Book Review: Climbing the Property Ladder
Tales of Profit and (mis)Adventure in the Real Estate Jungle
by Olly Newland
Reviewed by Kathryn Dalglish
New Zealand author, Olly Newland, is a household name, and he sees himself as the likeable and crafty rogue of real estate.
His obvious delight in making a killing, or winning a battle with an adversary, makes for amusing and often enlightening reading. He works on the premise that property investment is a game, and "it is your job (indeed your duty) to take advantage of [inexperienced people]". The relish with which he enjoys his better deals, especially at someone else's expense, is obvious.
Olly also enjoys pitting his wits against a worthy opponent, and he strives to conquer, or at the very least, achieve a win-win situation. He also tells with relish stories of revenge against unworthy opponents.
One interesting chapter is about a house (a bargain) he bought for his family in Remuera. It turned out to be haunted, and the visitations occurred over a period of about 15 years until it was sold later to Paul Holmes.
Usually books on property give advice on making investing as trouble-free as possible, but this book takes pleasure in the interesting and difficult situations which have been a challenge. In fact, Olly says that he loves "being a landlord of retail premises. The nature of the business is constant instability - and with instability comes opportunity! Retail investment is an underworld full of intrigue, scams, hysterical tenants, worthless leases, scheming landlords, crooked tenants and bewildered lawyers."
In amongst the tales of triumph and disaster, Olly sprinkles many words of wisdom or advice gleaned over the years of property investment. He advises investors to take a long-term approach to property ownership, and not to make hasty and ill thought out decisions.
It is impossible to build up a property portfolio if you try to squeeze in the odd deal while working 60 hours a week. Nor will you succeed by attending "Millionaire by Monday" seminars. Property is a long-term activity, it is essential to stop dreaming and take firm consistent action. To do this you must give yourself time to think, and to do the five 'S's: Seek, Secure, Sort, Settle and Sell.
Another piece of advice is to increase the worth of your properties, instead of wasting valuable time and cash resources paying off mortgages. Increasing the value by renovations, good buying or increasing the rent makes your mortgage shrink to a smaller percentage. Increasing your asset's value is the same as reducing debt.
Property is a long-term project. To have any chance of success you need steadfastness, determination, patience and the ability to think outside the square.
Perhaps the most topical chapter of the book is the 'Afterword', which lists the signs of a downturn in the market, and also lists the steps you should take to be ready to profit from the downturn.
Altogether, "Climbing the Property Ladder" is a lot of fun to read, and also contains some interesting opinions and good advice for property investors.
Buy your copy
of Climbing the Property Ladder through the Good Returns
online bookstore by visiting: www.goodreturns.co.nz/books or call 0800