Experienced investor: Ponsonby

Read our interview with experienced residential property investors John and Karen Greenwood from Kerikeri, who own 2 rental properties - one in Ponsonby and the other in Eden Terrace. John and Karen have also owned 9 other properties across Auckland and Kerikeri in the past.

Number of investment properties: Currently 2 - one in Ponsonby and the other in Eden Terrace. Have owned 9 in the past.

Property descriptions: 2 bedroom and 1 bathroom.

Location of properties: Current properties - Ponsonby and Eden Terrace. Previous properties - Ponsonby, Mt Albert, One Tree Hill, Western Springs, Eden Terrace, Mt Roskill and Kerikeri.

Name of Property Manager at Barfoot & Thompson: Tim Werry, West Harbour

When did you purchase your first property?

1993

When did you purchase your last property?

2008

How many properties do you own now?

2

Why do you invest in property?

Bad experiences with shares and investment companies. Bank deposit rates are too low and we have little understanding of commercial property.

Which one has been the most successful investment and what has made it successful?

A stylish architect designed 2-bedroom townhouse in a group of five in Western Springs. Purchased at a market low, always well tenanted, and sold privately to a sitting tenant about 12 years later close to a market high. Perfect.

Do you have any other investments, other than residential property?

Bank deposits, a few shares and a number of “proportional ownerships” in commercial property such as supermarket buildings.

Do you have a specific philosophy for property investment (or investment overall) that you follow?

Never own more than one unit in a block. A bad tenant in one unit can only affect you once, if you own several in one block, you may lose a number of tenants to the one problem.

What are the key things you look for when investing in property?

Good area. Build quality and low maintenance materials. Transport links are important. Quality dwellings in good areas attract good folk. Price is a factor; percentage return on investment must be realistic. A quality internal redecoration is worthwhile, and again attracts good people and takes wear and tear arguments out of the equation for about 5-6 years.

Do you use a property manager for all of your investments? Or, a variety of property managers?

What value do you think they add? In the first 10 years yes, we were working overseas. On return to NZ we managed the units but Barfoot & Thompson property manager Tim Werry found our tenants. Recently we have passed full management to Tim and are very happy not dealing with the day-to-day things.

What is the most important lesson you have learned during your property investment journey?

Good property held for about 10 years has worked for us. We would never invest in a small town again, the tenant pool is small, often transient and although presenting well at selection, have a nasty habit of having dodgy associates. Finally, in over twenty years of landlording we have found all tenants tell fibs and make excuses, we have a comprehensive list of 'standard bleats'.

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