With more and more property ‘advisers’ being investigated across the country there is one woman who is standing up and saying enough is enough and leading the way as highly regarded Property Thought Leader – Miriam Sandkuhler. Miriam is the founder of Property Mavens® which is an award winning Melbourne buyer’s agents and buyer’s advocates firm with over 15 years’ experience in the real estate market.
Miriam prides herself and her company with providing quality property investment advice where her clients buy safely and ensure they are better educated and make more profitable purchasing decisions. Jason Penna from Property Books recently had the opportunity to talk with Miriam.
1) Miriam, you are very passionate about property investment and giving quality advice, can you tell us a little about when and how your passion started.
“in my 20’s, I received a lot of poor and misleading advice” – Miriam Sandkuhler
After leaving home at the age of 17, I wanted financial security and knew that buying a home would provide it. While building my property portfolio in my 20’s, I received a lot of poor and misleading ‘advice’ from well-meaning estate agents which led to some costly mistakes! This was due to being young and not understanding that the agents weren’t qualified (or insured) to provide investment advice and that they worked for their vendor and not me (the buyer).
Later and with years of experience working in the financial services sector, I came to understand the importance of having a clear investment strategy and the need for independent and unbiased property advice. I love working with investors and found that my passion is not property itself so much as it is helping clients achieve financial independence. So I decided to work as a buyer’s agent to help people buy safely, while ensuring they made smarter and more profitable buying decisions at the same time.
2) You have a number of important qualifications behind you and are always striving to keep your knowledge at the cutting edge, can you tell us a little about why you feel this is important.
“it’s imperative that advice is backed up with formal qualifications” – Miriam Sandkuhler
That’s correct. As well as a Licensed Buyers Agent I am also an Accredited Property Investment Advisor (APIA) and published author. When advising clients on how to invest hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars in property, it’s imperative that the advice is backed up with formal qualifications and not provided by selling agents or property spruikers masquerading as investment advisors. I strongly believe that the property ‘advice’ sector needs to be regulated by ASIC and minimum levels of education and qualifications be required to provide direct property investment advice.
I see so many clients who have made poor investment choices because the property industry has had decades to ‘educate’ and dumb down buyers; making them believe that making money from property is easy and anyone can do it with little to no risk. In reality it’s much more complex than that and frequently the only people guaranteed of making money are the property spruikers, referrers (some accountants, financial planners, brokers) and selling agents making commissions or developers making substantial profits.
This is why I wrote my book Property Prosperity – 7 Steps to Investing like an Expert. It was written to educate property investors about the many sophisticated tactics and marketing methods used to sell property in Australia and how to best reduce risk and protect yourself from making very costly mistakes.
3) Having provided advice to hundreds of clients over your 15 years in property, what is the one mistake you see investors making time and time again?
“Biggest mistake investors make is thinking free advice is good advice” – Miriam Sandkuhler
The biggest mistake I see buyers making is thinking free advice is good advice or worse, taking advice from people with no genuine expertise or formal property investment qualifications to be giving it.
It frustrates me to see buyers taking investment advice from developers and property spruikers who madly promote the ‘one size fits all’ approach via ‘educational’ seminars or webinars. They con buyers into thinking they will get rich just by following their so called ‘strategy’, which often results in ‘limited’, ‘secret’ or ‘wholesale’ property deals being available to purchase. Just think Henry Kaye – there are plenty of others still out there doing exactly what he did and investors often don’t understand they will only be given biased information, because they don’t work for the buyer.
The biased research provided will always show that a property will perform strongly (usually well above the real market) as a means of selling property. Agents and developers will only tell investors the good and rarely the bad or the risks associated with buying different types of property, especially with off the plan apartments, land, house and land or new property purchases. So buyer beware!
4) Buying an investment property can be a stressful experience for anyone, what tips do you have for first time investors who are anxious about the process?
“Do not make emotional decisions, be wary of “Free Advice” and engage qualified experts” – Miriam Sandkuhler
- Do not make emotional decisions. Make decisions based on researched evidence such as rental yields, capital growth, supply and demand factors and infrastructure.
- Understand that “free advice” is not necessarily good advice and you will always ‘pay’ for it at some point in one way or another. Seek out independent and unbiased advice only as that is the only way to guarantee that your interests will be represented.
- Engage qualified experts before and after the buying process, including accountants, solicitors, building inspectors, property managers and even buyer agents. They will save you money and stop you from making very expensive mistakes. Each of these professions requires a high level of expertise and it’s a false economy to think that you can be an expert in all of these areas yourself.
5) Before an investor considers selling an under-performing investment property, what would be your one piece of advice?
“Before selling an under-performing property determine if the reason for selling is temporary or permanent” – Miriam Sandkuhler
Do your research to determine if it’s under-performing for any or a combination of the following reasons;
- Supply and demand factors
- Population growth
- Employment opportunities
- Land availability
Once you have analysed the information and determined if these are temporary or permanent and short or long term scenarios, do some cash flow modelling to reflect the results against your personal financial position. Allow for possible capital gains tax (or capital loss) implications and factor in potential selling costs.
With all of that information combined, you can now make a fully informed evidence based decision re the viability of keeping or selling the property.
6) Can you tell us a little more about Property Mavens® and how you and your staff can help investors build their wealth through property investment?
“We protect our clients from overpaying during the buying process” – Miriam Sandkuhler
Property Mavens is a specialist property advisory firm. We help clients create wealth by providing independent and unbiased property investment advice, which enables smarter and more profitable investing decisions and outcomes. As Buyer agents, we also research, source and buy investment grade property that attracts strong returns and stable tenants and our negotiation skills allow us to access off market property and protect our clients from overpaying during the buying process.
7) If our readers want to hear more from you what is the best medium they can stay up to date with your movements? Twitter? Linkedin? Facebook?
I am also an author and media commentator. I regularly contribute articles in the media and on radio about property investing and industry issues and upload these to my Property Mavens® website, Linked In, Facebook, and Twitter.
You can find me at;
You can buy my book Property Prosperity at www.propertybooks.com.au
Go forth and prosper!