In this episode of Property Investory, we will be chatting to the CEO and founder of Australian Property Investment Solutions Julie Crockett. Learn how she uses AI technology to find a properties market for her clients, the software being able to pinpoint the areas set to experience imminent capital growth and analyse all the way down to street level the best places to invest, and how her teaching career helped her in the world of property investing. We will be delving into how a superannuation statement in the mail prompted her to start investing in property and even though she liked being a teacher, how the need for a challenge further encouraged her to switch careers.
Come along with us as we hear about the fellow teacher whom she would travel with during school holidays to purchase properties and how she overcome setbacks, such as when the property manager called her about her brand-new property in Adelaide, bearing bad news. In addition, we will be exploring how Julie Crockett managed to purchase one property every year for many years, her strategy of diversifying her portfolio, advice on those looking to get into the property themselves and how selling her second property netted her $200,000 in profit and so much more!
Julie Crockett uses technology to locate a properties market for her clients and she starts by sharing with us a little bit about what her day consists of.
I am the CEO and founder of Australian Property Investment Solutions and that business has been around and helping people to invest for the last nine years. And I’ve personally been investing since 2002.I’m hard on the task of sourcing appropriate investment properties for my clients. And that involves being on the phone, talking to my trusted network of people. They could be builders who build custom-built properties for my clients or they could be developers who are building boutique developments both here in Sydney and interstate. And also I’m online. I’m researching. I have a couple of different companies that I use that are cutting edge, basically, research companies and basically they provide…one of them, in particular, provides data using artificial intelligence, so AI Technology, which is a really exciting space to be in and really exciting to use their research.
Julie Crockett further elaborates on how AI technology helps her clients, from pinpointing areas that are starting to gain capital growth to looking at the best local government areas to be investing in.
How it’s helped my clients is it’s actually been able to pinpoint the areas that are set for imminent capital growth. When people get online and they do their own property research, it’s really interesting because there’s so many layers of research that we actually need to do in order to source a really good location to invest in. And I have found over the years that it’s very time-consuming and what I do know is we use our official intelligence data, we actually are able to cut through all of that and actually pinpoint where those areas are that are going to provide capital growth. And then it also looks at the best local government areas to be investing in that location. And then it hones down to street level, so it will analyse street-level data and it will provide where in those streets are the best places to invest.
Once the AI technology has brought up those results, that’s where Julie Crockett comes in. She asks the right questions to make sure the properties are a good fit for her clients, works on strategy and figures out what the property will do for them, and for self-managed Super Fund clients, looks to get the highest possible yield for them.
What we do then, our due diligence, what skills that we bring to the fore are being able to ask the right questions and to make sure that we get the right answers as to whether or not the properties in particular are a good fit for our client. So we’re quite niche in that we don’t sort of hold a property list if you like of properties available. We actually type the brief from the client and we’re very big on looking at strategy. So what is it that that property has to do for you? And then we go and source the right location using the AI technology and then the property that is a really good fit. So any client at any time can come to us and say, look, I’m looking at a 15% capital growth in the first year, can you find me that? Yes, we can.I’m also looking at a better than five and a half percent yield, let’s say. Can you find me that? Yes, we can. And for our self-managed Super Fund clients of course we are looking to do the utmost in terms of yield for those clients because ideally if you’ve got a self-managed super fund already set up, the idea is that you’re willing to tip money back into that super fund, not drain it on a negatively geared property. And that’s not advice, that’s my own experience because I do have a self-managed super fund and I do have property units. So learning from experience what fits best in their situation and running with that is very important.
Julie Crockett grew up in the western suburbs of Sydney to parents who bought one property over the course of their lives. She worked as a teacher prior to entering into the field of property investing and cites the skills and experience she gained from teaching as important for her current career as a buyer’s agent.
I think I’m possibly a little bit older than some of the other people you’ve interviewed and times have certainly changed in that space. But I had a great childhood, lots of freedom to do a whole range of things. I guess my working-class parents inspired me. They only ever bought in their lifetime one investment property and I thought, wow, that’s really cool. Looking back on that, I thought it was a very cool thing to do at the time and then moving forward, sort of learned from their example I guess. And then I’m on a high achiever, so I did way more than one. But in terms of childhood, great childhood, I left school, went to uni and my very first job was a teacher and so I was a teacher for several decades and in more recent times have up until I started business nine years ago, I was a special needs coordinator. So I set up special needs classes in private schools basically. And so that’s a bit of my background, but it’s interesting, Tyrone, that everything sort of prepares you for what comes next. And so I found that when I started a business, when I started Australian Property Investment Solutions, I had a lot to draw upon in terms of working with people. And that has really been hugely beneficial in sitting down with clients and really actively listening to what their needs are. And if they’re not quite sure, then, you know, just working through what it is that they’re trying to achieve. That strategy, the all-important strategy, what it is they’re trying to achieve and then how together we can go about achieving that for them and helping them to be successful in property investment. I think one of the things that, as far as my background’s concerned, it taught me to be very, very patient dealing with people where we’re all very, very different. We know that there’s a great deal of patience that you need to have and to be a very good listener.
She further elaborates on how her teaching career has helped her current position in the field of property investing.
We just launched straight into uni, and from uni straight into first appointment and continued to then proceed through, as you said, several decades. But finding a niche, I think you learn a lot about yourself as time goes on. And I certainly have had time to reflect in the last several years and there are people in this world who are builders and I’m a builder. I like to build, I like to do property first and foremost, but also and build a portfolio. But I also would like to…the notion of me building a business would have been quite fine many years ago. But because I had achieved that through my teaching career, it wasn’t too difficult to then step into building a business. And I know that sounds perhaps a little bit unusual, but the skills that you have really enable you to move in and essentially teaching and this business are very much about the same thing, they’re very much about helping people. So that sort of correlated and it was a really good values alignment for me and has continued to be so, because when you are doing it right you get people, the same clients come back time after time after time and they refer other people to you because they have enjoyed the experience basically and that’s pretty much it.
Julie Crockett entered into the world of teaching because she liked the job and enjoyed it when she started working. However, after years in the role, she felt like she needed another challenge.
I think decades ago it was a pretty safe sort of job to be in. And I took my parents’ advice, you could do x, y, z, but you probably would do well at teaching. I already liked the idea before they suggested it. I know for that, for the time that I spent teaching, it was a very good career and it was good for me at the time. That’s pretty much how I got into teaching. Once you’re in a career and you see progression and you see that you’re enjoying what you’re doing, then it’s not a hardship.
I think one of the challenges today is that there needs to be enough challenge in where people are working and whatever job they’re undertaking to be able to keep that spirit soaring. I think a lot of people get—and it’s very easy to do it—get bogged down in their job and work and all the rest of it. And we all need a challenge. And I think that was originally why I got into teaching, but it was also one of the reasons why I left teaching because I still needed another challenge. And I made a deliberate decision several years ago now to keep going. The one track was to keep going down the education track and into teaching, which I could have done or to really jump into something that should become…it originally started out as a hobby, good old property investing. And then it just became a passion. I was really addicted and I thought, if I don’t make the change now, I think I will always live with regret that I would never have found out for myself if I could have done this and helping the turned out. I made a conscious decision many years ago now to walk this path and it has been amazing. It’s an amazing path. Helping people to understand and investors is truly amazing.
She was inspired by her parents to get into a property and share why.
Their one investment properties that they did have and they sold it several years ago now before the Sydney property boom, I might add. They did inspire me, I thought, that’s probably something that I could do. If they’d been in other investment sectors like shares or whatever maybe I would have dabbled in that as well, don’t know. And the other thing was I met up with a fellow teacher. She’s become a very good friend over the years and will continue to be so. She has a very large portfolio of 17 properties and she and I used to sit together and talk property and do our analysis and research.
And then in school holidays—we were both teaching about time—we’d often travel to faraway places, Queensland, WA, all sorts of places and go and check out locations and properties. And more often than not, we bought. And so yeah, it became a fairly regular school holiday activity that we would jump on a plane somewhere and go and buy a property independent of one another. And it was a lot of fun. When you have someone else to bounce your ideas off and to just work with, it just makes a huge difference to what you can achieve. Individually, I think we can get a pretty good result. It depends on the personality of the investor really. But together when you’ve got other people that you sharing that with, it can be very powerful.
Looking back, Julie Crockett received a statement in the mail, prompting her to make some changes in her life.
The story behind that one was I got a superannuation statement in the mail many years ago back in probably early 2002 and I nearly had a heart attack. I just thought, wow, I’ve been working all these years and you know, I’ve got this tiny little amount in super. Basically I just thought, that’s it, I’ll be teaching until I drop dead on the classroom floor.
It was pretty grim, I must admit it, and it was exactly what I needed because I just thought, wow, I don’t know what to do about this. We can only earn a certain amount of income and okay, you could go out and get a second job. There are ways of earning extra income, but you have to put in more time for those dollars. Mum and dad had already owned this probably for quite some years. And I thought, yeah, maybe I should investigate property investing, which I did. And at the end of November of the year 2002, I purchased a brand new property in Newcastle. And after that I started my next investment property… the thing is I waited for people and people do this too, you know, they get one and I go, ah, that’s good. I’ve got a property, all is good.
Her second property was referred to by her brother and eventually sold that property for enough profit to use that money to go on and purchase many more properties.
A lot of people only end up ever with one property, and it’s all about what you want. If you, if you want to create wealth one property won’t get you there. Certainly not. But at least I guess if you have a good investment property and you only ever buy one, well that’s better than none at all. Anyway, I bought one, killed off a few years and then I received a text message from my brother and he alluded me to a property that was getting a really high yield and I went to purchase in WA in one of these horrible mountain mining town called Karratha and I bought in Karratha in 2005, and I ended up selling that property in 2007 and made just over $200,000 from that property.
Now it’s unusual for that to happen. And sometimes it can swing the other way. And the disclaimer here is that it was purely by chance, not by design, but that occurred. And hence being able to then buy many more properties. So I was buying one year for many, many years and I like to diversify my portfolio. So definitely buying around the countries is my particular strategy. And the reason for that is that when cycles change there’s generally somewhere in the country that is at the peak and if you have to sell, then it’s always advisable to sell in a peak market. So that was my rationale for purchasing in locations around the country.
One of her worst investing moments was when her property manager called her about her brand-new property…
There are times when things don’t go according to plan and if you’re working with people who can help you through that and provide you with some clarity, it really, really helped. Otherwise, and I’ve seen it happen, people just sort of drop their bundle and end up selling a really good asset, even though they’ve just had a horrid time with tenants or whatever. So my story goes that I’ve purchased a really a brand new property, I don’t always purchase brand new, but the one I’ve just mentioned just happened to be. A brand-new property in Adelaide in 2008. And the property was probably about two and a half years old and was tenanted into to a family, and the property manager did a routine inspection and she called me up, I always get very worried when they call. And she said, “There’s been a bit of a problem in the property.” And I said, “What do you mean?” And she said, “Well, the four-year-old has drawn on every single wall in the house in texta.” And I nearly had a heart attack. I know was insured. So that’s all fine. It was very, very upsetting actually because it was virtually a brand new home. And the tenants didn’t see that there was an issue with that because they loved the artwork.
Artwork. Okay, I love it. Good angle.
What happened then, and here’s where it’s really important to be insured with the right insurer. So I thought, thank goodness I have landlord insurance and it’s all good, and I went back to the insurer and they said, “Ooh, this is not malicious damage. This is something that has been done by our minor and there’s no way that that can be classified as malicious and they refused to payout.” Yeah. So be very careful who you insure with. We know who the best ones are after trial and error. But yes, so that was a bit of a horror story. And I think there were a lot of lessons learned and there always are when you’re a property investor, there are a lot of lessons learned along the way. That was pretty heartbreaking because we had to do a full repaint and obviously we gave the tenants notice, and we then sort of got some people in that room that were really good. But that was my horror story.
How long did that take? And did it cost much to actually repaint the whole place?
5,000, roughly. How long did it take…while you’re going through that process, you don’t have income. I’ve got to try and recall now, how long it took…it was probably several weeks from memory.
Despite this setback, she still managed to keep that property, hasn’t had any problems after that incident and shares what’s next.
That one I’ve got some pretty big plans for that one next year. I’m sort of considering or weighing up how I can get a high yield out of that property by potentially renting out rooms, I just need to do some compliance work on that one. It’s been fine since then, good tenants came in and I’ve had a couple go through since then. Now I’ve got some two guys in there doing a really good job, keeping the place clean and neat and tidy and everything. So yeah, no, it’s worked out well.
For Julie Crockett, her “aha” moment was definitely memorable propelling her to the next opportunity to purchase more properties.
I think the ‘aha’ moment was probably the second property that I bought. And when I sold it and made a lot of money, that really propelled me even to get on and, and stop mucking around and to turbocharge the portfolio I guess. Because when you can see what can happen then it really does motivate you to keep moving forward and to prioritize things that are important. I deal with a lot of clients who put things off. Probably my longest client that I had from first meeting her to until she actually used my service to purchase was four years. And when I think of that, as a four year period of time, there was a lot of money that could have been made in that time.
So the things that I’ve learned from my own experience, I am able to pass on to others that if you’re in a position to purchase and to build a portfolio don’t wait for it. Don’t wait for a better time in the economy. Don’t wait for a better time after the election. Don’t wait for that. If you’ve got the money and the means now, now’s the time to do it because there’s always somewhere in Australia where it’s prime buying. And the longer you hold off, the less time you actually have to be able to make money in that market.
Buying Property Using AI Technology
Over the course of her property investing career, Julie Crockett has completed a very significant number of property purchases and sales.
I did a tally a little while ago and I think it was something like 27 property purchases and sales. I don’t hold that many now because I’ve downsized. I think property, once it sort of gets into your blood, it gets stuck.
And as you kind of said before, it is a bit of an addiction. And I think moving forward one of the things that will be a real challenge for any investor listening to this will be access to money. It’s already started. And now we’ve become such a controlled society in many, many ways. I talked about freedoms decades ago that existed. Yeah, we’re seeing now a tightening of finance and that’s going to well, I think it will be one of the biggest challenges moving forward for investors, which means that again if you have the capacity to do it, don’t hold back. If you’ve got the means then jump right in because you never know when things might tighten even more and you could be locked out of some markets, but that I think that’s the real challenge moving forward.
Understanding A Properties Market
In terms of strategy, Julie Crockett informs us she uses a similar method each time she searches and purchases a property. She also provides a case study where AI technology was used to locate properties for a client.
I still use the same strategy with my clients and I must say that happened over many decades, the 27th and they were property purchases and sales. So some of them were consecutive, some of them were, because I’ve moved my own principal place of residence and number of times as well. So it’s sort of all of that over that time frame. And the strategies are the same. So for example, I’ll give you a case study, I had one of my clients come to me, a brand-new client, very, very risk-averse. She was single lady, I think she was in her fifties, fifty-five, let’s say. And she was just on a single income and she had never invested before. And we used the AI technology for her because we wanted to get very high capital growth.
So I’m going back now about up to three years ago, just before all the credit, all the finance started to tighten up. And basically the strategy for her was high capital growth and strong income and the AI technology pointed to Newcastle. And so we purchased her first home, negotiated a lot of the price, that property market was as flat as a tack. The AI tech will also put us into markets that are really at the bottom, but set dream and capital growth. And that was that’s what we did. We got something like 40,000 off the asking price of that property. And then she within a matter of five months, went back to the bank and the bank lent her more money and then we targeted, went back to the AI.
AI pointed us to Ballarat, which she then bought a property in Ballarat. So all these are lower purchase prices. So first home was 385,000. The second one was 229 and then she went back to the bank. And because we’d had such high capital growth in the first two, within 12 months of those firsts, her ownership of those first two, the Newcastle properties had taken off. That was been revalued at 450,000. The Bachelorette property had taken off. That was valued at 260,000. The bank internal money for the third purchase. And we made a very determined decision there to make the third property very, very high cash flow so the third property she purchased for 218,000. It was getting through 10 a week rent and that then cash flowed the other two. So it’s very important, particularly for single women to have that strategy of what they need to be purchasing and what kind of cash flow they need in case something happens to their income.
I’m just sitting here going wow. Timing-wise, it’s so crucial for these aspects because if you catch her at the right time before capital growth happens, then so you can ride that wave. And that’s the challenge. We all don’t have a crystal ball, but it sounds like the AI that you’ve got there, the information that you’ve been provided by all this seems to help you get into those markets because that’s when it’s the right time to get in.
Absolutely. From my perspective, it gives me such a thrill because I just think I want my clients to do way better than I had done in investing. That’s my goal. And this lovely lady has just been, I’m just thrilled for her. She’s been such a powerful advocate as well. So in terms of giving it a go, just give it a go because for her it was for her future, this is her future, this is her retirement and it makes a huge difference.
She used equity in all instances and as a result of that, she’s got a portfolio of three properties that she got over about a 15 month period. And it’s cash flow positive and so that’s the result that we aim for our clients.
Julie Crockett’s biggest reason for getting into property investing and working as a buyer’s agent is because she loves seeing people achieve and attain goals when they didn’t think it was possible.
I think just making sure that people have a good understanding of what property investing is and what it can do for you. And just seeing people achieve it, helping them to get there and people who otherwise didn’t think it was at all possible for them. It’s just amazing. So that’s my why. That’s what gets me out of bed in the morning, people come and when they engage my service, they’re saying, can you help me? Can you help me to achieve this, please? And together, that’s what we do. So that’s my why. And I have a family too, I think. I have a daughter who is now an investor. She has three properties herself. And really I hear a lot about people saying to me, oh, I’m doing this because I want to buy properties for my kids.
And there’s nothing wrong with that. I mean, gosh, that’s a very noble sort of circumstance to be in, to be able to afford to do it and to want to do it. And I always say to them how that’s wonderful, but I’ve actually inspired and taught my daughter to invest for herself using her time, her money. Because she thought, a bit like when I saw my parents in this, she saw how I’ve done it and she’s done likewise. So that’s a big why as well. You know, that’s huge.
That’s so inspirational because to be able to hear your daughter to be inspired by you and then for her to learn. I think that’s an excellent life skill because obviously parents do it for them, then they really don’t know why, to be honest. And there’s nothing that drives them to do and they just basically get a hand down, and it’s hard that way because they probably might even be worse off long-term when they’ve got all these assets that they don’t know how to manage. But when you actually do it yourself, it’s a completely different mindset and you learn to appreciate it even more so, so good to be able to hear.
And even more to the point Tyrone, she can continue to do that for herself as long as she wants to. Once you’ve got the skill, there’s no stopping you and one would hope that that’s generational and when her children see what she’s done, maybe they will do likewise because it’s not about being a property investor as such. It’s about just making your own way in the world and knowing how to create income, create wealth out of the property. It’s essentially that.
What drove Julie Crockett to invest in the property was fear that she would end up with nothing. However, rather than jump into the deep end and purchase without prior knowledge, she went to an accountant.
Fear is a very powerful driver of action. And I was at a point where I just thought if I choose to do nothing and sit back, then pretty much the future determined that I’ll end up in nothing in retirement. And let me tell you the good old pension doesn’t look too appealing at all in any way, shape or form. And that was what drove me to purchase my first one. I just thought, oh look, if it all turns out awful, I’ll just sell it, that was my out my exit. But I think at that point, one important point that I probably should mention here is I also went to an accountant before I purchased it and I said to my accountant, how much money is this going to cost me per week out of my own pocket?
And they did the depreciation calculations and everything. Because that was one block for me. Because I was a single mom looking after two kids, I thought, if I don’t know how much money this is going to cost me, I could get into strife. And he said look, I calculate it will be a bit less than $50 a week. And I have negatively geared that one obviously. And I just jumped up and down and I was ready to sign a contract then and there. So I think once you’ve got the knowledge of costs and once I then determined that’s exactly what I was going to do, I didn’t waste any time at all. And from then on, you know, people used to say to me, oh, aren’t you really concerned about the level of debt you’re in. And I said, not at all because other people are paying it off for me. So I’m not concerned at all.
She goes on to impart some wisdom, reminding us of the importance of mindset and how, oftentimes, it’s not how much we have.
I think having a cash buffer is always really important. I think I had money set aside, I would’ve back in those days where if things sort of fell apart a little bit tenant wise then I was fine. There are many, many single parents out there who perhaps think that it’s a bit beyond them, that they weren’t able to achieve investing. But there’s always a way and I guess I’m the personality taught that says—I’m definitely a glass half full person—but I always say if something looks impossible or really hard, then I asked myself the question, how can I do it? How can I make this work? How can I get the answers that I need to be able to move forward with this?
So if you’re of the mindset, and that’s probably something you were gonna ask me in a minute, Tyrone, mindset absolutely important in this game because you absolutely need to make sure that you’ve satisfied everything that you need to satisfy. But don’t I guess convince yourself that you can’t do something. We’re all were very blessed in this country to have plenty and often it’s just a matter of allocating funds to where they need to be, and then having issues if there’s anything left over then putting it towards something that is an investment. One of the most inspiring stories I’ve ever heard. I worked with a lady back in education. She was one of the office ladies and not very highly paid, and she was single and she had, by the time I’d left, she’d built up a portfolio of around about seven properties.
I had nothing to do with that. She was doing that all on her own. And she would now hold a lot of property. She was buying back in the day apartments in Ashfield and Burwood that were less than 200,000. So I always used to say to people, it’s not how much money you earn. It’s what you do with what you’ve got. That is very powerful. And you don’t need much money to get started, but you do need to have either property backing or income that you can service loans within and so on. But yeah, it’s all possible. Just a matter of asking the question, how do I do it?
Along her property journey, Julie Crockett has made use of many different courses, books and having her friend on board.
I’ve done loads and loads of property courses. I’m probably what you would call quite an out-there investor. If it makes sense to me, if the numbers make sense, if what’s proposed makes sense, then I’ll probably give it a shot. And I mentioned before about converting my four-bedroom home in Adelaide into potentially a rooming house next year. I’ve gotta do a bit more investigation on that, but I’m quite motivated to do that. I’ve done lots of lots and lots of courses, read loads of books, written one myself. There are lots of things out there for investors. The most powerful thing would be having my friend on board and I guess we were a mentor to one another. And you can achieve far, far more when you’re working with someone who understands property and is an investor and knows all the tricky bits and pieces that come along that you can’t foresee. Often you can’t foresee it.
Julie Crockett hasn’t only written an e-book but has been featured in other people’s books on property investing.
I’ve written an e-book, ‘The 10 tips on property investing‘. I’ve also been in other people’s books as well, they’re all with property investing and have a focus on…one was the inspirational story of how my daughter started investing. That was amazing. I must admit I’ve never given her one single dollar to invest, so I did, however, when she purchased her first property, give her some equity from one of my investment properties. And so that was the guarantor loan and that was back in 2009. That property she purchased for 318,000, and that is in Sydney here in Lane Cove and that property is now worth probably close to 700,000, but that one…and it’s gone through a full cycle. That’s sort of something that is really important to me actually.
In the next five or so years, she is looking into helping clients who are struggling to find affordable housing through increasing their cash flow. She explains how this could work.
I think my business—business evolves over time and what I want to do is actually help more people to generate more cash flow. That’s a real passion of mine. In particular, there are many, many women, older women who are retiring into poverty who for whatever reason, and sometimes they are they divorced late in life, sometimes their partner passes away or something happens where they, for whatever reason, they just can’t afford to keep their family home or perhaps have never had a family home. So circumstances such that many older women are retiring into poverty. And I think there are some very cool things coming into focus at the moment with solutions for that. And that’s my focus, to be able to use my knowledge and skill in property investing to help people who are really finding it very tough.
And let’s face it, Sydney is an amazing place to live, but it’s one of the most expensive cities in the world. So if you don’t have a very high income or no income, if you don’t have access to affordable accommodation, then you’re really at risk in many, many ways. So I just think there’s a lot that can be done in that space. I’m not one for waiting for governments to come up with answers. I think that’s way too long. I think we can certainly do a lot in the meantime and that would be, I’m looking for partnerships actually. So I’m looking for people to actually… like-minded people who are in that space, who are wanting to sort of come onboard and together think through how we can make housing more affordable. And I shouldn’t just exclude men at that point. I think it’s important for men as well as women, but how do we make housing more affordable and bring it to the market in such a way that it can solve not just the affordability issue, but perhaps community issue and perhaps living more insecure communities with one another.
If you would like to contact Julie Crockett, you can reach her through the following channels…
I’m definitely on Linkedin. And also through the website. So apisolutions.com.au. They can send me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m happy for them to reach out and ask questions as questions cost you nothing to ask. And I’m happy to answer, to just help people where they’re at and provide them with some basic information on how they can actually get started if that’s what they really want to do.
This episode was produced by Annie Gao with narrations and interviews conducted by Tyrone Shum.