She started her first job at KFC and was initially paid just $4.50 an hour, but the avid saver has now become a savvy real estate investor.
A Sydney woman who has worked as a nurse for 13 years has managed to build a $2.6 million real estate portfolio.
Anna Woolaston had been saving since she got her first job at the age of 15 at fast food giant KFC, where she initially earned $4.50 an hour.
“I’ve been quite lucky. My mother taught me about money from the moment I started working. She would say you worked really hard for four hours and made $20 and this dress is $20, do you see enough value in this dress to pay four hours of work for it? she said.
“She taught me how much value an item has compared to the time to get the money to pay for it and from an early age she taught me the value of investing money in things I would really appreciate.”
Five years ago, while working full-time as a nurse, she bought her first home – a two-bedroom apartment in Harris Park, a western suburb of Sydney, for $538,000.
Despite currently living in this apartment with her husband, it is the only purchase she is likely to regret in her real estate portfolio, although at the time she felt “authorized” to buy the property as a single woman.
“I think in hindsight I wish I had looked into continuing to rent and become a real estate investor rather than owning my own apartment. I think rentvesting is a really good way to build your wealth beyond having your own home,” she explained.
“In Australia, we rely on our own homes to grow in value and people are putting much of their financial future into their homes, while I think a lot of millennials are looking at rent-vesting and creating wealth by renting where they want to live and invest in real estate elsewhere.
“It’s a great option for securing your financial future outside of owning your own family home, it gives you options and the great thing about real estate is that it’s quite easy to leverage your properties and you can borrow from banks. and help create your wealth. †
The Harris Park apartment hasn’t increased in value since she bought it in 2017, but her other three properties haven’t.
Ms Woolaston’s next purchase, along with her husband, was a four-bedroom, two-bathroom house in Canberra, which they bought in May 2019 for $650,000, using savings and some equity from her apartment.
It has now increased in value to an estimated value of $975,000 and the couple rents it out for $597 a week.
This house was the one that set her on the path to real estate investment as the couple originally planned to move to Canberra and use it as a family home.
“It really started to grow in value a lot and I saw that the neighboring houses were selling way more than what we paid for our house,” she said.
“It made me very curious and I thought there was potential to grow our wealth and prepare us for our future. I became intrigued and curious about real estate investing as a means of capital growth and I started listening to podcasts and reading books on real estate investing.”
The 34-year-old stumbled upon InvestorKit buyers’ agency and used them to buy her next two properties.
This included a three-bedroom house in Adelaide, close to the coast and wineries, which the couple paid $450,000 for last April and are now renting it out for $390 a week. It has increased in value to $585,000.
“We were using our savings, but had only 10 percent plus purchase cost of savings, which was about $60,000 from memory, so we had an 88 percent loan-to-value ratio for the Adelaide purchase,” she said.
“We were willing to take on the lender’s mortgage insurance costs as a cost of doing business to gain access to a more expensive property in an area we liked.”
The other property was a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house in Toowoomba, Queensland, which they scored for $438,500 in December 2021. They used the equity of their home in Canberra to make the purchase.
It is currently rented for $380 per week and is valued at approximately $470,000.
Ms Woolaston said she knows it’s incredibly difficult to enter the property market after prices skyrocketed during the pandemic, but said renting is a necessity and she hopes it’s only a small minority of landlords who get a “bad rap” .
“I sympathize with people when they first try to enter the market, especially in the last year when you see the real estate market increasing at such a pace, and trying to save for a first deposit can feel like the market is running away ,” she said.
“It must be hard to watch and see and it’s discouraging. But I’m not sure if real estate investors are to blame – there are bigger picture and supply problems in the housing market and Covid is definitely putting pressure on building inventories and infrastructure building, leading to less supply.”
Real estate investing has also led to a career switch for Ms Woolaston, as have many others during the pandemic.
Over the course of her long career as a nurse, she held leadership roles from clinical nurse educator to cardiac consultant nurse, often in cardiac arrest, but now she works in real estate.
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