Buying property for the first time can be difficult to navigate and investing for the first time is a whole other beast.
According to realestate.com.au‘s Property Seeker 2020 report, investors are now starting younger and most don’t have the high incomes or vast property profiles we’ve come to associate with typical the words ‘property investor’. Rather, it’s younger and less experienced buyers that are using this strategy as a first step into the property market.
If you’re just starting out in the real estate game, consider our tips to help you navigate the path to investing.
1. Buy properties of substance
Buyer’s agent and Director of Advantage Property, Frank Valentic, has devised a checklist of 15 criteria that help them narrow down quality investment properties. These include location, floor plan, aspect, street appeal, parking, security, proximity to public transport, lifestyle amenities and so on.
Your first investment property may not be the most glamorous home in the most glamorous area, but it could be a perfect investment! Picture: Unsplash
“It’s something we’ve worked on over 20 years based on what tenants want, and what buyers will want in the future when you sell it,” Valentic says.
“For example, if it doesn’t have parking, if it doesn’t have outdoor space, if it’s an apartment without its own laundry facilities – these are typically red flags for buyers and tenants.”
Furthermore, don’t get seduced by looks when it comes to investing in property.
“Avoid buying flashy new apartments that are high supply but low demand and will have limited capital growth prospects,” Valentic adds. “It’s better to buy the worst property in the best street, than the flashiest property in the worst street.”
However, Valentic also warns against buying the cheapest property on the market.
“Avoid buying the cheapest property as it will be the cheapest low value property when you try and sell it,” he adds.
2. Think big, start small
First-time investors should take baby steps into the market and avoid splashing out on their first investment.
“A successful property portfolio isn’t built in a year,” Valentic notes. “Think big but start small.”
Start with a quality, low-risk manageable property. Picture: realestate.com.au/buy
“When building your portfolio, start slowly. Buy something smaller to start with. Eventually, you’ll want to buy more houses that have land because land appreciates more than apartments, but we might not get there with the first property.
“It’s important to get people into the market but make sure they don’t overcapitalise.”
Look for something under $750,000, Melbourne-based Valentic says. Your cap may be slightly higher in Sydney, where prices are higher, or lower in other Australian cities, where median prices are lower.
3. Keep it simple – minimise risk
For that first property, Valentic advises keeping it simple in terms of what and where you buy. For instance, he recommends buying within your state for that first investment.
“Minimise your risks for that first property,” Valentic shares. “I think buying interstate for your first property can be a higher risk strategy because you often don’t know those markets as well. Buy what you know, where you know, where you can drive past, see it and touch it – making it easier for yourself and build confidence. You could buy out of state for next properties when you’re ready to diversify.”
4. Consider a buyer’s agent
If you want to invest but are feeling out of your depth, you could always enlist the help of a buyer’s agent to help you find an ideal property to meet your investing goals.
Buyer’s agents not only provide a wealth of knowledge on the market, they can tailor your property search (and purchase) to your investment strategy, plus participate in auctions for you to help you bag your chosen place.
If you want to invest but don’t know how, a buyer’s agent could be a bright idea. Picture: Unsplash
“Anyone can do their own tax return but you use an accountant if you want better professional advice, if you want to make some savings in tax, structure your investments properly and so on. That’s a good example of why you’d also use a buyer’s agent. Anyone can buy property themselves but can they do it the best way, and buy the best property for the best price?” Valentic asks.
5. Don’t forget insurance
The realestate.com.au Property Seeker 2020 report found 82% of landlords had insurance. There are, however, a small number who don’t want it or haven’t gotten around to getting it.
When you buy your first investment property, you’ll watch your rising number of invoices and think ‘hmm, what can I cut?’ Top tip: it shouldn’t be landlord insurance!
The costs of not having landlord insurance could add up. Insurance with leading landlord insurance specialists Terri Scheer can provide cover for tenant damage to the property, damage to the contents caused by storm, fire, flood or a range of other events, and any loss of rental income if the tenant defaults or can’t pay for other reasons.
Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 AFSL 230859 trading as Vero Insurance.
Terri Scheer Insurance Pty Ltd ABN 76 070 874 798 AFSL 218585 acts under authority given to it by Vero Insurance. Before buying this insurance read the PDS and consider whether it is right for you. Go to terrischeer.com.au for a copy. TMD also available. The information is intended to be of a general nature only. Terri Scheer does not accept any legal responsibility for any loss incurred as a result of reliance upon it – please make your own enquiries. This article has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situation or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it. The Target Market Determination is also available.