The Sydneysider purchased his first place at age 19 while at university and now has eight properties, including one worth $1.9 million.
Alex Veljancevski purchased his first home at just age 19 and has gone on to build a property portfolio worth $5.2 million, which recently allowed him to buy his dream family home in Sydney’s inner west.
When other teenagers would most likely be relying on their parents, he launched his own business selling cameras sourced from Hong Kong. These were shipped straight to the buyer from his supplier for around $500 less than the major retailers back in 2006.
It saw him at just 16 cashed up with thousands of dollars to his name. He invested some of the profit into shares and also saved up a deposit of $80,000 from the money he made in the business.
Then at 19 he made his first move into the property world with the purchase of a three bedroom, two bathroom apartment in Sydney’s south west in the suburb of Liverpool.
“The owner that sold it to me paid the same amount nine years prior. It made no growth in that eight or nine years as the previous owner bought it at the peak of the market in 2002 and I bought it in 2010 when the market went sideways for about eight years,” he told news.com.au.
While rent has only increased by $40 to $440 in the last 12 years, Mr Veljancevski said his interest rates have also dropped from 7.5 per cent to 2 per cent.
The unit, which is now worth $600,000, is privately managed and still has the same tenant in it from 2010.
“I was a kid when I bought and that’s the last time I saw it. I haven’t done any inspections in all that time,” he admitted.
It didn’t take him long to snap up his next property – eight months later he purchased the penthouse apartment in the same Liverpool complex as his first home.
Spread over two floors, he paid $361,000 for it using the equity from the first place, and it’s now worth $650,000.
Six properties in two years
The 31-year-old then went on a spending spree over two years adding six new properties to his portfolio between 2015 and 2016.
But he also changed strategies — looking to the Queensland market as Sydney property prices went nuts.
“The first property was a mortgagee sale in south Brisbane and it went for $260,000 and was renting for $330 a week at the time. It’s a freestanding house that I purchased and the yield was about 6.5 per cent,” he explained.
“What attracted it to me was the price point but the fact that the proximity to Brisbane was about 20kms from the city. That suburb was close to more desirable suburbs, where the median house price was about $400,000 to $450,000, so that showed that although this particular suburb wasn’t ideal at present it did have characteristics of potential change.”
That house is now worth $375,000 and Mr Veljancevski continues to rent it out.
The mortgage broker than nabbed a property halfway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast in the Logan area for $305,000 at auction – but it was the zoning that really sealed the deal on this one.
“It’s 500 metres from train station in the centre and it’s a great location,” he said.
“The property itself is nothing flash but it’s the opportunity of the land it’s on having zoning for apartments to be built, which was also happening in neighbouring streets.”
The property has added over $100,000 in value jumping up to $415,000, although Mr Veljancevski has not yet made any moves to develop it.
Next up he went for something a bit more premium, a house in a “nicer” suburb in the Logan region paying $320,000 for features including three bedroom, two bathroom, a double garage and 640 sq m of land.
“It’s valued at $430,000 now and it was just a buy and hold in nicer a suburb … It didn’t have that extra x factor in terms of zoning, but it was a good property, fairly newly built in the 2000s, wasn’t too old and still had some depreciation benefit with $370 rent a week,” he said.
“The demographic of the suburb was a bit more premium than others so it was about diversification.”
His fourth QLD purchase was based on the same strategy, a house in the same suburb with similar characteristics which he scored for $306,000 and it’s now worth $410,000.
Then the property mogul decided to go coastal.
He had his eye on Deception Bay, a coastal suburb in the Moreton Bay region of QLD. It was there he snapped up his best performing property in the Sunshine State, although he notes he had to act fast.
“I have a relationship with the real estate agent but I made a decision on the same day,” he said.
He spent $370,000 on a property on 950 sq m of land, which also had zoning to be developed into apartments.
“It had a great combination in terms of location and being so close to the water, the zoning was right, it was renting for $410 from day one and it’s best performing out of all of them as it’s now valued at $550,000,” he said.
“It hasn’t been developed but it has a lot of characteristics of developments and having that zoning it has that extra potential. But it has four bedroom, a three car garage, two bathrooms, two living rooms – it’s a huge house and it was great value as it was off market.
“I had relationships with real estate agents back then. I was constantly hassling them and had finance approved, so they were contacting me first as I knew I was ready to act if they had a property that suited.”
His final QLD property was also in Deception Bay, where he picked up a four bedroom, one bathroom, one garage house for $325,000, which has now jumped in value to $460,000.
A Sydney ‘steal’
All this property investment led him to his dream home in Sydney which he purchased when the pandemic first hit last year.
“It’s on a street I’ve looking at buying on for a very long time and there was never a property that went for sale. When Covid hit, one of local real estate agents told me about it. I thought it was the worst timing ever but it ended up being best timing ever,” he said.
“But when I was looking at purchasing it the whole world was ending and there was so much uncertainty, but with the opportunity and location I couldn’t say no, so proceeded as soon as I saw it.”
Mr Veljancevski, who got married last year, has plans to knock down the current place and build his own property from scratch on it. He purchased the inner west property for $1.35 million.
“I was s**t scared buying it at that price when Covid had just hit but looking back now what a steal … as its now valued at $1.9 million,” he said.
“Obviously the price growth in Sydney has created a bit of equity in my other properties that I can leverage on that for the build, but more so, it did allow me to purchase an owner occupier property and build a new home in Sydney, which is difficult to do in a time like this when buying property in Sydney is becoming a difficult to achieve.”
The director of Eventus Financial said he doesn’t think about owning millions of dollars in property, but he’s “stoked” to be building his dream home.
“The reason why I started investing in property is I had a long term goal that would allow me to do one day purchase my dream home and I had a goal that by 30 I wanted to purchase an owner occupier property in Sydney,” he said.
“I knew had to put the right foundations in and my dad is a coal worker but always invested in property and I saw he what he has achieved.”
How to build a property portfolio
For others looking to become property investors, he recommends thinking of it as a long game rather than fixating on the idea that buying will achieve great growth immediately in the short term.
“Properties are a boring type of investment and it’s about purchasing and holding on to it and nothing happens for a long time and it achieves wealth over time – it is a long term investment, you have to be patient and the earlier you start the better,” he said.
He also advises surrounding yourself with the right experts such as an accountant to advise you on the tax implications of investment properties and how to get the highest tax deductions.
There’s also a mortgage broker who can help you understand how to structure loans and why putting all your investments in one bank can be troublesome and even a buyer’s agent if you are purchasing in a state you don’t know.
“When purchasing investment properties look for suburbs with low vacancy rates and where it’s easy to get a tenant,” he added.
“All of the properties I have bought over the last 10 years I’ve never had a vacancy more than two weeks especially the ones in QLD, there has been a waitlist and a new tenant coming in the same week as the other one leaves. Low vacancy rates are extremely important when looking at investments as you don’t want long periods where you have no tenants.”
What to look for in rentals
Purchasing property with strong rental yield to get keep costs negligible is also key, he said.
“When I first started purchasing property I was young and had a part-time job, so buying property with a strong rental yields was my only option as I only had a certain amount of money that could use,” he said.
“Strong rental yields does allow you to purchase more properties as then your holding costs are so low and the majority of rent covers repayments, so the tenant is covering your mortgage and your property is going up in value.
“That has been a philosophy of mine — make sure most of the mortgage is covered, its hard to get to a stage where all the costs are covered but at least the interest component is being covered by your rent.”
Also make sure you have a safety net for unexpected expenses like emergency repairs, as you don’t want to be caught out if a hot system goes out or there’s a leaking tap, he said.
Finally, he said giving the skyrocketing prices in Sydney exploring other places around Australia is a “great idea”.
“Buying investment properties at lower price points interstate could set up a foundation for you to purchase a property down the track, instead of trying to save,” he said.
“It’s difficult to save in Sydney especially with how expensive the cost of living is … and it’s going to take a long time to save for a deposit.
“If you can purchase investment properties you can afford interstate where your costs to hold them are low and they are in the right areas for growth in the long term and they will go up over time, then you can leverage off that equity then to potentially purchase in Sydney which is essentially what I have done.”
Alex’s top 10 tips
1.It’s never too early to set your goals.
2. Investing in property is long-term, so you have to be patient.
3.There is never a ‘right time’ to buy property – the best time to buy is when you are in a financially sound position to do so.
4. Purchase property with strong rental yields, so your holding costs are manageable.
5. Buy properties in areas with increasing sales activity, and which are close to amenities and infrastructure.
6. Look for suburbs with low vacancy rates and a low supply of rental properties
7. Have a financial safety net for unexpected expenses, such as emergency repairs.
8. Pick the right mortgage broker who will structure your investment loans so they align with your goals.
9. Consider using a buyer’s agent, especially if you are buying property interstate.
10. Have a good accountant who properly understands property investment, including the potential tax deductions.
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