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My First Investment Property was an Impulse Buy

by Shelly Horton

*And it’s one of the best decisions I ever made!

My investment property was an impulse buy. Sounds extravagant huh? Let me explain.

It was 2011 and I’d flown home to Queensland for my Mum’s birthday. I had a long chat to my parents about wanting to buy my own investment property. I’d been divorced for five years, but I was terrified about even looking for a property in Sydney. As a single girl, I felt so alone and inexperienced.

As a family we discussed if it was worth me flying Dad down to Sydney to help me look at properties.

Then Mum piped up with, “Why don’t you buy here on the Sunshine Coast and that way Dad, and I can keep an eye on it for you?”

It was like the El Paso taco ad when the little girl has the genius idea and she’s held above the heads of the family in celebration.

I was only home for three days, so we drove straight to the real estate agent and asked to see some properties.

The first one was yuck.

The second one was amazing. It was in a newly developed area called Peregian Springs on the Sunshine Coast. A huge double story house on land that backs on to bush. Four bedrooms, two bathrooms, double car garage plus, nice fittings. We called my uncle, who’s a builder, and he had a look and gave it the tick of approval.

It had been on the market for a long time as it was a bank foreclosure. The original price was $620 000 but it had come down to $580 000.

The real estate agent was a bit of a jerk and was trying to talk it up. I offered $540 000. The agent laughed in my face. Did I mention he was jerk? He said he wouldn’t even let the bank know of my offer as the lowest it would possibly accept was $560 000.

I was a bit intimidated so I offered $560 000, and he rang the bank and they said they would consider it.

I said I wanted to think about it overnight.

We went back to Mum and Dad’s and had a few stiff scotches and more family chats.

I was flying back to Sydney the next afternoon. I really wasn’t invested emotionally in the house, after all I’d spent less than 24 hours looking!

So, I thought “What the hell!” I filled out all the real estate and bank forms and reduced it back to my original offer of $540 000. Signed them and when the real estate agent opened in the morning, put the forms on his desk. That was when I revealed I had a $120 000 cash deposit, and I would hand it over today if the bank agreed to $540 000.

The real estate agent spluttered “You can’t reduce your offer. It doesn’t work that way.”

I simply shrugged my shoulders and said, “I get on a plane this afternoon. Make the offer to the bank. If they say no, I’ll happily take my money back to Sydney. Take it or leave it.”

Furious with me he stormed out of the room. I overheard his call to the bank, “I know it’s a lower offer. But you don’t understand, she just doesn’t care.”

Next thing he reluctantly came back in the room and said the bank accepted my offer.

I had bought my first investment property and it only took me 48 hours.

To be fair, I sound like a bad-arse, killer negotiator, but I did nearly vomit from the stress of it all on the plane on the way home.

But that was 10 years ago, and I’ve never looked back. It has had several long-term tenants who have all treated it like their home.

Oh, and with the recent spike in real estate prices in Queensland it’s now valued at $1.2 million. Yes, I’m damn proud of myself.

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