Sydney Buyers Agency Talks Property with Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a successful property buyer’s agent and founder of Investment Window. His company helps its clients build the best property portfolio depending on each individual’s situation. He has been investing in property since the young age of 21 and has gathered a wealth of knowledge and experience which he uses to help others learn from what he has done in the past.
Come with us as we delve into Martin’s background and find out what it was like for him when he was growing up, we briefly discuss the ongoing situation around the world with the Coronavirus and the impact he has seen already on the property market, we find out about the story behind his first investment property, we also learn about his worst investing moment but the important lessons he learned from it, and much much more!
We find out about what Martin does and his job description and what his company is looking to help their clients achieve.
I’m an agent in a buyers agency company called Investment Window. So we’re helping clients buy investment properties across Australia. And what I bring to the table is I can help others by them learning from some mistakes which I’ve made along the way, which we’ll go into today. I’ve been in financial markets for 20 years. But I’ve always had a passion for property throughout that time and held quite a few investment properties. So that’s where I am now.
Martin explains what a typical day in his life looks like.
These days, just a lot of research to be honest and liaising with mortgage brokers and financial planners, accountants or real estate agents. Trying to get the word out about what I’m doing and my story and hoping to guide clients into the right investment path. But these days it’s just doing a lot of networking at the moment and a lot of [inaudible] properties Australia wide.
With the impact that the pandemic that is happening around the world, we discuss the impact he can see on properties.
It’s only kind of really taken off in the last week or two worldwide, but particularly in Australia with airline travel restrictions and what not. But I think it’s going to play into the hands of if you’re a buyer you’ll be able to negotiate a lot harder. I heard a story yesterday about an auction which was taking place and the indicative reserve was about $1.05 million, and the agent told a friend of mine that they’ll accept an offer pre-auction for $950,000. So sellers are a little bit nervous, there’s some discounts to be had. But with the equity market, it’s taken a big hit. Might see a lot of people actually want to move into a property, the safety of bricks and mortar, something they can touch and know it doesn’t have the 30% swings like we were seeing in the Australian stock market the last two or three weeks. I think ultimately it might benefit the property market even though there might be a dip.
We delve into Martin’s background and find out about the area that he grew up in when he was a child.
I’m a bit of a boring case. I grew up in Southwest Sydney in Panania, a little suburb. I grew up there. My parents still live there. I married a local girl and I still live here. Lived in the same suburb my whole life. I’ve moved to a couple of different houses. But still living in the same suburb. So nothing too crazy there.
He’s been living around the same area for over 20 years and we find out about the biggest changes that he has seen take place in the area.
A massive change in the past 10-15 years especially. There wasn’t one duplex in the area and now so many duplexes around, which is a good thing. But you just notice the difference on the road since there are so many more cars on the road, which is just a part of living in Sydney. And all the councils, the government and councils, they’ve got their quotas where they have to increase the populations and that’s just a part of it. But as being a local for my whole life, that’s the big thing that I’ve noticed is just so many more houses or duplexes or a house which has been knocked down. Duplexes put up and just so many more cars on the road.
After he had finished high school we learnt about whether he decided to continue his studies or jump straight into the workforce.
I started working at National Australia Bank and I was doing accounting at TAFE. I worked at Concord Council for a little while, doing their accounts and then my neighbour helped get me a job at State Bank of New South Wales in the treasury area. Which was something that interested me. When I was young my dad used to always, he’d get home from work a bit later. So on the news after the sport they’d have the stock market, how much it went up or down. And this was kind of before the internet. So my job every night was to write down where the All Ords ended every day and he’d put it in his notebook. So I kind of always had an interest in the stock market. So when I went and worked in treasury, which was the money markets and FX and the futures. I had a lot of interest in that, so I really enjoyed that.
You would learn a lot about the financial market when you’re working for a bank and we delve into his experience of working that job.
When I was at NAB I was just a teller and then when I went to the State Bank, which then turned into a Colonial State thing. So I was in the foreign exchange settlements area. So a bit of a funny story. So I was doing that and I really liked it and I was learning about foreign exchange and trading. And then at a Christmas party, the Christmas party included the futures team, the money market and the FX. So I was 21. I was having a good time at the party, let my hair down and then probably being a bit too loud I guess. And the boss of the future’s turned and came up to me and said, you’d fit in on the trading floor, come and see me on Monday. And then the next day, because my neighbour worked with me.
I said to him, did I tell you last night that Kathy asked me to come down and see her on Monday on the trading floor, he went, yeah. So anyway, I went down and worked on the trading floor for a week as a practice and all the guys there were really nice. And so I transferred from the FX settlements department onto the trading floor for one year before the trading floor closed and then went all electronic. So that was kind of one of my goals. When I was younger I wanted to work on the ASX trading floor, but by the time I was 20, that had actually closed and I didn’t even know what futures trading was. There was a futures trading floor where they trade interstate products and the SPI, so the share price index. So got thrown in the deep end and had to learn all the hand signals and wear the coloured jacket.
But that was something that I really loved and was kind of a bit of a goal that I achieved early in my working life. It was bloody stressful though let me tell you. I used to feel sick most mornings just with nerves because if you made a mistake, did the wrong hand signal, that could cost thousands of dollars. And so it was pretty high pressure. I had to learn and had to learn to work in a high pressure situation and it was really good fun.
Martin shares with us some more details about the hand signals and how you need to communicate on the trade floor.
The pit that I was in was kind of the furthest from where the booths, at Colonial State Bank, the booths where they’d get their phone orders and then they’d have to hand signal it to me in the pit like it was a good 25 metres away. So you have to really get your hang signals clear. And it was kind of no point yelling out because they couldn’t hear what you’re saying. It was some good memories.
We find out about the jobs he has been working for the past fifteen years or so.
When the trading floor closed it went just to electronic trading like it is these days. So then I went back into the office and took the phone calls, client orders and executed them and managed positions. And so then that was, I think about 2000 it might’ve been. So then the past 15 odd years I’ve been doing that for various companies. So got retrenched a few times along the way, which is pretty standard practice in the financial markets, financial industry, companies change directions so collateral damage. So that’s what I’ve been doing the last 10 years.
Technology is rapidly evolving year by year and Martin delves into some of the biggest changes he has noticed that advanced technology has impacted on.
In the futures industry or even like the stock market industry. The main one is not as many humans are needed with computers. In the early 2000s, when everyone started using CommSec to buy their shares. So prior to that you always had to ring up to place an order. And if you fast forward to now, I reckon there’s probably 1 in 20 or 50 people that would actually ring up to place an order. It’s all done online on the online platforms. So therefore, instead of needing, say 10 brokers, a company might only need 1 or 2 instead of 10. So if they’ve got a 100, they might only need 10 these days. So that’s just why the industry has shrunk so much. So that’s the biggest change I would say.
The jobs in his line of work shrunk due to the advancement of technology but what line of work did he see his former colleagues jump into since they left?
The compliance world has taken off in the past 10, 15 years where it’s, everything is so compliant. So I know a few of the guys who have moved into that, but so many people have just moved out into completely other different areas, similar to myself. Like I’ve always had a passion for property investing in, been investing for 20 years, and now I’m turning a passion into a job where I can help others. So I’m an example of someone who was in the industry and now moved into a separate industry. So that’s pretty commonplace. And that’s what people have had to do. They’ve had to look for other opportunities because it’s a shrinking industry, therefore, you need to find something else.
We dive into some of the influences that had that guided him to jumping into the financial industry.
I kind of had the interest just tracking the All Ords, doing it for my dad. And then I’m not sure why, I kind of had that interest and when I’d write down the All Ord’s prices for my dad every day, they’d always show a clip, a 20 second clip of the trading floor, of the people doing the hand signals and I always thought that was really exciting stuff. And I thought that’s what I want to do. So it’s kind of as simple as that. And then when my neighbour who was a couple of years older than me, who I’m still really good friends with, he actually worked on the trading floor for free. He approached the company, State Bank of New South Wales back then, and said, can I come and work on the trading floor for free just to get some experience? And then he did that. And that’s how he got an in into the treasury area. And then that’s how he helped me get the job. So the influences, what you ask, is my neighbour. And then just something as little as how I used to write down the stock market numbers every day for my dad. So that’s how I got the interest.
He had been interested in property for such a long time, we discuss where that passion initially came from.
When I was young I remember mum and dad, they bought an investment property up at The Entrance, the Central Coast. So they’d go up there for weekends every now and then as an investment property. So that kind of planted the seed in my head. And then my brother and sister were two and four years older than me. So when they were 23, 24, 25 they bought a house as they got married and I thought, I need to be a part of this. So I was always a good saver. We all were, dad instilled that in us. He always worked two or three jobs and told us you have to save hard in order to buy a property. And it was always, we were told, you never get a loan for a car, you only get a loan for something that’s going to go up in value, which is a house or property.
So I always kind of had the idea that I’d want to do that. And then when my brother and sister bought their home, I thought, I’d been saving hard. And even when I had my full time job, I kept my part time jobs, which one of them was KFC. And then I’ll go to the local pizza shop and deliver a couple of nights a week. So I’d save pretty much all of my full time job salary and my casual jobs were my spending money. So I had good savings. So by the time they bought their houses I’d saved enough to buy an investment property myself.
Most of the time the first investment property brings about the best story in an investor’s career, we delve into the story behind Martin’s first property.
There was no internet back then. I think it was 1997 I bought it when I was 21, so it was a four-bedroom villa in the neighbouring suburb. So I went and looked, was only $160,000, so it was pretty affordable. My full-time job, I think I was only earning $27,000, so I wasn’t earning a lot of money. In hindsight, I wish I bought an actual house as opposed to a villa because with the land you get more appreciation as opposed to a villa but this was a nice tidy four-bedroom villa, which someone was already renting it. So I bought it and I’m pretty sure they stayed in it from memory. So it was, I think it was renting $230 a week, so interest rates were, might’ve been 7.5% then, so it pretty much paid for itself. So I could still be young and go out partying and it didn’t hold me back.
Did he end up holding onto his first investment property?
No I haven’t. I think maybe three or four years after that I got married, I got married to Lisa, my beautiful wife, and we bought a home in Panania, the same suburb. So because the investment property was paying for itself, we kept it as well as the family home. So two years later the investment property had gone up. I think it had about $60,000 equity in it and back then you couldn’t really refinance a loan to take the equity out yet. You just sell it. So we made the decision to sell it and put the profit into the family home to pay down the debt. Now profit is a profit, which is good, but I didn’t stick to the plan. Like I held it for 5 years. It went up but the property cycle is 10 to 12 years and if I had it today, it’d be worth about $850,000 and it’d be getting like $700 a week rent. So it’s a big regret that I’ve got that we sold it as early as we did, but we had the right intentions. And we thought we were doing the right thing at the time, but hindsight’s a wonderful thing.
We gain a little bit of a better understanding of Martin’s property portfolio and find out just how many properties he has invested in over the past 20 years.
We bought and sold our family home a couple of times. Moved to different parts of the same suburb. But basically after we sold the villa and put the money we made on that, on family homes a couple of years later we realised we made a mistake. So we thought we needed to get back into property. And we went, I got my wife on board and we went to a few seminars and we bought a property off the plan in Brisbane and I think it might’ve been about $290,000. Only 10 kilometres out of Brisbane. So it was a good location. Then the next year I thought, this is going good. Saw an ad in the paper. This is kind of just starting to take off. So you’d still buy the paper every day.
And there was some ad about investment properties, so some slick salesman came out and we bought a duplex in an outer suburb of Townsville, so a new development in Townsville. So we had the two investment properties then, feeling pretty good. The next year the slick salesman gives us a call, says how about I come down and see you about a new opportunity. So did the sales job to try to get us to buy another one in Townsville. I thought let’s buy two actually. So we bought both sides of the duplex in this outer suburb of Townsville. So now we had essentially three duplexes in Townsville and one in Brisbane. So this was over a two or three year period. And back then all the talk was about negative gearing. So to get the depreciation benefits, you have to buy brand new and we got suckered into that.
And it’s a good strategy. I shouldn’t probably say suckered in, but we followed that. So we’re holding four properties we thought we were on track and then 2008 came and the GFC. Just before the GFC hit interest rates had crept back up to the high 7s. We had three young kids at that stage. And then I got retrenched in the GFC. My wife was working part time and took a couple of months to get a new job. So I was starting to feel the strain of the properties because they weren’t paying for themselves. And eventually when I did get a job, I had to take a pay cut as a lot of people had to do back then just to get a job. And in particular the Townsville properties were a bit of a drain.
We were starting to lose the tenants. They were probably only tenanted maybe 70% of the time. What I kind of realised, not at the time, but years later, it was a new development, the property spruiker had sold these properties to people like myself or from Sydney and Melbourne, gets sold the dream of a property up in North Queensland and realised now that the only guys that are making the money are the developers, the builders and the salesman. And so a lot of properties are sold to investors, which drives the rent down. So it was just, I think the only person who made money was the salesman. We probably bought him a couple of cars over the couple of years.
We hear about what Martin identifies as his worst investing moment throughout his vast experience.
There’s a few lessons, buying too many in the one location. So not diversifying is a big lesson I think. And people like myself in the past fell into that trap. And I’m sure that there’s plenty of listeners who have done the same thing. The Brisbane property had seen some growth in the four years that we’d held it. And because the Townsville properties were causing us some stress with not being rented out as much, I made the stupid decision to actually sell the good property in Brisbane, because that was sitting on about $100,000 profit. So then I could use that $100,000 to relieve some financial pressure. But I still had the Townsville properties, which were not rented out as much and when I would get a tenant, they had a lower amount because the economy kind of hit the fan and it just wasn’t a good time. And all three Townsville properties they were all in the one essentially like a mine and an army town out there, it’s too concentrated on one industry. So the big lesson, I sold a good property to fund the bad properties and the bad properties was all in the one location. So I hadn’t spread the risk at all. Those are a couple of lessons. A good lesson for people who haven’t made the mistake so that they don’t make that mistake.
It was really, really silly. When I think back about it, it’s just such a bad decision. Even with the three Townsville properties, if only one of them was in Townsville and the other two were located elsewhere, then I wouldn’t have been under the same stress because the other locations might’ve been better locations with low vacancy rates. So you just never know. Well, you don’t know, but I do know that not to put all your eggs in one basket, that’s for sure.
Michael’s Sydney Buyers Agency– Setting You Up For Retirement
We delve into the moment in Martin’s property investing journey that made him take a step back and understand the value of some of the mistakes he had made in the past.
It was more recent, but I’ll just take you back. In 2015 we ended up selling the Townsville properties just because every time the phone would ring, a Queensland number, my heart would sink thinking what’s going on, something’s broken or I’ve got to pour more money into it. So 2015 we ended up selling three Townsville properties. So essentially the same prices we bought them for. So zero growth over 10 years, if I bought, I can’t say everywhere else in the country, but in a lot of places in the country, you’d get close to doubling your money if done right. So it was a year or two ago, Lisa said to me, my wife, how are we looking for our retirement? And then that got me thinking, ah damn, that was the aha moment that made me realise the mistakes that we’ve made. Like started perfectly buying an investment property when I was 21 and then we sold too early. Realised that mistake. Then we bought, got back on the property market journey, but then did it wrong. So the right intention, just the poor execution. So I realise some of the things of not sticking to the plan, selling too early, not diversifying, buying in an area too reliant on one industry, selling a good one to buy a bad one, buying off the plan. The list goes on.
An aha moment does not always have to be your best moment but simply a point in time that everything starts to turn around for you.
It made me go back and assess the journey I’ve been on and I’m 40, so the last 20 years there have been mistakes, but I’m still relatively young and I’ve heard that many of your listeners who have grown big portfolios in less than 10 years. So I’m looking at a 20 year goal. We’ll be much more profitable than the last 20 years. All I’ve done is research the last year and a half. And now I’ve aligned myself with some people who are a lot smarter than me to help find the properties in the right location going forward. So the guys that I’ve turned up with, they’ve got this AI technology, which I’m definitely no IT expert, but they’ve got the AI technology, which finds the right locations all around the country, which are primed for growth.
So I’m not talking about small mining towns because I’ve learned that lesson and there’s no way I’ll be helping other people buy in a location where I’ve been screwed in the past. So that’s kind of what I’ve learned is to learn from people who are smarter than you. That’s how you get ahead basically. So they have got this platform that they’ve developed, cutting edge technology narrowed down the actual best streets within a suburb. So it finds a suburb first and narrows it down to the street. Whether we like it or not, if there’s a higher percentage of public housing in a street, that means that you’re probably not going to get as much growth. So it narrows it down. Brought to a micro level. It is an exciting time to be an investor. Everyone wants an edge. And this is it in my opinion, as you said, my aha moment a year and a half ago made me do a heap of research, dusted off a lot of the old books..
I bought a heap of new books and found the people who know a lot more than me and I’ve teamed up with them so that I can help other people buy in the right locations. And use myself, I guess as an example so that they don’t have to make mistakes that I’ve made and have so many missed opportunities. Like my first investment property, $600,000 profit right there if I stuck to the goal of holding long term, three Townsville properties, that was about 3 $200,000 properties if I bought in the right location, that would’ve been $600,000 profit. So it’s just, I’ve got a few examples of where I’ve seriously realised some of the errors. And now combining the AI technology into property investing, we’re hoping this does not make the same mistakes that I made and give them a leg up.
We find out more about the AI technology that Martin was touching upon and go into more detail about how it works.
It’s all data driven. There’s like over a hundred different metrics that they punch in and the system automatically updates every 12 hours, refreshes the data. It’s pulling it from numerous different sources, not just from domain or real estate government sources. The research is proven, the numbers are solid. It’s a reliable predictor of future growth. On average they’re getting 30-50% growth in the first year after purchase. So if you’re looking to build a portfolio, which is what I’m doing now because I’ve got to play catch up. But if you’re looking at building a portfolio and you buy today, 12 months time it goes up 50%, maybe a little bit more and then you can draw on that equity and buy the next property. So it’s the way to fast forward your portfolio. So you buy, quick growth and get back in.
Looking forward to retirement, Martin shares with us his strategy on how he is going to reach his goals before that day comes.
What we’ll be doing, myself and my wife, we’re going to hit the property market pretty aggressively this year and what I’m going to do, to be accountable, I’m going to be putting the portfolio on my website so that anyone can see what we’re doing. I won’t put the exact suburb, or maybe I will after six months after we’ve stopped buying in that location. But the goal is a minimum of 2 to $3 million worth of equity in property investing properties so that then when you do see the growth in the locations, then you’ll get that double and then you’ll get the comfortable equity, which you can then draw on down the track and you can have passive income as well. So I’ve got a plan in place to build a portfolio over the next two or three years pretty aggressively and then concede on that over the following years. And as the portfolio, as the value grows, then we’ll continue to buy some more. We’ve done it before but now just going to do it properly.
With such an aggressive mindset on how he is going to reach his goal, we delve into the properties that he is looking to add to his portfolio to help reach it.
Positive cash flow, again, harping back to my experience where they were negatively geared, I don’t want to be in that position again. So looking for positive cash flow property. The $300,000 mark will be the first one. And there are plenty of locations around the country. Again, not in mining towns, but in established suburbs where you can get positive cash flow. So the $300,000 mark. So we’ll be looking to get a couple of them and then that will, because the positive cash flow, the serviceability will be there, will increase and then look to get more of a more solid one where it won’t be as much about the cash flow, but more about the growth. So combining two or three properties together as a package and then looking to replicate that.
It’ll be a good opportunity I think in the next couple of months for property investors and like if it’s done right, property is definitely like the best and safest way to generate solid passive income. And just because like a couple of years ago when we sold our Townsville properties, we were like, that’s it we’re done with property. It only causes trouble. And then with my aha moment, it was like, no, it’s good, you just have to do it right. And this is what my research over the past 18 months and finding the right people who I’ve got on my team, it can be done and it’s not that hard. It doesn’t have to be hard. It doesn’t have to be, you don’t have to make the mistakes which I have made and others have made and will continue to do unfortunately. But it can be a pretty easy process.
For many people, the struggle is getting into the market and buying property. We learn the steps that he took before he started on his property journey.
From a personal point of view, you get your finances in order. So cut back on, get rid of your credit cards. If you don’t want to get rid of it altogether, bring it down to like a 1,000 or $2,000 limit because the higher your credit card limit, even if it’s not drawn, you’ve got a $10,000 limit that could reduce your borrowing capacity by 70,000 or $80,000. So just something simple like that we’ve done and just cutting back, making your bank statements look a bit neater. So that there’s less reasons for the bank to lend you less money. But we’re lucky we’ve got some equity in the house, so we’ll be drawing on that. But as you mentioned, teaming up with the research team has been a massive eye opener and a massive help and just been enormous. All this research that I’ve done, I can see there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
We’ve already discussed the impact that retirement is having on his journey going forward but is that his main ‘why’ factor?
Yes and the passive income. The retirement and the passive income because being previously in, my dad worked for the same company for 48 years or something and he couldn’t believe that I worked for lots of companies, and I’ve been retrenched four times. So my wife’s a school teacher, so she hasn’t got any job insecurity, but I’ve always had that job insecurity because I have been retrenched in the past, not through any fault of my own, just through the industry I work in. So if you’ve got passive income from rental properties, if you were to lose your job and whatever industry you’re in, it softens the blow, you’ve got less stress. So that’s something that is important to me. So that’s what I’m looking to do. You build up the portfolio, you’ve got the equity in 10, 15, 20 years time, plus you’ve got the passive income. So it’s a double win. That’s why property is so good.
It is important to surround yourself with people that are supportive and can help you when needed and we find out about some of the people that were able to help him.
Back when I was starting to invest, there was a guy I used to work with who, when I bought my fourth property, he had then bought his 13th or something and he was someone that I really used to pick his brain. I wish I picked it a bit more. It might have stopped me making some of the mistakes that I made. I think it’s important to have someone that you can get feedback from and even one of my good mates, he’s got quite a few properties as well. So it’s good to, as I said earlier, you have to surround yourself with people smarter than you. So if you’re looking to get into property you need to talk to people who are experienced investors, whether good or bad. And just so you can learn from the mistakes and learn what to do and learn what not to do. But heavy research, where I’ve been going nuts the past year and a half, I’ve spoken to lots of experienced buyers just to chew their brain and just try to get as much information as I can, which is where I’m up to now. So I think it’s really important to align yourself with smart and successful people in whatever field you’re in.
Martin has spoken to a diverse group of people from buyers and investors and he shares with us some of the key takeaways that he has picked up from these discussions.
Some of the takeaways that I have personally taken away because I think it was more relevant to my past experiences is having higher cash flow properties because of the job insecurity in the past. So if I was to lose the job, not be forced to sell an investment property, so having a higher cash flow, positive cash flow property is pretty important for me. So that’s one of the key takeaways I took. And then to buy in an area where it’s not reliant on one industry and it’s got a low vacancy rate because if you’ve got a property and if the vacancy rate is 5%, you can’t afford to not have a tenant there for three or four weeks in the year. If you’re in an area where there’s only a 1% vacancy rate and you’ve got a lot better chance of when a tenant moves out within a week, you’ll have a new tenant. So I just think that cash flow is vital. Of course, the capital growth is vital as well, but don’t want to be forced to, you know, sell a property because you can’t afford to own it. That’s really important in my books.
We learn about how you are able to balance your portfolio between capital growth and cash flow as well.
From my own experience, I held in Townsville for 10 years and sold at the same price, so there was zero growth. So that is where the IT team that I’ve got with the AI machine learning technology that incorporates that and we can say, okay, I want a 6% yield and potential growth of 5-6% going forward and the technology will generate a report, give an estimation of where the property will be valued over the next 10 years. So it’s not impossible to find cash flow positive properties in growth areas. So even just look at Sydney out in Penrith, 10-15 years ago, you could buy a property for $200,000. Smart people might say, well, you don’t want to buy there because you want to buy in the inner city where you’re going to get a higher chance of getting growth. You can’t buy anything under $400,000 out there. Growth happens everywhere but what I’m very conscious of is, with my own experiences, I’m now utilising the IT world to increase my chances of getting both, which is possible, which is growth, which is the vital thing plus the cash flow, which helps fund it.
We hear about some of his best book or podcast recommendations.
I’m a big podcast listener. I have dusted off a lot of my old books, but some of the more recent ones, Secrets of Property Millionaires Exposed, My Four-Year-Old The Property Investor. I forget some of the names of the others. I’ve done just a lot of reading and a lot of listening, Armchair Guide To Property Investing. That’s a good one. Ben Kingsley and Bryce Holdaway, got a lot out of that as well. So that’s probably the highest recommendation one I’d give actually.
Even Paul Glossop’s one Surfer’s Guide To Property Investing. That’s not a bad read, but you read all these books and ultimately they are kind of all the same, but you just take a little bit out of one. Then you’d read another one. They mentioned that in that books and you take a bit more out of it. It’s just I’m always trying to grow.
What do you think has been the best advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t give up. It’s never too late. That’s kind of it. You have to believe in yourself. Work hard. Just kind of giving you just little bits there. My parents instilled a strong, hard work ethic and I mean if you don’t work hard, you don’t go forward. You have to make the right decisions and try to keep learning and surround yourself with people smarter than you. I think that’s pretty important.
Martin shares with us some of his own personal habits and how they have impacted on his success.
I’m a good family man. I’ve got three teenage kids and I’m trying to instill the habit of saving into them. Two of the three of them work part time jobs and I make them save a certain percentage of it every week. So if you work longer hours and you can keep a bit more as your play money. They keep saving and they’re 14, 15, 16 now, by the time they’re 21 they’ll have enough of a deposit to buy a property themselves. So I’m just trying to instill the habit of saving into my own kids. And the last two years they’ve listened to all of my goings on about property and I think the penny might have dropped for them, even if they don’t want to do it themselves they’ll feel like they have to because I want them to so much.
When they’re old enough they don’t need to buy a $10,000 car, a $2,500 car will still get them from A to B and you’re just not wasting money. Always money conscious as everyone is and should be, I guess. So it’s not wasting money but getting your money working for you.
You learn the most from the mistakes you make along your journey and we find out what Martin would have liked to tell his younger self.
Don’t worry. Just reset and start over. Don’t dwell on the negatives. Embrace the positives.
Martin shares with us what he is the most excited about achieving in the near future.
I’m just excited to be making the right decisions and knowing that I have done a hell of a lot of research to have the absolute confidence that we will be making the right decisions unlike previously. I was probably like so many others, I’ve got so many investment properties, well done. But what’s the point of having them if they’re not in the right location or if they’re going to work against your own situation. So I’m looking forward to knowing that I’m doing the right thing because I’ve done the research, so I’ve got the confidence and with the business I’ll be helping a lot of other people as well. So I’m looking forward to that. I’m really looking forward to that.
We get his opinion on the tricky question of how much of his success does he put down to luck and how much does he put down to hard work and skill?
I don’t think much of it’s luck to be honest because you’ve heard the story and if I had better luck, I wouldn’t have needed to come to the realisation that I need to put in the hard work to do the research, a ton of research to know what the right thing is. So I don’t think there’s much luck there to be honest.