10 Apr Property Investment Sharks – Mike Harvey
Property expert and founder of ‘On Your Side Investments’, Mike Harvey, has released a ‘tell all’ book which aims to help newcomers to the property investment game avoid the dirty tricks used by property sharks. He joins us to talk about the book and his advice on safer property investment.
Kevin: We have told you in the past about looking out for sharks. These are people who are out to sell you something. But how do you tell the signs? I was interested to get a book the other day, which is called How To Jump Into Property Investing Without Being Eaten By Sharks. It’s a book that’s written by Mike Harvey, who has his own business. We’ll tell u about that as well. Mike joins me to talk about the book and why he wrote it.
G’day, Mike. How are you?
Mike: Good morning, Kevin. I’m glad to hear you’ve got a copy already.
Kevin: It’s a good read. Do you think it’s getting worse, Mike? What’s the purpose behind you writing this book?
Mike: Good question. I’ve been investing myself for many years, I’ve gone through my share of divorces and so forth. So, I’ve lost property and changed property over time and learned a lot through that. That’s not the method I recommend to anybody by the same token.
I’ve bought property. I’ve even worked for companies that sold property and then got bitten a bit myself and eventually started a company that would help people the whole process and connect people.
The purpose behind that – and the purpose behind the book – really is to get the message out to others that many aspects of buying property are not that hard but are also vital. You can make a mistake buying a cup of coffee and it costs you five minutes of heartache, but if you make a mistake buying property and pay too much, it can take you years to recover.
Kevin: What are the tell-tale signs, Mike, that we could be dealing with someone who maybe we shouldn’t be?
Mike: That’s the best question – rather than “Who are the sharks?” – because I can talk about a particular shark, but it doesn’t really help anybody unless they’re dealing with them. The behavior of sharks can be different. Like in terms of sharks in the ocean, some of them just want to eat you in one bite and some will nibble away at you.
The tell-tale signs come down to their behavior. Look at where they make their money from, Kevin. If they’re making money from charging you a fee up front, that can be fine in some circumstances. But if you’re going to go and buy a nice car, you don’t want to pay the salesman for the process you’re going through. So, I don’t believe people really need to be charging a fee to give you advice on what property to buy from them.
The second part is really around where else they make their money from. Many have undisclosed third-party commissions. So if they’re connecting you to a finance broker or finance advisor, mortgage broker, property manager, insurance people, accountants, a whole range of people who can help you, ask them if they’re making money from there. Are they making money from you by connecting you, or are they wanting to make sure that they introduce you to somebody who’s going to help you?
Kevin: Shouldn’t they be disclosing those sorts of referral fees anyway, Mike?
Mike: Yes, they should, and that’s part of the requirements for them, but some bury that quite deep and many people don’t read the full disclosure. In fact, people I was involved with in the past simply did not disclose that; they got away with it.
Kevin: A few moments ago, you mentioned that the advice that these people give should not necessarily be charged for. Isn’t it reasonable, though, to assume that if someone has good education and is providing a good service, they should be able to make a charge for that type of advice, Mike?
Mike: Absolutely, and I’ll put a caveat on that by saying there’s no should about what people do. It’s an opinion of mine that really if they’re selling property, for sure, they don’t need to charge you a fee for the presales advice.
For example, a financial advisor, many will charge a fee for service, which personally I tend to like because they’re charging you for what they’re telling you. Many will have third-party payments and they have to disclose that, as you mentioned. And that’s fine if that’s the way they make their money, but that should be out, open, and declared to you right up front.
If they’re charging you a fee for their advice, that’s one thing. If they’re charging you a fee and then making money on the property and making money on everybody else they connect you with, I’ve got a few problems with that.
Kevin: Yes. I think one of the warning signs we’ve put out is the fact that if you go to an advisor, they’re giving you an advice and then they say “Look, here’s a great property for you to buy,” in other words, it’s one that they’re representing. There’s a likelihood they’re going to be getting that double whammy, Mike.
Mike: Yes, there is. My journey has come through buying property, then working in the industry and then being so offended, I suppose, and upset by it that I’ve started a company called On Your Side Investment. So it’s really a matter of rather than having stock that people sell – and therefore they’re selling you their problem – it’s best to find somebody who can then source you property, which is what we want to do on the business side.
When we’re helping people, we’ll find out what their strategy is and develop a strategy, and then it’s a matter of “What’s the best widget?” I call them. So, are they going to buy an older property? Is that what’s best for them? Not usually the best case, but it can be in some cases. Or is it buying a new property? What type of property is that? Is it townhouse, is it house with land? Is it close to the city, or is it a bit further out? All sorts of questions like that.
Everybody’s situation is different, which is why if you go to a seminar that is selling you $5000 courses or CD packs, etc., and they say to you “Look, we’ve got ten of these perfect properties, first in gets best dressed,” I have problems with that because there’s not one size fits all when it comes to property.
Kevin: Absolutely. The book is called How To Jump Into Property Investing Without Being Eaten By Sharks. It’s written by my guest, Mike Harvey.
Mike, thank you so much for your time.
Mike: You’re welcome, Kevin. Thank you.