A young investor’s strategy that built an 11-property portfolio

Only a little over a year since he successfully built an eight-property portfolio, investor Eddie Dilleen has already made three more investment purchases in 2017.

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Eddie’s properties are located in major cities such as the Gold Coast—Surfers Paradise, Southport, and Broadbeach—and Brisbane, where there is a consistent demand for rental properties. However, his journey proved that, contrary to popular belief, a good location does not necessarily entail a big purchase price.

In fact, his one-bedroom unit in the Gold Coast cost him only $185,000.

According to the property investor: “Obviously, it's none of the resort-style holiday let kind of thing that … people like … get excited about.”

“They see the resort-style ones for really, really cheap ... not knowing that majority of the times, they are not proper residential. They're company-titled or unit-titled, [which] changes … finance.


“All the ones that I purchased are proper residential—they're in smaller unit blocks of six, 10 units in a block. They don't have those restrictions for finance,” he shared further.

All of his properties in the Gold Coast and in Brisbane are worth around $160,000 to a little over $200,000.

Buy below market value

One of Eddie’s most recent property purchases is a townhouse located in Brisbane, which he bought for $160,000 and is currently renting out for $280 a week—a massive rental return of about 9 per cent. While it’s not the most aesthetically-pleasing property in the area, at the end of the day, it ticked all of his boxes.

Aside from being a mere 25- to 30-minute drive from the heart of Brisbane, the property also carries the fundamentals of a good real estate investment: ‘Will [it always] have a tenant there?’ ‘Are we buying it below market value and making money on the way in, not just hoping and praying that it's going to go up in value?’

According to Real Estate Business’ Tim Neary, buying under market value is essential to any property investor’s success.

“This is an investment. It's not a gamble, so … we're not playing on hope. We're not betting,” he said.

Save money on deposit and acquire as many as possible

Back when he only had eight properties in his portfolio, Eddie got a rental yield of over 8 per cent and held a combined loan-to-value ratio of around 70 per cent across his portfolio. After acquiring three more investment properties, the numbers barely moved, according to him.

While some people would borrow money against existing mortgages in order to continue acquiring assets, Eddie chose to take on multiple jobs so he could save more money for deposits.

He said: “At one stage, I had three jobs. I was working at two different bars and working the full-time job, just to hustle and save those deposits. I was working like a madman … for a reason.”

“That essentially saved me from using a lot of equity upfront … I did use some equity here and there to expand and grow but I did save a few genuine deposits recently as well—I think it's a balance,” the property investor shared.

The value of his first property, which he bought for $138,000, has already gone up another $60,000 to $70,000 after less than a decade. His other properties have also seen growth worth $30,000 to $50,000.

Eddie said: “When you've got [multiple properties], it makes an incredible difference.”

“The name of the game is [that the] more properties you hold for a lengthy period of time, the better your outcome's going to be. Right now, if I stop buying … within 20 years, they're all going to be paid off anyway.

"I feel that strength, it comes in numbers ... If you've got two properties ... and both of them go empty for a week ... that would be your whole portfolio. If you had six or seven or eight, then that's only a small amount and your cash flow would [carry it through]," he added.

Get continuous education

Since the beginning of his property investment journey, Eddie made it a point to spend his time learning the ins and outs of the wealth-creation business. After acquiring experiences as a property investor for eight years, he sought to share his knowledge and expertise to other people who also aim to achieve financial freedom.

“I had a lot of people talking to me and wanting to find out … how they could purchase property as well … We just started helping people for free, talking to them over the phone, but … it just became too much, so then I … just started my own property investment buyers agency,” he said.

One of the most important lessons he imparts is finance—from understanding the processes to dealing with property professionals. Eddie encourages his clients to study the different aspects of property investment and learn how to think like a property professional.

According to him: “[You have to] become a master at all trades … [Know] how to structure your portfolio, when not to cross-collateralize, what types of properties to purchase, when you're going to have to focus on high yields, and when you can relax a little bit—There's a lot of different facets to it.”

This dedication, according to him, must continue even if you are already enjoying good returns after acquiring multiple properties through the years.

The property investor-turned-professional said: “I always thought that once I hit eight, 10, 11 properties and I had more passive income … I just wouldn't do anything, I'd just sit on my backside and watch TV all day."

“Unfortunately, once you get hooked, you get hooked, and you just can't stop … My brain just doesn't stop. It just keeps going. I live for property,” he concluded. 

Tune in to Eddie Dilleen’s episode on The Smart Property Investment Show to know more about why he branched out into different markets around Australia instead of sticking to his backyard, as well as the unexpected setbacks he faced along the way. 

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