REI Super Member profile
Brad Todd, Director Todd Property, Heathcote, Victoria
A great business in a thriving community
Brad Todd always wanted to be a real estate agent and now runs his own agency in Heathcote in central Victoria, a wine-growing district which is noted for its shiraz. He recently read Scott Pape’s The Barefoot Investor and followed its recommendation to do his own super audit. He compared REI Super’s fees and found there was no need to change.
REI Super: How did you get into real estate?
BT: I always wanted to be a real estate agent – ever since I was about 17! But I was encouraged by my parents to go to uni first, which I did. As soon as I graduated I got a job as an office kid in a real estate agency. I was sweeping footpaths, putting up boards and answering the phone as well as doing some sales back-up.
It was a bit frustrating coming out of three years at uni to be a receptionist, but it was a fantastic grounding in every aspect of the business. I purchased a business in 2005 and ran that for three or four years. I got out briefly and then started Todd Property in December 2013.
REI Super: What do you like about working in real estate?
BT: I enjoy the people. The majority are good fun. I don’t think I’d enjoy it as much if it wasn’t in a small country town like Heathcote though.
REI Super: What are the challenges of real estate for you?
BT: Having the right houses for the right buyers is my big challenge right now. We can’t get enough qualified buyers. Which is the reverse of the situation in Melbourne, where there are more buyers than properties. It’s a different market here of course, and properties stay on the market for much longer.
REI Super: Tell me about the community in Heathcote
BT: There are about 4,500 people in the district. Wine is a major thing here – there are 50 wineries in or around Heathcote now. We’re also starting to see some genuine investment into the town. There’s been some great activity around developing a dementia village, for example.
REI Super: What’s the sales market like there at the moment?
BT: The Heathcote market is very hot right now. 80% to 90% of our properties are sold to Melbourne people.
The properties here are affordable and we’re only 110km to Melbourne airport. Our main markets are retirees, young families and weekenders.
REI Super: What has been your biggest career highlight so far?
BT: One highlight was selling 1,600 acres for $2.25 million last year. But I always remember one of my first sales – which was to a young couple who both came from families who had never owned property. I remember handing them the keys to their first home and they had tears in their eyes. Their families were so proud.
It really highlights the pride people have in ownership and it makes you realise that we’re selling hopes, dreams, safety and security. We see people at their best times and their worst times.
REI Super: Where does super come in? Are you a planner? A saver?
BT: I’m definitely a planner. My wife and I just increased our super contributions. We also just read The Barefoot Investor and we did what he suggested and did our own super audit.
We compared REI Super’s fees with other funds and we found REI Super’s fees are really low and there’s no need to change.
REI Super: Have you had any experience with SMSFs?
BT: I’ve sold some properties to people with SMSFs. They seem very restrictive. And sometimes people have been pushed into them when they don’t have enough money to warrant them.
They don’t realise how high the audit fees are. I think unless you have a very healthy balance they’re not worth it. Plus with REI Super you’re tapping into the knowledge of investment experts. People with SMSFs don’t have that knowledge and often make the wrong decisions.
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