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Peter Churchouse's Real Estate Rule #4: Save a Fortune With A Conversation

Posted: Sep 24 2014Last Updated: Jan 25 2016

Peter Churchouse is the founder of Portwood Capital, a leading real estate investment company. With more than three decades of experience in real estate investment and research he is widely considered one of the world’s foremost authorities on Asian real estate markets. He is also author of The Churchouse Letter, his financial newsletter which provides investment and wealth building strategies. In this 8-part series, he highlights key rules he feels investors should follow when purchasing real estate.This is Part 2 of the series. 

Whenever you’re looking to buy property, you have to take the time to ask friends, colleagues and acquaintances for their thoughts. Why? 

People love to talk property.

What do they see happening in their neighborhood or city? What are their experiences, impressions, and knowledge? It never ceases to amaze me how two subjects constantly dominate dinner party conversation - airline experiences, and property markets.

And because people constantly talk property, most people have a wealth of second-hand knowledge they’ve accumulated. Maybe a friend mentioned how noisy their old apartment was. Maybe a colleague raved about the new house he’s just rented because lots of great restaurants are opening up. 

I lived in London for a number of years, and I have owned property there for a long time. I know the city pretty well. I certainly don’t know it all. Whenever I’m looking at potential investments there, I always contact a few people I know can give me an informed, un-biased opinion.

The cost of a phone call or a cup of coffee can be one of the best investments you ever make. Always, always ask for opinions…. Chances are you’ll receive plenty!


Recently I was doing the rounds of Central London residential property and visited a development. It was in a favoured, well sought after area of central London. The apartments were big, and seemed well priced for that district.

I called up a friend of mine who works in town planning…

Straight away she pointed out that a very large infrastructure scheme was about to begin construction, right next to this development.  It would clearly be disruptive, noisy, unsightly, dirty, and persist for several years. I’d need to discount the rent to get it occupied. She also pointed out that the low rise buildings in front of the property were slated to be redeveloped into high rise blocks. This would obliterate the lovely views of the Thames that my potential purchase now enjoys. Not surprisingly, the Agent failed to mention any of this…

This property quickly left my potential buy list.

That one (free!) conversation potentially saved me a lot of money. I have had many, many like it over the years. And I always share my knowledge with those who have asked my opinion.

This rule may only be a page long, but in all my experience, it is one of the most important. It’s saved me more time, energy, hassle and money than anything else… 

This concludes Part 2 of the series. I know that if you make an effort to follow even a couple of the rules that I outline in this series, you will be in a better position to successfully invest in property. If you have any questions or comments, I’d love to hear from you. You’ll find my details here



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