‘I earned my year’s wage doing absolutely nothing!’

Sarah Rogers

At just 24 years old, Sarah saw her property portfolio experience rapid growth, increasing in value by $50,000 – equal to that of her salary. 

“I signed the contract for my first property when I was 21. I used money I had inherited from my dad, as well as the Victorian First Home Owner Grant. The property was in Wodonga, Victoria and I borrowed $250,000 for the $415,000 property. 

When I found out about the inheritance, all I could think was that I had to do something meaningful with it. 

At this stage, I was earning around $65,000 a year, but I’ve since had a career change and it’s now down to $50,000. 

I settled in and was living in the property but was thinking I should begin building my portfolio. Because of my financial situation, I had very specific parameters around how I needed my properties to be. 

I chose to look in Albury/Wodonga because I know the area, understand what is happening there and where to buy.

I needed something that was going to be cash flow-positive or neutrally geared because my income wasn’t high and I didn’t want to put myself under financial stress. 

My plan was to ‘buy and hold’, but I realised that if I was to reach my goal of having 10 properties in 10 years, then I would need to manufacture growth; just buying and holding wasn’t going to give me enough growth in a regional area.

So I started looking for properties that had a way to inject equity – be that through renovation, subdivision or development.

After countless open homes and numerous rejected offers, I secured my second property – a four-bedroom, one-bathroom house in Wodonga. I purchased in 2012 for a discounted price of $220,000. I used equity from my first property and it was positively geared from the start. 

I had nightmare tenants at first. They didn’t pay rent for months and when they were finally evicted, I had to pay to get the house cleaned up because it was left in a mess. 

Once this property was back on track, I was ready to purchase again. I had to do some tricky financing to get this one across the line because my earnings are low, but we got there. 

This one was in Albury – a two-bedroom old weatherboard house on a 947 square-metre block. I purchased it for $180,000 in 2013 when I was 23. I’ll redevelop it and replace it with three townhouses. I want to generate $150,000 profit from this project. 

I am having to wait to do the development on this because I am young and life is rapidly changing. I guess life got in the way of investing, plus I have to build up some equity and borrowing capacity.

In 2014, I had my properties revalued and I had gained $50,000 in equity in one year – one of my Wodonga properties had climbed from $220,000 to $250,000 and my Albury one went from $180,000 to $200,000.

That is my year’s wage, and I earned it doing absolutely nothing! This is before I started any renovations. 

It’s great to know my hard work is paying off and that property works. And all of this happened whilst I was travelling, changing careers and on a low income.” 

‘I earned my year’s wage doing absolutely nothing!’
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