Interview by Lawrence Julius
We’ve read his book, heard his talks and seen him on his motorcycle. His book went on to become a bestseller on MPH, Kinokuniya and Borders, racing head-to-head against a memoir release of a former Prime Minister of ours. Now, we get a chance to delve deeper into the mind of the man behind “WTF? 23 Properties by 30” and gather some insights on how an average man found his inspiration in property – and made it work for him. Faizul Ridzuan himself shares his thoughts and experiences – and how sleepless nights finally paid off.
Hi Faizul, it’s a pleasure to have you here with us. First of all, how did you get involved in property investments? And what were you doing prior to this?
Pleasure is mine! I’ve always been an employee ever since I graduated, still am one today. I guess the one who sparked my interest in property was my late lecturer in University. I’m a computer science graduate and all the graduates in University Malaya back then were required to take one alternative course from a different faculty. I took this course called “Personal Finance”, and it was taught by a lecturer, the late Puan Fazilah Samad. Throughout the semester, she kept on encouraging her students to buy properties as they made good investments. One day a student asked her how many properties she has bought to-date, and her reply was a candid “20-something”, she made more money from real-estate than her nine-to-five job. I was 21 then and that blew my mind. I knew back then that I needed to buy a property as soon as I could afford it.
“One of the best moments for me was making RM120,000 worth of clean profit in 18 months without using a single cent.”
Surely you’ve had your share of ups and downs in property, which were the ones that stuck with you? And how has property investing changed your life and your family’s?
One of the best moments for me was making RM120,000 worth of clean profit in 18 months without using a single cent. I achieved this by buying an unwanted property that’s facing a cemetery and west orientation. The details of this are discussed in my book.
There were many downsides, but the ones that annoyed me the most are developer practices; when it comes to bumi unit allocations. There were times when I was forced, knowing and unknowingly, to buy bumi-lots despite my preference against buying bumi lots.
As far as life is concerned, nothing has changed much, except that I have less time for myself as managing properties take time. Wifey has been complaining. No other change. I still ride my motorbike 90% of the time, and I still refuse to pay anything above RM200 for clothing unless it’s really good value for money. I refuse to pay normal price for any items and I bargain like crazy. *laughs*
Your book “WTF? 23 Properties by 30” obviously tells of your successes in investments, what’s your secret?
No secret actually and I honestly don’t consider myself successful, yet. It’s just a story about an average guy who’s trying his best using whatever limited resources he has, creatively.
Your book became an overnight success and is listed as a bestseller. What was your reaction to this or were you already expecting a hit?
To be honest I was worried sick that no one would be buying my book. The story-based approach was a unique offering and something completely new to the market, so I wasn’t sure if anyone would want to read my story. The book became a best-seller in MPH, Kinokuniya, & Borders in less than 2 months! It was a really pleasant surprise. I received lots of positive feedback via my book’s Facebook page and email. That really made me feel that the 2 years I took to write it was worth the effort. I’m just happy to be able to inspire and educate people on property investing.
What made you decide to write “WTF? 23 Properties by 30”?
I’ve been actively advising property investors over online internet forums in the last few years, and most of those who benefited from my advice and made decent money recommended that I write a book and share my techniques. I guess that was the catalyst.
I’m also a huge believer that one has to actively search to increase their passive income and not be too dependent on their nine-to-five jobs. Books are also a way to increase one’s passive income, provided it sells.
So what is next for Faizul Ridzuan? Where do you see yourself and the property industry heading?
It’s business as usual. I still have a good day job and I intend to keep it. I’ll continue to invest in properties when the right deal comes along. In the meantime I’m doing my part in contributing back and sharing my knowledge as a columnist in an online property forum called propertywtf.com.my.
As for the property industry, I’ll be more selective in investing today. Prices has gone up quite a fair bit and people need to be a lot more savvy to identify good deals today as there are plenty of overpriced properties in the market.
For those who have not picked up a copy of your book, can you give them a preview of what to expect inside?
Sure, but better yet here are some real testimonials from those who have bought my book.
Bernard Chin :
This is not your ‘property investment 101’ but more of an inspirational read on how a ’ guy next door’ salary man managed to build a multi-million Ringgit property portfolio with little money, an analytical mind and exceptional touch in finding property gems. It serves to reinforce that nine to fivers can build massive passive income through discipline, clear goals and determination.
The book like the author is unassuming, not pretentious and approachable by both beginners and seasoned investors alike. It provides some valuable insights on FR’s thought process behind his ‘Midas touch’ – APE framework and goals based on S.M.A.R.T.
Sreenivas Naidu :
Four things I love about Faizul Ridzuan’s book:
1. It’s honest and down-to-earth
2. It’s really inspiring. (Local boy makes it good locally, starting out with virtually nothing!!!)
3. It’s damn funny
4. It’s CHEAP!!! for the amount of wisdom he shares
Raja Noor Izzudin :
This book is a story of a sensational young guy named Faizul Ridzuan journey in acquiring 23 properties before 30 years old. Using a simple language, the author reiterated that you don’t need to have a five-figure salary to amass dozens of properties, all you have to do is to apply a creative financing, see what other’s can’t see, live frugally, job-hopping to increase one’s cash flow, embrace mistakes, and able to network with like minded investors. His APE framework is an important criteria in determining the ideal property, either cash flow or flipping. For RM30, this book is packed with priceless strategies!
is APE framework is an important criteria in determining ideal property for an investment (cash flow or flipping). For RM30, this book packed with priceless strategies, which is worth more than your ladies night spending at Zouk KL
embrace mistakes, and ability to network with the successful real-estate investors. His APE framework is an important criteria in determining ideal property for an investment (cash flow or flipping). For RM30, this book packed with priceless strategiesembrace mistakes, and ability to network with the successful real-estate investors. His APE framework is an important criteria in determining ideal property for an investment (cash flow or flipping). For RM30, this book packed with priceless strategies,, embrace mistakes, and ability to network with the successful real-estate investors. His APE framework is an important criteria in determining ideal property for an investment (cash flow or flipping). For RM30, this book packed with priceless strategies,
Splendid reviews Faizul, a certainly good read. Finally, are there any people out there that you’d like to acknowledge and thank in helping you on this path?
Of course, special thanks to the various online-based contributors in various property forums that selflessly shared their knowledge and information. This allowed guys like me to learn without the need of paying huge amounts to join property seminars and groups. In the online world, everyone is a teacher as they are also the student.
Last but not least, a big thanks to my family that supported me all the way, despite my crazy antics.
A very insightful meet, it has truly been a pleasure chatting with you Faizul, pure inspiration. We wish you all the best in your coming endeavors and will be looking forward to hearing more stories from you in the future. Thank you!
This was extracted from Homefinder July/August 2012. Faizul Ridzuan is a contributor for Homefinder magazine.