Once a book publisher in London, Kate Hill is now a professional investment advisory and buyers agent, with 8 investment properties under her belt. Having not been in the industry that long, Hill has refined her skills to be able to make sold investment choices for herself and her clients.
Join us in this episode of Property Investory where Hill explains her dramatic career change, her unique and successful business practices, and all the lessons she quickly learnt on her journey.
As an investment advisor, Hill’s daily schedule is quite varied.
There are some things I guess I would do every day. But there's also an element of every day is different because certainly when you've got deals going through. You're dealing with it. So in our case different states, you're dealing with human beings out there. So there's never a dull moment things take you by surprise. Sometimes you anticipate them of course and we do what we can to do that. But you always expect the unexpected and real estate transactions. I've come to learn so yeah. So sometimes you have to put out fires but we spend a lot of our time preparing for that not to happen. So to answer your question again there's an element of every day being different but then there are also certain things that I make specifically make time for every day.
That is pretty much the same.
Hill briefly explains the different functions of her company, Advisable.
We have three service offerings one which is the investment property buyers agency. We also facilitate property development for clients so where we buy the site you know and then we help develop that site with the D.A. approval the construction etc. and we also you hope by up so we can we buy homes for owner-occupiers as well. So there's three different service offerings. If I'm lucky.
She discusses how her business came to be so diverse in it’s services, facilitating the purchase of both property and development sites.
Because I have an extraordinary colleague called Alex Dutt who is very experienced in that field and he has developed hundreds of properties with clients with not necessarily Advisable of course but in his career over the past over a decade.
And so it seemed to make sense for us to use his skills his knowledge the contacts that he has and we worked very hard for a long time to put this service offering together because it's not selling off the plan it's not selling real estate. We genuinely help clients to buy a good solid site somewhere in Australia.
That can be built on or something can be done with that site where it is genuinely worth more money. At the end of the entire exercise than that then you’re spending on it which is the point of the whole exercise.
But we work very hard to put that together. It is quite unusual and it was unique as you. Very nicely thank you. But it came about because of Alex and his experience and he's extraordinary at what he does. Yeah I know I'm biased.
Yeah. The reason why I ask that is because you know there is a level of profit that can be made from any development is a particular type of development that you focus on or could be anything from building a duplex or townhouses to units is that is how it goes or whatever.
It's going to come down to actually if I could just interject the first thing I'll say Tyrone does a whole separate interview just on this subject with him.
I would highly recommend it because there's it's such a huge topic the type of developments that we do will very much depend on the area this might sound like common sense but you'd be surprised how many people don't realise this or get this wrong. It really will depend on the area that you're building in. So whether you build the property type. I mean at the end of the day it has to make sense financially you've got to be able to pour money again to you know to put that out there and how the banks view your borrowing are you. Do you fall into standard residential borrowing? Does it fall into commercial borrowing? What are you able to do. What will the council in that area let you do? Most importantly what are those local people there buying and renting? That's what you want to build you know. So it's all very well having a block of land and putting 10 units on it or townhouses. But if everyone in that area is buying five-bedroom houses you know then you meet you need to consider that.
Definitely. I mean what the demand wants rather than just building what you think could fit on that. OK yeah. Excellent. Yeah.
Yeah sorry I was just going to add onto that. It would be this is really a very simple principle. You know give the people what they want and you know cater to the demand that we do that with the property investment buyer too. It's just common sense. You know and I'm sure we'll touch on this again a little bit later that it's crucial to consider the area that you're buying in. Who are you buying for here lives there. That's what you're buying not what you want. Not your cousin one's not your friend at the barbecue suggesting you do what the local people want that's otherwise you're going to sit back and no one's going to buy it no one's going to rent it. You know it's really that's the basic concept.
Surprisingly, Hill lived a very different life before she moved to Australia and began her real estate career.
It doesn't sound like it but I am actually German so I was born and grew up for the first several years of my life in Germany. And as I'm sure you can hear my accent at some stage I did move to England. My mum's English and my dad was German.
You know it's a common European scenario. That mixed heritage so I grew up both in Germany and actually partly in Spain as well. And then a large part of my early years in England. So which is also where I went to school. Some of some of my schooling was in Germany very early you know my sister four years of school were in Germany and then when we moved to England it sort of continued on from there I went to university in England. I did a postgraduate degree in England before we moved to Australia.
Do you speak German.
I do. Fluent. Yeah it’s my mother tongue. So I'm very fortunate growing up with those you know hearing and having the multiple languages. So when I when I speak German I also accent free if you see what I mean. So yeah like I speak English you can't tell that there's German heritage that that's really really good. Oh yeah yeah.
A lot of times yeah when we when we speak to foreigners and people who've gone back to their own country you can definitely tell that they've lost their accent or don't have an have an accent in school.
But I was I was lucky because I grew up with both well and Spanish to a degree with all those languages from the word go you know literally from the day I was born I was hearing that my dad used to speak to me in German. My mum used to speak to me in English so I had it all going on from the day from day one.
It wasn't too confusing growing up.
Oh, not it was. There are lots of family stories about getting things mixed up but at some stage you know that's very common with bilingual children and at some point, your brain sorts it all out and you realise which word belongs to which language and then yeah you cut off it.
Hill went to university in England, studying a topic that’s a far cry from the industry she’s in now.
This might sound like a bit of a cop-out but I actually studied German literature. I was really interested in well still do and I did French at uni too. So I've always a board I've always had a very strong background and interest in books and literature. So I did a master's thesis on 19th century German literature which I've never looked at again. I never did anything with it but I loved it. No I loved it.
I went to university for a long time.
So you know you really really like the linguistic side of things.
So yeah yeah very much the research and I think you know there are elements of what I did at university that have really come in very useful with my but with the career that I have now.
So again research wise you know which we can talk about.
She worked in publishing for many years, before she finally moved to Australia and property changed her career trajectory.
I went to work in the book publishing industry in England so it's a very tough industry to get into. Actually it was in those days it was very competitive. So I started to work for a small independent book publisher in London and just worked my up my way up with them. I loved it and then I had various other a couple of other jobs with other publishers in London a really lovely industry to be in. And then when I'd moved over to Australia I worked for a couple of publishers here in Sydney also before the whole property thing took over my life at all before property it was all books books books and it still is to a degree I'm a big book lover.
Hill explains what inspired her to change her career so drastically.
I guess two things happened relatively simultaneously.
The book industry it started to get more and more challenging out there. It was in terms of people not buying as many books basically because everything went Typepad everything went digital. So there were and still are fewer books being physically printed. And so there was a big turn it was a big turning point for the publishing industry. People had to reinvent how they published content and whether they do that in a physical book or I must say in a digital format. And at the same time I was getting more and more into investing.
Looking at the property market looking at whether that was something I was going to become more and more involved in and as as as one I guess field in my mind was declining. The other was increasing so and I as I became more and more involved with property I thought wow I love I love this. This is a very powerful thing. So I moved sort of gradually over over a year or so from one field into the other because he has to get qualified etc. which I can talk about more. But it was it was it was it was also the case that the actual job that I did in London which was selling rights the publishing rights to the books that we had as a publisher to open you know to other publishers that job as it were doesn't really exist here in Australia because we you know we publish Australian books or we import English language books from the US and the UK. So it was it the job that I did and that was really that was my main experience was really non-existent. So I you know I already had to transfer skills into other areas in publishing. So when the whole when the whole property thing came along I thought well you know and it was. I just really loved it also and thought this was this is a path I would I really enjoy following.
Having lived all over the world, Hill decided Australia was the place for her.
There's not a day that goes by me being here where I don't think Oh wow I live here it's paradise. In many many many ways. I'd first come over to Australia in the mid-90s actually when I was still at uni I was visiting friends and I landed and I just felt like I'd come home. I just loved it. I still do. There's a real sense of community here and people I know I'm generalising but hey here we go. People like each other. Generally, people respect each other here. You know you look out for each other. Children are respectful of the whole. And if anyone out there is listening going Oh she's got to be kidding.
And spent two years in London and then come back here and you'll know what you'll see what I mean. I mean you know there's space where there's room to breathe there is a real sense of things are possible here you know they make it relatively easy for you to succeed to go forward. You know it sounds really corny but to fulfill your dreams to go for it you don't have that in Europe and perhaps that's just the level of history. You know there's so much there's restrictions there's a lot of you know there's a lot of water under the bridge there and it's not they don't make it as easy for you and it's you know there's 80 million people in the UK crammed into an area the size of Greater Adelaide and it's you know it's a bit crammed to sleep and it's dark for about eight months of the year and drizzling.
So you know.
Despite no real influence from her family, Hill explains why she decided to enter into property.
None of my family have any background or to me have never really shown any interest in investing.
They've been quite traditional. How do I put this I don't mean to sound unkind you know but it's that really entered their realm of consciousness that it's a thing you can do. So it came about for me by being here not having a great big family and again to be brutally honest thinking I'm not going to inherit a whole heap of money here.
Need to you know I need to look after me, my family. We need to do that ourselves and to you know when I started researching how do we do that and how do we you know I never in my mind thought I want to be Richard Branson. I mean I kind of secretly do. Who doesn't? But you know I just wanted us to be safe. I wanted us to be okay later on in life to be able to pay for medical bills maybe have a little holiday I didn't have massive ambitions to take over the universe I just wanted it to be okay. I didn't want to worry when I'm you know 60 70. And because we live so long was so much longer now you know you retire at 60 you live in for another 30 years that's almost the length of time you're actually in full-time employment these days. So you've got to find out whether it all that money going to come from and I don't want to rely on the government on any government. I don't mean you know any particular government I want to get into a whole other interview isn't it. But the fact that it is again it's made possible for you here at the moment who to do that, to invest in property. To you know to actually take control of being able to do that for yourself and secure a level of retirement income without being reliant on the government at the moment.
So we're very fortunate country just like you've said but Australia is a beautiful paradise I think it also reflects that in the real world as well.. So let's delve into how you got into property investing. You mention that you know you took it on because there was a transition and so forth. Was it in the first year when you arrived, that's when you jumped into property investing?
No, it would have been and I think 06 probably two or three years because I am based in Sydney now and have been for quite a while now and a number of years later I also spent four years in Adelaide before living they were living and working there.
So it is where you're doing that time at. I had a bit of room to breathe. We'd settled in.
You know we've established ourselves we bought a house and I thought right. And there's also that magic age that after I've come to find that people start thinking about this stuff you know early 40’s and you start to look ahead and go you'll actually hang on. You know I'm going to you turn 40 and you think oh I'm going to be 50 soon and then oh 60 is not far behind. I better do something here you know. So I started to do research into how
I was going to achieve what I wanted to over the next say 10 20 years and who was going to help me to do that. So it took a little while. I think like I'm going to take a wild guess 90 percent of people out there will spend two years researching going to seminars. You know considering who's going to help you who can you trust. Basically that's you know to put no finer point on it you can just who can I trust with my money. And it took a while to for me to I guess get over certain fears too. Before I took a plunge and went okay. Well if I if I can keep researching here forever I need to actually do something. And what's the worst that can happen. You know you have to run through scenarios in your head you know. Yeah, it took a little while, Tyrone. Yeah.
At this point in time Hill was focused on building her portfolio, not yet working towards helping others with Advisable.
I was just really focusing on my own property investing at that time while I was working so I would have been I would be my average client right now you know if that makes sense. You know I'm working for living my husband's working. Know we've bought our own home to live in and we had a lot of equity in the house. And because we bought money over from England basically you know from the sale of a property in London. And I wanted to invest that money wisely so it was me doing my own.
Investing first before I then became more involved in actually helping other people to do this just because I loved it so much and I really felt like that was a bit of an ‘aha’ moment there.
Once I'd say I bought the first three properties where I thought where I really thought to hang on a minute you know these I'm doing this. It's not really costing me anything yes I'm using the equity in my home. So there is a certain level of risk there but it's relatively small and the properties themselves aren't costing me anything to hold. Why isn't everyone doing this?
You know it was a reality that was what I call an aha moment I thought why isn’t everybody doing this is amazing.
You know like this is not not a secret but if you that personally it was a site and a home and so. But I had help you know I was with a mentoring group who helped me who held my hand while I was going through the process of buying the properties. But I did my own research you know but they were there to lend a guiding hand. You know assessed and that sort of thing. So I built my confidence I learned a lot of lessons good and bad you know with those first properties which I'm sure we'll talk about later as well.
With a current portfolio of 8 investment properties around Australia, Hill explains her first 3 investments and the lessons she learnt.
This is something that now that I'm I am a property investing professional and adviser. It's again it's a very valuable lesson that has gone through this process I'd like taught myself my own lesson if that makes sense because what was so important or what I have to keep reminding myself because of those three. Those first two of those first three purchases I'd say haven't been great. I’m happy to talk about those more shortly. But I have to keep reminding myself I bought them for a reason right at the time they were very high yielding. And I was I was nervous. I was a first-time investor. I didn't have the saving grace here is that I didn't spend a lot of money on them. Literally a couple hundred thousand each and but they were very high yielding and I was nervous about cash flow. My husband is self-employed. He started his own business literally day one we arrived in Adelaide with no clients and no money coming in and I didn't at the time. We're also we're freshly tired late. I didn't have a very high paying job so I was very cash flow-sensitive and nervous about how we were going to pay for things you know. So the choice I tried to in my mind at the time I was buying in good locations that were diverse in terms of industries. But when I look back on it now and I am brutally honest I was totally swayed by the cashflow totality. So because that was my it was a concern that I had it to worry that I had and I it didn't have anyone in my going.
Yeah that cash flow might be great but if it can grow is it ever going to do anything really. You know yes it's going to pay for itself for the next five years but it's going to be worth what it is now in five years time you're not going to make any money here.
She reflects on these purchases and the importance of research and getting started.
But the journey really was to it was to get my foot on the ladder you know at least have a go go through the experience of buying them doing the research doing the research doing a level of research buying them getting a tenant you know just going through the motions and having them for a couple of years sitting with great cash flow coming in you know that I guess is how I would summarize the journey and I was very happy that I had at least taken the plunge.
Having spent two years going to seminars and not doing anything.
Hill shares her story about a bad investment property experience.
One of those three is in Gladstone in Queensland and I got a call.
I guess I'd had the property for maybe three years or so and I remember sort of getting a call from the property manager saying that the property that I've been given notice you know the tenant was leaving to nothing you know out of the ordinary they are perfectly normal tenants come and go. The property was being rented for 480 a week I think.
And know because if I forget how she put it exactly because of sort of recent market conditions she was recommending the newly advertised rate at 200 a week. Here we go yeah quite a drop in rent and that really gave me you know I remember the feeling in the pit of my stomach going oh wow that's not the word that came to mind at the time I guess.
She describes what this experience taught her.
In terms of lessons learned that multiple you know how long have we got. It was the fact that that came to me as a surprise. I think I probably read things that the market up there you know mining boom was over blah blah blah.
Overdevelopment oversupply blah blah high vacancy rates but it hadn't really affected me to that at that point because that had the same tenant for a couple of years and it was perhaps a little bit clueless and I hadn't been negotiating a reduction in rent as you know leases were being renewed.
So I really wasn't approached what had happened there the level of what had happened there the extent of the drop in the property market.
So when I got that email and call it was like oh wow that's quite a drop in rent every week you know. And and what I learned also was the fact that really being confronted with the fact that I had been swayed by that yield and I did not do my research properly in terms of looking at an area or investing in an area that had the diversity of industries where if one of them falls over i.e. mining the others are strong enough to support the local economy and and that kind of drop-in rent doesn't happen because half the population is working on industry. There are itinerants they come and go you know. And so I got that the number of lessons I learnt with us was extraordinary. I've still got it. And you know the markets are on the turn there and again as I said earlier I didn't spend a lot of them it's not like I spent seven hundred thousand dollars and it's now worth 150 you know in terms of value it hasn't been too bad. But it was a real wake-up call that I'd say getting that call would be my worst moment and it was a real you know bit of a slap on each cheek and Kate pay attention. This is what you know this is what's happening. This is what can happen. Yeah.
So how did you overcome this situation? Have you still holding on to those properties or.
I do. Still got them.
Yeah. And I as I say I there's been a couple of periods where I've been I think my worst was a three-month vacancy in that one you know because there were so many properties on the market and no one to rent them. You know those big plants the liquid natural gas plants that were being built I bought right at the top of the cycle that was the other thing. Lesson number three I'm sure I'll come up with more as we as we talk about it. You know when I look at it again it's all very you know it's it's it was easy in hindsight to look at what happened there but you know learning from my mistake there has been you know it's been a very I've learnt very very many valuable lessons but I bought right at the top of the cycle I think in 2012. I think it was. You know where the properties of the values had grown. The rents had boomed but the construction of the main construction phases the sayable those LNG plants was literally just coming to an end. So all those workers that had moved into the area and were renting they'd all left. And they're just and the developers you know it's steam and constructed of new suburbs springing up there was all this oversupply. And there was no one the demand wasn't there the demand just wasn't.
Hill reveals even more lessons learnt from her early investing experiences and the realities of the real estate market.
It really it just taught me. I actually have never done that again. Obviously you know it really it was a real as I say wake up call. Yes, I'd just sorry to answer your question from before yes I do still have them and I have it. Those markets are turning you know as they seem to have bottomed out. My rent is gone up for the first time in three years. Like well, you know my whole 15 dollars but I celebrate it. And when my most recent tenant vacated I had a new tenant within four days. You know none of these three months. So yeah they're definitely turning and you know I sometimes I say to myself I'm holding onto that thing you know. So just to teach myself a lesson that I'm not guilty. It's again brutally honest. I'm in the loan structure at the moment with that property. But I also while we're in confession mode I also fixed the rate on that is like six-point something percent you know just the point of interest rates plummeting down to 4 percent. So not only was I vacant for three months I was paying six point something percent interest. And then of completely inappropriate loan structure. Obviously that wasn't my you know what was it again I was relying on advice but it wasn't great advice. Again as I came to learn you know and I've come to learn the reasons why I won't do that again either. You know so there were so many lessons that you learn. But I'm you know I'm here I've still got eight properties. You know they are the others are all you know ticking over very nicely. You know I'm still here I'm you know I've lived to tell the tale. Would I have rather it happen to someone else? Absolutely.
It's all part of the learning experience.
No, it is and it just it's I think it toughened me up if you like and it's not you know it's a harsh lesson to learn but it's also understanding why that happened. Being honest with yourself why that happened. You know the fact and as I said the fact that I wasn't aware at the time that that was what was going on. I wasn't prepared for it. And then fully understanding the reasons behind that actually happening in that location. You know it didn't just happen in that location you know and there are many people out there that I know who they had worse experience many many worse experiences than I did. You know they spent more they had their values dropped a lot more you know. So my particular case here was I think actually relatively mild but you know in principle it taught me a lot of lessons. So yes.
Rationalising the Fear to Buy with Kate Hill
Hill has developed new skills after her first investments didn’t go to plan.
I'll tell you skill number one again cycling previous conversation is buy in better locations where your properties actually grow in value and you can leverage up the equity in that. So which is basically what then happened.
You know so am I before my you know from Kate’s perspective cataclysmic event. Gladstone I did. I did buy another couple of property so I have five. At that point and. One over in the Perth market which has held remarkably well actually. And another one nearer to Brisbane in Queensland and they grew very. I bought them at a good time in the cycle. I had a really nice upswing. I completely did my research differently. I felt I was I'd moved back to Sydney by this point as well so my work was more secure. My husband's work was more secure I was less nervous about cash flow and thinking Right I need to compensate as well for what might have been happening in Gladstone but I needed to make sure that the growth you know learning that you can have the best cash flow in the world but you need growth as well. Otherwise, why know why do this.
She’s a fan of the buy and holds strategy, particularly for early investments in property.
That's how I wanted to begin. I didn't want to start with something to too full of you know you're going to make hundreds of thousands in 10 minutes. I don't have that kind of risk profile. I never have. And it was definitely my strategy in the first and still is to an extent. I think everyone should have some bread and butter. It's rather boring perhaps even unsexy. Buy and Hold properties in their portfolio just as a foundation. I wouldn't. I would never recommend leaping in there with the thing you know high risk allegedly high return.
You know I rarely see that happen successfully with first-time investors and especially in this climate as well with the banks not lending anyone any money. But I guess so I really wanted to set and create a foundation of solid buy and hold long term buy and hold that would then be the step-off point for doing other things.
Definitely definitely so have the properties as you mentioned been scattered all across Australia you've got one in Brisbane.
Already being planned four in Queensland one in Victoria one in Adelaide.
Yeah something like that yeah.
And do you plan to buy things sort of locally in Sydney where you're currently living at the moment as well.
How long have you been doing for thousands of dollar question Tyrone? Yeah. Yes and No. So professionally we are looking as as as advisable by his agency and we're buying homes for people here. Yes absolutely because people will always want to live from an investment perspective.
I'm sure everyone out there will be aware that the Sydney market boomed as it does you know decade once a decade is boomed in the past three or four years it's coming off the boil retracting slightly in some suburbs. I think there's a great rush to be in the Sydney market here I think.
I think one has time to see how you know the next 12 months or so is playing out. But I do like to get ahead of the game with these things so I or we should say at Advisable are definitely preparing and gearing up for purchasing investment properties for clients here in Sydney too. But you obviously know. Sorry, I don't know just stating the obvious you really do have to pick your location.
Yes it's going to depend on. I'd say that about any any area really but just because of Sydney having boomed you know it's the Brisbane market is different. The Adelaide my all there are so many property markets out there they all do different things for different reasons at different times and there are certain suburbs in Sydney that will continue to have good solid growth but can you afford to buy that.
You know we then consider what's going on out at the West. You know with the new airport coming and so consider the area consider the yields you know.
While buying Sydney is in her sights, Hill is in no rush.
Absolutely! Buying in Sydney, absolutely! Buying in Melbourne, definitely! You know, is there a rush to do that?
As a buyers agent and investment advisor, Hill describes a typical client and what she attempts to do for them.
Well for those that can actually borrow any money...
It's it's like I said earlier on I I learned the lesson myself by doing it myself of really getting to the grips of what is the right thing for the clients at any particular time. So I might have an Alex or any one of us might have clients who are let's say a young couple with two or three kids in school ballet soccer you know both parents let's say to be a complete horrible stereotype when one parent is part-time the other parent is self-employed and there's not a lot of cash spare cash going on in that family. And let's say they only had 350,000 to spend.
So it's considering what is the most appropriate investment for that family for that situation and risk profiling them also. So we want to make sure that they sleep at night.
I don't want them lying awake at 3:00 in the morning like me where my rent dropped 280 dollars a week and losing sleep over you know any part of this process. It's not risk-free. Of course ever. But they need to sleep at night.
We need to I need to know what kind of tenant demographic they're comfortable with what cash flow, of course, they are comfortable with the age of property all these kind of things and then we need to make the best and we match that with making the best investment decision. Area wise that we can.
And you know if they want to say only 350 is a good amount if they've got 350000 to spend then what's the best area that we can afford for them to buy the great property in that meets the demands the local demand. All these things have to align.
However not all clients are the same, so she gives another example.
I could also have a client where you know cash flows just not an issue.
They're high-income earners they're able to borrow a larger amount of money they might already have properties in their portfolios so we diversify. We look at other areas. Advisable here, we're licensed in four states at the moment. We're increasingly becoming more and more aware of WA as well. I've travelled over there again just to get ahead of the game with that market coming into recovery. So it's you know it's not. I keep saying the same thing to everyone here really but it's not a cookie-cutter approach. Every client is different. They have a different risk profile they have different levels of money to spend you know they have. Again we'll come back to dealing with human beings. People say Have you had have fears. They have goals. So we never pigeon hole anyone into you know this is the only property to buy and this is the only location to buy in right now. That's absolutely not how we work because I'm not selling anything it's not like I'm saying these are the properties I have for sale. Which one do you want.
We find out who the client is. As I said all that other stuff. How much can they spend? What's their risk profile. Okay well, let's go and find what you know what you need to make the best investment decision for you personally.
Hill explains why she started and has continued to build her investment propertiportfolio, and why she has built her business.
The Why has I would say it never changed. It is always to make sure that me and my little family here are okay in the next 10 to 15 years. My husband on a personal level my husband's a little bit older than I am so I always have. I'm sure he won't mind me telling you that. And he said you know I have that in mind so I we need to be in a position at a certain time in his and our lives where he doesn't have to work.
You know it gives us options so to create as much net income as a net wealth that gives a level of passive income we can afford for him to have that option. So and that continues to be our white why from day one to create a level of income that means we don't have to worry. That's the biggest why to me that there is not an investment point of view the building the business is to continue to do. Again I know this sounds really corny but to concede to do what I love doing I think what we do for ourselves in terms of property investing you know as as property investors out there is very very powerful. The fact that we are able to take control of us and provide for our own futures. There are so many millions of people out there who aren't in a position to do that. And I feel very fortunate it's very very satisfying. I find what we do at advisable Very rewarding that we help people on that journey. I know it sounds corny but I do genuinely mean it. We get an I get a huge satisfaction from helping people on this journey and it helps me sleep at night. Never mind that you want to help me sleep at night knowing that we're doing the right thing for people that we're helping them you know creates this wealth over time that will put them in a really strong position and they don't have to worry for them for their children etc. That's why I build this business.
Fantastic. Excellent. It's really good to hear this come back to your initial journey when your purchase the first property which we didn't really delve into much too much detail but wouldn't mind sharing a little bit more. We were initially holding you back from buying the first one besides to release and make.
Absolutely love. Fear.
And again I'd say probably be the same thing that's holding 85 percent of people back out there listening and yeah it's just fear and it's fear of losing everything. It's fear of losing its fear of making a mistake.
It's big you know fear of a financial loss. It's the only way I can sort of honestly put it you know that it was or what was going to help hold me back. And I also find that you know in my history of dealing with people who invest there is often the one driving force in a couple. You know one's keen one. The other one is probably keen too but perhaps less involved. So you know if you're the driving force behind the investments that you're making and the strategy that can be a little bit of pressure of Oh God what if I get it wrong. What if I get it wrong it's a share a financial loss that's what holds people back.
Going on from that, Hill explains 8 investment property how she would support a couple like she mentioned, with one partner less keen than another.
I never push anyone into anything ever obviously so and as I say there's often people people will know as I did people know that they kind of need to do something you know there's this thing in the back of your mind that I should do something I know I need to be doing more of this equity or I've got cash so you know I know I need to do something.
But I'm fearful or my partner's not. She's even more fearful or he's even more fearful you know.
So it's it's really just sitting down with them talking through what we do showing them past examples of what we have done I you know reassuring them that I'm not you know they are the decision-makers. All I do really is facilitate and advise. Right. So I will or we will treat them. We all do the same thing. It's reassuring people that while it's never risk-free We do everything we can to mitigate the risk of things happening and that starts right from the start with the risk profiling area choice making sure that they'll never be on their comfort zones. But we do still need to make good investment decisions right. So it's a balance a balancing act because again I don't want them doing what I did. Well, I wouldn't do that for anyone else ever obviously. But you know buying somewhere and having a great yield but it's never going to go and never go anywhere. You know it has to be growth.
Another approach is encouraging clients to be realistic about their fears.
Just sitting down and explaining to people what that what the actual risk is that's another thing. So people have this fear in their minds as I did myself of Oh God I'm going to lose everything the chances of that actually happening are so remote that that comes down to having the right structure as well you know looking at looking at how you're spending your cash or your equity and explaining what the level of risk is you're actually taking and you know and then running through the look what would actually have to happen for you to lose everything which is your fear. What actually has to happen is something cataclysmic would need to happen to the eastern seaboard of Australia for that to actually happen. That's how I like the idea that it's running through the actual were let's think this through your fear. You know I never dismiss anyone's she is genuine and I need people to be happy to have happy clients and then we have a happy Kate. But you know. But but they've come to they've engaged with me for a reason. You know they want to do something. So but I can sense the fear. So it's talking them through what an actual risk is what it is that we do how we mitigate against those risks and then helping them through the process start to finish.
While Hill recommends education and reading, she warns people to be wary of where they get their information from.
I genuinely it would be hard pushed to pick like a single a single publication but I recommend reading as much as you, can be discerning with your reading.
And by that I mean you know any investment really any investment book that you can get your hands on have a read of it. I don't think you can ever really read enough of these. There are. Be mindful though as you're doing now what that particular author's or that publications agenda is is or what. Or I will also say you know remember especially at the moment and it's a little it's a big pet peeve of mine. You know in the press we're reading a lot about you know one minute it's a property bubble and the next minute it's the property crash. You know probably you get some economist from theU.S. who is selling his latest book Over Here who is predicting a 50 percent price drop when he puts the fear of God into people. You know just always be mindful what that person's agenda is what their qualifications are. And I find that really the level of reporting if I can call it that in the press mostly about real estate is nonsense. Quite frankly I know it sounds very arrogant but it is the you know these publications rarely consult with actual real estate professionals who are out there.
They simply regurgitate somebody's press release that has no basis on facts. And again because it's all about clickbait it's because the newspapers aren't paying for actual or we're not paying to read content anymore. So these publications don't have the money to pay proper journalists to go and research and write good content. It's all about you know advertising and getting clicks you know click-through rates so and the only way to do that is to report on the property crash. You know that's looming. So that's what's going to get 50000 people clicking on it in the next five minutes which means they sell more advertising and people out there I don't think to realize that the bulk of what they read about real estate is nonsense.
Sorry again I know that sounds really arrogant but it's just.
It's the truth and the facts behind the whole idea behind people in the media tapping into your fears is because they want to get you to click on it to read them so they can put more advertising behind it. And it happens all the time unfortunately.
Reading so just be mindful of that is what I would say.
Read as much as you can you know but we have to take it all with a pinch of salt. Certainly in the press about what know where that's coming from and who's writing it and what are their qualifications and how they actually talk to real estate expert for.
Hill shares some of the best advice she’s received on her property journey.
Not to sweat the small stuff too much. Right. Not to freak out about paying 150 dollars for a mortgage registration document you know that you're going to when you invest in property it's going to cost you money. Right.
Just accept that fact it's going to cost you money and I guess the line with us is and this might sound a little bit self-serving and I actually don't mean it this way but don't be afraid. In fact I encourage you to pay for good advice. You know there is no such thing as a freebie out there. If it's free you'll be paying for it somehow right somehow. At least if you pay for the actual advice on a fee for service basis there is a there is a high chance that that person advising you does actually care about you and your circumstances if the advice is free. It's not advice it's sales and they will be making their money elsewhere. So pay for good advice pay for good qualified advice check out people's. What their qualifications are who is selling you what and why. How are they getting paid that you know and at the same time don't sweat the small stuff about paying for example a good solicitor or a good conveyancer you've got a complicated transaction going through and that solicitor solicitor is going to cost you two thousand dollars but they're going to get the deal through and it's going to you know not make your blood pressure go through please pay for good advice and don't skimp on it and go to some online conveyancing service for 150 dollars where you're going to end up doing all the work and it can scupper the deal. Don't sweat the small stuff.
She shares some of her personal habits that she believes most contribute to her success.
I am I'm going to sound like a broken record here: reading. Really just staying on top of what's going on out there again. What was that lesson number two that I learned when I got my phone call from Gladstone? Stay on top of what is going on not just with your own investment properties but just generally in the markets and tune in to great podcasts, Tyrone. Tune in to see you know again. But run by you know people who are experts who are out there doing it reading. Staying on top of what's happening with my own properties and investments but also generally make time each week to stay on top of your admin. You know it sort of sounds. Sounds a bit of a I don't know trite I guess but stay on top of the statements that you get from your property managers know what's going on with your properties and maintain them so that your tenants want to stay. Don't skimp on maintenance items. It will bite you in the bum when you want to sell it because you don't have me at the other end of that transaction going. Why should I pay X amount for this property when the landlord hasn't bothered to keep things in good repair. So yeah sorry he turned into advice session at hand. It's good advice. I would recommend people forget that they don't want to spend money on the property it's going to cost you money to maintain it. It's the tenants if you maintain it well the tenants are more likely to look after it well they'll want to stay you know and it will be in a better condition when you want to eventually sell it and use it. People forget that, and charge market value rent. That'd be the other thing.
Sorry I've got two seconds to throw that one in ha ha.
Hill is also a big fan of swimming, something she believes also conditions her mindset.
I love doing a good ocean swim around Coogee Wedding Cake islands that three kilometers. So the training for that.
It's I find climbing up and up and down the lanes at the local pool. I find it quite meditative you know so there's a lot you can source in your mind what you're doing 50 laps down.
And it's I guess it's just that sense of senses of achievement you know when you're out there when you're coming from London where there's you know you need to get in a car and drive for two hours to get to it. A. A. I won't call it the ocean. And then you've got to consider whether you'd actually ever get in because it's a shipping channel and it's freezing.
So having the opportunity to be able to do these swims out here in challenging conditions sometimes it's I just got a great sense of achievement from it. I love being out there. It's just a wonderful opportunity but you know coming back to the training it's it's kind of it's I guess you could equate it a little bit to property investing in terms of it. You know you've got to push through it. You've just got to keep going. You know it's going to get hard at some points when a big wave comes and.
You just have to navigate it The best way you can and then you get over it and you carry on you know now that I think of it it's just popped into my head.
Because I just gonna say swimming in the ocean is not like swimming in a pool you got so different.
No, it is not. No, it is not.
How do you mentally train that. Because anything could be happening around there.
Well again love no again it's, it's again everything comes back to real estate. It's, it's, it's having it's experiencing you know starting small.
So don't start with Coogee wedding cake island swim in November when it's cold and quite rough you know to start with the little one kilometre more, more sheltered swim.
So you get your confidence up you build your confidence don't leap and don't run before you can walk. Just start slow get your confidence going you know. Otherwise, I think you put it off because you know you have this fear of Oh God I've got to do this strict kilometre swim around wedding cake and it could. You're never going to do it you know but if you go okay well I'm just going to do this little one case when which to some people is still a challenge and I don't mean to you know diminish that achievement in itself. But that's a much more manageable thing to do. So you know and again I'd say. And you don't leap in with a multiple dwelling property development you know the first thing that you ever do. I just wouldn't recommend it. It's a big thing you're taking a big risk that I don't have the experience to deal with the challenges that are going to get thrown at you like being out there. You need the skills you need to develop the experience and skills to deal with the different conditions of what you're doing. So and until you've actually been out there and done it you really don't know what they you know you can read for the next three years about you know what it's like to swim round wedding cake island in Kuchi but until you actually do it you really don't know how you're going to manage the challenges whether you do manage the challenge you might be the one that put your hand up and gets towed in by the wall to 60 people cause it's all too much. You know you're knee deep in a property development. What are you going to do. You know it's harder to bail out so without you know considerable financial loss. So I'd start small and build build on a solid foundation rather than try and run before you can walk.
If Kate Hill met herself 10 years ago she’d have this to say:
Start 10 years ago. I met myself 10 years ago I'd start I'd go back another 10 years and go start now. Do it now.
So if you are 20 years ago.
20 years ago start now. Now I know you've got no money but start now.
In the next few years, Hill is most excited to expand her portfolio with development.
I'd say the potential and the possibility is to be able to do more developments. So I just as another shout out to Alex you know I'd handed him all my money and say here go and double my profits please do some small scale developments to turbocharge the building of equity that I'm aiming for. Yes so stepping it a bit beyond so beyond the long term buy and hold strategy and going into something that I might risk profile has and has been for a while now it's just you know when you start a new business which is, of course, a few years ago now but when you start a business the banks go Whoa I'm not going to lend you any money for a little while. So you know while I'm on hold considering what the next what the next step so that was definitely to do some developments to make it make some really more exciting money.
With her early investment troubles, Hill doesn’t feel like she had too much luck.
Looking at my actual experience and the way that my decision making improved from the early days it would say I've relied very little on luck. I've had very little luck. But I I do know people who have been lucky. If that makes sense so there will have been people out there. So personally I'd say I don't rely on luck and certainly not anymore. I wasn't aware that I ever relied on luck and I don't think success that I've had has been because of luck it's been because I've learned from my mistakes. So it would be more because of skills experience you know and I don't ever do that again case differently next time. But I do know people who have been lucky who have bought you know in Sydney in 2012 just you know out of just because they were that's when they chose to do it just and they readily admit they had no idea what was going on the Sydney market. That is just when they happened to buy and their property doubled in value in the next three years. So those people have been lucky and bloody great. Good luck to them you know. Why not. You know some people need to be lucky. That's that's fantastic. So I do know that that happens but the reverse happens too.
Do your research.
Alright well, Kate. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast. We’ll end by letting the audience know what's the best way back in connect with you.
Yeah. So my phone number is 0 4 zero four double 174 double seven. Email is Kate at advisable with an E in the middle. So Kate at advisable dot com dot au. And it is also a website advisable dot com dot au where you can send your inquiries through.
This episode was produced by Ashlyne Ocampo with narrations and interviews conducted by Tyrone Shum.