Nuttakit Leung lived in a granny flat belonging to a friend for many years. It reduced his living expenses substantially – at one stage he was living on just $90 a week. His simple living arrangement and bare basics philosophy have helped the Melbourne-based investor build a portfolio of four investment properties over just as many years.
Once he realised Sydney and Melbourne were too expensive for his budget, Nuttakit looked to more affordable markets. “I bought my first investment property in Mowbray, Tasmania in the middle of 2015 for $177,500, and my second property in Bridgewater, Tasmania at the end of 2015 for $190,000,” he says.
Both properties were cash-flow positive, the first earning him $130 a week after expenses. He was able to use that money to accrue deposits for further investments in Morayfield, Brisbane and Tasmania’s Brooklyn.
Nuttakit emphasises the importance of investing in quality assets, something he’s managed to achieve thanks to mentoring he received through Real Wealth Australia. “There’s nothing worse than purchasing the wrong property when you’re investing in real estate because it’s such a costly mistake to fix,” he says.
But he advises wannabe investors to be flexible when it comes to choosing property. This doesn’t need to mean living somewhere dilapidated or unsafe, he says, but insists a little short term pain for long term gain is key as each small saving adds up.
Saving $50 on rent or $20 on an electricity bill doesn’t sound like much, but over the course of a year or two, you can bank some serious cash to be used towards a property deposit.
Knowing when to refinance
Key to his success has been refinancing. At one stage, he was able to drop his interest rate by 0.35%, which amounts to annual savings of $1,750 on a $500,000 loan. Across four properties, his savings were even greater.
He also made sure to manage his money in a way that best suited his needs. Nuttakit believes the best strategy is to have one loan with an offset account into which your salary is paid to reduce the interest payable. He sticks with basic redraw facilities on his other investment loans.
“This way, I avoid the annual fees that come with an offset facility on other loans, while still being able to take advantage of the interest savings an offset offers,” he says.
You don’t need to become a total skinflint to get ahead in property, he adds – but you do need to have a handle on your finances and stick to a budget.
“By separating your wants from your needs, you can come up with a realistic budget that allows a little splurge, but still allows you to invest.”
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