Nikita Reskakis knew he wanted to buy a property when he was 18. With a lot of hard work, plenty of sacrifices and a helping hand from his family, the 22-year-old has already managed to buy two in the lucrative Sydney market.
“You don’t need a big income to start investing and you certainly don’t need a flash property in order to make money from the game. That’s something I can certainly attest to.
When I was 18 I already knew that I wanted to buy an investment property. My father works as a real estate agent, and while I was growing up it became really clear just how valuable property can be from his insights.
Watching my parents work hard all of their lives also made me realise that I didn’t want to do the same thing. I wanted to make property work for me from a young age.
So, still living at home, I began to save money from the time I started my first job – working in an entry level real estate role in Kogarah that paid under $35,000 per year. Each week I would put aside 80 to 90 per cent of my wage in an online savings account that I knew I couldn’t draw from.
A year and a half later, I had just enough saved to make a deposit on a two-bedroom unit in Kogarah. It had belonged to an elderly lady who had passed away and the property had really suffered years of neglect. It was best described as being in a very original state. Truth be told, I probably wouldn’t have let anyone live in it.
But that really worked in my favour. Many buyers were deterred by the state of the property, and as a result I was able to pick it up for an incredible price. I purchased for $320,000 and last time I looked, it was worth $550,000.
But with the Sydney market as it is, that’s likely gone up in the interim. Last weekend a two-bedroom property around the corner from my place sold for $580,000 and it didn’t even have a car park! I’ve subsequently used the equity in from this property to buy another unit in Petersham, in the inner-west.
I live and work in Kogarah, so I know the amenities quite well. I know the schools, I know the hospitals, I know that transport is really good there. So instead of buying something more substantial out west, I thought I’d stick with something small in a suburb I knew well.
I spent $5,000 renovating the place. Painting, tidying up the kitchen and bathroom, dropping in a few wardrobes, ripping up the carpet and polishing the original floorboards. But it would have cost me at least $10,000 if I hadn’t had such a supportive family. My dad and granddad both helped out a lot and I would have been up for a lot more work if they weren’t around.
I initially managed $400 a week in rent, which then went up after two years of holding the property. It’s leased through the same company I work for, and having started in the property management division of the company I feel like I’m really well placed to make informed decisions as a landlord.
I think the biggest sacrifice that I had to make was not necessarily not having a life, because I still do enjoy my life, but just having to put off other things that I think most people do at my age, such as travel.
I’ve got a girlfriend, we have to budget, and when you start seeing couples that go out and have a good time you do sort of get that ‘Oh, damn it, I wish I didn’t get into the property game’ mentality, but you do realise that it’s for the better in the long run.
Starting off was hard, I think being influenced by friends to go out and things like that made it really difficult, but I was fortunate enough to have my mum and dad who really made me see my future visions and goals.
I’ll work hard for the next five to 10 years, then hopefully be able to free myself up financially and catch up on what I’ve missed out on. There’s really no right way about it - that's my personal view.
Based on what we’ve seen in Sydney, you’ve really just got to get in there as early as you can, do the hard yards for a couple of years and hopefully reap the rewards later on.
Because property never really goes down, and that’s what I’ve learnt in real estate. It’s got to be one of the safest investments you can make."