opinion
Todd Hunter

Knowing when to sell

By Todd Hunter
4

Too many investors mis-time the market and offload their properties at the wrong time. Here's how to maximise your profits. 

We are regularly asked questions on when investors should sell their investment property. And without taking on the advice we give them, some sell shortly afterwards, which is way too early.

As a buyer's agent, I also offer clients the courtesy of letting them know that a market has reached the peak, so that if selling their property is part of their 'Game Plan', then now is the time to start that process.

In the end, I find that only around a third of investors will actually sell.

One of the reasons they might sell is that they may have a reasonable home loan. By selling when the market peaks in value, they can offload their property for a good profit. They can then grab that profit and pay down the bad debt, being their home loan. The trick is to then get straight back on the investing bandwagon now that your home loan is lower, your monthly repayments are lower and your equity has increased. It’s the perfect environment to go and invest in two or three more properties, in the right locations of course, and always one at a time!

Basically, repeat that process until your home loan is close to $100,000 or less. Then your investment properties become “Keepers” – properties that you hold long term, through many cycles, and allow the rents to continue to increase. The end result will be that the rent from these properties end up replacing your income.

Now that last $100,000 or so makes for very easy repayments that you can pay down yourself. In the current low interest rate environment, the interest on $100,000 is only around $76 per week, meaning that anything extra that you pay, comes directly off the principle. So tackle that last portion as fast as you can!

Now, if you’re going to ask a professional investor where you should be investing, that means you are either time poor or you have accepted that this is what they are good at – or both. So if they recommend that you should be selling now, or hold on a bit longer, then you really should be listening to them. Of recent times, I have had a few clients sell either too early, or too late. The problem with that is, they didn’t make as much profit on the property as they could have. When buying in the low part of the property cycle, not only are the prices cheaper and zero competition from other buyers, but you can find highly motivated vendors and get a much higher discount off the list price on the property.

The reverse happens when the market spikes. Now spikes are just that, they occur rapidly. So when a market spikes, you can see gains of $80,000 to $100,000 in six months. Sell too early and you miss the cream. Miss that spike and prices reside instantly. Timing your entry into the marketplace is equally as important as your exit strategy. Take the advice!

Lastly, if you’re going to use a property buyer's agent, they really should be a professional investor, not just an active investor who owns four or eight properties. Really they should own 20-plus properties if they are going to give sound advice. There are many new companies that have recently been established purely due to the low interest rate environment. Many only own a few properties, of which they probably used a buyer's agent to buy for them. Tread carefully!

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About the Blogger

Todd Hunter

Todd Hunter

Director and location researcher for the wHeregroup, Todd Hunter had accumulated a personal property portfolio consisting of 50 properties by the age of 31.

He is a regular commentator for Smart Property Investment.

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