For most people, buying a property will be the single biggest investment of their lives, but how about buying over 200 properties, all before the age of 35.
Meet Nathan Birch, a property investor who boasts an impressive real estate portfolio which has seen him break the mould and make a small fortune.
Nathan spoke to OzHomeNews about his story, and what he has learnt along the way, going from humble beginnings to buying properties like they’re going out of fashion.
Putting the Gold in Goldfish
From a young age Nathan has been fascinated about properties and the opportunity that comes with it, and he always knew that the 9-5 wasn’t for him.
“I was 13 years old when I started getting excited about investing, and I realised that rich people had property and I wanted to be rich!” Nathan says.
Nathan grew up in Baulkham Hills, and after losing his father at a young age, he realised he wanted to make the most out of life, and saw owning properties as the ticket to do just that.
“I came from a fairly poor family and I just didn’t want to have to work for 40 years and not enjoy life, so I thought I’ll have to go and buy a property.”
“I left school when I was 17 and got a job in an aquarium selling goldfish! I started saving for a deposit and went out and bought my first property, I got excited by it and went and bought another one,” says Nathan.
Nathan set himself a goal of owning 10 properties by the age of 30, and, by living off the rent that the properties would return, he would be able to do as he pleased.
“I made a business plan when I was 18, and thought, if I can buy 10 properties by the time I’m 30, that would be mad! I could bring in a couple thousand bucks a week in rental income and use that money to live off and not have to work,” explains Nathan.
Playing the Property Game
After making his first million dollars by the age of 21, it soon became clear to Nathan that he had an eye for the right kind of property that would enable him to quit both of his jobs at the time.
“I was earning less than $100k a year, working two full time jobs, one in advertising and one in a pub, and I was pumping everything I could into property.
“At the age of 24, in the middle of the global financial crisis, I quit both my jobs and seized the opportunity to grow my portfolio,” Nathan says.
Today, Nathan has an impressive array of properties worth more than $65 million as well as his own financial services company, law firm and other business ventures, but his property investment strategy is somewhat different to many other investors.
“I treat investing like a game now, I don’t get upset or stressed by it,” says Nathan.
Tricks of the Trade
By buying affordable properties, with strong cash flow Nathan has managed to create a real estate empire of rental assets, which just keeps on increasing in value.
“Why would I sell properties and make half a million bucks when I’m earning $1,000 a week from each property from rent?
Assets hold value, I’ve never heard anyone say I’m so glad I sold that property 20 years ago.Nathan Birch
And Nathan’s advice for aspiring investors looking to follow in his footsteps?
“You’ve got to have a strategy and a plan of attack, treat your investing like a business.”
“It’s not about being rich and buying cool cars or whatever, it’s about having the opportunity to do what you want, when you want and how you want,” Nathan explains.
And as easy as it is to assume that someone who owns almost $70 million worth of property, it may come as a surprise that Nathan isn’t one for material possessions anymore.
“People think I should be on big boats and partying but I’m a bit of a geek!” laughs Nathan.
“There was a phase in my life when I owned over $1million worth of cars and I realised that the more toys and silly things that I had, the more worried I got about scratching them and it made me a bit paranoid.
“I try and help my family a lot and I do like collecting things, like when I was a kid, I collected fish, nowadays I’ve built a lot of businesses and I’m excited to try and create a legacy.”
Seizing the Moment
When asked about how he sees the market panning out in the wake of COVID-19, ever the optimist and with his investor hat on as firmly as ever, Nathan sees huge potential in what is a time of hardship for many.
“I can’t even say the word with the number 19 in it, but there is a lot of opportunity at the moment!
“I get to see trends before they occur, there are booms occurring in certain markets right now, for example in Brisbane, 20 kilometres from the CBD, I’m picking up two-bedroom townhouses for 140k and renting them for $250 a week,” Nathan says.
“With all the money that is being printed and given out via stimulus packages and so on, it has to find a home, and its home will be in property.”