Property Investory
How Laura Nasr Dealt with a $221,000 Property Nightmare
June 25, 2023
Growing up in the Blacktown region and surrounded by the smell of new homes, Christian Bel Real Estate Director Laura Nasr was hooked on property from the very beginning. Along with her family and her jewellery line Milo and Mila, her life is all property all the time. It's no wonder how she’s accomplished so much as an investor and renovator for more than 12 years now.
In this episode, the self-confessed property-obsessed agent tells the story of how she kindled the flames with the real estate brochures of the time, how if it weren’t for her passion for real estate, she might not have completed high school at all, and how she dealt with a nightmare situation of her first investment, a $221,000 property, catching on fire!

00:42 | A Lifelong Love
03:04 | Ye-Haw
06:36 | Coming Home to HomeWorld
09:47 | A Girl on a Mission
13:12 | An Average Unit on the Worst Street
16:16 | Following the Fire
19:42 | Making a Beeline for Beecroft
22:09 | Reconsidering and Restructuring


25:08 | Combining Their Talents in Gosford
27:10 | Central Coast Strategies
00:27 | Put Your Tools Down
02:15 | A Boatload of Experiences
06:49 | No Laugh Track Necessary
08:43 | More than Financial Freedom
10:21 | Trial and Error
14:21 | Fitting Learning into Her Lifestyle

Resources and Links:


Laura Nasr:
[00:09:47] I always wanted to be in real estate. So since my parents sold their first property, I was about 12 years old, that was the moment that I knew I wanted to be in real estate. I want to do open homes. I want to do anything to do with property. And I don't want to spend time sitting down and reading books and listening to teachers, because I knew what I wanted to do.


Tyrone Shum:
This is Property Investory where we talk to successful property investors to find out more about their stories, mindset and strategies.
I’m Tyrone Shum and in this episode we’re speaking with Laura Nasr, director of Christian Bel Real Estate. The self-confessed property obsessed agent grew up surrounded by the smell of new homes, and was hooked from the very beginning. Having been an investor and renovator for over 12 years, she’s accomplished so much— but she’s just getting started.



A Lifelong Love

Tyrone Shum:   
Along with her family and her jewellery line Milo and Mila, Nasr’s life is all property, all the time. And considering her favourite childhood hobby, it’s no surprise! No matter the task at hand, if it’s anything related to real estate, she can be trusted to give it her all.

Laura Nasr:   
[00:00:42] I'm probably the most obsessed real estate person in all aspects that you will ever find. I'm definitely happy to get down and dirty [and] do rubbish removal, paint, take out toilets. I've done it all. And I love it more now than I ever have before.
[00:01:01] I did buy my first property that needed a lot of work in Sydney's western suburbs of Penrith when I was 18. And since then, I've just been accumulating and changing strategies along the way.

Tyrone Shum:   
As a mother of two, Nasr’s day revolves around her children as much as it does her career.

Laura Nasr:   
[00:01:26] I usually get up when my children get up, which can range anywhere between 4:30 in the morning and 6:30. We get up, we have breakfast, they go to childcare, and then I go to the gym. 
[00:01:39] I start work around 9:30 [or] 10 o'clock in the morning. And then I basically call all my clients [and] drive around in the car. I find that moving gets me more in the momentum of the day. And then I finished typically around 3:30. Besides Thursdays when I work a full day, and I do also work Saturdays and Sundays. So a big balance between health, family and work is my day.
[00:02:26] I'm really lucky that I do have a live in nanny to the property that we live in. And so she will take over the children early in the morning. The children do also go to childcare. So I have a longer day, the days that they go. But I do have a lot of flexibility, a lot of support and a lot of family that live very, very close by, so that enables me to do basically everything that's on my goals list.


Tyrone Shum:   
She grew up in the Blacktown region, where she went to school in Riverstone. Despite being an area of Sydney, it wasn’t that long ago that it looked like worlds away.

Laura Nasr:   
[00:03:04] I lived in some very interesting streets of the Blacktown council area, and gradually moved to the Hills area and [I] finished school in Kellyville High School.
[00:03:24] It was very western there, we saw a lot of chicken farms, a lot of horses, and a lot of interesting characters. 
[00:03:31] So my parents started off by buying their first house, I think it was for $60,000 or whatever it was back then. We lived there while my parents renovated. They sold that and basically we gradually moved. 
[00:03:44] So a lot of my childhood from a young age was assisting my parents with the smaller type things, passing the hammer, the nails, taking out the weeds or whatever it might have been at that age appropriate time. So my whole childhood, my whole life has always been around property and around real estate.

Tyrone Shum:    
While her life mission has remained the same, she can’t say the same for the area she lived in and now sells in.

Laura Nasr:   
[00:04:24] It's completely different. And it's so funny because I now sell, within my business, a lot of the new subdivisions and a lot of the new development sites. And I can tell the people, or the buyers or the developers, like, 'I used to drive down your street when there was a chicken farm here', and, 'I used to buy eggs from here', and, 'My parents used to do this and that', and, 'I used to horse ride around the corner'. 
[00:04:50] So it's completely changed and I'm really lucky that I had grown up in the area and been able to witness that change. And that also really enhances my interest in real estate and interest in development because I have seen a lot of it happen in the northwest.

Tyrone Shum:   
Acknowledging she wasn’t overly interested in school, if it weren’t for her passion for real estate, Nasr might not have completed high school at all. 

Laura Nasr:   
[00:05:57] When I was at school, I was definitely more interested in the sporting and the creative side. 
[00:06:02] The only reason I ended up going to year 12 was because at that point in time, you could fast track your real estate license by finishing the HSC. Otherwise, yeah, I definitely wasn't a very academic student. 
[00:06:16] But I was very social. I spent my weekends either doing sport or getting my parents to take me to the new HomeWorld down in Kellyville.

Coming Home to HomeWorld

Tyrone Shum:   
HomeWorld was more than just a display village to Nasr, who saw it more as a real-life mood board for her future life.

Laura Nasr:   
[00:06:36] I loved it, I think it was always to dream big. And at that point, coming from a house that was quite conservative and being surrounded by a lot of your typical weatherboard [and] fibro type of home, seeing a brick mansion was pretty exciting.
[00:06:51] And HomeWorld really offered that place for me to dream, set goals, and get excited about architecture and development and property, really. 
[00:07:02] So I loved going there, I got my parents to take me to all the open homes in the local area as well, because I loved seeing all the Mercedes and the BMWs in the driveway. So it was all that whole experience of your dream life or your goal in the future. And that for me was why I really enjoyed it.

Tyrone Shum:   
During her high school days, Kellyville was a very different place to what it is today. 

Laura Nasr:   
[00:08:01] It was a huge change. It was, at that point, a very new area. The homes are very different, the people there were very different. The demographic particularly was very different. But it really opened my eyes at that point to a lot of different cultures, which I always find very valuable, understanding different ways that people are and live. And I loved the different languages as well. 
[00:08:26] So it was fantastic because then I had a different group of friends that had different ways of living, different interests, and so on and so forth. Because Riverstone, going to school there, it was still quite rural, a lot of my school friends lived out in South Maroota, Maraylya, those very Hawkesbury type properties. So, it was a huge change, I guess more suburbia than out in Kellyville.

A Girl on a Mission

Tyrone Shum:   
As the only child to follow in her parents’ property-sized footsteps, she knew where she was headed and what wasn’t necessary in order to get there.

Laura Nasr:   
[00:09:47] I always wanted to be in real estate. So since my parents sold their first property, I was about 12 years old, that was the moment that I knew I wanted to be in real estate. I want to do open homes. I want to do anything to do with property. And I don't want to spend time sitting down and reading books and listening to teachers, because I knew what I wanted to do and all the rest of it. 
[00:10:11] So I didn't have any intentions to go to university. But if to get your real estate license was to go to university, then I would have done that.
[00:10:32] It took me 12 months at TAFE to do the license. I don't know how you do it now. But you just go to TAFE. But in between that time I worked, I did work full time. I used to volunteer a lot with local real estate agents on the weekends. And then I did have a couple of other jobs in cafes, I used to deliver the papers, when I was younger, I used to iron people in the street's clothes for five cents a shirt. 
[00:11:03] So I always had that intention of 'I want to buy a property by the time I'm finished [with] school'. That way, I'm not just one of those people that have you gone to school, wasted time, and not done anything because I have no interest, I've at least added value by working in those periods of time that I didn't go to school.

Tyrone Shum:   
With her entrepreneurial spirit on fire from a young age, she kindled the flames with the real estate brochures of the time.

Laura Nasr:   
[00:11:42] I think I got it from, to be honest, going to all the new home estates. And thinking to myself, 'I would love to live in one of those homes one day'. And what would that mean, for me? And what would the steps be to get that? 
[00:11:59] So whilst my parents were into renovating and flipping homes in some sense, it was more internal and wanting to do it for myself. And also exciting. Like, in my spare time, I used to pick up all the... I mean, we've got the internet now. But in the western suburbs, we had the Homes Pictorial and the Property Showcase, I couldn't wait to pick those up, cut out the squares, say, 'I'm gonna buy this kind of property first, this one second', and I put it all on a poster. 
[00:12:30] So instead of having posters of, like, [the] Backstreet Boys, or whatever it is, I had little photos of the types of properties that I wanted to buy. And that kind of led me to getting my pre approval as quickly as I could, when I [had] just finished school at 18 years old, and looking for property. 
[00:12:49] And I said to my parents, 'It's cool. I'll do it by myself. I've got the initiative, I know exactly how much my pre approval is for'. And I went out and I bought something that weekend.

An Average Unit on the Worst Street

Tyrone Shum:   
When it was finally time to purchase her first property, she took an age-old real estate phrase and made it her own.

Laura Nasr:   
[00:13:12] That was in Penrith, in one of the worst streets. It was a little unit, double brick, two level walk up. I bought it at a silent auction [and] paid way too much. I was just so excited that I was going to buy my first property.
[00:13:27] And I had later that day made offers on other properties out in Shalvey, and Dharruk, which are those cheaper type areas where I could get a house for the same value. But at that time, I was a little bit nervous about termites or asbestos, all that kind of thing, because I didn't have an additional amount of funds to be able to rectify those issues. 
[00:13:49] So I thought, 'Look, I'll go with something that just needs a lick of paint and those minor type[s] of improvements, rather than going to get something with land and potentially larger issues'.

Tyrone Shum:   
Its appeal to her was all in its practicality. While it’s far from what she would consider investing in now, it was great for her first step onto the property ladder.

Laura Nasr:   
[00:14:16] I really liked it because it was [with]in walking distance to Penrith station. It was on a huge block of land. So if you were to redevelop on that property now, you'd probably get 60 [to] 70 apartments. When I bought that it had six. So I thought, 'You know what? There's potential here'. 
[00:14:37] And I liked the fact that it was double brick and slug construction. So I felt like even though it's ground floor, which is obviously not ideal, it is a little bit elevated, so that's okay. And the structure of it's quite good. So I felt like it's lower risk for me. And the strata levies at that point were fairly low.
[00:15:13] I rented that one out. It was vacant for a good 12 months. There was a fire that happened in the basement, which... in a positive mindset, I was thinking, 'Oh, well, that's fantastic. Because if the whole building burns down, the six owners, we've basically potentially got a portion of the land and we can go and sell it to a developer'. Anyway, structure, double brick, it didn't burn down. It was just black for quite a number of months. So I had that property for about six years, and then I sold it.

Following the Fire

Tyrone Shum:   
For a first-time investor dealing with a situation many would consider a nightmare, Nasr took the setback in her stride.

Laura Nasr:   
[00:16:16] You didn't get any income. I mean, landlord insurance covers a little bit of that. But the loan was really, really small. So I didn't have a huge amount of pressure. 
[00:16:29] I had also purchased another property at that point, which was producing positive cash flow. So it kind of neutrally geared the portfolio at that point. So it wasn't a huge stressor. And keep in mind, I bought this property for $221,000.

Tyrone Shum:   
She decided to move on from the building after its resurrection, but it wasn’t due to the effects of the fire.

Laura Nasr:   
[00:18:00] I think there was a bit of an investigation as to why the fire happened. And then there was obviously structural reports and things like that that had to be done. So it did take a long time. 

[00:18:11] And then obviously, to have it re-let again, once we could have access, we had to do the renovations. A lot of the improvements, 90% of them I do myself, even today to what I own. And so to be able to get out there, it takes longer than if you're contracting somebody out. To rent it again. It was a little bit harder at that time to get tenants.

[00:17:09] I got a new tenant in there, I got a little bit of money to redo the place, [I] just did paint[ing]. And then, yeah, it wasn't a huge thing. 
[00:17:19] Our sinking fund didn't have enough money. So we all had to pay additional funds to be able to make the site secure. So we had instead of just an open basement garage, we had gates and electronic swipes and all the rest of it. So I guess that led me into not wanting to be a part of a strata building anymore.

Tyrone Shum:   
In the time it took to make the building liveable again, Nasr had her hopes pinned on one thing— which was probably the exact opposite of what the other owners wanted.

Laura Nasr:  
[00:18:51] I try and be always be positive. And I was really hoping that all the reports would come back and say, 'You know what, we have to knock the building down'. And then I was getting excited about what could it be worth, and I was looking at how big the land is in the area, and what the zoning is, and how much the site could be worth, and then that means X amount for me. 
[00:19:09] So it was more that mindset rather than, 'I don't have someone in there, and I'm not getting the income'. I had a full time job. Like I said, I had another property that was positively cash flowed. So I wasn't in a stressful state.

Making a Beeline for Beecroft

Tyrone Shum:   
Her next purchase took two years to get into— or not get into.

Laura Nasr:   
[00:19:42] I bought a unit in Beecroft. [It was] probably my worst purchase because I bought it thinking that I would live in it. And it was more of an emotional one. I wanted the top floor, I wanted the extra space and all the rest of it. And I did also buy that one off the plan. And it didn't really grow in value at all. The strata was huge. And I never ended up living there.
[00:20:37] I put a tenant in there. It was at a way lower value than what I thought it would be. But it was still fine. I had a big enough deposit that I used from Penrith to put it into Beecroft. And then again, it didn't matter if it was, you know, $50 or $100 less a week, because I had bought it with the intention of living in it. So I was trying to minimise the amount of repayments I had to start with.
[00:21:06] So I guess having bought two strata properties back to back, I thought, 'You know what, I just want to offload them. They're not making crazy great returns, they're not going up in that much value. And I think I can do something more exciting'. So I changed my strategy.

Tyrone Shum:   
Her takeaway from that purchase was loud and clear.

Laura Nasr:   
[00:21:42] My learning lesson was don't buy units. And don't buy investments that you fantasise about how nice it would be being there.

Reconsidering and Restructuring

Tyrone Shum:   
With those two units under her belt, she shook things up and changed her investment strategy.

Laura Nasr:   
[00:22:09] I decided, 'You know what? These are not working for me. I'm going to sell the both of them, offload it, and I'll just restructure my property portfolio'. At that point in time, I met my future husband, and he had different types of investments, like I had all the strata, and he had all the land. And both of them were in different structures where his wasn't working for him. And mine wasn't working for me. So we sold everything off. And we said, 'You know what? [Let's] start from scratch'.
[00:22:57] My husband's a builder. So I'm very lucky that I could look at properties that needed additional work that I wasn't comfortable [with] or had the skills to do on my own, which was the reason at the start [that] I didn't buy an older home in Shelvey, or Dharruk because I had that nervousness around the issues that older homes bring. 
[00:22:57] So we said, 'Okay, well, what do we want to do?' My husband loves building. I like renovating. I like older homes, and we like land. So we had a look. And we listened to lots of different podcasts similar to your own with investors. And some said, 'Don't invest if you're going to do the work yourself more than two hours from where you live'. 
[00:23:47] So we basically drew a circle. And this is pre-kids. So we went and visited all of those areas ourselves. And we've been like, nearly every suburb you can think of two hours from Sydney. And at that point, we said anything under $500,000 because we wanted to get to this number by two years, for example. 
[00:24:11] So we found a property that [was] our first purchase together, [it] was an industrial zoned land. It had a residential house on it, though, and it was near a growth area. So it was in Gosford, and the rent was neutrally geared. It was neutrally geared. But there was potential to add value. 
[00:24:35] So our strategy is always buy something under market. So we always look at what's on the market, oldest to newest in the search bar on realestate or Domain rather than newest to oldest, which everyone I think typically does. 
[00:24:48] And this property had been on the market for, like, six months. And it was actually on real commercial, not So it was adjoining a medical centre across the road from a hospital. So we thought, you know, 'Tick tick tick, later on, we can develop it and it will be worth a lot more'. 

Combining Their Talents in Gosford

Tyrone Shum:
Having bought two investment properties in Western Sydney, Nasr and her now-husband made their first purchase together in Gosford. With her real estate expertise and her husband’s career as a builder, the property they bought couldn’t have been suited to a better pair of buyers.

Laura Nasr:   
[00:25:08] Basically, it was like you couldn't live in it. So we did a lot of improvements, a lot of maintenance, we added an additional room. So our strategy changed from just buying a under market property to okay, we want something that's development zoned with a residential house. That way, we can find tenants a lot easier. 
[00:25:40] And then under the original footprint, there has to be potential to add an extra room, or an extra bathroom. That way, we don't have to go to council and get all the approvals. 
[00:25:54] So with this industrial property, we turned it from a three bedroom to a four bedroom. So originally, when we bought it, it was a three bedroom, one bath, one car, and we changed it to a four bedroom, two bath, still one car. So we used that strategy to then get a higher bank valuation to then go on and purchase the other properties.

Tyrone Shum:   
They’ve put that strategy on hold for now, but that doesn’t mean their overall goal has wavered.

Laura Nasr:   
[00:26:46] Ours is more like a 10 or 20 year goal for particular sites. And we usually buy in areas that haven't taken off just yet. So once more of the infrastructure and development goes in and around that, then that's the time that will develop, not when it's kind of like the first in the best development in that pocket. We'd rather hold on and wait until everything else has come up.

Central Coast Strategies

Tyrone Shum:   
[00:27:10] Fantastic. And since then, have you purchased more properties like those? Is that been sort of the strategy that you've gone down that path?

Laura Nasr:   
[00:27:19] So after that property, we bought a little R3 development site on the Central Coast. We were really lucky because that one had already two dwellings on there. So the income was quite good. Again, [it] wasn't livable, [it] needed a whole lot of maintenance, a whole lot of improvements. 
[00:27:35] We did it all ourselves. I did a lot of that pregnant with my first daughter. So it probably went a little bit slower than what we expected. But we did that, again, we've left it there until the market picks up. But as it stands, you can put townhouses on it. 
[00:27:54] After that, we've gone on and purchased within two hours of Sydney. We've got a business zoned development site of three amalgamated homes together, we have a unit site. And all of these have residential homes that we've gone in and done improvements on to then borrow against and buy the next one. So we try and pay down the debt as much as we can. So we can get that redraw to buy something else.

Tyrone Shum:   
Many people find it difficult to locate sites with development potential and execute their plans, but not Nasr.

Laura Nasr:   
[00:28:50] So we always look at properties that have the uplift and development potential. Areas to add an additional room is a big one, like we've bought two bedroom homes before and made them three bedrooms under the same footprint. 
[00:29:04] And that really increases when you get your bank valuation. And it increases the rent as well. And it's basically really easy for us to do, we just put in, like, a gyprock wall. As long as you've got a window, you've got good ventilation, it's fine. 
[00:29:20] So yeah, we've had a lot of fun doing it, we love it. And we're really fortunate that all the properties that we have, we've been able to visit ourselves and experience the area before we purchased it. And a lot of them are in adjoining already growth suburbs. So we're trying to buy below market in a suburb that's already priced lower than what everything else surrounding it is.

Put Your Tools Down

Tyrone Shum:   
While her property journey has been relatively smooth so far, there’s been one bump in the road that many investors are familiar with.

Laura Nasr:  
[00:00:27] I think during COVID was a big time where... I mentioned my husband's a builder. There was a lot of difficulties with building and that small time where everyone had to lock up their sites and work and all the rest of it. 
[00:00:44] And then, at that period of time, I had just had my son, and so I was off working. And I was, at that point, unemployed. And we were fortunate enough that our portfolio supported our living, basically. So that, I guess, is our aha moment. 
[00:01:00] And also, it gives you motivation, to say, 'Oh, my God, I just want to keep buying more, because it has sort of allowed us to continue living', and also continue buying, which we've been really lucky to be able to continue that journey as well.

A Boatload of Experiences

Tyrone Shum:   
After noticing an opportunity to expand their portfolio, Nasr and her husband headed north.

Laura Nasr:   
[00:02:15] So we did buy a majority of our homes within two hours of Sydney, but we also see the opportunity in Queensland with the Olympics and all the rest of it. So we ended up buying quite a number of properties 20 minutes from Brisbane city, and one of them being on quite large land and the owner was a hoarder and all the rest of it. 
[00:02:33] Part of the negotiations was we'll give him his price if he leaves— he was really into boats and all the rest of it. And he had this old catamaran sitting right at the back of the block, which probably has no value to anyone but my cousin's a boat builder. So we could see the opportunity in that. So that came into the negotiation. 
[00:02:57] So basically, we got all excited, we got this old catamaran, obviously it's got holes, and it's got a lot of work that has to be done. But that was a really big part of it and trying to come up with the value of what we want to pay for his house. And then also what we think the value of this catamaran that doesn't work is. And we bought that property. It was a for sale by owner. So there was no agent involved. So it was a funny experience.

Tyrone Shum:   
With emotions at play when it comes to dealing with owners rather than agents, they found they needed to change their tactics.

Laura Nasr:   
[00:03:44] I think my husband went and took him out for a beer and that maybe got him over the line.
[00:03:53] He had a couple of big dogs, so they could relate on the German Shepherd level or whatever it was. So just building rapport. 
[00:04:03] So we bought a lot of very interesting properties. We're renovating one at the moment, which is 80% that there was a fire there. So we have been spending a lot of time doing that. 
[00:04:19] So that's also been an interesting purchase because it comes down as well when you get homes that are not habitable. It does affect the valuations a lot. So when you're going through your loan, you've got to really think about, 'Okay, the condition of the house is not habitable. So how much extra deposit or funds do I have to put into this property to be able to settle it?' 
[00:04:45] So that's also been a learning experience, as well as the different zoned sites. So industrial, you've got to pay more of a chunk and then that reflects as well in the condition of the property that you're buying.

Tyrone Shum:   
Every investor has a different strategy. While some look for simple processes that focus on specific numbers, she targets properties from another angle.

Laura Nasr:   
[00:05:35] I think a big key thing for us recently is trying to buy up the neighbouring properties. So this burnt house neighbour's something that we already own. So it's got a different kind of value for us. And that goes the same for a few others that we own is that we are the best buyer for these types of properties. And that also comes into play with negotiation when we're talking about price and where the market's at. 
[00:06:06] And we do also have the skills and the knowledge around how to get around that or how to improve on those things. And through mistakes, we've learnt that some of these things require a little bit of a different strategy behind it

No Laugh Track Necessary

Tyrone Shum:   
Among her tales that could have been lifted straight from a sitcom, she does have some straightforward success stories as well.

Laura Nasr:   
[00:06:49] We have one in Queensland, where we bought it at a very, very low price. Again, it was on the market for about 12 months, and it is in a more rural area, but it's opposite a Bunnings Warehouse. And again, this is zoned industrial, warehousing and so on. 
[00:07:10] And just clips from where the flooding is, it was slightly elevated. So when the floods happened in Queensland, and so on, there was that stigma. So we jumped on the bandwagon and bought up two of the neighbouring properties, because there wasn't a lot of activity in the market. 
[00:07:30] So since that sort of calmed down, and all the rest of it, we've made a good profit on those without having to actually renovate them just because of the way the market was.

Tyrone Shum:   
[00:07:42] So buying the right location, really good location, and then just the timing of the market allows you to be able to have an increase or value added. 

Laura Nasr:   
[00:07:51] And something that we always do is jump on the portholes and see what's been approved in the local area. And we try and buy up adjoining those sites, because then we can get an indicator as to where the growth will be in those suburbs, rather than just saying, 'Oh, this has got a good return, I'll go and buy that', we want to have a good return. But more importantly, we want something that we can develop on later that we're buying below market.

More than Financial Freedom

Tyrone Shum:   
Financial freedom is a big motivator, but it’s not the only reason Nasr has dedicated her life to the pursuit of property.

Laura Nasr:   
[00:08:43] I think because it's fun. I just... like, it's got nothing to do with, like, money, because that comes to anything that you enjoy, I think. I've always been obsessed with real estate. My husband's obsessed with real estate. I'm sure my kids will be obsessed, because that's probably in their genes. So it's a hobby, and it's fun. So whether it works or whether it doesn't work, it's still just as fun for us.

Tyrone Shum:   
As Nasr is so passionate about what she does, it quickly became second nature to her. However, her mindset plays a role as well. 

Laura Nasr:   
[00:09:28] And I think also being positive, like, we've made a lot of mistakes, and we've lost a lot of money as well. But being a bit more lighthearted about it and saying, 'You know what? It's an adventure. It's fun. How great that we can learn a lesson through a mistake and not have to learn it with more negativity around it' or whatever else it may be. We just take it as it's fun. It's light hearted. It's just real estate. It's just property, and it's what we love to do. So that's our mentality around it.

Trial and Error

Tyrone Shum:   
One of the biggest lessons she’s learnt involves discovering what the best structures for her are, and what they aren’t. As these will differ for everybody, it’s often a trial and error process.

Laura Nasr:   
[00:10:21] I think our biggest mistake was buying a large plot of land under the wrong structure, with the banks. And I think, with the interest rates and so on at the moment, getting yourself into a loan, that's not the best. It can cost a lot of money. 
[00:10:21] So we do analyse who we're getting our loan with, and what the conditions are, because we've basically lost a lot in different purchases through wrong structures.  
[00:11:01] And that comes down to, as well, a different strategy. So we, before we got on the right track, let's say, would buy large blocks of land, and then try and package them up, and then on sell them. And that missed the mark in terms of price. And then because of the structure that we purchased those blocks, you've got to pay additional tax, and you've got to pay additional costs that are associated with that. 
[00:11:29] So we've learnt that that's probably not the best strategy that we want to go down for now, is flipping, we would rather buy, hold, get the income and sort of stabilise the portfolio and not develop on things straight away.

Tyrone Shum:   
With the world of property at our fingertips, mentors have come a long way from analog newspapers and magazines.

Laura Nasr:   
[00:12:48] I'm really lucky, because most of my job in real estate is with investors or developers, that's more my area of what I work in. And they're all my mentors, because they all do different types of development. And they've also become friends and mentors in a way, like, 'Oh, Laura, I wouldn't do this', or, 'This is what I'm doing and it worked well'. 
[00:13:12] So I take a lot of advice off people that are doing it now. And people that have made mistakes, and that are making mistakes now, because that is so valuable for me and what I do, and also it gives you great ideas of different areas to invest in.
[00:13:31] So my clients are my best mentors.

Fitting Learning into Her Lifestyle

Tyrone Shum:   
The busy young mum recognises that reading doesn’t fit into her lifestyle right now, but that doesn’t stop her from learning all she can.

Laura Nasr:   
[00:14:21] I'm a mum of two kids that are 11 months apart. If I read a book at night. I'm probably asleep by the second sentence. I don't do a lot of that. But I do watch a lot of real estate shows, renovating shows. And I do listen to a lot of podcasts from developers. 
[00:14:46] Jonathan Hallinan great example of a fantastic developer who unfortunately passed away quite recently. Tim Gurner, as well, I follow and listen to a lot of their stuff.
[00:14:59] I guess that's kind of my new Home World. So when I was a kid, I'd love looking at the Home World in Kellyville in the western suburbs, and now I love looking and listening to these guys that are doing huge luxury developments. So yeah, I do listen to those types of podcasts.

Tyrone Shum:   
[00:15:46] If you met yourself, say, 10 years ago, what do you think you would have said to her?

Laura Nasr:   
[00:15:50] I'd just say go for it. And don't worry about making mistakes, don't worry about losing money, because I think health and happiness is way more important than that. And we're not going to have anything when we  pass away. And you'll remember the fun and the good experiences and the lessons rather than anything else. So yeah, just give it a good go. And don't have any fear. Buy that property with termites.
[00:16:26] Have fun with it. Like, it should be a really exciting and fun process, not something to get stressed about. 

Tyrone Shum:   
[00:16:48] What are you excited about in the next five years in your property journey?

Laura Nasr:   
[00:16:54] I'm excited about finding something unique. We want to do development around medical centres and boarding houses and that kind of thing. But I would love to buy big acreage to run Airbnb, like you know how you have that picture of the bathtub on the lake and all the rest of it. I want to find that property and get into Airbnb and see how that goes and give it a try. 
[00:17:26] And then in five years' time, a few of our investments will be ready to develop. So we'll look at what's being done around those areas. And then we'll see what makes sense and what would be best suited for that pocket.
[00:17:45] And maybe invest overseas. Who knows? 

Tyrone Shum:   
[00:17:54] Well, Laura, it sounds like you and your husband have achieved a lot of success, building a portfolio, running your successful real estate, work and so forth like that. How much of that success has been because of your hard work, skill, intelligence, and how much of it has been due to luck?

Laura Nasr:   
[00:18:14] I think we're very lucky. Because I'm in real estate, my husband's a builder, so that together is a lucky combination. We've bought when the market's great. So we're lucky in that aspect. And we've bought when the market is not so great. And we've sold when the market's not great. And we've sold when the market's good. So it will probably be 50/50. 
[00:18:39] But we do spend a lot of time analysing. We spent a lot of time in these areas. We've never bought a property where we haven't gone to the shops, where we haven't gone to the fast food [places]. We haven't gone to the petrol station, walked around, walked in the street, get a good feel of the area. We've never ever bought a property that we haven't done that. So we have spent a lot of time researching.


Tyrone Shum: 
Thank you to Laura Nasr, our guest on this episode of Property Investory.