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‘I didn’t want to struggle like my parents’

Dani Paim decided to invest in property so she’d always have a safe place to live.

6 July 2022

Dani Paim says she always wanted to make sure she had enough money to live well, after watching her parents struggle financially when she lived at home in Brazil.

“We had a lot of hardship when I was a kid. I decided I didn’t want to go through the same experience myself,” says Paim, now 27.

She read the classic investing book Rich Dad, Poor Dad and says it opened her mind to the possibility of buying property.

“I started working at 16, then started working at Dell when I was 18,” she says. “I was saving pretty much my whole salary and I started researching how I was going to buy property.

“I got my first house, in Brazil, when I was 19.”

She didn’t have much money saved, but a government support scheme for low-income earners through CaixaBank was offering an incentive to help with the deposit.

“It’s really unbelievable because in Brazil, getting a property is really hard, even if you’re an adult, but I managed to do it.

“It wasn’t just good for me, but for my family as well. Whatever happened to me, I would have a safe place to live.”

Paim soon realised she would need to speak English to move up in the corporate world, so she came to New Zealand to learn the language.

“When I got here, I realised how much I didn’t know about different cultures, but I was passionate about learning more about other people.

“I realised if I worked hard, I could have a much better life in New Zealand and be able to provide for my family, which I would never be able to do if I lived in Brazil.”

When she first arrived, she worked in hospitality.

“In the beginning it was frustrating because I did not understand a lot and I couldn’t communicate. People were asking: ‘Can I have a cuppa?’ And I would say: ‘What’s – cuppa?’

“I would go home and write down every new word. I was struggling and learning.”

After a year her English improved, and she was able to get a better-paid office job.

She soon worked out most of her income was going to pay rent, so she refurnished the house she was renting in Mount Albert and let it out to flatmates by the room.

“I was the head tenant for more than three years before I got my own house, and I still do that to this day. I have tenants in my house to help pay the mortgage.”

Using savings, she invested in a second house in Brazil, a new-build, but now has permanent residency in New Zealand and recently bought a house here.

“I was working around 120 hours a fortnight and, with my partner, saved $180,000. After looking for six months, we were able to buy my first property here in June last year.

“It was pretty much a dream come true, because of how expensive properties are here. I’m still amazed. I just look at the house I bought, and say, ‘It’s mine!’.”

She sleeps in the basement of the two-storey house and rents out the other bedrooms.

“It’s not as nice downstairs, so it’s a bit of a sacrifice and it doesn’t have a kitchen down there, but I love it.

“It’s just in the meantime because I want to continue purchasing and hopefully one day, I’ll have a nice house that’s fully decorated.”

She’s started renovating it and plans to turn it into a legal home and income.

She is also buying a new build in Mangere, which will be her fourth property.

“But what I’m really passionate about is buying properties to renovate them. I would like to buy good quality houses that are not liveable and transform them into places where families can live.”

Paim has recently started in a new role at Accelerate, helping investors renovate for profit – and she’s saving to buy more properties.

“I would love to have $100,000 a year passive income by the time I’m 30, which would be enough to support my family.

“My father is old and getting sick and the rest of my family has been affected by Covid. I like having the peace of mind that whatever happens to my job, I have an income coming in to support them and won’t have to struggle.”

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