Q: How long have you been investing in property?
I made my first foray into property investment in 1993, the year after [my wife and I] were married. We purchased a 1,000 sqm block in Pennant Hills with subdivision potential. It was a quaint, post-war three-bedroom cottage with one bathroom, floral carpet and a single garage. It had that musty Grandma smell, but we soon renovated, repainted and added a pergola to the rear. We applied to subdivide the block and build a new house on the back, but ran into many obstacles with the council – there were huge trees on either side of the block, so we had to position the new house on an angle and the council was not in favour of dual occupancy at that time. After a marathon 528 days, we finally got approval and six months after that moved into the new house.
Q: Were you always keen to become an investor?
I’ve always had a fascination with property, ever since my teenage years. When working as an economist in my early 20s, I used to read at least one book per week about wealth creation, property, investments and money management. I also attended every course that was available at the time. This gave me a solid understanding of the principle and practices I’d need as a buyers’ agent today.
Q: What is your favourite or best investment and why?
My best investment would have to be my wife Ros, as she is the love of my life! When I asked Ros to marry me, I spent virtually all my money on the engagement ring, so I know she didn’t marry me for the money. She is my inspiration, my best friend and confidante. Our church pastor at the time said make sure you “create great memories” in the first year of marriage – so we did that and have created great memories every year since. Apart from my beautiful wife, the next best investment would have to be our first home, as mentioned previously.
Q: What has this investment allowed you to do?
Buying our first home was a really tough experience at the time – those feelings of going into massive debt, being unsure of market direction and the ‘what if’ scenarios. But I am very glad we persisted. We were never given any handouts from our parents, so we had to stand on our own financial feet. Persisting with that first subdivision enabled us to create solid equity from which to do further investing. Without that, it would have been a harder slog to save up and wait for growth.
The other investment that other people should think about is the investment in knowledge and education. I greatly value the opportunity I’ve had to complete a Masters in Economics, as this gave me the ability to analyse things from a different perspective. I’ve learnt how to research, analyse and apply critical thinking to many situations in life.
Q: What is your ultimate goal as a property investor?
My ultimate goal is create a significant passive income so that I can have greater lifestyle choices, more family time and more opportunities for philanthropy. Money won’t make you happy – people will only remember your legacy, not your bank balance.
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