Forty by 40.
For 23-year-old Tony Fleming that no longer feels like an unreachable goal. In fact, he’s on pace to get there and after a short conversation with the Dominos Pizza manager it is hard not to believe him.
“I was trying to work out what I wanted to do, and I think that’s what I need to get there,” says Tony, adding that he plans on making property investing his main source of income by the time he is 32.
“Just as soon as I got the first week’s rent, let’s just say that I knew that this was what I wanted to do,” Tony remembers.
Tony, originally from the Blue Mountains region of NSW, was barely 20 when he picked up his first property, a three bedroom townhouse in Kingswood, located about 50km west of Sydney. It was 2009, just at the tail end of the GFC and he figures he got a bargain considering the continued growth in the area. He took advantage of the expanded first home-owners grants available at the time, living in the place for the first six months.
“That was a bit difficult - just saving up for all the bills and such and obviously I wanted to keep investing,” he says, adding that he has typically worked 60-hour work weeks in order to cover his property plays. “But I got a few friends to move in as well so they helped with the board and all that.”
And Tony quickly helped himself to another property just down the road. This time, he picked up a one-bedroom unit for $130,000.
“Yeah it was a little bargain – I couldn’t believe I got it,” he says. “When I went to see it I said to myself there has got to be something wrong with it. But there hasn’t been anything that’s gone wrong with it yet.”
After a year-long break, Tony set his sights closer to Sydney, identifying opportunities in the suburb of St Marys, near Blacktown. Over the course of about 18 months he bought three separate units there, each returning yields at greater than 7%.
With his goal set at 40, he recognises that he’ll get there a lot easier by enlisting a little help. And in doing so, he says he has also found that he can help others take those first few steps into property investing.
“So, I went halves with a friend from work – he wanted to start investing, because he had done shares but wasn’t too happy with the way the share market was working out.” So Tony says he changed his tactics and went after an even cheaper property in the regional NSW town of Lavington. The duo picked it up for less than $90,000, and Tony says he has high hopes for the area because of some promising infrastructure work going on there.
Tony says he has only really experienced hiccups on two fronts – property managers and flooding. And on both, he’s managed to handle the problems himself by replacing problem managers, and now, by moving back into his first Kingswood townhouse in order to repair damage the place experienced in recent floods.
Tony says he enjoys handling the repairs himself, and that it fits well into his a major element of his plan – staying immensely frugal. He says he cuts costs wherever he can, including handling his own conveyances and sourcing his own loans.
“I do have plans to retire by the time I’m 32 with the kind of cash flow I’ve got going right now,” he asserts. But Tony also says he is planning for bigger things than just property.
“My girlfriend and I are getting pretty serious - she’s clucky. So I see maybe a future Tony in a couple of years,” he says. “So, I’ve taken that into account.”
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