In my career as property developer, I’ve made some mistakes.
It’s good not to make mistakes to start with, or even better, learn from other people’s mistakes!
Here’s a selection of my biggest howlers over the years… laugh along with me… but don’t repeat these daft mistakes yourself!
One big boo-boo I won’t be repeating: putting laminate floor in rental houses!
I have it in my own house just now, it’s already trashed after just 18 months so will be coming out soon… so why did I think it would be hardwearing enough for tenants?!
The one rental house I put it in, their pets kindly seeped that laminate in urine… lovely 😖
So into the tip that lot went when they left, a mistake never to be repeated! 😱
Here’s another property mistake I won’t ever be repeating: asking for investment funding on too short a timescale!
A lovely investor offered to lend me money for a project, but I only asked for 2 months to bridge a gap before my refinance money came through – which in hindsight was ridiculous on my part.
What happened next was that my planned project got gazumped, and I couldn’t get another property acquired fast enough and time ran out.
But because I always do as I’ve promised I then gave the investor their money back plus their couple of grand interest as agreed – despite not even ending up with a project! 🤦🏻♀️
But… that same investor, having seen I can be trusted, went on to lend me funds for two projects.
And although it was an expensive lesson for me, I now know to always ask for at least a 12-month investment period for projects, just in case something goes wrong!
Hey ho, we live and learn from our mistakes – we just don’t do them again!!!
Another mistake I’ve made was not creating enough storage.
This wasn’t apparent at the beginning, where the kitchen units were adequate for a single mum. My logic for not adding more was they might want to use that wall and space for a dining table.
But fast forward a couple of years, and the family of 2 had grown to a family of 6, and they were struggling for storage space.
There is never enough storage, even in my own house, so we added these additional six units to the kitchen to relief the storage burden.
Good learning for the future!
Today I’ll tell you another property mistake lesson I learnt the hard way – not inspecting enough!
In one of my early rentals, the family just had a baby, seemed nice, so I mostly left them to it.
Fast forward 3 years when they moved areas, the entire house and floor coverings stunk and were ruined by the fact the tenants had accumulated SIX dogs!
Bear in mind, their letting agency tenancy agreement stated no pets allowed, so the agency obviously hadn’t been inspecting either… it was the neighbour afterwards who told me about their illegal half dozen dog collection!
So there you go, keep inspecting your property on a regular basis!
Oh gawwwd, another property mistake not to be repeated… dodgy decor colours!
Now bear in mind I am no interior designer…
My first few houses all had what I call ‘The BMW Treatment’ – Beige Magnolia White! 😆
That was when magnolia boxes were the “in thing”!
Then I got a load of cheap paint – about 40 tins of the stuff – which was used in the next couple of houses (hey, we’re always on a budget!)
I loved playing the “Mix these paints and see what colour we’ll get, it’ll be reyt!”game. 😆
Now I am also no colour-palette-knowledgable artist…
So on occasions, we ended up with some very questionable colours for certain rooms.
A glaringly bright 1980s custardy yellow adorned one hallway.
But it wasn’t as bad as the hideous minty green toothpasty chaos that one bedroom ended up painted with!
Even I was glad when the tenant covered that up with a dinosaur mural! 😱🦖
Thankfully, those dodgy paints ran out, and since then, I now simply whiteout all the rooms, perhaps with one coloured feature wall on a chimney breast if we feel brave.
White walls and ceilings are fresh, bright and airy, and are literally a blank canvas.
Dodgy decor is so last season – so choose your colours wisely! 🎨🖌
I’ve admitted before: I’m not very good at visualising things that aren’t there.
So when it comes to planning out where electrical sockets and switches should go, in terms of planning out where the future imaginary furniture would be in a house: mistakes, I’ve made a few!
Yes, I’ve had light switches put on the wrong side of the door, so it opens onto the switch instead of next to it. 🤦🏻♀️⚡️
Yes I’ve not added enough plug sockets to rooms and had to have more retrofitted afterwards. 🤦🏻♀️⚡️
The worst mistake I made was putting a switch for a hallway inside a HMO room, with the intention of converting that bit of hallway into a self-contained unit kitchen bit… until I realised that I would then be billed for two sets of council tax, so I scrapped that plan. 🤦🏻♀️ ⚡️
But it was too late! The electrician had followed my orders, and now that hallway -missing-switch-cos-it’s-in-that-room bit annoys me every time I see it! 🤦🏻♀️
If you’re not earning, you’re learning, right?!
Here’s the final property mistake I won’t be repeating, one I definitely learnt my lesson from… the first and only time I did it!
In my house of multiple occupancy, we were bringing a new room into use.
My beloved Mummio was helping, in the days before we started employing professional fitters – she’s a dab hand at laying the odd carpet in the odd room.
I was sent out to get a carpet for said large room.
Did I go for a high-quality, hard-wearing, decently thick and lovely textured carpet?
No: I went purely on price and got a cheap, thin, corduroy-type carpet, at a bargain price of just £39. 💥
And when she saw the utter cheap tat I had bought and brought back, she went absolutely nuts.
“Look how thin this crap is, it’s like bleeding paper, I can cut it with scissors it’s that thin. Don’t buy this sh!t again, we’re not having it.” 🤬✂️
And that was me duly told.
But of course she was right, because not only was it thin and poor quality, it wrinkled and ruffled up once on the floor.
So I never bought cheap crap carpets again! 🙄
That’s why we don’t buy cheap rubbish, ladies and gentlemen, it’s false economy – you get what you pay for 🤷🏻♀️
If nowt else, get better quality stuff just to save the earache and stop your mum whining!
Remember… nobody gets everything right first time every time. Mistakes are all part of learning, so embrace them – and learn what those mistakes teach you!
Kellyann is a property investment strategist from Leeds.
In her work she creates wealth for private investors through refurbishing properties.
Visit her website for more details: