Liam Carmody is the acquisition manager of Palise Property. From a young age he loved to lead a busy life, playing multiple sports and excelling in school. This has carried through to his life today, where he is busy helping others achieve their property investment goals and raising his own family.
In this episode, he will share how his background in engineering has aided his property investment
career, proving that it is never too late to follow your passion! As well as this, learn the value of working with others, taking care of tenants and much more!Timestamps:
3:41 | A Busy Lifestyle
5:09 | Small Town Experiences
11:38 | New Opportunities
14:56 | Finding Your Passion
19:19 | Why Property?
21:46 | Jumping Into Property Investment
25:16 | Working With Others
1:07 | Building a Property Portfolio
4:35 | Making the Switch
5:57 | Investing into Commercial Space
10:13 | Be Well Researched
13:43 | Finding a Mentor
16:38 | Reflecting on the Past
Resources and Links:
[3:06] Always have that extra buffer, cash buffer just to make sure you can fund anything else that may come through.
This is Property Investory where we talk to successful property investors to find out more about their stories, mindset and strategies.
I’m Tyrone Shum and in this episode, we’re speaking with the acquisition manager, Liam Carmody. He will share how his background in engineering has aided his property investment career, proving that it is never too late to follow your passion! As well as this, learn the value of working with others, taking care of tenants and much more!
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Carmody was a chartered civil engineer for almost a decade but after some self-reflection, he decided to jump careers and follow his passion.
[2:01] I'm a qualified buyer's agent now working [and] sourcing commercial and residential property all over Australia. So, that's been a long term, personal passion of mine. I've done it myself — investing. So, now I've sort of gone out and decided to help out other people doing similar to what I've done and helping them to achieve financial freedom and passive income through property.
His experience in engineering is a big asset and helps him in his day-to-day life.
[2:47] My days are quite structured, really. Being an engineer required an analytical side. So, I personally need a routine. So, normally I'm up early [and] at the gym by 5am. Then I like to be back home by sort of 6:30am, which is when my wife and son tend to wake up. And then I can help them get ready in the morning at breakfast and try and get them at the door by sort of 7:30am ish. And then I normally spend the early part of my day on some personal development stuff.
[3:17] So, whether it be like education through doing some development courses at the moment, just journaling, reading books on — whether it's a property book or like personal growth books. And then by 9am, I sit down [and] go through a list of clients on the books right now that have got properties under contract and then I'll work through that list the ones that are urgent —with queries on financing, due diligence, building and pest inspections, for example. Then helping them with settlement.
[3:50] Once I'm on top of that, I'll then move on to sourcing properties. Speaking with real estate agents across Australia. Perth's a bit behind so I tend to do that in the afternoon for the time difference there but yeah, just to speak [to] an agent sourcing off market listings, on market listings and just speaking to them [about] negotiating [and] arranging contracts.
[4:13] Then from there in the afternoon, I'll normally spend more time sourcing new leads, speaking with potential clients [and] helping out the social media team with new content. Then [in the] afternoon my wife gets home by sort of 4pm. So, then I'm back on that duty. Helping out with getting dinner ready and just having to play with my son really. Evening, it just depends on how the day goes really. Whether I spend a few more hours just tidying up any loose ends from work and then speaking to friends and family or just relaxing on the couch with the wife and watching Netflix or binge of the day goes really.
A Busy Lifestyle
Carmody’s typical day is packed with activities, similar to when he was growing up.
[5:02] I grew up in a small town called Yass, which is near Canberra. So, yeah, [I] lived quite a busy lifestyle when I was a kid, I played a lot of sports. So, I’ve got two younger brothers. So, I played everything you can think of really from rugby, cricket, golf [and I] did a lot of swimming to when I was younger.
[5:47] So, we did a lot of travel. Our weekends were, yeah, like a lot of travel in the car going three [to] four hours away to whether it was for rugby, cricket, swimming events. We spent a lot of time travelling. So, particularly in summer we were quite busy. But we were quite competitive, my brothers and I as we grew up. So, me being the oldest probably made me more competitive if anything, [I] couldn't lose to my younger brothers.
Carmody and his brothers enjoyed their time together, particularly on the weekends.
[6:22] We'd all play golf together on the weekend. So, which gave mum a break every weekend, which was nice for her. So, we'd always go out on a Saturday or Sunday, and we [would] play 18 holes, which would take four or five hours, which would give mum a bit of free time and get us three boys out of the house with dad. So, it was good bonding time for us and yeah, like we're quite competitive, too. It's always a lot of banter on the golf course, too, which is just fun.
Small Town Experiences
Yass is a small country town but for Carmody and his family, it suited their lives very well.
[7:02] It's one of those towns where people always — especially if you're driving from Sydney to Melbourne — everyone drives around Yass. You don't go through Yass anymore. But it was a good lifestyle for us. Like we, my dad was actually the mayor of Yass at one point. So, we were sort of quite well known, I guess, as young kids growing up. Everyone sort of knew who we were, and we were quite involved in like a lot of the community type stuff there.
[7:27] So, which was good, like we enjoyed it and got involved in all of the like rugby committees and mum used to run the canteen at rugby too and used to score cricket when we're playing cricket. So, she was always involved in one way or another. So, that was a good community spirit.
[7:47] Like I said, one of those sort of smaller country towns where everyone knows each other, and you walk down the street and people know who you are. And you say hello, and which is a good way to grow up, I think. Whereas sort of nowadays when you're in cities for example, everyone's got a quiet you notice headphones in, very focused on themselves, and you don't sort of have that much anymore.
From a young age, he displayed signs of success at school.
[9:20] We went to a private school Catholic school in Yass called Mt Carmel. Yeah, like a smaller school. Like we only had one year group every year but yeah, [there was] probably 20 [to] 30 kids in the class, I guess. We were quite close with all of our friends growing up and yeah, like all play sports together. And I was also quite academic at school. So, particularly maths, [it was] just sort of one of those things where I just picked it up quite quickly. I was also the school captain back when I was at Yass too.
[9:54] So, sort of thinking back about it now like I probably didn't realise it at the time, but I was sort of like a natural leader to a degree. I remember when all the sports I played — whether it was rugby or cricket — I was always the captain of the teams or even in rugby, I just kick goals. And so, I didn't probably realise at the time, but it was just sort of a natural thing that I just went to, whether it's being the captain of the team or kicking goals, I sort of liked that pressure as well.
[10:25] But yes, also just academically, I quite enjoyed maths and did a language at school too. So, I started studying Japanese as a language in year 7 I think it was, and just picked it up quite quickly. I'm not sure why, to be honest but I just enjoyed it from the start. And it's probably like a bit more like mathematical too sometimes. When you're reading a language and Japanese is quite structured too. I quite enjoyed that part of it as well.
[10:58] Then in year 10, so [it] got to the point of Mt Carmel only goes to year 10. So, in year 11 and 12, we had to sort of make a decision as to where we'd go to school to finish off. So, mum and dad made a bit of a sacrifice, like financially for us, and we went to a big private boy’s school in Canberra, called Marist. So, I went there in year 10 and that was, for me I'm a natural introvert.
[11:26] So, it was quite a bit of a shock for me to go from being the big fish in the small pond to being the little fish in the big pond. So, it took me quite a while to settle into that change at Marist and use what I was naturally good at I guess, like with sport to make friends and academically too with maths and made quite a few good friends, which I'm still friends with today.
Although there was a social shock that hit Carmody when he changed schools, another big challenge he faced was the commute.
[11:59] Yass to Canberra is not a short distance. So, I used to get the bus quite early in the morning. Used to have to wake up and we were on the bus at 6:30am every day to go to school. And there wasn't even a bus, it wasn't even a school bus that used to run from Yass to Canberra. So, we had to catch the workers' bus because the people used to catch the bus to go to work in Canberra every day.
[12:26] And there were three school kids, me and my two brothers, and eventually there was a few more kids [because parents] decided to send their kids to school in Canberra later on. But yeah, we were sort of one of the earlier ones to do that and I just remember [that] every morning, we'd be on the bus at 6:30am and they [would] sort of do the big tour around Canberra dropping off everyone at the local employment areas to go to work each day and then we'd be the last drop off just about in the other side of Canberra there. So, [I] got to school at about 8am every day and then in the afternoons, we [would] get the bus back again.
[13:03] But if we had rugby training, for example, we wouldn't get the bus back and wouldn't be home until 6:30pm every day. So, it's quite a long day when you're [age] 15 [to] 16 and I was, it definitely worked out longer term for us — making that sacrifice, or our parents anyway and then going into a better quality school really. Personally, it pushed me further with education and sport because I wasn't as content being like the one of the better players in rugby, for example.
[13:38] Or with maths I was always sort of one of the smarter ones in the class, but then you go to a bigger school in Marist, and you sort of realised that, you know, you're not as good as you thought you were which is probably a good thing for me and then there's people there that were a lot smarter and better at rugby than I was. So, I sort of took a step back and then it probably made me better as well.
[13:57] So, yeah, I was 17 [and] quite focused on rugby back in year 11 but I did my ACL playing rugby or doing training actually. So, that sort of put me out of action for the last year of rugby. So, I didn't play sports at all that last year. So, year 12 for me was just basically just well just focusing on education which was probably a you know, longer term and looking towards uni shortly after, it probably worked out better for me in the long term.
Focusing on his education in year 12 allowed for him to study at university.
[14:30] Eventually got me into study civil engineering at the University of Wollongong and I also took on, so I did continue my Japanese studies beyond school as well. So, I did a Diploma of Languages at the at uni too. So, which actually that was quite good. I, to be honest, haven't used the Japanese since uni but it was a good experience for me though.
[14:56] Like I went over to Japan and studied in Japan [in] I think around 2010, which was quite cool. I went to ... university over there and that was a massive eye opener for me. So, we stayed [in a] combination between staying with a host family and then that was all just, they’re all fully speaking Japanese the whole time. And I was just fully embedded in the culture, which was really cool.
[15:30] So, we went over there and as our university course there was about, I think 10 of us that went over. And yeah, we were just, it was quite challenging because even [though] we go to university every day and that was just completely in Japanese, there was no English spoken, it was just really full on.
Trying to adapt to his new environment was a massive hurdle for Carmody.
[15:57] There are some things in life that you do [that] are quite daunting, like public speaking, for example. But I remember going and we had to do like a final presentation to the university when we were leaving. And it was completely in Japanese and there would have been probably 1000 people in the room. So, you got to go through and talk about your experience in Japan and where, what your future holds and that was quite daunting.
[16:37] And I was definitely like, you sort of rely on the people around you too because they're all in the same boat. So, we had some people that [were] like all different backgrounds, as well. Like, we had some Chinese students that were learning Japanese, and everyone sort of got different experiences. So, you're sort of using them to guide you through.
[16:54] And we had some teachers there too, with us on the exchange that really helped out. Just to give you that confidence and like we'd go through, and we'd sort of write a full speech, and it was just like practice. Just continually to sort of [be] going through and like I was, my brain's a bit of a sponge sometimes. So, I'll just sort of, [I'm] just used to memorising my whole speech and I'll be able to go through and just rattle it off and, but no, it was a good experience.
Carmody’s ability to speak Japanese helped him with his career and created some unexpected interview moments.
[17:49] When I first started applying for jobs, I was looking at [and] I actually applied for one that I didn't get when I finished university in a construction company. But I remember doing the interview, and without telling me the construction company brought in a Japanese person to ask me questions in Japanese.
[18:08] And I was completely unprepared. And luckily enough I didn't lie during the application process that I could speak Japanese, but they brought someone in, and I was actually talking to the guy in Japanese and which was quite a bit of a shock to me at the time but I didn't get the job eventually. But yeah, I got another job which I did for quite some time in civil construction.
Finding Your Passion
After graduating university, Carmody entered the workforce. But why did he want a career in civil engineering?
[22:59] I always enjoyed the maths side of things and I remember I was [in] the end of year 10 and at a work experience. And one of our close family friends, he's a property developer actually, based in Canberra. So, he took me on for I think it was two weeks, and he was quite good. So, he took me around to just different consultants that he uses. Whether it be like engineers or town planners, and I got to sit down with them for sort of two [to] three days at a time, and just sort of get to experience what they do day in day out.
[23:35] Some were sort of quiet dry, just like more design based engineers and then town planners again. Like I was sort of just trying to find my way as to what I suit[ed] and then over one day, he took me out to one of his projects that he was working on. [It] was like an apartment project which was very close to finishing. And I remember just walking through the site and he was showing me what he'd built, and I was just amazed by what he'd personally done.
[23:59] And like, at the time I didn't realise it, but I sort of, that was like a light bulb moment [for] me. For me, this is what I want to do. But I thought at the time that engineering was the way to do it. To get into engineering to actually build it. So, that was sort of what got me into engineering to start with because I wanted to sort of, I went a different way completely when I eventually found a job in engineering, but I wanted to do sort of like you know high rise buildings and that kind of stuff as an engineer but didn't end out that way and ended up building roads and bridges and wind farms. But yeah, that was probably the key thing, when I was a kid. And even there was a TV show called Prison Break.
[24:49] I've watched it a few times now actually. But even like that the main character Michael Scofield being an engineer too, that was just like everything in that show was how my brain works. It was just like very analytical and just things in your head just all running around. And that's, even that show I was like yep, that's really cool. I want to be an engineer. And that was another reason why I wanted to get into it and but, going back to the sort of that the day when I went through with that property developer, when I was about 16, just going through his projects, that was that light bulb moment for me as to what I really wanted to do.
After establishing a career in civil engineering, Carmody decided to start investing into property. We explore his ‘why’ behind this.
[26:56] There was some other moments that I can think of too where I first got into property investing itself. Probably the API magazine back in the day when that was running. Elsewhere, the first thing that I remember reading, the first time I actually bought the magazine, I was in hospital with my mom [who] was getting treated for cancer. So, she's all, well 10 years she'll be cancer free next year, which is great. But I remember I couldn't [or] I didn't know how to deal with the situation, to be honest. So, I sort of looked for a distraction and I remember seeing that magazine there and just picked the magazine up. So, I was with mom and just didn't know how to sort of be in that situation.
[27:44] So, I just got the magazine just looking for distraction and just read the thing from front to back. And it's something that just sort of tweaked in my mind as well, just like reading through all the different investor stories and different options that you can have with investing. And it just sort of grew from there. So, I remember I asked my parents when I was probably about maybe 19 and 20, for my birthday present, from then on to pay for my subscription for the API magazine. Well, I used to get that every month for my birthday or as my birthday present.
[28:16] So, from there I used to just read that religiously. And then actually, I was looking for my own property back then to our first investment, or our house we live in now. So, I used to go to the back of those magazines and look through all the suburbs that were in the areas I was looking to buy and I used to make my own spreadsheets and look at the capital growth and vacancy rates and track all of those sort of things. And even like your number of listings every month and I have a massive spreadsheet for I tracked it for about 12 months in the end.
[28:52] But like looking back at it now, I sort of, it was almost like another light bulb moment for me too because I was just literally tracking just month by month what the property markets [were] doing. And it's just moving. Like the property market was just going up and up and up and up every month and I'm like, why am I just sitting here writing it in a spreadsheet, like when I can be actually getting the money from the property instead of just sitting here and just watching it grow before me.
Jumping Into Property Investment
This realisation motivated Carmody to jump into property investment and make his first purchase.
[29:36] I purchased an off the plan house and land package. That was the first one I ever bought as it was primarily a long term buy and hold for us. But also, being our first purchase, try to use it to obviously not pay stamp duty being a first home buyer and try to get the first time owner grant as well. So, use that to my advantage to get into the market as well. And because we weren't quite there with the deposit, so I decided to try and get into the market earlier and trying to take advantage of that growth that was, I thought would come. So, it took about, I think six months for the lender [to] register and then another 14 months from memory for the property to be built and settled.
Carmody and his family still live in this property today.
[30:52] We paid like $550,000 back then. And probably worth close to $1,000,000 now I'd say. The markets move quite a lot around the south coast here. So, it's a good property for us and it's been great to use that as leverage as well to then to get investing as well, which has helped out.
[31:28] That was a long term investment property for us, we want to hold it. They're actually building a new town centre in this developer we're in now. So, it's a suburb called Tullimbar, which is probably 20 minutes south of Wollongong. There's been like a big new road project, which is just finished as well. So, there's a few little indications that to me made it like a big long term investment for us.
[31:55] So, yeah, we sort of looked at it as a good starting point for us to have a family as well. So, I didn't want to, I was at the time looking at even apartments back in 2015 and 2016 time. And like, just after reading everything I had through API and just everything you look at on investing, it's like trying not to, like we'll keep upgrading properties that you're paying obviously money to get in and out all the time.
[32:24] So, we sort of pushed ourselves a bit further out of Wollongong for example. And then we went to buy this house first and foremost and then not have to then buy an apartment, live there for two years, grow out of it, have to sell that [and] buy something else. So, we sort of sacrificed early on to be a bit further out and not, like being a bit younger, too. You want to be near the bars and near the nice restaurants and near the beach. But yeah, we sort of made that sacrifice earlier on and, and it's paid off now.
Since making this first purchase, Carmody has continued to build his property portfolio.
[0:15] Up to five now. So, we've purchased every year just about since then. [We have] come to a bit of a standstill [in] the last year and a bit with having our son and changing jobs, which makes it a bit hard with finance. So, we're sort of just biding time at the minute, but we'll look to re-invest this year. It's been like an ongoing thing. We're just trying to continue to sort of push the portfolio [and] to keep purchasing each year and try and diversify along the way as well.
Working With Others
Throughout his time investing, Carmody has learned valuable lessons. This began with his first investment.
[1:23] We stretched ourselves quite far to by the first one. I didn't use a broker to start with because I thought, I've been a bit naive, I guess. I just thought I knew what I needed to in obtaining finance. So, I went to a bank directly and spoke to the lender at the bank and got a loan approved [and] went to pay the deposit. And then went through, when the land was registered to pay the remainder and then when it was up to settlement.
[1:57] So, I went through and calculated what I thought I needed for all your legal costs, LMI, and all your discretionary funds for settlement. And then I remember getting a phone call from the solicitor saying that the settlement was due tomorrow and I was $20,000 short of funds. And at the time, I couldn't work it out. I was like, 'How? I've done all the calculations myself. There's no way I'm short'. I was just though [that] they made an error somewhere, but they hadn't.
[2:27] I obviously hadn't track something through properly but [I] couldn't use a broker and just went straight with a bank and they thought I knew everything. Luckily enough for me, I had $24,000 in my bank account at the time. I was able to pay it just but that was a massive, just a steep learning curve for me really.
[2:46] Just going on from that point to one, use a broker to help out and just so they know exactly where you are. And they know exactly how to operate with a finance and just to have a buffer in place too. Just because you never know what might come up. If evaluation comes in low, for example.
Carmody is still not sure why he was $20,000 short but the property proved to be a worthwhile investment.
[3:21] It might have been the evaluation potentially but yeah; it was quite a while ago now. But I was quite lucky that I had the money in there because I remember talking to my parents and I was asking them for a loan, and I didn't want to let go of the cash. But they said, 'Look, you've got the cash there. You've put yourself in the situation you have now'. So, luckily enough. Back then if I didn't pay the $20,000 and now this property is more or close to double down. So, just goes to show you even if I had to pay $20,000 on the purchase price, it's in the scheme of things now, it's well and truly worth it.
[4:08] I've never had any problems servicing it. Because, again, like being an engineer, I thought I had all the spreadsheets in place. That would be to project cash flow, like even through the property, when it was getting built, I had to pay for all the different stages of the build. Whether it was from frame to or say the slab to frame and everything else in between.
[4:29] So, I had that all tracked on where the loan amount would be at each time and then I was looking at my cash flow as well to understand how much I'd have in savings at the time. And we actually got married very soon after we moved into. So, I had sort of money put away for that, as well. So, that sort of made it even harder to at the time we were looking to move in. So, we actually got, we moved into the house and then got married two weeks later, I think for memory. So, there's a massive push to try and get the house built because my wife is from the UK.
[5:03] So, we had to get, we had to move into the house to then get like all the family over from the UK to come and stay in the new house because at the time, we had nowhere for them to stay. It was a quite stressful few weeks. We actually moved in and there was a lot of things [that] were unfinished. They hadn't finished painting and there was a lot of things they hadn’t completely done. So, we had to get them back in afterwards. But we just said, 'Look, we got to move in, just give us the keys and we'll work it out later'.
After this investment, Carmody continued to build his portfolio but this time, he used a broker.
[6:29] I went to a broker for one but also, I went to a buyer's agent to source my investment property. So, I used a broker first to then get money out of my first property to get equity out to then fund the purchase the second one. And just talking with a broker around structuring and because I was at the time, I was quite ambitious I guess to.
[6:52] I was wanting to build a big portfolio and just talking about how to properly structure it and to not cross collateralize your properties. And just having that chat with them on the way through was invaluable, really. And then just using a buyer's agent for the sourcing part of it was another great learning curve to. The level of research that you need, especially if you're buying in an area where you're not familiar with. So, that was another great investment for me and that one has also probably doubled in value as well. That was one in Tasmania that I bought in Launceston, back probably [in] 2016 [to] 2017.
This was at the beginning of Tasmania’s boom.
[6:55] Luckily, I can go to the buyer's agent, and they were quite confident in the area and I had never even thought about buying in Tasmania at the time. But just open your eyes up to not looking in your backyard. There's plenty of other areas in Australia to invest in. There's no reason to put all your eggs in one basket and there's plenty of other opportunities across Australia.
Working with a buyer’s agent and a broker helped Carmody to reach success.
[8:20] That's all about just building a good team around you as well. I think just whether it's with finance or sourcing. Even like property management too, just all there's critical pieces that you need to sort of put together [in the] early days to disseminate all the assets. Looking after itself really, because there's nothing worse than buying a dud property and then you've got to try and either get out of it or try and do work to it and on that property there, I've had to do a few things.
[8:46] When I first bought it, this is probably just unlucky really. The oven stopped working for him in the first month or two, and they had to repair a fence and the garage, the roller door of the garage broke as well. Like, there was all of this in basically the first three months and I was like, 'Oh, this is a disaster'. I bought this property that needs all this work. But luckily enough again, like because of the first lesson I learned I had cash buffers in place to be able to do all the work. So, [I] got all that done. And then since that date, I've had nothing to do.
[9:15] And that's been four years now where I haven't had any other issues with it and the same tenants have been there from day one. So, it just goes to show you too, if you look after your tenants and you do that, as soon as those items come up, I said, 'Yeah, okay I'll fix the oven or fix a fence or fix the garage door'. And since then, they've been happy to pay the rent on time. They've [been] happy with the increase that we put in place as the rents have gone up around the area too. So, it's definitely important [to] look after your tenants as well.
In our last episode with Carmody, we learned that he has built up a portfolio of five properties. Let’s take a look at how he accomplished this.
[10:16] I just wanted to build a, like a decent asset base for in residential to start with and then just sort of have that as a long term buy and hold, to then use that as leverage to then get into more active investing later on. I know people do it but like trying to get into developing early days was a bit too risky for me. I'd rather sort of have the asset base behind me to then use that to the leverage off to then be more active or even with commercial assets, just trying to get some other passive ones on the way through. So, it was more just about building that asset base to then leverage off to be able to do more like what I'm interested in too.
[10:57] Whether it be developing or to create more passive income later on, once I'm at the point where I might want to take a step back from working as hard as I do now. Or, like any other career I was previously sort of building the portfolio that I have now allowed me to sort of make that choice and I wasn't sort of stuck in that lane to have a massive [and] negatively geared portfolio where I couldn't afford to leave that job that I was in. It does pay quite well in construction but that's the challenge. Trying to build a portfolio safely on the way through that you're not a slave to and it's producing the outcomes that you want.
After working in civil engineering for almost a decade, this portfolio gave him the chance to change careers.
[12:34] It had always been a personal interest of mine and probably just an opportunity, really. So, we went to the UK last year. My wife and I took some time off and for three months and went over there and some things changed while I was over there with my role, with the current job I was on. And just trying to have that security and with a young family too, just we spent that sort of three months together with my wife's family and just watching my son grow.
[13:06] Even that three months he was, I think he was 12 months when we left and like 15 months when we come back. And just like they change like young kids, as you probably know yourself, they change so quickly in that timeframe too, you know. And I've seen people in construction that I've known for years that have been away from their families and it's very hard on your partner and kids too, not being able to see you. So, I sort of decided that some things [needed to] change and decided to get into that property space. And earlier this year, I made the jump over.
[13:41] I started as a buyer's agent in commercial and residential real estate. So, that's been a really good change for me. It's only a small sort of quiet, I'm going quite well at the moment. There's quite a few clients we're working with now and it has been a really good learning curve for me as well. The people in the business too, their ex engineers too which helps.
[14:06] So, [we have] very similar backgrounds and they're like, very, very analytical. So, we're quite similar and I think it's a good trait to have when you're looking at property as well. You're taking all emotion out of it and you're looking purely at the investment itself and that's one of the key things I find as well.
Making the Switch
When making the jump from engineering to becoming a buyer’s agent, Carmody’s connections became helpful.
[14:49] I've known the person that runs the business for quite a while now. Just sort of loosely, just through being involved in property really and investing and then just happened just by chance to speak with him about where he was at with running the business and just from a timing point of view. I was, some things changed in my personal experience with both families obviously and with the role I was in. So, I reached out and said, 'Look, I'm looking for a change'.
[15:18] And he was looking for someone to help out in the business and me having no experience whatsoever in property other than what I've done myself. And knowing himself too, he's done the exact same thing himself where he's worked as an engineer for a number of years and built a decent portfolio during that time and then made the changes.
[15:36] Well, that was sort of where that connection [was] there and it was just sort of a just a timing thing, really. Where I was just sort of, it's quite lucky how, yeah, he was at the point where he was looking to grow the business further and I'm quite self-motivated to and just was able to click straight away really that it both worked for us. And yeah, now we're, here we are now and it's going really well.
Investing into Commercial Space
Now that Carmody has an established property portfolio and is succeeding as a buyer’s agent, he is exploring the possibility of investing into commercial spaces.
[18:36] I'm looking to leverage into commercial now. But just because of my circumstances with having our son and my wife being off work, and then with the career change now, it's sort of just taken a bit of a backseat. But I think I'll be getting into commercial; it is what I'm into more to be honest. Whether I try and leverage the equity. I've gotten the portfolio now to try and get into commercial now. And then have that passive income coming in, or whether I like [to] get into developing.
[19:05] So, I'm in two minds to be honest, whether I, which way I go. So, [I'm] just trying to probably see how the next three to six months go, really. And then to sort of focus on the business now and just get like this new career, just get that that well, that good foundation and helping out our clients and sourcing the great properties that I've got in my portfolio and then just moving on from there to, whether it be commercial or development down the track. We'll wait and see.
Investing into commercial properties could be a great opportunity for Carmody. So, what is holding him back?
[19:50] I mean, what goes through my head now is commercial is obviously great for passive income but I'm only in my early 30s. So, do I need the passive income? I'm still enjoying what I'm doing [and] I'm still active in property. I don't necessarily need the passive income right now, either.
So, I'm sort of like, do I leverage into developing, which is what I want to do longer term as a, probably as another side career and get more active. And then create more money that way because I'm young enough to take on more and enjoy that process more because it's not a quick turnaround by any means in developing.
[20:31] So, you want to sort of get in early and reap the benefits in two or three years. And then beyond that, like once you've built more income and more of a base from there to then later on get into commercial potentially. So, that's what is sort of just in my mind right now. Whether I even just from a servicing point of view, is it better off to have the commercial in the portfolio now to then assist with a cash flow during the projects? So, I was just trying to weigh all those things up in my head now.
Be Well Researched
It’s important to be well researched at the beginning of your property investment journey. Let’s hear about what resources Carmody used to break into the market.
[22:34] It's another resource that's now gone. But there used to be a show that Margaret Lomas used to host called 'Your Money, Your Call'. I used to watch that every week, which was, that was great because there was a lot of experts that would come on each week, and you'd sort of be able to see each person's perspective and they all had different attitudes and areas they invested in. So, that was one I used to watch every week.
[22:56] I used to, I had a little book which I still got now that I used to write notes in every single week about areas I was looking at or just different structuring things and like tax experts on there or depreciation experts and I got quite a lot out of that. [I would] just listen to people talk every day about or every week about the investment space.
[23:17] But [for] other books, I have read every property book you can probably imagine. All of Margaret's books and there are plenty of other property books. I've read recently as well, the one I've just finished is Atomic Habits, which is another great book. That's a great one for mindset I found and just trying to like to use your body's natural instincts on how habits are formed and trying to use them to transform your life and mainly using your time more effectively. So, that was a really good book I found too.
[23:57] That's what I just finished. Even on YouTube, I watch quite a lot of YouTube. Going to the gym too. I used to watch quite a lot of the old Arnold Schwarzenegger videos and stuff he does. There's some really good just clips of him. Whether it's in his bodybuilding days and or in his politician days, he just had an incredible career across so many different sections.
[24:29] Another one, even Conor McGregor, probably a controversial one but he's quite good for like mindset and motivation I find. I quite like the martial arts in that USE. So, he is another one that's, yeah, is really good. And then another one in the real estate space that I quite like. So, a guy called Ryan Serhant. I'm not sure if you've heard of him but he's a US based real estate agent. There used to be on the show on TV. It's called Million Dollar Listing and he's quite divisive again. Some of the things he does but he's written a few books too.
[25:06] One of them, it's called Big Money energy, which is a really good book. It's all about his life really, and how he disobeyed his career and just little things he does in structuring his day. And even just like how he dresses himself each day, and just like a really mindset based book about how he's developed, he's made his own real estate brokerage in New York now and is doing some really crazy things with social media. And like in some of the tech space and in the virtual reality space now too. So, it's just [that] he has done some really cool things in his career and he's only probably in his late 30s now. But he's another, even on YouTube. He's got some great motivational videos on YouTube.
Finding a Mentor
As well as these resources, Carmody has also had help from different mentors.
[26:12] I've got some people like even in construction. One of my old directors [was] a Greek guy but one of the Greeks that got a quite substantial property portfolio and just do quite well for themselves. And he's another one that I've worked with a lot in the past on different projects and kept in touch with. And he's built quite a big portfolio himself. But he's been really good just for, you know, whether it be property or just personal stuff. I've always just reached out to him, and I chatted about just certain things on the way through.
[26:51] And there's another one actually, Tom Panos is another one that I don't know personally, but he is quite big in the real estate space. And he does quite a lot of good things to I find. Just on social media and just motivational type stuff. I remember, there was one story he was telling, I watched a video in quite recently, where I think he was saying he had cancer a while back. And he was sitting there getting chemo and happened to be sitting next to a guy who was a property developer.
[27:21] [He was] quite successful and had millions and millions of dollars. And the guy was, I think in his late 40s [or] early 50s maybe. And Tom was asking him because the guy was, he had terminal cancer apparently and didn't have long to live. And Tom was asking [him] what are his main regrets are, and he said that his main regret was [that] he spent all these times, 20 [to] 30 years building up this portfolio and doing those developing, and he's never actually got time to enjoy all of the things that he built.
[27:53] So, he had amazing bottles of wine that he had in his wine cellar, and he never drank them. Because he was holding on to them just for a later day when I could enjoy them. But the poor guy, now died of cancer and never got to enjoy it. So, the key thing was for that story, just to on the way through, don't forget to enjoy it. Enjoy the process and just little things. Like, whether it be as simple as drinking a nice bottle of wine, drink it now. Don't wait 10 years to drink it, like you might not be here in 10 [to] 20 years.
Carmody’s mentors have shared priceless advice with him, but he also has some advice of his own.
[28:54] Don't take your eyes off your goal and don't let life get in the way of what you want. So, I had a vision quite clearly back then and I've got a similar vision, it might have sort of changed slightly since then. But just to keep working hard and to make [it] a reality because nothing's going to happen for you if you're sitting still. Keep motivated and just keep active.
Reflecting on the Past
Reflecting on his journey, Carmody is excited to use the knowledge he’s developed in the future.
[29:47] I think probably the first thing is just to use my knowledge or develop now just to help other people. To achieve some great results in property investing and then just for me personally, probably to get more active, moving forward investing. Whether it be to get into developing or just to further diversify into commercial, and then just like, now I've got a good solid foundation to work off, to take some more risks, to then be able to reap the benefits later on and to live a better lifestyle with our family and go travelling and all those sorts of things.
[30:24] Liam, you've shared so many great things. You've had a very successful journey. Your career has now stepped into more of that buyer's agency and potentially looking into property development commercial. How much do you think of your success has been due to luck? Sorry, how much of his success has been due to hard work skill and intelligence? And how much of it is due to luck?
[30:59] I think for a lot of us that it is hard work and just putting yourself out there as well. But one of my favourite quotes is, "luck is when preparation meets opportunity". It's one of Conor McGregor [who] said it a few times and I'm sure others have too. But if you're not ready and the opportunity doesn't come up, then you're never going to have the luck anyway.
[31:22] So, like with this buyer's agent career I've taken on now, like I've in my mind have been preparing for a good job in real estate for probably close to 10, if not more years. And then the chance come up, and it's just sort of just worked. Yeah, I think another one, another quote that's probably good that I find is another one [of] your guest, Ken McClellan. "Property is like a bad haircut, time fixes everything". People try and make money from day one in property, but it doesn't happen. Like, you've got to be there for the long term.
Thank you to Liam Carmody, our guest on this episode of Property Investory.