When I started investing property way back in the 1970s I was a little bit lucky that my mum was an investor and helped me get going.
I remember her teaching me some simple formulas to help me quickly work out if I could afford a property or not. Even back then I wanted to control properties and not have to pay too much out of my own pocket to support them, I was always looking for positive cash flow.
As time went on I outstripped my mum’s investments – I had twice as many properties as she did and was definitely in cash flow positive territory, enough that by the time I was 33 I was a millionaire and really didn’t need a job. This is when I found out that I couldn’t really talk to most my friends about my property stuff, i.e. buying blocks of flats was simply too much of them to think about, so to keep my friendships I kept that part of my life to myself.
I found it was really valuable to have other property investors to talk to about different ideas and strategies. Those early years presented challenges with interest rates rocketing up to 21% at one stage – scary for me even though I had positive cash flow positive properties and was used to paying 14 to 17% for my money. It is amazing to think now that I was paying such high interest rates and still making positive cash flow.
I had made some silly mistakes in the 1990s – buying the wrong properties and selling some that I didn't need to. I remember asking a bank manager for his advice as to what I should do in a deal I was in – he said “don't ask me – I'd like you to teach me how to invest in cash flow positive property”!
I realise now that I should have actively searched out an experienced mentor to help me,someone I could engage on a formal basis, who could help with:
Creating a medium and long-term plan that suited me and my life goals – which are pretty much at the time to move to Byron Bay grow veggies and surf! Of course I have realized that goals can change .
Balancing the financing of the properties that I already had or point me in the right direction to make sure that I was on the right track for my long-term financing.
Help with analysing deals and to take the emotion out of them, I'd often bought property because “I liked them” ! Lucky that most of them worked!
Helping to get the right team assembled. For example as I moved in commercial property investment I found a switched on Sydney law firm who charged a lot but saved me a fortune in the long term.
Help and advice when the going gets tough – developing a “safety net” exit plan so that I could sleep at night. For example I remember a experienced property investor tell me that he was always on edge when his renovations were not finished- he felt that this was the most vulnerable time i.e. no cash flow and no product ready to sell or
refinance. I took this on board and really speeded up my renovations that I was doing at the time.
Of course after 33 years of “in the trenches” investing ,starting with residential and now commercial property ,I learned a huge amount – often the hard way. I'm now in a position to be a mentor to investors who feel that that they are ready and need help.
Often I find that it only takes minutes on the phone to save a whole lot of grief or even just to put some “reality thoughts” into someone's mind who may be getting too emotionally involved about a deal.
I recently spent 15 minutes on the phone explaining the auction process to someone who was about to bid on an industrial unit at auction. He called me after the auction extremely excited letting me know that my advice had saved him about $30,000.
A good mentor will work with you – but not do the work for you. The most valuable thing I can do as a property mentor is simply to guide and direct. Any decision should always ultimately be up to the investor .
One thing I have noticed is the amount of mentors promoting themselves ,offering in-house services like finance, legal, accountancy, property sales and management. To my mind these are often just a front for a property sales company and my advice is to steer well clear of them. As it is simply impossible for them to give you unbiased recommendations as to what to do for your own portfolio.
So in summary, if you are already a property investor or just starting out consider a mentor who is experienced in the type of property you are interested in to help you on your path to financial freedom.
If you are interested in learning from me register for me online webinar which will explain what's involved