Get 1% off your loan + Dangerous neighbourhoods + Never too soon/late to develop a wealth creation plan

Highlights from this week:

  • How a company executive was inspired to create a finance comparison site
  • Australian definition of dangerous suburbs
  • The 5 strategic stages of property investment
  • A knockback from a bank is not the end of the finance line
  • Improved safety adds value
  • Start early with a wealth creation plan
  • Building homes for the future


Guns and property – Kathleen Norris

Kevin:  I’m really excited to talk to my next guest. In fact, as we speak, we’re bouncing off about nine satellites as we worked out. Kathleen Norris is the managing principal of Urban Fast Forward and is in Australia. She is from the U.S. and she is speaking at the UDIA Congress in Melbourne as we speak right now.
Kathleen, thank you for spending some time with us. Isn’t technology a wonderful thing?
Kathleen:  Isn’t it amazing? Here we are, and ten years ago, we couldn’t have even done this.
Kevin:  I know. It’s incredible. Now, you’re here to talk to a whole group of people – you’ve done that already, I understand – about cleaning up dangerous neighborhoods. What are the key steps to doing that, and have you been able to see any while you’re in Australia?
Kathleen:  I think Australia has a very different definition of a dangerous neighborhood than we do in the United States, because you very wisely have good gun policy. As I’m sure your listeners know, the United States has not achieved that yet, so our dangerous neighborhoods can be genuinely quite dangerous.
We also have a lot of old neighborhoods where our most disadvantaged population has often been gathered, and unhappiness does not breed good neighborhood safety.
Kevin:  Putting aside guns for a moment, what are the key steps to cleaning up those dangerous neighborhoods that we can learn from?
Kathleen:  I think the very first step, whether it relates to guns or not guns, is to move toward making the neighborhood safe. That relates to good community activation. It involves creating or maintaining or improving relationships with the police. It involves identifying where the problems are in the neighborhood, and very often, it’s the neighbors who know, and getting them to share that information and feeling safe in sharing it. Safety is certainly the first thing.
And then clean, what we call in the United States “safe and clean” is a common pair. Are those streets really in good condition? Are there rubbish bins that are regularly emptied? Are there good businesses on the streets? Are their neighborhood amenities of any kind? How do we introduce a higher level of safe and clean into our neighborhoods?
Kevin:  We’re talking here about improving the way we live, both from a safety point of view and how we live. Is part of the answer micro cities, and if so, can you just tell me how you go about creating one?
Kathleen:  I’m not sure I truly understand the term “micro city.” I think probably the development pattern in the United States is quite different from Australia, and I think what you’re calling a “micro city” might be what we call a neighborhood, where it has its own personality. It’s related to the larger infrastructure picture, but it has a unique character. It’s beloved by its particular residents. And you have to build on that character and make sure that it’s a well-integrated place to live.
Kevin:  In Australia, what can we learn from the U.S. in terms of building these safer micro cities or neighborhoods, as you call them?
Kathleen:  Well, I have to say first that I’m going to pass that back the other way and say that I have been so impressed in Australia by what you are doing here and by how the nation is growing and how there’s policy at both the federal, the state, and even the local level to ensure that growth is well managed.
But I think you’re going to face a connectivity crisis, and I think that will be the thing that you’re going to want to address, because as you develop the regional cities – the Geelongs, the Tamworths, the Oranges, and even the next generation of cities that are coming along behind – they’re going to have to be connected to the center.
Your housing prices are so high that those smaller cities are starting to have real appeal to residents, but first of all, can I get into the center if I’m working in the center? And then second, if I live in one of those cities, is there a job for me? Those are the things that I think will be interesting for you to tackle here.
Kevin:  Just a couple of points, if I could pick up on those, and you make some very good points there. Is infill the answer? As we look at some of those areas you’re talking about and spreading out from the capital cities because there’s potential there for great infill and also really good transportation with fast speed rail and so on, Kathleen?
Kathleen:  I think that’s absolutely right. I think at the moment, we project ourselves into the future, 20, 30, 40, maybe even 50 years. I’m not sure, but what, in 100 years, we won’t have any regional centers; we’ll just have a vast plane of development, and connectivity will be absolutely key to the success of that.
We talk now about green fields and moving out into the green fields. In 100 years, will there be any green fields? Will we need to be completely connected throughout that? And infill, yes. Urban infill is a huge area of opportunity. But at some point, we’re going to have it all filled.
Kevin:  Just picking up on another point, too, and that is connectivity. When we talk about connectivity, I instantly think of the Internet, technology, and our ability to work remotely but still have that relationship with someone in a cap city. Is that a help as well, Kathleen?
Kathleen:  Much to your earlier point that you and I are bouncing off nine satellites and that that is something we couldn’t even have imagined ten years ago, I’m not sure we know what the advantages of technology will be ten or more years hence. But what we have discovered is that people resist anything that will keep them from human connection.
We thought a while back that everyone was going to be able to work from home, that we’d have that kind of Internet connectivity. What we really want is human connectivity. That’s what we’ve discovered.
So, we’re going to have to figure out how to do what we need to do but also keep people engaged with each other.
Kevin:  Kathleen, just to round this out – it’s been a delight talking to you; thank you so much for spending some time with us – what’s the thing that you are passionate, or most passionate, about?
Kathleen:  I am passionate about cities. I really, really love cities, and one of the things that I love most about them is that they are cross-cultural centers. If I go down into the heart of Melbourne right now, I will bump up against so many people who are unlike me, who are younger, who are older, who have a different history or a different heritage.
I love the fact that in a city, we get to see all that panoply of humanity, and I think it actually helps to humanize us. It helps to make us less afraid of each other when we intersect in public space. And cities are really where that occurs.
Kevin:  Kathleen, it has been a delight talking to you. Thank you so much. It’s been very enjoyable bouncing off these satellites with you, I have to say, so thank you so much for your time.
Kathleen:  My absolute pleasure.

Never too early or late to start – Luke Harris

Kevin:  My next guest is a gentleman I’ve had on the show in the past. Luke Harris is from The Property Mentors. He joins me once again.
Good day, Luke. Thanks again for your time.
Luke:  Good day, Kevin. How are you?
Kevin:  Yes, good mate. The subject this time is talking about developing a wealth creation plan to achieve a lifestyle you desire. Is it about making a plan? We all want to get on in life, but that we don’t quite know how to make the plan, Luke?
Luke:  That’s right. In school, we’re not taught how to actually set out our goals and our plans for our wealth creation. Wealth creation wasn’t a topic for me to choose at school, unfortunately.
Kevin:  Okay. So, how do we go about doing it?
Luke:  How do you do it? Look, the main thing for most people is to really work out why are you investing in the first place? What does wealth creation mean to you? Because for everybody out there, they’re going to have a different take on wealth creation and what that means.
For some people, they assume that wealth creation is having super yachts and Ferraris and traveling first-class everywhere. That’s what a lot of people think wealth creation is about, but for some people, it’s just as simple as being able to live a comfortable retirement – having the bills paid, fixing the car when it breaks down, and having maybe a cleaner come in once a week – and it’s not about having a lavish lifestyle. So, it really does vary for each individual.
Kevin:  It’s not about money, is it? It’s about freedom, surely?
Luke:  Yes, exactly. A lot of people assume that wealth creation is about greed and being money hungry. And you’re exactly right; it’s about what is it that ultimately you need in your lifestyle to actually give you that comfort?
Kevin:  How do you help people create their plan, or come to that understanding, Luke?
Luke:  The main thing that I actually have learned over the years after speaking to thousands and thousands of different investors out there is that most people actually haven’t got a really clear understanding as to how they got to where they are right now.
So, what I’ve actually worked out over the years is that before you can actually work out where you want to get to and what your wealth creation plan actually looks like, how did you get to where you are now?
A lot of people have never actually sat down and worked that out. They’ve never actually sat down and worked out “How did I get to the financial position that I’m at in life, and how did I get these credit cards, and how did I get this car loan and the mortgage that I’m in?”
Kevin:  For some people, though, they might find that difficult to put a handle on, because for most of us, we just wake up one day and we just do what we do. There’s no planning to it.
Luke:  You’re exactly right. And the biggest challenge, I think, for a lot of people out there that most people want to, at some level, improve their life and improve their lifestyle. They want to improve their financial situation for their family, or they want to help charities, or whatever it might be, or they want to leave a legacy when they leave the planet. But at the end of the day, most people aren’t really taught how to work on their financial life to get better results.
And so, what most people are doing is going out there and they’re reading magazines and reading the newspaper and they’re researching online to try and find a silver bullet or something that’s actually going to give them the financial returns that they’re after.
But what we’ve found is that most people out there, they’re actually not basing that on anything. So, they’re chasing high returns, or they’re chasing the next hotspot, but they’re not actually relating that back to their own personal situation.
Kevin:  Because they don’t have a plan. Who helps you develop a plan? Who do you need on your team?
Luke:  It’s a tricky one, because there’s no real people out there who are just focused on developing a plan. A financial planner that will be able to help you to a certain extent. I’m not a financial planner; I don’t want to be one. But a financial planner will be able to talk about your insurances and your life insurance and your TPD and things like that, and they’ll be able to talk to you about certain financial products, but they can’t talk about direct property, which is a $7 trillion industry. It’s funny that they can’t even talk about the biggest industry that we have here in Australia. So, it’s funny that financial planners can’t help you on a true plan.
Your accountant will help you a little bit as far as tax planning, but they’re not going to help you with your investment and your wealth creation plan. They’ll help you on getting the best tax outcome from that, but they’re not going to help you on a full holistic plan. Your mortgage broker is going to help you to a certain extent, but your mortgage broker, again, they’re just there to get you the best loan product to suit your end goals.
And all of those professionals will touch on what your goals are and what you want to achieve through getting your tax returns done and through getting your next loan and through getting your insurances up to date, but what they won’t do is actually do a full plan on working out how you got to where you’re at in your financial life and where you want to get to in your financial life.
Kevin:  So, who will?
Luke:  Who will? Look, Matt and I actually started The Property Mentors business a few years ago, because as property investors ourselves, we actually went out there and did what most investors do. They’re going out there looking for the next shiny object, and they’re chasing high returns, and they’re chasing the next hot spot, and they’re trying to manufacture growth, which is what people hear in a lot of these articles and magazines, that you need to go out there and do renovations and subdivisions and try and do stuff that you may not have the experience to do.
So, what Matt and I did is we actually stripped back the whole property investment space and said “What do we like out of it? What works for people? What doesn’t work for people? And how can we actually bring to the market something that actually genuinely helps people for the long-term?”
See, what we found was there’s a lot of companies out there that are… A lot of them do have good intentions and want to do the right thing, but there are also the sharks and the cowboys, as we call them, that are out there looking for the unsophisticated investors.
What we did is we thought “Let’s look at property investment for the long-term,” which is what we’ve done. We’re long-term property investors, so as such, let’s set out a business that can actually help investors long-term and teach them about how they’re making financial decisions in their life. Let’s look at how they got to where their financial position is. So, how did you get the credit card debt? How did you make those decisions?
And what we actually did is put together a really solid system to actually educate people around their financial decisions that they’re making and how to really work out to get from where you’re at right now, to where you want to get to.
But before we start investing, Kevin, it’s about setting out your point B position. To get from point A to point B, you have to know exactly where you want to go. The same as if you jump in the car and you want to go to a destination you’ve never been before, you can punch the destination into your GPS these days, and the GPS will recalibrate and guide you the fastest and most efficient way.
That’s exactly why we’re here at The Property Mentors, to help people to get from their point A to their point B position faster and safer and more predictably than what they’ve been doing.
Kevin:  Always good talking to you, Luke. Thank you very much for your time. Luke Harris there, from The Property Mentors. I appreciate your time, mate.
Luke:  Thanks, Kevin.

Shop your bank – Siobhan Hayden

Kevin:  I’m still amazed at how many people in property – let’s talk about investors for a moment – still don’t understand the importance or the benefits of shopping around when you’re borrowing money, even if you’ve got an existing loan, to shop around and make some comparisons.
I want to talk about a website called HashChing, which we’ve mentioned in the show before. It’s a portal that’s totally free and puts you in touch with some of their partnered mortgage brokers so that you can get the best deal possible. Talking to me about this, the COO for HashChing, Siobhan Hayden.
Siobhan, thank you very much for your time.
Siobhan:  Thanks for having me.
Kevin:  Tell me about HashChing. How did it come about?
Siobhan:  Look, I’ll start with the explanation for the name. So, HashChing is the merger of two words – hashtag and cha-ching. I think as an Australian business, we’re acutely aware that customers love to tag things on social media that they care about, so that’s the hashtag. And cha-ching is, no one should really over-pay for the privilege of owning their own home. So, we want to save people money where possible. So, HashChing is where the name came from.
Where it started, the founding director of the business was actually an executive with a large bank, one of the major banks in Australia, and had secured a home loan for himself with a staff discount and was really shocked to learn that his friend, who didn’t even work in banking, had got a better mortgage rate from his own bank, which shocked him.
He was thinking “I’m an executive. How is this possible?” And it worked out that his friend, who worked in the IT industry, had gone through a mortgage broker.
Kevin:  And that’s how it all started.
Siobhan:  That’s how it all started. The other add-on, of course, is that the founding member looked at all of the options on the internet, which is where most people start doing their research, and it was very confusing.
There were lots of options, there were lots of rates, lots of forms to fill out. Some of them made you fill out forms for a long time, and then you weren’t able to borrow through that channel, or you were instantly introduced to the lender that you didn’t really want to go with.
And then when he started looking at mortgage brokers, he also identified that there were no credentials, no ratings and reviews, and found it quite astonishing that we rate the driver of a car for 15 kilometers but we don’t have any feedback on a broker that’s helped a customer transact a $1 million mortgage.
Kevin:  Siobhan, do you think this is the reason why, as I said at the outset, that there are so few people who actually understand the benefits of shopping around. Is it because it gets too hard?
Siobhan:  It’s a good point, Kevin. I think most people know that refinancing or getting a loan is a bit of a heartache. It’s a bit of a pain in the bum. Let’s be honest. So, I think we’re looking for the path of least resistance, and there’s so much noise in the media and on the Internet about cheap rates and what does that mean?
And there are so many features to different rates, that people are just simply not aware of: redraw facilities, additional repayments, offsets, credit cards, ATM access. There’s a whole range of things that people need to digest, understand, and then also work out whether it’s right for you.
I think the benefit of a broker… And you know, nearly 60% of all new residential lending in Australia is assisted or introduced by mortgage brokers, and that participation of brokers in Australia has consistently increased year on year for the last 20 years, because the option outside of that is to really walk into a branch.
So, really, the two options are like light and dark. Brokers work with you, they’re across multiple lender products, not just one lender, which is of great benefit to customers, and then they do really help you go through all the paperwork and navigate that pain point. So, brokers are the preferred option.
Kevin:  Yes. One of the questions I was going to ask you is how do you find a good broker, and I can understand that the answer to that would be “Well, go through HashChing.” So, can I then ask you, how does HashChing choose its brokers?
Siobhan:  Well, I personally vet everybody! No. Look, we have a number of hurdles. A broker working with HashChing or partnering with HashChing has to have a minimum of three years’ experience or more. On our dashboard today, we have average years of experience of 10.8 years. So, first off, you need to understand all the lender products, and policy, which are relevant to different customers.
Then the ability for that broker to be able to be efficient and sharp and deal with customers on the phone. It’s a very different conversation on the phone than it is when you meet someone face to face. So, the ability to build rapport. And access to some great deals.
Once we have all those, we get them onto the dashboard, and then we start introducing them to customers and monitoring their performance – particularly, customers’ feedback at the end, with their ratings and reviews.
Kevin:  Tell me about some of this feedback. What is the feedback you’re getting from consumers about the process?
Siobhan:  Well, it’s excellent. People on Facebook, we have 36,000, I think, likes on Facebook, and followers, 3000 customer reviews on different brokers, and elements such as “I really thought I didn’t have a chance. My own bank said no to me. My broker was amazing. I didn’t realize they could be that great.”
Brokers helping customers go to auction. So, really going above and beyond, outside the normal remit of a broker. But, you know, “Held my hand at an auction and made sure I didn’t go beyond what I could, and I was so nervous, and my broker helped me.”
So, a whole range of really great comments from customers. And really, that’s what it’s about. If brokers are the preferred service channel, it’s about how brokers are now distinguishing that service with their customers, because really they do get additional customers from referrals, so that’s how their business works.
Kevin:  How often should someone review their loan arrangement with the bank?
Siobhan:  I think, like anything, it should be every two years. That doesn’t mean you end up refinancing, but it’s definitely good to have a look at what’s happening. We know that interest rates have been very stable for a long time, have basically gone down or held for a very long time, but people outside of that period may be on higher rates.
At HashChing, we’ve definitely seen a trend of customers on a 4.7%, 4.6% being refinanced down to a 3.7% or 3.6%. And that’s a substantial saving, when you’re looking at the long time that you do pay off a mortgage.
So, it’s best to know where you’re at. It’s all free, no obligation. And then at least you know where you stand, and maybe in another year, you look.
Kevin:  Yes. You’ve certainly got nothing to lose. The website is called
Siobhan:  That’s correct.
Kevin:  Siobhan, thank you so much for your time. Siobhan Hayden, who is the COO for HashChing. Thank you so much for your time.
Siobhan:  Thanks for having me.

Building homes for the future – Steve Sammartino

Kevin:  Earlier in the show, I was having a chat to Kathleen Norris, who was one of the speakers at the UDIA Congress. Another one of those speakers is Steve Sammartino who joins me now. Steve is a futurist and a business technologist.
Good day, Steve. How are you doing?
Steve:  How are you?
Kevin:  Good, mate. Hey, what is a business technologist? What do you do?
Steve:  I look at the impact that technology is having on economics and businesses. You might have heard that word “disruption,” but basically, I help companies mash up the pieces of the future so that they can sustain their business model and move to where people are going.
It’s really the mash up of new technology, emerging technology, and how they’ll be used to solve people’s problems and making sure that companies have the right strategy and infrastructure in place to serve their customers.
Kevin:  One of the big challenges, I think, for business right now is working remotely, or this working-from-home revolution, which has been brought on, I guess, a lot by the Internet. Is that framing a lot of how business is operating now?
Steve:  It’s not framing it as much as it should. And I have to tell you, for me, this is one of the opportunities for companies to save cost, have more productive and happy employees. And too few of them are embracing it.
I think the reason that they’re not embracing it is because we have this industrial mindset where we see the manager walking around with a clipboard making sure everyone’s doing what they’re told, treating people like children, maybe, instead of adults.
If you think about the corporate Taj Mahals that many companies have, they could be a lot smaller. And yes, we need social interaction, but I don’t think we need to hop in a traffic jam every day to go and sit next to someone five days a week just to do our work and then drive home in a traffic jam. We could shrink offices and work remotely far more often than we do.
Kevin:  That’s very old thinking, isn’t it, the thinking of walking around with that clipboard and so on? But don’t you think the younger generation of business owner or entrepreneur is certainly changing the way that we do business, Steve?
Steve:  Yes, they are, absolutely. And if you see small companies and startups, they tend to be far more remote and mobile with their workforce
In some ways, you could actually say that the revolution we’re living through is almost a mobility revolution. It’s mobility of ideas, of information, of currency, of products, being able to ship things around the world, so that mobility there, and it should be the same for workforces.
Startups tend to have that, and smaller companies, but big established companies, it’s very, very rare. The only super-big company that I can think of that has no offices is WordPress. This company, WordPress, they host 24% of the Internet, and they don’t have an office. They’re a multibillion-dollar company with no office. You work from wherever you want to work from and when people need to get together, they just jump on a plane and work on a project or catch up when they need to.
Kevin:  Yes, it’s interesting stuff. This, of course, is a property show, so I’m interested to hear from you how you see this impacting how we build our homes and how we live in the future in our homes, Steve.
Steve:  I think that in terms of property, you’re going to see massive capital growth in what I call the exurbs. An exurb is a place that might be one or two to three hours away from a major city, but often a place of great beauty. Maybe there’s a beach or a hillside or a lake or it’s on the river, and you can get a bigger place for far less money.
You’ll probably work, still, in a major city for a major corporation, but you’ll work from home three days a week. You’ll hop in your autonomous car – or your rolling office, I should call it – and slide your way in to the city for those two meeting days. But you’ll be at home more often. You’ll have a setup at home with virtual reality goggles in your place that’s bigger than what you can afford in the city and more luxurious, maybe even for half the price.
So, you’re going to see people move away from suburban rings and, I think, into outer areas. In much the same way that the Model T Ford invented suburbs, driverless vehicles and virtual reality are going to invent a whole new way of living where we live away from major cities or right inside of them.
I think another thing that will happen, too, is that the major cities will become less about offices and corporations and more about living right in the major city, as well. So, it’s going to be ride in and ride out.
Kevin:  That raises another point that I wanted to ask you about, and that is for those people who have invested in those big-city offices spaces, what’s going to happen to those? Will they be converted into living spaces?
Steve:  Yes, I think many of them… And you’re already seeing it now in the major cities around Australia where many of them are getting converted into living spaces.
You’re going to see what we saw with the factories. As the factories closed down, what did they become? Groovy inner-city warehouse apartments and that type of thing. You’re going to see that with skyscrapers, as well, that have cubicle farms inside of them. They’re going to evaporate.
And the reason they’ll evaporate is because big companies are driven by the spreadsheet and the cost of doing business. And you can pay someone maybe less and the person doesn’t need to earn as much if they work somewhere away from the city. And you can have virtual offices because it doesn’t cost anything. The tools of production in an office are so much lower, we don’t have to centralize them.
Kevin:  Steve, great talking to you. Steve Sammartino. Steve is a futurist, and he’s been our guest today.
Steve, thanks very much for your time.
Steve:  Absolute pleasure.

Your first property – a guide – Lauren Robinson

Kevin:  In the show, I love the opportunity to talk to people who have written books, because I have great admiration for them – I said that to my next guest before we started the interview – because I know how difficult it is to get a book off the ground.
The book I’m referring to is simply called Rented: Everything You Need to Know to Succeed With Your First Investment Property. It’s written by Lauren Robinson, who is a property manager, has her own property management business. It’s called Rental Results. She is the CEO and founder of that company, and she joins me now.
Lauren, congratulations and thanks for your time.
Lauren:  Thanks very much, Kevin. I appreciate you having me on.
Kevin:  That’s okay. What prompted you to write the book?
Lauren:  The reason why is because we often to speak to new clients or new property investors and we always get asked the same questions. So, it was more to educate people on the whole process of making sure your investment is successful.
Kevin:  What is the question you’re commonly asked?
Lauren:  A lot of people just do not know where to start and what is the process to make sure that they actually do have an investment that is successful. So, in the book, I provide a basic structure of property management as well as tips and procedures for first-time investors and what they can do to develop and manage their rental property.
Kevin:  You have five strategic steps or stages that you go through. We won’t be able go through each of those in detail; I suggest that you pick the book up and have a look at it. It’s a really easy read, and you could read it in a matter of a couple of hours or a day. But there’s a lot that you would refer back to. It’s one of those books, I think, that you would pick up and refer back to it because there’s a lot of information in here.
The first stage is the investment stage, which is the foundation for any good investment.
Lauren:  Exactly. The book has checklists at the end of each stage, so it’s really easy to follow and you can tick things off as you go.
Kevin:  Take me through the various stages that you think someone should be considering. The first is the investment decision. Is that the why?
Lauren:  Yes. The first thing is when you’re looking to invest, most people either invest in shares or property or a business. Property, a lot of people really love purchasing property, so it just runs through that first decision.
And it’s really important to make sure you surround yourself with property professionals, so have all those people, like your mortgage brokers, your financial planners, your quantity surveyors, your accountant, everyone lined up so that once you make that decision or you’re looking around and you think you’ve found that property, you’ve got the right knowledge and back-up support around you to make that decision.
Kevin:  Once you do that, you then have to move into setting it up for yourself – don’t you – setting up your business?
Lauren:  Yes, making sure you have the right structure that’s going to suit you. That’s definitely where your accountant comes in. It’s really important to know the market and what’s a reasonable price because you want to make sure you’re not paying too much or have an understanding of what the expenses are going to be in order to maintain that property to get it up to the right standard to attract a quality tenant.
Kevin:  A lot of the things that we talk about here in this interview and that you discuss in the book will come down to the choice of getting a really good property manager. I know an accountant is important, but at the end of the day, it’s the management of that property that’s the key thing. That’s what I would think, anyway, Lauren.
Lauren:  Yes, I 100% agree. That’s why I’m in the business. The second stage is setting up your investment property, so it’s choosing the right property manager for you. There is a checklist again in there, learning the type of demographic and the likely rental return so that you can maximize that rent that you’re going to get on your investment.
Kevin:  And making sure it’s productive. I guess, once again, you get the right property manager and it will become productive and it will become efficient, because I think while you can’t have no relationship with the tenant, it’s always best to have an arm’s-length relationship, so you need to know your property manager is managing it efficiently.
Lauren:  Yes, definitely. And you want to make sure you have the confidence that that property manager knows the legislation, they’re professional. I have an investment property myself and I personally don’t manage it because I find it’s difficult to manage your own investment. It is much better to have someone else in the middle working on your behalf, who understands the legislation, who can deal with that. It just takes the emotion out of it.
Kevin:  Stage four is the transition, and I think this is really where you’re going to tell if you get a good property manager. I always believe that the properties that we have that are managed, if our property manager is pushing us to maintain it well, I know they have my best interest at heart and I feel confident they’re looking after it well.
Lauren:  Yes, exactly. There are a lot of things that can be done, like preventative maintenance to ensure that things don’t escalate and all of a sudden, you have quite a large expense on your hands that could have been dealt with months prior. Yes, it’s about minimizing those large expenses, as well.
Kevin:  I do think anyone listening to this who has rental properties, if you’re experiencing any kind of difficulty with them – in other words, if the tenants are always complaining or if they’re falling behind on their rent or you’re just having hassles with it – I can guarantee you that you’re with the wrong rental manager, because that’s the litmus test for us. If we can not “set and forget,” but if we don’t have any hassles, I know it’s being managed well.
Lauren:  Yes, exactly right. It’s inevitable that things are going to pop up during the tenancy, but obviously, if you have the right property manager working with you, then you can make the decision that’s in your best interest to get things dealt with quickly.
Kevin:  Stage five of the book deals with getting a return, and I don’t mean an ongoing return; I’m talking about when, and if, you decide to sell the property – when you sell it, how you sell it, the sort of questions you should ask. I find that’s also an important part, because when you go into something, you have to plan your exit. You have to know what your exit plan is all about, don’t you?
Lauren:  Definitely. And knowing the property clock and when is the best time to sell your property to get the return. In that stage, we also provide a checklist for preparing your property for sale if it’s tenanted.
Kevin:  There’s a checklist for everything. And you’ll find it all inside the book called Rented. It’s written by Lauren Robinson and I strongly suggest…
Whereabouts can we get the book? Is it at all good bookstores, or is it online?
Lauren:  It’s online. There’s a Kindle version or you can buy paperback. We have a website called
Kevin:  Or if you go to the website, all the information will be there, no doubt.
Lauren:  Yes, definitely.
Kevin:  Good on you, Lauren. Great talking to you and thank you very much. I love your work too, by the way.
Lauren:  Thanks very much. Appreciate it.

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