He owns 14 properties, four cars, two motorcycles, goes on holiday every six months and he’s never had a credit card. Miguel Menezes is a millionaire and it took him less than six years to get there, after buying his first investment property in 2011. But becoming rich and successful was “not lotto” for the west Auckland man.
“I have worked very hard.”
In 2005 the father-of-two came to New Zealand from India. The Glen Eden resident said within his first nine months in the country he realised Auckland real estate was “where it was at”.
But he did not have enough money for a deposit for a first home. He took up courier driving for a year to save for a $20,000 deposit. His day started at 4am and ended at 9pm.
“I had breakfast and lunch in my van, if it wasn’t for dinner I wouldn’t have come home,” he said. “On cold mornings I felt like I was going to die. You can’t hold the steering [wheel].”
In 2006, he bought his first home in Glen Eden for $332,000. Menezes stayed loyal over the years to the west Auckland suburb which “started it all”. He still lived in his first house, but its now worth $980,000. He said he chose his “comfort zone” of Glen Eden for his first house as he moved there when he first came to the country. “People usually go for schools, but for me that was not a big deal. Everyone ends up in university anyway and I was happy with the school here.”
After five years of “forced saving”, in 2011 the real estate agent paid a $40,000 deposit and bought his first investment property – a one-bedroom unit in New Lynn for $165,000. He said the market was slow at the time, but he knew New Lynn was “coming up” and would soon become a “hub”.
The unit was now worth $500,000. “New Lynn is becoming the next Auckland CBD,” he said. Between 2011 and 2013 he bought eight properties in Sunnyvale, Clevedon, Ranui, Massey and other parts of south and west Auckland. “Sometimes I used the equity from my existing houses, and at other times I paid cash for the deposit.”
He had since bought five more properties using a combination of cash and equity – now his houses are worth about $9 million. Menezes said for every investment property he bought, he was thorough with his calculations. “I made sure the rent covered the mortgage, rates and repair and maintenance. I made sure nothing went from my pocket.”
He also used the bank’s cash back schemes to make money. Menezes would take a mortgage from one bank, and then the following year move it to another bank and receive a “cash back reward”.
The following year he would move his mortgage to a third bank, again getting cash back for it. “The banks didn’t like me, but it was their rules and I was playing within the rules.” In 2015, Menezes paid off his Glen Eden house.
The man who owned an Alfa Romeo, Pajero, and two Mercedes motor vehicles said he bought only second-hand cars. “What’s the point? The value [on a brand new car] starts going down immediately and second-hand cars are just as good.” Menezes said initially he was criticised for his investment decisions.
“People told me I was reckless, but now those same people say I have good vision.”
He said anyone can be rich, they just need to make the right choices.
The millionaire said he planned to “gift” his sons five properties each.
“I don’t want them to have the problems I had when I was growing up.”
The man from Goa said he was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth.
“We used to sleep on the floor.”
Menezes’ tips for financial well-being:
* Don’t get credit cards. They will “kill” you.
* Spend within your means. Don’t compare your assets with others.
* Invest in property before elections, the market “shoots up” after elections.
* Don’t buy a new car. Second-hand cars are just as good.