Book Review: Bob Jones - My Property World
My Property World
By Bob Jones
Reviewed by Kathryn Dalglish on behalf of Good Returns
My Property World is the long-awaited sequel to Bob Jones' 1977 best-selling Jones on Property. Packed with wisdom and insightful thinking on the contemporary world of property investment by one of our best-known property investors, My Property World is a must read for everyone interested in property and its range of activities.
Bob Jones has been a household name in New Zealand ever since the publication of his book "Jones on Property" in 1977. We have followed his advice and invested in property, attended his seminars and kept up-to-date with his ideas through articles, interviews and addresses. This book is long-awaited, and I was keen to see how his ideas on property have changed and developed.
This is not a 'how to invest' book, but gives an overview of his life, ideas and property highlights of his own life, and those of his contemporaries. He is as amusing and knowledgeable as ever, and has developed his list of pet hates over the years. As well as beards and grey shoes, he also hates cellphones, fat girls and people wearing sunglasses on the top of their heads. At an address in Auckland recently he also demonstrated that he despises men who wear caps like Tiger Woods does, although it could be just because the chap was indoors.
Bob Jones feels that the main requisite of a successful property investor is to read widely and spend time thinking. People spend their time rushing around, talking on cellphones and watching TV in their spare time, instead of having time to think and plan in peace. He adds that: "Imagination and wide knowledge of human affairs aside, the other essential requirement to succeed in commercial property investment is .. 'networking' .. it is a most useful tool in one's kit."
Bob Jones is solidly of the 'buy and hold' persuasion, and resents being called a property developer by journalists. He is a property investor, and he discusses the advantages of that strategy. He also explains thoroughly the disadvantages of being either a property developer or a property trader. One of his most popular addresses in the 1990s was 'Why Property Developers Go Broke".
He thinks that houses are a ghastly investment option for investment, except as a starting point. The tenancy hassles and poor returns of housing make it unattractive, but these investors must be admired for their enterprise and independence. However, he complains, 'they measure their success in the number of properties they own rather than in the equity they may have created through astute purchasing or market movements."
Commercial property, his preferred investment vehicle, has different categories of office, retail, and industrial buildings. Bob Jones now tends to invest mainly in CBD office blocks, many with shops and coffee bars on the ground floor to add street appeal and increase desirability and value. "The most successful value growth-pursuing investors are those who abandon their early days bargain-hunting mentality and .. acquire a prime property."
The chapters on lawyers, accountants, architects, land agents and valuers make interesting reading, with companies and personalities being judged favourably or harshly, as applicable.
He particularly relished his dealings with institutions and managers of large funds, where the decision-making is slow, cumbersome and inefficient. He and Brierley had a very successful run of purchases when AMP were off-loading properties in the 1970s. He maintains that CEOs of big companies do not have the necessary entrepreneurial flair and quick decision-making skills, because such people would be out working for themselves.
Bob Jones travels (and invests) widely, and he discusses investing in Auckland, Wellington, Sydney and various cities around the world. He now treats investing as a part-time hobby, and in his conclusion he writes: "Being involved - even if only through passive ownership - in this steadfast city enhancement, which is relatively risk-free and without the awful baggage of other commercial activities' competitive pressures, is immensely interesting."
It is clear that Bob Jones has enjoyed all the different interests he has developed during his life, including politics, ballet and boxing, and I found this book interesting and enjoyable.
- Reviewed by Kathryn Dalglish on behalf of Good Returns
CLICK HERE TO BUY THIS BOOK