Investment Property - A Little Bit of Encouragement and 3 Properties Later a Comfortable Retirement Will Happen - (Greg Billet, SYDNEY)
My name is Greg Billet and investment property is certainly not my specialist area. However, my investment life started just after my 30th birthday. I look back now and would like to have started much earlier but not only was I was too busy having a good time overseas, I was terrified of having debt of any sort!
I travelled through the UK for almost 10 years before returning to Australia where I gained employment as a hotel receptionist.
It wasn’t until 1980 with a little encouragement and the temptation of a very fair price from dad that I was tempted to buy investment property being my parents house in New Castle.
It was ground into me from my parents that unless you have the cash you do not buy any thing including their house. I have always been a good saver and was determined to buy the house so I started working a second job.
I became obsessed and really saved extra hard. It paid dividends, I bought the house and it was now my first investment property.
Being in New Castle, it was much cheaper than Sydney. I really didn’t have any grand investment ideas just a goal that I wanted to own my own house outright and to eventually retire with a good lifestyle.
I later bought a block of land in New Castle in a new development with the view that I would eventually build my
retirement house on it.
Life changed a little and I found myself with a job at the Hilton in Sydney. At first I paid rent and thought that this situation had to change.
I decided to sell my block of land in New Castle. I made more than a 50% gain and this coupled with my savings nest egg, I was able to buy a Bed-sit at Elizabeth Bay in Sydney in 1992.
It was only small and was not extravagant by any means but it was home and it was close to work and I could afford it without being stretched to the limit.
It was while I was working at the hotel that I met Tom through his work and discovered that we had mutual friends. Over time I found out that Tom was heavily into investment property and one day we sat down and I asked him how he did it. A coffee or two and quite some time later it all started to make sense.
It sounded good but I didn’t think I could actually do it because I really didn’t earn a big income even though I was working two jobs.
Tom drummed into me that now that I had some equity behind me that it was not what I earn but what I did with it.
I learnt that paying cash for investments is not always the best way to go and by borrowing money for an investment I wouldn’t have to pay all the mortgage by myself. The tenant would naturally help but also the taxman.
I must say I was very nervous at this concept because it was drummed into me that cash was the only way to go. Bad tenants were a concern of mine but anything up to and including the worse case could be covered by insurance.
I was keen to buy another property because I saw how much I had made already just from my block of land and I did absolutely nothing to it. I eventually decided to upgrade my New Castle investment to a 4 bed house. I then Let this to my sister which was good for me because I new I had a good tenant.
This worked out very well for both of us and all went as planned. My rent almost covered the payments and my tax refund at the end of the year was a nice surprise. I decided not to claim a weekly deduction because it was better for me to get a lump sum at tax time. It was sort of my way of a forced saving.
Borrowing money for investment no longer scared me because it was actually working for me.
I could see that I was making much more money through the growth in my properties than it was costing me to have them and thought that it was now time to upgrade my one bed sit in Sydney.
I did this in mid 1995. I gained almost a 100% profit on that place and bought a 2 bed unit that gave me more room a few suburbs further out from Sydney city. It was close to the train line and just a few stops to work.
For a long time I always thought it would be nice to retire in South West Rocks so in early 2000 I decided to buy a unit there because it was still in my price range. I figured I would just rent it out until I finished work and then make my way there and see if I really did think it would be the place to retire. If I didn’t like it I could always sell it and move back to New Castle or even Sydney.
The shift to Sth West Rocks came earlier than expected because in early 2003 I was told the Hilton was going to have a whole refurbishment done which really meant that I was out of a job while it closed down during refurbishment.
While I am not retired yet and do not plan to be for another 6 or 7 years I have now shifted here and have taken up a part time job.
Looking back I guess I have achieved everything that I set out for and more and it has been through the growth of my investment property that has done it for me. Having met Tom in Sydney all those years ago really gave me the inspiration and confidence that I could actually be an investor on barely an average income.
I have never earned any thing like a fortune but I have always saved and it has been using this money to borrow for something that goes up in value that has put me in the position I am today.
When I do decide to call it a day from work I will own 3 properties outright, have minimal expenses in life and be able to have a pretty good life style with the income from my properties in New Castle and Sydney.
I have no great ambition to buy more investment property but I never say never because if I can afford to buy again in a good location it always seems to go up in value. Who knows what opportunities might come up.
I know the share market might be an alternative to put some extra cash into but it seems way too erratic for my liking and I just see property as something that everybody has to have to live in every day.
In 6 or 7 years however it may just be time to fulfil a few travel ambitions that I have been harbouring for awhile. It is
something that is becoming a very real option as my investment plans come to fruition.
To be able to go away and know that my travel will be totally funded and better yet to come home and know that I will have a good passive income makes me very happy that I invested in property in the first place.
Greg through his actions has given me enormous satisfaction. Knowing his attitude and perceptions to investing and investment property in the early days and comparing it to what he has now achieved is nothing short of fantastic.
Greg has always been a great saver also. His attitude to paying for things, particularly consumer-able goods and services has been the starting place to what he has been able to achieve when he realised how he could actually be an owner of investment property on what he would call a very moderate income.
People learn in different ways of which I have explained in my book and Greg is a fine example.
I bought him an investment book that I thought might help him achieve what he wanted to do through investment property about 15 years ago. To this day I know it stands in pride of place but I am sure he has not yet completed reading it. I think it was all tooo easy to give me a call.
However, Greg also found out more of what he needed to through other people who actually had investment property and whom he respected because of it and therefore also gained his espect and became mentors and trusted advisors. In the end he did it and in the end he will achieve a self-funded retirement because of investment property.
Return from Greg Billet (this page) to Investor profiles
Return from Greg Billet (this page) to Wealth with Property home page