A lot has changed in the sixteen years since I wrote my first book, titled “It’s Easy To Be a Property Millionaire.” It had 192 pages, covering a lot of what I had learned on my journey in property investing.
It covered subjects like success psychology, goalsetting, strategy, how to research, negotiating, financing and even specific strategies to buy & hold property, renovate it, and even how to buy it with none of your own money.
The book was incredibly successful – selling upwards of 50,000 copies. Now that doesn’t compare with J.K.Rowling and the Harry Potter series which sold millions, maybe tens of millions of copies, however for the type of book it was “Millionaire” only needed to sell 3,000 copies to be considered a best seller in Australia.
Millionaire took me about six months to write, working at night and on weekends, pouring in to the content much of what I knew about how to be successful in property investing. I did what I could to make it easy to read and conversational, as I had not enjoyed reading many of the very dry and technical books that were available then. It was also very personal, sharing my ups and downs and real experiences rather than theory.
I think one of the reasons it was successful is because so many people wanted to be wealthy (millionaire?) and they wanted it to be easy rather than a long arduous journey. I’m also fairly certain the same holds true today.
Yet being a millionaire today is not quite the same as it was 16 years ago. A million dollars today doesn’t buy what it did then – particularly in real estate terms. If you had just bought a median priced home in Sydney in 2001, you would have paid about $325,000. And today the same home might cost you about $1.1M. If you had paid half of the loan off over those 16 years, you would now be a net millionaire, simply by virtue of buying one property and waiting.
Not rocket science.
And I spent six months of my life writing 192 pages full of information and detail on how to achieve the same thing. And in the following five years I wrote three more books on property investing, one with more basic concepts for those just starting, one with the most advanced stuff that I had, and one sharing the learning journey’s of people who I had taught how to invest in real estate.
Over the years I had often thought about revising all of the books and bringing them up to date. In the sixteen years since I wrote the first book, the markets and investing had changed. I certainly discovered a lot more about how real estate worked and what made it tick. I thought I could add that information in to new sections of the books.
However, there probably isn’t a need. No matter that house prices had changed and rapidly moved up, everything I wrote and shared is still valid. Every strategy, idea, concept and motivational paragraph, could still launch you in to a property investing life, if that is what you wanted.
Or you could just buy a median priced property in Sydney and wait.
In that case I would only need one page in my changed version of Millionaire. It would go something like this, my golden rule for property investing:-
Buy the best quality property you can reasonably afford and never ever, ever sell it. Repeat when possible.
I know that currently 60-70% of the Australian population can do that – these are the home owners in our country. It might take 20, 30 or 40 plus years but eventually they will have a net worth of a million or more.
And the other 30-40%, the renters, will never have that opportunity.
I don’t see that owning even one home will become any easier. Our Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison has today made a speech acknowledging the housing affordability issue. In that speech he said:-
“the principal cause of declining housing affordability is the failure of housing supply to adjust to increased demand, driven by higher economic growth”.
Finally, Government has acknowledged the real issue and can now take steps to start correcting the supply side issues like planning delays and regulations, supporting infrastructure, taxes and charges.
I think that is very positive, however it will be many years before anything they can change will actually start to work through the market.
In the meantime, consider investing following my golden rule – that hasn’t changed.
And for those of you who simply cannot buy one or more homes, investing in real estate in the next sixteen years will look very different from the last sixteen. You will have many more options in terms of syndicates, crowdfunding, buying a small part of a property, even creating your own mortgages just like a bank. You will no longer need to buy million dollar properties just to get involved.
It has been said that the only thing constant in life is change. And that it is how we adapt to that change which will directly affect the quality of our lives.
Change is coming, and it’s here now.