How To Buy and Lease Commercial Properties with Tam Thorogood
Tam Thorogood, now on her eighth property, has delved into all different kinds of properties. Despite her success today, she still is eager to continue to build up her commercial lease properties portfolio whilst still maintaining close relationships with her tenants. Formerly in the air force, Thorogood learnt many skills and work ethics that she applied to her property investment journey.
Join us on this episode of Property Investory to learn how Tam Thorogood succeeded in the challenging game of commercial real estate and how it could potentially help you on your journey, whether it be residential, commercial or development!
Tam Thorogood delves into why she became an assistant project manager as well as being a property investor.
I’m part time two and a half days per week and the sort of reason I’m doing that is for a future development of my own properties, I wanted to learn the ropes. I thought that was the best thing to do. So I’m studying a double diploma in construction and project management and landed myself a little, two and a half day a week job.
Thorogood goes on to explain what a typical day in her life looks like.
Any given day, I generally start with either exercise or some sort of meditation and journaling. Then I’ll do one or two things. I’ll go off to my part-time job and learn the ropes of development or I’ll work on my own property management for my commercial portfolio or I’ll do a bit of study.
Before learning the ropes about property development, Thorogood shares with us a little bit about her upbringing.
I grew up on the sunshine coast in Queensland, so a really lovely part of the world. I went to school there as well, and I stayed on the coast till I was about 19 years old and then I went and joined the air force for three years, which took me to Sydney and Canberra.
That’s fascinating. So you finished school and you went straight into the army, is that what happened? Or did you actually take some time off and do something else?
Look, I had a couple of little jobs. One in a bakery, one in a club, just sort of doing catering and bar work while I sort of decided what it was I wanted to do. Actually, it was the air force I actually ended up going into, so while I was waiting for the process of being accepted, just had a few little jobs that kind of gave me some pocket money. And then got accepted and did three years in the air force.
What was the process involved, was there a similar process where you apply for say a university degree or is it completely different?
There’s two ways you can join the forces. One is by being a noncommissioned officer. That’s where people who want to do a trade will be trained by the forces. Let’s say if you want to be a cook or work in warehousing or be a supplier or to go through a tertiary kind of process that’s when you look at becoming an officer and you go into Duntroon in Canberra. So I chose just to go in as a supplier, but there are both options.
As she chose the option to be a supplier, Thorogood elaborates why she made this decision.
It stores warehousing dangerous goods handling. So we supplied the army air force Navy with every part or piece of equipment you could imagine. From a microchip to a piece of plumbing equipment. So that’s how it was run back then. Whether it’s still like that, I’m not sure. But the warehouse I worked in was 800 meters long.
Oh wow. It sounds like a little mini factory there in the background.
Yeah it was!
So what interested you about the air force? Because I’m sure there were so many other options out there. Why in particular the air force?
It’s funny you mentioned that. I think I had a mindset from my family as well. Get a good job, get a stable pay, be set for life. And the air force interested me because I wasn’t really an office type person and I knew I could go into the air force doing something that wasn’t sort of sitting at a desk.
When was that, what timeline?
25 years ago. I was 20, now I’m 48 years old.
Thorogood explains how she was influenced to get into the air force following high school.
I think from memory they came around and did a talk, like a careers education kind of talk.
Over three years, obviously being in the air force you would have been flying planes. Is that what you were trained to do?
I was supporting the people who flew the planes. Let’s run with that.
After her years of training in the air force, Thorogood picked up vital skills and work habits.
It definitely did as a young person set me up with some great work ethics. You know, you showed up every day, you showed up on time, there was a hierarchy, you understood discipline, respect, all those qualities that really help you through as you get older. And it really got me every job I ever really went for. Not only does it look good on your resume, that wasn’t the reason I joined the air force, but you know, people do know that you have to have certain standards to last in the air force or any service. So it really served me well and set me up well for ongoing employment and just general decision making in life.
Thorogood had an interest in property investment from a young age, but also had influences from her parents.
I had an interest in property I guess in my early twenties. And to think back on how my parents might have influenced that, they actually used to own and operate pubs. So as a kid I actually grew up in a pub, which in those days the house was attached to the pub. So it was kind of cool, I thought. And every Saturday I would run out around the bar and pick up all the ones in two-cent pieces. So I had a fascination with money from a young age, not necessarily property, but that shifted into property later on when my mum and I had a conversation actually and she told me to become responsible and I didn’t really know what that meant, but I figured buying land or buying a house is the responsible thing to do so that’s what I did.
After working in the air force, Thorogood found herself in other kinds of jobs before plunging into property investment.
After that, I discharged from the services in Canberra and I saw an ad in the paper just while I was having a morning coffee, which was for PMG. So Postmaster-General, which now we know is Telstra. And of course, I was looking for an outside type work or a physical type of job. And it was for the first intake of female line persons in the history of PMG. So I applied for that and got that job. So for everyone who is listening, what that means is I was the person in the street holding the cable in the exchange, connecting your telephone pole, sort of hanging, putting wires together, that type of thing. So that’s where I went to after the forces, and that was really good.
Wow. PMG, honestly, I don’t remember that name. I remember telecom Australia.
So that was PMG before telecom, so PMG was included in the Australia post as we know it now, they separated and went to telecom.
Then from telecom, it went through to Telstra. So I spent 13 years in Telstra as we know it now. And that’s really where I started my property journey, when I was working for them.
Thorogood shares with us the details inside her Telstra job before making her way into the property investment world.
Now you’d know it as a technician. The person who you know, comes and fixes your broadband, that sort of thing. So did that for about the first seven years and then I just progressed into management. So initially started with a team, then with a team of 25 and then eventually up to 130 staff. I ran the far North of Queensland for a couple of years. So I just progressed through the ranks and they were an awesome company to work for. They’re very supportive in not only paying you well, but training you well and teaching you lots of really good technical things and good management courses. That was a great place for me to flourish and learn how the corporates of the world work.
After 15 years, what happened from there?
I got to the stage where I was able to leave that job to do property renovating full time. So I made the decision myself, and another business partner, decided yep, time to go. So I did that and I was renovating part-time throughout Telstra pretty much my entire career. And then it was time to go. That’s how we sort of shifted into full-time property renovating.
PROPERTY INVESTING JOURNEY
Before being the successful property investor she is, Thorogood delves into her first property that gave her a little taste of investing.
When I was 20, I bought a motorbike as you do when you’re that age, and my mum said to me, ‘that’s ridiculous, be responsible’. Like I said before, I was like, ‘okay, well what does responsible mean?’. All right, I’ll buy a house or buy some land. And I had to look around and realize the only thing I could afford was a block of land, which was just where I currently was renting. So I bought that block of land for I think $40,000. And then I thought, this is pretty good, I like this. I sort of kept looking at land and I bought another block for $10,000 because I still couldn’t afford a house, but I could afford those two blocks in the hope that they would double as stories were told back in those days: if you hold property, it’ll double. And, it did for me, so I sold those two blocks and I bought my first house.
And whereabouts was that?
One block of land was in Coolum Beach. The second block of land was in a really small town outside of Queensland called Boonooroo. And then my first house, gosh, I should remember my first house. It was in Fishermans Paradise down in new South Wales.
So from the sunshine coast down to New South Wales, how come the distance between those two? Was it because you moved to New South Wales for a period of time?
To put a timeline on it, once I was discharged from the forces in Canberra itself and I started working with Telecom, I bought the land back up in the Sunshine Coast because that was kind of my home and I knew the area. I thought that I’d always go back there. And then I was still down obviously in Canberra and in New South Wales and that’s when I bought my house down there. So Telstra hosted me around a lot. My strategy was to just buy the worst house I could find in a kind of okay street and I’d renovate it in my spare time.
The Sunshine Coast has always been home for Thorogood, but what was her intention to buy land there?
The intention was the dream of having a block of land in a place that I loved and then in one day I would build on it. That’s the thought I was having when I was 20.
Did that come through to reality?
Well, no, I mean I had no strategy at that point. I didn’t even think about the vehicle of property to get to wealth. It was just like oh if I work really hard, one day I can come back and I know I’ll have this block of land that I’ve bought and I can hold it forever and at least I’ll live back where I love.
That sounds amazing. And you’ve invested in quite a lot of properties from residential, commercial and land and so forth. In total, how large is your portfolio at this point in time?
Right now my portfolio is eight. That consists of where I live. Three vendor finance, residential units, so I’m the vendor finance person and then the rest of the balance is commercial.
You’ve also done quite a number of renovations and sold different houses in units. Can you tell us a little bit about how many you’ve done there?
The first stretch of my property career was buying really poor houses in an okay spot and renovating and pulling out some equity or selling and then moving on. I literally did that for about 15 years and I would have done about 15 properties during that time.
Gosh, that’s a lot.
After that, I met up with a friend and we became business partners, we moved into a similar strategy. However, we made sure there was a little bit more value add. What I mean with value add would be we could subdivide that block or demolish the house and maybe put on a duplex as opposed to just a single house. We did about six or seven of those together as well. And that was in that first sort of stage of my property career and after that, the global financial crisis kind of came along and I wasn’t financially prepared. So I went back to work and had to think about what strategy might get me a little bit further ahead than that one.
After remembering the GFC, Thorogood shares one of her worst investing moments that she ultimately learned a life lesson from.
The one really big lesson was in the time when we had the boom from mining towns, and everyone was buying up in mining towns and for whatever reason, I thought because I’d been successful in doing some renovations and making money that way that I could just buy any kind of property and it would be fine because I knew what I was doing but that completely wasn’t the case. I purchased a property in a small town in WA called Newman and the mining company was going to rent it off me. Now that property purchase wasn’t subject to finance. However, I was getting my portfolio revalued so the bank still wanted to do a valuation. The hype in the market had the banks doing desktop valuations back then for whatever reason. And for some lucky reason for me, the ANZ bank drove out and cited that property for me and they gave me a call and they said, ‘have you seen this property?’ And I said, ‘no, I’ve seen pictures. That’s all I’ve seen’. And he said, ‘well, what are you expecting?’ I said, ‘well, I’m expecting an upmarket demandable with a pool, fully air-conditioned three bedrooms’. And he said, ‘well, that’s not what you’re getting. There is no pool. There is no air conditioning. It’s a demandable sitting on a dirt block’.
And I went, wow. Okay. So that was a very nervous moment for me because the contract was unconditional at that stage. As I said, he was just reevaluating my portfolio. So I kind of went, wow, what am I going to do here? So I rang the person who was selling it to me and we had some pretty interesting conversations. And the upshot of a lot of to and fro was that he ended up buying that back off me. And in this circumstance, a huge lesson of two things. One, just because you do a few sorts of good property transactions doesn’t mean you know everything. And two, stick to your strategy.
How did you find this particular property in the first place? Where you thought there was some opportunity.
With the mining boom, if you were looking to invest in trying to get a positive cashflow property really all you had to do is look in a mining town and it was available. We were sort of buying properties that were costing $300,000, you could rent them back to a mining company for $600 a week. So it was right in the middle of the boom.
Despite Thorogood’s bad luck with this particular property, she explains what happened with the valuation.
Thankfully at that time I had enough equity in my portfolio and it was okay, but I didn’t want to be left with a property that wasn’t worth what I thought it was going to be worth. So I really needed to get out of it, not proceed somehow. And like I said, I ended up selling it back to the guy who I bought it off, thankfully. Otherwise, it’d be a few hundred thousand down the drain. I couldn’t see any way forward or any value that property would hold moving forward given the condition of it.
I’m just curious why the person who sold it to you was able to buy it back off you again? Because that’s very interesting.
I think he was nervous given that what he’d tried to sell me was not what he had sold me and I’m sure it wasn’t his first time. So yeah, I brought out my angry voice. Thankfully I did. It was a really uncertain time and it really was a really big error on my part to buy something since all I did was rely on a photo and just thought that everything would be okay.
Even with the hiccups along her property journey, Thorogood shares the moment where everything clicked for her.
About 10 years ago I did a Rich Dad, Poor Dad in an international investing course I think it was called. It was a nine month course and at the very beginning of that course we had to fill out a very basic assets and liabilities sheet, just a one pager. And as I filled that out, I saw the number that was left at the bottom, which was negative $795 a month. And I was quite shocked because I had a portfolio with a few million dollars and I kind of went, wow, what am I doing if I’m trying to retire from cash flow from property?
And that made a huge difference in the way I looked at my portfolio at that time, which at that point I started selling my properties that were negatively geared because for me, I determined I wanted cash flow and I wanted cash flow from day one. I didn’t want to rely on a tax return. I didn’t want to rely on depreciation and all the things that go along with that. I wanted it in my pocket from day one.
And the aha moment behind that?
My partner was renting a commercial building and the owner said, ‘hey, anytime you want to buy this building, let me know’. So I said, ‘how about you ask how much they want?’ So we asked the purchase price, I ran some numbers on how much rent we were paying and I looked at the bottom line and I went, if I buy this, my negative $795 goes to positive $1000 per month.
And I just went, ‘Oh my God, what have I been doing all this time?’ I felt like Blind Freddie because the numbers were staring me in the face and I was still choosing to sort of ignore them in the past. Penny dropped. Big time.
What happened next from that aha moment? Where did you go to actually make changes?
I did buy that property. I sold two other residential properties that I had that I couldn’t see any way forward to make them positive cash flow. And the three units that I said I had under vendor finance, that was the way I made them positive cash flow. So it’s better returns than I get from my commercial properties at the moment. So they were kept because I could make them positive.
Thorogood goes into depth about what exactly is vendor financing and how it works.
It acts kind of like the bank, if you think of it that way. Basically I put those three properties up for sale under the proviso that if someone couldn’t get a bank loan for some reason, whether they had defaulted or been bankrupt in the past but they now had a good income, or they’d had a bad credit rating from something really minor, it meant that I would say, okay, I will lend you the money to purchase this property for an interest rate, like a bank’s interest rate.
You would probably make a margin on top of the bank rate as well too, would that be the case?
They can. I’m making a margin on mine. Some do, some don’t. But in my situation, I make 2% more than what a bank would charge. And you just agree on a current variable rate or a fixed rate. And I also make a full rate on the gap. Now when I say the gap, for example, the property cost $700,000 because I’m selling it to them and we’re settling in the future, I’ve sold it to them for $1 million. So I’m also earning interest on the $300,000 gap.
As vendor financing deals are not commonly discussed, she explains why she has been involved with them.
I knew my mentors had done it quite a while ago and had mentioned it to me. I agree that it’s not something that’s common, particularly in Queensland. It is pretty common I’m led to believe in southern States, in Victoria. But I read a book about how to buy a house for a dollar. I think it was.
Oh, by Rick?
Yes, and it has some similar concepts in there and a light bulb came on and I looked into vendor finance and I thought, I’m going to do this. So I did sort of kiss a few toads along the way to get the final person who did take up the property under verifying its terms, but it was well worth it.
How long have you had those three deals on the vendor financing for now?
A little over three years now.
When does it expire?
It’s a 30 year loan term. So another 27 years. As long as they don’t sell, I’m happy.
Do you see those types of people selling up or they’re happy just to continue to look at owning it out? Is that basically the whole idea that they’re almost renting to buyers in that sense?
It is similar to rent, to buy it. It was an investor who bought these ones. So I believe the strategy is to buy and hold because it is in a medium-density residential area and it is just three units, single story. So that’s his initial plan, whether that changes in the future, who knows. But in the meantime, you know, the longer he hangs on to that, the happier I am.
The Power of Commercial Real Estate Over Residential
PROPERTY INVESTING STRATEGY
Thorogood delves into the details about her different kinds of strategies that have ultimately influenced her property journey.
When I did have the aha moment of negative cash in my pocket as opposed to having positive cash in my pocket, I was highly motivated to change that. With the mindset of investing in property, a lot of the time, well for me, I thought I knew what I was doing it for, but I really didn’t have any meat around what that meant. I was just trying to accumulate property. So when I went through the RIch Dad, Poor Dad training course and really got into the numbers, I broke down how much money I needed to replace my income and then how much money I thought I needed to live a comfortable life from assets in property. So I worked really hard to change my portfolio around. Like I said, with the vendor finance units. Buying my partner’s commercial property and then purchasing another three commercial assets. After that, I was very confident of running the numbers, knowing that they would put more money in my pocket from day one than I had before I bought them.
How long did that process take you to get to where you are now?
That’s probably been the last six years. And to help me along the way, I learn by doing as opposed to reading. It doesn’t work as well for me. So I decided to become a commercial real estate agent so I could get in on the inside. I thought if I’m going to invest in commercial property, I need to know how it works. And the best thing for me to do was to go and become a commercial real estate agent. So while I was accumulating over the past six years, I did that for three years.
As commercial real estate agents are harder to come by, Thorogood tells us what she learned within the role.
No one likes you. It’s a tough gig. But my mindset going in was that, you know, for the purpose of learning everything I possibly could about commercial real estate, I wanted to understand what was a good deal and what wasn’t a good deal from an agent’s point of view from vendors selling. I wanted to observe the owners out there who were leasing properties. Because as you know, in commercial properties, you can do both, which is selling and leasing. So I wanted to see what a good landlord looked like and what landlords who struggled to get tenants looked like. I wanted to understand what made a good asset, which made it desirable for people to want to buy or to want to rent. So over those three years I just really became a student of the commercial market and understanding terminology, yields, what the market wants, what people are prepared to buy. So that was really the main purpose that I did that.
Along the way, did you also make a bit of commercial real estate?
I did. Not a lot. I made enough to feed myself and not struggle too much. But yeah, I made it, I think I made about $50,000 gross along the way, so each year. It was enough to get me by for sure.
Thorogood explains where she was located as a commercial real estate agent.
It was on the sunny coast. I had thought this is what I wanted to do. A year prior I went and knocked on Savills door and I said, ‘I want to be an agent’. And they said, ‘that’s great. We’ll call you if we’ve got a spot’. So that didn’t happen. So I went and sort of got a job at a local brand just to kind of cut my teeth on. And then once I’d done 12 months with them, I went back and knocked on the door and Savills on the Sunshine Coast, and they gave me a job.
After working in a large company as a commercial real estate agent, Thorogood gives us an insight on what it’s like.
Our Brisbane office did do a lot of very large transactions and I guess we got to see sort of the ins and outs of those happen on the Sunshine Coast. There were a few and far between very large transactions, but there was certainly enough to give me the exposure I needed and have a look at how that all works. You know, corporate brand, how they market, all that sort of thing. So it was definitely eye opening. The one mistake I made was because they are a corporate company, I thought it might be similar to the corporate environment of Telstra, which it wasn’t. I forgot I was an agent and every man for himself. I did miss the comradery. It’s really dog eat dog. Even when you work in the same office, you would know having been an agent, it’s a tough gig.
Thorogood thinks about what she took away from the company and how she applied it to her own portfolio.
Definitely understanding what it means to be a good landlord. Maintaining buildings, putting a little bit of capital back into buildings that become tired, connecting with your tenants on a regular basis, they’re in business just like you are. Just doing a set and forget or you know, this terminology of passive income, it’s certainly not passive. You certainly have to be engaged and treat it like a business. Those landlords who kept engaged with their tenants, worked with them, heard them, you know, when there are tough times sometimes rather than losing a tenant, the best thing to do is to help them out. Because if you have a vacancy in commercial, as you know, it can be two years if you’re in the wrong spot. So I learned that lesson and I’ve adopted that and it’s working very well for me.
When did you purchase your first commercial property to now the fourth commercial property? What was the timeframe?
That would have been in about 2014, 2013 or 2014.
And then you’ve purchased a total of four commercial properties. When was the last one that you purchased?
The last one was about 18 months ago. I sort of bought three in quick succession and then as I learnt from my mistakes and from being an agent I feel like the next property I chose was a little bit better. I’m looking to purchase a second one right now.
She dives into the details about the type of commercial properties she has purchased, starting off with her first purchase.
The first one was my partner’s clinic, so a physio clinic, which is deemed to be medical. So that sort of made me start looking at the types of tenants that I would like or I thought worked best from a long term perspective. And definitely medical is one. The reason being is you generally get a higher rate per square meter, talking a little bit technical now but with the medical fit-outs there’s normally extra things like extra hand basins and extra parking so you can get a high rent for that. Also the type of tenant being medical generally has a better financial track record of remaining in business and we are an aging population. So for me, medical was sort of a no brainer. Medical and professional typically are the two types of tenants and the types of buildings that I like to purchase.
This made sense for Thorogood, as it helps with the longevity of the commercial property.
If you haven’t provided the fit-out for the tenant and they have as well, generally they’re very heavily invested. You get along with the lease, which again if you have a nice long lease and you go to the bank and you’re lending, it’s far easier to get your finance for that.
What kind of value was it with the first one you purchased? Because often there are misconceptions of commercial, that it costs a lot of money.
That was $285,000.
What kind of return did you get on that? What kind of percentage return?
But obviously with something like that, because it’s a business type of loan or commercial loan, you have to put a lot more money up front, as a deposit.
Generally speaking, it’s 35%. You can get less. But it’s all relative. And what I mean by relative is that your interest rate goes up the more your LVR is. So if you want to put down a 20% deposit, that might be for argument sake of 6% interest rate. If you do 35% it’ll be a 4% interest rate. So the more money you can put up, the better. And also the more money you put up, the more choice of lender and terms that you have.
Could we talk a little bit more about the other type of properties? Have they been similar to this one or have they been different for the commercial side?
They have been similar. So I’ve got a professional office, which has a solicitor in it, it was the next one that we bought. The one after that was another health type allied health being an exercise physiologist. And then the one after that, because I was working in real estate, I actually bought a vacant building in commercial. When buildings aren’t tenanted, they can be worth a lot less because there’s no one in them. So I saw the opportunity of buying something vacant, knowing I was in the industry, finding a tenant, putting a tenant in and building in some instant equity.
Thorogood discusses more about the empty property that she purchased, and where it’s at now.
It stayed empty for 12 months. I did have to do some work on it. And then we got a tenant who took a lease for the whole building. It’s quite a large building. It’s standalone 330 square meters in the center of town near a train station. And that tenant failed after three months, which was a disappointment. So what we did was re advertise and try and find someone who did what’s called an assignment of lease. So basically take their lease over. We were lucky enough to do that for them because they were in financial distress. And now I have a retailer in there who’s been there for nearly 12, just under 12 months and going really well.
For how much less did you purchase it off the market?
It was advertised for $580,000 originally. And I quite liked the buildings. I just watched it for a little while because I thought no one would buy that. And then it dropped down to $520,000. And I thought, okay, all right, it’s getting a little bit better. And then I went to the agent and I said, ‘I’ll give you $440,000’. And they said, ‘no way’. And I said, ‘okay, no problem’. And then two months later they called me in and said, ‘we’ll take it’. So now that I have a tenant in it, I guess to give you the difference in what I purchased it for and what it would be worth now it would be about $150,000 difference in equity in that instant equity from now that I’ll have a tenant in there.
Even having it vacant for 12 months, that had an increased value of $150,000. It was definitely worthwhile as you said.
But if it was vacant now it would still only be worth what I bought it for. It’s the tenant that adds the value to the property. It’s just the way commercial works.
Did you have any issues finding that particular property?
No, I knew I had to buy that with cash and I only could afford to buy one property with cash. That was all the money I had but I knew it would be worth it. So actually right now I’m looking at going to the bank to get that refinanced. It’s not quite as easy as residential. They do have stricter terms when it’s already a purchased building as opposed to purchasing a building. So once I go through that process I can let you know how it goes.
Due to Thorogood’s multifaceted portfolio, she has adopted multiple strategies and ways of thinking.
I think because I’ve done a few strategies over a long period of time, really if you just set out what it is you want to do and be very clear about it, break it right down. That was probably an early error that I made that I wished I had done, and also really understand why you’re doing it.
Choosing not to go down the residential path, Thorogood explains her reasoning for doing this.
I decided I wanted to invest for certainty. For me, because I didn’t enjoy reading a lot, researching what future capital growth might be was quite arduous for me. When I decided to switch to commercial, I knew exactly that it was worth what I paid for. I was either getting income or I wasn’t, either had a tenant or I didn’t, irrespective, I don’t buy anything for capital growth at all. If I get capital growth, that’s great, but I purely invest for cash flow. From a residential point of view, I’m sure there are some out there that are, I’ve just stopped looking for them because it’s easier for me and I know the commercial market now. That’s the easy way to go and I’ll stick with that.
Not only has Thorogood dipped her feet in commercial and residential, she also was inspired to get into development.
The commercial property that I’m holding has development potential. From a long term perspective in seven, eight years, so looking ahead. When I get to that point of knowing that my properties could be developed, what I wanted to achieve and what I’m wanting to achieve now is, I may not necessarily personally develop them myself, but I want to have an idea of how it works. I want to understand the right questions to ask a project manager or a developer or understand how the finance works around development so I can best prepare myself when I get there. Hopefully by then I should know what I’m talking about.
That’s smart, especially in gaining that hands on experience from already existing developments and getting that access makes a huge difference, doesn’t it?
Yes, I’m on a huge learning curve, so it’s awesome. I really do enjoy it. I don’t think I’m a developer as such. You got to have a lot of gumption to be a developer and really play a long term game and it costs a lot of money to do those sorts of things, but the rewards are there. But I certainly want to understand the process and I do enjoy the process of learning about it.
Are you living off this passive income at this point in time and that’s funding your life? Or are you still building this up to where you want it to meet those goals that you set back at Rich Dad, Poor Dad training?
No, I certainly met those goals that were said at Rich Dad, Poor Dad training. Theoretically I could support myself through the properties that I have now. It’s just I want to be busy. I find it enjoyable to still purchase property, look at deals and look at this development stuff. It’s interesting. It’s quite boring if you just stop everything and be at home. Certainly something I can’t see myself doing.
With a strong passion for property, we take a look at Thorogood’s reasoning behind her why.
My why really is for when there ever comes a time that I need to help my family, perhaps looking after my parents is probably one main thing, is that I can afford to do that and then I’ll have the time to do that. That was my driving motivation, to make sure I have choices in life where I can best support my own family and friends to a certain extent as well. I’ve got a close knit group of friends who when they need help I can help them out, with time mainly, without having to worry about where my income is coming from.
Throughout Thorogood’s property journey, there have been some resources and mentors that have inspired her.
Initially I was heavily into Steve McKnight and his programs that were sort of on the residential and flipping, that side of things. When I did shift into commercial, it was quite difficult to find a mentor. I ended up finding one that was in a swimming group that I was in who I would ask to meet for a cup of tea once a month and just try and pick his brain. But still it wasn’t enough, which is what I needed to be a commercial agent. So Steve McKnight, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, from a property investing point of view they’re the two main ones that really influenced me.
PERSONAL HABITS AND BOOK SEGMENT
I know Steve’s got his own book that he’s written, same thing as Robert Kiyosaki as well. Do you have any other books that you could potentially recommend?
I would, I’m an audiobook kind of girl. I would recommend Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday. Really good books for me are to get out of my own way I guess is the best way to put it and also just understand, doing things for yourself. It’s your own path and you’re not doing it to impress anyone else for any other reason, then what you originally thought you were going to do it for. So it’s a really good book for me.
As she takes a look back on her journey, she shares with us the best advice she has received.
You’ve got time. I’m always in a rush.
I guess that’s what happens when you see entrepreneurs and successful business owners and so forth. They’re always on the go. Never stop.
Definitely. Less is more. I’ve got time so less is more. I felt that I had to be busy to be achieving all the time and we all know that’s totally not the case.
How have you been able to reduce what you have but also achieve more?
I adopted meditation about four years ago, so that’s been a pivotal little act that I do three times a week, that’s all I can sort of get it down to. I tried every day, didn’t work, but I’ve now nailed it three times a week. So I’d say that’s what has really helped me.
If Thorogood had some time to reflect on her past self 10 years ago, we find out what she would have said to herself.
You’re on the right track. Keep going.
What period of time was there uncertainty?
Within the last 10 years, well within the last eight years, I have been very solid. So it was probably before that I’d have a bit of different advice for myself. So in the last 10 years, definitely I would say I’m on the right track. Keep going. It’s okay to switch strategies. I’m in the same space, I’m still in property.
She talks about the future, painting the picture of what is happening for her in the upcoming five years.
Acquiring a few more commercial properties is definitely on the cards, very excited about that. I’m very excited about private equity lending in the construction space, so I’m delving into becoming a private equity lender. And then development after that, maybe.
It sounds very exciting. Is there going to be a point where you go, okay, I’ve reached enough commercial properties in my portfolio, or are you just going to continue to add those on?
I think I’ll continue to add those on. They’ll just be of a different type potentially.
And the last question I usually ask all my guests on the show is how much of your success is due to your skill intelligence and hard work and how much of it is because of luck.
It’s all hard work for me. It’s all hard work. I’ve really had to grind it out and stick with it for sure. There’s not much luck for me, unfortunately.
I think that’s the thing. You create your own luck and it sounds like that’s what you’ve done successfully.
Definitely. For anyone who thinks it’s passive income out there, I’ve changed that word a long time ago. It’s definitely not passive. You’re running a business and you need to get the returns that a business deserves otherwise get out of the business.