I found the roadmap for building a property portfolio - Ironfish

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I found the roadmap for building a property portfolio

Francene Keane

HR Manager / Ironfish Customer

“Getting a pay rise is great but it may not change your life and lead to long-term wealth. Investing smartly means I can grow my assets, create opportunities, and work because I love it.”



  • HR Practitioner
  • 2 investment properties purchased through Ironfish
  • SMSF with property investment
  • Diversified across multiple cities

Finding the roadmap

For Francene, buying investment property had been on her radar for a long time. She had bought and sold a couple of houses as an owner-occupier in the past, and had also built and renovated a home. Like an increasing number of Australians, she has also set up a Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF) which incorporates an investment property.

“I’ve always like the idea of property investment,” she said. “So, I started talking to a few different companies, I talked extensively with friends and colleagues about their portfolios and investment strategies. But it didn’t seem as though they had a plan that I could utilise for myself.

“Then I went to an HR conference (HR Summit) – on the spur of the moment – earlier this year, and heard (Ironfish CEO) Joseph Chou’s presentation there. Firstly, I loved his personal story. And secondly, he had a roadmap for how I could start to build a portfolio – and this is what I hadn’t been able to find elsewhere.”

She makes it all feel completely possible

After hearing Joseph’s presentation, Francene met with Priscilla Cheung, Chief Investment Strategist at the Ironfish North Sydney branch and, she says with a chuckle, “it was love at first sight.”

“Priscilla is full of energy, she is fun and absolutely passionate about what she does. It’s infectious; you can’t help but want to be around people like that.

“But on a more serious note, she was efficient, responsive, down-to-earth. As a ‘beginner’ investor, the process can feel quite intimidating, in terms of all the legal and admin. Priscilla was great at explaining how things worked and what the options were. She was able to recommend a local solicitor, who I found equally down-to-earth and was also affordable. She even connected me with a broker, and I’m looking to potentially transition over from my current lender in the near future. She basically made everything stress-free and easy – everything felt completely possible.”

Next steps

Because Francene had been considering investing for so long, and had built up some equity, she was able to proceed quite quickly. After her first meeting and strategic analysis with Priscilla, she consulted her bank and accountant, and decided to purchase two properties, both 1-bedroom apartments, one in Sydney and one in Melbourne.

“Melbourne Village had great appeal as an investment. Melbourne’s population is overtaking Sydney, the vacancy rate is very low and I think it’s still really good buying. I liked the idea of buying at today’s price with settlement in 2019.

“I purchased in Botany in Sydney as well – Sydney’s a great market, and the location is great – proximity to universities and so on made it feel right to me.”

No more renovations

Francene said that purchasing off-the-plan properties rather than second-hand property was the right decision for her for a number of reasons.

“As the primary carer of two young children and a high-pressure, very-full-time job, I just don’t have the time to renovate a property. If I’m not going to live in it long term, then renovation doesn’t make sense. Off-the-plan property was also more tax effective for me. Plus, there won’t be as much maintenance involved in the early years.

“I think the reality is that there’s two kinds of investors. The first is the one who is viewing open houses every weekend. But I don’t want to spend my weekends doing that. I’m not planning to live in these properties, so for me it’s not an emotional decision. You don’t need to visit the city or see the property to make a decision. And with Ironfish – it just felt right. There’s more confidence that comes from working with people that have done it before. If everyone makes money then that’s going to work. It’s a true partnership.”

Francene’s property investment tips:

  • The reality is that a $10K, $20K or even $50K pay rise won’t change your life – after taxes come out, you may not even notice it. It’s only by investing smartly that we have the opportunity to make better lives for ourselves.
  • Start early and don’t be afraid to start small. I have 1 bdrm apartments – eventually I hope to purchase something bigger as well.
  • If you’re trying to get into your first home, it may be worth considering investing somewhere you can afford first to get into the market.
  • Be cautious about making an emotional decision – property investment is really just a financial transaction.

If you are inspired by Francene’s story and want to find out how property investment can work for you, register for a personal strategic analysis, a free service Ironfish offers as part of our commitment to financial wellbeing and helping Australian families achieve financial security through property investment.