Things I Wish I knew When I Started Property Investing

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Anyone who appears to be the perfect investor and doesn’t acknowledge mistakes that they’ve made in the past isn’t being completely upfront. As an avid property investor for the past 25 years, I’ve had my fair share of cuts and bruises along the way.

It’s during this time that I’ve learnt many lessons that have shaped my investing philosophy and overall outlook on property investing. Property investing as a means for wealth building and for me, achieving financial freedom, has changed a lot. However, the fundamentals always remain the same.

In this article, I share with you some of the biggest lessons I learnt and things I wish I knew when I started property investing.

Have a Plan

It’s wild to think that during my initial property investing journey that many of the decisions my husband and I made were based on “gut feel” because somebody told us that it was a good idea.

We had gone through half a dozen properties that were bought on a whim and honestly didn’t have any kind of approach to vetting whether a property was an ideal investment or not.

Fortunately for us, we were investing during a boom period but this was out of sheer luck more than anything. What helped us along with growing our portfolio was our ability to save and having good stewardship to ensure we got the most out of our properties.

As the value of our properties increased, this gave us the equity to springboard into having additional properties.

Looking back, had we been more methodical with our approach, we could have been 4 to 5 times further ahead of where we were.

Lesson: not having a good game plan will slow you down significantly at best and bankrupt you at worst.

Things Will Go Wrong

In 2008, we met someone who promised the opportunity for a joint venture through private financing. At this time, we had fully paid off our house and took out a significant amount of equity for this next investment.

It turns out that despite having all of the legal documentation in order and doing our due diligence, we were fleeced by this complete crook who ended up running away with hundreds of thousands of dollars.

At the time, we were on one income and subsequently lost the house – a devastating blow that took me many years to digest and almost put us back to square one.

For the past decade rubbing shoulders with many high net wealth and sophisticated investors, what appeared a very lonely setback in 2008 turns out to be much more common than we thought. They faced similar major setbacks and some even faced bankruptcy.

Most importantly, this has taught me to do world-class due diligence and if after this you still face losses, you’ll need to digest losses because they’re almost unavoidable. This is part of the property investing journey.

Learning From Mistakes

No matter the size of the setback, you should be asking yourself – what is the lesson?

Unfortunately, there’s no magic bullet or insulation to loss. Everyone is susceptible to it. It’s all part of the journey.

From an investing point of view, I encourage you to reflect on these mistakes and figure out where the pearls of wisdom are.

Don’t sweep these under the carpet.

Digest the pain whether it’s through support from friends, families or hearing from other investors who’ve met similar challenges.

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What Would I Tell Younger Salena?

This is a thought exercise I often do as a way to reflect on how much I’ve progressed and to be grateful for the wisdom I’ve accumulated during this time.

When you’re full-steam ahead like I am, sometimes it’s difficult to sit down and to appreciate things when you’re always on the go.

If I had to give myself some advice, it’d be the following:


  • There’s no urgency or rush! You’ve got plenty of time to accumulate wealth. Is it worth getting your knickers in a knot over it?
  • Be methodical and have a plan
  • Find mentors. Not celebrities or famous educators.
  • But people who have the results you want. Find a way to be in their world by adding value to them.
    This is often the missing piece in many investors’ world
  • Get in the game early. This might sound counter-intuitive to my “don’t rush” advice. But you can get into investment early and still take your time with it. The power of compounding has its greatest effect the longer it’s working for you
  • Find the work or vocation that inspires you to lead the life you want to live. This is something I always encourage my kids to think about. Be deliberate about the journey you take

Key Takeaways

Freedom Warrior is born out of a desire to share all the things I’ve learnt from my investing journey and how the pursuit of being financially free has meant that I’ve been able to help many people along the way.

Despite this being a reflective piece, like many, I don’t wish to go back and change the past. I’ve enjoyed the journey and it’s shaped me to be the person I am today.

Most significantly, it’s not about amassing the biggest fortune in the shortest space of time.

The Freedom Warrior program has always been about how to be wise with money, care for money, how you can use the money for good (and not evil) and how you can use the money to influence the lives of others.

If you’re someone who’s uncertain about the next steps to take in their investing journey, I encourage you to reach out and get in touch with myself to find out more about how I can help you on your path to financial freedom.

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