How Homeless Teen Cracked the Real Estate Market

Tyler Carroll overcame barriers to get up the property ladder. Photo: NIGEL HALLETT


Tyler Carroll was 17 years old when his family lost their home, leaving the college student surfing the couch for months as he struggled to maintain a busy college schedule and part-time job.

The marketing manager is now 24 and owns his own home and two investment properties that generate $15,400 in annual income.

“Often, 20-somethings who bought investment properties had help from their parents, or had their retirement covered, but regardless of your circumstances, getting up the real estate ladder is available to anyone who wants to get a crack at it. ‘ said Mr. Carroll.

“With barely $40,000 of my own money invested, I now own three properties worth more than $1.1 million in total.

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He bought a unit in Varsity Lakes after saving for two years. Photo: NIGEL HALLETT


“I did this without any help from family and with only one full-time salary. All of these loans are also 100 percent in my name.”

Mr. Carroll was one of three brothers raised by a single mother diagnosed with bipolar disorder who depended on a disability pension when she was unable to work.

They struggled financially, moving more than 20 times between rental properties on the southern Gold Coast during his childhood.

“When I was in my freshman year of college, we had to leave the place we rented in Palm Beach, again because of a rent increase,” said Mr. Carroll.

His eldest brother’s family and partner rotated in a two-room apartment, but when no beds were available, Mr. Carroll had to sleep elsewhere.

How Homeless Teen Cracked the Real Estate Market

Mr Carroll has been surfing on the couch for months


“I was couchsurfing when I was 17, homeless but not on the street.”

He got a $70,000 salary at a Gold Coast construction equipment company after graduating and saving $25,000 over two years, buying a Varsity Lakes unit in 2020 for $430,000 with the first home deposit scheme.

The latest PropTrack data shows that the central suburb of Varsity Lakes was the coast’s largest buyer’s market, where offers were up but demand was down.

By this year, Mr. Carroll had a salary of $90,000 and bought two investment units from Beenleigh. They cost $220,000 and $240,000 and were rented for $320 and $290, respectively.

“I saw my property in Varsity increase in value to $550,000 by the end of 2021, and in January 2022, I pulled back equity and bought my first investment.”

How Homeless Teen Cracked the Real Estate Market

He now owns two investment units in Beenleigh


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Mr Carroll said there were opportunities for savvy investors regardless of rising interest rates.

“If you look at the stock market and crypto crashes, real estate is still the safest asset class. You can buy in any market as long as you have the objectives.

“I would buy now for cash flow rather than for capital appreciation,” he said.

Last year, Mr. Carroll also started a side business called Spark Performance Gum, which manufactures and supplies caffeinated chewing gum to the endurance athlete market as an energy supplement.

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