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of a property for a lot less.” In between
acquiring the properties that are currently
in their portfolio and undertaking projects
on them, Peter notes the couple has
bought and sold a few other properties –
including a waterfront unit at Bribie Island
they refurbished – for profits ranging from
$20,000 to $40,000.
Peter and Penny also made $70,000 on a
principal place of residence they bought
as their first home in Jacobs Well, in the
Brisbane-Gold Coast northern corridor,
and sold around 2007.
Peter has recently set up his own
real estate agency that operates in the
Moreton Bay region, something he
decided to do because he was “tired of
dealing with local property managers and
salespeople”, and the property managers
handle all of their properties. He doesn’t
work in it himself but holds the licence.
¿ STICKING TO WHAT YOU KNOW
All of the Lee’s investments are situated
in their local region of Moreton Bay, north
Peter says they’re comfortable investing
in this area primarily because they’re so
familiar with it, with Peter having grown
But that’s not the only reason – he says
it has plenty of growth to come and has
great diversity, from mountain ranges to
beaches, offering something for everyone.
“We travelled all the way around
Australia in 2009 in a caravan and
it’s the nicest place we know,” he
“There’s so much growth to come in
the area and it’s already growing fast. It’s
been going off like a frog in a sock!
“Having said that though it’s still a bit of
a secret, people don’t yet fully understand
how great the Moreton Bay region is and
the lifestyle it provides.”
Peter notes there are projects both under
way and earmarked for the area, which
will provide for its population growth,
which he says has already raced ahead of
most official projections.
Projects in the area include the North
Lakes development, which has residential
and commercial components; the planned
Caboolture west development, which will
feature a designated busway and up to
seven schools; and the northeast business
park at Morayfield, which will be an
important employment hub.
Plans are also in the pipeline for a
tertiary institute, possibly at Petrie, which
would be the Moreton Bay region’s first
standalone university and could cater for
9000 students by 2033.
“Hotspotting seems high risk to us, we
like to stick with what we know.”
¿ THE MOTIVATION FOR INVESTING
One of the biggest pieces of advice Peter
has for fellow investors is to identify what
your motivation is for investing.
“Ask yourself what it is you want from
investing,” he advises.
“If it’s just to make money, try to also
attach the reasons you want the money
for, as just making money is futile unless
there’s a reason you want it.
“We see property accumulation as a way
of providing for our family into the future,
even when I’m gone.”
In fact, Peter actually sees his property
investments as an investment in
“Everything is about creating time and a
better life for our family,” he declares.
“The whole reason I invest in property
family, so they can have a good life at the
end of the day.”
While Peter says property investing
hasn’t really changed their lives yet, he’s
hopeful it will in the future.
“We believe it will enable us to be able to
afford to send our children to great schools,
and we’ll also hopefully have more time to
spend as a family together,” he says.
While he could afford to retire now, Peter
says his target age is now 50, which is
eight years away.
“The GFC taught me that you need
to have more money behind you than
you think you’re going to need, and I’ve
readjusted my retirement plan according
to that,” he says. “I have a passion for
property investing though, so once I reach
the point where my current investments
start to mature and I’m financially free I’ll
be doing it more for fun.”
While Peter currently works hard on
his investments, he confesses that he’s
“motivated by laziness”.
“I work so hard now so I can do nothing
one day,” he says with a laugh.
Following in the footsteps of his own
parents, Peter intends to encourage his
own children – Chelsea, aged five; Lyvinia,
aged seven; and
Greg, aged 17 – to
invest in property,
as well as helping
them to get started.
“We plan on
giving our children
they’re of a certain
age,” he says.
“We’ll put them
into a blood-line
trust, so they’ll
from losing them
even if they have
don’t work out.” API
> Employ a good property manager. They save you more than they cost and enable you
to keep a distance from your tenants.
> Maintain a cash flow, have a slush fund and ensure every purchase puts you into a
stronger financial position daily. This will help your investments breed into others, but
you also need to make sure you have some surplus cash available in case you need to
fix something at one of your rentals or help cover a vacancy for a few weeks. Having a
bit of extra cash helps you sleep.
> Ask yourself what it is you want from investing. If it’s just to make money, try to also
attach the reasons you want the money, as just making money is futile unless there’s
actually a reason you want it.
> Learn the value of good advice. Everyone speaks from different experiences and has
different goals, so good advice can be different for different people.
> Learn the value of research and ensure you know enough about investing to tell the
difference between the good and bad. Knowing your area is a benefit. I believe what
the pros say about hotspotting being beneficial, but for those of us who want more
security, I like investing in my own region.
> A bit of diversity can be good to spread risk, although I’m yet to introduce this to my
portfolio. However, if you are good at your chosen path and your investments pay for
themselves, timing will be a better friend than diversity.
> Learn how to forecast different scenarios which could have very differing outcomes.
I learned to do this through simply using an Excel spreadsheet that very simply reflects
my investments. It’s amazing the amount of money you can save, or make, when
you forecast different courses of action into the future. Forecasting will also help you
manage your cash flow.
Peter’s top tips for investors
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