Monthly Archives: March 2016

Julie Howard

In Focus: Julie Howard


Inspiration can come from anywhere and for Julie Howard it was a simple article that set her on an amazing property journey. At 46 years old, married with two children aged 6 and 12, this lady is proud of her 6 investment properties, 5 renovations and 2 subdivision/developments. We recently had the pleasure of catching up with Julie after she attended the Property Women one day workshop where she eagerly shared her inspiration and tips on property investing

When The Student is Ready..

It is often said that the right thing will appear at the right time and this was the case for Julie Howard as her motivation to move into the world of property came at the most unexpected place. “I read an article in the waiting room of a dentist surgery from API (Australian Property Investment Magazine). I was in a “looking” frame of mind after leaving a business of 18 years to search for a new opportunity. I was staggered at the results this couple had achieved by buying, renovating and holding property. They seemed like ordinary Aussies to me and I thought why not us too? So I started to educate myself”.

“I did a property investment Tafe course and The Reno Kings workshop. I also read everything I could get my hands on to do with property investing. I researched suburbs via realestate.com and used RP Data. I was looking for an area that seemed under value in relation to the infrastructure going on around it and its proximity to services. I found my first investment property by going there and walking the streets, attended open houses and auctions, talked to locals and agents. I was in, boots and all!”

The facts speak for themselves…

Before After

“Despite people’s rather low opinion of Eagleby all my investigations led me there. I even went to the local police to ask about the area and they said it used to be a bad area for crime but in the past few years all that had changed as most of the housing commission homes had been sold to private owners.  The council was investing in beautification of streets and parks and it is right next to Yatala where huge massive industrial development is in full swing. This meant lots of jobs and people who were in need of close housing. Plus the houses were so cheap”.

Therefore with all of her research in hand, Julie and her family clearly knew what to look for when they found their first property. “It was in need of a lot of love but it was solid underneath all the dirt and mess and we set to making it a lovely home. We paid $185,000 for it and then conducted quite a big renovation ($28,000).  The whole family got involved and we worked for 10 weeks on the weekends and weeknights after work. We took the kids on the weekends and everyone had a job. We had babysitters in the evenings and worked late into many nights. But it was all worth it. We wanted a strong start and were prepared to work hard for it. We had the house revalued straight after the reno by the bank for $295,000 and the current value is $325,000. The great success of that renovation led us to the next and the next. We were away!”

Know Your Strategy…

Before After

Julie’s property portfolio currently consists of 6 investment properties which have all been purchased using the same strategy. “We bought the 6 in a 13 month period doing reno’s and getting revaluations to buy the next. When we got finance we made sure they would come and revalue and lend again to go to the next purchase as soon as the property was renovated. Some banks would not revalue in under a month so we did not use them. We have now purchased in Woodridge and Ipswich. Again both these areas seemed under valued for their amenities despite their “outer suburb” status. We have had excellent results from all three areas. Great tenants and great rent returns”.

“Our strategy has been to buy renovate and hold. On all, but one of the properties we have done cosmetic reno’s to build in equity. We made sure we bought them below market value and consulted valuers to be sure the amount we needed to spend on the reno’s was going to come back with at least a $3 to $4 return for every $1 spent. This was the only way we could see ourselves purchasing multiple properties quickly. Creating equity was essential. We didn’t want to wait for capital growth alone. This strategy has returned a net capital gain to us of over $350,000 in the past 18 months. We are happy with that as a beginning. We are now looking to sub divide two of the properties but we are still in the education phase of this exercise so we can be sure to do what is going to net us the best result”.

Renovation Tips:

Before After

 

  • New kitchens, bathroom, paint inside and out.
  • Great tip from The Reno Kings …the airless paint gun! Wow! What a tool!
  • Add a patio or pergola and landscaping, simple and low maintenance but very attractive
  • Tip: cost reno carefully before you buy. “We are very detailed when it comes to working out a reno cost. We always have a strict budget and so far have stuck to our plan. No big surprises so far”.
  • “We have gone for the picket fence on all the reno’s and it is always a feature people comment on and admire. We are not embarrassed to admit that we have not come up with an original idea yet. We are very good at copying!!”
  • Ask everyone for discounts everywhere you go. You must understand you are in business now. Get a Bunning’s and MITRE 10 trade card.
  • In renovating there are inexpensive ways to do just about everything. Find those ways. Don’t be too fussy, tenants don’t notice that your cutting in is not perfect!
  • Time is money.

Take some Good Advice…

Before After

 

According to Julie her advice to first time investors is clear and simple. “Our constant annoyance is that we did not start this years ago. So just begin. Now is a good time. Get knowledge to gain confidence and make a plan. Where do you want to be in 5 years, 10 years…What sort of retirement do you want.  It is all just maths. Make a plan and work the plan. Step one…education…leads to action….and so on. Also, keep your sense of humour. Despite your best efforts things won’t always go to plan. Get over it and keep moving forward. LOL a lot!”

“Knowledge is power. It will give you confidence. “Do your own research and trust the direction your knowledge is taking you. Be careful who you ask for advice. Opinions are like armpits…everyone has at least two and sometimes they stink!! Trust yourself with the factual information you get from unbiased reliable professional sources. Take action. “To change some things in your life you’ll have to change some things in your life.”

Hooray for The Reno Kings & Property Women!

Julie is an advocate for education and is one of many Reno Kings and Property Women graduates that has taken action and become successful.    She tells us, “It is tough to just say I want to be a property investor and begin all alone. I could not have done that. There is just so much quality information out there. The shortcut to success is to surely learn from those who have walked the walk. The value of learning from people already successful in the very thing you want to be a success in cannot be overstated. These events were life changing for me as is the ongoing association.”

According to Julie, she  wanted the lifestyle of the Reno Kings and the Property Women so it made sense to do what they were teaching. “There is no better teacher than experience. Seek out information, inspiration and association from these people at every opportunity. If there is an event on, be there if you can. You will always get more than the cost of a ticket or the time you invest. Much more. Lifestyle, your dreams…what ever you want.”

“Being associated with the Reno Kings and Property Women has reaped us huge financial rewards. We literally did our first reno’s with The Reno King’s workshop manual in one hand and the hammer in the other! Thank you Geoff and Paul. We had never done anything like renovating before but the information from the workshop and the website gave us confidence.”

Julie now feels in control of her financial destiny for the first time in her life. “Ordinary women like me have created extraordinary lifestyles through property investing. They are willing to teach me so I can too. You don’t have to make it all up yourself. All the information you need is there for you. You can do it too. Stay close to the source of information, seminars, events, online forums, books what ever you can to gain knowledge and confidence to dream bigger and bigger”.

Is it Media Hype?

With so much media attention out there regarding the current market, it is only natural for investors to be hesitant in their reactions involving property. However, keen investors like Julie, realize that this market is an opportunity waiting to be grabbed. “I get fired up just thinking about where my family and I will be in 5 years. More property, more lifestyle choices. I am having so much fun with the whole property investing scenario I imagine it will just get bigger and better. I don’t buy into the current media doom and gloom. Yes, times have changed from 2007 but thinking like the masses can be a dangerous thing. All the experienced investors like the Reno Kings and Property Women say this is all part of the “cycle of life in property”. They still look pretty happy to me so I am excited too!  There is always opportunity out there.  Find people who have the lifestyle you want and follow their lead. Associate with like minded people (like Property Women) every chance you can get.  Go girls! Go for your dreams! It is just a decision away…to begin”.

Her final testimonial…

“I have had what I consider to be the great privilege of working predominately with women for most of my working life. I have worked with thousands of women over the years and so I was really excited to hear of Property Women. Go Girls!

There are so many women out there with so much potential. They just need someone to show them it is there and how to take the first step. Well done on the creation of this awesome organization. It is only because of people like yourself and the other “property women” stepping out there that people like myself just starting out in property have a chance to learn from the invaluable experience of others. The very best teaching there is”.

Angie Flemming

 

Woman In Focus – Angie Flemming

Meet Angie Flemming, businesswoman, property investor and mother of 4 young children who has managed to build a $1.5m property portfolio in just a few years.

Inspired to take control…

In 1995 Angie had no money in the bank and a debt of $12,000…”I was in a long term relationship with my then fiancéewho is very independently wealthy.  I was ‘set for life’ until I decided to leave the relationship…with no assets and $12,000 debt to purchase a second hand car.  It was at this time I realised that had I maintained my independence throughout the years we were together, I would have accumulated some wealth in my own right”.

“It was time for me to create my own wealth and security.” And this is how Angie’s property investing story begins…

A lesson learnt…

It was in 1997 that Angie took out her first mortgage with her partner to purchase a waterfront property in Brisbane for $500,000.  Biting off more than they could chew they managed to find the finance…“We scraped together the deposit mostly on credit cards and loans from our businesses.  My first property!”

In 1998 using the cash available after selling her business, Angie independently, purchased another property; a studio apartment with harbour views in Sydney, for $200,000.

Everything was going smoothly until a few years later, when the relationship didn’t work out.  This was when Angie made her first mistake…selling the waterfront property that she jointly held with her partner. “…my relationship didn’t last so in 2001 and now with a two year old child, I made the ’emotional’ decision to sell the waterfront property which had doubled in 4 years.  Only I didn’t quite get market value as my ex bought me out…I gained close to $200,000.  That property is now worth at least $2 million”.

In 2002 Angie also sold the Sydney property for a profit of $110,000.

Angie now uses the “set and forget” strategy when it comes to investing in property.  “I have now learnt to hold the property”. 

“Certainly not to be ’emotionally’ involved in the project has been a learner and I expect one for other investors.”

With valuable lessons learnt Angie moves forward…

With gusto the property investing begins…

In 2002 Angie purchased a property with a rundown brick house in Coorparoo, Brisbane, for a steal.  “No-one would touch it so it was a bargain at $230,000”.  The house was demolished and a new house put in its place, at a cost of around $200,000.  This property has recently been revalued at $1,000,000.

Before After

In March this year Angie, her husband and some close friends decided to buy a reno together in Toowoomba. “Our friends had attended Reno Kings workshops and had already done a couple of projects themselves” and Angie had just completed the One Day Property Women Workshop.

Toowoomba was chosen because:

  • it meant a low market entry level with many property priced under $200,000
  • it is a major regional centre
  • it is 1.5hours from Brisbane still making it accessible

“So we bought the “cheapest” house in Toowoomba at the time.  We didn’t quite anticipate the makeover that would be required to restore this Queenslander cottage!  From a two bedroom shack to a 4 bedroom family home with full restumping, recladding and remodelling.”  After 4.5 months the property was rented and refinanced with some amazing results.

Property Purchase Price: $150,000
Renovation Cost: $24,000
Current Market Value: $250,000

In just 4.5 months due to extensive renovations the property has increased in value by $100,000!  A gain in value of $4 for every $1 spent.

First Toowoomba Property

Front:

Before After

The seed had been planted and the next purchase was the 2nd cheapest house in Toowoomba. Lots of work was required on this property as well, however with experience behind them…this project ran like clockwork.  “This block is zoned dual occupancy and has potential for a second dwelling down the track”.

This 3rd property was purchased for $162,000, and after the renovation totalling $24,000 it is now worth $260,000.

Property Purchase Price: $162,000
Renovation Cost:    $24,000
Current Market Value:  $260,000

Again an equity increase of $4 in every $1 spent.

And just look at the results…

Front:

Before After

Back:

Before After

Kitchen:

Before After

In a very short period of time this Property Woman has turned her life around and with the help of her husband and friends has managed to build a property portfolio worth $1.5m and equity of $868,000.

Her strategy has been to purchase run down property in major regional centres with comparatively low purchase prices, renovating them immediately and then using the increase equity to do it again.

Angie has taken control of her future…“I feel empowered again!  It was a matter of overcoming the fears and now I feel I am on track and in the driver’s seat.  Two recent renovations and my confidence levels are up.”

Dreaming big…

In the next five years, the goal is to have 15 investment properties “who knows, maybe more” with additional streams of income available to allow her to work part-time with her husband working full-time on property investing.

“We will be living in our own principle place of residence (PPOR) with pool, tennis court and footy posts!  Our children will be more independent allowing more time for us.  There will be joy, fun and spontaneity in our lives.”

Angie’s Tips:

  • set and forget
  • cookie cutting…use the same colour scheme, tiles and kitchen cabinetry for every job that way if there is anything left over you can use it in the next project
  • buy in bulk – where possible buy from auctions, trading posts etc.  There are many purchasing options available…you do not have to pay retail.
  • treat it as a game…ask yourself …”What is the worst thing that could happen?”  If you can live with that, just do it!
  • have fun!

Angie’s thoughts on the current market:

For the optimistic, now is a perfect buyers market and there are deals to be had.  Significant increases in rent are already apparent and further increases are predicted by market analysts. Don’t listen to the media gloom and doom.  Of course, do your own sums to make sure additional purchases fit with your planning and financial strategy.  Learn to “swim upstream”.

Linda Horth

Woman in Focus –

Yesterday I was reading a story about women of courage and how in the face of adversity women are able to find an inner strength we never knew we had that moves us from a place of utter despair to  one of moving forward and learning from the experience at hand. The mantra of “taking one step forward and two steps back” is all too familiar with all of us and this month’s Woman in Focus is no exception.

Meet Linda Horth, a 52 year old, married mother of 5 who has accumulated 5 investment properties despite experiencing some rather large setbacks in her life. Linda has stared adversity in the face and has moved forward and this month she shares with us her passion for property.

Linda’s Background

Linda’s first foray into the property market was back in the late 1970’s when she and her first husband bought a block of land in Springwood on Brisbane’s South side. They held onto the property for approximately 18 months when her husband decided he would like to go live in the country & do share cropping. “We sold our block for $12k & went share cropping for 12 months, it was a resounding failure, we lost all our money & had to come back to work in the city”.

However, in 1994 they managed to scrape just enough money together to buy a rundown 4 bedroom property with a leaking pool in Slacks Creek for around $100k. “It was a major pain in the hip pocket,” Linda exclaims. “Eventually we had problems with the old house and weren’t having much success at getting decent tenants in it so we decided to sell. That took a while & we made next to nothing on it”.

In 1995 Linda’s husband was killed in a traffic accident and her world collapsed. “Fortunately he had life insurance and I was able to survive. (I have to say that along with Landlord’s insurance, life insurance is one of THE most important things you can have),” she warns. Like most mothers, Linda’s motive was to provide a secure home for her children and therefore used some of the insurance money to buy a town house close to the children’s school.

“Over the next few years I met and married my second and current husband, Adrian, and we set about raising our collective family of five children. Things were a bit tight in the three bedroom townhouse when they were all home so we decided we would have to buy a house with more bedrooms, so we set about looking for one. We found one we thought would do & carted the troops off to see it. They swarmed all over it & announced that they were quite happy to remain in the townhouse squished in like sardines thank you very much. So we didn’t buy that place, but a 3 bedroom townhouse located about 100 meters from our place came on the market at a very good price, so we bought it for $120K”.

Life’s Lessons

Like most investors Linda has not been without her share of lessons along the way. Once they sold the house at Slacks Creek, Linda tells us, “We put a deposit on a unit in what promised to be a very nice building at Broadbeach on the Gold Coast. It was being built on the site of the old Grand Hotel. When the building was finally completed we were rather disappointed with the finished product so we sold it.  We did make money out of it but I would not recommend buying a unit in a building like that to anyone, the management fees are phenomenal, you have to use their decorators packages and there are so many rules & regulations, it’s enough to drive a person mad”.

“By using the Local paper Real Estate section & realestate.com.au and occasionally word of mouth, we set about buying more townhouses close to us and in small complexes of 6 to 8 units. They are easy to maintain and easy to rent out. The body corporate fees in small complexes are much lower than in larger ones that have pools & gates & managers.  We now have six properties including our own residence and one 4 bedroom home at Algester which is only about 2½ years old and which will give us good tax deductions. Our aim has been to always buy close to schools, shops, transport, an arterial road and within easy striking distance of the city. At Springwood there is also the added advantage of being only 10 minutes from Logan Hospital & 20 minutes from PA & the Mater hospitals & 35 minutes to the Gold Coast”.

Keeping it in the Family

Linda has her own strategy for investing when it comes to finding the right real estate. According to Linda, she keeps her eye out for properties that are keenly priced and in very good condition as they don’t have the time or spare cash to do renovations. However, they do conduct basic maintenance as required such as painting, adding a new stove and dishwasher, replacing blinds if necessary, making sure all taps and toilets are functioning properly and installing water saving shower heads. This strategy falls in line with the Reno Kings philosophy of making money when you buy by finding areas within the property where you can instantly add value. This not only could increase the value of the property but increase your cash flow which is so important especially in the current economic environment.

In order to further cut their costs, Linda and Adrian manage the properties themselves and are happy to share their advice with others. “We use an agent to find tenants (mostly) but we also have a TICA license / membership so that if we need to we can check prospective tenants out for ourselves. All our properties now have excellent long term tenants & are pulling in higher than average rents because we keep them all in tip top condition and if there is a problem either we deal with it immediately or we have a tradesman on site within 24 hours. A network of good reliable trades people is essential and we have found word of mouth is usually the best way to find good people in your area. Always pay your tradies promptly too and you will get good service next time”.

“We would also highly recommend using a company like EziDebit to collect rents. There are a few good reasons but the two most important ones are you have a proper statement of exactly what rent is being paid on each property and secondly the we don’t have to be continually chasing up tenants to collect rent as it is deducted directly from their account & if they are short they get a default payment charge (similar to a bounced cheque fee)”.  

Investing in Property has taken Linda and her family on a whole new journey. “I find that my life is very full & interesting, it keeps me sane knowing that we are doing something to secure our future & that of our children. Our children have also all been encouraged to follow in our footsteps and three of them already have properties, a fourth has finance approval & is looking to buy their first home as we speak. The fifth has just turned 21 & we are working on her with a view to steering her in the same direction”.

Linda’s Tips to Investors

  • Attend the free Residential Tenancies Authority information seminars; attend as many property information seminars as you can. I have attended a one day Property Women workshop and found it very helpful.
  • Educate yourself. Read everything you can on the subject (we subscribe to Australian Property Investor Magazine) and talk to others who have done it too.
  • Keep meticulous records of all your income and expenses and find a good accountant who understands property.
  • Find a good team of professionals e.g: financial adviser, solicitor & trades people.
  • DON’T invest in units in holiday resorts / hotels. The management fees are astronomical as are the body corporate fees.
  • Don’t try to buy the most expensive place you see, remember it’s an investment property not your own home so be sensible. When you are looking at a property stay objective & don’t get emotionally involved.
  • Make sure you do lots of research on the property. Use the web to help you do researchhttp://www.onthehouse.com.au/ is a very handy site for checking how much properties are worth in a particular area.
  • Attend the building & pest inspections & preferably take someone who has a few properties with you & ask lots of questions.
  • Check the place from top to bottom. Look for any imperfections that appear to have been covered up. You will become good at spotting things that are not right. Take a note book with you to all the inspections.
  • Attend local auctions to get a feel for prices in your area & observe how others let their emotions carry them away.
  • Remember the “location, location, location” slogan. Your investment needs to be close to all amenities, shops, schools, transport & arterial roads (not too close to the last one).
  • The house has to be appealing to prospective tenants with ample car accommodation, easy to care for yard, plenty of cupboard space. In short all the things YOU would expect in your home.
  • Pools are a big no, no; they will always end up costing you money.
  • Get started as soon as you possibly can but don’t get yourself into a financial mess. Do your budget, do you due-diligence, have all your paperwork at hand, get your finance pre-approved, ask lots of questions.
  • Look for bargains every day, know exactly what you can afford and negotiate hard.

Robyn Marsters

 

The Land of the Long Silver Lined Cloud?

Woman in Focus – Robyn Marsters

We all dream of being given enough money to lead the lifestyle of our dreams. This rarely happens, so our Woman in Focus this month used a small gift from a friend to set her family on the path to financial freedom.

Hardback to Hard Cash

Back in the summer of 2003, New Zealand mother Robyn Marsters decided to settle down for a good read. Nothing unusual about that, yet it proved to be somewhat of an epiphany for Robyn. “I was given a book by a friend, ‘Money Secrets of the Rich’ by John Burley. I picked it up and started reading it one afternoon. I found myself excited and inspired to the point of not putting it down until I had finished it, which was 3 in the morning! I then woke up my husband, Derrick, and gave him a snapshot of what I believed we should do”.

Robyn, who only three months earlier had her fifth child, had been inspired to build her own property empire and quickly set about taking the actions needed to get her new plan moving. Even though she had no experience in the property field, a career which had encompassed such diversity as working in a pharmacy to sales to farming worms helped Robyn step out of her comfort zone and embrace the challenge ahead. By December of that year, she and Derrick had already purchased five properties. Following a set of basic principles and learning as she goes along, to date Robyn has successfully traded over 100 properties, has completed in excess of 60 renovations and currently has more than 50 properties spread over New Zealand.

All in the Planning

Robyn found her first investment property through a New Zealand website that includes private listings and to this day she believes that a majority of her profits are made from sourcing opportunities privately. “We love buying well” Robyn enthuses, “We use a number of marketing techniques to find deals privately including flyers, roadside advertising signs, newspaper adverts and cold calling. If we can focus on what the vendor wants and it fits within our rules then its win-win”.

Whilst New Zealand has provided countless opportunities to invest over the last ten years, people thinking of making a first time property investment can be put off by the thought of many hours hard labour with a sander or paintbrush in hand. Robyn keeps her focus in sharp perspective “Our time spent looking for a good deal is far more valuable than doing physical work such as painting. If we are too involved in the labour side, we will miss good deals because we simply won’t have time to find them”.

Robyn loves to buy properties for a variety of reasons including renovation, letting, subdivision but most importantly, profit. One of the key requirements in her decision to purchase will be that the property is cash-flow positive and this seems to have stood her in good stead as she has watched her property portfolio grow. Her next step is to have a clear idea on what she intends to do with the property then spend accordingly, “If we are going to buy it, add value and sell it, we will do whatever is cosmetically necessary to make the house look great”. Although Robyn is quick to remind that taking simple steps like using the same colour schemes and decor across the entire portfolio can help keep costs down make sure you don’t over capitalise.

Robyn gives an example of one her latest renovation projects to help illustrate some of her techniques. “When we look at a property that we are intending to renovate, we look at the market price when it is completed and work backwards. The renovated price upon completion was $230 – $240K (this we work out by talking to real estate agents and doing some of our own research mostly on the internet).  We then calculate the cost of renovation. I have a simple spreadsheet that I have adapted for this, remembering to include 3 months of holding costs such as interest, rates and insurance.  For this particular property we calculated it at $25K.  We use a real estate agent to sell our houses and we believe a good agent is well worth their commission.  So we add a selling commission to our expenses for this house it worked out approx $8K.  We then take the estimated sell price at $230K (the lower of the range), subtract $33K, which is the total expenses, which leaves us $197K.  The contract we had on the property was $145K, so the difference of $52K would be our profit.  After this quick analysis we decided the profit was definitely good enough to go ahead with.  It took 6 weeks to sell the house, it settled after another 3 weeks and our profit worked out to be $56K gross”.

Now that’s the kind of profit we are all looking to make, so what does Robyn suggest we look out for when making a property investment?

Robyn’s Top Tips for Property Success

  • Buy Well – learn to pay a minimal deposit, get early access and negotiate well
  • Identify what you plan to do with a property and what improvements you need to make in order to achieve it
  • Don’t over capitalise – It’s amazing what a coat of paint, new vinyl/curtains or light fittings will do
  • Use the same colour scheme, neutral but not too bland, on all your properties – including rentals
  • Be sure to replace shabby bathroom vanities – even a new shower curtain can look great
  • Make the garden neat, tidy and easy to care for – grasses, flaxes and wood chippings can be a good way to achieve this
  • For renovation projects look at the anticipated market price when completed and work backwards, remembering to allow for all costs, fees and commissions, to calculate your bid price/potential profit
  • For sales, a good real estate agent is well worth their commission

A Helping Hand

Since those days back in 2003, Robyn and her family’s lives have changed dramatically and now they live the kind of lifestyle that once seemed little more than a pipedream. Even the children can’t help but want to follow in the inspirational footsteps of their parents and whilst the elder ones are learning trades in building and accounting, even the younger members try to pitch in and help by answering the phone.

With a great deal of success under the belt Robyn, along with Derrick, dedicate some of their time to sharing knowledge to help others, “We believe in giving back and feel grateful for the advice others have openly shared with us”. They are happy to impart their valuable knowledge of the property markets with less experienced and first time investors and also are heavily involved with a charitable trust. ‘Helping People into Homes Charitable Trust’ aims to help people who haven’t got a deposit to buy a home by giving them the deposit they need to qualify for a home loan.

Details of the trust can be found at www.yourownhome.co.nz .

The Time is Now

With much talk in the media of the current economic climate, many people are becoming nervous of any form of investment. So what does Robyn make of the current investment climate? “It is a fantastic time to buy now. Prices are down, vendors are negotiable and there is amazing choice out there. For first time investors the difference between buying well and not is all melted with time. The biggest mistake we see people make is they neglect to take action”.

There is no doubt that her positive outlook and willingness to take action on her decisions has played a huge part in her success. The formula seems simple, one we can all follow and as Robyn says “It is amazing what a group of positive women can achieve”.

What Robyn says about Property Women

“Property Women is an amazing group, I have spent some time looking through the forum and reading some of the fascinating articles.  What I particularly like about your group is the positivity, there are so many skeptical people out there to have a positive like-minded group of women is a very powerful force.  I am delighted to contribute to your newsletter and feel certain that your group will continue to grow and prosper, well done”!!

Cherie White

What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted?

Woman in Focus – Cherie White

Your husband has walked out on your marriage. Plans for your future have been torn apart. You have no idea where your income will come from and three small children are looking at you. What would you do? This month’s Woman in Focus saw the opportunity to start on the road to multi-million dollar property holdings.

Hard Times

Three years ago Cherie White felt as if her world had been turned upside down when her husband walked out on their eleven year marriage. Cherie had children, aged 10, 6 & 3, and having left her career in accountancy some twelve years prior in order to concentrate on raising the family her destiny was more than uncertain. “The loss of my marriage was devastating but the loss of financial security and the fact I no longer knew what my future looked like was terrifying” recalls Cherie.

Whilst many people may have buckled in such a situation, not Cherie “Not being one to play the victim role and blessed with a lot of self motivation I was 100% confident that I had to get back out into the world and do something – I just had no idea what!” Armed with the resultant settlement cheque, events were about to take a dramatic upturn for Cherie and her children.

Seeing the Light

March 2007 saw a good friend of Cherie’s invite her to a women’s networking group on the Northern Beaches. “The guest speaker was Fiona Herbert from Property Women. She talked about her investment journey and I knew straight away that was what I was going to do”. Shortly after this Cherie booked in for a two day Property Women workshop in Sydney “I attended I was hooked! Property became a passion!”

Within three short months Cherie had acted on her decision and acquired her first investment property. She has since added three more properties to that list, representing over $1 million total investment.

Cross My Palmerston with Silver

When choosing where to start her journey up the investment ladder Cherie went back to her roots. “I chose Palmerston North in New Zealand because that’s where I grew up. I knew it very well and luckily my mother, who has a great interest in property, still lives there. It is a major tertiary education centre and has a large transient population creating high demand for rental property.” There were other key factors in the astute choice of New Zealand though “New Zealand banks would lend to me whereas my bank in Australia didn’t want to know me. My only income was interest on investments and child support payments, whilst representing well above the average salary neither were recognised for serviceability. Other reasons for investing in NZ were the good rental yields of 5.5-7%, cheaper house prices.”.

After scouring the internet for the right bargain and sending mum off to visit the properties Cherie was interested in, the right property soon presented itself and the foundations for a more secure financial future were laid. Today Cherie’s portfolio is valued at $2.5 million dollars providing a flexible lifestyle for her and her family. Her ambition to continue to expand this impressive portfolio remains and Cherie envisages increasing acquisitions over the coming years along with branching into development.

Cherie’s Top Tips for Property Success

  • Structure borrowing/equity ratio to use as much of the banks money as possible and remain in a cash-flow positive position
  • Budget for renovations working backwards. Determine a final sale value, how much profit you want and that leaves your budget
  • Get at least 3 separate quotes for jobs that need tradesmen/contactors. Use recommended sources and bargain hard with the object of not paying anything until the work is complete
  • Improve street appeal to add value – Washing the house down and tidying the garden can have a huge impact for little or no cost
  • Surround yourself with good professionals – solicitor, accountant, property manager and in particular, mortgage broker
  • Don’t get emotional about property – Think of the numbers, not a fabulous kitchen. You won’t be living there
  • Never be pressured into a sale. It may be a bargain and have 3 contracts out but if you haven’t done your due diligence – don’t go there!
  • Always, always, ALWAYS get a building inspection. Worth every cent in avoiding very costly mistakes

The Only Way Is…?

Cherie remains confident that the current economic climate will just provide more and more opportunities to add to her portfolio. “In the NZ market you can get an absolute bargain purchasing at the moment. Banks have significantly tightened their lending criteria though there are still a few lenders still accepting 5-10% deposits. I’m optimistic that the current environment won’t last for too long and in the meantime a good mortgage broker is the first step in overcoming the challenge”.

Cherie also urges women who are possibly thinking of trying to emulate her to just do it. “Don’t be overwhelmed by it all. When I first entered this field I was gobsmacked with all the options, buy/hold, develop/sell, renovate/hold and so on. The most valuable thing I learned is that no particular property investment is the best. You need to invest the way that suits you. If that’s fast and furious – go for it. If it’s slow and steady that’s OK too. My biggest weapon against fear was education”.

What Cherie Says About Property Women

The workshop I attended in Sydney was absolutely fantastic. Without exception all the speakers were articulate, knowledgeable in their field and inspirational. It gave me the confirmation that property was the right thing for me and the confidence to go out there and purchase my first property. The opportunity to network was great. To learn from other people’s experiences, the good and the not so good. To make contacts within the industry was invaluable.

I now have a source of income that is not dependent on me turning up to work, I have a lifestyle flexibility that enables me to devote time to my children, my interests and hobbies and of course….lunches with the girls!”

Every Great Journey

Cherie’s journey is remarkable but as she says “You can do it!”.

Wendy Page

Destiny Calls!

Woman in Focus – Wendy Page

From an abused childhood within a dysfunctional family, this ‘woman in red’ has left that all behind her. After making 2 major life changing decisions, Wendy is now an entrepreneur, property investor and very experienced renovator who’s living her life on purpose and loving it!

Meet Wendy, a New Zealand woman who took control of her own destiny and now lives her life with passion.

The Law of Attraction

Wendy has been attracted to property, finance, and small business since she was 18 but never walked that path until a couple of decades later.  “…I simply didn’t know how to walk my own path when I was younger.  There was this whole other world out there and I had no idea how to become part of it.”

At 29 and a single mum, she found herself surrounded by women who were facing divorce and financial difficulties.  In 1992 Wendy made her first life-changing decision. Seeing the difficulties that women around her were facing, she decided to get herself an education and a career – and into property.

As a professional, Wendy had a big career that gave her status as well as a great income.  But despite that ‘success’, her life was still not working for her.  Later, she purchased a troubled business and tried to get it back in shape which she achieved, but  the experience left her jaded and even put her property portfolio at risk. It was then that she realized she needed to live her life doing something that she was passionate about, which is property investment.

Taking Control of Destiny

Wendy wanted to take control of her own destiny. She knew that property investing is something she is definitely passionate about.  And after witnessing other people succeed investing in property, she decided to walk towards that path starting with her own townhouse.  Instead of selling her townhouse when she moved to her new home, she decided to hold on to it for a while.  After talking to Inland Revenue Department, she then sold it to her first investment company.

Armed with her love for property, finance and small business, Wendy takes on property investment with a positive mind-set.  She believes that any challenges can be fixed as long as she has the right attitude.  “I focus on having an attitude of Yes!  Through a daily commitment to education, networking and having fun everyday.”

Wendy’s second life-changing decision came about just a year ago.  Finding herself ‘leverage locked’ she decided to expand her thinking through education and action.  Leaving her very supportive husband, her house and the dog and cat behind in Nelson, Wendy has relocated to Wellington to fulfil her destiny. It must be working because in the past year she has managed to complete 4 property deals – 2 personally and 2 for others.

Needless to say her husband is very ‘proud’ to have Wendy on the family team, creating the assets for their long term wealth while he focuses on bringing home the bacon.

Wendy now holds 7 properties in her portfolio, has completed 25 renovations, 2 developments and plans to continue investing in property. Wendy’s uses a buy and hold strategy to build her portfolio and her buying rules include:

  • Choosing standalone homes mainly smaller homes that appeal to singles & couples.
  • Focusing on the numbers alongside of reality – do the numbers stack up and is there really a demand for this property in this location?
  • Focusing on opportunity – how to improve the property, the rent, help the vendor move on, etc.
  • Looking  at blocks of flats (not single units) because of maintenance and people/body corporate issues
  • She also loves big back yards and homes with incomes.

In locating properties, her approach is to make herself an area expert and knowing when to seize opportunity in the market.  She also tries to focus on the vendor’s reason for selling to be able to offer a solution that works for them.

Living with Purpose

Now, Wendy feels that her life has a purpose.  “I love helping people achieve home ownership and working alongside of vendors and investors.  And most of all I just love how many great people I have met and the friendships I have made.”

She also sees herself continuously being active in property investing in the near future, and being involved in learning and travelling more.

Wendy’s Words of Wisdom

Renovating Tips
  • My first question is “What is the investment compared to the rental increase?”  I have found that by spending $4500 on a makeover I am then generally able to increase the rent by more than $30 a week i.e., I achieve a 35% return on my $4500 and it gives me a better class of tenant.
  • If you don’t know your trades-people then incentivize them to finish on time
  • Get real about timeframes – it always takes longer.
  • Clean first otherwise the painter will paint the years of dust and dirt.
  • Spend your money on the outside before spending it on the inside.
  • Use smooth vinyl and surfaces always.
Advice to first time investors
  • Invest in mind-set education as you are most likely to be your own weakest link
  • Ensure you keep company with kindred spirits.
  • 95% of people aren’t investors – don’t expect others (including important others) to share your excitement as you will most likely to be disappointed.
  • Life gets in every ones way – learn to stay the course and to look after your long term vision as well as your own financial needs.
  • And if you aren’t making mistakes then you aren’t taking action.

 

What Wendy Says About Property Women

“The whole experience is outstanding.  The workshops offer confidence and knowledge and a huge opportunity to benefit from the experience of women who are successful investors.  My confidence and passion for how property investment can change women’s lives is shared.”

If you would like to know more about investing in New Zealand follow this link.

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