4 Stories, 1 Goal – Introducing Maria: First Time Investor
As part of our wider 4 Stories, 1 Goal series, we’re introducing some of the key guests helping us get people thinking about investing for later life. 4 Stories, 1 Goal is a free series designed to encourage people to consider their financial future – with insights from property investors and industry experts. You can get your free 4 Stories, 1 Goal series here.
At the heart of 4 Stories, 1 Goal is the people. Each of our guests represents a different aspect of the investment journey, from industry experts that work alongside investors to property investors themselves.
We asked each guest to give us their story – from the first investment to the present day and beyond. We asked them why they started, obstacles they had to overcome and how they measure success. All investors are different and our guests are no exception – everyone considers an investment for different reasons and while goals can be similar, strategies that work for one won’t always work for the other.
Introducing Maria Simpson
Maria has 10 years worth of property experience in estate agency, lettings and working closely with developers. By supporting investors at various stages of their search, she’s able to understand the motivations behind their investment plans, advise on market conditions and identify short to long-term solutions depending on the level of investment they’re looking to make.
As a first-time property investor, Maria has started her own investment journey, with the goal of creating her own fully-fledged property portfolio moving forward.
This gives Maria a unique perspective from someone who understands but has just entered the investment market, covering both successes and challenges, making her an ideal candidate for ‘4 Stories, 1 Goal.’ Below she shares her experiences with a few key answers from the wider interview.
What was the catalyst that made you think about your financial future?
“I’m from a property background so at the forefront of my mind is always property from an interest point of view but likewise, from what I’ve helped others do. So looking at short to medium to long-term plans, obviously, it has a knock-on effect and makes you think, okay well, what am I doing personally?
“Obviously, pensions aren’t great and it’s looking at that long-term picture, so because of the rate at which the property market is moving at the moment if I leave it much longer, number one, could I afford? But likewise, what could I do over that amount of time? I suppose that was the main thing that made me think about it, especially in the market that I’ve chosen to invest in. The reality is if I did leave it much longer, say six to eight months, the possibility is that I would be priced out so that was kind of the main motivator initially.”
Where did you start?
“I suppose like many people it’s quite easy to get drawn into these lovely looking brochures and you get excited about something, almost where you could see yourself living. It’s hard because you need to remove yourself from the situation and look at the facts, so do your research on where there’s a need for something like this so where there might be an undersupply of property, where there hasn’t been a lot of recent residential development, think of the kind of tenant that you’re trying to attract.
“That was the first route I took, so if I’m going to try and buy something that will attract a professional, look at job opportunities, lack of property in the area, anything that’s going to entice a young professional to either relocate or want to live by where they work. Look beyond the pretty pictures of the brochure, ultimately you’re investing with someone. If you’re buying off-plan, it’s not the case you’re buying something that will go through in the next few months. You could have bought in the very initial stages, as soon as they’ve got planning, so it’s thinking of it as a longer-term play as well.”
What advice would you give to investors?
“So thinking about if I was to do it again, it is just doing that research, working out who you’re buying from. I know that sounds silly but I think a lot of people assume that you’re going to get the same customer experience throughout which isn’t the case.
“It’s doing the research at the early stages because when you do get excited about the investment and you have your heart set on a certain plot, the reality is it may go ahead but it’s about not getting caught up in it in the first instance. In regards to the markets, from a longevity point of view not just what’s going to work for you in the first 12 months but really in the next five to ten years I’d say.”
Do you have a goal?
“My ultimate goal, not thinking too much about age but in a few years time, maybe by the time I’m 50, is looking at where I would like to be with this portfolio. Obviously, the regulations are constantly changing but all being well and with a bit more saving, by the time I’m 50 I’d have a portfolio, a minimum of five properties I’d say. It’s doable but its thinking about ‘where do I actually want these investments to be?
“Should I be creating a diverse portfolio to split the risk? It’s the unknown at the moment but if all goes as planned, it’s thinking about where I’d set the next one. Do I want to go down the new build route again? Do I want to look at going slightly further out, purchasing something that might attract a family as opposed to a single professional? Ask me this time in six months.”
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