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Back in December 2009 when
Matthew Mandl featured in
Australian Property Investor as a
Young Gun, the Townsville-based investor
was a Captain in the Australian Army
who had a passion for renovations.
He’d bought and spruced up a handful
of properties, experienced some success
from a profit perspective and hoped to
continue down that path.
“(I’ve written) a business plan to go
into property renovations full-time when
I have financial support from my rental
properties,” he told us at the time.
Four years ago, his portfolio consisted of
a two-bedroom unit in Townsville’s CBD,
a block of three units in the nearby suburb
of Currajong and a three-bedroom house
in Hermit Park to the southeast of town.
In the period after his story went to
print, the Queenslander expanded his
local holdings with a unit in West End and
a house in Vincent.
“My portfolio looks a bit different these
days,” Matthew, now 30, explains. “I
sold the West End unit, sold the block
of three units and also got rid of the
The reasons for offloading those assets
are varied – mainly consolidation, the
ability to explore other opportunities
and debt reduction. Another driver was
Matthew’s inability to sell the Hermit
Park house that he’d renovated. When
reflecting on that deal, he says he “nearly
got burnt pretty badly”.
“We bought it just after the GFC came
along, renovated it and tried to sell to
realise the profit. It became clear pretty
quickly that we weren’t going to get our
After buying the property for $305,000
and spending $30,000 on a cosmetic
renovation that included a new kitchen,
an extra bathroom, paint, flooring and a
well as no longer doing renovations,
and never planning to again, Matthew
has completely reassessed his
If not for the GFC and a subsequent
flattening of the Townsville market,
Matthew might’ve continued with his
buy, add value and sell approach.
Instead, he has shifted his focus to a
long-term buy and hold strategy, with a
view to picking up properties with good
growth drivers and never selling them.
“I don’t miss being on the tools, to be
honest. It’s a lot easier having a day job
and being able to leave your investments
to tick over as set-and-forgets.”
In the past two years, he has added
to his portfolio with a newly built one-
bedroom unit in Belgian Gardens in
Townsville and a two-bedroom house in
Wallan in Victoria.
“Given my new job and a desire to
reduce tax, the new unit offered good
The Hermit Park house - before
minor reconfiguration of the floor plan, he
hoped it’d sell for around $360,000.
“It didn’t. We got a few offers but they
were around $345,000 so we made the
decision to hang onto it.”
While he didn’t sell, he did gain an
upshot from that experience.
“I didn’t use an agent for the sale – I did
it myself, including the open homes. A
local realtor came through for a look one
day and we got talking. The following
Monday I had a call from the agency’s
principal saying that he’d heard about me
and what I was doing and asked me to
come in for a chat.”
That chat became a job interview and
two weeks later Matthew began his new
career as a real estate agent.
The timing was perfect, as he’d been in
the final stages of discharging from the
Army and “didn’t have much else to do”.
Three years on, he couldn’t be happier.
That’s not the only big change. As
A TOTAL CHANGE
Some moving goalposts, a shift in strategy, a few challenges and a new career...
things have certainly changed since API last caught up with Matthew Mandl.
The Hermit Park house - after
THE NUMBERS | MATTHEW MANDL
$232,000 March 2007 $280,000 $300 $225,000 $55,000
$300,000 $330 $260,000 $40,000
$240,000 April 2013
WHERE ARE THEY NOW? // MATTHEW MANDL
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