How a farmer who’d never paid an electricity bill set her family up with a tax-free income of $160,000 a year.

Desley had spent her adult life on a farm. Her family had been through it all: droughts, floods – you name it. Though her husband was a fourth generation farmer, Desley could see that the stress was taking its toll. In 2015, they decided to sell up, which gave them something of a war chest to work with, but they needed to create income – and quickly.

Desley, her husband, Murray, and their four kids left their farm in Queensland with nothing. Their furniture was 30 years old, so they put it all in a pile and set fire to it. Shortly after arriving in the Sunshine Coast, they started burning through their savings. They desperately needed a source of income but as they’d been farmers all of their lives, they didn’t know where to turn.

At the time, their investment advisor recommended managed funds but Desley and Murray wanted something that ‘they could touch’. When Desley stumbled across an ad for Dymphna Boholt’s one-day seminars, she was keen to learn more.

“As soon as Dymphna started talking about asset protection Murray was hooked. We’d come close to losing our farm a couple of times…”

Murray had always taken on the responsibility of the farm, so Desley wanted to give him a break and was adamant about doing the course herself.

Joining Dymphna’s Ultimate Program and then Platinum Program was a steep learning curve. Desley had never done anything more than buy the family’s food and clothes. In fact, she’d never even filled out a tax return.

However, the Platinum Program gave her access to some of the leading property experts in the country who helped her pull off the deals that she made later on.

“Murray supported us for all those years, and he just never let on how much stress he was under. I didn’t want him to worry about money ever again, so I took it all on.”

Desley and the team knew that commercial real estate was the best way for them to generate income quickly. They were at a stage in their life where using a self-managed super fund made sense and they purchased a set of storage sheds for $450,000 and then followed that up with a $2.3M retail complex. These two deals were enough to create a yearly passive income of $160,000. Furthermore, since Desley and Murray are pensioners, this money is tax-free! This is how Desley did it.

Deal 1: The low-ball offer

Desley and Murray used the money from the farm sale to purchase their new home on the Sunshine Coast outright, which gave them some stability. However, they were burning through their savings and needed some money coming in.

Desley looked at half a dozen deals before landing on one. Each time she went through the feasibility studies, the contracts and the negotiations, she learnt a little bit more. Finally, she came across a set of 31 storage sheds in Townsville. The vendors were a couple in the middle of a messy break-up and, with Townsville in a bit of a soft patch, they wanted to get out.

The sellers had an asking price of $800,000, but Desley decided to throw them a low-ball offer of $455,000. Murray worried that it might be insulting, but the vendors went for it!

The complex earns $42,000 a year, which puts $33,000 a year into their pockets after costs. Better yet, some of the sheds are still available for rent which means even more income.

Deal 2: Knock half a million off

Although the success of her first deal gave Desley some confidence, her next deal really pushed her out of her comfort zone.

A friend of Desley’s had recently put an offer of $2.8M for a shopping centre at Yeppoon, which had full capacity of seven tenants. The vendor’s asking price was $2.88M but when Desley and her team crunched the numbers, they realised they could only make it work if they got it for less than $2.4M. She put in an offer of $2.325M, which the vendor accepted with one condition: they needed to close the deal within the week.

“Everyone in my team was amazing. You hear it a lot but it’s really true. You’ve got to have your A-team in place.”

With her team and the guys at Pacific Law working over time to get the right structures in place, Desley and Murray drove seven and a half hours up to Townsville to inspect the property and close the deal. They signed the contract in a service station in Rockhampton, and the vendors signed the next day.

All told, the complex will pay Desley and Murray a passive yearly income of $130,000.

Off-farm income, off-farm lifestyle

Desley has achieved what she set out to do; she has taken the financial burden off her husband’s shoulders and set her family up with stable, tax-free income. She has also found the strength and stability that comes with having multiple sources of income.

Now, Desley is passionate about sharing her newfound knowledge with rural communities across Australia. Many farmers struggle with the intense financial pressures of farm life and Desley believes that our tragically high rural suicide rates reflect this. However, if we can set farmers up with sources of off-farm income, then she believes that this will alleviate some of that pressure.

It’s a worthwhile cause that Dymphna Boholt has signed up to. It looks like there’s no stopping Desley and we wish her the very best of luck.

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“Seriously, without ILRE, without Platinum and the whole team, I would still be chasing my tail, with no idea what I was doing. I couldn’t have done this alone.”

These stories and the results in them were captured at a specific point in time. The real estate market and the investing strategies used to succeed are constantly changing. The achievements and results of these investors may have changed since these stories were recorded. Each of these investors engaged in in-depth training, coaching and mentoring to be able to achieve these results. Their results are not typical and should not be taken as a guarantee of the results you may achieve. Your personal results will be in-line with the training, education and hard work that you personally conduct.

Desley has found the strength and stability that comes with having multiple sources of income.


Property Value: $1M
Equity: $1M
Nett Cash Flow: $0
Storage Sheds
Property Value: $445K
Equity: $445K
Nett Cash Flow: $33K
Shopping Centre
Property Value: $2.88M
Equity: $1.88M
Nett Cash Flow: $130K
Property Value:  $4.325M
Equity: $3.325M
Nett Cash Flow: $163K