We hear a lot of stories about parents helping their children buy property but we rarely hear of children helping their parents. Especially, by using rentvesting as a strategy to do so.

So it seems that Sydneysider Sheree is the exception to the more traditional rule.

An altruistic investment

Sheree started working at 16 and for 10 years had a singular goal of buying a property.

But that property wasn’t to be somewhere for her to live permanently. It was to be a home for her parents.

“When I was younger, my parents had some financial difficulties, which meant we lost our family home when I was 12,” Sheree says.

“They were coming up to retirement years and hadn’t really recovered from that. They were still renting.

“I actually bought the property to live in with my parents but the goal was for them to stay in it long-term and I would either stay or go and rent somewhere else. They actually still live in that property.”

That property was a three-bedroom house in Western Sydney which Sheree bought in 2010. It has increased in value some 130 per cent since then.

After living in the property for 12 months, Sheree decided to go back to share house living closer to the city.

“I realised that financially I was in a much better space that a lot of my friends who were buying properties to live in. I was able to live where I wanted to live without worrying about the property market in that area,” she says.

“I lived in a share house with five people, which was cheaper again. It meant I could live closer to the city, closer to work, and have the lifestyle I wanted without having to stress about my mortgage.”

Investing elsewhere

Five years after buying her parents a home, and enjoying spectacular capital growth on the property, Sheree decided it was time to buy her second investment.

It was 2015 by this stage, though, and the Sydney market was no longer within her financial reach.

Not to be deterred, she simply looked for locations that were more affordable.

“I was in the financial position to buy another property. I couldn’t really afford the Sydney market so I looked further abroad and I found a little town called Old Bar, which I really love,” she says.

“My grandparents used to live there and I decided to invest up there. That’s proven to be a very good decision as well.”

That second property was a three-bedroom villa located in the town about 3.5 hours from Sydney and just south of Port Macquarie.

Continuing to invest in her future, Sheree established her own digital creative agency about 18 months ago.

She is now investigating buying her third investment property – this time with her husband – while they continue to rent on Sydney’s Lower North Shore.

“We’re looking at the Central Coast area or beyond Sydney borders where there’s affordable houses with high rental demand,” she says.

“We don’t want to spend our lives commuting so living close to the city means less travel time and more time together to enjoy the things in life that we like. Also paying rent here is also a lot cheaper than paying a mortgage here.”

A unique renting perspective

It’s clear that Sheree’s experiences as a child helped to shape her future.

The family’s misfortune meant that she decided from an early age to not only help her parents, but also to ensure that she had a more secure financial future.

But the experience also taught her that renting wasn’t a second-rate option. In fact, she learned that it had a number of benefits.

“We rented for the majority of my teens and early 20s and that that lifestyle was fine. We lived in some nice places so I had no ‘the Great Australian Dream’ of living in a home that you owned,” she says.

“I’d lived in some great places. I’ve had the flexibility of not being tied down to one area or one place.

“Also doing the maths and realising that rent money is not dead money if you’re able to live the life that you want to live now and also be earning income in other ways.”

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Nicola McDougall

Nicola McDougall

Nicola McDougall is an award-winning journalist, property investor, and former editor of Australian Property Investor magazine. She is also a successful lifestyle blogger, likes writing movies "in her spare time", and is a novice surfer tragic.
Nicola McDougall

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