our-portfolio

Waiting for the right time

By Phillip Tarrant
Property investment strategy

While you might be tempted to deviate from your plan with some ‘plum purchases’, you need to keep focused and stay the course.

It takes good discipline to be a successful property investor. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard about a good investment that stacked up but has been outside of our strategy.

The process we use to create wealth through property is to purchase under market value properties in the $180,000-$300,000 price range in growing areas – with good or expanding infrastructure, plus solid wage growth and a demand for housing – and then we seek to add value through undertaking cost-effective cosmetic (and sometimes structural) renovations.

We seek properties with strong yields that deliver a neutral or positively geared cash flow position. And we’re in for the long term; we’re not looking to renovate to flip – we’re seeking long-term buys that deliver good results. Then we let time take its course, delivering an increase in capital value.

While we do have properties that are negatively geared, the diversity in our property portfolio delivers a relatively neutral result, and that’s not taking into account the effect of tax and depreciation. So in essence, our portfolio isn’t costing us a lot to run. As long as we’re seeing capital growth in our properties – and we are – we’re ahead of the game.

But back to discipline. Our strategy works for us and we haven’t deviated from it – despite some mouth-watering opportunities that have come our way.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with assessing other opportunities – if only to improve your own knowledge – but you’ve got to stay the course.

I speak with investors who one day are looking to buy an off-the-plan two-bedroom unit in a high-density development and the next they’re talking about a knock-down rebuild and placing four townhouses on a block. It’s enough to make your head spin.

While it might be exciting to talk about and explore all these wonderful opportunities, it’s easy to get carried away. Decide what works for you and what fits within your buying capabilities and other constraints, and stick to it. Don’t spread yourself too thin and cover too much; you’ll only do things by half and fail to achieve the results you want – you may even end up losing money.

A scalable approach

Take a look at our portfolio– you’ll see a lot of similarities amongst the properties.

While the lion’s share of properties are in Sydney’s western suburbs and have similar characteristics (purchase price, demographics, rental returns, property type, renovation work undertaken), if you check back in a few months’ time, you’ll see some new properties appearing – most likely in the Logan area in Brisbane, Queensland.

We’re doing a lot of work right now assessing the market there and locating the right properties for our portfolio. We’ve got a good buyer’s agent – Steve Waters from Right Property Group – who is intimately familiar with our portfolio, our buying capabilities, finance readiness and our strategy; he’s on the ground now.

Although Brisbane is in another state, and is indeed a different market to Sydney, the reality is that by looking to expand our portfolio by investing in the Logan area, we haven’t changed our strategy.

I speak with investors who one day are looking to buy an off-the-plan two-bedroom unit in a high-density development and the next they’re talking about a knock-down rebuild and placing four townhouses on a block. It’s enough to make your head spin

 

Yes, the houses do look a little different, the weather’s a bit hotter and the beer is not as great, but our investing strategy is essentially identical.

The Logan area in not unlike the western suburbs of Sydney, and locations like Woodridge are pretty much on a par with areas like Mount Druitt.

There’s no need to alter our investment strategy – we can pretty much take a cookie-cutter approach:
• Can we buy within the $180,000- $300,000 bracket?
Yes
• Can we identify under market value properties?
Yes
• Can the properties offer a neutral or positive cash flow position?
Yes
• Do we have the capability to undertake cost-effective renovations and increase the capital value of a property without over capitalising?
Yes
• Does the area show good prospects for capital growth over time, as well as demand for rents, which places upwards pressure on rental values?
Yes 

The list goes on. The point I’m making is that our strategy can translate to any state or capital in Australia.

What works for you

I can’t express how important it is to establish a strategy and keep to it. Do your research, understand your objectives, get a good team around you, and continually educate and invest in yourself. 

The excitement I get from investing in property is through knowing I’ve got a good deal. To get a good deal you need to be prepared, so be finance ready with the capability to follow up any investment purchase.

Fear is also a big driver. I’m not staking our hard-earned cash on an investment I’m not confident will get me results. I like to be in control, and our strategy gives us that control.

While some readers might think our strategy isn’t very glamorous – we’re not buying blue-chip properties on the beachfront that we can boast to our friends about at the next dinner party – it works.

A good friend of mine recently bought up in the Logan area. A colleague of his who comes from one of the more affluent parts of Brisbane was quick to tell him how bad an area it was and that his place was sure to be damaged by tenants.

I hear these kinds of uneducated statements from a lot of people when I chat about our properties in western Sydney. If they’re unable to see the wood for the trees, I’m happy not to have that competition for the properties I’m after.

While we’ve done well with our portfolio to date, the last six to nine months have been a little more mundane – but just as important.

Getting our administration up to date, securing pre-approvals, researching the market and getting ready to buy are all an essential part of the process. These are the fundamentals to property investing, and we’ve got our house in order.

If you’re unsure of where you stand right now, my advice is to follow our lead – know where you are and be confident you’re ready to buy.

Remember to check back with us next month to see the steps we’ve taken towards our next purchase. I enjoy sharing our path to building our portfolio with you. If you have any questions please feel free to email me: [email protected]

Portfolio at a glance

 

$2,695,000: Total value of portfolio

$694,798: Total equity

$2,890: Total weekly rent return 

6.8%: Average rental yiekld

$9,154: Total monthly mortgage repayments

August 2011: Date of first purchase

December 2012: Date of last purchase

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  ["title"]=>
  string(72) "Mortgages in a tighter lending economy and why Brisbane is a good option"
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Tune in to the latest episode of Property Showcase, the podcast with the inside track on the products and businesses that will help turbocharge your portfolio, maximise returns and make your overall investment experience seamless and stress-free!

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To hear more about these services, make sure to tune in to this episode of Property Showcase!

 Make sure you never miss an episode by subscribing to us now on iTunes!

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Son Pham is the accredited Head of Mortgages at Rethink Financing\/Rethink Investing. He has over 6 years\u2019 experience writing loans, over 12 years in the wealth management industry working for the likes of CBA, AMP and private practice and he is also a licenced financial planner (AFSL 326450). He has multiple investment properties that are cash flow positive which help pay his mortgage on his home and fund his lifestyle.<\/p>\r\n

Son is able to write all types of residential and commercial property loans.<\/p>\r\n

In this episode of Property Showcase, head of mortgages at Rethink investing Son Pham joins host Tim Neary to unpack how an investor should approach getting a mortgage in place with banks tightening down on serviceability.<\/p>\r\n

Hear from\u00a0Son\u00a0about:\u00a0<\/p>\r\n

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    In this episode of Property Showcase, director of investment services for Open Corp Michael Beresford,\u00a0joins\u00a0editor of Real Estate, Tim Neary to share why he disagrees that the cooling market means that the best times are behind us.<\/p>\r\n

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Mortgages in a tighter lending economy and why Brisbane is a good option
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  ["title"]=>
  string(82) "Stories of success: The migrants that became Australia’s renowned Property Twins"
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Sana and Mona Ali moved to Australia from Pakistan at the age of 15. Years later, the once-struggling migrants successfully turned their $40,000 savings into a $5 million-portfolio, earning the moniker “The Property Twins” — all before the age of 30. How did these millennials make their way to the top?

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The Ali sisters lived in low socioeconomic conditions for years since arriving in Australia in 2000, but instead of accepting their fate, they used their circumstance as motivation to work hard and achieve financial security.

According to Sana: “Moving countries was a huge personal challenge. We were living in a low socioeconomic area of Sydney and we just saw people around us living really good lives. It really pushed us and made us wonder, ‘What if we could buy more than one house?’”

They initially wanted just a strong financial foundation for themselves and their family and the sense of security brought about by owning a home. In less than a decade, they got all of it and more.

Aside from being able to build a 10-property portfolio, the Ali sisters were also successful in establishing a mortgage business that aims to help investors make the best decisions for their own wealth-creation journeys.

“We just want to feel that Australia is really home and to have our roots here,” Mona highlighted.

How it all started

What they lacked in funds, the Ali sisters made up for continuous education, training and mentorship.

In 2009, they have both spent years in the Information Technology and Project Management fields before progressing through finance roles. The high-net worth individuals that they constantly work made them realise that there’s more they can aspire for than corporate jobs.

They started doing research and eventually bought their first property in Parramatta through their combined savings of $40,000 and the aid of the First Home Owners Grant. Seven months later, they bought their second property in Blacktown.

Mona shared: “I personally wasn’t a good saver, because I loved shopping and shoes. Nothing wrong with that, but looking back, it's like a ‘need it versus want it’ question. Obviously, I did buy a lot of shoes but we didn’t go travelling and all of that. So, we did have some savings.”

The Ali sisters opted for cheap properties in the lower end of the market to jumpstart their investment journey for low-entry prices.

“The cash flow meant when we did rent the properties out, they could look after themselves,” Mona highlighted.

Sana and Mona advise investors to avoid being afraid of starting small. Being realistic instead of aiming for a dream home on their first shot at investing helped them enter the market sooner than later.

After all, property investment is a long-term commitment and, essentially, a kind of “delayed gratification”.

The twin’s property portfolio grew to consist of eight more properties spread across Western Sydney and Brisbane, including units, villas and townhouses.

Strategies

Not long after they started investing in properties, the Ali sisters sold their first two properties in Sydney to take advantage of the property boom that happened in the city. Prior to selling, they did cosmetic renovations on these properties to add value and eventually extracted equity from them.

The first property returned around $330,000 while the second property returned around $190,000.

Mona and Sana used the extracted equity to make their third and fourth property purchase, which are strata properties located in Blacktown. Less than 10 years later, the same properties have increased in value by 90 to 100 per cent.

As the market went more stagnant, Mona and Sana continued increasing their savings to improve the buffer for their portfolio. They saved 20 to 30 per cent of their salary, sacrificed travels, minimised eating out and drove a Kia Rio for years to save as much as they could.

For years, they carefully weighed their needs and wants to determine the things they could live without as they are building their portfolio.

Where to buy

The Ali sisters deliberately chose to buy most of their properties in the Western Sydney region, between Parramatta and Penrith.

According to them, having properties in such good locations, as in close to transport and other valuable infrastructure and establishments, helped them maintain good cash flow and minimise the impact of property investment on their finances and lifestyle.

While they have implemented different strategies throughout their investment journey, good location is one of their non-negotiables.

Sana explained: “We wanted to make sure the properties were well-located. That’s formed the foundation of our property strategy, where we make sure that properties are close to the train station, or a big shopping centre, because that’s what’s going to drive the demand down the track.”

Who to work with

Unlike many investors, the Ali sisters didn’t recognise the value added by property professionals to their portfolio in the beginning. In fact, it took them four purchases to seek the guidance of experts. Needless to say, it turned out to be among their more costly decisions.

According to Sana: “You don’t know what you don’t know, and we didn’t know any better. In hindsight, it would have been good to work with a broker for our initial couple of purchases.” 

Through online forums, they found out about the benefits of working with a mortgage broker and has since worked with a few throughout their investment journey. They taught them not only what they needed to know about mortgage broking, but also what they want to be done differently.

Eventually, Mona and Sana grew to love the “numbers side of property” and went on to establish their own mortgage business, The Property Twins. The business aims to empower investors by offering different services, including building portfolio roadmaps and finding better loans.

According to them, their personal experiences as investors consistently help them provide the best customer service and most effective advice even amidst changing broking spaces.

Mona said: “We really look at building road maps for our clients upfront. On paper, we really put the options down — lender A, B, C, D, in that order — so you continue maximising what's really possible for you."

“Whilst you have no control over the lending policies or where your interest rates go, if you’re making that strategic choice, you’re keeping a lot of doors open for later investment," she added.

Helping investors

As investors-turned-mortgage brokers, Mona and Sana seek to improve the knowledge of Australian investors and ultimately help them achieve their financial goals. Their experiences as investors who, quite literally, started from the bottom allow them to provide realistic and well-rounded advice to different types of investors.

Instead of acting as mere intermediaries who bring borrowers and lenders together, they take on a holistic approach and help budding investors establish a good foundation for their investment journey.

The most important advice they give to their clients is to always implement long-term strategies, but also be flexible enough to alter plans accordingly along the way.

Sana explained: “You need to look at the big picture rather than just one product or one rate focus, because it's a long-term strategy for you.” 

“We are taking our clients on a journey. It’s not about one transaction at a time, it’s about the big picture and really educating them through the process, through the decisions that they are going to be making — just talking through the pros and cons, the rates and how it's impacting them and what their plans are in the next six to 12 months," Mona highlighted.

Finding the right mentors is critical to success in property investment, according to them. Finding the ones who will be willing to understand your goals, capabilities and limitations as an investor and give you tailored advice will certainly help you fast track your wealth-creation journey.

In fact, Mona and Sana themselves have made it a point to stay in contact with their mentors even after they have successfully crossed the $5 million-line.

As mortgage brokers, the Ali sisters go above and beyond their responsibilities to serve as lessons and inspirations to budding investors.

Mona said: “It’s been really rewarding to see the changes that people have had or the smart decisions our clients have made over the last couple of months. Whilst we’re not property coaches or mentors, that naturally comes to us.

“We pretty much hold their hand and say, ‘Look, this is what we would buy, this is what would make a good property and this is what you should be looking for, and where you should be looking.’ When you’re working with someone who’s been there, where you want to go, you cut down 10 years’ worth of effort,” she concluded.

 

The information has been sourced from propertytwins.com.au, realestate.com.au, Daily Mail and the Smart Property Investment website.

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Stories of success: The migrants that became Australia’s renowned Property Twins
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  ["title"]=>
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Will Magee has had ambitions to enter into the Australian property market for quite some time, but it has been more than just finances holding him back.  Having been granted permanent residency just two weeks ago, Will is wasting no time and is now in the process of signing papers and finding his first investment property.

" ["fulltext"]=> string(2483) "

In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show, Will joins host Phil Tarrant to share why he is purchasing his first property in partnership with his brother, discuss the complications that can arise from such a strategy, and unpack the ongoing plan for building a joint property portfolio with his brother.

Will will also share how they approached saving for their first property, why he is taking out the mortgage in his name exclusively, and share their savings plan for the year ahead.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

RELATED AREAS OF INTEREST:

From property in Australia to a ski lodge in Japan
Mortgage Trusts, an alternative first step for property investors
Should a real estate title be in one person’s name only?

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A property investment plan years in the making

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