Finance advice

Being a university dropout did not stop this property investor from chasing success

By Bianca Dabu
property investor, chasing success, investing, property investment, job at investment company, career in investing

Jacqui Zielinski dropped out of university after five weeks in a business course, went on to land a job at an investment company, and then built an impressive 10-property portfolio worth $3 million with her husband.

Her journey started when she was only 19 years old after she realised that she’s just not cut out for the “university life”. She took an office administration job, which paid her $17,000 a year before she was employed by a well-known businessman who owned an investment company in Wagga Wagga.

“He'd just set up this other tax firm and he had me in there ... He opened my eyes a lot to what I could do property-wise because he was quite a savvy investor—he had residential, [and] commercial properties,” Jacqui shared.

The property investment landscape intrigued her so much, especially after she has seen the great potential for wealth-creation. Soon enough, she got herself into the banking industry where she had the opportunity to interact with property investors who own massive portfolios with as much as 20 to 30 real estate assets.

According to her: “I was just blown away, and I thought, ‘Oh, I want to do that myself … ’ That's why I got stuck into it at quite an early age.”

Starting her own journey

Jacqui became well-acquainted with the Wagga Wagga property market—enough to give her the confidence to start investing in properties. She bought a two-bedroom apartment near the central business district for $185,000.

The property investor said: “It’s probably one of the cheapest properties I could afford at the time because I was only on about $40,000 and I had about $6,000 deposit plus the $7,000 first time owner's grant.”

“Interest rates were pretty high at the time—about 8 per cent—so I pretty much put everything I could into it and that's how I pretty much started.”

Looking back, it was probably not the best decision to invest right where she grew up, but she was thankful to have gotten herself into the game. Years later, with a few investment lessons learned the hard way in between, she was able to move to Sydney with her husband, who has started investing with her.

All in all, the couple have their assets spread in different areas of Wagga Wagga and Western Sydney, including Mount Druitt and Macquarie Fields.

Is being a dropout limiting?

Many people consider dropping out of university a wrong move, especially for their future as professionals, but Jacqui believes that it was one of her best decisions in life. Aside from being a successful property investor, she was also able to quit her job at the bank to start her own digital agency.

She said: “I look at it now and go, ‘Thank God I left’ because if I didn't leave, I don't know what I would've done ... I might have ended in a role that it was just not fulfilling, so I'm really glad I left.”

“The people I met when I left … even though I had to work my way up, [they] made me hungrier ... I think it gave me that passion to do something bigger.”

For the property investor, while her journey started through a string of fortunate events, success in property investment is still largely dependent on one’s passion and willingness to work hard.

According to Jacqui, she “went all in”, learning all that she needed to know through forums and, most importantly, through the people she meets.

She said: “[There are] different events and stuff that I go to [and] you would not know in the room who's a property investor … [But] then, you start talking to them—all ages, anyone can do it. It's just … they have to want it, too.”

Smart Property Investment’s Phil Tarrant agrees that property investment is for everyone from all walks of life—as long as he has the desire to get ahead and take control of his financial future.

He said: “It's really the mindset ... Understand it, get educated, get confident and comfortable with it, and start slowly,” he said.

“For me, the big thing was that I couldn't ever imagine myself working for 40 years in a job … [and] this is one way that I can change my future, really … Even though it's in some ways complicated ... once you understand the fundamentals and how to do it … [and] once you get it right, you can then just repeat that process,” Jacqui concluded.

Tune in to Jacqui Zielenski’s episode on The Smart Property Investment Show to know more about the impact of educating yourself, how to find a balance between business work and investment, and the simple but effective ways to improve your current portfolio.

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With the softening market impacting property values in many parts of Australia, Sally Wood, Opteon state director for NSW, ACT and Qld joins us to discuss the importance of valuations in the current property market

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Joining host Phil Tarrant, Sally will draw on her 25 years of experience in valuation and discuss the processes involved in arriving at a value for a particular property. She will also share how that process differs between commercial and residential properties and the difficulties which regional property valuations can present.

Sally will unpack the importance and cost of regular valuations on your properties, discuss whether presentation and owner input can sway a valuation and share what you should look for when seeking a reputable property valuer.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

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A softening market can be a difficult time for a property investor with finance approval tightening and property capital growth slowing, and while many real estate agents are also feeling the squeeze McGrath Brighton Le Sands' Bill Tsounias claims it is simply the market returning to normal.

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In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show, Bill joins host Phil Tarrant to share his thoughts on the current Sydney property market, and to share the shifts that he has seen in house and unit sale prices following their worst quarter in the past decade.

Bill will unpack why properties are spending longer on market, share what he believes property investors are doing wrong when trying to sell their properties and share the secrets to getting the best out of a real estate agent and an auction in the current softening market.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

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Gavin Kemp and his now-fiancé bought their first property together after only six months of dating. They weren’t even living together at the time. Now, two years on, the pair have bought five properties, sold two and have a solid plan in place for their ongoing property journey. 

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In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show, Gavin joins host Phil Tarrant to discuss how he chose the locations where he decided to invest and how, due to the initial lack of education (something that he now values highly), he lost money on his first two investments.

Gavin will share his thoughts on the current property market, reveal the people who he has leaned on throughout his property journey and discuss why his strategy employs a zero procrastination rule.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

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Launceston
Raceview

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A joint property portfolio before they were even living together

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Being a university dropout did not stop this property investor from chasing success
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