Outlook For Success
A new investor has proven that you can still make money in the current market if you have the right mindset, as Joanna Mathers discovers. Photography by Stephanie Creagh OUTLOOK
1 July 2021
Those who claim you can no longer get a bargain in the current housing market would be well advised to listen to Jasmeet Singh. The Auckland investor has managed to buy six properties around New Zealand in the past 18 months; all but one are positively geared and rising in value.
He’s only been an investor since 2020, but he’s not new to the game, having built his own mortgage advisory business (focused on property investors) in 2018. But after two years of advising others – and years of saving money – Singh finally entered the market last year.
His strategy is simple but successful: buy for cashflow, make sure you can get money out of the property quickly, and buy places where you can add value.
Growing up in Delhi, Singh’s family were in the real estate business. His grandfather was a developer and his father benefitted from his success.
“My dad was the youngest in the family and he was given everything,” says Singh.
But he wasn’t money smart and didn’t invest properly, piling up credit on card after card.
“When I was 18, my family had a house with no mortgage, but we were in a state of financial crisis.”
For better or worse, parents are often our best teachers. Singh’s father was the inspiration for his career, but not in the way you might expect. “I wanted to be the opposite of him. I knew that I needed to understand money and be an intelligent investor.”
Singh says he always knew he wanted to work in finance. He wanted to understand the power of using money wisely.
“Modern day slavery is debt if you don’t manage it properly. I saw what happened to my father and I didn’t want to repeat it.”
He left school and started work at Citibank in Delhi. From there he moved to Barclays, working in the fraud detection department. He loved the work.
“It was completely fascinating. I would take calls from people pretending to be other people; trying to gain access to their money fraudulently.”
Singh moved to New Zealand in 2011, aged 21. Working in admin roles, he completed a Diploma of Business, then went back to India where he completed a Bachelor of Business in just four months.
Back in New Zealand he worked his way up, finally becoming a business banking adviser at BNZ. But a chance conversation, coupled with a missed job opportunity, led to a change of direction.
“A friend of mine mentioned that I had the right sort of personality to be a mortgage adviser,” he says. “A short time later, I applied for a job [that would have been a step up in the bank] but I missed out. It made me realise that mortgage advisory could be a good career for me.”
Singh started his company (Entrust Finance NZ Ltd) in May 2018. Working via social media, and active on the Property Investors Chat Group NZ Facebook page, he soon gained the trust of investors, who would seek his professional advice.
Since moving to New Zealand, Singh had always lived in rentals, and saved every cent he could. He initially inhabited a tiny single bedroom in a Mt Eden flat; moving into slightly better rentals with his wife, who he married in April 2017. She has the same money ethos as Singh:
“We’ve always written down everything we spend in a logbook, so we can keep track of where our money goes,” he says.
Due to the couple’s scrupulous savings, Singh and his wife (he prefers not to share her name in order to respect her privacy) saved up enough money by early 2020 to invest in their first property. Singh had been inspired by the book of high-profile investor Graeme Fowler.
The couple’s core strategy (cashflow, the ability to get money in and out quickly, and to find places where they could add value) emulates Fowler’s investment philosophy.
Using this as a blueprint, the couple bought a two-bedroom flat in Flaxmere, Hawke’s Bay, last year. Singh could see that the market was heating up in the area, and at $235,000, it was affordable. It was clean, tidy, and already tenanted.
With a rental of around $300 a week, the property is yielding 8% a year. It has increased in value to $390,000, but as a buy and hold.
The couple purchased their second investment property in Rotorua around the same time. Another twobedroom property, he purchased this for $220,000, and spent $30,000 on renovations. The end value of the property was $310,000; he refinanced up to 80% straight away, to buy another Rotorua property for $250,000.
The fourth property was in Hamilton on a big section, on which they planned to add a minor dwelling. This wasn’t to eventuate, so they ended up selling the property for $503,000 after some renovation work.
And at the end of last year they went unconditional on another property, which they purchased for $465,000.
“We are still deciding what to do with it,” he says. “But the other properties are easily covering it.”
This year the couple has bought their own home in South Auckland; along with a property with a large land parcel in Christchurch. Of the Christchurch property he says,
“It’s not currently positively geared, which I don’t like, but when we add an additional dwelling, it will be.”
Singh and his wife have a long-term goal for 2027; a dollar figure that they are well on the way to achieving. Having purchased so many properties in such a short time before the property investor rule changes, you’d imagine they’d be a bit concerned about the loss of revenue. But no: Singh explains that they will still be financially healthy.
“Sure, there will be less money at the end of the year, but we won’t have to sell anything,” he says.
He confesses that he’s not money driven (the family, which now includes a new baby, is very frugal). But he is passionate about helping people add value to their lives, something that he is focusing on in business.
“My sole focus these days is helping people with investment advice,” he says. “I don’t do a lot of brokering anymore.”
Singh says that wannabe investors who have been put off by the rule changes need to realise that there are still opportunities out there.
“Mindset is the most important thing as an investor. We are our own blockages in our lives. The only thing stopping most people is mindset.”
His end goal is to have the financial freedom to help others in his community achieve their own dreams. “We want to be able to help as many people as we possibly can,” he says.
Jasmeet Singh's Secrets To Success
• I always use property managers. My time is much better spent on other things, so I leave this to the experts.
• I get up at 4am every morning. It’s my routine and a discipline I find really useful and I won’t change it.
• No one can force me to eat out if I don’t want to eat out. I probably partied two or three times in my 20s. I saved so much money this way.