Articles How young couple retired before the age of THIRTY thanks to a ‘lightbulb moment’ that sparked a $23million property empire – as they share their five tips to help YOU do the same • Scott and Mina O’Neill purchased their first investment property in Sydney at 23 • Within ten years the pair have built a $23million portfolio of 33 properties • The success stemmed from investing in commercial properties • The investments span across four major cities and turnover $1million per year • In 2020 the Sydney couple wrote a book to teach others how to invest A Sydney couple who built a staggering commercial property portfolio worth more than $23million within ten years have opened up on their success and shared insight into how others can do the same. Scott and Mina O’Neill, 34 and 33, bought their first residential investment property at 23 soon after completing their university studies and gaining full-time employment. Since then, the couple have taken ‘calculated risks’ and implemented ‘strategic investing strategies’ to grow a portfolio of 33 properties spanning across four states and turning over $1million each year before mortgage payments. Scott, who grew up in the Sutherland Shire and was originally an engineer, told Daily Mail Australia their success stemmed from a ‘lightbulb moment’ that made them look ‘beyond the backyard’ and into business properties. ‘We soon realised that you can invest outside of where you live. You can look to different asset classes to get you there, and discover that the local residential market is not the only option,’ he said. By 28 the pair had ‘retired’ and reached financial freedom – giving them the option to work when they wanted and travel overseas often. By purchasing the right properties at the right time, the pair said they soon fell on to a ‘winning formula’ that led to their staggering success. At 26 they bought their first commercial property in Perth worth $700,000 – a mini-supermarket with a fish and chip shop attached. ‘Every time we bought in an area that was growing in value it would generate a positive cash flow; it’s almost as if we were buying ourselves a pay rise,’ Scott said. By 28 the pair had ‘retired’ and reached financial freedom – giving them the option to work when they wanted and travel overseas often From there the couple used the equity to purchase more properties around the country – and soon enough they had listings in Sydney, Adelaide, Perth and regional Queensland. The property types range from retail spaces, food stores and warehouses, and they also have a few residential properties. On top of the cash flow, they pair were depositing an amount of their savings into the investments. Their passive rental income generates more than $450,000 per year after mortgage costs and additional ownership expenses. Their passive rental income generates more than $450,000 per year after mortgage costs and additional ownership expenses (pictured: one of the first properties bought in Queensland) Scott said the commercial property market isn’t spoken about enough compared to the residential market, but he claims you can generate more income from the corporate buildings will ‘less complications’. ‘Some people say “if you don’t live in it, it’s not as useful”, but every single online business needs logistics, such as truck movements, warehouses, a place to store their stock and materials,’ he said. ‘Office towers, retail spaces, industrial areas and warehouses are all owned by someone – and many are everyday people. ‘We’re just trying to make it a little more mainstream because everyone always talks about residential, but there’s another half of the market that no-one talks about even though it’s just as big.’ But there are some weaknesses to the little-known option, as last year office buildings were impacted by Covid-19 with employees working from home. Over the past six years the couple have helped over 2,000 clients start investing in commercial locations around the country. Over the past six years the couple have helped over 2,000 clients start investing in commercial locations around the country Last year during the Covid-19 pandemic the couple wrote a book, Rethink Property Investing, to help others gain an understanding of commercial investing and passive income. ‘All of the knowledge and experience we have built up over the years informs the way we help our clients through our business and in turn inspired us to write this book – in which we offer guidance to help others on their own journey to wealth and independence,’ he said. The book priced at $29.95 touches on a range of relevant topics, including the different asset classes, how to calculate yield and the best way to negotiate a contact. ‘The people who look into commercial are often business owners – but you don’t have to own a business to buy into commercial properties,’ he said. What to consider before investing in commercial property: Adopt a wealth creation mindset – shifting from a tax saving or ‘fear’ mindset to an opportunistic or ‘profit’ based mindset is the number one key to commercial investing. It will help you achieve bigger goals resulting in higher-yielding properties, stronger growth and ultimately more revenue Higher deposits are needed – while residential property can be purchased with as little as $50,000 as a deposit to cover all necessary costs, commercial on the other hand is $75,000-$100,000 as a minimum Everything’s up for negotiation – when you purchase a commercial property, unlike residential, you are entering into an agreement with the tenant and their business. Every term can be up for negotiation and you will need a seasoned lawyer and negotiator in your corner to make sure you understand what you are signing up for Potential for longer vacancies, but also longer leases – if the property is in a poor location there is the list of a longer vacancy period, but on the flip side the leases are often longer too Not all assets are created equal – commercial property can be divided into distinct asset classes (office space, retail and industrial) and each asset type has its own set of risks and reward. It’s important to understand the fundamentals of each and their relationship to the current market to make sure you are purchasing a winning commercial asset. February 4 2022 SHARE View media article > In The Media Let’s discuss your property investment goals. Speak to one of our property experts today.