March 2016 - Property Women

Monthly Archives: March 2016

NSW Property Professionals

Accountants | Basix Energy Assessors | Bricklayers | Bookkeeping | Builders | Cleaning Services | Conveyancers |
Depreciation Specialists |Electricians | Feng Shui Specialists | Finance Brokers | Financial Services & Planning |Flooring |Gardeners | Handymen | Interior Designers | Kitchens | Lawyers | National Rental Affordability Scheme | Plant Nurseries |Plasterers | Plumbers | Project Managers | Property Managers | Real Estate Agents | Renovation | Roof Restorations |Roofers | Security Services | Solicitors | Tiles | Valuation Services | Wall & Floor Tilers

Back to the Little Pink Book Directory

New South Wales


If your business would like to work with and help women achieve their goal of financial independence through real estate in New South Wales and you’d like to be included in the Little Pink Book, Click here to access the media kit for more information, or email advertising@localhost/propertywomen



DAM Accounting Services

Contact: Debbie Austin-Eames
PH: 0417 610 492

H.G.Mayer &Co

Address: Cnr Dutton & The Crascent, Yagoona NSW
Phone: (02) 9707 1833
Comment Supplied: “No fancy office, no fancy fees, good results.”

Financial Planning Works

Contact: Nick Stanton
Address: 174 Willoughby Road, Crows Nest NSW
Phone: (02) 8425 7888
Comment Supplied: “Nick Stanton MD, Great accountant.”

Basix Energy Assessors

B.L.Roles & Associates
P.O. Box 6649, Baulkham Hills NSW
Phone: (02) 8004 1556
Comment Supplied: “Very clear & helpful with explaining basix requirements



Mums In Business
Contact:  Louise Shand
Address: 21 Station St Thornleigh, 2120
Phone: 0415 809 920



Glenn Hollier

Address: Silverdale NSW 2752
Mobile: 0418 971 510


Nico’s Building Services

Address: Parramatta, NSW
Mobile: 0432 552 051
Comment Supplied: “On time, tidy, polite and helpful”

JBL Home Improvements

Contact: Berett Harvey
Address: Newcastle/Hunter Region, NSW
Mobile: 0410 452 454
Comment Supplied: “Excellent workmanship/Very reliable/Polite & obliging/Female friendly.”

Cleaning Services

Leanne’s “House Proud” Cleaning Services

Contact: Leanne
Address: New South Wales
Mobile: 0408 499 608
Comment Supplied: “Leanne of Leanne’s “House Proud” Cleaning Services has been cleaning my home for 8 years. During this time I have found her to be extremely efficient, diligent, reliable and trustworthy. Leanne has great attention to detail and even moves furniture to get into all those hard to reach places. She sees what needs to be done and always exercises initiative. I have no hesitation in recommending Leanne to anyone looking for a thorough cleaning job. – Mary Cachia”

“I have been using Leanne’s “House Proud” Cleaning Services for the last 2 years and have been extremely happy with the professionalism and service they provide. The staff always shows up on time, every nook and cranny turned upside down to ensure the house is shiny and clean. If you are looking for a cleaning service that provides “attention to Detail” then do not hesitate to call them. – Jenny Locke”



Country Conveyancing

Address: Tamworth NSW
Phone: (02) 6762 3500
Comment Supplied: “Lady working on her own, I have had several transactions, both buy and sell and have NEVER had to chase anything up. Always prompt and efficient.”

Edmonds Conveyancing
Contact:  Amanda Edmonds
Address: 67 River Street, Ballina  NSW 2478
Phone: 02 6681 4222
Fax:  02 6681 4223

Hartman & Associates

Address: 135 Macquarie Street, Sydney, NSW
Phone: (02) 9247 4967
Comment Supplied: “Peter Castanos – excellent conveyancor. I have used him for 3 property purchases.”

Wood Conveyancing
:  44 Navala Ave, Nelson Bay, NSW
Phone:  (02) 4981 0866
Comment Supplied:  “Richard Wood – Very thorough, works from home so after hours and weekend appointments are possible”

Depreciation Specialists

BMT & Assoc Quantity Surveyors

Address: Level 20, Tower 2, Darling Park 201 Sussex Street Sydney NSW 2000
Post: PO Box N314 Grosvenor Place NSW 1220
Phone: 02 9241 6477
Mobile: 0413 271 777
Fax: 02 9241 6499

Address: 19 Brunker Rd Broadmeadow NSW 2292
Post: PO Box 340 Newcastle NSW 2300
Phone:  02 4978 6477
Fax: 02 4978 6499
Comment Supplied: “BMT Tax Depreciation are specialists in maximising the depreciation deductions available from investment properties. We guarantee to find at least double our fee worth of deductions in the first full financial year claim or there will be no charge for our services. We can also provide a free review of your current claim/report to ensure your deductions are being maximised. Call BMT Tax Depreciation today to maximise your cash flow!”



Craig Schofield Electrical

Address: 83 Uligandi St Ettalong NSW 2257, Central Coast NSW
Phone: (02) 4342 0611
Mobile: 418 428 769
Comment Supplied: Very helpful, I have called a couple of times and asked questions he has been willing to answer each time. He did all the new lights and power points in my little reno on a studio. Very patient, well presented, good workmanship and nice to woman.”

John Yalden

Address: Silverdale, NSW
Phone: (02) 4774 1055

Feng Shui Specialist

Heather Jolly Feng Shui

Address: Adelaide, SA
Mobile: 0419 997 736
Comment Supplied: Get a group of friends together and fly me to your ‘sacred’ area and accommodate me (no tents please…LOL!!)  Diamond Members and your friends will receive a 10% discount by having a consultation on your home/business to support you in every aspect of your life……and let me assist and inspire you to create great change in your lives so you may prosper and grow.  BECOME EVEN MORE SUCCESSFUL PROPERTY WOMEN……!!! PASSIONATE about PEOPLE, PROPERTY and FENG SHUI.!!.
Consulting in Australia and New Zealand
Diamond Member Discount – 10% discount on consultations


Finance Brokers

Australian Home Loans

Contact: Peter Borg
Address: 300 Charlestown Road, Charlestown, NSW
Phone: (02) 4920 7676

Downunder Mortgages (Australia)
Contact: Mary O’Brien
Phone: (02) 9620 5559
Mobile: 0404 234517

New Zealand Mortgage Solutions Pty Ltd  (New Zealand)
Contact: Mary O’Brien
Phone: (02) 9620 5559
Mobile: 0404 234517

Leap Frog Loans

Contact: Fiona Herbert
Address: PO Box 518, Dee Why 2099
Phone: (02) 9981 7248
Mobile: 0414 844 789
Comment Supplied: “We have a complex mix of properties, trusts and self-employed incomes.  Fiona from Leap Frog Loans not only understood our structure and goals, but managed to negotiate her way through it all to achieve multiple full-doc loans at a time when banks were tightening their credit belts.  She didn’t even mind that it was the middle of the Christmas holiday period when we knocked on her door.  We will certainly turn to Leap Frog Loans when we seek financing on our next property”

Oxygen Home Loans

Address: 112 Terrigal Esplande, Terrigal, NSW
Phone: (02) 4384 0220



Contact: Matthew Losinno
Address: Sydney, NSW
Mobile: 0410 692 603


Z Builders & Plumbers

Address: Clermont St, Concord, NSW
Mobile: 0418 401 199

Interior Designers

Caroline Hjorth Design – Interior design and colour consultation

Contact:  Caroline Hjorth
Address:  6 Bedford Avenue, Turramurra North, NSW
Phone: 02 94027997

Design For Space Pty Ltd

Address: Balmain, NSW
Mobile: 0414 907 589


Carravello Joinery

Address: 89 Queen Rd, Fivedock, NSW
Mobile: 0418 646 478


Quay Legal Group

Contacts: Josephine Muscolino, Catherine Young and Michelle Gibson
Address: GPO Box 3765, Sydney NSW 2001.  Level 6, 280 George Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Phone: (02) 9221 4244
Fax: 9231 6016

Williams Roncolato Lawyers Pty Ltd

Address: Level 9, 99 Elizabeth St, Sydney, NSW
Phone: (02) 9235 2399
Comment Supplied:


National Rental Affordability Scheme

NRAS Scheme / Nras Real Estate
Contact:  Jo Brown
Address: Level 5, 56 Pitt Street, Sydney, NSW 2000
Postal Address: PO Box R1691, Royal Exchange, NSW 2000
Phone: 1300 963 650
Fax: (02) 9523 9292
Plant Nurseries

Sun and Shade Nursery
Contact:  Daniel Cutts
Address: 224 Powderworks Rd, Ingleside NSW
Phone: ( 02) 9913 3709
Comment Supplied: “Daniel is very helpful and willing to do a deal even though his prices are already around 50% cheaper than elsewhere. Great selection of “trendy” plants.” Open 7 Days.


T’n’T Interior Linings Pty Ltd

Address: 80 Church St, Maitland, Newcastle, NSW
Phone: (02) 4934 1834


Z Builders & Plumbers

Address: Clermont St, Concord, NSW
Mobile: 0418 401 199


Project Managers

Property Bloom Aust Pty Ltd

Company Name: Property Bloom Aust Pty Ltd
Contact: Jo Chivers
Address: Northern Beaches, Sydney
Phone: (02) 9905 9955
Mobile: 0418 293 575
Comment Supplied: “Jo is a great teacher.  I’ve never done a development before so her experience with the Councils and the builders is a great asset.  She patiently answers all my questions and is willing to share her own experiences and knowledge.”
   Diamond Member Discount With every free one-on-one consultation you receive a 7 page report specific to an actual development opportunity (includes your own personal data).  Phone and email consultations also available.  Valued at $550.

Property Managers


Garry White First National

Contact: Michael Sharkey
Address: Glebe Pt Road, Glebe, NSW
Phone: (02) 9660 1044

Captain Cook Real Estate
Contact: Shaneel Mani
Address: 50 Railway St,  Liverpool NSW
Phone: ( 02) 9734 9644
Comment Supplied: “Showed my property after hours and bent over backwards to get me the highest rent possible and a good tenant. Cheapest fees too.”

Real Estate Agents

CENTURY 21 Five Star Properties
Contact:  Wayne Stewart
Address: 328 King Street, Newcastle NSW 2300
Postal Address:  PO Box 2184, DANGAR NSW 2309
Phone: 02 4928 7400
Fax: 02 4928 7499

Glenmore Park Realty

Address: Shop 7B Glenmore Park Town Centre, Glenmore Park
Phone: (02) 4733 1222

Century 21

Contact: Aaron Walter
Address: Main Road, Edgeworth, NSW
Phone: (02) 4950 8200

R & R Rural and Residential Property

Contact: Denise Haynes
Address: 2342 Bucketts Way, BOORAL NSW 2425
Phone: (02) 4994 9123
Mobile: 0414 725 482
Fax: (02) 4994 9312


Renosave / Renovate Smart

Contact: Viv Halliday
Address: PO Box 1241, Nerang Qld
Phone: 1300 101 331
Fax: 1300 307 173


Roof Restorations

BVT Roof Restoration

Address: Vic Tuckwell, 149 Blemont Road, Glenfield, NSW
Mobile: 0417 296 806


Z Building & Plumbing

Address: Clermont St, Concord, NSW
Mobile: 0418 401 199

Security Services (alarms)

Watch 24 – Security Services

Address: Head Office 46 Carrington Road, Castle Hill, NSW
Mobile: 0414 825 259


Harry Stathis

Address:  262 Macquarie St, Liverpool, NSW
Phone:  (02) 9600 8155


Tile Warehouse

Address: 6/321 Hillsborough Rd, Warners Bay, NSW
Phone: (02) 4956 6929

Valuation Services

Southern Cross Valuations Services

11/61 Southern Cross Drive, Ballina NSW
  Brigid Chapman
Phone: (02) 6681 5577
Fax: (02) 6681 5277
Mobile: 0429 877 503


Wall & Floor Tilers

Presentation Plus Tiling

Address: 19 Nelson Street, Barnsley, Newcastle, NSW
Mobile: 0414 582 337

Catherine Kincaid

Catherine Kincaid 

In this installment we focus on Catherine Kincaid, a partner of Michael Sing Lawyers on the Gold Coast. Catherine is head of the Family Law Department and between her dedication to her clients, she has made time to tutor university students, become a member of various committees, raise two children and purchase 31 investment properties.   Catherine Kincaid is an expert on the move.

Catherine in Focus

In our recent conversation with Catherine, this articulate and professional woman explains that it was her family background that encouraged her to build a property portfolio. Like many others, Catherine has her own story to tell but points out that she knew she always wanted more out of life. “My husband was a professional and I was well off in my marriage but after a separation I realized that wages were not going to bring me wealth. I always knew that property was the right way to go. So I started searching.”

Catherine purchased her home on the Gold Coast and carried out extensive renovations. But following the recession in the late 80s and soaring interest rates of up to 17%, she was forced to sell the property at a loss.

Catherine then began looking for an investment property in a specific area in Brisbane that appealed to her but tells us that there was not much available at the time. “Then one day one of my friends was jogging past a dwelling in that very area and saw the ‘for sale’ sign go up. Within the hour I was on the phone to the agent making enquiries. Apparently there were several other offers made that same day. But I had done my research, using mainly real estate web sites, and I entered into a contract in the next hour”.  This seems to be the inspiration she was after. Catherine bought her second property within the same month and now proudly owns 31 investment properties.

Many investors have their own strategy when it comes to broadening their property portfolios. Catherine is a perfect example of an investor who has been successful by buying properties and holding for the long haul. “I have never sold a property. Selling is a waste of money. If you do your research and know what you want then you have no reason to sell. I still have that first investment property and am currently making enquiries into sub dividing it, which is a new venture for me”.

However, there is an area that Catherine is familiar with – adding value to her properties. “You can’t go overboard”, she warns. “I usually clean, paint or do whatever I think is absolutely necessary. But I am always conscious of what I am doing and how much I am spending on capital costs for the property. I always ask myself, ‘Is this going to increase the rent?’ and ‘Am I going to be able to cover my costs?’”.   Catherine also manages her own properties. She tells us that though this does take time, it also allows her to have total control of her properties and means that she is not putting money in other people’s pockets.  This philosophy has proved to be successful again and again for Catherine on her investment journey.

Catherine talks freely about her purchasing tips. She encourages people to stop procrastinating and get into the market now. “It is better to do something than to do nothing”, she advises. “Plus, if you have done your research you will know your market and won’t need to hesitate. Both as a lawyer and an investor I suggest putting an offer on the right property straight away, but always have your lawyer review your contract before you sign. If you sign without seeking advice, it often limits your options if you need a way out of the contract”.

Catherine also suggests talking to people who have been successful. “That’s where the Property Women seminars are of value” she says.  Catherine has attended two of the Property Women seminars and has great praise for the workshop. “You can meet some inspirational women who have done it and done it well. Women have always thought that investing was a man’s job but women are now showing that they can do it and are doing it better. These are ordinary women who have proved that it is not rocket science”.

As a property investor and lawyer, Catherine also offers some sound advice to women in general. She understands through her own experience that a breakdown in a relationship often leads to difficult circumstances. “Love can turn sour and can often result in ‘sexually transmitted’ debt. I therefore recommend that women talk to a lawyer before getting into or after entering a relationship. A lawyer can give you some advice about your overall position, the ‘dos and don’ts’ of preserving your assets and what you should expect.“ For example, if a woman has her own assets before entering a relationship I strongly recommend having a prenuptial or cohabitation agreement drawn up. This may not be very romantic but it is better to be pre-warned and pre-armed”.

Catherine’s Tips

  • Do your own research and learn your market well
  • Learn from other people’s experiences (OPE) and use other people’s money (OPM)
  • The key is to talk to people in the know
  • Always have your lawyer review a contract before you sign
  • Talk to lawyer about your asset situation either before or on entering a relationship

Mary Ugarte

Mary Ugarte

In this installment of Property Women in Action we interviewed Mary Ugarte, 44 years old, married with two teenage children. Mary currently owns 7 investment properties and has completed 1 renovation.

What first inspired you to get into property?

I enjoyed property, I always have. We paid off our family home a few years ago and we were sitting on all this equity doing nothing. We wanted to do something but we didn’t have the get up and go. I then went to an Anthony Robbins and Property Women Seminar last year. I became inspired and made the move.

Tell us about your property portfolio? What have you done?

Our first investment property we purchased in 1999 for $130,000 in Kingston, near the university of NSW. We still own the unit and it is currently valued at $220,000. By using the equity in our home we have also purchased properties in Tasmania, South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland.

How do you locate your investment properties?

We usually use a buyers agent.

How would you describe your strategy for investing?

Buy, hold, build equity and purchase more. We don’t really renovate but may do so in the future.

What lessons have you learnt along the way?

Watch the market. It’s a wise move.

Do you have any advice you can give to our readers?

Do your homework. If you don’t have the time, get someone to do the homework for you – it may cost you but in the long run it will be worth it. It pays to do your research.

Where are you heading now? What are you looking to achieve?

We have just purchased 5 properties in a short space of time so we are now waiting a little to have these re-valued and then we’ll purchase more.

How does your husband feel about you being a “property woman”?

He loves it! He also gets involved in the decision making.

How has your life changed since becoming involved in property investing?

Life is busier. Handling the paperwork is time consuming but you have to keep on top of it. Life is more exciting thinking about the future.

How do you picture yourself in 5 years from now?

In 5 years I would hope to increase my property portfolio significantly and become financially independent – or headed that way. Ultimately, I would like to have enough property to be able to give one away to charity.

Mary Ugarte has attended two of the Reno Kings Property Women Workshops. Her opinion: “The workshops are very informative and inspiring. It takes the fear out of buying property. It is such a relaxed atmosphere and not intimidating at all”.

Carolyn Wright

Carolyn Wright

Meet Carolyn Wright, an experienced Property Manager, Investor and Mother. By keeping an eye constantly on the market, Carolyn has purchased 14 lucrative properties which has helped her set up a financially secure future for her family. Carolyn Wright is a testament that women are taking control of their future.

Carolyn in Focus

Shortly after attending the recent Property Women Workshop in Melbourne, Carolyn took time out to share her investment journey with us and the secrets of her success. Enthusiastic and young, she describes herself as being incredibly passionate about property but admits that this passion has come from lots of experience, research and networking.

Carolyn began her property journey by purchasing a 2 bedroom unit close to her parents’ house in North Fitzroy in Melbourne. “There probably wasn’t much forethought at the time but it doubled in value very quickly so I guess I’d have to say that my first property was a stroke of luck. From then on it’s been more calculated” she advises. The unit was purchased for $69k in 1994 and was sold in 1998 for $135k. “Now it would be worth at least $300k”, she says. “Selling would have to be my greatest regret. Not buying the one underneath it for $110k was also a mistake but was all a part of my learning”.

Buy and Hold
And learn she did. Carolyn reveals that her passion for property stemmed from a great mortgage broker. “He told me I was mad to sell my first investment property to buy the second one. He inspired me to learn more and encouraged me to attend the Peter Spann seminars. This got me going with a buy and hold strategy”, says Carolyn. “This strategy suits my lifestyle. I now don’t want to sell anything if I don’t absolutely have to or want to”.

When assessing potential investment opportunities, Carolyn says she looks for properties that are in good areas and close to city, beaches and amenities. “I look in areas that offer high capital growth and lower yields”. Carolyn also encourages looking at properties in good regional areas that have a strong and growing population and infrastructure. “These areas may not have experienced as much growth but the yields have been great”. In this respect, Carolyn has balanced her portfolio in terms of property styles and geographic locations.

Renovating to add value
Carolyn also advises that she enjoys dabbling in renovations by spending between 5-8% of the property’s purchase price. These renovations usually include paint, re-carpet or polishing floorboards, new or revamping kitchens or bathrooms, all of which she does herself. “However, when it comes to cabinet making, plumbing and electrical work, I call in the experts”, she advises.

When renovating a rental property Carolyn is also keen to give us some sound advice. “In my experience as a Property Manager, I believe that women make the decisions about the choice of rental property. I think that most women like a nice kitchen & bathroom, so this is my area of focus when I renovate.   I renovate with ‘renters’ in the back of my mind.   It’s best to stick with neutral colours as this usually appeals to the wider market. Forget the bright colours!   Stick to low-maintenance gardens as well.

Tip: If it’s going to take you 3 months to do a ‘cosmetic’ make-over because you don’t have the time, enlist some help from a good handyman or some experts (family & friends are often willing to help and you may be able to help them with something else in return). Remember that the time you spend renovating and keeping your property vacant is costing you money”.

Research and Networking
Carolyn says that research, and networking have been invaluable tools in her property journey. “I just recently attended the Melbourne Property Women workshop and I am recommending it to some of my friends who are too afraid to ‘dip their toe in the water’. It was a great day and even though I’ve done lots of investing, I still took away a “showbag” of little tips and ideas. The women were all very inspiring and each of their stories demonstrated that there is no right or wrong way to make money in property. You need to find the way that best suits your own situation. I would highly recommend it to any women who are keen to be Property Women and don’t know where to start, or to those who are already investing and are looking to build a support network”.

What Carolyn learnt on her journey

  • Don’t take “no” for an answer and don’t listen to other peoples negativity and cautiousness
  • Read lots of books and talk to lots of people.
  • Ask questions, go to seminars and educate yourself.
  • Play it safe for your first investment to get your confidence up. Once you’ve done it once, the next time will be easier”.
  • Investing in property has given me ‘peace of mind’ that the future is financially secure for my family

Kathryn Hill

Kathryn Hill

Over the last few weeks we have received many letters from our readers wanting to know how they too can enter the property market. Well, it is not as hard as you may think and our Property Princess of the month is a testament to that.

Meet Kathryn Hill, single parent with two children under the age of six. With a keen interest in property, Kathryn has 2 investment properties, both of which she can add value through a renovation and which are subdividable. Though just beginning her investment journey, Kathryn proves that with the right attributes and skills, you too can be a success.

Kathryn in Focus

The Beginning
Kathryn’s investment journey began in a town call Merbein, a suburb of Mildura in Victoria’s northwest. “Lots of research on the internet led me to Mildura”, Kathryn tells us. “As a single parent, my income is limited so I needed a property with a reasonable yield. I developed a checklist of factors I was looking for around growth potential and yields to narrow my search area down. I liked what I found in Mildura, so I drove over for a weekend for a look. While there, I found the property I eventually purchased. I was only able to look at it from the outside as the owners were away for the weekend, but I was very impressed from both the figures and the look of the property in comparison with the other properties I had seen that weekend. I paid $172,500. It only settled a couple of weeks ago, so it is hard to determine exactly what it is worth now, but I paid under the council valuation”. Kathryn then purchased her second property in Port Pirie shortly after and is currently waiting for the property to settle in the New Year.

The Game
Kathryn Hill describes her property investing like playing a real life game of Monopoly. “Its fun”, she says. “It’s solid and easy to understand. I like the fact that you can control the outcome of your investment more easily than with shares”. And control is exactly what Kathryn has. Her thorough research which includes researching areas through the internet and over the phone, talking to property managers, and eventually visiting an area and making herself known to the real estate agents, has resulted in both of her purchases being able to be subdivided and sold off for a profit. “If necessary, that is my exit strategy”, she explains. “That’s if I was unable to hold the property for any reason”.

The Equity
But how does a single mother of two purchase property you may well ask. According to Kathryn Hill, both of her properties were purchased by using the equity in her PPOR (Principal Place of Residence) for a deposit. “I had to refinance my home with a no doc loan to create a LOC (Line of Credit) after my bank rejected my application at the last minute following the sub prime meltdown in the US. I was then able to get an 80% loan after much initial difficulty on the Mildura property, and I have a 60% loan on the Port Pirie property. As a low doc borrower purchasing in a regional area, it is difficult to get a loan greater than 60%”. 

The Strategy
Many property investors have discovered their own strategy when it comes to property. When looking at Kathryn Hill, she describes herself as “unconventional”. “I found I didn’t fit the usual strategies of buy and hold negative gearing. Being on a low taxable income, I receive little or no benefit from tax refunds and depreciation. Also being on a low income I couldn’t fund a large shortfall myself. Therefore, I looked for properties with a twist and with an exit strategy if I got into trouble. I still chose areas that I felt had potential for reasonable to good growth as well as a good yield. My overall plan is to buy and hold for the medium to long term”.

The Twist
Kathryn is keen to talk to us about her ‘properties with a twist’. “The biggest thing is being able to add instant value”, she says. “What I did to the Mildura property was to add a fence to make it dual tenantable. I also put in ceiling fans and did some minor repairs/upgrading work but it was already in very good condition. I can subdivide it which would increase my equity but would make no difference to the rent at the moment, so I am holding off on that at this stage”. 

“As for the Port Pirie property, it needs a major renovation to make it habitable. Once complete, this will add at least triple the reno cost in value to the property and should provide at a 7.5% yield on total cost”. Even though Kathryn’s property is yet to settle in the new year, she does have a licence to occupy, with an aim being to complete the reno before settlement. “My budget is $15K. The previous owners had gyprocked the walls and ceilings, renovated the bathroom and rewired, then run out of energy having purchased a new property themselves. It needs new doors, windows, architraves, flooring, a kitchen, guttering and painting inside and out. It is a huge learning curve, and still has quite a way to go. The best thing about this project has been finding a highly skilled handyman who works very cheaply and knows the whole town, and he has been more or less project managing the reno from Pirie. This includes chasing tradesman, which is hard work over the Christmas period. Planning a major reno over the holidays was probably not a great idea, but hopefully it will all work out in the end. The licence to occupy has been a great help in being able to get started on the reno with low holding costs”.

The Lessons
Like so many other property investors, Kathryn has learnt many lessons along the way. “You need a great team,” she states. “I don’t know how I would have even got started on the Pirie project without Tim the handyman. As for finance, this was a huge challenge so I am grateful for my miracle worker finance broker”. But most importantly, Kathryn declares that persistence is everything. “I have been knocked back at so many points due to my unconventional income types of child support and centrelink payments which supplement my employment income. Also friends and family can question why a single mum would want to go into something as risky as property investment. I have needed to stick to my vision and believe that I would get there in the end and keep going even when it looks and people tell you it’s impossible. I’ve made loads of mistakes, but looking back they have all led to where I am now, so I can’t really regret them”.

The Education
Spoken like a woman with a wealth of experience, Kathryn does not fail to mention that the Property Women workshop has made a major contribution to her journey, helping her to finally take action. “It’s hard to say exactly why, but the workshop finally had me moving from procrastination to actually finally taking committed steps to purchasing my first property. Within weeks, I bought myself a laptop, got broadband internet and got serious instead of endless reading, and talking about it. Within 3 months of the workshop, I had my first property under contract. I think it was just good practical advice, and hearing a variety of strategies that worked for people in different situations. I particularly valued the opportunity to pin the presenters down in the breaks and ask them questions relevant to my situation ie: a single parent with income types that are difficult to finance against”.

Visit for more information on the Property Women workshops

Kathryn Hill is an inspiration to say the least. Her property journey has helped her gain a great deal of confidence in her ability to achieve her long term dreams. “I am aiming for between 5 and 10 at least in 5 years, and also a business or other means of producing cash flow to assist in gaining more properties. The detail will come along the way, but I have no doubt that this is just the start of my journey”.

Kathryn’s Advice to us all

  • The old standard, “feel the fear and do it anyway”. Acknowledge to yourself that it is scary, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.
  • I choose to see myself as a professional and a property investor rather than a single parent on a pension and I think a person’s vision of themselves has a big impact on their future.
  • Focus on where you are heading and just put one foot in front of the other in the meantime. I was a real victim of analysis paralysis and tried to plan out every step far into the future, but life doesn’t really work that way, so in the end I decided I just needed to do something, if I made a mistake I would just learn from it, and just enjoy the journey.

Sue Cowie

Sue Cowie

Have you imagined yourself as a successful Property Investor with a portfolio of your own? Do you often find that there always seems to be something standing in your way? Are you not sure of how to start or get to the next level?

Then meet our Property Princess of the month, Sue Cowie, a woman not afraid to tackle life head on. Sue believes that she has always had a passion for property and has spent many years moving in and out of rental properties. Her experience has not only given her insight into what tenants want, but encouraged her dream of owning houses with white picket fences – lots of them!

Sue is a property investor who has used her faith and courage to overcome adversity and sickness and today continues to forge ahead on her property journey.

Sue In Focus

Sue’s First Lesson
Sue Cowie can be described as a dedicated investor. Under her belt she holds 5 investment properties and has experienced 4 renovations and 1 subdivision.   However Sue’s journey has not always been smooth sailing.

She began her investing a number of years ago by instinctively purchasing her neighbours house in the Redcliffe area, 32 km north of Brisbane. “When my neighbour put the house on the market I did not know if the figures would be good or not. I just thought it would be a good thing to do. I paid $79,000 for it. Unfortunately after experiencing a bad tenant, I sold the property three years later for close to what I paid for it!” The property now has an estimated value of $350,000. If only she’d held onto it! But this has not deterred Sue; she has learnt a valuable lesson. She advised us however that she has continued purchasing properties in the Redcliffe and Ipswich areas since then.

Sue’s Strategy
Following the bad tenant experience, Sue began to lose confidence. She dealt with a string of bad property managers and felt that she had no guidelines and not enough education. It all became too hard, so she sold all of the investment properties and took what she thought was the easy way out. She met with a developer who was full of promises. “All I had to do was give him my money and wait for the ship to come in” she said. But the ship didn’t come in, it went down and Sue almost went down with the ship. “Everything was falling apart, I lost all of my money and that’s when I was diagnosed with cancer”.

Sue’s focus now turned to her health.  She cleaned out the negatives from all aspects of her life, had counselling and even had 2 special ladies (her angels) pray for her on a weekly basis. When she reached a blank slate on a spiritual, physical and emotional level she had time to reflect on her life. She realised that property investing is her passion. Despite losing money, carrying fear and not knowing whom to trust, she just knew that she was compelled to continue.

Sue’s Learning
Sue knew that in order to move forward she needed education and therefore booked herself into the Property Women Workshop. “I know I was meant to be there” she tells us. “I felt special and I was able to talk about my finance problems with one of the finance ladies. She was such a gem”.

The Property Women workshop provided Sue with a wealth of information. It helped build on her investment strategies, gave her different options to consider when sourcing properties and placed her in the presence of like-minded women who stimulated and motivated her. “The workshop was really helpful – the women are real, honest & happy just sharing their own journeys. The presenters also put layers on top of layers to reinforce the learning. Thankfully they were not guru types who have lost touch with the everyday person”.

Sue especially loved the set of CD’s, which she received at the workshop “I played them again and again in the car – I was feeding on them”.

Sue’s Strategy
Many investors have their own strategy when it comes to expanding their property portfolios. For Sue, finding the right strategy did not come easy. “I struggled to ‘find’ a strategy. I guess it kind of came together as I went along”.

“Late last year a property just dropped in my lap. It was an unreal experience. It was then that I just knew that I had to do this. We picked up the property, under an hour out of Brisbane for $155,000.  It settled on 14th December 2007. The renovation, costing $10,000 will be finished in a couple of days”. Sue swears by the Reno Kings recommended strategy of a cosmetic touch-up and never spends more than 10% of the purchase price. The rental appraisal is $260-$275 per week with an estimated revaluation of $250,000. Well done Sue!!

Sue’s secret weapon is Research, Research, Research! She also advised us that she likes to look at properties where she can add value. “I locate my properties initially through the internet. I then visit the area, talk to agents, councils, and even locals at coffee shops – basically anyone that will answer my questions. And I use my gut instinct”.

Sue’s Mistakes
It may seem true that some property investors have better luck than others but it is definitely true that all property investors have made their share of mistakes along the way and learnt some valuable lessons. Sue Cowie is no exception.

When we asked Sue about the mistakes she wishes she had avoided she tells us, “We’ve held five investment properties but we have sold five. Ouch! The lesson is not to sell – we would be retired now if we had held”. Sue also reveals that the fear of the unknown played a major factor in hindering her progress. “Many opportunities presented themselves even without me searching, but I was either afraid to take them or didn’t know enough to work out if they were good. Losing $300,000 in an investment was very hard to take and resulted in bad health and despair – never let any one else have control of your money. You need to be the one who pulls the strings. And most important is to always have fun along the way”.

Sue’s future is now looking brighter than ever and her determination is infectious. “I’m not striving for anything in particular – that’s big for me. I just want to continue in property and have some fun. If properties come along that are just too good to pass up I’ll take them – and if not, that’s ok too. I’m learning to listen to my gut instinct and I have a simple goal with good motives and just put it out there. My husband is on the journey with me. This is something we can enjoy and do together. Otherwise I’d just shut it down – life’s too short not to enjoy the journey. I love being involved in property investing”.

Sue’s Investing Tips

  • Don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis.
  • Sort your finances first.
  • Do the groundwork – do your research.
  • Talk to people around you and in the area.
  • Find creative solutions.
  • Have fun or don’t do it.
  • Enjoy the journey.  Life is too short not to.

P.S. Despite being diagnosed with stage IV cancer and a grim prognosis, Sue is now in remission, enjoying life to the fullest and following her passion of being a successful property investor. What an inspiration to us all. Congratulations Sue, a true Property Princess!!

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