Meet Carolyn Wright, an experienced Property Manager, Investor and Mother. By keeping an eye constantly on the market, Carolyn has purchased 14 lucrative properties which has helped her set up a financially secure future for her family. Carolyn Wright is a testament that women are taking control of their future.
Carolyn in Focus
Shortly after attending the recent Property Women Workshop in Melbourne, Carolyn took time out to share her investment journey with us and the secrets of her success. Enthusiastic and young, she describes herself as being incredibly passionate about property but admits that this passion has come from lots of experience, research and networking.
Carolyn began her property journey by purchasing a 2 bedroom unit close to her parents house in North Fitzroy in Melbourne. There probably wasn't much forethought at the time but it doubled in value very quickly so I guess I'd have to say that my first property was a stroke of luck. From then on it's been more calculated she advises. The unit was purchased for $69k in 1994 and was sold in 1998 for $135k. Now it would be worth at least $300k, she says. Selling would have to be my greatest regret. Not buying the one underneath it for $110k was also a mistake but was all a part of my learning.
Buy and Hold
And learn she did. Carolyn reveals that her passion for property stemmed from a great mortgage broker. He told me I was mad to sell my first investment property to buy the second one. He inspired me to learn more and encouraged me to attend the Peter Spann seminars. This got me going with a buy and hold strategy, says Carolyn. This strategy suits my lifestyle. I now don't want to sell anything if I don't absolutely have to or want to.
When assessing potential investment opportunities, Carolyn says she looks for properties that are in good areas and close to city, beaches and amenities. I look in areas that offer high capital growth and lower yields. Carolyn also encourages looking at properties in good regional areas that have a strong and growing population and infrastructure. These areas may not have experienced as much growth but the yields have been great. In this respect, Carolyn has balanced her portfolio in terms of property styles and geographic locations.
Renovating to add value
Carolyn also advises that she enjoys dabbling in renovations by spending between 5-8% of the property's purchase price. These renovations usually include paint, re-carpet or polishing floorboards, new or revamping kitchens or bathrooms, all of which she does herself. However, when it comes to cabinet making, plumbing and electrical work, I call in the experts, she advises.
When renovating a rental property Carolyn is also keen to give us some sound advice. In my experience as a Property Manager, I believe that women make the decisions about the choice of rental property. I think that most women like a nice kitchen & bathroom, so this is my area of focus when I renovate. I renovate with in the back of my mind. It's best to stick with neutral colours as this usually appeals to the wider market. Forget the bright colours! Stick to low-maintenance gardens as well.
Tip: If it's going to take you 3 months to do a cosmetic make-over because you don't have the time, enlist some help from a good handyman or some experts (family & friends are often willing to help and you may be able to help them with something else in return). Remember that the time you spend renovating and keeping your property vacant is costing you money.
Research and Networking
Carolyn says that research, and networking have been invaluable tools in her property journey. I just recently attended the Melbourne Property Women workshop and I am recommending it to some of my friends who are too afraid to dip their toe in the water. It was a great day and even though I've done lots of investing, I still took away a showbag of little tips and ideas. The women were all very inspiring and each of their stories demonstrated that there is no right or wrong way to make money in property. You need to find the way that best suits your own situation. I would highly recommend it to any women who are keen to be Property Women and don't know where to start, or to those who are already investing and are looking to build a support network.
What Carolyn learnt on her journey
- Don't take no for an answer and don't listen to other peoples negativity and cautiousness
- Read lots of books and talk to lots of people.
- Ask questions, go to seminars and educate yourself.
- Play it safe for your first investment to get your confidence up. Once you've done it once, the next time will be easier.
- Investing in property has given me peace of mind that the future is financially secure for my family