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Former Olympic gymnast and Cirque performer Paul Bowler now goes for the gold in real estate

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Paul Bowler picks up the device in his garden – an open cube with aluminum arms that weighs about 10 pounds – places one of its corners on the palm of his hand and spins the whole thing like a top. He holds it in the air, tosses and casually catches it – a compelling demonstration of a skill few others thought they could develop. But break it down and the scene is a pretty fair representation of Bowler’s life so far.

His agility and athleticism? This is Bowler’s youth as a world-class gymnast who represented Great Britain at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, ​​Spain.

The cube? This is the prop he used when appearing in between 5,000 and 7,000 Cirque du Soleil performances around the world and in Las Vegas, he estimates after retiring from gymnastics.

And the sharp suit he’s wearing? Standard attire for a real estate agent, the job that bowler had full-time after the end of his sports and entertainment career and that has taken him through flush times, lean times and now flush times again.

Wild beginnings

Bowler, 53, was born in Manchester, England and was, as he puts it, “a typical pain in the ass” who, when he was 6, loved running around, climbing trees and doing somersaults on the bed.

“Fortunately, that went into gymnastics,” he says. “I’m only grateful to my parents and the school I went to for pointing me in the right direction.”

That started when Bowler was around 8 years old and was given a patch given to British school children who were able to demonstrate basic gymnastics moves (some of which, as Bowler now notes, were part of his cirque act). He started competing at the age of 10 and showed natural strength and determination from an early age.

“I wasn’t pretty,” says Bowler. “But determination cannot be taught.”

His first official meeting was a floor and jumping championship, and he won bronze. “I thought I did really well because I got a bronze medal,” he says. Only later did he learn that there were only two other competitors in his age group.

Bowler said he got into gymnastics as an energetic, hyperactive kid because “you can never get bored. There is always something to learn. Then you have the excitement of the performance and you can measure it. And it is the feeling of making movement. “

He remembers how at the age of 13 his trainer walked down a string of aspiring gymnasts asking each one of their goal.

“Boys said club master, northwest master, regional master. Then at the end this boy said, ‘I want to go to the Olympics.’ That child happened to be me. At this age that was the dream. “

Dreams granted and shattered

In 1992, Bowler went to Barcelona, ​​Spain as a member of the British men’s gymnastics team. His most vivid memory is the opening ceremony and the approach to the stadium while hearing the cheers of the crowd in front of him.

“They take you around the building and you hear what (country teams) are called and you know you are going to see another half-revolution with the British flag,” he says. “It’s almost like a magical thing.”

He didn’t win a medal – there were “too many good Russians” and Eastern European and Chinese gymnasts, he says, some of whom later became Cirque colleagues – but he won team bronze at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Canada. He planned to represent Great Britain again at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, but a 1995 knee injury and lack of basic movement in the Olympic Trials, his first competition after rehab, put an end to this.

The move has been called the “forward circle to handstand on the horizontal bar,” he says. “I’ve done it a hundred times. But someone somewhere had a different plan. “

Bowler withdrew from gymnastics and tried to get used to a life that didn’t include 35 hours of training each week. He taught gymnastics and even sang for a Christmas pantomime as a pirate in “Peter Pan”. Then he learned from a friend that Cirque du Soleil was holding auditions in London.

Join the circus

“It went very well,” he says of the audition. “I was sure that I would get something.”

Cirque called a few months later. In late 1996, Bowler moved to Las Vegas and began learning the Aerial Cube, a flagship solo act on “Mystere”. He made his first appearance in Amsterdam in “Alegria”, which was touring Europe, and then began performing in “Mystere” on Treasure Island.

The act involved manipulating a cube while it was suspended 15 meters in the air. During a workout, Bowler dropped the dice three times, causing his coach to yell that no one in the audience is paying $ 100 to “see a weak, pathetic (expletive) gymnast on stage.”

As a cirque performer, Bowler experienced a level of fame and attention never seen as an Olympic gymnast. As an Olympian, “I was famous in my little goldfish bowl”, he says, because gymnastics “didn’t have a big following in my time”. But while touring Europe with “Alegria” in 1997 and 1998 and appearing in “Mystere” on Treasure Island from 1999 to 2014, he met celebrities, performed for the Queen, saw his image on subway billboards, became for TV – Shows and publications interviewed, and cried and eaten like never before.

It’s not about him, he adds, but about Cirque du Soleil. Still, says Bowler, the relatively little fame he knew as a world-class gymnast was “reinforced when I met Cirque du Soleil. You feel like a mini rock star. “

Matt Nickel, Cirque’s vice president of operations, says, Bowlers “Discipline as a top athlete has always been part of his work ethic on ‘Mystere’ as an aerial artist. Paul was the opening act for ‘Mystere’ for a long time. It was a pleasure to work with him. “

(Real estate) dreams

Bowler left Cirque du Soleil in 2014 thanks to a shoulder injury. But already in 2003 he had started with the real estate license to prepare for his third career. Bowler – who still owns real estate in England – says he has always enjoyed real estate, and his first clients included several Cirque colleagues.

Bowler estimates that in 2004, his first year, he closed 100 homes and earned $ 750,000 in commissions during a simmering real estate market. “Ferraris showed up,” he jokes.

Then came the collapse of the market. “I lost it between 2009 and 2011,” says Bowler. “It was very humbling, but I am very grateful that it happened as a lesson. I had two children at the time and didn’t see much of the children. I was stressed out. I had 24 mortgages (for 12 properties, 11 of which were investments).

“In 2010 I had to dissolve everything and started from scratch. So I’m twice self-made. Now I have a few properties, but I don’t have the children in a private school. “

Instead of an upscale residential complex, he lives on half a hectare property “in the center of the city, with squirrels and hummingbirds and 35 pines. I’m not behind a goal and I love it. “

He has a cabin on Mount Charleston and two sports cars. “I don’t drink or smoke, but I like fast cars,” he says. “But I am now designing my life completely differently and I am grateful.”

Bowler doesn’t follow gymnastics much, in part because it’s hard to find anything other than American gymnastics on American television and because he’s having a hard time relating the sport today.

“I’m still interested in the sport, but very far away. That’s okay, but I can’t do anything with the sport now. The level at which they are now is overwhelming. “

So is Bowler a former Olympic gymnast selling real estate, or a real estate guy who used to perform for Cirque du Soleil, or maybe just a guy with a really unusual résumé? He passes all three on.

“I’m basically just that cheeky little boy who did somersaults on the bed,” says Bowler.

Contact John Przybys at jprzybys@reviewjournal.com. Follow @JJPrzybys on Twitter.

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Sydney real estate: Man owns six properties at 32

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A Sydney father, aged 32, can boast a portfolio of six properties valued at $ 2.7 million. That’s how he did it.

At the age of 32, Bobby Haeri owns six properties in two different states with net worth of $ 2.7 million.

The Sydney father bought his first property at the age of 18 after sharing the cost with his sister and father.

Since then, he has pushed his way through loans, rent, mortgage insurance, and his salary to buy another five properties.

“The reality is that you have to make sacrifices, maybe not go on vacation for a few years, budget, or work 12 hours a day,” he told news.com.au.

“Working just eight hours, five days a week, will be difficult to achieve in the early stages.”

Mr Haeri says he now works 12 hours a day, six days a week and runs his own real estate agency while he and his wife Dionne raise their daughter Mia, 1.

Although he admits he currently has $ 1.89 million in debt, he has healthy cash flow.

His tenants bring in around $ 10,000 a month and he only has to pay off $ 7,000 a month on his mortgage, which leaves him in his pocket.

Immediately after graduating from high school, Mr. Haeri went full-time, started his own gardening business and bought his first property in 2008.

It was a $ 550,000, two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment in St. Ives, north Sydney.

“At that point in time there were government grants and incentives, it was about a five percent contribution. You didn’t have to pay stamp duty, you paid stamp duty and then you get it back, ”he recalls.

They spent $ 27,500 to secure the apartment.

When he was 21, he used his share of the equity on his first property to buy his second.

This time it was a two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment in Killara, a neighboring suburb of St. Ives, for $ 570,000.

“When I worked in the gardening business, I listened to podcasts and read books 11 hours a day. I felt like I knew a lot about real estate, ”he said.

Both properties had tenants covering his mortgage fees.

A year later, Mr. Haeri decided to sell the apartment in Killara as he had just become engaged to his current wife, Dionne.

Since it was in Sydney during the housing boom, the apartment cost $ 100,000 more than he paid for it.

Two years later, at the age of 25, he used part of this money to finance his wedding and honeymoon. The rest went to a new home for him and his wife, which, like the previous apartment, cost $ 570,000.

It was a one-room apartment in Brookvale, Sydney’s Northern Beaches.

The $ 2,200 a month mortgage payments were “convenient” as his gardening business was doing well and Dionne was earning a post-graduate engineering salary. Together they made just over $ 100,000.

Because of this, Mr Haeri said, “You definitely want to try (building a real estate portfolio) with someone” as a piece of advice.

With two qualities in his name, Mr. Haeri decided it was time to try something different.

In 2017, he heard that Grafton, a town in the Northern Rivers region of NSW, was going to have many government infrastructure and construction projects going on.

“This is how the area gentrifies when you see these regional cities experiencing strong growth,” he said, adding that he wanted to diversify his portfolio.

The couple bought an established home in Grafton for $ 290,000.

“The thought process was that we knew we wanted to build a real estate portfolio, but the cash flow income in Sydney wasn’t there,” Haeri said.

“You can’t own more than two properties in Sydney because it’s too difficult financially.”

He believes 90 percent of investors are “stuck” with the two-property brand.

Then they grabbed a 700-square-foot block of vacant land valued at $ 65,000, also in Grafton.

They divided the empty lot in two and built two completely identical houses with three bedrooms and two bathrooms.

Each house cost $ 260,000, but they only needed a 10 percent down payment to build.

At that time, in 2017, Mr. Haeri owned five properties.

A year later, Mr. Haeri and his sister sold their very first property.

“I wanted to keep building my portfolio and my sister didn’t,” he said.

“It was easier to go away with my money, she’s gone with her money.”

They had held the St. Ives apartment for 10 years. It sold for $ 790,000, up from $ 550,000 when they originally bought it, bringing him an additional $ 100,000 straight into his pocket.

In the same year, in 2018, Mr. Haeri stepped down from his gardening business and delegated the tasks to others, but still reaped the rewards, which gave him the time to set up the real estate investment agency.

They also moved out of their Brookvale home and opened it up to tenants. So they could live cheaper elsewhere and the rent covered their mortgages.

The couple had worked hard to repay their mortgages “fairly aggressively” and felt ready to buy again in early 2020.

In March of last year the Haeris looked even further into the distance – this time to Queensland.

They got a $ 300,000 house in the southern Brisbane suburb of Kingston, a 30-minute drive from the CBD.

In July of the same year, their daughter Mia was born.

Just three months later, in October, they did bought a $ 302,000 lot in Deception Bay on the northern outskirts of Brisbane.

This was his sixth simultaneous quality.

They are in the process of building granny flats behind the two houses in Brisbane and one of the Grafton houses.

The couple make a quarter of a million dollars together.

Mr. Haeri’s wife, now an Associate Engineer, makes $ 130,000 while making $ 120,000 a year.

Mr Haeri said his impressive portfolio of six properties would not have been possible with the lender’s mortgage insurance or LMI.

He used LMI to secure the Brookvale property and both Brisbane.

LMI, in his opinion, isn’t as scary as it sounds.

“People shouldn’t be too obsessed with it,” he said.

“If you have $ 100,000, you could buy a home for $ 400,000 and you’re not buying an LMI. Or you can buy two properties with increasing value.

“These properties, which are increasing in value, will far outweigh the LMI costs.

“Then you can pile up your real estate twice as fast.

“Don’t focus too much on saving a 20 percent deposit.”

LMI is required when you have a down payment of less than 20 percent of the property’s value.

It is a one-time, non-refundable, non-transferable premium that aims to protect the lender from financial loss if the borrower cannot afford to pay back their home loan.

It can either be prepaid or added to your home loan.

Mr. Haeri said some of his loans were principal and interest while others were just interest.

However, for the next year he plans to transfer everything to interest only.

“We take some time off to spend with Mia, that way we have the passive income,” he said.

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Hard Money Loans – When a Real Estate Investment Needs Fast Financing » RealtyBizNews: Real Estate News

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There are many ways to successfully invest in real estate. Hard money lending isn’t that much noticed these days, but it still has a valuable place in the investment world. Coin lenders generally do not value real estate in the same way that most investors and other real estate professionals do. Hard cash loans can be easier to come by, but they can be expensive. Despite the cost, they are an indispensable tool for investors. Knowing when to use hard money and how to get it is crucial.

As an investor, you should know your local market inside out. After a quick tour, you should instinctively have a good idea of ​​property value. What is different for coin lenders is that they often lend money outside of their local market. It can be in a distant city or across the country. Coin lenders cannot physically view the property themselves, nor do they have a solid understanding of local property values.

Every private contract is written for the mutual benefit of both the investor and the lender, but there are general rules that drive the hard money market. Hard money lenders do not use the standard underwriting process that banks use. Banks focus on the borrower’s credit history and income. A bank loan is usually 90% or more of the home value.

Coin lenders focus on the value of the property rather than the borrower’s creditworthiness. While they will look for a professional assessment, it is not the only assessment tool they rely on. Often times, they want at least two and possibly three assessment models to help them make an informed decision. Coin lenders will look through tax bills, but again this is not a reliable method of valuing property. Tax assessment districts calculate values ​​annually at best and many only every two years. In addition, the tax office only evaluates real estate from the curb. You do not have access to the inside of the house.

Broker’s Price Opinion (BPO) is another tool that moneylenders use to value real estate. A BPO is an estate agent’s appraisal of the property’s value. However, hard money providers are also skeptical of these valuations, as brokers tend to overvaluate real estate in the hope of a higher listing commission and an optimistic view of the local real estate market.

The value a hard money lender attaches to a property has nothing to do with the purchase price you negotiated. It is based on the market value of the property.

In the end, tough money lenders take all of the information available to make an informed decision. You ask yourself questions like: “When the market has bottomed out, can I get the money I borrowed for the property back? Will I still benefit from this feature if I have to take control in the event of a payment default? “

To fully protect themselves, hard money lenders typically only loan out 50 to 70% of the property’s value. As an investor, you must either negotiate a purchase price of this magnitude or have additional financing available. Also, remember that a tough moneylender knows the fix-and-flip business as much as any investor does. You want to know your exact plan for the property and need to approve it along with the value of the property.

Most hard money lenders provide short-term loans with an average duration of six months to two years. In general, the greatest benefit that hard money brings is getting it closed quickly. Since there is no credit check, the closing can take place a few days after an application has been approved. Once you’ve established a relationship with a hard money lender, loans can be funded in a matter of hours. A hard money investor needs to know what documents are required to approve the application.

If your ducks aren’t all in a row, funding can take a few weeks, but just three to five days are possible. If you have a trusting relationship with a hard money lender, you may have cash within 24 to 72 hours.

Hard money is not for everyone (or even most people). The only reason to get such a loan is for a large investment that requires a quick response. It can cost you 10% of the loan amount for interest and loan fees. But if you can make 30% on a deal in weeks or months, it’s probably worth paying more for quick funding. When a good investment doesn’t keep you waiting, a hard cash loan may still be the best answer.

What else do you think investors should know about hard money loans? Please share your findings and experiences by leaving a comment.

Additionally, our weekly Ask Brian column welcomes questions from readers of all levels of real estate experience. Please email your questions, inquiries or article ideas to askbrian@realtybiznews.com.

Photo by Frederick Warren on Unsplash

Author Biography: Brian Kline has been investing in real estate for more than 35 years and has been writing about real estate investing for 12 years. He also has over 30 years of business experience including 12 years as a manager at Boeing Aircraft Company. Brian currently lives in Lake Cushman, Washington. A vacation destination near a national and Pacific ocean.

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Teetering property developer Evergrande sparks contagion fears for China’s economy

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Real estate developer China Evergrande Group is on the verge of collapse, burdened by a huge burden of debt and billions of dollars in real estate that it cannot sell as quickly and profitably as expected.

While trouble has been brewing for a year, it is now coming to a head as the company missed a loan payment in June and more are expected. Evergrande offices have been the scene of angry protests this week, and things could get even uglier on Monday if the company is likely to miss another key interest payment to its increasingly concerned financiers.

Evergrande’s potential collapse raises fears that it could drag other parts of China’s housing market with it – and affect business interests outside of China as well.

Here’s a quick explanation of what you need to know about history.

What is Evergrande?

Evergrande was founded in 1996 in the Chinese city of Shenzhen, across the border from Hong Kong, and is primarily a real estate developer whose core business is buying land and converting it into residential property. Company founder Hui Ka Yan is a former steel worker who was responsible for the real estate boom in China in the 21st

The company has built more than 1,300 housing developments in 280 cities in China and is planning an additional 3,000 projects in various cities across the country.

But like any good conglomerate, it has spread to all sorts of other businesses, including bottled water and groceries, electric vehicles, theme parks, a Netflix-like streaming service with nearly 40 million customers – and even a professional soccer team.

Why is it in trouble?

Debt – and a lot of it. The company has nearly two trillion yuan in debt on its books, which is more than $ 300 billion. The company has aggressively borrowed money to buy more land for development and quickly sold low-margin homes to raise enough cash to start the cycle again – which works well as a business model until it stops working .

In late 2020, new rules that took a closer look at the company’s finances showed a higher-than-expected debt burden. This, coupled with increasing construction delays, frightened buyers and started a vicious circle. The company began its descent to pariah status as lenders and buyers lost their nerve in lockstep.

Every attempt by Evergrande since then to distract from his problems has only served to draw more attention to them. The lenders became more and more insecure. Existing owners were upset. New sales slowed, creating a feedback loop that made lenders even more nervous.

CLOCK | Investors furiously protest outside Evergrande offices:

Chinese real estate jitter

Buyers of Chinese property developer Evergrande are demanding responses from management as fears grow that the company may collapse under its debt burden. (David Kirton / Reuters) 0:34

In June, the company admitted it had failed to pay a loan. The next month, a Chinese court froze a $ 20 million bank deposit at the request of one of its lenders. At least one believer, a paint supplier, is reportedly getting paid in apartments that won’t be ready until 2024.

According to Bloomberg, advance sales on two projects in Hunan were suspended on July 19. Three days later, Hong Kong banks stopped offering mortgages for the company’s incomplete projects in the city. On August 9, two more projects in Kunming halted construction due to defaulted payments, followed by similar halts on projects in Nanjing and Chengdu. There has been snowballing since then. The company’s stock price plummeted 90 percent last year, and most of its bonds are in junk status.

The company is behind on its commitments to more than 70,000 investors. There are more than a million buyers of unfinished projects in the balance. And the pace of problems is increasing. “Sales could continue to plummet as the property developer may struggle to restore the confidence of potential homebuyers,” said Lisa Zhou, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence.

Monday numbers are a turning point for the company as Evergrande is set to make a $ 80 million interest payment on one of its many loans, and there is next to no chance it will pay them – which could make the watch ticking towards some undesirable results.

What could happen?

There are a number of somber B-words on the table – bankruptcy, separation, buyout, or bailout – and none of them are ideal.

The first option would be the most painful.

“If Evergrande defaults on its debt as expected and goes through a restructuring process, I don’t see why this should be curbed,” Michel Lowy of distressed investment firm SC Lowy told Reuters.

The delayed Emerald Bay residential project in Hong Kong has scared buyers. (Lam Yik / Bloomberg)

But given the Chinese government’s longstanding pursuit of stability, this is also the most unlikely outcome. The company owes money to 128 different banks and has behind nearly every 20th property sale in China in the past five years. Evergrande has nearly 200,000 permanent employees, but hires nearly four million people annually to work on various projects.

With such a broad reach, analysts covering the sector are confident Beijing won’t just let the company collapse. “Evergrande’s escalating crisis could prompt government action to prevent social instability,” Zhou said.

More likely, a version of the next two options, a split or a buyout, where the company sells assets to raise cash and enlist help to manage things, is more likely. “State-owned companies or other developers can also take on Evergrande’s projects after Chinese officials send accounting and legal experts to review the company’s finances,” Zhou said.

However, a full government bailout is also unlikely. China has cracked down on its soaring tech sector, trying to regulate and ban cryptocurrencies and curb excesses in all possible sectors. Evergrande’s problems could be a test case of Beijing’s desire and ability to manage every facet of the growing economy.

A man walks past a banner promoting the Emerald Bay housing project in Hong Kong amid news that the developer is on the verge of collapse. (Lam Yik / Bloomberg)

Bank of Montreal economist Art Woo said in a statement Friday that he also doubts a bailout will come. “Who could bear the losses is honestly difficult to predict, but we think it is reasonable to assume that the authorities are unlikely to bail out shareholders or creditors to keep moral hazard from increasing and improve financial discipline,” he said .

Organized processing is more likely in order to keep the damage as low as possible. “We don’t think the government has any incentive to save Evergrande (which is a private company),” Nomura analyst Iris Chen said in a customer note.

“But they will not actively push Evergrande down and from our point of view monitor a more orderly default, if at all.”

CLOCK | CBC reported on China’s “ghost towns” of empty towers nearly a decade ago: CBC’s Adrienne Arsenault explains how empty skyscrapers are casting shadows on Canada’s economy. 2:31

Are there any effects outside of China?

Not much, right, although Evergrande has assets in Europe and North America – including the posh Château Montebello resort in Quebec – but the company’s troubles are nonetheless a warning to people everywhere.

China has been in a real estate boom for more than two decades as more and more people are investing money in residential real estate – almost regardless of the price or demand for the underlying asset.

The video went viral on social media this month when a 15-tower condominium in Kunming was blown up for being a ghost town with no real residents, eight years after it was built.

While it wasn’t an Evergrande project, the concern is that there are plenty of others out there who like it.

Again the breathtaking demolition videos showing the oversupply of housing in China: 15 skyscrapers in China, which were part of Liyang Star City’s Phase II project, have just been demolished after standing unfinished for eight years because there was no demand from the market . pic.twitter.com/UByqjk8QXX

– @ Jon_Hartley_

China’s Lehman Brothers Moment?

The 2009 financial crisis was triggered by the collapse of two investment banks, Bear Stearns and then Lehman Brothers

That may be far-fetched for the economy as a whole this time around, but it is certainly on the table for the Chinese housing market at least.

“Lehman [was] Quite different from the way it slipped through the financial system and frozen activity, “said Patrick Perret-Green, an independent London analyst.

“Millions of multi-party contracts, each trying to determine their risk,” he said. “With Evergrande, it’s depressing the entire real estate industry.”

“There are other developers who have the same lack of access to liquidity problem and have expanded too much,” Lowy said.

Simon MacAdam, an economist at Capital Economics, believes the Lehman parables are unjustified.

“The story of the Lehman moment in China is far from it,” he said. “Even if it were the first of many property developers to go bankrupt in China, we suspect it would be a political misstep for it to result in a severe slowdown in its economy.”

Regardless, the Evergrande saga is a cautionary tale about the downside of unrestrained property speculation everywhere.

As Woo put it, “Default or bankruptcy doesn’t pose a Lehman-like threat … but it’s still bad news for the economy.”

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