Property Entrepreneur, Keith Grisman, had by the age of 33, pulled off what most property people dream of. Retired, with a property portfolio of 50+ properties, the former cop come commercial agent and developer who had started investing at the age of 17, was riding high, and enjoying his passion for surfing. The GFC came, and his security and world were rocked. Between 2010 and 2015, he suffered insolvency, bankruptcy, divorce, family court, and a suicide attempt. Now successful in property once more, his is a story that proves experience is your most valuable asset. I hope you enjoy my chat with Keith. His story is inspirational to anyone, whether you’re just starting out, or working your way back from epic failure.
About Keith Grisman
Property Entrepreneur, Keith Grisman, bought his first property at 17. As a commercial sales and leasing agent, he worked with both boutique and major firms, gaining expertise in leasing, buying and building residential, commercial, investment and development property. After retiring at 33 with a personal holding in excess of 50 properties and over 10 businesses, the GFC took a hefty financial and personal toll on Keith. As a result, he used his knowledge to rebuild and create a sizable property and business portfolio, and share his expertise with others to improve their property and business decisions. His current business provides property owners and investors with expert management advice in residential, commercial, office, and industrial sectors. He also assists start-up, small and medium businesses, with tailored office suites through his business, The Boarding Office.
Voice Over (00:00:02): Thanks for joining us for this small talk, big ideas podcast … A podcast to enrich your soul, where we have conversations with inspiring people about all things, property, business, and life. And now the host of small talk, big ideas. Ian Ugarte
Ian Ugarte (00:00:23): Hey. Thanks for joining us on the Small Talk Big Ideas podcast. And today I bring in Keith Grisman, an amazing story from a very young age, just like myself, investing in property all the way through to being a huge property developer only to find himself in an insolvency position, and to claw himself back into where he is today. A real example of how when you get to that position of taking all the financials away from you, you can’t take away what’s in your head! Enjoy these epiosde. And please, subscribe and join us, and follow us on any of the social media outlets.
Ian Ugarte (00:00:56): Yeah. Grisman!
Keith Grisman (00:00:58): How are you mate?
Ian Ugarte (00:00:59): Good. Where’s that from?
Keith Grisman (00:01:01): Uh Russia? Russia. So dad’s dad was a Russian Jew, fled during the revolution where these three brothers, they landed in Australia and two of them went, sorry, two brothers, three in total. Two of them went to the States and one stayed here.
Ian Ugarte (00:01:16): Right. So then that was to say you’re second generation Australian.
Keith Grisman (00:01:20): Yeah, something like that. I mean, I guess it depends which side you look at it.
Ian Ugarte (00:01:24): And that was one side. What’s the other side?
Keith Grisman (00:01:26): Ah, largely English. I think there’s a, there’s a, a first free settler in there somewhere, a shepherd from Kent was the booklet that we found with a bit of family history, but yeah, kind of working class, Australian family with the exception of the, the Russian immigrant.
Ian Ugarte (00:01:42): So, white Australian. Think I actually knew the first, I knew the first born, seventh generation Australian. And so we must only be nine generations in of white Australia anyway. You’re a property developer?
Keith Grisman (00:01:57): Yeah. I don’t really use the word developer.
Ian Ugarte (00:01:59): No, I don’t really like it. Investor?
Keith Grisman (00:02:01): Um well, as you probably know,, I say property surfer. Cause it sums the, outside of my family, it sums up the two parts of my life. But yeah, probably entrepreneur is probably a better word. I mean, I’ll, I’ll look to value add, so I don’t really care what it is, but if there’s a value add in it, then, then I’m prepared to pull the puzzle apart.
Ian Ugarte (00:02:19): Started with the police?
Keith Grisman (00:02:22): Yeah. so finished high school and said …
Ian Ugarte (00:02:25): You lived in Sydney, originally didn’t you?
Keith Grisman (00:02:26): Sydney parents, I did then they decided well I thought to get out of the rat race, but it turns out many years later we had a chat and they went, no, no, no, no, that wasn’t it. We wanted to get you and your sister out of Sydney because we thought there was more opportunity in Queensland.
Ian Ugarte (00:02:43): So as opportunity. Yeah. I sort of got out of Sydney cause, yes, I could just say your kids could have more opportunity to go off the rails.
Keith Grisman (00:02:51): There was a bit of that too. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, the school that I was at, I think held a famous title of second worst high school in new South Wales.
Ian Ugarte (00:03:00): Tell us not Randwick?
Keith Grisman (00:03:01): Narwee Boy’s High School.
Ian Ugarte (00:03:04): Ah right, Randwick Boy’s High School was pretty bad and it’s day too.
Keith Grisman (00:03:08): Yeah it was. So she was a tough school, but look some, some good friends and great people come out of there. So good comes from everywhere.
Ian Ugarte (00:03:14): So they sold for 300?
Keith Grisman (00:03:17): Well um so a good property story that. They Dad came first. A mate of his was up here. So he snagged a job. He ended up staying with his mate at Burpengary and then they couldn’t sell the house. They were on the market in Peakhurst in Sydney for $180K. Couldn’t sell it eventually Dad went in advance. Mum and my sister and I stayed in Sydney when they couldn’t sell it. Six months later, they rented it out. Then 12 months later, they sold it for $310K.
Ian Ugarte (00:03:50): So that was the ’85 to ’88 peak. So Sydney, Sydney almost doubled in three years.
Keith Grisman (00:03:55): Yeah. I think they settled at the end of ’88, in round figures. So yeah, so they went from selling out at $300K odd to building a brand new four bed, two bath, on a brand new block of land on Bribie, walking distance, like 300 metres to the beach for about $67K,
Ian Ugarte (00:04:12): $67,000 should add another two just to make it around numbers. So the, I kind of just, just fathom $67,000, including land, including at the moment you can buy there for $420K. I think I saw a house and land out that way?
Keith Grisman (00:04:29): Yeah. Yeah. I think that even the house that that, that we built so to speak was about that number, mid-fours I think.
Ian Ugarte (00:04:37): Right. So you saw that your parents had bought and sold.
Keith Grisman (00:04:43): Yeah. So in Sydney Mum and Dad moved West from Sans Souci, where both my grandparents were they went to Busby or Green Valley. Yep. Lovely suburb. It was an interesting place to live, but they bought an old block of land. Sorry. I block land. I bought a block of land, built a new house and literally did the bare minimum. So dad was a tradie, an electrician. So he said to the builder, ‘don’t worry about painting, no carpet’. We lived in a house and literally, you know, no landscaping, no driveways, in an unfinished house. And every weekend we proceeded to finish it. And I say, we, because I was on the end of a shovel, on occasion. But yeah, I guess I learnt the best way by just being immersed in it and watching. And they didn’t really ever talk to me about it or preach. I just saw them do it. Then.
Ian Ugarte (00:05:28): You have a sister, you said as well?
Keith Grisman (00:05:29): Sister, younger. Yeah. She’s six years younger.
Ian Ugarte (00:05:31): Yeah. And so you come up here, you do school, finished school?
Keith Grisman (00:05:37): Yeah. Come up in ’88, did Grade 10 and then 11 and 12 at Bribie High. And yeah, after the police.
Ian Ugarte (00:05:44): Worked for the police for three years?
Keith Grisman (00:05:46): I did. What did you only there for three, that’s still for some people they don’t last a year. You lasted three. What didn’t you like about that?
Keith Grisman (00:05:55): It was more, they didn’t like meuhNever been great at being told what to do. Really enjoyed it. And again, met some fantastic people, like lots and lots that I’m still very close friends with to this day. But I dunno, I guess maybe the entrepreneur was bubbling away inside of me, but yeah, the thing happened for a reason.
Ian Ugarte (00:06:16): What’d you do coming out of that?
Keith Grisman (00:06:17): Lost the plot a little bit. Yeah, I was a bit disillusioned. I kind of traveled around Australia for a little while. I ran a farm in Tasmania, a BNB, and some, some cattle. Uujust South of Launceston. So,uthere’s an old convict built homestead, built in 1887 or something.
Ian Ugarte (00:06:37): There’s some beautiful properties down there. If it wasn’t Christine I’d live down there. Just too cold!
Keith Grisman (00:06:39): Yeah, totally the same. So Mel, my wife is German as you know, so she’s supposed to like the col hates it. Um but yeah, I, I really enjoyed my time in Tassie. I lived there for kind of for nine months and we just traveled around in bits and pieces in between, and then ended up back here in property.
Ian Ugarte (00:06:55): You love surfing?
Keith Grisman (00:06:56): I do based around so yeah. Well it saved my life a few times. But learnt to surf in Sydney and then one of the reasons that dad got me here, cause I thought as a teenager that I had some control and I was going to stay behind as I came North. And he showed me a map of Bribie Island and said, look, there’s the beach and there’s waves. He didn’t tell me Moreton Island was outside of it.
Ian Ugarte (00:07:23): There’s some waves when they’re ferry goes fast.
Keith Grisman (00:07:25): So I got there and turn up and I’m like, it’s flat. Yeah. My dad was going like that, the other side. But we managed to get enough done there kept me in, kept me interested.
Ian Ugarte (00:07:36): Yeah. Cause that’s the thing I’m going to, we came up when my eldest was 14, 15 maybe. And it was, it was just probably a year to too late for her. I mean, everyone settled, but it was just that I don’t want to go sort of thing. And especially, I don’t know if you had a girlfriend at the time, but that would have been you, did you left it behind?
Keith Grisman (00:07:57): Yeah, it is. Yeah. But, but we’re best of mates today. She’s she married another friend of mine and, and theyI have two amazing kids and I see them several times a year when we we’re great friends.
Ian Ugarte (00:08:06): Yeah great. So you come up here, you wander around, get lost and then you get into property. What’s the first thing you do? Because you bought a place at 17?
Keith Grisman (00:08:16): While I was at the Academy. Yeah. I attended a Government auction and convinced Dad to lend me the deposit and bought a block of land in Coolum for thirty two and a half thousand dollars at auction. And I was seventeen and no one told me that you had to be eighteen to buy it. But the Government vendor financed it. So no one ever asked the question.
Ian Ugarte (00:08:38): That’s how they used to do it. They uswedto vendor finance everything.
Keith Grisman (00:08:41): I know, it was great. And you had to make your first payment a year later.
Ian Ugarte (00:08:44): That’s not bad.
Keith Grisman (00:08:45): Yeah. So in theory I saved for the next year, but then of course, a bit like a uni assignment, you get to the end and you’re like, Oh, I’m a bit short here. And my budget was $20 difference from cost to making the payments up. But I knew I graduated. So I got a little lump sum as I graduated to make the payment. And then just before I kind of realized I was going to be a bit short, I went to an agent and I said, how much do you think we can sell this for? And when I walked into the agency, the lady on the counter said, ‘Oh rentals are that way’. I say no, ‘that way’. That was an interesting lesson that I’ve never forgotten. That judgement. And anyway, he got a contract for forty seven and a half and from the Government.
Ian Ugarte (00:09:32): Oh the Government buying it back?
Keith Grisman (00:09:33): Housing Commission buying it back. And so I’m like, this is pretty good. But it turned out that they wouldn’t buy it because they already had one in the street. And at that stage they’s only have, they had a rule, only one in the street. So,uI then walked that contract off just completely dumb luck, fumbling my way. I walked it into the Queensland Police Credit Union and said,ucan I get some money to pay the Government out? And somehow I came up with a scheme to borrow some more money to build a house and build a house on it.
Ian Ugarte (00:10:02): Say, yeah, say basically like what we do nowadays. We, if we can get the right lender valuation in, this is what it’s worth. Will you give me X amount?
Keith Grisman (00:10:09): Yeah. And as you know, the rules then were a little bit different, a bit easier. Absolutely. So ended up with a product that owned about $80K. And I think on completion it was $136K from memory.
Ian Ugarte (00:10:21): And how old were you then?
Keith Grisman (00:10:22): I was 18 then at that point. Yeah. And I did a little bit of what I’d watched dad do. So I said, don’t worry about the driveway. Don’t worry about the landscaping we painted ourselves. So I’ve got some mates up. I think that cost of the house painting was three cartons of beer. We slept on the floor for a couple of nights and I’d take them down. The RSL at Coolum and we had good fun. The driveway is still there. It’s the worst driveway you’ve ever seen in your life. It’s like this, but it’s still there.
Ian Ugarte (00:10:46): It’s still there though. It’s still here. It hasn’t fallen away. I was actually just listening to a story. Just then about a guy who put up a post, I added, it was holding a sign saying, I just want beer money. Put it in my bank account. Right. So anyway, all it got shared all over America and this guy ended up with a million bucks in his bank acount Right. So then he donated it to to a charity that was to go, I want, I want beer money to go and watch football or something or footy. And so he ended up donating it to the children’s hospital across the road from the stadium. Anyway, some reporter this sort of decided to do some investigating and he’d been on he’d been on Tosh’s show and he’d done some tweets that were racist. Right. So this reporter called him out on it. And he got a, he got a hammering and he apologised publicly anyways. So then someone investigated the reporter and the reporter had done some racist tweets and lost his job. So f&%$ you bastard. You ass$%^&. So so anyway, I don’t know how I got there, but okay. So now you’ve got your first house. Are living in it?
Keith Grisman (00:11:53): No. Rented it out from day one. So other than the first few nights where we slept on the floor, drinking beer, no. Rented it out and never lived in it at all. Then about three years later. And he got called out for it. Lucky cheeky grin. Yeah. So four years later after police was working with a a land developer, I guess it’d be the best way to describe them. And you know, they used the advertising system, selling land on the fringe. I didn’t particularly like, it there’ll be like a Meyer Realty or Washington developments used to be back in the day. And I approached them to white block. So I bought a block off them, did the same thing.
Ian Ugarte (00:12:35): And you’re working for them?
Keith Grisman (00:12:37): I was working for them, selling. So yeah. So, so they, they kind of set up a front of house. It was a real estate agency, looked like a suburban agent, but your job was to sell out. I learned a lot there. I learned a lot about process and sales, but also learn a lot about what I didn’t want to do. And the advertising system that’s implemented in selling it, you know,uto me is just not straight up. So, but out of that came a bunch of experience and walk the land that I bought with,uyou know, a pretty substantial discount. So built a house on that. So that was number two. And then, mumber three, by the time I was about 24 was up here on the Sunshine Coast. Yeah. It was a duplex.
Ian Ugarte (00:13:14): So living in any of those?
Keith Grisman (00:13:16): No, it was number four property, I guess you’d say. I mean the, the third one had two on it, so it was the one after that. Which funnily enough was completely un-value-add in the sense that it was a waterfront unit at Alex looking over the surf. Right. And and still paid $160K.
Ian Ugarte (00:13:35): I look at those there, cause there’s those on your way down the hill from Mooloolabah to Alex on the left, is those brown, that’s that brown building? It wasn’t one of those. Was it?
Keith Grisman (00:13:42): Ah, yeah, it was pretty much it was…
Ian Ugarte (00:13:44): The ones on the angles?
Keith Grisman (00:13:45): But it’s about three down from that building was called Tiwari. So I used to call it not -a.
Ian Ugarte (00:13:50): Like I look at those little units, bottom floor, grassed area, straight across the road from the beach and I go…
Keith Grisman (00:13:56): 350K, 400K.
Ian Ugarte (00:13:58): And I’d, I’d be happy to have an office there. It’d be worth spending 400K just to sit across the road from the beach.
Keith Grisman (00:14:04): It’s just the body corps, the false level of government of Australia.
Ian Ugarte (00:14:10): And control because you know, Airbnb would be awesome there, but I’m sure they control that as well. So you’re now reasonably young, decent portfolio and any of your friends got properties at this stage?
Keith Grisman (00:14:20): Not really. No. No. I tried
Ian Ugarte (00:14:23): Similar to me, you know, start to build this portfolio around you at a very young age and you look at all your friends and they’re all still at uni or still, or still traveling or still pissing it up every weekend. And you guys, what are you doing?
Keith Grisman (00:14:37): I think it’s the same, no matter what the age is. I mean, I’m sure you’ve had lots of people say, Hey, give me some property advice. How do I get started? And I must have had, I don’t know, 500 of those conversations and let less than wouldn’t even be 10%. It would be 2% actually do anything. And you know, it’d be one of those things that I’d like to try and work out before I die, why it Is, is it, is it for you? Cause there’s definitely elements of here. Is it laziness? Is it procrastination anyway? That’s, everyone’s different, right?
Ian Ugarte (00:15:04): So you start building start building a portfolio. You’re young. You drive off. So what are you doing when do you become full time?
Keith Grisman (00:15:17): Um so in my twenties, after I got to the Cunshine coast or how I got to the Sunshine Coast in terms of living here there was a little, I remember in those classifieds, does everyone know what classifieds are on the show?
Ian Ugarte (00:15:30): I’m sure Darren can bring up? And so a job. So you put an ad in?
Keith Grisman (00:15:36): No, no. I read a job ad. I don’t remember anything that it said …
Ian Ugarte (00:15:41): Was that next to the massage erotic, massage, classified.
Keith Grisman (00:15:43): Yeah. It said Sunshine Coast and property. So I’m like, alright, I’ll I’ll go and interview for it. And I won’t bore you with the details, but
Ian Ugarte (00:15:51): That’s what classifieds used to look like. Good old days.
Keith Grisman (00:15:54): It was one of those. It wasn’t the General Manager. One of our probably did apply for that. It’s something with a mortgage student loans. I was probably reading that it’s gone. So I remember, so I won’t bore you with the details, but I got the job, and I remember driving up the first day it was at the building is still there next to the Horton Park, golf club, the old Horton Park Golf Club’s not there anymore. And I parked in the car park. And I remember getting out of the car, grabbing in my briefcase, putting a jacket on. I remember thinking to myself, I’ve got no freaking idea what this job is, but they’re all. And he was in properties. So three directors of a commercial property business, and they taught me commercial agency.
Ian Ugarte (00:16:35): And that’s a good skillset to have under your belt.
Keith Grisman (00:16:37): Completely, completely lucky three lovely guys. Unfortunately they ended up coming up two ate one, the other one ate the other one, but they taught me commercial property. And as silly as it sounds, I mean, I’d been a policeman, you know, I run a different, like, you know, as I mentioned, run a BNB for a while down in Tassie and, bits and pieces, but I didn’t really even think that I didn’t even know that commercial property was a class. I didn’t know anything about it. I didn’t even think about the fact that it was a shop I was going to. So they taught me that and what they also used to do was small scale development. So they would Sunshine Coast growing, they would get inquiries where someone would want a red shed with a green door and it didn’t exist. So then they would go and find a block of land and then they would design it and get it built.
Ian Ugarte (00:17:19): In commercial, in commercial?
Keith Grisman (00:17:20): So one of those directors was a builder and two of them were, I guess, two of the best commercial agents at the time. This is, this is early to mid nineties. And so, but, but they taught me, I watched. And about four years later, I best described, bought the last partner out.
Ian Ugarte (00:17:42): You bought them, out?
Keith Grisman (00:17:43): Yeah. Well, it was a bit complicated. Sure.
Ian Ugarte (00:17:46): You slept with his wife?
Keith Grisman (00:17:47): Uh and that was probably no, anyway, let’s just say…
Ian Ugarte (00:17:50): Slept with him. I got it cheaper.
Keith Grisman (00:17:53): Well, I didn’t think of that. No. He had a little bit of drama, so there was me and another guy who were friends with to this day. He’s still a commercial agent on the coast. We basically said to him, okay, we think it’s time that you pulled up stumps and we’ll take it from here. We did that almost instantly. We merged it with another guy who was out of the city who did big transactions typically. Yep. And we became the, I guess the, the busiest the best and whatever you want to call it, a commercial agency in town.
Ian Ugarte (00:18:24): So you’re selling and also leasing agents as well.
Keith Grisman (00:18:28): Yeah Yeah. So David and I, we did the day to day what we call brokerage and then Jerry would do a kind of the big ticket stuff. And that business is now the Saville’s business on the Sunshine Coast. Yeah.
Ian Ugarte (00:18:38): Yeah. So you sold that eventually?
Keith Grisman (00:18:40): Yeah. Yeah. What happened was, it was private and then Saville’s Australia, Saville’s International took it over after I’d left. But then while I was there, I was, you know, doing value add in the same way that the three guys that taught me. So I get a tenant requirement. So lots of super cheap autos on the coast, lots of subways, you know, a few McDonald’s all those sorts of things. So, so when the building didn’t exist, I mean even industrial stuff, we did a couple of Brambles type banks and bits and pieces in industrial state. So I did take drawing at school. So I just knew that you could draw stuff that didn’t exist. Dad built a couple of houses, you know, so I just kind of inherently understood it.
Ian Ugarte (00:19:20): Council a little bit easier to work with?
Keith Grisman (00:19:22): Yeah. So design and construct. Yeah, they were, I mean really there was no planning then it was literally just BA type process. And it wasn’t until Integrative Planning Act came in in about 2000, that things started to really get complicated. So I was just lucky enough that I was in a few of the right places. I guess I was lucky enough that I was just born with an observant mind and, and you know, it was in the right place at the right time watching a few people. So.
Ian Ugarte (00:19:45): I had the Supercheap Auto founder in one of my events actually.
Keith Grisman (00:19:48): Was that Reg?
Ian Ugarte (00:19:48): Yeah Reg Rogan, he’s a lovely guy. Yeah. And started selling battery charges out of a garage in an old service station. Yeah. Interesting story. And I saw him speak once and like really humble. Won’t, good old Reg, won’t. He won’t fly other than economy, class refuses, fly business, shitty old car. And when, before they did the IPO, good old Reg, before they did the IPO, he they just refused to, he refused to open up another Super Cheap Auto unless he owned the land and, and built the building. And so they’ve said, look, Reg, you want to grow you an IPO, you’re going to have to, you’re going to have to start renting because you don’t want to do it. So, but the board convinced him that that’s the way they went and look at him now. I mean, and then they go and sponsor Bathurst. Yeah, look, that’s a perfect. He actually said, people think I own the Bathurst track. Lucky. Yes, no, but he’s done all those commercials along the Lake, near the hospital. So all those commercial buildings and he owns the carpark as well. I think he did $140 million worth of profit last year in property. I actually asked him the question, you know what, there’s some really nice buildings, there like the carpark doesn’t look like a carpark. I said your design, I guess I don’t be stupid. I just get the right people in the right places that know more than I do to do what I have to do. So, so yeah. Okay. So now you get to the point where you were, what year are you at when you,
Keith Grisman (00:21:17): Oh, so I’m a commercial agent through the back end of my twenties. And then I guess at 30 I had 30 properties. So I kind of went from four, let’s call it 25 and you know, the effect of compounding, we hear it all the time as the eighth wonder of the world and, and, you know, compound can happen in many ways in learning and effort, all sorts of things. So for me in property and, and also what had happened is the GST and the GFC, you know, that periodical of between the GS, you know, in the early two thousands, you know, that was a pretty interesting time. So I had properties double and double again. So but at 30 I started a property management business, which was really simple. Our property manager was shirking on periodics, you know, properties were deteriorating. And at that stage, I think management fees per property are about a thousand bucks. I probably manage his wages about thousand bucks. So 30 properties, then I do the math and I went, Oh, I’ll just start one myself. Yeah. And you know, that, that business,
Ian Ugarte (00:22:16): So that business, that business looked after your properties and then you just added, added other properties.
Keith Grisman (00:22:20): Yeah. Friends and friends of friends and, you know, kind of grew organically from there. Yeah. Yeah.
Ian Ugarte (00:22:25): So you then go in and you hit the JFC. How do you go through there?
Keith Grisman (00:22:31): Shit house. Yeah. there’s a little period that’s worth mentioning before that. And that is that at 2000, roughly I jumped from commercial agency into kind of full time development. So because we used to do a bit of design and construct in the agency, we became pretty popular, whereas, you know, lots of builders will say well, can you bring us the next tenant? Can you bring us to the next deal? So I called it doing agency on a platter. And what we found out is that you get paid to sell the land for whoever owned it. You get paid for the tenant introduction normally they’re a bigger upfront fee. And then you get paid to sell the building at the end. Cause normally the builder or developer wants to get the capital out to go to the next one. And then if we’re lucky, we’d manage it. So we get paid three to four times. I don’t want a transaction. And of course, builders and developers would want to be our friends. So,uI worked with a couple and there was one client in particular who we had a really good relationship with. So long story short, I’d had enough of agency one day and, and,uwent and joined them. And, and, you know, together, we had a pretty lucky ride, like after the GST was introduced. And from 2000 to 2006, I think we went from, I don’t know, from memory $40 or $50 million worth of work, to over a billion dollars worth the work. And probably the key measure of staff, you know, from eight, h think I was eight onboard, 130, five, six odd years later. So.
Ian Ugarte (00:23:50): A pretty big business.
Keith Grisman (00:23:52): Yeah, it was. Yeah. And based here on the Sunshine Coast, so, you know, perfect place to live. I got to 33 and and that was a pretty all-consuming role was development director. And, you know, there was a lot to do big hours and it was hard to get some life balance. So I opted out and retired. And at that stage I probably had, I don’t know, 50 odd properties. So I just continued to leap frog the equity and always kind of kept an eye on, you know, all the LVR’s and cashflow
Ian Ugarte (00:24:22): LVR’s, we’re sitting on those 50 properties.
Keith Grisman (00:24:24): Well, pre GFC, my LVRs were probably about 55, 60%. So, you know, there’s plenty of criticism to be thrown around for over gearing and going too hard. And, you know, I’ll cop that, but the reality is the LVR was, was actually pretty conservative,
Ian Ugarte (00:24:38): But even like a 50, 55, that’s a low LVR for, you know, for an investor that’s in their early periods of life. Yes. And then they’re in their accumulation phase and you sort of basically what you’re saying is that you’d accumulated and you’re quite happy where you were backed out of the business.
Keith Grisman (00:24:53): Yeah. I’ve got, got to a point where I felt that, that I had enough to do in my own world, as well as, as I say, you know, life balance was hard. I was 12 hour days, six days a week. So yeah. I married, my first marriage was about that same time. So 2001, I think it was something like that 2002.
Ian Ugarte (00:25:13): Kids out of that?
Keith Grisman (00:25:15): Yes. But later on, right.
Ian Ugarte (00:25:16): Yeah. And so significant business, you back out, low LVR, you’re doing development when the GFC hit.
Keith Grisman (00:25:24): So yeah, but again, probably more value adds. I mean, I, you know, again, most people would call them developments, but a slight nuance to that, like when I was working in the development business, that was hardcore development in the sense that we’d find a site, we’d build it ourselves, et cetera. Whereas at 33, when I retired, I was kind of looking for things that, you know, particularly like renovating and adding value and those sorts of things.
Ian Ugarte (00:25:45): So you’re not talking majors like I’m so in the business where you’re doing land subdivisions at all.
Keith Grisman (00:25:51): Yeah. We did land subdivisions in terms of things that people would know the Maroochydore the original CBD. So Ocean St to Fourth Avenue, we did most of the high rises there. So Aroura, Platinum One, we did those buildings, amalgamated the big top site to have happened what’s there now. Out at Chancellor Park where the Woolworths is, there’s the Tab and.
Ian Ugarte (00:26:10): Were these for clients or for your own company?
Keith Grisman (00:26:13): No, we would bring investors in um and a, and then we would, we would share them and sell them.
Ian Ugarte (00:26:18): And so, but outside of that, on your own, and I think you’re much like me, I’d much rather do 20 duplexes than a 40 of subdivision.
Keith Grisman (00:26:26): Yeah. Graham Gina said it to me beautifully. Once he said, you know, people look at us with the same. At that time, we’re both doing high-rises various bits and pieces and he go, you know, you get, I suppose, some attention and some fame from the advertising that goes along. And then I sort of look for that, but then you sell them down. So, you know, M-1, for example, we sold 70 built 70 units out of 76, in four hours in one night. And then you shit yourself for 18 months that they’re all going to settle. There’s a huge amount of risk in those projects. And the guys that make the money there, they provide lots of infrastructure spending and and you know, the, the people that undertake those developments, take lots of risk and they deserve all the profits they get.
Ian Ugarte (00:27:06): Yeah. Because it’s not only just the contract going through, it’s also finishing under budget without any extras. Cause you know, you get one little missed detail in a scope somewhere. I remember when I was going through, TAFE to become a plumber. One of the guys jobs, he was a mature guy. He would work. He worked for one plumbing company and his job was to go around and just find the extras. And there was a project there where it might’ve been an $800,000 contract and he found a million dollars of extras on top of the 800,000. You just go, yeah,
Keith Grisman (00:27:37): Good friend of mine, Don Moffitt that you should meet. Don did a joint venture with Kerry Packer down in Caloundra on Gemini Towers and got to the end of the project. And where’s the money for the ovens go, looking through the scope, the quantity surveyor had missed ovens. How many? Well, there was 300. I think it was a big project. This is in the eighties. So yeah, it can, it can happen easy. I mean, look, unfortunately, there’s going to be lots of people in those shoes right now. You know, the market has turned on what no one really would have expected and all of a sudden, some great decisions, some great properties and great projects, some good financing, all of a sudden we’ll turn the ship
Ian Ugarte (00:28:19): This has given you experience now for what happened back then. So what did happen when the GFC hit?
Keith Grisman (00:28:24): Largely speaking the banks withdrew a credit on mass and and you know, I took it personally for a long time because the effects are personal, but you know,
Ian Ugarte (00:28:33): It’s not just you, Branson as well.
Keith Grisman (00:28:35): Yeah. He didn’t call me to tell me what happened to him, but.
Ian Ugarte (00:28:38): I was about talking to him the other day,
Keith Grisman (00:28:41): No name dropping. But yeah. I mean, I had one of the big four call me and say, Oh, you know that facility a million dollar facility or we’re not going to extend it. I go, okay. And all the banks have done that leading up,
Ian Ugarte (00:28:54): Did you have all your lending with one bank or you had multiple?
Keith Grisman (00:28:57): No no Spread aroundSo you were smart to spread. Yup. I was, I was smart to spread, but there’s some downsides of that too. And they said, Oh, well, we’re not going to extend that facility. I’m like, Oh, okay. Cause other banks had done that like Suncorp for example were in commercial finance.
Ian Ugarte (00:29:10): Well Suncorp almost sent a couple of developers under.
Keith Grisman (00:29:12): Yeah, well they exited and they rang me a year before this roughly and said, we’re exiting. And okay. And they, and I said, well, what are we going to do? Free finance? How long ago? A year, but probably longer if you need, we refinanced out to someone else in six months. So when this call came through, I was expecting something similar. And they said, no, no, we’ll be at your office nine o’clock in the morning for a check. I’m like, Oh, just get the million dollar check out of the drawer. Anyway. That’s kind of the best way to describe that time. It was certainly nothing that anyone had expected.
Ian Ugarte (00:29:41): And so, did I call them in?
Keith Grisman (00:29:43): Yeah,
Ian Ugarte (00:29:44): So what, did you have to sell?
Keith Grisman (00:29:45): Sorry?
Ian Ugarte (00:29:46): Did you have to sell.
Keith Grisman (00:29:46): Yeah. Well I did a systematic sell down, you know, like the best way to describe it is that I spent three or four years trying to save the house. I want to say the house. I don’t mean literally the home house. I mean everything. So, you know, the house of cards, analogy is a pretty good one, but there was fires just going off everywhere. And at the time I didn’t necessarily know exactly why. And as I say, it felt very personal, but ultimately banks were ruining our balance sheets to fix theirs. And you know, it’s only since doing lots of reading that I know that the European credit swap markets ran out of money, that European markets had all their money in the States and we get our money from there and our banks turned up and there was no money. And then that filtered down.
Ian Ugarte (00:30:31): And so that, that’s another danger that can happen right now. Absolutely. I worry about paying back 200 trillion.
Keith Grisman (00:30:39): Yeah.
Ian Ugarte (00:30:41): Yeah. So, so you managed to survive
Keith Grisman (00:30:46): Physically.
Ian Ugarte (00:30:47): Yeah. So I presume that one of those moments that surfing saved your life was during that time?
Keith Grisman (00:30:54): Yeah. So the GFC, I guess for me, it started in ’07. So if I go back to the retirement 33 thing, it was 2006 and I had a blissful six months, I was surfing every day, I was playing with my properties in the afternoon, I was in heaven and then I watched the U.S market meltdown. And and the funny thing is when you look back at it, you know, that was several years before the real GFC happened in Australia. And so for me, I realized then, well, I thought I realized that that we’re in some trouble and we needed to start. So I started taking steps then.
Ian Ugarte (00:31:27): So you saw it before it hit?
Keith Grisman (00:31:29): Well, I mean, I was watching CNBC, so I don’t know that I saw it before. It wasn’t like I forecast it. I was just like, I think this is going to cause us a great deal of drama. So well before that phone call from the big four saying, we’ll have our check back. I was taking massive action beforehand and selling or largely selling, trying to reduce debt and fix it and bits and pieces. And, and the biggest issue was the commercial debt that I carried. So, so when I say to people now that if I’d have just stuck to residential, which up til let’s say 30 or 35 properties was resi, even though I was a commercial agent, I didn’t want to compete with my clients. So that was one reason I stayed out. But also you could gear up easier to keep going on resi than you could on commercial. So, but if I would’ve stayed in resi up till GFC, I’d have been G.F.What, I don’t know what you’re talking about, but the commercial debt was the debt that got called in. And I get people ring often for advice about buying properties. And I say to them, do you know what a commercial line contract actually is effectively? It’s, they’ll, I’ll get the money back anytime they want. No, it’s not. My lawyer says this. And I go, well, all they have to do is order a reevaluation or do an income appraisal. And if they’re changed, they can call you in. And yep they’ll run you through the bad boys club in the bank and the da. But ultimately if they want their money back on a commercial contract, they getting it back.
Ian Ugarte (00:32:46): No, we don’t. We have commercial property, but majority of it, we do have some standalone commercials, but they’re all being converted to resi-mercial, and any other stuff we do have resi-mercial as well. So there’s a residential component, but still a commercial loan. So there’s exposure there, whichever way you look at it. And you know, I go out there, there’s a whole bunch of property educators going commercial, go commercial. It’s just ready to go. And, and I, I, other than SDA and NDIS, the highest risk property that I would always see is commercial. I think that’s been trumped by SDA and NDIS in the short term, but I look at commercial go just like high, higher deposits. So lower LVRs, tenants that are there for three by three by three. But their buys like at the end of two and a half years, you know, they renew two years, 11 months or whatever it is they say, now we’re out, you’ve got to, you know, and they talk about the, because the outgoings are paid and all of this sort of stuff, it’s positive cash flow, but what happens when there’s no tenant? Well, I don’t have a lineup of tenants ready to move into a purpose-built building.
Keith Grisman (00:33:50): Yeah. Well, having been a commercial agent for quite some time, I know what vacancy looks like. I know how to go about filling it and I know how you want to try and fill it and you can’t, but yeah. I mean, look, most commercial property is not national tenants. Most of it is let’s call it the Mom and Dad tenants or variations, you know, through that spectrum. And yeah, I mean, look, something can happen in their lives or someone in their family’s life and all of a sudden that, so yeah, look, it’s not, so we’re not currently invested in any property, a commercial property, sorry. And going forward, it would take either complete cash purchase or as close as that, it doesn’t matter for me to go back to commercial property.
Ian Ugarte (00:34:32): Well, we told talking about this the other day, you know, it’s getting to the point where you sorta self-fund yourself for everything and the more you can sell fund, the better off you are. Absolutely. And if anything, very, very low LVR. Yeah.
Keith Grisman (00:34:43): And then that comes with tricks, you know, because, you know, we get taught other people’s money leveraging and those sorts of things. So finding that balance and, and for me now that that’s, you know, residential provides less of a risk return scenario then than some of the other options, is it the perfect one is the right one. Look for me, it’s what makes the most sense. So
Ian Ugarte (00:35:04): Because, you know, your cost of living, your cost of living has to be X amount. And so why go hard if you know that you can sustain that for the rest of your life at a decent level of living. So you managed to scrape through at what point in time. So your portfolio goes down to saving the house?
Keith Grisman (00:35:19): No. Well, so first of all, to correct you I didn’t survive. No, no, I was destroyed. So I guess the, the best way to describe it is that I fought and I fought and I fought and and you know, in the end I lost the battle.
Ian Ugarte (00:35:32): In hindsight, would you afford it? Let it go on?
Keith Grisman (00:35:35): No, I don’t think so. Look, I, I try to live by an adage and not die wondering, and you know, some things you’ve got to say no to of course, but w would I do things differently? Yes. But I mean, that’s easy to say in hindsight and reflection. Right. But no, the, the, the one thing I often think about is at some point, should I have just thrown it backpack on and headed off and came back after meltdown? And that’s pretty compelling, right? Like the idea of that, but, you know, the practical reality is that, I mean, for a start I was married and I had business partners in some of these properties. So it wasn’t always just about me. You know, I had some staff in some of our businesses and, you know, then fast forward to 2010 and I had a child. So the backpack was pretty appealing and the idea of it was good. And so I had to have some people who are in strife and I, I try and help them analyze where they’re at. And for some of them, the young enough, I say, you know what?
Ian Ugarte (00:36:30): Grab a backpack . See you soon. Exactly. You’ve done quite a few recently, quite a few you’re evaluating again. What, what year was the low point? Where when I say low point, what was the, what was the point of needing to crawl back out again?
Keith Grisman (00:36:46): Well, I call it the lost decade, but in reality it was probably five years. So look, I know you’ve written a book I haven’t, but if I have a title of a book it’s called Epic Failure, because in 2010, I my son came along. That’s not the failure part, but what happened after that was so between 2010 and 2015 insolvency, bankruptcy, divorce, family court, and, and my ex-wife and I get along great. And we, we co-parent our child.
Ian Ugarte (00:37:19): So divorce, the insolvency added to the divorce, or was it going to happen anyway?
Keith Grisman (00:37:25): I don’t think insolvency and bankruptcy ever helped divorce, but look, w I think we both can see now we were just mismatched. And ultimately the reason that we split was that it was best for our son to live in two happy households, rather than one with unhappy people. So also during that phase, both my parents died multiple cancer in the family. So, you know, it was a pretty horrendous time. And and frankly there was a time that I’m not proud of, but nonetheless it’s reality and, you know, I attempted suicide. So it was, it was a horrible, horrible five years. So that the epic failure part isn’t about celebrating Epic failure. It’s about for me, like, as I say, if there’s a book in me down the track, it’s about how things can be completely shit, and then you can find a way, and ultimately it can come back together.
Ian Ugarte (00:38:12): Yeah. I mean, there’s always that ability to find gratitude. In some point, a year ago, we did that recording about thinking positive, you know, you, and I know a woman that came from there just think positive, fucking fuck, what you talking about? You know, it’s, it takes it to say think positive, but it’s a very different thing. Went down in a hole. And I think people lack empathy for that point in time for some other people.
Keith Grisman (00:38:35): Yeah. There’s a, there’s a great video that I watched. I don’t know, 500 times already might be able to find it it’s called ‘inch by inch’. And it’s a clip out of an opera Chino film called Any Given Sunday. And there’d be some days where I literally just couldn’t drag myself out of bed and I watched that clip it, don’t put it on, I’ll start crying. But but that’s where I was talking in the locker room. It’s there is in the locker room and he talks about how he’s a middle aged man, and he’s basically buggered everything up and, and so, you know, sometimes help comes from strange places. Right.
Ian Ugarte (00:39:08): So, absolutely. Yeah, that’s the one there where, and I’ve seen that quite a number of times myself as well, you know, and just give that little lever, extra inch.
Keith Grisman (00:39:17): Very, very powerful, I think, but more, more so powerful message. So when people do ring and they’re in a bit of strife, I must, if I could sell that clip,
Ian Ugarte (00:39:29): There’s another three properties in it. Alright. So you get to 2015, so, so attempted suicide. Yep. Yep. And so unsuccessful. And so this might be a really harsh question and I’ve been through that process myself unsuccessful because you want it to be unsuccessful?
Keith Grisman (00:39:47): Yeah. It’s funny. So describe or funny is not the word, but,
Ian Ugarte (00:39:52): Well, I, I, I can’t describe it.
Keith Grisman (00:39:54): Yeah. look, I’m more than happy to talk about it because I think that it, you know, well, I’ll talk about it cause hopefully it’ll help others, but I didn’t set about to do it. So this will sound really odd, but it was effectively an accident, but it was a genuine attempt. Now, why did that happen? The best way I can think to describe it is I just needed out of the pain. The pain was just so intense. And, and some of those things that are described hadn’t happened yet, but you know, the, the part that really shits me about the fact that I did that is that I had a son. So he was less than two.
Ian Ugarte (00:40:32): And that was what that’s,
Keith Grisman (00:40:33): What the fuck?
Ian Ugarte (00:40:34): That’s the selfishness part of it. And to add, to add to my situation, I was going to do it in a way where it left so many unanswered questions. And I look back now and I go, Oh man, that would have been horrendous for the people around me. The people, you know, as much pain as I was in, I look back now and I think how much pain that would have inflicted to other people and interesting as a, there’s a security guard that on the Golden Gate Bridge, and he had talked down hundreds of people and he said that he’d lost. I think he’d lost 11 over a span of 15 years or something that jumped three of them survived. And the three, he went and visited in the hospital and he asked all three of them, once they were better, would you have done it again? And all three of them said, exactly the same thing. The second I stepped off, I knew it was the wrong thing to do. Like how, like what a fucked way to find out, thankfully they survived. But, and people just don’t understand how you can go from here to there very quickly and without thinking, cause there’s no thinking that’s happening.
Keith Grisman (00:41:41): Yeah. The first day I was a policeman, I pulled the jumper out of the river. And, and I thought about that. I, I wondered about, you know, and, and, you know, as a young pup, then I was 18 years old, you know, first day of being a Culburra and, and, and probably that should have had a hell of a lot more effect on it, on, on me than it did. But you know, when you’re outside of it, even if you’ve been there, I think once you’ve been there, you can understand it very, very differently. And I’ll say that about financial stress, I’ll say that about divorce. I’ll say that about almost any significantly negative experience that you might’ve got close, but you can’t relate to someone who’s actually been through it. And so I sadly always prick an ear, whenever I hear about, you know, a suicide or attempted suicide, because I’m always seeking to try and think about what they were thinking about, if that makes sense.
Keith Grisman (00:42:33): And, and, you know, I don’t think I’ve ever heard, and I’m sure it’s happened countless times, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone kind of accidentally trying to commit suicide, but that’s the best way that I can think to describe how it happened. I didn’t set about to do it, but I definitely did it. I have the scars to prove it, both medical and mental and physical. So for people to kind of judge others about being selfish or, or various bits and pieces, there’s so much going on. And, and for me, there was just an immense amount of pain that I worked, my frigging but off to try and solve and, and I just couldn’t solve it. And I kinda got to, I think, what is almost a bit of the key, which is in life, we attribute … I don’t think we all attribute it enough to control. So our ability to control our day, our ability to control the little things like the shirt we wear or whatever the hell it is. So, you know, one of the things now in my goals and my practice of gratitude is that I appreciate that. I now have control over my life.
Ian Ugarte (00:43:35): What if you don’t have that control?
Keith Grisman (00:43:36): Yeah. You find it. Yeah. I mean, one of the things that are practiced during that, and, you know, the practice starts up unconsciously, it starts because you do something, it feels a bit better than it than, you know, trying to find I’ve always been quite analytical. So I worked hard at finding ways to make things better, to get out of the drama, all that sort of stuff. And so practicing gratitudes and obvious one, we had a couple of specific, specific. I get it out, eventually things that we used to do, it’s, you know, finding a way. Right.
Ian Ugarte (00:44:06): So when was that? What year?
Keith Grisman (00:44:08): That was 2011.
Ian Ugarte (00:44:12): So when’s the revival, as far as, you know, insolvency happens through to 2015
Keith Grisman (00:44:19): Insolvency was 11 to 14. Right.
Ian Ugarte (00:44:22): And then what do you do? What’s your first move?
Keith Grisman (00:44:25): During that time? I had a couple of, I had a couple of business partners steal from me and it’s complicated to explain, but basically if I were in charge of things that they owned and I owned and they saw it as all theirs, so I had a bit of tidying up to do so. What was next, I guess, during that three years, lots of self analysis. What are you going to do? As you probably know, I have a collection of surf boards. People go, or when did this start? And I go, well, I call it started collecting surf boards and I couldn’t collect property. So kept me distracted. That’s fair enough. And you know, when you find a surfboard for 50 bucks in Gumtree, it’s not an expensive habit.
Ian Ugarte (00:45:08): So you’re working as well at, I was working. So I was largely speaking back in commercial agency.
Keith Grisman (00:45:15): So, and that started when I had some commercial property that was empty as the GFC was kind of gearing up, kind of felt then a bit like it does now, hard to find a tenant, empty space. And we had a property management business that managed primarily residential, but also some commercial. And the thought process was to turn back on the commercial agency part to get some income to find, find myself some tenants.
Ian Ugarte (00:45:38): Even though there was less tenants around, you had obviously a bulk load of supply. Yes. But you just needed the demand. So you specialized in finding the demand.
Keith Grisman (00:45:49): Yeah. Well, a lot of the time commercial tenants, I mean, even if they’re moving from where they are to a new premises, it’s a problem solving scenario. So what is it that they need? Can you provide it, can you find a middle ground? So, so yeah, it did that did that for a while, I guess, kind of started to rebuild so to speak.
Ian Ugarte (00:46:09): So first property back in, as far as ownership,
Keith Grisman (00:46:14): Block of land, build a duplex
Ian Ugarte (00:46:17): So that was a straight out purchase, it was, it was any deal done in there?
Keith Grisman (00:46:21): No, not really. I mean, I think when, when, when we could kind of first re-met, you know, a year or so ago, you said, Oh, you’re the duplex guy. And the reason for the duplexes is largely it’s residential. So it’s a much easier form of debt that will leverage that than some of the alternatives. And also, you know, if I go back to that period in my twenties, most of those first 30 houses of mine, I built them and not as a builder to build them, but as a project manager built them, and my philosophy was always the value add being one plus one equals 2.2. So I just kind of went back to that. And so a duplex was a good way of, you can say halving your land cost, but as you know, in reality, you kind of get two blocks for the price of one. Now it’s not exactly that on a metric …
Ian Ugarte (00:47:09): But it’s still pretty close. Exactly. Yeah. And I mean, it’s a, it’s the perfect strategy we’ve been doing that since day dot almost you know because people are now people are cottoning onto it. The problem is that people cotton onto it via a marketer and they, they go and sell 400 of them in Toowoomba and all of a sudden they’re less at the back end of it all. So
Keith Grisman (00:47:30): With no analysis on on cost price and analysis on tenant market rental incomes, rent guarantees.
Ian Ugarte (00:47:36): No analysis of the fact that Clyde Berghoffer owns half of Toowoomba and you know, that sort of stuff. Like I look at the here and you’ve heard me talk about it before, you know, you fly in on an airplane and you can see hundreds and hundreds of acres of land ready to be chopped up. Like, are you really going to get any value out of that you know?
Keith Grisman (00:47:51): Yeah, I think what is the worst part about that to me is kind of what the state government sought to clamp out in the early 2000’s which is the white shoe brigade. So, you know, you’ve got accountants and financial advisors or people pretending to be financial advisors taking $30 to $50,000 commissions. I mean, anyone who buys that stock, isn’t gonna see any growth for five to 10 years because it’s been sucked out by the people who pretended to be giving them advice. It’s a disgrace.
Ian Ugarte (00:48:22): That whole hospital hospital precinct, what they’re selling out there. It’s just bizarre, bizarre stuff like it. I know that the sunshine coast took them 10 years to get back to the price they paid 10 years earlier. Perth. Now you can buy for the same price that you bought in 2004. Yeah. Let’s pull that up on a satellite. Let’s have a satellite view of this because it’s absolutely ridiculous. Like you look at the hospital precinct, so they’re selling all that stuff around it, but then you go West and, you know, pull at West Aaron, like have a look at all the land. That’s like, that’s just ready to be built on it. Like how, how was it when I, you know, I know when you buy a property, the land value goes up, not the actual building. The building goes down in value. The land value goes up. So if you’ve got an abundance of land like that, ready to be built on the chances of that going up in value in the next 10 years is nothing. That’s why you want to be in densely populated areas.
Keith Grisman (00:49:19): Yeah. Look, we’re probably slightly differ on some of that, but I think the key point is, is that you, like, if it was easy, everyone would do it. And for people who are buying house and land packages that you know, or I say in a bigger estate, you want to be first in or last in, because first in there trying to get presales to fund the project, to get sales, to get popularity, dah, dah, dah, then get exactly right. I mean, all the profit for developers in the last bit, you go and make an offer on that last unit that’s block of land or whatever it is, that’s the deal. And I think that, you know, that you’re right. There’s plenty of land. Unfortunately our bureaucratic planning system sees that, that, that even if we waved a magic wand, it would be forever. See a lot of that developed and there’s bits that come, blah, blah, blah. But, but certainly the cookie cutter approach to property investing or, you know, that unfortunately negative gearing has become a negative term, but there’s still ways that that can work. Okay. But it’s not buying off a marketee who’s sucking 50 grand out of a deal. That’s for sure. Yeah. Yeah.
Ian Ugarte (00:50:19): So now you’ve got to quite a few, I’ve been watching quite a few Facebook posts go up there now doing, adding value, doing bits and pieces, taking those 1960s, those beautiful ornate wallpaper, ceilings and floors and changing them around. Yep. I mean, you know, we’re pretty similar in the type of properties that we do. You said at an event we were at together, we did the magic wand and you said if you could wave a magic one, you’d want everyone in the room to know that they’re not broken. Yeah. Did more background than just that sentence.
Keith Grisman (00:50:54): Well, I think, look, I don’t know if it’s, let’s call it the spirit of social media or just the, the spread of message. But you know, and, and some might say it’s the Instagram of, there’s a photo of someone on holidays and they look like they’re having a wonderful time, but you know, that’s an image and there’s, there’s nothing about what they’re thinking at the time. So I just think that we all can well and truly overthink stuff. And I go back to that that period, and, you know, again, the lost decade I call it, particularly that five year period where I was having to practice really hard on gratitude. So in our family, we have one little game that we do every day and it’s three high points. And it started in that dark period of my life, where before I went to bed at night so that I could get to sleep, I had to think about something that was good out of the day. And if you’ve had the shittiest, I don’t tell me you can’t come up with three things. And in our house, actually, if you grumble and we do, then you have to do four. Like that’s the punishment. So you be careful not to grumble first off. Yeah. And, and that three thing, couldn’t be having a chat with a friend. It could be for me, if I go for a surf dead set, I need an extra high point every day because surfing is always one for me. And even in dark days, it can be, you know, there’s a billion humans that have lived and we’re still here. We were born in Australia. You know, we were born with a social medical healthcare system in Australia. Like you could just go on and on, but the worst day you’ve had, there is always a bunch of other stuff that is better than other things,
Ian Ugarte (00:52:32): Gary V’s, says you know, you got, if you’ve got nothing to celebrate and be grateful for, then that means you are the 8th billion worst off person in this planet. Cause unless you’re the eighth billionth, you you’re the only one that can complain.
Keith Grisman (00:52:45): And even then that 8 billion is still alive. What about the dead one?
Ian Ugarte (00:52:49): Yeah. And breathing. Yeah, absolutely. You’ve got a, I remember doing some research – I’m the boarding house guy. Right? So doing search of boarding house on the Sunshine Coast, fucking boarding rooms, is that what you call it?
Keith Grisman (00:53:00): Boarding office.
Ian Ugarte (00:53:01): Boarding office, Whay the fuc iss this about? Who’s this? Ah It’s Keith, tell us about that business.
Keith Grisman (00:53:09): So the commercial agency background we managed old school serviced offices at various times through that business and having owned commercial property.
Ian Ugarte (00:53:22): There’s a few boards there. So are you
Keith Grisman (00:53:26): Yeah, that’s me. Yeah.
Ian Ugarte (00:53:28): Well, you’re running marathons then or something?
Keith Grisman (00:53:30): Was I looking a bit skinnier then?
Ian Ugarte (00:53:32): Were you Vegetarian vegan or something?
Keith Grisman (00:53:33): That’s probably more of that now than then. It’s probably just a good angle.
Ian Ugarte (00:53:37): I finished last night. We’re done. I can’t do it anymore. Fair enough. I could just too tired. Not getting enough nutrients.
Keith Grisman (00:53:44): We call it Flexitarian. Yeah. So what that means is if we go out, we’ll have some meat because they don’t make good vegetarian whereas my wife kills it at home. Like honestly, the vegetarian meals.
Ian Ugarte (00:53:55): Oh, absolute difference. But I was vegan. I just, wasn’t getting nutrients, tried different ways to find done all the research and everything. I just could just couldn’t get it. Right.
Keith Grisman (00:54:05): And the amount of energy or expelling, particularly when you’re running it’s a delicate balance.
Ian Ugarte (00:54:11): I ran three marathons as a vegan, you know, and it’s doable.
Keith Grisman (00:54:14): You might have beaten Joel, if you had some meat.
Ian Ugarte (00:54:16): Not a chance. He runs way too quick. So yeah. So you’ve set these offices up and I go good?
Keith Grisman (00:54:23): Yeah. So my wife um before we met, she had a business called Plush Photography. She was the biggest regional photographer in the country, won a Telstra National Business Of the Year Award, give her a little plug, and amazing human. UuI’m madly in love with her. And,ushe needed a new office premises. So commercial agency hat, I said, I’ll find you something. We found something that was,uway too big. And the owner, lovely man, was Yugoslav. He said, I not spend any money. And I said, what about that foyer? He goes, I not spend any money. Long story short, we kind of do with it, take the whole spice. And Mel said, well, why don’t you just put the board collection, which was pretty modest at the time. I want you to put the board collection out of the back and we’ll just use it as storage and then having our own commercial property. And I managed them before I had a few mates that were looking for offices. So long story short, I said, I’ll figure out a section down there that turned into 20 suites at Mooloolaba right. There was a bit like, you know, do half the fit out, do the whole fit out, you know, the math you’ve done before. And as a good friend of mine, who’s in the surf board side of things. He said, Oh, it’s a good storage solution. So yeah, the boards are the decoration and or in the common spaces. And then in behind, there are 20 small suites about the size of, you know, standard standard kind of office three, one, three, three by four.
Ian Ugarte (00:55:42): And so you rent them on hourly, weekly?
Keith Grisman (00:55:48): No, semi-longterm is the best way to describe it. So, mveryone that’s, there has their own suite. They share the common facilities and most the average stay is, you know, one to three years, but, but we’re kind of designed to be a platform for small or medium business. So they can come in. We don’t tie them up on long term leases. We pay all the electricity, all of the internet, all that sort of stuff. So they literally have one bill from us each month outside of photocopying and, and, you know, they get access to a pretty large office.
Ian Ugarte (00:56:16): Do you operate out of there?
Keith Grisman (00:56:16): Yeah, I’ve got an office in each one. So I kind of drift between,
Ian Ugarte (00:56:19): Cause you’ve still got a residential agency as well.
Keith Grisman (00:56:22): Yeah, we do. Yeah. Yeah.
Ian Ugarte (00:56:24): Where’d you meet Melanie?
Keith Grisman (00:56:25): We met at university doing our Masters. In the, in that
Ian Ugarte (00:56:29): So that’s the only qualification you’ve got?
Keith Grisman (00:56:30): In that five year period. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I suppose you call that a qualification. Yeah. I did a, I did arts arts law.
Ian Ugarte (00:56:39): I said qualification, man. I’ll call you mean getting, put the word arts in there. There’s no qualification in arts.
Keith Grisman (00:56:46): Fair enough.
Ian Ugarte (00:56:48): So Arts Law yeah?
Keith Grisman (00:56:48): Arts Law and a business degree to start with and then yeah. Yeah, the Masters was good. I mean, other than the fact that I got a kick ass wife out of it, It was worth every cent, HECS didn’t charge me extra though.
Ian Ugarte (00:57:00): It’s the same cost. I’m sure it’s not costing you.
Keith Grisman (00:57:06): Quite the opposite. Yes.
Ian Ugarte (00:57:07): So I suppose, what would you, what would you say to someone that’s 20 and someone that’s 45 that has nothing in property?
Ian Ugarte (00:57:19): Well, the 20 might be easy because my daughter’s 20. So when I married Mel, I got a two for one deal, best deal ever. And so I get to play Dad, but with the daughter that I, that I obviously didn’t have beforehand and she was 12 when we met. So she’s at that phase, she’s at Uni doing Business and Law double degree. The one thing that I suppose that I’ve said that might be a little unconventional and different to what I did is I said, don’t rush to responsibility. Now, there’s no doubt that having bought my first house at seven, sorry, seven at 17, and getting started on knowledge as well as started financially. There’s no doubt that that was a huge benefit to me. And yet if you draw a line at my early thirties, when I go and start again, you’d say, well, financial bit didn’t matter. And it’s the knowledge that allowed me to go again easier. Right? So I’m like, you know, enjoy this while you’ve got it while there is not necessarily a husband or a longterm boyfriend while there’s not kids, you know? So, so she did a gap year in the first year and ended up working in the business with us, her choice. Then she did a second gap year and went traveling. And she’s now third year out of high school where she did very well, obviously Mel’s jeans.
Ian Ugarte (00:58:34): Wow. What would I say? You know, she’s got your brains, just not your genes.
Keith Grisman (00:58:39): So she definitely got Mel’s. But a third year and she’s now at uni. So, so yeah, young person, you know, there’s a lot of the time you hear do what’s fun. I think that’s good advice, but like there’s no one liner, right? Like the caveat is, well, it might be fun to lay on the beach, but you know, what’s it doing for him? Yeah. So I think you’ve just got to find the balance between productivity and enjoyment and, and then even if like, you know, I’ve had some shit times and shit jobs in my life, as I’m sure you have, you can choose to enjoy it or find the positive bits and don’t worry, I can be negative. Like I have to work hard to positivity. So I think that’d be the sorts of, and then that’s how we tried to bring Dana up and, and yeah, so far so good.
Ian Ugarte (00:59:26): 45 year old, nothing ?
Keith Grisman (00:59:28): 45 year old starting, Oh my go cliche there. And I’d say that, you know, there’s, as you know, countless, countless examples of people who haven’t got started until then certainly you’re at the peak part of your life in terms of kind of brain power to action. And there’s a few people who might argue that that’s different or demonstrate different, but you know, certainly not too late, like, well, what is it that you want?
Ian Ugarte (00:59:56): You’re only really halfway through your life. Right. And you’re not even halfway through your working life technically. Yeah. So you just go, there’s so much more to gain out of that.
Keith Grisman (01:00:04): Yeah. I’ve got a few friends who are quite successful in what they do, either
Ian Ugarte (01:00:09): Successful in what they do in financially
Keith Grisman (01:00:13): Great point. I was going to say successful as in, they hold a great position, but hate the job or successful financially. And if I use a simple example in property, I’ve got some friends who have, or, or are project managers for big development type businesses. And they’re like, I want to get out and do what you’re doing on Keith. Cause they think that I just surf all day.
Ian Ugarte (01:00:42): Laughs
Keith Grisman (01:00:43): But, I say to them, you know, just be careful what you wish for like, you know, you’re on 200 grand a year. Like, you know,
Ian Ugarte (01:00:51): No, it’s not a lot. No, it’s not a lot of worry to what you do. So you’re on 200 grand a year working for someone else, you know, the problem, like you could lose your job. Yes. But you’re getting, you’re getting your four grand a week.
Ian Ugarte (01:01:04): Yeah. Yeah. So, okay. You want to go out and do something else, then, then make a plan for it. And like, cause I, I said this at the Police Academy back then, I didn’t even know what I was saying. I’ll still say it now that it’s not what you earn, it’s what you do with it. And you know, look, you’re, you’re a huge advocate of this and all credit to you in terms of the, the, the, the ridiculous overspend of a bunch of housing options that people live in. And, you know, we can go to cars, you know, the millionaire next door was a great book that talks about, you know, car spend and where wealth lies and stuff. But if indeed someone wants to go and do something different, then it’s not like I’ve had enough of this job. I’m out tomorrow, walk away from my job and start again, find a transition. So for the 45 year old, it would be, well, what is it that you want to do? Is there economics around it? Can you combine that both what’s the path out and, you know, work your way to it because I know that you can go through five or 10 years of hell and reshape yourself. I know that you can change things. I know that you can, you can make an improvement.
Ian Ugarte (01:02:03): I think the biggest benefit from your situation, my situation is that it doesn’t matter what I’ve said this often. And I don’t want to draw any energy to it. But if I was to lose everything financially, I’d still be successful. I’d still be able to go in the of Australia and clean septic tanks and do use my knowledge from back then. And same like your experience, knowledge that cut, couldn’t take, that they could take the bank could take the million dollars off you and they could do all they want financially, but they couldn’t take what was in your brain away experience.
Keith Grisman (01:02:38): Yup. Totally. That, you know, unless I’m Alyssa, it’s a stroke, they’re not taking the knowledge away. Right. So I totally agree. And, and if things were indeed that bad that you couldn’t take a few of those boxes, then I still go birth lottery. Like, you know, my father was in his early sixties and, and, and he died of cancer. So we nursed him to his passing and he passed at home and it was a beautiful thing, obviously, loss – the fact that he’s passed. But you know, my, I said to Dad, we had lots of time to talk. Whereas unfortunately, with my Mum it was sudden she had a heart attack and she was in her fifties. And I said to Dad, regrets? Changes? You know, we had all those chats and he said, Oh, I’ve had a beautiful life. He said, my only regret is that I’m leaving you and your sister behind. And I feel like I can still help.
Ian Ugarte (01:03:26): Yes. I at his age, he still wants to help you.
Keith Grisman (01:03:29): Yeah. I think that’s something for me, that’s happened in the most recent years that the realisation that your parents aren’t around forever and you know, I’ve, I’ve worked towards having more conversations. You know, I came from a family where you didn’t really tell, you didn’t really say, I love you. And I’ve, you know, I’ve implemented that. And, and, and that’s been reciprocal now. So, so, which was pretty awesome.
Keith Grisman (01:03:54): That might be the, a bit of advice for the 45 year old too. It’s like, you know, like Mel’s parents, they live in Germany, still with us. She talks to them every morning and I love it.
Ian Ugarte (01:04:04): It’s awesome.
Keith Grisman (01:04:05): Like I can’t, and I say to people, you know, talk to you, talk to your parents. If you can ask them all the questions that you might want to ask them and then ask them some more.
Ian Ugarte (01:04:15): Yeah. I love the sunscreen song. I don’t know if you heard this on the Sunscreen Song on a lot, I don’t know, punch it up. Boys the sunscreen song. It was and it’s got a whole, it’s just basically a guy talking through the middle of it and talking to the song and, and there’s one line in there is that basically saying that, you know, your friends come and go, but you know, your family stays around forever. So, you know, bridge that take the bridges that you can to be able to shorten up around the times of distance and make sure you contact and stay with people. So, yeah. So that’s the sunscreen song there. Everybody’s free to wear sunscreen. It was a Baz Luhrman production from years and years ago.
Keith Grisman (01:04:58): I haven’t seen it. I’ll have to go and.
Ian Ugarte (01:04:59): It’s worth the worth a listen, just listen to the words.
Keith Grisman (01:05:04): Yeah. And I might add that for those tend to play devil’s advocate on my thinking all the time. And, and for those that don’t have a close relationship with the family, or don’t have a family at all, then there’s still other people sort of. So, you know, there’s some guys that I know that are older than me. I mentioned Donnie Moffatt before. He’s a great friend of mine. You know, I certainly wouldn’t call him or others, father substitutes, but there’s some other people where you can still kind of seek that advice and all that closeness. And so there’s always somebody,
Ian Ugarte (01:05:33): I think that’s probably one of the greatest losses in my life that, you know, when I look at the amount of people have around me that are really close to me, not that many of them. And it’s, it’s something that I’m working on,
Keith Grisman (01:05:44): But what did Edison say? There’s a great Edison quote, find that he is he basically, he says something like success in life is, is the love, the love and affection of, of, of not a lot, but just a few. And those that are close to you, it’s a, it’s a fantastic, I actually, read that poem, I’m embarrassed that I can’t remember it. I read that. My father’s ah wake.
Ian Ugarte (01:06:05): Yeah. Great. Awesome, Mr. Grisman. Thank you for your time.
Keith Grisman (01:06:10): Pleasure, mate. Good to catch up.
Ian Ugarte (01:06:12): Peace out bro.
Keith Grisman (01:06:12): Do we do the elbow?
Ian Ugarte (01:06:16): Thanks for hanging around with Small Talk, Big Ideas podcast. We hope you enjoyed that and pulled out plenty of information that’ll help you move forward. If you want to find out or listen to more podcasts, please subscribe, follow us on social media or go to ianugarte.com.au to find out much more about what we do and we’ll see you next time.
Voice Over (01:06:37): Thanks for tuning in to the Small Talk, Big Ideas podcast. We hope we’ve succeeded in our goal to inspire and challenge you. And we look forward to catching you on the next episode of Small Talk, Big Ideas with Ian Ugarte