Melinda Jennison: Always Adding Value Through Property

Melinda Jennison balances being a mum of three, an entrepreneur and a nationally recognised professional investment advisor. Born and raised in Brisbane, Jennison has been investing and building businesses with her now husband since she was just 18, and is an avid believer of adding value herself to her investments before selling them off.

In this episode of Property Investory, you will hear why she got started in the industry, how she manages running her own business, as well as the highs and lows of her journey so far.

When you buy the right property in the right location and do some improvements you can really add a lot of value to that property. - Melinda Jennison

Jennison is recognised by the Property Investment Industry Association as a professional and qualified investment advisor, running her own buyers agency out of Brisbane.

I am a qualified property investment adviser accredited through property investment professionals of Australia and I also run my own buyers agency here in Brisbane. Under streamlined property buyers so whilst that’s what I’m currently doing now I have come from a different background which I’m sure we’ll get into but that’s what we’re doing helping buyers in Brisbane both investors and home buyers and also some developers position themselves in the Brisbane property market. 

We run a boutique agency see my husband who is a licensed builder and myself being the qualified property investment adviser have joined forces and we provide a boutique service in Brisbane and then on base Shire. 

Jennison and her husband have combined forces to start up their new business after leaving their previous venture in construction.

We are both full time so only a fairly new business but prior to this we ran our own construction company and we just decided that the building industry is no longer an industry that we want to be heavily involved in and it did set us up for opportunity to explore other avenues where we can help people in the property market in Brisbane so I guess he’s using his his as I to inspect properties on behalf of buyers. And I’m obviously looking at their property from an investment perspective and doing a lot of desktop analysis on development potential of certain opportunities that we’re looking at as well. So I think it is a good good combine skill set.

I think that one thing with property whether it’s an investment or a home purchase that looking people are looking to buy you know the land content is obviously very important and location is very important but the building structure itself in property you have the ability to manufacture additional equity in that building so you know having a builder on our team helps us to identify those types of opportunities from really minor cosmetic improvements right through to structural renovations or developments. So it is it’s a useful value add for clients that are looking to capitalize on those sorts of opportunities in Brisbane. 

A typical day for Jennison consists of creating content and meeting clients, as well as doing her own research.

I like to educate our followers and we have a database of subscribers so I do produce a lot of content. So video content and written articles for people just to keep them updated with what’s happening in the Brisbane property market you know helpful hints and tips for buyers that are looking to purchase. So part of my day is content creation and keeping up with those sorts of activities outside of that. 

Dealing a lot with clients and helping them to identify different opportunities that match their goals and match their investment strategy talking with real estate agents investing in inspecting properties and also producing client updates where we’re helping to educate our clients about opportunities that are not suitable for their investment or their home purchase. And also explaining when we see an opportunity that matches their brief why it suits their strategy and what the upside potential can be. 

It’s fun when you’re passionate about what you do it. 

We just love helping people and you know we love property as well where we’re obviously property investors and we’re also property developments developer self. So you know we live and breathe property and it’s a 24/7 game for us in a lot of instances. So you know being able to share our skill set with others by helping them in their own investment or home purchase journey makes you know makes us really happy. 

Jennison was born and raised in Brisbane, and thanks her husband for encouraging her passion for property.

I grew up in Brisbane so I am a Brisbane girl born and bred. I actually grew up in the outer suburbs which was very common back in the day so in the southern part of the Morton Bay Shire was where I called home and I was educated at a state school went through that system. But I went to university and took on a sport science degree and stayed in that field for a little while and studied a lot. I actually went on and did a study in that in that field. So science based exercise physiology degree. But I realised that I married well I’d married a builder and I realized that I wasn’t passionate about that area. 

So that’s when we moved in to our property and in construction in property development and obviously subsequent to that now in the and space. 

She explains how she could start off in a career so different to what she does now.

What I loved most is I’m a really active physically fit person and always have been. So I was competitive. A hockey player actually during my teenage years and I guess when you have any interest in a particular field in any instance for me it was you know elite sport. I I wanted to follow that and explore that. So I really pushed myself physically to try and get fitter and stronger and and all the rest of it. So I felt like that was the natural progression of where I was. You know in my own journey outside of school so I wanted to explore that further as a career. I guess what what changed my thought process partway through was when I was completing my my thesis myP.H. day a number of years later I was working with adults who had cystic fibrosis and I don’t know if you know a lot about that disease but it’s it’s a it’s predominantly a significant lung disease. 

So we were helping them with exercise to you know improve their opportunity for better outcomes even though these were adults that were very sick. They had a very short life expectancy and I found that personally quite challenging. Knowing that I had my whole life ahead of me and yet these people that I developed a really strong friendship with you know were very sick individuals so I guess being personally challenged you know just put me in a position that I felt quite uncomfortable you know staying in that area. But I guess all of the Ducks aligned. My husband had his own construction company. We were planning to start a family so it seemed natural for me to step into his company and and you know put that career on hold effectively whilst we had young children and you know that was the path that I chose and it’s just something that I never went back to because I found a passion in what we chose to do from that point forward. 

Jennison and her husband spent close to two decades in the construction company before they started their current business venture.

My husband was working for another builder for a number of years and he’s come from a carpentry background so we used it all coincided with a decision about the same time we opened our own construction company. 

 We ran that for about 17 years so it was mainly in commercial and industrial construction but we also built our own residential developments within that company so it was a good opportunity to work with a number of different clients across a diverse range of the property sectors here in Brisbane. So we developed a really good network within the commercial space but also in the residential space. 

Wow I mean 17 used to be in the construction building industry is a long time it’s not like you know fly in fly out so it would have been a tough decision to actually leave that and come out to become what you’re doing right now. 

Yeah. What was the what was the turning point for us. Just recently they brought in new rules and regulations around construction as more and more red tape coming into the industry and it really had a turning point when in Queensland it brought in legislation which is called industrial manslaughter where a principal contractor or head builder can actually be found criminally liable for workplace incidents and we just felt that you know the industry as a whole had changed so much from when we started to that point and look we were scaling back our our construction you know for others at that time anyway because we were mainly building for ourselves in our own development but we just felt that the risk versus the benefit was it was starting to tilt in the wrong direction and we just really wanted to focus on something that was less stressful and and also lower risk. By this time we had three boys that we were supporting through school so we just didn’t want to take on unnecessary risk. 

Yeah I can imagine. So how old are you boys now. 

My eldest is 16 and then I’ve got a 13 year old boy and my youngest is 10. 

A huge benefit to running their own business was being able to care for the kids at the same time.

Well what it enabled us to do was it enabled me. We had a home office but it enabled me to work from home but be there when they were young and and not have to rely on full time day care. So you know being there for them before and after school throughout their younger years just made a big impact on you know making sure they’re pretty stable grounded kids and that’s the decision that we made that was right for us at the time. So you know we were in a position that we were very lucky to be able to do that. 

Throughout her business ventures, Jennison has been involved in a range of projects and developments, as well as residential renovations. She explains the projects she’s most recently been involved in.

For ourselves we have done some mainly on our own homes. We’ve done both cosmetic and structural renovations on investments. We have done structural and cosmetic renovations but we are also already have some projects where we’ve purchased land demolished get the council approvals in place to build units. So we’ve been in a boutique unit market here in Brisbane so inner city locations and building our largest project was our largest completed project with seven boutique units in the inner city suburb of Alderley and we’ve actually just recently sold a site which was approved for development for 10 units but that was just getting a little bit big for us personally so we decided to offload that one with the approval in place and we’ll sort of investigate what that next step is from here. 

Okay great. How many of those type deals have you done in the past. Were those the main ones or did you do more of them. 

So we’ve done the seven unit project was the largest that we did for ourselves in terms of the units and townhouse space. Other than that it’s all just been in the residential renovation and extensions. 

The couple’s company started in property development however market conditions pushed them into the company they have now.

I guess we moved into the space in the boutique unit market in Brisbane. We finished our first projects just before the oversupply really hit hard in Brisbane. So a lot of people may know that the Brisbane unit and apartment markets just became flooded with a lot of high rise sort of investor stock in inner city suburbs that obviously had a bit of a run on effect in price softening to some of the basic developments in the inner ring suburbs as well. So we sort of sat for a little while on the next project you know expecting the oversupply to be absorbed which it has done and I guess there’s you know a lot of the lending restrictions as well has slowed us down with that next big project in in trying to take on 10 units by ourselves. 

We just didn’t we weren’t comfortable with the number of pre-sales that the lenders were asking us to provide. So we decided just to mitigate our risk and sell that one end and really move on to something that’s in a space that we’re more comfortable with. So I think that’s like any investment strategy whether it’s development investment renovation. You’ve just got to weigh up the pros and cons and we’re not big risk takers so. So I guess when when the benefits were sorry when the risks outweigh the benefit we’d rather just started to mitigate that risk offload and put it put the money into a project that will give a consistent return without quite so much risk. 

That’s very very true. I mean I think that’s a smart move to do making sure that you weigh those up and once you do that then you can make your better decision inform decision rather than just go like we’ve been doing this. We just continue to do what we’re doing. 

Exactly. 

That’s right. Yeah. You just did you learn from your experience as well. And I guess being in that space and having been in construction and helped others with projects from the construction end you know that you know some people can really stretch themselves financially to get a project across the line and you know whilst that that can work in some instances for us personally with our three children to support it just wasn’t a position that we wanted to put ourselves in. We’d much rather be in a comfortable position where we’re not willing to put everything on the line. 

Jennison was inspired from an early age by her father, who had always been involved in investment and strategic wealth accumulation.

My parents have been property investors that my dad was part of a group who pooled their funds and they had a number of investments in flats. 

So you know small unit complexes in and around Brisbane. 

So you know I grew up as a young girl with my brothers going to mow the flats and pull the weeds out of the flats and collect the rent because in those days it used to be a knock on the door on a Friday night and they’d pay cash in the hand and give you a check so you know I have memories as a child growing up and understanding that that’s what you do when you’re an adult. 

You buy property and you manage property so I guess that was a really good upbringing for me because it got me interested from a very early age and and it certainly encouraged me to to ensure that the decisions I made in and around property were going to be from an investment perspective and not from an emotional perspective the right from our very first property purchase it’s always been with a focus to generate wealth long term and all of those decisions have been around that. 

Jennison first got started on her property investment journey at only 18 with her now husband.

I met my husband when I was actually 17 years old and we did a little bit of travelling and then we purchased our first home together and it was the first step that I made from moving out of home to buying my own home. So I was 18 years old at the time and never rented so I bought our first property in on the outer suburbs of Brisbane in a place called ferny Hill. So on the end of the train line heading north west of the city. And look that was a great little three bedroom home and it certainly was a very good starting point look at a time it was more about in my head rent was dead money and that’s what my my dad had always taught me so I felt that you know if I had to pay to live somewhere then I’m better off paying a mortgage than paying someone else’s mortgage. So that was the approach that we took a few years later I think was about five years later we decided to upgrade and move closer to the city. And in that time because Scott was a and we had done a renovation on that property cosmetic only but you know I think that we we double their money in in the space of five or six years. So it was a really really good lesson for us to learn that when you buy the right property in the right location and do some improvements you can really add a lot of value to that property. So it set us up very well for making that next step in to an inner city property which is still our current home. So now we’re four kilometres from the Brisbane City on a large and 10 square metre block of land and you know this home we purchased back in 2000 1 and we’ve been here ever since. But you know we’ve again done significant renovations to the property and then improvements and then borrowed off the equity that has continued to build up because of the location. 

That’s amazing to me to hear that because I guess a lot of people when I first start out yes they buy their first home and then you know from there to be an upgrade and so forth but you know it’s it’s great to be here. The story that you’ve kept your property for was about 18 years. 

Yeah that’s right. 

It’s been a long time long and I mean it’s the power of you know the capital growth the power of compounding capital and you know in years past it’s been very easy to use equity to borrow and go again and again that’s a lot harder. 

At the moment because serviceability is so much more important than it ever used to be. Well yeah but you know at the end of the day your home is a really effective investment tool because you don’t have the implications relating to tax upon resale so you know we’ve we’ve spent a lot of time you know adding value to our home we’re able to enjoy that for ourselves but at the same time it’s also building equity in the home because of the location we’re not either capitalizing. 

So it will always hold value and there’s benefit to that as an investment strategy as well. 

Even those who have done well in investment have had their fair share of poor investment decisions. Jennison shares her worst investing moment.

Many years ago now not long after we purchased our home here we decided to buy a holiday unit and you know we purchased a unit at NESA and it was lovely and we went and we used it. Some of the time but we never wanted to go out and use the unit in peak holiday periods because we knew that when we get the best rent or the best return on the property. So what we learned though is that when property markets are correcting those types of properties do not hold value as well as you know properties in locations that are not subject to seasonal fluctuations. 

So you know in terms of what do we learn from those instances I mean I guess some people believe that all property goes up in value all the time. Certainly now having experienced ourselves and also having the knowledge now through the courses that I’ve completed not all property is equal and not all property does go up in value all the time. So you know the highs and the lows that property cycles can be a lot more prevalent in areas that don’t have you know the industry to support the jobs and that sort of thing. 

Now we were really lucky with that because we also were able to do some renovations on the unit when we decided to sell that property. It was more so the opportunity cost of having invested in that property for about seven years. That’s what we lost. So we didn’t physically lose money when we did decide to sell when we realised it was not actually working for us as an investment. It was simply a holiday home. But the opportunity cost of investing in that opportunity as opposed to something which we could have invested in in a more premium location was quite quite huge. 

Yeah I totally understand it’s it’s always looking back the opportunity costs because potentially seven years as you said could have been invest in something else and that that’s I think the biggest lesson that we all learn from that isn’t it. 

Hindsight is a wonderful thing for her. 

Though and I mean you know I guess that’s what we’re helping people to understand now through our own mistakes but also through you know what we’ve learned through the course is that we’ve completed for people that don’t want to make those same mistakes and for people that want to fast track that that creation of wealth. Certainly you certainly properties that will deliver the results that they’re wanting sooner rather than sort of taking me. Let’s just try this and let’s experiment with that kind of way because you know there’s certainly the fast track way and then there’s the way a lot of other people do it which is through trial and error. 

On a positive note, adding value to her first property was a huge turning point and ‘aha’  moment for Jennison on her journey.

It probably was when we upgraded our first home because you know at that time we weren’t really studying the market obviously as I mentioned I knew that property was a good thing but I didn’t know the power of property until we realized the equity that we had created. But no real effort you know it didn’t feel for us like real effort to paint the walls and put a new kitchen in and put a new bathroom in and effectively that’s all we did with that property. 

But you know time in the market and also being able to add value to that property really set us up for for that next property purchase because you know we’d obviously pay down that property a fair bit as well during the period that we held it but it was the equity bet that we’d created and the market had shifted in that time and we we thought wow we can actually just keep doing this because that wasn’t hard. So I guess for us that’s the strategy that we’ve implemented from that point on we realized the power of you know buying a good property at a good location but also being able to add value to that property because we had the skills in construction and you know we didn’t we don’t mind getting our hands dirty and doing some painting and doing things like that ourselves and you know the more little things that you can do to a property to add value. It all matters in the end to either build equity that you can draw upon or improve the sale price when you go to sell. 

The first one the ways the hardest you know and then I think that you become more confident with the process and you know you want to upsize the next next developments

Jennison shared with us her love for adding value to properties herself. She now explains some more details of her specific investing strategies.

Well for us definitely buying properties that appealed to the owner occupier market adding value to those properties through either cosmetic renovation structural renovation or development. 

And then you know using those properties as equity for future purchases so that really has been our primary strategy. It’s the locations that we choose for our personal portfolio are in terms of the residential pockets are high growth locations so capital growth is our primary strategy. We’re not. We’ve been less focused on yields. It’s not something that has been important to us. So we’ve really been looking for quality assets in locations that typically deliver above average capital growth and also manufacturing you know some extra value in those properties it helps us to ensure we get a premium quality tenant as well because tenants will pay more for properties that have the new kitchens and the new bathrooms and that a nice clean and tidy to live in. So that’s always been helpful because we’ve never really had any issues with tenants. So that probably provides an overview of what our strategy has been and then an extension of that has been in the development space but in terms of our development we haven’t actually retained those. So that was more as a business venture to knock down those properties replace them with something of the higher and better use but then sell those and then put that money into the next one and so on and so forth. 

So basically those developments you’ve pretty much on sold so that we take the profit and then just reinvest it back into whether or not you want to buy more other properties. 

Correct. Yeah that’s right. 

And then was that something that you had planned initially or just happened that you had that property that was available. 

So we had planned that we wanted to move into the development space because we were planning and exit out of construction. So it was a it was a slow slow burn journey if you like probably over a period of seven to 10 years because there’s a lot to learn with development and even in the building space we were helping developers with a lot of council approvals and certainly getting all the building approvals in place but doing it for yourself. It’s a different process. If you can you can burn it you can lose a lot of money very quickly. So you know we probably spent a number of years learning the process from others through our network contact before we were willing to throw our money on the line and do it for ourselves. So the first project that we completed was really successful but I think it was because of the planning that went into it and because at the time we took in learning the process from others before we sort of jumped in and took on that risk. 

And it’s wise to do that because you’ve got some experience in the matter of deciding do we go into it or not and am and jump in. 

And the first one the ways the hardest you know and then I think that you become more confident with the process and you know you want to upsize the next next developments. And I guess for us you know it was all in the timing. You know we didn’t want to bring a development or a unit development to market in a in an environment where there was going to be an oversupply. So we’re constantly looking at the underlying drivers of supply and demand in the Brisbane market and we knew the number of apartments that have been approved and we saw some of the completions and the numbers started to spike. So in terms of commencements so we just were very cautious about trying to compete with you know a lot of supply at the same time and that’s why we sort of sat on there. The second project for about three years just waiting out market movement then as a developer it’s really important that you’re bringing to market what the market needs at a given point in time and not just you know doing a burn and churn approach because you know certainly as a small Mum and Dad developers we don’t have the capacity to you know to drop prices if the market crashes and things like that. So we wanted to protect our margins and you know only move forward when when the risk was mitigated to a point that we were comfortable.

When entering into development Jennison warns the importance of being educated and informed to control the risk factors.

All you know risk and return I mean people that do take on developments you know the risk is a lot higher but obviously if all of the Ducks line up the return is also a lot higher. 

So it can be quite lucrative but you know it’s all about ensuring that you’re not taking unnecessary risk and compromising on your profit margins because you know there is a lot of risk involved and you’ve got to justify that risk with the return you’re getting on your invested money. 

In our last conversation with Jennison she revealed how herself and her husband developed a block of seven units. She shares the journey of that development with us.

The big thing for us was probably learning to really match the product to the market and you know in Brisbane we sort of study population trends and things like that. So we knew that there was a new and increasing ageing population and that a lot of people didn’t want the big backyard to look after and they wanted smaller units but they they still wanted green space and they still wanted small yards you know outdoor spaces so we really designed the units to target an owner occupier market so first home buyers that wanted it and wanted to get into the property ladder and downsizes that were wanting to offload the family home and move into something that was smaller but still provided lifestyle amenities. So the design part of the process for us was it really important because we were targeting a specific market. 

The approvals I mean that was all pretty smooth sailing obviously. It’s just ensuring that as the project manager you’ve got everything else and that you constantly chasing engineers and surveyors and architects and all of the consultants town planners etc. you’re constantly chasing people up and then you know once we had the council approvals we were also managing at the time the old building was for flats. So we were managing the process of aligning all of the old tenancies to me to finish at around the same time so that we could start demolition and minimise our downtime. So once we got to the construction phase getting all of the building approvals that was our bread and butter because obviously that has been the industry that we were most familiar with. And in the construction phase also quite an easy process for us given the experience that we’ve had in construction. So overall you know we were really pleased with how smooth the whole process went. We didn’t have any major hiccups along the way and the result we did we’d like to speak with our market as they were doing inspections we actually attended a lot of the time just to get some feedback from the market in terms of what they like about the property what they didn’t like about the property and then we implemented that feedback in the next design for the next project. 

They made sure to research the current buyers market before deciding to develop boutique units over townhouses or high-rise apartments.

I think at the time a lot of people were building there was a lot of infill development that was around townhouses. What we found is that in that boutique development space there were not a lot of units there were a lot of high rise units but not a lot of small complexes of 6 or 7 units. And watch we had feedback from the market in relation to was that they don’t want stairs within a unit. They just want a single living single living situation with the bedrooms and the main kitchen and living areas are all on one level. So that’s why we went units as opposed to townhouses on that particular site and obviously we spent a lot of time studying their city plan to understand the town planning aspects of a site and so that when we started to search for property we need the zoning that the land had to be and we knew the overlays that impacted on that site to understand whether it made a good development and we’d set our team up early so we had the consultants in place who could advise us as we were looking for suitable sites they could advise us before we put an offering as to what the potential of the site would be what the capacity is what the costs associated with sewer water and all of those sorts of services would be so we could pretty much complete out feasibility before we put an offering on the site. 

So how long did the project take to complete?

Well we held the property because at the time of purchase it was actually positively geared so we held the property for about two years before we commenced demolition. 

And in that time we got all the approvals in place and then yet the construction phase was about 10 or 11 months. 

Wow. 

So that’s pretty pretty good in terms of that face so mind if I I ask you what kind of profit did you make on this kind of deal. 

Was just short of half a million dollars actually so that was it was a very profitable deal for us and it was it was there. Yeah we weren’t disappointed in the result. 

Did you need to do any funding from investors or were you able to get lending from the bank?

Yeah well it took a while to be in the position to be able to move into development ourselves but this was funded through our own funds as well as borrowing from the banks so we didn’t have any private investors in the projects. It was just us and I I guess when we moved into development that’s why we spent a few years actually working up towards that because we knew that you know the lending ratios are less with developments. I think it was around 65 percent means at that time and you know you’ve got to pay all your soft costs for your approvals and a lot of your consultants that’s not part of your construction lending so you really need to be in a position financially to jump into developments at that size because it’s very different just to residential lending and you can’t just assume that you can borrow 80 percent of the funds from the bank that’s for sure. 

Jennison is focused on setting herself and her family up for their future, just like her parents did, describing this as the reason ‘why’ she decided to start her property journey.

I see my parents in the lifestyle they now have and I’d love that for myself one day. In terms of just not being in a position where there’s stress over finances I think also as we have you know aged a little let’s just say it in a nice way and we’ve had our own children. You really want to be able to provide something for them because looking forward it’s going to be a really tough gig for them to to get into the property market and get started. So I guess it’s a bit twofold to answer the question. Initially the driving force was really looking forward to what could be when we approached the age that we could step back from employment and you know rely on the investments that we’d made to help fund a lifestyle for ourselves but subsequently you know becoming parents and seeing your children grow up. I think that your focus changes a lot from what you want for yourself to what you want for them. And I think for us a big driving force has now is the fact that you know we want to be able to you know not only have something for ourselves but set our kids up so that they’ve got something that provides a good base for them in their property investing journey because you know I’m all about helping them to understand the fundamentals around you know why we buy property instead of fancy cars and why we you know we’d be saving our money for a deposit for a house as opposed to spending our money on X-box and PlayStation and you know I think it’s very boring talk that I do like to teach them about the value of money and the types of assets that you know appreciate vs. those that depreciate. So there’s lots of conversations that we have now that our kids are a little bit older you know and although they’re not very interesting for the boys I think long term it might just you know a little light bulb moment off for them some time in the future. 

And have you ever seen any of the properties and have they been on site with what you’ve been doing in the past. 

Absolutely yeah. They’ve always been part of the journey and you know one of our investments that we did a structural renovation on. They they’re really interested in coming in and looking and viewing and seeing that process and seeing that transformation. So you know they’ve certainly seen it in our own property. We’ve done various extensions or additions over the years and I love how you can transform a property just through some ideas and then as my husband said when I come up with a new idea can we do this this or this and he says anything’s possible it just comes down to cost like that response anything’s possible. 

She believes it is important to teach her own kids about the value of saving for the things they want, to understand the value of money.

All or lot of kids these days are you know instant gratification that’s exactly what they they’re thinking of and I’ll give you an example of some people laugh at our parenting but this is an example of something that we’ve done recently. So my 10 year old and my 13 year old they’re now 10 and 13 about 18 months ago they came to Scott and I and they asked if they if we could if we could buy them an X-box and I just said well no that’s not something we just buy. 

I’m sorry no but you know all of these other kids have the X-Box so why can’t you buy it. And my response was Well if it’s something that you want that March what can you do to add value to others in exchange for money so that you can earn the X box for yourself. Anyway after a little bit of you know chewing and throwing they put a letter in their neighborhood letterboxes that they were starting a mowing business. 

Now 18 months later they’ve got a successful mowing business operating in and around our local area where they mow regularly for a 5 4 or 5 yards and they get paid you know 30 or 40 dollars per lawn and about two and a half months after they started they bought their own x-box with their own money. 

So that’s the sort of stuff that you know we’ve done as parents to help them teach or help to teach them the value of money because I think that kids do expect a lot. These days my boys certainly do and they live in a very. I mean most Australian children live in a very privileged world and listen to a lot of other children in the world and I like to constantly remind my kids about you know what they don’t have that sorry what they have a lot of other children do not have. And therefore teach them that money doesn’t actually just grow on trees and you don’t just get things when you ask you actually have to work harder to get things and you actually have to put some hard yards in and put some sweat in and do something to earn that money before you get whatever it is that you want. So I think we’ve taken that approach in a lot of our dealings with our kids our kids and you know from basic things like you know they want to go to a friend’s place. Can you give me ten dollars for lunch. Mum No but if you’d like to take your lunch from home you’re very welcome to. But if you wanted to buy it you spend it with your money because you’re eating some money now. So it’s just little bitty little things like that we’re not a handout sort of society or certainly within our family. 

We sort of will help the kids to and to encourage them to earn their own money and save their own money for the big ticket items that they’re wanting outside of birthdays and Christmases. 

It was through learning those same lessons herself as a child that she believes she was able to get to where she is today.

I think that’s what my dad taught me too. I mean I mentioned previously I used to go and mow the flats and weed the lawns at the flats that he owned but I would get paid pocket money to do that. And so I learned the value of working hard and getting the money to buy the things that I wanted. So you know I guess that’s that’s the same principle I’m now hoping that my boys will learn and wealth. You know when they’re little they don’t appreciate what you’re teaching them but I can look back now and know what those lessons taught me and I hope one day that they can look back and realise the same things that I have now realized. 

As well as being inspired by her parents, Jennison utilised other resources and research to help her along her journey.

There is no one person that we have had as as a guide outside of you know we see my dad being a property investor. Scott’s parents also are property investors so he’s obviously learned a lot from them. I’m an avid reader and very early on. I read the Robert Kiyosaki book Rich Dad Poor Dad I guess the be that was a little bit of a another aha a lightbulb moment to realise the power of building something outside of an employee sort of pay as you go. Income sense and that’s what I’ve always tried to focus on as well as an additional income source for ourselves in just building something on the side that you can continue to appreciate in value and generate an additional income outside of our primary source of income. So you know books have probably been something that you know I’ve relied on and certainly Robert Kiyosaki no other particular authors that you know have had a huge influence but more recently it’s the Internet’s been a wealth of information for everybody. Some being a researcher I love reading about you know local market trends and maybe Estada in SKM research and you know a lot of data that now underpins the property market. That’s what I love keeping up to date with so that I can understand what’s happening at a local level and you know that’s what makes a specialist in this market and that that’s the area that we’re invested that’s the area we study and that’s the area that we continue to help our clients in. 

Jennison now shares the best advice she has ever received, which involves how you think about every property purchase.

I would say that’s regardless of whether you’re purchasing a home or an investment property it’s still an investment.

That’s interesting. 

So that it’s sort of the uber rock recluse like you sort of says in some sense that’s also possibly a liability due to the fact that it doesn’t put money in your pocket. How do we unplug that one. 

Yeah well see the strategy that we’ve always used is that which your home whilst you know it doesn’t put money into your pocket you can still manufacture and you can use your PPR or it primary principal place of residence as a stepping stone to get you where you want to be without paying tax and that’s the value of a family home and certainly for investors who are starting out on their journey. 

I mean a lot of first home buyers for example I believe they are the most vulnerable group. There’s a lot of property spruikers that encourage first home buyers to purchase brand new properties in the same outer ring suburbs in the new states. Yep and sometimes you know it’s the advice that they are provided or the advice that they don’t actually seek. It can actually set them back whereas you know purchasing a probably a property that is in a land banked suburb in a better location and foregoing the flash brand new house for a better location which has higher capital growth opportunities that will actually help to step them or set them up for the next property purchase. And that’s the biggest thing that I find and that’s probably why I mentioned. You know regardless of whether you’re buying a home or an investment you know they ask. It’s always considered an investment in my mind because for many people the first property they do purchase in Australia is their home. So purchasing a home that can help to set you up for the next property purchase makes such a big impact to an individual’s investment journey overall. 

Jennison considers keeping active every day as well as practicing meditation as two personal habits that keep her on the road to success.

I particularly active and I like to keep my mind clear of obstacles and I find that you know morning routine helps a lot to just set me up for a day. And you know I get up and I go for a run and I do meditation if and when I can to help to you know just disconnect from the everyday world and you know then also just aligning our long term goals with where we currently are. So you know whilst that’s not a daily habit as such that’s something that Scott and I do together and just really resetting. 

Where are we now. Where are we heading and what’s the gap. What do we need to do between now and then to get there. That’s that’s not going to create too much stress for us in that journey. 

And meditation is something that requires practice because I got to say that I’m good at it. 

How have you been to incorporate that into your daily life. Because it’s a challenge you know we’re so busy. Kids work etc. How have you been to incorporate it to your life to be able to help give you that kind of balance as well. 

I think that’s the exact reason why I find when I have that when I make the time to fit it in it actually helps. I’m the sort of person that I never switch off. You know I wake up in the middle of the night and something will be on my mind and I’ll have to write it down before I can get back to sleep. So to be able to just disconnect from reality and really focus on on something that you’re working on or or something that you want to improve or something that’s been bothering you. 

It just helps you to deal with that in a subconscious state and and then you know it Martin provides fewer barriers for you in everyday life in my opinion so look it’s not something that I’ve done for ever but it’s certainly something that I’m trying to incorporate every day. 

I don’t get to it every day simply because you know lifestyle sometimes gets in the way and and if I did drop kids early to school you know there’s things that come up or if I’ve got too many things that I’ve got to get to then you know unfortunately it’s not something that you know. I I’d make as a concrete thing every day so I guess it comes down to discipline and and incorporating it as much as I can and I do find that it just puts me in a better place after I have made the time for it and you know it helps me to focus on what needs to be done for the rest of the day once I know that I’ve had that time to myself. 

10 years ago, Jennison was in a very different phase of her life, but if she had the chance she’d remind her to take life as it comes.

10 years ago I had just had my third son so I was probably in a different space then in my mind because we were very focused on on kids we had very young kids at that point in time.

Now that my youngest is is 10 turning 11 this year I guess we’ve moved into a different phase in our life. 

What would I say to myself the person that I was 10 years ago. Probably that life’s not always smooth and easy and that you’ve got to take the highs with the lows and it’s not about how many highs and lows you have it’s about how you deal with them and pick yourself up and how you move forward and what you learn as a result of them. So I guess life is a journey and you’ve got to make the most of the opportunities that are presented to you and that’s probably what I’d say to my former self. 

Looking forward, Jennison is excited to see which markets will grow over the next number of years, and continue to find opportunities for investment and business growth.

Look where running in a position we’re excited about the Brisbane market where we’re positioned obviously within Brisbane and I think Brisbane’s had a really cool ride recently in comparison to just Sydney and Melbourne certainly when Sydney and Melbourne were appreciating it rapid growth rates. We didn’t have that here in Brisbane but it seems all the fundamentals are now in place for the Brisbane property market to outperform and certainly a lot of researchers are or research firms are predicting good capital growth in Brisbane over the next two to three years. So you know I’m looking forward to riding that wave but I’m also looking forward to seeing what happens post the federal election that’s potentially coming up. And because there’s a lot of hesitance hesitancy in the market. In my opinion around or there’s a lot of uncertainty as well as well around what’s going to happen after that point in time. So I’m looking forward to seeing that behind us and then positioning ourselves again you know pending the outcome of that election. So to maximize the opportunities that will continue to exist until January 1 next year Labour get in and you know a few decisions for us personally based around that as well. But yeah I think that we’ll just see where we go in the future. 

From my view very interesting to see. 

Jennison believes a little bit of luck is always needed in the change of property markets, but of course skill, intelligence and hard work are very important also.

I think that for us personally you know being in Brisbane particularly you know in the last I would say 15 years we’ve seen Sydney in Melbourne prices go up significantly and I’ve seen a lot of people become very wealthy very quickly because the market shifted very quickly here in Brisbane we’ve not seen that level of activity. So I think anyone that is positioned well and still doing okay in their property portfolio it has to be attributed to skill and knowledge and strategy as opposed to luck. So I would hope that in five years time I can look back and say hey now we’ve had some luck because the Brisbane market has shifted. You know this much and you know really sometimes you know we can’t predict exactly what’s going to happen in property markets and within property markets but we can certainly use our skill and knowledge and position ourselves for the maximum opportunities that may come as a result of market movements. So that’s what I would say to answer that question. 

If you’re interested in finding out more about Jennison or reaching out to her, here’s the best way to do so:

We have a website at www dot streamline property dot com dot au. I’m also quite active on LinkedIn and my profile is just under my name. Melinda Jennison I do have a good following and produce a lot of content that I share with people on that platform. And we’re also on Facebook streamlined property buyers and stringless probably by Brisbane on Facebook. So feel free to reach out at any time you’re one of those channels. 

This episode was produced by Ashlyne Ocampo with narrations and interviews conducted by Tyrone Shum.

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