At first Ryan Beck just wanted a retirement to look forward to.
“My initial reason for investing in property was to create a diversified retirement plan alongside my superannuation. Despite having a good job with an above-average income, I always felt a strong desire to plan for my future and invest in assets,” he explains.
AT A GLANCE
Years Investing: 4
Current number of properties: 11
Current portfolio value: $4.275m
“I was lucky enough to work with a couple of people who were investing in property at the time, and they introduced me to the idea of increasing my long-term wealth through real estate.”
After saving for about four years, Ryan settled his first property, located in Adelaide’s Evanston Park, for $400,000 in March 2016. He was 28 at the time and used his personal savings, squirrelled together over a number of years, to finance the deposit.
“The X factor of this property was that it had two separate dwellings on the one title, which could be subdivided. Through research, I had been learning about the process involved in building a duplex, and I knew the general process involved in a simple two-in-to-one subdivision from a top-line perspective,” he explains.
“I phoned the local council’s town planner and asked if the property could be subdivided, to which they answered yes.
I invested an additional $20,000 into the subdivision process, which included council, land surveyor and legal costs,” he explains. “Therefore, all up, this fi rst investment cost me $82,000 in cash.”
As he prepared for his next investment, Ryan recognised that he needed to learn more about the industry.
“I continued to develop my knowledge through books, podcasts, magazines and YouTube videos. I also began to speak with buyers’ agents to leverage their experience and further expand my knowledge base,” he says.
His first foray into property had proved successful, with his Evanston Park subdivision generating $260,000 in equity; to this day, it remains Ryan’s most successful investment. It also informed his overall direction as an investor when he chose to focus his strategy on creating equity through subdivision, strata titling, building duplexes, renovation and rebuilding.
Ryan’s second investment in Armidale, NSW, was a strata-titling project that took nine months to complete and generated big equity. His third property in the Maitland suburb of Thornton was a duplex development that gained nearly $200,000 in equity.
“I believe that an equity creation focused strategy has been important for me to grow a portfolio during the current market conditions, such as the peaking of the Sydney and Melbourne markets and the present lending environment.”
His most recent purchase in Ormiston, Queensland, is set to be his first splitter-block knock-down rebuild project.
“Each project I have undertaken has been different from the last. I have continued to expand my knowledge base, and I have worked on projects that I believe I have the capability to complete successfully through leveraging the team of experts I pay to be involved, including buyers’ agents, land surveyors, accountants and building and pest inspectors,” he explains.
“An investor with one to two years’ experience in completing a subdivision, duplex build and renovation might appear risky on face value, but the risk is reduced by working with a team that has completed such projects time and time again in the past.”
He also conducts studies on the feasibility of each equity creation project, and gets quotes from tradies and for materials.
“My end goal has evolved as my knowledge base and experience with property has developed.
Although I was initially looking to achieve a stable and diversified retirement income, my aim has now become more crystallised and specific,” Ryan explains.
“I am working towards an annual passive income of $300,000 for my family and me to be achieved within the next 19 years, when I turn 50.”
“I believe that an equity creation focused strategy has been important for me to grow a portfolio during the current market conditions”
Staying on top
Despite his strong start, Ryan’s journey has not been perfect, and he admits that a few mistimed decisions did affect his portfolio.
“One of my earliest purchases was an off -the-plan property in Southbank, Melbourne. I had purchased at the incorrect stage of the cycle, and as such, none if little growth could be achieved. This was at a time when I had little education,” he says.
Another hard lesson came when Ryan worked with a finance broker who lacked the experience he needed for the situation.
“I have a couple of finance rejections on my record now because simple mistakes were made on my application, which could have been avoided.”
With the wisdom and experience Ryan has gained since then, his criteria for determining a good investment has become more focused. He takes into consideration his end goal as an investor, how the property fits into his strategy, and where the market is at the time, based on resources like Herron Todd White, CoreLogic and other data sources.
“I have a preference for countercyclical investing so that I have less competition. This means that I can hopefully negotiate a better sales price, complete the project to create equity, and refi nance to recycle my capital – all before an intended second wind hits the market through the now-primed timing of the market cycle.”
By buying in five different states, Ryan has diversified his portfolio to capitalise on several markets. In the near future, he plans to stretch himself further by buying his first commercial property through his SMSF. In the meantime, he continues to manage a digital marketing agency as his day job, using his experience in this field to look after his portfolio.
"I have direct experience with P&L [profit and loss] accounts, cash flow forecasts and end-of-financial-year accounting. Each month, I spend time updating my property portfolio P&L, as well as updating my cash flow forecast,” Ryan says.
“By being three months ahead in my cash flow situation, I can make informed decisions about new property acquisitions and property improvements, without putting myself under unnecessary financial risk.”
With his rebuild project in Ormiston underway and big plans for the future, including buying a principal place of residence, the sky’s the limit for this young man.
“I believe I’ve had a positive start to my investing journey, growing a portfolio of 11 properties and one block of land in under four years from a self-funded initial deposit!”
Ryan has diversified across SA, NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and Queensland
“I am working towards an annual passive income of $300,000 for my family and me to be achieved within the next 19 years, when I turn 50”
(click for larger image)
On his 28th birthday, Ryan spots an advertisement for what will become his first and most successful investment property in Evanston Park, SA. He makes an offer of $400,000 after determining that the property can be subdivided.
The subdivision project is successful, generating over $200,000 in equity. Ryan refinances the property and, following a period of studying the market, picks up his second and third investments, two duplexes in the NSW suburbs of Armidale and Thornton.
He commences a strata-titling project in Armidale and develops the Thornton duplex over the next two years.
Ryan buys an off -the-plan apartment in Southbank, Victoria, which, in retrospect, he believes was an unwise decision given the limited growth prospects and few options to add value. To counter this, he completes a profitable project in Armidale and boosts his equity.
The Thornton duplex is finished and generates $190,000 in equity. Ryan also purchases his first house in Prospect, a suburb of Launceston, Tasmania, after looking into the area’s long-term potential.
Ryan makes his first Queensland investment – a piece of land in Ormiston that he intends to do a rebuild on.
RYAN’S ADVICE FOR NEW INVESTORS
- Create an end goal with a time frame attached, whether that’s passive income or a dollar amount in cash profits that can be spent, for example, on improving your lifestyle or sending your children or grandchildren to college.
- Meet with professionals like property strategists, finance brokers, solicitors and tax specialists to put together a well-rounded property investment team and expand your knowledge.
- Define your strategy step by step and set milestones to help you track your progress.