The ‘holistic’ approach to property investing – Sana and Mona Ali

The Property Twins Sana and Mona Ali – have built a muti-million dollar property portfolio by taking a holistic approach.  They explain what that involves.
Kevin Turner:   Sana and Mona Ali moved to Australia from Pakistan at the age of 15. Years later, the once struggling migrants successfully turned their $40,000 savings into a $5 million portfolio, earning the moniker of the Property Twins. All before the age of 30. They now advise investors to take a holistic approach to investing. We asked them what that means. Hello ladies. How are you?
Mona:   Good, thanks.
Kevin Turner:   Good. Mona, if I-
Sana:   Kevin, how are you doing?
Kevin Turner:   Yeah, I’m great, thanks. Mona, I might just ask you. It’s been an incredible journey. Did you picture that it was going to be this successful at the outset?
Mona:   Kevin, the journey really started with us looking for security parcels in our family. But I would say, yeah, at some level, yeah, we did feel that there was a bigger purpose and there was a bigger plan. And as soon as we started buying properties and going out to open homes and experiencing the life of a property investor, we fell in love with it totally. And it just felt like a natural thing to us. And early on we decided, yeah, this is going to ultimately become our lifestyle.
Kevin Turner:   That personal experience is like, I guess, going to university, isn’t it? Do you think that’s helped you? Is that what you try and teach others? And could you explain to me what you mean by a holistic approach to investing?
Mona:   Kevin, I’d have to agree that it is a bit like independent learning and going to university, the whole journey. Because you’ve been there, you’ve done that. And in many cases you can look ahead, then clients can in the future in terms of what is best suited to them. And you do look at it holistically and buy that. What I mean is whether they’re buying a home or an investment property and what their mid to long term goals really are. So taking that whole big picture in their life circumstances into consideration to determine a finance strategy is very important. And leveraging your own lessons and experiences, that extremely helps people move along with their goals.
Kevin Turner:   Yeah. I suppose, Mona, if I could ask you, I’ve been going back to the early days. You went from being property investors, then you became finance brokers. That’s almost like the final piece of the puzzle. Has that enabled you to stretch this even further in terms of how you help people?
Mona:   Kevin, in terms of the mortgage business being the final piece of the puzzle, yeah, I would say, yeah, it’s definitely helped us help others move along. Our own journey and our own experiences have play a key role in helping others, purely because being investors ourselves we are able to have these discussions with what choices people are trying to make. Whether they are wanting to buy their own home or whether they are looking at investing, or they are looking at a hybrid of two options. And also just in terms of finance, really, one of the key things that we have realised and that we work with our clients on is knowing that finance is actually one of the key things that they need to look at upfront.
Mona:   And also with that, there’s a common misconception that people need to find the property first and then they’ll sort out the finance later. But in the current lending environment, it’s even more important to be able to plan ahead and to able to work out your goals upfront and look at how finance looks like for you. And if you do end up buying a property first, what if you come stuck down the track and you can’t move forward with your moving life circumstances? So absolutely it’s enabled us to help people in a more holistic way really.
Kevin Turner:   Yeah, there’s some really good points there. Sana, if I could just ask you, do you see yourself as facilitators or mentors? I mean, how deep is your involvement with the people you help?
Sana:   That’s a really good question, Kevin. I believe we see ourselves as a bit of both.
Kevin Turner:   Yes.
Sana:   Because mortgage brokers, the common thinking in the industry is you just do a product or you just do a transaction. But the involvement is a lot more than that, and what it involves is really understanding what people’s goals are and where they’re heading in life, and where they will be in the next five to 10 years. So a lot of coaching or mentoring comes into the picture when you are digging deep into their lives and how it will help them move forward. Because what we found in our own journey and talking to hundreds of people is you can’t really help people unless you’ve built a connection with them and truly understood who they are, where they’re going. And just working on them on a human level, that you’re really wanting to help them rather than just hand a product to them.
Kevin Turner:   Do you have a mentor or mentors, or do you mentor each other?
Sana:   Oh, we do have a mentor. Rolf Latham is our mentor. He’s one of the top brokers in the industry and we still work with him because someone who has been in the industry for 18 years, you can never get enough of the learning from them.
Kevin Turner:   Yeah, I guess that’s a great lesson, Sana, isn’t it, for anyone who’s in investing is to look around for a mentor? Someone who can guide them. What would you suggest for someone who’s looking for a mentor? What should they be looking for?
Sana:   So mentors can come in different forms. It could be a property mentor, it could be a business mentor. And I would say you need to work with someone who listens to your goals and really explores them, and digs deep into why you want to invest or why you want to buy your home and really help clarify that direction and focus for you. And, for example, like Mona was saying, someone who wants to buy a home versus an investment property and also wants to upgrade. And really determining clarity for them and helping them through the decision-making process. And that’s what a good mentor or mortgage broker, for that matter, would do for you.
Sana:   And it’s even more important today in the current lending climate determining the cost versus benefit of whatever actions you’re about to take. Because no one size fits all. And someone who has been on that path can be really one step ahead and forward think on where you’re going, and really help facilitate the decision-making. So having someone to bounce ideas off, someone who can give you their input on why they would do things a certain way, that can really help.
Kevin Turner:   Yeah. No, great advice. Mona, Sana, thank you so much for your time. It’s been great talking to you. I can see why you bring so much wisdom to the table. Thank you very much for your time.
Sana:   Thanks, Kevin.
Mona:   Thank you.

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