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28-year-old buys his 20th property

Tony Yoo
·4-min read
Eddie Dilleen in front of a recently renovated house that he purchased.
Eddie Dilleen in front of his Parramatta property in western Sydney. (Image: supplied)

A former fast food worker from western Sydney has just purchased his 20th investment property at the age of 28.

Eddie Dilleen told Yahoo Finance that he was raised in Mt Druitt by a single mother on a government pension while living in public housing.

From a young age he was determined to end the cycle of poverty.

"Even putting food on the table was very hard… In the future, I didn't want that to be the same."

Dilleen said, from his research as a teenager, he found that many people in Australia make money through real estate.

He purchased his first investment – a small apartment on the Central Coast of NSW – 10 years ago as an 18-year-old.

He slogged hard for the deposit on that first flat, working at McDonald's and KFC from the age of 14. Later he saved to grow his portfolio pulling beers at five different pubs – as well as working at paint and tool shops.

Now, with 20 properties in his portfolio, he earns about $120,000 of passive income each year.

"Average [weekly] rent would be about $300 per property."

This means he earns about $320,000 each year in rental income and then spends about $200,000 on expenses – like loan interest, maintenance and agent fees.

Dilleen initially intended to buy "one or two" investment properties then sell them off for a profit. But he changed his mind as his portfolio grew.

"Because I'm still under 30 [years old], it doesn't make sense to sell."

"I would miss out on the future growth of any properties that I sell. So in the long run I would have shot myself in the foot."

Eddie's real estate portfolio

Five years ago, Dilleen wrote a book titled 10 Properties By 25.

But he’s now revealed to Yahoo Finance that his portfolio has grown to 20 investments, worth around $5.5 to $6 million.

"Long term goal is to hit 100 investment properties," he said.

Here are where the 20 properties are located:

  • NSW (3): two in western Sydney and one on the Central Coast

  • Adelaide (4): three houses and one apartment

  • Queensland (13): ten in Brisbane and three on the Gold Coast

Eddie Dilleen standing in front of one of his apartments.
Eddie Dilleen owns 20 properties across three states and is aiming to get to 100. (Image: supplied)

Eddie's rules for buying real estate

For anyone considering investing in property, Dilleen has three rules he lives and dies by.

The first is nabbing high rental yield. Yield is how much the rental income is compared to how much you paid for the home.

"99 per cent of the properties that I've bought are 'set-and-forget'. So they already have a tenant in place and they don't need any major renovation.

"A lot of people get stuck with property investing because they like to get emotional and get their hands dirty and do that kind of stuff. I try to take all the emotion out of it and focus on the data."

The second rule is that the property has to be within a reasonable distance within the metropolitan area.

"We're talking about – for the Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane markets – within 5km to 40km out [from the CBD]."

The third one is to buy properties below market or comparable value.

"That's targeting properties where you can pick it up because of a time constraint," said Dilleen.

"If a seller has six months to sell a property, generally their priority is getting the highest price. If a seller has a shorter period of time, then generally their priority is getting it sold the quickest – and not getting the highest price."

But, above all, get your foot in the door with that first purchase.

"My first one was a two-bedroom unit – but I really wanted a house," Dilleen said.

"But I just started off small and now that property has tripled in value in the past 10 years."

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