Koren admits she had a lot of fear about property investing but it wasn’t from a lack of research. It was because she had never bought an established property before.
Her and husband, Dennis, had built two houses together over the past two decades, which they’d lived in and raised their two daughters.
Dennis got into investing early, though, as he was the proud owner of a block of land on the Central Coast before he was even 20. He then bought another block in Newcastle and when he met Koren a few years later they decided to build a home there.
But Koren wasn’t overly keen on the location – because she was a local and Dennis was not.
“We’d only just started going out when he bought the block of land (in Medowie). I didn’t have any input into it. He hadn’t grown up in Newcastle so he thought that suburb was the best thing going,” she says.
“Six years later I said that the girls weren’t going to the local school here, we need to move back to over where I grew up.”
The house that Koren built
The couple sold that property and built another house in a suburb that Koren approved of, which is where the family still lives.
Koren says that they’d thought about property investment more than a decade ago but the timing just wasn’t right.
“We built the second house and we’ve been here for 12 years. He didn’t get much input into this one. He’d had his chance,” she says.
“When we just moved in here we started to go, ‘We really should do something’. The girls were only young when we moved in here so the timing was wrong. Then we kind of put it in the too hard basket.”
And that’s where it stayed until Koren’s brother made a suggestion that would set the couple on a path to property investment.
He’d recently bought in Melbourne and was effervescent in his property investment experience, but Koren says she was still scared of the concept even though as a sole trader she knew she had to do something to make up for her low superannuation balance.
“We’ve only ever built so I’ve got no idea what it’s like to buy a property,” she says.
“Then I started playing around on the internet. I got a bit of a feel for it there and then I started looking at homes around here but I was still really scared.
“For the money that I wanted to spend, I was mainly looking at townhouses and units. Just when you think you’ve got your head around it, someone else will come in and jump on you and tell you that is wrong. So, I thought this is becoming too hard.”
A fortunate connection
Koren and Dennis attended a few seminars, which luckily she identified as the domain of property spruikers – an experience that didn’t help her overcome her investing fear.
Then she came across a mortgage broker in Sydney via an online property forum and the pair were soon sitting opposite him.
“I took days off work and we went and met him and he planted the seed of Propertyology because I had never heard of them,” she says.
“He said, “I can see that you’re really nervous and you don’t know where to buy. Have you heard of Propertyology?”
Not long later, Koren touched base with the team and was in discussions with Propertyology’s Head of Property Acquisitions, Bryan Loughnan.
Still, she says she was a little hesitant – especially when Bryan flagged the possibility of investing in a different state.
“I really didn’t like it. I really felt uncomfortable about buying outside of my little area. Even outside of two hours away because I thought I really needed to see this property,” she says.
“It wasn’t until we had the two-hour phone call with Bryan right at the very beginning, before we’d even signed any papers to say we’re doing this, and he said, ‘Why do you need to see the property?’
“I haven’t seen the property and I’m OK with that because of all the things that they do I feel as though I have been through the property.”
Another step in Koren’s property investment education was learning about what renters want, because she had never been one herself.
She’d only every lived in owner-occupied homes, you see.
“I’ve never rented before either so I don’t know what people expect. I’ve only ever lived in brand-new houses,” she says.
Fear no more
It’s fair to say that Koren has had to climb a few emotional property mountains to get to the position she is in today. And that’s one with a quality investment property – located in a different state and one that she hasn’t physically seen.
The couple had a budget of $350,000 and couldn’t believe it when Bryan secured them a three-bedroom home, two-bathroom home for just $269,000.
The property had originally been listed for offers over $300,000 and then offers over $279,000.
“When Bryan rang and said we’d got it for $269,000, you could’ve pushed me over with a feather because I really thought it would be over $279,000.
“We were like, ‘We won’t get a house under $300,000’ because I’m used to living in Newcastle. You might buy a block of land for that price here but not a house.”
The property, which has a formal rent appraisal of $310 to $320 per week, also has a ready-made tenant with the vendor leasing it back for six months.
Koren can’t quite believe that she overcame her fear of investing to become a landlord. In fact, she says she didn’t really feel much on settlement day – a far cry from the days when she researched so much she almost gave herself analysis paralysis.
The whole process was easy, she says, and it’s one that she’s actually looking forward to doing again in the future.
“As for how do you buy a property? I still have no idea because Bryan and the team did it. It was very easy,” she says.
“If I hadn’t chosen that broker, he wouldn’t have recommended Propertyology and we wouldn’t be having this conversation now because we wouldn’t have an investment property. If it that first seed wasn’t planted, I wouldn’t have found Propertyology because the second one is going to be so much easier.”