'I purchased my first property at 17'; one investor's story

You don’t need years of study or experience to build a successful property portfolio. Successful property investor Tristan Angelini, who was kicked out of high school and bought his first property at 17, tells SPI his story.

tristan angelini

In 2002 I was kicked out of high school for having a track record of being a poorly behaved student. I was quite depressed as no other school would accept me. I knew my future was looking quite dull and without any skill set, I needed to earn cash so I started working full-time delivering tiles.

Growing up in the western suburbs of Melbourne had thought me one thing. If you wanted something bad, you had to go out and get it for yourself. I stumbled upon Robert Kiyosaki’s 'Rich Dad Poor Dad’ which changed my entire outlook on life and set me on a path to living financially free and investing in real estate.

In 2003 at the age of 17 I purchased my first piece of property in central Werribee, Victoria. The land was 412-square-metres, which back in 2003 was not an attractive buy because it was so small. Using a deposit I had saved, I purchased the site for $70,000. The bank appreciated I had a consistent income and loaned me the balance. Robert Kiyosaki was right, the bank didn’t give a rats about my school report, they only cared about my financial statement.

My second obstacle was building something on it. I went 'owner-builder' and the bank wanted me to tip in another 20 per cent of the construction finance. I didn’t have the money, so I just rolled up my sleeves and actually did a lot of work myself. Being 18 years old, I was cash poor but time rich. As I was delivering tiles I became friends with many building supervisors. They had excess timber, bricks, roof tiles on various job sites and were throwing them out as the cost of getting them returned was not feasible. So, I had a cheaper solution for them… I offered to take the excess 'rubbish' for free! At 5am every morning I would drive around various subdivisions collecting excess timber and bricks from their sites and delivering it to my block. #winning


I decided to live in the house and utilise the first home owners grant. I then sub-leased the three bedrooms out to friends to help pay off the loan. In 2008 I had paid off the land debt on the property and decided to put the house on the market. I had sold the house for $355,000, paid off the construction loan of $110,000 and netted $245,000. I decided I would take a trip to the US for six weeks.

Just after the global financial crisis and sub prime mortgage crisis hit the States, I was travelling around and seeing foreclosure signs everywhere. I got chatting with a few locals and some of their homes had dropped 60 per cent in value. This cemented into my head that property wasn’t always an upwards trend. However I kept reading and researching certain markets.

As I arrived back into Australia, The GFC had trickled down and a lot of property experts predicted that the real estate prices in Australia would follow suit. I dug deep and did my research and the common denominator with wealthy, seasoned property investors were ‘Its a great time to buy’. I attended some seminars and the City of Wyndham (my area) was going to grow from a population of 210,00 in 2010 to 400,000 + in 2030. So with my surplussed cash I decided I would buy three old homes (potential property development sites) in south central Werribee for a bargain. Close to the proposed ‘activity centre’. I quit my job and went to school to study building and construction.

Fast forward to today. I have amassed a multimillion-dollar property portfolio all from seeking the right opportunity at the right time. It wasn’t easy. The moral of the story is you don’t have to have a high IQ or a Masters degree to become successful in property development. You need to work hard and think smart and take risks at the right opportunities.

I hope my story can encourage young people from across Australia to have a crack.

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