Wednesday 18th September 2002

Good times...

Published at 3pm

A couple of weekends ago, I was up in Auckland visiting 'the one who's presence makes my life brighter...'   ;-)   I had a great time!  It was mainly about meeting the family and friends, and I think they all liked me well enough to approve.  Hehehe.  I really enjoyed myself, and it was great that her friends and family were fun to get along with as well.

Since then, we're still getting closer and closer through our phone calls and the odd email every now and again.  We speak on the phone for an hour or more every night, which helps keep us together regardless of the distance.

I'm pretty excited about what's going on.  We both want me to move up there sooner than January... we can't wait to start the rest of our lives together, and that's pretty much what it's all about.  There's a commitment and a belief in both of us that this is going to be forever.  What's not to get excited about?

Yesterday I mentioned to my manager that if they can find a way to send me to work in Auckland sooner than January, I'd be interested.  I'll leave it at that, and see what happens.  I don't want to ride them too much, otherwise they'll just get annoyed.  They know what I want, and so we'll see if anything turns up.  As it stands right now, I'm certainly moving up in January.

Nic is coming down again on the 26th, Thursday next week.  We'll have 3 nights together, which should be real nice.  I'm going up again on the 24th October, 5 weeks later.  That's going to be scary.  But I'll be there for 4 nights, as it's a long weekend. 

I'm going to try and return to a more frequent style of writing in this.  "Yeh, right..." I hear you all saying.  Hehehe.  I keep on saying it, but it keeps on being infrequent!  I know, I know!  But I'll try to do my best. 

Today I had a funny helpdesk call:

Good morning, blah blah helpdesk.

Hi, my computer has frozen.

Have you tried CTRL+ALT+DEL?

Yes, a million times. It doesn't work.

Ok, we'll have to turn it off then to fix it.

I've tried that too. Every time I turn it off and back on, it just shows the same screen.

Can I get you to turn off the box, instead of the monitor?

I have been.

(Uh huh.) Ok, can I get you to turn it off at the wall?

Oh look, this is just too difficult. Can you get a technician to come and fix it?

No, because we can fix it right now if you just turn it off at the wall.

I'm new here, I don't know what I'm supposed to be doing.

That's why I'm telling you to turn it off at the wall.

Ok. <pause> It's off now.

Has the power light on the box at your feet gone off?

Yes.

Ok, you can turn it back on now.

Ok. <pause> Oh, it's working now! You're a marvel.

(Uh huh.) Have a good day. Bye.

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Investing...

Published at 5:30pm

I'm still learning about property investment.  I'm discovering that a couple of my friends from Australia are beginning to do well in property investment as well, with both of them onto their 3rd or 4th property.  Apparently after the first one it gets easier...

I feel like events in my life are happening around me in such a fashion that they are leading me in a particular direction - to become a property investor myself.  It's really quite interesting to observe.

My friend Peter, from Sydney, sent me the following list yesterday when he found out it was something I was interested in.  I thought I'd put it in here because it's good advice for anyone who might want to learn more about it themselves.

  • save as much as you can to make sure you avoid mortgage insurance
  • don't buy a property based on emotion
  • do your research and question your assumptions
  • before you ask a real estate agent a question, be sure you have a good chance of knowing whether the answer is vaguely accurate
  • know the answers to as many questions as possible before you ask people, so that you know if you can trust them.
  • get good advisors, don't make decisions based on your assumptions, ask someone who knows; be fussy and get GOOD advisors, the kind that know about changes in the laws/market within days of them occurring (rather than finding out when they fuck up at your expense.)
  • do your sums
  • do your sums again
  • go to dodgy lenders if necessary and do your sums
  • do your sums again
  • learn to do your sums in your sleep
  • buy the worst property in the best street in the best suburb you can afford and turn the property into one of the best properties in the street, then sell it.
  • don't sell the property if your sums tell you that you shouldn't
  • don't sell properties that produce a positive cash flow
  • negative gearing is for losers, sell those properties
  • check out capital gains tax laws
  • do tax deductible renovations wherever possible, (In Australia, these are upgrades and maintenance to pre-existing features.)
  • never sell a property
  • always sell your properties quickly
  • use strategies according to the situation even if they contradict what you did before
  • get good value insurance, (figure out just how much insurance each dollar in premiums gets you) this can be the difference between a money maker and a money loser
  • read, read, read
  • get to know the people at the local council where you are buying the property, do research there
  • learn the difference between "restore" and "renovate" and don't mix them up
  • never let an emotional drive up your price at auction, walk away
  • look for properties that are badly marketed by the agent or private seller, because they are hard to find there will be less competition to buy them, low demand drives the price down
  • pay for good marketing and get lots of people through the place when you sell/rent it
  • always be friendly to people
  • if you want someone to tell you a secret, tell them one first
  • never be afraid to evict people
  • don't try to save money by renting a property privately unless it is within walking distance from where you live
  • be prepared to look at 100 properties to find the one you want
  • work hard now, laze around later
  • if the ad says "renovate or detonate" don't bother
  • if you are going to rebuild ensure that you can build more dwellings on the property than were there when you bought it
  • at auction, NEVER go beyond your budget
  • at auction don't bid until you know the property is above reserve or you are sure it won't reach reserve
  • at auction always bid in smaller increments than the last bid unless you are trying to blast away the only other bidder
  • the only reason you should wait when buying property is if you haven't found one worth buying yet and if you haven't found one worth buying, be looking for it
  • spot run down properties in good streets and put hand written notes in the letterbox suggesting that you might be interested in buying (seller avoids agent's fees, you avoid other competitive buyers.)

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2002 Alan Howard

Journal of Alan Howard

Welcome... to the desert... of the real.
Morpheus, from The Matrix