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

‘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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