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More investors should do this

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

It is easy, in the age of multihyphenates, to confuse being your personal best with being the person who is best in everything. Why wouldn't you? Our celebrity culture has a habit of honing in on the person rather than the team and creating the illusion that only the selected few are set on the path to succeed by being good at everything. That is no true. The best bloggers today do not take their own photos and some don't even write their own copies. Apple wouldn't be the household name it is today if it was all down to Steve Jobs and no one else. Successful people get to where they are today not by being good at everything but by delegating effectively. 

Property investors are understandably task-hoggers. Why wouldn't we be? Most of us start investing with the burden of debt. Compounding that with an already heightened sensitivity to money, makes it only natural for us to scrimp and save every last penny. While being careful with money is absolutely a virtue, when you find yourself being your own letting agent, property manager, accountant, lawyer, building inspector, and handyman, you really have to wonder if you are doing yourself any favours. 

This is where delegation comes in. Delegation is a crucial component to your success. Think about it this way: wouldn't you want your future to be unhindered by your personal limitations? Delegation is not about abdicating on your responsibilities and losing control. It is about leveraging other people's skills and resources to increase productivity, minimise risks, and get to where you want to be.

But what if you are a compulsive DIYer and find yourself struggling to conquer your inner control-freak? Here are some starter tips to help you let go without losing control: 

1. Accept that you are not the best but deserve better - It always confounds me how often we choose not to let go despite being aware of our limitations. Take doing your taxes as an example: Most of us have no problem admitting that we are not the best tax advisor out there but many of us do not hesitate to do our own property tax returns. See the disconnect there? Accepting that you are not an expert in any given area is only the start which really takes you nowhere unless you are prepared to address your limitation by bringing in external expertise. False modesty be damned. Why should you suffer from second-rate tax advice just because you didn't train as an accountant? 

2. Take a personal inventory and prioritise accordingly - Being self-aware is a big part of delegating effectively. Start by writing down all the key components of a successful property portfolio (such as financing, finding deals, property management, etc) and rank them against your abilities/strengths and weaknesses. It will become very obvious to you very quickly which tasks should be delegated to competent individuals as soon as possible. If you hate confrontation and have poor dispute resolution skills then the first thing to chop off your to-do list is to be your own property manager. 

3. Choose people wisely and have faith in them - Now that you have a list of tasks to hand over to someone else, you have to find that someone else. This is where you tap into your personal, business, and online networks for referrals and introductions. Come along to APIA meetings to talk to other investors, post a message for a good contractor on our forum, ask for business reviews and testimonials. Do good research into each person you are going to bring into your property business. Meet with them. Ask them questions. Identify the useful skills they have that you lack. Find out if they buy into your values and vision. Only invite the best people you can get onto your team who you can confidently rely on. Once they are there, have faith in their abilities and respect their professionalism. Micromanaging competent professionals can only sour relationships. 

4. Communicate, communicate, communicate - None of us are mind readers. Unless you share your vision and preferences openly with your team you cannot expect them to manage your affairs as you would. Be specific. Even if the process seems obvious to you, it doesn't hurt to set out your expectations clearly at the outset otherwise you are robbing your contractor the opportunity to do their job right. 

5. Learn to let go but still be in control - Remember, you are still the master of your own success even if someone else is now on the team. Just because you have let go of some of the day-to-day doesn't mean you have relinquished all control. Always have a trust-and-verify loop with your contractors and team members so you stay on top of where everything is at. Ask and expect regular reporting or catch-ups so you know where everything is at. If you have a property manager then you should be going through the monthly reports and stay engaged enough to have your questions answered. Ask if you could accompany them to a property inspection to give you a chance of understanding where the property and the tenancy are at. At the end of the day, you are investing in property for your personal benefits so you shouldn't be completely hands-off. 

Delegation isn't easy and doesn't come naturally for most property investors. Still the overall rewards far outweighs the immediate savings by doing everything yourself. If your portfolio has benefited from delegating then please share some of your personal tips and views in the comment section below. 




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