How did this investor buy 2 properties by the age of 21? - Ironfish

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How did this investor buy 2 properties by the age of 21?


Here at Ironfish, we are proud to practice what we preach. Many of our staff are property investors themselves, and have kindly agreed to share their individual stories and their own personal property investment tips.


Jessica Dal Molin

Sales support, Ironfish Adelaide

“School was never really my thing, so going to uni and coming out with a career which would pay me $100,000 a year wasn’t an option. Property investment is the alternative path I’ve taken to get there.”

“After 8 months working at Ironfish, I purchased my first property. I was only earning $36,000 a year at that stage – so I’m pretty proud of that achievement.”


property investment adelaideCASE IN PROFILE

  • 24 year old ‘rent-vestor’
  • purchased 2 properties by the age of 21
  • Planning to be financially secure by aged 40

Finding your path

When 21 year old Jessica Dal Molin got her first full time job as a receptionist for the Ironfish Adelaide office, she didn’t know how much her life was about to change – or how quickly. Within eight months of joining Ironfish, Jess had purchased her first investment property – and only six months after that, she had bought her second. Now she’s on track to consider her third purchase and is very happy to have found her path forward.

“I didn’t really have any clear ambitions before joining Ironfish and I’ve definitely matured a lot since I’ve been here. I have a much better understanding of how to manage my finances and just how expensive life really is. The first month I started at Ironfish, I spent nearly everything I earned. I’d never had so much money before, so I splurged. But, I quickly realised I was wasting my money and needed to start saving.”

If it costs less than $10 – do you really need it?

Jess had some money saved already from her earlier casual hospitality jobs but once she decided to buy her first property, she started saving in earnest.

“I was only earning $36,000 a year back then, so I needed to save literally everything. I lived with my parents, which obviously made it much easier. But I basically had a goal to save about 90% of my income every month. If something cost less than $10, then I decided I didn’t need it. So I would never just go and buy a coffee, for example.  Our accounts lady would always say to me – don’t use pay pass, type in your PIN, make yourself accountable. And Damon, (Ironfish Adelaide Managing Director) was very supportive and encouraged me to get started in property as quickly as possible. This was a big motivator to make it happen so quickly, as opposed to thinking, maybe I’ll wait three years and then paying a premium if prices went up.”

Bank of mum and dad

After saving a deposit, Jessica made her first purchase: an existing house – a sub-dividable lot. She decided not to use her whole deposit and instead paid Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI) and borrowed 97% from the bank. Six months later, and after receiving a pay increase, she put the remainder of her deposit towards a second property – also an existing house/subdividable lot – this time with no LMI but with her parents as guarantors. Both properties are located in Adelaide and around the $300,000 mark.

“My parents are property investors as well, mainly for tax benefits, so they have some experience. They were happy to be guarantors because they could see I wasn’t wasting my money on anything outrageous. They could see that I was being so frugal, that I had done the research and that I was willing to make some sacrifices instead of going out every weekend or travelling all the time. My mum would come out to inspections with me and she could see that I had a pretty good goal. My parents put funds in a term deposit to secure my loan – those funds were released after two years. So they’re pretty happy with the result as well and are confident in my decisions.”

What’s the next market to invest in?

Nearly four years on, Jess has moved into a sales support role, which gives her a lot more time with customers and the opportunity to help them achieve their investment goals.

Jess is aware of the benefits of having a diversified portfolio and so is considering the next area to invest as part of her own long-term goals.

“I’m now looking at Queensland, for a house and land off-the-plan package as it’s an affordable market for me. I didn’t buy new property before, because I didn’t have the income and wouldn’t be able to take advantage of any tax benefits. My taxable income is now a bit higher, so I’m able to look into off-the-plan opportunities.  I’m lucky to be surrounded by supportive people. The culture of the business is great; we all want the best for each other. Whether it’s with property or any other good opportunity, everyone is always happy to have a chat, so I’ve got plenty of people to talk to as I make my next purchasing decision.”

Big dreams

Jess has ambitious life goals and is keen to be financially secure through property investment.  She plans to earn $150,000 a year from her properties including owning five properties by the age of 30 and have the choice to work by the time she’s 40.

“Whether that means I work part time, or contract, whichever employment style I prefer – to go work overseas somewhere or take time off to have kids… I want to be financially set enough by that time. I know it’s a lot of hard work until you can get to those rewards, but I’m prepared to do it!” 

Jess’ property investment tips:

  1. Don’t make excuses, keep yourself accountable. I think a big reason why people can find it hard to save is because they are the only one that sees their bank account. No one is asking you: how much did you save this month? Did you spend more than you budgeted? Part of my job here at Ironfish is keeping in touch regularly with our customers to say for example: “we spoke 3 months ago, and you asked me check in after 3 months, just wanted to see how your savings are going…” – it’s great to have that extra accountability.
  2. Don’t be concerned about mortgage insurance; if it’s an investment, you can put it on your tax. Make sure you’re educated fully in terms of tax, so you know exactly what you can claim with whatever investment option you go with.
  3. Do your research and be confident in your decision – you don’t need to find the ‘best’ investment every time, it’s just not going to happen.
  4. My properties have a yield of 5.7% – we have pretty good yields here in Adelaide and that’s another good thing for young/beginner investors, it makes it much easier on the cash-flow every year.
  5. I choose my properties because they are in good areas, close to public transport, good infrastructure, with a hospital and shopping centre nearby. I tend to look at areas that might have plateaued for a while, rather than chasing positive numbers – and this is part of a longer-term hold strategy.
  6. It can be harder work than you think it’s going to be, however there will be rewards – after I settled my properties, I went on a five week holiday and have since travelled through 10 countries and skydived from a helicopter in Switzerland! I intend to do more of that in the future!

If you are inspired by Jess’ 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 Australians achieve financial security through property investment.