Julie Wyatt in Property Investory

Everything You Must Know About Renovating & Intelligent Investing

Julie Wyatt is a renovation coach intelligent investing who is also a single mother and part-time nurse. She became a nurse straight out of high school which ultimately changed her life perception, and she carried this with her in her later years when she finally dove into property investment, a passion she had always been interested in but had never taken that first step. 

Join us in this episode of Property Investory to hear how Wyatt won a property mentoring competition where she was able to learn from the best of the best, how she got herself out of bankruptcy and how she fell in love with renovating and intelligent that could ultimately inspire you!

‘I think many nurses make great property investors. Many women make property great property investors.’

Julie Wyatt

We find out what Julie Wyatt does and what her job description is, where she proves she is the ultimate multitasker. 

I’m a property and renovation coach and I’m also a registered nurse and I still work part time because I really enjoy my nursing. I’ve kind of let a lot of it go, but my main focus now is my property renovation business. So it’s a busy life that I have. 

She delves into what a typical day in her life looks like. 

I split my time between working at my business as a property and renovation coach here in Perth in WA. And I also work for a mining company up in a remote Northwest of WA. So I’m split between property and nursing, which is a great mix, I reckon.

With a hectic workload, she explains how she manages the time to do it all.     

It’s fairly structured. So I work a set roster so that when I’m at work, I’m at work, but my time when I’m at home is spent doing things that I really love, which is investing in property and renovating, which is my first love. So it’s certainly busy, but you know, it’s an easy thing to fit everything in once you become organised and structured in your day.

She explains the kind of schedule she has in between nursing and her business. 

Eight days a month I work and the rest of the rest of the month I basically work from Perth, which is awesome. So I share a job with another nurse, which is fantastic. And I’m very lucky that I’ve got a very flexible employer that allows that sort of working arrangement, which is awesome.

I’ve had a few nurses on the podcast and it’s really interesting how with nursing, it involves a lot of empathy and communication, because you’re dealing with patients and this is essential in the property business because it is all about people. It ties in very well. And that’s why I think a lot of nurses are very successful at what they do in terms of property investing.

I’d have to agree with you Tyrone. And I think many nurses make great property investors. Many women make property great property investors. I think mainly because of the life skills that nursing teaches you, really allows you to listen to what a vendor is saying for example, and read between the lines and just see what’s really going on. One of the things that I have really honed in my journey is being able to understand what’s the issue for the vendor. Why are they selling the property in the state that it’s in? And being able to come up with a win-win often. Not everyone has that skill and I think it’s really important in investing and certainly in renovating.

Julie Shares Her Life Experiences

Before discovering her love for property, Julie Wyatt shares a bit about her upbringing. 

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I grew up in a military family, so my dad was in the air force so we’ve kind of moved all over the place. And I guess that again has taught me really well because you start in a school and then two years later you’re moving to a different one, so I became very shy, which I was initially, but also you just adapt to a changing situation. So I was all over Australia, also in Singapore. So yeah, it was quite an interesting background. My dad actually got out of the air force when, when I hit 13, so I had a bit more stability going into high school. But yeah, it is what it is. It’s one of those interesting environments where you learn a lot as you go along.

That’s very interesting.  Do you remember how many different places you went to before the age of 13?

Probably about seven or eight schools in my primary school years and kindergarten and stuff. So, yeah, a lot. I can’t remember the exact amount, but you know, that’s the life in the military. You move when they tell you to move and your family just has to go along with it basically.

As her father was in the air force, she goes on to explain the kinds of duties her father had. 

It was more in supply in doing logistics and stuff like that, but still a very necessary occupation. I think he actually really enjoyed it in the military. He never really found something he enjoyed more after he left. So I guess it’s a lifestyle thing. And he stayed there for a long time.

As Julie Wyatt was finally able to settle down at the age of 13, she talks a bit about her schooling years. 

Nothing very interesting in my schooling to be really honest. As soon as I started high school, I finished year 12, finished my TA as it was called then, and then went straight into nursing as a fresh faced 18 year old. So they didn’t have nursing through universities back then, so I’m showing my age here big time. But yeah, so learning on the job basically and learning very quickly, so really important life skills at 18, like laying out dead people, dealing with trauma. You just get thrown in straight in the deep end. But again, important lessons for later in life I reckon.

As she was confronted with intense experiences whilst working as a nurse, she shares how it changed her life perception. 

I think it made me grow up very quickly, certainly. And also I think you really learn important life skills. Like how to talk to people, how to interact with people. And as I said, because I’ve been changing schools so much when I was younger, I was really quite shy. And you just can’t be when you’re having to help people with massive issues when they’re sick, you know? So it really taught me to grow up and to learn how to actually interact with people and speak to their relatives, speak to their loved ones, all that sort of stuff. So again, I’m very thankful for that because not everyone gets an opportunity to do that, at such a young age as well.

Did you continue on to do nursing from there or did you actually switch into something else?

I became a registered nurse after doing the required training, but I didn’t stay put in one place. I kind of was a little bit bored just saying in a hospital. So I went bush, basically I went real remote and just had lots of opportunities to do some amazing stuff that I would never have got a chance to do if I’d stayed in a Perth hospital, just being a ward nurse. So working in rural areas in remote communities. I actually became a flight nurse for Royal Flying Doctor Service in Port Hedland and that was an amazing experience. So, you know, when you take that step out of your comfort zone and go to remote communities, which a lot of nurses probably wouldn’t do because they’d be scared or they’re not sure if they can cope or whatever, then all of these doors are open. From Royal Flying Doctor service, I went to working offshore in oil and gas and then into mining. So for a nurse in an open mine site, it’s not that usual sort of progression career progression that you would normally get. So I’ve been very, very fortunate that I’ve had the ability to experience so many different things. So taking that step as an 18 year old, getting exposed to a lot of different things and then just going outside of your comfort zone. It’s been amazing.

How many years have you been a registered nurse for since then? 

Oh, Tyrone. You’re going to ask me that? That’s going to make me look really old. 35 years I’ve been doing that, so it’s a long time. But hey, some of the people that I’ve started nursing with have become my closest friends and we’ve been friends as we started at 18 year olds all that time ago. So yeah, it’s really interesting. That sort of seemed like yesterday, you know?

Julie Wyatt discusses if nursing was always the path she wanted to follow, or if she was interested to explore other options. 

Always wanting to do different things I think are really part of the reason I got into property at such a late age. Like I didn’t start investing until I was 40. I think there’s a couple of reasons for that, but mainly I was married to the wrong person who just wouldn’t, wasn’t interested in it. I thought it was a perfect opportunity, you know, good income, where we were living and stuff like that. And he’s just like ‘no, no, no, we can’t do that. No, we’re not gonna do that’. So I think that held me back and I went along with it clearly, but you know I always wanted to start investing. Property really resonated with me as an investing strategy. So it wasn’t until I became divorced that I went okay, right now we go, this is what we’re going to do. So, you know, I probably saw it a lot later than a lot of people, but it was a steep learning curve. It was starting in the forties and a little bit of time to make up, you know.

Despite diving into property in her later years, she shares what else may have influenced her interest in property investment. 

My earliest memories of me running around after my granddad and my dad who are both self-taught carpenters, very handy. Like I grew up learning handyman or handy person skills. So I always loved that sort of thing. So I think that’s why I really gravitated towards renovating, I was always a tomboy. I was always like hey, I want to be outside helping them. And I think having that sort of background, like if it’s something you love then you obviously have a passion for it. So I only have them to thank for that influence. And I think that has really followed me through so once I started doing my own renovations, I was also able to do a lot more than I thought possible. And if I didn’t know something, I would advise someone to teach me or I would learn or I would YouTube it or whatever it took to find out how to actually do a task. So I think that’s been a great influence as I was growing up, certainly.

Being A Single Mom In Her Property Journey

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After realising her passion for property,  Wyatt delves into the first property she purchased. 

That’s probably the beginning of the story for me. I ended up divorcing the person I was with for a while, 20 years actually. So I found myself newly divorced and I was the sole carer for my little girl, she was only 16. We’re in a remote area up in Port Hedland and I thought, wow, okay. So I always wanted to learn about property, this is a really good time for me to start doing that. Scary but good because I can remember going through the process of the divorce, so we actually owned a house together, so I was waiting for the proceeds of the sale of that house. And that takes forever as you know, if you’ve gone through something like that. And I remember looking at my little girl thinking, wow this is actually it.

I have to make some decisions now. They’re going to be the right decisions for her and for me. So it really hit me in the face where I thought, wow. I don’t know anything about investing. I have no clue, but I need to find out. So I actually entered a competition, didn’t even think much about it. Just wrote, I think you had to put in 50 words or less why you thought it would benefit you to be on a mentoring tour for 12 months for a property mentor. And I thought, oh yeah, that sounds good, I need to know. I’ve got a small amount of money coming to me. I really need to learn as much as I can. So I entered it. It didn’t think anything more about it. And then about three weeks later I got a phone call and they said to me, ‘we picked you, we want you to come over to the Sunshine Coast next weekend and start this whole process’.

I’m like, oh my God. It really floored me. I had no clue. I didn’t know what to do. Of course, as you do, go and ask the opinion of people around you and they were like, ‘sounds like a scam’ or ‘oh no it sounds too hard. You shouldn’t go’. And I thought, no, I really want to do this. So I did and made it happen. I had my own business, I had my daughter and everything to try and organise, but I jumped on the plane, went over there and it literally changed my life. That whole experience was amazing, and pushed me completely out of my comfort zone. I ended up working for 12 months with a very good female property guru who challenged me in every way.

I mean I always had a good income because I’ve always worked, but I had nothing behind me. So I was a single mum with all the responsibility of my daughter and nothing much to show for 20 years of marriage. So in the 12 to 18 months that followed, I developed, it ended up being about one point $8 million worth of property. And doing lots of things that I had never done before, including renovations. I started with renovations, but also the ability to do this quickly using joint ventures, using strata titling you know, lots of different things that I have never been exposed to. So it really did push me in my comfort zone and so to say, thinking about doing property one minute into actually doing it and going from not even knowing how to write a contract out to, you know, dealing, doing joint ventures with people I didn’t know particularly well, it is something that pushes your comfort zone, but it’s the only way to grow. So yeah, it was just a massive year for me. A massive year and a half actually. So that’s what got me started and I’ve been doing it ever since. I love it.

Wow, that’s amazing. Were there any other candidates that were selected or were you the only one a part of that whole process?

No, there were seven women from around Australia selected, so I was the WA person. So I got to know those seven women very well, we became very good friends. I still keep in touch with them now. That was 10 to 15 years ago now. 

I don’t hear very often of these kinds of competitions. I wonder why she did it, do you know why she did that?

She was working with another lady and they were kind of a mindset coach and a property coach and they wanted to see whether they could take seven women and teach them a lot of stuff in a year. And they certainly did. It was amazing. I don’t know that it’s ever been done again, but I just consider myself very lucky to have had the opportunity to do it. Yeah, it was just something that I did as a one off, I think.

The renovation coach talks about the structure of the program and the activities involved over the course of 18 months. 

It was the initial kind of weekend that I went to the Sunshine Coast, where I was put in front of 500 women, the audience, to talk about my journey and also you know, who I was and all that sort of stuff. And then four times during that 12 months, they would meet up at various places for the weekend, so they had like a weekend seminar and you’d have to go up and show the projects that you’ve been working on or what you’ve been doing. And so it was really good. So people got to know your story and about your journey. And then we used to just keep in touch with the mentor by phone, we’d hook up every week. And we also had the ability to ring if we found a really good deal and just run through the numbers with them and make sure that they were happy with what we were doing. So it was an amazing opportunity in that regard. So you knew that you were pretty much doing stuff that was going to work and that the numbers worked out, et cetera. And I think the thing that taught me the most was that having a mentor is amazing and just taking all the guess work out, is this a good deal? Is it not? Teaching you how to find good deals and how to back yourself and all those things. 

Was there a cost to that as well besides your time?

No. 

That’s a really amazing opportunity. What did you take away from that and what was the particular strategy that you followed?

At the end they had like a finale weekend and you know, all of us got to show what we’d achieved in the 12 months and all of us did really well. Not just myself, all the other girls as well. Then we had the opportunity to continue on with the mentor, obviously paying what you would normally pay, et cetera. But I think during that whole year there were other people that had participated in a paid program. So we were just the lucky ones that won ours for nothing. But I think, you know, the greatest thing that I took away from it is that it’s the network, the power of people, having positive people around you, having people you can ring and just bounce ideas off, so you don’t feel like you’re doing it on your own.

I think that’s the biggest thing I got out of it. I mean, it was an amazing signing year and we had lots of stuff happen and lots of fun things, lots of not so fun things. But that’s the roller coaster of renovating and property right? It was just one of those things you just learn, you learn very quickly that things don’t always go the right way that they think that they’re going to go. You know what I mean? I suppose having that support of other people around you just made it such an amazing time and I still look back on it now and think that year changed my life and not just in terms of property. It changed my mindset. It changed my belief in myself and my ability to think, yeah, I actually am a good person and I’m doing stuff that I love. You know, all of that. Because I think each and every one of us has their baggage from their history and stuff and sometimes it’s not so easy to move past those things and actually change your mindset and believe that you can do these things.

After developing a good mindset, Julie Wyatt delves into how she has managed to build her property portfolio. 

I’ve clocked up my 11th renovation. So in that first 12 to 18 months I didn’t do just renovations I learnt a whole heap of other stuff as well. But like I said before, I gravitated straight back to renovating because I just get a buzz out of turning a really crappy old, horrible looking house into something beautiful. And I think that’s the guts of it. And to be able to make money out of that is a bonus. But I really enjoy the process. It’s a little crazy I suppose, but it’s one of those things where I did a lot of things, but renovating I think is a strategy for me that works well because I just understand it. I’ve got to feel it. You go into a property and just get a feel for it and you can see, no matter how ugly it looks right now, you can do something with it. So I guess you know, since I started that course, really renovation has been my main strategy.

Out of all those renovations, have you kept all of those properties or have you bought and sold them?The last three we’ve kept, the ones previous to that we sold. The main reason being is that the Perth market or WA market has been challenging for the last couple of years. So what we would have normally flipped for a profit, we’ve kept, and we’ve actually put all of the three properties onto Airbnb and basically just increased our cash flow because the market at the moment is a challenge, and we wouldn’t have been able to sell them for a profit. So it’s best to keep a hold of them. And Airbnb has been amazing. So it’s just a really good strategy and just makes lots of sense in lots of ways. And our guests love staying in a newly renovated place. They really love it, so it’s worked really well. Sometimes it’s a matter of changing the way things in the property cycle and the property market are going. So never say that you can’t do well in a downmarket, but Airbnb has certainly proved to us that we, you know, we’ve done very well and it’s just a good strategy and we will change our strategies depending on what’s going on at the time. So yeah, that’s been a really good thing for us.

With all the properties she has renovated, she shares one of her worst property moments and the lesson she learnt from it. 

I’d love to be able to say that I’ve just been successful the whole time and everything’s been wonderful. You know, life is life and sometimes I’ve made some monumental mistakes and this one was one of them. I think after I finished the course initially with my mentor, I think I got a bit too smart, and that’s just not the word, but also a bit cocky, I think, and probably thought I could do everything and take on too much. So I ended up for some reason, I have no idea what my thought process was at the time, but I bought a business and I thought, great, so I’ll put a second mortgage on one of the properties to enable me to go into the sort of business, blah, blah, blah. Very long story cut short was it was around the time of the GFC.

The business didn’t go so well and the banks don’t like you putting second mortgages on the properties. So really not a smart idea. At the end of the day, I ended with the banks just buying and selling my properties. So that was a bit sad and I ended up being in part 10 bankruptcy. So basically the difference between a part 10 bankruptcy and a normal bankruptcy is that you pay back all your debtors, which I did. So that was to enable me to sleep at night because I think it’s the right thing to do. So at the time it was a pretty horrendous process. I ended up also with a relationship breakdown around the same time. So everything as it does, was a monumental lesson for me and something that I really actually am very grateful for now, but you know, just shows that not everyone’s perfect.

We don’t always get it right and even going through that process and kind of the stigma of a bankruptcy and stuff like that. I got bad advice as well, which didn’t help. But really, I think it’s really important in these times to take responsibility for what’s happened and to use it as learning, which I absolutely did. And I was actually able to turn that around quite quickly. You know, it takes a long time for all that stuff to be sorted and after a year, or I think it was probably into my second year post bankruptcy, then I started being able to invest again, just not on my own behalf, but using people with tools and stuff like that. So it wasn’t a fun time. I didn’t enjoy the experience, but I’ll tell you what, it taught me a hell of a lot.

I suppose it proves that even the most successful investors, when you start talking to them they have all been through stressful situations like that. And that’s when they get their greatest aha moments or their greatest learnings from. So yeah, I learnt a hell of a lot and you know, I could have actually at the time gone, ah, you know, property is really not for me. I’m just unlucky or everything is against me and I could think I’m never going to do it again and all that. And I would never think like that, but I could’ve, I could’ve just walked away and said this is just not for me, but there’s something inside of you that says, no, I just made a bad decision. And you know, you can turn it around and you can move on. And that’s exactly what happened. So it was a huge learning curve, shall I say.

Were you also still working as a nurse while you were running this business?

Yes, I haven’t actually stopped working as a nurse, there must be something a little odd with me, but hey I actually enjoy it. I enjoy what I do. I always wanted to sort of keep doing that. So all of the money that I’ve made out of property has been on a part time basis. So I’ve always been able to juggle the two. I always remember my daughter will never forgive me. I remember when we were living in Port Hedland and I was renovating, I think it was my second or third house, I can’t remember now. And it was a school night, so she’s asleep on the floor in the middle of the lounge room. There’s no furniture because I’m renovating this house and I’m finishing the painting and it was like one o’clock in the morning or some stupid time. And the poor girl’s asleep on the floor in a sort of bundle of rags. And I’m thinking, god, I’m such a terrible mother. What am I doing here? But I’ve got to finish the painting before tomorrow because I had no time. So I don’t know if anyone could relate to that, but oh man, you know, you just have to make it work. So we did.

Wow. And I wonder what your daughter says now when she looks back at it.

She goes, ‘you were so cruel to me’. But she knows the stuff that she learnt in the process is pretty amazing as well.

Renovating 11 Properties with Julie Wyatt

Julie Wyatt in Property Investory

You don’t just become a renovator, you become a problem solver. And I think if you have the ability to do that and think on your feet and back yourself, then that’s my biggest why.

Despite experiencing obstacles along her property investing journey, Julie Wyatt talks about the moments where everything just clicked. 

It sounds very negative to talk about your worst investing moment and mine was fairly major, but there’s been some amazing stuff as well. And I think the thing that stands out for me the most is working very closely with my very first mentor. And then, you know, just learning the basics for me, that was huge. So how to put a property under contract, I didn’t even know that, I had to ring her and say ‘what do I do?’. And she’s like, ‘oh geez, Julie, come on, get a contract and put a price on’. And I said, ‘what if I don’t have it?’. Because literally with the first property I bought, I had no money. I was waiting for my divorce settlement and I needed $43,000 which doesn’t sound like a huge amount now, but for me it was huge.

I needed to borrow that off someone because I needed to pay a deposit and you know, get the ball rolling, put things under contract. And I remember the conversation with her and she said, ‘I’m not going to do this for you. You need to actually think outside the square on this. I know you don’t have any money right now and you want this property, so what are you going to do about it?’. And I went, Oh, okay, I actually have to do it, so what am I going to do here? So I came up with a plan. I had a very good friend who had some money. And so again, this was completely out of my comfort zone. So I rang him and I said, ‘would you lend me $40,000 as soon as I get my payment for my divorce? I will pay the money back’.

And he said, ‘absolutely, no brainer’. And I went, oh my God, why didn’t I ask him a long time before instead of putting myself under all this pressure and what ifs and you know, but really when you think about it, there’s skin in the game here, right? I had to actually think outside the square. I had to borrow some money and now I really had to make this work. I was like, this is not my money anymore and I actually borrowed off someone, and I need to pay them back with interest, blah blah blah. So you know, for me, this was huge. I’d never asked anyone for anything. I was a very independent person. So for me it was also like how else am I going to get this going? It was really hard. And then once I got that property and kept the ball rolling it became easier to talk to people about financial stuff.

I didn’t, I wasn’t so self conscious about it. I thought, I’m good at this. I’m good at finding deals. People are trusting my judgement that the numbers are adding up. I was good at putting joint ventures together. I was good at all of the on the ground stuff. So joint venture partners are quite happy to work with bankers. I had the mentor to back me up as well, but also could do it all the nuts and bolts day to day stuff. So all of those things were you know, when you’re on a roll and things just move, you know that is going in the right direction. 

Working On Property Renovations

After having immense support from her mentor, she goes on to explain how her strategy led her into renovating. 

Where I learnt to renovate was somewhere that you would probably not even think of the market being important. But when I started my journey, it was just the start of the mining boom in Pilbara. So the house prices in the area I was were really low when I first started. So I started taking out ridiculous price houses, you know, $50,000, $55,000-$60,000 for a house. And you know, doing renovation in a slick suburb in Sydney and doing a renovation in downtown Port Hedland are very different. So I really had to learn the strategy about a targeted renovation. Not overcapitalising working out what your target buyer is going to be after. So these are the things I learnt really quickly and then how to do it on a budget. That’s really important. As I said, doing a lot of stuff yourself is also important.

But also just basically learning and what’s going to make you the money? How can you do it quickly? And making lots of mistakes as I did, some renovations weren’t pretty in the early days but hey, you know, if you can buy a house with 50 or $60,000 and then sell it for three or $400,000, why wouldn’t you? That was just how crazy it was in that time. So always I suppose part of the renovations is targeting it towards where your end goal is, and buying well, and doing a budget renovation that doesn’t cost you an awful lot that looks amazing, they’re robably the three key things that I have figured out how to make money and how to make it fast. And then when you go to a different market like I’m in now, who is your end buyer going to be and who is going to want it? So if it’s for a family, what are you going to do differently? You know, all those sorts of things are really practical. So renovating with your environment in mind is really important. And then also styling and staging the property at the end, right, all the stuff that you learn as you’re going along.

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As her strategy encouraged her to be quite hands on, she reflects on other strategies and if she would have done things differently. 

I got better at that because I got older, and my hands aren’t so great anymore.  I’ve had to get better at standing back and going, okay well I can actually pay someone this much money and I can do it this much quicker. So, you know, common sense says if you’re going to be the overseer or the project manager of your renovation, then that’s the strategy we’ve been using probably the last 12 months, which was disappointing because I actually really like getting in and getting dirty. But hey  it’s quicker and faster and makes more sense and we’ve got a good team now so we know that we can call on experts to come do the plumbing or you know, we’ve got a good bunch of tradies who we know will do a good job and they want to work for us. So that makes a huge difference. And I don’t feel like I’m just handing over control to someone else, I always am very much involved, but you know, it makes more sense and you can get things done a lot quicker if you’re not doing it yourself.

The only challenge that we all face is, and this happens with every single industry, is to actually get time in for the tradies to get the work done. You can’t always know, it’s just a juggling act, especially when you do have good tradies, but at the same time you’ve got to manage our time and their time together to get things done.

Well that’s the thing that I found the most working with the clients that I’ve worked with is having a plan is paramount. It just astounds me how many people, and I’ve got a very good friend here, whose husband is one of the worst at this. When she went to the football a couple of years ago, he just got in there with a sledgehammer and just bashed down a wall that was inside their lounge room and then just left it and she’s like, ‘what are you doing? Where was the plan here?’. You can’t just smash a wall down and then just go, ‘oh well what are we going to do now?’. And I see that a lot where people have just gone full hell bent in with a sledge hammer and then gone, Right, so that’s not there anymore.

Now what are we going to do? And it just astounds me how that is a really common thing. Like there’s no planning and you still see these people renovating after 10 years and you’re like, wow. You can do a targeted renovation in six weeks, you know with a plan and having your tradies all sorted and all of that, which is what we do, but we can see the flip side of that where people have just gone ‘oh it sounded like a great idea just to knock that out. And then I don’t quite know what I’m going to do now’. You just shake your head and go, wow, okay.

As she has completed 11 renovations throughout her journey, she talks about the types of work she does on properties. 

I guess my bread and butter renovations are cosmetic. Cosmetic is just much easier. I haven’t really gone into structural stuff mainly because you can do and have so much fun with cosmetic and move on quickly. And going back to what I was saying before, when you walk into a property and other people would be scared off by it, that’s usually a good sign that you’re onto a winner. Some of the local agents here ring me when there’s a hoarder’s house or there’s a…what did I look at the other day? Ex drug laboratory type house, I mean all those houses that have been taken back by the banks and you see the way that some people live and you think, wow, but you know, it happens.

One house that I bought up in Port Hedland, it was a rate default property, so the person had just stopped paying their rates, and the counselor just wanted to get rid of it. And the bank, they just wanted it gone. So I bought it, I think it was about $60,000 I had to pay for it. But when, when I looked at it, it had this god awful cactus right out the front, right up to the roof line. There were snakes in the grass out the back. The whole house had been trashed. It was just dreadful. And lots of people that I knew had looked at the house and just went ‘nah’. But I bought it and I thought, you know for $60,000, you know, you buy it as is and you have to deal with whatever you deal with. So I was a little bit adventurous which I suppose was a bit silly maybe, but it taught me a lot hey, you just got to make it work.

What happened with that particular property, what was the outcome?

That was a property, I think it was my second or third property and I was also running a business up in Port Hedland for BHP at the time, and I bought it and I renovated all the inside of it. And I had a friend in Margaret River that was also part of this mentoring property group that I was in. And she said, ‘oh, I’ll buy it off you’. Because the cash flow was crazy up there, we were getting ridiculous rental income from properties. So I think I sold it to her about $145,000, so I still made some good money out of it. I think I only put $20,000 into the renovation on a credit card and then I sold it to her and then she finished it off. So it’s one of those ones where I just had to juggle too many balls and I thought, well if she wants to finish it, I’ll keep moving on with another one that I was doing. So yeah, it was interesting and I think she still got that. So the income out of the property isn’t so great anymore because the mining boom has stopped and things returned to normal as they do in mining towns. 

intelligent investing

Julie Wyatt goes on to share a bit about her most recent renovation. 

We live down South of Perth at the moment. We did one in Shoalwater, which is right on the beach, it’s a lovely place, bought this house and it had been on the market for about nine months. It was a divorce settle, a divorce situation. And they were pretty happy to negotiate, so got the house for a good price, so we paid $520,000 for it, but it was in a great state of disrepair. So it was a wooden house, which is different to a lot of houses down here, but it had a lot of things, I don’t know if you’ve heard of Dolf de Roos, but his strategy is always buy a house that you can add value to and that has multiple streams of income possible. So when I looked at this house, I went, okay. So it’s got a guest house attached to it.

It had a spa, it had a heap of stuff. And I thought this could be beautiful again. So we took our time with this one because we were both working at stuff. So I think it took us about six months to renovate it. Again, just cosmetic, but it just came up beautifully. And then we got it revalued for $640,000, and it was in the middle, this was a couple of years back now, but it was, you know, the market down here is terrible. So to make an equity gain of 70 or $80,000 was pretty good. 

Even at that price point, $640,000, where was it located? Is it near the water or something?

Yes, very close to the water. But it’s also a very big property and it’s unique. So again, there’s pluses and minuses of doing that. Sometimes it’s hard to value a property like that because there’s not a lot of other properties that are the same in the area. But again, that was just cosmetic. This was just paint, new kitchen, new bathroom, but it just made a huge difference to the overall look of the property. And I think the valuers could see that it’s changed the streetscape as well, so it’s quite interesting. We had that as a feature in Your Property Investment magazine, which was interesting. And lots of people said, ‘oh, you can’t make an equity gain in Perth’. Of course you can, of course you can. I’m just thinking about it the right way and going about it as strategic renovation. 

As it was a cosmetic renovation, she dives into the details about how much she spent on that particular property. 

We probably spent a bit more than we should have, but we justified it as you do because we’re living in it. So we spent about 50 to $53,000 on it. But it was like I said, it was all cedar woods, so everything had to be sealed and stained and then the painters took a long time to paint all the outside and inside. So there’s a fair bit of cost in all of that. But having it done professionally made a huge difference, and because we’re living in it, it’s a PPR. We wanted to spend that extra money, have a nice kitchen, you know, have all the things that we wanted in the property. So it was a good equity gain and it allowed us to then go ahead and purchase other properties as well. 

Due to her impressive portfolio, Julie Wyatt delves into her biggest why for doing property renovations. 

I love it, simple as it is. I mean it is hey, you have to be crazy to renovate and just ask any renovator. I think if you don’t enjoy doing it then don’t, it’s one of those things, and you touched on this before, they don’t always go smoothly and often old houses can throw the biggest curve balls as well. You don’t just become a renovator, you become a problem solver. And I think if you have the ability to do that and think on your feet and back yourself, then that’s my biggest why. I love turning old houses into beautiful places to live. But also the upside to that is that you can make a very good income from doing that. And you can teach your kids to do the same. And that’s part of the reasons why I’ve started coaching. 

Because I had so many people come and ask me, they could see how successful we’ve been. And they’re like, ‘oh, how do you do that?’. Or you know, ‘how do you start? What do you do?’. So when you know that there’s a lot of people that are interested, and when you’ve got things like The Block and all these property shows out there that make it look so easy, it’s real easy when you’ve got a team or tradies working behind the scenes. It’s not real, but you know, when people see the money that’s generated and stuff, they go, ‘oh, so I could do that’. Well, you need to educate yourself. It’s not something you can just snap your fingers and pick up. But if you spend the time and educate yourself, then there’s no reason why you can’t do this stuff.

I guess that’s why I used to…my business coach will probably tell me off for saying this, but I used to go to people’s houses and just spend hours in there talking about what they could do and the best prices, you know, to target if they wanted to increase their selling price or the equity or whatever. And I thought well it’s just because I love doing it. And then I thought, well people are asking me lots of questions, obviously there’s interest out there. So that’s kind of how I got into this. I think if I can impact and help other people and help them from a place…if they’re in the place that I was in when I started, then that’s going to be a good thing. Because it’s scary when you’re on your own and you’re a single parent. And you’re going, I want to have a great future for my child but how do I go about that? And you can make bad investment decisions if you don’t have the education behind you. So that’s the reason why I’m doing this stuff because I really, really love it.

Always admiring her talented mentor who she was able to learn from in the beginning of her property journey, she talks about other resources that have helped her along the way. 

I think being with that mentor for the first year really opened my eyes to the fact that whenever I do something that I’ve never done before, I want someone who’s done that before. So I wanted to build a business coach, so I have a business coach. And I believe mindset is very important, so I regularly go to mindset type events. I have a friend that runs retreats in Bali where we spend three days just on mindset. It sounds so trivial, but it’s so important. And I think if you don’t spend the time on those things, then you’re not growing. You know what I mean? So I’ve invested in lots and lots and lots of money and time learning from learning different strategies with people and I’m working with a property coach at the moment as well.

I never stopped my learning and I think that’s really important. I think that’s what maybe stopped some people where they don’t see investing that money or that time or that commitment as important. But you just can’t not do that. I think that’s one of the most important things that I’ve learnt, that I need to be learning because the market’s always changing and it’s not going to stay static. It’s changing again as we speak. So it’s one of those things where if I don’t know something, then I invest the time and the money to learn that strategy or learn how to do that particular thing, so that’s so important. 

Developing A ‘Never Give Up’Mindset Along The Way

Apart from mentors and mindset events, the renovation coach also shares her book and audio recommendations that have ultimately inspired her. 

‘You don’t just become a renovator, you become a problem solver. And I think if you have the ability to do that and think on your feet and back yourself, then that’s my biggest why.’

Julie Wyatt

I like listening to your podcast, there’s so many different people on there, it’s amazing. So podcasts and obviously the media is very good. But the book that I reckon started everything, started making me question everything in my life was The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. That was before I started properly investing, but when I read that book I went wow. I think it started my self development guide, you know what I mean? Like self improvement, you start thinking differently. And of course there’s so many different authors out there. Any of the books by Dymphna Boholt, who was my first mentor are amazing. There’s so many. I can’t even, I can’t reel them all off now, but just being part of those communities as well, being in a property of networks and communities where people who are like minded, sit and talk about stuff and band ideas around, I think all of those things are valuable. I don’t get so much time to read, which annoys me. Probably audio books are the way to go. 

Throughout her property investing journey, Julie Wyatt reflects on the best advice she has received. 

I had some pretty harsh advice, like my initial mentor, she just gave me a hard time, I needed that though. I really needed someone to not be nice with me, but to be real with me. And she would always used to say things like, ‘never, ever give up. Don’t give up. Why would you give up when you are that close to succeeding?’. You know, you don’t want to do a certain thing but find a way to do it. And the second thing is to invest in yourself. Always invest in yourself. And it’s false economy not to, seriously. If you don’t know a particular bit of knowledge, to not invest in yourself is denying you access to greater knowledge, greater doability of everything, you know. So they’re the two things of advice that mentors have given me and holding you accountable, whether that’d be with a mentor, with your family members or with a group with like minded people. I think when you are part of those sorts of organisations or you have that sort of setup it just makes so much sense and it makes you successful. Really, it does.

I love that bit of advice never, ever give up because it’s too easy to just throw in the towel and walk off when it’s not working, but you need to keep persisting. 

Yeah, absolutely. But lots of people do. And I think a lot of people have asked me, you know, you’ve heard my story and you’ve heard that things always haven’t gone the way that I expected them to. And I could have walked away when I had the unfortunate incident with the bankruptcy. But I thought, no, I’m not going to walk away because that would be like a waste of 10 years of my life. It’s crazy, I don’t want to throw away all that knowledge because I have so much knowledge that I know that I can succeed at this. I just have to do it differently. So your mindset, like I know a lot of property investors and I know a lot of them don’t actually think too much about this. They think, oh yeah, that’s all ‘gobbledygook’. And you know, woo woo stuff, but seriously, it’s so important. 

If the renovation expert had some time to reflect on her past self 10 years ago, we find out what she would have said to herself. 

I would say to her, educate yourself. Absolutely. And believe in yourself. Because I don’t think I did back then. That was the biggest problem for me, I wasn’t. I wasn’t thinking that perhaps the way that I think now. I would say it is possible and I would say just start, don’t keep analysing, don’t keep procrastinating. It is what it is, get in the start, get the basics right and do it. And lots of people that I talk to every day, they never kind of moved past that point. They say ‘I’d love to be able to do what you do’. And ‘I’d love to be able to just renovate a room in my house’. And I’m like well, it’s not that hard. You just got to have a plan and then move forward and a lot of people just get stuck down in the details and it’s sad because it’s quite a simple process. If you follow the plan, follow the budget and you just get in there and do it, you know?

She looks forward to the future, where she shares what is happening for her in the upcoming five years.

I’m really excited because I think our business is growing in terms of investing. So we’re now starting to work with investors and owners even doing JVs on renovations, so that’s really interesting. And I’m loving that because it just opens up new opportunities that perhaps might not have been possible before. And honestly if you’re sort of strung by the banks a little, then there’s other ways of doing stuff. So that’s something that we’re really enjoying at the moment. But also probably from a personal level, I really want to expand my impact on other people. So mentoring, coaching is a fantastic way of doing that. And you’re not confined to physical location, which is really exciting. So, you know, I can jump on a call with someone who might be on the other side of the country and you can talk them through a renovation. You can talk them through how to plan, you know, all of the things, all the steps in this process. And that’s really exciting for me because I think I’m not constrained by where I live. So that’s really exciting. So that’s the stuff that I think I’m really wanting to spend more time on and helping women that may have been in a situation I was in is really exciting as well.

Last question for you Julie is how much of your success is due to your skill intelligence and hard work and how much of it is because of luck?

That’s a good question. I really don’t believe in luck. I’m going, to be honest. I think lots of people say, yeah, luck has so much to do with investing, and I have to disagree. I think I do believe there are times when, you know, in life things do line up and there’s like coincidences or those opportunities or whatever. But I certainly absolutely believe that it’s only by you intending or making massive differences or massive actions that you will make the most of those opportunities. So it really boils down to…I mean, education is hugely important and having knowledge is absolutely important. But taking action on those two things. Absolutely the difference between success and not a success. So I think to have the guts and the motivation to move forward when there are things that aren’t particularly going well also.

I really think that for things to change or for things to move forward, you have to have some skin in the game I like to call it, there’s got to be a commitment from you to make the most of that opportunity. And so really when you look at it like it, it kind of doesn’t really factor in it at all really. I mean, there’s been things in my life where I think I could have gone that direction or I could have gone in this direction. So you look at the situation and you decide whether you want to put yourself out there or not. So yeah, you know, I could have said no to that competition. I could’ve said no to the whole journey that I went on and I’m so glad I didn’t, but you know, some people could say that’s luck, I don’t know. I put it out to the universe and guess what happened? So I didn’t know how that would all work out, but I had this burning desire to know more about property. So things present themselves when you put yourself out there, I think.

We Took The Notes On Our Latest Episode For You!

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  • Wisdom Gained From Our Guest's Stories:
    We pick out the little gold nuggets of wisdom that our guest's share from their backstory and give you the most relevant details.
  • Explanations Of Strategies:
    The overall strategies, philosophies, and bits of advice are broken down and shared in these quick and easy-to-consume notes.
  • A Reference For All Tools And Resources Mentioned:
    We like to talk about books, services, and other resources to make our property investing journeys even easier. We'll refresh your memory and share all those links with you.