I acquired my first house in Sydney, Australia, having scraped together a 5% deposit, plus another 5% to cover the stamp duty and fees they charge you to buy a house in New South Wales. A few months after moving into my own home, I read a book on property investment by an Australian author called Jan Somers.
This book set out the basic principles of property investing for the long-term, and inspired me to take action. I arranged a meeting with a mortgage broker to enquire how much I could borrow for my first rental property (I was a recruitment consultant at the time). He gave me an honest appraisal of the situation and said that I could afford a rental property in the low price range, and it would need to return a relatively high rental. Rental yields weren’t very high in Sydney at the time, but I was undaunted. I knew exactly what type of property I needed to find to qualify for a mortgage, and it didn’t take long to find it. Three months later, I was the proud owner of a three bedroom townhouse in the western suburbs of Sydney. It had an ensuite and a garage with internal access – two features I still haven’t managed to acquire in my own home – such is the life of the property investor!
Twenty years later, my partner and I own rental properties in Wellington, Wairarapa and Queenstown. In between times I have moved countries, changed careers, and had children. The point is that property investment is a flexible pursuit. While it is important to start as soon as you can, take your time adding to your property portfolio – there is no race.