How this local tradie saved his way to four sound investments by 22

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Norbert Kaess at the site of his next development. Picture: Shae Beplate.

A TILER by trade, Norbert Kaess purchased his fourth property when he was just 22 without any financial support from his parents.

With a mind set to work hard, he bought his first house in Townsville’s West End at the age of 20 and is now making about $1600 a week in rental yield.

“I have a lot of confidence in the Townsville market, and think it’s the perfect place for young buyers to invest,” Mr Kaess said.

When he finished high school he started saving for a house deposit from scratch.

“I followed in the footsteps of my older brother Martin, because I had seen him invest in property and do it very successfully. Without his mentorship I don’t think I would have achieved as much,” Mr Kaess said.

Norbert Kaess at the site of his next development. Picture: Shae Beplate.

“I worked long hours and saved … I would still go out with friends on a Saturday night, but instead of being hungover in bed on Sunday I’d be hungover at work.

“My first house deposit was about $20,000, and because it was my first purchase, I didn’t need to pay stamp duty.”

By 21, Mr Kaess had bought his second property in Belgian Gardens, and at 22 he owned another two in Brisbane and Bowen.

“I didn’t use equity to buy the next properties, I started from scratch again and saved for a deposit. I didn’t want to stick to one economy so I decided to buy in low, medium and high-risk areas, he said.

“Low-risk was Brisbane because it’s metro, high-risk was Bowen because I figured it was subject to Adani going through, and medium-risk was Townsville.”

Mr Kaess said he learnt the value of having a property manager after a horror experience with tenants in one of his properties.

“In one of my places I had tenants who didn’t pay rent for a few months, and they damaged a lot of things when they left,” he said.

“I lost a few grand there just from not using a property manager.”

He also said that young buyers should be realistic in what they could afford, and be cautious not to bite off more than they could chew.

“I see a lot of people saying ‘cheers to a lifetime of debt’ when they buy a property, but when you buy a house you should be buying it for financial freedom and less stress,” he said.

“If you are buying a place and having more stress, you are either buying above what you can afford or not making a calculated investment.”

Kaess’s key tips for young investors

1. Use a mortgage broker: These people have years of experience; they will compare a range of banks and talk it through with you so you’re getting the best deal.

2. Don’t buy brand new: If you’re looking to invest, don’t buy a new place or build because the profit has already been made by others along the way. You will lose value just by being the first person to open the door.

3. Look for deceased or repossessed estates: The people who own the property didn’t pay for it, and they don’t have an emotional attachment, so they’re usually willing to settle for less.

4. Buy on multi-use land: It’s attractive to a broader range of people; including developers at re-sale. You should also check with a town planner before you buy so they can tell you exactly what you can and can’t do with the block.

5. Pick your first property wisely: Do a lot of research into your first house; find out the median house price for the suburb, look at the properties history, and compare it against recently sold properties in the area. If you don’t choose your first house wisely, it can set you back years.

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