Book Review in Zambia Daily Mail – 10/03/15

Title: Property and You
Author: Chisebwe Fumbeshi
Publishers: Fairworld Properties Limited
Pages: 290
Price: K150

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‘REAL estate investing, even on a very small scale, remains a tried and true means of building an individual’s cash flow and wealth,” says Robert Kiyosaki, who has been featured in the must-read book.
A good number of people are investing in property because it has been seen as the only investment which normally appreciates with time, allows the owner to have a profitable cash flow and tends to act as a retirement plan, especially when rental plans are involved.
Mr Chisebwe Fumbeshi, a registered valuation surveyor, provides a guide on how to become a property investor by outlining practical challenges faced in everyday life and uses common strategies to show how to overcome them.
In his book, Property and You, Mr Fumbeshi gives insights on how to develop the ‘property investor in you’ by outlining five steps, which are property knowledge, right attitude towards property investment, networking, understanding investment goals and, finally, developing a smart action plan.
In the first step of investing in property, the author provides hints on the appropriate information that an investor ought to have. He tackles the basic concepts of real estate, its different characteristics and reasons for promoting property investment.
Property investment is said to be easy and can be applied by anyone – rich or poor – but the commodity involved has peculiar characteristics: physical, economic and legal ones.
The author quickly explains two vital components of property investment, which are value and cost. Value is more subjective and appreciates as a community grows while the cost is what is paid to build or acquire a piece of property.
However, the first step is more academic and requires one to be alert to understand the real estate language, which in turn becomes helpful in understanding the other four steps.
The second step focuses on having the right attitude towards investment, which the author refers to as dreaming. Mr Fumbeshi explains that people fail to invest in property because they fail to dream.
Investing in property requires one to have the main goal – making a profit – and specific goals, which can then turn the dream into tangible reality.
He further goes on to talk about time management, which is vital as Property and You is about making money. However, time does not always automatically translate into money.
Effective time management is the cornerstone of having a successful working life, which in this case is managing a successful property investment that can generate a healthy cash flow.
Wealth generation is a primary goal of property investment – the more property one acquires, the more wealth one generates. The author is also quick to encourage readers that failure is part of success as it is a greater teacher and gives multiple avenues and ways to succeed.
Developing a network support of experts is the third step for property investors. Here, the author refers to property investors as linkers. This is because they should link up with other players or experts in the real estate industry for information and skills, which then should be incorporated into one’s suitable programme.
Mr Fumbeshi, however, encourages potential investors to become real estate experts by outlining a number of steps to be followed.
Interaction with other experts enables one to know the market trends – when to buy and sell – and the nitty-gritties of property legalities.
He names such experts as the real estate agents, valuation surveyors, architects, quantity surveyors, land surveyors, salespersons, auctioneers, property managers, business brokers, buyers’ agents, stock and station agents and building surveyors.
On the other hand, Mr Fumbeshi tackles the dangers of being a lone investor such as lack of planning, overnight millionaire syndrome, risk of increased costs, misjudging cash flow and reduced options.
The author also talks about an investor being an adjuster in the fourth step, where one ought to know the desired outcome for one’s investment and adjust one’s actions accordingly. He advises investors to set specific goals, which are time-bound, to make maximum profit.
Mr Fumbeshi warns that managing a property is a full-time job and, hence gives two options of either investors managing their property or contracting the help of a professional manager. He goes on to provide the pros and cons of both kinds of management.
And the author discusses the fifth step, where he describes investors as pursuers as this is where the SMART action plan ought to be achieved. He encourages the need to pursue the set goals no matter the discouragements or frustrations as knowledge and zeal alone are not enough for property investment.
Mr Fumbeshi says one becomes a business person the moment one invests in property. Hence, one should always work on maximising revenue whilst decreasing on expenditure.
The last chapter of the book gives hints on how to become a successful property investor, which is more like a summary of the whole book, Property and You.
And a reader, Mwansa Kaunda, wrote on the author’s Facebook page: “It’s simply splendid! I got one from Apple, it’s very educating. It kind of makes you long for more! Hey, thanks I took precautions in acquiring my newest property.”
Another reader, Diego Casilli, a property investor with investments in Zambia, said when it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, do not adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.
“Many people talk about property investment. Many will take steps to invest and Property and You will be a guide that will be used for many years to provide step-by-step action.”
Mr Fumbeshi, born and raised in Ndola, obtained his bachelor’s degree in land economy from the Copperbelt University and is a full member of the Surveyors Institute of Zambia as well as Zambia Institute of Estate Agents.
The author, who is married to Nkhonde and has three children, is a chairman as well as chief executive officer of Fairworld Properties Limited – a property valuation and advisory services company.
MM