Meet The Team
- Owned his home plus three investment properties before entering the property investment field
- Purchased a further three properties since then
- Planning to buy and renovate in the future
- Keen supporter of Operation Flinders Foundation
How Michael Started
It was Robert Kiyosaki’s personal finance classic ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ that first caught Michael’s interest and got him started in researching property and investment. He bought his first home at age 19, and his first investment property at the age of 23. By the time he entered the property investment field as a professional, Michael already owned his own home, as well as a further three investment properties, two of which he renovated himself.
Michael has worked with many investors, but there is one couple that still stands out – Julia & Bruce.
“A few years back, Julia suddenly experienced some major health challenges. She recovered, but she realised she had been lucky to pull through. It was also a big moment for her, realising that they weren’t prepared financially and that they didn’t have enough for retirement.
“After her recovery Julia called me and asked if we could catch up the following week. They were keen to buy an investment property, but very nervous. Now, a few years on, they’ve just settled their fifth property! While they are both professionals earning a decent income, even with five properties Julia says they haven’t noticed any real difference in their lifestyle and they can service their debt comfortably. I think now that they’ve come through the other end, they feel like they’ve been looked after — I held their hands through each step of the process to really give them confidence.
“I also think it helps people have confidence if you’re investing too. Julia and Bruce bought in Golf Links Estate, a development that I personally invested in for my family trust as well. I think that when you also have a vested interest in a property, people have the confidence to follow along.”
Michael’s Investment Plan
Since 2012, Michael has purchased three properties in total — one at Golf Links in Queensland, along with a further two properties in Adelaide. His next two purchases are also likely to be new properties — a townhouse in Queensland and then an apartment in Melbourne.
“Although I have renovated properties in the past, I still own all the properties I’ve purchased — I haven’t sold any. For me, I’ve definitely got my 15-20 year hat on. It’s a long term strategy.”
Making A Difference
Michael has never been one to shy away from a challenge, and for the last four years he has been taking on a huge one — an epic 700km bike ride from Adelaide to a remote station in the Flinders Ranges in order to raise funds for Operation Flinders Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation that supports at-risk youth by offering a life-changing eight-day adventure program trekking through the far northern Flinders Range. This great cause helps young people to become resilient and prepares them to overcome whatever challenges they face in their life.
“I just think it’s such a great charity to be involved with. It’s entirely run by volunteers, apart from a handful of paid people within the whole organisation. There’s a lot of ex-army and police who give up their time to get involved. There’s just so many stories about kids whose lives have been turned around after the program. They have a very, very high success rate, but are very, very low on funds.
“When I was growing up, we didn’t have a lot of money. My mum worked as hard as she could but we didn’t have a lot, so I get where those kids are coming from. Now I have four kids of my own and I feel lucky about the life I’ve been able to create for them. They appreciate what they’ve got, but they’ve never had to battle or struggle in their lives, so hopefully this helps to set a good example for them.”
“I feel grateful about the kind of life I have been able to create for my own children through investing, and that’s great. But it’s good to be able to give back, and to set a good example for my kids.”
Michael’s Property Investment Tips
It really is important to build your team and your network. Although I think I’m a pretty important piece of the puzzle, I think you also need to have a good money person, whether it’s your bank manager or a broker. I tend to lean towards an out-and-out broker, because a good one is worth their weight in gold, especially if you find someone who an investor as well.
Stick to your own plan, and remember that your goals are important — don’t let other people sway you. There’ s no point following people who haven’t done it before. Even in my own experience, I’ve had family members say, “Geez I wouldn’t be buying that now.” For example, I bought one of my renovators during the GFC, which went against what most people were doing. But I thought the opposite way: there was no-one else buying, so I probably got it $30-$40K under what it should have gone for. If your aunty or uncle is an investor, then by all means listen to what they have to say, but if they’re not, I wouldn’t even consider it — but that’s just my opinion!
It’s better to start as early as possible. Unfortunately, I’ve sat with too many 40 or 50 year olds who are really panicking about their future, because they simply haven’t saved enough. My daughter has just turned 20 and started employment. I’m encouraging her to put a bit away every week so that when she’s ready, I can help find her a property. Lots of people can’t get their head around having multiple properties, but I always say, let’s get one put away first. The second can come later. It does compound on itself over time.
Danielle Charlton grew up in Horsham in rural Victoria before moving to Adelaide, where she purchased her first ‘renovator’s delight’ property aged 25.
As well as being a mum to her two sons Archie and Spencer, Danielle spent twenty years building a career in the retail sector in Australia and New Zealand, where she worked for a leading homewares and interior decorating company. During this time, she managed many successful teams, and believes that being able to successfully satisfy clients’ needs in any field comes through working with strong and committed groups of people.
In 2015, Danielle chose to pursue another career path. After witnessing first hand the dedicated medical staff who cared for her father before he passed away just a few years prior, Danielle decided that she wanted to move into work that had more meaning for her and in which she was better able to help people.
Coincidentally, it was around this time that Michael Lawton approached Danielle and asked her to furnish a number of apartments in the city for some of his clients. Having a good eye for detail and considerable expertise in interiors, Danielle ultimately delivered more than 80 complete furniture packages for investors, which helped not only to sell their projects but also increased their yields (despite a media environment in which apartment living was being talked down),
The amazing buzz that Danielle got from this work (she still assists developers and clients to furnish their projects today) soon led her to begin working in the property investment field — an area in which she already had some experience as an investor herself.
Although she considers herself a late starter as a property investor (only purchasing her first investment property ten years after moving to Adelaide, Danielle is now committed to educating others — especially younger people — about the value of getting into the property market as soon as they can.
“My 12 year old son, who does not fit the normal school system, loves talking property, developments and possibilities in this area. I believe that we should be teaching children these skills at school from a very young age. Talking about these opportunities with my boys and helping them to get started early with their own strategies is something that is very important to me.
“I have a passion for helping people, and the recent experience of watching my retired neighbours have to move out of their home because they can’t afford it any more has only confirmed my view that we must teach people how to invest in their futures as soon as possible.
“I pride myself on honesty and trust, and there is nothing more rewarding than helping everyday Aussies build wealth for their future.”
Danielle’s Property Investment Tips
Seek expert advice, as this can make all the difference to your success. I have met people who have researched on their own and then purchased a property, only to discover hidden expenses that have cost them thousands of dollars they did not budget for.
However, if you are going to listen to advice, make sure that it comes from people who have previously done things right themselves!
Property investing Is extremely rewarding if it’s done correctly, but there are many horror stories from people who have taken it into their own hands and ended up purchasing in the wrong area, at the wrong time, or from the wrong developers. Often they have purchased old properties which drain their cash flow, or they have not been familiar with the area they are buying in. We always undertake extensive research before we put a project in front of anyone to avoid these sorts of costly mistakes.
Investing in a property is a process. This means there is little point talking about purchasing a property until we have done all of the appropriate checks to make sure you can afford it first.
Strong relationships are the key to success in property investing. I have built teams of people throughout my life through leading by example, showing trust and appreciation, and utilising everyone’s strengths and talents. This is the sort of team we have been able to create at Power of Property. We work with a variety of people — researchers, financial advisers, conveyancers, solicitors, property managers — who are all extremely honest, efficient and reliable, and all of these different professionals help make up our team. I surround myself with genuine people in the industry who share the same goal of helping people move forward successfully.
Do not buy yourself a job — invest in a property manager instead. I am sure you are busy enough and so a good property manager is key to successful property investment. I set up all of the expenses for my investments through my property managers, so that they pay the bills and send me monthly reports. In this way my assets are working for me — I don’t need to spend precious time managing them.
Make sure that any advice you receive is right for you and your specific circumstances. Everyone’s situation is unique and needs to be treated as such, so ensure that when you are speaking to an adviser about property investments, it’s all about you — not them!