Make the decision to become positive

Get positive and get out of your head

‘If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.’ Henry Ford

To start heading in the right direction, you have to get out of that brilliant head of yours. You have to find a way to have a positive mindset.

This is no easy task. Believe me I know.

Being a property investor is hard. Being a property investor and going it alone is very hard!

A couple of years ago, I made the decision to make a real go of property. This was after 16 years of being a very poor Landlord.

I read book after book and started to educate myself. I eventually got to a point where I could hold my own when talking about property.

Finally, I knew how to work out basic property calculations. All of my properties were finally legally compliant, and I could even use a spreadsheet.

I know, well done me…

New Strategies

With some more knowledge, I even learned one or two new strategies. I have learned how to buy Below Market Value (BMV).

Over the last 2 years, I have bought 2 houses BMV. It is good that I learned a new strategy and implemented it.

But let’s be honest, 5 properties in 18 years is pitiful.

This is all because of mindset.

For a comparison of positive and negative mindset:

One of the strategies I have learned about is HMO (House of Multiple Occupancy). I haven’t done it before, so it scares me. If I’m being totally honest, it scares the s**t out of me.

Giving this some serious thought, this year, I came to realise that I need help. I needed help from other investors.

What I knew I needed was support. Someone to give me some advice when needed. Or someone to give me a kick up the ass when I’m in my own head.

Property Network

Over the last few months, I have been attending PIN (Property Investors Network) 2-3 times a week.

In 3 months, I have been to 20 PIN meetings. I won’t stop until I become a successful property investor.

The meetings have demonstrated what is possible. I love seeing how someone can turn things round.

Mindset is mentioned constantly at PIN and this is key to success in anything you do.

I tried to Network last year but it didn’t quite go to plan. I went to some seminars that weren’t for me and then gave it up.

Going back to doing it alone, my progress was slow. That is why I went back to networking in August of this year.

Property Training

I have even started a property training course. The course is all about creative finance.

The 1st module which I have just completed is all about mindset. Even though I have improved my mindset recently, it can always be improved.

For over 10 years, I was negative about property and money. I didn’t even realise how negative I had become.

Part of the training so far, covers limiting beliefs. Here are some of my limiting beliefs over the last 10 years:

  • I don’t have enough money
  • I have too much negative equity
  • I can’t afford that
  • I don’t even know where my money goes
  • I don’t have any deposit money
  • What will other people think of me

This last one is something I have struggled with. I have been far too bothered about what other people think.

‘What other people think of you, is none of your business.’ This is a Tony Robbins quote that was mentioned on the training course.

What I have learned, is that people don’t give you too much thought.

You will have different limiting beliefs to me. The point is to get out of your own head. Have a little faith that you can do what you set out to do.

Despite years of negativity, I know that I can become positive. I can start progressing much faster with a positive mindset.

Robbins’ talks about trying every strategy until you get where you are going. Try something. Not working. Try something else. Keep repeating until your strategy works.

I tried being a Landlord on my own. Failed miserably. I tried reading books to improve my knowledge. Progress was very slow.

I tried networking. It didn’t work out. I went back on my own. Progress was very slow.

I have gone back to networking with a different company. I have started a property training course. I will keep trying until it works.

Then I won’t just be giving the odd tip and lessons on how not to invest. I will be able to give you a step-by-step guide of how to get out of your head. How to became a successful property investor because of a change in mindset.

If you listen to audible, have a listen to The DECISION by Kevin Hart. It is about mindset and the man is a genius.

The Decision: Overcoming Today’s BS for Tomorrow’s Success

The Green Home Grant

Green Home Grant

Initial Excitement

Back in August, the Green Home Grant was a no-brainer to me.

This will create thousands of jobs. It will reduce the bills for tenants. Will reduce our carbon footprint. And will also benefit landlords who can look to reduce maintenance costs.

My previous thinking can be found in

Although it does sound good, getting the grants is not easy. “Anyone planning to apply should be prepared for delays, however,” according to Ruth Jackson-Kirby in Moneyweek.

How to Apply

It might not be easy to get the green grant but 100% give it a go. Go to to see if you are eligible.

You go through the application and you are asked a series of questions. This will determine your eligibility.

If you can apply, you are told what improvements you can make under the scheme. The next step is to get quotes from

When you have quotes from a Trustmark tradesman, you can then complete the application. Hopefully, you can complete the application and benefit from the green grant.

How the Vouchers can be used

In most cases, the voucher will be a maximum of £5000. If you receive certain benefits, you can receive up to £10,000.

Whatever the cost of the home improvements, the vouchers will cover two thirds of the cost. For example, if the total cost is £3000, you would have to pay £1000 and the voucher would cover £2000.

The Government will issue £2bn worth of vouchers and the work must be done before 31st March 2021. This time limit complicates things.

To complicate things further, the jobs required are split into two parts. The two parts are Primary Jobs and Secondary Jobs.

First of all, you have to get any Primary jobs done like cavity wall insulation, loft insulation, biomass pellet boilers etc.

If you have had one of the Primary jobs done, you can then look to get a Secondary job done. Secondary jobs like triple glazing, new doors, thermostats, heating controls etc.

There will be a lot of demand for the vouchers as we all like something for nothing. This will mean there will be limited tradesmen available.

All of this means it will be difficult to achieve within the next 6 months.

My Experience with the Process

Despite my early optimism, my attempt at getting the Green Grants failed miserably.

An example is an old terraced house that I rent out. It needs loft insulation, cavity wall insulation and new windows and doors.

I answered all of the questions and the form indicated that I was eligible. The next step was to get quotes from a Trustmark tradesman in my local area.

This is when my attempts ended.

I contacted 15 Trustmark companies within a 15-mile radius. None of them wanted anything to do with the Green Grant scheme. And they all indicated that it was just a Government PR scheme.

They said the timescale wasn’t achievable given the conditions explained above. Most of them were unavailable until early 2021 without the added complications.

A builder almost came to the terraced house to give me a quote but never made it. He called later in the week and said it wasn’t worth the hassle.

“The Green Homes Grant scheme is one every English homeowner should check out. It may provide serious free cash that should both improve the energy efficiency of your home and your home’s value. However, that’s far from saying everyone can benefit, and the scheme isn’t flawless,” says Martin Lewis (Money Saving Expert).

For more information visit

From my experience, it is far from flawless.

Don’t take my word for it, do your own research. Look into it yourself and hopefully you can benefit from the vouchers.

Picture: green-homes-grant-scheme-hot-and-cold/






First Ever Sales Pitch

What Led Me to the Sales Pitch

If you are like me, you have suffered with anxiety because of your relationship with money. Worrying about money in my early 20s, led to my first ever sales pitch.

At the time, I still had hopes of being a property millionaire. What happened was negative equity and over a decade of mistakes.

Willing to try Anything

Easily the most embarrassing of attempts at making money was my sales pitch. Leaving the RAF, I was worried about money and how I was going to afford my new house. This was the house I persuaded the future Mrs Duffy to move into.

The plan was to buy the new house off plan and sell for a quick profit. The house was bought for £130k and was never valued above £120k.

Leaving the RAF with no job, I had to move into my new house.

Me and future Mrs Duffy spent 5 years in a house we didn’t want to live in. This was our first house and not the ideal start.

As well as looking for a new job, I was also looking at additional income. This led me to the sales pitch and Aloe Vera products. In my defence, I thought I was going to be selling gym supplements. I didn’t do my research.

Aloe Vera Sales Pitch
Aloe Vera Sales Pitch

The Sales Pitch

What I got was £250 of Aloe Vera products to sell on to family and friends. The products ranged from toothpaste to skin cream and a whole range of other products.

I dreamed of making thousands of pounds as I read the testimony’s on-line. In reality, I sold £80 worth of the £250 products to family and friends.

It was August 2006, and I had invited 12 friends and family. Everyone piled into our front room as I gave a presentation on Aloe Vera products.

To be honest, 14 years on and I’m still cringing.

It was humid and there seemed to be a swarm of dragonflies that were distracting me. I am known as being shy and reserved. Not a good mix when getting up in front of 12 women.

With nerves and my monotone voice thrown into the mix, the presentation was a disaster. Not only was I aware of my flat voice, I kept forgetting my lines.

Stood up mumbling away, I was sweating like a pig. Aware of how bad it was going; I was burning up and my face was beetroot.

Despite the disaster presentation, my Mam and a few others took pity on me. A few of the products sold but my first sales pitch ended very awkwardly.

We had a laugh at my expense and I drank through the pain.

Lessons learned

Looking back, this reminds me of a younger version of myself giving it a go. It was raw then, but we have to fail to get where we are going.

This was me willing to try anything to improve my finances. With over a decade of mistakes, I have many lessons to pass on.

With anything you do money wise, do your research. My lack of interest in research has contributed to many lessons learned.

Please have a good laugh at some of my mistakes within Then learn from my mistakes to avoid financial pain.

How to Deal With Nightmare Tenants

Becky The Nightmare Tenant

In my 18 years, I have had 2 nightmare tenants.

My 1st nightmare tenant was my very 1st tenant. My nightmare tenant had more front than Blackpool. We will call this nightmare Becky.

If I am being honest, I was very young at the time and Becky caused me a fair bit of stress. I can even remember listening to ‘Sounds of the Rainforest to calm myself down’.

This wasn’t helped by the fact that I was working away at the time. I know this is a feeble excuse for what I was listening to.

The rent was always late, and she ended up leaving on bad terms. I also had constant complaints from neighbours, and she had to leave. In other words, a nightmare tenant and nightmare neighbour.

Being a nightmare tenant, Becky didn’t want to leave.

I went to the citizens advice and was told to go to the solicitors. I went to the local solicitors and they eventually told me to deal with it myself.

After 8 weeks of trying to get Becky out, I went to black bag her (not proud of it but I had reached my limit). I was literally ready to help her pack and kick her out.

Fortunately, I went to reclaim my property and she had left. What she left was a disgrace and the local smack heads would have probably refused to live there.

Importantly, that was then and this is now. I am all about being legally compliant these days so I will be doing things the right way now and in the future.

The Sections

There are x2 Sections you need to be aware of when getting your property back from a tenant. It is very much dependant on the circumstances as to which one applies.

Until recently, I was only aware of section 21 (Notice of Possession) due to all the negative press. That is until a friend and fellow landlord informed me that I had misunderstood Section 21.

This brings me back to a recent blog about Property Networking.

Section 8 (Notice to Quit)

In this scenario, a tenant has breached their contract and the Landlord has grounds for possession. Breaches include rent arrears, or it could be something else like vandalism.

Be aware that you can only serve Section 8 when the tenant is at least 2 months in arrears.

With legitimate grounds for regaining possession, the notice period can be immediate, 2 weeks or 2 months (the Online Letting Agent). My understanding is that this would be for serious anti-social behaviour.

For more details on the section 8 procedure, visit Landlord Zone, or you can visit

Section 21 Notice (Notice of Possession)

Section 21 can’t be served in the 1st 4 months of a tenancy. The Landlord is now required by Law to give 6-months-notice if they simply want the property back.

A Section 21 notice of possession is a notice to inform the tenant that you wish to recover possession of the property at the end of a fixed-term tenancy (Which).

If you have sufficient grounds to remove a tenant, refer to section 8 for guidance.

My previous thinking was I needed to issue a Section 21 if I had a nightmare tenant. I now know that if I get another Becky, I need to issue her a Section 8.

What should Landlords do about Becky’s

Try not to give it too much thought, as from my experience, most tenants are brilliant.

As long as you play the game, they will play the game. Keep on top of the repairs and legislation and basically keep your end of the bargain.

To prepare for the small possibility of a nightmare tenant, make sure you are prepared. Ensure you know the difference between Section 8 and Section 21.

Finally, get around other Landlords and other investors. This is another example of the importance of your network.


When is the Right Time to Sell Your Shares?

Going back to 2012 and JJB Sports collapsed into administration (Julia Kollewe, The Guardian).

When do you learn how to sell shares at the right time? In my experience, you don’t as you haven’t got a crystal ball.

Me and Single Shares 

I have failed miserably with single shares. I would try to avoid single shares if you are emotional like me. In my experience, you can lose all or most of your hard-earned money.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to understand your relationship with money. I would have done something about it much earlier but I was clueless.

This type of investment doesn’t suit me as it brings out my inner gambler. I also got too emotional and used to check them constantly.

For example, in my late 20s when I lost approximately £8,000 on shares. I had a gamble on the strength of what the lads told me when I first started offshore. This was without any research. Do not invest without doing your own research. 

When the Greed Kicks in

After some serious research, a share I really fancied was JJB. All in all, I done about 30 minutes of research as was the norm during that time.

I can’t remember the dates, but I do remember the value the shares went up to.

The price I bought in at was 4p and I spent £2000. I spent 6 months obsessing over it and checking the price every single day.

I think the highest it went to was 50p and my balance was around £25,000. My thinking was that it would get to £1 and that I would cash in at around £50,000. There are no educated decisions here and it is pure stupidity and greed.

I bought the shares at 4p (worth £2000), they went up to 50p (worth £25,000) and went down in spectacular fashion to 0p (worth nothing).

Obviously, £25,000 is a massive amount of money and this was a painful experience. This money would have meant the world but money and me really didn’t get on.

In conclusion, if you do invest in single shares be prepared to lose it. This is not a half empty mentality it is just common sense and a bit of self-preservation. Expect the worst and hope for the best. Do not invest thousands of pounds (your hard-earned money) on the strength of a tip you get down the local pub.

Photograph: David Moir/Reuters (The Guardian)