A question about property

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From: H N


Hi all,

I have a small question about property.

I have been looking at purchasing a property for around 5 months (focusing on Inner West). Each week goes buy and I do the same thing. Open the newspaper on Sat, look up the internet and go to the open for inspections. And I can never seem to find the one that I like and if that is the one....it is the one everyone else likes and we go into a bidding war or it gets sold pre-auction. So the question is what am I doing wrong? Am I the only one that seems to be experiences these woes? I figure that before long, one year will past and I will still be propertiless!

So my question is how can we go about finding the right house quick?

Where do we find houses?
1) Internet -> www.domain and www.realestate are the two that I know of....any others? I have found that properties appearing on the internet have ususally been on the market for a while or will be auctioned.

2)Smh - every sat.

3) Agents - now I know alot of you are thinkin....why doesn't this guy get off his lazy bum and go meet some people. But the question is a matter of time (I know I am making excuses) BUt if you work Monday to Friday and Agents are normally open on Sat....then that leaves basically 1 day to look for houses. With so many open for inspections to view ....where does one get enough time to get to know the agent on a personal level so that the newest property that comes on the market, you know the agent will be callin you first?

They are the three that I mainly use. So where are the rest of the properties sold? There are so many each week maybe it is me that isn't doin my homework and not working hard enough.

So what exactly am I looking for you ask....I looking for the Holy Grail of property. Where the real smarties go to find the right property. But like the Holy Grail....maybe it doesn't exist and I will have to go back to my Sat. open for inspections and wait and wait and ...oh.....wait.

But when I was writing this email....if there really is a Holy Grail of property ....then.....the people that know of its whereabout would be no where to be found. So we are fighting a losing battle and I take my hat off to the people who put that extra bit of effort....as I guess you people are the ones reading this and saying....I just need to keep trying and I will find the right one.

Thanks for reading this post and hope that your eyes are not watery.....from staring at the screen for so long.

Regards
HN
 
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Reply: 1
From: Robert Forward


Hi HM

It sounds to me as though you are going out there looking for property emotionally.

That isn't my way of doing things. Look for the "Holy Grail" by the figures. If the figures stack up then look at the property. You can do this by ringing the agent and finding out what it would rent for, what other similar properties are renting for in the area. What the vacancy rates are in the area etc etc.

You can do most of this over the phone without spending days/weekends doing the hard slog on the feet. And with Inner West properties try and get a weekday appointment (even if it's the evening after work) for an inspection. Bugger this driving all over the Inner West trying to make it from Open House to Open House with 200 others hapless souls. And having a weekday appointment will show that you're possibly a more motivated purchaser and you will also get a one on one with the agent to talk turkey with them, which is more preferable then trying to get time out of them in a 45min slot where 200 people walk through the house at the same time. And the best thing is that you may meet the vendors....
If you feel comfortable with it, start by sitting down at their kitchen table and start negotiating with them. Remember you don't have to place you offer to the agent, there is no law stating that you can't approach the vendors directly. So do it.

I think you need to work smarter, reduce your leg work and cut your criteria down to be more specific.

60% of my properties I've purchased without stepping into. And yes I do have someone check these out for me and give me a report, plus other Due Diligence. It's a matter of thinking how you can do it more effectively rather then "following the herd" around on a Saturday morning.

Been there Done That. Not again for me.

Cheers
Robert

The Sydney "Freestylers" Group Leader.
 
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Reply: 1.1
From: J Parker


Good answer Robert. It is important to remember that, with IPs, it is all about figures. I like your idea of negotiating directly with the vendor. Do you do this with the agent still there, however? I would imagine that you would doorknock them later?
I have also found that it helps to talk to the same agents each week, ringing them up for updates so that your name sticks in their mind when the next buy comes up. Let them know that you are truly ready- finance approved, ready to buy, no mucking around for the right place etc. Leave them all a card with your details and what you want written on the back of the card. (easy to store, easy to retrieve)
Once they know you are serious they will begin to include you. Once you have bought one or two, I think this is where you would have better luck securing those properties that the first timers might not even get to know about. Would I be right here, multiple IP owners?
Keep at it and don't give up! Best of luck,

Jacque :)
 
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Sim

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Do the figures stack up ?

Reply: 1.2
From: Sim' Hampel


On 2/27/02 8:32:00 PM, Robert Forward wrote:
>
>That isn't my way of doing
>things. Look for the "Holy
>Grail" by the figures. If the
>figures stack up then look at
>the property. You can do this
>by ringing the agent and
>finding out what it would rent
>for, what other similar
>properties are renting for in
>the area. What the vacancy
>rates are in the area etc etc.

I know we had this debate a couple of months back... but given this topic and all the new people on the forum, maybe it's time to ask again...

Robert... you say that you look for the "holy grail" by the figures... can you give an example (perhaps a real example of a property you have looked at and maybe even one you have bought)... tell us what the figures were and why you did/didn't buy it. I'd be interested to hear other people's stories too.

I know this is a very subjective topic, but I think it would be useful if we can discuss the motivation behind the decisions people made and how they interpreted the figures in the context of where the property was, where the market was at, and where you were at yourself (ie. what were you looking for in a property - or in the "figures" at the time you made the decision).

Just as important as what figures you would buy on, what would you pass up ? Do a "John-West" and tell us about the properties you would reject.

I'm not after extreme "rare find" examples such as the 10% yielding house within 5km of the CBD or the investment nightmare from hell... I'm talking run-of-the-mill properties - what set of figures make them "good enough" or "not quite up to scratch" to you ?

And how long are you prepared to wait for a property that is "good enough"... in periods of high demand, do you lower your standards at all ?

Anyone think they can give this a go ?

 
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Reply: 1.1.1
From: Robert Forward


Hi Jacque

Yep, it doesn't worry me who is there. I'll start negotiations with everyone listening.

Actually, I'd rather the agent being there to cause usually they're to flabagasted that I sat myself down at the kitchen table and started talking figures with the vendors to do anything about it, not that they can do anything about it anyway.

And if the vendors don't want to negotiate with me then I ask when we can organise a time for me to come back and chat. Oh, it also helps when you take you other half and they can throw the "female emotions" at them too, a tear in the corner of the eye never hurt either when they won't come down to my price.

Please note: No offence to the women out there but it is a great tactic to use. Especially when you are negotiating against another male, since we are only Mere Males anyway.

Cheers
Robert

The Sydney "Freestylers" Group Leader.
 
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Reply: 1.1.2
From: H N


Thank you for the prompt reply.....

I totally agreed with what you said Robert. (I am trying to think outside of the sqaure that we live.)

So my action plan is as follow.

***Bug the agents every week using a phone until they are sick of me and want to sell me a property to get me off their back.***
(I realized that from this point on in time agents will become quite annoyed b/c there will be alot of people bugging them every week)

I will start this new strategy tomorrow.

So my next question which follows this is what is a reasonable price to buy? Now doing some reading...."you make your profit when you buy". But then you read "don't buy now b/c its too hot", then you read "but it will stay like this possibily for the next year".

I cannot see how purchasing at this time in the property cycle could yeild a positive cash flow in an area like the inner west where prices are so hot. But I am happy to negatively gear....(its better to gear than not to gear)...that is not the issue....the issue is ....what is the "Holy Grail" figure?

Yes research and hard work will tell me what is a reasonable price....but are agents really that "thick" to sell to a buyer at a cheaper price than the market. I guess what I have been looking for is the right property below the market price (as this is what is said in every book that I have read). But I don't see any of these properties anywhere so will now commence a new strategy of actually finding the right property and purchasing at the market price.

Any suggestions?

HN
 
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Reply: 1.1.2.1
From: Robert Forward


Hi HN

Your questions really do come down to individual circumstances. Things like

How much can you borrow
How much are you willing to borrow
Are you looking for a buy and hold
Do you want to trade the property
Are you willing to do a reno on the property, if so,
how much of a reno are you willing to do.
What are the rents in the area
How easy is it to rent in that particular area
Is there a quirk about the property that will allow it to be rented for more $$$'s
Where is the property actually located within the street/suburb etc.

Yes you are right with saying you make your money when you buy, but there are other ways of making it when you buy, things like adding value.

As Sim asked, one of my latest deals is a property in BNE. It's a 3 bed 1 1/2 bathroom and no established garden property. I am going to spend $5k on turning it into a 4 bed 2 bathroom property which will up the value by $60-80k. And spend $5-10k on creating a garden which will add another possibly $30-40k to the value. this will also up the rent to making it positively geared for me.

The issue here is this is what I was looking for in a property this time. Other times I'm looking for those cheap high yield properties to trade for lots of dollars in a short time frame. Horse for courses....


Cheers
Robert

The Sydney "Freestylers" Group Leader.
 
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Reply: 1.1.2.2
From: Kristine .


Hi, HN

While you're out doing the rounds of the houses, do you ever go to the 'Open for Inspection' at the rental properties?

Why not devote a weekend or two to see just what is out there for the rental market in the areas which interest you to buy in.

Speak to the rental agents. Ask what gaps are in their portfolios - what are tenants looking for that they just don't have?

My point here - although I am sure you're way ahead of me - is if you put yourself in the shoes of the tenant, you may be more encourged to buy, than just buying on the off chance that you may like it or that someone else may like it.

An agency with a big rent roll and a good reputation will have an experienced property manager, and probably good sales people as well. Consider arranging a meeting with both property manager & recommended sales person (speak to the agency manager and ask them to arrange this), take them into your confidence. Perhaps one of their landlords is thinking of selling, with a tenant already in place? Or they have a waiting list so you can 'custom buy' to meet their demand?

Think outside the square. Have a 'think-tank' session with yourself if there's no-one else around to talk to. Don't analyse your ideas too much, just think them. Talk to yourself, outloud, while you're driving - explain what you are doing in words, not just in thoughts. Once you hear yourself think, you may be surprised the different angles on situations you find yourself saying.

The bottom line is that in 10 years time, whatever you've bought now will be worth more. What you don't buy now, not matter what 'stage' of the property 'cycle' we are supposedly in, will be worth diddley-squat to you.

Have you read the www.johntreed.com site? He has a lovely storey about his first purchase. After months of looking he went back and bought the 'lemon' he had previously discarded. Dreadful place, pokey little house between two commercial properties in a nondescript shopping strip. Sometime later, one of the commercial operators paid a premium for that rundown place, to provide a 'drive-through' facility for their customers.

Whatever the market, there will always be a need for low maintenance properties near railway stations, colleges, hospitals, etc for the single worker/student/shift worker. and no, I'm not talking huge inner city apartment complexes, just your ordinary flat or above shop residence or small whatever, easy to buy, easy to rent, easy to insure etc etc

HN, the Holy Grail is most likely something you've already inspected and is still on the market, that you walk past but have never noticed, or that place with the Presley purple lounge room ($25 worth of paint) that made such an impression as you walked in, or that smelt really musty, like someone had died there (probably did).

Tomorrow, put on your joggers, put paper and pen in your pocket, and do a five kilometre slow walk around your own area. I'll bet there's at least a dozen Holy Grail on your list by the time you come home.

Sorry to be so verbiose. But after all, I talk real estate for a living, and believe me, that first purchase is the hardest choice, for you and for every other aspiring investor. It does get easier as you go along.

Best luck

Kristine
 
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Do the figures stack up ?

Reply: 1.2.1
From: Steve Navra


Hi Sim,

Yes your posting is as succinct as always!

"Anyone think they can give this a go ?"

Lets try, you can all shoot me down after:

Preconceived selection criteria to buy a specific type of property. (These discussed after first step)

First step: I buy properties emotionally. (Shock horror) Well I figure that to be human; suppressing emotions would be a denial of sorts. So in the first instance I do need to really like the property. I measure this by thinking, could I live in it, because if I couldn't then who would? And if they would, then what kind of people are they anyway. Buy dog-boxes and you will get dog tenants! (And hey, if you mix with dogs you will generally get fleas - meaning endless tenancy hassles.)

Once decided that I emotionally like the place, then the logic (Figures / numbers) click in:

Selection criteria:

Land Content
Irrespective of the type of property (Unit / townhouse / villa / duplex / house.) at least a 30% land content is necessary for capital growth. That is that the value of the land must be a minimum of 30% of the purchase price.

Price:
Two things of much importance here.

The purchase price must NOT be greater than the Rental Reality Value. (See previous post for the formula) Yes Sim, at this time of extremely high market sentiment, this is not easy to find and you might have to wait months / years before entering a market. Patience being a greater virtue than overpaying.

Also, the second thing is that I ONLY buy at a cities median price plus 30%.
The reason for this is to ensure that I only acquire properties in areas with at the very least a 75% owner to 25% renter ratio. (Greater capitalization by owners leads to better than average capital growth.) The fallacy that tenants can only afford low rents is refuted by the very few rental properties available in this range.

Position:

Schools: Many will travel vast distances to go to work, but desire to be close to schools because they don’t want their children to travel far. Also, they don’t want to forever be ‘dads’ taxi. (I fit into this category absolutely.)

Public Transport: Tenants need to get to work. (So that they can pay their rent!)

Shopping accessibility.

Other desirable infrastructure: Parks, beaches, sports facilities, hospitals et al.

MARKET RESEARCH:

It remains very important to study all the research material put out by R.E.I.A. BIS Shrapnel, ABS etc. When the reports indicate that an area has done well, know that it is now TOO LATE to buy there! (Avoid herd mentality.)

Regards,

Steve

Someone else have a go?
 
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Do the figures stack up ?

Reply: 1.2.2
From: H N


Hi Kristine,

Thanks for the sound advise. It is nice to see so many people discussing ideas so openly.

Firstly I'd like to tell you about my situation. For Sim as well since he would like to know the figures.

I have purchsed my first IP bout 8 months ago in Ashfield for $435. My parents helped me witha deposit. Anyway the placve was run down...it was actaully a duplex so I am gettin $460 in total per week for it. I thought it was pretty good. (after renovations that is).

What renos did i do? Only fixed up one part of the duplex. Painted the whole place, new kitchen and fixed some things here and there. Rental increase after changes was $50.

Anyway I have re evaluated the place and now worth $524 (I thought it was worth $550 in the current market, but this is a different story.)

So what does this mean. I have roughly 90K to play with for my next IP. Which is the one now.

So what can one do with 90K is the question. Talking to alot of mortgage people I am plannin to borrow 90% of my next property which I am planninn to spend a max of 550K.

Why 90% u ask. B/c the mortgage insurance for being round 82% is approx. 2.5K whereas 90% (eqautes to borrowing an additional 50K) was only an extra 5K. So thats wat I have to play with.

As for what property I am looking for. I'm lookin for the bomb. For the place no one wants to live in, the place that smells of dog poo, the place the if you looked at it you would want to look at dirt b/c it looked better. Ok maybe I'm gettin overexcited. But I'm lookin for the older run down place so I can do up and make some capital.

BUT wait theres more.....I realized something ......everyone else wants to do the same thing ....which was why I wanted to know where the Holy Grail was.

But I think I have realized.....I already have it....its a drive to work harder (and hopefully smarter) and get what you want. I would prefer the sooner the better though.

Regards
HN
 
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Do the figures stack up ?

Reply: 1.2.2.1
From: Kristine .


Wow, HN

You're really getting up a head of steam, there, aren't you? The fire in the belly, the evangalical fervour! Right on, Ten-Four Big Buddy, and High-Ho, Silver!!!!

I have no idea where Ashfield is, or values for the areas you are focussed on, but I suffer from a congenital condition known as short arms and long pockets, and thus would like to pose this question:

If a duplex has shown it's strength in terms of passing rent, is there any reason why you are now wanting one property for your full budget? Why not two at half the budget, or one at three-quarters the budget, with the next investment that much closer time-wise, plus the saving on mortgage insurance, plus the greater security regarding vacancy/non rental periods/general serviceability, plus the ability to sell part of your collection if need be?

Remember the old joke about selling the bathroom. Flexability is the one main issue which is lacking in real estate investing. As your holdings grow, diversification creates its own security.

Cheers

Kristine
 
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Reply: 1.2.2.1.1
From: H N


Thats a good question Kristine, one which I have pondered for a while. What are other peoples view on this?

My justification. (I thought about this when I was drivin in the car and talking out loud to myself).

Obviuosly the current property market is pretty hot (a blind man could have told you this).

Why is it hot? first home owners, low IR, stockmarket, alot of property seminars, greedy people (me included in this one)....the list goes on.
Looking at this indivudally:
1. First home owners grant - most people who wanted to use the grant have done so already....the grant was aimed at the low income earners and therefore these people would have purchased property less than 350K. When grant ceases....buying will cease in these areas, therefore demand will go down...too much supply.....a crash in the suburbs in this price range.
2Interest Rates - we are all scared of IR, they affect across the board, but low income earner would be affected on a larger scale b/c of less tax advantages and also they would be more often owner occupier. therefroe this price range would agian experience problems
3. Alot of property seminars...."buy aprtments in bulk they say" --> you have probably heard about the over supply of apartments...well it is gonna happen soon and when it does it is gonna hurt.
4. Greedy people - people will always want more. Hopefully if they want more, work more, afford more, increase standard of living, move to better suburb....better suburb prce increases....obviously not as simple as that but I just like rambling.

So to sum up (finally) I think splitin up the funds would have been good b4 the first home owners grant and before the boom. but I'm think that the lower end of the market will crash harder than the medium end of the market....bith will probably crash.....but lower a touch more.

But then I think if I split up and buy two, my cash flow will be better, portfolio more diversified-therfore more stable....and then I get all confused again.

Well hope my clarification helps. Like I said it is my own justification and anyone is welcome to shoot me down.

Regards
HN
 
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Do the figures stack up ?

Reply: 1.2.2.1.1.1
From: Dale Gatherum-Goss


HI

We are emotional people. I am passionate about life and what it holds and so this cannot help but to come through in our investing decisions as well.

We found that a simple checklist, similar to the information that Steve posted earlier, made a huge difference to us.

We faxed the checklist to the real estate agents around us and asked them to contact us as soon as a property became available that met MOST of the criteria that we set.

Suddenly, we had agents ringing us on Monday night because a new house had come onto their books this afternoon that met our criteria. Would we care to have a look that night?

The checklist quietened our inner voices and forced us to focus on what we wanted. Once we looked at a house and it met those criteria, we knew we had to start negotiating.

I would draw up something similar and send it to all the agents in your area.

I hope that this helps. Good luck!!

Dale
 
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Sim

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Do the figures stack up ?

Reply: 1.2.2.1.1.1.1
From: Sim' Hampel


Thanks Dale, good reply to HN there... but I want more information from you... are you willing to share with us WHAT are your criteria for a go/no-go decision and more importantly WHY ?

I'm just trying to get people to open up and share a little of their thought processes if they can so that we all may benefit.

 
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Do the figures stack up ?

Reply: 1.2.2.1.1.1.1.1
From: Dale Gatherum-Goss


HI Sim!

Sure, I have no problem with explaining what we do. Please remember though that we do not need cashflow from properties (I have more than enough from my existing properties and my business) so we invest with 20 to 30 years from now in mind.

Obviously, this strategy will not suit everyone's needs or circumstances.

We had the following criteria in place as a must:

It must be a house with a minimum of 3 bedrooms.
The house had to be on a block with land greater than 700 square metres.
The house had to have an ensuite as well as a bathroom.
The backyard had to be enclosed so that children could play without escaping and the parents could relax.
The kitchen had to be quite decent and attractive.
There had to be a garage or carport.
The property had to be under 15 years old.
There had to be two living areas.
The house had to be on a quiet street and not a busy road.
The house had to be a brick veneer and not a weatherboard.

We wanted the following criteria to be met:

Within 2 klms from a decent shopping centre.
Within walking distance to buses or other public transport.
The house should have the sun pass over the backyard and not the front yard.

The final emotional factor was that we had to feel comfortable living there ourselves despite the fact that we would never do so.

This came from a number of reasons including our ethical beliefs and the fact that we wanted good tenants who would look after the property rather than taking them from the bottom of the pond.

We set a rule for ourselves that said if the property met MOST of the criteria, we would look at it and see if we wanted to proceed. If it met all, then, we would definitely start the process.

As for the numbers, we expected to find a property that could best be described as the worst house in the best street, where, we could expect to make a few dollars by buying right and below the market value. This we knew from our research into the areas that we were looking into.

I then keyed the information into the Somersoft software (which everyone should have!!) and that told me the bottom line.

Again, given our circumstances, we could afford to accept a small negative cashflow, which, we aimed at keeping below $25 per week anyway.

I'm sorry for being longwinded about the process that we used, but, I hope that this helps someone else focus and buy property.

Have fun

Dale
 
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Sim

Administrator
Do the figures stack up ?

Reply: 1.2.2.1.1.1.1.1.1
From: Sim' Hampel


On 2/28/02 8:27:00 AM, Dale Gatherum-Goss wrote:
>
>"Please remember though that we do not
>need cashflow from properties
>(I have more than enough from
>my existing properties and my
>business) so we invest with 20
>to 30 years from now in mind."
>
>"Again, given our
>circumstances, we could afford
>to accept a small negative
>cashflow, which, we aimed at
>keeping below $25 per week
>anyway."

Thanks Dale, great post... the two lines I've quoted here are key I think... you've given us context, and you've given us what you are looking for in the numbers (the property selection criteria are important too of course), so you've given me exactly what I was looking for !

Anyone else ?

 
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Reply: 2
From: The Wife


Hi all,

Hiya HN



I have a small question about property.


**HN, the below is NOT a small question! :eek:)**



I have been looking at purchasing a property for around 5 months (focusing on Inner West). Each week goes buy and I do the same thing. Open the newspaper on Sat, look up the internet and go to the open for inspections. And I can never seem to find the one that I like and if that is the one....it is the one everyone else likes and we go into a bidding war or it gets sold pre-auction. So the question is what am I doing wrong? Am I the only one that seems to be experiences these woes? I figure that before long, one year will past and I will still be propertiless!

**Maybe you’re looking at the wrong properties? And…are you looking to buy and hold long term?**



So my question is how can we go about finding the right house quick?



Where do we find houses?

1) Internet -> www.domain and www.realestate are the two that I know of....any others? I have found that properties appearing on the internet have ususally been on the market for a while or will be auctioned.

**Most of the internet stuff is just ‘feeders’ been sold long ago, but left up to get you to call the agent and register your name and interest, agent will want to know how much you have to spend.**



2)Smh - every sat.

***Important to keep reading the property pages of Newspapers, will keep you up to speed on prices the general public are paying***



3) Agents - now I know alot of you are thinkin....why doesn't this guy get off his lazy bum and go meet some people. But the question is a matter of time (I know I am making excuses) BUt if you work Monday to Friday and Agents are normally open on Sat....then that leaves basically 1 day to look for houses. With so many open for inspections to view ....where does one get enough time to get to know the agent on a personal level so that the newest property that comes on the market, you know the agent will be callin you first?

***You really have to get your face out there, but I fear you are looking at the wrong properties, and your missing the diamonds in the rough. Also, lets not kid ourselves, property takes a considerable amount of time and effort ( there are those that disagree, but for me, it’s a full time job) I am guessing, that part time investors receive part time success/money. Whats the solution to this? I dunno…..you cant give up your job, do you have a partner who can give up their job? Are you willing to take a step backwards to go forward?***



They are the three that I mainly use. So where are the rest of the properties sold? There are so many each week maybe it is me that isn't doin my homework and not working hard enough.

***I don’t know how everyone else does it, but I wait for everyone to rush by and buy up all they want to, and I look at what’s left, this is my market. I also have another market, but that one takes a lot of time and effort/socialising/trust so on and so forth, that’s the market where the agent will ring you first, its usually a cracker of a property, the vendor needs it gone, the agent wants full price, its usually worth full price and not worth haggling over.***

So what exactly am I looking for you ask....I looking for the Holy Grail of property. Where the real smarties go to find the right property. But like the Holy Grail....maybe it doesn't exist and I will have to go back to my Sat. open for inspections and wait and wait and ...oh.....wait.

***Hey, it does work for a large proportion of the public, look at em all every Saturday snapping up the property, that many people can’t be wrong, can they?***

But when I was writing this email....if there really is a Holy Grail of property ....then.....the people that know of its whereabout would be no where to be found. So we are fighting a losing battle and I take my hat off to the people who put that extra bit of effort....as I guess you people are the ones reading this and saying....I just need to keep trying and I will find the right one.

***Yep, I don’t know what other peoples styles are, but mine is keep plugging away, if I haven’t had 5 rejections this week, I haven’t tried. Each rejection I rejoice, as it means I am that one step closer to finding my diamond in the rough, a tip, look where everyone else isn’t.***

Thanks for reading this post and hope that your eyes are not watery.....from staring at the screen for so long.

***Everyone else that has replied to this thread, are exactly right.***

Regards

HN

***Cheers, and Good Luck

TW***
 
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