Aaron Christie-David is a mortgage broker and the managing director of Atelier Wealth. Born in Saudi Arabia, he and his family moved to Australia when he was two years old. While growing up, he had excellent opportunities including attending a selective school that complemented his strengths. Now, he spends his days trying to provide the best experience and service for his clients.
In this episode, Christie-David will delve into his busy career, including how it began in liquor marketing to now co-owning a successful business. As well as this, he will share the risk of over capitalising and why having home security is so important when investing
1:01 | It’s a Busy Life
4:07 | A Typical Day
5:17 | Growing Up
8:18 | Life After High School
18:46 | The First Purchase
23:04 | A Big Change
25:59 | Home Security
1:07 | Research Before Purchase
4:42 | Rent Vesting Implications
7:01 | Different Types of Investors
10:50 | Valuable Resources
15:19 | Investing in Yourself
16:20 | Have Confidence
20:05 | Exciting Future
21:31 | Create Your Own Luck
Resources and Links:
[5:12] You don't want to have all your cash locked up in investment property and then pull out your own cash to then go and buy your own home which means you're left with a larger home loan debt.
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 talking to mortgage broker and managing director of Atelier Wealth, Aaron Christie-David. He will delve into his busy career, including how it began in liquor marketing to now co-owning a successful business. As well as this, he will share the risk of over capitalising and why having home security is so important when investing.
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It’s a Busy Life
Christie-David is a co-owner of mortgage brokerage, Atelier Wealth and he and his team are on a mission to provide an excellent experience and service for their clients.
[0:31] I specialise in helping property investors scale up their portfolio. So, what I call the frustrated investors who I help. So, someone who is keen and ambitious to build and maybe they've just hit a wall here and there. Maybe it's borrowing capacity, maybe it's knowledge or maybe it's just a bit of equity as well. So, they're kind of the bottlenecks that we help out with.
[0:50] My title is managing director of Atelier Wealth, which is our mortgage broking business. But really mate, I'm also known as Dad. I've got two little girls. They're three and a half and one and a half. So, Siena and Zara are our little girls and I'm married to Bernadette who I also run the business with as well, mate. It's been a great journey on not only building up the business but now taking it to the next level, which is growing and scaling up our own business as well which I'm getting a real kick out of.
You can only assume that running a business and having two young children must be full on. How does Christie-David manage all of his responsibilities?
[1:29] What's the saying? If you want a job done give it to a busy person and I think about pre children how much time I used to have. And that's certainly not a dig at anyone that doesn't have kids. I don't think you have to have kids to be busy but personally for me, I just used to, there were things that I would fill my time up. Whether that was gym, whether that was, you know, one of the Spartan Races or Tough Mudders. So, I used to get a real kick out of doing that. You have less time now to dedicate to yourself.
[1:57] So, you get a little bit choosy on what you say yes to and also you say yes to things that you know you're going to enjoy. So, whether it's catching up mates, a couple of dads, we catch up for beers locally. And that's really good quality time or that or it's family time. And when you're with your family because you've been able to have that outlet, you tend to show up a little bit better and I think that's where having time for yourself also helps you kind of have time for your family and how you show up and the way that you show up as well.
These races that Christie-David mentioned sound like a lot of fun. Let’s hear a little bit more about them.
[2:43] They're probably about 10k [to] 12k [to] 15k races with all the different obstacle courses. So, and then you get quite dirty. So, there's mud involved and there's water involved and I love it. So, you do it with a couple of mates. Even Bernadette used to join in and so, it gives you something to train towards because if you go into the gym, it's great but you need a deadline. You need something to train towards. Having one of those races just gave me a bit of a deadline to work towards and I love a bit of competition as you can tell. So, I need to work against the clock or work against the friend to get that competitive spirit going as well.
[4:16] But look, its enjoyment mixed with a bit of challenge as well. And yeah, I do like that notion of training towards something and it's for me personally, didn't tend to eat better, sleep better and it's just something fun. It's an outlet, and we all need an outlet regardless of what type of work you do, you need that outlet just to let off a bit of steam and an enjoyment as well.
A Typical Day
Fitness is obviously a very big part of Christie-David’s life and exercising is his ideal start to any day. After that, the rest of his busy life resumes.
[4:50] Gym in the morning is an ideal day. Gym in the mornings, spend a bit of time with the girls, get them ready for school — Bernadette will drop them in the office usually somewhere between 8:30am and 9am. Uh, typically quite a lot of client calls and I do a lot of our new inquiries that come in. Talk to some of our existing clients in a day. We do a team meeting every morning at 9:15 as well. I do make time for lunch.
[5:11] So, again, making sure I block that time out and I'll try to be home somewhere around six o'clock. So, I kind of jam pack my day so I can be kind of on the ball and productive and not too much downtime. And then be home for bath time, get the girls ready and the quality time mucking around at night.
[5:29] Read a few books, put them to bed by 7:30 which means we can clean up and hopefully have a bit of downtime for Bernie and ourselves. And I say this, this would be an ideal day. So, some days are great then some days it's just all bets are off because a sick child or works got a little bit busy as well. But it's all part of the journey.
Let’s rewind in Christie-David’s life and explore how he got to where he is today.
[6:42] My parents are from Sri Lanka, originally. My parents moved to Saudi Arabia, which was where I was born. So, quite unusual to have that on your birth certificate and then your passport as well. And then we migrated to Australia when I was two. So, there was a civil war going on in Sri Lanka. So, Australia was a very welcoming country and you look back in hindsight, what a great decision that has been to come to this country. And so, we're really fortunate to be here.
[7:11] And when I say we, I've got an older brother and a younger brother. So, one of three boys. And we grew up in the working class suburbs of Southwest Sydney in Endenser Park, pretty much where we grew up most of our lives. And I went to one of [the] local public schools and then high schooling. I went to Macquarie Fields high which my parents, you know, new to the country thought that are doing great thing and that was a part selective school. Look, it was an interesting, it's an interesting place to school and to grow up, right?
[7:41] So, I used to commute downtown Macquarie Fields and there was kids that were because it's got an anyone knows the areas and I'm speaking ill of it, but it's got a housing commission to it. And then you've got the selective school kids, right. So, it's kind of like this best of both worlds. You become street-smart very quickly because you may be one of the nerdy kids at school but you've got all these cool kids as well. So, a real mishmash of cultures and I saw some really, really good friends from school who have gone on to do some amazing things as well.
[8:10] So, I am probably like a lot of people. I don't feel like school defined me in terms of where it was but the school friends that I've got, I feel like we're be defined by each other. We've not let that tag sit with us. We've gone through some big and amazing things as well and I'm kind of proud of, you have to embrace that where you grew up and what your parents were trying to do for you.
There are multiple selective schools in Sydney. So, why did his parents send him to that particular one?
[8:57] It's probably the one that I got into would be the short answer to that Tyrone. So, you do selective school tests and so that was the school that I was eligible to go to. And my younger brother was much smarter than me and so he went to Halston. But yeah, so three brothers, three different schools, three different unis. Which probably was logistically such a nightmare for my folks.
[9:50] So, for us, we, I think we had very different and it's great. We had three different skills, three different types of the way we learn, three different personalities, behaviour. So, I think our schools really reflected. Like my younger brother's very academic, very academic. Me, not so much. I like playing sports, I liked having fun and I probably got into too much trouble. And my older brother, he was great at sports. So, he went to Westfield Sports. And so yeah, it kind, it probably aligned... probably really aligned to who we were as kids and that's why we went to those schools.
Life After High School
After finishing high school, Christie-David continued his education at university.
[8:38] I went on to do my tertiary studies over at UNSW and did a Bachelor of Commerce there. And that was, to me, I feel like that journey, when you look back at it was, I don't know, super exciting. You didn't know at the time but all the roads have led to me to here.
When starting university, Christie-David didn’t really know what he wanted to do.
[11:00] I wasn't great with numbers which is kind of ironic which is what I do now. But I was a little bit more into the creative side and a lot of people said look, could you consider marketing, for example. And so, I felt there was a few people saying it, there had to be something about it and I was really fortunate that the UNSW had a separate program which was Bachelor of Commerce but it was tourism [and] hospitality based as well, and marketing.
[11:30] So, you've got, you had to do an interview to get into this program. And then they selected I think 55 or 60 kids as part of the cohort. So, you're almost going into another school program which is a bigger class of say, 55 [to] 60. And we were in this same program all the way through [and] it was a four year degree. So, a bit of a bolt on to the normal Bachelor of Commerce.
[11:51] And there was so many different personalities. There were international students, there were local students, there were people who like to party, there were people who enjoy the uni lifestyle and there were some who has kind of found our feet a little bit more academically as well. So, yeah, such a good cross section but I loved uni for the fact that it's such a level playing field.
[12:09] It doesn't matter what school you went to, you are all in the same class and I feel like that was the way that's the real world. I feel like that was my first real foray into this is the real world, it's based on merit to get to this point. It wasn't based on what school you went to or you had to get the marks obviously, but to do the interview you needed to be aligned, to have a program was running and what your intentions were.
[12:34] So, I feel like that to me more than the course really just gave me this confidence to go, I've interviewed and I've got into this program and then the people here want to be in this program and we went through that together as a cohort. That's a unique experience because you don't typically get that in uni. You just kind of one of many in the system, right?
What is the difference between this course and a regular Bachelor of Commerce?
[13:14] The program was commonly known as hospo. So, anyone who's done a Bachelor of Commerce at UNSW knows about the hospo guys and girls. So, it's a little bit different and so, it was the university's way of expanding to offer into tourism management and hospitality. So, if you want to go into that part, without necessarily going to a college, it's University and tertiary qualified as well.
[13:41] So, there was some people from our cohort that went into like hotel management jobs. Yeah, and that was kind of fast tracked as that career path or tourism marketing, for example. All those type of roles but more as a senior level is where you come out of university. And then there's a traditional path to go into a marketing role, which is quite a lot of that number of our colleagues did.
[14:04] So, yeah, it was kind of, it could take you on a different direction. But yeah, it was like a sub stream of commerce marketing that it would open up different doors if you wanted too as well. And so, that's why it had that hospitality spin and flavour to it as well.
This course also set Christie-David up well for life after university.
[14:57] That's the other part with a degree. You had to do some workplace experience and write about that. So, I had good experience coming out of the degree and that again was another strong proposition of that program.
[15:02] So, after uni I was fortunate enough to pick up a job. I moved into liquor marketing, so working under Metcash. So, IGA supermarkets, they got the bottle shops. So, really competing against Liquorland, Dan Murphy's, Coles Liquor — That type of brand. So, I worked on what they call Celebrations and come up with a new brand called the Bottle-O.
[15:32] So, I moved into a marketing role FMCG type style role. And that kind of taught me a lot. You get thrown in the deep end — Learning spreadsheets, learning meetings, learning all the technical skills that come with being in a smaller corporate environment, which was wonderful. And I was there for quite a few years. Loved the experience, great smaller team as well. And then from there, I moved, that's where I kind of moved into financial services.
[15:56] So, I've got my first role in financial services working for Wizard Home Loans in marketing. So, and I was really fortunate, like you look at Wizard now in hindsight, that's what was called like a disrupter now, right? So, you will challenge a brand and I think again, that suited me because I like being number two, I like being the challenge, I like hunting, for example. And it's the culture was that. It was like we were always the challenger brand.
[16:23] You know, there wasn't the beautiful processes or it wasn't well structured. It was like fly by the seat of your pants, we've got an idea, let's just execute. And so, everyone, it probably doesn't surprise a lot of people. That's how it's run, right? Like, we've got an idea, let's do it. And it was that type of culture and I loved it. I worked under some really incredible leaders there.
[16:45] Obviously Mark Bouris is running it but that was towards the tail end of the business. You have Brad Seymour is one of the guys that started out with Mark, and we've become really good friends even to this day. And the people that I've met there just seem to attract a certain personality, like you had to be that personality. Whereas once wizard was sold off to Ozzie and effectively, we all lost our jobs at the height of the GFC.
From here, Christie-David took a small career break and then moved to another company.
[17:12] That's where I got a role at the Commonwealth Bank. So, you look at the culture at Commonwealth Bank, which is your number one and there's everything to lose. You look at the culture at Wizard and go, there's nothing to lose. Like, they're such different, we almost become a square peg in a round hole in a big bank because we just like, hey let's try this. And they're like, no, no. That's not going to work because we have to tread a very fine line, as well.
[17:35] So, look, I really enjoyed my time at CBA. You know, it's like the dream you get into a big bank, for example. You meet some incredible people, some very, very — The bank attracts high calibre talent, as well. And it's such a big place to work that there's so many different parts of what's going on. But I knew deep down inside that I just couldn't see myself being a career banker or working my way up through.
[17:59] I think, not I think, I definitely know that penny drop moment for me was my older brother and I were going to go to our MBAs. And we're trying to do the, we're both trying to do the because you got to do like, what is it like an entrance test, an assignment. And my brother did his, he breezed through it and I struggled just to understand why I was doing it. I'm like, no, this is not the right idea for me. And I said, well, I'm going to take and spend this money on MBA, why don't I take this and start a business. You do MBA and see how we go. Turn everything into a competition, my older brother and I.
[18:39] And he suited it, he loved it. Again, my older brother is very corporate and that suits him very well. To me, I'm like, I just don't like the rigidity of it and so to me, I'm like, well the real life MBA is doing and starting your own business. So, that's why I initially started, I bought an existing mortgage choice franchise over in Alexandria. It's a really good nice partner in the inner city and in Sydney.
Christie-David ran the franchise but after roughly one year, he came to the decision to resign the business.
[19:06] I just realised that the franchise model, again, almost found myself in like almost a corporate style model which made it hard for me to scale that business. And that's when we made the decision to resign and retire the franchise back and then we left and we started Atelier Wealth now six years ago, on our own.
[19:26] So, it's been a real journey but at no point do I feel like there was any mistakes made because you connect the dots looking backwards going that led to that. That person led to that. That decision led to that. So, at the time it feels why did we choose the Mortgage Choice franchise? But that you can't say that because I met some amazing people and I learned a lot through that process as well that maybe that step if removed, wouldn't have led me here today.
The First Purchase
Let’s take a look at the first property that Christie-David invested in.
[24:33] Let's cast the mind back. So, my first property purchase would have been probably about 2010. So, that's when I was working at Commonwealth Bank. You know, you're on an okay salary. I just, one of my dad's friends was a real estate agent. That's literally how this happened. My dad was playing cricket with him. He's like, I've got a property you should buy. That's all and I had no research. I had no idea what I was buying. Like, he's selling property, I got to trust this guy. And it was a two bedroom unit over in North Parramatta.
[25:07] I went, oh, well it looks okay. I can afford it and I've been saving up a fair bit as well. So, I'm like this can make, I can make this happen. And so, I bought it and back then I'm going to tell you probably wasn't worth more than $300,000 [or] $350,000 is what I bought it for. Two bedder, it wasn't hard to get rent. So, I rented that out for example. I did get the first homeowners grant back then. So, I lived in it for six months and I was like, I'm not gonna spend a cent on it because he's like, you don't need to. It was okay condition. It wasn't great.
[25:42] When you think those old style apartments, you know, the apple crumble ceiling, the other great archways, not well laid out. So, the aspect was terrible. Yeah, near a main road. So, you look back and like, sometimes you should be embarrassed to the first property you buy because it's just getting into the market. I was very embarrassed of this but everyone was like Parramatta is a good corridor.
After this first purchase, Christie-David was able to invest in a second property.
[26:12] I was able to buy another unit out in Liverpool and so, that was the second purchase that I bought as well. And then that was going, I wouldn't say it was great. It's an apartment in Liverpool. So, I say this now but at a time, it’s just you don't know what you're doing, right? I only wish I knew 5% of what I know now. It's like, there'd be different decisions to be made but it was just like buy. Just buy property and get in. Look, it was cashflow neutrals all the above. It was good rent near the station. So, it was ticking boxes at the time.
[26:45] And then a couple years later when I left the bank and then that transition to becoming self-employed, it's a journey because your borrowing capacity to pretty much comes to a grinding halt until you can get two years of financials or have the ABN registered for two years and then have enough income and you're doing this back into your business. So, that kind of meant I was in the wilderness for quite some time and so, we were living out towards the Little Bay. So, out past Maroubra, Bernie and I [were] renting and that's when we thought hey look, we like the area, why don't we buy?
[27:20] So, then made the next decision which is to buy off the plan and we thought we bought it on the ground floor apartment because we thought we'd live there and be near the beach. So, you look back now you're like everything probably I shouldn't have done, I did. Bought units, bought off the plan. But again, looking back now, so we ended up, when we had that decent one a couple of years ago is when we sold Liverpool and Parramatta.
[27:43] So, I was of the belief never sell, for example. And then Bernie and I were like, look, we did the numbers, we could take the cash out, we could buy something of quality, buy our own place and that's when we decided to buy it was a really nice property in Little Bay. And then we found out we were having a baby and so we consider ourselves rent vestors at the time because we had at that stage, you know, three properties. And we're renting.
[28:13] So, okay we're rent vestors and we'll continue with this model as well. That and then find out that we were expecting a baby. And like, that's the real turning point for us. And I think this is where I have that level of empathy when I speak to a lot of rent vestors in my line of work as a broker. I'm like okay, great but the game does change when you start to have a family. Renting is great but there's a little bit of instability attached to that and we felt it.
A Big Change
Over four years ago, Christie-David and his family made the decision to leave Sydney for the South Coast.
[28:53] So, the sea change was a relatively new thing. We're leaving Sydney behind. Only an hour and a bit south but still far enough to go, hey, we need to figure out where we want to live and if this is the right decision for us.
[29:05] So, we made the decision to rent for maybe 6 to 12 months. That's when we had our first daughter Sienna and yeah, and then COVID hit and then prices just went kaboom. You know, down here and that's when I said right, we'll bunker down and save and just keep looking to buy. And that's when we're able to buy our family home. We're in a suburb called Woonona, which is just the next suburb down from Bulli on the south coast. And we're really fortunate it's the type of home that we wanted.
[29:53] So, somewhere we can grow into as a family. From upstairs you got some decent water views. So, for us that's where we are. So, we bought [and] sold. In the midst of all that we renovated Liverpool before we sold — Sorry Parramatta before we sold it. You talk about learnings — Man, did we over capitalise. Like, we went all out. We knocked out the archways, we put beautiful wooden floors, we subway tiles. Totally over renovated the property. Over capitalise. It was like this is what we want because we're city slickers.
[30:17] It's not what the market wanted and it struggled to sell in a hot market and more like, yeah because it was over renovated. So, we learned a lot actually from that actually. Should we just had sold it? Did it need to be renovated? So, again, you know, you build this massive muscle memory of learnings and the journey going alright, we'll bank that idea [or] that learning and go right, what is the market actually want? Versus what do we think at once, as well.
Looking back, Christie-David thinks that putting so much effort into this property was a mistake.
[31:07] I definitely feel like over capitalising was the worst decision that we made and look in the grand scheme of things, it's not terrible because we made the money back. But dollar for dollar. So, we didn't actually make any money, we just made the money back. Which when you're renovating is not the idea.
[31:25] So, to me, I'm like, yeah, the worst mistake was spending all this time and effort on a property that wasn't gonna give us any better returns for all the effort to then have trades, manage the trades, be out of the house for ages, on top of running the business. In hindsight, I just would not have done it. I would have just sold it, moved on and sometimes speed to make a decision and speed to sell can be your best friend as well.
Now, let’s hear about another one of Christie-David’s lessons from his time of investing.
[3:19] This may go against the grain sometimes of investing, but the security of having your own home cannot be understated. Yeah, and where I see that is a lot of people will go down the rent vesting path and this is what happens for younger people, right. Particularly for our younger clients because they are typically the ones who have gone into the rent vesting model. Rent vest, rent vest and then when they go to buy their own home, where's the cash going to come from to buy their own home? Because the cash has been tied up in all these investment property purchases.
[3:49] So, now they've got to pull that equity, which means they're going to borrow their own money back to then go and buy their own home. And that's typically when they've probably met the one or they're going to have a family, for example. And so, you know, rent vesting got them to this point but there weren't parts that were considered around buying your own home.
[4:10] And yeah, if I, not that I would do it differently but I would like buy our own home and then go down and buy investment properties. Because typically, what you're buying when, let's say you're in your 20s Tyrone, you're with all due respect, you're at the lowest income levels that you're ever going to earn in your life.
[4:28] So, you're typically buying cheaper property. Yeah, it's what you can afford. It's not necessarily good, good investment grade properties. They're buying what you can afford. Yeah. So, typically, Sydney, you're buying apartments. In your 20s, you're buying units and so yeah, a lot of them were okay but none of them are great unless you bought in a really good location.
[4:52] So, to me I might, having that longer term view and then go okay, so what happens when you want to buy your own home? And just asking that question now I have clients when they go, when they're rent vesting, like what happens when you want to buy your own home? The penny drops for them just like it dropped when we were looking to buy quite some time ago, how does this work?
In our last conversation with Christie-David, he explained some mistakes that he made when he first started investing. Now, when looking for a property to buy, he looks at a variety of criterias.
[0:45] I'm going to speak to a number of buyer's agents and where they're looking to buy. So, now it's expanding the search and going, okay, how are we going to buy this? What's the intention? So, do we look at subdivisions? Do we look at doing a building on it? You know, knock it down for duplexes. So, we'll go through the motions of going through our chats with our accountant, financial planner, we've got our numbers sorted.
[1:09] Sometimes we just need to pull the trigger and make the damn decision on what we're going to buy. But yeah, we, I feel like we've got to this point and like anyone, you get a little bit gun shy because you're like, look, things are working at the moment. Business is good from a cash flow perspective. We look at market risk, just like everyone else and when's the right time but ultimately, it's just fortune favours the brave or make a decision.
[1:32] So, I'm really excited about the next decision and again, like I said, knowing what I know now I'm like, give it to a professional. Hand it over to a professional, give them the brief. Don't worry about where it is because that's what we tell our own clients and like we need to take our own advice as well.
In his business, Christie-David can see his clients come across dilemmas. In particular, his younger clients have some tough choices to make.
[6:59] This type of Crossroads is where it gets with a lot of our younger clients going okay look, you're double income, no kids. So, you've got two options. You buy what I call a stepping stone property. So, it could be a townhouse, for example, or a unit. But you are going to outgrow this. So, what happens when you outgrow it? You've got two decisions. You either keep it or you sell it.
[7:19] Versus you buy what I call a stretch property and so you use your income to buy a good house. Now that house is going to serve you for at least the next five to seven years, but you can grow into it. Potentially, you can then do some renovations or extensions but you're not paying too lots of stamp duty. You're paying one bigger amount of stamp duty but it means you've got, you don't have that extra move in you.
[7:39] That deposit can then be stretched, for example. But your most importantly, your borrowing capacities when you got two incomes, they going to be great versus the decision when you go to buy typically is now under duress, which is what we're now down to one full time income, maybe one part time income but a dependent and your borrowing capacity is lowered.
Having a lowered borrowing capacity is a potential problem for many people.
[8:13] You don't want to compromise location because you're like this is where we want to be for our family and I think there's nothing wrong with that. People may judge and go well go to a cheaper location. No, if this is where you want to raise your family, this is where you want to be, how do we help you get there? May not be now, it may be eventually you get there but here's the pathway to get there.
[8:32] And that's where I feel like people ask me what business we're in, we're in the confidence business. To go this is how you can do it. These are your options. This is how it can be done and as long as we can show people a roadmap or a journey or a pathway to get to where they want to, they know what they're working towards. And I'm, look rentvesting was great.
[8:52] It served us at a certain time in our place. But just knowing its limitations, is I feel like where we need to open that chat up a little bit more to go, okay, just have a think about what happens if you then go to buy your own home. And then which properties may you have to sell, or highly leveraged to try and pull that cash out? Because where is that cash going to come from to buy your own home? And that's the question a lot of people can't seem to answer.
Although rentvesting can be a viable option for some, others are starting to shift away from the idea. Let’s explore the drive behind this shift.
[10:08] Property acceleration, property price growth acceleration has just, the challenges is typically those type of sharp prices being reserved for say, Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart monitored as well. But when you've got like, the Sunshine Coast, the Gold Coast, Adelaide, Perth going through the same motions, like, you can't seem to escape it.
[10:29] So, you can say, rent where you want to live — Yeah, mate but the rents are through the roof across the whole country in lifestyle areas. So, rent where you want to live, typically you choose a great location. By the beach, in a city, whatever it's going to be — sea chain [or] tree chain. But those areas are through the roof, even to rent. So, renting where you want to live now has its own limitations. And then buy where you can afford, well then affordability just kind of took the backseat because again, the whole country was on fire.
[10:59] So, it's like this double edged sword for a lot of people. It's like, and then with rates so low is actually parity between renting and the mortgage repayment. Which hasn't, that hasn't been around for quite some time. So, it's like hang on you could rent, or it could be your own place but this very similar cost. The challenge has been deposits because people needed the deposit to get in. And because price growth just accelerate so quick, no one had the ability to say that deposit that quickly.
[11:53] And then the other part of that is people don't want to let the property go because if it's a good quality property, they then want to keep that as part of their portfolio. So, then it's this like arm wrestle to go, okay, so you have to pull the equity out which means you then have a higher home loan to balance versus a lower investment loan balance. It's like contrary but it's like, well, this is the only way unless you had the foresight to make your home loan interest only. Which again, we have that conversation with a lot of people. Like this is why you need to do it if you're going to, if you're going to not be in this home forever.
[12:25] So, again, these are all newer conversations that are coming up off the back of some of these stories that we see or experience or that people go through and these are some of the headwinds that you may come across that people won't realise sometimes until it's too late as well. Now, they might be forced to sell that to liquidate to have the cash because no one wants to lug around this giant mortgage either. So, that's one and extinguish the debt.
Different Types of Investors
Although he has his own strategies, Christie-David has made some observations about other investors and their strategies…
[13:07] From my experience, there's two types of investors. The ones that are just gun ho, they're just gonna keep buying. And then there's, I'd say majority are, I'm just going to wait and see. And that type of intensity from the market has come out a little bit. Rightly so. They wanna see what happens after the election which has been done. And then I was like what's happened with rates and let's see what the flow on effect there is, as well. You know, vendors have price expectations from over a year ago. So, let's just wait for them to negotiate [and] drop the price a little bit.
[13:38] So, because we don't have that rampant market anymore, people can afford to sit around and wait. Maybe not in markets like Brisbane and Adelaide at the moment because they're still pretty active. But most of the other markets is, okay, it's time just to cool off a little bit. And so, people are just waiting to see. That's great. That's cool. You don't you don't need to buy a property tomorrow but at some point you need to make a decision.
[14:03] And the other part behind this is I'm seeing a lot more of our investor clients now start to be open to commercial. And I feel like that's two parts. One is the yields are great, but also the increased proposition of commercial buyers agents. I feel that's become strengthened and a lot of people are now getting confidence off the back, you know, they got equity property value going up.
[14:29] That's the issue always been that commercial is getting the deposit because they've had such a good run on their resi properties, they can pull that out and have a 30% deposit 20% deposit for a commercial property, which is on parity from purchase price for resi property but much better yields. And yeah, I feel like that's the next frontier for a lot of investors going, I could buy resi or I could buy commercial and the commercial seems to be a bit more of a win at the moment.
Let’s jump into what resources Christie-David has found helpful along his journey.
[15:48] I mean, this was all when I was back in the day buying property there weren't the Facebook groups. They were meet ups, right? Or they will like seminars. And everyone had their guard up at seminars. You always feel like you're being sold to in one of those seminars. And you went to them, but I don't know you went there with almost like, an expectation you're being sold to being spruit to.
[16:13] So, I felt like that almost gave me, what's the word? Maybe a false BS radar because some of them were very good and hindsight show that they were, they had the goods, it's just how they went about it felt very salesy. And the buyer's agent proposition just wasn't a thing. It was only a handful of them. So, I didn't even know they existed, right. So, to me, I'm like I had a few good friends that were buying property, again, we were younger. You know, there was some good examples about how to buy but I think what happened was, they bought but they gave up their lifestyle and being 20 something, I was like I'd rather have the lifestyle.
[16:54] And again, I'd travel and party and I bought an expensive sports car. I made all the mistakes but I guess I got that out of my system as a young wine as well. But I was very fortunate. I feel I've gravitated to business maybe a little bit more than property and that's probably why [I] invest a little bit more in our business as well, because I can control the returns or the performance of this business. And I think that's where your mindset question comes into it.
One particular resource that Christie-David found to be valuable talks about surrounding himself with successful people.
[17:26] So, someone like I mentioned, Brad Seymour, over when I worked for him under Wizard, he's someone that I've still kept in touch with to this day. And he can give us a nudge, we have a great business coach as well. I hang around top brokers, for example. I want to surround myself with people that are doing well and I, from a mindset perspective, I feel like it's important to give back to our industry. I do coaching for newer brokers because I've been very fortunate to make it past the first three years, which is the danger zone in mortgage broking, and in small business as well.
[18:01] So, I feel like there's so many people that have helped me on my path. There's so many big, big brokers, top brokers, successful businesses that have opened their door to me, shown me here's what you need to do, hard work and to be smart, here's what you need to do. And so, I feel like now it's my role to then pay that forward a little bit as well and pass the baton on.
As well as being surrounded by great people, Christie-David also thinks that you need to believe in and take care of yourself.
[18:19] The mindset, I mean, that's where the battle is. That's where, I don't want to use a war analogy, but I mean that's where the that real, that's where it's won or lost. You've got to believe in yourself, you've got to back yourself, you've got to know that you can deliver for people as well and the next part of that is in having a good quality team around you. And I'm really fortunate that the team that we've gotten the team that has evolved to what it is today, they're a team of winners and we think that people trust these people come to us.
[18:19] Hey, man, we're not perfect, we may lose a few clients along the way. That's cool. That's all part of life. And I think we're open to having [a] chat about the wins and the losses as well. That's all part of that mindset and how do we grow? How do we get better? You know, Bernie and I we've done personal developments. Put a lot of time and effort into a Tony Robbins, for example. Into our own well-being and I feel like the next iteration for us is now the wellness side of it.
[19:25] You know, really good success in business and as brokers. Now we need to make sure that we don't burn out and I feel like our team of experts are a little bit more woo woo these days. Kinesiologist, Bernie sees someone in Reiki, I've got an acupuncturist for example [and a] personal trainer. Now, it's all about well-being as opposed to we've proven our path as business owners and as brokers. But now to stay at this, call it an elite level, you need a different type of energy around you as well.
Investing in Yourself
Maintaining self care and investing in yourself is crucial when working towards a goal.
[20:38] What's the point in having success if you're not happy? What's the point of having the money if you can't enjoy it? What's the point of having family if you can't be active or being engaged? For example. So, yeah, I feel like the journey that we've gone has taught us, okay yep, you can do things for money but if that's the only motivator you're not going to feel that sense of fulfilment. And you see that when people have properties, we've got some clients who've got mega portfolios and we've got clients that got a couple and they're very happy versus one that I've got bigger portfolios.
[21:09] I don't know. Like, they're still pushing for more. It's like, hey look, let's just be grateful for what we have. We live in this amazing country, we are blessed with the lifestyles that we have. This is a country that rewards if you want to work more, you want to work harder, you will get the spoils. But if you want to enjoy and go to the beach, and knock off early and go for a surf, you can do that, too. It's like what an amazing country that we're in.
Christie-David has learned that it is important to believe in yourself, and this is the advice that he would give to his past self.
[23:14] Like, probably ... with confidence. Look, I think it channels that energy but also, and there's probably a saying that I live by these days, which is 'if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together'. And I'll probably say, I feel like I've always hired too late in our business and like, have that confidence to hire early and hire good quality team members would be my suggestion to my younger self.
[23:48] And yeah, don't overthink it. That's probably something that you hear a lot of people say. Don't overthink it, just do it and sometimes they do get stuck in third gear, for example, and say, no, no, just push ahead and go straight to fifth gear and having that courage to back yourself a little bit.
[24:06] Well said. Yeah, that's really good. I'm curious, just to want to sort of delve into asking the question. When you said higher earlier, when you mentioned that, [at] what stage though did you realise okay, maybe I should have hired this person early in the business?
[24:37] Yeah, cash flow aside, I probably and I was really lucky that Bernie gave up her career to join the business. Yeah so, technically, we hired but hired because she felt sorry for me. She knew I needed the help, right. It's a different one. But yeah, team members to help from a support perspective, you know. At the start you do the high value client work, for example, but support team members, even if it was a part time capacity.
[25:11] So, I might know my hourly rate and if I'm doing something that's below my hourly rate, can I find someone that can do that work? For example, picking up the phone all the time. Like it was just constantly interrupted. You couldn't be in flow, you couldn't be in any type of deep work because you're constantly just picking up the phone. It could be a bank, it could be a new client. Whereas if I had learned earlier just to go can someone just answer the calls, and I'll get back to them and batch my calls, for example, that would have been a smarter move in hindsight.
[25:37] So, taking someone on even a part time capacity because we think we've got to hire someone full time, get them in the office, and we're gonna work — well start them off part time. Like, that's what I could have or should have done. The penny dropped for me Tyrone was when I was like trying to hire again, more so recently, I need them today but technically, they're not going to be my business for [the] next three months.
[25:58] You know, you got a month to job ad, recruit, interview, then make the offer, go through the motions, then they've got to give their 30 days’ notice and then they're gonna need a month to onboard with my business and actually learn. They're not actually in any type of rhythm for the first two or three months anyway. So, like, I'm going to hire now but I don't actually have a resource in my business kicking goals for the next three to four months.
[26:24] And so, like, hang on, yeah hire fast. So, you hear this saying like, 'hire slow, fire fast'. I’m like, 'hire fast, fire fast' for example, would be my spin on it. Because yeah, you need them and it's like I call hiring a bit like dating. You don't know if you're right for each other until you're in it. And it's not to say it's just easy to flick anyone off, but it's like they sometimes aren't right for us and we're not right for them and be okay with that. And I feel like yeah, in hindsight, let's bring them in. Let's just keep trying to find the right team members that love what we do, and we love them as well.
Looking away from the past, let’s hear what Christie-David is excited for in the future.
[28:17] Super excited. I think on a business side we are looking to expand and we'll go through really good bringing on some brokers and we've got a good support system for brokers that we're looking to bring in. So, bring myself into a bit more of that trainer leader role and then bring brokers in and nurture the next round of brokers and the next generation of brokers.
[28:41] Five years, I look at it, I feel like we would have at least 3 or 4 properties that were bought over that next period as well. And then the next part is probably taking an extended break in there. So, before our girls start school been speaking about taking a couple months off, for example. We can still run the business. You know, put it out there and when you talk about it, you know, you either have to make it happen or you fall flat on your face. But yeah, I don't know we have spoken maybe we could live in Bali for a month or two.
[29:13] It's just like let's just live this lifestyle. We can still run the business, for example. Have the best of both worlds. We get to spend time with our girls before they go into school but that to me, I'm like that just gives us something to work towards. Okay, how do we engineer the business to not have me in at five days that I know what I'm doing but also the team is empowered to make decisions and help our clients if I'm not around as well and that's a good place to be.
Create Your Own Luck
[31:35] So, Aaron, you've achieved a lot and you run a successful business, you've got properties in your portfolio. How much of that success is due to intelligence, hard work, and skill? And how much of it do you think is because of luck?
[31:51] I tell this to clients when they say, oh, I got lucky. I'm like, no, no, you created your own luck because you made a decision. Yeah. So, to me, it's not luck. Yeah. Yeah, particularly the business side, you had to roll your sleeves up and get it done. So, that was all hard. That's hard work. It's blood, sweat and tears. The property side, look, you could buy at the right time and ride the wave.
[32:17] So, there is an element of being in the market but you still had to make a decision to be in the market and everything leading up to that point. So, our finances in order to do the savings. So, you had to create some luck as well and sometimes it's the market. And same with my business. The property market has been exceptional. So, I just had to be here but I also had to ride the wave and have the team and the support as well.
[32:27] So, there's a small element of luck but I'd say 90% is rolling your sleeves up and making decisions and living and dying by those decisions as well. You make a bad decision. That's cool. Fix it move on. And I feel like that has been, that's our secret sauce. Things haven't worked out well from a hiring perspective. Learnt it, move on. Things haven't worked from mortgage choice. That's alright. Learn, move on. Things haven't worked out with the software. That's it, learn [and] move on.
[33:10] I feel like if you dwell on what's not working, you can't move forward. Whereas if you just go mate, don't worry about it. Let's move on. And Bernie is really, really good at that going that didn't work, let's just cut it and move on. And I feel like you need that ying and yang energy. Where if it was just me, it could really sting.
[33:30] Whereas having Bernadette, Damien, team members around where it's can lift each other up a little bit, it's like that's where it just goes, yep, we're all in this together. Let's move forward. And we tried it. It didn't work. We tried it, it worked really well. Let's do more of that. And I feel like yeah, business can be particularly lonely, especially if you're the one making all the decisions. Whereas if you can share that load a little bit more with a good team, it makes it so much more enjoyable.
Thank you to Aaron Christie-David, our guest on this episode of Property Investory.