While other eight-year-olds were saving up their pocket money for toys, Brayden Currey was saving for his first property.
“My parents started investing before I was born, so I was lucky enough to grow up around it. I just enjoyed being around property and discussing it with my parents,” Brayden says.
Eleven years later, at the age of 19, Brayden felt ready to embark on his personal journey – on his own terms. He was determined to not receive help, which made it difficult at first to obtain finances.
“I was getting paid $8 an hour as a first-year landscape construction apprentice, and the second year wasn’t much better. So I only had a small deposit. I had no credit history, and being a young, single male meant I only had one income and was categorised as a risky spender,” he explains.
AT A GLANCE
Years investing: 6
Current number of properties in portfolio: 4
Portfolio value: $1.12m
“I had to go to a second-tier lender who would work with a 5% deposit, which meant a higher interest rate. This also meant I had to pay lenders’ mortgage insurance.”
To make the most out of the loan he was able to obtain, Brayden went for affordable properties within the $150,000–$200,000 range in the suburbs of Leichhardt and Riverview in the Ipswich region of Queensland. Both properties have seen strong growth in value over the last six years.
Not satisfied with just buying and holding, however, Brayden endeavoured to manufacture growth in his portfolio by trying his hand at renovating and developing.
In 2016, he completed his first flip on a house in Eastern Heights, Queensland, which he funded with the help of savings he built up while working as a real estate agent, as well as in landscaping and washing trucks in a mine. The project was a great success, increasing the value of the property by over $100,000 and allowing Brayden to take home a clear profi t of $45,000. It taught him important lessons about delegating work, sourcing good tradespeople and allocating costs wisely.
“I find that actually doing something always provides the best lessons for me. My first purchase taught me a lot about the process. My first flip taught me a lot about what to keep an eye out for repairwise during inspections,” he explains.
Indeed, his second flip of a Raceview house in Ipswich two years later, which he had purchased for only $215,000 – a price he negotiated due to building and pest problems – generated an even greater return. After all expenses were accounted for, his profit on this property was $50,000.
Adapting and learning
If Brayden had known what he does today, he believes he would have begun his investing journey differently and perhaps made his first investment with adding value in mind.
“I love renovations because the forced equity in the property is completely unrelated to market conditions. I like the control of being able to add value without having to cross my fingers and wait, hoping that everything in the world, which is out of my control, goes well.”
Nonetheless, he has no regrets, simply chalking up his decisions to what was necessary at the time, but he is happy that he was able to adjust early in his investment journey.
“I bought at the time to suit the plan I had. Now my plan has changed, and I’m pretty lucky that it was an easy enough pivot.”
At present, Brayden employs a buy, renovate and hold strategy, focusing on unit blocks.
“I realised residential loans were so limiting, I couldn’t possibly get to the scale I was working towards with these products, even if I was making $500,000 a year. Unit blocks with more than four units are eligible for commercial financing, where the property is treated much more like a business. They also generally offer a great rental return compared to other residential property types,” Brayden says.
He is also looking to subdivide his most recent investment, a house in Silkstone that he purchased with a partner.
“I’m currently learning a lot about development, town planners and council, among others, with this current project. My plans for the near future are to continue with short-term projects – flipping and developing to build the 25–30% deposits required for commercial financing to buy unit blocks,” he says.
“This isn’t to say the plan won’t change in the future. The world is constantly changing, and lending will no doubt change many more times. This is just the strategy that I see best suiting me in the current climate, so I’ll run with it until it’s no longer the best. Then I’ll adjust to what is!”
“My first purchase taught me a lot about the process. My first flip taught me a lot about what to keep an eye out for repairwise during inspections”
More than money
Today, Brayden looks at investing not just as a means to an end but as a goal in itself. However, that wasn’t always how he viewed things.
“Money was initially my focus. I loved making it, saving it and having as much of it as I could. The initial goal was to buy 100 houses so I could make money in my sleep,” he admits.
“Things have dramatically changed now. Property itself is the obsession, and money is a byproduct. I believe the drive from needing or wanting money is enough to get you started, but it isn’t enough to keep you going in the case of a life goal or mission. I was just lucky that property turned out to be it for me after the money motivation backed off.”
Brayden’s changed mindset has him looking more into the different things he can do with property.
“Each transaction is always about the next one. My goal is ensuring I have the increased equity, capital or cash flow to move on to the next project, where I’ll be able to compound that gain and develop my experience,” he explains.
“I don’t do it to improve my lifestyle or work towards an early retirement. To me it’s like a game or competition – the dollars are a simple way of measuring how successful I am each time. Everything I have done so far is insignificant to the projects I expect to do down the track.”
“Money was initially my focus. I loved making it, saving it and having as much of it as I could. The initial goal was to buy 100 houses so I could make money in my sleep”
At age 25, Brayden is looking forward to where he’ll be in 10 years’ time. His ultimate aim as a property investor is to have his own property fund to manage.
“I’ll make much less per deal, but I’ll have the opportunity to go through the process of investing and developing over and over again. I can also do much bigger and more complicated deals,” he says.
“Thirty-five is the age I’ve been excited about for a while now. I have felt that around that time my knowledge, experience and financial capability will come together!”
At just eight years of age, after watching his parents succeed as property investors, Brayden begins squirrelling away his pocket money with the goal of buying his fi rst property as soon as he can
The Leichhardt house was the first of two properties purchased when Brayden was just 19
Brayden’s Riverview property has gained $60k in value and earns an 8% yield
When still a teen at age 19, Brayden buys two houses in Leichhardt and Riverview in Ipswich, Queensland, as his fi rst investment properties. Both generate strong yields of 7–8% and have also recorded capital growth
Brayden spends a couple of years working in landscaping, at a mine, and as a real estate agent
Brayden got his first taste of renovating for profit when he added over $100k in value to his Eastern Heights property
With more money in his pocket, he tries his hand at flipping for the first time, of a property in Eastern Heights, Queensland, that he purchases for $212,500. The completed house sells for $330,000
The Brassall property has grown in value by over $90k in just two years
He purchases his third investment property in Brassall, Queensland, for just a little over $200,000, and reaps a 7.3% return from a weekly rent of $295
Brayden flipped his house in Raceview for a $50k profit after renovation
Brayden works on his second flip of a house in the Ipswich suburb of Raceview. He obtains the property for a song after discovering building and pest issues, and gains $50,000 in clear profit when the house sells for $330,000
Purchased for $180k, the Silkstone subdivision has almost doubled in value
He teams up with a partner to make his first foray into development. They buy a property in Silkstone, demolish the existing house and aim to subdivide the land into two lots, which are estimated to have a value of $160,000 each