Ep 44: Robert Smallbone

From one Buy-to-let to a sizeable portfolio, with investor and author Robert Smallbone

Author of “Buy to Let: How to Get Started”, Robert Smallbone’s last full-time job was years ago. He left full-time employment in 2014 and has been investing in properties since 2016. It all started with one buy-to-let, and now he owns over fifteen properties and is cofounder of Devoy & Smallbone Properties Ltd.

Robert joins me in this episode and shares:

  • Why he chose to go into property investing
  • Why he invests predominantly in buy-to-lets
  • The habits that have helped him succeed in property investing

In this episode we discuss:

00:55               Introduction to Robert Smallbone

05:05               Leaving full-time employment and joining the property sector

  • Why Robert chose to go into property [06:34]

07:59               Robert on educating himself about property, incorporating Devoy & Smallbone Properties, and changes he had to make to get a competitive advantage

10:21               Why Devoy & Smallbone Properties prefers buy-to-let

11:23               “It’s not about how many properties you’ve got. It’s about maintaining and managing them well.”

15:26               The reality of property investing: It’s not as easy as the hype would have you believe

18:18               Has Robert ever considered quitting and returning to the safe income of a full-time job?

19:06               What habits have helped Robert be successful in property investing?

21:56               Robert talks about working on his discipline and time management

Quick Juice Questions

26:50   What are the key things you look for in an investment? And why?

“I always look for fundamentals — Is it close to a railway station? Is it close to decent transport links in general? School catchment areas are always quite useful.”

27:20   What most inspires you? When and where are you most inspired?

“The idea of travelling, that inspires me.

Where am I most inspired? If I had to pick out one right now, near the Humber Bridge, there’s this nice little estuary. You take your car down there and you can just look at the River Humber, look at the bridge, and that can be quite tranquil.”

 28:09   Which book has inspired you and changed your thinking the most?

“The Chimp Paradox by Dr. Steve Peters.

Before I went travelling, I was quite close minded, I got agitated quite quickly, etc. I found that reading that book’s really helped put things into perspective and really allowed me to calm down more.”

29:01   If there’s one last bit of Executive Juice you can share for people who want to get to the top of their property game, what would it be?

“At the end of the day, I’m a regular guy from Reading. If I can do it, you can do it.”


On property investing

  • We made a conscious decision to start exploring podcasts, reading books, just trying to soak up as much property-related information as we could.
  • Our (Devoy and Smallbone Properties) specialty and stuff we love to do is predominantly buy-to-let. We’ve got a very long-term perception of property. We’re going to do this for 30, 40, 50, 60 years. Slow and steady because wealth takes time to build.
  • It is not about how many properties you’ve got. It’s about maintaining and managing them well.
  • The basic freedom that property brings — not necessarily in terms of financial, though that is useful — the time freedom that it can bring is wonderful.

On habits that have helped Robert succeed

  • “If you can continue to improve yourself, then that will inspire you to keep wanting to get better but also inspire those around you.”

Connect with Robert Smallbone:

Books mentioned: