Aside from successfully building a 10-property portfolio in less than a decade, Property Twins Sana and Mona Ali have their own mortgage broking business thanks to the inspiration brought by the mortgage brokers that they have worked with as well as their love for the “numbers side of property”.
Like many property investors, Sana and Mona did not initially think of the need to seek the help of property professionals at the beginning of their journey. According to them, they went straight to the bank for their first four property purchases, which turned out to be a costly decision.
Sana shared: “You don't know what you don't know, and we didn't know any better. In hindsight, it would have been good to work with a broker for our initial couple of purchases… [For] four of them, we did not work with a broker.”
They eventually read about the benefits of working with mortgage brokers from real-life investors in online forums, and they have since then gone through a few brokers throughout their property investment journey. It taught them not only what they needed to know about mortgage broking, but also what they want to be done differently.
“It wasn't even in our dreams that we will ever become mortgage brokers… We love property so much and the numbers side of it that it's a natural next step,” according to Sana.
As they cross the $5 million mark in their property portfolio before turning 30, Sana and Mona established Property Twins, a mortgage broking business that aims to empower property investors through different services — from helping them build property portfolio roadmaps to assisting them in finding better loans.
While there has been a lot of changes in the broking spaces, the twins believe that their personal experience as property investors ultimately help them be more effective advisers for other investors.
“There's been a lot of change—a new change comes out every other week. So navigating that for new investors is really the right lender selection, whilst the big lenders are really on par with each other in terms of serviceability side of things,” Mona said.
“Some lenders are better suited to your owner/occupier purchases because they have flexibility around how you can reduce your non-tax deductible debt and maximise your tax deductible debt, which will help you move forward.”
Often, they find that property investors are focused on interest rates but it is good to note that while a lender may have a fantastic rate they may not allow you to extract equity down the track, which can delay the progress of your property investment journey.
It is important, therefore, for investors to consider different strategies and study them to determine which one will work best for achieving their long-term goals.
The Property Twins’ most important advice for property investors: Always look at the bigger picture.
“Having that selection right up front so that you can move in a strategic order with lenders [is important],” Mona said.
“The ability to extract equity… can, in turn, assist you in bringing down your home owner/occupier debt. Just [be] very strategic, as Mona said. [Don’t go] to the lower tier lenders upfront purely because of the way they assess you on your repayments and leaving them to later,” Sana said.
“Especially if you're in the Lenders Mortgage Insurance territory.... If you end up going to the lender of last resorts because you want to leapfrog and make that decision quicker, we would say just reassess it, take a step back and say, ‘Well, should I really be maximising my borrowing with the big lenders first?’ ”
At the end of the day, it’s all about leaving more open spaces for opportunities to make progress in your journey towards achieving your financial goals.
“We really look at building road maps for our clients upfront… On paper, [we] really put [the options] down—lender A, B, C, D, in that order—so you continue maximising what's really possible for you,” Mona said, “Whilst [you] have no control over the lending policies or where [your] rates go… if you're making that strategic choice, you're keeping a lot of doors open for later investment.”
Tune in to Sana and Mona Ali’s episode on The Smart Property Investment Show to know more about how buying cheaper-end properties enabled them to quickly expand their portfolio and more effectively manage their cash flow, how their love of property inspired their careers in mortgage broking, as well as how their working experience enabled them to navigate changes to mortgage lending and position their portfolio for future success.