The business operation began in 1980. The original founder stepped out and passed on the business to his children many years ago. His eldest son, Robert Riedel is CEO and runs the overall operation with the help of several experienced directors.
The founder of Canterbury acquired well over 100 properties during his first 25 years in the business. Many are valued in the millions. He was ready to build the house pictured on the right, then decided to buy an even bigger one on the Brisbane River front. The basis of it all is the long term ownership of safe, “boring” residential real estate – that’s how you get started. But it is done in a smarter way than you have ever seen or could imagine. Following is how Canterbury came to exist:
Canterbury’s founder came from Warwick in Queensland country. His father was a barman and mother worked serving counter lunches (with Wayne Bennett’s mother) in the same pub for extra money. The family never saved a cent and lived week to week, like many others from that era and background. The chance of having a quid or being a financial success was very remote. This led to the motivation to try to break the cycle of the need to work till the age of 65.
The founder of Canterbury eventually went to University, got a Business Degree, and became a registered Valuer. He also remembers a few events that shaped his early progress:
- Walt Disney was interviewed on T.V. when Canterbury’s founder was about 12 years old. The interviewer asked “Walt, do you consider yourself a success?” The answer was “I must be, I owe the bank $7 million” That was in 1970 when $7 million was probably like $1 billion in today’s money. The real meaning of Walt’s answer is that it’s OK to have debt if its smart, productive debt and you know what you are doing.
- Charles Viertel was the richest person in Queensland worth $200 million when he died about 20 years ago. He was an eccentric old bloke (who always wore a beanie) and was famous for buying into the share market just after the big crash in 1929. This is from an interview many years ago:Interviewer: “Charley, your yarn about buying after the stock market crash in 1929 is a good story, but by the way, where did you get the $ 2 million you bought in with, at a time when everyone else earnt about one pound a week?”
Charles: “From residential real estate”
Interviewer: “If real estate was so good that you could make that much money back in 1929, why did you get out of it and go into shares?”
Charles: “Real estate was too unchallenging – it was the old ladies way of making money”
The Canterbury system is still based on this safe, boring and “unchallenging, old ladies way of making money”. However the system evolved into more exciting techniques we will discuss later.
From 1980 to 1993 the Canterbury founder merely told, advised and managed friends and relations on how to progress financially the way he had. One friend who was a low paid unskilled worker ended up with seven investment houses after 5 years and a large home with no debt. He was too embarrassed to tell any work mates about his success believing they would not like it.
The Canterbury founder made the business more formal in 1993. Before then he just quietly held his own assets and investments and helped others from time to time until he realised that since he spent so much time thinking about it, he may as well do it as a serious job. One well known quote is “To be a success you should find your passion, then do it for a living and you will never do another days work”. The following will demonstrate how his progress developed over the years, after starting with absolutely nothing:
Say you acquire 100 properties over 25 years, that’s 4 properties per year – but you don’t get 4 properties in year 1, you probably get one. However, later on it goes much faster. The Canterbury founder has periods when he acquires more than two properties per month. It’s important to start as early as you can.
These assets were accumulated with very small debts compared to the present asset values. Additional to the above assets, he owns a number of passive businesses (fully managed that he never needs to visit) any of which would allow anyone else a very luxurious retirement. He also has acquired millions of dollars worth of investments. Canterbury show their clients how this is done and guide you through the process. The steps are actually quite easy to implement and understand.
When Canterbury ‘s founder was in his early 20’s and already successful, many of his friends and relations came to realise that he had things that they did not have. Without exception, they discouraged him and told him he would go broke. Even his mother told him that he had bought in the wrong area, had paid too much, and that if you can’t afford to pay cash you should not have these houses. That’s when he realised that if you want to be rich, get near someone REALLY rich, not near broke relations. That’s also around the time he found the three biggest influences to the “Canterbury System”. The big influences are:
- A Brisbane landlord, self-made with 300 houses
- A Sydney landlord, self-made with 900 houses
- Two New York landlords, both self-made, one with 94,000 apartments and the other with 100,000 apartments. (Click to view articles)
It’s obvious that if you get near people of that level something has to rub off. If you surround yourself with broke people, something else rubs off (i.e. negativity, discouragement, low self-esteem etc.)
Canterbury are not investment advisors, Accountants, or real estate agents. However we are richer than any advisors, Accountants or agents we have ever met. The way to see Canterbury is the same as we saw the man in Sydney with 900 houses i.e. someone who has really done it, who has knowledge, experience and credibility not available in any book or seminar. We have never seen a financial advisor with 900 houses. The Canterbury founder was keen to see how people in Australia had accumulated hundreds of houses starting with nothing – NOW YOU CAN SEE HOW WE DO IT. They say that Wall Street is the only place where people ride in a Rolls Royce to get advice from people who take the subway. Canterbury are the opposite. Everyone you deal with at our company will have the “Rolls Royce” (i.e. significant assets). You will not meet someone “still learning”.