Interview with an expert: WBP Property's Greville Pabst

Greville-Pabst-profileWhat is your current portfolio? 

In the last 30 years I’ve owned over 25 investment properties comprising residential houses and units, commercial industrial warehouses, mixed use retail and residential and commercial office space.

These properties have been located all around Melbourne including suburbs such as South Yarra, Albert Park, St KildaMelbourne CBD, Footscray, SeddonHamptonMalvernYarraville and more.

Included in my list of developments are five development projects, including the WBP Head Office located in North Melbourne and my own private residence located in Melbourne’s bayside.

My current portfolio comprises five properties including my bayside residence, a family farm south-west of Geelong in Bambra, Victoria; a Federation house in Albert Park, a one-bedroom flat in Elwood and an office building in North Melbourne.

My investment focus is now on securing quality residential property.

What has been your biggest investment success?

My greatest success with property investing comes from the purchase of a single fronted Federation brick house in the premier Melbourne suburb Albert Park.

Situated in one of the suburb’s best streets, between the beach and Albert Park Lake the property is situated on some of the city’s most expensive land. I purchased the property for $241,000 in 1995 and today it is estimated to be worth $1.5 million, in unrenovated condition. This represents an estimated compound growth of 10.29% per annum.

What has been your biggest investment mistake?

Over the years I’ve bought and sold many investment properties but my biggest investment mistake has been selling the best performing ones. While selling these properties facilitated life changes, including the funding of my current home, and investment in other areas, I recognise the importance of holding great performing property.

Another area in which I have met with difficulties is co-investing – that is, pooling funds with another party to purchase real estate. This can provide difficult for long-term investments due to changes in individual priorities and circumstances, which may provide pressure regarding the timing of a renovation or sale, among other things.

What advice do you have for a young investor or an investor just starting out?

Buying a property is the single biggest investment most people make in their lives, so it makes sense to take measures to ensure it’s done correctly.

My advice to investors, both new and experienced, is not to assume you know everything. Buying property can be incredibly complex, that’s because not all properties perform the same and there’s no set formula for identifying the standout properties.

Ensure you do your homework, which may include engaging a qualified property professional, such as a property valuer or property adviser, to analyze the historical performance of a property before you purchase it.

Seeking advice from a friend or family member may provide some comfort but despite their best intentions they don’t have the experience or qualifications to assess a property’s suitability to meet your goals. They are also unlikely to have the negotiation and bidding skills to secure the property via private treaty or in the heat of a competitive auction.

Greville Pabst is CEO of WBP Property Group.


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