A property investor shares his biggest regret: not starting early

Four years have passed since John Martinovic and his wife started their property investment journey. They have since acquired multiple types of assets, from traditional units to off-the-plan apartments and National Rental Affordability Scheme (NRAS) properties, but their biggest regret remains to be one of the most common: ”I wish we started earlier.”


The property investors’ first investment property is a Kingsgrove-based two-bedroom unit worth $380,000, which they purchased just before the Sydney “property boom” kicked in. While it was undoubtedly a good buy, especially after it was recently revalued at $540,000, John insisted that they would probably be in a better place as property investors had they started their journey earlier.

“It's easy to say now, ‘I would have started earlier,’ but then you've got to look at in perspective—what was your salary like then, all these things,” he explained.

If they have started their property investment journey earlier, they would have had more time to learn what they needed to know, which could have paved the way for better financial decisions that could have ultimately helped them achieve their goals sooner.

“I look at other things, too," John says, "Probably other properties that we've lived in growing up, I wouldn't have sold that because that would be worth this much now.”


His advice to budding property investors is to make the most out of your current status in life instead of using it as an excuse to procrastinate. After all, there is no better time to start the business of creating wealth than now—the more time you spend on your journey, the more rewards you reap by the end of it.

“I'd say to anybody, just get into it and do the best you can for the position you're in currently and develop from there… [It is] challenging, definitely... You do have to line yourself up with people that are on your side, and that understand you and your position in life, and where you are, and [people who] understand that market,” the property investor said.

Smart Property Investment’s Phil Tarrant believes that there is nothing wrong with starting a property investment journey with barely a clue to what lies ahead because no one really knows what’s bound to happen in this venture, especially considering the different markets affected by different sets of factors. 

However, it is important that an investor continuously seek knowledge through education and mentorship once they have decided to engage in the business of creating wealth through property—there is no better way to succeed.

“[Aside from the growth of the portfolio, it’s also about] the evolution of mindset over time," Phil said.

"Every single investor I speak to says they wish they started earlier, and that's not a bad thing. You don't know what you don't know. But as soon as you start looking at the property investment… [immerse] yourself in that—it is one of the keys to success in this game.”

He concluded: “Be confident, be educated… One thing you can control is your knowledge of the market place and… what you choose to do about it. Keep at it.”

Tune in to John Martinovic’s episode on The Smart Property Investment Show to know more about why he decided to be “pedantic” about his property portfolio and why he believes that keeping on top of his finances now will not only safeguard the future of his children but enable him and his wife to be debt-free by 45.


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