Woman In Focus – Heidi Doe
As a child, Heidi Doe attended open inspections and display homes with her mother to collect ideas for redecorating and updating their home. She loved to look through Home Beautiful magazines kept around the house. Heidi credits these early experiences for her love of property, home styling, and renovation projects.
Heidi, now 42, married with two children, is a busy woman juggling family life and property investing with her businesses which include property managing, a renovating and home styling business, consultations, and a home-based coffee business.
Heidi purchased her first property at 19 and since then has sold six investment properties, renovated six properties, has been involved in two joint ventures and two subdivisions, and currently holds four properties.
How Heidi Got Started
Like many people, Heidi’s experience with property investing began by purchasing her own home. When Heidi moved out on her own as a teenager, she absolutely hated renting.
“I saw that handing over rent was a waste of money and wanted my money to go toward something. I had no strategy, but no fear either, so I jumped straight in. I was so excited.”
Heidi diligently saved up the initial deposit and purchased her first property in 1991 for $73,000. The property had character and potential – although it was also “cosmetically challenged.” She tackled the minor renovations and was able to sell the property later for $105,000.
Heidi was hooked. In 2000, she bought her second home for $127,000 and sold it two years later for $170,000. Next, Heidi and her husband built a home in 2002 for $250,000 and really scored when it was sold two years later for $408,000. The profit allowed them to own their next home outright.
“With each property, I made money and it was very addictive. I do like to do renovations as it allows you to buy under market value, add value, and manufacture your own equity. I’m impatient, so I find this is a faster way of increasing a property’s value. I also love seeing a property transformed. I can see the end result in my mind. Renovating is hard work, but the satisfaction of seeing the project through to completion and the transformation – along with a big chunk of money – makes it all worthwhile.”
Jumping into Property Investing
In 2003, Heidi purchased her first investment property in a nearby suburb for $153,500. She spent $7,000 renovating the kitchen, adding new tiles, and painting. After renting the property for a few years, the property was sold in 2006 for $205,000. Even though she made over $40,000, Heidi now wishes she had held on to that property.
“It would have been a good cash flow property and it’s now worth $320,000.”
During the next six years, Heidi’s investments paid off handsomely. In 2004, Heidi and her husband designed and built the beautiful two-story home they are currently living in for $300,000 which is now worth $500,000. In 2007 and 2008, they purchased two investment properties which currently yield $305 and $295 a week in rent and combined have increased in value by $165,000.
Renovation still at the heart of Heidi’s passions, they purchased and renovated two properties. Heidi sold both properties shortly after renovations were completed for more than $200,000 than the purchase price. After purchasing another rental property that currently rents for $295 a week and has increased in value by $55,000, Heidi learned a tough lesson.
A Stunning Setback
In 2010, Heidi got involved in a Property Syndicate with a fairly well-known property investor who claimed to have experience in development. Heidi believed the syndicate could achieve better results than she could by working alone and invested in a 17-townhouse project. A year later, the investor was featured on Today Tonight as a scammer. As a result, Heidi suffered a major personal loss of $250,000.
“I won’t lie. This did really knock us off our perch for a while and fear crept in. It shook my confidence to the core and stopped us in our tracks. I had made a decision to leave my job and renovate properties full-time. That was my dream. It was a double whammy – losing the money and my dream at the same time. We were unable to purchase property for a while which made it even more painful.”
Heidi used this time to educate herself, study for her real estate license, and earn a diploma in property services. She also launched a property services and home styling business. Heidi and her husband are now investing in property again including a joint venture to build five townhouses and two renovation projects.
“I am grateful that I have skills I can use to recoup the money we lost. And I learned a powerful lesson. No one else really cares about your financial welfare, so don’t hand over all responsibility to another person, your partner, a financial adviser, or a so-called expert. Always be involved and have a say in your financial matters and trust in yourself and your ability. Beware of so-called property education groups that sell property. Research property and don’t make rash or ill-informed decisions. People who do the wrong thing usually leave a trail of destruction – Google them.”
Heidi’s Top 5 Tips
- Educate yourself. Attend property events like Property Women, read property books and magazines, and talk to other property investors. Gain an education on a wide range of property investment strategies. Surround yourself with like-minded people. There are many well-meaning dream stealers out there.
- If you are investing close to your home, become familiar with property values and attend open inspections. If you are investing outside of your area, property managers can be a wealth of knowledge. Visit to get a feel for the area and talk to the locals. Consider purchasing property research reports.
- Spend no more than 5-10% of the value of the property on renovations and aim for 4 to 6 weeks to complete the work. Do your prep work while you’re waiting for settlement. Contact tradesmen, get quotes, and check availability so that as soon as settlement takes place they are all lined up ready to commence with work. Prioritize where your money is best used and stick to your budget. “Remember it’s not all about the lovely things you like,” Heidi says. “Keep things neutral to appeal to a wider audience.”
- If you choose to joint-venture, make sure the other investors are on the same page as you with the same goals. Discuss all the possibilities and be sure and have the proper documentation.
- If you hit an obstacle, don’t give up.
Heidi’s Dream for the Future
When she first started investing in property, Heidi was inspired by Property Women’s “Woman in Focus” articles. She has now come full circle to become one of those women.
Property investing has helped Heidi pay off their family home, provided additional income, and enabled her to take time off work. In addition, Heidi has been able to educate her children about property investing.
In five years, Heidi hopes to live out her dream of not having a job and concentrate on her property investments and renovation projects. The future looks bright.