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A Look Into Quality vs Quantity in Brisbane Real Estate Investing

Updated 26/06/2017

Karen Young was never meant to be a successful property investor. Originally a nurse from Melbourne obsessed with the wonders of modern technology. At 32 Young realised she needed to get her head in the game, build her knowledge in real estate management and began creating a project that helps Sydney and Brisbane's investor looking for growth.

In this episode of Property Investory Karen Young reveals how she uses spreadsheets and project management tools to build her portfolio. She’ll also teach us that the quality of a single property far exceeds the worth of dozens of unrefined investment properties.

'If someone said to do these things and you will be successful in the property you would just do it.'

Karen Young

My name is Karen Young and I am a host of property investing show online which is called Everyday Property Investing, and that has been going on I think for about 6 years now. And I also run a buyers agency and property management business in Briscoe.

So what does Young actually do in any given day?

I do a lot of things - I would exercise, I drive a lot, I analyse people’s requirements and locations, I go and inspect houses, I make offers, I organise things... so I organise clients and agents and contracts and I talk on the phone a lot, I email a lot and I manage people. So I pack a lot into every day and it is different every day.
I also wrangle some children at the same time!

She understands that as an investor and a mother, patience is key and unnecessarily worrying about what may or may not happen will get you nowhere.

I am pretty relaxed actually as a property investor I think over having done it for quite a number of years you know initially I was very stringent about what strategy I was doing and how what I was looking for and now I am a lot more relaxed about it I realise over that over time your strategy actually evolves and changes and, and a lot of that is based on where you are heading in life, so what I was relevant for me you know 8 or 10 years ago is not as important now and you have to adjust with those changes in your life you can't sort of you can't do a strategy that is very time-intensive or money intensive or when you suddenly you know have young kids, and you don't have time and money so yeah I think I am a lot more relaxed as an investor.

This relaxed attitude can have big payoffs when the perfect property that you have been waiting for simply falls into your lap.

Nowadays at the moment, I am actually looking for a property which we might talk about it later but yeah I just sort of you know I am not as desperate for a deal I can look around cause I am looking at property every day, I am sure enough so that I will stumble across an amazing deal and I am in a position now where I can just grab it if I wanted to, yeah so It is quite a bit is a nice position to be in.

Moving around Melbourne in her youth, Young was exposed to the different qualities and drawbacks of properties all over the city.

I grew up in Melbourne and you know in the outskirts on northern suburbs in Melbourne and moved around quite a few places within Melbourne, in my you know early adulthood, I lived overseas for a while, I lived in London for about 4 years and then I came back to Australia so but yeah essentially I am from Melbourne but now I am a Queenslander through and through because there is no way I am going back to that cold.

Property investing was never the plan for Young, who began her career in the totally alien field of health care workers. It took returning home from overseas for her to realise the value of owning property and having her own extra source of income for the future.

Look I always kind of liked property but to be honest with you I was just doing what people do I was living life and you know I was travelling and I worked and did some bits and pieces and I didn't really seriously think about investing in property till quite late, till I was sort of about to turn 30.

I think and then suddenly decided oh I need something in life that is like a future type thing, but up until that point I really haven't given in a lot of thought, and I think now you know a lot of times when I asked people advice they say what is the one thing that you wish you could change, and it is I wish I had started earlier, and you know I am no different I should I wished I had started earlier but alas as long as you wake up some point and start doing something at some point that is the main thing really yeah so I didn't I really wasn't that into it until I was probably about 30, and realistically like I came back from living overseas and I realised you know I have been spending money and you know travelling and doing all these great things. But then I realised that it was time to really get started to think about something for the future and buy something of my own.

So I did. I bought a little flat in Melbourne; it was a 1 bedroom flat in Carnegie actually and I did all the mistakes and I paid too much money for it and I listened to what the agent told me to offer on it and I did what they said and I did of all that. But at the same time, I sort of bought that and sat on it for a bit and I didn't really do much seriously, I just bought this and I sat on it and I still wasn't really that into it. And it wasn't until I had kids a little bit later than I have been really started to learn and understand and realised that I needed to start setting some goals and start working towards something. I just bought something around because I felt like that was the thing you did when you’re about 30, you bought a house or a flat or something. But then it wasn’t until 2 years later that I actually went, ‘No hang on a minute, I need to be planning for the future here.

She was then inspired to start her real estate investment journey due to the lack of property investors in her life.

I think one of the driving factors for me getting involved in property in a more serious manner and really taking some time to learn and you know reading and seminars and expos and talking to people and actually really understanding property one of the drivers to that was my parents bit it is not perhaps for the reasons that you think so they weren't property investors they worked their whole lives to pay off the one mortgage on the one house and they actually split up then and you know so they kind of they both have ended up now they both are retired and they live on a pension, they don't have investments and it was really seeing them work hard their whole lives to really end their working lives with not much to show for it other than you know this one house they paid off and then had to split between them and stuff so that did inspire me to actually go and say that is what not I want to do I don't want to work my whole life to pay off a property and then really have nothing much in the end and then end up on a pension trying to space up ordered by the government which you know pension is not a lot of money and it was that was the inspiration for me really getting into it.

sydney real estate

Young believes that it doesn’t matter where you get your inspiration from, whether from friends or family, or no one at all; as long as you hold onto that inspiration.

I think yeah I think manner is where you inspiration comes from, you know like we weren't I didn't come from an affluent family but that inspiration still came from there and I have got a friend of mine Claire, and she was on this on my ad show actually really early in the piece and I have also had her dad on the show and it was funny because when she grew up her mum and dad they invested and they bought 10 properties all around…. in Victoria which is really expensive now and like she was inspired to invest in real estate from her parents investing but you know essentially as long as you get there, in the end, it does not matter where you take that inspiration from.

This late inspiration resulted after years of working as a nurse overseas; a career that she also feels very passionate about.

I had a lot of jobs actually I sort of done 10-year students different careers so the first thing out of university well I actually studied nursing and I worked as a nurse I was an intensive care nurse for about 10 years. I worked overseas as a nurse in London and also in some of the major hospitals in Melbourne, and that was an amazing time I loved the technology about it, to be honest with you, I was in intensive care and I loved all the machines that went beep and understanding all the physiology of people's bodies and the way that you could manipulate you know respiratory pressure on a ventilator and it would change the physiology over here and things like that and so that was really cool and I did that for about 10 years.
I did some study, I did some post-graduate study in that as well and then after that I actually I like those machine that went beep so much that I decided to do a grad dip in information technology and then actually went onto my masters in information technology. So I then worked in IT for about 10 years and actually took that knowledge I had from the clinical sort of side of things and then worked in clinical and medical IT related fields - so I would write software specifications for clinical information systems and things like that, so that was really interesting. And then I did that for about 10 years as well, then I really thought I wanted to do something that I was really passionate about.

And the property was my hobby and my passion and at that point, I had already started the podcast Everyday Property Investing and so I was doing that and I wanted to make a way that I could turn the property, my passion, into what I was doing every day. And so I looked at different, property-related occupations and in the end, I thought a buyers agency would be the right thing for me. I am a very analytical person and I like the analysis side of the property, so that was a really good fit and that is when I started the business. That has been going great times with being a buyer’s agents of the year for the last 2 years and I have been a finalist again this year with one touch of business awards and things like this; so it has been a really good ride and still loving it.

Young’s knowledge and experience in IT gathered during this time was a major factor in the success of her current business.

Yeah like of these we use all of these amazing IT systems and that just having like everything you do lead you to somewhere else in my view and so all that IT knowledge is no way I could of set up and made this business what it is if I did not have any of that knowledge, yes you can make a successful business you know without having an IT knowledge or you can bring in that knowledge but for me you know we were in a position where we had to start it with very capital and really get it you know all the marketing and all that.

So you know I made the website, I did all the videos and you know all of these sort of stuff all the marketing you know I had all the knowledge to all that stuff so it is really everything that you do to relate you to somewhere although it is funny though when clients ask, a lot of clients potential clients will say what kind of qualifications do you have and the funny thing is as a biased agent it is very little qualifications that you actually require to work as a biased agent so when they say what qualifications do you have and I give them a list of these bachelors and masters and this and that and they are all not property-related at all but you know realistically you need a certificate for a real estate to be a real estate agent so you know sometimes life experiences and those experiences are more important.

With this background in IT, she also has a recommendation for useful software that property investors can use to help them organise and manage their projects.

I will give you one basic one, this is a very simple thing but to me, it is absolutely vital and I use this not just for the business and buyers agency, I use it for projects. If you are doing a property related project, so you know you are deciding that you are going to make your next purchase I use a project management system called an Asana and Asana just organises my life. I organise my life in Asana and then you know unless it is you know if it is in Asana it will get done and it also helps me to unload the things that are all in my head so I can actually when I have time off I can relax. Because I know I don’t have to remember all these things that have to be done they are in Asana, to me I think Asana is an amazing tool that you can use.

It is basically you know you write to-do list essentially you know a project management system is essentially a bunch of to-do list to do with a project. So if you have got a project for example in next property purchase you can put that in Asana and go okay what is the next step I need to do to make this happen and so when you put in there and you put a date next to it and it's sending you an email to remind you to need to do it they are the things that push you forward to make you do things so I think I am so many people say are you know I wish I have invested or I was been looking to invest but I just get busy and all that kind of stuff if you don't write it down and make it a task in your life then often it just gets pushed to the side because we are all busy.

The first property that Young bought was never meant to be an investment, but rather the step that is expected by all young couples of buying a first home.

I sat on that property and I still wasn't really in the property investor's mindset at that point I just bought it cause I thought that is what you do when you turning 30, so I did I just bought it and I actually did know the first time on the ground and I lived in it. It was just a tiny little one-bedroom flat and then you know a few years later and I actually had a partner I had a baby on the way and we thought well we need a family home, so we decided to sell that property it hadn't made massive capital growth but it had some, but it was enough that you know it was enough that it leveraged just into a family home so we bought a family home and I actually still own that house, in Melbourne now it is rented property now but we bought that house and then and that was when I really after we had the baby I really started to get involved and educate myself so I went to a lot of seminars and you know did a lot of reading I read magazines and I read books I realised there was a couple of books that I really liked, Margaret Lomas’ book really resonated with me at that time I think it was to create an income for life.

As we’ve seen with previous guests here at Property Investory, it seems that the spreadsheet is king when it comes to narrowing done potential suburbs and properties,

And then I think even at one of the statement night ones that kind of go-to zero to a moon properties or whatever it is in two minutes, like but at that time those books really resonated with me and the other one that I really liked was Robert... cashflow quadrant, a lot of it a rich….. but I reckoned cash flow quadrant is the best. So that one those that was sort of inspiring books and I learned lots and lots and that was when we actually went okay now we are going to consciously invest in property and we actually went and joined like an investing group at that time and that was really good because we surrounded ourselves with like minded people, people who knew stuff about how to do it and then we actually made an investment property purchase, and when I say we made investment property purchase I did massive amount of analysis, cause that’s how you know I had spreadsheet and I put all the suburbs, all suburbs in Australia in the spreadsheet and like narrowed them down on vacancy rates and yields and this and that and blah blah blah, until I had this short list of property areas that fit the criteria and then we went and bought a property so In actually bought a property in Melton in Victoria which is like the outskirts of sort Melbourne and we bought this sort of property that was a little bit run down, and we did just a minor kind of proof stuff of it and we put tenants in it and that was cash flow causing it from day one, and it also actually had a bit of development potential on it as well which I did not realise it until I had it run.

Well, that was interesting so yeah we bought that and then it was a matter if I really wanted to buy sort of want to want a year type thing well I have this goal in my head that 15 by 50 was my mantra I wanted 15 properties by the time I was 50 and that was my mantra and nowadays like I said I am a little bit more relaxed these days and I realised that it is not about the number you don't need 15 properties and is not about how many properties you have it at all it is actually about the quality of properties or what you do and depends on the strategy you using like you know 2 really well-placed properties with great capital game can set you up for life the same way that 15 properties could in a different with a different strategy so I am one these you know one size doesn't fit all type you know many ways that is going to catch your investor I call it so I think there are many ways to make money out of property and so we then started buying roughly about a property a year, we looked at different strategy so we looked at renovations and we did a run by renovating subdivide sell down in… , which is regional Victoria, in the house in Melton I went to a development seminar and I learnt about development and then I looked at one of the first things I said was look at the properties you already have and I thought oh yeah so I looked and then I thought you know we got that property there on a corner block, with a big backyard why not we see what we can do there so sure enough we can actually build a three-bedroom house on the back of it, we did not build it mind you, but we did go down the process of getting all the approvals and everything and then we unsolved with the approvals.

There is always the risk that investments will not yield huge profits, as Young discovered.

So yeah not I don't think there was a massive profit to be honest with you because I just don't think I don't know why people would give you an approval to build a 3 bedroom townhouse on a back of a 450 square metre block like that is tiny.
... but you know these are all about of the learning and so yeah, in the end, we ended up with sort of I don't know I think we had about 5 or 6 down in Melbourne before we moved up to Queensland and then we actually looked obviously we were starting a business and so we decided to sell down a few to raise capital for the business, so we sold a few off down there, we kept a few, and since we have been up here we also bought our own place and residence and that has actually had a really significant capital growth in its which has been great, I always believe when you buying your own home that's a really good tip is you need to think of it as an investor because it is a massive investment and you can make significant wealth of your family home if you chose right so yeah we chose pretty well I think and we got some good game in that we bought property in our self-manage super fund up here as well and yeah so we still got some property in Melbourne and got some property up here in Queensland and Briscoe as well so that is in a nutshell.

She also realised that not every goal is an achievable one, or even a smart one. Currently holding two houses in Melbourne and one block of land as well as two more in Queensland, her new goal is strictly quality over quantity.

Yeah so I just don't think that you know as I was saying before it is really important for people to have a goal and we had that mantra 15 by 50 I don't really subscribe to that anymore to me it is all about what you know what you do and what your strategy is and stuff like that so at the moment you know I am looking for property now that has development potential to put town houses on it, so you know there is a variety of things that you can do but I guess one of the tips is don't get hung up on the numbers of things like a lot of people can say oh you know I earn at one point we had like I said I think we had like 6 or 7 but realistically the bank owned a lot of that, so and that is in kind of lower budget areas in some of them where the capital growth was not massive so you know one well post property with a lot of equity in it is worth more than 10 that the bank owns 90% off, you know so you got to have a think about that it is not, don't get too hung up on the numbers of it I guess.

Young’s a-ha moment was not the traditional scene of falling into money, but rather the realisation that change is the best strategy.

Yeah oh and yeah I think that moment made me more opened minded as an investor like I said earlier on I was like it is all about the cash flow it is all about the cash flow and that resonated from Morgan Lomas’ book you know and statement night books it was all about that and then I was always preparing all the whole negative gearing people but negative gearing is not a strategy, negative gearing is like a text break, that what that is but the strategy there is capital grow, that is if you know if you are going after negative bearing property you going after capital growth you surely you are not just chasing negative gearing for the sake of it, that does not make sense and a lot people don't understand that and I think that ah-hah moment was not just that I needed a growth property it was hang on a minute I can't just stick with this one strategy of cash flow positive property for ever because that is not going to just pan out unless I get a whole truck load of these and I can't see that working, I then need to change I need to change and evolve and that is where my mind opened to an range of different things and that is where I am now and I am still opened to doing renovations and selling we did a rent quick project a couple years ago, up here and I just opened to development and I am opened to store buy and holdage depends on what I need at that point in time.

Her worst investing moment was not a time of despair or loss of money but the missed opportunities, the possible investments that she let slip through her fingers, that she regrets the most.

I am not a person who dwells on oh okay that was a terrible thing or that was a terrible purchase that happened or whatever I sort of taking it all as learning and then move forward, so to try and think of what is the worst moment I don't have really negative feelings towards anything, to be honest, it just was what it was and I learnt something from it so I can share as you know. For example, I think that perhaps the thing that I look back upon with the most regret is probably when you start thinking about the things you did not buy so it is not the things that I bought that when wrong because like I said you know I had a few bits and pieces a little blitz but I haven't really lost any major money, I haven’t lost any money actually from anything which is one of the great things about property.

But I think it is the things I didn't buy and I wish I had it that was perhaps one of the worst sort of things if I and so I tend not to dwell onto that, so, for example, the first property I ever tried to buy was a one-bedroom flat in Mentone in Victoria, and it was with you know a 2-minute walk down to the beach and it was the agent was sort of telling people it was going to offers over 90 000 dollars at the time and so I thought oh I am in with a shot here because I have got a 150 to spend, so I am in with a good shot here and then I got to the auction it was packed and the thing got sold for 155 000 dollars, so this is you know in the days that when they totally bait you in with certain money and then the auctions sell for so much more, I think those days are still around to some extent in Melbourne city.

Yeah but yeah like if I had bought that the money that I could of made on that and likewise there was another property in a really good suburb based on suburb in Melbourne and I remember I was going to buy it to live in it would of been my first home on the ground and that I lived in stuff and it got up to about 350 000 dollars and at that time I was like oh that was so much money, so much money, you know and I was going to be buying for myself, so I was going to have this massive mortgage and blah blah blah and so I pulled out of this purchase so I did not get I was in it sort of in the running with someone else who was competing for it but essentially I stopped at 350 and if I look at what the property was worth now I would just have to I don’t know I would have to crawl up in a corner somewhere, so but you know at the time, you know at that time I had no kids, I had a good income I could have of supported that mortgage and if I had I would of made a lot of money, but I didn't, I did buy instead I bought an out of suburb and cash flow positive by 3 dollars a week property, and in high side probably not the best move, so I think that it is the things that I did not buy that are probably some of the worst moments but like I said I don’t dwell in my you know you take it as a learning you know you do what is right for yourself at that time, or what you think is right for yourself at that time and you just have to move forward.

Currently looking for another property to add to her portfolio, Young is excited about the thrill of hunting down the perfect property again.

I think maybe because I am back in the market at the moment so you know because I run a business now and I don't you know I am such a business for start, I don’t I haven't bought properties frequently as I used too and you know the last project we did was a couple of years ago, and now in our super fund, and you know couple a years ago we did a rent over quick project so it has been a little while so I feel like anyway.

But I was just being sorting out some numbers and we are back in the market so I am really excited, I get excited about the chase, and the potential and looking at something with potential so I have been having some fun looking at some sites with the development potential and really I have done a lot education base stuff around development in the last two years or so and now really putting some of that into play and finding and accessing sites for development so that's what I am excited about this minute I think, and the business obviously I have businesses, you know we are helping so many people it is so exciting like we would buy at least one property a week you know and some weeks, you know a couple of weekends ago I went out I bought three properties on one day, and it is so exciting, I still get excited about buying property and not all for me obviously but you find I sort of you know sending that excitement to the clients as well so that is really good.

How To Create Your Goals And Plan Your Future Real Portfolio With Karen Young

knowledge management

So what was holding her back from starting to invest in the property later in life?

Once I decided to do it, there was nothing holding me back. I'm that sort of person if I decide I'm going to do something I'm actually quite determined. But I think the thing holding me back was just I was busy. I was too busy doing, living life, I wasn't really thinking about the future. But once I knew that that's what I wanted to do then I don't think anything held me back after that.

Once her interest was sparked, Young set herself on a whirlwind journey to consume as much knowledge on property investing as possible.

I haven't really latched on to one person and think they're the messiah or anything. I tend to look at, you know, what am I doing at this point in time who, who can help me with that. So, you know, there's- Margaret Lomas's book was really good and that was helpful, and then I became involved in that property investing group and that was really good, that was what I needed at the time, and then after a while, I kind of outgrew that group a little and then I needed something else so I, you know, I latched onto the next thing that was helpful to me at that point in time. So there's been a range of people. I think Troy Harris down in Melbourne when I first got interested in development I went to one of his development days, I think it's called Rookie Developer, and that was really interesting, it spurred me into an interesting development.

There was a couple, I can't remember the name, Elise and Dean Parker. And they got, they did a renovation product and it was an amazing product, it really was a fantastic product and they've got an amazing success story if you're ever looking for people to speak to. And they now run a very successful development company here in Cleveland. And I actually went over to their house and interviewed Elise Parker. Like after all these years she was like this, you know, wow amazing story and I actually got to meet her, it was really exciting. It was like meeting somebody who's famous. Yeah, but like, their reno stuff was really really good, really good quality stuff and I bought their product and I went and I put it into play. I literally did it. What they said and I followed it and I learnt so much from it and you know, we made a profit out of that project. So they were really helpful. So I think like, in terms of mentors, I tend to move to what is interesting and what am I looking at in this point in time, who has done that and I can read their books, I can talk to them, I can, you know, make contact with those people. So I've had a range of mentors at different points in time.

Another great source of information is Jane Slack-Smith, who educated her on renovations.

Jane Slack-Smith's got a really good renovation product, like an education product if you're interested in the renovation. And the reason I like her product is that it's not just focused on making a house look pretty, it's more focused on choosing the right property location, the one that's going to work, the numbers. It's more focused on that because renovation isn't about making the house look pretty, it's about making a profit. And so that's a really good, good product for that.

For Young, the best advice that she has received in her property investment journey isn’t even about property investing. She says integrity and focusing on building relationships are the cornerstones to her success.

That's interesting. I think the best advice I've received is sort of a bit, it's a bit generic actually. It's applicable to anything, not just property investing. But maybe three things I can think of. One is to maintain your integrity. So there can be a lot of shonkiness in anything to do with making money, there can be a lot of shonkiness and a lot of, you know, dodgy people around. And there are spruikers and there are people who are there to make money from you. But I think you need to be somebody who will always maintain your integrity. So even in an individual deal, you don't need to do wrong by people to benefit yourself. You can have a win-win, I really believe in that and I think you need to maintain your integrity. 

Number two, I think people are everything so this is a relationship business, real estate, so you need to seek out the people you need whether that's just because like we talked about you need a mentor, you need advice. Seek out the people that are going to help you. Or whether you are looking for deals, seek out the agents who work in that area and make a relationship with them. Or you're looking at development sites, seek out relationships with the town planner and building designer, and you know, it's a team sport really, so people re everything. And then the last thing I think is to believe in yourself. I think that you need to believe in, you know, I can make things happen and that's something- I'm a person, I don't, the whole, I can't do this mentality. I'm more of a, how can I do this, how can I make this happen person and I think you need to be that sort of person to make things happen for yourself. So there are a few pieces of advice.

For Young, having a strategy that isn’t set in stone is the best strategy. Her unique investment plan is to individually assess the best course of action for each property, whether that be renovating, holding or selling.

Well at the moment my strategy is, I guess, my strategy is a morphing strategy. So with every purchase I make, I actually reevaluate what is the point of this purchase, what is this purchase need to do with me and my portfolio. And I think that is an important thing because you know earlier round, I would have said the strategy is cash flow positive property because that’s what it was when I first started - I wanted 15 cash flow properties by the time I knew what my strategy was. But then as I got up to 5 or so, I started to think, ‘Hang on a minute. These are cash flow positive, but they are really making very small sounds and I am going to need a truckload of these to actually retire on this. What I actually need out of this is growth; I need some growth.’ And it was the growth in the properties, there was a couple of them that grew really well and I thought you know it was a bit in a high moment because you leveraged of the growth to buy more, the cash flow was interesting and helpful and the fact that it was draining in finances, but it was realistically the growth that was leveraging me into more. So I needed to find some growth property as well.

And so that is my strategy now: to reassess my strategy for every single purchase. So right now in this point in time, like my last purchase was a middle ring suburb in Briscoe it is a… property electrically it is not because it is too much of… but it is a growth property it is not one that I plan to make cash flow out of at all, it is a growth property. Obviously, in a super fund you can't leverage off the growth, but it is my retirement plan so my next property I am looking at is actually an equity creator. So I actually want to create a chunk of money out of it, or potentially cash flow, still haven't decided that. But either way, we’re going to build something, make, find something that we can put, sit on it for a few years, put townhouses on it and then we either sell that off for a profit, or we sell part of it and keep the other part. And essentially get you to know free townhouses for ourselves that gives us cash flow, so you know my strategy is funny because it is not a strategy as such.

sydney real estate

But as a professional buyer’s agent, what is her advice for those that come to see her for help?

It's a tricky area as a buyer's agent. You are a real estate agent and you can't give financial advice to people. In saying that, there are some buyer's agencies who do provide written financial advice to people. Perhaps they have a financial services license, I'm not sure but we don't provide written strategies for people and I think that often is the hardest part when you're getting started, is if someone could tell you what to do you would just do it. If someone said, ‘Do these things and you will be successful in property, you would just do it.’ But finding the person who can give you the advice on what to do is very, very hard in my experience, personally and also with clients. So I often get phone calls from people or emails from people saying, ‘Hey, I'm looking for someone who can help to be my mentor, to give me advice on what to do.’ And most people out there are giving you advice from a vested interest so you know, there's a lot of people who will write you a strategy but they are promoting off the plan property for example. And so they'll write you a strategy on how to six off the plan properties in the next five years, but that's, you know, they have a vested interest in obviously selling you that idea.  So to find a person who's completely independent of that is difficult and same with us, you know, we're a buyer's agency, we can't give financial advice.

I do talk to people though about this stuff, usually on the phone in an informal way, because honestly, I think the best person who can decide what you need to do is you - but you in conjunction with a bunch of professionals. So I think you need to talk to your accountant, you need to talk to your broker, you need to talk to someone who's got some experience in investing and that can be really difficult because everyone's experience is very individual so they come at it with their own biases as well. So it's a really tricky one. So when a client comes to us and says, ‘Okay, I've got this money, what should I buy, what's my strategy?’ I do have a talk to them about where you are at in life, let's have a talk about what your goals are. You know, do you want to try to get out of the workforce in the next two years, are you planning on working for the next ten to fifteen years, what are you looking for, do you need something with high cash flow, is it growth that you're looking for?

So we try to nut out what the goals are for this particular person and then from there we can then make a plan for the next purchase. Listen, I'm sort of a person who believes in the flexibility of strategy, so we can nut out what you need at the moment but that's not necessarily what you need in ten years time. So I think the long term here is a ten-year plan strategy. At a high level it's okay, at a detailed level I think you're probably too, you're too far out to do a detailed level analysis.

In her line of work, Young is able to help many clients come up with a plan best suited to their needs, with a strong belief that the best person to make financial decisions for yourself is you.

We offer a full buyer's agency service, so people come to us and say, you know, I have this amount of money, I want to buy a property you know. They often sometimes say to us, you know, I'm looking to buy a number of properties in the next few years, I'm in the workforce, I've got a job, I'm probably going to be the workforce for another ten years. So once we know that sort of stuff we can work out okay well, maybe you got a good income, you can support something that potentially may cost you a little bit of money to hold, maybe a growth property is a good thing at this point in time, perhaps you know, when you drop down, if it's a couple may be looking to have kids in the near future, they're going to drop down to one wage, maybe it's a different style of property at that point. 

So we talk to them about what they want and then we establish what's our criteria for this purchase, this next purchase. Based on where we think you're heading, what your goals are. So then once we nut that out we come up with criteria, so we have a brief. It's a one-pager that says, yeah this is what we're after, and then we going into a location analysis where we actually analysis and say okay, based on your, your brief and your budget, here's what, here's the areas that we would suggest. And we actually give them ideas, a few recommendations, it might be north side versus south side, it might be east versus here, it might be units in the inner city versus houses in the outer suburban area, and we actually do a report that's specific for what they are trying to achieve and then we talk about it with them, whether we're collaboratives.

So we actually involve the client in each phase. I think the best person to make financial decisions for yourself is you and so my job is to arm you with what you need, so you can make an informed decision, plus benefit from our knowledge and experience. So once the person chooses a target location then we actually get into the search phase. So we search for the property, you know, negotiate, get something under contract. We walk them through the contract phase, help them out with the building, maybe renegotiate the price, do a pre-settlement inspection and then help them with the management of the property. So it's a full end to end service and then we have variations on that service where we offer just partial, parts that maybe someone rings up and says I'm looking at putting an offer on this property, can you do an inspection for us so we have an inspection only service, we have an inspect and negotiate service so there are variations but essentially it's all a variation of that full level service and parts of it that suit people.

And these people generally require help with their remote property investments, which often means speaking to people from all over Australia and worldwide.

Interstate and overseas predominantly, we deal predominantly with investors. In saying that we do home buy purchases quite a bit, got a couple on the go at the minute, mostly they'll be interstate real estate investors from Melbourne, Sydney, South Australia, West Australia. A lot of people do, you know, away from work perhaps in the mines, or away working overseas, a lot of ex-pats who want to buy back at home. So yeah, we deal a lot with people remotely.

Operating out of Queensland, Young is privy to the nuances of the Brisbane market. So how does she describe the current property cycle?

It's busy, it's very busy. We've had quite good growth here in quite a number of areas over the past almost a few years now so it has been a growth market here for that time. A lot of people are just getting on board with that and so we do get the phone calls now and again that, I've heard Brisbane is about to take off and I think Brisbane has for maybe quite some time, so if you're on a property outlook- Funny, I was on a meeting not long ago of buyer's agents, Brisbane based buyer's agents, and people talked about the property clock and where they think it's at and ten people there had ten different views of where it was at. So that was really Interesting. And no one knows these things except for in hindsight so we're all talking about, you know, trying to pick the top of the… trying to pick the top of the share market. You can only really do it in hindsight. You can do your best guesses but realistically no one knows, they're just guessing.

And so, you know, where Brisbane is at the moment, I think we've had significant growth for quite a while, I think we're still growing and we're still very busy on the ground, it's still multiple offer situations when you're trying to buy properties, it's still competitive. But at some point in time, I think that growth is probably starting to slow, that doesn't mean it's going to go backwards like houses are losing values, it means that growth is slowing and a lot of people mix those two things up. So you hear that the growth is slowing and they go Brisbane's going backwards. No, it's not, it's still growing, it's just not at the heat of that flame you know, so I think that you know, it's going to slow whether it takes 6 months to do that, 12 months to do that, you know, I don't know. Certainly, when the election was on last year bang, everything stopped for a month while we all waited for a negative... But yeah, that's why it's very busy, it's very competitive particularly in the markets, the bread and butter sort of markets between about $300,000 and $800,000, really busy.

The relatively cheaper properties of Brisbane - with the median house price of mid $600,000, compared with Sydney’s million-dollar properties - has drawn a lot of interest for real estate investors.

A lot of clients ring me up and say we're looking to buy a townhouse in Brisbane and I say, okay what's your budget, and they say $900,000 and it makes me laugh because you get a really good house in Brisbane for $900,000. I have a client who we bought a property for and it's was on a 400 square metre block and I said look, it's a small block and she came up to look at it, she's like this is amazing. It was 400 square metres and for us, that's a small block.

Young’s superpower in property investing is organisation, whether it be managing tasks, duties or goals, it keeps her on track to success.

I think list-making is the thing, so I spoke in our earlier discussion about Asana, the project management system, the task management system, but I'm a massive list-maker and that includes like goals, so actually sitting down, sitting down and writing goals and putting them somewhere like documenting them. I make lists and I make goals and I think those are the things, if you keep doing those things then you will keep moving forward.

But it's really to go I want to buy a property this year and off you go to work and off you go home, and you're looking after your kids and you go on holiday, and just to say I want to buy a property, it doesn't happen because you said that, it happens because you made a, you know, you made a commitment and then you took consistent action towards it. So to me being a list maker and a goal setter is something that's made me successful in business and personally as well. 

If you wish to connect with Young and learn more from her about her strategy or what she can do for you in your investing journey, the best way is via her websites.

Two places you can go; one is everydaypropertyinvesting.com, and that website you'll find a podcast so you listen to a whole bunch of free information about property investing, and then the other place you can find me is propertyzest.com.au, and that's our buyer's agency in Brisbane.

This episode was produced by Alex Cooper with narrations and interviews conducted by Tyrone Shum.

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