What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted?
Woman in Focus – Cherie White
Your husband has walked out on your marriage. Plans for your future have been torn apart. You have no idea where your income will come from and three small children are looking at you. What would you do? This month’s Woman in Focus saw the opportunity to start on the road to multi-million dollar property holdings.
Three years ago Cherie White felt as if her world had been turned upside down when her husband walked out on their eleven year marriage. Cherie had children, aged 10, 6 & 3, and having left her career in accountancy some twelve years prior in order to concentrate on raising the family her destiny was more than uncertain. “The loss of my marriage was devastating but the loss of financial security and the fact I no longer knew what my future looked like was terrifying” recalls Cherie.
Whilst many people may have buckled in such a situation, not Cherie “Not being one to play the victim role and blessed with a lot of self motivation I was 100% confident that I had to get back out into the world and do something – I just had no idea what!” Armed with the resultant settlement cheque, events were about to take a dramatic upturn for Cherie and her children.
Seeing the Light
March 2007 saw a good friend of Cherie’s invite her to a women’s networking group on the Northern Beaches. “The guest speaker was Fiona Herbert from Property Women. She talked about her investment journey and I knew straight away that was what I was going to do”. Shortly after this Cherie booked in for a two day Property Women workshop in Sydney “I attended I was hooked! Property became a passion!”
Within three short months Cherie had acted on her decision and acquired her first investment property. She has since added three more properties to that list, representing over $1 million total investment.
Cross My Palmerston with Silver
When choosing where to start her journey up the investment ladder Cherie went back to her roots. “I chose Palmerston North in New Zealand because that’s where I grew up. I knew it very well and luckily my mother, who has a great interest in property, still lives there. It is a major tertiary education centre and has a large transient population creating high demand for rental property.” There were other key factors in the astute choice of New Zealand though “New Zealand banks would lend to me whereas my bank in Australia didn’t want to know me. My only income was interest on investments and child support payments, whilst representing well above the average salary neither were recognised for serviceability. Other reasons for investing in NZ were the good rental yields of 5.5-7%, cheaper house prices.”.
After scouring the internet for the right bargain and sending mum off to visit the properties Cherie was interested in, the right property soon presented itself and the foundations for a more secure financial future were laid. Today Cherie’s portfolio is valued at $2.5 million dollars providing a flexible lifestyle for her and her family. Her ambition to continue to expand this impressive portfolio remains and Cherie envisages increasing acquisitions over the coming years along with branching into development.
Cherie’s Top Tips for Property Success
- Structure borrowing/equity ratio to use as much of the banks money as possible and remain in a cash-flow positive position
- Budget for renovations working backwards. Determine a final sale value, how much profit you want and that leaves your budget
- Get at least 3 separate quotes for jobs that need tradesmen/contactors. Use recommended sources and bargain hard with the object of not paying anything until the work is complete
- Improve street appeal to add value – Washing the house down and tidying the garden can have a huge impact for little or no cost
- Surround yourself with good professionals – solicitor, accountant, property manager and in particular, mortgage broker
- Don’t get emotional about property – Think of the numbers, not a fabulous kitchen. You won’t be living there
- Never be pressured into a sale. It may be a bargain and have 3 contracts out but if you haven’t done your due diligence – don’t go there!
- Always, always, ALWAYS get a building inspection. Worth every cent in avoiding very costly mistakes
The Only Way Is…?
Cherie remains confident that the current economic climate will just provide more and more opportunities to add to her portfolio. “In the NZ market you can get an absolute bargain purchasing at the moment. Banks have significantly tightened their lending criteria though there are still a few lenders still accepting 5-10% deposits. I’m optimistic that the current environment won’t last for too long and in the meantime a good mortgage broker is the first step in overcoming the challenge”.
Cherie also urges women who are possibly thinking of trying to emulate her to just do it. “Don’t be overwhelmed by it all. When I first entered this field I was gobsmacked with all the options, buy/hold, develop/sell, renovate/hold and so on. The most valuable thing I learned is that no particular property investment is the best. You need to invest the way that suits you. If that’s fast and furious – go for it. If it’s slow and steady that’s OK too. My biggest weapon against fear was education”.
What Cherie Says About Property Women
“The workshop I attended in Sydney was absolutely fantastic. Without exception all the speakers were articulate, knowledgeable in their field and inspirational. It gave me the confirmation that property was the right thing for me and the confidence to go out there and purchase my first property. The opportunity to network was great. To learn from other people’s experiences, the good and the not so good. To make contacts within the industry was invaluable.
I now have a source of income that is not dependent on me turning up to work, I have a lifestyle flexibility that enables me to devote time to my children, my interests and hobbies and of course….lunches with the girls!”