Buying Property Using Your Super

Buying Residential Property Using Your Super

Are you looking to make your super work harder for you and to invest in property to make long term gains? You’ve come to the right place. 

With property presenting the opportunity for high growth returns, more and more investors are setting up self-managed super funds (SMSF) to invest in residential and commercial property. Here are some key tips to take into account before embarking on this exciting investment journey. 

You Need a Self-Managed Super Fund 

Unfortunately you can’t just use your super to buy property. Only a self-managed super fund will allow you to directly purchase a residential or commercial property. Your industry super may give you indirect exposure to property via your investment portfolio strategy, however, this is done by your funds own allocation of shares. 

Setting up a self-managed super fund is a big decision that can require a significant investment of time and money. So you need to think carefully about whether this is a path that you want to go down. Your self-managed super fund can have up to four members, and as a member you are a trustee of the fund making you responsible for fund decisions and complying with the law. 

You’ll also need to meet a number of regulatory checks such as the ‘sole purpose test’ which highlights that any purchase of property must be made to provide retirement returns to members of the SMSF. The Australian Taxation Office has a handy guide where you can learn more about what’s required when setting up a self-managed super fund

Get Professional Advice From An Expert 


It’s highly recommended that you engage with an expert (or multiple experts, if needed) to give you financial and legal advice on setting up a SMSF so that you’re fully aware of everything that’s involved. This advice and guidance can be crucial in avoiding any expensive headaches further down the line. You can’t put a cost on peace of mind. 

The Differences Between Buying Residential & Commercial Property When Using Your SMSF 

Not all property works the same way under a SMSF. In deciding whether to buy a residential or commercial property, you’ll need to take into account a number of considerations for each. 

Residential Property 

If you’re looking to buy a residential property using your SMSF then you need to know that this property cannot be lived in by any of the trustees or anyone related to a trustee. It also cannot be rented by any of the trustees or anyone related to a trustee. If you own an existing residential property, your SMSF cannot buy this from any of the trustees or anyone related to a trustee. 

If you do not have the full funds available to purchase a residential property using your SMSF, your SMSF can borrow money via a loan. However, it’s worth noting that the lending criteria can drastically differ from your typical loan, based on the risk presented to the financial institution. 

Commercial Property 

Unlike investing in residential property, there can be more flexibility when acquiring commercial property using your SMSF. Commercial properties can be sold and leased to SMSF members.

This can present a number of benefits for businesses. 

A small business may adopt a strategy where they purchase a business premise using their SMSF and then pay rent directly to the SMSF. As mentioned above, it’s important to get the right advice, as rent would need to be paid in a timely fashion and at a market rate. 

While a premise may look attractive to a business as part of a SMSF, the purchase needs to comply with the overarching goals of the SMSF which is to provide retirement returns to the trustees. If there’s limited growth expected for a property, then it may need to be reconsidered. 

As with residential property, acquiring a loan via your SMSF to fund the purchase of a commercial property will result in tighter lending criteria. 

Work with a Buyer’s Agent 

Once you’ve decided to purchase property using your SMSF, working with a buyer’s agent (also known as a buyer’s advocate) to secure your dream property can save you time, money and give you access to a range of properties you might not have known existed. Buyer’s agents work with a range of clients everyday (including many of those who are using a SMSF), buying residential and commercial property, and will be in a great position to help you secure a property that is going to meet investment criteria. Their expert guidance will ensure the process is as easy and carefree as possible.

Use our handy guide to find the right buyer’s agent for you

Become an Expert Yourself

Do you have a keen interest in learning more about property? Or maybe you’re considering a career change? Consider a career in property buying. This is a fantastic opportunity to build new relationships in real estate, help yourself and others achieve their property goals and find a career that you love.

Get in touch with our friendly team or watch our free webclass to learn more.

Buying Blue Chip

Buyer's Agent Jack Henderson

In a short space of time, Jack Henderson has quickly established himself as one of the country’s leading buyers agents through his business Henderson Advocacy.

Jack started his journey in property investment at a very young age, purchasing his first investment as an 18-year-old. In just a few years, he had managed to build himself a multimillion-dollar property portfolio, centred around some of Sydney’s most sought after postcodes.

After leaving school at an early age and starting out in the workforce, Jack was able to save a deposit and start his property journey earlier than most.

“I left school at 15 and then went and worked as a labourer in the construction industry and I didn’t really have a lot to spend my money on so money started piling up in the bank.”

“After I turned 18 I had a sizeable deposit and my parents guided me and said, you’ve got this money sitting in the bank, maybe you should go buy a property with it because then you’ve essentially bought the most expensive thing in your life and you’re only 18.”

With his success as an investor gaining him a lot of attention and his passion for property, it was a natural progression for him to make the move towards helping others achieve success as a buyers agent. When he was starting out he looked to mentors for guidance and that led him to consider a career in property.

“One of the biggest things was one of my mentors, Chris Gray, he’s got a buyer’s agency called Your Empire and I was inspired by him and what he did. He generated a lot of wealth through it so I thought, “Let’s go down this avenue or let’s go at least explore it.”

“Then, as I was starting to progress in my investing journey, I had a lot of people ask me how I did it and what I did and asking for advice. So I thought, “Well, people are obviously interested in how I’m doing things so why not monetise it?”

Throughout his career as both an investor and now buyers agent, Jack has always focused on buying the best property he can afford, always looking to blue-chip locations.

“My investing philosophy is always very blue-chip. It’s buying in areas with a lot of scarcity, areas with people that have very high incomes and there’s a lot of affluence attached to where they live because obviously affluence and high incomes then generate growth and people paying premiums for properties.”

“As a buyers agent, we still use the same principles, but it’s really going to come down to the individual and how much money they have to work with and we tailor something specifically for them.”

“For myself, I’m generally buying two-bedroom apartments in beach-side locations in the eastern side of Sydney or Newcastle, in boutique buildings with great sunlight and lots of scarcity to them.”

“As I continue to progress to where I am now as a more sophisticated investor with a higher income, I’m starting to get into semis and homes – because I can afford the cashflow. Yields are lower, but they are more lucrative from a growth perspective and then also having the ability to develop down the track.”

When Jack started as a buyers agent, he began working with another firm to learn the business, before eventually starting his own company.

“I joined a firm when I first got into the industry and stayed with them for a little while but quickly outgrew them from a performance perspective and then also a culture perspective.”

“Now I’ve since started my own agency called Henderson Advocacy and it’s just learning every single day. We’re growing very quickly, we’re doing great things and it’s all very exciting.”

Since he started his journey as a buyers agent, Jack has worked closely with the BAI and it’s a relationship that has continued to this day.

“I began working with Ben in the early stages there’s a lot you learn from the course and there’s a lot you learn from Ben’s experience. If someone’s got 10 or 15 years’ experience, there’s a lot of their mistakes you can learn from.”

“I learned a lot from the course and then I went an extra step and went into the mastermind and I’ve been in that from day one. Ben’s now an advisor for our business so he’s continually helping us through his experience in terms of what we should do and what he did and did wrong and how we can learn from that.”

“It’s a very, very lucrative and rewarding relationship for sure.”

In the coming years, Jack is looking to continue to grow his rapidly expanding business and also focus on other areas of property.

“Over the next 12 months, the goal is to generate over two and a half million worth of revenue while having a sizable team that are all on the same page and are all high achievers.”

“In the next 5 to 10 years the goal is to diversify out of just buying property and get into developing and doing joint ventures with people and just to keep growing.”

“Growth is the keyword for the next 10 to 15 years ”

Educating Buyers

Buyer's Agent John Comino

Coming from a career as an accountant, John Comino knew that property investing was his ticket out of the rat race.

During the time he worked as an accountant, John and his wife were able to build a significant property portfolio and in the process learn what it takes to become a successful investor.

“The process of buying for myself turned out to be an opportunity to develop a passion for something, but also to make a lot of mistakes and to find out what worked.”

“That turned into a real understanding of property cycles and property selection and the financing behind property. From there, people started coming to me to either bid on their behalf or just give an opinion on properties that they wanted to buy.”

After finding personal success in property, John then wanted to use it as an opportunity to build his own business.

“I became a buyer’s agent towards the end of 2017, beginning of 2018 and there were two drivers at the time. One was to own my own business. A part of that concept of planning my escape, but one was just financial independence and running my own business.”

“The second reason was to explore the skill that I had in sort of choosing properties and putting deals together.”

As a buyers agent, John focuses on finding off-market properties while educating everyone he helps.

“I’m always conscious that there are three reasons that people come to BAs. One is to save time, two is to educate and to help make better purchasing decisions and then the third one is to purchase off-market properties.”

“With that in mind, my strategy as a buyer’s agent is to be more of an educator than a head kicker because I don’t have a background in sales so that can be a double-edged sword, but I do focus on the soft skills of sort of educating the clients.”

“The second thing is that I do try to target off-market properties because I never want to get into the conversation around ‘I could have done it myself’, which is always a risk, as a buyer’s agent.”

Having started his career after the property cycle peaked in Sydney, John had to navigate a tricky time while launching his own business.

“I started at the end of ‘17, beginning of ’18, which was a really tough time in the property market. I think it dropped, 15% in 2018.”

“I got very lucky in that one of my very first clients was actually an ASX listed media company who wanted a very substantial property at the time. So even though the market was sort of languishing, I was able to put together a fairly large deal and that was really helpful.”

“That was very good for my brand and that was good for my experience and obviously good for cashflow. But it’s a difficult sort of deal to repeat so they don’t come along very often, but that was one of my first deals.”

John used a number of approaches to help get his business off the ground in the early days.

“It’s been tough to get established, but I focused on three things. One was thought leadership and articles and podcasts. I was writing articles fairly prolifically. I do it a bit less now, but lots of articles and lots of podcasts.”

“The second thing I did to get established was networking and meeting people and trying to meet new people every week. That’s an excellent way to do it. And the third thing is that I do and did invest in a lot of social media at the time because you don’t want to be the best buyer’s agent that no one’s heard of.”

For John, one of the hardest parts of working with buyers was trying to educate them on cycles and when to buy.

“Buyers buy in sellers’ markets, not in buyers’ markets, which is sort of strange – they should be buying in these dips, but human psychology is that they don’t.

“When property was on sale, buyers weren’t interested in property and now that it’s hot again, the buyers come back in. I used to try to fight that and my articles were all about being a contrarian. I don’t worry so much about that now. I just accept that that’s how people are wired and so I don’t fight the tide on that one.”

In a bid to build momentum in his business John worked with the BAI and it was instrumental in learning how to grow his client base.

“I started as a buyer’s agent before I did the Buyer’s Agent Institute so the institute was really helpful for me because it covers everything from scripts and dialogues to mindset and time management.”

“Because I got in very fresh, I didn’t really know where to start. So for me, the most important part of the Buyer’s Agent Institute were scripts and dialogues and also scripts about how to convert prospects into clients.”

“The other big thing that the Buyer’s Agent Institute helped me with was understanding the value that I provide to the referral partners.”

“If you go to, a mortgage broker or a real estate agent, you don’t want to just ask them for a favour – “Hey, come and help. Send me some referrals.” What you want to do is create a transaction of mutual value for them rather than simply asking a favour.”

Going forward, John wants to continue to grow his business, through more effective practices that depend less on him.

“In the next five to ten years I want to focus on systematising the process more and scaling up so that it’s not so dependent on me.”

“That’s one of the things about the buyer’s agent business, it is very personalised and it’s very much about my brand as John. I want to sort of get away from that towards a more scalable model.”

For anyone considering a career as a buyers agent, John notes that it is a people business.

“The main thing is that being a buyer’s agent’s about people, not about property.”

“A lot of people get into the buying business because they love property, but if you simply love property, it might not be the right thing for you because as a buyer’s agent you deal in the peoples’ wealth, their frailties, their insecurities, their fear of debt and their fear to take action.”

“It’s not about the properties, it’s about the people.”

This Is What Flipping Properties Can Do To You

Buyer's Agent Gus Lander on what flipping properties can do to you

Ben Handler:

Welcome to the Buyer’s Agents Institute Show. The purpose of the show is to bring awareness to buyer’s agents, to bring awareness around the career opportunities that the buyer’s agent sector is providing people. To bring awareness around the value that buyer’s agents provide to people who need help buying property. Our goal with the show is to strip back and dive into the remarkable stories and journeys of buyer’s agents who are paving the way forward in one of the fastest growing career sectors in real estate right now.

Ben Handler:

Our guest today is Gus Lander. He is no stranger to selling or buying property. He’s based in the Inner West in Sydney. His background is in wine. He had a business and has a business in wine, and he also did a very quick stint in recruitment. He is very, very passionate about renovating. He specifically focuses in buying owner occupied properties. He has a new business. It’s a buyer’s agent business. It’s called the Inner West Nest. So he’s focusing specifically in Inner West. He is a Balmain resident. He’s been there 15 years. So today I would like to introduce Gus. Welcome Gus.

Gus Lander:

Thanks, Ben. Appreciate the intro. Thanks for the invitation.

Ben Handler:

Thank you so much. I wanted to dive straight in to the renovations.

Gus Lander:

Yep.

Ben Handler:

Your passion.

Gus Lander:

Absolutely. Love it.

Ben Handler:

Did it all start in Sydney?

Gus Lander:

Yes. Back in 2012, I suppose, was the tipping point. We bought our first home with my wife. We bought a gut reno, old terrace in Balmain and went right through that with everything, paint lights, carpet, landscaping. We had four years there and then we sold it 2016. Did quite well obviously, then we found ourselves on the other side of the fence buying and as you know, it was a very hot market back then. And yeah, there was a lot of competition for houses. And so we struggled for a few months and then we ended up engaging a buyer’s agent, Nicole Graham, who’s a wonderful, wonderful agent. And she secured us the keys for another renovator, bigger block. And we’ve just gone through that now and finished that this week. Yeah.

Ben Handler:

Nice. And let’s go back to just, so you said that you did quite well, and I think you’re been quite modest because you did mention earlier that you nearly doubled the money.

Gus Lander:

We did. Yeah. Look, it was a crazy auction, as you remember. It was a very silly time, a very hot market. We didn’t expect it. And it was very nice to come out of that side. So it recently traded last month less actually. So yeah, no, it was quite lucky. Quite fortunate. Yeah.

Ben Handler:

Yeah, you got out well. So what did you learn in that? I’m just curious now because obviously renovations can go terribly wrong. Blow out, a lot of surprises. Did you learn anything specifically?

Gus Lander:

Look, it was a very safe reno. I mean, we got it I think under market value and it was very much cosmetic reno. New kitchen, all the typical things I mentioned. Live in it for maybe six months, which we did and then work out what you like, work with the space and then just trust your gut really. Yeah.

Ben Handler:

You mentioned when you bought that property it was through one a buyer’s agent, Rachel Cruz.

Gus Lander:

Yeah. Well she was actually a selling agent at the time with Cobden & Hayson. And it’s funny how we’ve sort of stayed in contact and now seeing her out and what she’s done, she’s absolutely crushing it obviously. So she’s done amazing.

Ben Handler:

I’m just curious to dive into this a bit deeper. So you engaged the buyer’s agent, Nicole?

Gus Lander:

Yep, yep.

Ben Handler:

Was it at that point when you were going through that process with Nicole, that you were like, “Hey, maybe this buyer’s agent career could be for me”?

Gus Lander:

It was that moment actually. Looking back, I’ve always loved property and renovations obviously. I never really worked out where I fit and then having gone through that experience, which was an amazing experience, she over-delivered on so many things and it was a big investment at the time. I mean, it was a lot, but we got something fantastic. For me, that was the moment where I thought this is what I want to do. How do I make it happen at this point? So, yeah, it’s been a few years, as you know, from then to now. A few kids along the way and at the build and whatnot. So just launching out more or less last few months. Yeah.

Ben Handler:

You mentioned around like the investment, like at the time, or even at any time, it can feel like obviously it’s a lot of money.

Gus Lander:

Yep.

Ben Handler:

So I understand, what was the main reasons you were looking to engage a buyer’s agent at a time?

Gus Lander:

I mean, we were time poor, which I think is the big one.

Ben Handler:

Yeah.

Gus Lander:

I think for particularly people in my area. Super time poor, dragging a kid around the Inner West every weekend. We wanted to see what things weren’t on the market. Obviously having access to someone like Nicole, who has amazing relationships across the Inner West, that was huge. And not wanting to overpay I guess in a very hot market.

Ben Handler:

Now you’re up and running with your BA business, Inner West Nest. So focusing specifically owner-occupier Inner West. Reno’s as well?

Gus Lander:

Oh, absolutely. Yep. I think for me, I’m not ruling out the investor side, but I’ve just never really been drawn to that side of it. I think there’s obviously plenty of potential maybe to spread out to that, go into that, in the years to come. But for me personally, I’m much more drawn to that human, emotional element in property and the journey, I guess, and whether it’s a first time buyer or a young family, growing family, downsizer, there’s a lot to sort of go through on that emotional side and I really enjoy. I think maybe it’s my customer service sort of roots, I guess. I love to sort of understand that and deliver that.

Ben Handler:

That’s good. And it is a very different service to investment.

Gus Lander:

Totally.

Ben Handler:

Especially when you’re dealing through that whole, it’s a whole other layer of emotion. Someone’s really going to be there for an extended period of time.

Gus Lander:

It is.

Ben Handler:

And you’re right. I mean, there’s still, like you said, customer service roots. So where does that stem from?

Gus Lander:

I was in recruitment for a little while. Fell into that, loved it for about a year.

Ben Handler:

A bit like real estate in the sense.

Gus Lander:

Yeah, it is. It totally is. I had a few jobs before that in lead gen making appointments for software, things like that. That was interesting, like door knocking and stuff, but good, good fun. Learn a lot. And then obviously moved into wine, which I was supporting a team of reps in wholesale. So we were supplying a portfolio of wines to restaurants. So restaurants, cafes, bars, so really supporting and serving that team. Yeah.

Ben Handler:

And so you still got a wine business now?

Gus Lander:

I do. So, yeah, during my tenure in wholesale, I created a brand called Excuse My French, which is a French wine label from the Languedoc in the South of France. We basically saw an opportunity in the market to launch some rose and spec in 2015. So a while ago now, and yeah, had a bit of fun with it. It’s a bit of a piss take on the whole French label, French wine Aussie market, but we’ve got it into a few markets now, which it’s going really well. Yeah. So I still have that. I still manage that as my side hustle and love it. Yeah. I handle the production, all the marketing on the side as well. So yeah.

Ben Handler:

I interview so many people, but what’s very common is just, and you might have an opinion on this, is around how transferable the skill is. From what you’re learning, let’s say, in lead gen or you’re working in IT doing sales, or you’re in recruitment, or you’re running your own business and learning how to, it’s a start up when 2015, it’s all transferable, right?

Gus Lander:

Yep.

Ben Handler:

And so now that you’ve kicked off Inner West Nest, do you feel like you’ve already climbed up the ladder a bit so you can leverage from that to really propel forward?

Gus Lander:

Yeah. I think there’s definitely some transferable skills. When you’re running your own business, obviously you’re wearing lots of hats. In your course, you had a great episode about all the different things you’ve got to do. It’s never ending, right? And we’ve been lucky with the timing, I guess, because it’s very competitive. But yeah. Look, to answer your question, I think there’s lots of skills. You’ve got to be driven, you’ve got to be time management. You’ve really got to understand your market and execute. Yeah.

Ben Handler:

Yeah. I saw a photo recently at an auction and I saw you in the background of that photo-

Gus Lander:

Oh really?

Ben Handler:

I think it was Inner West Auction. Looking very sharp. You could have passed as one of those really well dressed real estate agents. And then I saw Gus Lander in the back. What’s going on now? You’re turning up to, I’m assuming, you’re like a lot of auctions? You’re upskilling with product knowledge? What’s going on?

Gus Lander:

Yeah. Just trying to go to as many opens as possible, obviously great space to meet not only agents and develop those relationships, obviously lead gen with clients. I think you made a comment in the course about getting leads from opens. And I thought that’s not going to work, but it’s-

Ben Handler:

He’s bullshitting me.

Gus Lander:

It’s so good. Yeah. I reckon it’s the number one spot now for me to make clients. It’s great. I love it.

Ben Handler:

I spoke to another guy who came through the program, his name’s Trent, and he works full-time so he doesn’t have a lot of time. I spoke to him about two weeks ago and he said to me all he gets is Saturdays off and all he does with that time on Saturdays is go to opens. And he’s basically picked up all his buyers from Saturday turning up to opens. So yeah, it’s an interesting way. I mean, you can be so specific with how you want to, like if you want a buyer between four and five in Balmain, you turn up to those listings or those auctions, there’s your buyers.

Gus Lander:

I’ve just been going like 10 minutes early and obviously you’re dressed up and obviously the obvious thing is people think you’re a real estate agent. It’s a perfect ice breaker, right? And immediately they’d sort of, “Oh, you’re on our side.” So I found that a really good way to meet people and just to hear and listen and make a few connections. So look, it’s yeah. I’m really surprised myself actually with that. So it’s been good.

Ben Handler:

Yeah. You’ve got that personality that is not confronting, non salesy. And so I think you’re going to have a lot of fun with building rapport and-

Gus Lander:

Sure.

Ben Handler:

Sparking those-

Gus Lander:

Well done for the tip. Yeah.

Ben Handler:

Thanks. And so you’ve been in Balmain 15 years?

Gus Lander:

Yep.

Ben Handler:

So small place. How do you feel your product knowledge there is at the moment?

Gus Lander:

Yeah. Look, I know the streets obviously. I mean, I live there and love the area. I can’t imagine living anywhere else, very proud to live there. And having had an interest in property, I’ve obviously got to know the agents over the time for them and gone to auctions and just explore the area. So that’s definitely paying dividends now in terms of getting leads and making connections and just really having access to properties off market. And yeah. I’ve been fortunate to that. I’d like to obviously explore my core area a bit more now and move into Summerhill and Tempe and all over. So yeah.

Ben Handler:

Yeah. The market’s interesting. I mean, Inner West, I don’t know very well in terms of how it performs, et cetera, but I’ve heard it’s low stock, right?

Gus Lander:

It’s massively low stock and particularly now. It’s totally, like the rest, like the East, Lower North, prices are holding in there, even still going up for the right properties, driven by lack of supply.

Ben Handler:

Our role in this style of market as a buyer’s agent, when it’s super low, like we have to try and just do whatever we can to create the opportunity, right?

Gus Lander:

Yep.

Ben Handler:

To find that stock.

Gus Lander:

Yep.

Ben Handler:

And so are you feeling like there is a lot of off-market popping up? Is it-

Gus Lander:

Not as much as I would have liked to. I mean, it’s super tight, right? I’m trying to be upbeat with my clients and sort of saying it’s coming, and it’s dripping through obviously, but there’s still not much out there. A few off markets are coming up, but yeah, surprisingly it’s just kept, it’s just, yeah, tight.

Ben Handler:

It’s interesting. I think, who knows, but maybe the low stock has been driving prices still high.

Gus Lander:

Yeah. And I think as these prices get around, people will be encouraged to list. I think as September is only a few weeks away. We’re hopeful that we’ll see some more. Yeah.

Ben Handler:

We talked about customer service earlier. It’s obviously something that, I guess, you embody. You’ve obviously worked with clients already. Have you found that experience like that client journey? Because you obviously went through it when you engaged Nicole. Now you’re effectively the Nicole with the client. How is that experience?

Gus Lander:

It’s been great. I just like to connect with people and you go in with a bit of an agenda in your head, but at the end of the day, it’s really just about connecting on that personal level to establish that trust and rapport. And obviously if we’re a fit, that’s obviously really important to a client to hand their trust over and deliver a brief and yeah. I love it. I think it’s such a rewarding part of being a buyer’s agent to be able to have that complete trust. And it’s pretty amazing, really. Yeah. It’s fantastic.

Ben Handler:

You’re right. There’s a high level of trust. It’s different to the sell side in the sense of like when you’re selling a property and you engage the real estate agent, the money comes out, not really, it comes obviously out of your bank, but it’s not really straight out of your back pocket in most cases, if you’re clearing out okay without having to pay down any further debt. But when you’re engaging a buyer’s agent, it’s coming straight out.

Gus Lander:

It is, sure.

Ben Handler:

I’ve always felt like there has to be, and where I’m going with this is that trust because to really pull money out, you really need to really believe in that buyer’s agent. And the client experience, I think is, as you said, it’s such an incredible part of the journey, especially with owner-occupier clients. You develop this bond. It can go quite deep, which I think is really special.

Gus Lander:

100%. I couldn’t agree more. You learn about their lives and everything, their hopes and dreams. Obviously that’s on the seller side too, but there is, I think, a very intimate level of trust. Probably much more on the buying side, for sure.

Ben Handler:

You’ve just had a third kid and so congrats.

Gus Lander:

Thank you.

Ben Handler:

Had a conversation earlier about all that stuff, but I guess running a new business now-

Gus Lander:

Yep.

Ben Handler:

Spending a lot of time with the kids, juggling a few different things. Do you feel like you’re good at managing time?

Gus Lander:

It’s tough. I won’t lie. I’m definitely working the business around the kids. My wife’s a freelancer, so she’s in and out a lot. We have a lot of help, but we make it work. And yeah. It’s a combination of being driven and organized. Yeah. It’s a bit of a tug of war, but with the house, obviously which we’ve just finished, it’s now time, I think, to really let loose and put a bit more time into this journey. Yeah.

Ben Handler:

Isn’t that one of the benefits of running a buyer’s agent business, like the flexibility? I mean, I know you’re an entrepreneur, you’ve already got your own wine business, but hypothetically let’s say COVID wasn’t here. So not everyone’s working from home, you’re working nine to five in the city or whatever the job is. You can’t just be at home with the kids, right? And it doesn’t all work around like that.

Gus Lander:

Yeah.

Ben Handler:

I personally think you work hard as a buyer’s agent, we’ll say seven days.

Gus Lander:

Sure.

Ben Handler:

Seven days, like you don’t switch the phone off on a Saturday and Sunday. It’s on. And you speak to clients on Sunday nights, Saturday nights. It’s always on.

Gus Lander:

Yep.

Ben Handler:

My experiences though, even though it’s seven days, it’s flexible. Like if you wanted to go for a surf at two o’clock, you just jump out.

Gus Lander:

There’s so much flexibility. That’s part of the appeal obviously. Third kid, we were battling at home and had the flexibility, so I can work around it. It’s very convenient. And being obviously leading in my core area, I can pop out to an open for half an hour and we can manage that. Yeah. I think my decision to focus on just that area at the moment is doable it seems to be working out okay so far. So yeah. But flexibility is huge for us as a family. We needed that and the timing was right. So yeah.

Ben Handler:

Let’s dive into a bit about Inner West Nest.

Gus Lander:

Yeah.

Ben Handler:

Obviously you’ve thought about it because I like your website, but I’ve thought about Inner West Nest, you’ve committed to that. I’m focusing. Inner West. If the Mosmann buyer comes I’m Inner West Nest. I ain’t Mosmann.

Gus Lander:

Send them away to Rachel. Yeah, exactly. So, no, look, it’s the area that I know. It was a natural progression for me, starting out, obviously not coming from a property background or a real estate background. So that for me was the logical place to start. And I did get a lot of feedback, actually, people saying, “Is this going to limit you? Is this going to be something that will date?” I’m going with my gut on this. And you make a few comments as well in your course about being a specialist and really owning a space. And that’s obviously years down the track to be in that position, like where Rachel is now, for example. I think it’s a logical point for me to start with. And I think that’s a big area, like there’s 30 suburbs to stretch out to. And there’s lots of different architecture. We’ve got Federation homes, we’ve got modern contemporary homes. There’s everything in between.

Ben Handler:

It’s a big area.

Gus Lander:

It is.

Ben Handler:

If you look at, not that you want to play the comparison game, but if you look at most real estate agents, they will typically work in a certain amount of postcodes. Some will just do Balmain as you know. I think as a buyer’s agent, having the geography of the whole, let’s say, Inner West, it’s large.

Gus Lander:

It’s huge. Yeah. And just doing owner-occupies really for now, it’s the area that I gravitate towards again. So it is a niche business. I definitely agree with that. Yeah. It’s-

Ben Handler:

Specific.

Gus Lander:

It is specific. Yeah.

Ben Handler:

Which is good.

Gus Lander:

Yeah. I’m just trying to sort of own that space and really build up clients and relationships and yeah.

Ben Handler:

Well, it clearly works. I’ve thought about this a lot, even back at the Cohen Handler days because it is different from a buyer’s agent in the sense of selling agent, let’s say in Balmain, they just call all the vendors in Balmain and then they get their opportunities. As a buyer’s agent, we don’t do that. And so business does come from so many different places. So I always was thinking, well, how does the geography work? But I guess if you can specialize, which you are in the Inner West, you’ve got all the real estate agent relationships, you build that reputation, the business will just gravitate, which it is clearly towards you. That’s awesome. So as we wrap up, what are plans? Any plans for Inner West? I know it’s fresh?

Gus Lander:

Yep.

Ben Handler:

Is there anything on the horizon?

Gus Lander:

I think it’s too early to say. I think it’s only a few months in and done just a couple of deals so far. So I think my goal for the business really is to, know that I can have the time to really put into it, is just to push on and really just focus on the process and doing things right. Not worrying too much about the numbers or the buyers. Look, it’d be nice to scale, but at the same time, it’s like that thing where, do you lose that sort of direct intimate contact with your clients? But look, I’m not going to put a tag on it at all. I just want to just go along for the ride and just go for it.

Ben Handler:

That’s awesome. Yeah. You said the word process and focusing on that, and that’s important. In the sporting world, it’s always process not outcome. And starting off in that, in any business, right, I think you’ve got to take those baby steps in order then to work out whether you actually want to scale because you will lose that intimacy in most cases.

Gus Lander:

Yep.

Ben Handler:

And I think the great thing about the buyer’s agent business, in my perspective, I was having lunch earlier with someone about this before we caught up now, and you don’t need to have a big business. You don’t need to have all these people. It can be a very profitable business. And if you’re happy servicing a certain amount of number of clients, it’s a good business.

Gus Lander:

Absolutely. It’s always going to be something that I’ll have to work in with the broader agenda at home. And that’s the great thing about the business and the industry is you can do that.

Ben Handler:

Awesome. Where can people find you?

Gus Lander:

So I’m at my website, www.innerwestnest.com.au, or my Instagram @InnerWestNest.

Ben Handler:

Thank you so much. Awesome chatting. And can’t wait just to see you just tear up this Inner West, okay? So well done.

Gus Lander:

Thanks Ben.

Ben Handler:

Everyone, if you’re listening, if you’re looking to buy in Mosmann call Gus. He is specifically focusing on the Inner West, hence the name Inner West Nest. He’s got a lot of experience selling and buying specifically as he’s was mentioning in renovating and for owner-occupier specific properties. Lived in Balmain 15 years. He knows the area back to front, so check him out. See you next week.

Please watch the full episode here:

What 20 Years of Financial Planning Can Do To You?

Buyer's Agent Paul Mollica on what 20 years of financial planning can do to you

Ben Handler:

Welcome to the Buyer’s Agent Institute Show. The purpose of the show is to bring awareness to buyer’s agents. To bring awareness around the career opportunities that the buyer’s agent sector is providing to people. To bring awareness around the value that buyer’s agents are providing to people who need help buying property. Our goal with the show is to really strip back and dive into the remarkable stories and journeys of buyer’s agents who are paving the way for the fastest growing career sectors in real estate right now. Our guest today is a special one, his name is Paul Mollica. He’s here from Sydney. He has 20 years experience. He’s been self employed in the financial planning space. He’s written a book on personal finance, he’s very passionate about property investment.

Ben Handler:

We’re going to talk and dive into this whole concept around leverage, which he really enjoys talking about. He’s got a very strong opinion on super, which we’ll also going to dive into and hopefully we’re going to really flesh that one out. And he really has had a passion to get into the buyer’s agent space, primarily to focus on providing quality advice. He is the director and founder and buyer’s agent at Wealthkey Property. Today I’d like to introduce Paul Mullica. Welcome Paul.

Paul Mollica:

Ben hi. Thank you for having me.

Ben Handler:

Pleasure to be here. I don’t know where we start. Do we dive into super or do we dive into leverage with property?

Paul Mollica:

Well, it’s your show Ben, so where do you want to start?

Ben Handler:

Let’s talk about super.

Paul Mollica:

He’s gone for the throat.

Ben Handler:

I just thought we’ll just dive straight in because you obviously, you’ve got a lot of experience in this space. A lot of people think they have experience and don’t. So it’d be good I guess, just get a bit of insight around I guess, just your perspective on super

Paul Mollica:

It’s a very interesting and highly regulated industry. There’s a lot of money in there. There’s a lot of what I would call a false sense of economy around superannuation. I spent 20 years as a financial planner. I have now left that business and I’m a full time buyer’s agent. I was a part time buyer’s agent before and I’m also a passionate property investor myself. So I’ve joined the dots between how people have created wealth with property versus how they’ve created wealth with superannuation and other assets and have landed firmly on this side of the fence.

Ben Handler:

And what side of the fence is that?

Paul Mollica:

The side of the fence that says, “Use leverage wisely and buy property and over time you’ll do fine.”

Ben Handler:

And when you were working as a financial planner, I guess if clients were coming to you saying, “Hey, we want to get into direct property.” Well how would you deal with that?

Paul Mollica:

The thing with property is that it’s not a regulated financial asset. So by default, there’s a strong bias against property from people that can’t make a quid out of it. So there’s this blind spot. And as the walls have calmed down and financial planners and accountants and mortgage brokers and other professionals have built wealth or seen wealth being built through property, their eyes have been opened up a little bit.

Ben Handler:

When you were working in the financial planning space, you were doing buyer’s agent work then?

Paul Mollica:

I was, yeah. Yeah I was one of the very few licensed financial planners that also had my real estate license. So I was very firm on that. About halfway through my 20 year career I started investing in property myself. And I joined the dots and thought all these clients that have a decent amount of wealth, they are Sydney homeowners and they’ve got 6, 7, 8, $900,000 perhaps in super and I was helping pre-retiree and retiree clients and wondering and asking the question, “How did you get there?” And a lot of the time they’d bought a property 10 or 20 years ago. They’d had a property that had grown their own wealth, the family home or they’d inherited property. Next to none of them saved their way to wealth which leads me on to leverage.

Ben Handler:

That makes sense though. I can say that especially where we are today with the world as it is. I mean consumer spending so high and people accumulating so much debt on credit card and there doesn’t seem to be like a new wave of like, let’s save. It doesn’t seem like it’s been there for a while either.

Paul Mollica:

It’s just impossible to save your way to wealth and interest rates are so low at the moment. If I can buy a quality asset in a growth area for someone that’s delivering say a 5% rental yield and they’re paying three and a bit in interest rates, it neutrals itself out. So the question to ask my clients, if fear isn’t holding them back and that they’re buying quality assets is, “If it costs you next to nothing per month to hold a 3, 4, $500,000 asset, how long can you hold it for?” And the answer is as long as you damn well please.

Ben Handler:

What do you see as common mistakes? And you might’ve seen this when you were working in the financial planning space with some of your clients, but where do you see people go wrong with buying resi property. Like investment, not on a rock where they’ve inherited or they bought a family home, but more when they’re investing?

Paul Mollica:

They’re sold schemes, they’re sold scheme. So crappy bill quality, investor slums, marketing companies that are offering 25, $35,000 in commission and buying solely on shiny new products that have a depreciation schedule. You’ve got some experience there.

Ben Handler:

Well I’ve seen it and people fall for it.

Paul Mollica:

They do.

Ben Handler:

It’s like their attention goes depreciation schedule and they forget about the product that they’re buying.

Paul Mollica:

Yeah, yeah. And it’s smoke and mirrors and a lot of it’s just bullshit and it’s rubbish stock. I’ve developed a system in the business called the ABCs. So when you’re looking at the ABCs, you look at the area, then you look at the building itself. What’s income? What’s in demand? What’s livability. Can I add value to it? Is there a decent block of dirt under it? So the area, the building and then cashflow is last and comparables.

Ben Handler:

I like it. [AB double C hey. 00:06:49] You’ve kicked off Wealthkey Property and now you’re kicking big goals and I knew it was going to move quick. So now working with clients, for example, that are coming to you specifically to buy property, how do you compare that experience? Because obviously you had 20 years in the fin planning space. How do you compare now the client experience, the journey, it must be different.

Paul Mollica:

It’s night and day, it is night and day. The amount of rubbish and compliance and complexity that was in that financial planning world that didn’t protect anyone. Because you can give bad advice in a compliant way. And there’s also dodgy real estate agents and dodgy market is out there for property as well. But the question was, how do I compare the experience? I jump out of bed, mate. I love it. I love it. And I love project managing the process. So I only make people two promises. One is that I’ll get you invested because time poured don’t know where to start. We’ve got this whole, what I call the circle of confusion house or unit? Regional, city, what price point et cetera. So the two promises I’ll get you invested and I’ll keep you safe. That’s it.

Ben Handler:

Powerful promise.

Paul Mollica:

I keep it.

Ben Handler:

It’s compelling.

Paul Mollica:

Yeah.

Ben Handler:

So clients, I mean you’ve obviously built up 20 years self-employed in the fin planning space. You’ve obviously built up a series book of clients who like and trust you and you’ve done work with, have you felt like a lot of your clients naturally have come from past dealings or is it a new wave of new clients coming to you?

Paul Mollica:

Yeah, I’m promoting my property business in its own right. So I can’t actively pursue for commercial reasons or can’t actively pursue my previous clients but maybe they’ll say this video. But yeah, a lot of new stuff and I’m working the business to business referrals. We’ve got I think some fairly realistic goals and that is to help 50 to 70 families per year to get invested safely in areas that have got good growth drivers where they’re not going to have high vacancy rates. They’re not going to have dodgy assets. So we manage the building and pest the, introduce them to conveyances and lawyers and all that sort of things that can be very confusing particularly when you’re buying into state. But the interesting thing is that a lot of the clients we’re working with now want to buy two and three properties with us immediately. So that’s a really nice feeling when you’ve just gone unconditional on a property and you get a text from the client saying, “Thanks can we go again?”

Ben Handler:

So is that stemming from your first initial discussions with them about a strategy or are they just coming to you saying we’re ready, we want to go again? I guess the question is, has that been pre-framed earlier on around, this is part of the plan and then they’re just comfortable to go again now or they just bring it up to you?

Paul Mollica:

It depends on the client. A lot of the times it is pre-framed. I’ve got a one page worksheet and I’ve been talking to people about their money stuff and their life stuff for 20 odd years. So I get the strategic intent and I get that you’ve been working your ass off paying tax for the last 30 years for a lot of my clients around 50. And you’ve only got X amount in super what the hell’s going on there? And I can overlay that with my own property journey and say, well I’ve got 200 grand in super and $2 million worth of property assets or whatever it is and show them real examples. But the beauty of this business is that no one needs to be sold on property, they get it.

Ben Handler:

But they’re getting extra value with you. Like when you said earlier around your experience with financial planning, talking about managing money and just lifestyle and understanding and getting awareness around super and just how to do things. I mean that’s an extra added bow they’re going to get when they come to you for the buyer’s agent.

Paul Mollica:

Look I’m not licensed as a financial planner anymore but no one can take my knowledge and my connections away from me. So like a really classic example is that if you’ve got, you’re alright for me to just unpack a bit of a case study for you.?

Ben Handler:

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Paul Mollica:

So you’ve got a mum and dad that are earning 150 grand a year combined. So they’ve got say 15,000 odd going into superannuation each year. They might have $300,000 in assets there and there’ll be paying between 2 and 3% in fees. So that’s between seven and $10,000 in fees. If they took 150,000 of that money and used it as a deposit and costs against a $450,000 asset a property, then they still had 150 left over. They’re only borrowing 70 or 75% of the cost of the property. So it’s positive cashflow, it’s bidding off rent and they’re controlling $600,000 in assets that they’re not losing sleep at night over instead of $300,000 worth of assets that they’re getting [builted 00:12:20] on fees for. That is really exciting to be able to do that for people, for a long play, for a 7 to 10 to 15 year play.

Ben Handler:

How do they respond when you first break down an example like that? When they’re unaware of that example?

Paul Mollica:

Most people just ask if it’s legal.

Ben Handler:

Makes sense.

Paul Mollica:

Yeah.

Ben Handler:

This is all about board poll.

Paul Mollica:

Yeah, yeah.

Ben Handler:

Now that’s exciting. I guess this is the value that people get coming to Wealthkey Property. It’s not just about…

Paul Mollica:

Money is just an idea and it’s pretty basic when you break it down to its core which is why I wrote the book that I published a few years ago. But essentially if you and I are in a race and you’re earning 150 a year, I’m earning 150 a year and you’ve got $300,000 in superannuation going up and down with the market, getting fees taken out of it and I’m controlling property and both assets perform at the same rate, it might be 6% a year. I think actually ASIC money smart website says that direct property will perform over a 10 year average at 6.3% shares 6.5%. So you’re going to beat me by 0.2. But getting back to the race, you’re controlling 300,000 worth of assets, I’m controlling 600,000 worth of assets and we’ve both got 15 or 20 years till retirement. I’m going to beat you because compounding says that if something doubles twice over a period of time, you’ll go from 3 to 6 to 1.2, I’ll go from six to 1.2 to 2.4, I’ve just builted you.

Ben Handler:

Outperform.

Paul Mollica:

And all I’ve done, all I’ve done is use leverage and compound interest.

Ben Handler:

So yeah using property is of the vehicle.

Paul Mollica:

Absolutely, yeah.

Ben Handler:

That’s interesting. I don’t think there’s a lot of people who are, especially in the buyer’s agent space that I know of who are really playing and who really understand this space and applying it. So it’s obviously a big opportunity for you.

Paul Mollica:

Yeah. Well it’s a big opportunity for the mum and dad consumer more to the point.

Ben Handler:

So Paul you’ve obviously started Wealthkey, you’ve kicked off the ground quickly. A lot of quiet acquisition, a lot of purchases and no surprise. I guess with any new business, it comes a lot of learning. Do you mind sharing I guess maybe some things that have popped up that maybe surprised you, bit you in the ass, or maybe didn’t? Just I guess anything you think it’s worth sharing?

Paul Mollica:

I think control growth is really important. So once you deep dive into a suburb and you’ve got the area, you’ve got the building then you’ve got to negotiate. And then all of a sudden you’ve got all these different parts to manage. So having really strong systems and processes and a really good team is key. So I’ve got a great in house team. We do research, outsourced research but then due to the Rona, I’ve had to have acquisitions teams set up into state because that’s where I’m buying a lot of value for my clients. And that has proved to be really awesome because I can build in efficiencies. Not only have I got into state partners that will do video walkthroughs and have really good suburb knowledge but clients now are more accepting of doing a zoom meeting. So not having to go and pay for parking and spending three hours doing a one hour meeting is really good. So yeah, it’s just control growth and having some fun along the way but looking after each client from beginning to end.

Ben Handler:

Yeah I love what you said. You said teamwork, systems, processes. I mean the pillars of any business and you seem to have obviously understood that and nailed that early on, which is important. And that’s how you do grow. You talk about controlled growth, but when you do get that dialed in, you can grow at a speed.

Paul Mollica:

I had a little bit of a head start there Been because I’ve been working on this stuff for years as a part time proposition and now I’ve bitten the bullet and gone full time and I can simply help more people. It’s…

Ben Handler:

It’s so good. What’s the future of… I know you’ve just started, but obviously is it like next 12 months? I know you said you’re looking to, was it 50 to 70 families you’re looking to buy for? Is there anything else on the agenda for Wealthkey Property for this FY?

Paul Mollica:

We’d like to, I’ve got a really good support person at the moment that I’d like to get licensed up so that there’s two buyer’s agents and one support staff but like most areas of my life, I’m making it up as I go along.

Ben Handler:

I love it. Good stuff. And where can people find you?

Paul Mollica:

Wealthkeyroperty.com.edu and Wealthkey Property on Facebook as well.

Ben Handler:

I love it. And book, title of the book?

Paul Mollica:

Your Money Boat. I’ll send you a copy.

Ben Handler:

Yeah, I’ve got to read that one. I’m looking forward to it. It’s got your personality in it, then I’m ready.

Paul Mollica:

A lot of people have said to me, “Reading this book it’s like hearing your voice,” and it’s driving me a bit crazy. So I don’t know if that’s a compliment or not, but I’ll take it.

Ben Handler:

I think it’s a compliment. Thanks Paul, I appreciate it.

Paul Mollica:

Okay. Thanks Ben.

Ben Handler:

For those that are listening, it’s pretty rare that you’ve got someone like Paul with literally 20 years of financial planning experience. Obviously he’s not licensed as a financial planner anymore. However, I guess, going to someone like Paul, you’re not just getting the stock standard I guess buyer’s agent experience. You’re going to get a wealth of knowledge prior. And as Paul said, he’s focusing on investment, he’s buying interstate. So I’d highly recommend check out Paul at Wealthkey Property. It’s on the screen. As you can see, massive big personality, lovely guy. Hope you really enjoyed this episode. See you next week.

Please watch he full episode here:

From Selling to Buying

Buyer's Agents Sue & Simon Scott

After purchasing her first property as a 19-year-old, Sue Scott has gone on to build a large property portfolio that spans the globe.

Sue has been involved in the industry in various capacities for many years and now works with her son Simon, at Scott Properties Group based out of Queensland.

“I bought my first property when I was 19 in England and then invested in other properties until I came back to Australia in 2006.”

“I started the process over again by buying properties that were not always in the high-end areas that looked to be good opportunities moving forward, so it wasn’t for any instant capital gain, but they had good rental potential.”

“Simon bought his first property in the UK when he was 22 and he had a similar path. We’ve been buying and selling, in Australia for the last 14 years.”

Sue has worked as both a selling agent and buyers agent but liked helping people as opposed to the marketing side of sales.

“I was a selling agent in Noosa for many years and when Simon got his licence, he sat on it for quite a while not sure what we were going to do because I actually did not want to go back into the selling arena. I’d had enough of putting boards up.”

“Simon’s background is slightly different. Simon is an award-winning architect in the UK and an award-winning building designer here in Australia.”

“After we thought it over we said, “How about a buyer’s agency?” Because up here in Queensland generally there’s very little education as to what a buyer’s agent was.”

With Simon also having a background in architecture, Scott Properties Group is able to help both investors and owner-occupiers, and especially those looking to build or renovate.

“As a buyer’s agent, we nurture our clients as if they’re our friends in the end, especially owner-occupiers because it’s a very, very different strategy to an investment property.”

“We’re kind of like a more of a one-stop-shop that’s for people who want to buy. So that’s quite an important part of our business as well. It’s not just a buyer’s agency and negotiating it’s also having someone who can actually advise them on all manner of different things and also building.”

“A lot of our clients who are investing come to us because they know that we’ve got a critical eye on the actual building itself, especially if it needs renovating.”

Sue and Simon decided to work with the BAI to improve their all-round skills and build a network of other buyers agents across the country.

“We upskilled with Ben, which was great to be part of that and we’ve made some really good connections within that group as well.”

“It wasn’t so much how to run the business because we’re already entrepreneurs and business people, it was more tapping into his knowledge and to better understand the difference between being a selling agent and a buying agent. Because why reinvent the wheel?”

“No-one knows it all. So to have a mentor who has been through it from day one through to current times is worth everything quite frankly, we thought to be honest because it stops us from doing things that we probably didn’t need to do.”

Sue hopes to keep growing the business over the next five years but wants to retain the personal, boutique business model to better serve her clients.

“We will always be a boutique business. We don’t want to have hundreds of clients. It’s not how we want to be. We want to keep boutique, we want to be about the people that regardless of what they want to purchase, we’re going to be there and we’re going to control it ourselves.”