People invest in property for dozens of different reasons. The main goal is generally make a profit, obviously, but sometimes, somewhere along the way, real estate can deliver life lessons of a totally different kind…
For instance, when disaster strikes, your real estate goals and plan can pale into insignificance. Who cares about yields and adding value through renovations, when there are genuine health concerns to worry about, right?
This was the exact situation that Sara and Heath Crawford found themselves in a few years ago, when their baby Piper fell suddenly and gravely ill. A property investor around a decade into her journey, Sara and her husband found themselves devastated when their little girl was diagnosed with a rare and life-threatening form of epilepsy.
Sara hasn’t returned to work since the day Piper was whisked off in an ambulance – and, thanks to sale of a profitable property investment, the family hasn’t endured any additional financial stress as a result.
Back in 2016, Sara, her husband Heath and their children were enjoying the benefits of having two steady wages supporting their household. Sara had recently returned to work following maternity leave after the birth of their third child.
“Like many families, we had saved and budgeted a float of money to keep our heads above water financially whilst I concentrated on raising our three children, living off just my husbands wage,” she shares.
“We waited until we had spent the last of our saving before I was scheduled to return to work. But just three months into my return to work, our youngest daughter became critically ill and has since been diagnosed with a serious life long and life threatening diagnoses. I have not worked a day since she was first whisked away in an ambulance and caring for a sick child became our reality.”
Fortunately, their property strategy was to invest in homes that would not impact their household cash flow in any manner whatsoever, so a lot of number crunching was done beforehand. This led to them purchasing their first dual occupancy property in Broadmeadows, Victoria. With a main house and two run down Bungalows in the backyard, the couple renovated the spaces and advertised them for rent. This resulted in an instant positive cash flow of $350 per week.
“We received a fair amount of criticism for this approach, as the belief amongst others investors at the time was that you couldn't have achieve a positive cash flow in a capital growth area, but within just four years we sold this property for almost double its purchase price,” Sara says.
“This experience highlighted to us what a relief it was that we had chosen to invest in property, because from that moment, we started to utilise the positive cash flow we were earning to top up my husband’s wages. What a gift it was to be able to not bat an eyelid and say, there is no need for me to work, as my priority in caring for our youngest child full-time was non-negotiable.”
Having recently scaled down their portfolio, the couple has recently bought their dream family home – a 17-acre parcel of land with a residence upon which they have just completed a thorough cosmetic renovation, injecting immediate equity.
Though, Sara admits they would “be silly not to replicate our previous success in property in the future”.
“Our method will most likely remain the same with a focus on positive income or renovate for profit,” she says. “But for the moment, we are just going to enjoy what we have already achieved and take a breather to enjoy our family.”
Read the full article featuring Sara Crawford and three other investors who have experienced the life-changing impact of property investing, in the December 2018 edition of Your Investment Property magazine – on sale at news agencies and Coles supermarkets until 5th Dec, or download the magazine now.
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