How this property investor’s ‘tenant misfortune’ helped him succeed

Since starting his journey in 2010, Sydney-based engineer Scott O’Neill has been able to build a 28-strong property portfolio worth $11.5 million—a feat that he credits on good luck and a couple of bad experiences with tenants.

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The property investor dedicated his time learning the ins and outs of the field through different resource materials such as book, magazines, and podcasts, but according to him, nothing beats actually dipping his toes into the venture, making purchase after purchase, and finding ways to make the most out of his assets.

“When I first bought that first property, that was a bit of fortune, 100 per cent. I knew it was cash flow positive, but I had no idea how big of a difference it would have made if I'd bought the wrong asset in the first place,” Scott told Smart Property Investment. 

“I'd be lucky to have five properties now if I'd bought a unit at the time. So that kind of leapfrogged me into making a lot of other purchases I couldn't have otherwise.”

Back when he had only around 10 properties, he used to self-manage it all—a decision that started a series of misfortunes for him. According to him, he would get the worst tenants—those who were rejected from renting in other places.

“I put a lot of time into itlike I used to self-manage at one stage about 9 or 12, 10 odd properties and that blew up because things went wrong at the same time… I had a couple of bad experiences with getting people off—they'll buy past the real estate agent,” he shared. 

“I had tenants all the time but they would be the worst ones, the ones that couldn't get leased other places… That was probably my worst experiencewhen it all blew up with a couple of bad experiences with tenants.”

After dealing with bad tenants, he finally learned to see the benefits of building a good and reliable financial team around him—from saving time to ultimately making sure that his properties are in the best condition.

Smart Property Investment’s Phil Tarrant agreed that good property managers are really “worth their weight in gold”.

While Scott identifies these “tenant misfortunes” as his worst experience in property investment, he is grateful for the opportunity to appreciate the value of good rental managers. 

All of his 28 properties across Australia are currently managed by professional property managers—a strategy that enables him to focus on expanding his portfolio and looking into more sophisticated ways to manufacture equity.

The property investor concluded: “It all blew up with a couple of bad experiences with tenants… That's why [you need] good rental managers—love them. They take all the time out.”

Tune in to Scott O’Neill’s episode on The Smart Property Investment Show to know more about the diversity of his assets, how he’s “buying his time back” through property investment, and how he’s effectively managing his assets to secure $300,000 in income each year.



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