In 2017, Progressive Property is celebrating its 10th year of educating and assisting tens of thousands of property investors to build their assets, gain passive income and achieve financial freedom. When I, Rob Moore, and my business partner Mark Homer founded Progressive Property, the property investment education industry was still in its early days and the property investment world itself was an extremely different landscape.
Like today, at the turn of the 21st century, providers of property investment education offered a range of property education courses with varied levels of quality. Criticism was common, and quite often the high-quality educators were tarred with the same brush as those that were simply aiming to get as many bums on seats as they could, without taking the time to provide worthwhile, valuable information that those paying could use to successfully invest in the UK property market.
So what changes have we seen since Progressive Property began educating, and how can you ensure that the courses you pay for are run by educators you can trust?
10 years of changes in the UK property market
Mark and I founded Progressive Property with the intention of purchasing property for ourselves. Becoming educators was completely unplanned, and an offshoot of managing to successfully become full-time property investors. In 2007, when we started, it was far easier to borrow money from traditional financial lenders, and there were far fewer strategies commonly used to make money from buy-to-let property investment.
In 2017, the fundamentals are much the same, but there are now more diverse methods, tools and strategies that investors use to invest and develop within the UK property market. Any property investment educator should train their “students” in the newer range of tactics that can be used to raise funds, and should include detailed breakdowns of the benefits and drawbacks of each method.
There are certainly more opportunities and more choices in 2017 than there were a decade ago, including niched strategies such as serviced accommodation and rent-to-rent, plus “disruptive” methods of raising finance, such as crowdfunding and the rise in popularity of JV partnerships.
Progressive Property’s approach to education
Progressive Property aims to practice what we preach, and even 10 years down the line we continue to invest in properties, but on a much larger scale. We have transformed from a 2-man start-up into a company employing 70+ staff, and our sister company Progressive Lets manages 700+ tenants. Beginning by focusing on single lets, we now focus upon investing in far bigger developments and conversion projects.
Using our hands-on approach to property investment, our aim is to remain the UK’s biggest property investment education company and to continue providing the most personal, valuable education available. Moving forwards, we love to stay up-to-date with the newest technological innovations, as these tend to move the market forwards in unexpected, disruptive, and lucrative ways.
Our primary method for investing in 2017 – and the method we teach to those who attend our property education courses – is to spot an opportunity, often in a new, disruptive area of the UK property market, and begin by testing it in a low-risk venture. We then invest ourselves or our trainers in this new model, and once proven roll it out to offer to our communities. This approach has been proven to work again and again throughout the 10-year life of Progressive Property.
How to detect a property education provider
Property investment courses can be incredible accelerators to help you succeed in the UK property market – but, like anything else in the entrepreneurial world, due diligence is essential. So what should you research in order to choose the right training provider for you?
Firstly, ask yourself if they are investing in property themselves, and have they being doing it for long enough to have grown significantly while doing so? If they have been investing for 5+ years, but they haven’t enlarged their portfolio to any significant degree, you may want to look elsewhere. On the other hand, even if they claim to have invested in a high number of properties, you may still want to check Companies House to make sure that the size of their business represents the size of their apparent portfolio. Do bear in mind that Companies House records may be 18 months or more behind the current date, so use this information alongside wider sources, too.
Also, consider the way that the company presents itself online, how they interact with their followers, how active they are across social media, how up-to-date their profiles are, and whether they are accessible and personal.
While researching online, keep a balanced view about detractors of a company. You should of course acknowledge them, but also consider their subjectivity, the fact that they might have agendas, and how the company responds to the complaints or criticisms.
Increasing the likelihood of success
Even entrepreneurs who invest in property education courses have no guarantee of success, but there are many things you can do to enormously increase your chances:
- A property education course can do wonders for your career, but it is essential to continue educating yourself. Not all education has to cost much money either: there are countless reputable blogs, podcasts, social media communities, YouTube channels and books that you can utilise to keep building your knowledge and stay up-to-date with the latest property investment developments.
- Surround yourself with successful people, and get a mentor. You will benefit from being in the company of people whose careers you wish to emulate and learn from, as well as having a mentor to inspire, direct and educate you.
- Recognise and embrace the fact that you will have challenges. No one has ever succeeded without facing some kind of challenge – and usually a variety of them. However, challenges are prime opportunities for growth and gaining experience.
- It isn’t just your knowledge of your chosen entrepreneurial niche that is important. You must learn to positively build upon your business mindset, and work on yourself just as keenly as your property knowledge.
- Take action, because without moving forwards in a consistent way, you are unlikely to make any significant progress.
- Don’t just focus on your own success – aim to help others as much as you can. I swear by property karma, and I’ve seen dozens of examples where helping another investor returns to help you, 3-fold.
What tips do you have for people beginning to educate themselves in property?