Brent Kelly Law Director Alex McIvor is passionate about property, both as a Lawyer specialising in property law and as a property investor with his wife Jen when they’re not working at Brent Kelly Law. Growing up in Te Awamutu with a lawyer Dad, he was always drawn to a legal career. We catch up with him to talk about his background and his passion for property.
Born and bred in Te Awamutu, Alex grew up around the law, with his Dad Michael working as a Criminal Defence Lawyer in Hamilton.
“My Dad is a criminal defence lawyer, so I grew up hearing interesting stories from the courtroom and the even more interesting stories about the people he dealt with,” says Alex.
“That’s where I got my interest in the law from I suppose.”
After completing high school at St Paul’s Collegiate in Hamilton and working for a year at the Te Kuiti Meat Processing Plant, Alex enrolled at Waikato University.
Graduating with a double degree in Law and Social Science majoring in Psychology in 2009, he then joined Brent Kelly Law as a Staff Solicitor straight out of law school.
Cutting his teeth predominantly on property and private client matters, he had lots of experience with the property process when the time came for him and wife Jen to buy their first home in 2013.
“I’d been working as a property lawyer for 3 years at that stage, so I did all the legal work and Brent Kelly (owner of the firm at the time) was good enough not to charge me for it!,” he laughs.
“In terms of the process, it was fine as I’d completed many property transactions for clients previously. But in terms of the emotions we experienced, that first purchase felt unreal.”
“From the relief of having our offer accepted to the absolute excitement when we got given the keys and knowing we owned the place – it was all just epic.”
Alex says it’s the reason why he really enjoys helping clients buy their first homes.
“I love seeing the excitement as I can still remember how they feel, it’s pretty awesome,” he says.
Alex adds that his enjoyment extends to other types of legal work too, and his clients are what make it the most rewarding.
“I like the idea of being able to help people through difficult life issues and also assist with the enjoyable but complicated matters,” he says.
“We have an amazing client base of interesting and inspiring people. I just love getting to know them on a more personal level, rather than just completing a transaction sending them a bill and moving onto the next one.”
“If I ever felt like I was just processing transactions for people and not connecting with them, I’d find another occupation in a heartbeat.”
“I’ve learnt a hell of a lot from our clients over the years, as I hope they’ve learnt from me as well.”
Alex’s passion for property has grown since that first house purchase, with he and wife Jen embarking on their own investment property journey recently.
“After reading the book ‘Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ by Robert Kiyosaki, we both realised that we hadn’t really been focusing on acquiring assets that would benefit our future,” he says.
“I’d highly recommend the book to anyone looking to build their financial intelligence.”
This year, the couple has purchased two investment properties and are in the process of renovating the second one to be tenanted.
“It’s been very exciting, although somewhat overwhelming at times,” says Alex.
“But it’s worth it in the end, knowing we’re working towards our financial goals and we’re in control of our future.”
When asked what his hopes for the future, aside from continuing to provide great legal services to clients through Brent Kelly Law, Alex’s focus is on family and financial freedom.
“I’m always striving to be an awesome father to my kids and a bearable husband to Jen (just kidding - I’m a terrific husband, just ask her!),” he says.
“I want to teach my kids, as early as possible, how the world works and how they can get ahead.”
“Plus, buy as many investment properties as we can so that we can enjoy financial freedom and work when I want to, not because I have to.”
“At the end of the day, it’s about spending more time with my friends and family. I could say I’ll retire at 70 but it’s best to dream big, otherwise where’s the fun in that?”
Alex’s Top Tips on Property Investment
With the LVR restrictions being lifted in 2020, and new tenancy / landlord obligations coming into effect, investing in property or becoming a landlord may seem daunting. It hasn’t put Alex off, so if you’re wondering what to consider, Alex shares his top tips:
1. Do your research
Find out as much as you can about the area you’re purchasing in. Is the population growing and likely to keep growing? Is demand for rental property high in the area and therefore it’s going to be easy to find good tenants? Is the area improving? The list of things you need to consider is massive, but the more research you do, the more likely you are to make a sensible decision.
2. Seek advice from a property manager
Ask local property managers what the rental market is like. We use a local agent to find our tenants for us. I highly recommend doing this as it is their job to vet potential tenants and they have the experience and network to find good ones. Having a good tenant is absolutely key to either enjoying being a landlord or hating it.
3. Sort your finances
Investing in property requires capital investment, so you need to understand your own assets, income and outgoings to work out realistically how much you have available to invest. Talking to an accountant (preferably one who is a property investor) and a mortgage broker will help you to set your budget and figure out what you can afford.
4. Get a good lawyer
A great property lawyer can help make the purchasing process seamless and as stress-free as possible. From reviewing the sale and purchase agreement for red flags, to smooth transfer of funds at settlement, seeking professional legal advice is key. Plus, if you don’t have one, I know a few that work at Brent Kelly Law!