It was at this point that he began to get more serious about his investing and started fine tuning his purchasing strategy.
Mr Gordon aims to add value to his investments with small renovations.Source:Supplied
“I did lots of reading,” he said. “The strategy was to buy under market value and have the chance to manufacture equity or cash flow.”
This meant looking for properties similar to his Wollongong unit – homes priced below comparable properties and offering scope for improvement through a renovation.
The rents also needed to be high relative to the purchase price so that the mortgage repayments did not eat up his income.
“There will always be people who need to sell in a hurry and for whatever reason will accept a lower price if it means they can get the property off their hands quickly … if you have good relationships with agents you can find them.”
With this strategy in mind, his next property was a block in the Southern Highlands town Moss Vale, which he purchased for about $135,000 and improved with a renovation.
Before: a house Mr Gordon purchased in Adelaide.Source:Supplied
After: The Adelaide property was renovated, giving Mr Gordon enough equity to leverage into his next purchase.Source:Supplied
He used about $22,000 of the equity in his Wollongong property (by refinancing the loan) to fund the deposit.
“I had manufactured equity in my unit so the banks were happy to lend,” Mr Gordon said.
“I got the (Moss Vale) block at a great price. At the time the Sydney market was not moving and there were a lot of stale listings so I negotiated on heaps of stuff … I went into the deal already having a margin and added value.”
He used a variation of this strategy for most of his subsequent purchases – including 11 properties in Adelaide, seven in Brisbane, three in Perth and additional properties in the Southern Highlands.
Each successful purchase was used to “leverage” into the next. “When you manufacture equity and the cash flow is high, it is easier to keep getting loans,” he said.
By 28, Mr Gordon owned 18 properties and had enough passive income from his rents to quit his job. He then travelled the world for a few months while deciding what to do next.
He eventually established a buyer’s agency based in Wollongong known as Australian Property Scout and has worked as a real estate professional since.
He said anyone could replicate his success. “The key is do your research. You need to learn the market really well and ascertain the value of what you want to buy.
“Most inexperienced buyers rush their decisions. They push really hard and go all out without doing their due diligence. Often they paid too much because they didn’t understand what the property was worth.”
Mr Gordon said overpaying was common in instances where the buyers had originally been searching in a more expensive market and, after being outpriced, moved to a new location.
“They pay the same prices, not realising how much cheaper the next market is,” he said.
Mr Gordon added that agents tended to employ a common bluff by claiming they had received additional offers on properties when there were none.
Sam Gordon’s first property was a unit in this Wollongong apartment block.Source:Supplied
“It could be a ghost contract,” he said. “Be careful what you offer. Make sure it is based on comparable sales, not what the agent wants.
“You have to stick to your guns. If you put the offer in writing then the agent, under law, has to submit it. That’s often forgotten.”
Mr Gordon also attributed his successes to being prepared to invest interstate. Many of his best buys were in Adelaide – a market often overlooked by investors on the eastern seaboard. These markets have since become a lot more popular and the rises in local prices have given him even more equity.
SAM GORDON’S INVESTMENT STRATEGY
-Buy properties with high rents relative to the mortgage costs to keep cash flow high and out of pocket expenses low
-Buy “under market value” to have equity from the beginning
-Consider properties where there is scope to add value so that you can “manufacture” equity
-Use each purchase to leverage into the next by refinancing and drawing out the “manufactured” equity as a deposit
-Only use 20 per cent deposits to ensure banks will issue the loan. It also gives more of a safety net for any interest rates rises
-Approach second and third tier lenders, who generally have a higher risk appetite and are more likely to issue loans when you already have other commitments
-Buy interstate: Mr Gordon purchases all his properties in or around capital cities and spreads his purchases across multiple states
Originally published asLabourer buys 26 homes using same trick