All Posts by Jo Vadillo

When Your Love of Property Becomes A Career

Belinda Wolrych


In most capital cities, it is very common to find a property professionally styled. The open homes always portray a lot of jooshed* up cushions.

Looking back, not too long ago, this type of service was really reserved for the most elite of households that would indulge in such a ‘luxury’ for their property. Usually the stylist would be tinkering with existing furnishings for the best effect.

Styling a home for sale is not just the domain of the wealthy anymore.

If you are looking to sell a property, it will sell faster and for more money if it is styled beautifully.

I am not even talking a total makeover. Simply having an outsider stylist’s eye on your home can introduce plenty of small additions (or subtractions) that can equate to some big wins for you as a vendor.

Humans are very visual and you want the wow factor when selling a property. You only get one chance of wowing a buyer. Look at all the makeover shows on TV where the before and afters leave the homeowner in tears and a dropped-jaw.

You want that effect for a buyer!

Property styling is a great option for an unfurnished home too; it creates life and brings comfort to a space. If the room is an unusual shape, or too small, furniture will display to a buyer how you would use a room to its advantage.

My good pal Belinda Woolrych launched her own styling career in the past decade on the back of a love of property and quest to work around her young family and not return to corporate life.

Belinda’s story sounds very similar to many women I met who loved property so much they trail blazed into a career in this space. Imagine doing what you love every day!

She has transformed her own business in the ensuing years as well as many homes and had a big impact people’s lives in the process.

Her insightful journey and opportunity to help others do more of what they love have been translated into her second book, Inside Makeovers: How to Successfully Transform and Grow your Property Styling Business.

I was lucky enough to get Belinda to share her story for Property Women on this webinar located here. You can download it in your own time and hear her story.

More importantly take a peak into some of the before and after examples she shares in this 30 minute webinar.

*jooshed…the official term for when you fluff up a cushion, pillow or a ‘throw’ for maximum interior designing effect!


Belinda Woolrych) is an Author, Speaker and the Founder of Papillon Styling & Renovations. She published her first book, Rightsize Your Home: The Empty Nester’s Guide for a Stress-Free Downsize, in 2014.

She has transformed her own business over the last decade, as well as many homes and people’s lives. Her insightful journey and opportunity to help others do more of what they love have been translated into her most recent book, Inside Makeovers: How to Successfully Transform and Grow your Property Styling Business.

For further information on how to get a copy of Belinda’s book visit:

Your Exclusive Invite to Belinda’s book launch in Sydney:

This Month’s Woman in Focus is Michelle Lewis.

This month’s Woman in Focus is Michelle Lewis, who wears a number of hats in life.

She is a busy mother of three small children who balances her time between her husband, children, and renovating properties.

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.

In this 30 minute webinar, she will be sharing her experiences, lessons, victories and next steps!

Property Women’s Member Spotlight is brought to you by Rachel Barnes

Rachel is a professional investor, speaker and property mentor. She has co-authored 5 books on property and has been a much featured and sought after contributor in the media.

Her personal strategy has been investing in positively geared properties and as a regular speaker for Property Women audiences over the past 10 years, she now shares her experience and expertise to help others.

If you would like to find out how you can work directly with Rachel you can visit her site at

We would love to hear your property story too – please email to register your interest. Your story might just be the inspiration another is needing today.

If you would like a copy of Rachel Barnes book Property Is a Girls Best Friend visit our shop for fast and free postage.

Lucinda Starr

February Member Spotlight is shining down on Lucinda Starr who wears a number of hats in life.

She is a keen traveler, property investor, busy mum to two teenage sons, runs an Airbnb on NSW mid-coast, works in a part-time capacity for not just one but three jobs!

In this 30 minute webinar, she will be sharing her experiences, lessons, victories and next steps!

Many of you have probably met Lucinda as she also has been the events manager of Property Women nearly a decade. Hope you enjoy her story.

Property Women’s Member Spotlight is brought to you by Rachel Barnes

Rachel is a professional investor, speaker and property mentor. She has co-authored 5 books on property and has been a much featured and sought after contributor in the media.

Her personal strategy has been investing in positively geared properties and as a regular speaker for Property Women audiences over the past 10 years, she now shares her experience and expertise to help others.

If you would like to find out how you can work directly with Rachel you can visit her site at .

We would love to hear your property story too – please email to register your interest. Your story might just be the inspiration another is needing today.

If you would like a copy of Rachel Barnes book Property Is a Girls Best Friend visit our shop for fast and free postage.


Not All Property Managers Are Created Equal

Not All Property Managers Are Created Equal.

Finding a good property manager is so vitally important to the ease and on some level, the growth, of your investment property.


You will hear me mention this time and again but your investment property is a business. You need to treat it like one.  So finding yourself a  good property manager is a good investment.  


You have sunk a massive amount of money, time and to a degree risk into this investment.

For a case study, let’s assume instead of a house it is a café.

 That café is a 3-hour drive from home so you enlist the services of someone to manage things for you. Hire staff, ensure it is maintained, clean and prices are increased when appropriate.

 If the customers of employees have complaints they are looked after…or managed appropriately.

 If there are maintenance issues you want to ensure they are actioned. Your manager should get quotes plus share photos so you can see the damage, concerns and why trades were required.

 Managing a café is a big deal. If that café cost you $500k and you make $48,000 a year from it with $39,000 worth of costs you wouldn’t want to have too much grief from the business.

You want to sleep at night and see the takings in your account fortnightly or monthly. You want to be sure your obligations to a finance company are met. You would also like to have a report at the end of the financial year so you can see the real numbers.

If your manager hired bad staff the café would get a poor reputation. It wouldn’t be run well. It would not be maintained. There would external complaints to also deal with.

At this point  you would probably fire your manager and look for someone to trust, someone who can alleviate your financial situation. Ensures you get peace of mind, reduce stress and the time that you are dedicating to your business.

Which brings me to this point if you would be quick to fire a bad manager in a business scenario.  Why is it so many investors hold onto lazy, unreliable, non- communicative property managers?

We hear the worst of stories from investors, some recent highlights – being told after 3 months there has been no rent received (true story), being charged for pool cleaning (no pool), properties left damaged, maintenance not reported.  So a small leak becomes a big expensive damp issue and tenants not paying market value so the owner has been out of pocket potentially thousands of dollars.

I have had a mostly good run with managements. I have had my PM’s put up new curtains for me in an interstate property.  They have over delivered on sourcing quotes and secured a rental return on one property $20 above the advertised weekly price.

Some property managers are bloody awesome. It is a tough job so I salute the industry heroes out there. PM’s have many people to report to and no one calls them for anything particularly positive. It is also a job with no standard hours so it can be draining mentally with plumbing issues that happen at 7am on Sunday mornings.

If you have a good property manager, maybe thank them, send them a Xmas card, let them know they are appreciated. They are looking after one of your biggest assets so you want to know their name!

If you need to fire the one you have because they are out of luck and out of excuses then do it fast!

Property Women has secured an awesome deal with Little Real Estate so if your properties are in QLD, NSW or Victoria.  You can connect with Little today and get a dedicated account manager.

Just for mentioning that you are a member of our community they will waiver re- leasing fee’s, knock off 1% from their standard fee’s, price match any existing management fee’s plus you will pay NO MANAGEMENT FEES for 6 months – even on an existing lease.

You are a business owner, expect to have your team work for you, deliver a good service, secure you the best tenant and jump in when things go wrong.

Jo Vadillo

Jo Vadillo is a seasoned property investor and long time advocate for having the best team around you when it comes to investing. She often preaches that you get what you pay for. Cheapest is not always the best, but neither is expensive. Interview your team, hire slow, fire fast and expect the service you deserve.

How to maintain the best investments out of your divorce to secure your future by Tanya Somerton

Let me introduce you to Michelle.

Michelle and her husband of 28 years have separated and have just settled on their financial agreement after dividing their investments. If you have read my book The Jelly Bean Jar, you would know l break divorces into three categories: A Your decision, B Partner’s decision, C Joint decision. Each of these categories has different connotations for the partners, involved, and that is why ‘no two divorces are the same.’ Depending on the class you fall into will depend on your emotional state. How long it takes to recover, and ultimately the team of professionals l engage to best deal with your circumstances. Ultimately this team with help to achieve your seamless outcome from your divorce journey.

Now getting back to Michelle, she falls into category B. Michelle had no idea, her husband was unhappy. She was ill-prepared for the disaster her life was to become when he asked her for a divorce. The couple had worked hard all their life and had two adult children. Together they had acquired a property portfolio of four investment properties around Australia and owned their own home. They both have substantial superannuation and if they had stayed together retirement was only a few short years away. Feeling frantic about her future Michelle, found out some months later her husband had a new partner. The ex-husband remained in the family home, and she moved out and was renting a two bedroom unit. Her hopes, dreams, and wishes for an enjoyable retirement out the window in four words….I want a divorce. Not to mention the reality of being alone and scared about what her future holds.

Michelle had been referred to a lawyer, by a fellow work colleague.

The lawyer had done a good job for the co-worker’s sister. Now here lays the problem, ‘no two divorces are the same’. And a lawyer could do a great job for someone else but not be the lawyer for you. My category system alone highlights this discrepancy. So off Michelle went and worked with the lawyer for some months. They collaborating on what Michelle thought was the best possible outcome for her financial situation and racking up a bill into the tens of thousands. But wait, this lawyer had no idea about investment properties, capital growth, taxes, mining areas and the list goes on. The lawyer just knew about the law.

Throughout their marriage, Michelle had let her husband make all the investments. What property they purchased and where, how the mortgages were structured and so on.  When it comes to negotiating for your future having insufficient knowledge of your circumstances and structures, due diligence is paramount. Michelle’s lawyer certainly had no appreciation; she didn’t even own any properties herself, how possibly could this outcome be beneficial? To the lawyer, it was just a numbers game.

In steps TLC Investment Group, my mortgage broking company. When l first met Michelle, she was looking to refinance two of her investment properties as part of her separation. Lucky for her, as a property investor myself, I highlighted straight away something was desperately wrong. The agreed split of assets was unfair. The husband wanted to keep the family home and two of the investment properties. Michelle was to receive the other two properties and her superannuation policy. 

If your lawyer has no idea, they rely on their client ( being Michelle) to help guide the division of assets and agree on what they think to be right. This is where a team of experts on your side is critical to your success, a team you can trust and who are the subject matter experts.  In this instance, Michelle had not taken into consideration that one of the properties she was about to acquire was in a mining town. Or that the mortgage on the property nearly three times its value. BOOM! Her future borrowing power not to mention the meager income the property was generating could ruin her future.

Michelle ultimate hired my company Tanya Somerton Divorce Angel, and we got to work reviewing the assets and the superannuation of both parties. We completely renegotiated the financial settlement much to the distaste of the ex-husband who thought he had just gotten away with a massive coup.

Couples Joint Assets

Husbands super:   Value $425,000.00                              

Wifes super: Value $525,000.00                       

PPOR: Value $650,000.00                             

#1 Investment: Value $450,000.00   Mortgage $250,000.00

Investment #2: Value $185,000.00   Mortgage $365,000.00

#3 Investment: Value $395,000.00 Mortgage $200,000.00

Investment  #4: Value $590,000.00 Mortgage $225,000.00

Total Value:$3,220,000.00              Debt: $640,000.00


Total value of assets:            $2,580,000.00                    


The economic chaos, the husband, would have left Michelle with, would have her working well into her late sixties, while he skipped off with his new partner. Looking above you can see that by dividing the assets by half, the couple would both receive roughly $1.25 Million each. But the first lawyer had not taken into consideration the adverse effects property #2 would have on Michelle’s future, the changes in land tax laws and costs associated. Michelle would also need to use funds as a deposit for a new home, and a possible loan, otherwise she would continue renting.

Everyone must have a property strategy, and as an investor myself, paying down the debt to ultimately live off the income is fantastic. That is of course if the assets held are in good order and the returns worthy of the risk. In Michelle’s case, their property portfolio was a mixed bag, of good, average and bad assets. And the ex-husband was trying to hand off the bad.


Michelle now owns only one of the properties the couple had in their portfolio. Why might you ask? After reviewing the couple’s assets and liabilities, my financial angel highlighted that the super policy Michelle was in was returning above average. The fund was excellent and the penalties and fees low.  When we reviewed the portfolio, it was clear that both parties needed to hold onto the property in the mining town as a dual risk. The couple would sell another profitable investment home to pay down the debt in the mining town property and offset the capital gains. Leaving the other properties for the husband if he so wished. The reason we didn’t want our client to keep any of the remaining properties, had to do with her wanting to leave the workforce within the next ten years, if not sooner and if we could build up her super, she would be able to survive comfortably.

Divorce Angel’s Asset split:
  • Together the couple needs to hold on to investment #2 until it is sold. This way both are responsible for the risk and if the property is sold and a loss is made that figure comes out of both asset pools or the sale of one of the other assets. It also meant that it was in both their interest to work together and come up with a positive outcome.
  • The property with the most equity (Property #4) would be sold to pay out the debt in the mining town property. ( Best case wiping both properties off the asset register).
  • Currently, Michelle is renting a unit, and with the transfer of land being 50% of its value in a divorce as of July 17, an additional fee is involved. We recommended Michelle live in one of the properties. This way the land transfer is not required as the house would be her Primary place of residence. In the current lending environment, it also meant a cheaper interest rate on her loan of up to 1 percent. Michelle decided that property #1 would be preferable. We have now refinanced this property, and it will become her home until she decides what is best for her future.
  • It was critical not to touch Michelle’s super as the balance, and the fund had excellent returns, so overall this was paramount.
  • The husband can keep the family home and asset #3 if he so wishes, as that was what he wanted originally.
  • Michelle is now entitled to a cash payout from the husband or a part super transfer of $545,000.00

All of a sudden Michelle’s future has turned around. She took control of her finances by being part of the decision-making process and understanding why the first offer was detrimental to her future. She relinquished the underperforming assets in her portfolio and now has the security of a place to live into her old age. Her super balance will get an injection of funds and some cash in the bank. She feels empowered because she no longer feels like her husband can walk over her. His attitude has also changed as he realizes, she can no longer be fooled.

My team of Angels is nothing short of amazing and the best in the business. If you are looking at traveling through the divorce juggernaut, make sure you have the finest experts on your team. One mistake and you could find yourself having worked all your life and not benefiting.

So did Michelle have a seamless experience? I have asked her that question and having dealt with a previous lawyer she realises the importance of a trusted team of advisors. My step by step process and a team of professional provided her with a level of security and a tribe of women she could rely on 100% to uphold her best interests. Considering her wishes and knowing my client, l am pleased with her outcome, and she tells me often, that if l hadn’t come into her life, she would be financially overwhelmed. She now has a plan for her life, financial security and a smile on her face knowing she doesn’t need a husband to make her happy, she is quite capable of doing that herself. She is even considering buying an investment property herself. From her perspective, seamless it was!

Michelle’s future looks bright, and she continually reiterates how we are certainly her Army of Angels.

Written by Tanya Somerton

Tanya Somerton is a divorce angel, whose business is to help women through divorce and separation with the aid of her ‘Army of Angels.’ Tanya has a ‘One stop divorce shop’ helping empower women to move on both emotional and financially and to live an independent and productive life. Her divorce model: 6 Steps to a Seamless Divorce, will limit legal cost, saving you money and teaching you how to become financially empowered, no matter what your financial position.

She is also the author of The Jelly Bean Jar – Empowering independence through Divorce. If you are looking to prevent any mistakes and save money this book is a must. Purchase your copy

Millennial’s are Stepping-Up

Melissa Jimenez 

Melissa works in the advertising industry and has a love for family, fashion, and property. Her passion for learning and success is strong. This tenacious young woman is on her way now – watch out world!

3 Key Things to Live By when starting out in the Property Business.

I bought my first investment property just a week short of turning 20. A lot of people ask me how on earth did I get into the property business so young but it’s been a lot of hard work. In the years leading up to my first purchase, I lived my life by three simple ideas to help keep me on track to achieving my goal. 

  1. Save Save Save.

I made the commitment to my savings very early on by deciding to begin funneling nearly all of my work money directly into my savings account as soon as pay day hit. I’d leave around $50 per week to help pay any bills and to have as minimal spending money.

The key here is to find small ways of saving as this can add up immensely over time. For example, I’d try to always make lunch at home for work instead of buying out, saving more than $10 a day. I also saved thousands by choosing to live at home rather than renting. If I did need to splurge and treat myself with a purchase, I was always sure to wait until there was a sale on so that I could best maximise my savings. You just have to be a little creative and the results will definitely speak for themselves. 

  1. Perseverance.

One thing that I have definitely learned during this journey is that you absolutely have to maintain motivation and faith that you will reach your goal. There were many a night where I would feel disastrous about the whole thing, feeling as if my goals were leagues and leagues away from me and as if the whole thing was just a waste of my time. There were days where I got so close to securing properties, only to have them fall through because someone else put in a deposit only hours before mine.

 When trying to enter the property market so many issues can come up, whether they be because of the loan, because of your savings or even because of your competition. You’ve got to stay vigilant and positive and keep pushing forward through the doubt. Create a good support network,  always have back up options and always persevere.The road to success is paved with obstacles at first but the more time you devote to it, you better you get at navigating them.

  1. Research. 

Research always pays off. Buying your first investment property is not an overnight job. It requires hours of self-education and investment in knowledge. I personally spent so much time on RealEstate,com comparing house prices in different suburbs and looking up insights to try and get the highest percentage of positive growth and cash flow. I immersed myself in Money Magazine every month as well, learning the tricks of the trade from others who have already achieved what I wanted to. It’s not a lot of effort to do these things for a few minutes each day but over the space of a few months, you’ll surprise yourself with how much you’ve really learned.

If you’re just starting out and find this all very overwhelming, I would very much recommend attending one of Jo’s Property Women talks as I found this immensely helpful as a starter as it just provides you with all the information you need to stay on track and gives you access to unbiased information about the property business. You can try and attend local property talks in your area but these are usually hosted by companies trying to sell your property so be wary and go just for the information. Stay smart, stay hungry, never stop learning.