How Arjun Paliwal built his property portfolio in a short time

By Indira Laisram
Arjul Paliwal with his wife Leigh Paliwal. Pic supplied

Arjun Paliwal’s foray into Australia’s real estate market few years ago was not by accident. He was on a career path in the field of finance and banking when he decided to take a small break—to figure out his true passion. During this hiatus, he would realise his previous job experiences, in fact, prepped him for a career in the real estate sector.

Even as a banker, Paliwal was building his portfolio alongside. “I was always a property and data lover, someone who researched regularly as part of my banking roles. So, from there these two interests, skills and passions stuck with me. When I ended up leaving work to figure out what I wanted to do. I ended up opening a data driven property buyers’ agency,” says Paliwal.

Today Paliwal’s company InvestorKit, founded in 2018, helps people find and secure positive cashflow properties with enormous capital growth potential and secure them at the best prices. “We are here to help helping property investors to scale a property portfolio, investing all across Australia in residential and commercial properties using industry leading research and buying strategies,” he adds.

Over the last four years, InvestorKit has grown very quickly from a one-man band to a team of 11. It is a passion shared by his wife Leigh Paliwal, who runs Hills Finance, that supports high-net-worth individuals, families and business owners within Sydney’s Hills District to take their finances to the next level. “Our two businesses complement each other well due to capabilities of our finance company who specialise in helping portfolio level investors,” says Paliwal.

But what is also interesting is that Paliwal, who is often featured on Sunrise TV, the AFR, Domain Prestige and other media outlets, believes it is InvestorKit’s expertise on property research that has been getting a lot of traction.

Setting up the business was not daunting for Paliwal, who has studied MBA at the Australian Institute of Business. “My wife and I had healthy income and growing careers that gave us confidence as well. It’s not something that was started with a lot of funds, but more so the property buying journey, lending experience from the banking days — all those experiences blended together to help out.”

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Together, their portfolio stands at over 8 million dollars spread across two countries—Australia and New Zealand. “We believe in leading from the front, both in business and on our investing journey. Since 2015 we have acquired real estate every single year. Largely in areas we purchase in for our clients, demonstrating we back our research. We have a total of 12 properties.”

The instinct for hard work and success runs in the family. As son of Indian immigrant parents, who first settled in New Zealand before moving to Australia 15 years ago, he recalls seeing his father, an automobile engineer, “bruised up and working hard. That has rubbed off”.

Unsurprising that Paliwal has a “huge gratefulness” to his Indian background and heritage and a household that emphasised on hard work and service to the community. “I would say 1 in 3 form our Indian clientele,” says Paliwal, who is fluent in both Hindi and Punjabi.

Paliwal shares his insights on the Australian real estate market today. For one, he predicts price growth. “The first thing is, the level of supply we have is substantially lower than that of three years ago, which means that many cities that are facing this condition, not all are, will likely see large levels of price growth the rest of this calendar year across cities like Adelaide, Hobart, Brisbane in our capital cities.”

However, regional real estate will outperform yet again this year,  he says, as it continues its dominance over capital city value changes.

Paliwal says with vacancy rates at some of the lowest in 16 years, rents are likely to increase, whether people like it or not. “Price increases are also on the table but only in those areas that have subdued listings, healthy local economies and stable/rising sales volumes.”

Simplifying the complex property investing world, Paliwal says one can do away with the information overload by building a team and following strategies of one’s team comprising the mortgage broker, buyers’ agent and accountant.

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“The key here is also that whilst the events happening around the world will change from time to time, the signals that markets give as they rise or fall are always the same and they always have been the same in history. As a result, having research and experience around you will play a key part on a successful long-term journey that also respects the importance of avoiding opportunity cost,” he says.

What about the seminars and mentorships that are galore? “I would say what would help you is – gaining connection with someone’s story. That’s more important than the seminars, than anything. If someone hears what my wife and I have done and they connect well to how we went about it, how we approached it, what decisions we made and didn’t make—that will always be key for them as now they can lock in on that particular approach rather than be bombarded with multiple ways to approach things. Connecting with what risks you feel comfortable to date and who you can emulate to follow down that path—whether it’s a course or DIY or through someone’s services handed out for you—that will eventually figure itself out.”

Keeping with his long-term goal, Paliwal secured investments even during the pandemic, which has otherwise been a tumultuous time for most businesses. “Looking at the growth the housing sector has occurred during this time just solidifies its importance. We can’t simply treat housing like a commodity, everyone will always need that roof above their head. That gives us the confidence that the next time things are going on around the world, that does not affect how we look at our decision making considering over 60 per cent of real estate is utilised for owner occupied owned housing.”

True enough, he purchased two properties during the past two years of COVID-19, sticking to his long term goal of purchase something each year. “I am in an acquisition phase—irrespective of what the world is bringing upon us. There isn’t wrong or right time, there is no plan and a wrong or right personal circumstance. When you are ready, it’s the right time. To say that every city in the country is dictated by the same factors of going up or down in unison almost never happens.”

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“In our portfolio, a simple example can be raised. Between 2015-17 Sydney was booming, between 2017-19 Sydney was declining but our assets in Tasmania were booming. Between 2019-20, Sydney was recovering, whilst Brisbane just started its move, and Bendigo begun its boom, 2020-2022 everything increased at strong rates. The last time this movement of many cities at once occurred was 2000-2005, a long time ago. So from that perspective there’s so many options across the country at any one given time,” he elaborates.

But in a lingering pandemic era, one would presume that investment is only for the rich. Paliwal dispels the myth. “We have clients constantly investing in properties within the purchase prices of $450,000 to $650,00 and I am not talking about apartments but houses across Australia. Where it becomes a myth is because we are only putting our blinkers on, looking at our backyard, speaking to those near us and around us as opposed to looking across Australia with all the better opportunities it presents.”

Looking ahead, Paliwal sees more businesses opening up, continuous growth of his and his clients portfolios, repurchasing holding for longer, and, finally, starting a family. Quite the real estate baron. He will take that.

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