Anne Donohue - Property Women

Anne Donohue

In Focus – Anne Donohue

Meet Anne Donohue, a mother of 3, possibly our first 2nd generation property woman, whose interest in property investing was sparked as a teenager when at 19, Anne and her mother bought a property together.

This property was sold six years later to buy Anne’s first family home, and helped secure the loan because at the time the interest rate was 17.5%!

Financial Security Becomes The Motivator

In 1998, after separating from her husband, with no career prospects and 3 pre teen children, Anne decided that she needed a more secure future for her and her family “I was motivated to invest again in property to gain some financial security in the future”.

In 1999, Anne starting looking at property, “I was grazing in the property market in the same suburb that I lived. I went to an open house with my friend and after 20 minutes we were ready to put an offer in. Not to be seen as rash, we forced ourselves to retreat for a coffee to regroup and have a discussion about the potential of the property.  It all looked good so we did a joint venture”.

The property purchased by Anne and her friend was a 2 bedroom workers cottage in Shorncliffe bought for $128K. They made a few cosmetic changes costing $2,000 to the property. The property is now worth $400K. That’s an increase of $272K!

Hooked!  Anne Does Not Stop At One

Anne’s second property purchased in 2000 was a house that she lived in and renovated. “This house had loads of potential, a great location by the sea, but was an ugly, swan.” The renovation costs came in at around $30K and most of the work was handled in house. The street appeal was the first area to be worked on and two months after the property was purchased she was offered $40k more than what was paid for it.  “Needless to say we still own it.”

An Uncooperative Tenant Helps Snatch A Bargain

In 2001 Anne looked at a property, with a tenant that was uncooperative and the real estate agents found it difficult to show people through. Anne put forward a written offer which was rejected however two months later the agents revisited her offer and they negotiated a price only $3K more than her original offer. Property 3 was added to Anne’s growing portfolio.

Inspiration from attending Property Investment Workshops

In October 2006 Anne attended a Reno Kings workshop, “Property to the Max” and a Property Women’s workshop that gave Anne the confidence and motivation to start investing again. “The information I gained from these workshops helped me to develop and implement a strong financial plan for the future”.  “For women starting out in property the investment workshop gives you the inspiration to have a go. “It also connects you to a group energy that has a very positive affect on your confidence.”

And invest again she did, by March 2007, Anne had purchased two more properties in Ormeau, a high growth area half way between Brisbane & the Gold Coast, the first property being on 5003 m2 (good land value) with a 3 bedroom master built home.  This one had the potential to add a fourth bedroom, just by adding a set of doors at a cost of $1,000 to an otherwise unused formal dining room. And a shed was added which increased the value of the property immediately by $40K.

A Diamond In The Rough

Property number five also purchased in Ormeau.  “This 3yo house was tenanted also, but so atrociously untidy, I skipped over it several times while surfing the net for properties”.  Anne eventually went to see the house after the tenant moved out and put in a low offer that was accepted, Anne added a condition to the contract that meant she could have access to the property during the unconditional period of the settlement to give it a good clean up and some minor repairs. This property turned out to be a diamond in the rough.

Budget – a renovator’s tool

In Anne’s book a budget is important when renovating a property. “By doing as much of the hard work yourself will help keep costs down. I include in my budget what it will cost for my materials and for tradespeople to do the things I can’t do, like plumbing, electrical and some carpentry jobs”.

Anne believes it is important to obtain written quotes for all jobs and to be clear on what the job entails and allow time for the work to be carried out.

Time – a renovator’s glue

Time is of the essence for Anne  “It’s important to have a time frame to complete your renovating tasks so you can get that little beauty rented out ASAP. Ask if you can have access to the property during the unconditional settlement period to do your renovations”.

Anne’s Property Portfolio to Date

Property description Purchase date (year) Purchase price Current estimated value Weekly rent
 2 bed house 1999




 3 bed house  2000




 2 bed house  2001




 3-4 bed house  2007




 4 bed house  2007





1, 333,000



* Anne and her husband currently rent due to the transient nature of work.

How does Anne stay motivated and overcome those fears?

Goal setting and having an investment plan has turned out to be a great motivator for Anne who sets short term and long term goals. Once those goals are achieved Anne has the motivation to keep going. Anne feels happy with what she has achieved by working hard and providing a solid financial future for herself and her family “I feel a great sense of personal achievement”.

Investing in property has given Anne the freedom to do what she wants to do and her ultimate goal is to become financially free.

Having a plan and setting goals helps overcome any nagging fears. Anne advises “Make fear your friend. Stay in touch with your inner plan and have the confidence to dream the dream for yourself. One day it will become a reality”.

In 2003, Anne married again and her husband is very supportive and embraces the financial freedom goal “He sees a time in the not so distant future when he will be able to give up working and be able to enjoy financial freedom”.

What’s Next for Anne?

Anne has recently completed a real estate sales course with the REIQ, has moved to the Whitsundays in Central Qld and successfully manages all the properties herself.  She also works part time for a civil construction company overseeing safety & environmental aspects of a large development.

Anne is planning on diversifying her portfolio by investing in commercial property or even undertaking a small subdivision.

In 5 years time Anne and her husband see themselves retired and travelling the world thanks to the wonderful power of property investing.

Anne’s Tips

  • Have an investment plan
  • Set realistic goals
  • Don’t be in a rush – do your research and know your market well.
  • Look for areas with high capital growth and high rental yield
  • Look for properties where you can add value immediately i.e. buy below market value
  • Buy properties with large blocks for better leverage
  • Build a good rapport with agents
  • Safety is always the top of the list with old houses.  Electrical wiring, dry rot, faulty or old appliances need to be attended to straight away

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