Property expert Peter Koulizos reveals his best ever investment


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Peter Koulizos was recently elected chairman of the Property Investment Professionals of Australia (PIPA). He has been teaching in real estate and investment for almost 20 years and also personally invests in property and currently holds several properties. Koulizos is the author of The Property Professor's Top Australian Suburbs and Property vs Shares.

What was your first job?

Whilst I was in high school my first time job was at Woolworths. I stacked shelves, packed groceries and helped customers take their groceries to their cars. I earnt $1.05c per hour. That sort of money doesn't sound like much now but back in the 1970s that was a lot of money to a young teenager!

Peter Koulizos

What's the best money advice you've ever received?

Buy property. My dad was in real estate and from a very young age he encouraged me to buy property.

Of course, being a young lad who thought he knew everything I didn't take my dad's advice as early as I should have, as I only started buying property in my late 20s. However, I am trying to make up for lost time!

What's the best investment decision you've made?

Studying. That might seem an obvious answer coming from someone who has been teaching all their working life but it is true. My first degree was an education degree, which enabled me to teach and earn a living.

My postgraduate degrees in property and urban and regional planning have not only helped me to teach in these areas but I have also personally been able to make money from investing/developing property.

Now I am not suggesting that everyone should go out and study for multiple degrees but even short courses can help you either get a job, get your dream job or make money from investing wisely.

What's the worst investment decision you've made?

In the late 1990s we bought a group of six units for a total of $274,000. That was a great decision. The worst decision was selling them. We sold them all a few years later for over $500,000, which was a nice profit, but if we had kept them they would be worth almost $2 million today!

What is your favourite thing to splurge on?

Holidays. We have four children so a family holiday can be quite expensive. We have managed to go on at least one family holiday per year but this is usually to somewhere local.

In more recent years, we have taken the family on overseas holidays. Last year we had an extended family holiday to Greece and Italy. It was a big splurge but it was worth every euro.

If you had $10,000 where would you invest it?

My favourite investment is property but there is not much you can do with $10,000 in the property market.

I would look to invest this money in the sharemarket. I would take a punt on emerging stocks where my return (or loss) would be greater than average.

What would you do if you had only $50 left in your bank account?

I would get back to basics: get a job, spend less than I earn and save as much money as possible. If I had such a small amount of money in the bank, I would assume that I was unemployed so I would be happy to take any job that paid a wage, as some money is better than none.

Do you intend to leave an inheritance?

Yes, we plan to leave each of the four children some properties. However, what I hope is more important is that I have been a good role model so not only will they have some assets when we pass away but they can build upon that asset base to further increase their wealth.

Hopefully the children have been listening to our conversations over the dinner table and watching what I do in relation to property so that they have learnt some valuable lessons.

What do you think is the biggest issue facing property investors in 2018?

The property news that often makes the headlines is usually focused around Sydney and, unfortunately, Sydney property prices are set to fall slightly in 2018.

However, for the 80% of Australians who don't live in Sydney, our properties should be worth more in 12 months' time.

Finish this sentence: Money makes ...

.. money. Money doesn't always make you happy - I know poor people that are happy and rich people that are unhappy.

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