Stephanie Brennan on How to Invest in Shares and Property Market
After buying her first investment property at 22 years of age, Brennan’s property journey has been on a rapid upward trend, as she works on both her portfolio and her business. Having started Evarvest, a free educational resource for property investors, Brennan aims to share her knowledge and experience with fellow millennials on how to invest and wish to scale their wealth.
Listen to this episode of Property Investory to find out the origins to Brennan’s venture into property investment, her worst moment thus far on her property investing journey and what valuable lessons she has learned from her own purchasing experiences.
Brennan is not only successful with her own property portfolio but also aims to help fellow property investors grow their wealth with her free business resources.
I’m Stephanie Brennan and the founder of Evervest which is a free resource for investors and aspiring investors. So basically we provide the tools knowledge and resources to people that want to start investing and scale their wealth.
She likes to start her days bright and early and work according to a well-planned schedule.
I start bright and early at about 5 o’clock and then I get to the gym and I do a lot of research when I get into work about seven. And that’s sort of research on different property markets, stocks, shares, cryptocurrency and then also researching how to implement a long term vision of the company as well. So on occasion, I would speak with awesome people like yourself and then a couple of meetings here and there as well.
Not only does Brennan gain her property knowledge from researching on the web, she also has her mother to bounce ideas off.
There’s so much information out there and I think it’s fantastic what Google has done for the world.
On a side note but I guess for me trying to see if that information is looking at different recurring themes and I get to bounce ideas off my mum who has life experience, a lot more life experience than I do so that helps me understand where the markets are at now and where they’ve been and then also just the practical experience of being able to invest in different countries and different asset classes that help you kind of understand what all of that theory means and how it works in practice.
From a young age, Brennan realised the value of a stable family home.
I grew up in Belrose on the cusp of the North Shore and the Northern Beaches. Before that, we lived in Terry Hills. And I think we moved to Belarus the day before my fourth birthday so we’ve been here for I guess ages and I’ve gone back and forth from living overseas and living in my own places to renting, to moving back and yes it’s been I guess good to have that stability of a family home.
After finishing high school, Brennan decided to balance both work and university, before getting inspired to commit to her work and drop out of her degree.
I started at my Mimosa public school which is just in Belrose and then at the end of the year, two my sister and I both moved to PLC over in Pymble move there for the rest of our education.
So after school where did you go in the end did you go into university or did you go straight into the workforce.
I’d been working since I was at school and I started my first job at about 15 and before that, I did a whole heap of odd jobs but once I sort of finished school I wanted to go to university and I did sort of I guess part-time university and part-time work and then it sort of got to a point where I was more inspired by working and less I guess inspired by going to university so I ended up working more and more and I guess studying less and less. And then eventually I just sort of dropped out of university and I’ve gone back a couple of times to learn different things and then put my studies on hold and I have finished some things but I guess I really didn’t know what I wanted to do when I first started. So it was kind of a process of elimination. Well, let’s just try everything else and then hopefully they’ll be something that kind of sticks that I really love and that happened to be property.
Having freshly graduated from high school, Brennan had no solid areas of interest and thus jumped around degrees pretty frequently.
I started down ICMS in Manly with a bachelor of business majoring in event management. And then I was tossing up originally between that and studying law because my grandfather was a lawyer so I guess I wanted to follow a bit more in his footsteps. And so I was tossing up between both of them and there was a subject that I did while doing the event management that was on contracts and so I just loved it. And so then I moved to Sydney Uni to learn more and dipped my sort of toe into the law and then moved across to Macquarie University to study law and psychology which I later changed to law and commerce.
Since falling in love with a property, Brennan has put her university career on hold and is mainly focused on her property journey.
I think learning and education are so important but there’s so much now that you can learn through Google and different resources and I guess mentors and people that have been I guess where you want to go. So to me at this stage that’s probably more valuable to me in than a uni degree.
She was first inspired to work in property and start her own business when she met a property investor at one of her old jobs.
I started in a retirement village and I started with sort of the kitchen hand side of things and worked up into the office and from there I went into engineering with worth paper Australia and that was looking at a different paywalls and managing city accounts and then
I went into politics with Bronwyn Bishop and that was just filling in while someone was away and that’s sort of I guess inspired me to sort of want to be able to have my own business which I always wanted to have from a young age but I guess I didn’t have the confidence until that role because that role was really speaking to the citizens and the constituents and understanding their problems and then solving them.
So I guess that then led to the confidence to be able to start my own business which I then started in 2011 when I was 21 and then after then I had a client that was in property investments and that inspired me into property and then I moved to being a property manager so I could understand how it all works and then I went into my second business and now I’m onto my third business so it’s just kind of, ever since I got inspired by property I guess I kind of stayed there and tried to learn more about it through different aspects.
Meeting the property investor was a huge eye-opener for Brennan, who at the time, had not considered property as an investment vehicle at all.
I was not really inspired to buy property as an investment until I was, until I worked with the property investor that I mentioned before. So my parents were very much into shares and they obviously had their own home and things like that. So for me growing up it was definitely important to have a home that I owned and so that was kind of my only focus really until I sort of saw all the numbers and what property could do and then that’s when I made the jump from shares to property. But before then I was very much focused on shares.
Brennan had never been exposed to property investment because her parents were big into shares.
I think it was partly that but also because my parents had shares so I had sort of dipped my toe in with just really small amounts of money cause I didn’t have to have that much to spare and then I had this goal originally to put, I think it was, ten thousand dollars into a share portfolio for my 21st birthday. And instead, I bought a car which wasn’t the best decision but I wanted to buy a nicer car. And then I realized that once I was working in a property that I just, it wasn’t worth having the nice car. I wanted to then sell that so I could actually get into the property .
She realised she could use her savings to invest in property and grow her wealth rapidly.
The client that I had was a property investor himself so he had I think 41 or 42 properties that he owned and then he wanted to help other people. So part of my job was to put together all of the, I guess the website and set up the company and then put together the sales packages and so through all of that I learnt so much about the numbers and when I was seeing the numbers I was like wow you can grow your wealth really quickly. So not just your I guess gross position on paper but also your net position if you structure things correctly. So that was sort of what made me go “this is really where I want to put my money”. And I’d been constantly saving and saving and saving. And then I sort of got to the point where I didn’t need the nice car, I didn’t need you to know certain things that I bought over the years or gifts that my parents had given me when I was younger. I literally sold pretty much everything that I owned. And I had a small inheritance as well that I later donated to conserve a nature reserve. But that was sort of how I got inspired to keep saving and investing that money into property.
Brennan ended up purchasing her first property at 22 with the help of her mother and continued to buy properties consistently after.
So I was 21.
And then I bought my first place at 22.
So in the short span of twelve months later he took a lot of a massive lot of action to better to achieve that. How much was it that habited you save up for that first property that you bought?
So the first property I bought I saved just over 100 000 or about 100000.
And that was from years and years of savings so it wasn’t just that one year, it was just that one year that I made the decision that I wanted to I guess increase my amount of savings so that I could get to that deposit amount of 100 thousand and then my mom actually said you know once you save the deposit she’s happy to guarantee the property because then I guess it mitigated her risk that I had the money to put back into the property if I needed to so that the guarantee on the property could be released. So that’s sort of how it all worked but I ended up putting that money into my second property and that sort of I guess how I rolled from one property to another and then I learnt about equity releases. And that obviously helped me to grow the portfolio faster while the property market was rising so it was just good timing.
Brennan’s first property was an interesting birthday gift.
I was in property management in the local area down at sea force and that’s for anyone that doesn’t know where that is that’s bad northern beaches are sort of near Galya in Manly. So I was in a local area and I was going to different houses all the time for routine inspections and I started to understand sort of the price of rents in the area and then also the price of properties to buy in the area. So I was, I guess looking around that area anyway because it was familiar to me at that time. And so there was a couple of different places that I lost out on, one in colliery which is a lot cheaper than I thought I could pay down faster but it was a studio and there are next restrictions on buying a studio.
And then there was a really nice place that I liked doing Deewhy, it was run down but it had sort of a nice, it was on a nice street and all of those sorts of things but I lost out on that one and then I got to the day of my 22nd birthday and I was like I really really want to achieve this goal of buying my first place because my sister had already done it at 19. So in my head, I was already well behind the eight ball competition. So for me, I was like I really really really just want to buy this property. So I ended up going out. It happened to be a Saturday on my birthday and I ended up on a couple of different inspections but actually the first one I walked into I was like this place is amazing, I love it. And it was down in Manly Vale and it had this beautiful big balcony, it was 18 square metres split level apartments that had a bit of a new York style Loftie sort of feel and I just put in an offer. The owners accepted it and I negotiated on it of course. But they accepted it and I signed the contracts that day and I moved in and it was six weeks later on the 16th of November.
After buying her first property, Brennan fell further in love with property investment to create wealth.
It was 2012 when I bought my first one and then I just I loved this feeling of flying property, I don’t know what it was about it so much that I loved. Also, I think seeing you’re I guess gross wealth grow so quickly because you’ve gone from sort of I guess having in my head I had my hundred thousand I’d saved and all of a sudden you know my assets were worth, well the property was 388 thousand. So you sort of increase your wealth quickly in your own head and then I sort of got so inspired and I guess excited and addicted to wanting to be able to go even further and then I thought I want to buy an investment property and I’ve got this money sitting here. So I think it was 2013 in March from memory was when I bought my next property and that was in Collaroy and I couldn’t believe the price I paid for it. It was so astronomically cheap compared to what Colorado prices are now I think I paid 346 thousand. So it was even cheap sort of at the time but so I picked up that property and just still was I guess addicted to the feeling of wanting to buy more property. So I did and that was kind of it.
Her worst investing moment is still vivid in her memory as, despite the mistake not being made by herself, she still felt the stress of its responsibility.
The one thing that always sticks out to me as the worst moments was actually when I did my first refinance and I was buying my fourth property at the same time and doing my first equity release. And so what happened was the property, for anyone that doesn’t sort of know the process, solicitors have to go through and put together all the settlement figures so that the banks can draw checks so that they can sort of pay the money I guess to the vendor or to the banks so that they can then take ownership I guess of the property and you can move your debt to another bank. So during that process, a mistake was made by one of the solicitors so not mine but one of the banks so we didn’t actually know this at the time but they had said that there was a certain pay up figure and it was actually less than what it was meant to be. So probably about a week after settlement, the solicitor had said it had settled fine. Both banks said it had settled. My broker had said everything etc. all of that was fine but about a week later I got a call from a solicitor saying you owe us a whole heap of money and I was sort of like, what, what do you mean?
It was only after a lot of unravelling, stress and time that the issue was sorted out. However, Brennan claims the experience has toughened her out and has taught her how to deal with stressful situations.
I was calling everyone trying to figure out what had happened and all of them were saying no it’s completely settled fine. We have no idea who this person so just ignores it until I got a letter in the mail saying that a caveat had been put over one of my properties now. I didn’t even know what a caveat was at that point. So anyway this caveat was put on the property and then the new bank obviously couldn’t register the mortgage because there was a caveat it on it. So then they’re calling and saying well you need to either pay out the whole mortgage within seven days or we’re basically going to have a problem.
So then I had to speak to different lawyers and things like that and it turned out that an error was made by the banks’ legal team that they were trying to solve. Anyway, it got solved and the caveat got removed but at that point, I just thought oh my gosh what’s happened. And it was so much money that it was just kind of incomprehensible to have to come up with it in seven days and then sort of stressing about what’s going to happen and you know think that you’re going to lose all your property portfolios in the meantime. All my bank accounts had been frozen by the lawyer of the bank, it was such a stressful time and then things like oh my gosh am I going to default for my first mortgage payment with this new bank that’s not going to be good.
But it ended up working out and they actually paid my first month of the mortgage as well so that was good. So it worked out. So I guess the lesson I learnt from that, is that anything else that was just a small mistake or even a bigger mistake than I may make in the future is probably not going to seem as significant as that first mistake. So it’s kind of like you build up a tolerance to different levels of stress and you get a deeper understanding of how property works and what happens when things go wrong and how to actually solve those problems so it ended up working out really well on various different levels.
Brennan’s a-ha moment in her property investment journey came when she learned about porting securities.
The aha moment for me was actually when I went into broaching and I started to learn all the different bank banking policies of the different various banks and how that actually relates to building your portfolio and how best to structure things and how to increase serviceability and all of those sorts of things. But I guess the best thing that I learned was actually about what they call porting securities. So porting securities is basically when a bank lends you money they take security over the property. Right, so then basically porting the security is just transferring the debt against that property to another property that has the available equity to be able to support the transfer of debt if that makes sense.
So Give me an example. I’m trying to get my head around this as well?
So when I learnt about porting securities I sort of thought well does that mean that I can buy and sell at the exact same time and just transfer the debt from one property to the other and not have to apply for a new loan and not have to release equity cause I can just take my profits and not have to prove my income again.
And the banks like yeah that’s exactly what porting security is so I was like wow this makes the whole process so much simpler. Because if I don’t need to increase debt, I can just buy and sell it the exact same time, transfer the debt and take my profit because there was one thing that, one meme that came up on Facebook which I thought was brilliant and it seemed like “shout out to ATMs for making me buy my own money”. And after a while, I sort of thought well effectively releasing equity is just buying my own money back from the bank so if I can port security and take the profit or use that to put it into another property and just keep compounding, buying and selling and collecting a profit. then that makes the whole process a lot simpler.
While the process is fairly complicated, it has greatly improved the effectiveness and efficiency of Brennan’s investment strategy.
So it’s a lot of people, so there’s a lot of costs involved I guess in buying and selling but if you’re in a rising market and you’re holding the property long enough then you can buy and sell and it makes it quite lucrative. The other thing is which I guess it’s my aha moment was if I release the cash or if I sort of take my profit then I can start using that profit to buy internationally. And then I can start growing my portfolio around the world and look at different rising markets. So that’s sort of the big aha moment that I had.
So it can be very complicated, it can be incredibly stressful because you’ve got to buy and sell at the exact same time cause effectively, the cash you get per purchase no longer pays out the debt, they transfer the debt and that cash is used to buy the other property. So you’ve got to time it very very well unless you’ve got available equity over time where you have to say one unencumbered property that you hold the debt on and then all the new purchases that you make are just done with straight cash. So it’s quite a good way to be able to reduce your LVR and increase your equity position and your wealth a lot faster. But there, it is a lot of stress and it is a lot of work.
Porting securities has opened up many opportunities for Brennan as not only has it reduced her loan to value ratios, it has also increased her wealth position.
If I didn’t know about that process then I would never have sold a property because my first sort of investment strategy I guess was to buy and hold and just pay down the debt over time but then when I learned that you could do that then it’s opened me up too well I’ve held some of my properties for enough time that I can renovate and sell them and make a profit or I could renovate them and make even more of a profit. So that was sort of I guess that sort of helped me to reduce my loan to value ratios and my debt levels, increase my assets and increase my wealth position and then also to be able to have the funds and the resources to be able to offer a free resource so I would invest in my own business and give that education to others for free. So it’s given me so much.
Porting Securities And Increasing Equity: Stephanie Brennan
Like most property investors, Brennan was hesitant and fearful of property investment when she started her journey. However, Brennan learned to push past that mental barrier and understand the benefits of property investment.
I think the only real mental barrier for me was just sort of I guess the fear of the unknown because buying a property is so unfamiliar until you’ve done it. So I was, even though I’ve sort of been in the industry and understood the concept of it when you actually get to do it, it is nerve-wracking because this is the largest asset that you’re probably going to buy and certainly it’s the largest assets you probably have bought before. So it is still like a daunting experience and wondering if you’re making the right choice and you know is it going to grow in value. Is it going to be the place that you want to live if you’re going to move into it? And then I guess for me that was compounded by the fact of my mum was guaranteeing it. And even if I had the deposit and I was like well what happens if this goes wrong then you know is my mum going to kill me because you’re going to have to get involved. So there’s all those kind of things that I just go through your head and I guess that was the mental barrier.
But as soon as you sort of push past that mental barrier and you actually take the steps you realise that everything that was in your head is something that you’re building up to be worse than it really is.
Brennan eliminated her fear for property investment by becoming more open-minded about the industry and the act of buying the property itself.
I think for me it was, there’s another great analogy which is let your faith be bigger than your fear. And I think for me the drive to actually want to invest just became greater than the fear of actually investing. And I think also having invested small amounts of money into shares and then had my own business as well where you know that there was in the initial stages investing or in cash before you get clients on board and cash and things like that. So I guess I was a little bit more familiar with taking some of those risks. And so even though it was scary it was sort of like well it’s worked out so well in the past so why am i so scared about doing this. And then also my sister had done it before so I guess if she could do it at a young age it was sort of like everybody does this. Like if you look at all the houses there are in the world, you think about how many people have actually bought the property and they’ve all survived and they’ve all done, well majority, have all done really well out of it. So what really is the fear, where is it coming from?
While Brennan credits her ex-property-investing-client as the inspiration becoming a property investor, she has also had many other mentors who have helped her along her property journey.
So I learnt a lot from him but I wouldn’t necessarily classify him as a mentor. I think there’s a lot of different people that I’ve met along the way that have really in their own right sort of mentored me or gave me advice that I needed at the right time and that’s just sort of throughout life I guess but he was definitely the one person that inspired me to enter the world of property.
And in terms of resources, when I started working at Negras back in 2014 the general manager actually gave me Chris Gray’s book which was “the effortless empire” and it was the first book that I had ever read on property and I found that incredibly valuable because that had the different strategies that you could take whether you wanted to buy and sell or whether you wanted to buy, renovate and hold or buy, renovate sell or then look at developments and different things like that. So that was really good start understanding what options I potentially had available to me that could help with my investing.
For Brennan, the best advice she’s ever received concerns stressless decision making and commitment.
The best advice I’ve ever received. So probably 2016 I started working in a property company and one of the guys that I worked with had owned, I think he had personally owned 85 properties across different countries which were incredible and he was a really really good font of knowledge and one of the best pieces of advice, actually, there’s two-piece of advice he gave me. The first is, you make money when you buy property, you just collect it when you sell. And the second piece of advice was because I was starting to I guess get worried about was I making the right decision of selling and looking at porting securities and things like that. And he said to me the stress with your decision comes because you’re not making the decision. So once you commit to a decision the stress goes away because then you know what steps you need to take to make whatever it is you want to make happen. And that to me has been the best piece of advice because so many times people sort of worry so much about the decision but they never make it, whereas the sort of the weight off your shoulders goes as soon as you commit to the decision.
Brennan’s most contributing habit to her success is how she constantly believes in herself to obtain the success she is looking for.
I think the personal habit for me is to really just believe that you can achieve whatever it is that you want to achieve. And I think that I didn’t really consciously realised that that was a personal habit of mine that sort of contributed to where I am now until recently when I was reflecting on mindset and learning more about mindset and I guess at a very young age it has always had the feeling that I was going to be successful. I didn’t know how but I just knew that I was going to be successful and I wanted it badly enough to then save and invest and all of those sorts of things so I think just believing that you can be successful is part of the mental battle.
While Brennan is well-versed in the buy and holds investment strategy, she believes there are some holes in the strategy that are overlooked by most property investors.
So the first one was as you mentioned is buying to hold and that’s sort of really a strategy in itself because what a lot of people don’t realize is they look at properties that either have cash flow or they have growth for various different reasons that I guess depends on whether your goal is to build your portfolio quickly or to have the cash flow to maybe not need to work and things like that. But what I realized is that you really need a combination of both to be able to grow because you can use equity to a point but if you’re buying and holding the property and releasing equity to buy more property there it will come to a point where you actually need more cash flow. And so that’s what I realized as my income from my work wasn’t, sorry, my income also from my investment properties that I had wasn’t enough to I guess keep borrowing from the bank and keep the portfolio. So I got to a point where I had to actually look at different states which were dipping my toe into getting out of my comfort zone. So I ended up buying in Brisbane and that was because the bank said to me it was your maximum borrowing capacity now is at 450000 or thereabouts. And so I looked at Brisbane because they had a higher return.
So the combination of two properties and their rent returns enabled me to borrow not 450 from the bank but about 700. So the difference between looking at properties based on income and growth is really important if you’re going to buy and hold and also really important if you’re going to then pivot your strategy like I did to be able to port security so I guess to mitigate any risk with property markets not going up as you expect then looking at properties that are unrenovated so you can add that value by renovating them and still be able to sell and port security were sort of, some of the things I had to consider when I did change my strategy.
Brennan’s main investment strategy revolves around porting securities. In essence, Brennan is consistently minimising her risks and lowering her debt levels by transferring her debts from one property to another.
So the first sort of time that I tried porting security was on one of the properties that I’d owned for a couple of years already. So I already had equity that had been accumulated from any additional repayments but also the property market growing. But then I thought if I renovate this property I can take it from let’s say 600000 to an after renovation value of 680.
And if I bought the property at sort of 500 then you know I got a lot of equity in that to sort of mitigate any risk and things like that. But when I was sort of thinking about renovating, it was then understanding well what are the costs to make this worthwhile if I hadn’t had owned the property for so long. So let’s say I bought the property at 600000 and then I had to work out well, aftermarket value of a renovated property based on comparable properties in the area were sort of 680. So then it’s sort of like looking at well what’s the cost to sell in terms of advertising, real estate agent fees. Luckily I’ve had a lot of my business with the one agency so I was able to get a lot of those fees discounted and then looking at the renovation costs so can I do this myself. Am I that good a painter and where do I need outside help in terms of plumbing. What sort of relationship do I have with the tradespeople because I was working in property management, I knew a lot of people to get the prices down. And looking at all of those things and then I sort of understood that well there’s still a lot of profit to be able to do this even if you factor in capital gains tax and all of those sorts of things. So it’s worth being able to renovate the property, sell it and rather than paying back the debt from the new purchaser, basically buying another property with that cash and transferring the debt to the new property.
While complex to learn, the strategy has definitely benefited Brennan as it has increased both her equity and cash flow.
So for me, it’s been able to reduce my debt position. I’ve been able to increase my equity obviously in the property but also my cash flow. I’ve been able to invest overseas because you need to either have the deposit amount and borrow overseas or you need to have the full purchase price of the property overseas to be able to buy because a bank can’t take security over Australian property to say buy in Canada or the UK or anywhere else in the world so you need to be able to have the cash to do that. So it’s given me that flexibility and there’s I guess less risk in my portfolio because my debt is lower. I’ve been able to I guess cashflow my business so that I can then provide free education to others that want to start investing. So I mean it really depends on what someone’s goal is and then basing a strategy, an investment strategy around that goal. So this goal or this strategy that I have won’t probably work for everyone because you’ve got to be able to have a level of comfort with buying and selling. You’ve got to understand how that affects your tax position from capital gains tax but then also your taxable income and then also just being able to find a property to buy at the same time as you’re selling another one.
Using the porting securities strategy has meant that Brennan doesn’t have to pay for certain costs from her own pocket.
It just means that you don’t have to necessarily pull money out of your own pocket to pay for those things. So you’ll still have some legal costs and things like that. So for example, if say you know the two properties that I sold in Brisbane to rebuy in Sydney I would have the selling costs of the agent. And I’d have the purchasing costs on the new place but if I purchase the new place at less than, so let’s say the debt that I can use is 700000 but I don’t want to put any of my cash in. So my overall LVR just needs to maintain a certain level so I don’t have to come into lenders mortgage insurance. But if you’ve got enough equity in the property say your whole portfolio is you’ve got 40 per cent of LVR so you got 60 per cent equity. So if you go and you sell a property, you can transfer that debt to your other properties or to the new purchase and you just use that cash to be able to rebuy. So you still have all the purchasing costs, you just use the cash from the sale to repurchase rather than have to put in extra money if that makes sense.
Brennan sees the strategy as a longer version of buying and selling shares.
It’s a little bit of a complicated strategy but if you work out the numbers correctly it can be a really viable strategy and also then it gives you the option to say you know if properties aren’t performing how you want in terms of growth in Brisbane then you can actually transfer that, sell those properties, transfer the debt and rebuy in Sydney. So part of the reason that I saw or pretty much the only reason that I bought in Brisbane was that I needed the serviceability to be increased through the rental yields that you can get in Brisbane. But the capital growth is not very good in Brisbane. So if I want to then increase my portfolio in terms of capital growth, I can sell those properties to buy another property in Sydney with that money and increase my growth that way. So it’s kind of like buying and selling shares but it just takes longer.
Brennan first learned about the porting securities strategy from a good broker, however, has done business with several other banks as well. While each bank has different fees and policies when it comes to porting securities, they all offer deposit bond services.
I had a really really good broker that was I guess really thorough and also sort of understand how this strategy worked as well. So if you, even if you don’t have a broker or if you go to your bank every single bank will know about porting securities.
So depending on the different banking policies it’s about five hundred dollars roughly for the fee to port securities and rather than actually putting a deposit down on the next place you can do what they call a deposit bond. So you actually don’t need to put any money in at all. So you just pay as he gets another 250 dollars depending on who you go with and the amount. And then basically they just, it’s almost like they give a check to say we will pay you the deposit unsettlement rather than paying you that has it upfront. And so that’s why this strategy works quite well is because you don’t have to put any additional money in if you buy the property at the right price and all the numbers stack up. So you just basically transfer the debt from one property to the other and you just use a deposit bond and you pay the port security fee. So similar to like, for example, let’s say, you bought in Brisbane and or wherever and the property had dropped by let’s say twenty thousand dollars and you decided you needed to sell the property for whatever reason. So that shortfall of twenty thousand dollars you could either pay back to the bank if you wanted to or if you had available equity in another property, you can transfer that 20 thousand dollars of debt to the other property as long as you have enough equity to loan, equity to debt room to be able to pull that 20 thousand dollars across rather than have to pay it out.
For aspiring property investors, Brennan recommends a book from the self-development genre which she found extremely helpful on her property journey.
There’s one book that I would recommend anybody and everybody read if they want to be successful whether that’s in investing or really anything. And that’s the book called The Answer by Alan and Barbara Pease and it basically, it’s definitely worth a read even though, I’ll give you sort of a short glimpse of what it’s about. It basically says that your brain has sort of like a GPS. So it has what they call the reticular activating system or your RAS and basically you just need to tell your GPS where you want to go and it will figure out how to get you there.
So if you set a goal, your brain will actually start to focus on that goal and start to focus more on information to help you with that goal and that’s what the book is about. And I found that incredibly helpful.
Brennan’s only regretted so far on her property journey has been being too faithful to others’ suggestions, including those of her parents.
So I would, what would I say to myself, I think every single lesson that I’ve learnt along the way has been so valuable and has led me to where I am now so I probably wouldn’t say too much to myself in terms of don’t do this or don’t do that. I guess the only, in terms of property and more generally in life, I guess the only thing that I would really probably tell myself would be to maybe don’t listen to my parents so much. So, which sounds bad but, I mean they have been fantastic and are so helpful and supportive and everything like that but I remember when it came time to buy my first car and it was, I wanted to buy it before I was before I had my license at 17.
So we had a country property so I ended up learning to drive at 13 and I said well I really want to be able to buy my own car because I love driving and I was saving and saving and saving and my parents said to me by a Holden don’t buy a BMW or a European car. Anyways so I really wanted to buy the BMW of course but I’m not going to listen to my parents because your parents are always right, well that was what I thought. So I bought this Holden and it was a Holden Vectra and I bought it, I think it was on the 20th of August for my 17th birthday and my birthday is in October.
Unfortunately, Brennan’s first big purchase ended in disaster on her 17th birthday.
Anyway, literally pretty much the day of my birthday, I got in the car and I was driving it to the top of the street and it just completely died and it turned out it was the timing belt which was incredibly expensive. So we had to, luckily there was a service station at the end of our street so we had to kind of take the handbrake off and just roll the car backwards which probably looked hilarious to everybody else but when it’s your first time kind of driving on your own and you’ve just got your licence, it was just interesting, a bit embarrassing, all the cars honking. So that was kind of my sort of lesson to myself is that just by the car that you want to buy and then maybe I wouldn’t have bought the car that I bought when I was 21 instead of buying shares.
So that’s kind of the only thing that I would probably change.
In the near future, Brennan hopes to expand her portfolio to include properties overseas.
I think the thing I’m most excited about is just to see where the journey takes me because there are so many countries out there and I guess the more that I learn about each different country and the more I travel, I just get inspired to I guess buy property in more countries and I guess that really excites me because I’ve gotten to a stage now where I really want to look at increasing the number of properties that I own around the world.
And so then I guess I’d build my portfolio in different markets and take advantage of different markets but also I’ve always had this dream of having a chateau in the south of France and I would love to have the opportunity to renovate one. I think it would just be the most amazing experience and really rewarding. Particularly after I read this book actually that was, I think it was My French Table and it was a couple from Melbourne that moved over to France and they ended up buying the chateau and renovating it and it just sounds amazing. So I’m really excited, hopefully, the next five years that that will be in store.
Brennan is also looking to improve her free educational service for property investors as she continues to share her knowledge and experiences.
So basically at this stage, it’s a free educational resource so for people that want to start investing or maybe take their investing to the next level so it’s a cross of property, shares and cryptocurrency and we’re about to add some sort of general information as well. We’ve got about just over 10 countries on there so there are different real estate portals to look at a property like a local. There are different mortgage comparison sites to be able to look at what loans are available and how they compare.
There are some strategy steps so what I’ve learnt from being a first home buyer, investor and renovator so that’s a bit of a pen to paper on what I’ve learnt that might be able to help other people as well. And then also there’s buying guides that can sort of break down a bit about the country, a bit about the property market in the country. The difference I guess taps tax implications, different monthly expenses those sorts of things. It’s pretty comprehensive. It just sort of I guess helps millennials or other investors get their start and start scaling up their wealth.
For those listeners who know Brennan as Australia’s youngest property tycoon, she shares her side of things and what made her claim the viral title.
The first time I wrote into the newspaper, there was an article but it came out that said you can’t buy property on the northern beaches and it was actually my mum, good old mum that said you know you should really write into the paper because obviously you can buy property so I just thought okay well you know I’m trying to start my second business and I’m trying to grow it and things like that. So I thought you know I was really nervous to do it because I was always very shy and to a degree still am so I thought I’m just gonna write in and see what happens. So I did and the journalist came back and said we’d love to do a story and the story went completely viral and they said is this Australia’s youngest property tycoon and I think it was the number one story across every news site in Australia for a week and then the UK picked it up and then America picked it up and then um yeah it just sort of spiralled out of this, Australia’s youngest property tycoon.
Brennan also shares her contact details for any listeners looking learn more of her property journey and her business.
So either on social media, either for their company page or myself. My name obviously is Stephanie Brennan so if you just look me up on LinkedIn and Instagram and then obviously the company is on Twitter and LinkedIn and Facebook and Instagram.
This episode was produced by Richelle Lau with narrations and interviews conducted by Tyrone Shum.