The Real Estate Law Podcast

Travelling the Globe and Property FAQs with UK Real Estate Expert Rob Smallbone

September 06, 2022 Jason Muth + Rory Gill Season 1 Episode 66
The Real Estate Law Podcast
Travelling the Globe and Property FAQs with UK Real Estate Expert Rob Smallbone
Show Notes Transcript

We are flying across the pond for this episode, and speaking with real estate investor and podcast host Rob Smallbone from the United Kingdom.

Rob hosts The Property Nomads Podcast, and covers an interesting mix of real estate, business, and travel topics. He's been in real estate since 2016 and is a wealth of information.

Things sound remarkably similar to why people invest in real estate in England compared to why people invest in the US - to build long-term wealth, achieve financial freedom, and for cash flow.

Right off the bat, we learned a few things:
- In the UK, real estate is more commonly referred to as "property"
- Interest-only mortgages are common in England.

An avid football fan - both "soccer" and "American Football" - Rob follows Liverpool FC and the New York Jets (editor's note - 1 out of 2 isn't bad!)

Believe it or not, hearing Rob peel back the layers of problems with the New York Jets - and how they have made strides to improve those problems during this past offseason - begets how Rob approaches his real estate investing: with logic and understanding the "why" instead of just the "what."

In this episode, we discussed:
- What's happening in UK real estate investing
- The genesis of Rob's idea to invest in real estate
- Why Rob is focusing on purchasing property in the North of England
- Why letting agents are a good investment for remote property management
- How time freedom eliminates many everyday stresses
- Interest-only loans (which are not uncommon in the UK)
- Investing for cash flow vs. investing for appreciation

Where to find Rob online:
Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/thepropertynomadspodcast/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/ThePropertyNomadsPodcast
Website - https://tpnpodcast.com/
Buy To Let: How To Get Started - https://amzn.to/3genjle
101 Top Property Tips - https://amzn.to/2NxuAQL
Property FAQ’s - https://amzn.to/3MWfcL4

Join Jason Muth and Attorney / Broker Rory Gill of NextHome Titletown and UrbanVillage Legal in Boston, Massachusetts for another episode of The Real Estate Law Podcast!

#realestatepodcast #nexthome #humansoverhouses #realestate #realestateinvesting #realestateinvestor #realestatelaw #timefreedom #financialindependence #ukrealestate #financialfreedom #cashflow #investments #buytolet #propertyinvesting #propertyfaqs #propertynomads #propertytips #ukproperty
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Rob Smallbone:

Inflation, which is, by the way, the ultimate tax in the world with people that don't realize it, but it will, of course, it'll increase, you know, the value of certain assets, etc, etc, which erodes away the natural capital of the debt. So, that is the basis for a lot of people going with interest only mortgages because, actually the central bank,

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Jason Muth:

Welcome to another episode of The Real Estate Law Podcast. Thank you so much for listening. My name is Jason Muth and we are here with an international guest this week, all the way from the UK. We're going to hear what's happening in the property and real estate scene in the United Kingdom. We are really eager to hear that because we have not had any guests on Rory from the United Kingdom just yet. We've had guests from Canada, so Rob will not be our first international guest. But I can't wait to hear how the what we're seeing here in the United States is similar to what Rob is seeing in the UK. So let me welcome Rory actually our co-host Rory from NextHome Titletown Real Estate and UrbanVillage Legal in Boston.

Rory Gill:

I'm excited for this conversation not only to broaden our scope geographically, but also investment strategies. I think Rob has an interesting story with the work that he's done in that space. So happy to hear all of that too. So I'm looking forward to the conversation.

Jason Muth:

So we should introduce our guest. It's Rob Smallbone or Robert Smallbone is more proper. He is an author. He is a real estate podcast host himself. He has The Property Nomads Podcast, which is actually all about real estate and travel, two of his passions. And he is an author. You could buy his books on Amazon. He just released a brand new book called Property FAQs, Answers to Frequently Asked Property Questions. I'm sure some of that pertains to the United States as well. He also has a couple of books on there 50 No-Nonsense Ways to Increase Your Sales Today and By to Let - How to Get Started. And because we are smart and international, we know that let means rent. Correct, Rory?

Rory Gill:

Of course. Yes.

Jason Muth:

Rob, welcome to the podcast.

Rob Smallbone:

Jason, Rory, thanks very much and that no pressure representing the United Kingdom on today's episode.

Jason Muth:

The entire kingdom. And we've been to the United Kingdom multiple times multiple outposts of the kingdom as well. I first have to say I apologize for having my shirt match the microphone cover. I did not expect that I'd be wearing the same exact blue. But here we are. Rob, I kind of wish we hit record on the on the Zoom, which we were using to record this, before we did because we had some lovely chatter about such awesome topics as Liverpool FC and the New York Jets. Goodness, how did you find your way to being the one fan of the New York Jets?

Rob Smallbone:

Yeah, great question. So in a nutshell, I went I went to university in 2006. I played guard edition. I mean our our quality of University football is nothing in comparison to college football, of course. So completely different game as such. Played guard for a little bit. And as a result of that, you know, every Sunday you go down the pub watch RedZone as we do, and you know people sort of you know who's your team? I have no idea, but New York was the first place I went to in the USA. I was in a sports shop was where my brother and also some blue jerseys sorts of green jerseys. And I went look at the green ones picked up a jersey it had a guy called Revis on the bat, no idea was that sounds right and bought the shirt and of course Darrelle Revis reverse silent and there you are so it could have been anyone could have been the Giants but it ended up being the Jets.

Jason Muth:

Green is the color of us money as well. So maybe that's something that has to do with that. But boy, the Jets have had a tough run in basically their history. Ever since Joe Namath. I grew up outside New York City. I grew up in a Giants family would have tickets for the New York Giants at Giants Stadium, which is found MetLife Stadium. In the tri state area, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, you are either a Giants fan or a Jets fan. But you're kind of not both. And then we ended up I ended up moving to New England and I've been a Patriots fan since the early... since the mid 90s. You know when I was in college. I know you're nodding your head right there. I did not jump the bandwagon when I came to Boston because I was a fan of the Pats beforehand. So I've just been circling the wagon of the Jets between the Giants and the Patriots. And hey, at least last year, the Patriots didn't do as well. So the Jets had a little bit more of a shot.

Rob Smallbone:

But one thing I've taken away and it's actually quite pertinent to all business models. So people are listening and thinking Oh god, it's so 40 minutes of football. No it's not. If you look at the Jets, head office Front Office for the last I don't know, before Joe Douglas, pretty much run like a horror show, no strategy, no organization, well if there was organization, it was very bad, no direction. And what the owners have done, whether it's Woody Johnson and his brother, whomever they've brought in Joe Douglas, he's got good track record, he's put in coach Saleh, as well. And for the first time in, I think my tenure of supporting them, we had a competent draft on paper, which is remarkable, because we've now got this strategy and this philosophy of how we want to play football. And that I think reflects off the field. At the end of day, you're not going to have a successful organization if you're not wrong, well off the field. And, you know, it's been painful being in the same division as New England. Okay. Yes. You know, they have the GOAT, yes, better check is also GOAT at coach, and as far as I'm concerned, you know, they've a well oiled machine of the field. So if we can start replicating that, I'm not expecting miracles for the forthcoming season, our schedule is a pain in the backside. If we play hard ball win five or six games, that's an improvement. That bodes well, but I get what I've been thinking about it is off the field has been a bit of a horror show. But actually, we start and I think change that. But that applies to any business. If you're right off the field, you're going to be good on the field. And, you know, hopefully, that will show the same.

Jason Muth:

Rory, I'd expect nothing but excellent analysis from a guest from the United Kingdom for US pro football. And well, we would not have heard that from New York Jets fan, had we interviewed them, because you've gone deep into their organization, just just what I'm hearing for you, you kind of peel the layers back as to why there are problems, not just that there are problems, which actually is a great lesson for business. But you know, I'll just leave it at this. The great news about the New York Jets is after every season, they probably get together and say, well, there's nowhere to go but up. So you know, next year it's always a new campaign.

Rory Gill:

And Jason, it's your turn to give us an analysis of what Liverpool - go!

Jason Muth:

Yeah, I don't think I can give you a lick of analysis on Liverpool. Why don't we talk about some real estate or some property? So is property the word that's used more frequently in the United Kingdom? Or is real estate synonymous with that? Or are those two kind of different categories?

Rob Smallbone:

Yes, it's the same thing. But it's property. If you're speaking to anyone UK, we will always say property, it might get a very odd person that says real estate, but 99 times out of 100. If you if you're talking UK talking to property market, that's probably it's the same thing, effectively, just different words.

Rory Gill:

Before we launch into this sports podcast, what was your genesis of interest in property? What brought you into property investing?

Rob Smallbone:

Good question. So my business partner and I, we met a university in 2006. Yeah, just chilled out didn't really do, as he would do a university involves a lot of alcohol. Point being we've traveled a lot since in together, and we were on a trip in 2014 / 2015. And we would get long bus journeys equals a lot of time for talk. And we were just saying that, actually, it'd be good to be able to continue to travel but not have to go back and work as in, get into the habit of work for a few years, save up, you know, rinse and repeat the process. And through the asset classes that we knew about at the time, we decided that, you know, property, for your listeners, I'm just going to call it property, hopefully that doesn't confuse people too much, we just decided that property will actually be the best thing to do. Because the end goal, and it still is the goal is long term wealth generation. And that doesn't happen overnight, as you know. So yeah, we made that decision in 2015. And set up the company -Devoy and Smallbone Properties, which is our purchasing company. And we set that up in 2016. And that just started, started purchasing some properties. So that's how it started.

Jason Muth:

What type of property have you found your way toward, as you know, the asset class that you prefer?

Rob Smallbone:

So it's what we've called by to let say, typical single family rental units. Yeah, mostly, most of our stock is, mid terrace homes, so you get the really old loads of homes that you might be familiar with on photos. So we normally have mid terrace homes. A reason for that is actually it's just that wasn't planned. It's just that that's just how the portfolio looks. And we do that in the North of England, traditionally, in the North of England, so you're talking, you know, anywhere from Liverpool to Manchester, to Hull to Newcastle, those sorts of places. If the yield that you get the return you get is pretty decent. So your cash flow is good. And most people that invest into UK property will go to the North of England, because they're after the cash flow. So I say we're no different than that point of view. That's what a lot of the portfolio looks like at the moment. There's always going to be demand for housing. Certainly in my lifetime there there will be. And we're not producing enough. So the simple economics of them working in our favor.

Rory Gill:

You know, if you're based in Brighton, and you're on the road, traveling quite a bit, how do you manage all those properties that are, you know, pretty far from you.

Rob Smallbone:

So I will point out that I have only recently moved back to Brighton. I actually was living in Hull, Kingston upon Hull, for four and a half years, which is where most of the portfolio was. Circumstances at the time allowed me to move - rent is much cheaper up there. So I moved myself. And that was a good experience in terms of management. Letting agents, you know, I'm always a fan of, you know, you can get we call landlords that manage themselves, and that's fine. There's nothing wrong with that, if that's what you want to do. That's fine. But the way that Aaron and I think about it, we're thinking of, you know, when we're out and about on the road, and if we want to be, you know, traveling and be location independent as such, you might as well invest in the lettings agents. They're professionals at what they do, they're very good at what they do, as long as they find the right one. And now they can get rid of a lot of hassle for you. And it's to us, it's well worth the investment.

Jason Muth:

Did you ever start as your own letting agent or property manager and then you pass it over to various ones in the cities and towns where you're investing? Or was your business model always to have a letting agent as part of your

Rob Smallbone:

The latter. It wass always to have a lettings budget? agent as as part of the budget. We just, again, we always say start with the end in mind. And you know, try and keep things as simple as possible. It's not always the case. But if you can try and keep things as simple as possible and have that end goal, you know, nine times out of 10, it will all go smoothly.

Jason Muth:

What are the typical fees in the UK for letting agent? Are they 10, 15, 20% of rents? Or how is that calculated?

Rob Smallbone:

So it depends on the agent, I would say the average for what we do is is 10%. Some agents will include VAT value added tax, and that's that 20% at the moment. The agents that we use, don't do that. So if someone's paying 500 pounds in, in rent, then you can expect the management fee to be 50 pounds.

Jason Muth:

Rory, a lot of what Rob just mentioned, sounds very similar to what we have here in the United States where he's focusing on communities that generate cash flow. So, you know, very similar to here in the US where a lot of people will focus more on the Midwest, or the Sunbelt, places like Arizona, Florida, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, the coasts can be difficult to get cash flow in some situations, but it's not impossible. People here focus on having a rental property management company as part of their budget. And they should. I'm curious what the where they diverge, in fact, how UK strategy might diverge from the strategy in the US. Mortgages? How do you guys calculate mortgage interest and whatnot?

Rob Smallbone:

Good question. This might sound quite lazy, but we always, we always hand out as many tasks as we can to professional people. So, you know, mortgage broker, for example, would deal with that and say is that when, when I say we start with the end in mind, we know that you guys know as well and people listen to, you gotta make your money, when you buy nine times out of 10, you might, of course, add value, and you know, increase the value of the property or the real estate. But normally you make your money when you buy. And if you get in a good price, or you've added enough value. Again, our philosophy is we'll go into interest only mortgages, we're not interested in paying down the capital, why? Because we're looking at a very, very, very long term view. And I say, you know, inflation, normally, they'd like to do it at about 2%. Of course, at the time this comes out, it's nothing like that, but in, you know, regular economic times such. So, you know, inflation is going to erode, erode away the cost of the natural debt, so it makes sense to have a lot of interest only, again, basic economics, in my opinion. And yeah, hopefully that answers question. I don't think that the strategies would diverge in a different way. Really all comes down to fundamentals. So, you know, if you're investing in an area, say, say, for example, in the Midwest, or I'll take any city, I'm just going to say Newcastle. Over here, you know, this is the sort of thing we'd look for is where is the demand? Because he got you're going to have some areas that are going to be good and some areas that are going to be not so good. What are the fundamentals. Are there schools, are there hospitals? What's transport like? What are people after? And then you can do a lot of that homework on the phone ringing estate agents or realtors, I think you call them. Ring lettings agents, you can do a lot of that on the phone. Plus Google Maps as well. It'll give you a good idea. So I don't think the fundamentals I think of property are always going to be there, I think no matter what, to an extent, depend on the legal system, it shouldn't matter what country you do it in the fundamentals should be there. Of course, I understand with ideologies around the world that it's easier said than done. But we're talking US / UK, I'm going to say they're going to be very, very similar. A lot that's down to, you know, down to legal systems and, and bits and bobs like that.

Jason Muth:

I do think it's fascinating to hear the similarities between both country's property, real estate investing systems and strategy. You know, I think that a lot of folks in the US might think that things are unique here. But everything you've said is, you know, the same fundamentals that we look at when we make our own investments. Rory, a lot of your clients would probably listen to everything Rob just said and say, yep, that's exactly what we do, wouldn't they?

Rory Gill:

Absolutely. It's, you know, among states among countries, great. As long as you're kind of speaking in the greater capitalists world, the strategies are the same. The regional differences are largely the same. If you're looking for an area that generates cash flow versus appreciation all that's among the same. You're just looking on the edges with, you know, in some countries that VAT we don't have VAT, but those things are kind of on the edges. You know, what the, the tax strategies and the deadlines are. That's all, that's all on the edges. But you know, I want to focus on something you said, and that is starting with kind of the end in mind and your business model, but kind of taking it up a level. The purpose you had you started with the end in mind, and that is you wanted to free up a lifestyle where you can travel a little bit more, you're not tied down, you're a bit freer. Can you talk a little bit about you know, that is a motivation for your your property investing?

Rob Smallbone:

Yeah, absolutely. So probably speak up to speak on behalf of Aaron and myself, because we've got very similar values, very similar end goals. And the idea is to be able to have a reliable stream of income, or streams of income, obviously, with books and whatnot, you get a little, you know, a few dollars a month from them as well, which is nice. We always said the same thing. At some point, you know, life, life is life things, things will happen. You know, for example, my fiance's Mexican, we're going to get married next year. And that, you know, that creates a whole new raft of experiences and challenges at the same time, which is great, I'm looking forward to it. In terms of the travel, it's just that that sense of freedom, you know, to the best example, I can give the I don't again, I don't know whether the what it's been like in the US. But in the summer, over here, there's been a lot of issues with flights with various companies, a lot of flights have been canceled, short haul, like you name it, it's all been canceled because of various BS that, you know, the companies are given, etcetera, etcetera. Now, if I look at summer flying, a lot of it's going to be people that have been pent up for the last few years are desperate for holiday. In our case, it's, I say, in our case, for an English point of view is let's go off to Spain, let's go and get some sun, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. When it comes down to travel, I know that Aaron in June, at some point, just, you know, he went off to Madeira, which is a tiny set of islands off the African coast, but by the Portuguese. It was out it was out of school time, no issues, he had no issues fine. I was in Mexico at the start of the year, I was there for two months, no issues at the airport, because you go in in whatever time suits you. So it's just the tiny things like that can make the biggest difference. You're not relying on other people to say, well, you can have a holiday or we could just you know, as long as you've got the plans in place, you can just go and that provides, in my in my opinion that provides a bit of freedom to be able to make those decisions that for us is important. Hopefully that answers a question. Is there anything else you want me to touch upon that Rory?

Rory Gill:

No, that does I mean in here that, you know, it was such takeaway, just you know, for you, you travel is associated with freedom, you know, whatever other people's goals are, that's their freedom in investing so that they can free up and make decisions for themselves, that they're not necessarily tied down to a location of an employer. They have the freedom to go and that's where these cash flowing property investments I think are wonderful for a large set of our audience.

Jason Muth:

The travel issues that you have described are also happening here in the United States. I literally just read an article to Rory yesterday as we were driving - I have to read this to you right now. So it was our it was our conversation about - it was a perspective from an airline, a flight attendant about you know, some things that can be done with the summer travel crisis. Basically the airlines, they had a lot of people that took early retirement, they laid a lot of people off a couple years ago, they were not able to restaff accordingly. And the travel, the volume is higher than it was pre-pandemic. So a lot of the cancellations are because they don't have crews. And they're just offering people tons of money left and right to step off planes, you know, because they're all full flights and everyone's nerves are at an 11 on a 1 to 10 scale. So yeah, it's a very different travel environment from back in the day when I used to be a consultant I was on the road consistently traveling and it was a lot more enjoyable. But to your point about time, you know, if you don't have to worry too much about that, because you're not stuck in a W-2 job that you don't like with your two weeks vacation, maybe three weeks that you get the US - I know in Europe, vacation is a little bit more, it's given out a little more freely. I believe people have longer periods of time off. But you know, if you have your time back, because you're creating your own cash flow and your own schedule, you know, that is the end game and real estate and property just happens to be the way to get there. I do have a question related to something that you mentioned about five or 10 minutes ago that I want to ask about the book you just put out. You mentioned interest only loans, Rory, we don't have much of that anymore in the US, right, unless I'm totally missing something. We had it 10 / 12 years ago back when there was a lot of power the last decade or two decades ago,

Rory Gill:

Some of those loan products are starting to re-emerge. But the financial markets here were so skittish after the 2008 / 2009 real estate meltdown because they were putting out loans that were completely unsustainable and it broke down the economy in pretty quick order. So things like interest-only loans have been frowned upon, even with among commercial investors. But with rates rising and the regulations easing a touch, those products are coming back, but they're still relatively rare. Even if you compare the US to Canada, they're relatively rare here.

Jason Muth:

But Rob, are those common in the UK?

Rob Smallbone:

Just want to sort of fire back for answer that question. I also read an article about I think it was Delta Airlines offering $10,000 for flights, if that was me, I'da taken it and bought gold if I'd been great. Thanks, see ya, lad. I love that. Thank you, Perfect, just genius. Yeah, similar similar things here. They were British Airways, same, same thing. Yeah, I'd say interest-only mortgage rates, nobody sparks a lot of debate over here, because you've got two ways of looking at it, you've got the point that I mentioned earlier on that, you know, inflation, which is, by the way, the ultimate tax in the world with people that don't realize it, but it will, of course, it'll increase, you know, the value of certain assets, etc, etc, which erodes away the natural capital of the debt. So, that is the basis for a lot of people going with interest-only mortgages, because actually, the central banks to government, and they're all going to do it for you. You know, even if you don't realize it at the time, then you've got the more traditional mortgages, which we would call capital and repayment, repayment, in short, whatever they called is where you pay, obviously, the cut, you start paying the capital back, as well as bit of the interest. And after, you know, 30 years, or whatever it is that there is no debt on that that property is such. Difference between the two is that if you go with the capital repayment mortgage there, the amount that you pay on the mortgage per month is normally a lot higher than the interest only. So if you're getting into property for cash flow point of view, you could have you could easily erode that cash flow straightaway, which defeats the object. But some investors I know, prefer to do that, because in 20 / 30 years time, they don't want the hassle of dealing with mortgage companies. And, you know, there have been some times in the last few, not just few years, you know, I've said the same to Aaron, you know, when I'd love - part of me knows it doesn't make the most financial sense. But I'd love to be able to pay off the mortgage companies. If I never have to speak to the mortgage company and my life would be a lot easier. It seems I don't know what it's like over there. But it always seems just making up rules as they go along. We had one, I won't name names, we had one the other day, refinancing a property over here. And we had one the other day, and they looked at our gearing gearing on our portfolio, and they got the numbers wrong. And you're the bank. Scary if you ask me. But there's been differences and it depends who you speak to depends, again, it depends where what's the end goal? If you want to, in 30 years time have a bunch of property that's got no mortgage debt, anything like that, then you'll you'll want to pay it off. If you're not too fussed about that, because you have a grasp of the economics in the long term, you're probably going to go with interest-only.

Jason Muth:

Yeah, I mean speak personally also our portfolio you know, most all of ours are principal and interest loans, which is what we'd call it here in the US. I don't think I was aware of that interest-only was back and something that we could do. We might look at that also. I do understand that would actually increase cash flow because it brings your your monthly payment down. We do have a strategy here where people might take out a 30 year fixed loan and then they will pay extra every month and basically amortize it over for 20 or 15 years, you know, to pay it down quicker. But you know, the flip side of that a lot of the property growth and a lot of the investing strategy here from US investors is to leverage. So you know, you want a lower payment, and you want to be able to pull money out of properties as much as you can through refinancing or home equity lines of credit or home equity loans. So, you know, too much capital is not wrapped up in one particular property. So, some of those strategies are similar. I betcha if there were interest only loans available here in the US more readily, I bet we would actually see more investors looking toward those. I know that people are looking more at Adjustable Rate Mortgages now that interest rates have gone up, especially if it's like a 7/1 ARM, you know, you're only gonna keep the property or refinance it within seven years. If you can get a good rate on that arm, you might take that out instead of a 30 year fixed loan. But yeah, that's interesting to hear that you guys have that as an option.

Rory Gill:

But I mean, is this question about leveraging is it comes down to what is your end goal? So as an investor, are you are you trying to create the most secure retirement that you can and and you want the peace of mind knowing that you don't have the outstanding debt and the debt obligations, then you may want to pay down that principal as quickly as possible. If you are, you know, banking on the appreciation that may alter your goals. But if you're looking for the maximum out of cash flow now, particularly if you're younger, I can see a compelling case to to either extend the amortization or to limit itself to interest-only if the deal is right.

Rob Smallbone:

Try and talk with that, actually raised a couple of really good points here. Sorry to cut you off there, Jason as well. Yeah, start with the end in mind, I would say that, if you're going to get into property in the hope that property prices will increase, then you're barking up the wrong tree. You need to do some proper homework, if you're gonna get in there and hope that it goes up. It's not always the case. So that's the first thing I'd say to that. Secondly, if you look at the history of house finally it's certainly in this country probably over I guess, around most of the world, because of the fact that inflation has been around for a very, very, very, very long time, the actual asset prices have been steadily in general increasing. Of course, it can go up and down. So let's not put anyone under any disillusions the overarching debt in the long run doesn't concern me purely because as far as I'm concerned, if, as long as the cash flow is there, that's the most important thing to us. The property could be worth 1 million pounds, it could be worth a pound. If its cash flows at 500 pound a month, I don't really care what the asset value is, to be perfectly honest with you, because I'm looking at, I'm looking at the I'm looking at the cash flow. If I was doing the other strategy, which is your capital appreciation, yeah, absolutely, I'd be very concerned. But from a cash flow point of view, doesn't bother me, if if the assets worth a million pounds or a pound, if it provides cash flow. That's the key thing as well. So that's the point I was trying to make.

Rory Gill:

Kind of push back, just with our portfolio in a sense, where the capital appreciation has really mattered for properties, we have no intention of selling because they do generate cash flow over time. But that added capital appreciation has unlocked extra equity, which we can in turn tap to turn around as down payments for more property and creates more leveraged opportunities for us to grow our portfolio from there. So in a lot of those cases, you know, in the past few years, a lot of that that appreciation is false, in the sense that it's just the effective inflation. But that capital appreciation has unlocked opportunities for us to leverage things quite a bit more.

Rob Smallbone:

Yeah, congratulations on that. I think the point I was trying to make, if you go into invested in property, and you're doing it in the hope that it goes up, then you've got to reconsider why you're doing it. Don't ever base an investment decision on hope. I think that was the point I was trying to make, you know, you guys have got a great example, though, of how the increase in your portfolio has led to more opportunities, which is obviously great. And it's it's part of the joys of property investing

Rory Gill:

I can see that that agree completely with that point that you know, parking money and, you know, enduring loss, cash losses are just kept, you know, breaking even cash flow wise in the hopes that something's gonna appreciate is a is a dangerous proposition. It's almost a gamble.

Jason Muth:

And to your point, Rob, hope is not a strategy, is it? We've heard that lots of times. Let's talk about your book that you just published a few months ago Property FAQs, Answers to Frequently Asked Property Questions. I know that financing is one of those FAQs. What are some other questions that you have fielded over the past couple of years or months of of your speaking on your podcast and talking to people interested in real estate investing?

Rob Smallbone:

As you can imagine, is when you're having really good conversations with people you can get all sorts of all sorts of questions. The key, the key ones or the ones that we've had from our networking. How'd you get started is normally the biggest issue. I think that that's probably fair in most walks of life actually, it's okay, talking a good game. But actually taking that first step, you know, can be challenging mentally. So that's a lot of a lot of things we get into actually, how do you get started? What, you know, over here, you know, what do you need to look for? So how do I know if an area is good? How do I know if it's not good? What where should I buy? Now? That's like the million dollar question. You know, the answer is always It depends. It depends on what you want, what you're looking for, etc, etc, etc. What else has popped up? If we get the odd finance question, I always say the same that we especially in property FAQs, we've got a broker section at the back that was written by Marc Champ of Wharf Financial, we get on really well with Mark you. He knows his stuff. So there's some great questions and answers from a mortgage broker himself at the back there. If anyone ever asks us any financial questions, I normally give the same answer. You know, I'm not an independent financial adviser, please don't actually take anything I say as advice. Always speak to your professionals, whether that's a mortgage broker, tax, accountant, accountant, whomever. But I'd say most of the questions revolve around good areas and how you get started,

Jason Muth:

It's worth checking out. I mean, those are all questions that we hear as well, we just haven't written them down in a book format, like you have. So congratulations for actually getting them all compiled for everyone to just be able to pick up and pick your brain. You know, where do you start is a question that comes up all the time, you know, for any kind of real estate investors or meetups or people that we talk to that, know that we're doing this, and they want to get into it, but they don't know where to begin. You know, it's a great question. And there's lots of - it's like we're doing this podcast, probably, for reasons like while you're doing yours, so people can tell the story about why they started and where they're headed. And, you know, I've said this many times on this podcast before that, this is not a zero-sum game. You know, we're all here to educate each other, because you don't have to win and I lose, I don't have to win for you to lose, like we could both win because we're learning together. And you know, the lessons that you're telling us in the United Kingdom are very, very similar to lessons here in the US. And that actually helps underline the points of like, why these are good lessons to learn in forums like this. Let's talk about your podcast, The Property Nomads Podcast, you actually have an interesting flow of the episodes that you release that are alternating between travel and property. So how'd you come up with the idea for the podcast, and what does that experience been like?

Rob Smallbone:

Podcasting has been good fun, as you you guys can attest to really good. Definitely got a lot of lessons out of it. Certainly, as with any podcast, if you listened back to your first episodes and compare them to the episodes that we all produce. Now, I think it's fair to say that most people would have improved significantly in podcast quality and content. Yeah, the the way that we have the podcast is that normally the main episode, which is a Monday is normally property-based. It sometimes it isn't actually, sometimes it could be chats with other professionals that we've had. So again, tax accountants, insurance, all that sort of stuff, whatever is interesting, basically, at the time, and then the first episodes have been travel. Yeah, that all came about because Aaron found all of our photos from 2014 / 2015. In a nutshell, we went to the World Cup, FIFA World Cup, football, soccer, World Cup, whatever you want to call it in Brazil. So we flew out to Brazil, we were there for we're in Rio de Janeiro for six weeks. And we went around South America ended up in Mexico, so ended up in Central America. But we'd lost all the photos. Obviously, phones have changed. And you know, but he found them on an old CD, some little while ago. So that prompted all the memories to come back. It's aren't we, yeah, I remember doing that. This was here that was there. And this happened. I was like, You know what? I might as well take, you know, a few days out. I did this last summer. But then I'll take a few days out. I'll record it. Because now actually, I can remember what happened - there are some great stories. And so that's how the travel episodes came about. At the moment, they're very reflective of things that we've done prior. So previously, I mean, that might change in due course, I mean, who knows? But that's where we are at the moment and as with yourselves, it's what it's working with, it's working with the listeners working with, you know, people that love listening to the show, what do you like, what do you not like? Do you want actually do you want it all travel? Do you want it all property? And as you know, people are happy with a blender at the moment. But again, audience engagement, we'll we'll see what happens. And we'll go from there.

Jason Muth:

Yeah. It's an interesting twist to traditional real estate podcasts that I'm sure that we all listen to. And you as a listener are probably listening to us, along with many other real estate podcasts, you know, there's a long list of them, and a lot of them are really good. And, you know, the fact that you've actually twisted some of your travel stories into yours adds some good diversity into all the real estate lessons that you're telling. So congratulations for finding your way down that pathway. And I hope that you've enjoyed recording the episodes that you have, because you know, we certainly enjoy recording The Real Estate Law Podcast. So why don't we get to our final questions, we'd love to hear how you can, you know, wrap things up and answer the same three questions that everybody else that's been on this podcast has answered. And then we will tell, we'll let you tell everyone where they can find you. If they want to reach out to you, we'll certainly put everything in the show notes as well. So question number one, really curious to hear your answer this one, because this could be a lot of different things. If you can get onstage for 30 minutes and talk about any subject in the world with zero preparation, what would that be?

Rob Smallbone:

Oh, that's a good question. That's a very good question. Oh, I would we record that I being I'd be inclined to talk about gold. To be honest, I think it's, as you say, it could be anything, I'd be inclined to talk about gold. There's a lot of stuff going on, behind the scenes that, to me, it seems that a lot of people around the world don't realize what's going on. And gold has been a very good servant to the world, for what 5,000 years plus. So it's been around for a long time, a lot of history, I think it's under loved under appreciated as an asset class in itself. So yeah, I'd probably get up on stage and chat about that, which would probably lead me to a multitude of subjects. But yeah, gold is is my answer to that question.

Jason Muth:

Would silver be the counterpoint if you had to debate somebody?

Rob Smallbone:

Yeah, absolutely, silver, copper, aluminium, zinc, and I don't know as much about those. But, you know, given the given the way that certain people in the world want the world to go, if there end up being a lot more solar panels, etc, etc, etc. They do require things like copper, silver, zinc, so actually it's quite a quite an interest commodities in general, quite interesting to deep dive into,

Jason Muth:

I was waiting for you to say the Jets.

Rob Smallbone:

I had a feeling. I had a feeling you're hoping that was the answer.

Jason Muth:

Hey, gold and commodities, will continue to showcase your intellect, you know. The New York Jets, you could showcase your intellect, but then we would question your reasoning as to why you like them. But that's okay. Second question that we have is tell us something that happened early in your life or career that impacts the way that you're working

Rob Smallbone:

If I think about our early, early properties, so today. in terms, we made a lot of mistakes on the first couple of properties in terms of refurbishment, and a couple of external things like low valuations and things like that, and I think that those incidents helped to build up a lot more mental resolve, and actually help us to understand that, you know, anything can happen if someone has a bad day at the office, and they're out valuing in a home that could have serious consequences. So I think that and refurbishing, we learned a lot from the first couple of properties, that's put us in good stead for future purchases.

Jason Muth:

Yeah, people never make that first purchas as the best one. You always learned, learn from mistakes along the way, and improve upon that. So one thing we say, we have short term rentals, which we talk about a lot in this podcast, and you know, we encourage people for that first year to just kind of break even and just get your systems in place. You know, like don't expect to make a ton that first year. You know, don't lose your shirt either. But, you know, build your systems and then move from there. And then a couple years later, you know, you're gonna look back at that first year and say I'm really glad that I you know, didn't set a massively high expectation or goal because you know, then then you'll get disappointed. I mean, like, you know, cover your costs, get your systems in place and start making some money.

Rob Smallbone:

Up to this point, just to cement that point as probably heard the phrase Rome wasn't built in a day. These things take time. The you know, property is not is not necessarily a get rich, quick. He get wealthy slowly. And if you can, if you have that mentality and you go into it with that, you'd be absolutely fine.

Jason Muth:

What a great soundbite. I got to tell the producer to isolate that one. Our final question for you Rob is tell us somebody you're listening to watching or reading these days.

Rob Smallbone:

I've got a bit addicted I say to Forged in Fire. I have no idea if you're familiar with that program at all. It basically it's all it's metalworking, metallurgy, blacksmithing it's an American program actually. So it's basically in a nutshell, you've got, you get four contestants normally have four contestants, they go into the forge on the fourth floor. They've got three or four experts there that are going to put the sword of what not to the test, they normally have to create their own sword to start off with, then they normally put a handle on it after a round of testing. And then the judges are testing. I mean, they're cutting out there's cutting copper, and all this sort of stuff. And then they have to create two people from that then had to create recreate, in an iconic weapon from history. I've seen everything Roman swords, you know, whatever. So I'm a bit addicted to that program at the moment. It's good fun. It's, it's interesting to watch. And, you know, I'm learning, I'm actually learning a lot about metallurgy and blacksmithing. I might have to go and have like an experienc day in the UK and get behind a forge myself. So that's what I'm watching at the moment. I know, it's, you know, we've all got to have our own downtime, and that could be whatever we want it to be. And yeah, that program got a bit of an addiction to that at that moment.

Jason Muth:

I love how you tied your first and third answers together with elements. And it looks like it's on the History Channel here in the US. I had never heard of it before.

Rob Smallbone:

I'd recommend a couple of episodes. You know, it's I just enjoy it is simple. It's simple watching. It's not doesn't take up a lot of mental bandwidth. And I've always I've always said to my business partners, season one that got me into it. I said, if I can get in the Fraser canister of Damascus into a conversation point this year. I'll be loving it. I'll yeah, that'd be that'd be my year complete. If I can fit that into a conversation.

Jason Muth:

I think you just did, right? Rob, tell us where can people find you if they'd like to learn more about you listen to your podcast, find your books, what's the best way to get a hold of you?

Rob Smallbone:

Thanks, Jason. So you touched on it earlier on the books on Amazon, I would recommend you I'd recommend them more of course, but Property FAQs, there's another one called 101 Top Property Tips. That was an amalgamation of people giving their best tips and we put it into a book. So I'd recommend that as well. And for those that are maybe the European base listening, they're thinking about getting into the UK market, I'd recommend Buy to Let, How to Get Started that is very UK orientated that book or check us out on Property Nomads Podcast where the usual platforms, Spotify, Stitcher, iTunes, that sort of stuff. I'll send over a Linktree to put in the show notes that has everything on there, as well. And any personal questions that I always say email me, rob@tpnpodcast.com. You can imagine quite active so I'll try and get back to people where I can, but they'll be the best ways to find us.

Jason Muth:

Awesome, we found that Linktree actually prior to this episode. So we have all those links. We will put them all in the show notes so people can download, download episodes of the podcast, go buy the book, reach out to you learn more about you and your business partner and all the work that you guys are doing Rory, any final thoughts or..

Rory Gill:

This is a great conversation, listen to it and just kind of draw from it to kind of the universal, the universal things that we've been preaching for a while about how to get into real estate and how to make it work for you. Other than that, if people want to find me, I'm at my real estate brokerage NextHome Titletown nexthometitletown.com. Or my law practice UrbanVillage Legal, urbanvillagelegal.com.

Jason Muth:

Rob, you'll have to let us know if you're ever in the New England when the Jets are playing the Patriots. We'll take you out to a pub in Boston and show you some of the sights.

Rob Smallbone:

Sounds good to me. I'll return the favor. If you ever happen to be in and around London. Again, let me know and it'll be an honor to again, have a couple of beers, go see some sport and show some of the sights so I would tend to favor.

Jason Muth:

Awesome. Well, we love that. That's, that's very generous of you. So that's it. That's the another episode of The Real Estate Law Podcast. Thank you for listening. Hope you've enjoyed the episode. If you have enjoyed it, we'd love it if you can give us a great rating, or you can give us a comment or you can reach out to me directly jason@nexthometitletown.com. Thumbs up, subscribe, all those things help us reach more and more listeners with great conversations like the one that we've just had. So, on behalf of Rob, Rob, thank you, Rory, thank you. Thank you for listening and we will see you next time.

Announcer:

This has been The Real Estate Law Podcast because real estate is more than just pretty pictures. And law goes well beyond the paperwork and courtroom arguments. were powered by NextHome Titletown Real Estate are Boston's progressive real estate brokerage. More at nexthometitletown.com and UrbanVillage. Legal Massachusetts real estate Council serving savvy property owners lenders and investors more at urbanvillagelegal.com. Today's conversation was not legal advice, but we hope you found it entertaining and informative. Discover more at the real estate law podcast.com Thank you for listening