Debbie White - Property Women

Debbie White

In Focus: Debbie White

Taking Her Husband On Her Property Journey

Meet Debbie White, a fulltime IT Project Manager, wife, mother and Property Princess!

Debbie’s fear was having a very average retirement which led her to make a life-changing decision: “I need a track to an easier life, sooner rather than later”. She began focussing on what she wanted in life – lots of family and friends around her, travel, having a better life and of course, purchasing lots of houses. There began her property journey.

A win-win solution for Debbie and Dean

Debbie was diligently doing research and feeling really excited.   However, Debbie’s husband Dean didn’t share her vision for their future.  He reflects, “I thought we were already happy and stable.  It wasn’t until Debbie chained me to the chair to watch DVD’s that I realised what she was saying all made sense”. Dean asked himself what’s the worst that can happen and decided that it made sense for Debbie to follow her property dream while he indulged in his passion for photography and IT.

Even so, Dean did say that it made his ‘head spin’ when she contracted to purchase the 3rd investment property in 15 months. It makes you wonder how his head will feel when their 5th property settles within the next 2 weeks and brings the estimated value of their portfolio to $2.5m.

Taking her project management skills, and combing them with Dean and his favourite power tools, Debbie has focussed on her chosen strategy of renovating and holding property for the long term.

As a project manager Debbie understands that people on your team need to be motivated, and recognised that a win-win situation for Dean, who values the present rather than the future, would be a new 42” LCD TV on completion of the reno. Happy viewing Dean!

2003 – A Momentous Year

Debbie initially read some investment books and went on to accumulate 3 investment properties by early 2003. Her first major lesson in investing came later that year when she seemed completely ‘maxed-out’ and felt compelled to sell two of her investment properties.

Undeterred, and realising where she’d gone wrong, Debbie got back on the wagon when they moved to Canberra.  She purchased a property to owner occupy with the idea that it would ultimately be an investment property.  She undertook a renovation while living in the house.  She didn’t find the experience particularly pleasant in terms of the time taken and living in the mess.  Debbie says, “I only have myself to blame”.  The kitchen alone took 18 months.

On the Right Path

Debbie had been through hard times struggling for money but she can now see light at the end of the tunnel. She sees her property investments as an alternative to superannuation.  Debbie estimates that within 20 years, based on her current portfolio, she’ll have net equity of $7m, which makes her potential $200k superannuation seem insignificant. Debbie says, “Property has absolutely changed my life.  I am working to a future where I can make choices about how much I want to work or if I want to work”.

Debbies’ Mistakes

 Debbie feels that she’s made many mistakes along the way.  According to Debbie, “I’ve skinned my knees but I’m now far more savvy”.

One of the biggest mistakes was selling the two properties. Selling seemed necessary at the time but as Debbie says, “I still can’t bring myself to drive past one of the houses that I had to sell”.  With what she knows now, she says that she has no plans for selling off any more of her portfolio.

The other major mistake was living in a reno. Washing up in a dish for that period of time has cured Debbie of ever wanting to do a live in reno again.

Debbie’s Strategy

Debbie uses a renovation strategy to build equity, in her home town of Canberra, because it’s convenient for hands-on managing the reno project and because she sees Canberra as an area with good capital growth.  She loves renovating she advises, “because you can create your own mini-boom to that property by increasing equity even in a flat market”.  She uses the equity gain as a deposit for the next property.

Although Debbie was drawn to the idea of investing in Adelaide, it didn’t match her strategy which is to oversee her own renovations in her own area.  After attending her 2nd Property Women Workshop, she went back to Canberra and purchased a property for $395,000.  A tenant was already in place, paying $380 per week.  While this may appear to be a low yield, Debbie is using the time to plan a $25,000 renovation at the end of the existing tenancy and has her finances well organised this time around. By adding a fourth bedroom and an extra toilet to the property she is confident that she will add value to the property and estimates the rent will increase to at least $450 per week. She will then have created another mini-boom for herself.

Eliminating Fear

Debbie sees education as the key to overcoming fear.  She says that she will never forget that the Property Women workshop was the real start of her education.  “I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of investing and how to do this in a safe way.  Going to the workshop showed me how to create a buffer and how to leapfrog my portfolio.  Before the workshop I thought that we’d maxed out, but rather than mark time I came along to find out for myself.  From what I learned I worked out a way to reorganise my finance to keep going”.

Debbie takes property investing so seriously that she has set up a Chill out room in her own home where she goes to think, plan out strategies and play DVD’s and CD’s to keep her focussed. She also likes helping people such as family, friends, and acquaintances create wealth through property investing.

Debbie’s philosophy is that, “People’s wealth in property is directly related to how much they invest of their time and money to become educated”.  She has learnt from her mistakes and is now well on the way to her goal of achieving ‘prosperity through property’

Debbie’s tips

  • Exchange time with your partner to educate them in Property
  • Recognise your partner’s values and take them into consideration
  • Property investing is pretty much in everyone’s reach
  • Talk to people who have done it and get them to show you ways of doing it rather than starting from scratch
  • If women can make that step it will change their life
  • Find out what you’re good at and what you’re not good at
  • Establish a strategy that suits you and stick to it

A final word from Dean

 “Trust your wife to better your life”.


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