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Rethink Property Investing, Fully Updated and Revised Edition

Become Financially Free with Commercial Property Investing
Wiley (Verlag)
2. Auflage
Erschienen am 22. September 2023
256 Seiten
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978-1-394-18858-1 (ISBN)
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The definitive guide to building a profitable commercial property portfolio -- now fully updated and revised

Australia's bestselling commercial property book, Rethink Property Investing, offers practical advice for any investor looking to move beyond traditional residential real estate and enter the profitable world of commercial properties. Leading investors Scott and Mina O'Neill show you how they retired at the age of 28 and now live off the income generated by their $75 million commercial property portfolio. This invaluable guide dispels the investing myths and demystifies complex property principles and strategies using a clear, straightforward, and easy-to-understand approach.

This is the book Scott and Mina wished they had when they started out: an honest, no-nonsense handbook filled with practical examples, personal stories, expert advice and real-world information. Rethink Property Investing aims to help you earn enough passive income to retire early and enjoy your life -- whether you're a residential property investor looking to go to the next level or an experienced investor seeking a more advanced approach. Now fully updated and revised, this edition shares detailed new property examples and gives the lowdown on value-add opportunities and investment strategies like syndicates.

Rethink Property Investing will show you how to:
* Build your own commercial property portfolio following 7 Easy Steps and the Top 5 Property Plays
* Follow the strategies Scott and Mina O'Neill used to build a $75 million portfolio in 12 years
* Maximise the performance of your existing property portfolio using proven techniques
* Understand how different commercial properties perform, especially in the current economic climate and with current interest rates
* Find the best commercial property opportunities available today so you can build a $200K passive income

Learn how you can create wealth successfully through commercial property investing, using simple yet powerful strategies from two people who have been there and done that. From developing an investment mindset to financing and managing your property, Rethink Property Investing will guide you every step of the way.
SCOTT and MINA O'NEILL are the founders and directors of Rethink Investing, an esteemed BRW Fast 100 company in both 2017 and 2018, recognised as Australia's largest and most experienced buyer's agency catering to commercial property investors. With a resolute commitment to client success, Rethink Investing has provided pivotal assistance to over 3500 clients, enabling them to procure more than $3 billion in real estate since 2015.
Preface vii

Introduction xxv

Part I: Moving Beyond Your Backyard 1

Our first commercial property purchase 5

Subsequent commercial property purchases 9

What commercial property is (and isn't) 27

What you need to know first 41

How do you make money out of this? 61

Busting the myths 69

Part II: The 8 Steps 77

Step 1: Money habits 81

Step 2: Investment mindset 97

Step 3: Assembling your expert team 109

Step 4: Asset selection 119

Step 5: Method of sale 131

Step 6: Finance 139

Step 7: The negotiations 149

Step 8: Managing the property and understanding the tax 159

Part III: Our Top 5 Property Plays 175

Play 1: How to build a $200 000 passive income 179

Play 2: How a property can pay itself off in 10 years 189

Play 3: How to increase capital growth with value-adds 197

Play 4: How to check the numbers so you don't overpay 235

Play 5: How syndication can work for you 243

Conclusion 263

Acknowledgements 275

Common commercial real estate terminology 277


My wife Mina and I wrote the first edition of Rethink Property Investing in 2019 just before COVID-19 hit our shores. By the time the virus reached Australia, we were finishing up the book.

It was a very different market at the time. There was an incredible amount of fear around, causing a sharp decline in demand for property. Especially commercial property.

To illustrate this fear, I remember my buyer's agency business, Rethink Investing, had about 45 properties under contract at the time. However, only 16 ended up reaching settlement. People were using any excuse they could to exit contracts. In some cases, they even ran away at the cost of their deposit. Within a few months, though, this fear had subsided. Fast-forward a couple of years: we have seen commercial assets grow a staggering 50 per cent in many cases. The 16 clients who remained invested in their properties, as well as the numerous others who preceded and followed them, have seen remarkable returns.

As the property market has changed so much since the time of writing the first book, this updated version is more relevant to today's market. We hope you enjoy.

* * *

It was 31 degrees in late August, 2016. Life was pretty good as Mina and I lay on a beach on Kos, in the Greek islands. We were halfway through relishing a six-month break from Australia.

To be honest, I felt guilty not working - I had worked 60 to 70 hours a week since I could remember. As an engineer who was normally required to be onsite, this feeling of freedom was new to me. I knew now I was never going back to a normal life.

Skipping winter in Europe with no plan to go back to a certain job marked the point in my life where I had officially retired from my day job, age 28.

At that time we owned a total of 25 residential and commercial properties scattered across four different states. It hadn't come easily or by accident, though: we'd worked hard, saved for many years and obsessed over every property decision we made. Thousands of hours had gone into building this portfolio. But the result was that we had won back time in our pursuit of a lifelong ambition - to replace both of our incomes so we could do what we wanted on our own terms.

Now we had taken the brakes off and flown to Greece to eat, drink, visit family and travel around Europe, using the passive income we had earned from our properties. It was a humbling feeling.

A few months later, after some more travelling, we were back in Greece. The days were getting shorter and the summer heat was dissipating. As I sat by the water and watched the beach chairs being stacked away for winter (signalling it was nearly time to go home), I mentally reviewed our expenses over the past few months. After adding up all our accommodation, plane tickets, eating out and other expenses, our properties still produced more income than we spent. This was our 'aha' moment, when we knew life would be different forever.

Our property rental income was now enough for us to live off - and retire on. It was one of the most exciting moments I have ever felt, because I knew we had 'made it' financially. And there was no reason why we couldn't keep travelling indefinitely. I felt like we had none of the stresses normally triggered by having to go back to jobs neither of us enjoyed.

As a 28-year-old, there was a certain excitement that came from all of this. However, there was an empty feeling there too, like something was missing, which was strange considering we had reached such a long-held personal goal. It made me think, what's next? How had we got here? We had been offering some investing advice on the side; maybe we could take this to the next level and use our experience as a platform to teach others. And why not? We seemed to be the only people I knew at the time chasing this high-yielding commercial and residential investing strategy that worked so well for us. Many others in the industry were preaching outdated and slower ways to build wealth that we simply didn't agree with. We could see there was an opportunity to show people what to do and how to do it, and just what was achievable.

It struck me then that our success owed much to the fact that we have always looked beyond our own backyard - beyond our familiar territory in Sydney, and even beyond the traditional investment focus of residential property - to commercial property.

We like to do things differently, to challenge the status quo. We like to take calculated risks, and we soon realised that you can invest outside where you live. You can look to different asset classes to get you there, and discover that the local residential market is not the only way.

Each time the benefit was greater cash flow and better capital growth. Our long-term cash-on-cash return has been 35 per cent since 2010 for the capital we have put into properties. This return came from high average yields, strategic leveraging and never neglecting growth in any investment. Many of our deals had equity upside in them as well, which contributed to this very high return-on-equity figure. We will explain more of this later.

Our success has come from our move to invest in the commercial property market. It allowed us to build a much larger property portfolio than we ever could have with purely residential. Commercial property has held the key to our future wealth and underpinned why we set up our business, Rethink Investing, to help others on the same road. With that business we have helped more than 3500 investors purchase more than $3 billion worth of high-yielding commercial properties. This figure makes us easily the largest buyer of commercial property in Australia, outside the fund manager space.

As a result, we're part of a new generation of investors. We don't invest like our parents; we found a different path from the one they followed to create their wealth. We chose to focus on higher cash flow investments rather than the outdated negative gearing model, because it works for this decade!

Seven years after that 'aha' moment on the beach, life is very different. We have been hit by the coronavirus pandemic, as well as sharply rising inflation, asset values and interest rates. Although these have all provided challenges, they have also created opportunities that have allowed us to grow our portfolio from $12 million, back in 2016, to more than $75 million. We also have a couple of commercial developments underway, plus another purchase or two happening in the next 18 months, which should take us over the $100 million value.

We have learned new concepts such as 'lockdowns', 'social distancing', 'flattening the curve', 'energy crisis' and 'quantitative tightening'. And now, most people would know Kyiv is the name of the capital of Ukraine.

It's been a fascinating and daunting era for humanity, with a substantial influence on commercial property. Those who have been able to brave the uncertainty when it came to investing in commercial property have been significantly rewarded on their investments.

But we expect the times ahead to be no different. There are always going to be threats to the commercial market, but our job as investors is to weigh up whether opportunities outweigh the risk of investing. I think the more you understand how commercial property works, the more confidence you will gain in the asset class itself. Because every time you purchase a property, you are rewarded with cash flow each month you hold. With this in mind, the main thing you need to check is if the property will be re-let fast or if the current tenant is going to stay for a long time. Once you understand this concept, you're less interested in what the media has to say about the situation.

In recent times we have been lucky enough to create a new nationwide movement towards commercial property from educating tens of thousands of people in commercial property with the first edition of this book, which is the best-selling commercial property book of all time in Australia, and our monthly podcast Inside commercial property. Being part of this movement helping large numbers of new investors to move towards commercial property makes me pinch myself and be thankful. I see educating people on a commercial asset class as one of my last greatest missions over the next decade or two. There is so much out there for residential property yet so little on commercial property, which in my opinion is a superior asset class with greater returns in both cash flow and capital growth. So alerting people to this new investment option could set their families up for better financial futures.

Back to the last couple years. It's mind-blowing to think that, even among all this chaos, more people than ever have had the confidence to move towards this asset class. The reason? The numbers simply work. Investors, once enlightened on this asset class, see this as well. It's still an underutilised asset class that we judge will become more mainstream over the coming years. As residential property fails to help most people build a retirement-grade passive income for their future, they will be forced to consider higher-income asset classes like commercial property. Or they will be tied to their jobs supporting inefficient residential property portfolios longer than they would have anticipated.

We believe that investing now into commercial property is one of the greatest opportunities we will see. The fact is that the commercial property asset class...

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