Couple’s trick to get six homes
A PENRITH couple who returned to Sydney broke after a world-trip and overseas wedding have turned their ailing finances around in just under three years and now own six homes.
The property portfolio of Megan Andrews, 32, and Jeremy Craig, 37, nets them almost $80,000 a year in gross rental income and is worth about $1.5 million.
And they've built it on average incomes and with what they say is a "different" approach to the housing market that saw them let go of more traditional notions of home ownership.
"We were once saving for a home close to where we live and it was taking a long time. We worried we'd never get there," Ms Andrews said.
A chance encounter with a financial planner changed the couple's view on the Aussie housing market and they decided to abandon the search for their "dream house" and snap up investment properties instead.
But first they had to claw their way out of debt. The couple had a lavish overseas wedding in South Africa and racked up additional debts on multiple travels around the world.
"We had to get rid of all our wasteful expenditure," Mr Craig said. "A lot of our money was going to things we didn't need."
With a strict savings plan locked into place, the couple then received invaluable help from Mr Craig's parents, who offered to let them draw equity from their mortgage as a loan to help fund their first deposit.
The couple used this to purchase a home in Ipswich in southeast Queensland, followed by another home in Toowoomba a few months later - both for about $420,000 each.
Both properties were dual occupancy, allowing the couple to get four homes for the price of two, along with four sources of rental income.
They sorted out accommodation for their own needs by buying and building a granny flat on Mr Craig's parents' property.
This allowed them to save even faster and they recently signed the paperwork on another dual occupancy property, this time in Redbank, an area between Ipswich and Brisbane.
The property includes two homes with a combined rental income of nearly $600 per week.
"We realised Queensland was a much better place to buy than Sydney," Mr Craig said. "There's more development and infrastructure coming. It was just better for growth."
Purchasing investment properties rather than a permanent home made the process of scaling the Aussie housing market considerably easier, the couple said.
"We were stuck in an old mentality. You work hard and eventually you pay off a house," Ms Andrews said. "We're not doing that anymore and the way we did it was so much easier than we expected."
The couple's financial mentor Graeme Holm of Infinity Group said most people in their 20s and 30s had an overly negative view of the housing market and had bought into the idea they would never be able to afford property.
"All that stuff about smashed avo, it's a load of rubbish," Mr Holm said. "All it takes is old fashioned budgeting. You've got to go back to basics, save hard, and delay gratification a bit.
"A lot of people struggle with that today because we live in a society of instant gratification and no one wants to put money aside."
Mr Holm added that younger buyers needed to get realistic expectations.
"You may feel trapped out of the market if your expectations were not all that realistic. If you aspire to live in Bondi by the water, you might feel pushed out of a home but you're better off starting with what you can afford."
Originally published as Couple's trick to get six homes