for the one hour flight. Serves me right for trying to be all culturally-intrigued, I suppose.
Anyways, I’m excited to reach my destination so I can play with the Pyramids of Giza and learn the history of ancient Egypt. Insha’Allah (Arabic for ‘God willing’).
I didn’t plan on blogging while I’m away, because quite frankly, I can think of a million other things I’d rather do while I’m on holiday. However, my options are limited right now and I never anticipating being crammed in this stinking hellhole; I’m almost willing to try anything to distract myself from the whiff of urine. Blogging it is.
I’m done with BTL’s
Recently I’ve been thinking of alternative ways I can invest my money, beyond what I’m already doing (property, shares, worthless savings accounts). I’m thinking of investing in startup companies or joint-ventures. I’m still weighing up my options- but what other options are even available? Anyone got any investment opportunities for me that isn’t utter bullshit? Hit me up!
Anyways, I don’t know whether it’s a phase I’m going through or not, but I’m done with BTL’s. Dealing with one or two properties/tenants is fine, but once you start expanding beyond, each addition becomes increasingly draining (with or without the help of a letting agent). My portfolio is minuscule, but honestly, the thought of buying another BTL makes me want to violently vomit and scratch my skin off with a toothpick.
I know what you’re all thinking; I live such a lavish lifestyle, how dare I bite the hand that has fed me so well for so long? Believe me when I say that 2 butlers, 1 cook and 3 Lambos parked on the driveway isn’t the blueprint for happiness (although, it nearly is).
It probably sounds like I’ve recently been through a traumatic experience with a shit-for-brains tenant that’s zapped away my will to live, but I really haven’t. Nothing has happened. I’m cool.
The best way I can describe my feelings is by saying I feel like I’m at the point where I can’t be arsed to willingly add stress to my life. I know that if I buy a property tomorrow, greater opportunity and reason for stress will enter my life the very same day.
As said, this might be a petulant little phase, we all go through them, but I’ve been feeling like this for a while now. I’m more interested by other opportunities that doesn’t come loaded with so many potential pitfalls. The thing with being a landlord is that a lot can go wrong, and when it does it’s usually 1) excruciatingly expensive to resolve 2) caused by some other idiot, which makes it that much more frustrating 3) out of the landlord’s control and the dynamics of resolving the problem becomes all about waiting. That’s literally a nightmare for someone as impatient, impulsive and particular as myself. I like to be in control, but in reality landlords have very little control of their business.
I don’t really have much of a point beyond the blubbering and futile whimpering, but I do want to quickly make a list of things that is instinctively scaring me away from wanting to invest in more BTL’s right now. Perhaps you might be able to relate to some of my thoughts if you’ve ever been wedged in a similar uninspired position…
Dealing with tenants
I like my current tenants. All of them. They pay rent on time and they treat my properties like homes. I can’t ask for more. But every tenant, good or bad, requires a certain level of maintenance. Just like every customer that walks into a restaurant requires a certain level of service, whether they’re ordering just a soup or whether they’re a high-maintenance greedy-fuck that’s in the mood for a 22-course massacre.
I’m saying, right now, I can’t even be assed to serve a bowl of soup. I can’t be assed to deal with the bare bones of what’s required of any additional property/tenant, even good tenants. I have no interest. Needless to say, the more properties/tenants I have, the more overall maintenance/service will be required from me.
I hear about so many landlords that decide it’s not worth the hassle after buying just one property. That’s usually down to misguided expectations- they expect it to be so unbelievably easy. Granted, being a landlord does look so damn easy. But it really isn’t like that.
While I never gave up so easily, I can totally understand their sentiments. Being a landlord can be emotionally deflating and physically exasperating, especially when you end up with nightmare tenants and then have to abide by the shitty landlord laws.
All it takes is one bad experience with one donkey tenant to be scarred for life.
Slow financial return
Generally, BTL is a long-term investment- it can literally take a decade until you start tasting the fruits, if not longer.
The reason I started investing in property was because I wanted to secure my future. “Future” being the operative word. It was never a means of getting filthy rich tomorrow. Essentially, it was part of a deterrent, to prevent my future-self from relying on a exponentially dogshit state-pension and worrying about how I was going to pay the bills and escape the claws of fuel poverty. I’m guessing many landlords got into the game for the same reason.
I’m confident my pension is taken care of due to my BTL’s, so now I want quicker returns, which I can enjoy before I start sprouting grey hairs from my nutsacks. Old and rich always falls second place to young(ish) and rich.
More passive options available
Some of you may remember that several months ago I wrote a lengthy blog post on What You Should Know Before YOU Become A Landlord– one of main points was that being a landlord is typically NOT a great way of generating passive income, despite popular belief. If you’re entering the game for a quick and easy buck, you’re in for a rude awakening.
Believe me, if being a landlord was exceptionally passive I would not be feeling like this; I would be ploughing every last penny into BTL’s. In reality, being a landlord really isn’t that passive… or profitable, for that matter.
Here’s a snippet from that post, just to summerise my sentiments once again:
When you’re dealing with bastard tenants in rent arrears, spending late nights cleaning thick, congealed shit off the kitchen units with a toothbrush, resolving continuous maintenance issues, and spending long weekends painting and decorating in-between tenancies, you then realise how actively you’re working for every penny, which goes against the very nature of passive income.
I don’t have products flying off the shelves while I’m sleeping. I have adult-shaped children living in my property that need maintaining and servicing all year round. Being a landlord is a 24/7 gig and your services could be required at any moment.
There are easier ways of making money than being a landlord. Trust me on that.
I don’t want to be responsible for more people than I already am.
Like it or not, the moment you become someone’s landlord they start relying on you. They become your child in some respects.
It’s the landlord’s responsibility to ensure the tenant has the means to be warm, safe and generally comfortable while they’re in the confinements of their property. That’s one hell of a responsibility and profoundly unrewarding.
Incidentally, many landlords are total assholes because they don’t actually recognise it’s their responsibility.
While I still believe investing in BTLs is a awesome way of building financial security (which I still highly endorse), I’m also a avid believer in spreading my bets. That’s why I’d rather diversify my income streams than rely on this one vessel, which often feels like it’s about to clonk out, leave me penniless and make me break down into tears.
Increasing costs & red tape
Being a landlord is becoming increasingly expensive; property prices are crazy and the general operational costs are getting stupid; the figures just aren’t stacking up as well as they used to. Investing in property seems like more of a gamble these days.
New ridiculous laws are coming into play every day; laws that don’t even serve any practical purpose, they just conveniently line the Government’s pockets with cash- it’s getting tedious and bloody annoying. There’s just too much red tape that’s fucking everyone left, right and centre.
On a sidenote, did anyone read about that dickhead politician that recently claimed £172 in expenses for a 0.7 mile chauffeur-driven journey? It would have taken the lazy asshole 15 minutes to walk that distance. It’s shit like that we’re ALL having to cover.
I know the straw that broke the camel’s back for many landlords recently was the introduction of landlord licensing scheme, which is not only a complete joke, but also insanely expensive- potentially setting us back £500 per property. ‘Daylight robbery’ comes to mind.
I simply don’t want to.
The very thought of buying another BTL makes me feel anxious. Literally, right now, thinking about it makes my stomach turn, like it’s about to drop out of my ass.
Every other point in this list covers the “why”, perhaps subconsciously there are other reasons for why too, and maybe my reasons are total crap to you. But forget the “why” for a moment, the point is I don’t even feel comfortable with the prospect of expanding, it makes me feel sick. Having to deal with more maintenance issues, more red tape, more rent arrears, more tiresome asshole tenants *vomit* *vomit* *vomit* *vomit*
I’ve gone through a bit of a revelation in the past year or so, and it’s all connected to this point. May I? Cool, thanks…
I used to make a lot of decisions in life that I wasn’t instinctively happy with, but I’d just tell myself, “what’s the worst that can happen? I should just get on with it and reap the rewards. So what if I catch an STD?”
But in the last several months I said screw it, I’m only going to participate in what makes me instinctively happy from the offset. Life is too short (sickeningly cliché, I know).
Personally, I usually remember the journeys more than the destinations because the former usually has a longer duration. So I’d rather make my journeys more positive, even if that means the destination isn’t as [financially] rewarding.
I want to value more of my “NOW” time. I want to start enjoying more of my journeys, not just my destinations. So yeah, screw everything that doesn’t sit well with my gut instincts. Screw it ALL to hell *shakes fists*
I’m sure if I invested more into BTLs I could make more money in the long-run, but the trade off isn’t worth it, not for me personally anyways, not right now. But the point is, I know if I purchased another BTL it wouldn’t make me any happier, it would only hinder my quality of life- so really, what’s the point?
I’m not in the business of telling people what to value in life or how to live life, but I sincerely believe not enough people value their happiness, and consequently end up going through many shitty journeys with a disproportionate reward at the end.
I’m not trying to discourage anyone from becoming a landlord or growing their portfolio- you need to do what feels right for you! I love being a landlord and i’ll always encourage people to climb the ladder; it’s a brilliant way of financially securing your future (if done sensibly).
I guess what I’m saying is that I can’t think of anything more gut-wrenching than opening myself up to more landlord related headaches right now. I think it really boils down to the added potential stress/problems that comes with being a landlord for each additional tenant/property. I’ve hit my limit, or at least the amount of potential problems/stress I’m willing to expose myself to. We all have our limits, maybe you haven’t reached yours yet, maybe you have.
I’m not saying I won’t buy another BTL again, I’m saying it’s doubtful I will anytime soon unless I come across a deal that’s too good to be true. Anyone?
Have you ever taken a step back and thought screw BTL (or anything else)? If so, why? Can anyone relate, if even a little? Let’s hear it! xoxo
Disclaimer: I'm just a simple landlord blogger; I'm not qualified to give legal or financial advice. Any information I share is my opinion based on my personal experiences as an active landlord, and should never be construed as legal or professional advice. For more information, please read my full disclaimer.