Marcelo and Louise Lacuna have built a three property-portfolio after a few years and, while all of their properties are currently thriving, the couple has admittedly hit a ‘financial brick wall’. How do they plan to improve their cash flow situation?
The couple currently holds one property in Warrnambool and two in Springfield Lakes. Despite the rising vacancy rates across property markets, they were successful in keeping good tenants over the years.
The Lacunas have also successfully kept their properties positively geared.
One of their secrets to building a solid portfolio is working to strike a good balance between cash flow and capital growth.
“I think the greatest thing is that we make sure that we have a balanced portfolio. If for some reason, something was to happen, then our property can be paid for. It comes down to risk mitigation as well,” Ms Lacuna said:
While their portfolio is undoubtedly in a good place right now, the couple is currently struggling with their desire to add more assets to it.
Can they still grow their property portfolio after they have hit a “financial brick wall”?
Mr and Ms Lacuna are determined to establish a substantial nest egg for their family and provide quality dwellings to Australians through their investment properties.
The first step they plan to take as investors is to sell their principal place of residence in Sydney, where they lived for 17 years, in order to have access to more cash and purchase a new investment property.
Moving forward, the couple are keen to find properties that will fit their budget without having to sacrifice quality and earning potential.
Before researching, their priority would be to assess their financial situation and find out which suburbs offer the best opportunities based on their available cash, their serviceability and, most importantly, their goals.
“You can't sort of say and, ‘This is it’ just because everyone else is going there,“ Ms Lacuna said.
“You need to see where you are financially then, from there, find out what the best way forward is—do we go for cash flow or do we go to capital growth again?
“It's really important that you find out where you are financially first, and then move forward. That’s the starting point. You do research around that.”
After finding out just how much they can afford and borrow from lenders, Mr and Ms Lacuna will then start their research by understanding different suburbs and the investment opportunities they offer.
Considering the unpredictable movements of markets across Australia, it is important to dedicate time to studying the factors that affect their growth and ultimately understand how it will all fit into your overall investment plan.
“There are many phases of all property cycles, and all states are in different phases, and that's something that you really need to understand. You don't just jump into Sydney because it's still on high or you don't go into Melbourne because that’s where growth is at,” Ms Lacuna explained.
At the end of the day, no two investment journey are alike. The couple strongly advised conducting research based on your personal capabilities, limitations and goals as investors.
Finally, to make sure that they make the most out of the available opportunities despite the limitations brought by cash shortage, Mr and Ms Lacuna plan to continue working with the professionals with whom they have established good relationships with over the years.
Among the most important members of the team who kept them running throughout their wealth-creation journey are property advisers, and their financial broker, solicitor and accountant. As all of them took the couple from Property #1 to Property #3, they hope that they could also help them advance to their fourth property.
How exactly do they end up working with these good professionals? According to Ms Lacuna, it is a matter of seeking those who learned property investment by experience.
According to her: “Our team, they must invest in property so they understand what we want and what we're after and what our ultimate goal is. If they understand that, they will know where to look and what to do. Everybody must be investing or has invested at some point.”
She believes that they would not have been able to achieve what they did had it not been for the help of property professionals, which is why she will make it a point to work with them throughout their wealth-creation journey.
“You don't become a successful person by working by yourself. You need others to be there. Behind every successful property investor is an amazing team of experts,” she concluded.
Tune in to Marcelo and Louise Lacuna’s episode on The Smart Property Investment Show to know more about building a property portfolio despite financial hurdles.