In Focus: Julie Howard
Inspiration can come from anywhere and for Julie Howard it was a simple article that set her on an amazing property journey. At 46 years old, married with two children aged 6 and 12, this lady is proud of her 6 investment properties, 5 renovations and 2 subdivision/developments. We recently had the pleasure of catching up with Julie after she attended the Property Women one day workshop where she eagerly shared her inspiration and tips on property investing
When The Student is Ready..
It is often said that the right thing will appear at the right time and this was the case for Julie Howard as her motivation to move into the world of property came at the most unexpected place. “I read an article in the waiting room of a dentist surgery from API (Australian Property Investment Magazine). I was in a “looking” frame of mind after leaving a business of 18 years to search for a new opportunity. I was staggered at the results this couple had achieved by buying, renovating and holding property. They seemed like ordinary Aussies to me and I thought why not us too? So I started to educate myself”.
“I did a property investment Tafe course and The Reno Kings workshop. I also read everything I could get my hands on to do with property investing. I researched suburbs via realestate.com and used RP Data. I was looking for an area that seemed under value in relation to the infrastructure going on around it and its proximity to services. I found my first investment property by going there and walking the streets, attended open houses and auctions, talked to locals and agents. I was in, boots and all!”
The facts speak for themselves…
“Despite people’s rather low opinion of Eagleby all my investigations led me there. I even went to the local police to ask about the area and they said it used to be a bad area for crime but in the past few years all that had changed as most of the housing commission homes had been sold to private owners. The council was investing in beautification of streets and parks and it is right next to Yatala where huge massive industrial development is in full swing. This meant lots of jobs and people who were in need of close housing. Plus the houses were so cheap”.
Therefore with all of her research in hand, Julie and her family clearly knew what to look for when they found their first property. “It was in need of a lot of love but it was solid underneath all the dirt and mess and we set to making it a lovely home. We paid $185,000 for it and then conducted quite a big renovation ($28,000). The whole family got involved and we worked for 10 weeks on the weekends and weeknights after work. We took the kids on the weekends and everyone had a job. We had babysitters in the evenings and worked late into many nights. But it was all worth it. We wanted a strong start and were prepared to work hard for it. We had the house revalued straight after the reno by the bank for $295,000 and the current value is $325,000. The great success of that renovation led us to the next and the next. We were away!”
Know Your Strategy…
Julie’s property portfolio currently consists of 6 investment properties which have all been purchased using the same strategy. “We bought the 6 in a 13 month period doing reno’s and getting revaluations to buy the next. When we got finance we made sure they would come and revalue and lend again to go to the next purchase as soon as the property was renovated. Some banks would not revalue in under a month so we did not use them. We have now purchased in Woodridge and Ipswich. Again both these areas seemed under valued for their amenities despite their “outer suburb” status. We have had excellent results from all three areas. Great tenants and great rent returns”.
“Our strategy has been to buy renovate and hold. On all, but one of the properties we have done cosmetic reno’s to build in equity. We made sure we bought them below market value and consulted valuers to be sure the amount we needed to spend on the reno’s was going to come back with at least a $3 to $4 return for every $1 spent. This was the only way we could see ourselves purchasing multiple properties quickly. Creating equity was essential. We didn’t want to wait for capital growth alone. This strategy has returned a net capital gain to us of over $350,000 in the past 18 months. We are happy with that as a beginning. We are now looking to sub divide two of the properties but we are still in the education phase of this exercise so we can be sure to do what is going to net us the best result”.
- New kitchens, bathroom, paint inside and out.
- Great tip from The Reno Kings …the airless paint gun! Wow! What a tool!
- Add a patio or pergola and landscaping, simple and low maintenance but very attractive
- Tip: cost reno carefully before you buy. “We are very detailed when it comes to working out a reno cost. We always have a strict budget and so far have stuck to our plan. No big surprises so far”.
- “We have gone for the picket fence on all the reno’s and it is always a feature people comment on and admire. We are not embarrassed to admit that we have not come up with an original idea yet. We are very good at copying!!”
- Ask everyone for discounts everywhere you go. You must understand you are in business now. Get a Bunning’s and MITRE 10 trade card.
- In renovating there are inexpensive ways to do just about everything. Find those ways. Don’t be too fussy, tenants don’t notice that your cutting in is not perfect!
- Time is money.
Take some Good Advice…
According to Julie her advice to first time investors is clear and simple. “Our constant annoyance is that we did not start this years ago. So just begin. Now is a good time. Get knowledge to gain confidence and make a plan. Where do you want to be in 5 years, 10 years…What sort of retirement do you want. It is all just maths. Make a plan and work the plan. Step one…education…leads to action….and so on. Also, keep your sense of humour. Despite your best efforts things won’t always go to plan. Get over it and keep moving forward. LOL a lot!”
“Knowledge is power. It will give you confidence. “Do your own research and trust the direction your knowledge is taking you. Be careful who you ask for advice. Opinions are like armpits…everyone has at least two and sometimes they stink!! Trust yourself with the factual information you get from unbiased reliable professional sources. Take action. “To change some things in your life you’ll have to change some things in your life.”
Hooray for The Reno Kings & Property Women!
Julie is an advocate for education and is one of many Reno Kings and Property Women graduates that has taken action and become successful. She tells us, “It is tough to just say I want to be a property investor and begin all alone. I could not have done that. There is just so much quality information out there. The shortcut to success is to surely learn from those who have walked the walk. The value of learning from people already successful in the very thing you want to be a success in cannot be overstated. These events were life changing for me as is the ongoing association.”
According to Julie, she wanted the lifestyle of the Reno Kings and the Property Women so it made sense to do what they were teaching. “There is no better teacher than experience. Seek out information, inspiration and association from these people at every opportunity. If there is an event on, be there if you can. You will always get more than the cost of a ticket or the time you invest. Much more. Lifestyle, your dreams…what ever you want.”
“Being associated with the Reno Kings and Property Women has reaped us huge financial rewards. We literally did our first reno’s with The Reno King’s workshop manual in one hand and the hammer in the other! Thank you Geoff and Paul. We had never done anything like renovating before but the information from the workshop and the website gave us confidence.”
Julie now feels in control of her financial destiny for the first time in her life. “Ordinary women like me have created extraordinary lifestyles through property investing. They are willing to teach me so I can too. You don’t have to make it all up yourself. All the information you need is there for you. You can do it too. Stay close to the source of information, seminars, events, online forums, books what ever you can to gain knowledge and confidence to dream bigger and bigger”.
Is it Media Hype?
With so much media attention out there regarding the current market, it is only natural for investors to be hesitant in their reactions involving property. However, keen investors like Julie, realize that this market is an opportunity waiting to be grabbed. “I get fired up just thinking about where my family and I will be in 5 years. More property, more lifestyle choices. I am having so much fun with the whole property investing scenario I imagine it will just get bigger and better. I don’t buy into the current media doom and gloom. Yes, times have changed from 2007 but thinking like the masses can be a dangerous thing. All the experienced investors like the Reno Kings and Property Women say this is all part of the “cycle of life in property”. They still look pretty happy to me so I am excited too! There is always opportunity out there. Find people who have the lifestyle you want and follow their lead. Associate with like minded people (like Property Women) every chance you can get. Go girls! Go for your dreams! It is just a decision away…to begin”.
Her final testimonial…
“I have had what I consider to be the great privilege of working predominately with women for most of my working life. I have worked with thousands of women over the years and so I was really excited to hear of Property Women. Go Girls!
There are so many women out there with so much potential. They just need someone to show them it is there and how to take the first step. Well done on the creation of this awesome organization. It is only because of people like yourself and the other “property women” stepping out there that people like myself just starting out in property have a chance to learn from the invaluable experience of others. The very best teaching there is”.