How we bought 20 IP's in 5yrs

Hi all, Lily has requested we tell our story of how we bought 20 IP's in 5 yrs.

We're not sure how it happened except we were blessed, lived frugally, & madly kept paying off debt.

In '98 we were a single income family with 2 children (still are).
Our only assets were a block of land val $10k & Life Ins policy cashed in for $19k.

Will try not to bore everyone too much so will break up thread into parts. Here goes nothin.

IP1- 8/1/98 $125k. rent $125pw. Bank val now $160k rent $140.

IP2- 4/12/98 $27k. renov $5k. rent $100. Reval $46k rent $105.

PPOR- 3/12/99 $70. Bank deval 2000-$60k. Reval 2002 $75k.

IP3- 10/11/00 $105k. rent $170. Bank val now $185k. rent $180.

Cheers Brenda & Les
Bored yet? Here's some more:

IP4- 17/8/01 $55k rented $135. Today bank val $80k. rent $145.

IP5- 28/2/02 $50k. renov $2k. rent $130. Reval $65k. rent $135.

IP6- 7/6/02 $35k. renov $5k. rent $125. Today bank val- $80k.

IP7- 14/6/02 $58.5k. rent $140. Today bank val- $80k.

IP8- 24/6/02 $64k. rent $145. Today bank val- $80k.

IP9- 4/10/02 $65k. rent $145. Today bank val- $80k.

IP10- 14/10/02 $65k. rent $130. Today bank val- $80k, rent $135

Half way there.
But wait, there's more:

IP11- 20/10/02 $65k. renov $3k. rent $145. Bank reval- $80k.

IP12- 13/11/02 $36k. Rent $90pw. Today rent $95pw.

IP13- 5/12/02 $92.5k. rent $160. Today bank val- $110.

IP14- 24/1/03 $52k. rent $120pw.

IP15- 24/1/03 $52k. rent $105pw.

IP16- 31/1/03 $38k. rent $100pw.

IP17- 7/3/03 $30k. rent $95pw.

IP18- 14/3/03 $122k rent $185pw.

IP19- 28/3/03 $100k. rent $155pw.

IP20- 16/4/03 $105k. renov $3k. rent $185pw.

Whew, made it.
Here's xtra info:

All are houses on P&I loans with most on 30yr terms.

Net rental= $100,010 pa, less P&I payments of $104,068 pa= $4068pa or ave cost per IP per week = $3.89.

Current LVR= 80%

IP1 currently being sold for $185k to payout PPOR & IP2. Then refinance for 3 more IP's around $52k in July.

Once you start investing its like the battery bunny on TV, you just keep going & going.

Hope this is what you were interested in seeing, Lily. Sorry to bore everyone else.

Cheers Brenda & Les :)

Seems like a long list you have there, well done. Tho it strikes me straight away they are fairly cheap ones, will this be your strategy for the next 20 too? :)

I edited out a couple of other questions, since you had already answered them before I had hit the post button ;)


would it be fair to say all your ips are in rural areas,i mean you know country are they away from the coast .and how do you go about your land tax ? i was thinking to buy out ya onder but can you lose ,i dont think so ,do you have tenants insurance on your ips and do you manage them your self ,and one last thing how do you structure this as in companies ,trust, ? i know i want to know , alot but i am amazed how one can grow and grow ,my mind ticks over all night about stories like that ,and i find i am sooooo addicted to all this ip ideas :)
Thanks Brenda,
I appreciate you taking the time to answer my question so throughly. I'm sure a lot of people on this forum will be interested to see a real life example of how someone bought 20 properties in 5 years.

I would like to know where you buy your properties. Are they all close to where you live?
Also, how did you go getting finance - any tricks of the trade to share with us here?
Finally, where to from now. You stated you are looking to buy another 3 IP's soon. Will you keep going after that? What is your ultimate goal - where do you see youself in 5 or 10 years?

Thanks for sharing your story Brenda. I look forward to hearing more (hope I'm not being too greedy).

Location of properties: 1 at Burrum Heads on the Sunshine coast of Qld, 1 at Mt Gravatt (suburb of Brisbane), 1 in Lowood, 11 in Ipswich, & 6 in a SW town of Qld (not expecting Cap growth there, just return).

Land values range from $3,200 to $80,000.

All properties are jointly owned. Benefits are land tax is not yet applicable as the cut off amount is per person in joint situations so over $221k each. If one dies the other immediately gets control of all with no extra stamp duty/cap gains to pay.

All all managed by agents.

Finance tip: Find out EXACTLY what the banks guidelines are & stay within them. Remember it is a business partnership between you & the bank with you holding the responsibility. Find out about an annual (around $400) investors fee which excludes you from having to pay application fees each time you borrow or refinace your loans.

Get used to handing large amounts of money (particularly around rate time).

Number? Les likes a pyramid of 10 on the bottom, then 9 & 8 etc. Totals 55. I like 100, then sell 50 & retire on the rest.

Time frame, we're greedy and want a good retirement forever so around 10 more years to go.

Back up sources are Superannuation & lots of long service accrued.

Hope this helps.

Cheer Brenda :)
Very well done Brenda.

What inspired you to purchase so many so quickly?
How did you find the time - how much time does it take to purchase each IP on average?

The average yield is 9.8% - excellent. Who says you can't find +CF
It seems that in January this year you really got onto the positive cash flow - I guess these are the IP's in the SW Qld town?

Why do you take out P&I loans and not Interest only?

Absolutely amazing!

Hi Brenda,

Most of the properties are very low in value so I would assume that they are old houses. What is your maintenance bill like? Do you expect there will be any major future costs in maintaining these old houses?

If you purchased 5 Ip's @ ~ $270k each rather than 20 @ ~$65k then wouldn't it cost less to maintain? Plus less time to keep track of etc.....

Obviously what you are doing works - just curious as to the logic behind your strategy.


The cheap ones in country town are in amazingly good nick. Tenants are fussy out there & req full insect screening, air cond or fans & fresh water tanks. It's the cheap ones in the city that aren't really flash but the most sought after by tenants there must must be clean. So we cleanem up & paint em & tenants are happy.
Why cheap ones? Cause dear ones soak up a ton of equity &you can't buy as often.
Why P&I? Over long term, the P&I payments aren't much more than the IO payments & the P in P&I allows you to build up equity.
For the 1st IP we went 6mth honeymoon rates but really got stuck into paying more than we needed to. This enabled us to pay off $6k in 6mths so plenty of equity for IP2. Showed the bank what we could really pay if we set our minds to it. Bank likes that P&I setup as while they are lending more & more, they are getting back a bit of the principle.
Maintenance is not too much. Am going to allow 50% expenses & maintenance against the income I want to retire on rather than 33% to allow for major renov like restumping,reroofing etc.
Time spent looking for the bargains, never stops. Always watch the market & get good at preparing your tax for the tax agent to peruse;otherwise time spent for agent to set it all out will cost you a bundle.
Cheers Brenda
Thanks Brenda - makes sense. I haven't looked in the country so I didn't realise you could get a good nick IP for a low price.

What inspired you to purchase so many so quickly? How did you develop your strategy?


Hi Brenda,

Net rental= $100,010 pa, less P&I payments of $104,068 pa= $4068pa or ave cost per IP per week = $3.89.

So, am I right about this? You are actually making a NEGATIVE cash flow from all of these properties? This is a very curious strategy. How far away do you think retirement/sale of 50% will be?

Why cheap ones? Cause dear ones soak up a ton of equity &you can't buy as often.

Um, I'm also a tad confused by this. Isn't "a ton of equity" a good thing to have?? Why would you want to "buy more often" if you can make the same money with less transactions? = less purchase costs etc...

Always learning,
Brenda, I take my hat off to you. That is fantastic. And the fact that you are so willing to lay it all out there for everyone to see takes a LOT of guts.

I figured that there would be a few of them in Ipswich. Best value area in the state, I reckon.

How many have you managed to pick up in Ipswich this year?

When do you know that you can buy again? I mean do you like to hover around the 80% all the time. What if Interest rates rise? are any of the loans fixed?

I don't want to sound negative Brenda, (you are my new hero) I just want to convince myself to keep going.

1 x $150 k @ $200 rent pw or 3 x $50 k @ total rent of $350 pw.
I like the second deal best plus all the QS tax deductions & all tax deductable expenses too. Sometimes if we buy 3 at once we apply for only 1 big loan, saves on bank fees.:D

JPM, IP's in Ispwich are numbers: 4,6,7,8,9,10,11,13,18,19 & 20.

My better half, number crunches constantly, even worked out one day how much we were making in cap growth PER MINUTE.

All loans at present are variable. Are watching world markets, local political scene, lending market & in particular the fixed rates.
In 6 - 9 mths when they start to sneak up we'll fix quite a few rates.

Cheers Brenda:)
Thanks for the reply Brenda.

So what you are saying is that as soon as you are able to get finance and presuming the right property comes up then nothing holds you back!!!

Thats great.

Can you still find many CF+ IP's around now? All these people buying in Ipswich in the past 6 - 12 months have been great for capital gain (some 100% almost overnight) but the problem is there are very few CF+ around. So do you wait it out until the cycle turns around again, or do you accept that is is still acceptable to put in $20 or so in a week and still keep purchasing?

Ipswich market is hypo at present, when the interest wanes & it eventually will (look at the heaps now having trouble selling in Toowomba) there will still be the the three D's available: Death, divorce & gee I can't remember the other one.

Anyway all you can do is keep annoying your RE agency & keep in touch with PM's too as sometimes other investors who have properties managed by them are willing to sell a bit cheaper 'in house' for a quick sale.

With the last 3IP's a bit dearer (for us) in Ipswich the bank finally said 'no more credit'. More than one way to skin a cat so we're in the process of selling IP1 to pay out PPOR & IP2 & beg to the bank again for finance for 3 cheapies to improve cashflow. Should then have a monthly surplus of $2300 per mth as opposed to previous $1200.

Bankcard got it in the neck too. Only $1000 limit now & we're keeping it debit a much as possible. All helps.

All going well should be proud owners of 22 IP's & 1PPOR on 4th July.

Oh yeah, the other D was 'Don't want.

Cheers Brenda :D
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Thanks for all that Brenda, you are my new herione. Sorry I thought the other D was Deadlines. Only just started bout 5 weeks ago, up to our second IP. Bought the first one cos they had a "deadline" and the second one was a "death".

I feel like you - I wanna buy in supersonic mode. I'm a very impatient person. We are going to look into more rural areas for 5,6,7,8 and all close to each other. Our strategy is a pyramid with a cherry on the top.:)
Bazza's question is the one i am interested in... What made you purchase so many so quickely. What did you suddenly learn or realize?

Thanks, Novski