While many investors would prefer to rely on property managers to look after their real estate assets, Julian Lancey still makes it a point to purchase units that he can “go to change a light bulb” anytime and manage on his own.
Julian admits that self-managing his six-property portfolio could be quite time-consuming—from building inspection to the constant shifting of tenants.
“It’s hard with a full-time job and other commitments like wife and baby and mortgages. I’m studying as well, doing my Masters. Sometimes, I absolutely spend no time on my properties for a week … even a month,” he shared.
“Sometimes if there’s something to do that’s priority, like get a tenant in, I drop everything and I have to do that. I don’t really have an answer for how much time I spend on my properties for a week or a month or a year because it just changes.”
However, according to him, the cash he is able to save as well as the comfort of personally being on top of everything that is happening in his properties are only some of what keeps him going down this path.
Julian, together with Smart Property Investment’s Phil Tarrant and Russell Stephenson, shares the ups and downs of being his own property manager, as well as the reason why he believes that every property investor should their toe into it at one point in their journey:
How do you make self-managing your properties easier for yourself?
Julian Lancey: Years ago… [you had] to go directly into a bank [for certain transactions]. Now, you can get on your own phone and within two minutes you can set up a [whatever you need]. Things have changed. I believe that it’s easier to find property and to buy property and to manage property with [these] wonderful little things in our pockets called smartphones. These little things… replace the need for property managers and buyer’s agents.
Is marketing a bit harder and costly for people who manage their properties?
Julian Lancey: In the past 10 years, I’ve never spent a dollar on marketing and finding a tenant. I know that if you go to an agency, they will ask for hundreds, maybe even thousands, to find tenants. You have [all these] fees.
How do you go about finding tenants, then?
Julian Lancey: There’s a few different ways… There are apps. A few years ago, it was only backpackers that found accommodation on [apps], but now, if you get on right now, you can find fantastic properties in the best suburbs in Sydney available for rent… It’s not just a backpackers’ accommodation kind of thing anymore. It’s really stepped up.
Is this actually an effective way of marketing?
Julian Lancey: Agents themselves are now advertising on [apps]... Do people really look in a paper now when they want to buy properties? No… Now, you got apps to do it.
What are the challenges of self-managing properties nowadays?
Phil Tarrant: It’s good to be quite reactive with your property portfolio because what worked today or what worked yesterday or last year may [not be the same]... If I was selling a property, I’d still be looking towards print as, definitely, a beacon for trying to promote and market that property… But I think most people jump [online] now… It’s always evolving and it’s becoming more and more competitive.
Do you believe all property investors should try managing their properties?
Julian Lancey: All property investors should manage their own properties... There’s plenty of things out there to help you… Google it, you can always find out what to do.
Tune in to Julian Lancey’s episode on The Smart Property Investment Show to find out why does he think the banks need to change their small property finance policies, as well as the worst decisions he has made and how he decided to rise above it all and continue his journey.