Every successful property investor knows that buying an investment property takes time and resources to find the right deal to fit their investing strategy. Sadly, according to CoreLogic approximately 2.6 million people or 10% of the current population own an investment property in Australia. Less than 1% of those own more than one property.
However, there ARE investors that have accumulated a substantial portfolio of investment properties that have generated passive income, allowing them to choose to work if they want to and enjoy the lifestyle they desire.
So I asked 27 of Australia’s top property experts and authors the following question:
I was blown away by the insight and wisdom these experts shared. From doing research on capital growth to swapping to a higher cash flow when you are older, to having a large portfolio of small nest-eggs than to have one big nest-egg, you’ll be amazed at what these property experts have to say.
Read the inspiring tips and advice below to discover the best ways you can purchase property using the buy and hold strategy.
And when you’re done, I would love to hear your own unique property investment tips for buying property using the buy and hold strategy in the comments section.
Started investing in: 1988 Lives: Brisbane, Queensland
Andrew Coronis entered the world of property at 18 when he joined his father’s modest real-estate business in Brisbane. Shortly afterwards, he bought his first property from a customer who came in looking to sell. Later, in 2002, Andrew took over from his father and has since helped the business grow. Today they manage 8,000 properties.
Coronis has learned not to rely too heavily on high-value properties, saying that if the market goes south you’re in trouble. He learned this the hard way during the GFC when he lost a lot of money on some blue chip properties in Noosa. Although his property investing journey has had its ups and downs, Andrew’s overall strategy has remained fairly consistent. “My style is buying and holding and waiting for the capital appreciation, then borrowing on those properties again and using the equity to go and do it again,” he says.
Started investing in: 2008 Lives: Shelly Beach, Queensland
Ben Everingham started his investing journey shortly after leaving university when he purchased his first property, a 2-bedroom unit in Miranda. He says that once he developed a sound investing strategy he was able to build a multi-million dollar portfolio in just five years. Ben is also the managing director of Pumped on Property, a Gold Coast based buyer’s agency.
When investing, Ben buys around the market’s cycles. “The number one thing is timing the market… I like to buy at the rising stage of the property market,” he says, explaining that he avoids buying when a market peaks. Everingham summarises the rest of his strategy as, “Time the market, buy for capital growth, add value to everything.” Using his strategy, Ben was financially free by the time he was 30.
Started investing in: 2002 Lives: Sydney, New South Wales
Bradley Beer, CEO of BMT Tax Depreciation Quantity Surveyors, began his career as the company’s very first employee in 1998. In 2002 Beer purchased his first investment property, a cockroach infested property near Newcastle. Thankfully Bradley managed to turn it around with a renovation, which also gave him enough extra equity to leapfrog to the next property just 6 months later. After investing in the Newcastle area to create a base for his portfolio, today he owns properties across both New South Wales and Victoria.
The core of Bradley’s strategy is to buy and hold properties with a positive cash-flow, using their income stream to help him make further investments and grow his portfolio. Beer is not a fan of negative gearing. “Having everything being negative or negatively geared or costing you money to hold all the time, you can run out eventually,” he says. “If you’ve got, you know, 5 or 10 properties and a good salary then that’s okay but once you start getting beyond that… you’ll run out of ability to finance property because of a lack of cash flow.”
Started investing in: 2000 Lives: Melbourne, Victoria
Cam bought his first property in Melbourne at the age of 20. Starting out with small-scale developments, he’s now a director at OpenCorp, a property development and advisory company. Thanks to his savvy investing, McLellan has been able to spend more time with his family and has even written his own book called My Four Year Old, the Property Investor.
McLellan’s strategy is take advantage of equity to grow his portfolio, “The golden information for new investors is understanding equity and how to access equity to duplicate,” he says. Once you’re duplicating, you can take full advantage of compound interest. Cam’s other big tip for new investors is to diversify. He says, “It’s much safer to have a large portfolio of small eggs than to have one big egg.”
Started investing in: 1996 Lives: Yarraville, Victoria
Cate Bakos has had an interesting career path. After studying chemistry and working as a chemist for some time, Bakos made the decision to switch careers and focus on property. Today she runs her own buyer’s advocacy business, Cate Bakos Property, and has written a book called Successful Property Investment: 48 Real Life Property Adventures and how you can benefit from them.
When it comes to strategy, Cate has been building her portfolio by buying and holding a mix of cash-flow and growth properties, but she always tries to balance the two. “If I just go and accumulate cash-flow properties I won’t be getting that growth. And if I accumulate growth only I might have to work for a very long time to pay them all down,” she says. “I really wanted to buy and hold, and be able to pay them down and retire that debt on retirement or beforehand.”
Started investing in: 1992 Lives: Sydney, New South Wales
Chris Gray purchased his first property when he was 22, now he owns 14 properties worth $15 million. He is currently the CEO of “Your Empire”, the host of “Your Property Empire” on SkyNews, and a financial judge on Channel Ten’s “The Renovators”.
Gray’s strategy is to buy and hold blue-chip properties in areas with a limited supply. “I don’t buy in the CBD because I think there’s no limited supply… So, I’m typically going five to 15kms from the main capital city, Sydney… All the areas where there’s three-story high limits,” he says. Using this strategy, Chris was able to build a successful portfolio and semi-retire at the age of 31.
Started investing in: 2007 Lives: Camden, Sydney
Watching his father renovate and flip houses, Daniel Walsh saw the potential of property investing at an early age. At just 19 years old, after saving every dollar he earned, Daniel bought his first property in Picton. Now he splits his time working as a buyer’s agent for Your Property Your Wealth during the day and a train driver at night, fitting in a mere 4 hours of sleep in between.
With a portfolio currently worth over $3 million, Walsh attributes his success to locating emerging markets. “That’s really been the key to growing my portfolio,” he says. “Being able to get into markets before other people, being able to get to them without competition, and just being able to do the correct research.” To find these properties, Daniel researches areas and councils, looking for things like high population growth, progressive councils, and solid infrastructure.
Started investing in: 1998 Lives: Melbourne, Victoria
Dawn Canale started investing in property in 1998 as a way to give herself and her husband a sustainable income once they retired. With a portfolio of 15 properties worth over $23 million, Canale has recently turned her attention to cash-flow, finding ways to increase rental income.
Preferring the buy and hold strategy, adding value through renovations, Dawn is a relatively conservative investor who utilises capital growth. “Renovate it and make it better than what it was when you started with it, so you get some capital growth in there and then you could probably have some more borrowing power to do another one.” she says. Canale recommends starting off small, ideally adding a new property to your portfolio every one or two years.
Started investing in: Started investing in: 2000 Lives: Lives: Sunshine Coast, Queensland
After working as an accountant and a financial controller for a number of different companies, Dymphna was forced to start over after a divorce left her with very little money and 2 children to support. Boholt began looking for a way out of working 60 hours a week in her accountancy practice so she could spend more time with her two children. She turned to property investing and within 18 months, Dymphna had totally replaced her accountancy income with passive real-estate income.
The core of Boholt’s strategy is to balance income with growth. Her biggest piece of advice for investors is to always be thinking about your next deal. “At the end of every deal you need to be in a position to go into the next one,” she says “You need that momentum to be able to keep investing and that's what replaces your income.”
Started investing in: Started investing in: 1986 Lives: Lives: Sydney, Australia
Making his first property investment at 18 years of age as an apprentice electrician, director of Plan Assist Property Team Harry Charalambous now helps his clients accelerate their own investments. Personally, Harry’s portfolio is currently worth over $26 million.
Charalambous prefers to invest in sites that can be subdivided or have potential for a mutit-house dwelling. He will often organise a joint-venture with the current homeowner. “I don’t ever buy the land – in fact I’m never the owner of the property, I just build the dwellings. The owner keeps one, we sell one and we take our profit,” he says.
Started investing in: Started investing in: 1994 Lives: Lives: Sydney, New South Wales
Ian Ugarte bought his first property with the help of his parents at just 19 years old. From there he grew his portfolio slowly but surely, until he and his wife were holding several negatively geared properties. The young couple struggled to hold on to their investments until Ian discovered the potential of positive cash-flow properties. Ian was soon able to replace his wages with passive income from property investing. He’s written a book called Small is the New Big, and has founded a company of the same name with his wife, Christine.
Ugarte has developed his own strategy for investing, which he calls the ‘high income real-estate system’ (Hi-RES). “The high income real estate system… is concentrating on smaller spaces,” he says. “In particular looking at executive rental, holiday rental short stay, what we call HMO – house and multiple occupation, or a legal way to be able to do share houses – and more importantly, rooming houses and boarding houses.”
Started investing in: Started investing in: 1972 Lives: Lives: Cleveland, Queensland
According to her, Jan Somers’ property investing journey started almost by accident. As Somers and her husband moved houses over the years, they held onto all their old properties, slowly building up a respectable portfolio. Soon, Jan also began to speak at small seminars on real-estate. Then everything really picked up when Jan published her first book, Building Wealth Story by Story, and even made some television appearances to discuss her investing strategy.
Somers believes that if you want to get into the property market you need to think big, but start small. Jan’s strategy can be broken down pretty easily. “It’s really simple. It’s about borrowing money, buying a property, and keeping it for the long-term,” she says. As for which properties you should buy? Jan says you need patience to be able to wait for the right property to come along, “I’d suggest you buy medium residential price, because that’s the kind of property everyone wants to buy… it’s the kind of property that everyone wants to rent, and you make sure that it’s in an area with reasonably good infrastructure.”
Started investing in: Started investing in: 2001 Lives: Lives: Sydney, New South Wales
Born and raised in Dubbo, Jane Slack-Smith worked as a mining engineer before entering the property market where she managed to turn her initial $45,000 investment into a multi-million dollar portfolio. Now a two-time winner of Australia’s Mortgage Broker of the Year, Jane also manages her property investment advisory company, Your Property Success.
Slack-Smith utilises the buy and hold strategy, renovating her properties to increase their value then renting them out. “I didn’t want to be an active property investor that is out there looking at properties every day,” she says. Jane’s goal is to establish a “set and forget” portfolio that increases in value every year, filled with properties with low vacancies and high rental yields.
Started investing in: Started investing in: 2002 Lives: Lives: Sydney, New South Wales
As an analyst, John Lindeman has been studying the Australian property market for the last 15 years, and today is one of the field’s leading experts. Currently he conducts presentations around Australia, and writes for a number of property investment magazines. John has also authored two books: Mastering the Australian Housing Market, and Unlocking the Property Market.
Lindeman’s investment strategy is to begin by building up a portfolio of properties with a high growth potential and holding onto them. “Make sure you’re buying in high growth potential areas and then swapping over to cash flow areas as you get older,” he advises. “That’s the model I’ve used and adopted for myself.”
Started investing in: Started investing in: 2002 Lives: Lives: Brisbane, Queensland
Host of the Everyday Property Investing podcast and the principal at Property Zest, Karen Young got started in property investing a little later than most. After seeing her parents work their whole lives only to retire and live on a meagre pension, Karen decided she needed to find a way to create a secure income stream that she could use to support herself later in life. So she turned to property investing.
Young’s goal was to have 15 properties by the time she was 50, but over time she changed her strategy to focus more on quality rather than quantity. “I am a little bit more relaxed these days… you don’t need 15 properties,” she says. “It’s not about how many properties you have at all. It is actually about the quality of properties.”
Karen’s strategy is an interesting one, centered around change and adaptability. “My strategy is funny because it is not a strategy as such,” she says. “With every purchase I make I actually re-evaluate: what is the point of this purchase, what does this purchase need to do with me and my portfolio… the strategy is to re-asses your strategy every single purchase”
Started investing in: Started investing in: 1998 Lives: Lives: Brisbane, Queensland
Former radio host and real-estate agent, Kevin Turner is now a property investor and the host of the “Real Estate Talk” podcast. Although he refers to himself as an accidental investor, Turner’s success is largely thanks to discipline, careful planning, and his willingness to learn.
Turner believes that everyone needs to take the time to find the strategy that’s right for them. Although Kevin has been building up his portfolio over the years with the buy and hold strategy, now he’s focusing on adding value to it. “Right now we’ve got our portfolio which we’re holding on to… We’re spending a bit of money improving the properties and improving the income,” he says.
Started investing in: Started investing in: 1968 Lives: Lives: Brisbane, Queensland
With over 50 years of experience, Kevin Young is one of Australia’s most successful property investors. He’s bought and sold more than 650 properties over the years, but today his focus is on providing free advice and guidance for fellow investors through The Property Club which he founded in 1994. Young has also written his own book, Property, Prosper, Retire.
After buying an selling over 650 properties, Kevin realised he’d be better off holding the properties instead and he developed a new strategy for wealth creation. Now the strategy is all about legally reducing his income tax to zero, and living off his equity. “We got a software program that I’ve devised that makes it very easy,” Young says. “It works out how much tax you’re going to be paying and then it works out the number of properties you need to bring your tax back to zero. So, I’ve used that program and I haven’t paid back since I was 27.”
Started investing in: Started investing in: 1998 Lives: Lives: Terrigal, New South Wales
Margaret Lomas is one of Australia’s leading property experts. In 1994 Lomas founded Destiny Financial Solutions, since then she has written 8 books, the most notable is ‘The 20 Must Ask Questions For Every Property Investor’, and founded PIPA (Property Investment Professionals of Australia).
Margaret’s favoured strategy is buy and hold, though she admits that sometimes selling is your best option, saying, “While I believe in buy and hold… divest bad assets as soon as you can recognise them.” Lomas also places a heavy emphasis on research and finding the right areas to invest in, and stresses that it’s important to find a property that delivers the best cash flow for the best growth.
Started investing in: Started investing in: 2013 Lives: Lives: Sydney, New South Wales
Founder of Mortgage Channel, Michael Xia made his first investment at the age of 28. After just 3 years Michael had a portfolio of 16 properties worth over $4 million, with investments across New South Wales and Queensland. Xia says he’s a conservative investor and never purchases a property without seeing it in person and conducting a thorough inspection. He prefers to look for properties with a positive cash-flow that are close to the CBD.
Xia describes himself as a conservative investor who likes to take it slow and play it safe. His goal is use the buy and hold strategy to set up a passive income stream. “I feel buy and hold is what creates wealth. Property’s not an overnight game,” he says. “One thing that I strive to do is only spend time on creating passive income streams, and I want to build up a portfolio where… I’m generating wealth without putting time into that.” With this strategy, Michael is well on his way to financial freedom.
Started investing in: Started investing in: 2011 Lives: Lives: Sydney, Australia
Pete Wargent is a self-described property analyst, educator, author, and buyer’s agent. But most importantly, he’s an investor. Born in Sheffield, England, Wargent became a permanent resident of Australia at 27 after doing some travelling. Here, he got the idea to invest in property from a few of his cricket teammates.
Using the tried and true buy and hold method, Pete has accumulated a portfolio of 9 properties. While he does do a few renovations now and then, Pete says his core strategy is simply to buy and never sell. When it comes to advice for new investors Wargent says, “don’t look at new fads or ideas, try and stick to the tried and tested and look at locations that have got a long track record of delivering results.”
Some additional points Pete shared are:
Started investing in: Started investing in: 2006 Lives: Lives: Adelaide, South Australia
Prue Muirhead purchased her first property in 2006, now she maintains a portfolio of 18 properties valued at over $4 million. Prue also runs her own business, Muirhead Property Management, and was named Your Investment Property Magazine’s Investor of the Year in 2009.
When searching for a property to add to her portfolio, Muirhead prioritises positively geared properties that will put money in her pocket. “I want to buy something that’s under the median house price for the area because there is an opportunity for you to add value,” she says. By using the tried and true buy-hold-renovate strategy, Prue is able to use the cash-flow from each property to finance her next purchase.
Started investing in: Started investing in: 2001 Lives: Lives: Sydney, New South Wales
Managing director at Property Buyer, and president of the REBAA, Rich Harvey got into property investing as a way to escape the rat race. “I want to do something I really enjoy doing every day, and that’s really how I got on the property investment track,” he says.
Rich believes in being proactive but cautious, and always making sure you’ve done your due diligence. He says you should always be trying to get into a position where your properties are all providing a positive cash flow. Once your properties are self-sustaining everything becomes much easier.
Started investing in: Started investing in: 2010 Lives: Lives: Sydney, New South Wales
Founder and director of Rethink Investing, Scott O’Neill started his property investing journey at a fairly young age. While working as an engineer in his early 20s, Scott began pursuing property with the goal of one day replacing his income. Now, Scott and his wife Mina maintain a portfolio worth more than $17.3 million, with a passive income of $305,000 per annum.
The O’Neills mainly invest using their equity, the bulk of which they get from re-valuing their properties. The couple’s general strategy for investing is purchase properties in the bottom third of house prices. Scott says, “we’re buying places that real people live in, working-class to middle income earners.” They also diversify their portfolio with Scott’s 2:1 strategy. “The strategy was really about buying in a ratio of two growth properties for every one very high cash-flow property,” he explains.
Started investing in: 1999 Lives: Melbourne, Victoria
International property investor and author of 0-130 Properties in 3.5 Years, Steve McKnight worked as an accountant for years before the career burned him out. The long hours and stressful nature of the job had become too much for him, so chasing the goal of financial freedom, Steve entered the world of property investing.
McKnight says he’s bought somewhere between 500 and 800 properties since his first purchase back in 1999, attributing his success to his three-pronged strategy for managing risk. “The only way that I’ve been able to buy some of the properties that I’ve bought is through that name it, number it and numb it strategy,” he explains. McKnight names and identifies any risk in a potential property, then puts a number to that risk, and then removes that risk with a customised strategy. This approach has helped him gain financial freedom and let Steve give his children the childhood that he always wanted for them.
Started investing in: 1993 Lives: Sydney, New South Wales
Now the owner and director at Washington Brown, Tyron Hyde joined the quantity surveying organisation as a cadet and worked his way through the ranks. He found his first investment opportunity while on the job as a quantity surveyor where he turned $2,000 into $231,000 in just 9 years. In 2013 he also wrote his own book called Claim It! A property investor’s and developer’s guide to depreciation.
Hyde believes the first step on anyone’s investing journey should be education and research, and getting advice from a professional before you invest is essential. “I think that if someone was starting out in the market, they would have to firstly decide what vehicle they want to buy in and that’s when you’ve got to get financial advice,” he says. “You should be seeking financial advice before you buy a property, because different people have different needs.”
Started investing in: 2011 Lives: Sydney, New South Wales
Real-estate agent and associate at Cohen Handler, Walter Nanni made his first investment in 2011 while the GFC was still in full swing. While the market was in a downturn Walter took a risk and invested against the property cycle, purchasing an expensive block of units in Bondi. His risky strategy paid off though, this property has since doubled in value and Walter now has a very successful portfolio.
Nanni is always trying to find undervalued properties that he can set up with a positive cash flow, giving himself a passive income. “It’s all about being able to build a portfolio where you’ve got positive geared property sitting in it. In other words, not costing you money,” he says. Walter also renovates his properties to increase their value, manufacturing his own equity.
“Wow! What an amazing collection of practical advice and tips.
Now, it’s your turn:
What is your unique tip for buying a property using the buy and hold strategy?
Let me know by leaving a comment below right now.