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$3 million and 10 properties later: A property investor shares her greatest pride and biggest regret

By Bianca Dabu 19 October 2017 | 1 minute read

Since buying her first investment property at 19, Jacqui Zielinski has successfully built a 10-property portfolio with assets spread across Australia—all amounting to around $3 million. Is it time for her to take a break?

money, cash, property investor, investing, investments, properties, biggest regret in investment, loan restrictions

Like many self-employed property investors, Jacqui has found herself limited by the new loan restrictions that were recently implemented to slow down investment lending in the country. She is currently looking to sit on her properties for a while until she could get enough financing for her next property purchase.

“I would say we probably wouldn't look to buy for another two to three years unless there are changes in lending criteria and the banks are willing to go there,” the property investor said.

While this may sound like bad news for many people, Jacqui is quite happy to be given the chance to get more creative with the ways she could extract equity from her assets, all while also having the time to focus on her digital agency business.

According to her: “There are plans that I have for the portfolio, even though we're not necessarily buying more, there are things that I can do with the current portfolio to improve things.”


“There are other ways that I could creatively create more equity out of that portfolio. There are properties that haven't been renovated ... things like that. It's all [about] timing and choosing when I'm going to do certain things … At the moment, I'm just going to sit tight,” she added.

Smart Property Investment’s Phil Tarrant agrees that there’s no need to rush in the property investment landscape. After all, time supposedly takes care of property portfolios with good, well-bought assets.

He told Jacqui: “You've been investing since 20 and you're still really young, so you've got at least a good two, three market cycles left to really manufacture some world.”

The importance of education

Even though she dropped out of college after five weeks in, Jacqui made sure that she never deprived herself of knowledge that she needed to pursue her passion. Aside from acquiring office administration skills, she was also able to land a job at an investment company and, later on, at a bank.

These experiences, coupled with the desire to succeed, helped her build the portfolio she holds right now.

Jacqui shared: “I would say, in the early days, I did a lot myself. I was all around just trying to read as much, go to events, everything like that.”

“But I think for me, where it really changed, is when I started seeking advice from trusted people … I started getting actual mentors in that space—[those who] had achieved what I want to achieve.

“That really pushed me to go further. I think, even though I was hungry to do it, that guidance that I got from them was definitely what took me to the next level.”

Biggest regrets and greatest achievement

Throughout her property investment journey, Jacqui admits having committed different mistakes that, thankfully, didn’t totally derail everything she has worked hard for. Most of her biggest investment regrets echo that of many property investors.

She said: “One thing I would do differently would be … overdoing it in certain areas. [I would have] probably spread the risk out a little bit [to] some areas.”

“Potentially, [I’d change things] around [my] loan structuring as well … I'd probably structure things separately so … [even if] I'm out of the game … my husband could still do things on his own.

“The last one would probably be trying to buy more properties that have development potential ... I'd still keep some [of the apartments and units with] very good cash flow but I would [have to] balance it out with some more houses [where] I could do some subdivisions, [and] granny flats.”

Despite her regrets, Jacqui remains proud of what she has achieved over the years, considering how hard she had to work for it from the ground up. As she goes on her journey, she maintains an ambitious outlook as a property investor and a business owner.

According to her: “I'm proud that we've been able to build to this level. In the early days, we weren't earning a lot of money … but we've been able to leverage financing ... and create a nice nest egg.”

“My original goal was I wanted to be a millionaire asset-wise by my 30th birthday, and I'm 29 now, so I've done that … [Now], I feel like I need to set some new ones around the property stuff,” 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.




Property refers to either a tangible or intangible item that an individual or business has legal rights or ownership of, such as houses, cars, stocks or bond certificates.

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$3 million and 10 properties later: A property investor shares her greatest pride and biggest regret
money, cash, property investor, investing, investments, properties, biggest regret in investment, loan restrictions
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