‘Property debt is generally good debt’

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At home with Kate Walker of KWD.

Kate Walker is a designer and founder of KWD (Kate Walker Design)

Where do you live?

In Mt Martha with my son, Charlie, my daughter, Jemima, and our little dog, Pierre, in a property, Beechwood, I purchased last year.

Have you changed anything about your home?

I did a major 12-week renovation with the help of my KWD (Kate Walker Design) team. Essentially, the only thing that remains is the building structure and the roof. And the exterior renovation was as extensive as the interior renovation.

One more thing you’d change?

Add a second storey and put in a full master suite upstairs to make the most of the bay views.

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How many homes have you ever lived in?

Twenty. The most memorable was my family home in Newtown, Geelong. There was a tennis court and old stables, and so many areas in the garden where we used to get lost. I don’t think my mother knew where we were half the time.

Your first foot on the property ladder?

A single-fronted Victorian house in Malvern. I rented out one of the rooms to my sister to help pay the mortgage.

Are you a keen or reluctant property buyer?

Very keen. I grew up with parents who moved a lot and, every time, they added value to the property and sold it for a profit. I became passionate about real estate as a result.

Kate Walker is a keen property buyer.

How many homes have you ever bought and ever sold?

Bought five and sold four.

The highlights of your property journey?

Thus far, it would be my previous home in Prescott Ave, Mt Martha. The renovation I did added romance to the home and I was doorknocked by someone wanting to buy it. That then lead to the opportunity of buying Beechwood.

The lowlights?

I bought a property on the recommendation of a real estate agent who said it could be subdivided, but I didn’t do enough due diligence before signing the contract. It was only a viable purchase if it could be subdivided, but we soon discovered the process would put us at loggerheads with the small community and we had to go to VCAT (the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal) to get the subdivision approved. That was a severe lowlight.

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Best property advice you’ve heard?

Buy the worst house in the best street.

Worst property advice you’ve heard?

That the goal should be to pay off my mortgage. Property debt is generally good debt because you can leverage the equity to build a property portfolio.

Any future property plans?

Always. I look at realestate.com.au every week. I get alerts in my inbox every day about properties that may be of interest for an investment, superannuation or recommendations for clients and friends. I live and breathe property. It’s my passion, folly and work.

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