The Golden Rules


Use the best advisors.

A large number of property beginners tend to use lawyers who charge low cost conveyancing. Others feel they are experts in the field and look after the legalities themselves. This is a wrong approach. The fact is, there are very few property deals in Gibraltar or any other European jurisdiction where things go smoothly due to the fact that every legal system is complex. A good lawyer or business consultant is essential to make sure all ends meet and to show you the correct shortcuts. Try to find a professional who is a specialist in property transactions and who will give you a good and personal service. Choosing a top market firm who charge high end fees will not necessarily be the correct answer. Unless you are involved in a very large deal, these high end firms will often pass your case to a junior partner or clerk but you will still pay top prices for the privilege. It would probably be wiser to use a keen and energetic character who is both knowledgeable and efficient and with whom you get on. It is quite possible that initially he make not make hefty fees with you but if you are successful so will he and his fees will get larger – as they should.

The same idea applies to your architects. My advice is use the best money can buy within reason. Do not try and draw plans yourself and make savings in that field. The truth is that it rarely works and your will encounter problems with the local planners who have to grant you planning consent. And your builder will probably do a second class job. On top of all this if you try and go low cost and skip architects, your designs could end up being third rate and will make your final product very difficult to market which is the last thing you want. With the high technology in use these days, people want the best of the best at the right price. Make sure you deliver because competition is fierce to say the least. It is therefore of quintessential importance to build the best team around you regardless of size who follow your instructions and can spot any problems along the way.

Become an expert of your area

Gibraltar has a small but very healthy property market, and like any other property market it has very different areas with prices that can go from reasonable to extremely high. Look at the windows of Estate agents all the time. Read the local paper and browse the internet for values. Sooner than later you will know more than you think you would and this knowledge is priceless when you are offered deals. To be familiar with your area of expertise is of paramount importance.

Estate Agents

Agents are arguably the best source of all types of deals. Without their leads and sales offers you would hear of few deals or nothing at all. With the use of modern advertising and the social media agents make sure to communicate to the world at large what can be bought. If you want to be successful you must become a top customer of one or several local agencies. At times an excellent single contact can be adequate and may supply enough deals – make sure you are top of his list. This may mean lavish luncheons and fat bonuses but let me assure you it will pay handsome dividends at the end of the day. Another idea is to form joint ventures with agents through which the agent has a minority interest in each deal he brings up at no extra cost. With this formula the agent gets fully involved and will produce a substantial amount of deals.

Never fall in love with your properties

I keep telling clients there is always an attractive price for a property. Sometimes it is best to make a mega fast 10% on a deal than 100% in the long term with all the risks and work that go with it. So the answer to this point is: If the money is good and the deal is a quick one take it. And go on to the next. Remember, some of the most successful property companies locally and in the UK will wheel and deal as much as develop. It is a trading game after all.

Be firm with your decisions

Those dealers who are given the best deals by their agents are those who act quickly. Deal approved and deal done. There are too many time wasters about who assure the consultants and agents that they are genuine buyers, and yet they often pull out at the last minute. This is most frustrating for agents so make sure you do not form part of that brigade. If you do you will never establish a good reputation which is most important in such a small community. The bottom line in this rule is: The agent´s best client is the one who makes an immediate decision to a deal when presented.

Understand Financing

In these modern times, property finance is of paramount importance to both developers and final retail buyers. A developer should know all different financing possibilities, and he must, when dealing with professional lenders, know what to ask for and at what cost and the different options available. Knowing where to get the funding and the cost will probably give you an important advantage over others in the property game.

Understanding Property Law

No need to fire your lawyer, do your own contracts or your own conveyancing, but knowing to some degree local property law is advantageous to say the least. Discussing the legal particulars of a transaction with your solicitor will help with the correct decision making; two minds can work a lot better than one if both know what they are talking about. Before you know it you will have a good understanding of property law and what the crucial legal points of a deal are.

Timing your deals

Timing in property is most important taking into consideration your own financial position and the state of the property market. Whatever deal you do, you should take a conservative approach to it in the early stages. You should not over expose yourself with bank finance. This means you should do one or two deals at a time and take it from there. Once the deals are completed and you finally collect your profits you may move on to do more. Keep an eye on the market and spot the areas which are moving best.  Avoid areas which have topped out. Most entrepreneurs insist on saying that being successful is a matter of being in the right place at the right time. Property is no exception.