Here at Money Empire our services are based on our extensive training – and also on our personal experiences, because we believe it’s vital to have talked the talk and walked the walk ourselves in order to offer the very best-informed advice to you, the client.
This month our regular blog writer sat down with two key team members and found out a little about their own property investment journeys.
Meet Sanjeewa (Sanj) Silva, Money Empire Head of Growth and Strategic Relations. He has an extensive background in the finance industry, having worked at a high level with banks and sporting organisations.
The journey begins for Sanj
A successful property investor himself, Sanj explains that he started relatively small, in 2006, purchasing an apartment in Auckland’s CBD.
“It was possibly the worst time to buy in some ways because the global financial crisis (GFC) hit about 12 months later and the value of that first property dropped by 30 – 40%, which was a bit unnerving!”
However, Sanj had already decided that he was in this for the long haul, with an initial 10-year plan.
Why a long-term property investment approach is crucial for success
“If you want to create wealth, you need to take risks, and as long as you’re a person who can handle occasional times of uncertainty, you’ll generally be fine in the end,” he says.
“I’ve made a point of buying different types of property: the apartment – which I probably wouldn’t do again, a couple of terraced town houses and a couple of stand-alone houses, because different properties bring different tenants, and that all helps to manage and mitigate risk,”
He says that buying in different parts of the country is also helpful in terms of reducing exposure during negative cycles, especially as Auckland properties are so expense in comparison with other centres.
“I do have Auckland rentals, but I also own property in Hamilton and Hawke’s Bay.”
Sharing knowledge is very satisfying
Sanj reveals that family and friends often approach him at barbecues, asking if this is a good time to invest.
“I generally say yes, if you can afford it, and as long as you are thinking in the long term. It’s like the share market – you can get burnt trying to make a quick buck, when you simply need to be patient.”
Sanj thinks interest rates have probably hit their peak for the current cycle, while property prices are still on the low side, and due to ongoing high net migration, demand for rentals remains strong.
“So, this is good market in many ways, although the first few months might be a little tough for a new investor, while they wait for interest rates to actually start falling.”
Keeping it simple with property management for maximum passive income
Rather than managing his rentals himself, Sanj uses professional property management, which means he can enjoy passive income, while assisting his Money Empire clients.
“Apart from anything else, I’m just too busy for the day-to-day stuff, but also the legislation affecting landlords regularly changes, and I’d hate to make an innocent mistake and get into trouble with the authorities!”
Similarly, Sanj also takes advice from other experts before committing to a property purchase.
“Obviously I’m in the finance business and really keen on property in general. I’m always looking at relevant websites, keeping up to date with potentially good places to buy plus yields, and all that sort of thing around property investment, but estate agents, property managers and financial advisers can also offer very valuable input.”
Another valued team member, Ra Gurunathan, Money Empire Financial Advisor, has also carved out a successful niche in the rental property market.
Where it all began for Ra
“I come from a very loving family – we migrated from Malaysia when I was a kid, and my parents worked extremely hard, but we still lived very simply and it was a very happy childhood,” he says.
“But there was a boy in my class whose family seemed quite wealthy. He had the best lunchbox; they had a nice car and went on overseas holidays, and I sometimes wondered how they were able to afford these things when we couldn’t.
“I got to chatting with his dad one day and discovered that he was a builder, and he also bought properties, did them up – and sometimes flicked them on, while other times he kept them and property investment began to make a lot of sense to me.”
Hard work always pays off
Ra says that while his friends were having fun and buying fancy cars, he took any side hustles he could find in order to make money, and at the age of 26 in 2014, he was able to buy a new-build in Manukau – off the plans, having saved an impressive $100,000 (20%) deposit.
“I have to say that the process all went remarkably well and when I went to finally settle at the original set price, it was already worth quite a lot more, which was a thrill for a novice investor like me.”
Property investment lessons learnt along the way
As with all life experiences, Ra learned lessons as he went and he likes to pass them on to his clients today, in order to make their property investment experiences plain-sailing.
“Sometimes it was just silly things that occurred to me later, like calling my lawyer constantly for advice and information that I could have found with Google – and of course, each of those conversations cost me $200!”
Like Sanj, Ra has his properties professionally managed, which he believes is a great investment in itself.
“I don’t want to have to worry about blocked toilets in the middle of the night – I just want to enjoy life!” he says.
Success breeds success in property investment
Ra says that once he had a foot on the property ladder, it sowed seeds of enthusiasm and determination that saw him go on to buy again, first in Wellington, then on the Kapiti Coast. He also has a home in Melbourne, where he worked for a number of years in a variety of roles within the finance industry.
Current focuses in property investment
He suggests that prospective property investors in 2024, should ask themselves a set of questions about their motivations:
“Are they doing this to afford to have kids, or to retire at 45 and travel the world? Can they afford this property, is their income likely to change, and are they genuinely taking a long-term view?”
Ra says that having ascertained the answers to these questions, if investors buy well, their properties will steadily increase in value over years and – echoing Sanj, he says that 2024 is as good a time as ever to buy, as long as you’re realistic and well prepared.
Key take-home points
Both Sanj and Ra’s adventures as landlords have demonstrated the importance of careful planning and firm goals when getting involved in property investment in New Zealand.
With expert property management your property investment can generate passive income, while you get on with everyday life.
Property investment is an excellent way to finance a comfortable retirement or enable other lifestyle dreams to become a reality, even earlier.
Let Money Empire help you take the first step with our useful New Zealand property investment resources:
Our resources are designed to empower you with knowledge and tools, making your journey towards financial success both rewarding and seamless.
Plan your portfolio growth, calculate mortgage repayments, and optimise investment property cash flow effortlessly with our handy calculators.
Our latest offer “Design A Decade Property Style” guides anyone, whether a homeowner, property investor, or newcomer, in enhancing their financial situation through property investment over the next 10 years. To find out more and download our free ebook click here.
Ready to take action? Click here to book a time to start your property investment journey with Money Empire today.