About Tim Riley – Founder
Since 2004 I’ve been involved in a number of property syndicates, joint ventures and co-investments with family, friends and acquaintances.
My first foray into the world of co-investing was a participating in a $4.4m eight townhouse joint venture property development with seven other parties in eastern Melbourne suburb of Donvale.
When it comes to property strategies, property development is probably the riskiest and most aggressive property venture you can undertake. When completing the Donvale project, I realised that investing with others was a great way to achieve something that you couldn’t necessarily achieve by yourself. However I also realised that with property investment, like anything in life, you need to take a balanced approach.
So my mind started to turn to accumulating investment properties in a more “passive” manner. In 2006 I had the idea of setting up a property syndicate with friends. I had a number of friends who I knew were interested in property but who were having trouble getting to where they wanted to be. Over the next year I fleshed out the idea and researched the best way to structure the venture. In 2007 three of my friends and I established our first property syndicate. Since then we have acquired 3 properties in our little collective.
A few years later I decided to run a collaborative lifestyle experiment with an old friend of mine and bought a weekender in the Otways hinterland in a small town called Birregurra. Seven years into our experiment, we have been sharing the upsides (spending quality time together, bushwalking more, growing and eating our own food) and the downsides (weeding, maintenance and paying the mortgage) of the property with our partners.
In 2010 I teamed up with three friends to undertake another property development. We finished our four townhouse project in Northcote last year. Sharing a quarter of the costs and ending up with a townhouse each, everyone was so happy with the end result that at completion we all decided to occupy the dwellings instead of rent them out. We’ve been living side by side for over 2 years, sharing meals, drill bits, sugar, the odd potato, babysitting duties and garden maintenance.
In all of these co-investment experiments everyone has had to make compromises. However I think these ventures have worked because we have all had a balanced attitude towards the concepts of ownership and utility. As a result, it feels like we’ve all benefited from an experience none of us would have been capable of as individuals. Not only this the co-investment model has suited us because none of us could afford to do it on our own, we all had our careers to manage, and while we wanted to invest in property, we also wanted to live our lives and not have all our surplus cash flow tied up in servicing properties.
I know that today many people want to invest in property for their future but affordability is a real issue. In particular I know that many of my friends and family who have not already invested in property are wondering how they are going to enter the market.
From personal experience I know that setting up a property syndicate can allow people to sustainably invest in something for the future while allowing them to still enjoy their lifestyle by not sucking up all their income.
So in 2011 I thought it was time to share my knowledge about an innovative and sustainable way to grow a property portfolio that you may not have thought of…
If you would like to find out more about my experiences with investment syndicates and joint venture developments please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m more than happy to help if I can.
About John Lim – Development Manager
My property journey started when I graduated in 1990 as a Civil Engineer from the University of Newcastle in New South Wales. Drawn by attractive working opportunities overseas, I started as a Site and Design Engineer. In 3 years, I was running the branch office.
Working with others on the technical team laid a good foundation for resolving issues together. It has also sharpened my technical and people handling skills. How would you handle a tradesman with whom you have a 20 year gap in experience? With a lot of humility and tact. He may have to work with you because of your position but to be truly effective at the worksite, you would also have to earn his respect.
In 1995, my client offered me the role as a Project Manager handling their larger projects. A high level of management skills were required as you would have had to handle clients, government officials and frequently, a team that is located in all parts of the world. One of the clients I have had the pleasure to work with was Carrefour, the French retail giant. They had the most extensive chain of hypermarket stores in Asia then. We were able to deliver their new stores on time through the efforts of a team of people with diverse backgrounds and culture. It was a personal achievement that under such stress on delivery, we were still able to maintain a positive work attitude.
In 2000, I started a company offering Property Development and Project Management services. I would work with my clients from the initial proposal for the land purchase through to the design phase. Getting the necessary permits, implementing the construction works and finally delivering the final product, fit for occupation. The idea was to provide a ‘One-Stop’ agency where the intent of the development is formulated with the client. My team would then handle the entire process of implementation and delivery.
Having assumed part of the role of a Property Developer, my considerations have expanded from just technical requirements to the needs of the business of developing properties. Our creed was ‘High quality delivered, On Time, On Cost’.
I have completed a diverse portfolio of properties ranging from single dwellings and terrace houses to high-rise apartments. I have been involved in developing stand-alone factories to industrial parks, from shops to shopping malls. To date, I have completed in excess of 2,500 units of landed properties. In 2015/2016, I delivered a twin 36-storey tower project comprising of 668 units of serviced apartments and 4 20-storey towers which has a total of 998 apartments. The largest project I’ve been involved in is an 8-storey shopping mall with a hotel block and a serviced apartment tower. The project cost was in excess of $200 million.
Though the pressure to perform is high for these projects, I have kept a conducive working environment for my group members. I believe that as a team, we are able to achieve much more than the sum of our individual efforts.
Today, I have returned to a robust property market here in Melbourne. With my long and diverse experience in conceptualizing and delivering projects, I aim to make the experience of being part of one of our ‘collectives’ to be both instructional, collaborative and fruitful.