Real Estate Agent of the Year: Ian Hosking Richards
Rocket Property Group
How long have you been investing, and what do you love about it?
I have been investing for 15 years now. I think that property is the ideal investment vehicle as there are so many ways that you can use it to create wealth. A well-researched, well-located property has the potential to pay for itself, go up in value and give hassle-free ownership.
The key to growing your asset base quickly is leverage, and as property can be highly leveraged it can help you create wealth over relatively short periods of time. Whilst few investments are guaranteed, property is relatively low-risk, and for novice investors the perceived risk is probably much greater than the actual risk.
The favourable tax treatment of investment properties for Australian resident taxpayers is also a nice bonus, and one that is not available to citizens of most countries. The fact that you can get a tax rebate for a property that is actually giving you a profit seems almost too good to be true, but it applies nevertheless. Whilst you wouldn’t purchase an investment property solely to get a tax rebate, any contribution that the government is willing to make to my cash flow is gratefully received.
What are five tips you would give to investors to get the most out of their real estate agent?
Trust is a big issue with real estate agents. How do you go about building that?
- If you want to become a successful investor, then choosing an agent who is also an experienced property investor with a large portfolio should help. But make sure they have used the same strategy as you want to. If you want a hands-off ‘set and forget’ strategy, then make sure that your real estate agent has used this same strategy to accumulate wealth.
- Engaging an agent who has a national perspective will allow you to access a geographically diverse range of properties to suit your needs at any given time, and get recommendations that complement your existing portfolio and lower the overall risk. Unfortunately, many real estate agents have only localised knowledge and listings. Whilst this may be of value if you are looking to purchase an owner-occupied home in their locality, it will be of less relevance to the investor market. Most investors are time-poor, and sourcing a new agent every time they want to buy in a new area is time-consuming. An agent who can provide a one-stop shop can be of great value.
- Communicate to your real estate agent exactly what you are looking for. If your expectations are unrealistic your agent could suggest areas where you may need to compromise in order to move forward. Do not hold out for the ‘perfect’ property because it rarely exists. Hardly any novice investor is 100% sure when they take the plunge, so if it ticks most of your boxes be prepared to take a leap of faith and do it anyway.
- Let your agent know how much communication you would like and in what format. What is the best time of day to reach you? Do you prefer email or phone? Do you want a weekly update or do you need to be kept in the loop every time there is an enquiry/event? A good agent should find this information out quite quickly, but it doesn’t hurt to spell it out. A lot of problems can occur when there is perceived to be either too much or too little communication to the client, so it is important to get the balance right.
- Choose a real estate agent based on their documented performance, qualifications and industry awards, rather than the agent who will promise you the most or charge you the least.
I think that most people are fairly intuitive and have a good sense of when people are being genuine and honest and when people are being fake. Real estate agents who are genuinely interested in their clients and spend the time to find out exactly what their clients want, and go out of their way o help their clients get exactly what they want, will always shine through. If they do the right thing by their clients, then the rewards will follow. Those who have more of a short-term commercial focus and are more interested in flogging a product rather than helping the client find a solution to their problem will not thrive in today’s real estate industry.
What are your top five tips for dealing with a property manager?
How does it feel to win this award?
- Be very clear on exactly what your expectations are, and communicate them to your property manager. Get their agreement. Hold them accountable.
- Don’t just contact your property manager when there is a problem. Maintain regular contact so that you keep up to date with changing market conditions and build a strong relationship.
- Do not have unrealistic expectations. Good property managers will get you the best outcome, even in soft markets, if you are prepared to meet the market. If conditions are soft when you are looking for a new tenant, you may need to drop the rent. Demanding that your property manager find a new tenant immediately at the same rent as previously is not helpful to either party.
- If you have taken the time to select the best property manager you will need to spend less time ‘managing’ them. A mature, experienced and professional property manager will be worth their weight in gold, so once you have selected the right one, allow yourself to be guided by their experience and good judgment.
- Always make sure that you can get out of a managing agent’s agreement in the shortest time possible, just in case the relationship is no longer working for you.
In the past five years I have won the award four times and finished runner-up once, yet I was still surprised and delighted when I got the phone call to say I had won again. As always it is a team effort and I believe that the consistency of our appearances in the awards is a testament to all my staff and what a great job they do. I am also so grateful to all our investors who actually took the time to nominate me. I really do appreciate it.
What readers said
“Although Ian is the principal in his company, he is very accessible. Any emails or phone messages I have left for him have been answered within an hour. He loves answering questions and deals with them in a patient and thorough manner.
“Ian always looks for the best outcome for his clients and has a no pressure approach which makes clients feel very comfortable dealing with a person of his calibre.
“Ian will make a very worthy winner in this category and very well deserved.”
– John Ram
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