Investor In Focus - Elaine Davies
As a 16 year-old school leaver in Wales, Elaine Davies couldn’t have imagined the secure financial future she’d create for herself one day through Australian property.
With her life mapped out in front of her, the expectation was that she’d end up with a job for life and marry at some stage down the track. Bucking the trend, she’s not only stepped away from the workforce but rebuilt herself with a sizeable portfolio after her mid-40s divorce. Aware her new financial situation limited her chances of moving into residential investment, Elaine didn’t hesitate to collaborate with a friend to purchase her first property. Since then, she hasn’t looked back. Delighted to discover that there’s no gender pay gap in property investment, Elaine credits her passion for bricks and mortar as finally putting a positive slant on her life ahead.
Elaine’s interest in property began back in Wales, but she was a few thousand pounds short of the asking price and unable to raise further funds. What she now calls “the one that got away”, it was a three storey house divided into apartments and already generating a rental income.
“Something really registered from it, but it just came out of the blue,” Elaine says.
With her instincts bang on, three years later the motorway came to town from London and Cardiff and the local real estate market went on the rise.
It wasn’t until years later - when Elaine was divorced and living in Sydney - that she was able to bring her property vision to life. Left with her share of funds from selling the former marital home, Elaine wanted to get into the local market. She’d spent the past few years working in real estate with colleagues who were also investors.
“Two of them had been developers for over 20 years,” she says. “I listened to them all day, every day. Finally, it sunk in that I just had to get in the game.”
Without sufficient finance and lacking the confidence to enter into her first investment alone, Elaine collaborated with one of her colleagues to buy a warehouse apartment in Surry Hills. By thinking outside the box to start her portfolio, Elaine says it was her best investment decision and something she’d encourage others to do if necessary.
“I’m someone that tries everything they can,” she says.
Acknowledging that she’s had an “incredibly smooth” journey, Elaine says her only regret is not starting earlier. As a single person investing on a consultancy income, finance has been tricky but her early collaboration helped get around that challenge. With a portfolio now consisting of properties in Sydney’s blue-chip suburbs, Elaine says she’d prefer to buy something smaller than compromise on her choice of area.
An example of this is her art deco apartment in Elizabeth Bay, within walking distance of the city and close to the water. Since buying it in 2016, Elaine conservatively estimates the property has grown by 20% in value.
“People have really been sold the idea now that you can’t afford property,” she says.
“You’ve got to save more and spend less. It sounds trite, but it helps.”
Keen to add another couple of properties to her portfolio, Elaine says her journey has been slow but it’s well and truly paid dividends. She’s now also working in property and loves helping others to achieve their own goals.
“Property for me has completely shaped who I am,” she says. “I wouldn’t be financially secure and have the same level of confidence that I do now.”
Elaine advises new investors to surround themselves with people who are in property and to get their figures clear.
“Find out what you can borrow and what that buys you. Take it one step at a time,” she says.
It’s essential to know your preferred area right down to street-level, then find out what locals are looking for in a dwelling.
“It’s a big investment that could pay off massively,” Elaine says. “It’s about time in the market, not timing the market.”