Welcome to the first of a series of blogs. My marketing gurus have been on me for a while wanting regular blogs for social media purposes and I regularly receive requests from readers for my books, so hopefully, this is a perfect solution for both.
The start of my first book, “How to Buy Unlimited Investment Properties” is below. Each week I will add a new chapter in a series of blogs. I hope that you find it interesting. Of course, if you would like to skip ahead and find out what happens sooner or if you have any questions, I would be happy to hear from you.
Happy reading and good luck on your real estate investment journey.
Have you ever wondered what sort of people attend investment seminars? Are they battlers striving to make ends meet, or middle-class people trying to break into the upper class? Maybe they’re members of the upper class, looking for new ways to get even further ahead. They could be academics searching for a course that will enlighten them as to their ideal vocation—one that pays well but requires no work.
Actually, all these kinds of people attend investment seminars.
It seems that every time you look through a major daily newspaper, there are more and more ads promoting these seminars. Some advocate buying shares, while others urge you into property portfolios. Many say you don’t need to start with money to get rich, that their strategies are suitable for anyone, easy, and low risk.
With more and more courses trying to capture the interest of potential investors, the promises made by ‘no risk’ courses get larger with each new edition of the newspaper. Some offer quick introductory sessions that cost little or nothing and may last only a few hours. Other, more intensive courses can last weeks, and cost the participants tens of thousands of dollars.
Recently, I attended many property investment seminars, not because of the advertisements, but because I was looking for a new career.
The situations vacant section in the paper was running an ad for someone enthusiastic to help clients build property portfolios. “The successful applicant requires no previous experience, and the expected salary in the first year is $130,000, with potential to increase further,” it read.
While the dollar figure excited me, the prospect of working with real estate was appealing in itself. I had worked as an estate agent for six years— far better than “no previous experience”—so I replied to the advertisement and was invited for a job interview.
The position was indeed intended to help people build property portfolios, by showing potential investors how to manipulate the real estate market. A condition of working for this firm was that employees must attend its three-and-a-half-day “Investment Strategy Seminar.” The course cost me the equivalent of three months’ salary, but it promised me I’d recoup the cost of my course two-fold with my first property transaction. I agreed to their terms and started out on my path to make a fortune—so I hoped.
Before joining my new firm, I’d already read numerous books on investment, and sat through a score of seminars on money, motivation, and setting goals. Some of these courses were held in hotels, some in school lecture theatres, and others in large concert halls. The number of participants at these courses ranged from a handful of people, to about two thousand—the largest course I attended.
Regardless of the size of the course or the venue, the majority of these courses were of some benefit to me. Even if the information rehashed something I’d already heard, having it reinforced usually motivated me. Unfortunately, maybe because I lacked drive or enthusiasm, maybe because the information given out at these seminars wasn’t specific enough, I never turned those seminars into a fortune.
As a real estate agent, I’d learned a lot about real estate, but I learned much more by buying and selling my own home. I did this a few times, and each time made a little money, but selling my own houses was more to accommodate my lifestyle and work than to make money. The positive experiences I had in selling my homes helped build my bank balance, but I still needed to live somewhere. So, like many people, I’d use my gains to buy a new, usually larger home.
The problem is, buying a house isn’t cheap. Any money that I’d saved went into buying a bigger home than the last, and that bigger home incurred bigger expenses. The money I had in the bank soon disappeared when the new home, complete with a big new mortgage, came along.
But trading the money in my account for a bigger and better house didn’t exactly distress me. Isn’t this what most people do? Save a bit, buy as expensive a place as they can afford, and then work hard for the next two or three decades paying off the mortgage?
At least I thought I had a good investment that would grow. Twenty-five years later, about the time I was ready to retire, the house would be paid off and I’d own it. I accepted this as a fairly typical financial path. My parents followed it, and so did my friends’ parents, and now my friends and I were on it. If I was lucky and discerning with money, but not necessarily frugal, I could have a comfortable middle-class lifestyle.
Certainly, nothing is wrong or even unattractive about this path. My parents are still married after thirty-three years. Dad had a steady income from the factory he worked at for twenty-five years. They raised two healthy boys and live in a four-bedroom family home in the suburbs. Now in semi-retirement, they enjoy an overseas holiday every couple of years. When I was growing up, I never thought of us as rich, but I certainly never thought we were poor. We were comfortable.
I am not sure if it was just out of curiosity, if I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it, but I wanted to know how and why some people had bigger houses, drove foreign cars, had more holidays, and seemed more comfortable. Maybe after I’d attended enough investment seminars and read enough books, I felt compelled to do something. Or maybe a competitive instinct told me I was as smart as those investment course presenters and could do just as well. Whatever the catalyst, I decided that I wanted to change from the path I was on, to the path taken by people who can afford whatever they want.
The idea behind my new job was to help people build property portfolios that would let them retire with a large passive income and no stress. I had heard that you should only take advice from people who have achieved what you want to achieve. Emulate those people who are where you want to be, I’d heard.
I still hold to this as truth. The problem was that I wasn’t yet where I wanted to be, but I was expected to help other people get there anyway. I might have bought and sold a couple of my own houses, but I wasn’t a property mogul, and had never owned a portfolio of investment properties. So, I decided I’d do better, trying to get rich, by building my own property portfolio than by telling people how to do something I’d never done myself.
I did do it, in the end, and now I can tell you how.