Q: How long have you been investing in property?
I started investing in property in 1999 at the age of 24 with my partner (who became my husband) when we bought our first home in another country. I had been taught to fear debt and had only invested in shares before that time, and as a result it took a significant amount of convincing from my husband that it was the right thing to do.
Back then the mortgage was a big stretch on our budget, but we focused on buying the worst house in the best street (in the best area) and then put a significant amount of sweat equity into renovating the property ourselves. We also added new rooms to the house and landscaped the garden. Whilst we added value to the property, by far the largest gains came from appreciation of the land itself as prices in the area exploded. The property probably wasn’t purchased at a bargain price, but we were more concerned with finding the right property and paying market price for it rather than getting a dud at a great price.
Having bought in 1999 and spent a similar amount on the renovations through the years, we then sold the property early in 2008 for more than 10 times the original purchase price. By then I was hooked!
Q: What is your best investment and why?
The investment that yields the greatest return is investing in yourself. I don’t just mean in degrees, charters and other formal qualifications but in continued personal and professional growth in all spheres.
The extent to which I have invested in myself has shaped the way that I interact with the outside world, as well as the way I see myself. I wouldn’t be where I am today, or who I am today, without consistent application to the pursuit of improvement. By the way, through the years I have also learnt that that can often mean paying for (or should I say investing in?) good advice.
Q: What has this investment allowed you to do?
Whilst we have certainly made some mistakes along the way, there have been less in recent years. That first foray into leveraged investment helped to allay my fears about debt and to draw the distinction between good and bad debt. It also sparked a love of property which has ultimately led me to the path that I am on now.
Q: What is your ultimate goal as a property investor?
My long-term goal would be to grow an asset base that will ultimately give me meaningful choices and passive income down the line. I love my work and couldn’t envisage not working, so my goals certainly aren’t about retiring early. The asset base is rather there to give me choices about what work I do, how much of it I do, and maybe even from where I do it. I’d also like to leave a legacy for my children by passing on high capital growth assets that will continue to appreciate.
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