In this installment we focus on Catherine Kincaid, a partner of Michael Sing Lawyers on the Gold Coast. Catherine is head of the Family Law Department and between her dedication to her clients, she has made time to tutor university students, become a member of various committees, raise two children and purchase 31 investment properties. Catherine Kincaid is an expert on the move.
Catherine in Focus
In our recent conversation with Catherine, this articulate and professional woman explains that it was her family background that encouraged her to build a property portfolio. Like many others, Catherine has her own story to tell but points out that she knew she always wanted more out of life. “My husband was a professional and I was well off in my marriage but after a separation I realized that wages were not going to bring me wealth. I always knew that property was the right way to go. So I started searching.”
Catherine purchased her home on the Gold Coast and carried out extensive renovations. But following the recession in the late 80s and soaring interest rates of up to 17%, she was forced to sell the property at a loss.
Catherine then began looking for an investment property in a specific area in Brisbane that appealed to her but tells us that there was not much available at the time. “Then one day one of my friends was jogging past a dwelling in that very area and saw the ‘for sale’ sign go up. Within the hour I was on the phone to the agent making enquiries. Apparently there were several other offers made that same day. But I had done my research, using mainly real estate web sites, and I entered into a contract in the next hour”. This seems to be the inspiration she was after. Catherine bought her second property within the same month and now proudly owns 31 investment properties.
Many investors have their own strategy when it comes to broadening their property portfolios. Catherine is a perfect example of an investor who has been successful by buying properties and holding for the long haul. “I have never sold a property. Selling is a waste of money. If you do your research and know what you want then you have no reason to sell. I still have that first investment property and am currently making enquiries into sub dividing it, which is a new venture for me”.
However, there is an area that Catherine is familiar with – adding value to her properties. “You can’t go overboard”, she warns. “I usually clean, paint or do whatever I think is absolutely necessary. But I am always conscious of what I am doing and how much I am spending on capital costs for the property. I always ask myself, ‘Is this going to increase the rent?’ and ‘Am I going to be able to cover my costs?’”. Catherine also manages her own properties. She tells us that though this does take time, it also allows her to have total control of her properties and means that she is not putting money in other people’s pockets. This philosophy has proved to be successful again and again for Catherine on her investment journey.
Catherine talks freely about her purchasing tips. She encourages people to stop procrastinating and get into the market now. “It is better to do something than to do nothing”, she advises. “Plus, if you have done your research you will know your market and won’t need to hesitate. Both as a lawyer and an investor I suggest putting an offer on the right property straight away, but always have your lawyer review your contract before you sign. If you sign without seeking advice, it often limits your options if you need a way out of the contract”.
Catherine also suggests talking to people who have been successful. “That’s where the Property Women seminars are of value” she says. Catherine has attended two of the Property Women seminars and has great praise for the workshop. “You can meet some inspirational women who have done it and done it well. Women have always thought that investing was a man’s job but women are now showing that they can do it and are doing it better. These are ordinary women who have proved that it is not rocket science”.
As a property investor and lawyer, Catherine also offers some sound advice to women in general. She understands through her own experience that a breakdown in a relationship often leads to difficult circumstances. “Love can turn sour and can often result in ‘sexually transmitted’ debt. I therefore recommend that women talk to a lawyer before getting into or after entering a relationship. A lawyer can give you some advice about your overall position, the ‘dos and don’ts’ of preserving your assets and what you should expect.“ For example, if a woman has her own assets before entering a relationship I strongly recommend having a prenuptial or cohabitation agreement drawn up. This may not be very romantic but it is better to be pre-warned and pre-armed”.
- Do your own research and learn your market well
- Learn from other people’s experiences (OPE) and use other people’s money (OPM)
- The key is to talk to people in the know
- Always have your lawyer review a contract before you sign
- Talk to lawyer about your asset situation either before or on entering a relationship