April 2016 - Property Women

Monthly Archives: April 2016


Why the hunter is being hunted

What’s the big attraction in Newcastle and the Hunter Valley for investors!!

The Hunter property market is predicted to be among the best performers in Australia over the next eight years, with values in some suburbs forecast to rise on average by more than 10 percent a year.

Newcastle, Australia’s 7th largest city is located 2 hours north of Sydney with the Inner City built around Australia’s largest working Harbour.  Awarded  9th Place in Lonely planet’s Top 10 Cities in the World, Newcastle boasts world class beaches, Australia’s largest saltwater Lake, Lake Macquarie and a relaxed lifestyle framed on the backdrop of the largest coal exporting harbour in the world.

The Hunter has one of the strongest regional economies in Australia.  While the economy of Newcastle and the Hunter is underpinned by the coal industry, there is a broad range of industry including manufacture, power generation, agriculture, wineries, cattle and equine, tourism, health, medical research and education.  The University of Newcastle is one of the few Australian Universities experiencing growth in student population.   Currently, student numbers total 32,000 with growth of a further 8000 expected by 2015.

The $1.7billion Hunter Expressway due for completion by 2014 will cut travel time from Newcastle to the Hunter by an estimated 28 minutes, provide a more direct and efficient route for freight movements between the Upper Hunter and the Port of Newcastle and potentially reduce between 15,000 and 30,000 vehicles per day on the New England Highway.

Despite  overall weak forecasts, three top analysts agree that the long term outlook for the Hunter is that it will be one of Australia’s forerunners for capital growth.  Property forecaster and CEO of Residex, John Edwards has said that all the statistics pointed to a significant spike in some Hunter suburb prices within the next five years.  The latest Residex report has listed 17 Hunter suburbs as among the best for capital growth in NSW.  Hotspotting director, Terry Rider holds the view that the Hunter is the best market in NSW and among the top 10 in Australia.   Housing Industry Association chief economist Harley Dale describes the Hunter as the state’s “shining light” (NH 09/06/12).

Further reasons to invest in Newcastle and the Hunter

  • Low Median Price – from low $200’ks to mid $300k for good suburbs
  • Population Growth – expanding by 0.9% annually (ABS)
  • Low unemployment
  • Low vacancy rates – under 1%
  • Rising Rents

There is also opportunity for adding your own value through renovation, granny flat, subdivision, development or onsell with DA approval.

Having lived in the area all my life and despite having extensively researched property both in Australia and overseas, my choice for my own investing has always been the Hunter.  Now, as Newcastle and the Hunter’s Specialist Property Buyers Agent, I’m absolutely thrilled to give other women a helping hand to find property in the area that will not only suit their strategy but have some property twists for adding value.  Just like shopping for clothes, I firmly believe that the property has to match the person.  One client had been doing her own research in the area, sent me the link of the properties she thought had potential, not knowing that I had previously seen both and was able to give her instant feedback.  It’s then that she realised “The property websites don’t show me everything, that’s why I need you, on the ground” L.C., ACT.

Snapshot…Hunter suburb

Purchaser Deb, Sydney
Property Original 3br home
Purchase $292,500
Est. Reno $3,000
Total $295,500
Est. Reval $330,000
Est. Equity gain $34,500
Time frame 7 days
Strategy Rent for now, build equity, then build granny flat


Testimonial from Deb

“Judith Taylor was a godsend! About to embark on the purchase of my first investment property, and a bit daunted at the prospect of doing it on my own, I am so glad I found Judith through Property Women, who helped make it a smooth and enjoyable experience.

She is a wealth of knowledge in the Newcastle areas, and with extensive experience and contacts under her belt, I am very happy to have invested in utilizing her services.

She is efficient and communicated with me every step of the way, which gave me peace of mind as she took the hard work off my hands and dealt directly with all involved including tradespeople, solicitors and real estate agents, right throughout and beyond settlement.

I have gained confidence and benefited from her assistance and am so thrilled with the house she helped me find and secured a great deal on my behalf.

I would not hesitate to recommend Judith to anyone who is looking to invest in this wonderful growth area in NSW – she is worth every cent!” Deb, Sydney

Snapshot…Newcastle Suburb

Purchaser Karen, QLD
Property 4br home on DA approved 2 Villa Site
Purchase $430,000
Est. Reno $15,000
Total $445,000
Strategy Reno and rent house while building 2 x villas, on sell to create cash flow

Testimonial from Karen

“I cannot thank you enough for helping me get into the Property Market.  You have made sourcing, negotiating, & purchasing the property incredibly painless and stress-free!!!  Thank you Judith for finding me the best deal and then negotiating an even better deal for me!!  It is a pleasure working with you and I’m looking forward to a long and very successful working relationship with you!” Karen, QLD

This article was provided by Judith Taylor at Select Property Finder

If you would like to know more about investing in Newcastle and the Hunter or find out if it’s right for your strategy, you can contact Judith via by clicking here


Where and how to find property hotspots

What are property hotspots?

We all know that getting ahead in property investment is about knowing where to buy, finding those illusive “property hotspots”.

A “hotspot” is typically defined as a property with higher than average capital appreciation and superior rental yields.  In addition, it’s an area that is undervalued and has the potential to do well in the next 12 months. The secret is getting in early before an area “takes off.”

So how do you spot a hotspot?

7 Top Property Hot Spotting Tips:



First you’ll need to start off with an idea of what you are looking for…in this case you are looking for areas with good rental return and the potential for great capital growth in the short to medium term.

“Cheaper Houses often bring the highest yield…and higher yields are often a pre-cursor to growth!” Jenny Storey, Property Investor,  26 properties in 27 months

Always be on the look out and start with broad web searches and begin looking at the cheaper areas in each state.

Order your search results by Price, by Latest listing and by Suburb.

Look at overall prices in all areas along with rental returns.

Some helpful websites include:


Don’t just limit yourself to these sites…think outside the square…did you know you can even purchase property on Ebay?

Note: the property that fits your criteria may not even be in your own state!


Once you start searching through hundreds of properties you’ll start to see opportunities…such as undervalued properties, properties not to buy, properties that look promising, undervalued areas etc.

Tip: setup email alerts for areas that you are interested in and watch and be ready if you notice an area starting to boom.


Look for an investment location that offers a potent combination of strong population growth, government investment infrastructure, and affordable prices. Nearby hospitals, universities, and major businesses are also good indicators since they will create new, long-term jobs and generate demand for rent.


Get a good map of the area. Be wary of towns with just one road going through it. The town may not be  a place people stop, but just drive through on their way somewhere else. Look for a city, town, or suburb with several roads coming in, perhaps even a railway. You want a destination where people stop and do business and spend time there with recreation activities.


Don’t discount a suburb or city just because it’s in another state. Many investors have invested in properties unseen! Purchasing properties in different locations can help you build a more balanced and protected portfolio.


Once you’ve narrowed your choices, it’s time to do your homework. The internet, of course, is a great place to start. Look at the larger real estate sites. Use major investment property magazines for cross comparisons.

Some Questions you could ask include:

  • Are their multiple reasons that the area will grow in value?
  • Do tenants want to rent in the area?
  • Is the area a destination or a dead-end?
  • Are there any negatives mentioned about the location?
  • Are there any additional positives?
  • What is the population?
  • What are the population demographics?

You can find this information on…

  • Council Websites
  • Company Websites
  • Property Specific Websites
  • The internet is your best friend when it comes to investigating this sort of information


Talk to people on the ground with their finger on the pulse of the town. Phone or visit local property managers and agents and ask about vacancies, good and bad streets, and the type of tenants in the area. Look at local newspapers. Read the minutes of council meetings. Is the city council focused on bringing new jobs to the area and actively promoting tourism or are they discussing major crime problems?
It’s important to dig deeper into each area you want to find the properties in the area with the most potential, you may even want to look for properties with a twist….perhaps a property that needs to be renovated, subdivided, used as student accommodation, developed or even combination of them all!  You are only limited by your imagination.

And remember, have fun every day of your life.


Diamond Member Bonus…

As a special bonus for Diamond Members – we have an audio copy by Jenny Stories titled Research “Where and How to Find Hotspots”

Jenny Storey is a formidable force combining a 30-year marriage, four children and property investment. Purchasing 26 properties between March 2005 and July 2007, Jenny has been the driving force in the Storeys’ property adventure and has purchased properties sight-unseen — including one on eBay!

Jenny uses research to find properties yielding eight to 10 per cent (or more) in areas of good future growth promise — mostly regional areas.

Click here to access a downloadable copy of this audio

To find out more about our Unique Diamond Membership program

and this months special offer click here


add value

10 clever ways to add value to your property

One way to get ahead in property is to add value

Get ahead of the game by using some of these great add value ideas.

You’ve all heard that well-known saying, “All the world’s a stage.” When it comes to residential sales and increasing the value in a property, every house is a stage as well.

While it’s true, you can’t control the Australian real estate market or buyer demand, you can add value to a property and control how potential buyers see a house through smart renovations. Of course, you can add a granny flat or extra bedroom to increase the value of a property. However, renovations don’t necessarily have to be complicated or expensive.

With a little cash and sweat equity, you can boost your property’s value without breaking the bank. The following ten ideas give you a lot of bang for your buck:

Make a Good First Impression

Spiff up the entrance of a residence and you’ll send the message that the property is up-to-date and well-maintained. Paint the front door, put up new stylish street numbers, power wash the driveway, and replace the mailbox if needed. Tidy the garden, trim shrubs, fix fences, remove debris, and plant some flowers. Potted plants by the front door or along the walkway add a nice touch.

Open Up Spaces

By eliminating a non-structural wall and opening up the living space, you can create a sense of flow and transform the look and feel of a house. Today’s buyers want big spaces and an open floor plan with the living room or great room directly off the kitchen. Sometimes this change can be made for under a $1000 resulting in huge benefits.

Don’t Overlook Repairs and Maintenance

Okay, maybe fixing the roof, repairing plumbing leaks, or replacing windows isn’t very glamorous or exciting, but these kinds of repairs can substantially increase the value of a residence. Spending a couple hundred dollars could easily increase the value of your house by a few thousand dollars. Repairing a property is not only a smart investment but can also be essential to making a sale. Houses that get attention in this market are in pristine condition.

Replace or Restore Flooring

A whopping 94% of real estate pros recommend spending some money on flooring. If you need to replace the entire floor, try calling carpet and flooring retailers and ask whether they are selling any discount or end-of-the-line inventory to save money. However, sometimes you can simply make inexpensive repairs to flooring and substantially increase the value of a property. Replacing broken tiles, cleaning dirty carpets, or buffing and polishing hardwood floors can make a big impact. Or, if a vinyl floor is a horrific color or damaged, replace it with some vinyl stick-on squares in a light color.

Upgrade Lighting

You don’t have to go wild here, agents say. Just replace anything damaged, dated, or distracting. Unless your house is priced in the upper end of the market, spending $100 or less should do the job. Another inexpensive trick: replace light bulbs in darker rooms with a higher wattage to better show a property.

Easy Bath Upgrading

Modernising a bathroom is a sure way to add value to a property. Although major renovations are expensive, some improvements won’t cost a lot. Replacing a toilet, sink, tapware, doorknobs, and cabinet pulls can instantly update a bathroom. Even simply cleaning the grout, removing rust stains, replacing the toilet seat, or applying fresh caulk can make a tired bathroom feel revitalized. Try spray-on tile paint on ugly existing tiles and a grout pen to paint over discolored grout. If nothing else, replace an old musty shower curtain with a new fabric one and buy an attractive set of decorative towels.

Paint Walls a Neutral Colour

An oldie but a goody, painting is still one of the quickest and simplest ways to transform a property without breaking the budget. Concentrate on the most important rooms in the house – the living room, kitchen, along with the master bedroom and bathroom – to pay the biggest dividends. Take your personal taste out of the equation and stick with universally appealing neutral colors. To save money on labor, perhaps you can bribe friends and family to help you with beer and a barbeque.

Modernise the Kitchen

The kitchen is the single most important room in the house. Replacing, refacing, refinishing, or painting cabinets is a wise investment that will pay off in dividends. Countertops are fairly easy to replace and also make a big impression. Consider replacing old kitchen appliances to instantly modernize the décor and appeal to buyers who want to purchase a more efficient home. Updated lighting, shiny new tapware, or a colorful backsplash will modernize the space and add personality.

Liven up the Landscaping

Landscaping can offer a big return on your investment. Prune shrubs and small trees, trim hedges, and glam up a dull yard with lots of bright flowers. Adding a deck, patio, or terrace is a great investment that can make a big difference in a property’s value. Outdoor living spaces have become increasingly popular so create the ideal retreat with plenty of room for seating and an outdoor kitchen.

Add a Home Office

With more people working at home, offices aren’t a luxury anymore, but a necessity. Turn an unused den or a small room into an inviting work sanctuary with a fresh coat of paint and built-in shelving, and you’re sure to reap the rewards.

Try these clever updates to spruce up your property and increase the value without putting yourself in the poorhouse. In general, spend between 6 and 10 percent of the total home value to get fair returns. Remember, even small renovations can pack a punch and increase the value of a property.

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Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis

This month’s Woman in Focus is Michelle Lewis, a busy 38-year-old mother of three small children who balances her time between her husband, children, and renovating properties. When Michelle was 18 years old, she watched an episode of Current Affair interviewing a woman who didn’t earn much money from her job but was a prosperous property investor. At that moment, bells went off in her head and Michelle decided that would be her path to success as well. She purchased her first smelly, dilapidated property from a woman who owned 22 cats, grabbed some bleach, eagerly started renovating, and never looked back. Michelle currently holds five investment properties and has completed six renovations.

Early Strategies

Michelle used a small inheritance from her father and grandfather to purchase her first property in 2004.

I wanted to put the money into something that would grow over time opposed to things that depreciated. It was very important to me. Fear was not really an issue. I was more afraid of not doing anything.”

Michelle admits her original strategy wasbuy and hope for growth.” With little knowledge about property investing, she purchased the one-bedroom stinky” property mentioned above in Adelaide at an auction for $149,500. Michelle and her husband began renovations and turned the house into a two-bedroom with an extension for about $70,000. The home is now worth $280,000 to $300,000 which translates into a $50,000 profit and earns $280 a week from tenants.

Believe in oneself

Instead of buying new cars and spending money on holidays, Michelle was careful with her money and invested in property instead. Michelle believes in the saying that property investing is 90% mindset and 10% knowledge. Learning along the way, she was undeterred, even though she encountered some problems including purchasing a termite-infested house. Michelle recommends that those starting out believe in themselves, get the necessary education, and then take action.

Stay focused, believe in oneself and your knowledge and DO IT! DO IT! Take one property course and then take some kind of action. You’ll learn best by doing. Start small, perhaps by renovating your own house or purchasing an inexpensive property. Talk to property-minded friends, read magazines, and listen to Property Women’s CD’s over and over. Ask questions, seek advice. Have a mentor. Find your passion, what drives you, and make a plan. Put it in writing to help you achieve your goals. Be organized. Anything is possible.”

With her property investment knowledge she gained through education and experience, Michelle now manufactures her own capital growth through renovations and makes decisions that will provide positive cash flow. Her latest renovation was a 3 bedroom, 1 bath neglected home with the porch falling down and possums in the roof that was located close to her home. She purchased the property for $310,000 and spent an intensive six weeks renovating, spending about $30,000. The property sold almost immediately for $440,000 netting Michelle $50,000 after paying her agent, stamp duty, and capital gain taxes.

Michelle’s Renovation Tips

  1. Be frugal. Never buy retail. Always buy wholesale, check out sales on Gumtree, and don’t be ashamed to pick up things on the side of the road. Never replace what you can reuse. For example, instead of tossing an old sink away, polish it up and change the taps.
  2. Always get a minimum of three quotes from tradesmen. Ask for itemized pricing.
  3. Be organized and communicate well with tradesmen. Be on site on a regular basis to check on progress. Build a team environment and always thank your tradesmen for good work.

Moving into the Future

Michelle’s goal is for her husband to choose whether he wants to work in the future and peace of mind in their retirement years. She plans to keep following her passion for renovating properties and would love to do some developing in the future.

My kids are my motivation. Property investing is for them as well. We are teaching them to work hard and the benefits of property investing.


Michelle Lewis is a graduation of Property Women’s Membership Program – Congratulations Michelle!

If you are interested in finding out more about the Membership Program send an email to jo@propertywomen.com.au

vivien original image size

Vivienne Halliday

vivien original image size

Meet Viv Halliday

Meet this month’s Woman in Focus, Viv Halliday. She’s an event coordinator who has been investing in property for 23 years. Viv purchased her first home in 1988 to help her mother who had recently separated from her husband and was unable to afford a place of her own. Although Viv was in her early 20s and didn’t have a clue what she was doing, she helped her mother purchase a house for $63,000. That property is now worth $400,000. Since then she’s become a passionate property investor and currently owns seven investment properties.

The importance of educating yourself

When Viv bought her first property in Banyo for her Mum, she was too young to be fearful. Not much research was involved. She simply looked in the papers for an affordable house on the train line as close to the city as possible since her mother didn’t drive.

“I was just helping out a parent. It wasn’t until I was sitting on the house’s bare floorboards buying carpet that the enormity of it hit home.”

Although she made $337,000 on that first purchase with a ‘buy and hold’ strategy that has worked well for her, Viv has made a few mistakes along the way. For example, selling a property she should have kept.

“We wanted to buy a PPOR (principal place of residence) and the bank said it would finance us if we sold an investment property. We made a lousy $20,000 on it and would have been sitting pretty if we kept it.”

Another time, Viv listened to a bank employee and an accountant thinking they knew better. Now she knows better.

“Ask people what investments they have before giving any credit to their advice.”

She recommends investors become educated and informed so they can make wise choices and have the confidence to make decisions. In fact, doubting herself was one of her biggest mistakes.

“If I hadn’t doubted myself and had more confidence, I probably would have 10 more properties right now with lots of equity. The market is great for getting a bargain, but get educated first so you don’t make a mistake. Don’t wait. There’s never really a bad time to start investing. You just have to do the research and take that first step.”

Secrets to success

One of Viv’s secrets to success is making smart renovations. Sometimes it’s just a matter of ‘freshening up’ with easy fixes such as new paint, curtains, hardware, or a new vanity, which is easy to install. For example, the first house in Banyo was looking a bit tired so Viv replaced the old kitchen with a pre-fabricated one, installed new carpet and linoleum, painted, and replaced the vanities and toilets. Viv can now increase the rent from $305 to $390 per week.


Another secret is purchasing properties with the potential of providing two rental incomes. In fact, Viv plans to renovate a property later this year – changing a 2-bedroom into a 3-bedroom and renting to students by the room to increase income. The renovation will increase deductions for the property and increase her tax refund.

Viv recommends buying a nice, solid property – it doesn’t need to be fancy – in a good area close to transportation. In 2006, Viv purchased such a property for $285,000. In just five years that property increased in value to $400,000.

Last, but not least, Viv suggests getting your partner on the same page. Viv, who has been married for 18 years, has a very understanding husband. Before they met he had never picked up a hammer and nail but now is supportive.

“He doesn’t grumble as much when we do reno – even when I leave him with it and travel over to Perth with Property Women.”

Making sacrifices is worthwhile…

Viv and her mother scrimped and saved for the down payment for that first house in Banyo. Her mother worked a second job cleaning toilets and Viv, even though not living with her mother at the time, used a good chunk of her income to help make payments on the house.

That wasn’t the last time Viv made sacrifices for a property investment. Once, Viv and her husband ate rice for a month to purchase a property.

“No wonder I’m allergic to it now!”

However, the adjustments and sacrifices have been worthwhile.

“We have equity and peace of mind knowing we have a back-up for any emergencies.”

The investment will allow Viv and her husband to retire in 10 years, perhaps sooner if the market rises again.

Yes, the Sacrifices are very worthwhile…just look at Viv’s property portfolio..


Est. Value
4 bed 2 study
1988 $62000 $350,000 – $390,000
before reno
1 x 2 bed
1 x 1 bed
2006 $285,000 $420,000 $235
for 2 bed
for 1 bed
6 bed 4 bath –
4 bed home
with granny flat
2008 $775,000 $850,000 N/S*
Upper Mt Gravatt
2 X 2 Bed
2009 $472,000 $500,000 $285
1 x 4 bed
1 x 1 bed
2010 $230,00 (NZ) $285,000 (NZ) NZ$245

Holding around
$2,5 million  approx $1,830

Recap of Viv’s Top Tips…

1. Hang around other property investors…

Viv suggests networking with other property investors to gain knowledge, confidence, and friendships.

“Women love to share and it’s a buzz listening to what others are doing and getting ideas for yourself.”

Property Women has been a useful tool for networking…

“I went to the very first Property Women seminar and loved it. There’s not a seminar I go to that I don’t learn from. People pay thousands of dollars for less.”

2. Get Educated…

Unfortunately you don’t know what you don’t know – so become informed.”

3. Ask Questions before you take advice…

“Ask people what investments they have before giving any credit to their advice … I listened to the bank and an accountant years ago and just thought they knew better than me – I know better now.) “

Real Deals

Buyers Agent Help

Frustrated with the search for property?

Too time poor, too indecisive?

Property Women have a very unique formula for investor members.

We have partnered with our affiliate Buyers’ Agents to bring to you properties that have already had the due diligence conducted.

This means they are purchase ready REAL DEALS at a reduced buyers’ agent commission with the same key benefits.

  • Professionally sourced
  • Off-market or pre-market opportunity
  • Price negotiated for you

We are expanding this area for Property Women so you can get into a property sooner!

Please come back and visit whilst we update.