It seems everybody I bump into has an opinion on our property markets.
They’re reading all the news and while some believe our property markets are going to perform strongly there are more and more property pessimists who believe rising inflation and interest rates will lead to a housing market collapse.
Only last Saturday Pam and I were sitting in a restaurant having our traditional Saturday morning brunch after our regular Saturday morning massage and I couldn’t help but overhear a conversation at the next table where some young people were talking about property.
I was a little sad when I heard the mistakes and misinformation they were sharing and that they were going to make some significant financial decisions based on these often-repeated myths.
Now it’s not really their fault, because they are being exposed to a range of new so-called “property experts”; some online; others in podcasts – experts who haven’t walked the final 10 meters.
I’ll explain what I mean by that in a moment.
I saw something similar when I was having a chat with the young lady who came up to me a few weeks ago when I was sitting in Church Street Brighton having a coffee.
The conversation started with what I thought was going to happen to our property markets, but then when I asked her what her plans were, she explained to me how she recently paid a lot of money for a course to learn how to be a buyers’ agent and was going to help homebuyers and investors.
She was now going to make that - advising and buying properties for others - her career.
I know the course she was talking about because it has produced a whole swag of new buyers’ agents, so I asked her a little bit about her background.
She had bought one investment property a couple of years ago in an outer suburb of Melbourne which hasn’t performed very well, and up until last year, she was a teacher.
But now with her newfound knowledge and enthusiasm, she was going to charge others to buy real estate for them.
As I listened to her story it reminded me of a blog I read probably over a decade ago by Canadian property commentator Don Campbell where he explained how a comedian made a significant difference to his property investing.
Now investing in real estate is no joke, but apparently, a comedian taught him the final 30-foot rule, which I have changed to the final 10-meter rule, and understanding this will make a difference for you.
Okay, in a nutshell, it comes from the old-school comedian, Buddy Hackett.
My understanding of The Final 30 Feet (or the Final 10 Metres as I’m now calling it) came from a warning given by Buddy Hackett to a young and upcoming comedian on how to deal with the mountains of advice that TV executives, promoters, friends and family will be giving him as he built his comedy career.
Buddy’s advice was simple yet profound:
“Listen politely, smile and allow them to feel helpful… then turn around and seek out and take advice only from those who have walked The Final 30 Feet.”
The obvious follow-up question was: “What do you mean the Final 30 Feet?”
Apparently, Buddy said:
“Only take advice from those who have walked the final and most important 30 feet from backstage to being alone in front of a microphone with nowhere to hide.
Then, and only then, will you know the advice comes from reality and not theory.
They’ll understand the emotions, the work it takes to get it right.
They’ll have made the mistakes and created the laughs, not just read about how to do it.”
This sage advice is obviously very relevant about whom you should listen to with regards to property and wealth advice.
In essence, there are a lot of enthusiastic amateurs out there who despite their best intentions, and even if they’re confident that their thoughts are correct, will steer you in the wrong direction.
And that’s not necessary because they mean to or intend to, but because they don’t have the experience or perspective to give the right advice.
So my advice to you is to be very careful to choose advisors who have the final 10 meters of experience in whatever field you are asking for assistance with; be it property investment, business, or relationships; because there are just too many inexperienced pretenders out there.
By the way… this doesn’t surprise me
I have seen this happen at the beginning of every new property cycle, there is always a flood of new so-called "experts" trying to make a living giving advice.
And while a rising market may cover up some of their shortcomings, I keep coming back to Warren Buffett’s saying – “A rising tide will lift all ships, but when the tide goes out you’ll see who swimming naked.”
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You see, a theory is not real life.
It’s so easy today to look like an expert by starting a podcast or having a website, but I have found that theory, analysis and data mean very little if you haven’t experience what it really takes to be a great investor.
In the past, I’ve written about the fact that successful property investing is part science and part art.
There’s no doubt that science, theory and the data, and research, are very important.
But they tend to be useless unless you have the art part mastered as well – the perspective and that comes from years of experience and from the lessons of failure.
Perspective is something that you can’t buy – but it’s something you can hire when you get the right team of experts on your side.
Despite my success in investing and business I still have mentors and pay for business coaches.
And I still use the concept of The Final 10 Meters which has served me well.
I seek out who people have already achieved what I want to achieve, have solved the problems I need to solve, and have made the mistakes I want to minimise.
So as our property market moves on this year you will find you’ll be more and more likely to be in the situation where people will gladly give you advice on how to invest your money.
Some will do so even if you don’t ask.
This will be the perfect situation to keep the final 10-meter rule at the front of your mind.
If somebody has real-life experience – both good and bad – seek them out for advice.
It is true that those with the Final 10 Meters experience are often more difficult to find than the inexperienced theorists, who have never left ‘back-stage’ thus leaving them with lots of time to post on social media and share their opinions with whoever will listen.
Just in case you haven’t realised, some of the worst advice you’ll get is free advice.
On the other hand, the cheapest advice you’ll probably get is the one that makes you the most money, but that will often cost you upfront to receive.
As you probably know, I’ve been around a long time, having invested now for close to 50 years and I have noticed that it’s easier than it ever was to look like an expert today.
With a very low barrier to entry, you have a platform and can look like an expert, even if you haven’t walked the last 10 meters.
The average person can go put up a blog, start a Facebook page or group, put up some cool YouTube videos and start spouting off things that they heard or think sound real.
But that's a problem for those needing assistance and advice, yet don't know what to look for.
Let these empty theorists have their say.
This is your cue to smile politely, and then find an advisor who has taken that critical 10-meter walk.
Your real estate investing success and your ‘future self will thank you for it.
So the essence of my message today is to be careful who you take advice from and use the final 10-meter rule to help sort out who you take seriously.