Home' API Magazine : July 2014 Contents 10
In the hotseat
API JULY 2014
JULY 2014 API
API gets up close and personal with Australian Property Investor’s
new editor, Nicola McDougall.
Congratulations on your new job – how are you finding it so far?
It’s all going swimmingly and I can’t think of a better place for me
to be as I close in on nearly a decade in property journalism. API
is an institution, not only among our readers, but also real estate
journos and property professionals. To be given an opportunity to
lead the magazine as it continues to go from strength to strength
has really been a dream come true for me.
All API readers love property so tell us, what made you fall in
love with property?
Property has been in my blood since birth as my grandfather
successfully invested in commercial capital city land many decades
before I took my first breath. My father was also a successful
investor in my native New Zealand and was able to create wealth
and, now, a wonderful retirement through property investing.
I had a strong desire to buy property for many years, but I also
had a craving to head overseas and get into adventures before I
settled down. My adventurous spirit won out for about a decade.
But my carefree nature is still there and I guess I now have the
ability to travel in more style than I did once before, courtesy of
Where do you invest and why do you invest?
I own investment properties in inner-Brisbane, where I also live.
I actually travelled around Australia in a Kombi when I was in my
20s, which means I have been to most regions of this great land.
While I’ve lived in Brisbane for more than a decade now, I have
also lived in Toowoomba, in Fremantle and Kununurra in Western
Australia, and in the UK.
Having travelled so much means I know many regions quite
well. I’m a big fan of ‘hipster’ inner-city locations such as Fitzroy in
Melbourne, Newtown in Sydney, and West End in Brisbane to live
in and invest. I’ll likely concentrate on these areas into the future
for their assured capital growth and robust demand from tenants.
What do you look for in a property?
As I was a tenant for many years before I became an investor, I
generally look for a property that I would rent myself, or one which
could be renovated to a high standard.
While I invest on only one income, I’ve always tried to buy the
best property I could afford and one as close to the city as possible.
As I mentioned, I have been analysing the property market for
many years now, and did buy a top-floor inner-city apartment in
the depths of the GFC while also holding my breath somewhat.
That property now has a gross yield of 5.6 per cent. Another
property, which I bought in early 2007, has a yield of 6.6 per cent.
What would be your dream property?
I would have to say I would love to find a cute two-bedroom
cottage in West End, which has a bit of land for me to plant a
garden. I would also like to get a little dog, maybe a pugalier, to
hang out with me.
My ability to tend to the garden is debatable, and these types
of properties are very tightly held, but I guess that’s why it’s my
dream property. To live in myself, I generally prefer properties
with history. It must be the storyteller in me.
What’s your number one piece of advice when it comes
I have two pieces of advice. Don’t over-extend yourself financially
and do your research. It can be easy to get caught up in the ‘fever’
of property investing and not wanting to miss a great deal, but you
should always calculate your numbers with contingency plans for
unexpected out-of-pocket expenses. Research is also key. Compare
and contrast data, and don’t just follow one person’s advice – no
matter how impressive their sales pitch may be.
What are your hobbies?
I am a writer first and foremost so I do write in my spare time as
well as during the working week. I’ve been meaning to write a
screenplay for nearly 18 months after doing a master class at NIDA
but always seem to find other things to occupy my time.
I’m also a devotee of Latin dance as well as French and Spanish
films, which are often the things that I do when I should be writing
What are your goals for 2014?
My goal this year is to find that elusive cottage. I also want to
pay down some of my debts to free up more of my income for
Ideally, I would also like to purchase another investment
property in an area with solid capital growth potential, and
preferably in an area that hasn’t already achieved spectacular
price increases, to continue to shore up my financial future.
My other goal is to remember to take the time to appreciate the
sunflowers and everything else that life has to offer.
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