From interview on propertytalk.co.nz
Daniel is the Swiss Money Wiz with a passion for finance and property. While being mentored by Dolf de Roos in 1999, he became an investor and mortgage broker. Since then he has not only bought more property than any other mortgage broker, but also helped mom and dad fund a spectacular early retirement, and many investors to become super investors.
-How did you start investing?
I met several key people when I immigrated to New Zealand from Switzerland in 1995. The first, my mortgage broker, managed to secure a mortgage for my first property with a small deposit while I was a student at Auckland University. When I sold the property three years later, I made more money than I would have made in a job. I was ecstatic, and my mortgage broker commented on the line that perhaps I should do this again. I then went on to find mentors like Dolf de Roos, Robert Kiyosaki, and Keith Cunningham to guide me to become a professional investor. In 1999 I was ready to quit my job, and I set up my mortgage and investment businesses.
-How long have you been investing for?
I started investing in myself when I was 9, and a teacher told me that I would never achieve anything. I bought my first home in 1995, relocated and subdivided an Otara property and bought two brand new properties in 1999. In 2001 my team and I lined up 26 properties for settlement in one day – I was on the fast track.
-What are your top 5 tips for investing?
- In the best of all possible worlds, what would you really want to happen? Think about what YOU want and how YOU want to design your journey in this lifetime. I’ve met thousands of people in the last seven years, and most are still in the same space because they don’t know what they really want out of life.
- Be very clear and focused on whether you want to be an investor or a saver. I have an interesting article on this topic, and it is often misunderstood. Investing is the process of building financial wealth. Saving is setting money aside now (i.e., foregoing current consumption) to spend it later. An example of saving would be buying real estate to fund retirement. Investors never really “spend” their financial capital, but continue to manage it going forward. The building process continues even as we begin to use our financial capital.
- Kiwis are excellent DIYers. Trust me: this is the hard way to do anything. Whether you want to become New Zealand’s Donald Trump or save for a spectacular early retirement with real estate, build a TEAM of trusted advisors who can guide you in achieving your dreams.
- Should you choose to become an investor you, need to know more and constantly educate yourself in a wide range of subjects. As a saver or new investor, you need professional advisors to give you advice. A professional investor, on the other hand, needs a professional advisor to help execute plans.
- Good planning is important, but effective implementation is crucial! Don’t get stuck with chasing the perfect plan or the latest fad of an investment technique. To plan for your financial future, a boring old-fashioned rental property in a good location bought today will always beat the perfect deal purchased with the newest technique one day in the future.
-Have you been through a complete property cycle?
Looking at the statistics I’m in the second property cycle now.
-If so, what experiences/ lessons have you learned during the different phases of the cycle?
I’m buying well and know my cash flow position at any time. If you focus on what you can control the property cycle is not relevant. There is no point in finding a “hot spot” if you only can predict 12 months ahead. And you’re focusing on something you can not control. For mom and dad who save for their spectacular early retirement, good advice and time will enable them to achieve their goal. The more time they have, the easier it will be to achieve their goal.
As an investor, you need to follow your master plan and adjust to the market. In this property cycle from 2000 to 2005 properties were at times going up so fast that just about any property could have been bought and sold soon after at a profit. Properties also sold quickly. In the last two years, it was more difficult to buy very well, and it took longer to resell properties. Hence, it was important to understand how this affected the cash flow position and to make sure that all mortgages could be paid on time.
-Any tips on how to survive a complete property cycle?
Execute your plan well and adjust your course if needed. Don’t listen to the Media. They’re in the business of selling bad news and not good news. Have lots of fun.
-What lessons/mistakes have you made along the way?
Some advisors had to be fired, and I waited too long.
-What strategies have you used in the past few years? Trading, buy and hold, Reno, developments, etc
Since 1999 I focused on a buy and hold and property trading strategy. I had used many of the other strategies when they offered a better solution. For example, I’ve created a property portfolio of 10 properties for an overseas investor. He qualified for finance, and I had the know how. It was a win-win situation for both of us.
-What investment strategies will you be utilizing in the next few years?
I am focusing on growing Financial Pictures Mortgages and the property trading business so that I can acquire more buy and hold properties.
I am also exploring commercial property syndication.
-What is your most recent investment experience?
I’ve been offered a buy and hold property on a 1,200m2 section in an upcoming location. It was valued at $300,000, and I had an option to purchase at $275,000. The section was big enough for three dwellings/sections. I wasn’t looking for a buy and hold / development property at the time. But I went unconditional anyway as I had a client who asked me to help them. When the client came back from their holiday, they were not ready to commit to their plan, and so I bought it myself.
-If you had to be a superhero who would it be and why?
James Bond – What a lifestyle and saving the world every day.
-Who inspires you and why?
My parents, for believing in me and having the courage to follow me to New Zealand.
Lance Armstrong World Champion Cyclist and seven times Tour de France winner, for never giving up and surrounding himself with the best team. (It’s not about the bike- excellent and inspiring book)
Keith Cunningham, who has a great business mind and showed me how to grow my mortgage and property businesses.
My business partners and clients, who challenge me to grow and find solutions for them.
All the friends who said, “YOU CAN!”
-What advice would you give anyone entering the property investment game?
Nike got it right – Just Do IT. Discuss your plans with your loved ones and build a team to assist you in reaching your goals.