Daniel Nesseim is the founder of financial concierge company, Accord Partners. His company helps their clients manage their finances and then invest it in the smartest way possible. They help you come up with a plan and provide strategies so that your money is well protected.
Come with us as we delve into Daniel Nesseim’s journey from Egypt to the United Kingdom and eventually to Australia, his early studies in engineering, why he chose to dive into property rather than the share market, the amazing story of his first investment property and much much more!
Daniel Nesheim is the founder of Accord Partners, a business that helps its clients manage their finances in the smartest way possible. We learn about what a typical day for him looks like.
My day usually starts at about 6:30 in the morning. You know when you have kids your day normally starts earlier and earlier, as soon as they wake up. Divided into three sections basically health, family and work. So I normally start with a quick exercise in the morning if I have time, then spend some time with my daughter before taking her to school. Then my work normally starts about 8:30 to about 6:30-7:00 o'clock in the evening. And my workday usually divided 50/50 between meeting with clients and assisting clients with their investment needs. Also another 50% with business partners.
We delve further into his background and we find out about where he grew up as a child
I grew up actually in Cairo, Egypt. So this is where I went to school and then I moved to London to finish my Bachelor of Civil and Structural Engineering and then moved to Australia.
How long were you in Egypt before you moved to London?
All of my higher education was in Cairo up until 20 years of age and then moved to London to finish uni.
He talks about what it was like to live in Cairo and some of the differences he found between there and Australia.
It's definitely a lot more populated than Sydney. Went to school in a small suburb in Cairo, which was about 5 kilometres from the CBD in downtown Cairo. We had about at the time, 40 kids in a classroom fairly busy I guess and really enjoyed it. My mum and dad had pro-education, so they really encourage us to excel at school and helped us quite a bit. And I wasn't the brightest, but I certainly wasn't the slowest.
You never know when a qualification you achieve through education might come in handy and that’s something he learnt from his parents.
In a country like Egypt, you cannot move ahead until you are well educated, not only well educated but also have the life experience behind you as well. So always my dad made it from when we were young that we go out with him to his work and see what he does and he was also a real estate investor or whatever. So he always sort of took me with him to various properties that he was building at the time and go and collect rent. And when I grew up a little bit go and deal with tenants and so forth to give us real-life experiences and how to be a little bit independent from them. It helped us to also gain that sort of what he had to go through in his life. But more importantly, because you know, when you have too much competition, you need to have that qualification behind you. Not only qualification but also highly qualified. So the bachelor is not easy enough. In some cases you had to do even, you know, master's or PhD just to get ahead.
We find out a little bit more about his father’s background and where his fascination from property came from.
My family came from a landholding, so my grandparents were farmers, so they actually had quite a bit of land. My father was brought up on the land and he was brought up sort of loving that land/property side of things. When you grow up on the land, you have a connection with the land itself. So he loved sort of buying land and either developing or farming or whatever. Obviously he found that property investments and building give you more money and building your wealth quicker. So you continue his journey on the property investment rather than on the farming side.
Is your family still in Cairo or have they moved over to where you are now?
No, they’re actually all over the place. So I'm the only one in Australia. Would you believe it? We've got family in various countries, but the bulk of our extended family is still back home in Egypt.
He talks about the interesting reason behind his decision to leave Cairo and finish his education in London.
It has been a massive change from my point of view. The reason behind that obviously as I mentioned to you, if you want to excel at what you do, you need to do that bit extra. And my parents and I at the same time though if you have a degree from a western country, when I go back home it has a little bit more weight to it than if I just graduated from Egypt and very similar to, you know, foreign students coming to Australia, get a degree and then go back home. It's more or less the same. So I thought if I go to the UK, get more or less the same degree. If I decided to go back home, that degree it will have a little bit more weight on it then if I graduated from a university in Cairo.
How long were you in London for?
Been just under seven years. Started with just, you know, looking around. And I wanted to finish the degree and go back. But after I finish, I wanted to do further study and then I got a job with a construction firm in the city of London. So basically I decided to stay and then I met my wife who is an Australian person and then she decided to come back to Australia and she dragged me to Australia.
We delve into his time in London and find out what he was up to whilst he was still studying.
When I arrived in London, as you know, you're not going to sort of delve into status straight away, a young guy in London the world is your oyster. So I did a lot of travel first when I stationed myself in the UK. I got a job just to pay the bills and hotels and restaurants and things like that. Then I sort of travelled to a number of countries in Europe and then when I went back to the UK, I applied to continue my studies. So they were kind enough to give me some credit towards a couple of years of my uni back home in Cairo. So I only had two years to finish to get my degree from the UK, which was quite helpful in between. So I was studying between Monday and Friday, Friday night, Saturday and Sunday I was working in a Swiss bistro in Leicester Square in London. It was full-on, you know, I was studying full time and really working full time. When you think about it, two and a half days probably 10 hours. Saturday, 10 hours, Sunday, about 4 or 5 hours on Friday evening. That's about 25 hours a week. Plus my study was full-on.
With such a busy schedule between working and studying, we learn about how long it took him to finish his degree in the UK.
Before moving to the UK, in Cairo, I already had done three years in uni, so I've considered those three in the UK. When I applied to become a student and join a uni there, they gave me one year credit towards my degree and I had two more years to do after the first-year credit. So I only started for two years. Then I applied to do further studies after my uni.
After studying for a degree in civil engineering, Nesseim decided to stick to a career in that field and also moved around different jobs to see what he liked.
Growing up in a country like Cairo and also moving around and travelling, it gives you that mind of flexibility and adaptability. You have to adapt to circumstances and changes in a new environment. So after I finish my degree, it was in the heart of the recession in the UK.
So you had a number of universities spitting out all of those qualified or highly qualified engineers and accountants and so forth. So it was fairly tough to join the workforce. I did IT and I did finance as well after I finished. I did like a one year IT on finance, which is basically to do with programming as well as using financial mathematics and calculators and whatever, which is quite interesting and helped me quite a bit in my career as well down the track. And then at the time would you believe it, the IRA dropped a bomb in the city of London on a number of buildings and that created a few jobs for engineers and I joined Wimpey Constructions to work on one of the highest buildings in Bishopsgate in the city of London.
How long was that project supposed to take?
With big projects like that and particularly in the middle of a big city like London where you have a lot of constraints in terms of construction and traffic and logistics and so forth. It usually takes double the time if you are actually building exactly the same building where you have easy access. That particular building was meant to take six years. It ended up taking a lot longer just purely because of geopolitical issues that was surrounding London at the time. And when you have a bomb scare, for example, everything has to shut down and you know, all that jazz. So it did suffer a bit of delay.
Nesseim talks to us about his time in London and what he was investing in over there and about his journey to Australia.
In London, I actually was playing the share market. I had developed quite a bit of interest in the shares, so I traded a lot of shares. I made money, lost money and so forth, and I didn't have that much money to get into the property in London. I was just straight out of uni. Basically not very easy to get a mortgage and the property, obviously prices in the UK was completely different to anywhere else I would say. So I didn't really sort of develop that interest in the property in London at the time, purely because I just wasn't able to do so. I didn't have the means and the money.
I just played the market, the share market. Then when I came to Australia and sat down with my wife and so forth, that was a little bit different. And the way we started in property investment in Australia is actually pretty interesting as well. So we bought like a home for us to live in and we bought an old home with the hope that we will demolish and develop into something we really want. That was my wife's dream to build something that you know what you're getting, you know the layout, colour, or whatever. You can design it the way you want according to your needs. And then we hired an architect to assist us with the process. Then the architect came and had a look on the side and he looked at us and he said, you've got more than 1100 square metres on the North shore.
It's more than enough for a house. Have you thought about putting a duplex? And then we looked at each other and we thought, that's not a bad idea, tell us more. And then he proceeded to say, look, you know, I've been helping clients like you in the area to develop their big blocks of land into duplexes rather than a house. At the time there was no kids, just my wife and I, and he said, look, you can build the Taj Mahal if you want or not on a building site like this or a block like this, but is that what you want? Anyway, so we discussed it and we thought, that's a great idea. We should build a duplex. We moved out obviously, and then we moved back in again. We rented the one next door. And at the time would you believe it? We got $1,100 a week rent because it was 5 bedrooms, 2 living areas, formal and informal. Anyway, so we thought, that's pretty good. That's not bad at all for investment. And that's how our investment journey started from there.
How long did that process take? Because obviously moving out, you'd have to find somewhere to live for a while.
To be honest, the actual building itself took about 11 months to be exact. What took the time is the development application process with the council. Because when you build a duplex, you know, particularly in areas in the North Shore, they are very slow in approving such development. So once we got the DA in place and so forth, it didn't really take us much, 10, 11 months we were back in the house.
Throughout anyone’s career, there will be times where things do not go according to plan and we learn about that moment for Nesseim.
I would say the lowest moments and the scariest was when we were building the duplex. And when we started on this journey, obviously as I mentioned to you then, the duplex matter. In the middle of that, we were committed, we had a mortgage on the land, we were in the middle of construction, so we're paying construction loan as well. And we had to move out and rent. And during all that, my wife was made redundant. So that was a scary time I can tell you. So I can assure you, I had many sleepless nights just because of the commitments, you know, between paying a mortgage, interest on a construction loan, rent, other financial commitments. It was just not a nice time for either one of us.
You didn't have any children at that point though?
No. I mean that would have been even worse, but thank God it didn't really last very long. You know, a few weeks my wife landed a job and we were back to normal. So, it's just that degree of uncertainty that's surrounding your commitment, you know, can you afford to carry on that fund, have that massive financial burden in the interest that you have to pay or not? That was scary.
We find out about his thought process at that scary time in his life and what were some of the possible solutions if things did not end up going to plan.
We did think about it, to be honest. One solution was we put the next door, the one that we were building next door, on the market as a house and land sort of package to sell it. That way it would have freed up a little bit of cash that come to us. We would have borrowed, I guess I could have borrowed from, you know, family or whatever, just to tie us over until we finish. And then rent and then the cash flow started flow again. But we sort of, we knew that my wife was also in finance and she was high up and at the time we knew that she will eventually get a job, but we were not quite sure how long it will take her to find the job she wanted. So one option was for her to take a lower-paying job, which was very, very feasible from her point of view. But we decided it is better to wait for her to get what she wants, the job she wants to. It's a little bit hard to take a hit on your salary and your income or whatever after building up your career. But again thank God that it worked out for us.
Now we delve into the moment that he realised that everything was beginning to fall into place for him and when he had his aha moment.
It's also to do with the example, a lot of what we're talking about now, the building the duplex, our first building that we've done where after we moved into our home and then we wanted to rent next door and then we invited the registered agents to give us appraisals or whatever and had been able to rent it for that much every week. One of those agents looked at us and you know, she's a lovely lady and she became a friend. She said, well it’s only the two of you and we've got heaps of people in the area looking for that type of development you did because a duplex, it's well designed, tiny, not a big yard. It's manageable. And she said there's a lot of older people in the area who wish to live in the area. But there's nothing of such development as the one you have done and they would love to either buy it or rent in your area. Have you thought about, you know, renting yours and then moving into something a little bit smaller because we had four bedrooms, two living areas, one study? So it was big for two people as well.
Then we thought, that's an interesting concept. We haven't really thought about it that way because we put a lot of time and you know, we imported some things from Italy. You know, at the time, my wife got a job in the city as I mentioned to you, her new job and from the North Shore to the city, it wasn't too bad. About 25-30 minutes on the train. Anyway, we did a little research. We thought we can actually move to St Leonard's, rent a three-bedroom apartment with a harbour view and water view for how much? $850. So you take the lift from the apartment, you’re literally in the train station.
You had all the facilities available to you, the swimming pool, the sauna, the gym, and all their concierge downstairs. So it was pretty good. So we can rent closer to the city, live in one of the best buildings in Sydney at the time, pay less rent. So pocketing about $250 a week, claim all the depreciation on two properties, not one but two, help us build our property portfolio. And we may actually use that income, the extra income from our home to go and borrow and invest more and do more. I would say that’s the aha moment. I call it the light bulb moment where we said, so why don't we use the taxman, the tenant as well as the bank to build our portfolio to such a time when we are ready to settle and then we just live in one of those properties.
Do you still have those properties today?
I do. I did not sell one of them.
We find out about when he and his wife purchased this amazing property.
A year and a half after the Olympics. So the Olympics was 2000, we purchased it in the middle of 2002.
There is a particular reason why families are the ones that are mainly drawn to his property.
That's unbelievable. But it was brand new. The way it was designed is just, it's a lovely property. And on that, don't forget, as I mentioned to you earlier in that area, it's just not many of that development was available for rent in that area and people were just queuing. I can tell you since we had it up to now, I have never had it empty for more than two weeks and that's the thing, you know, that area is in huge demand, especially for families as well too, because there are lots of good schools in those areas. This was really a major drawcard for families to come to the area.
Learn How You Can Identify Growth Areas With Real Estate Investor Daniel Nesseim
We delve into the strategies that he has used throughout his career that has led to his success in the property industry.
When I started I made a decision that I would only invest in good quality areas that will always attract the right type of purchaser and the right type of renter because I did not want that headache. I just want smooth sailing, build up my portfolio in about 15 years. My plan was 15 years, I want to be able to build a portfolio that will generate so much income that I did not want to go back to those times where my wife was down and I was worried about my financial commitment. And from that year onward, we've made a commitment that we are going to build an income for us regardless what would happen to either one of us in terms of our jobs, careers and so forth. And the decision was then that, okay, if we have a look at Sydney, where are the quality areas within Sydney?
So anyway, we were comfortable with the North Shore purely because it's, as you mentioned previously, connection to the city, connected to everywhere, where it is to the beach. I mean, my wife, you know, she loves the beach and all of the water. So we wanted to be around the water. We wanted to be around good schools for the family down the track. We wanted to be around the train line. So when we go to the city, when we go anywhere, we've got public transport available to us. So we put a list of criteria of where do we want to invest and the North Shore came out on top. So when you invest in an area like the North Shore, obviously it's not about the quantity, it's about obviously the quality of the development.
And that's why all of our development, like we invested in about 8 developments. We have not sold and all of them, if not triple then some of them can quadruple in value since we actually bought them. Because you need to be very selective on the area and within that area of where you want to be and what you want to do as well. So the type of development, the type of property as well as the area has a major, major impact on your long term portfolio, your portfolio accumulation and wealth planning.
He talks about the types of properties that he decided to invest in whether it be similar to the duplex he started or townhouses or larger scale developments.
If I wanted to do larger development than twos like duplexes, I would have actually had to team up with someone else. So all our money together and we'd do a larger, maybe a block of units and so forth. And that's something that I really fought, I didn't really want to sort of go into it because when you take on a partner, you also increase the risk by their circumstances. For example, what happens if you've got into a big development and something happened to him, something happened in his family, career or financial situation or whatever, it will have a major impact on the development and on me personally and financially. So the decision that I've made from day one is that unless I can do it myself completely and fully, I did not want to really go with partners. And that's why I stuck with a duplex.
- Daniel Nesseim
He only wanted to take on properties that he can manage himself and we find out how long this has taken to build up the portfolio.
We paced it out a bit, but we did not want to stretch ourselves. So we gave ourselves about a year and a half to two years between each development because, by the time you actually finish, like when we finished the first one, as I mentioned to you, we moved into it for about six to eight months. Next door was rented. We also have been approached by this agent to rent out because there's demand in the area and so forth. And then we moved out and then the lightbulb, as I mentioned to you, it dawned on us, we can make money out of this. Then we started to look for another development, which we did. And then you get the DA, you build and then you rent it. It took about a year and a half. The first one took a little bit longer, about two and a half years for the second one and then it becomes about because you become a little bit more experienced in doing it so you know what the council wants, you know what buttons to push with the council, you know how to make it a little bit speedier and more efficient with builders as well. So you gain experience along the way as well. So it takes about a year and a half to two years between each good quality development.
He shares with us if he has been mainly investing in Sydney or has he branched out into other states.
I focused on Sydney because some people call me a control freak. I like to see things and being from an engineering background as well, sometimes that helps and sometimes it doesn't help because when you are in that field and you know what buildings is all about, you become a little bit of a pain in the backside of a builder. But because you actually check on everything they do. I'm one of those guys. I thought about investing in Central Coast or Newcastle a little bit further afield because I can do more rather than do a duplex I can do a lot more there. But the travelling and between managing a career and then starting a family as well as travelling, it just wasn't the same for me. So we focused on the North Shore and diversified within the North Shore and different pockets within the area and it's worked out really well for us.
The portfolio that he has built throughout the North Shore has been amazing and has given him financial freedom. We find out what keeps him motivated to continue to build his portfolio.
To be honest, once you start the journey and if you really enjoy it, it becomes part of you. It doesn't become about financial freedom anymore. It becomes about you actually, for me, I enjoy doing it. Financially it worked out really well and I've achieved my goals that I set myself many, many moons ago of not relying on an income coming from a career-related job or a salary or a wage. So I've achieved that already. But the upside of all that, once I've finished all that, it become part of me. It become what I really enjoy. So even if I'm not doing my own development, I still follow the market. I still want to help anyone, you know, that next-door neighbour or friend or whatever who wants to start the journey or invest. I just can't help it. But I'm here and I can help. So it becomes a second nature because it's something that I really enjoy.
We delve into his engineering background and some of the projects he has worked on in the past and how they helped him pass this experience onto his clients.
During my engineering days, I worked on a number of projects, high rise buildings as well as civil projects and infrastructure projects. So I worked with various developers and I've designed a number of civil work and it all is still standing by the way. Nothing fell down. So I'm proud of that. And then I moved into financial services. I realised that where the money is, is actually in the banks are. So I decided to combine my background in engineering and property with financial services. So I moved between a couple of banks through different departments. And then my last role within the bank was like a project manager for clients, a financial project manager.
What does that mean? If a client wants to borrow to build that was me, if the client wants to get a lawyer, a solicitor, an accountant, source a block of land, source a builder, that was me. So I was working in the private client solution area in helping high net worth individuals grow their wealth using a number of investment vehicles and then a different type of investment in order to diversify and make the most of their money using the bank money. So that was my role and I continued that when I started my own business. In 2013 I continued that by helping clients who are mainly referred from other partners, from accountants, solicitors and brokers and so forth. Helping them to understand the investment journey, to educate them about what is it that you want to do and achieve with your life and how property can help you get there. And I also work with a financial planner partner who can also help them to diversify on other types of investments. But my focus mainly on property investments, using my experience on how to get there efficiently, quickly and with minimum risk.
He gives us a recent example of a development he has been working on with a couple of his clients and how he has been able to help them.
Last few weeks I was working with a couple of clients. They are both real estate investors, one of them is a commercial property investor, so he did invest in commercial and how he wanted to diversify into residential. And another client of mine, he just got his one investment property and his home and a third client who hasn't really invested in property yet just started. So they were referred to us by our partners. We don't advertise, by the way, we just work on word of mouth, which is very good in my humble opinion. Because we got that trust from a professional as being an accountant or a solicitor or whatever. We've got that trust, so they refer clients to us to assist them with their investments. So our strategies, when we sit down with clients, we help them to clarify what it is they want to do and achieve.
If they want to invest, what is it for? Income? Is it for growth? Is it for both? Do you want to have an uplift immediately, you know, within a few months or do you want to invest for the long term or indeed, do you want to just rely on an income because every type of investor and every type of client is different. Once we clarify that, what is it they want to do, we help them to build a plan, a strategy around what they want to do. If, for example, they wanted to build an income source over the long term, we are very selective in the areas that actually help them to provide that income over the long term. So cash flow becomes king because they are aiming to generate an income, if they are aiming to generate growth, selecting an area that will grow in the future.
Not necessarily now, but in the future, there is probably infrastructure projects coming up, government spending and so forth. We follow the money trail. The big boys, where they're going, what they're doing and then we follow them into growth areas. And sometimes we combine the two in income as well as long term growth depending on the client's situation. So if we go back to these three clients, we helped the first client who is into commercial to acquire a couple of blocks of land around the central coast area. They weren't next to each other. So a developer was actually developing about 24 blocks of new land. So it's a greenfield we call it, newly developed land. We selected that area because it's 500 metres next to a train line. So you physically can walk to a train line, we selected those two blocks because they were right in the middle of it.
So in terms of access is pretty good to and from that area away from the train line but not too far in the middle of the development, they're very flat. That will impact your building costs. And we bought them too because we've been able to negotiate the price substantially lower by buying two rather than one. And the reason we actually said that to the client, the client can afford it. That's number one. That's what they wanted number two. But even if something happened in between and the client acquired two and not being able to proceed with both or either, we had other clients, you know, we can get them to share, buy one of them if you know what I mean. And that way he actually was able to acquire the two blocks for substantially less than the advertised price.
We find out more about his clients and we learn about some of the numbers behind the properties that he helped them acquire.
Now we're in the process of actually approaching builders again and that's for him to build a duplex on each side. So can you imagine you go to a builder now who's building a house in the area, for example? And you say, I've got two blocks of land for one of my clients, for example, and we want to build a duplex each. And then you'd start to negotiate hard with the builder as well, trying to get the best outcome for the client. So that just happened, as a matter of fact, settlement happened about six weeks ago, seven weeks ago. So that's how many is coming up in the next couple of days. So that's number one. The number two, we also assisted a couple of clients to buy in the Hunter Valley where they experienced massive growth in some areas in and around about 15 minutes from Newcastle. Massive growth area around Maitland area and surrounding areas.
We always concentrate on shopping centres, schools, universities, public transport, and we're trying to locate an area within those facilities and utilities that people will always need and will always use regardless of what's happening in the world. So we've been able to locate a couple of areas there for our clients. And again, our clients who wanted to combine long term growth with an income, they'd been able to invest in a couple of investments there. Those investments they build, so the clients build them and they were rented before they've got the keys. So before the builder hands in the keys, both were rented at a very good rent as well. And we know those areas will grow because of the amount of infrastructure and spending the local and the state government is spending in that area. There's a new hospital going up about five minutes away from it.
Mcdonald's is opening. There's a number of venture outlet places opening in the area, which means growth in the long term. The younger person who's just starting, we bought him a block of land. He only paid $7,500, 5% down a deposit on a block of land until registration. So it's not registered it’s just one piece of dirt effectively, registration is coming up. The developer is selling now about six months after the same blocks of land in around him for about $180,000. He bought it for $150k it now is selling for a $180k. Registration is not even out yet. It would be registered soon and as soon as that's registered and people start to build, it will be up in value again. So that particular investor, if they want to go to the next step and build, they already made money and they will make even more money by building or should they wish to sell, they've already made, you know, 30,000-$40,000.
Nesseim discusses who he has met throughout his journey that has helped him achieve success.
The best person or people that I learn from are my clients. The best person that previously was, I consider my mentor, an older gentleman who came to Australia with $10 in his pocket. And he built up a portfolio of some of the best properties that I've seen over the long term obviously. But he taught me so much about, you know, further planning and planning ahead. Look into the future, don’t look just at today. When I ask him, how did you make your money? How did you start? He said I started my investment journey the week after 1987 where everything was, remember 1987 when the share market took an absolute tumble. The whole world was fearful, the property market in Australia was really bad and that's when he started. So he basically had that foresight to invest for the long term, take advantage of opportunities as they arise and don't be afraid.
He basically said, Australia is still a young country, he's a migrant. He was from Greece, he came from Greece. We were not a migrant country. This is a migrant country. People will still come here for many, many, many years to come. And he was saying that in 1987, so he had that long term planning, long term view, holistic view of what's happening around Australia and then around the area where he's investing. And I think that taught me so much about when you go and invest, do not look at the short term, have a long term view of what you want to do.
He talks to us about what he would have liked to change in the past and how that could have helped him reach his goals even quicker.
I probably would have invested a lot more into my education and knowing the right people and surrounding myself with a network of experts. Meaning that if I met myself 10 years ago, I would have actually made connections a lot faster with experts in their own field, be it a land developer, a good quality network of real estate agents, you know, in particular areas or whatever. When you connect with those experts who's been there, I have been there, done that, have the experience and the depth of experience and walking the walk and talking the talk. It will just save you so much time and so much headache.
If you want to reach out to Daniel Nesseim after the podcast, he provides the details on how to do so.
We've got a website, it's www.accordpartners.com.au if you are able to peruse that, send us your details on the website. I'm always contactable on my mobile as well on 0428393169. Happy to chat. Doesn't cost you anything for us to have a cup of coffee in my costs to the price of a coffee. So it will cost you but not much. So I'm happy to have a chat anytime. I enjoy it. As I mentioned previously, I enjoy having a chat with people about what they want to do and their dreams and how we can assist. But more importantly, you can drop me a line at [email protected] or they can always get in touch with you as well and you can forward my details to them.
This episode was produced by Andrew Faleafaga with narrations and interviews conducted by Tyrone Shum.