Monday, June 20, 2011


In exciting news Hubby and I have just acquired our first investment property!

I have a passion for property and fresh out of school I gained my Real estate agent registration and working in the industry for a time.

So here are the details of our little Gem….

The Location:

 Muswellbrook, a mining town In the Upper Hunter Valley NSW only 3 hours from Sydney and 1.75hrs from Newcastle.

A great deal of growth is in the cards for this area with planned expansion of the coal mines, new commercial developments and a power station due to be built. These projects span at least 10 years into the future and will see thousands and workers needing rental accommodation.

The vacancy rate is less than 1% being the best in 25 years. The demand will begin to increase in the first quarter of 2012 as will the rental prices.

The property:
Property size: 696 sqm
Bedrooms: 3 (with plenty of room for a 4th)
Bathrooms: 1 (with the opportunity for a 2nd)
Garage: single car garage with access to the rear yard and extra workspace.
Features: In ground concrete swimming Pool, covered BBQ area, Air conditioning to the lounge and master bedroom, build in Robes to all bedrooms.

The Numbers:
Purchase price: 195k
Renovation budget: 20-25k
Anticipated rent: $375 p/w
Weekly mortgage repayments: $216 (20% deposit + renos not borrowed)
                                               $304 (if we had borrowed 100% plus renos)
Rental yield: 8.86% pa (including renovations)

The Auction:

We decided before the Auction that 235k would be our maximum bid. If we could buy it for this price we’d feel it was a good purchase.

despite having a good agent on the case, Being a mortgagee sale there was no marketing budget and the home was only advertised for less than a month before the auction date. This was a month of rainy winter weekends.

There were a few other interested buyers at the auction BUT they all were waiting on finance approval they scrambled, but failed to arrange before auction day. Therefore they could bid as they had no means of paying the 10 % deposit.

We had reached the trifecta! A mortgagee sale, No other buyers in a position to purchase and an Auction day (meaning we could exchange contracts and make the deposit on the day with no risk of being gazumped).
The agent again took us through the property with us feeling cautiously excited.
The auction started with our first bid (I chose to start very low rather than allowing the vendor bid to set the starting line), the auctioneer added a vendor bid, we made another (cheeky) bid and the property was passed in under reserve. Off the agent went on the phone to the mortgagee’s representative to see if they would entertain our final bid. And hey presto the property was ours for only 195k! that’s 35k UNDER reserve and 40k under our maximum.

 5.5 years ago the property was purchased for $215k by the previous owners. And a few doors up a year ago this weatherboard house sold for 260k.  
The street has recently been extended with new homes being built and fetching 375k+
So we’re pretty stoked with our first investment purchase.

My website recommendations

To search properties available on the market, sales history and properties for rent.
More detailed sales and rental histories

 A basic negative gearing calculator to help you to estimate how much a property will make you or cost you.

 Suburb profiles for median house prices, historical growth and demographics

 A little inspiration from a guy who’s build a large profitable portfolio with a positive gearing strategy

Monday, June 13, 2011

Greek Island Getaway (Rodos, Symi and Santorini)




Thursday, January 20, 2011

When life gives you lemons, make lemoncello!

This sweet and tangy lemon liquor goes down a treat in the summer months. Making up a batch is breeze and can make gorgeous gifts. Here are some I made for Christmas complete with my own homemade labels (cute or what?!)

So here’s how to make your own:

6 Lemons skins peeled (and juice of 2 of those lemons)
1 litre of the 98% proof alcohol (the finished product will be the same strength as vodka, if you would like it half strength replace the 98% with normal vodka)
1 kg of granulated sugar
1 litre of water

  1. Peel the lemons and place in a large container then add some juice from 2 of the lemons.
  2. Poor the 98% proof booze over the top, seal the container and leave to 4 weeks, shaking/ mixing occasionally.
  3. Pass to liquid through a sieve to remove the lemon rind.
  4. Boil the water and add the sugar to make a syrup.
  5. Cool for 15-20 minutes and add to the lemon liquid.

And there you have it, delicious and authentic Italian lemoncello. Next time use limes or mandarins to mix things up a little! I Made up the labels in photoshop, but you could just as easily handwrite a cute tag to hang off the ribbon.

Bottle and store in the freezer, remember to serve ice cold.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Oh, whatta year!

It was a year of love, of sacrifice, of dreams, of tears, of learning and of growing. Somewhere in June I’m pretty sure I went nuts but refound my sanity at a beach resort on cocktail number 2. This is what 2010 looked like for our little family.....

The (no-so-big) 2-1
I turned 21 and spaced out the celebrations over the whole month of March culminating with a big studio 54 party.  I pulled out all the bells and whistles for this one with red carpets, laser tunnels, 70’s bouncers, yummy cocktails I created just for the night, custom art deco backlit artworks.

Welcome to parenthood
We unexpectedly opened our doors and extended our family. A surprise 2am phone call the day of my 21st birthday party saw me picking up 5 gorgeous relatives 13 hours later. The moment I walked through those DOCs doors will live in my heart forever. Over the following 9 months we cared for some or all of the kiddos to protect them from the heartache of emergency foster care. We went from a childless couple with sleep in Sundays and late nights to a busy family unit with school projects and 5am morning cuddles. We ran head on into the mindfield of the welfare and legal system. We learnt how to advocate for the kids and work with the system for action. We learnt how to be exhausted and keep trying and trying. We discovered the vibrancy and life a child brings to a home. The way they can make a terrible day wonderful with a cuddle and a laugh. The way they can make all your issues melt away and feel meaningless in comparison to what you’ve learnt through them. They continue to amaze me with their resilience and love every day, what a blessing these kiddos have become.

Step’n on up
My career took a big leap. After working on a project in a small team for 2 years we won it. This was the big kahuna, the project of a lifetime. With a strong and supportive husband holding the fort I hit the skies most months en route to sunny Singapore.

Sew what?…..
I rediscovered my love for sewing. Amongst all the stress this girl needed a hobby. So I got myself a cute little machine and got the work with some pretty little projects.

If you like Pina coladas.
We planned a last minute holiday to regain a little sanity in July. My husband was flown over to join me in singapore. I showed him all the amazing places I’d found from the unbeatable prawn linguini at the overeasy to the best massage of my life deep into china town. Then we went onto Bintan Island for some serious pool and cocktail time- somewhere between the pinacolada and the midori splice we found our sanity! We came home full of gusty ready to solve, overcome and enjoy.  And we did.

We need to get out more
We treated ourselves to a new shiny camper trailer. We love the outdoors and love camping and with kids in tow now we decided to go for it. I’ve quickly become spoiled with my running water,sink, 4 burner gas stove and queen size bed. Part of me feels I’ve betrayed the true camper within me, but then that part gets an amazing sleep and clean dishes and couldn’t give a hoot! Pre home and kids we got away every month and this baby will make it easier to do again.

Me, myself and I
I learnt to find 'me' time and soak it up. 

Home Renovations
We continued with our home renovation projects and began to design our extension. Progress was slowed (read above!) but we are motivated as ever to keep things moving. We learn that the 9yr old is a great mower, the 7yr old a great weeder, the 11 yr old a great painter, the 8 year old a great scrubber and the 4 year old a great “make-up-a-song-as-i-watch-everyone-work”er.

2 years Baby!
We celebrate our 2 year anniversary and almost need to slap ourselves to believe it’s been 2 years! Love You baby!