Property Investory
Lakhwinder Singh: From Baker to Property Investor with Just One Book
November 12, 2023
If you are looking for a truly unique story, look no further than Lakhwinder “Lucky” Singh! Though the tale may have a traditionally inspiring start—a Punjabi immigrant moves to Australia with nothing but $1800 and hopes for better opportunities—it certainly is fraught with twists and turns. Struggling to secure a working visa, this is the unlikely story of a hardworking baker turned property investor!
In this episode, he confesses the struggles he faced. Temporarily homeless, juggling multiple jobs and rising at 4am every morning to bake, “Lucky” Singh proves that his nickname is just a charming reiteration of his first name and in no way a reflection of his success story! Finally, hard-working and patient, the better opportunity Singh moved for finds him in the form of a surprising book he found at a gold coin donation event!

00:01:08 | Meeting ‘Lucky’ Singh
00:02:21 | A Reminder to Stay in School
00:03:13 | A Tale of Two Countries
00:04:41 | Growing Up Punjabi-Style
00:06:23 | The Origins of Learning
00:08:08 | What Next?
00:11:12 | The Roofless Days
00:14:09 | The Hard Stretch
00:16:10 | Baking: a Surprising Prerequisite to Business
00:18:35 | The Cost of Success
00:19:28 | The Business Begins, the Baking Ends
00:21:19 | Inspiration in Unlikely Places: Here!


00:01:12 | Baby Steps
00:05:23 | A Nice Starting Property
00:07:56 | Hitting the Ground Running
00:09:42 | Singh’s Strategy for Success
00:11:40 | A 3-Ingredient Recipe to a Good Market
00:14:48 | The 4th Ingredient: a Portfolio
00:16:50 | Wise Words
00:18:01 | A Message to Singh Jr.
00:19:39 | A Lesson on Luck

Resources and Links:

Lakhwinder Singh:
So in 2013 I got married and got a government visa and the thought of having dependents made me look for options. I knew I couldn't keep working two jobs and three jobs. So I thought I have to do something to change this…


Tyrone Shum:
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 we’re speaking with Lakhwinder Singh, the general manager of Iconic Property Services. In an epic journey from bread to business, he shares the exhaustion of juggling multiple jobs, the lessons he learned from his bakery, and the mysterious book he stumbled on that got him started in property investing!



Meeting ‘Lucky’ Singh

Tyrone Shum:   
Known as “Lucky” by friends, Singh is a baker-turned-property investor. Possessing a very unique story, Singh shares what he does now. 

Lakhwinder Singh: 
I'm a property investor for almost ten years. And I also have a property business where I help people build their portfolios.

Tyrone Shum:  
A day in business looks different for everyone. For Singh, there are two things to juggle: his work and fatherhood. 

Lakhwinder Singh:  
So can they start... I wake up around seven in the morning, and I do have two kids. One is about two years old, and the other ones seven years old. Well, I help them with just getting ready for school and I drop him to school [at] nine in the morning. 

That's when my main day starts. Yes. And my day starts with working on the daily rituals. So I have a list of daily rituals that I do. Like, I have a list of important property topics that I make a list of as I'm going through the day.

And then every morning, when I wake up, I pick up one of those topics and try to expand my knowledge on that. So that's how I  start my day. And then just general business, you know; activities that we do every day. So that's how I start my day.

A Reminder to Stay in School

Tyrone Shum:  
Though I’m sure most of us are probably ecstatic that our days of hard-learning from high school or university are long over, Singh gives us a gentle reminder: there is always more to do if we want to find success. 

Lakhwinder Singh:   
[The] property market is changing. So these rules and regulations, they always keep adding these and that. For example, quite recently, we had South Australian stamp duty rules changed. 

Same happened with new soil. You know the stamp duty exemption? I think they increased from 650 to $800,000 value. So these kinds of changes. I [will] make a list of these topics . As a property professional, you know, I need to be aware of these things, because people do ask about these things. 

So these kinds of topics, I make a list of. And every day I choose one of those and try to expand my knowledge on that. So that's how I keep updated. 

A Tale of Two Countries

Tyrone Shum:  
Though Singh continues his education here in Australia, it did not always start out that way. Singh’s journey begins all the way in India. 

Lakhwinder Singh:    
I grew up in [a] small village in Punjab. Punjab is [a] northern part of India, and Punjab means land of five rivers. And it's a very rich culture. Punjab is one of the richest in the world. And maybe you heard about Punjabi songs [indiscernible]. 

So that's where I'm from. 

So yeah, I grew up there. I did my schooling there. So initial schooling was in [a] local village school, where I spent around I think, five, six years. Initial five, six years. And then for secondary education, I went to boarding schools.

So I spent quite a bit of time in boarding school as well. And as I finished boarding school, I came straight to Australia for vocational studies. So.

Tyrone Shum: 
Like most immigrants, Singh left Punjab in search of new opportunities. 

Lakhwinder Singh:   
Main reason why I moved here [is] because there's a lot more job opportunities here. I mean, so many people are getting really high education in India, like, we will see some people reading, doing non-medical and engineering and they're not getting the proper job. 

At the time, I'm not sure what's happening right now. It's already 10-15 years. And at the time, I didn't feel that I would be able to get a job there. [A] proper job. So I thought it's better to go to Australia and find more opportunity there.

Growing Up Punjabi-Style

Tyrone Shum:
Despite the ultimate choice to leave, Singh’s childhood was a joyful one. 

Lakhwinder Singh:  
I was from [a] very small village, and village life is, like, fantastic. Everybody knows everyone. I remember, in my village, I used to go to almost every house to play, like in the evening time, so you generally have friends everywhere you go to.  

I mean, I still remember every house. And yeah, so that's how the village lifestyle is quite open. And I think that was one of the best times in my life that I spent. That's amazing. 

Tyrone Shum:
Differing greatly from Australia, the culture in raising kids is vastly different. For Singh, it was not uncommon to freely venture from house to house around the village!

Lakhwinder Singh:   
Everybody is aware [of] that. I mean, everybody pretty much expected that, like [the] neighbor's kids gonna come to our house, and we're gonna go to their house. So that's like, kind of normal understanding there. And when someone is not doing that, that can be a little bit different. Because most people are doing that. 
Either they're going to each other's house to play, or maybe they're going to a common ground, maybe a playground, or some way they are playing. And most of the time, you don't even have that supervision as well. Like we have in Australia, there's always a need to have parents supervising it. But back home, nobody really cares. 

Tyrone Shum:
Of course, what would a joyful childhood be without games? For Singh, there was no shortage.  

Lakhwinder Singh: 
Most of the time, marbles? Oh, like marbles and the other village game I can't, I don't even remember the name, like how to change that to English. But there was quite a few local village games.

The Origins of Learning

Tyrone Shum:  
Notably, the differences in upbringing did not end with childhood play-activities. Recounting his education growing up, Singh shares a stark contrast in his youthful education. 

Lakhwinder Singh:  
I think it's quite common to start going to school, around six years of age. It was quite common at that time. And I know recently, they have changed that they've pretty much followed Western culture. And then now they start sending kids to school around four years of age. I remember I went to school around six years of age.

It was about two kilometers from my house, and we used to walk there.

It was very basic. There's no even simple, basic facilities there. I mean, if you have to do your business, you might have to go to your neighbor's field for that. And it's very different. So very, very basic facilities.  

Our teachers were pretty good. Or there was sometimes one teacher [wa]s teaching the whole day. So there is no different teacher for different subjects there. Yeah, so that kind of school [is] pretty simple. 

Tyrone Shum: 
Interestingly, English was not compulsory throughout all of Singh’s schooling. 

Lakhwinder Singh:   
So now the made it compulsory from I think the nursery standard, they call it, and when I was studying in 1990s, then English wasn't compulsory, up to six standard. 

Yeah, they put a lot of stress on math and like a local original language, which is Punjabi Hindi and what else. They [are] also very proactive on religious teachings as well.

What Next?

Tyrone Shum: 
Having received his high school diploma, Singh decided it was time to make a very big change. So big, in fact, that he found himself across the continent. 

Lakhwinder Singh:   
When I came to Australia, I started as [a] business management. So I, my idea was to maybe do some sort of business later down the track. And I quickly realized I might have to get a permanent visa first, if I want to, you know, do any business here or buy any property, for example.  

And then I had to take a route of finding a course, which will help me get residency in Australia as a permanent visa. So I studied baking. So baking had quite good points at the time. So I studied baking.
Baking cakes, breads, and all that stuff.

So, first, I looked for: what are the high demand courses? What are the high demand occupations in Australia, and Baker is one of the occupations where not not many people want to do it, because you have to wake up early in the morning, two in the morning, three in the morning. And nobody really wants that. And that's why baking is in high demand. 

And I mean, you can leave one job today at one bakery, and you can start [a] second one. Maybe tomorrow, somewhere. That kind of advantage, we will still have that demand. So that's why I studied to be a baker, because I knew that it would be very helpful for me to first maybe start a business in a bakery, and also getting points for my residency. 

Tyrone Shum:
For Singh, this was an entirely new venture. There were no birthday cakes or choc-chip cookies buried in his past to offer a helping hand. However, he is a man of actions not just words. Proving his capability to learn at any age, Singh became a baker. 

Lakhwinder Singh: 
I actually didn't learn anything in Punjab about baking. I just started here. So when I thought about coming to Australia, I knew what I want to do. I wanted to do some sort of business. But then I didn't have proper knowledge, like nobody really knew. 

Because the rules, they always keep changing the rules like what course has the high points to get residency or... so when I arrived here, that's when I figured out I have to do it by three. But before when I first thought about coming to Australia, I thought I'm going to do business management. And that's what I did in the first year. 

Lakhwinder Singh:  
I applied for [a] student visa. Student visa is one of the easiest [ways] to get a visa. And it is longer as well, maybe two, three years. And the Australian Government is actually promoting that because that brings a lot of revenue to Australia.

So that took me a year, before I figured out I needed to do baking. So as I got my baking study started, at the same time I started looking for work, but because I had no experience it was hard to find work in the beginning. But then I landed a job in 2008. So I arrived in Australia in 2007, and I was already working in a bakery in 2008.  

The Roofless Days

Tyrone Shum:
Unfortunately, the move to Australia was not an easy one. Low on money, Singh proved his nickname true: luck was certainly on his side in evading total homelessness. 

Lakhwinder Singh:  
So where did I land? That's quite an interesting story as well. So I landed in. I mean, obviously, as I landed here I went, I have nobody to look after me, like nobody's gonna see me. And then as I landed, I spoke to one of the guys: where should I be staying? 

I mean, everywhere I look it looks like it's $300 a night. And then he dropped me to one of the you know, backpacker locations in Sydney in Central. And actually, he paid for a couple of nights. My couple of nights. So that was pretty generous. 

I think this guy is from Pakistan. So Pakistan is our neighbor country. Yes. So he dropped me there, paid for my couple of nights and helped me however he could help. So that was pretty amazing. 

So and in this, I heard the one big question: where are you gonna stay? Wherever we're going to find reasonable, affordable accommodation. So I came with, like, a $1,800 travel check. So that's all I had. And I had to use it wisely. Yeah, so I was looking for affordable accommodation.

And then I thought, I think [the] first point would be me going to uni, first, I might find some mates, they're like, someone who wanna be friends with me. And then that's what happened, I went to the uni. 

And then we took three guys there. We started looking for accommodation, it took me a very long time to find a stable accommodation. It also involves me spending two days on the street. So I was pretty much homeless for two days.

The Hard Stretch

Tyrone Shum
Unfortunately, finding a job was no easy task. Singh was not the only one who immigrated to find better opportunities, and the job market was a ruthless one. 

Lakhwinder Singh:  
As I came here, I already paid the initial fee. So my parents paid for the initial fee for I think around six months. So I knew if I want to change to a different course, I have to collect the fee. So that's where the next step comes in lack of finding a job. 
And I pretty much did whatever I could find at the time, because there was a lot of migration happening in 2007, when I came, and everybody, most of the people came from India and China. 

And everybody pretty much had similar skills - pretty much like no skills. Let's see what kind of jobs like going to carwash, looking for delivery driver jobs and all those kinds of jobs. So it was a very competitive market at the time.

Tyrone Shum:
Singh was no quitter however. Determined to set himself apart, he proved himself an exceptionally hard worker. 

Lakhwinder Singh:  
I still remember quite a few jobs. One of them was working at Hungry Jack's, working at a car wash delivery driver. Later, I worked in Woolworths as well. And that was the starting and then I started working in that bakery that I'm talking about. I spend like two years in the bakery. 

Oh, yeah. That was in Sydney (indiscernible). Okay.

So after baking, I, that means I had those points that I needed to get to apply for my permanent residency visa, which I applied for in 2010. And it took me almost three years to get the visa. So pretty much after finishing the course, I applied [for a] permanent visa, and I started planning for my business in Australia.

Oh, yeah. So that was part time while I was studying and as I finished my study. Because when you're studying, you can't work more than 20 hours. And when I finished my study, that's when I actually started working full time. And that's where income start to increase a little bit. 

Baking: a Surprising Prerequisite to Business

Tyrone Shum
Although baking and business seem to have little in common besides their first letters, Singh learned invaluable lessons from his experience. 

Lakhwinder Singh:    
So in 2010, I changed from working in Ingleburn to working in Woolworths. So Woolworths bakery department. So I worked from all the way from 2010 to quite recently until I started my business.

Up I think the Gabon bakery was actually bigger, and the year was a lot more to learn because that was more like a pastry kind. That was more focused on pastry. And who was kind of you know, you're doing [the] exact same thing every day. And it's a little bit more boring and monitoring his work in looking inward the sideway it was very similar. 

So in Woolworths, yes, every store has their own bakery, and generally is one section, one bakery, some bakeries are small, some slightly bigger. And, yes, so we start around two in the morning, sometimes [at] midnight as well. So, two in the morning there, we prepare the bread up to maybe six in the morning. And that's when the girls come in and in the packet and put on the shell. That's pretty much every day.  
And by that if you spend like six, seven months, you start to know, your body starts to remember, these guys are doing [the] exact same thing every day. And I think that that actually helped me because I was doing the same job every day. And I didn't have to think about what I was doing.  

So I always had headphones in my ears and listened to podcasts, books and things like that. And that's where I listened to your podcast cast as well. I've been listening to your podcast for a very long time. 

Yeah, so that actually, that job actually helped me work two jobs at a time because I used to start three, two in the morning in a bakery, and finish just like eight hour shifts. So around 10-11 in the morning. And when I finish, I generally go to my second job.   

And at one stage when I was building my portfolio, I was going to full time jobs. So I finished at 10. Go straight to the job. Finish there around maybe whatever, eight hours later. And then I go home, eat and sleep and then start again.

The Cost of Success

Tyrone Shum
Despite the exhausting routine of two jobs, Singh persevered. It was in no way easy, but it was important. 

Lakhwinder Singh:
I used to do it whenever I needed to increase my borrowing power to buy [the] next property. So sometimes I will do that for maybe a year. And I stop it. And if I need to go back and buy more property then I will do the same thing again.

Lakhwinder Singh: 
I still kept baking for a while. And because as I said it [was] actually sewed by so the purpose like it gave me the chance to learn more about other things because I didn't have to learn more bakery, I already knew it. And it is all more monotonous as a job that I can do without thinking about it. And that's what that means for the whole eight hours. 

When I was baking I was pretty much doing something else as well which was learning. So eight hours of learning that can never happen in any other job. So that's why I stick around for a very long time. 

The Business Begins, the Baking Ends

Tyrone Shum: 
Yet no matter how much he learned, Singh could not be a baker forever. Eventually, it had to be time to move on to bigger things. 

Lakhwinder Singh  
So in 2013, when I got my permanent visa, that's when I thought something needs to be changed. In the same year I got married as well. So in 2013 I got married and got a government visa and the thought of having dependents made me look for options. I knew I couldn't keep working two jobs and three jobs. So I thought I have to do something to change this. 

So I look for options. And when you're looking for options from Australia generally, you look for land into shares, maybe crypto maybe properties, but these are the main topics And so you might be able to invest in businesses as well, if you have money, but that was a few options that I had.  

So, one day, I was working in Woolworths in my workplace, and they had a charity event there. And they were actually trying to sell books for the gold coin donation. And you know how those charity events happened. I thought it would be pretty cool. I might want to buy a couple of books. And I look at this book, which the heading actually got my attention. 02 130 properties for three interesting hobbies. Yes. Yes, yeah.  

That's a catchy heading. So I paid that gold, going for that. And I got that book. I didn't really have a lot, not a desire to read books at the time. But I like this heading, and I started reading this book, and that's one of the pivotal moments in my life in Dubai. That book for gold coin donation.  

Inspiration in Unlikely Places: Here!

Tyrone Shum:
Rehashing the past, Singh shares a source of inspiration for him: best-selling author Steven McKnight and Property Investory guest!

Lakhwinder Singh:    
I haven't worked. I follow him quite closely. And I believe your podcast had him as your guest. 

That's what caught my eye on your podcast, because I listened to him on your podcast. And I say, okay, I definitely have to listen to this podcast, because he's having pretty good, you know, guests. 

Yeah, so I read the book within a couple of days. I'm not a book person normally. But because [the] book answered so many questions that I had, how the investing works, and how Steve talks about, you know, positive cash flow properties, buy and hold strategies, lease options, renovation flips. 

So there's a lot of information in one book. I mean, some of the strategies weren't really applicable in that market. Because Steve, obviously, we're buying in the 1990s, and 2000s. But, ideas made sense. And those ideas, I wanted to, you know, learn about those ideas. And they're pretty much like forever, you can read that book anytime, and you will get value out of it. 

Baby Steps

Tyrone Shum:
The most important lesson one can learn when studying success is this: if you want something, you have to risk something. Singh is no exception, sharing the stress he felt when he began investing. 

Lakhwinder Singh:  
[00:00:00] I started to, obviously learn about property in 2013, when I got the book to 13, and 14, and I put my first deposit down in 14, which didn't really work out for me, I went to, I mean, when I was researching the property market, there's a, I was looking for options, like where we're gonna get the information and seminars were quite popular at the time. 

[00:00:28] You know, I'm going to seminars, and I went to one of the seminars at (indiscernible) CA. He says: ‘I will call this broker speaker developer’. And I went to his seminar, and he promoted off the plan townhouse. So yeah, because reading through books and getting some initial knowledge, I thought that's probably not a good idea. 

[00:00:50] But then my budget was quite low, like 393-80. So that's all I could afford at the time. So I said, Okay, let's go ahead with it. And I paid that deposit. And so long story short, that turned out to be, I couldn't, I couldn't buy that property.

[00:01:08] Because he, I think he had like a turn, he only needed like, 20 people, because he was building our own 20 townhouses. And I was not one of the top ones. So after a year, he said, I might have to give you a deposit back. Because, I mean, we can't get you [to] get your townhouse. 
[00:01:26] So I felt like that was kind of, you know, one of the lowest moments for me. It was quite stressful for First of all, to lose that growth that could have happened in that one year. I did some calculations, that was, like, more like a 50 to $60,000 growth in that 14 to 15 2015. Around that time. Yes. 

[00:01:50] And that was, that was, that was one opportunity cost. And other than that, that just a stress going through this process, like waiting for the deposit, you're not even sure if you're gonna get it back. And you don't know who to approach to get it back. So that was one of the I would say lowest moments, or that that happened in starting on my journey.

Tyrone Shum
Yet despite the anxieties he felt, Singh persevered. After all, he was prepared to take the risk.

Lakhwinder Singh:  
[00:02:31] I always…whenever I'm in a situation like that I look for what is the other [and] what is the alternative. And there was no other alternative to invest in something else. Because property is the only thing where you can get that leverage, you can multiply your terms, you have the control your investment, and, and all these things, I knew I have to go back to property, I need to keep pushing myself because that's, that's the only asset class where you can track 3040 years of history. 

[00:03:04] And it's all, you know, you can easily say there's a six to 7% compounding growth in those 40 years, you can even track back up to 100 years. So. So that's why I have a lot of faith in property investments. So I just kept pushing myself. Yes, backing myself.

[00:04:00] So I took some time off, I thought, there is a bit of a gap. So I need to bridge that gap. I need to learn about contracts and all that properly and stuff. So again, I went back to that, you know, that daily ritual thing. So I had, I was making my list even at that time. So I put that on my list, like I need to learn more contracts, property growth areas and all that stuff. 

[00:04:24] And I started, you know, expanding my knowledge, and that took me another maybe six months to be confident again. And that's when I put my first deposit. I ended up buying a property in [the] Campbelltown area. So yeah, so that was $500,000 property. More. So yeah, I bought it in 2015, settled [it] in 16. So that's that's how it…

A Nice Starting Property

Tyrone Shum: 
For Singh, finding his first property was no easy feat. Investing on a baker’s salary proved challenging but with an unwavering mindset, it was in no way impossible. 

Lakhwinder Singh:
[00:04:57] Just looking into the market, so being In the market the whole time searching for properties and [at the] same time you, you're not expanding your knowledge, you know what to say no to will will, will give you that benefit. So that's where I ended up.

[00:05:13] I mean, it wasn't easy to find a property under $500,000, even at that time in 2015, and 2015. So I landed on this property. It was like a 474 kind of property. And then I made some upgrades, and it ended up buying for $500,000.

[00:05:36] Yes, it's a house, three bedroom, two bathroom, double garage on 400 meter square land.

[00:05:46] Yes. So that was mainly for investment. I moved there for some time to get those incentives. So yeah, so it was mainly for investment. I didn't really, I didn't really put you know that that fancy benchtop or anything like anything like that. I kept it very simple, because I was clear that it's gonna be [an] investment later down the track.

Tyrone Shum:
Having now got one property under his belt, Singh was not ready to retire. With his borrowing power on the edge, he was ready to double his work if that was what it took.

Lakhwinder Singh:
[00:06:23] When I was actually buying that property, I spoke to my broker and my broker said, ‘Your boring power is pretty much on the edge. So you need to do something about it,’. And I said, ‘Okay, that's interesting’. So I said, ‘Okay, I might want to start doing a second job,’. So while that property was under construction, [the] loan wasn't approved, yet, I started doing a second job. 

[00:06:45] So that actually took my income from $70,000 to maybe around $100,000. I was pretty much doing two full time jobs at the time. And my broker looked at the numbers, and he said, ‘okay, we can actually get you the next property’. And we also have that, you know, equity buildup in your property.  

[00:07:05] So I said, ‘okay, let's do that’. So I ended up buying [a] second property right after that, as I bought my first property. And as we were settling on that second property, we did the numbers again, and I still have more equity. And I also had some cash saved up from doing two jobs. So I pretty much bought three properties within that, in that one year in 2016.

Hitting the Ground Running

Tyrone Shum:
3 properties now locked under his belt and juggling 2 full-time jobs effortlessly, Singh was unstoppable. 

Lakhwinder Singh: 
[00:07:56] The first one was in New South Wales and second, and third was in Brisbane.

[00:08:09] Since then, I have [had a] total of seven properties. I actually have eight. And I sold one of those.

[00:08:31] So, I think that was the aha moment when I bought three properties. So I went from 2015, having no property and to the 16, buying three properties. And I looked back and said, Is it really, really real, like, I have three properties. So that was kind of an aha moment, I thought, I probably have to wait for some time now before doing any more [to] buy more and more properties and might need to figure this out properly.

[00:08:56] Before I go on, on [to the] next purchase. And then another aha moment came when I bought two properties, just before COVID. And those properties actually doubled, within almost doubled in that two years time. And one was actually a renovation deal, where we bought the property pretty much on the land value. So around 800 Sorry, $180,000. That was the land value. And we pretty much paid 180 for that. 

[00:09:33] And that property, when it was renovated in a couple of months, it was almost 50% up [in] a couple of months.

[00:09:53] Yep, yep, yep, yeah. And yeah, so that was one property and there's another one that I bought during…just before COVID was in South Australia, I bought in a self managed Super Fund. 

[00:10:06] So my plan was to hold that property for maybe 10 years, and then maybe buy something else. But that property also, like, almost doubled, like 80% growth within two years. 

Singh’s Strategy for Success

Tyrone Shum:
Having solidified himself as a successful property investor, Singh uncovers the evolution of his strategy when it comes to managing his property deals. 

Lakhwinder Singh:
[00:10:57] When I started, I didn't have any strategy, or just going by whatever I read in the books, and whatever I learnt from other people. But as I read the, the Steve McKnight book, and that 11 second solution that he had, like, I mean, if you need to buy more property, you need to have some sort of, you know, filter to filter down locations, or properties, because otherwise, there's 1000s of properties, 1000s of suburbs. 

[00:11:24] So you need to have a set of rules that you can apply to find those properties. So that way, you're not spending hours and hours and days researching, because you can easily paralyze yourself with all the information that we have. So I thought I have to come up with some sort of strategy. And inspired by [the] 11 second solution from Steve McKnight, I created my own set of rules that I now used to buy my properties and my clients properties. 

A 3-Ingredient Recipe to a Good Market

Tyrone Shum:
Though there is no exact recipe for success, Singh is fairly confident in his strategy for finding a good market. 

Lakhwinder Singh: 
[00:12:20] I have three simple rules to find a good market. So [the] first one is I spent some time on market selection. So when I'm going into doing a market selection, I look for high demand, low supply areas. So if supply is, if demand is high, supply is low, and is expected to stay low, that means there's a pressure for growth.  
[00:12:47] And so that's what I look for when I'm looking for a market to invest in. That's the main reason why I generally make videos and things like that. And then I generally recommend staying away from apartments and house and land packages in the regional or city ranges, because there is no you know, there's a, there's no supply pressure there. 

[00:13:08] So that's the first rule that I apply. That's for market selection. And the second rule is for Property selection. So I do Property selection, so I look for land to asset ratio. So when we're buying a house, I like to stay close to, you know, 70%, that is a ratio, that means 70% of our money should go toward buying the land, and 30% should go toward buying the building part. 

[00:13:34] So, that means we [are] buying established houses in good locations where land is more valuable. Yes. So that's for the houses. And for the units, I am a little bit flexible. So let's, let's go with 60 and 40. 

[00:13:48] So 60% percent of your money should go towards buying the land portion, how you work out land value, we can always look for the lands recently sold land in the area, and then we can work on meter square, you know, right, for the for that price, and then we can multiply that by your land. And you can come up with some sort of number.

[00:14:14] And the third one, which is diversification. So, obviously, every market can be in [a] different cycle. So you want to take advantage of different market cycles. So I would always say you need to diversify your portfolio first on the basis of location. So that means you bind in different locations.

[00:14:32] So if one of your properties is not growing, because that market is, you know, stagnating for some time, then the other property should be growing if it's in a different market. So you should diversify on the basis of location. And at the same time, you should also look for diversifying on the basis of strategy.  

[00:14:49] So you don't want to buy similar types of properties every time you want to buy, maybe some properties purely for buy and hold and some property you can buy maybe slightly newer maybe. He's 10 years old, 15 years old, where you can get that depreciation, so you can get that tax back. 

[00:15:05] And you also want to have some properties that need some renovation, or that have potential to some, you know, subdivide. So that's where you are always busy with your portfolio, you whenever you, if you don't have the growth, if the growth is not happening, you can manufacture that growth by doing valuation or subdividing. 

The 4th Ingredient: a Portfolio

Tyrone Shum:
While these 3 rules can help us when looking into the property market and navigating the research, Singh suggests on how to build a strong portfolio.

Lakhwinder Singh:
[00:16:04] The main reason to build a portfolio is just to have options. So when I'm in my next, my next plan is to take this portfolio to 10 million valuation. So at the moment it is more around 4.5 to 5 million. So I wanted to take eight to 10 million, which will be like a big leap. And I want to do that in like five years. So a portion of it will come from maybe growth in my portfolio. And I might buy a few more properties as well.  

[00:16:35] So the first thing I want to do is take you to [a] 10 million valuation. And then I can start a second phase where I can might, where I might do maybe a bit of subdivision or maybe we will have a development. Or maybe I sell a portion of the portfolio and move that money into maybe big commercial properties. So that's the, like, medium term plan for me.

[00:17:07] So I'm, I'm actually doing renovations at the moment. So we are not in my property is a client's property. So we're doing an activation, we're also talking about doing subdivision, and there is some I'm partnering with someone else who does developments. So um, at the moment, I'm just partnering with the right people who can help me with those kinds of stuff. But I haven't actually started doing it for myself yet.

[00:17:39] Yeah, so it's pretty much when I mean, in five years time when I will be ready then I will be going really hard on documents and things like that. But at the moment, I think my portfolio has again, I mean a lot of value by applying those rules that I talked about. 

[00:17:56] And that's why I am still even with my clients that I'm serving at the moment, we're pretty much building the initial phase where we [are] just buying those properties, and not doing much with the property and just holding for now. And then we'll move on to that subdivision and renovation and Bergman phase later.

Wise Words

Tyrone Shum:
From nothing but $1800 and the immigrant dream to 8 of his own properties, Singh imparts his best advice to those who are curious on how he managed to succeed from so little.

Lakhwinder Singh:
[00:19:32] So, the best advice or best quote that I read is, which stuck with me is what we feel doing the most is usually what we most need to do. So in my day to day life, if I feel like doing something, then I do it anyway. Because I know that's where the growth [is] gonna come from. And yeah, so that's what I follow.

[00:20:18] Because if you're very comfortable, if you're very comfortable with what you're doing, if you go back to my job that I was doing, working as a biker, I was very comfortable there. And if I just kept doing that, there was no growth there. 

[00:20:34] So that's why I use that monitor to learn about property investment. And because I knew I didn't have to think about it. So I knew I wasn't grown, when I was comfortable, I needed to come out of that comfort zone to do something and build something. 

[00:20:51] And because it worked for me, so that's why I always notice why that quote stuck with me, I think.

A Message to Singh Jr.

Tyrone Shum:
Thankfully, Singh’s wisdom does not end here as he looks back to what he would say to himself 10 years ago.

Lakhwinder Singh:
[00:21:48] I would have said to myself that I mean, start investing early on. So if you can, if you can, I mean, if you don't have the money to invest, or if you don't have the knowledge to invest, just start with something, because investing is a habit. So you need to grow that habit. 

[00:22:06] For example, what I'm doing with my son at the moment is [that] he's seven years old. And he's already investing his money, he got like, $100, at the moment, and he invested that money with it within my company. And he, every month or two months that he invests, he gets that $5 extra, so he knows his money is growing. 

[00:22:26] And he learnt investing and compounding and he also learnt one important lesson of patience to ensure you need to patiently wait for the investment to grow. So that's, I would advise myself to start as early as possible. 

[00:23:15] Next five years on my portfolio side of it, I'm excited to grow it to that level, that 10 million kind of level. And then I'm also excited to go into that phase where I can take action, and execute those plans that I have, which is to build a certain level of, you know, cashflow, [a] certain level of positive cash cash flow that's striving for. 

[00:23:41] So that's [why] I think I'm quite excited about that. The same time. I believe I'm really excited to look at my business goals as well. And just [a] combination of those that's keeping me excited at the moment.

A Lesson on Luck

Tyrone Shum:
[23:53]  No doubt you'll you'll reach those goals, because as you said, most of this is as a habit, once you develop that habit, everything just continues to flow on. So I think you're achieve that quite well. And how much of your success like Minda that you believe has been due to your skill intelligence work? And how much of it do you think has been due to luck?

Lakhwinder Singh:
[00:24:16] I believe luck is when opportunity meets preparation. So I'm not, I'm not at all superstitious, so I have no place for luck in my dictionary. I think success comes with a growth mindset, and at the same time taking action.

[00:24:33] And you can leverage skills and intelligence from other people. But you need to have that mindset in order to grow. So I don't think luck has any place in my life. Yeah,


Tyrone Shum: 
Thank you to Lakhwinder Singh, our guest on this episode of Property Investory.