It’s 8am in Vienna and Craig has woken up to another new day in another new country.
The 45-year-old’s baritone husk is the result of another late-night / early-morning finish in one of the world’s most challenging entertainment industry jobs.
This Aussie-abroad works as a technical director in a Cirque du Soleil traveling extravaganza. Craig is charged with keeping things both safe and on schedule.
“It’s a big-top touring show and I look after the lighting and the sound and the effects and all those sorts of backstage things. We finish around midnight,” he said.
“A travelling show also involves tearing down the tent and putting it up again, so a lot of time is spent on planning moves. Each one is individual and unique. We then set up and validate and test everything – there’s a lot of safety.”
“It’s a lot of admin and managing personalities – we have over 30 different nationalities on our team so it’s extremely interesting.”
Craig loves his work and is grateful for the opportunity the circus has provided to visit new places and meet interesting people – including his Mexican-born wife, Patty (Patricia), who is a stage manager for another Cirque show.
“She directs artists and calls the shows. She’s in New Zealand at the moment, so I may not see her for few weeks,” he adds.
The couple have been together 11 years and have adjusted to the rigours of their profession, distance and awkward time zones.
“We met in Mexico while working for the circus and we’ve been travelling the world ever since. Home is where the family is – we don’t actually have an address. When we come home to Australia we stay with my family and the same when we go to Mexico and stay with Patty’s family there.”
Despite their extraordinary work life, Craig and Patty also deal with everyday challenges facing all couples, including planning for their retirement years.
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The world may be their workplace, but Craig’s family ties plus previous taste of investing fuelled their fascination for Australian real estate.
“In 2004, I bought a property because I was first going on tour – but I made mistakes. I bought a property that I though was a good investment based on the fact that I could see myself living there. I made no real investigation into its potential as an investment.”
“It was on the Sunshine Coast. It didn’t grow much for a long time, but it is now starting to deliver.”
Craig said, despite the option to buy anywhere across the globe, he felt Aussie real estate offered the best prospects.
“I know Australia is a strong market and I understand the country. It’s also politically stable as opposed to some of the other areas in the world.”
“I’d love to have a beach house in Portugal, but that isn’t the smart buy right now,” he said.
Craig and Patty are scientific types who like having all of the facts before making big decisions. But the process of researching real estate market drivers and picking the best investment locations soon became exhausting.
They instead started putting those efforts towards finding a specialist who could help them – although that came with challenges as well.
Craig said their work life flows into their investing philosophy as well.
“We do concentrate heavily on risk mitigation and rewards for your effort,” he said.
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“At some point, I realised it was too much for me trying to do what I do professionally and also understand the complexities of property investing. It’s not realistic to try to have my finger on the pulse and be ready to buy in the right area while working overseas. So, I decided to look for someone to give me advice.”
“But it’s a bit of a jungle out there. A lot of people just want to take your money and I ran into a few of those… people wanting to rip me off. I’ve dealt with some sharks in my time.”
Craig said they were simply looking for a no-nonsense attitude to investing.
“I wanted someone who wouldn’t feed us BS and who wasn’t out just to make money for themselves. I wanted someone who had a logical approach to what they do. I wasn’t looking for a sales pitch, I was looking for real advice.”
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Fortunately, the couple found Propertyology. They were pleased to discover a company offering something a bit different.
“I really liked their scientific approach – both Patty and I trust in science.”
Propertyology’s Head of Research, Simon Pressley, and Head of Acquisitions, Bryan Loughnan, also impressed the couple with their client-first principles.
“When we got in contact with Propertyology and started to proceed, they refused to take our money until we were absolutely sure. It was really ethical and professional and that was really great.”
The couple drew on equity from Craig’s Queensland property and began the journey in earnest – and it provided another opportunity to prove they’d made a smart choice with Propertyology
Craig and Patty were provided with very comprehensive research about a major regional city. They wouldn’t have possibly discovered that location on their own and were excited to get in to that strategically-chosen property market.
“We were very happy to get into it, but Bryan had to work really hard, because the market was really starting to move. The first property he found us was amazing, but the asking price went very quickly past Bryan’s appraisal range, so he ended up pulling out of that negotiation.”
“Rather than being disappointed, we were really happy because he had our best interest in mind. He wasn’t just going to pull the trigger and make some money for himself. That was reassuring.”
Propertyology did eventually help the couple secure a three-bedroom, art deco house in a prime position within the regional city. Bryan did a great job negotiating the purchase for only $445,000.
“We achieved all from overseas thanks to Propertyology. They took all the rigmarole and difficulties out of it for us. It was amazing,” Craig said.
To illustrate the complexities of distance, Craig revealed the locational timeline from when they first started researching investment through to finally taking possession:
- Changsha, China (August 2018) – Started researching property,
- Monterrey, Mexico (September 2018) – Decided to work with Propertyology,
- Brisbane, Australia (October 2018) – Simon revealed the location for investment,
- Seoul, Korea (November 2018) – Bryan located and finalised property negotiations,
- London, England (December 2018) – they settle on the property.
Craig said the key to proceeding with confidence was constant communication from Propertyology.
“We’d get information daily – particularly as it was heating up and getting to the moment of purchase. It was all done online and through Skype.”
“We gave Propertyology the authority to sign on our behalf. They also recommended a solicitor and property manager and we’ve been really happy with all of those services. It was all done for us, we just had to give approval.”
Craig said he and Patty are now looking to progressively build their portfolio in preparation for a future away from the big top.
“I hope to call up Propertyology towards the end of the year and then track year-by-year and monitor how we’re going financially.”
“We want to get our properties to a neutral gearing – but hopefully we’ll make one acquisition a year for the next few years.”
Craig said they just couldn’t be happier and are singing Propertyology’s praises to others.
“I’ve told all my friends and family. I’ve been very happily recommending them.”
Looks like Propertyology might see an influx of high-wire and slack-line performers on their books in the near future.
Propertyology is Australia’s premier property market analyst and award-winning buyer’s agency. Every capital city, every non-capital city, we analyse fundamentals in every market, every day. We use this valuable research to help everyday Aussies to invest in strategically-chosen locations (literally) all over Australia. Like to know more? Contact us here.