« October 2008 | Main | December 2008 »

8 posts from November 2008

November 30, 2008

Beer or Stock?


Click here to watch tech videos...

November 28, 2008

First 2012 Olympic venue unveiled

As most of you know from my ramblings, we own property down in Portland, Dorset.  This information from the BBC has helped the cause.

Many people don't even know where Portland is, so this can only be a good thing by putting it on the map.

Sarah Ayton, Sarah Webb and Pippa Wilson of Great Britain celebrate victory in the Yngling class medal race
Organisers hope to repeat Team GB's Beijing sailing successes

The first sporting venue for the London 2012 Olympics has been completed with the end of construction at the Weymouth & Portland Sailing Academy.

The £15m complex, which will also host the Paralympics events, was brought in under budget and ahead of schedule.

The world-class facility will play host to 400 athletes completing in 10 Olympic sailing categories.

Ralph Luck, of the Olympic Delivery Authority, will join gold medalist Paul Goodison at the unveiling later.

The British sailing team's successes at the Beijing Olympics included a haul of six medals, four of them gold.

'Great news'

The early completion of the venue will give Britain's competitors a chance to train "well ahead of 2012", said Lord Coe, who chairs the organising committee.

Paul Goodison, who won gold in the Laser class at Beijing, said: "We save a lot of time travelling around the world when we can get out of bed and it is here on our doorstep.

"It is a fantastic opportunity, not just for myself, but some of the youngsters to see us in 2012 and aspire to 2016."

Councillor Howard Legg, Weymouth and Portland council's special projects portfolio holder, said: "It is ahead of time, on budget and opening today.

"It is great news for the community.

"This is a real local effort, and it is not just people involved with sailing.

"We have hoteliers learning different languages to help welcome people here in their own language."

John Tweed, chief executive of Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, said: "With these enhanced facilities they [sailors] will really be able to hone their skills before the 2012 games.

"It is just a fantastic upgrade to what is already here."

A 656ft (200m) breakwater protects the new facilities with a new pier offering two yacht-lifting cranes and a pontoon providing 70 berths for race boats.

The start of construction, using 70,000 tonnes of Portland stone, was delayed to avoid disrupting the nesting season of over-wintering birds around the local coastline.

November 27, 2008

New web-site launch... no property investors were harmed during the making of this web-site.

The New 4 Walls TV Website is Live! We're putting on a show.

A friend was telling me about some job interviews she went on. She enjoyed them.

Of course she did, I thought. She was starring in a show, a show about her.

Let's use this as an introduction to our new website.

One approach is to be reactive, to play it safe, have your story appear just so, wear what you're supposed to wear and answer each and every question in the safe and secure way with what you think that person wants to hear.

The other approach is to put on a show. To be in charge, to lead.

When you go to Las Vegas, Penn and Teller don't ask you what sort of lights you want, what tricks you want to see and how long the show should be. They put on their show. If you don't like it, that's fine. Plenty of other people do. As a result, they win. They get to do their work, their way. And they profit from their confidence.

It's the same with 4Walls.

We're proud to say that we are out there on our own in property. We're telling it how it really is. We're leading the way through this brave new world or Property 2.0 and Web 2.0. We're talking the talk, and walking the walk. We're putting on a show.

We're standing for integrity, for reciprocity, for ethical practices.

We favour quality, not quantity.

We believe in cash-flow, networking, education, and taking massive action.

We're looking to build a community of like-minded, dynamic, committed, and serious investors who want to treat property as a long term business. We will all benefit from the group momentum. Because there is strength in numbers and no one single entity can know it all.

So if you have "armchair investor" mentality and want to hear that you can buy property with no money, that it's easy, and that no effort is involved, this is not for you. Most other companies will be only too happy to tell you that and take large amounts of money off you upfront before any tangible results are achieved, if ever.

But if you want to hear that property is a mid to long term investment, that cash flow is king, and that a professional and business-like approach is the best way to minimise risk and maximise returns, then roll up, and grab a front row seat, because the show has started!

It's free to register and access.

4walls TV:

The cutting edge, visual learning tool. It's entertaining and engaging and a great way to increase your knowledge.

Anything and everything you every wanted to know about property investing, but didn't know to ask. Our five years investing experience condensed into one website.

We'll be broadcasting videos on everything from: HMO's, multi-let, holiday lets, student lets, serviced lets, single occupancy, houses, flats, refurbishment, financing, deferred considerations, contract trading, off-plan, overseas (each and every country needs to be considered from the top down), tax planning, asset protection, asset management, Landlord obligations, letting strategies, marketing strategies, legalities, compliance, due diligence, deal stacking, Government legislation, portfolio management, etc.
Tune in for expert interviews, opinions, investor stories and much, much more.

4walls Interactive

Being exponents of Web 2.0, we've created 4walls Interactive to allow you to engage with us and others in the on-line investor community. We believe in reciprocity for mutual benefit.

By networking on-line you can increase your contacts and knowledge. Over time this Forum will become a databank of useful advice about anything and everything to do with property.

Post a question. The community will answer!.

4walls Events

Nothing beats getting up close and personal, so we've created 4walls Events to build our network off-line.

It's fun and informal. We introduce specialist speakers that you won't hear anywhere else.

No sales pitches allowed!

Come and share your knowledge and experiences with our group, add value, and get value right back at ya! As we like to say, you can never learn less. And when it comes to business, it's not what you know, but who you know! Come and meet some new property contacts and expand your horizons as a result.

Want to join us? Visit www.4wallsandaceiling.com


November 22, 2008

Final call for this Sunday's networking event!

Just a polite reminder that the 4 Walls property investment networking event is taking place this Sunday, 23rd November at the Holiday Inn, Egerton Road, Guildford from 10.30 to 14.00.

The format is informal and fun and it is free to attend.  There is ample free parking at the hotel.  Come and expand your knowledge and refresh your enthusiasm for the property cause by meeting with other like-minded people.

To get a better idea of the benefits of networking and how to get the most from networking situations, have a look


click here for the map

New site e-mail sig The New 4walls web-site is LIVE!

We’ve also just launched the new all-singing, all-dancing, information-packed 4Walls TV website.  You can be one of the first to explore it, and contribute to our new 4Walls Interactive Forum!  Just go to www.4wallsandaceiling.com and enjoy!

read more

Holiday lets for cash-flow

Our investment strategy is one of low risk. We minimise our financial input into deals (wherever possible) only purchasing property (houses, not flats) with positive cash flow from the rent. If you adopt this business-like strategy, you can make money in any market, and survive even the toughest market conditions.

read more

See you there...


November 18, 2008

Web 2.0 ... The Machine is Us/ing Us

Between the Romans and the Renaissance the world of "information" belonged to the Church, Feudal system, or the Monarchy.

Then came the Renaissance which included the most important invention until the turn of the 20th century... the printing press.

The only problem is that most people could not read!

But they learned how to and now we would be lost without books.

Then came Radio followed by TV and now we have the Internet. The thing is that most people now, much like the people who could not read, have got to learn to use the internet in the way that it is evolving, i.e giving to it.

We are the internet, without us putting the information there all we have is a bunch of wires and some hardware.

There was a study done by Nokia:- What items do you have on your person at any one time?

The answer was quite predictable, Keys, Money and phone. It's the latter that is the most poignant.

Within 20 years of the mobile phone being part of culture we all can't do without them and yet the internet is only 10 ish years old. I think it is safe to say that within the next 10 years the internet will be part of our daily routine, by default.

Due to web 2.0 the internet is growing in capacity at a vast rate. Every half a second there is the entire Library of Congress being fired around "the cloud" and it is doubling in power every 2 years, by 2040 it will have the same processing power as the human brain!

We, as a global nation, have the power and the means to add to that... and thats web 2.0.

Don't lag behind.

I urge you to watch this video.

November 17, 2008

The good news - house prices will rise again (and then they'll fall)

Don't believe the pessimists who predict a drop of 40 per cent. They forget we don't have the right homes in the right places

I found this the other day on The Times Online written by Yolande Barnes, I think it is a very compelling piece of writing, especially the last section.


In the mid-19th century, big names in the building business were failing. Developers on the Grosvenor Estate in Belgravia, London, such as Thomas Cubitt were in financial trouble and Thomas and Joseph Cundy went bankrupt. A speculative bubble in railway stocks burst in 1847, causing a great slump. No doubt, Victorian pundits complained of the excesses of the speculators and called for an end to boom and bust, greater regulation of investments and more accountability among those responsible.

More than a century, and many booms and busts later, this is exactly what was said after the Barber boom and the subsequent banking crisis, property-market crash and recession of 1974; and after the Lawson boom, housing-market crash and recession of the early 1990s. The aftermath of the Brown boom looks like being no exception. After the over-exuberance of the growth years, there always seems to be an outbreak of sober under-exuberance.

It is in this soil that the seeds of the next boom and bust will be sown. Even with deep recession looming and the Governor of the Bank of England warning the nation of very difficult times ahead, it is hard to see how we will stop the housing market crash of 2027.

To those forecasters expecting a one-off 40 per cent drop in house prices, this must seem like arrant nonsense. But if we pretend that we won't see another house-price boom starting in the next decade, we will not be able to nip its worst excesses in the bud when it comes.

The pessimists have, on the whole, got the extent and timing of the present downturn right - but not necessarily for the right reasons. They seem to think that because the roots of the credit crisis were in the US housing market and excessive sub-prime mortgage lending, the same is true in the UK. But the roots of Britain's downturn lie in the credit crisis and the consequent withdrawal of funding by lenders, not the other way round.

The UK housing market really is a different country: in the US as many as one home-owning household in 16 has defaulted on its mortgage or faces repossession, compared with fewer than one in 200 in Britain.

To predict that the UK housing market will fall by 40 per cent and remain at these new, corrected levels is to ignore the role of finite supply and the use of equity.

The most frequently used indicator of property market overheating is the house price to income ratio. In the 1970s and 1980s loans averaged around three to four times earnings, causing the pessimists to argue that the recent levels of six or seven times are unsustainable. What the pessimists ignore is the increased use of equity in the housing market. Mortgage lending in the 1960s and 1970s facilitated a huge transfer of property ownership from landlords to owner-occupiers. Those home-buying pioneers have been paying off their mortgages and house-price inflation has increased their purchasing power in competition with new entrants. So it has always been inevitable that, in the face of finite land and property supply, the relationship between incomes and value (the basis of having a mortgage) would become disconnected as owners became less mortgage-reliant.

Since 1992 the number of owner-occupiers has grown very slowly, at around 0.8 per cent per annum. They still constitute about 70 per cent of households, as they did in 1992. What has changed is the amount of equity built up by these households. Around 40 per cent of owner-occupiers own outright, without a mortgage. The low number of new entrants to owner-occupation is the result of “deposit poverty”, the inability of would-be first-time buyers to raise equity. This has increased demand for renting. The biggest, unsung, growth area since 1992 has been the privately-rented sector, which has grown at an average of more than 3 per cent a year, expanding from 9 per cent of all stock in 1992 to 13 per cent in 2007.

Another frequently used indicator of housing-market overheating is the cost of mortgage servicing. The story of the Lower East Side of New York at the end of the 19th century demonstrates that there has never been a rule that says that people will spend only a quarter of their income on housing - although this has been the late 20th-century average in Britain. An area inundated with new immigrants combined with relatively scarce (slum) housing meant that tenants were paying more than fourfifths of their wages on rent.

The Lower East Side story reveals that when the supply of the homes that people want, in the places that they want them, is scarce, they will use all their purchasing power to secure them. British homebuyers have been like characters from The Flintstones, using wads of cash instead of clubs to beat their neighbours to a cave.

This then begins to get to the root of the issue; if land supply is finite (and new housing supply is set for one of the biggest downturns in recent history), land and property values will always behave in the same way at the end of an economic cycle, being driven up in value along with other asset prices. In the face of such rises, human nature ensures that purchasing turns speculative - and another bubble is born.

The housing bubble has burst, but it has burst simultaneously with stock markets. However, the underlying demand for housing is clearly revealed by the continued increase in rents in most areas.

By the end of 2009, house prices will probably have fallen 25 per cent from their peak. They will be about two thirds of the way there by the end of this year. In 2010 the market looks likely to bump along the bottom, although we may see the first signs of recovery.

Where will that recovery come from? In previous downturns overseas investors have been first to return to the fray, encouraged by a weak pound. Some are eyeing the exchange rate even now. They may be joined by domestic investors who are worried about the security of funds in banks and see bricks and mortar as a better prospect than the stock market or bonds. Some are already reappearing in auction houses looking for rental yields above 5 per cent.

What they will not be buying are flats in over-supplied city centres, where recent investors have caught a cold. As in all recoveries, the best will out-perform the rest. Expect the first green shoots in London, the South East and the best university towns and cities.

Yolande Barnes is head of research at the property company Savills.

Can I remind you we have a gathering this weekend at the Holiday Inn, Guildford please - click here - to let us know you are coming.

November 14, 2008

Too good to be true (the overnight millionaire scam)

Thanks to Graham Brown (loveproperty.org) who pointed me to Seth Godins blog for this gem...

Go to fullsize image

"You probably don't need to read this, but I bet you know people who do. Please feel free to repost or forward:

Times are tough, and many say they are going to be tougher. That makes some people more focused, it turns others desperate.

You may be tempted at some point to try to make a million dollars. To do it without a lot of effort or skill or risk. Using a system, some shortcut perhaps, or mortgaging something you already own.

There are countless infomercials and programs and systems that promise to help you do this. There are financial instruments and investments and documents you can sign that promise similar relief from financial stress.


There are four ways to make a million dollars. Luck. Patient effort. Skill. Risk.

(Five if you count inheritance, and six if you count starting with two million dollars).

Conspicuously missing from this list are effortless 1-2-3 systems that involve buying an expensive book or series of tapes. Also missing are complicated tax shelters or other 'proven' systems. The harder someone tries to sell you this solution, the more certain you should be that it is a scam. If no skill or effort is required, then why doesn't the promoter just hire a bunch of people at minimum wage and keep the profits?

There are literally a million ways to make a good living online, ten million ways to start and thrive with your own business offline. But all of these require effort, and none of them are likely to make you a million dollars.

Short version of my opinion: If someone offers to sell you the secret system, don't buy it. If you need to invest in a system before you use it, walk away. If you are promised big returns with no risk and little effort, you know the person is lying to you. Every time."

How true Seth.

For those of you who have never come across Seth Godin - click here - try reading some of his books - click here - he's a very astute marketing "Guru". I have been a fan for some time now and take it from me, his ideas work.

November 13, 2008

Nick is filthy stinking rich... (well 2 out of 3 ain't bad!)

Hi everyone, Nick here.

It's been a busy couple of weeks in the fast moving world of property, that's for sure. With the Bank of England base rate and LIBOR rate coming down, this is a positive sign that things are improving within the financial markets, and that liquidity - which oils the wheels of this particular market - is returning. It gives a strong indication of which way rates are moving. There's still a long way to go though and still a great deal of uncertainty. When it comes to Property 2.0, only those who adapt their strategies to reflect this brave new world will survive.

Bank of England Base Rate 3%

LIBOR rate 4.37% (as at 12/11/08)

Despite all this, we're still feeling very up-beat about property as an investment, and our property business. We've been very busy putting the finishing touches to our new website, 4 Walls TV. We've designed the website to be completely compatible with Web 2.0 and to embrace new technologies and processes. We've really had our minds blown by the possibilities!

On that note, we've received a lot of emails from people asking us exactly what Web 2.0 is, as it is a relatively new way of thinking on how to interact with the web, both in terms of business and social enterprises. Therefore, in this video broadcast, Nick explains why you NEED to know about Web 2.0 and how the power of it can enhance your (property) business.

If you have found this thought-provoking, please be under no illusion - we have only scratched the surface in this video broadcast. There is so much more you need to know to fully understand the benefits, possibilities, and potential of Web 2.0.

You therefore may be interested to attend our next property investing networking event, where Nick will be speaking on this topical subject in more depth.

The next 4wallsandaceiling.com property investment networking event will be taking place on Sunday 23rd November at the Holiday Inn, Egerton Road, Guildford from 10.30 to 14.00.

Click here - to let us know you are attending.

The theme of the event will be "Harnessing the Power of Web 2.0 to enhance your property business".

At a recent event, we did a presentation on this subject. One of our delegates, Nina Griffiths wrote afterwards:

"I feel like I have had my head buried in the sand, to pull it out and find someone shining a 2000 volt light in my eyes".

That is how people react when they understand the power of Web 2.0.

If you want to be a player in business in the years to come, we believe that you need to start now, building on-line visibility, awareness, and trust. Web 2.0 is all about transparency, trust, and reciprocity. That is why it is vital to establish your brand, your reputation, and your core values on-line NOW . You can do this by adding value, becoming an "expert", offering professional opinion, and by being recommended by others within your business and social communities! You can also align yourself with like-minded people and businesses who share your values, business philosophies and ethics.

An added benefit and by-product is that content generated by users of social media now ranks highly in search engines, because it is RELEVANT, because it has VALUE, because it is TIMELY, because it is REAL.

For marketeers - SEO is dead! We'll be elaborating on that in a future broadcast.

Web 2.0 is like dropping a pebble in a pond. Business may not occur at the point of entry, but as your "input" ripples outwards into cyberspace. It takes a dramatic shift in thinking to fully understand this. People like you, they want to get to know you, they "follow" you.

Maybe what we say resonates with you? There is no substitute for off-line interaction, so come and chat to us and other property investors at our next networking event.

We will be discussing Web 2.0 at our event on Sunday 23rd November, along with general property networking.

Click here - to let us know you are attending.

Venue: Holiday Inn, Egerton Road, Guildford.
Time: 10.30 to 14.00.
click here - for a map

To your continued success!

Kind regards,

Remember - you can never learn less!

Follow me on Twitter - here -