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.
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 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”.
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”.
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!!