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Timeless real estate lessons we learned from our parents

The more our modern world is crammed with information the more I find myself craving ‘wisdom of the ages’. The nuggets of insight passed on from one generation to the next (sometimes ignored or discounted by a younger generation who might be convinced they know better – until they realise they don’t!) And in real estate it’s very obvious the decisions on buying, selling and investing raise questions that our parents and grandparents have all handled before.

So here’s some shared wisdom passed on to the Bees Nees Realty team from our elders – and beaten into us so we’d remember!

1. “There’s no such thing as a bargain.” An elderly investor client actually taught me this when I was a whipper snapper salesperson, trying to sell her a property. “Homes are only cheap when no-one else wants them”, she’d say. I didn’t sell her that house but I did learn buying the right property is always far more important than saving a couple of percent on the price.

2. “If you can’t do better with the money leave it in there.” Sales Manager Rebecca says her grandfather was a long term investor, teaching her to hold a property unless she had a strong alternative place to put the money. We often hear that “patience in property pays”, and we should ignore the ups and downs of the market as they’re irrelevant unless you’re selling. Bec’s grandparents showed her the importance of sticking to a plan.

3. “The opportunity of a lifetime only lasts the lifetime of the opportunity.” You might need to read that twice for it to register – I know I did when my father taught me this invaluable lesson. We were considering selling our South Brisbane property and he urged me to act. Too many of our clients reject an offer, only to sell for less later because they weren’t prepared for that ‘opportunity’ when it presented itself. I would have been one of them without my dad’s wisdom. Similarly we need to know when to act and buy that home or investment – and not let doubt and indecision steal from us.

Brisbane real estate4. “What does it really cost to own the property?” Many Brisbane landlords will remember Jan Somers, a well-respected speaker and property investment author who was most visible in the 90’s. Jan’s books encouraged investors to do the sums – the tenant and the taxman will help you own the property, she said. I remember sitting in one of her presentations, quite amazed how affordable it can be to own a rental property. Most financial advisors focus on other asset classes so this is a conversation that still goes unspoken.

5. “Don’t let someone else buy the home for a price you’d be prepared to pay!” Regular readers here will recognise this one and it came from a good real estate agent friend, not long retired after 30 plus years in the profession. Jeff would remind buyers they could be too clever in their negotiation and miss a home they really wanted. Pride stops a lot of people from having the things they deserve.

6. “Don’t worry too much about the property itself – location is the key.” Another life lesson from Bec’s granddad and he argued you could change lots of things to the dwelling itself if you bought the right neighbourhood.  We often comment that 75% of a home’s value is in its position and recommend choosing local amenities that are most relevant to you or your tenant market. Close to schools and transport for families; bars/cafes and access to work for city professionals.

We’d love to hear your ‘real estate pearls’! What property wisdom has been passed down to you from another generation?!