Vivienne Halliday - Property Women

Vivienne Halliday

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Meet Viv Halliday

Meet this month’s Woman in Focus, Viv Halliday. She’s an event coordinator who has been investing in property for 23 years. Viv purchased her first home in 1988 to help her mother who had recently separated from her husband and was unable to afford a place of her own. Although Viv was in her early 20s and didn’t have a clue what she was doing, she helped her mother purchase a house for $63,000. That property is now worth $400,000. Since then she’s become a passionate property investor and currently owns seven investment properties.

The importance of educating yourself

When Viv bought her first property in Banyo for her Mum, she was too young to be fearful. Not much research was involved. She simply looked in the papers for an affordable house on the train line as close to the city as possible since her mother didn’t drive.

“I was just helping out a parent. It wasn’t until I was sitting on the house’s bare floorboards buying carpet that the enormity of it hit home.”

Although she made $337,000 on that first purchase with a ‘buy and hold’ strategy that has worked well for her, Viv has made a few mistakes along the way. For example, selling a property she should have kept.

“We wanted to buy a PPOR (principal place of residence) and the bank said it would finance us if we sold an investment property. We made a lousy $20,000 on it and would have been sitting pretty if we kept it.”

Another time, Viv listened to a bank employee and an accountant thinking they knew better. Now she knows better.

“Ask people what investments they have before giving any credit to their advice.”

She recommends investors become educated and informed so they can make wise choices and have the confidence to make decisions. In fact, doubting herself was one of her biggest mistakes.

“If I hadn’t doubted myself and had more confidence, I probably would have 10 more properties right now with lots of equity. The market is great for getting a bargain, but get educated first so you don’t make a mistake. Don’t wait. There’s never really a bad time to start investing. You just have to do the research and take that first step.”

Secrets to success

One of Viv’s secrets to success is making smart renovations. Sometimes it’s just a matter of ‘freshening up’ with easy fixes such as new paint, curtains, hardware, or a new vanity, which is easy to install. For example, the first house in Banyo was looking a bit tired so Viv replaced the old kitchen with a pre-fabricated one, installed new carpet and linoleum, painted, and replaced the vanities and toilets. Viv can now increase the rent from $305 to $390 per week.


Another secret is purchasing properties with the potential of providing two rental incomes. In fact, Viv plans to renovate a property later this year – changing a 2-bedroom into a 3-bedroom and renting to students by the room to increase income. The renovation will increase deductions for the property and increase her tax refund.

Viv recommends buying a nice, solid property – it doesn’t need to be fancy – in a good area close to transportation. In 2006, Viv purchased such a property for $285,000. In just five years that property increased in value to $400,000.

Last, but not least, Viv suggests getting your partner on the same page. Viv, who has been married for 18 years, has a very understanding husband. Before they met he had never picked up a hammer and nail but now is supportive.

“He doesn’t grumble as much when we do reno – even when I leave him with it and travel over to Perth with Property Women.”

Making sacrifices is worthwhile…

Viv and her mother scrimped and saved for the down payment for that first house in Banyo. Her mother worked a second job cleaning toilets and Viv, even though not living with her mother at the time, used a good chunk of her income to help make payments on the house.

That wasn’t the last time Viv made sacrifices for a property investment. Once, Viv and her husband ate rice for a month to purchase a property.

“No wonder I’m allergic to it now!”

However, the adjustments and sacrifices have been worthwhile.

“We have equity and peace of mind knowing we have a back-up for any emergencies.”

The investment will allow Viv and her husband to retire in 10 years, perhaps sooner if the market rises again.

Yes, the Sacrifices are very worthwhile…just look at Viv’s property portfolio..


Est. Value
4 bed 2 study
1988 $62000 $350,000 – $390,000
before reno
1 x 2 bed
1 x 1 bed
2006 $285,000 $420,000 $235
for 2 bed
for 1 bed
6 bed 4 bath –
4 bed home
with granny flat
2008 $775,000 $850,000 N/S*
Upper Mt Gravatt
2 X 2 Bed
2009 $472,000 $500,000 $285
1 x 4 bed
1 x 1 bed
2010 $230,00 (NZ) $285,000 (NZ) NZ$245

Holding around
$2,5 million  approx $1,830

Recap of Viv’s Top Tips…

1. Hang around other property investors…

Viv suggests networking with other property investors to gain knowledge, confidence, and friendships.

“Women love to share and it’s a buzz listening to what others are doing and getting ideas for yourself.”

Property Women has been a useful tool for networking…

“I went to the very first Property Women seminar and loved it. There’s not a seminar I go to that I don’t learn from. People pay thousands of dollars for less.”

2. Get Educated…

Unfortunately you don’t know what you don’t know – so become informed.”

3. Ask Questions before you take advice…

“Ask people what investments they have before giving any credit to their advice … I listened to the bank and an accountant years ago and just thought they knew better than me – I know better now.) “

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