Marketing manager shares how he built a $2.5MILLION property portfolio

Christel Deskins

© Provided by Daily Mail Jyh Kao has bought five properties since 2013 An Australian marketing manager has revealed how he built a $2.5million property portfolio in seven years by renovating homes and improving their rental yield. Jyh Kao was just 24 years old in 2013 when he closed a […]



a man standing next to a body of water: Jyh Kao has bought five properties since 2013


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Jyh Kao has bought five properties since 2013

An Australian marketing manager has revealed how he built a $2.5million property portfolio in seven years by renovating homes and improving their rental yield.

Jyh Kao was just 24 years old in 2013 when he closed a deal on a small $428,000 one-bedroom apartment in North Sydney.

‘I didn’t have a clear reason for investing at the time and didn’t know much about what I was doing. I just knew I’d be better off financially in the long term,’ he said.

Now 31, Jyh has five properties dotted across New South Wales and Queensland he tends to, two of which he renovated to increase the overall value of. 

What are Jyh’s investment tips?

* Buy, rent and renovate. Spend money on cosmetic renovations, which will yield in rental income.

* Never overspend on a renovation. A good rule of thumb is that you spend between 10 and 15 per cent of the property value on a cosmetic renovation. 

* Of that money, around two per cent should go on the facade alone. 

* Leverage any capital growth to allow you to buy further properties. 



a living room filled with furniture and a flat screen tv: MailOnline logo


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2013: Property one

Jyh was two years into a graduate marketing role at a telecommunications company and had been working in retail since he was 15 when he bought his first property.

His savings from both of these jobs became his deposit, with a small amount of money left over for a cosmetic renovation.

With just 52 metres square of floor space, the apartment was compact however it was promising as a rental because of its location so close to Sydney’s CBD. 

Though the apartment was definitely liveable, Jyh felt it was cosmetically tired. He invested another $10,000 to renovate the space, paving the way for him to increase the apartment’s rent from $465 to $515 per week.

From the outset, Jyh’s strategy was to buy, renovate and rent them out. 

He waited for capital growth to accumulate on this property, while the rental income received covered the bulk of his mortgage repayments. 

It was this very premise that enabled him to leverage that capital growth to buy his second property three years later at 27. 

2015: His parents sell the family home  

Jyh’s parents sold their Lindfield family home in New South Wales in 2015. The Kao family bought the home for $440,000 in 2000. 

In 2015 it sold for $1.6 million, over three times its original purchase price. In the years his parents had owned the family home, they’d completed several renovations that added value to the property. 

This included revamping the home’s kitchen, two bathrooms and adding a rear patio. They also converted their garage into a granny flat, further increasing the property’s value.

After witnessing their parents triple their investment through a long-term property hold, Jyh was inspired to get started on building his own investment portfolio. 

2016: Property two 

Seeing what his parents achieved Jyh decided it was time to purchase his next property in 2016. 

At this point, he’d been promoted to a digital marketing executive position, which came with a higher salary, so was ready to commit to the expansion of his property portfolio. 

He leveraged the equity from his North Sydney apartment to purchase a four-bedroom house in Wynnum, Queensland, for $515,000. 



a large brick building with green grass in front of a house with Gordon House in the background: He leveraged the equity from his North Sydney apartment to purchase a four-bedroom house in Wynnum, Queensland, for $515,000


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He leveraged the equity from his North Sydney apartment to purchase a four-bedroom house in Wynnum, Queensland, for $515,000

The house was in relatively good condition so he opted to rent it out immediately for $470 per week. 

He hopes to renovate the interior and exterior of this house at a later date, once his existing tenants vacate. As it stands today, this property is currently valued at $630,000. 

Organic capital growth he acquired by holding onto the property for the long term, can be used as leverage to keep building his portfolio.

2018: Did a course with Renovating for Profit  

In 2018 Jyh decided to take his property investment efforts more seriously. 

Opting to invest in education to minimise mistakes and grow his portfolio even further, Jyh became a cosmetic Renovations For Profit student. 

Having seen founder Cherie Barber at a property seminar in 2014, Jyh had been following her work, watching her videos and attending her seminars. 

‘Cherie’s strategy of renovating to add value really resonated with me and I had a growing passion for renovating and decorating homes from when I helped my parents renovate their own home,’ he said. 



Cherie Barber standing in front of a window posing for the camera: Having seen founder Cherie Barber (pictured) at a property seminar in 2014, Jyh had been following her work, watching her videos and attending her seminars


© Provided by Daily Mail
Having seen founder Cherie Barber (pictured) at a property seminar in 2014, Jyh had been following her work, watching her videos and attending her seminars

2018: Property three 

Soon after completing the course in 2018, Jyh purchased a two-bedroom apartment in the beachside Sydney suburb of Brighton-Le-Sands. 

At this point he’d been promoted to a marketing manager role at the telecommunications company he worked for and had made up his mind to purchase and renovate properties as a side gig.

This house was purchased for $615,000 using a mixture of equity in his existing property portfolio and his personal savings. 

Jyh spent $6,000 in savings on a two-week renovation blitz powered by the knowledge he’d gained during the course. 

‘I was able to instantly uplift the value of the apartment and the rental income significantly through a smart renovation without overspending,’ he said.

‘Without proper knowledge, it’s very easy to blow out costs.’

Thanks to this reno, he was able to increase the apartment’s rent from $450 to $490 per week. The apartment is now worth $630,000. 

2020: Properties four and five

This year has been a big year for Jyh, who saw an opportunity arise in the Brisbane property market due to flat growth. 

Motivated to take advantage of the low house prices, he purchased two four-bedroom houses in Crestmead, Queensland, using a combination of equity and personal savings. 

One house was purchased for $330,000, while the other cost Jyh $315,000. 

Both were bought under market value and are now rented out. 

As both properties are cash-flow positive, Jyh is planning to renovate them and hold the properties long-term.



a large brick building with grass in front of a house: This year has been a big year for Jyh, who saw an opportunity arise in the Brisbane property market due to flat growth


© Provided by Daily Mail
This year has been a big year for Jyh, who saw an opportunity arise in the Brisbane property market due to flat growth



a house that is parked on the side of a building: Motivated to take advantage of the low house prices, he purchased two four-bedroom houses in Crestmead, Queensland, using a combination of equity and personal savings


© Provided by Daily Mail
Motivated to take advantage of the low house prices, he purchased two four-bedroom houses in Crestmead, Queensland, using a combination of equity and personal savings


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