How to build a property portfolio at a young age

By Your Mortgage
Property investor Edward Dilleen is only 24 years old, but he is a proud owner of six properties already. And it is not wealthy parents or a high-paying job that helped him amass these properties, but property know-how and goal setting from an early age.

Dilleen bought his first property at 19—an apartment in Tuggerawong, NSW costing $138,000. He was able to save for the $20,000 down payment while working at McDonald's part-time for several years of high school and reading property investment books during his spare time.

Today, he has $1.17 million worth of real estate in his portfolio with a debt level of 69 per cent and a salary under $50,000 at a new customer service job. His trick was to make rental yield a strong focus on his investments.

"I want to have 10 properties before I'm 26," Dilleen said. In fact, he is planning to buy his seventh house before this year ends.

Dilleen might have made it look so easy, but Pass Go Home Loans managing director Jamie Moore said that investing and accumulating many properties at a young age with income limitations is a difficult prospect. He recommends either renting somewhere cheap or living at home with parents to avoid paying board or rent. He also advises young investors to have no other debt and focus solely on positively-geared properties.

It is not an easy road, but Mortgage Choice CEO John Flavell emphasizes the importance of research before buying any property.

"After researching the market, it is important for investors to consider what they want from their investment property," he said. "Many people make the error of believing property investment will make them millionaires overnight. This is simply not the case."