NSW couple look beyond Sydney in building property portfolio

Videographer and musician Jay Seeney has struck the right note in growing a four-property asset base that he hopes to build, with his partner Andrea, into a ten-dwelling portfolio that secures their financial future.

Jay Seeney wearing Batman t-shirt in front of home build still underway.
There have been a few speed bumps along the journey but Jay Seeney's long-term outlook has helped forge a growing cashflow positive real estate portfolio. (Image source: Jay Seeney)

A musician who transformed his love of making music videos into a lucrative business is now focused on taking his four-property portfolio and turning it into a ten-dwelling investment vehicle that delivers high income financial security.

Growing up on a farm in Appin, New South Wales, Jay Seeney was no stranger to hard work.

But the prospect of life on the land gave way to a peripatetic life travelling the country making music and corporate videos with his company Blacklist Productions.

While the business was in its infancy, he and wife Andrea worked hard at saving for a deposit and taking the first step that would change their life forever.

“Like everyone starting the real estate journey, it was definitely daunting, as it’s not the most straight forward process for people starting out.

“Our real estate journey started out with Andrea and I wanting to buy a home to live in.

“We both work really hard, so thankfully our first purchase did not require too much of a social sacrifice.

“Andrea saved her portion of the deposit from working as a teenager at KFC and as my business grew, we rather quickly had the money to make our first real estate purchase.

“In my experience, saving the deposit for the first property was the most time-consuming aspect of everything related to building a property portfolio from there,” Mr Seeney said.

Since buying their higher priced home, the pair have focused their real estate investments on affordable outlying suburbs outside their home state.

Four down, six to go

Suburb State Dwelling type Year bought Purchase price Estimated current value Weekly rent
Campbelltown NSW New 5-bed 2-bath house 2019 $820,000 $1,250,000 PPOR
Thornlands QLD New 4-bed 2-bath house 2020 $547,000 $820,000 $590
Springfield Lakes QLD New 3-bed townhouse 2022 $470,000 $600,000 $480
Munno Para West SA New 3-bed 2-bath house 2022 $407,000 $570,000 $480

The couple live in Campbelltown on the southwestern outskirts of Sydney in a home they brought in 2019 that has delivered capital growth of around 50 per cent.

But beyond the family home, they decided Sydney was not where they felt their investment strategy of combining high rental yields with capital growth potential could best be met.

“Our strategy since day one has always been to marry up high capital growth and strong rental yield and that seemed pretty much impossible to find in Sydney so, working with buyers agents Add Valuer we ventured to more affordable parts of Australia such as Brisbane and Adelaide to achieve the outcomes of this strategy.

“Strong cashflow has been crucial and allowed us a large degree of safety given the unprecedented rise in interest rates.

“This coupled with areas that are incredibly attractive for people to move to have resulted in strong capital growth and cashflow.”

The chances of your suburb being the best place to invest are nearly zero.

- Jay Seeney, property investor

Owning interstate investment properties has not proven difficult, he said.

“We have property managers that take care of everything, so it is honestly no different than if the property was next door.

“A great property manager is worth their weight in gold, from vetting the right tenants to dealing with maintenance issues and collecting the rent, it is worth the extra expense for the time saving.”

“Many people never look beyond their own backyard but there’s a whole wide world of real estate out there and the chances of your suburb being the best place to invest are nearly zero.”

Jay Seeney

Once the stage fright associated with that first property purchase subsided, Mr Seeney and his partner were hitting all the right notes in their property investment journey.

Despite concerns about the so-called mortgage cliff that has seen many investors flee the market, Jay and Andrea have simply factored in worst case scenarios into their property decision-making process.

“We did the sums and made sure our strategy and results were bulletproof to extreme economic events and that has served us very well.

“If we’d purchased all our investment properties in Sydney with its lower yields, it would make it significantly tougher than we have it now.

“Interest rates have never been a massive factor for us and our strategy has always been to hold long term and create a cashflow machine over time.”

Retirement is far from Mr Seeney’s mind but gaining financial freedom is “a huge goal”, he said.

He has determined that the catalyst for that end goal is a ten-property portfolio.

“Thankfully, I have built the most fun business in the world - I get to travel all around the country to the most amazing locations shooting videos with artists that have thousands of people show up to their gigs.

It’s the dream life so I don’t ever think about truly retiring but achieving our financial aims within the next five years is achievable at our current levels of saving and investing.

“I have a goal to eventually purchase at least 10 properties, which in an ideal world will generate roughly $300,000 a year in cashflow once fully paid down.

“This will involve purchasing more than 10 properties, letting them grow and then selling a few off to pay down the debt on the remaining properties.

“At that point, you’ll be earning roughly $25,000 a month minimum, which provides an amazing lifestyle.”

Property investment advice for renters

Asked what advice he would offer to others who may be struggling with rent and don’t believe they can aspire to a multi-property investment vehicle, Mr Seeney said a fearless mindset was paramount.

He acknowledged the cost-of-living crisis was a real issue for many but self-belief and tapping into core skills to improve income was the key.

“There are no excuses in this world and there has never been a better time to make money in a thousand different domains. 

The first step is to believe you can do it – not that long ago I had nothing, not even enough money to fuel the car for my sales job.”

Secondly, he said, make sure your budget is in check.

“If you are having a difficult time renting, move back in with the family, get some extra roommates for a while – sometimes you need to sacrifice in the short term for long term success.”

“The third step is to develop new skills to reach higher levels of income.

“It might be acquiring more skills in your domain or bringing two different fields together but you just have to lean in to your unique talents and anything is possible.”

Continue Reading Investor In Focus ArticlesView all investor in focus articles