Bernadette: Hello, I’m Bernadette Janson of The School of Renovating.
We have a program for women who are on playing a bigger game. It’s called “Wonderwomen” for women who want to create a path to financial freedom through renovating and property. And I want to introduce you to one of the members – this is Niki Tranfield and she’s come in to tell her story! Welcome, Niki!
Niki Tranfield: Thank you!
Bernadette: Before we start do you want to share a little bit about yourself?
Niki: Yes! I arrived in Sydney 20 years ago from the UK. I’ve lived on the northern beaches ever since and I have a daughter and a cat, and I work locally. So, that’s me.
Bernadette: Awesome! And so, do you want to tell us a little bit about your property journey?
Niki: Yes, sure. It took us a long time to actually get into the property journey. It wasn’t until I was 40 that I bought my first home and that was our family home. And then more recently I have purchased two investment properties of my own and went into Joint Venture.
Bernadette: Great. Yes, that’s interesting ’cause I know a lot of people think once they get into their 40’s they’re starting to get a bit late. So, its never too late so that’s awesome!
Niki: Nope, the last two were in my 50’s so definitely not too late! (laughing)
Bernadette: Great. You’re a great advertisement! So what sort of properties have you purchased then, yeah, so what’s been the plan?
Niki: Okay, so after the family home the next properties where investment properties and they are, I bought two in Newcastle with the view to buying and holding them and then reducing the mortgage on them so that I will have a passive income when I come to retirement.
So the first property that I bought is in Mayfield in Newcastle and I have the DA approve along that for a 9-bedroom and new gen. boarding house. And the second property that I bought probably around 3- 6 months after that one, I have DA approval on that for 2, 3- bedroom townhouses. Both of which, the idea is that by doing other flips and small projects to create some lump sum cash I will pay down the mortgages on those once I’ve built them. And that would then provide me with a more than I currently earn which I’m happy within retirement so that will be good, yes.
Bernadette: Great. Yes, and I thought it’s probably worth clarifying the new generation boarding house project. That’s a legislation under the affordable housing code and so basically what it means is that you can build, you know, modern day studios. Under the affordable housing code so it’s quite user-friendly and has a few perks but the great thing about it is that it provides really good quality accommodation for people who are maybe not int the position or don’t want to spend a huge amount on rent. Is that what you were?
Niki: Yes, and for me it’s not just about the angle. For me it’s about providing something that’s of quality for the person that’s going to be in it basically. I want them to be happy within the home and it’s a woman’s intuition then if they’re happy you keep your tenants, they look after the property, and you get an income out of it and to boot, so yes.
Bernadette: And how did you find the process of getting that approval? Was that tricky?
Niki: No, not really. I was fortunate I know very very good buyers agent in Newcastle and deal with Taylor. And she purchased these for me or she found the properties for me and what had happened was that the process has already been started on the property for the boarding house and I used, I like to use professionals who do it for me so I don’t mind paying a little bit more to use an architect who understood the law, who understood what was going on, how to look after council. In fact, the building that he designed council were very keen with it because they liked the design of the building it was very pleasing on the eye. And that helped to get it through. So not really for me because I work in management it’s a bit of a chess game where something isn’t quite right you then go “oh my goodness”, I say “okay well how can we handle this?” and “how can we work around it?” It’s just about working out what they’re looking for and being conscious of the neighbours. I mean we stopped to the 2-level storey, we could’ve gone to three but everything else around the area was 2-storeys and for me I wasn’t comfortable going with the 3rd level but I would’ve been within the designing and planning to be able to do that. So yes, there was a bit of conscientious especially my part on that.
Bernadette: That’s an unusual thing!
Bernadette: Okay, so what have been your biggest challenges so far? What have you found?
Niki: My biggest challenge is to be able to move as fast I would like. I suppose it’s being able to at the moment I’m just talking to my mortgage broker about how I fund the building of these two properties and how I get there. Which is why I’ve looked to other projects to do some flips and bits and pieces in order to create some cash to do that. For me I hat research so I would rather trust in a person such as Judith who I know lives and breathes in the area and understands it. But you still need to do your own due diligence as well. And just understanding the different laws in the different states in the different areas. It’s less of a challenge, I enjoy learning so for me it’s a big learning journey and I love that.
Bernadette: Great, so you love the learning part of it. Is there anything else that the investment process that you really love?
Niki: I love, I love the people that I’ve come into contact with. I love the groups through Property Women, all like-minded. I belong to othe r property groups and I’ve nejoyed them as well. And it’s a great network and it’s a very strong network of women who are all happy to help each other that there’s not a mentality of well “I’m gonna hang to my knowledge because, you know, there isn’t enough”. It’s more “how can you help each other?” and through that you make great friends and you learn lots. And you learn from other people’s areas as well as your own and you share. So yeah, I love, I love all of that.
Bernadette: Sisterhood, yeah.
Niki: Yes, yes!
B: That’s what we all want isn’t it?
Bernadette: So, have you got a mantra or a quote that you live by?
Niki: Whether.. It’s one by Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t you’re right.” I’m very much, I’ve learned that what I’m thinking will dictate on how I get somewhere and whether I can or can’t do it, yes.
Bernadette: And have there been times when that’s really being challenged?
Niki: Yes! Not always in the property field but in other fields. But definitely, yes. And it’s just learning to take a step back, look at the big picture, and see where you’re at and so okay this isn’t as bad as you think it is or it’s, you know, whatever the issue is. There’s plenty of people to draw from and then you just go from there basically. Yes, it’s really about resetting, recalibrating.
Bernadette: Okay. So what’s the best advise that’s ever given to you in your property journey?
Niki: Oh, that’s a good question. Best advise. Just to get out there and do it I think. I mean for me I spent the best part of 15 years reading and procrastinating and not actually doing anything because I was too worried that if I did something I might make a mistake. You gotta accept you will make mistakes and you learn as much as you can and protect yourself but how did I get out there 15 years ago all have been a very different position to where I am now. So I think just to get out there progress over perfection probably and just to get there and start it, not blindly but with some knowledge. But knowing that I’m in a supportive group that will help and are there to help you if you have any issues, so yeah.
Bernadette: Okay. So, what was the thing that got you moving? Because I think there would be a lot of people in your position? I mean, you know, there’s a lot of people like dream about it but just never quite muster up the courage to actually go out and do it? What was the thing that pushed you forward?
Niki: The catalyst for me was I’ve separated so that was the catalyst. Yeah, but for me it was less about the separation and more about the, I was able to go ahead without worrying about what somebody else may or may not, you know, that I was – my decisions were going to affect them. On my own I was quite happy to do what I wanted to do because it will only affect me at the end of the day so that was it and I just went for it.
Bernadette: Okay, so Niki thanks for being so generous with your sharing today.
Niki: That’s okay.
Bernadette: I know that there are a lot of women listening or watching this interview who are back there standing in your shoes 15 years ago who all take some courage from what you’ve shared. So thank you! And so, I hope that you’ve got some snippets of value out of that interview. And stay tuned for the next one!