Expat Investor Rehman Akhtar thought he had found the perfect property investment opportunity when he was presented with joint venture deal in the UK in which he stood to gain a 30% return on investment.
But when the project went wrong, he lost all his money and he now has to sell off his property portfolio of buy to let property to pay down his debt.
Rehman wants the painful lessons he learned from this financial tragedy to serve as a warning for other property investors who may be tempted by the messages proffered by property investment experts to use other people’s money to make sure they carry out the necessary due diligence for smarter property investing.
This is not an episode you won’t want to miss… it’s an episode you CAN’T MISS!
Rate, review and follow the show at www.expatpropertystory.com
So I went into this deal with a great deal of confidence that I will be getting a 30% return on my 300k. What I didn't know at the time I made the loan was that there were two other investors halfway through the project. And the relationship soured between Paul Smith and his building team, they ended up running out of money as well. And in the end, what happened wasn't the other two investors repossessed the property sold the auction and made just enough money to pay themselves off. And there was nothing left for me. I want other investors and having all this marketing thrown at them about how fantastic it is. When you raise finance, and you use other people's money, you go into these joint ventures, and it's very, very easy to get drawn in by the fancy the good side of the story, but I would really, really urge them look at the other side, do your risk analysis, prepare for the worst case, and if my story can help anyone out there, I'd be very, very happy. That's why I'm talking to you today.
Voiceover Introduction 00:56
You're listening to Expat Property Story, a podcast in which I share my story to smooth the way for you to have your own Expat Property Story.
Expat Property-Guy 01:07
Hello there, and welcome to Episode 17. That was a clip of an interview I had with Rehman, an expat investor who lost £300,000 on a joint venture deal that went terribly wrong. And if there's one silver lining to this financial tragedy, it's that it can at least serve as a warning to the rest of us. We'll be hearing from Rehman later in the show. And as a quick reminder, let me just stress that the views expressed by today's guest and in fact by all my guests are their own, and do not necessarily reflect mine. If you're new, thank you for giving us a go. And if you're not thanks for coming back. Regulars will know that back in 2018, my wife and I were looking to buy a house to convert into a student HMO in Nottingham, we had decided to set up a deed of trust so that we could split the benefits of the property in equal portions ie 5050. Between us. A deed of trust is a legal document that specifies how a property is owned between joint owners. The deed itself specifies who the beneficial owners are and in what proportion they receive the benefits, which broadly speaking, would be the rental income and the proceeds of the property when sold. Although the deed can be registered at the land registry, it is not actually a legal requirement. Therefore, its existence can effectively be hidden for mortgage lenders. There's no need to explicitly inform HMRC either, although we always mention it in the any other information section when we do our self assessment tax returns for our personally held properties. So the deed of trust that we were planning to set up would state that the legal title of the property would be in my sole name, but would be held upon trust beneficially for myself and my wife in equal shares so that any rental income would be split 50:50 between us. If we sold the property, after repaying the mortgage and associated costs, anything remaining would also be divided equally between us. Now for the trustee, in this case, my wife to make sure that she would get her share if the house was sold, a restriction can be registered at the Land Registry via a form not very helpfully called Standard Form A, which would appoint someone to accept the money on the trustee's behalf. But this could cause a problem if and when we came to mortgage the property as lenders would probably want my wife's name as trustee on the mortgage. And as I said on previous episodes, her status as a foreign national would make lending more expensive. So what a lot of married couples do is choose not to enter a restriction. And instead, they rely on the protection afforded by their marriage. Because if I died, my wife would inherit the property anyway. Although a deed of trust can be drawn up at any time, last week, I said that it's better to do this at the time of purchase. And I said that I wasn't sure why, but I would find out. Well, it's all to do with Stamp Duty. As long as my wife didn't pay me anything for her share of the property, which in HMRC terms is known as a consideration, then there would be no Stamp Duty for her to pay. But if the deed of trust was set up once the property was mortgaged, HMRC would deem that as a transfer of debt, which would then attract Stamp Duty, which would be calculated according to my wife's proportion 50% In our case of the mortgage debt. What I should have said last week, was that it's better to do it while the property is unmanaged. And since we will be undertaking a big refurb before mortgaging, we could set up the deed at any point before the mortgage. So to sum up, we would buy with cash, set up the deed of trust, refurbish, rent out and refinance. So a new acronym, BDRRR: buy, deed, refurbish, rent refinance. Next week's episode is a particularly exciting one! It's the moment you've been waiting for. We actually buy a house!
Today's guest Rehman was born in Pakistan and when he was four years old moved to London with his family, where he stayed for 30 years before moving to Saudi Arabia just over 20 years ago. Before becoming an expat, Rehman managed to get his foot on the property ladder by buying his council flat in Isleworth, west London via the Right to Buy scheme which allowed people in public housing to buy their own homes at discounted prices. After moving to Saudi Arabia, like many expats, Roman was able to save money. And one day he saw an advert for a new development in Cardiff, and had enough money to put down deposits for two flats. After that, each time he had enough for a deposit, he would buy another property. And soon he had amassed a portfolio of around a dozen buy to lets in various locations around the UK, as well as some properties in Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Malaysia. Rehman was doing great. He was happily married with three children, a good job, and a healthy international property portfolio. He also had, and perhaps surprisingly, still has a great sense of humour. And in fact, he has a sideline doing stand up comedy. He would need his sense of humour for what was about to happen. But before we hear how things went wrong, we started with a joke.
Two hunters go out hunting in the woods, they're good friends and it's something they often do, and they go out there and suddenly one of the friends collapses. His eyes glaze over. And he's not showing signs of life. Of course, his friend panics and he calls the emergency services and he says, "Oh my god, you've got to help me. I don't know what's happened. I think my friend has collapsed and I can't see any signs of life." And the person on the other end says, "Okay, calm down. Let me try to help you. And first of all, let's make sure he is dead." So there's a silence. And there's a gunshot. And then he comes back on the line and says, "Okay, done. Now what?"
Expat Property-Guy 07:01
Expat Property-Guy 07:02
Postcode Challenge: The postcode you have chosen is UB1 1PY which I believe is an Uxbridge postcode.
Yes, it's a UB1 postcode Southall Broadway. It's a big part of my childhood. So I thought I'd do something I can actually talk about
Expat Property-Guy 07:18
Question number one. How many bicycles were stolen in your postcode in January? Was it none? One? Or three?
Oh my goodness, by process of elimination? How about three?
Expat Property-Guy 07:32
One out of three?
Expat Property-Guy 07:35
Well, one out of one, you only need two out of three to win. Okay, question number two, there's a one bed flat to rent 0.3 miles from Southall Station. Do you think it's on the market for £1020, £1050, or £1090 per month?
And it's a one bedroom flat?
Expat Property-Guy 07:53
I'll go to £1090.
Expat Property-Guy 07:55
Unfortunately, not! £1050 Yeah. It was the middle one Yeah, you should have gone for the middle one. We're in tie break land. Which sector provides the most employment? Is it a) Construction b) Retail or c) Accommodation and food.
I am going to go for retail
Expat Property-Guy 08:19
Congratulations, Rehman. You have won Postcode Challenge this week. It is indeed retail.
By 2015 Rehman had a mix of Off Plan new builds and traditional buy to let in his portfolio and everything was looking good. But then it went wrong.
A lot is made in property about using other people's money leveraging cash from investors. And so I read a lot of stuff around this and I attended some property meetings. Your listeners may be aware of Progressive Property, I went to larger meetings up in Peterborough, joined some of their programmes. So I was really carried into this whole wave of being able to use other people's money instead of having to invest everything myself. And I had access to a lot of great friends and colleagues over here in the Middle East and had cash savings and money to invest and kind of long story short, I became a middleman for people in the UK... developers in the UK, who were looking for funds and I very much became exposed in the market as someone who can raise funds. So I had a lot a lot of people approaching me and saying, you know, would you like to work with us on joint ventures. So the basic formula that I was applying was using funds from investors promising a certain return to them, normally in the region of around, let's say 10% And I was hopefully going to make a better return on that 10% And then you know, pocket the profit. Very, very simple formula. Unfortunately, a combination of me trusting the wrong people in the business and me being quite naive about the decisions I took not perhaps doing the right due diligence, it ended up being a disastrous decision for me, got myself into a lot of trouble, because a lot of the projects I invested in just went south. And the people that were running those projects were not the kind of people who then will turn around and say, "Okay, well, Rehman, how can we sort this out? Can we figure out some way of paying you back?" They just walked off. "We don't owe you anything."
Expat Property-Guy 10:16
Did any of the projects succeed?
Yes, a couple of small projects did go well, I can really only perhaps think of one that returned within the right timeframe and returned the profit that they will have said they were going to return. Honestly, it was only literally that one project was a JV, it was a crowdfunded project. And that's about the only one. How many would you say that you did of these projects? On a crowdfunding site, I did five projects. Four of them still, after about six, seven years are now still just lingering on and on and on. And these were only meant to be 12 months to 18 month long projects. And with a really, really good returns. These were all setup as... I was a shareholder, a Special Purpose Vehicle that was set up specifically for that project, and that the shares would be redistributed at the end of the project, but they still... we're even going into legal action. with quite a few of them.
One particular project proved more painful than all the others.
That was this project in Doncaster, which was a straightforward loan called Denison House, it was run by Paul Smith, who now runs Touchstone Education. And he's still out there as a mentor and a property guru. But, you know, that was my most disastrous project.
Expat Property-Guy 11:28
So how did you get involved with Paul Smith?
Funnily enough, Paul Smith was a friend of mine. We were out of touch for a few years. And we got back in touch, again, through Progressive Property, and he was one of the trainers for them. But independent of that, you know, we'd kept up this relationship. And he came out to Bahrain a few times, actually, I think twice in order to speak to some of my colleagues for potential investment deals. And this one project, which he was doing up in Doncaster, where he was converting this large building, an ex Council property into quite a few flats, he invited me to invest in that. Obviously, at this point, we've got quite a nice trusting relationship, a very friendly relationship. And he invited me to invest £300,000 in that, and the offer on the table was that he would return a 30% profit in 12 months. That sounded like a fantastic deal to me. I had a couple of one big investors who wanted to put some money into that, I had some money of my own. So I was able to put the money together fairly easily. We put a loan agreement together, signed the deal. And off we went. I actually did a lot of due diligence here. So I didn't just completely rely just on word of mouth there or our relationship although the biggest part of why I invested WAS my understanding of how Paul would be. I thought he was a very straightforward, upfront guy. So what was unknown to me, unfortunately, at that time, was that there were two other investors in the deal, and I only found out about them later.
The investment was for a commercial to residential conversion project called Denison House in Doncaster. The building was acquired by Yorkshire Investment Property, Dennison ventures LLP. And the intention was to create between 11 and 15 luxury flats. The other two investors had invested in the project on a joint first charge basis. Rehman's funds were invested on a second charge basis. According to Rehman, neither the first nor second charge holders were aware of each other.
What I didn't know at the time I made the loan was that there were two other investors on this deal who had already become part of this deal... signed agreements. So they were effectively next in line before me. And I was way down the list. I was third on the list if things did go wrong, but obviously, when I did make this loan, I just hadn't imagined that anything could go wrong. I actually flew to Doncaster, from Saudi Arabia, spend time walking through the building, looking at all the glossy brochures, asked questions of Paul and his team and everything was fine. Everything added up and looked great. So I went into this deal with a great deal of confidence that in 12 months time, I would be getting a 30% return on my 300k.
Expat Property-Guy 14:09
So you didn't know that there were two other investors? Did they know about you? I found out later on, yeah, I don't think they knew much about me either. We all came together a few months into the deal. So no, honestly, we didn't know about each other. The long and short of it is that a lot of money was spent on the initial refurb a lot of money was spent on the design work on architects and getting these glossy brochures for the project. The relationship soured between Paul Smith and his building team. They ended up leaving the project. They ended up running out of money as well. There was about £600 - 650,000 of debt altogether on the project through the three investors we let it drag on for a few years. In fact the people above me on the food chain the other two investors dragged it on for longer than they needed to before they repossessed the property because they were saying, well, let's try and get out of this alive, they could see that if they foreclosed on this and sold the property, I probably would not get paid out, there wouldn't be enough money. Unfortunately, that's exactly what happened. At one stage, Paul Smith told us that he had raised enough capital through another loan in order to continue the project. And he asked us to let go of our charges. He said, "Would you be willing to relinquish your first and second charges so that they can have the main charge and they're not willing to lend unless we let go of our charges?" We obviously refused, because that was our only hope. That was the only security on this project. And I'm sure Paul Smith, you know, he later did say that was unreasonable of us. We don't agree. And in the end, what happened was the other two investors, repossessed the property, sold at auction and made just enough money to pay themselves off, and there was nothing left. So Paul Smith, obviously was then, legally speaking, he was completely free to walk away from this, because the company Denison Health Ventures LLP, which, the only asset it had WAS Denison House, which had now been sold. So there was nothing left in the company to pay me. And I had lent the money to the company, not to Paul Smith. So the other two investors, they tried their best to make the project work knowing that if they didn't, you would lose all of your money.
They really delayed it for as long as possible. They had a lot of integrity. And they even tried to talk to other developers who would be interested in taking the project on. We did a lot of calculations, you know, on what we could do with this. We even tried to help the situation. But it became apparent that you know, it wasn't going to happen.
Expat Property-Guy 16:37
So you lost how much of your own money and how much of investors’ money?
In the end, the total amount of lost was about £270,000 . Paul Smith did pay me back some small amounts. While he was trying to raise the finance, he made an agreement with us that "I'll pay you small amounts per month". But he only then paid that for a few months. And then, you know, went back on the deal. Because he said that, you know, the lenders weren't cooperating with me. And so this is only in the interim, I lost around £270,000 and £100,000 pounds of that was my own money that I put into it. And the rest was investors' money. So that left me in a really, really bad situation. I then went down a legal route. I went to insolvency I put Denison Property Ventures LLP into receivership just so that we can get the books. We got the books, Paul Smith and his wife Aniko Smith were interviewed for a full day by the insolvency practitioners. I followed up with barristers, my legal bills mounted up to cash over £20,000, the legal people could not find a strong enough case for me to stand up against Paul Smith and say that he had intended to defraud me. Now I'd like to make one thing really, really clear. Do I think that Paul Smith, did anything illegal here? Or anything that could land him in trouble with the law? I will have to hold my hands up and say probably not, we all took a risk, all the investors, the other two and myself. We invested in a project. Of course, you know, in hindsight, I should have done a lot more due diligence. Did he intend to defraud me when he took that almost £300,000 pounds off me? I would say no, he didn't mean to defraud me. So his intentions were that he would complete the project on time, he would pay us back. The intention was there. When the brown stuff did hit the fan and the project failed, I think that's when someone's true character is displayed to the world. How do you deal with a situation when things don't go right? Things didn't go right for me, for my investors, but am I going to walk away from my investors over here? No hell, no, I'm going to pay them back out of my own pocket, and I am, I'm paying them monthly or my salary, I'm gonna have a reasonable sized pension pot. When I leave my current employer, I'm going to be passing over the majority of that... I'm selling my properties and UK to make sure that the promise I made to my investors will be paid off. Okay? Now, Paul Smith, at the moment is living, you know, as... and advertising himself as a multi millionaire property investor, and he's buying villas in the south of France and flying around in helicopters and driving fancy cars. So he's not exactly on the poverty line. Could he have turned around to me and said, Rehman, look, you lent this money to me based on our relationship, our friendship, and a real man wouldn't have hidden behind the limited company. What a real man would have done, of personal integrity and values would have said, "Okay, our friendship was a central part, core part of why you lend me this money. How about we come to an agreement, and I pay you back this money? Maybe not all of it, but this is how much can get back to you. Can we pay over this period of time?" I would have been very, very open to that. But no, he walked away, saying Rehman, I don't owe you a penny mate. talk to the other investors who repossessed the property. And that's all he had to say to me, that's all he had to say to me at the end of this project, I would have happily given him five years, ten years to pay,
Expat Property-Guy 20:10
Would you STILL give him time to pay now?
100%, I would love to have that money back. And it would be so useful for me and my family. He won't, you know, I know the colour of the man now, you know, I know his true nature. And I wish I'd known it when we were doing these dealings, you know, back in Bahrain. And when I was meeting up with him for nice dinners. A lot of people saw me as a conduit to a lot of money out in the Middle East. And I still have access to a lot of people with a lot of money. Working as an expat in the Middle East, you do amass a reasonable amount of savings. And so for me to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds was not difficult. And I enjoy a very good reputation amongst my friends and colleagues as a trustworthy, reliable pair of hands. And so again, you know, they saw all of these as as ways of raising the finance and I fell for it.
Expat Property-Guy 21:04
You said you could have done more due diligence, what due diligence DID you do? And perhaps what due diligence should you have done? Or could you have done?
Yeah, that's a great question. And one, I asked myself every single day, because had I done more of that, I perhaps wouldn't be in this really, really difficult situation right now. For a start, I would definitely not base my big property decisions on personalities alone, I'm a very trusting person I see good in people. And when someone says something to me, I take it at face value. And while that's a really good trait, in your personal life, it's good to be like that, right? When it comes to the cold, hard world of property or any other kind of financial deal, that's the first base. If you can't get past that first base, you shouldn't be doing business with them. Anyway, what I did was I kind of treated that as 90% of the picture. And then my other 10, let's say percent was going to Doncaster, going into the building, getting a feel for it listening to him asking him questions. So I didn't do that. And I would say that's that second base. The third base, which I totally missed, was the fact that you should not take these decisions by yourself. Use mentors, use friends and colleagues, sound out things with them, use lawyers, even if I spent £1,000, or £2,000 on a good lawyer to analyse this deal or a good accountant that would have been money well spent, because it would have saved me from being a few hundred thousand pounds down right now. So the advice I would give to your listeners would be please do not take these decisions based on emotion. Use professionals, good quality mentors, do not be afraid to say no, just because you get on well with that person, because the one universal truth in property investing, especially with JVs, is that soon as you hand that money over the fence to the developer, your power is lost, you are the weak person in that arrangement. The only way you can retain some of the power is by having the correct due diligence, and the right paperwork and the right security. And even then things can go wrong. So the final piece of advice I would give is that after doing all of this due diligence, getting to phase one, phase two, phase three, knowing that a person is someone you can get on with it you like is to ask yourself one big question. If things don't go right, how will this person behave? How will this person behave if the project doesn't succeed? Will he or she leave you up the river without a paddle? Or will they come back to you say, look, how can we work this out?
Expat Property-Guy 23:40
Can I ask a difficult question? Why DIDN'T you go to third base and get a second opinion?
Pure, pure naivety? I was very young in the business, I saw that we'd been spending all these years together that what could go wrong? I'd seen the project. So the simple answer is naivety and not being cynical enough and perhaps being scared to say no, I should have backed down at the last minute thinking no, there are so many things that could go wrong. And maybe not asking the right questions. Part of due diligence is asking the serious questions and I could have just simply asked him, "Am I the only investor in this deal? Are you raising funds from any other source? Who is the principal lender?" Now any mentor worth his salt could have helped me with that. So I would say one of the strongest things I could have done at the time is to hire someone to help me analyse this deal whether a professional a lawyer, a mentor, an accountant, but I did take the decision by myself, I have to take full responsibility, which is why I AM paying back my investors. Were there in retrospect any red flags when you look back and you think actually I should have picked up on that?
Expat Property-Guy 24:41
I can think of all sorts of things that should have been red flags to me, but again, it was just a matter of I trusted, you know, before anyone out there goes into bed with any joint venture partner and hands them money over the fence. You've really got to understand where that person is coming from. Not everyone can judge someone's character that well. But spend time with them, ask them searching questions. Like, have you had any deals go bad before? Have you had any projects that didn't quite complete? What did you do? And can I talk to five other investors that you've worked with? And if someone happily gives you at least five investors they've worked with, I think that says a lot about them. If someone turns around says, Well, you know, I'm not sure if they'll talk to you, well, then that should be a red flag. And on top of that, what I would do is also ask around in the property business, look through Property Tribes, you can look on Facebook groups, Google search the person, I did none of that. In hindsight, if I had done a little bit of a Google search, I would have been able to find out all sorts of other stuff. You know, don't just do your due diligence directly with the developer and with people who have done business with them. But ask around the community, and my case has actually been publicised quite a bit. A lot of people in the property world do know about the project and property tribes, it's very well documented. That's right, all the details of that particular deal. It's all there in the public domain, on Property Tribes, isn't it? But I wanted to ask you Rehman, how this affected you personally?
Gosh, where do I start? Huge, huge feelings of guilt and remorse. Initially, I just could not believe that someone could borrow that amount of money from someone and just walk off, it just didn't gel with my personal values. To be honest, my whole world collapsed in front of me. At this time, also, unfortunately, I lost my life partner, my wife who had been walking beside me for 28 years, we have three beautiful kids. And due to a very, very sudden illness, I lost her. So as you can imagine, losing a fortune and losing your wife all around the same period would be enough to kill anyone you know. But luckily, I didn't slit my wrists, I thought, I've got to get through this. I have three young children to worry about. And I want to be my best version in order to help them through this. So thanks to amazing friends and relatives and my company, I weathered the storm. And I decided that I wasn't going to let this experience define me for the rest of my life. So I got my act together, spoke to my investors. And I was very, very upfront with them very honest, very transparent. And I made arrangements that over the coming few years, I'm going to pay this money back. This is what's happened. So I think that's one of the best things I could have done. The communication was very, very clear to the investors. But yes, of course, it's had a drastic effect on my future, because a lot of expats leave with the ability to buy a nice house back in the UK, but unfortunately... but am I going to be bitter? No, because bitterness is a self destructive process, I remain content, I get to contribute to a lot of people through my job, I am now in fact setting up a YouTube channel where I can help other young professionals develop. And through this experience, I want to teach other people and even coming into this podcast, I've had a lot of invitations. Obviously, when people hear about this, over the years, this is the very first time I've accepted an invitation to come on to a podcast like this, I think I'm far away enough from the heat of the matter, when it first happened. I'm thinking clearly now. Secondly, I'm in recovery mode. You know, I was flat down on my bum. But I think I'm now getting up on my feet again, financially speaking and mentally. So I think this was the right time. And the third reason is that I want other investors who are in my position, maybe just coming young into the business and having all this marketing thrown at them about how fantastic it is when you raise finance, and you use other people's money, and you go into these joint ventures. And it's very, very easy to get drawn in by the fancy, the good side of the story. But I would really, really urge them, look at the other side, do your risk analysis and prepare for the worst case scenario as well. And if my story can help anyone out there, I'd be very, very happy.
Expat Property-Guy 28:54
Well, I'm sure it will help people. And I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your wife. If Paul Smith was listening now, what would you say to him?
Well, Paul, I'm still waiting for your condolence message, you met my wife before she passed away. You were meant to be a good friend of mine. So apart from all the property nonsense that went on between us, it would have been nice for you to reach out to me and offer your condolences. So that's the first thing I'd say to him. I would also say to him that yes, we shook hands in very, very good faith on this loan. If you as I said earlier in this podcast, if you were a man, you would have found a way through to seeing me. You're not on the poverty line, my friend. So I hope that you are enjoying your villas in the south of France. I hope you're enjoying flying around in your helicopter and driving around in your fancy cars and going off to all these lovely holidays. But you know, while you are, could you spare a thought for Rehman, who is struggling to find out how he's going to buy a house for his family back in the UK, who's lost his basically, his life savings and he's lost his pension. All for trusting you so I hope you can sleep at night. Paul. You've defended yourself very, very strongly on websites and Facebook groups and you completely deny all complicity and all feeling of guilt, you absolutely feel no guilt. So I wish you no harm. I'm not bitter towards you because when you feel bitterness, then you can't focus on other positive things in your life. I'm a very rich man Paul, but my richness doesn't come from money like it does for you. I don't revel in my possessions. I think happiness comes from having loved ones around you, who care for you and respect for you. Happiness comes from enjoying a good reputation. Happiness comes from having experiences of wonderful things in life. So in that respect, Paul, I'm a much much richer man than you are. And I just hope you can sleep at night.
Expat Property-Guy 30:52
I asked Rehman about the state of his portfolio going forward.
I'm selling all my UK properties one by one. And whatever gains I make on them are going into this one big pot to pay off my investors. And I'm doing that on a monthly basis through my salary, a small amount. And when I sell a property and make a decent chunk, I pay them larger amounts, I'm going to end up with zero properties in the UK. At one stage, I had 12 properties. Some of them have made a profit, some of them not, I still got some properties here in the Middle East, I'm again going to have to probably offload most of those. It's certainly put me off joint ventures! Once bitten, twice shy. Has it completely put me off property? Well, no, what would I do differently? Keep it simpler. Instead of listening to all this hype around property, you can pick up a decent property with a decent yield for around £60,000, £70,000, £80,000 Forget lending, forget borrowing and forget leverage. Leverage is overrated, in my opinion, because it then opens you out to a whole load more trouble. So what if you can only buy five houses instead of 20? You've got solid investments, which over time, the capital growth will be there. I would probably stick to one, one or two areas where I know that the fundamentals are right, so I really would have liked to educate myself more on the fundamentals work with the right people have more of a strategy, instead of buying the scattergun approach is often what a few people in property call it I'm still a property fan. I think any young people out there or middle aged people, who've got some money aside, please... yes, do go ahead and invest. But be very, very careful with JVs. And don't be greedy.
Expat Property-Guy 32:31
Yeah, wise words. So I know that when I was asking you to be a guest on the podcast, you said that one of the things that worried you about it was that you knew that it was going to open the floodgates, and you'd be inundated with people approaching you. So perhaps you'd like to give a message to people about what you do not want to be approached about? That was one of my fears. And that's partly the reason I had said no to a lot of the other podcast requests. So I made quite a few emotional posts on Facebook at the time this all went wrong. And what I found was that every time I made such a post, my inbox would be flooded with messages varying from I am so sorry that this has happened to you, which I was honestly very grateful for. I thought that was really nice. And then I would get messages saying we want to help you get out of this situation. We've got lawyers who can help you, would you like some mentorship again, very, very grateful for that. But then it did take up a lot of my time, in communicating individually. So all of these people, and I found myself sinking back into that kind of negative feeling. I wouldn't say that, as a result of this podcast, I am absolutely not willing to talk to anyone, you know, I wouldn't be happy to have people communicate with me. But understand, I kind of have moved on from the situation, I am looking to just progress in my life and maybe work in other areas. I mentioned earlier that I would like to use social media and YouTube perhaps to educate people on not only this, but other things that I'm an expert in, you know, communications and facilitation, and being master of ceremony events. And you know, there's a whole comedy side to my career, the stand up comedy, which has been with me since I was 11 years old. So perhaps that was a part of the factors that helped me survive this actually. And I kind of have this strange ability to see the funny side of most things in life in my life. Every cloud indeed does have a silver lining, which also has a bit of amusement in there somewhere. So I'm always very, very positive about what the future holds me. So I'm due to retire in a couple of years, even despite what's happened, the best is yet to come. I believe that I can touch lives. I believe I can help people positively through my good experiences and my bad experiences. That's what makes us...
Well, I think today you have certainly touched people's lives and as you say, maybe you're not rich in terms of wealth, but you are definitely rich in terms of integrity and morality. I think you've got the most amazing Expat Property Story that we've heard. So thank you so much. It's been very cathartic for me actually, I feel really good, almost unburdened. So thank you for your time.
Expat Property-Guy 35:13
So to pick out three things to highlight from speaking with Rehman, firstly, it's his advice to take advantage of the property community to do your due diligence on potential joint venture partners. So, use Property Tribes, Facebook groups, or your network to gather information. Another wise piece of advice was not to take decisions by yourself. Use mentors, use consultants, use lawyers to analyse your deal and make sure everything's transparent. But perhaps the greatest lesson from today's episode is Rehman himself! He hasn't let his situation break him, life's still worth living. As he said, being rich doesn't have to be about money. You can be rich in other ways, and as Rehman sells off his properties to pay back the money he owes HIS investors, he can sleep easy in the knowledge that he has done the right thing. Now I always get a little bit excited when a new country shows up on the podcast . As a COVID expat trapped in Hong Kong it's the closest I get to travelling these days. So I had a tough choice to make for this week's exotic listener location, as three new countries showed up, and all of them are in Africa: Zambia, Tanzania and Botswana. I've always wanted to go to Botswana after reading a series of books by Alexander McCall Smith called 'The Number One Ladies Detective Agency.' The books are set in the capital city, which I always thought was pronounced Gaborone, but after doing my due diligence, it turns out it's in fact pronounced Jah-bu-ronneh and we actually have two listeners there. So if you're one of them, please leave us a message at www.expatpropertystory.com and tell us how you heard about the show, how your portfolio's looking and what you'd like to have more of in future episodes. Next week's episode features Stuart Lordan, who you may remember as someone I reached out to for advice when looking into student HMOs back in 2018. Well, now you can benefit from his wisdom too. So join me next week for that. As always, rate review and subscribe and if you know anyone who would benefit from Rehman's Expat Property Story, and really, you must know a few.... then don't forget to share the show to spread the word. You've been listening to Expat Property Story
Professional Development & Communications Consultant. Trainer and Property Investor
Rehman has been an expat for over 21 years. A Pakistani-born Brit, who spent his formative years and early adulthood in UK, he works in Saudi Arabia for the world's largest energy supplier. He has a passion for communications. He is an expert facilitator and Change Management Professional. He has invested in property in many countries around the world, but the bulk of his property experience is in the UK. There are many facets to his life - he is an amateur pilot and stand-up comedian amongst other things!