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By Michael Yardney
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Beware of the new breed of property experts

It seems we have become a nation of “experts.”

Just check your inbox or turn on the television and there they are.

  • Experts on politics who have never run a business, let alone a country.
  • Experts on football, even though they couldn’t run from one side of the field to the other.
  • Experts on celebrities who can’t sing or dance themselves and...
  • The new property cycle seems to have brought a whole new generation of property experts

Experts

With the rise of technology and social media, it's easier than ever to find advice on just about any topic, including real estate.

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Note: Unfortunately, this means that anyone can call themselves a "property expert" without having any actual expertise or experience.

If you’re like most property investors you’re inundated with the opinions of lots of different property "experts."

In fact, I've joked said there are 25 million property experts in Australia 🙂

So who do you listen to? How do you choose?

Today I’ll give you my thoughts.

Yes, we are surrounded by so-called experts—people with opinions, but very little expertise.

Do you know what they say about opinions?

They are like belly buttons, everyone has one, and mostly they are useless.

Here is the definition of an expert according to wikipedia.com:

“Someone widely recognised as a reliable source of technique or skill whose faculty for judging or deciding rightly, justly, or wisely is accorded authority and status by their peers or the public in a specific well-distinguished domain.

An expert, more generally, is a person with extensive knowledge or ability based on research, experience, or occupation and in a particular area of study.”

I’m going to share some of my thoughts on how to find a property expert to help you in a moment, but first I’d like to explain why I wrote this article.

A while ago I received an email invitation to book a webinar and learn from a group of experts.

It said that when I attend the webinar I would be shown “How to make an Extra $100,000 in 36 Days.”

Sounds good so far…

So who’s going to teach me?

As I read on, I found that the speakers have proven outcomes by generating:

  • Over $1 million in 7 days
  • $1.4 million in 54 minutes
  • And a massive $23.8 million in less than 24 hours.

Now I have no reason to disbelieve these claims (why would I?), but…

It's just like when I received an email talking about land banking.

Now, this is a strategy I have been using personally and recommending to clients for years, but what I read was a (please excuse the expression) bastardised version of what successful investors do.

To me, a safe land banking strategy is to buy the worst house in a good street and hold onto it for a couple of years until you can afford to undertake a  development.

Instead what I was reading was the concept of buying an option on paddocks that are not zoned residential, and may never be, in rural Australia.

I remember reading of a swindle where a group was reportedly selling land bank options around Shepparton and that particular development has reportedly gone into liquidation, with about two-thirds of the $4.8 million in “option” fees being unaccounted for.

A year later I read that the group who suggested this land banking scheme was taken to court for allegedly squandering all the investors' money!

Now there's a new group of "advisors" and buyers agents out there that have only been in the market a year or two

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Note: Experience is the best teacher, but the cost of tuition is high.

This is an old Norwegian proverb, but it certainly applies to the experience of finding and negotiating for investment-grade properties.

Strategic property advice is critical for you to make better investment decisions, but clearly, this isn't the case when statistics show that 50% of those who invest in property sell up in the first five years – they're getting the wrong advice.

Seek sound advice from people who have been successful in property, and investment themselves, and have a track record that has stood the test of time and a number of property cycles.

Real Estate Experts Advisors Advice2

Stay clear of those who make grand promises or offer "secret tips and tricks" for property and investment success.

Especially those who say you can do it with little money down, or bypass the banks, or get rich quickly.

There are no shortcuts or tricks to successful property investing.

Have you been getting the same emails I have?

There's an online school that will teach you to be a buyers' agent, and you can do it part-time, using virtual assistance while keeping your day job!

And these people are out there touting for your business - I kid you not!

Of course, there are many good professional buyer agents and property strategists out there.

One's that have actually done the hard yards and have years of experience - and they offer a great service.

However, there is currently a new school of enthusiastic amateurs acting as  "buyer's agents" hoping to help home buyers and investors.

Some have been in the property game for a few months, others for a couple of years, and while I'm sure they have the best intentions - many just don't have the experience or perspective or negotiation skills required to represent their clients properly.

Of course, I realise that we all have to start somewhere, but can you really take a risk with your investments?

Remember...they are still learning and gaining experience while "helping" their clients.

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Note: Our team at Metropole comes across them all the time, on the ground in the property market, and while we sometimes snigger at the rookie mistakes they make, we really feel sorry for their clients who are not being represented professionally.

Few buyers' agents fresh out of school have the level of negotiation-savvy found in a seasoned buyers' agent.

And this can cost their clients tens of thousands of dollars.

Others lack the resources or connections to truly "level the playing field" for their clients.

Yet others buy interstate properties sight unseen for their clients - a huge mistake.

What this means is that by hiring a cheap buyers' agent the investor or homebuyer actually loses out.

If you think about it, the cheapest buyers' agent is the one who makes you the most money in the long term by helping you purchase the right property at the right price with the least stress.

Are there any property experts worth listening to?

So here’s my advice on who to listen to in order to create your own financial freedom…

1. Only take advice from those who have done it successfully and significantly and kept their wealth for a long period of time

In other words, find practitioners, not just teachers.

There is a long, long list of people who have conducted property seminars over the past 20 years giving what sounded like good advice at the time, but who are no longer around.

Sure, there are those who can teach even if they haven’t done it, but why take the risk?

2. Don’t follow anyone blindly; instead, be a student of property advice

Listen to and read the advice of several experts with conflicting opinions.

Consider their viewpoints – check out their results.

Different property strategies will suit different people depending on their income, their stage in life and their risk tolerance.

Research, learn and then do what suits you.

3. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

I know some people really, really want to get into property and many want to get started in property renovations and development so they are enticed by promises that they can come to our weekend webinar and you’ll learn all you need to give up your day job.

Or you can bypass the banks and buy property with no money.

O.K. - you may need a dollar. (The spruiker who was teaching this has now been sent bankrupt by his ASIC fines)

Others are still suggesting you can buy good property on lay-by.

Now I accept that a really small percentage of people who try this will succeed, but probably 99% won’t.

I know – I see them and get emails from them regularly.

Couple sitting on sofa talking to financial advisor

Why do you need an expert’s advice?

Simply, it’s just too hard to try and do it any other way.

You see... most property investors don’t achieve financial independence, or they take much too long to get there because, over the first decade of their investing career, they have to sort out what works and what doesn’t.

Of course, many never survive this stage.

And the small percentage that does then have to make up for the lost time and lost money.

It’s just too hard to do it on your own, or by trial and error - there’s a huge learning fee involved – of time, money, effort and heartache.

On the other hand following the teachings and proven systems of those who’ve already achieved what you want to achieve and who’ve retained their wealth through a number of cycles, while not guaranteeing your success, makes it much, much more likely.

About Michael Yardney Michael is a director of Metropole Property Strategists who help their clients grow, protect and pass on their wealth through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He's once again been voted Australia's leading property investment adviser and one of Australia's 50 most influential Thought Leaders. His opinions are regularly featured in the media.
13 comments

I find the so-called economics commentators are by far the worst "experts". They are fresh out of university with no worldly experience whatsoever. You just have to laugh at their predictions and analysis. I like to refer to them as "junior economist ...Read full version

1 reply

In my opinion an expert is just a person who has stopped learning. We learn something new everyday as a rule. Having invested in properties for the last 25 yrs we have weathered recessions / GFC / scamdemic & every other thing thrown at us while ...Read full version

1 reply

Experience gained during a downturn is probably of more value than that gained during an upturn when everyone is right.

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