Queensland renovator nets ten properties with formulaic approach

Turning trash into treasure is the hallmark of Queensland property investor Patty Glennon's approach to profiting from multiple property purchases that are renovated and sold at a handsome mark-up.

The Glennon family at one of their properties.
It's all smiles now but renovating a string of properties for profit has required a lot of hard work, time and personal sacrifice. (Image source: Patty Glennon)

If Greek Canadian-Australian, Ms Patty Glennon hasn’t yet created the perfect property investment lifestyle then the Queensland mum of three has come very, very close.

Marrying together the four loves of her life; her husband Ben, a passion for interior design and project management, plus real estate investment, means Ms Glennon’s family is on track to financial freedom but not without a lot of committed determination and hard work.

Ms Glennon recently explained to API Magazine that she grew up in a very traditional home where the ethic was to work hard, go to university, get a good job, and retire with a bit of savings.

“I got a degree in marketing and international business so was on a path to climb the corporate ladder but all that got turned upside down when I met Ben on an international exchange, and he opened my eyes to a whole new way of thinking about work, money and lifestyle.

“We’re now on our tenth renovation-for-profit project, and we’re so proud of that, but the biggest growth we’ve had in the last decade has been our three beautiful children who, understandably, have been our focus over the last ten years.”

Patty’s Queensland portfolio

Suburb Type Year Purchase Price Selling Price Renovation Costs
Deception Bay House 1999 $75,000 $145,000 $7,000
Zillmere House 2000 $185,000 $419,000 $40,000
Palm Beach Duplex #2 2009 $282,500 $399,000 $25,000
Palm Beach Duplex #1 2009 $282,500 $900,000 $25,000
Biggera Waters Duplex #1 2010 $260,000 $301,000 $20,000
Mudgeeraba House 2020 $490,000 $1,017,500 $70,000
Eagleby House 2022 $298,000 $350,000 $0
Mudgeeraba House 2023 $1,070,000 $1,500,000 PPOR
Beenleigh House 2023 $485,000 $550,000 $30,000
Biggera Waters Duplex #2 2023 $260,000 $312,000 $20,000

Now the kids are starting to grow the couple are returning full-time to their renovate-to-sell investment model with the establishment of a new business, Glennon Properties.

The couple have now bought and either kept or resold 10 Gold Coast and Brisbane properties after carrying out major renovations.

Their latest project is a dilapidated home that they’ll renovate to sell.

“I love this style of investing because we take an old, unloved and often unliveable home, and create a dream home for a new family

“It’s so rewarding to know that the future buyers will have nothing to do but move in and enjoy their beautiful new home and of course it needs to be profitable, but I also feel a deep sense of gratitude that I can do what I love every day,” Ms Glennon said.

Sacrificing now for future built on property

It was a chance meeting with Ben on an international exchange that altered the course of Ms Glennon’s life, when she discovered he’d signed his first property contract at age 18 with no financial assistance from family or friends, working for the minimum wage but using his spare time to attend property seminars and renovate the house he owned at the weekend instead of partying his cash away.

Ms Glennon’s priorities quickly shifted to striving for financial freedom so they could raise a family they’d be present for, travel when they want, and create a lifestyle from which they didn’t need a vacation.

“It still inspires me to this day how much sacrifice Ben made to build his future and from then, he and his brother bought a property together as they realised they could get ahead faster that way, then after Ben and I got married, we continued on this process of buying, renovating and selling.

“I have also dedicated my spare time to studying real estate, interior design and home staging, and I even did my full real estate licence course, but it took some time for me to finally have the courage to get focused on what my real passion was – renovating for profit.

“The next step was easy, formalising our company and getting the next deal, so now there’s no turning back and we’re all in,” Ms Glennon said.

Simple formula to property portfolio success

Ms Glennon says there’s really no secret to achieving their dream, but they’re often asked how it’s possible to do what they do on their very modest incomes.

“It’s actually quite boring when you think about it because it’s not about how much money you make it’s about how much you keep, so we live below our means, save and invest and we believe anyone can stop spending more than they earn and live modestly while imagining their dream life and goals.”

One of Ms Glennon’s goals is to have a life that involves travel because her family is spread across Australia, Canada and Greece and thanks to renovating-for-profit they can often travel to see relatives face-to-face.

Their approach flies in the face of current trends, where renovation properties are largely being shunned by the market, but this has only served to make their purchases more affordable.

“Renovating for profit has given us this ability to create the life we’ve dreamed of, and one of the main reasons we’ve chosen to renovate for profit is so we can live a lifestyle where family comes first and travel is a close second, and we take an overseas trip every year with our children to focus on family, give our children an expanded view of the world and other cultures, and build their resilience and courage.” 

Finance challenges for self-employed

Ms Glennon says the biggest obstacle along the way has been obtaining finance given Ben and herself are self-employed.

“Our borrowing ability was greatly impacted over the last 12 months of rate rises and it made us look to different markets and locations that we could afford that were still profitable.

“Inflation has played a part too due to construction material supply and cost issues and price of labour, so we’ve needed to be clear on feasibility and making sure our projects will make a profit.

“We’ve actually just sold two of our investment properties so that we could reinvest the cash profits into our latest project, so at the moment we have our principal place of residence (PPOR) and our latest flip project, and funds from the earlier projects have allowed us to kickstart our company to renovate full-time too,” Ms Glennon said.

In the future, the couple don’t see themselves investing outside of Queensland because they feel they know and understand the market there, and in Ms Glennon’s words, the growth is undeniable and there are endless opportunities, but it’s not their goal to amass a large portfolio just for the sake of it.

“When I asked myself what I wanted to do, day in and day out, it was renovate and make beautiful homes, so, in that sense, it was an easy decision.

“To achieve that we’ve had to have the right team

“Our accountant, solicitor, lender and selling agent are all on speed dial and we have amazing business relationships and I trust these people wholeheartedly,” Ms Glennon said.

She recommends finding a strategy you love to achieve your property investment goals.

“There are a thousand ways to make money in real estate, but to be successful you really need to love what you do and doing something just for the money will leave you feeling empty and dissatisfied – there needs to be something else in it to give you that feeling of joy and fulfilment.

“Investing is a team sport, and you will go further with others who know more than you, can help you, or can teach you and always be willing to learn.”

Continue Reading Investor In Focus ArticlesView all investor in focus articles