We’ve all heard the saying “imitation is flattery.” Well, imitating others isn’t just flattering, but allows you to learn from people who have achieved the success that you want to achieve. We’ve explored three people who achieved their wealth via investing in property.

So, what can we learn from…

Donald Bren
America’s wealthiest real estate tycoon

California native, Donald Bren is one of the richest people in the world, with an estimated worth of nearly $17 billion USD. Whilst his portfolio expands beyond residential properties, such as offices, hotels, and marinas, there’s a lot to be learned from the man that turned a $10,000 bank loan in 1958 into a multi-million dollar empire. With this $10,000 loan, Bren built his first home (remember, it was the 60’s). He sold the homes he built and reinvested the profits into new developments, increasing his personal and company wealth rapidly along the way.

Lessons we can learn from Donald Bren:

  • Think long-term: Bren quoted in 2011 that a valuable lesson he learned from his father is “when you hold property over the long term, you’re able to create better values and you have something tangible to show for it.” Property investment is a long-term process, not a get quick rich scheme, so be prepared to play the long game.
  • Use your wealth wisely: Accounting for U.S. inflation, Bren’s $10,000 equates to just over $85,000. So, whilst Bren definitely began his career in a different time, it’s clear he used his money wisely. Start small, and use what you do have wisely, to build upon.


Donald Trump
The world’s most talked about man


Speaking of Donalds… Here’s one you might be more familiar with. It’s fair to say that Donald Trump is best known for his (rather surprise) US presidency, ridiculous tweeting habits, and general media frenzy that he manages to cause wherever he goes. However before all of that, Trump began his career in real estate. Starting at his fathers company, Elizabeth Trump and Son (prior to becoming the Trump Organisation), Trump focused on middle-classed rental housing in New York, a market in extremely high demand. So, whilst sometimes it might seem like there’s more to learn in terms of what not to do when it comes to Trump, there’s a few things we can learn from his experience:

  • Think big: Trump has famously said, “I like thinking big. If you’re going to be thinking anything, you might as well think big.” Thinking big doesn’t mean investing more than you can afford, or thinking beyond your means. What it does mean, is thinking beyond your current situation, to how you envision yourself achieving your future goals, and visualising the steps required to get there.
  • Never give up: Trump is nothing but persistent. Even when all the odds seem stacked against him, he keeps pushing forward, and no matter your political persuasion, you can’t argue that he hasn’t achieved a level of success. This is, of course, the man who made a comeback after claiming bankruptcy not once, but twice.

Tim Gurner
Australia’s “anti-avocado” millionaire

Tim Gurner is a 35 year old Australian real estate mogul, with a property portfolio worth over $3 billion. He caused nationwide controversy with his comments that young Aussies should quit complaining about housing affordability, and stop spending their hard earned dollars on smashed avocado if they ever hoped to get into the property market. However, far from criticising people for their avocado preferences, he makes a good point about being responsible for your financial future – “What I was saying at the time was that you can’t go on a European holiday, lease an Audi or BMW, spend a fortune each week on alcohol, drinks, bars, coffee and avocado,” – and still expect to be able to afford a house.

What can we learn from Tim?

  • Stick to your budget: We love avocado on toast as much as the next person, but the reality is that buying breakfast out every day isn’t sustainable with long term goals of saving enough money for an investment, or freeing up cash to pay more off your mortgage. Whatever it is that blows your budget weekly (a daily coffee purchase, too many new shoes, few too many beers on the weekend), take a moment to reassess how making small changes could improve your long-term financial future.
  • Start small, and aim big: Another big point that Tim makes is that many Australians are aiming too high for their first property purchase. Your first investment (home or investment property) isn’t going to be on Bondi beach – start in lesser known, long-term growth suburbs, and slowly rise up the property ladder.


Inspired by the lessons to be learnt from these three? We’d love to help set you on your own property investment journey.  Email us at info@ippaustralia.com.au, or make a booking for a call or free in-person consultation via our simple booking system.