When does prospecting become stalking?

I usually like Alistair Holmes’ articles, but this one is just the biggest ‘fop’ of all time. How dare anyone knock on his door! The audacity!  The comment I left at NBR is repeated below:

Alistair, I too think you would make an astonishingly hopeless real estate agent.

I do confess to being an ex-agent, but not for 13 years or so, in the commercial world and having learned all I needed to learn, retired in my 30s, investing in real estate.

Stalker real estate agent.  Puh-leeease.  Stop being such a precious prat.  Apart from ignoring the ‘No Junk Mail’ sign on the letterbox (something I would never have done), she is simply doing her job.

Look, if you simply drop stuff into people’s letterbox (like your poster boy Brent), you will never get anywhere.  It’s harder for people to say no when you ring them.  It’s much harder again when you are standing in front of them.

The corollary to this is that it’s much easier to just post (or email) a flyer to someone that it is to front up on their doorstep and try to sell yourself in person.  Mate, try cold calling.  I doubt you have never ever done it in your life. It sucks.  But like all hard-won things, has some very measurable benefits.  When I started in real estate (previous career, programmer) I could hardly say my name in full to another adult.  Being able to walk up to an adult and say who you are, who you represent and what if anything you might be able to do to help someone is invaluable if you want to be in business, or indeed, in may other areas of life.

Get some balls mate.  If you can’t deal with people knocking on your door to sell you stuff then you must be a very fragile waif indeed.  As part of learning to be an adult, you need to learn how to stand 2 feet away from another adult and tell them ‘no’.  Anyone with any professionalism will then bid you good day and move on.  Anyone who doesn’t, you can comfortably close the door on.

But until you have grown up and developed a pair of testicles, deal with the likes of Brent, or Brad or what have you.

Housing Costs

Good article in the Herald this morning exploring why houses have become so expensive:

Damien Grant: Housing game rules are rigged to suit owners – Politics – NZ Herald News.

This quote is very good:

Second, the 2002 Local Government Act compelled councils to consider the social, economic, environmental and cultural factors in town planning. They did, adding extra staff to regulate construction almost out of existence.

Want Faster Broadband? Change Your Jackpoints

Over the last few years we’ve been getting a download speed of around 5 Mbps at home here, we myself and my wife work.

And then a friend told me about VDSL, which is much better than ADSL in that they promise 15 Mbps download speed and you may get up to 30.  Unfortunately this is not available in my area, so that’s not an option.

But Telecom tested the line and said we should be getting around 9 Mbps or so.  And they gave me the usual list of things to check like filters etc.   And then they said if those things were ok, then it could be a jackpoint problem.  And my friend had also said that he changed the jackpoints in his house some years ago and got a noticeable speedup.  So this was 2 lots telling me that changing the jackpoints would help, so I set about doing it.

I went down to the local electrical wholesalers and they provided me with good quality phone jacks, initially I needed around 5.  I was very lucky in that while I was at the wholesalers, I recognised an electrician who had done some work for me years ago and so I got chatting to him.  The guy behind the counter put all the bits through for me at trade which makes a HUGE difference.  The recessed jackpoints (PDL 617BT2) sell for $34.78 incl GST trade, and over $50 retail!  So I saved a fair bit there.

Our house is over 3 levels, has been built over time with 4 major builds from ’93-95 to 2009 or so.  And there are no decent ceilings anywhere, so getting access to wires is basically impossible.  Turns out we have 8 jackpoints, I found a few extras behind furniture etc.  And all the wiring is just an absolute mess, right from where it comes into the house and throughout the house too.  Here’s a shot of one jackpoint:



Messy Jackpoint

Yep that’s 4 cables coming outof the wall on the 3rd level – the cable comes into the house in the ground level.  And there was one other like this.

So I was very nervous about changing all of this.  But I did, I just replaced every jackpoint and eventually when it was all done, my broadband speed went from around 5 Mbps to 7.7 Mbps.  So thats a bit increase.

It cost around $150 and took maybe 6 hours of my time but I imagine it would be much cheaper and easier for a smaller house with less jackpoints, cables etc.

So there you go, if you want faster brodband, just make sure you have the latest good quality jackpoints (don’t buy cheap no name brands).

They only run on 2 wires each (usually red and white) these days so they’re much simpler and for some reason faster!

Getting An IEP Report

I have decided to get an IEP report on my building at Papakura.  Here is a pic of it again to jog everyone’s memory:

Finished Building
Finished Building

And here is an aerial view which shows the shape of it better:


The front part, which contains the offices and Red Cross shop, was built in the 1950s, like around ’55-’58 I think.  And the rear ‘L’ shaped bit was built in the 60s, around ’63 – ’65 I think.

So it’s not really old, but it’s not really new either.  I met an engineer there on Monday and showed him around.  He looked at the roof structure by lifting tiles, looked at the structure of the rest etc.

I’m pretty sure the IEP report will give me a percentage above 33% but I’m hoping for quite a bit above that.  Above 67% would be awesome but I’m not sure it will be that high.

It might also be 2 numbers.  One for the older bit and one for the newer bit.

Oh well, I shall wait with baited breath.  And I’ll post the result when I have it.

Update 17th September 2013: I have the report!  And the result is 53%.  Which is a bit lower than I would have liked initially but it’s well above the 33% required by council and makes it a category ‘B’ building on the scale of ‘A’ to ‘E’ .  ‘A’ being best of course.

So I’m pretty happy with that, it could have been a lot worse.

Mike McDonald, McDonald & Co. Accountants

Under the ‘Davo Tries Again’ tag, I have blogged here in detail about my development at Papakura.

Well the latest bump in the road came a few months ago.  The accountant tenant I had on the first floor, Mike McDonald (McDonald & Co. Accountants) has buggered off and now owes quite a lot in rent and outgoings.  Around $15,000.

I thought he was a good tenant but, I was wrong.  Back in 2010 I spent a lot of money, approximately$40,000 fitting the premises out for him.  He took a 6 year lease, but barely 2 years into it, after repeatedly being late with rent payments (strange for an accountant) I told him enough was enough and he needed to pay the rent on time.

He responded by saying yes it wasn’t good enough, oh and I’m having cashflow problems.  And that was the start of this, up until then I thought his business was going well.  After all, we were friends on FaceBook and he had been continually posting all sorts of pictures and comments about all the things he had bought over the 2 years he had been my tenant.  Things like a new house, overseas trips, flash new cars (with the personalised plates of course) and much much more.  But all of it falling into the ‘bling’ kind of area of spending.

So one minute he’s sponsoring motor races and flying about the place and the next minute he can’t pay the rent.  It would seem he’s an accountant who doesn’t understand cashflow!

At the start, Mike fed me all sorts rubbish about not being paid by clients, the IRD putting his clients into receivership etc.  But it was all just that, rubbish.  He had just maxed out the credit cards, the mortgage on the house etc. and bought a lot of stuff on credit.  And then gotten to a point where they couldn’t repay it.

And to top it all off, Mike McDonald, the McAccountant, also got behind in his taxes with the IRD. Yep, an accountant who in addition to not understanding cashflow, also didn’t really understand that you have to pay your taxes!

So the IRD removed his tax agency status, making him unable to do tax work on behalf of his clients, and so guess what? The clients all left and that was the end of his business!  What an idiot.

So now I’m chasing the money that is owed on the lease.  And I will bankrupt this turkey if I have to.  Characteristically Mike is being unhelpful about this, hiding assets, refusing to disclose his income, where he works, how much he owes and to whom and so on.

In the past I’ve just let tenants whose businesses have failed go.  No point chasing someone with no money, who has just had some bad luck.  But with Mike McDonald, that is not the case.  He blew all his money trying to be the big man.  Trying to impress people.  And I have no sympathy for that.

So I will take this as far as I can, bankrupting him if necessary.

If anyone out there has more info on this, or Mike McDonald, his whereabouts etc., then please let me know via the comments section.

This is his LinkedIn profile: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=48237251&locale=en_US&trk=tyah2


Update as at 4th September 2013: The hearing in the Disputes Tribunal is set down for the 21st October 2013.

Update as at 13th September 2013: Just had a nasty phone call from Mike McDonald.  He’s upset that his wife was briefly mentioned in the above post.  This despite it being there for 11 days, unchanged.  So things have gotten very nasty now, Mike has totally lost the plot and used every swear word under the sun etc.  Even threatened to ring my wife and make her feel uncomfortable.  Basically he knows this situation is all his fault and he’s trying his best to shift blame to me or anyone else he can.  He’s even going to file a counter claim at the Disputes Tribunal apparently.  Pity he just doesn’t be a man, front up and pay his bills!

Update as at 1th September 2013: Removed any reference to Mike’s wife from the original blog post.  No reason to have her in there I guess.  Certainly not going after her or anything.