Self-Sufficiency: Cut Out The Middleman

Cut Out The Middleman

When we first moved to the countryside, I started this website as a hobby and to teach myself how to create a website.

At that time, among other things I wrote about ‘Money Saving Tips’ because, having just quit my job and uncertain about how we’d fare financially in our new adventure, that is what we were doing – looking for ways to save money.

Since then, the site has evolved so I’m going to continue the tips in this section telling you about something more important than money: Wealth (ref: It’s Not About The Money, Money, Money).

I may even go back and re-write some of the older ‘Money Saving Tips’ on the site to make sure they have the right focus.

So I just counted back and it looks like we’re up to #49 and we’re going to make sure it’s Wealth from here on in…

Some of these will still be about saving, but others will be about making money, investing, avoiding scams, making good financial decisions, creating more time and freedom (though some of these may cross over into the life or business sections depending upon the specifics) – in other words, how to create more wealth in your life…. because I’d far rather share with you how to create true Wealth in your life, than how to be frugal.

Today’s Wealth Tip: Cut Out The Middleman

So, that being said, on to today’s Wealth Tip.

Cut Out The Middleman.

Which actually does happen to be a way of saving money, but it’s borne out of some recent experience and an observation on how the world is changing quite rapidly and putting lots of power and control back into your very own hands.

p.s. I don’t know what number we’re up to (hence the #?? in the title) so I’ll come back and update that later.

We recently got our old house back after some problems with the previous tenants (for those of you who don’t know when we left London, we didn’t sell our house, we rented it. If you’re an email subscriber you probably know the story, which is also explained in our book and a little in this recent interview).

Anyways, we had some problems and after 8 months of struggling finally evicted our tenants via the courts and with the use of bailiffs. We had no choice in this.

Then we had to tidy up the house, clean the house, make some repairs and get it back on the market (a big, empty house is quite a liability – particularly if you have any mortgage on it).

It’s been quite stressful trying to rent it out again, because the market is poor, we don’t know who we can trust in terms of estate agents and some weird ‘sub-letting’ companies who seem to have cropped up over the ast few years and we weren’t sure whether to rent to a family, sharers, corporate, sub-let, professionals, students…

In the end we rented it directly ourselves, no agency and no agency fees.

All of the services you’d use an agency for, the expertise you rely on, is all available and relatively easy to find – it’s just a few clicks away these days – contracts, reference and credit checks, landlords licenses, health and safety, legal protection, rules and regulations, deposit schemes, marketing – you can do it all yourself and writing it here like this it looks like a lot, but it’s not, it’s easier than you think.

Agency fees are quite considerable. I don’t know how they are where you live but in London, after some fairly intensive negotiation and careful shopping around, we had agencies with fees between 10%-13%. That’s quite a chunk of your monthly income and is another substantial cost to consider along with bills, insurance and anything else.

The point of the article: what occurred to me is how times have changed. Though we felt like we probably did, in the end we really didn’t need an agent at all.

I thought we couldn’t advertise ourselves on Rightmove and the other bigger property websites without an estate agent, but we found out that you can – there are a number of services as a simple google search will throw up but we used a service called ‘Visum‘ – the cheapest option but which seemed to work very well (well, we found tenants and have now rented our house).

Another place where the world has changed is the publishing industry. I thought I’d need an agent to publish my book(s), but I didn’t – it’s really easy to publish a book these days.

The tools for publishing and marketing (social media, anyone?) which are available for free these days are truly amazing.

We’re living in an age where agents, brokers and middle-men who do very little for their hefty commissions just aren’t needed any more – you can do more than you might realize on your own – and it’s not anywhere near as difficult as you might think!

We’re living in an age where agents, brokers and middle-men just aren’t needed anymore.

So that’s my tip – cut out the middleman and save a lot of money!! I could probably throw quite a few more examples at you too but will keep this brief, I think you get the point.

Can you relate to this or think of any more examples?


Comments

Self-Sufficiency: Cut Out The Middleman — 2 Comments

  1. I love it Alan,
    I’m a big supporter of cutting out the middleman. My home in California is rented out and it’s been rented. Luckily i have the most amazing tennants in the world. But i’ve thought what will i do if they leave. I’m in France now. I would have to go back and clean up. screen tenants and show the house. I don’t know if i could cut out the middle man. Would it be worth it to fly back to do all this at more than 1,200 dollars to fly back. But I have thought about not going with an agency but rather hiring an independent. In the US A site called “www.cragislist.com” is extremely popular to post ads, services, used items”. I have found handmen to repair my bathroom in California, site unseen so why not put an ad out for someone to handle the rental for me rather than paying huge agency fees. I digress.

    I do believe that in this day and age, we can do so much more than previously. As you said, publish you own book is so much easier. My husband just finished his first novel and we are looking at the self publishing route. Even musicians don’t need a middle man. Look at how many musicians have used Youtube to catapault themselves to fame.

    It’s an amazing time we live in.

    • Thanks Annie,

      It is an amazing time we live in. Half the battle I think is knowing what is possible and what opportunities exist in the first place.

      I’m constantly finding awesome little tools and apps on the internet which just a few years ago would have needed expensive computing power to achieve.

      Congratulations to Blake for finishing his book – I know it’s not easy & he’s obviously worked hard at it.

      I’ll watch out for you on YouTube then…

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