Hosted By Tyrone Shum

Success In Melbourne Property Market From A Small Salary

Updated 19/05/2017

Cate Bakos, founder of Cate Bakos Property - qualified property investment advisor, experienced home finder in Melbourne and an independent buyers advocacy business which has been granted Buyers Agent of the Year - will discuss the lessons learnt throughout her journey in property market, how you can use her experiences to improve your own portfolio choices and make a multiple property investments a possibility, even on a small salary!

A finalist for Telstra’s Business Woman of the Year, Bakos analyses and then breaks down how she helps investors and first home buyers find their dream properties using numbers-driven science. Follow her journey from chemist to advocate, while learning from her how it’s never too late to get started on your passion and why sometimes a quick decision can turn out better than if it were planned beforehand.

u0022I didn’t realise what my true calling was back when I was an early investor I just knew that I wanted to look at property as an asset class and get in early.u0022 u003cbru003e -Cate Bakos

So what does an average day as an advocate look like?

We have a lot of variety to our day, so the only thing we don’t have is a plan that goes to schedule. You can have the best-laid plans and phone calls from a solicitor with a quirky contract or a buyer who changes their mind or needs to talk about an emotional issue, or a change in plans when a property is meant to go to auction, and somebody else’s triggered a sale.  There are all types of things that can throw our day into absolute haywire, so we’re often talking to buyers about what we’re shortlisting or what we’re recommending they do. But there’s always those immediate things that need to be actioned straight away that change the day completely.  So most of my day involves communicating with clients, assessing properties, talking to agents and working out what sort of competitive interest is on any property; and all of those activities can take place in the office. Then, to a lesser degree, my day might be made up of new inspections or actually negotiating a property transaction, but about 2/3rds  of my day is usually behind a computer screen and on the phone, because a lot of research goes into a property before the transaction starts to occur.

A very jam-packed day for Bakos, with new clients and new properties to constantly research and look at.

Sometimes we get to 4 o’clock and we haven’t eaten and we haven’t even thought about food, just because the day has flown and we’ve had a few balls in the air, and a phone that’s been ringing hot, and you just never know what to expect in our world.

Oh, that’s very nice, for listeners who might not know what the term advocate means, maybe if you want to explain or describe what that does – what you do.

So an advocate is also known as a buyer’s agent, and what that really means is, we work for the buyer; whether the buyer is a home finder or an investor. It’s our task to help guide them through that maze and that includes negotiating a property or bidding for them at auction. It also includes assistance in the searching and the shortlisting. So there is a lot that it entails, but it’s basically being a guiding hand for a buyer who is out there trying to do it themselves, feeling like they could do with a bit of help.

Usually, this help is for those who are investing, but occasionally Bakos also assists in finding for her clients, in Melbourne, their dream home.

I do work with a blend of home finders and investors.  My normal sort of breakdown would be sort of 80% investors, and the reason for that is really based on my appetite for working with investors and my favourite kind of buyers, because there is a lot of science involved and it relies on my property knowledge and my ability to guide them on an outcome that’s numbers-driven, as opposed to emotion-driven. So, at this stage, we are assisting a lot of Melbourne buyers who are having a hard time in this tough market finding their own home, but the greater proportion of our clients at the moment are still property investors.

As a property investor, Bakos started very young, and without much to give her an advantage, but through creativity, she overcame the obstacles that her parents saw, and began her property investing journey.

The investment part of my journey came first, I didn’t realise what my true calling was back when I was an early investor I just knew that I wanted to look at property as an asset class and get in early. I negotiated my first purchase at 21, and I didn’t have a family behind me that were encouraging me to do so, in fact, my dad was encouraging me to focus my studies and not worry about property yet. He was also focusing on keeping the purchase price low and keeping down the debt as soon as possible, but that kind of advice is not great advice for someone who is starting a professional career and has aspirations of building it up, it’s just way too conservative. But I certainly did get excited about investment when I was able to chat to a knowledgeable mortgage broker who talked about leverage and using equity and all of the creative lending structures that can make multi-property investment a possibility for someone who is not necessarily on a huge salary.

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For Bakos, growing up meant leaving for the city to begin her property investing journey.

I grew up in Sorrento, down on the coast, and it’s a gorgeous place to grow up and to holiday, but not necessarily where I would want to raise children because it’s a bit of a holiday hotspot and you know schools are a long way away and the city is quite a distance. So for me, I couldn’t wait to get out of the peninsula and move to the city, and I did that when I started uni and I haven’t looked back.

From the quaint holiday houses to the bustling creative centre of Melbourne, Bakos could have been overwhelmed, but instead was invigorated by her new life.

I went to Monash in Clayton, which is not exactly the city, but when you come from Sorrento everything is the city. So, it was a great place to have some formative city news, and I shared a flat with my brother when we were both studying and I found myself living on the scar-faced the side of town for quite a while, and it's only recently I've moved west. But Melbourne is a really exciting city for anyone who is into a really multicultural, dynamic kind of city.

At a young age, Bakos witnessed the rapid development of her quiet coastal town, which motivated her to begin her property investment journey.

Yeah, it’s interesting. When I was growing up in Sorrento, it wasn’t always a holiday hot spot that was well known, Portsea was a paradise for the rich and famous, which is neighbouring Sorrento, but Sorrento wasn’t anything like Portsea at the time. And in those years, when I was a teenager and getting towards 20, I was seeing a lot of house sales that were surprising everyone so, Sorrento went through an enormous growth spurt in the ’90s and the late ’80s, and it was interesting to watch and that probably sparked my interest. I turned up at auctions and started guesstimated what houses would go for, and I was surprisingly close to the pin when I paid attention. We also had a family friend who was down in Sorrento and was running a boutique real estate agency, and he was always taking to talk about his craft. So I guess that’s where it started, and I knew full well that the growth that the area was experiencing was even just sitting back and holding a property for a decade would just about setting you up, so I already had the idea firmly in my mind that I wanted to get into property pretty quickly.

Despite the young age at which Bakos bought her first property, her first years out of home were to train as a chemist.

So I only went into real estate in 2003 and prior to that, I’m a qualified chemist. So I wasn’t doing anything related to my field that I'm in now, and I needed to make a change. I worked a part-time job in a cold deli during my university years, and I was working night shifts, so the money was pretty good and my savings balance was great. I was able to go into the property and get a loan as a student who had permanent part-time work, and, at the time, I felt that I was being as aggressive as I possibly could, but it certainly paid off.

For Bakos, the original goal of her property investment journey was freedom. As many other property investors do, she planned to create enough passive income for early retirement.

I knew that I needed to accumulate enough property that generated a passive income for an early retirement, that was the goal and everyone likes that freedom, and I worked out that I probably needed to target somewhere around 10 properties – and I say that very loosely because a lot of people have a set target in their head and it shouldn’t be about a specific number, it should be about an outcome – but I needed to find enough cash flow properties and accumulated enough I could pay them down and an industrial chemist salary is not an amazing salary so I had to be quite mindful of the cash flow implication there, because my borrowing capacity wasn’t huge, but once I had started acquiring properties and chatting to people at work about it I knew that I needed to be closer to that and I actually had enough passion and probably the skill at that stage to venture into property and the obvious pathway for me was to go into property sales.

So I joined a friend in Bayside Melbourne as a real estate agent, so I was a selling agent, and it was great; it was informative and it was tough as well. I didn’t have any previous experience but I was getting to deal with buyers every day and work with vendors and see how you know life in a real estate office really runs, and there were good bits and bad bits, but it was all very exciting, and it was at that point that I realised that I could make a good buyer advocate because I had a couple of clients – well a couple of buyers – I'd met in my travels who had a specific wish list. Often buyers go through properties and the agents at the door asks them once they have instructed what they thought, and the more information that you can give an agent the better placed you are to get off-market sales or special treatment and at that stage, it was a bit of a buyer’s market so I really did mean to focus on buyers. I was able to door knock in character match buyers to houses and I had a lot of success doing that as a young agent, so that really stirred me on to get closer to working with buyers, I guess that was the start of it.

To change her mentality from the property seller’s side to the buyer’s side was a big jump for Bakos. But the science of being a buyer’s agent was too interesting to ignore.

Yeah, it’s a change of mindset there’s no doubt I suppose what’s conscious for me is being a listing agent you have a product to sell and you got to find your buyer, but I much prefer working at the products that I’m buying for based on number – and I suppose the analytical side is me trying to take the girl out of science – and I’ve really enjoyed profiling and investing and actually working out how much they have to spend, what cash flow they need, what the diverse match for them based on their portfolio, and where I need to go in the city to find that product and what sort of dwelling type is it. So there are a lot of decisions that are made in that decision path and that was what I really enjoyed doing, selling properties was never going to give me that ability, I really needed to be buying properties, so for me, it was all about being an asset selector, and working with buyers, and buying theirs, and all those things buyers go through.

So why go from chemist to real estate? Despite the riskier career option, Bakos knew she had to follow her real passion.

There was no financial motivation because I already had a good job, in fact, it was a huge risk for me leaving a nice salary role with a company car and going to a commission only role with no guarantees, and I won a cash bursary my employment before I left and that gave me the confidence to put that cash bursary in my offset account and to be brave and go into real estate; knowing that I might have been living off that and exhausting it, and if it hadn’t worked out for me I would have to return to corporate life and find myself another job. So it was a big risk and it certainly wasn’t a financial motivator and I didn't anticipate that I would earn more as an estate agent than I had in my last role. But if you're good at something and you passionate about it – particularly if you can get your head around the lifestyle and the hours – you can do quite well; but at that stage, going into real estate for me was presented as a step backwards, financially, because not only was I facing quite a little while of limited income, I was also changing from being employed in a corporate situation where I was employed and I had normal payslips and I could get a loan at any stage, then I opted to be self-employed and as you know most vendors require 2 full years of financials and they've got to stack up. So, I knew it might have inhibited me for up to 2 years or even more, to be able to go for a loan. So it was a big decision for me and it was a little gap in my investing journey well.

From her first property purchase at 21, Bakos went on to expand her portfolio, and her property knowledge, but not without a few hard lessons.

I did, I made the big mistake with that first one of cashing in, and making a profit, and then reinvesting – and when I say it was a mistake, I could have held that property and taken the equity and continued to invest. But at that stage, I hadn’t come across the broker that really did influence a change in my buying patterns, and I thought that the only way you could continue to buy property was to save up a deposit, or sell out, take again, and upgrade. So it was a massive mistake for me to make and had I spoken to the right people I probably would have held that property, but as it turns out, I bought a little place in Mordialloc and the property did really well, I took again and I purchased an old house in a good part of Seaford. So quite close to the beach, on an enormous block, and again, in just one year that property had more than doubled. I took again and I leapt frog more than 3 times until someone said what are you doing? And it was then that I realised that I could get equity out of properties that exhibited growth and I could continue to invest, and so it wasn’t until 2004 that I started accumulating multiple properties and had a better strategy.

From those few stumbling blocks, Bakos quickly developed her own strategy for property investing success.

I knew that I had to accumulate property and I had to target properties that would match my cash flow and not blow out my borrowing capacity to a point to where I couldn’t continue to invest.  So I got a hold of a vending calculator so that I could see how the lenders buffered their capacity calculation, and I was able to focus on buying a property and making sure there was enough borrowing capacity left for a subsequent property. So whenever I did the calculation I made sure there was room for 2, and if you continue to do that for long enough you can target higher-yielding properties, and increase your capacity. That was what I did, and I pretty much see for between growth properties and yielding properties – and I know some people have a growth strategies in affairs of yielding – but for me, I always meant to build up my portfolio and to acquire properties that would ultimately be a lot easier to pay down, and it would yield me a continued rental return into retirement.

Although based in Victoria, Bakos also branched out into other states, with interesting results.

I did scope them, out and it’s interesting. I was pretty bold and courageous, I did buy something sight unseen down in Tasmania, and it was a bit of an insane move because photographs never really tell the full story, and it wasn’t until after we settled in and we went down to see this cute little aging body one, that renovated pub-come-house, and the doorways came up to my nose, I know I’m 6ft but all that aside, colonial-era doorways, my husband looked at me like I was an alien. I learnt the hard way, but it’s a cute little cottage, and we have had consistently good tenants in it, but you know – would I have bought a cottage that had doorways up to my nose?  Probably not.

From this interstate experience, Bakos definitely learnt about the risks that come from buying a site unseen.

That’s right, I learnt a lot of valuable lessons over the years, and when we went into South Australia, I actually wanted to put a bit of vigour into understanding the area so we planned to fly in and do a bit of reconnaissance and talk to people and meet property managers and real canvas the area and understand which pockets were great and how to go about using them effectively. So that did pay off because we could wander around and embrace the town before we made decisions to buy, and I think that is really imperative; you either get someone who knows the area intimately or you really make sure that you get a great feel and ask all of the right questions of all the right people.

Bakos also learnt that when you do travel to your interstate property, always do as much research as possible.

For sure, if you're doing it yourself, you do it properly; you can’t just arrive and take one person and their word. You've actually got to talk to a lot of people and look at a lot of demographic information as well.

With years of lessons learnt from mistakes, Bakos very rarely now makes a poor investment choice, but without these mistakes, she would never have gained the knowledge she now uses to run her impressive portfolio. This next example reveals how sometimes you simply need to cut your losses.

Yeah I've got a couple, and I think any multi-property investor who says they've got it right from the start is probably not being entirely honest, and I often joke about some of the mistakes I’ve made, and the important thing is knowing when to cut and run or knowing when to ride the storm with sound advice. But one of my memorable ones is dating back to around 2006/2005; I bought a block of units down in Morway, so Riverside valley, it was 4 little 1 bedroom units all in one big block and they hadn’t been subdivided, so in other words, it was one property title and 4 units and 4 tenancies but not 4 separate properties. So to go through that process, of separately targeting them, I would have needed to conduct a subdivision, which involved a bit of spend and quite a few steps and allot of cancelled approval. So I probably misunderstood how difficult it can be, not every block of units is really challenging to start, but you got to be mindful that any variation can create added cost. So not only that I didn’t understand the demographics down there, and I should have looked into that.

So I bought these 4 units for a bit of barging thinking I could easily dolly them up and subdivide them, but the reality was that the rental price point of these units was in a very bottom course, and probably even lower than that, in terms of the price that they were going for a rental property. So it meant that we were taking on tenant that was paying a really low fee for their rental property, and with that, you sometimes get some pretty dodgy tenants, so we had problems; we had tenants fighting with each other, we had all kinds of risks and we were getting police call-outs and that never a joy. So, in the end, this property that was full of potential, was a headache, and I had to make that decision – that you know, it wasn’t worth my marriage and it wasn’t worth the 100,000 profit or the 200,000 profit that I could turn to try and ride it out – so I sold them as a parcel and made $100,000 on the sale and let someone else take up that exciting opportunity, because it was just outside of my headspace, and my scope for the grief it was creating.

Although the outcome was worth $100,000 Bakos still chalks this up as a mistake, due to the experience it put her through.

Yeah, well we did do up two of them, so if I take out our time and materials and compensate 60,000 – so was $60,000 worth of grief that we went through? Probably not. We had the young one, and it was just a constant source of upset, and you can’t sort of put a dollar value to your sanity sometimes.

Bakos’ "aha" moment came at a time when she was unable to do the days of deep research she usually would with a property. Sometimes you have to achieve what you can and hope for the best.

Yeah, sometimes you just have to trust your own judgement. When you’ve got a limited amount of time to make a decision – as long as you have had enough time to do due diligence – and it needs a really cosmetic tick box approach, you sometimes have to tick all those boxes and say to yourself 'I haven’t got time to affect how I feel in my heart about this, I’ve got to make a mental decision is a good sound decision on the balance of the due diligence I’ve done'. So it takes me back to a property that I saw in Scott wood back in 2014, so not all that long ago, and I had the ability to make another purchase, and I had been looking out for a scope property that would meet the grade, and this one had very similar hallmarks and it was a little single front Victoria cottage and the opportunity to buy it was right there in front of me, but I literally had a half an hour time slot to make that decision, and I did the due diligence very quickly and knew my value. So really it was a case of looking at the title, and just making sure the contract view was okay, and I made a decision to make a swift offer and secured it, and in hindsight, it was a great buy; we purchased it for $540,000 and I didn’t even get to discuss it with my husband, but we had the funds there and we could make that swift decision and banks evaluation has recently come back at $730,000.


So the banks did nothing to that property, in a total period it’s gone from 540 to 730, and that’s according to the lender. So I’m really happy with that, and it’s a really good example of backing yourself and making a swift decision.

A property that doesn’t need any work is always a good bet, but when that’s added with good location, it's obvious that Bakos’ snap choice was an excellent one.

Yeah, it was an obvious decision; it was in one of the best streets, off the main road – all those classical things that you look for as an advocate – had the right floor plan, right street scope, very close to the station and shops, and you just have to make that decision to not over analyse it and not look for something better, you just go for it.

For Bakos, the most exciting thing about her property investing journey is shifting through the murky property market with science, to get the best option for her clients.

Property is so diverse, it’s not like a parcel of shares or anything else, the property is like people they are all unique. So what I get really excited about is that lack of black and white, shades of grey, you got to make your own assessment, and its always exciting market when you are assessing a property, and working out whether its scores highly enough to go for. So that is what excites me as well, and understanding what sort of metrics a particular property can deliver as well. So while there is a lot of science, there is also a lot of art.

Analysis paralysis is a term that's thrown around a lot in our industry and it can be your worst enemy.

Create Positive Cash Flow Through Property with Cate Bakos

melbourne market

Bakos says that sometimes having a supportive family can prove to be an obstacle in your goal to invest in property.

I do move quickly and I'm quick to make decisions, but I think the most important thing to catch on was probably my family. If you come from a caring, supportive and protective family that can sometimes work against you when you are looking to take an educated risk. Because if you're close to your parents or you value their input you can often be guided by their ideals, and they're not necessarily the right ideals, despite the fact that they come from a place of love. They can be too overprotective and can have a financial impact on your successes and investors, so I think that's the fairest thing for me to say. I've got caring parents but they're the worst people to talk property with.

I hope they're not hearing this.

They won't be, they're not even interested in the property, so it's all good.

Bakos says that she became involved early on in her journey by subscribing to resources such as Australian Property Investor and Smart Property Investment Magazine and through consulting with a great broker, who gave her some useful insight into how the banks would assess her.

Probably not so much people but resources. So I got involved early in buying the magazines and being a subscriber, and whether it's API or YIP or Smart Property, I immersed myself in those really and looked at what other people were doing. So that can stimulate your enthusiasm and give you a bit of confidence, you'll be seeing other people doing it as well. And I also made sure I stayed close to a great broker who I met in my early years and he was referred to me by someone at work who was an investor, and he was a great referral because it opened my eyes up to clever line structuring and use of opposite accounts and lines of credit and accessing your equity, and really understanding the importance of good line structuring and tax deductibility as well.

But having control of your money is vital and I think that was probably the most influential thing that I could have discovered, an influential person because it opened up the possibilities and as you can probably tell I'm quite an analytical person so I know how to calculate my own risk and I know how to make a decision on the back of numbers. But what I didn't really understand was how the bank views me, so that was a really good eye-opener because understanding how the banks assess you can help you engineer your path forward and make sure that you've got a high chance of success when you do go for a loan.

Bakos states that some of the best advice she has received has come from personal encouragement from another property investor when she was initially worried about moving too fast.

I've had some really good encouragement from a friend of mine's dad who came out to Australia from Cyprus and he managed to accumulate a property portfolio through lots of hard work and just sheer determination. And he probably wouldn't have a clue what he was quite influential but he gave me a lot of encouragement in the early days when I had worried parents telling me to stop and slow down. And he did explain, he just shared with me what his lifestyle was like now and how much freedom he'd been able to get for himself and his family, and it was really inspirational.

And it was really just that pat on the back and that word of advice that you know, property is really simple if you give in, if you can get probably the right dwelling types in some good areas, you don't need to get a ten out of ten property, if you get a nine of ten property and hold it for a long time it will do well. So he was really influential in giving me that confidence to keep doing what I was doing and to, you know, ignore the white noises of my parents being a little bit nervous.

Wow, I'll have to get the person's name because I would actually love that kind of encouragement.

Yeah, well I think there are a lot of investors like that in every city, in Melbourne, I think certainly, you know a place where you can see a wonderful migrant history of working hard and accumulating properties and I get really excited about stories like that but he's certainly in a position now where he's got freedom and choice.

Bakos says that when formulating her property investment strategy, it was all about building her portfolio through sustaining her cash flow while gauging what loans were attainable.

I don't want to oversimplify but I'll try to keep it as simple as I can because if you're going for a gross property in a capital city you are most likely going to have negative cash flow, particularly if you're borrowing as much as you can for that investment. So understanding how much negative cash flow you can sustain comfortably, and also what the bank is happy to loan you, helps set up a scenario where you can understand how much the property will cost you and what sort of rent you need to get.

And there are various levers that you can pull to adjust the rent that you can get, whether it's targeting a property on a small-sized piece of land or going for a townhouse that has lots of living area and a stronger rental potential in a good area where you can reduce the purchase cost by going for something on a smaller sized piece of land. There are a few different ways that you can do that and obviously every area has different property types offering different rentals, so you do need to know your areas, but when you know what sort of cash flow shortfall you can sustain you can then engineer the type of property that you're going for so that you're never in a position where the property is costing you more than you can afford and more than you want it to. And it's also got to factor in leaving enough room for the next one and that's really important.

So rather than just going for all of these cash flow properties in regional hot spots, it's not my plan by any means, I try and see-saw my approach so that I'm getting the best of both worlds, I'm building up my portfolio with properties that are a good idea to pay down and they're yielding a bit higher, and then I'm also going for properties that will give you really strong capital growth but they're costing you a little bit to hold. And really putting a figure on what you're overall out of pockets are across your entire portfolio is really important and that will change in your life changeably as your salary changes, but having a really good grasp of what the maximum is will stop you going into a property division where you're being forced to sell it or something has to give because selling a property that you intended to keep is just a waste of stamp duty and it can be a bit of a financial nightmare.

Bakos explains that while she was on maternity leave, she was forced to consider whether to place her strategy on hold or to target properties which would be more immediately financially beneficial. She also says that it is important to focus on either servicing or equity.

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When you're first going into property investing if you're doing that you need to either have a savings pool or you need some equity; that can be the hardest step, getting started. And the more properties you accumulate obviously if they're growing you've got more equity at your fingertips. So there are two things that you need, to continue buying property. The first one is equity or savings, and the next one is servicing capacity. So if you can't afford the cash flow shortfall you won't get that property. And when that is the case, when you can't afford those shortfalls it might be because you're on a reduced income or you've already maxed yourself out, it might be because you're in a position like I was, I was on maternity leave and not earning enough, you then need to think about whether your strategy goes on hold or whether you target some properties that are actually putting money in your pocket.

So in other words, cash-flow positive properties or at least cash flow neutral. And when I was on that leave I was able to focus on some areas where the growth was not dramatic but the yield was better than six per cent. So for me, I was able to focus on properties that could sustain and sell, that I knew banks would say yes to because I could demonstrate with rental appraisals that those properties could serve themselves. So that's the cash flow positive or the yielding model. And once I was back into employment and able to service the loans I could then go to the more aggressive properties that did have out of pocket costs associated with them but would exhibit decent growth. And obviously the more growth you get, the more equity you've then got to springboard back into more property so it's a case of see-sawing a little bit but also making sure that you optimise one or both of those things; servicing and equity.

Bakos acknowledges what works for her in terms of property investment strategies doesn’t necessarily work for everyone, as it depends entirely on what suits the individual’s needs.

I think to describe my own investment strategy and I don't think there's any one-size-fits-all or any right answer, it's what suits you. Mine is buying and holding investments and I have a cash flow angle to every decision I make, and it's a downwards cash flow angle because if I just go and accumulate cash flow properties I won't be getting that growth. And if I just accumulate growth only I might have to work for a very time to pay them all down or I'll have to displace the cost back to the selling and making a profit and paying some debt down, and that doesn't suit the strategy I've engineered for myself. I really wanted to buy and hold be able to pay them down and retire that debt on retirement or beforehand.

Definitely. So it's really a juggling act between the two, to be able to fund those high growth properties with negative cash flow that you might have using the high yielding properties to be able to inject that back, so that way it sort of self-services itself in order for it to get to a reasonable point where you can have a positive cash flow portfolio in retirement age.

Absolutely and you've got to balance risk as well, so avoiding areas where values could come off in a hurry or where vacancies could strike; that's the art. And if you can have a property that doesn't exhibit too much price fluctuation and is constantly [inaudible] and has a reasonable demand fiscally, then you're in a pretty good place and it just comes down to understanding the tricks.

When it comes to personal habits, Bakos admits that she is quick to make decisions and that the ability to take action has been essential to her success so far in her property investment journey.

I make a decision quickly because I process information quickly. I think asking the right people and sourcing the right answers as fast as you can, but making sure you're satisfied with the depth of research, is really vital and I am a fast decision-maker, I'm really fast, but that can make difference between getting a great deal and missing out on it. And if you can overcome your fear and satisfy yourself that you ticked all of the right boxes and just move forward, you know, the key is taking action. I think that's what I've done really well.

Bakos agrees that ‘analysis paralysis’ can be an investor’s worst enemy, however, she does recognize the value of being satisfied with all the facts before reaching a decision.

Analysis paralysis is a term that's thrown around a lot in our industry and it can be your worst enemy. That's not something that I'm guilty of, I certainly can make a quick decision and you've got to live with your decision too. And if you do miss out on due diligence it can bite you so it's vital that you've got a small checkbox and I think that I've got a really good system that I use whether it's myself or for clients and you've just got to make sure that you've satisfied every single combination or permutation that you can think of.

Cate Bakos’ book, The Successful Property Investment: Forty-Eight Real Life Property Adventures is aptly named, showcasing 48 success stories and how you can benefit from them. She also recommends various other amazing books by writers such as Margaret Lomas, Chris Graves and Steve McKnight.

I loved writing my book, it was all about real-life adventures, a lot of which were mine and they weren't all necessarily all really brilliant stories; I shared mistakes as well because if you can learn by someone else's mistakes you don't have to make it yourself to discover it. And it was a bit of a labour of love to put that altogether over a couple of family holidays over January break and got that out a few months ago. So I do recommend it. Anyone reading it could glean some information and learn from it.

But I also had books that I loved reading in my early years and they really helped shape what sort of strategy I wanted for myself. And it's fair to say that strategy has changed and evolved over the years too, but I'm looking at Jan Sommers' books in the early days which are fabulous because she writes in a really wonderful style and makes difficult concepts very, very easy to understand. I thought Margaret Lomas had some really great angles, and I certainly got an appreciation for cash flow investing when I read Steve McKnight's books, so they were all just some of the reads that I was able to glean some great ideas from and I highly recommend that any keen investor have a look at all of those and certainly explore some other growth investor model as well. I've read Michael Yardley’s books, I've read Chris Gray's book, I thought it was great. So understanding other people's strategies and why they've worked for them is quite imperative to formulating what will work for you.

If you liked hearing this podcast about Cate’s story, strategy and mindset and want to learn more from her, you can pick up her book The Successful Property Investment: Forty-Eight Real Life Property Adventures or you can connect with her on her website.

If they can find me on my website,, and I'm Cate with a C, I would love to hear from any listeners who wanted to ask me any questions or give me any feedback.

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

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