Home' API Magazine : October 2014 Contents OCTOBER 2014 n APIMAGAZINE.COM.AU n 61
he benefits of buying real estate in
a depressed market are numerous;
prices are cheap, competition is
minimal, listings are abundant and the
potential profits to be made when the market
inevitably recovers can be significant.
The strategy is called ‘counter-cyclical
investing’ and the logic behind it is easy
to understand. But to see it through takes
courage; the kind of courage you probably
wouldn’t expect to find in a struggling
international student new to Australia.
As the headline on Gautam Kulkarni’s first
story in API back in 2008 read, this is an
investor who goes “with his gut”.
When we first met him six years ago, he
had three properties – his home and two
investments. A decent achievement when
you consider he came to Australia as a
19-year-old with a $60,000 debt that he had
to repay while studying an IT degree.
Since he first featured in this magazine
he’s added another two investments to his
portfolio, giving him four properties across
the western Sydney suburbs of Quakers
Hill, St Marys, Rouse Hill and Glendenning,
and another one in East Maitland, north
nA FATHER’S LEGACY
Gautam thanks his late father for the resolve
he has to achieve financial independence.
“One day my father came to me with a
piece of advice and said ‘success comes to
those who dare and act, and seldom goes to
the timid’. These words have resonated in my
mind since a young age,” he tells API.
“I come from a middle-class family where
every cent earned is a daunting task. My
father, a legendary figure, decided to sacrifice
his life insurance policy as collateral security
and take a loan for $60,000 so that my fees
and expenses would be taken care of.”
Coming to Australia was a dream come
true for Gautam, but the pressure to excel at
his degree and repay the loan sat heavily on
his young shoulders.
“Life as an international student is full of
struggle and pressure,” he says.
“Part-time work, at times living on burgers
for months, working around the clock to
ensure that the loan amount was paid, was
life for me.”
nTHE LIGHTBULB MOMENT
In April 2005, Gautam received the sad news
from his family in India that his father – “my
support and inspiration” – had passed away
from a massive heart attack.
“I was gutted and almost in depression,”
He immediately made plans to return to
India for the funeral.
“During the rituals I saw a young girl in the
streets who didn’t have food to eat and was
begging me for money and food. She was
sleeping on the streets.
“When I saw that I realised how lucky I was
to have the basic needs of life – food, shelter
and clothing. From that day I realised the
importance of these three things and now I
never take life for granted.”
It’s now Gautam’s mission in life to
become financially independent, not just
for himself and his family, but so he can
also provide shelter to the community’s
With this in mind, he made a point of
associating with successful investors in the
hope their skills and knowledge would rub
off on him. It worked.
In 2006 his colleagues had filled him with
enough courage to buy his first property – a
three-bedroom townhouse in Quakers Hill.
This was to be, and still is today, Gautam’s
principal place of residence.
The real test of courage came with his next
purchase, as this property was being bought
strictly for investment purposes.
Although the two-bedroom villa in East
Maitland, which set him back $269,000,
hasn’t lived up to expectations, Gautam has
found the experience valuable through the
lessons it has taught.
“As it was my first investment property I
was struggling to make my mind up to take a
step to invest in property,” he says.
“ The market wasn’t in great shape and
interest rates were very high. The vibes in
the market weren’t that good and it took
me a while to convince myself to commit to
buying the property.
“I was quite new in property investment
and my research on the suburb wasn’t
up to par. There was a big future for the
Lower Hunter in 2008 when I bought the
property, but due to the GFC most of the
Gautam Kulkarni moves from India
to Melbourne to study a Bachelor of
Degree complete, Gautam joins a
telecommunications company as an IT
Gautam relocates to Sydney to work as a
project manager at a finance company.
The first property – a three-bedroom
townhouse in Quakers Hill – is purchased.
Gautam acquires property number two,
a two-bedroom villa in East Maitland.
In the midst of the GFC, Gautam adds
a two-bedroom villa in St Marys to
Gautam purchases a four-bedroom house
in Rouse Hill.
Settlement goes through on a three-
bedroom house in Glendenning, taking
Gautam’s portfolio to five properties.
Gautam Kulkarni n WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
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