Nov 11

Meeting Susan…..a mentor’s perspective

Susan was introduced to me by a current investor in my mentor program.  Russell asked me to meet with Susan and review her situation and to comment on an investment strategy that had been put before her.  I made a time with Susan and agreed to meet her after dinner. 

Three things really impressed me when I first met Susan.  Firstly when I pulled up outside her home, it struck me that susan had started to improve her home with the most cost effective solutions.  She had started in the garden and had created an exciting “come and look at me” feel about her home.  (Kevin Biggin once told me that a garden and a large tree can add up to $50,000 per established tree for the resale of your property).  Susan had started with plants and stepping stones and a small make-shift bridge to enter her property.

The second thing that struck me was that Susan was quite unwell and did not cancel the appointment!  Commitment!  The final thing that struck me about susan was the fact that she was using material curtains as doors in her property.  She was part way through renovating and rather than putting the doors on her credit card; she was saving for them.


Lynne Wilton


Susan was already budgeting to make ends meet, but was keen to improve and enhance her budget where ever possible.  We worked on the budget and looked at her cash flow.  How can we improve cash flow to find an additional $120 per week to support an investment?When we started talking about hobbies, Susan told me that she did Japanese dance.  She also spoke Japanese.  Bing!  Here was the answer; she could earn an additional $120 per week by taking on a part time job with the CAE to teach Japanese. 

Soon into the close of the meeting, I realised that whilst Susan was supporting two children (with very little help from her ex-husband) on a teachers salary, she had already made head-way with a budget and was keen to do what ever it took to get ahead.  She was putting her future-first! 

When you work within the investment arena, it is a challenge to watch people who earn good money and realise that they believe wealth creation will just flow as a resulf of a good salary?!  Is it then no surprise that many people who do exceed everyone’s expectations are those who watch every cent that they earn?  This was Susan. 

By the end of the meeting I was inviting Susan to ‘star’ in my new Blog of buying off the plan.  If a single mum with very little help from her ex-husband can invest – so too can you!

Nov 11

I have developed “apartment eye”……….

It is probably a symptom of making a commitment that you look for more reasons to confirm that the decision is the best in the world.  Honestly with this AMNE apartment that is a very easy affect to achieve.  I have developed ‘new apartment eye’.  A very similar how falling pregnant gives you a ‘baby bump’ eye.  It suddenly seems that Southland is full of pregnant women.  So I have become very aware of the designs of new apartments and I have to say I LOVE THE AMNE ONE! 

On the whole the apartments going up at the moment are blocky.  They remind me of the Volvo ad in that movie ‘Boxy but good.’  I wonder how boxy blocky apartment designs will hold value.  It also seems to me that blocky has been the trend for over 5 years, so I’m thinking there has to be a new concept poised to take over. 

I was a very happy lady the day I saw the pictures of the AMNE apartment on the website.

Firstly the design is interesting to look at.  It looks organic, subtle and simple.  It actually reminds me of a nest of toffee – yum!  I’m impressed by the thoughtfulness of a designer somewhere who considered carrying the theme of the external threads into each apartment’s bathroom and kitchen splashbacks etc.  It’s elegant tasteful and understated. It’s beautiful.  I am feeling extremely confident that this particular apartment is going to gain in value beyond its blocky neighbours simply due to the elegant organic and new-generation of design. 

I may be new to this buying off the plan thing, however I can see the essential elements for great appreciation of the investment that converge beautifully on this apartment.  The facilities of the area are the second key.  People want to live where they can get coffee and great pastries.  Got that.  People want to live where there is swift access to the city.  Got that.  People want to live where there is great shopping.  Have you ever been to Puckle Street? Even if you don’t live nearby, take the trip.  It’s like being on holidays just to wander around those shops.  Yes I’m a woman and love shoppingJ  Plus for the bargain-gene DFO is nearby. Children need great schools within walking distance.  More ticks. People want to live near where they can relax in nature or play sport.  Plenty around there.  My favourite is Maribynong River.  There are excellent cycling tracks. Altogether this is a VERY liveable location.

The third element is the floor plan.  I have seen quite a few floor plans. I’m quite good at ‘seeing’ floor plans being lived in reality.  It is a skill I have developed when I was designing cattle yards when I owned a farm 8 years ago.  This one is great.  It is simple and highly functional. It has the obvious considerations like the living area has natural light and a view.  I like the details.   A thoughtful architect somewhere on the payroll considered separating the bedrooms with an ensuite.  I’m sure there will be evenings when this extra noise barrier will be appreciated by the tenants.  It is those details that make it great.  And great design, I’m pretty confident, will translate into great appreciation.

I’m very excited to be in!

Oct 11

Here endeth the lesson… property is the way to go for me

After my decision to invest in a property with Solid, I went to the Trade expo with  a friend. It was so interesting to see another world that until recently, I have known little about. It makes a little more sense than it used to. Firmed up further my deep sense of ‘this is right’ with Solid!

A book on investing in property confirming many of the thoughts and much of the information I already have. Plus a happy graph showing how strong property is as an investment compared to shares and term deposits etc.  Generally an affirming day!  I have NO interest is trading stocks. Blah!  Plus I do understand very thoroughly that it’s necessary to make a plan and STICK to it.  Dithering is probably worse than doing nothing. So no dithering from me :)

Oct 11

Think and grow rich one day at a time…

There are three additional massively important things Lynne has taught me.

1.       Don’t see the bank account balance as available spending money.  Don’t even see the cash in your purse as available spending money.

After the budget was done I was able to identify what spending money I had after all expenses were paid.  It was $0. Very unexciting!  It also showed me that each week I had $300 for food and petrol.  That’s it.  If I want a coffee during the week it must come out of that.  Now each week I track exactly what I spend on every purchase and use that as my available money only.  This by itself is revolutionary for me.

2.       Get a second job.

Money from the second job is going directly into the investment property where it can work best to bring me out of the financial straight jacket I’m currently in.  Getting an investment property is not going to ease my current weekly budget in the short term.  It will do it in the longer term.  I have made a decision to bog-down with the current tight budget in order to ease life in the future.

3.       It is possible to get out of the well.

I don’t have to accept the circumstances I’m in.   A frog born in a well lives its life in the well unless it can hitch a ride in a bucket as it is dipped in.  It won’t happen by just wishing.  It will take commitment, energy and a great plan.  I have that!  It will work because I will make it work.  Curiously this has swung my attitude to being chronically short of money from being victimised by it to being in control.  Now each dollar I save is going towards the solution.  I’m proud even of saving $20 in a week.  It means something!

Oct 11

Who to trust?

I guess I had been complaining more and more.  My poor family had developed ‘deafness’ to it.  I must have found a fresh ear to bash with my tedious complaint.  This person said “You might be interested in a mortgage plan my company offers.” So I made an appointment.

The mortgage plan would refinance my house, add 10% to the loan, pay the company $5,000, give me a 2% discount on the interest and put me ahead by $100 per week.

It sounded great, but I’d never heard of this sort of plan.  I certainly wanted the extra money in my bank account to ease the strain, on the other hand I just didn’t see how it all added up.  What was happening to that extra 10%?  How could the company afford to give me the 2% loan ‘discount’?

Hmm, As I collected documents to do this I was increasingly uneasy and dragged my feet on the last docs.  As I finally got the last one organised, he suggested that I invest too, and apply the plan to the investment as well.  Now THAT makes sense.  The figures added up and I finally got a grasp on how buying off the plan CAN work for a person on my very ordinary teacher’s salary.  The way the rent contributes, the tax deductions through negative gearing, savings on the home I own on interest only, and those nice little depreciation claims.  Aha!

This was the first time that I seriously considered buying off the plan as a something that was available to me.  I could see that in the long term the appreciation on the investment property will enable me to pay off the mortgage on my existing house and make it possible to live on a pension when I am too old to work.

(By the way, don’t ever let your kids give up on maths.  It is really important to be able to understand the basics of how mortgages, interest, appreciation, depreciation can work.  Maths is like a ticket in to the game.  Everyone has to trust experts too, but being able to have enough math language to understand what is being explained to you creates a sense of sureness about the decisions you make for yourself and your family. )

The next step was to talk.  That is a lot of money I’m considering putting against my name.

Most people I know wouldn’t even consider doing this.  They are part of the culture of ‘buy one house and pay it off all your working life’.  I only knew of one person I trusted to talk to about all of this – a long time friend who had mentioned investments.

I asked this friend to attend the meeting and to listen to the mortgage plan I was being offered as well as the investment proposal and the apartment that was being suggested.  It was an extraordinary night.  My friend was brilliant.  He was positive, interested, encouraging, balanced and offered great suggestions like ‘Look at the site.’   The best suggestion was when I was presented with the contract of sale - Don’t sign anything until you have either read it and satisfied yourself or had a legal person look over.  So I didn’t sign on the night.

My friend then did me an enormous favour.  He said, why not make a comparison.  So he introduced me to Lynne – ‘his lady’ – as he called her.  This move brought me from a shady ‘mortgage plan’ with investment into the Solid Model which is a very transparent investment proposal with a solid grounding in specifically tailoring both my budget and circumstances.  The plan is invest; but don’t over commit!

Lynne says her model is old fashioned and a bit boring, but when she started by talking to me about budget and we worked through all my yearly expenses in detail, I was pleased we were being boring and old fashioned!  We looked at how an investment property would work with my salary and expenses.  She ensured there was a ‘buffer’ for unexpected changes.  Lynne is a person with integrity running a business with integrity.  She simply won’t sell a property to a person if their financial circumstances won’t support it.   So my decision was made.  I took the solid decision.

Oct 11

Cash Flow… Ugh!

The cash flow, however, is as bad as always.  Although my salary has increased, so have the mortgage, cost of living, and the cost of the children’s needs.  I missed a car registration payment, was picked up by the police and had to pay a fine, a roadworthy, the improvements on the car to get the road worthy and the registration.  That was a massively expensive lesson.  I still lived pay to pay and still panicked when the bigger bills came through.  Why do I never have any money at the end of the week?  The kids and I look enviously at families who go clothes shopping and spend several hundred dollars per person and think it is normal.  The kids are very on board with being unable to what their peers do.  They help to keep me in check too.  “No mum, you can’t buy those shoes.  Walk on.”  I’ve started saying “No, I work for free.” Because there just isn’t money available after the basic bills are payed.

I took up cycling because it is a low cost fitness choice.  Like everything else I put heaps of energy into it and now ride 80km as a gentle morning run.  I get a rationed one coffee after a bike ride with friends per week.  We have take away once a month.  If we go out to dinner it is because my Dad has offered to pay.  Lucy’s idea of a snack is a bowl of frozen peas.  The ‘win’ is that we are not in debt, but it is tiresome to live in this straight-jacket.

I KNOW I’m not alone in this experience.  That is why I think it is just so important that I share my story with others.  There are ways out.  They are not miracles.  They are hard work, like losing weight is hard work.  They are also very much worth the work.  I already feel relieved knowing the results are coming.

I guess I had been complaining more and more.  My poor family had developed ‘deafness’ to it.  I must have found a fresh ear to bash with my tedious complaint.  This person said “You might be interested in a mortgage plan my company offers.” So I made an appointment and decided to put my future-first.

Oct 11

The beginning

Do you ever wonder why a developer selects a certain site?  Well, here is our Story.

AMNE began as a concrete car yard…

The site was chosen because it  is well serviced and benefits from excellent infrastructure. A number of different modes of transport are within walking distance of the site, such as Buses 476 and 483 on Keilor Road (50m) and Tram 59 on Keilor Road (50m), while Glenbervie, Strathmore and Essendon Train Stations are all easily accessible and within 3km of the site.

The local shopping is in abundance along Keilor Road. In addition, the site is within easy reach of Mt. Alexander Road and the Puckle Street, Moonee Ponds shopping precinct.

AMNE is within close proximity of public open spaces and recreational facilities, such as Thompson Reserve (100m), Buckley Park and Tennis Club (600m) and Woodlands Park (500m).

Educational facilities, such as Essendon North Primary School (100m) and Buckley Park Secondary College (1km) are within walking distance and well within reach of sought after Essendon schools such as Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School, St. Columba’s College, Lowther Hall Anglican Grammar School and St. Bernard’s College.

Keilor Road is undergoing much change physically with the construction of a number of multi-level mixed use buildings.   The Age published a 2020 view of Keilor Road several years ago, and the gentrification of the suburb was incredible with the streets lined with 4 storey apartment buildings in amongst cafe’s, restaurants and other amenities.  The advantages of the area are obvious, with high pedestrian and vehicular activity, ease of access, local shopping strips and a mix of built form and uses.

Blue Earth Group spend an incredible amount of time researching areas that will return future growth and be positive places for owners and investors to secure their futures.

The Developer: Blue Earth Group

The Architect: MAP Design and Architecture

The Builder: Hamilton Marino

Oct 11

Welcome to our new blog

Solid Investment Property specialises in putting your future first. As a single mum, Lynne created a multi-million dollar property portfolio, and today helps many Australian’s realise their dreams around financial security and creating wealth.

Unfortunately, we don’t see too many single women investing and for this reason we have invited Susan, a single mother of two on a modest salary as a teacher, to share her 12 month journey of buying off-the-plan and arranging her mortgage through Solid. Over the next 10 months we will be doing a weekly update on not only Susan’s progress, but also showcasing the building as it takes shape toward completion.

Oct 11

Investing in Property

Australian’s love property… part of the great Australian dream is to own your own home. Many Australians believe that paying off the mortgage is destination end, we believe that owning your own home is just the beginning and starting an investment portfolio is a journey, not a destination. Some people like shares, some people like property but we believe that it is much easier to become an expert in property than it is to become an expert in shares. For this reason we lead our programme with investing in property.

Since 1920 when the Australian government starting keeping accurate records, property has doubled every 7-10 years. We have many clients in our program that are on to purchasing their third investment property in three years! If you still have a relatively high mortgage on your home then we have a dual solution for you of not only investing but reducing your mortgage too.

Warren Buffet says, “Shares are the only way to wealth.” Donald Trump says, “Property is the only true road to riches.”

Click here to find out more about our Mentor Programme >

Oct 11

Buying property off-the-plan

Buying off-the-plan has many advantages for investors. Often a project may be 12-36 months away from completion with the obvious positive being that during the construction time you have only paid a 10 percent deposit and the property may well increase in value. We have many examples of the property increasing to the tune of the deposit which was initially outlayed.

In Victoria there are huge stamp duty savings with other states around Australia all calculating at different rates. There is no doubt that Victoria is the place to buy off-the-plan if you want to reduce your stamp duty costs.

In some cases, you can pre-select the item such as carpet, tiles, timber floors, kitchen finishes, bathroom finishes and other personal touches. In large scale developments this is often less likely, however some form of choices are nearly always available. In more boutique developments where the developer is more flexible, you can even add touches such as automatic blinds, internal speaker systems, upgrading items such as ovens, cooktops and many other extras.

There are some challenges for buying off-the-plan and we always ascertain the type of view, any overlooking issues, any building obstructions and more importantly likely future constructions which may impinge your view and diminish the value of your property.

When you buy off-the-plan we believe you are buying the resume of both the developer and the builder. Currently there are many developers who are not qualifying for finance to build and it is therefore really important to understand where the project is at and has finance been obtained at the time of signing.

The real upside of buying off-the-plan apart from stamp duty savings is getting a brand new building. We always say that the best years of a building’s life for investment purposes is the first seven years. There are builder’s and manufacturer’s warranties in place, and often the sinking fund is not yet in place. Hence, the investor gets full depreciation benefits, warranty benefits and quite often less communication about repairs and maintenance from your tenant.