Why Australians should invest in U.S. property

 

Coronavirus (or COVID-19) has had a devastating impact on Australian society. Small businesses are on their knees, companies have slashed jobs, a battle between renters and landlords looms large and essential grocery items have been in short supply. 

In the fragility, many people have come to a stark realisation that it doesn’t take much to unravel business and lose a job. It now seems a daily occurrence to see thousands of people queuing for hours outside of Centrelink to register for unemployment.

This situation is heartbreaking and dire. And it won’t end anytime soon. 

According to the Grattan Institute, up to 26% of Australian workers could be out of work due to COVID-19 and the crisis will have an enduring impact on jobs and the economy for years to come. 

The Australian Government Labour Market Information Portal indicates there were approximately 13 million Australians employed in February 2020. If unemployment rates reach 26% based on that figure, an extra three million people will be looking for work.   

While it might seem insensitive, this circumstance has highlighted that individual financial security needs to be diversified. The age-old concept of ‘not placing all your eggs in one basket’ now has renewed importance. 

Having multiple revenue streams is the only way to ride-out situations like COVID-19.

That is why I believe you must turn your attention to bricks and mortar, but not in Australia. 

The US property market offers Australian investors a strong opportunity to diversify their revenue streams and build wealth and it can be done without a significant cost-outlay. 

Investing in US property 

As evidenced by the graph below, the US residential housing market was worth more than $27 trillion dollars last year and is expected to grow to over $33 trillion within the next 24 months. 

While these figures may be affected by COVID-19, it highlights that the US residential property market in the next two years alone is worth more than the entire property market in Australia.  

I am not suggesting there’s anything wrong with our property market and if you have the resources to invest, it might be your best option. But most people do not. 

The average cost of a two-bedroom apartment in Melbourne, Sydney and now Brisbane has skyrocketed in recent years and it is not uncommon to see prices hit more than $600,000.

That would mean Australians trying to get into the property market would need a deposit in excess of $100,000 not including stamp duty and other associated costs. Investing in our domestic property market adds-up quickly and it would seem for many owning ‘the Australian dream’ is a reality out of reach. 

However, US property prices are much lower than what we experience here and represent a significant opportunity. For example, a three-bedroom family home can be purchased with tenants from a meagre $50,000 US outright. That’s less than a deposit for Australian property and it’s done without the loan and no interest. 

While many outside of the US might view the country as still rebuilding from the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis, nothing could be further from the truth. 

One of the hardest hit areas, Detroit, now offers enormous potential for growth, has a high domestic rental market and affordability of accommodation. This is supplemented by increased levels of government investment and flourishing local industries. 

Other аrеаѕ like Florida, uрѕtаtе Nеw York, Ohio, Tennessee and еvеn Texas and Alаѕkа are primed for investment too. 

While this type of approach does not necessarily address an immediate need of finding an Australian home to live in right now, it does present a viable solution to building financial security. 

How to invest in US property 

There are many ways Australians can invest in the US property market but, as with everything, the results achieved depend on how you go about it. 

Three of the most commons ways to invest in US property are:

Buy property and hold rentals – this is considered a long-term investment strategy with minimal risk. An investor will purchase a house or apartment and hold on to it long term and open up the property for rent. This strategy can earn more than a 10% return in NET passive income. 

Fix and flip – I’m sure you’ve seen this on TV and what happens there (minus the smoke and mirror) can happen for investors. Fix and flip means buying a rundown property, renovating, and then on-selling it for a much higher price to make a profit. This gives an investor great returns and strong equity. 

Buy, Renovate, Rent, Refinance and Repeat (BRRRR) – this is a strategy an investor will go through in order of the investment cycle. First buying, then doing up the property, then renting it out, refinancing for a better deal and doing it all again. This allows investors to get a cash flowing investment and refinance out most of their capital and repeat, leaving a strong cash flow even after finance costs of 4-6% ROI. 

Going beyond the mechanism with which to purchase property, investors need to know how they are going to do it. This is where the process can become more complicated. 

Typically, there are two types of people investing in US property. The first one will be gung-ho and want to do everything from start-to-finish by themselves.  

They think that hard work is all it takes and spend day after day researching growth areas and property evaluations and then jump right in. No system. No strategy. No idea. 

This approach can work but it doesn’t give the best return of investment (ROI) and after time in the game this investor gets burnt out and doesn’t achieve the passive income results wanted. 

The other investor takes a more measured approach and plans what they want to achieve, puts the correct strategy in place to achieve it and is prepared to undergo the ‘training’ required to fully understand US investment and the opportunities it presents. 

It’s no secret who gets more out of their investment. 

Minimising US property investment risk 

Nobody should go into US property investment blind. As with Australian property investment, it presents potential risks that need to be mitigated. 

Currency shifts -can be a boon as much as a risk to your investment. The key to avoid running into strife is to have flexibility when converting funds. Owning a bank account, or trust account (called Escrow account in the US) can help allow funds to be kept in the US, until needed, or you are comfortable with the exchange rate. When the AUD is low, this can mean the price of the properties is higher, but of course, also means your rental returns are greater. Alternatively, the reverse allows for cheaper entry rates on purchase but reduces the equivalent AUD of your rental yield.

It is always pertinent to look at the yield as a percentage of the value, rather than actual dollar value, which even during large currency shifts, will remain constant.  Specialised Foreign Exchange companies often have much better rates when exchanging money than banks generally do and can save thousands on transfers if done right.

Insurances – like in Australia, insurances are critical for your investment. Ensuring your investment property is covered for damage, flood, theft, fire, and storm is a minimum, but going further is also an option. Tenant and rental insurance are also available to cover damage caused by tenants, even loss of rent if the tenant leaves, or does not pay.

Property management – is a vital part of your investment strategy. Choosing the wrong one, can cause a significant heartache especially when they are based overseas. It is not uncommon for an investor to spend hours on due diligence of a property, only to hand over the keys to the first property manager they meet. 

You should always seek out the services of more than one property manager and subject all to a rigorous interview process. Chances are you won’t get the option to meet face-to-face but online video programs can be used to conduct interviews. 

Spend as much time developing your property manager, as you do researching your property, and you will certainly massively increase your success rate, and mitigate risks.

COVID-19 has delivered us a new reality and what many thought was secure, is now not. 

Australians are fighters by nature, and we will bounce back but it will take time and won’t be without a few more battle scars along the way. 

But as unemployment lines continue to grow – up to as much as 600,000 – and as more companies go the way of Virgin Airlines, now more than ever is the time to start looking at ways to diversify your revenue streams to financially safeguard your future as much as possible. 

There’s safety in bricks and mortar and ROI opportunities in the US property market. 

This article we wrote first appeared in Your Investment Property

If you want to learn a little more about the market, why not download our e-book “7 Simple Secrets to Investing in U.S. Property” here.

The Aliens are coming… Or are they here?

G’day all

Well, its Friday again, and marks the end of what has been a tragic week for mankind…

I must say, this past couple of weeks, I have been ashamed of humanity, disgusted by the actions of not only the few, but of the many, not only in the U.S. but here in Australia too. 

What happened in the U.S. to George Floyd was a tragedy no doubt.  The fact that there had to be protests before the officers involved where brought to justice was just dumbfounding.

That this is just another event in a string of cases in the U.S and STILL people are not seeing the evil in this, is again, mind blowing… Almost surreal.

And then, I get the protests across the country, but the looting, stealing, vandalism?  Burning down businesses that have been barely surviving during this crisis anyway?  What the…

How does smashing shop windows to steal televisions help George Floyd’s family or any other individual that could suffer the same at the hand of police brutality?

And then, after all that, there is the Joker card – Trump.  Wow.  Just wow…

At a time of national upheaval in America, Trumps answer, rather than try to unite the country, is to threaten to bring in the U.S. Military…  The single force that was put in place and designed to PROTECT the United States from foreign adversity and uphold a constitution that explicitly protects the rights of citizens to peacefully protest.

Even the former Defence Secretary, Jim Mattis has had to finally break his silence and denounce the militarisation of the U.S. response to the unrest by saying “Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime that does not try to unite the American people – does not even pretend to try.” 

He even drew a comparison to the U.S. war against Nazi Germany saying that the U.S. troops at the time where reminded before the Normandy invasion that “the Nazi slogan for destroying us was Divide and Conquer

Is this really what Trump is thinking?  Divide and conquer the American people?  This just cannot be happening…  I cannot help but think he is an alien put here to begin some form of takeover by turning us against ourselves…

And yet, even here in Melbourne, there is planned a protest for the Black Lives Matter cause, which of course they do… as do ALL lives.  But really, after Australia having done so well to stop the spread of COVID-19 in this country, they are predicting some 30,000 people think it is a safe and sound idea to break all social distancing rules and laws?

In a year where we even had to give up our own ANZAC day marches and services due to the virus; we had to find other ways of show support for the thousands of men and women in this country that fought in wars to give us the freedom we have now – we cannot seem to think it maybe pertinent to also find a safer way right now to show support for the Black Lives Matter cause?

We are facing one of the most significant economic downturns in our lifetime, and just as we look to be possibly able to move past it, around 30,000 Victorians are going to gather on the steps of parliament and walk down Bourke street…

If even a couple of hundred people contract Coronavirus from this, it could set our state and possibly our country back months…

Months that many small, medium and even large businesses in the country do not have.

I am certainly not down playing the cause, I completely understand that support is needed right now, but if even 1 person dies from COVID-19 due to this rally; if even 1 business owner goes bankrupt due to increased lockdown rules and takes his/her own life after this rally… is that acceptable?

In an age where I really believed we were moving into the era of intuition, where more and more of humanity were becoming increasingly aware and conscious of the world around us, we look to set ourselves back decades in just a few short weeks.

Ah, but as the sun streams in my window, and I look across the marina at a beautiful Melbourne winters day, not a cloud in the sky, I am reminded there is always hope for humanity.  Hope is what keeps us moving forward, even in the darkest of hours…

Hope and faith – knowing that this too will pass, and better days are coming.

I am, though, going to keep my eye to the sky for any sign of UFO activity, because that is what must be next this year… right?

You got this!

Happy Investing all and have a great weekend!!

The second wave…

G’day all

Happy Friday everyone, hope you have all had a great week!

And that brings us to the end of May, and what looks like the end of most of the lockdown restrictions in Australia as business and the economy slowly starts to move again over the next month or so…

Its good to see things reopening, or at least plans being made to do so – kind of like that light at the end of the tunnel… at least now we can see it getting closer.

The U.S. is in a similar place, albeit nowhere near as successful at curbing the spread of the virus.  Being such a consumerism society, I feel they have little choice but to start lightening restrictions, regardless of the cases, pretty much a lose / lose situation.  Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.  I do feel that this is not going to reflect well on President Trump’s chances for re-election, so be prepared to see some fancy footwork from the “Pres” now as he tries to recover and divert attention away from the crisis.  Look out China…

On that note, there are already some interesting economic data coming in from the US and AU showing quick recovery of housing prices, good auction clearance rates and lower than expected unemployment levels.

I would, however, suggest that the statistics and data we are seeing right now, is not indicative of actual…

First and foremost, for unemployment figures to be accurate, it requires all those “not employed” to register as such for benefits.  There are a significant number of people whose employers would be paying Jobkeeper in AU and therefore not need to register as unemployed.  Our figure came in last month around 6.9%, up from mid 5’s before the crisis, but the real number is probably around 15%

Same in the US.  What will really matter is come September / October, when the stimulus starts to wane, how many jobs are gone, and how many businesses close. 

I believe we are likely to see a “second Wave” but not in virus cases, in business and job losses.  I also fear that this 2nd wave will be harsh, the initial wave being artificially supported by stimulus packages.  Once these are gone, those that are on a knifes edge will crumble.  This is where we will see the real impact.

From a housing perspective, for there to be a drop in house prices or market, there needs to be transactions.  The volume of transactions in the US particularly, since March, has completely dropped off a cliff.  What this will do is as things start to reopen now, demand will return for housing quickly, but with no properties being listed for the past few months, it will take some time for supply to catch up.

So, what do you get if demand is outstripping supply, even for a short time? Growth…  But again, I feel this is artificial.  The supply of inventory will return and the demand as time goes on will ebb, leaving a gap.  Again, how big a gap will depend on that ‘real’ unemployment number in the months to come after the stimulus has gone.

This could almost be the property markets version of a ‘bear trap’ – a term used in stock and commodity markets representing a small rise in pricing, enough to get the average investor thinking prices are rising so they buy… and bang! Prices plummet…

I don’t believe it is as pronounced as this in property, but I would be hesitant paying too much for properties right now.  I still would hold firm to my low offers and sit tight, you will start getting deals accepted sooner or later.

Stick to your guns and your investment strategies and watch for that second wave… There will be some great opportunities coming…

You got this!

Happy Investing all and have a great weekend!!

An Amazing time to Grow!

G’day all

Happy Friday everyone! With some beautiful May days here in Melbourne over the past week or so, there has never been a better time to be alive!

And I mean it…

We have certainly had our share of challenges this year already, not trying to play that down, but as I mentioned last week, diamonds are not born out of comfort…they are created from pressure!

This is giving us the opportunity to grow, to develop.  I have seen so much more patience from the impatient, courtesy from the in-courteous, consideration from the inconsiderate that ever before…

We are supporting each other, helping each other, have more time for each other, yet isolated and distancing.  Amazing how life sometimes needs to give us a shove for us to learn…

Even now, more challenges are coming, and China is mad at us…

And i get why, no one likes having people go through their closet…

They are slapping tariffs on our barley exports and wanting a ban on beef exports. And that’s just getting started.

This could simply be because of the call to an inquiry into the COVID pandemic, or something deeper, our push back against Huawei and the 5G roll out…

But in reality, it is simply because Australia had to take sides and we have sided with China’s bully…

The relationship between the US and China inevitably reached a place where it was destined – rivalry. The Chinese and American political models are simply incompatible with each other. As China’s economic and political power grew, it was inevitable that they would start butting heads with America eventually.  And, the Trump administration is certainly not backing down now from the plate…

And now that we have all stopped pretending that we’re not involved and have our head in the sand, it’s time for us to pick sides.

For many years, Australia has tried to have its cake and eat it too.  We have wanted access to China’s markets, while turning a blind eye to the CCP’s authoritarian nature.

But we cannot continue to do that, it’s time to pick a side.

And maybe our pride stings at that – that we can’t stand on our own two feet and choose our own friends.  We are a tiny nation with a tiny military, we don’t get that luxury.  We live on the graces of one empire or another.  

In the past it was England and so it looks like now we’re siding with the American empire.

I’m cool with that. And not because I think the US is any more noble or righteous than China – far from it – but our values simply align with American political values – as flawed as their democracy and capitalism is – more than they do with China’s.

But of course, after having made our intentions clear, now China is testing our resolve.

But that’s cool too.  Again, I think it is a relationship we needed to test…  We have been far too reliant in this country on China and need a reason to stand on our own two feet again (even if leaning on Big Brother America)

We are a commodity exporter and trade is fluid.  Even if China starts buying barley from someone else, we will simply sell ours to whomever that someone else was selling to…

Global demand doesn’t change, all you get is ‘trade substitution’.

And in that sense, even though we have let our economy become crazily dependent on China in recent years, China needs us more than we need them.

So, I’m cool.  We have picked sides, and I think we made the appropriate choice.

More retaliation is coming, but we’ll be fine, and we will learn and grow.  I’m confident in this.  Let’s enjoy this time and sunshine while we have it 🙂

And in the meantime, let’s buy Australian!

You got this!

Happy Investing all and have a great weekend!!

Two investment properties within nine months for Star Dynamic client

Building a property portfolio that generates passive income seems like utopia and only available to the chosen few.   

But with some understanding, guidance, and willingness to pursue new opportunities, it can be done. 

And that is what a recent Star Dynamic client did. 

As a business consultant, Katie Potter understands the importance and value of strong financial practises to future-proof the organisations she works with. 

Having been on the frontline of consulting companies for the last 7 years, seeing some prosper and others fail was a catalyst for Katie to turn her attention towards securing her own personal financial future. 

Investing in our domestic property market has long been heralded as the “Australian dream” but for Katie, it was more of a nightmare. 

“Initially, I thought my best chance to get into the property market was to buy a house. I looked Melbourne-wide, but the prices were too high for what you got in return. I’d always ask for a better deal and see what modifications were needed to these homes.” 

Through trial and error, it became clear that Katie wasn’t searching for her future home but instead an investment opportunity. 

“I realised I was an investor and the property I needed wasn’t for living in but to build wealth and help create the future I wanted for myself.” 

With this knowledge and renewed confidence in finding a property, Katie started looking beyond our shores to invest. 

International investment opportunities   

A simple Google search for “international property investment” results in a plethora of options. There are options to do it yourself, let others do it for you, weekend information seminars, blogs, podcasts and news articles. 

It’s a flooded market and Katie, with her analytical brain, spent hours trawling this information to identify a way forward. 

She discovered an opportunity to buy property in New Zealand and quickly pulled together the resources to do so and purchased her first investment property. But with the benefit of hindsight, Katie admits it was a dangerous move. 

“I did okay out of this experience but being new to the process, it could have been a risk too. I needed to be more informed about what I was doing and the potential ramifications of investing overseas.” 

Many courses ‘sell’ the dream of property investment but fail to educate students about the research and hard work required to do it correctly. 

Fortunately, Katie survived, and this experience only sharpened her resolve to intelligently invest overseas again. 

While researching high-growth areas of the United Kingdom (UK) property market, Katie found a much more appealing option outside of the mother country.  

After realising a three-to-four bedroom home can be purchased outright for less than the cost of a deposit in Australia, Katie was convinced she needed to invest in the United States (US). 

Investing in the $27 trillion dollar US residential housing market

Over time, Katie has built a support network of investors to help each other navigate their property investment journey. When she told them of her decision to focus on the US residential market, a UK investor friend told her to speak with Star Dynamic Property Investments. 

Katie did her due diligence and contacted several US property investors, but only one bothered to get back to her. 

“Lindsay from Star Dynamic had a genuine interest in me and didn’t push his services. Our first phone call was about me sussing him out. I had direct questions for him and he had accurate answers every time. It was reassuring to hear that Lindsay has a team of professionals on the ground in the US who work with him to find properties that return on the investment made,”

“But I told Lindsay I wasn’t ready right then and he was fine with it. In fact, he told me I could speak with him whenever I needed to run ideas past him. He didn’t have an agenda and I appreciated that.”

After about four months and a few further conversations with Lindsay, Katie was ready to ramp-up her US property investment and engaged Star Dynamic to help educate, support and work with her to secure financial freedom. 

This engagement initially started with Star Dynamic’s Fix and Flip Academy and the Investors Inner Circle. 

The Fix and Flip Academy is a ‘do it yourself’ online system that coaches you on how to set up, source, renovate, tenant and if needed sell US property.  

The Investors Inner Circle gives you access to Star Dynamic’s on the ground US-team to help manage your projects, access off-market deals before they hit the market, negotiate strategies to save you thousands and help build strategies that boost returns on property sales. 

For the first few months, Katie committed to learning about the US residential property market as a way to safeguard her future and escape the daily grind of fighting for money. 

Once Katie’s momentum built, nothing was going to stop her. 

“I followed the coaching of Lindsay and his team and within three weeks, I was able to put in an offer for a great property in Michigan for $15,000 USD below the asking price and I was successful.”

Katie was so excited and brimming with confidence that it wasn’t long before she went again. With her first property completed, renovated and ready for tenants, she purchased her second property. 

It’s two great results within nine months. 

How to invest in the US property market 

The US residential property market represents a major opportunity for Australian investors, as Katie’s story highlights. 

Investing in property in Australia is daunting enough and adding in an intentional market with foreign rules and regulations is a whole new ball game.  

But with the right help and guidance, you can be the next success story. The best time to start learning about US property investment is now and the best place is our Fix and Flip Academy. 

The Fix and Flip Academy is an online training program that steps you through the entire process of fixing and flipping property in the US. It’s an eight-part module of everything we’ve learnt from flipping more than 100 properties ourselves (and several more for our clients). 

Applying what you’ve learned after the eight modules will enable you to earn good profits and build your wealth through bricks and mortar. 

To learn how to get started investing in the $27 trillion dollar US residential property market, join our 5-day Facebook challenge. 

Each day you’ll be tasked with completing a 20-30 minute challenge and coached through how to do it. We focus on topics like determining a solid investment strategy, how to identify locations to invest in, how to choose a supportive team to help you, how to analyse a property’s potential and then how to bring it all together in a guide you can use moving forward. 

“For me it’s simple. Without Star Dynamic I wouldn’t have any properties in the US. Lindsay went above and beyond to ensure my property deals went smoothly. I can’t thank him enough for that,” said Katie. 

If you see the opportunity that the US property markets presents, sign up to our 5 Day Facebook Challenge

Leadership during Crisis

G’day all

May is moving like a steam train!  I don’t know if it is just me, or is everyone feeling the weeks are flying by, even though we are still mostly cooped up inside? 

Our recent foray into “relaxed restrictions’ appears to be not much more than comfort for some, allowing a small ‘backyard barbie’ but generally doing nothing for the economy…

Anyway, I digress…

I do however, want to chat about a very important topic today – Leadership.

“Leaders aren’t voted upon in the barracks. They emerge in the battlefield.”

I have heard that line a few times, no idea who said it, but it really resonated with me and the current crisis is really showing up the leadership, or lack thereof, not only of our countries, but throughout the world.

What is stunning in this crisis is the lack of leadership in general.  Even the W.H.O, who you would expect to take the global lead on dealing with pandemics, appears to be a farcical organization, a glorified Chinese propaganda body.

From a US standpoint, Trump has said at the start of his presidency that the US would not be anymore the world police. This crisis shows what it meant. There is no co-ordination at inter-government level. Trump thinks only about the US and openly refutes almost unrefusable facts. 

Europe is fighting within itself. The EU is in complete disarray. There is distrust and even pure venom between members.  This is a classic example of the ‘nation state’ arising, with each country essential fighting on its own, almost to the detriment of others, for survival.  Really the EU needs to reform or risk dying altogether.

What is most surprising is that even Chinese President Xi has disappeared. Apart from token help to other countries and threats to Australia if we do not give up our investigation into the virus, he seems to be just in hiding.  For the country that unleashed the virus on the world, this seems extremely poor form. 

The only distinguished leader we have seen step up to the plate is New Zealand PM, Jacinta Ardern, with a unique combination of empathy and science.

With the pandemic end in sight, there are already signs of diplomatic rifts between US & China, Europe & China and even Australia is walking a fine line, for now.

Here in Oz, ScoMo has done a reasonable job recently, but has, this past 3-4 months, shown a lack of leadership ability, throughout Australia’s series of crisis (Fires, floods and now disease)

Our stimulus package, unlike the US & most other countries from China to New Zealand and even European nations, are stimulating the economy and bailing out industries in crisis.  Meanwhile ours was little more than a thin lifeline to SME’s, essentially being told to “stick it out” until the end of the COVID crisis.  Issue here is that essentially this has forced our non-subsidized industries to try and compete with subsidized industry at a global level.

The Government has allowed Virgin to go into administration, while New Zealand, USA, China are bailing out their airlines.  There has been little support to the individual (apart seniors) and some sort of support for medium to small business.  Homeowners can have a reprieve to loan repayments (but interest rates are still applicable).

And as I mentioned in previous blog, the latest foray for the AUS Government is to develop a ‘big brother’ tracking app, which I feel is unnecessary unless we are going to track Influenza as well this winter?

It is during crisis that true leadership is born, like a phoenix rising from the ashes.  Chaos, uncertainty, pain, and trial – those are the breeding grounds for leaders to step forth into the sun and lead their team to victory.  With very few examples, I do not believe we are seeing this at a global level.

So, I feel it is up to us.  We need to take the reins and at least lead from our level.  Whilst we may not be able to influence governments or economies (individually at least) we can ensure to grow and make the most we can from opportunity.

We can sit around complaining about the economy falling apart, or that we just lost our job; Or that the government isn’t putting enough free money in our bank account…

OR – we could become the leader. The leader that deep down you knew you were born to be.  This is a massive opportunity for you to transform. I mean, think about it…

Coal isn’t turned into a diamond by curling up with a blanket & Netflix.  It needs tremendous pressure.

 So, ask yourself every single day: Am I becoming the kind of leader that my team, my family, my co-workers, my employees, my supervisor, my spouse, my kids, need?

And if the answer is no, it’s time to step up. This is your moment. It’s time to prepare for battle.

Ten years from now, you’re either going to look back and say, “Wow, I wasted that recession playing the victim.” Or you’re going to look back and say, “Thank God, for that opportunity. I’m glad I stepped up.”

You got this!

Happy Investing all and have a great weekend!!

Check in on your Mate…

G’day mate!

Welcome to our 2nd Australia day for the year! Or as we locals like to call it… Ma-ate Day! 🙂

Ha ha! Bit of fun anyway.

I love the first week of May. Not only is it my wedding anniversary (Happy Anniversary Sweetheart!) but as an Aussie nerd at heart, we have Star Wars day (May the 4th – be with you!) and our Aussie Ma-ate Day!

It has become a bit of a tradition here, on May 8th, to check up on your mate, make sure they are OK and I think now, more than ever this would be a great time to reach out.

This social distancing, while it does not seem to have effected social media at all, has kept us all apart, and even this weekend is Mothers Day here in Australia, and at the time of writing this, we are still unsure if we will be able to visit our Mothers on Sunday or not…

But, either way, with the wonders of modern technology now, there has never been a better time to reach out with a Zoom call, Facetime, Skype, whatever your poison, and say hi to a mate. See how they really are…

Often in passing us guys might say we are fine, but deep down, they are not. I have been talking to a lot of women this past week, who even admitted they are barely holding it all together, with work, home schooling, family, etc so really listen and hear them.

There are so many opportunities with technology these days, that even after this passes, i think we have found new ways to implement technology to save us time, and connect with people all the more.

Next week, my wife has arranged a ‘virtual wine tasting’ with a lot of friends and family with the aid of a fantastic Hunter Valley winery – 1813 (look them up, their wines are to die for!)

No longer will I travel 1-2 hours each way to sit in a waiting room for a 30 minute meeting anymore, the amount of time the proper utilisation of this software can save us is amazing.

It does make it harder and harder, with such efficient methods now, of finding excuses to say we are ‘too busy’ to start planning our future…

If not today, then when?

So come on, start making sure you are planning your future. And touch base with that mate of yours, make sure he/she is really OK.

You got this!

Happy Investing all and have a great weekend!!

US Stimulus, Tracking Apps, and China…

G’day all!

As another month slides away, here in Australia, our Anzac Day has come and gone, and an ‘unusual affair’ this year… No dawn services could be attended, no march to the memorials.  The Last Post playing through people’s radio’s and telly’s at 6:00am as some of us stood in our driveways or back yards…

I am confident that this will not be the last curve ball thrown at us this year due to the pandemic, but we are a resilient lot, rolling with the punches in general.

With some light at the end of the tunnel here in Australia, some states are starting to plan release of restrictions, with Australia and New Zealand as a whole, showing very low infection and mortality rates compared to a number of other countries.

The US however, are seeing very high rates, but still are looking to also release some restrictions in some states.  Generally, their political landscape is different, very state based, so as much as Donald would like to control it, the Governors of each state will do what they like anyway

Without being a conspiracy theorist though, I also believe that the ‘Big Oil’ companies will be lobbying HARD to congress to have the lockdown released so as to increase the demand for oil again.  These huge companies will be losing Billions of dollars a day with the oil price plummeting due to no demand. And volume levels are quickly exceeding storage capacities.

There is a real dichotomy within the US markets currently, with unemployment numbers at almost Great Depression levels, markets are still rising.  This could be due primarily to the size of the stimulus that the US is getting…

Examples are that most on unemployment are now receiving benefits exceeding their normal pay… Airlines have been given free grants and have been saved.

One major concern is that when the Coronavirus ends, the US will begin search for a culprit (in fact this has started already) and it has already the guilty actor, China.

The current pandemic to date, has costed the US more lives than Pearl Harbour and 9/11 put together. We all know how the other two ended; Pearl Harbor was the justification for the US entry into WWII; the events of 9/11 provoked the Iraq war, mayhaps on false pretences (weapon of mass destruction) – so a case could be built on correct premises – a virus lab in Wuhan. China may soon be named the new empire of evil, like USSR back in the 80’s under Reagan…

I feel Trump will also be doing everything in his power to get re-elected and his “China Bashing” will worsen.  Australia will be lucky if we do not get caught up in the fallout of this, being so heavily trade centric with China, and we would do well to use this opportunity to being unravelling this dependence. 

Freydenberg has already received pressure from China to “abandon” the investigation into the pandemic, interested to see how this plays out

Meantime, the AU government has release its tracking App this week.  Once again, I think that Mr Morrison needs to look at his advisors – using the terms ‘government’, ‘tracking’, and ‘app’ in the same sentence is always fraught with danger.

I am nervous though, as our government does not have a great track record on data security either, but I am curious to see how it goes.

In any case, these are strange times indeed.  I’m off to get another bowl of popcorn and watch all this unfold…

You got this!

Happy Investing all and have a great weekend!!

How to Find a good Property Manager – 6 Qualities You Should Look For:

1. Look for Experience

Experience is a big plus in many industries, but it’s crucial in property management.

After all, you’re entrusting your property in someone else’s hands.  When you’re handing over investment as big as a rental property, you want to make sure they know what to do and have done it successfully before.

When evaluating a manager’s experience, don’t just look at how many years they’ve been in the industry. (There are plenty of PM’s who’ve been in the industry a long time with low success rates.)

Instead, you should also consider their experience in:

  • Getting proper returns for their clients
  • Handling properties similar to yours
  • Dealing with tenant issues
  • Finding tenants during dry markets

By considering their experience in areas like these, you can evaluate how good they really are.

2. People Skills

Property management is, ultimately, a people business.

Not only will your manager deal with you and your tenants, but they’ll also need to work with third-party suppliers, regulatory bodies, contractors, maintenance crews, utility companies and more…

The better their people skills are, the better they will be at managing your property.

This is often something you need to evaluate when you ‘meet’ them. 

It is always a good idea when ‘interviewing’ prospective Property managers, to use a visual method of discussion (Zoom, Skype, Facetime etc).

Observe how they deal and communicate with you, how they make you feel, and this will give you an indication of how well they work with other people.

Your property manager should also excel in negotiation and managing complaints because these will be vital in dealing with different types of tenants over the lifetime of your rental property.

3. Expertise in the Industry

As Property management is complicated and certainly not a highly regulated industry, you want to make sure you’re working with managers who know all the processes and methods for ‘getting things’ done. 

You want a go-getter!

Assess their industry expertise and determine how much they know about what rules there are and requirements for managing your type of property. 

Are they experienced in residential?  Do they have Multi-family property expertise? etc.  What is unique to your situation, and have they expertise in handling it?

The more knowledgeable they are, the smoother your life as a property investor will likely be.

Remember that an expert manager can also help you avoid fines and penalties etc from the City or County, so you want someone who knows exactly what they’re doing.

4. Solid Organisational skills

Property management is a juggling act that requires amazing organisation, scheduling, and time management skills.

Being able to set priority, knowing what is most important is critical (notice I did not say URGENT.  The biggest mistake that any manager can make is confusing urgent with important…)

If your PM (Property Manager) isn’t organised and detail-oriented, then you could end up with unsatisfied tenants, property damage, maintenance issues and possibly even costly fines.

It is critical to evaluate their organisational skills by learning about their procedures for key aspects of property management like rent collection, tenant screening, maintenance scheduling, and addressing tenant issues.

What structures they have in place, how they deal with these crucial tasks will give you a great insight into how well structured they are as a business.

This will also give you a better idea of how organised they are and how well they can manage different aspects of your property.

5. Good Communication skills

How easy is it to get a hold of your property manager?

Do they respond quickly to your inquiries?

Do they answer your questions clearly and honestly?

These are questions you need to ask yourself when choosing a PM to work with.  You need to be doubly sure they understand you are not local and the best way for you to contact them and vice versa.

There’s nothing more frustrating than not knowing how your property is doing because your manager isn’t getting back to you or giving you the information you need.

Save yourself the headaches by choosing a manager who values open communication and tells it like it is.

With your investment halfway across the world, this is almost the most important criteria.  You need to be kept in the loop with what’s happening, even an email just to stay there is nothing to update you on, is a welcome sight to a lot of foreign investors.

Online portals can also be a good way of getting communication or information when you need it at your fingertips…

6. A Good Reputation

Word travels fast in any industry, particularly the real estate industry, so if a Property Manager isn’t good, you’ll probably here about it.

Conversely, if they’re great, then they’ll probably come highly recommended.

If you’re looking for a new manager for your property, it’s always worth asking around to see who fellow property investors recommend.

You need to ensure to check their online reviews and client testimonials (if any) to understand what their clients think about them.

Get referrals from the company and reach out and contact these clients and make sure they ARE happy with the company’s performance. Particularly their communication, responsiveness and expertise.

This will help you evaluate whether they live up to their reputation.

Keep in mind that some newer PM’s may still be building their reputation, so you may need to do some in-depth research for this.  But, you would need some form of referral to use a new Property Manager. As a foreign investor, it is risky to use a new company without a proven track record.

Nonetheless, you’ll get a better idea of what they’re like by seeing what other people are saying about them.

Did we all take the Blue Pill?

G’day all

Happy Friday and I hope you are all coping in this unsettling times.  Looks like things here in AU are starting to settle which is great to see, and maybe, just maybe, the media will be FORCED to start giving us some good news for a change… 

Here’s to hoping… Maybe can start to visit our cousins across the ‘ditch’ at least hey ☺

But today, I would like to revisit a theme I started last week, kinda unintentionally…

Now, I probably am also dating myself here and possibly a lot of my readers might not even have a clue what I am on about… but here we go…

Remember the old 90’s movie The Matrix?  One of my fav’s I will admit!  Movie will be 21 years old this year…happy birthday to you… but I digress…

Written and directed by Lana and Lilly Wachowski (aka The Wachowski Brothers) and produced by Joel Silver, the film was released on March 31, 1999, grossing over $460 million worldwide. It won 4 Academy Awards (as well as others) and is a staple on any sci-fi ‘greatest hits list.’

Now, while the special effects were impressive at the time, what really stands out about the film, even after 21 years, is the lingering suspicion that we’re being controlled by a force…whether a ‘Big Brother’ or HAL or robots… 

And, perhaps more frightening, that most of us would prefer to live in blissful ignorance rather than face the truth of living in a harsh world where we struggle to survive…

Hopefully you remember the plot: Thomas Anderson, a computer programmer by day and hacker called Neo by night, is recruited to join the “real world” by Morpheus, leader of the human resistance against their AI overlords. 

He gives Neo the choice to take a red pill and become part of the resistance or take the blue pill and forget he ever knew there was a real world out there so he can re-join the rest of humanity in serving as an organic power source for the machines.

Neither choice is all that great, especially when the real world involves living on a bedraggled ship, eating gruel, and being chased by “agents” who are out to obliterate the resistance before it can free more minds from the Matrix. 

Neo, of course, takes the red pill and (spoiler alert) becomes the hero.

In general, I believe the film was designed to make us think about free will, fate, the depths of oppression, and the power (and pain) of knowledge.

But this got me to thinking…

What is an authentic life?

Now, we might not have some massive AI all holding us hostage and feeding off our brainwaves (right?  We don’t right…?), BUT, are we holding ourselves hostage?

Is the ‘Big Brother” really ourselves?

Right now in these unsettling times, there are 1001 conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 pandemic – some quite amusing to read.  But I guess these sort of crisis’ can get us to thinking “Is there more to this?”

What if it is our own mind, our own limitations that we put on ourselves holding us prisoner?  The lies we tell ourselves, the stories or ‘movie’ we show ourselves again, and again, as to what we are actually capable of…

What if the truth was actually something very different…so much more?

Are we settling for a life because it is comfortable, never trying to attempt anything ‘outside the box’ because we tell ourselves it’s not possible? Or more importantly, society & the media telling us we are not worthy…

Constantly (often unconsciously) taking that blue pill and going back to our blissful ‘norm’ coma…

Like Cypher in the movie, some of us may even try a red pill, fight for a number of days/weeks/months, even years to see what’s possible, fail and reach back for that blue pill driven solace – settling back to what’s comfortable, what’s easy…

How many have actually taken the red pill, fought for their independence, their freedom whether it be financial, emotional, spiritual or physical?

Who wants to be the Neo’s of the world and fight to win their right to choose, their right for freedom?

Or more importantly, the Morpheus’ who help others wake up to what’s possible, and provide the red pill and the help & support to win…

Our world needs more Neo’s and Morpheus’ so why no choose team red?  

Rise up with me and let’s see what difference we can make.

You got this!

Happy Investing all and have a great weekend!!