Tamara Read: Moving to the next level.
Meet Tamara Read, enthusiastic property investor who has used her experience to build a successful portfolio. Inspired by her family from a young age, this 36 year old mother of two is confident and determined to move to the next level in her investment journey.
Tamara spoke to us following her attendance at the last Reno Kings workshop, Developing for Profit, and as an avid reader of the Reno Kings newsletter, Tamara is thrilled to share her experience and offer her handy hints to other readers, hoping they too will be inspired.
It would be fair to say that Tamara’s inspiration and enthusiasm for property has always been a family trait. “My husband John has given me loving support, understanding, encouragement and confidence which has been fundamental to our progress. Plus property has been very good to my grand parents and I recall many a conversation with my Poppa about property they bought – or could have bought – and how they have gained in value significantly over time. It has been during the last property cycle that I have had the benefit of seeing and experiencing this first hand. My Mum has also been a huge inspiration with her buying, building and renovating property. She also encouraged me to read books about money management and investment when I was finishing high school. In fact, we attended our first property seminar together – the Reno Kings Property Master Class in 2002. This was a great foundation and a huge kick-start.”
And so began Tamara’s investment journey on the Sunshine Coast where she purchased a property which has since more than doubled in value. “It is close to the beach so we knew it would do well over time”, she recalls. “We saw the auction sign daily as we would drive to the gym. We managed to take it off the market before the auction. This was probably one of our first lessons – if you consider the property to be good value you may have to be prepared to pay the asking price – or slightly more. Potentially losing a good property by haggling over a couple of thousand dollars isn’t worth it”.
Hint: The little extra you had to pay will seem insignificant once you start reaping the rewards of capital growth and access to the equity.
Since the success of her first investment, Tamara has extended her portfolio to include nine properties – of which two are vacant blocks of land which she has recently ‘created’ by sub-dividing two of the properties. “One property is also a duplex pair - so double the rent!” she adds. Tamara has also completed three large renovations on her portfolio. “All of our renovations have been “Major” total renovations, including full re-plastering, re-wiring, re-plumbing, new kitchen, bathroom, floor sanding, repainting etc. If you find a good property where you can create a new block but the existing house is in need of a major renovation, the numbers can still work. Also if you plan it well you may even be able to get the bank to fund the major renovation when you purchase it. This was the case with our current project”.
Hint: Don’t necessarily disregard a potential purchase if the house needs more than a minor reno. Do the numbers and if it stacks up be confident in your research and go for it.
And confidence is what Tamara has when in comes to researching the locations of her properties. By buying in the right area at the right time, this family have been able to reap the rewards of their hard work. “We mostly locate our properties through the internet, being on the ground to see new For Sale signs go up and having a good relationship with local real estate agents that call me when they get a listing that may suit".
"The area you invest in really depends on your investment strategy. If you are taking an active strategy and using development or subdivision to create equity then you need to target locations that have properties with this potential, including the right zoning, land size etc. Not every suburb in every location has this potential. If the location with development potential also has capital growth potential through infrastructure development, population and job growth then you are on a winner! There are certainly areas of south-east Queensland that tick all the boxes”.
Hint: Do your research and be confident in your chosen location then just do it. Once you see first hand the value go up and your ability to withdraw the equity and purchase again – well that is when your confidence really lifts. And guaranteed - you will look back and say “why didn’t we start earlier”!
Many property investors have come to develop their own strategy when it comes to property investment. Tamara’s strategy along with the Reno Kings is to buy properties with a twist: finding investments where they can add value and unlock the equity to expand their investment portfolio. In Tamara’s case this has been huge. She tells us, “We do renovate properties, but this is not the sole reason for the purchase, as it has to have development potential also, like creating an additional block. The renovation is just part of the process. For this reason all of our renovations have been “Major” total renovations. I look forward to the deal where we only need to complete a cosmetic reno!!
"Overall our strategy is to hold property for the long term. Currently we are working on the strategy of doing small scale subdivision, building on the land at cost, generating equity and maximising rental yield to enable us to hold. This is an on-going learning process though and things are being refined with each new purchase. As soon as we have sufficient equity we draw on this to purchase again".
Hint: One tip that works really well is to create a large glass door opening cheaply by purchasing three new timber glass doors for $130 each from a major Hardware supplier, fix one of the doors and have the other two as a double door opening. This creates an instant WOW factor when the doors open to a deck or outdoor entertaining area – instant light and feeling of space!
The Road Ahead.
For Tamara and her family her property projects seem endless. “We are currently doing three joint ventures, including 5 units under construction, 4 units in the planning stage, and one house which we have created access to the rear lot and are planning to build on in the next couple of months. Our current project is a house on two lots which we are in the process of finalising plans for construction on the vacant lot”.
Despite her impressive list of projects, Tamara's property journey has not always been smooth sailing but it has helped her achieve her goals for the future. "There have not been any major mistakes but we do regret selling two of our first properties – particularly the land that was ocean frontage! Issues do generally crop up though with every purchase and you just have to work through them and make a note to avoid them or manage them differently next time – this is not an exact science.
"However, property investing has provided us with options. Last year we made the decision for me to leave part-time work and focus solely on investing. Our property investing has also allowed us to help others. At the beginning of the year we were able to help a local family who’s house burnt down and son was tragically killed in the fire. We donated a house to the family (which we were having to move from one of our properties), and have project managed the house relocation and renovation process. The house is being converted to be fully environmentally self-sufficient with solar power, tank water and eco friendly waste water treatment. The local business community and families around the Coast have been absolutely amazing, donating almost all of the materials and labour toward the project. We certainly would not have been in a position to assist this family the way we have, if we had not been involved in property investment”.
Tamara’s helpful hints:
- If at all possible do not sell.
- If it is a good property and the numbers stack up, be prepared to pay asking price or even a bit more if it is the difference between losing the deal.
- When submitting an offer to purchase, consider submitting two options of dollars and terms – one with longer settlement and more dollars, the other with shorter settlement and less dollars – that way the vendor can choose what suits their situation. From my experience it greatly streamlines the negotiation process and lessens the likelihood of your offer being knocked back.
- Get educated. I had read numerous books, but the first workshop I attended was the Reno Kings Property Master Class in 2002. I have also just attended their first Developing for Profit Workshop – this is a great crash-course into property development. For both the beginner and experienced developer there are some great learning opportunities at this Workshop. Just by avoiding one of the many potential pitfalls detailed at the workshop you could save yourself tens of thousands of dollars. For anyone considering development, this workshop is a must. I have also participated in a mentoring program over the last two years which has been a huge benefit and allowed me to take our investing to the next level. The opportunity to associate with likeminded people is invaluable.
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Renovate on a Budget | Finding Cash Flow Positive Property