Unlike most investment partnerships, Harris and Bateman started off as individually successful investors before joining forces to share their wealth of knowledge at their partnership business: The Property Mentors. Despite coming from two entirely different backgrounds and experiences, Harris and Bateman were able to work together seamlessly on their mentoring property investment company.
Listen to this episode of Property Investory where the two investors share the ups and downs of their own property journeys, their previous experiences in business building, and why they believe that planning is the most essential step to finding success in property investment.
Having started his property journey in his early 20s, Harris has a considerable amount of experience in the industry and hopes to share them with the members of his business, The Property Mentors.
Hi, I’m Luke Harris, the CEO of the Property Mentors. I've been investing for about 20 years in business for my whole working life basically.
And I started investing in residential property in Western Australia and built a successful property portfolio during my 20s and have done multiple developments and renovations and subdivisions over the years and really I'm passionate about everything property-related and my role here at The Property Mentors is to help lead and guide the team to help our investors and our members to get better results. Working with a team of experienced property mentors rather than going out there and doing things on their own.
Bateman, on the other hand, started his property journey only after securing profits from his chiropractor business.
My name is Matthew Batman. I'm the co-founder of The Property Mentors and my journey is a little bit different to Luke’s in I came into property probably after a series of investment mistakes. So my background is I graduated as a chiropractor, set up health and wellness businesses back in the early 2000s and then as I was going through that making money and profits from those businesses, I started to do some investing and unfortunately, you know basically threw a lot of money away chasing investments it didn't I didn't understand and wasn't educated again and lost both money and time. So I got to a point where I actually sit down and say hang on let's rework this because it's not working the way it is and so I've made a decision to, really simple decision that some people might relate to, was to take profits from my business and then reinvest them into growth assets.
My growth asset of choice became property and then I went out and successfully built a multimillion-dollar portfolio over, I’ve been investing in property for over 20 years so definitely not an overnight success. Property is one of those vehicles that if done well can provide really good long term benefits and like Luke along the way done a whole bunch of things from investing in off the plan apartments townhouses house and land packages I've gone and done multiple renovations, small scale subdivisions and now with Luke, we're controlling over 150 million dollars worth of developments around Australia.
Every day is different for Harris and Bateman as they work on different investment projects with different people.
Any given day, we've got a team of mentors here so I'm often involved in the day to day mentoring and helping them to assist our members to get better results. So there's a lot of workshops that goes on behind the scenes around how to structure people's portfolios and how they can get the best outcome. At the same time obviously Matt and I are developing property around the country so I'm actively involved in a lot of the behind the scenes work with anything from dealing with builders to interior designers, councils, lawyers and so on a day to day basis there's a lot of work involved with all of those people and of course with banks and vendors and there's a lot of activity on that side of things. So really no two days are the same with what Matt and I do.
Their days revolve around communicating with their members and researching for future projects.
So again there is no typical day because they're all different but I guess my main roles in the business are relating to our educational platform. So I'm always doing a lot of research and I'm looking at ways to bring I guess a higher level of education to all of our members.
And in addition to that obviously doing a lot of work on future projects you know research I travel all around the country doing both live events. We do online training but I'm also out in the field negotiating and doing deals on behalf of our members so that we can all get a better result.
Harris grew up in Perth and with no interest in staying in school, he started his own business when he was 19 years old.
I grew up in Perth and I really fell out of high school actually I didn't really enjoy school I was probably the opposite to Matt, I didn't really have much fun at school I really want to get out in the world and sort of start taking over the world as I say so I left school at a young age and got a job and started my first business at 19 and bought my first property at 20 so I was quite entrepreneurial from a young age and just wanted to get out there and start building wealth.
Harris was first exposed to the property industry when he worked as an electrician throughout different types of properties.
I wanted to be electrician surprisingly during my teenage years in Perth this was before the mining boom and when there was a massive shortage of trainees, I couldn't get a job as an electrician.
There were just no apprenticeships available in the area that I lived and I wrote letters to about 80 different electricians trying to find an apprenticeship and eventually, a job came up working for an electronic security company and I thought well that's close enough I get to climb around in the roof when it's 40 degrees. So that's what I wanted to do so I really got out there and I was involved in and working in buildings all day every day so I did a lot of commercial buildings and I was involved in a lot of residential properties anything from you know the cheapest suburbs in Perth right through to the most exclusive expensive multi-million dollar property. So I really got a good insight into all different types of property and you know working in buildings all day every day was something I was completely passionate about the property from a young age so I guess I got exposure to the high end of town and saw a lot of really amazing properties I thought was possible.
After realising how good he was at his job and how he could be making more money, Harris started to work as a contractor.
I am a fast learner in some parts of my life. I started installing when I was 16 then turned 17 and I thought well I'm not getting enough money here so I went and got another job that paid a little bit more and after a little bit of time in that space I said to my boss look I'm installing I want to be a contractor because I'm paying the contractors in this role. So I want to make some more money. He said “sure, you can do that”.
And after a little while I sort of thought, hang on I am contracting to this company why don't I go out there and get my own clients. So it's sort of a natural progression thinking well I’ve got all the skill sets I need. Why am I giving my time to these people when I could be doing the same amount of time and earning more money. So that's sort of naturally progressed from being a contractor into owning my own business at 19 and I ran that business for four years before I moved to Sydney.
Despite not knowing how to run a business, Harris was determined to make things work and his persistence and hard work paid off in the end.
I think the way that it actually happened though is that I didn't have any skills necessary in business. But I guess there's a lot of businesses out there and I've worked, went into a lot of shops and cafes and restaurants. And so i thought these people are running businesses and they can pull it off. They're not particularly bright sometimes and I thought well if they can do it, I can do it. So I kind of when I was in my teenage years I was obviously a cocky little kid from Perth and I thought I sort of knew everything as a lot of teenagers do. I didn't change much in my 20s mind you. Or my thirties as some people might say. I think at the end of the day I thought well if I don’t give it a try, I'm never going to know.
And I think that was the way that I really started the business was, thinking I can back myself and I will go out there and I'll make it work and that's what happened.
Harris also had no prior experience with the property side of things as his parents were quite conservative with their money and had no interest in property investment.
They were quite conservative with their investing and what they did. So I didn't really have any direct connection with any property investors at all and I was out there like most investors really just reading newspapers and magazines and tapes and CDs back in the days and going to seminars and events and everything I could possibly get my hands on to learn about property and really there was no formal education in property or business. I was really, real-world experience just going out there and really soaking up all the information that I could get my hands on.
Bateman grew up in the southern suburbs of Sydney, stayed in school a little longer than Harris.
I grew up in Sydney so southern suburbs of Sydney so I went to public schools so there was no private schooling for me. School for me academic side of it wasn't a big challenge and I'm not trying to brag and say I was a genius, I'm not.
But what I did find was that the maths and science and English that they taught to sense and I probably had a pretty good memory so I was able to pretty much regurgitate all of that when it came time to exams and tended to get pretty good marks so because I didn't have to put too much energy and headspace into that I sort of really focused into other areas of my life, I was playing sport or was chasing girls.
Bateman eventually started his own business after becoming a renowned chiropractor and even working for Australia’s most successful Olympians.
That's how I grew up, my sport really probably was my big focus through my 20s. So I actually competed personally at a high level and then went on as a chiropractor to work with some of Australia's Olympic and world champions across a range of different sports, particularly things like swimming. I've worked with players in rugby, rowers, boxers. You know there was a whole range of different sports that I had the ability to work with and really for probably three Olympic campaigns I travelled and work one on one with some of Australia's best Olympic swimmers so I had a lot of fun doing that. And obviously at that same time building my business a little bit like Luke. Business was an interesting one for me and I didn't I guess really set out to be a business person but sort of fell into it pretty early on because when I was studying to be a chiropractor I actually made the decision to team up with some experienced chiropractors and actually start a business with them. So I guess naively I enjoyed that business thinking that because they were experienced chiropractors that they were also experienced, business people. But what I soon learned was that whilst they were good at they tried so they were good with their hands and good with helping people get healthier, what they weren't so good at was running a business and all of the systems in the back end and all the processes that a system needs to thrive and survive.
So I actually ended up really deferring my studies for some time actually study part-time so that I could really focus on growing the business behind these chiropractors so that we could actually have a growth system that actually worked and was replicated. So that was a real learning lesson and like I probably learnt on the ground and through the school of hard knocks as opposed to any sort of formal learning in business.
While both Harris and Bateman found success in starting their own businesses, Bateman believes that it is not always the right way to go.
To be honest with you, for some people they're actually better off just focusing on what provides them with A) greatest passion and joy but also what they are good at and what they can actually maximise their income level at. So I'm not recommending everyone go into business by any means. I'm actually saying for some people you're better off staying in a job, particularly if it's a high paying job and then actually letting your I guess income work for you behind the scenes in things like property and other growth assets.
Like Harris, Bateman didn’t have much exposure into property investment before delving into the industry himself.
Money wasn't really spoken about in our household, so my dad was an engineer my mum was a high school teacher. We were a family of seven so my parents were very magnanimous and actually adopted three kids in addition to myself and my brother at a young age. So you know there was always plenty of love and plenty of money to go round and when I say plenty it wasn't that we were flush with cash, as a basic middle-income suburban family growing up and doing what suburban families do. But yeah there was not a really strong influence, they weren't investing heavily in the property.
Obviously they had the house that they lived in and they bought a little holiday house down on the south coast of New South Wales which you know gave the family a lot of joy and satisfaction and I think they paid seventy-seven thousand dollars for that property, it’s worth over a million dollars today. So you know they got the results from the property but they weren't what I would consider being property investors meaning they didn't treat it like a business. They didn't go out with plans and goals. They just bought the property and obviously over the long term that they've had the ability to you know to really benefit from the property but by no ways or means were they say property investors as far as I’m concerned.
Harris started his property journey at 20 years old when he bought his investment property and decided to add value onto it himself.
I grew up in a suburb called Momin in Perth on the beach. At the time I didn't realise how close to the beach we were and how valuable that land was. When you're a kid, everything's just you know that's your home and it's your street that you grew up. Now you’re talking about you know, multimillion-dollar property, 20, 30 years later. But I guess the way that I bought that property was, of course, my friends and family were in that area so I wanted to buy close to where I grew up because that's just how most people buy their owner-occupied property. My first property was owner-occupied, later it became an investment property. But the way that I found that property was just doing the research and I guess finding the best suburb I could afford to be in and really the property was a fantastic property, 18ks from Perth CBD about a kilometre from the beach in a suburb called Duncan Lake and basically across the road from Marmie and where I grew up.
So when I moved into that place I'd always been pretty handy I guess with things like renovations and you know having a full van full of tools and I had electricians working for me at that stage. I had a lot of mates that were traders as well and so very quickly started doing improvements and renovations to that property and obviously, it started off with a paint job and then it quickly came to doing a bit of landscaping and six months later the photos will show that basically the whole place was being gutted, front yard backyard. The walls got rendered the roof got painted, the gutters were done, pretty much anything that could be replaced was replaced. Not sure how I funded all of that but I managed to make it work but I think a lot of mates were called in at the time to help out. I had friends and family in all sorts of different trades and you know a case of beer went a long way back then in your early 20s so it was a very good paying method for friends and family to come and help.
With his experience as an electrician, Harris always preferred to do the fieldwork and the nitty-gritty development jobs all by himself. While this definitely showed that he was hardworking, the habit proved to be his downfall during one investment project.
I'm actually quite cautious by nature I don't, I don't take massive risks, it’s always a calculated risk with your investing and you know making sure that I’m making good decisions that are going to impact my long term results so I'm not the sort of person that's really gone out there and lost money in any investment I've done. But in saying that there's been certainly lessons on my journey that had I had a mentor or a coach there to hold my hand and sort of stopped me from doing some stupid things along the way I could have actually got better results.
One example that I've got is, and Matt laughs already because he knows the story that I’m going to tell, is that I was doing a renovation. I was living in a suburb of South Yarra here in Melbourne so after Sydney I moved to Melbourne in 2004 and I was renting in South Yarra and I had a property down in Seaford on the coast on the bay here and I was driving down at night time and on weekends to go and paint this property and I was doing a renovation basically remotely. We’re talking 35 k’s from where I lived. So it was a bit of a trek and I was spending all of my weekends down there and pulling down walls and painting and pulling up carpets and landscaping and you name it the whole place was renovated.
The job took Harris six months to complete by himself but in the end, it didn’t save him any time nor money.
It took six months to do that renovation, six or seven months and then it took another month to lease it out at the end and I've lost about eight months of time really my spare time focusing on renovating that property and of course all of the other spare time I spent at Bunnings with my credit card. And if anyone's done a renovation they know the story was probably people going to listen to this and laugh that when you go to Bunnings for a screwdriver or a pack of screws you end up walking and you spent 300 dollars on stuff that you probably don't need but you have the feeling at the time that it's going to have value to the property. So I did a lot of that. The lesson that I learnt and it took me a year or two afterwards to actually have this realisation was that I'd done a lot of that work manually myself and I'd done it in my spare time. So not only had it lost six to eight months of my free time, I'd actually sort of cost myself all of the interest repayments on that particular property because I'd done it all myself and actually realised that had I just paid trades to do the work and if I'd paid a tradesman just to come in there paint it, they could have painted it in two or three weeks during business hours while I was at work and I wouldn't have lost six to eight months worth of interest payments on the loan and I could have actually just had the property 10 tenanted much sooner. But I guess the lesson there was that sometimes because you can don't mean you should.
Been one of the lessons that I've taught myself just because you can do the renovation yourself and just because you can paint, doesn't mean that you should. And I figured the painting was such an easy task. Why would I pay somebody to do that? You know if you looked at the cost of what I'd spent in interest payments I was no further in front by doing it that way. So that's probably one of my funnier lessons that I would say one of the other renovations that I did was quite carefully planned on an apartment that I bought in Perth. It was a two-bedroom apartment and a friend of mine was a carpenter here in Melbourne and we actually coordinated the renovation from Melbourne and planned a two-week trip over there to completely gut an apartment and renovate the whole thing and we managed to pull it off in 12 days instead of 14 days. But that was very carefully coordinated and it was certainly after I'd done this other secret project.
Harris has learned to thoroughly plan his projects and has brought this lesson to the business he runs with Bateman.
I think the aha moment that sort of resulted in us setting up The Property Mentors is that planning is everything. When you come back to the core understanding of what properly investing is about, it's about getting some long term sustainable results.
Most people are investing in property not because they love the property or because they love going through the pain of applying for finance or because they love the stress that's involved with you know vacancies and interest rates and all the other fun components of property investing. Everybody's investing because they've got an end result that they want to achieve and I guess the a-ha moment for me was that planning is crucial yet 95% of investors are out there shopping for a property without really knowing what their plan is. When you think about it it happens day in day out unfortunately people don't realise this is and this is the exact reason why we've set up a business that teaches and mentors people to help them work out what their long term goals are and work backwards from the end result rather than just going out there and talking about property and saying here's a property you should buy it. Our approach is very different to most people because we know what's worked and what hasn't worked for ourselves personally.
Bateman’s first experience with investing in property was both a good and a bad one.
Yeah, obviously my first purchase was actually here in Melbourne so when I finished my sport and I finished all my studies and sort of started setting up businesses and running businesses and making money I did start investing in property I actually went to a whole range of different things that I probably should not. And again I guess you talk about an aha moment and some lessons.
What I learnt was you know I followed the advice of at that time trusted advisers who followed the advice of some accountants and financial planners and other people because I assumed that they knew more than I did. What I later found out was that obviously they were getting commissions and kickbacks and all sorts of things to recommend those products, not necessarily because they were good for me. And I think the Royal Commission at the moment is probably highlighting I guess some of the behaviours of you know a whole range of different people across the financial services sector and you know like I guess a lot of people I was you know focused on the business. I was focused on making profits and helping people you know with their health and you know for me investing was just something you should do, not something that I necessarily invested a lot of time or energy into. I actually trust that and you know listen to I guess the advice of people who perhaps I thought should have known more than I did. So my first property actually was also interesting in that it was a referral from a friend. So I had a chiropractic colleague they just bought a couple of investment properties and they said go talk to this guy you know is really good. So when I had a chance to talk to him, he sounded really knowledgeable and he basically helped me get my first property. I bought a four-bedroom townhouse here in the suburb of Cobourg in Melbourne which is around seven kilometres to the north, location it was right on the Merritt Creek surrounded by parklands. I went and look at the site and thought yeah this makes a lot of sense, there’s good tram infrastructure and public transport infrastructure. You know it seems like it's a good investment.
Without doing enough due diligence and background research, Bateman lost out on a fair amount of profits.
What I didn’t sort of probably do enough research on was I guess the comparable sales in the area or the actual price point and actually ended up buying a property signing a contract now at that point in time lending conditions were quite favourable and in fact we were able to get was a valuation that was very favourable to the point where I think from memory I might have got into that property for as little as five thousand dollars out of my pocket. So yeah almost no money down deal. So to me, it made sense but what I didn't realise is that I was still paying too much for that property in hindsight. In effect, I'd probably paid maybe fifty thousand dollars too much for that property. Had I done a deeper level of research and due diligence I probably would have got deal either buying somewhere else or renegotiating actually the price on that one so that fifty thousand most likely just went to those I guess marketing agents and companies that we're helping to promote that product. So look at the end of the day I still made money on that property. I sold it maybe 2011 I made you know probably more than doubled in value. So it's not like I lost money but I could have done better had I been more educated.
Bateman’s own a-ha moment was when he realised he had been chasing the wrong investment properties for all the wrong reasons.
All of that series of events in those first few years chasing all the wrong investments for all the wrong reasons like I ended up doing some exploratory gold mining investing into a company doing that and you know the reason that it was recommended as it was 100 per cent tax deductible in that year.
Well that's an income and I've got some tax to pay and I will you know reduce my tax. But what I did was I would use my tax but I lost all of my capital. So it wasn't really a win at all investing into that strategy and I guess I said it earlier at some point you get to after you go out into an investment space looking for a certain result but when you don't find it you've got to actually reassess what you're doing and for me what I made the decision was, was that I wasn't educated in investment markets and I needed to become educated. Obviously I'd gone to school, I'd gone to university and got degrees I was good at what I did in the chiropractics space but I was not educated in the financial markets and in the investment space so I actually made a decision to invest a lot of money and I spent over the next probably 10 15 years I would spend over a quarter of a million dollars in education. So I went and did training I bought every DVD I could get my hands on and every course seminar, I'd spend ten thousand dollars on a weekend training course I'd know I'd take on coaches and mentors and I'd really lifted my education levels up to a very high level so that I could actually make smart decisions when it came to investing. And then to probably layer on Luke's point about planning is that when I went into investing I didn't have a plan. So if you don't have a plan and you don't have the education base it's just a recipe for disaster.
Having experienced many highs and lows while on their property journey, Harris and Bateman aim to stop fellow investors from making the same mistakes and thus become successful through their joint business.
The whole business model that we set up at the Property Mentors is really based on Luke and our own experience and our own mistakes and we said there are really three things that investors need to get ahead in this game. Number one, they need the right education and that's not necessarily just going diving into 64 million books. In fact, for most people, it's not a lack of information that's the problem. There's too much information. But the problem is all the information is conflicting it's coming from different sources I don't know who to trust, where to go. And it can seem overwhelming and gets to the point where you just oh I’ll just do something. And often that's you know might give you a result but it might give you a bad result same time. So we said we've got to get the right education. So I spent years building up that education platform for our members. The next thing that you need is obviously a plan and somebody to help you with that plan both in terms of how you plan for your future but then obviously beyond that what are all the day to day decisions that we need to make. What are all the small baby steps that need to happen like who do you need to talk to and what sort of team do you need to build around you to be really successful?
So that's the second component and the third component is when Luke and I came together, we’ll probably come back to that a little bit later I guess which is how we joined forces but when we did come together we came together on the provisor that we could do more together than what we could do as individual investors and then that sort of morphed into helping friends and family and then it grew into the business and when we decided to set up the property mentors we really stripped the property investments space all the way back to the roots and we said what's good what's bad and if we were to start over and actually rebuild our portfolios from scratch or if we already had an existing portfolio and we wanted to supercharge it or put it on to you know turbocharge how would we do that. And so we built the business around the concept of the right education the right support but also the right opportunities. How do you find the right property? How do you you know source opportunities that may not even be direct property like an incentive for some people they don't need more property they need cash. How do we give them that? So that's the business model.
Finding the Perfect Mentors and going in with a Plan: The Best Way to invest with Luke Harris and Matthew Bateman
Harris and Bateman met at a point in their lives when they were both helping their friends and family invest in property.
The main thing was that Matt and I were basically in the same space as in, at the same stage in our lives. I mean I've gone through my 20s and built a successful business after I just finished… The start of my other story was that when I moved from Perth to Sydney I got a job. The reason for that was to get a PR Wagih income because that's what my broker told me I needed to go and get loans to buy more property surprisingly enough. So I sold my business in Perth and moved to Sydney for the big lights of Sydney. I got out of my little country town of Perth which I loved but moved to Sydney and did that for a year and they quickly relocated me down to Melbourne and for the next five or six years after that, I'd worked for that company for a little while and then started my own business again. And when I turned 30 I sold my security company, I took 18 months off.
I did a little mini mini-retirement and bought a beachfront house here in Melbourne and travelled a bit I went to Europe for South America a couple of times spent four months travelling I spent a bit of time back in Perth with friends and family there and I was really working out what I'm going to do next and during my 20s, I'd helped a lot of friends and family to start and build property portfolios.I loved doing it and I loved to help people get results with their investing that they're not able to get just by working at a job and a lot of people were out there trying to invest in shares and invest in who knows whatever else and they weren't really getting results and I said hey I've got results in property come to talk to me and a lot of people just refer their friends and family to me because they knew that I was out there doing some great things so during that time of my 18 months off I started really working out what I was going to do next.
After meeting Bateman, the two sat down to form a business together, where they would help fellow investors overcome their biggest challenges and critically analyse the information they have received from places such as Google.
I set up a business called Luke Harris Consulting very very creative name there and it really started offers as an idea and I just thought look I'm going to really teach people how to do this existing thing properly. During that time I met Matt obviously we're in similar circles the property industry is not actually a big space, a lot of people do know each other and it's a very small world and I guess we started chatting and during that time Matt was doing the same sort of thing and he was helping friends and family and I guess for me we sat down and we got along from the start and really sat down and stripped back what was working in the property space and what wasn't working. What works for investors and what doesn't work for investors and what are the biggest challenges that investors find and as Matt touched on before is this so much information out there.
We're in the information age and you know you can Google anything, all the information that you need to build wealth and become successful in property investing it's already out there. It's online it's in ads in books and magazines. But the problem is people don't know how to critically analyze that information and apply it to their own personal situation.
The timing was perfect as Bateman had just sold his company and realised he could turn his investing hobby into a business idea with Harris.
My health business I'd also sold so I was in the retirement stage in my headspace. So the funny thing when I started out my investment journey I had this plan and that was to become wealthy and retire early. The funny thing is when you retire early there's only so much golf and going to the beach and travelling that you can do before for me anyway my mind gets active again and having spent time creatively running businesses like for me it was just, I can't do this for another 80 years. I need to I need something else that's going to challenge me and also provide me with that sense of contribution. So for me when I started helping friends and family it was giving them that confidence and giving them the skills to be able to go out into the marketplace and grow their own multimillion-dollar portfolios. I got probably as much if not more joy out of helping other people do it than I did create my own wealth.
So yeah for me it was I was at that same stage as Luke. When we met were just you know basically I guess treating it as a hobby from a business perspective meaning you know we were helping people but it wasn't in a formal setting. There wasn't the systems in place that can allow you know people to excel as you know they just basically were riding off the back of our skills and experience so when Luke and I both sort of identified that we were effectively on parallel rail tracks we are going in exactly the same direction doing exactly the same thing. We said well hang on. Why do it on our own. Let's work on strategically coming together and joining forces and let's see if there's a power in that. And there's been a huge power in actually teaming up with the right people. Both obviously for Luke and myself but also with all the referral partners that we work with and also all of our members having that juggernaut of like-minded professionals all working towards the same outcome and goal. It's not a case of one plus one equals two but more one plus one equals 11.
Harris and Bateman believe that there are many ways to make money with property investment and that it is extremely important to find the strategy that fits with each individual investor.
I think the thing with property is that there are dozens of ways of making money at a property. Most investors think that the only way to make money is to buy property and go out in the market talk to an agent sign a contract, get your loan and you've got your property and you’re an investor.
Or some people believe there's only one way to do it and that's relation. So you know everyone has the renovation that's the only way you can make money or everyone has to disclose their property development and that's the only way you can make money. So there are lots of people out there that will teach you that there's only one right way to do property. That’s a bit of a pet peeve of mine there's literally dozens and dozens of ways to make money in property and for some people, renovations aren’t appropriate, we met a couple that was in their 60s that never lifted a hand in their lives and they basically spent all the money that they had to invest into a course to teach them how to do renovations.
Twenty thousand dollar course they had signed up with the box of DVDs and now they can, they think that they're going to become millionaires by doing renovations and we feel sorry for them but at the end of the day they weren't in a position to borrow money to go and buy property to even renovate. So they're welcome to come and renovate one of my properties but unfortunately, they're not going to make the big profits they thought they would. So I guess when we set up the business Matt and I really spent time as we said before really analysing what works and what doesn't work. Our focus really as long term property investors, we're in this business The Property Mentors as long term business owners as well as long term probably investors.
What makes The Property Mentors different is their long-term approach to helping their members invest in property.
We know that there are dozens and dozens of companies that have come and gone over the years that are out there with get rich quick schemes right. Everybody that you come in here and you're gonna gets you to know triple-digit returns on your investments and all sorts of things and they come and goes. People lose money all day every day with these types of companies. Our approach is long term. So we know that when we're teaching people that people understand the benefit of a long term relationship but also that everything that we do here is a win-win. So we're not here to make a quick buck and we're out there in space as developers ourselves. As Matt mentioned we've got a 150 million dollars worth of development in our development pipeline right now so quite active in that space. We could just do that if we wanted to and make money. But the reality is that's one part of their business. We love the fact that we can go out there and really help people to achieve their goals in investing and that's when we set up the business and focused on three different components that were missing for most investors. The first part is the education. Now education as we mentioned all of the information that you need to build wealth. It's already out there you can find it on Google and in the newspapers and magazines but it's the targeted information that suits that particular investor. Some people have had different backgrounds and different experiences in property, they have lost money in certain investments. So our focus is the education suitable for the actual investor.
As the team at The Property Mentors are all property investors, Harris believes that they can cater to all investors and their individual problems.
Now our team here at The Property Mentors they're all investors themselves so that helps when you're dealing with an investor rather than a sales team. The other component to the education is obviously the mentoring and when you're getting help with your portfolio it helps to deal with somebody who is actively in the market themselves as a property investor and our mentors in our team have got all sorts of different backgrounds some have had experience doing development and some had experience in finance and some people just going out there and built their portfolios slow and steady wins the race. So you know different backgrounds in our team. So the mentoring is the second component to what we've established here. And the third part to be a successful property investor is you need access to opportunities and we're not just a real estate agency that's here flogging off properties all day. There are multiple ways of making money property and what we've done is put together some proprietary strategies that a lot of people will never hear about unless they're talking to The Property Mentors. So really some of the things that we've put together a different cash flow opportunities there are different stages in your portfolio where you're not going to be in the market actively looking for your next property acquisition but you might have some money saved up and you want to get a better return on that and what you can get in the bank. So we've got strategies for that, that we've put together and I think those three components really, the education, the mentoring and the opportunities are really the fundamental things that most investors need.
And when we teach people that investing is for life really you've got to involve your investing in every part of your life so improving your budgets and your money skills and really overcoming your fears and the things that are stopping you and holding you back and maybe fixing some of the poor thinking that you've had over the years on how you handle money and how you make financial decisions, most people aren't aware of that because their accountant or financial planner or their solicitor or mortgage broker has never sat down and actually guided them through this process.
Both Harris and Bateman have helped each other through their individual investment problems and have had mentors at different stages of their investment career.
To a certain extent, we mentor each other at various times but I've got a number of different mentors that I sort of refer to and look up to for various parts of my life. I think property investing is certainly a space that there are multiple different components to it for ourselves as well obviously, development has a different mentor these finance people that we refer to so I think at this stage that we're at right now we've got different people involved in different parts of our own mentoring relationships.
Bateman especially believes that having a mentor is extremely important, even to all the alpha-male investors out there.
If I just make another point on that is when I was younger and again there might be some people on this call that can relate to this but when I was younger I was probably too arrogant and too I guess I was a bit of an alpha testosterone-driven male and the thought of actually asking for help was actually in my mind initially perhaps a sign of weakness. It took me a while to be able to get past that and actually learn that there are people out there a) not only can help you to accelerate and fast track results but are actually you know able to and willing to do it. That's sort of the big breakthrough that I had to go through personally with my mentors and again I've had a whole range of different mentors and coaches over the years across a whole range of different areas and continue to you know to work with people to this day so you know for some people I guess asking for help can really be a bit of a struggle or a bit of a challenge in that they can view it as a sign of weakness.
So for people particularly males and I can probably say that you know happens to me as well. How do you overcome that and reach out to them to the people to help you with that?
The main thing is is that regardless male-female or otherwise as I mentioned before I was a cocky little 20 something and a little 30 something and I'm going into my 40s in the next couple of years it really won't change but I guess the main thing is is really that every investor has a goal that they want to achieve at some level. And when you talk to most people the first conversation, so I just want to get rich, Luke, tell me how to get rich.
And that's what most investors will say or the alternative answer that we often get and this is that the default property investor thing and I guess it's probably from the last 10 or 15 years of property investment magazines. I want 10 properties in 10 years and I want a hundred thousand dollar passive income. And I guess that's sort of been drilled into people that you can get 10 properties in 10 years. Now the number of people that have actually got that result across this country are probably very few and far between. However, it seems to be a headline that gets media attention. So for us really it's getting people to understand that the goal setting is probably the most important factor to that and knowing that your strategy is also something that's going to change over time.
According to Bateman, asking for help is what successfully gets investors started on their property journey.
The thing is how do we get past somebody who's not willing to ask for help. Well, we actually aren't we can't help everyone. And so realistically if there are people out there that are serious about getting better results and they're serious about changing their life and their wealth position then you know they need to put up their hand in the first instance and if someone puts up their hand and genuinely wants help we'll absolutely provide them with that guidance and support and help them to create the plan and to give them access to opportunity they wouldn't get on their own. So as I said realistically asking for help is usually the first step in the journey. But we can’t start that journey.
For Harris, a well-constructed plan is important because it drills down to each investor’s individual goals and their methods to reaching their goals.
The reason it's important is that you know when you're talking about the property you're talking about serious sums of money. I mean if you've got a deposit you're talking anywhere from 30 to 100000 dollars for a typical investor and it's usually come up from savings or come up from their equity that they've contributed to and sacrificed to get that property in the first place to provide that equity. So you're talking about a lot of money and then, of course, you've got your risk with your loan as well. So a lot of people are out there in the marketplace buying typical investment properties somewhere between 300000 and eight hundred thousand dollars these days. So the reality is you're talking about huge sums of money, therefore you need to make sure that your planning is accurate.
A lot of people speak to their mortgage broker, they might be the mortgage broker through the real estate agent sometimes and they'll go out there and find out how much they can borrow and go out there in the marketplace and do research usually in an area that they think is and that's the problem with a lot of this they'll do research on an area they think is good and that that area may have been found through a magazine or it's the next hotspot or it's just something their friend or family thought was good or they've heard something on the media about an area that's about to do and that's usually how most property investors myself included go out there in the marketplace and start investing. But unless you understand the reasons why you're investing and specifically what that end goal is and it might be 100000 dollar passive income that's great. That’s a good starting point. But every investor’s got different goals and we don't have a cookie-cutter approach to anything that we do here.
Understanding their goals and reasons behind investing increases the likelihood of an investor achieving long-term success.
What we do so well here is really to help people to understand why they're investing in the first place and we don't just do a surface level understanding of saying yes I want to retire wealthy we drill into that and find out what that actually means for you because this is the only reason why anyone is going to get out of their comfort zone and invest. If they understand the reasons why they're investing and understand it deeply and how important it is to not only get started on their journey but to stay on that journey because the reality is investing is not particularly easy, things go wrong.
You know you can lose your job and your partner could get sick and things happen over time, interest rates go up and down and sideways and a lot of people will make financial decisions based on what's happening in their life right now and unless they have somebody there holding their hand and helping to focus on that long term journey then most of the time they'll ever sell or buy at the wrong time, they'll sell or buy at the wrong price or they'll get bored and a lot of people myself included get bored with their property investing because it's taking too long. And so now that I've got two or three properties I want to fast track, they want to value-facture or they want to manufacture capital gross they start going out there and done renovations or subdivisions and we've seen dozens and dozens of people that have had perfectly good property portfolios until they started trying to fast track their wealth position without the skills or experience that they need to do it and they lose money.
Very much true. Speaking of which what's been the best advice you've ever received?
For me, the best advice really has been lessons that I've learnt along the way that I've come up with myself. The first one was don't invest in something you don't understand and make sure that you've got a plan for how you're actually going to create the wealth that you want in your life. When I went out and started investing I didn't have a plan I didn't have the knowledge base so I was basically just throwing money at things and hoping that I was going to get a result. And in fact, the majority of investors that we speak to have probably been guilty of exactly the same thing.
Most of the people, I travel around Australia every year educating thousands of investors and I often ask the question who has got a clear written wealth plan for how they're going to create the results they want in their life and I'll be lucky in any room one or two hands go up and then when I press them on those two hands I say “so it's written I can read exactly what you're trying to achieve, in what time frame and how are you going to do it, who are you going to”. And they say “Oh no I don't have that. I've just got an idea in my head that I want to be wealthy”. So realistically planning is probably the number one critical mistake, lack of planning is the number one critical mistake that people are making.
For Harris, it once again comes down to the plan and understanding what he calls the three Ds.
One of the biggest things and I could probably say one of the biggest lessons was I guess understanding that the plan is the most important thing and that without quantifying your goals it's going to make it a lot harder. It's a good idea to have I guess an idea of what direction you want to go. It's a good starting point. But what we actually realise is that there are three components to your goal setting and that's obviously having the dream or the goal in the first place and then having the date and the dollars.
So we've called it the three Ds very simple and understanding that you need the dream, the date and the dollars and then you can actually have some accountability with your investing and if you've got a mentor of holding your hand you've got somebody that's going to keep you on track towards achieving those goals.
Harris and Bateman’s combined passion for property and experience in the industry have led them to many opportunities for them, especially concerning the growth of their business.
The main thing is when people know that you're in the property space opportunities present themselves to you. So a lot of what we do is often market both for our members and for ourselves and so we don't usually have to sit there on realestate.com looking for property opportunities and that's the beautiful part of what we're doing now especially in general.
Yes look with the property development we've got around the country that there's something that Matt and I have both been doing development before we started the business and it's something we were extremely passionate about. It's something that we can add value to land and we can sort of I guess at our own personal touch into a particular project and sort of build something that is going to be a lasting property that's going to be there for years to come. That's a lot of fun. We love putting deals together as far as the development dance is concerned. It can be stressful at times with different changes.
Bateman compares the property development process to hitting a tennis ball over a fence.
Matt always likes to use the analogy of dealing with council and dealing with other parties with a development that's like hitting the tennis ball over the fence and over the net and waiting for it to come back.
Sometimes you’re waiting months and months and months even though it comes back on your side of the fence you hit the ball straight back over and then you can be waiting a long time and there is a lot of risk and uncertainty involved with development. I see a lot of stuff you know Facebook ads from different property companies and things like that saying property development is an easy proven formula that works. Yes, it is but there are also people out there that are losing a lot of money in development every year. So I guess the reason that we're doing that is obviously one, first of all, it's fun. Second of all it makes money and you know where we're enjoying doing it.
And also that we've got the financial capacity and buffers to be able to do it safely. The challenge for a lot of people particularly the development space is that they've seen you know obviously property developers and they've got that idea that they're you know latte-sipping, Lamborghini driving you to know people sort of just you know make a bucket load of money but really there's five key things you need to be able to do any properly development successfully and one of them is obviously the financial capacity. There's a lot of people that jump into development without that financial backing or capacity and it's actually a really dangerous thing for a lot of people to do.
While property development may seem like a viable strategy to make money in property, it is not always the best strategy for each investor, especially when small development projects are involved.
If you've got one or two properties and they’re unencumbered and they're worth ten million dollars each then property development might be for you because you're going to have enough buffer in there to go through the development process. For your typical investor who doesn't have a couple of million-dollar unencumbered property put properties in their portfolio, I would probably suggest probably development is not the right thing to be doing. However, there are cases where that might not be the case. So really what it comes back down to as we've mentioned before is it comes down to the plan and knowing whether property development actually fits into that plan.
A lot of people assume that it's easy. A lot of people look at all the good things that happen in the property development space and look at all of the big profits that experienced investors make. But the problem that I've always got with people wanting to move into the property development space is that the typical development property space is that most people start with is doing a couple of townhouses or doing a backyard subdivision and the land acquisition price is going to be usually under three or four million dollars for the actual land and unfortunately that's the most competitive point in the market for people to be getting into. So you're competing with everybody else that can afford to do a small development and of course, you're dealing with, you’re competing with builders and real estate agents as well.
With so many competitors, property development certainly isn’t as easy as people make it out to be.
Real estate agents not making enough money they'll go into a small development themselves and they'll buy it off-market, a builder doesn't have enough work for six months they'll go and buy a block and they put three or four units on it and they don't need the development margin that you need. They only need their build margin to keep their staff on. So you're competing with a lot of people in the small development space and what that means usually is that depending on the project people will pay too much for the land which reduces your profit and because your profit is reduced that massively increases your risk.
I guess just jumping on that as a point with the risk I guess should somebody be considering probably develop. Well, it comes back to their risk-reward profile. So if you have built up let's say one or two properties and so you build up over half a million dollars in equity in those properties how much of that 500000 dollars are you willing to lose. Are you willing to lose all of it?
Bateman and Harris found success in their business together by building on each others’ strengths and defining their roles in the company.
For me I think one of the habits that, don’t know if it’s a habit but I guess one of the things that Luke and I do really successfully is define our roles.
So actually knowing what our roles and responsibilities are to first and foremost ourselves and our own roles to each other as business partners and also to all of our members because once you know exactly what you need to be doing it's easier to stay on track and there's a level of accountability that you have when you're working with other people that you don't have when you're working on your own. I often tell the story of you know imagine you've put out a few kilos over the winter months and you only get that summer body back so you and your partner go and decide to join the gym and you start to go five days a week for the first two weeks and you get to the end of the second week and you’re sore and you're tired and it's a Friday night and cold and wet rainy and notebooks on TV and there's a bottle of red on the bench and you've got the choice to go to the gym or ordering Thai takeaway, what do you do.
And for a lot of people they just obviously take that easier option because you know there is no level of accountability there's no one that's going to say hey you're supposed to be at the gym whereas had you'd taken onboard for example a personal trainer and they're waiting for you at the gym, you're more likely to commit and to follow through and to get the results are ultimately want. So for me, I think having that level of accountability across all areas of my life is probably the habit that I think has helped to provide a lot of success for what we do.
Harris also mentions good money habits as a large contributing factor to how he found success.
I think habits for me that I've got gotten into is having good money habits. I think that's one of the things that a lot of people struggle with. I certainly struggle during my teenage years in running a business was really difficult in my early 20s because as money came in, I spent it and there was no planning and again it comes back to my earlier point around planning, especially running a business and so running two businesses and Matt has been in business his whole working life. So we both had that discipline that sort of gets forced upon you whether it's through planning or not when you're running a business, you've got bills to pay. So I think having good money habits is probably one of the key things that I've learnt.
Understanding the concept of delayed gratification has also helped Harris become more patient with achieving success in property investment.
That's been one of the best habits that I've sort of implemented over the years and I guess one of the other habits is really understanding the benefit of delayed gratification and I think that's a real challenge for a lot of investors out there that are really they want it all now and I think having that patience is probably the most important thing that I've managed to teach myself. I can be impatient at times and Matt’s probably going to have a laugh listening to this saying “Luke, you're not patient at all”. That's how I've learned over time and I imagine I'll continue to learn as I get older to get them to be more patient and I think that's a good habit to have. Knowing that probably investing a long game it's not something that you're going to do for two three four or five years make a million bucks and you're going to retire in the Bahamas.
So I think a lot of people are expecting that property investment is going to help them to become a multimillionaire overnight the most successful property investors are the ones that invest the lights and it's not something that you do for a couple of years or five or 10 years is something that you do ongoing and forever. And I've got property investors that I work with that are in their 70s and 80s still that started investing and they've bought the property and they've held on to the property and they've done extremely well because they've simply held onto it. But most people will buy and sell at the wrong time because of what's happening in their lives and they get impatient and they don't have a plan.
In regards to book recommendations, Harris has a couple that concerns both the business side of things and property investment.
I'll tell you my two favourite books that I learnt about when I was younger is the Millionaire Next Door. It was a fantastic book and I read. Dad gave me that book when I was about 16 when I was 16 17. Mum and Dad were doing Amway at the time and they did it for about a week and they had friends of theirs that talked him into getting some books and tapes and things like that and I saw this stuff lying around collecting dust. So I started listening to this stuff and really got involved in the Amway system and I made no money I spent hundreds of dollars of my Hungry Jack's wage on you know buying tapes and books and things but it was a fantastic experience to be really around positive people that are out there running businesses and I learnt a lot from that. The Millionaire Next Door was definitely a good book I highly recommend that to anybody that's wanting to get their mindset right. And of course, that helps to understand that it's not all about having the flashy cars and the houses and the millionaire next door has a very different mindset approach to wealth creation.
The other one that I would highly recommend is The Magic of Thinking Big that's a very good book that sort of gets people to think about the big picture rather than getting involved in the day to day stuff. So The Magic of Thinking Big is definitely a top on the list and the property based book that I'd recommend other than our own of course is Rich Dad Poor Dad, Robert Kizaki’s book, done millions of copies all around the world. It's a really good understanding of the mindset as well as the property side of things which is so fundamentally important in investing.
Thank you. Excellent books and for yourself Matt?
The list of books could be endless I guess I’d probably make, because again I've got a vast library and there's a quote that says you know “poor people have large TVs and small libraries and wealthy people have small TVs and large libraries”. So really for me, I've got a very large library and I've spent the better part of 20 years devouring books and courses and DVDs and all of that. After a while, the knowledge base tends to blur into some pretty key concepts and some key understandings and really you’ve already touched on it the mindset and how you actually think is huge.
The problem is most people don't know how to change how they think. How do you change your thoughts? How do you change your beliefs? You know it's all well and good if you want to go out and get better results but if you're not getting back to that base level I teach in our workshops. Let's get real, I teach people a formula for life which is basically what you think about forms your beliefs in life and those beliefs will cause you to take actions or in some cases no action at all. And that will be what determines your results and if you want to change results then you've got to go all the way back to your thoughts and your beliefs and so reading those times and it's not you know there's wisdom from thousands of years from you know thousands of different minds that can help you with that process.
But one of the things that we've done really well I believe with our education system is we've tried to I guess condense and summarize and short cut and fast track those learnings for our members. So rather than having to go and I guess spend 20 years and a quarter of a million dollars that I've spent on my education I can probably show you how to shortcut that to a few years and a fraction of that cost.
Harris and Bateman’s own book aims to help investors with their mindset and understanding how to map out their plans between their current positions and their eventual goals.
I'll tell you what they can't expect and you shouldn't expect in the book is a whole bunch of property facts and figures. I read a lot of property books so that has a massive library of books. I've got all sorts of books and DVD and courses that I've attended and all the nights that I've never read. I guess at the end of the day the book really was our own experience. Every everything that we've done here has been designed to focus on the investor because that is the most important part of property investing. We know that property works if you hold the property for the long term and you're investing for the long term, property investing works and most people around the country will know if they held a property for 10 or 15 years or more if they're in a capital city in Australia they've made money. So we know that property investing itself actually works. The biggest challenge out there is the investor. The biggest risk to anyone's investing strategy is the investor themselves. So the book really.
“Let's get real” has been focused on getting real about your personal situation getting real about where you're at with your financial life find, how you make financial decisions how you got to where you're at in your financial life and it's not all negative. There's a lot of people that have actually been out there and they've been getting some good results but they're looking to get better results. So really the stuff that we've put in the book is to educate people around the thought processes around their investing and teaching them how to really get a clear understanding of your Point A position which is where you're at today and focus on and working out how to map out your Point B position where you want to get to. And whether that takes two years five years 10 years 20 or 30 years whatever that looks like is going to be different for everybody. And what we do through the book and through our mentoring process is really to help people bridge the gap between the Point A position where they're at right now and the Point B position where they're trying to get to. And we know very well that people's lives are going to change and things are going to happen during that time frame. And so that's really where you need that mentor to hold your hand on that journey to really help you make those financial decisions.
Harris and Bateman’s book focuses on the “why-to” rather than the “how-to”.
The main reason for writing the book was that we had members asking us for years can you guys write a book and teach us all the stuff you know because if you've ever been to one of our events or you come to one of our events you know that there's a lot of stuff in our head that has you know that's been built up over 20 years investing in this space and people say “oh can't you just download everything we do a step by step process that we can follow”. So when Luke and I decided to write the book we sat down we said well what is the actual purpose of writing this book. And we decided that we didn't want to write just another how-to guide because really if we haven't covered off as we've already discussed the right mindset the right planning the right strategy then the how-to is it's just like following a recipe in a book. Now some people will follow the recipe and say it's a lemon meringue pie they'll get something that turns out a little bit like a lemon meringue pie. Some people just burn it to a crisp. So really what we wanted to do was create more why-to manual. There's still obviously you know important stuff in there for the house too. But the first three-quarters of the book is really all about how do you as an investor become a better investor as opposed to here's a formula to follow and just go out and do what we do.
Their book is available to purchase online.
The books are available in all the good bookstores around the country you can get from Booktopia. You can get it on the website so letsgetrealbook.com.au.
And you can also go to thepropertymentor.com.au/giveaway and you can actually download the first five chapters of the book.
And for our listeners interested in contacting Harris and Bateman, be sure to check out their Facebook page and company website.
We've got our Facebook page The Property Mentors. So check it said on Facebook and read all of our amazing reviews from all of our amazing members but also look at thepropertymentors.com.au