By just 25, Stephanie Brennan had a seven-property investment portfolio, valued at $2.7 million with an equity position of $800,000. Here are six investment lessons you can learn from her.
1. Get comfortable with debt
Stephanie says she doesn’t dwell on the $2.7 million debt she has.
“I don’t really think about it,” she told The Smart Property Investment Show podcast.
“I mean every time I log onto my bank account I don’t sort of go ‘Oh my gosh, $2 million in debt’, instead I think with the investment you always have got to spend money to make money.”
She thinks of it as a long-term investment: “One day it will be paid down.”
2. Make sacrifices
Stephanie says she made a lot of sacrifices – even down to cutting her own hair.
“And I learned to do so when I was young,” she says.
“When I was five years old I earned my first 50 cents in pocket money. And I wanted to by a chocolate bar and Mum said 'Why don’t you use your first 50 cents?' I thought if I could make another 50 cents I could have both the 50 cents and the chocolate bar.”
3. Do the work
I was always hungry to go out and work, says Stephanie.
“I often did jobs cleaning my neighbour’s houses, or doing painting jobs.”
She got her first ‘real’ job at 15 and worked multiple jobs at a time.
“And just saved everything I possibly could.
“I put a lot into my first business and obviously lost some money trying to gain traction with the business, but then got some clients and made some money there.
“And then I started to invest it and it has just sort of spiralled from there.”
4. Marry modesty with ambition
Ms Brennan made a point of buying sensibly priced units, but made certain they are all in blue-chip geographies.
“I never invested in a million dollar property straight off the bat. My first property was $386,000 and all of them, aside from one, was under $400,000.
But they are all “pretty blue chip” — Manly Vale, Manly and Collaroy in Sydney, Bowen Hills and Kelvin Grove in Brisbane, and Philip in Canberra.
5. Look around
When she was really young, Ms Brennan says her parents quite often looked through houses — and she would tag along.
It instilled in her an eye for real estate and that attraction has stayed with her ever since.
“I absolutely loved, even though it sounds really creepy, looking through people’s homes.”
6. Take your chance
One of Ms Brennan’s clients in her first business was a property investment company.
“And when I first saw the returns that property could bring in capital growth and rental share I knew this is what I wanted to invest in.
“It is something that I can touch and feel. So I moved into property management so that I could understand all the ins and outs of managing a property and how to make the most out of it.
“And then I just kind of fell in love, I guess.”