Finance advice
Property investors, competition, game, property market, investing, investment

How property investors can stay in the game despite 'softening markets'

By Bianca Dabu

Recent changes in the vast landscape of property investment have considerably slowed down the market in the past few months—is this good news or bad news for both new and seasoned investors?

Lenders have started working within the guidelines set by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) in order to avoid growing their investment book too fast, which, in turn, widened the disparity between interest-only rate and principal interest rate. As a result, the property markets across the country has softened and there are fewer investors entering and staying in the market.

However, Aussie Parramatta’s Ross Le Quesne believes that things may change to accommodate the banks’ need to lend money.

The mortgage broker said: “Banks want to be lending as much as possible, right? That's how they make money.”

“Obviously, within the parameters of risk,” Smart Property Investment’s Phil Tarrant added.

Find out how lenders influence the mortgage volumes by special rates so they can attract more clients and sustain the business of wealth creation through real estate assets, and the important role that mortgage brokers play in the unpredictable markets:

What role does mortgage brokers play in the changing field of property investment?

Ross Le Quesne: [Lenders] have their standard pricing, which their existing customers get, and the advertised rates … As mortgage brokers, we can apply for pricing on your behalf to see what they're prepared to offer. I'm getting the feeling that some of them are getting … under that 30 per cent cap now with the way the rates are priced. I'm seeing slightly better pricing and you're seeing even fixed-rate pricing for interest-only.

Should investors worry about the recent changes that are slowing down the market?

Ross Le Quesne: I think, as the demand for investment loans [increase] and as there's a lot of scaremongering in the mainstream media about what's happening in the markets … that, then, perpetuates itself into reality.

You'll see [fewer] people investing … More sophisticated investors [will start] knowing the areas where they're going to invest but a lot of your mainstream investors will drop off, which will drop the level of investment loans that then opens up the pricing to invest in loans because they'll be well under that cap.

It's the same with what we've seen in regards to the growth of investment loans. The credit policies are loosening a little bit around the investment criteria because they're under that 10 per cent cap now. They want to be as close to the 10 per cent growth rate as they possibly can.

So, is this all about supply and demand—lenders offering cheap rates so they can win more business?

Ross Le Quesne: It's a hard one, because … they want quality business, so they might have a cheap rate, but then their credit criteria to actually get that loan approved is stricter than the next person… It's not that simple. It's not driven entirely by rate.

How can property investors tap into special deals without a mortgage broker?

Phil Tarrant: It's a funny dynamic … Do I need to speak to all of them individually and say, "What can you offer me … ?” Does that need to happen … at the application stage? Would a bank, if I go direct, go, "Okay, Mr Tarrant … fill out all these forms and then we'll assess it," or can I just go to them [and say], "Look, I want to borrow about $500,000 … I don't go through the rigamarole of doing all the documentation. Will you give me this rate?" Can I have that conversation with them before or is it always an after-type thing?

Ross Le Quesne: It's so much easier going through a broker.

Phil Tarrant: [There are] more people use a broker than [those who] don't use a broker these days. I think 53 per cent of all home loans [is] now originated through a mortgage broker.

How can mortgage brokers be of help to property buyers?

Ross Le Quesne: People don't want to go through the hassle of going around individually and negotiating rates. But, yeah ... people can do that … People who have the time to do that.

It's like, how much is your time worth to be able to go around and to do that … ? You might negotiate the rate, but because [you] don't have the intricate knowledge of a mortgage broker of understanding [whether the] loan [will] actually get approved and is it most likely to get approved based on their credit criteria, [then you] can just waste hours going through the rigamarole of finding the best rate, then applying but actually [getting], "No, sorry, sir, you don't qualify, because you haven't provided all your information up front."

What are the factors that can affect one’s credit score?

Phil Tarrant: If you get your credit file hit all the time by people making queries on it, that's not a good thing, is it?

Ross Le Quesne: It's one of the factors that lenders look at in what they call a credit score, but there's so many factors. There's maybe 100 factors that go into providing what your credit score is based around [the] length of employment, length of residence, whether you actually have a credit card, whether you declare you've got a credit card … There's so many different factors that go into an actual credit score and they don't tell us the algorithm. Credit hits is a big factor in that credit score, yes.

What’s your final advice for property investors?

Ross Le Quesne: [Look] at the bigger picture … Sometimes, people are focused on "I only want to deal with a big four bank," which limits their ability to grow a portfolio … You've got to be open to what is the situation in the market and what does this mean … [Take] a longer-term view on it.

I had a case where one of my more sophisticated investors wanted to get into the market and actually took a slightly higher interest rate because [of] the development potential—he was buying three blocks in a line. The development potential of that property over time was going to make him a lot more money than the higher interest rate.

Sometimes, it's just looking outside the box a little bit to say, ‘Okay, how can I secure [finance] because I know the money that I'm going to make from this investment long-term is more than the slightly higher interest cost is going to cost me?’

Tune in to Ross Le Quesnes’ episode on The Smart Property Investment Show to know more about the habits he sees among the best investors in today’s market as well as how growth in the investment industry has been enhanced by the mortgage industry in the last few years.

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  ["title"]=>
  string(72) "Mortgages in a tighter lending economy and why Brisbane is a good option"
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Tune in to the latest episode of Property Showcase, the podcast with the inside track on the products and businesses that will help turbocharge your portfolio, maximise returns and make your overall investment experience seamless and stress-free!

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To hear more about these services, make sure to tune in to this episode of Property Showcase!

 Make sure you never miss an episode by subscribing to us now on iTunes!

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Son Pham is the accredited Head of Mortgages at Rethink Financing\/Rethink Investing. He has over 6 years\u2019 experience writing loans, over 12 years in the wealth management industry working for the likes of CBA, AMP and private practice and he is also a licenced financial planner (AFSL 326450). He has multiple investment properties that are cash flow positive which help pay his mortgage on his home and fund his lifestyle.<\/p>\r\n

Son is able to write all types of residential and commercial property loans.<\/p>\r\n

In this episode of Property Showcase, head of mortgages at Rethink investing Son Pham joins host Tim Neary to unpack how an investor should approach getting a mortgage in place with banks tightening down on serviceability.<\/p>\r\n

Hear from\u00a0Son\u00a0about:\u00a0<\/p>\r\n

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  • The pitfalls that he has seen people get into<\/li>\r\n
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    In this episode of Property Showcase, director of investment services for Open Corp Michael Beresford,\u00a0joins\u00a0editor of Real Estate, Tim Neary to share why he disagrees that the cooling market means that the best times are behind us.<\/p>\r\n

    In this episode, hear from\u00a0Michael\u00a0about:\u00a0<\/p>\r\n

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Smart Property Investment" ["menu-meta_description"]=> string(91) "Financial tips for property investors, from mortgages to cash flow to saving for a deposit." 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Mortgages in a tighter lending economy and why Brisbane is a good option
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  ["title"]=>
  string(82) "Stories of success: The migrants that became Australia’s renowned Property Twins"
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Sana and Mona Ali moved to Australia from Pakistan at the age of 15. Years later, the once-struggling migrants successfully turned their $40,000 savings into a $5 million-portfolio, earning the moniker “The Property Twins” — all before the age of 30. How did these millennials make their way to the top?

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The Ali sisters lived in low socioeconomic conditions for years since arriving in Australia in 2000, but instead of accepting their fate, they used their circumstance as motivation to work hard and achieve financial security.

According to Sana: “Moving countries was a huge personal challenge. We were living in a low socioeconomic area of Sydney and we just saw people around us living really good lives. It really pushed us and made us wonder, ‘What if we could buy more than one house?’”

They initially wanted just a strong financial foundation for themselves and their family and the sense of security brought about by owning a home. In less than a decade, they got all of it and more.

Aside from being able to build a 10-property portfolio, the Ali sisters were also successful in establishing a mortgage business that aims to help investors make the best decisions for their own wealth-creation journeys.

“We just want to feel that Australia is really home and to have our roots here,” Mona highlighted.

How it all started

What they lacked in funds, the Ali sisters made up for continuous education, training and mentorship.

In 2009, they have both spent years in the Information Technology and Project Management fields before progressing through finance roles. The high-net worth individuals that they constantly work made them realise that there’s more they can aspire for than corporate jobs.

They started doing research and eventually bought their first property in Parramatta through their combined savings of $40,000 and the aid of the First Home Owners Grant. Seven months later, they bought their second property in Blacktown.

Mona shared: “I personally wasn’t a good saver, because I loved shopping and shoes. Nothing wrong with that, but looking back, it's like a ‘need it versus want it’ question. Obviously, I did buy a lot of shoes but we didn’t go travelling and all of that. So, we did have some savings.”

The Ali sisters opted for cheap properties in the lower end of the market to jumpstart their investment journey for low-entry prices.

“The cash flow meant when we did rent the properties out, they could look after themselves,” Mona highlighted.

Sana and Mona advise investors to avoid being afraid of starting small. Being realistic instead of aiming for a dream home on their first shot at investing helped them enter the market sooner than later.

After all, property investment is a long-term commitment and, essentially, a kind of “delayed gratification”.

The twin’s property portfolio grew to consist of eight more properties spread across Western Sydney and Brisbane, including units, villas and townhouses.

Strategies

Not long after they started investing in properties, the Ali sisters sold their first two properties in Sydney to take advantage of the property boom that happened in the city. Prior to selling, they did cosmetic renovations on these properties to add value and eventually extracted equity from them.

The first property returned around $330,000 while the second property returned around $190,000.

Mona and Sana used the extracted equity to make their third and fourth property purchase, which are strata properties located in Blacktown. Less than 10 years later, the same properties have increased in value by 90 to 100 per cent.

As the market went more stagnant, Mona and Sana continued increasing their savings to improve the buffer for their portfolio. They saved 20 to 30 per cent of their salary, sacrificed travels, minimised eating out and drove a Kia Rio for years to save as much as they could.

For years, they carefully weighed their needs and wants to determine the things they could live without as they are building their portfolio.

Where to buy

The Ali sisters deliberately chose to buy most of their properties in the Western Sydney region, between Parramatta and Penrith.

According to them, having properties in such good locations, as in close to transport and other valuable infrastructure and establishments, helped them maintain good cash flow and minimise the impact of property investment on their finances and lifestyle.

While they have implemented different strategies throughout their investment journey, good location is one of their non-negotiables.

Sana explained: “We wanted to make sure the properties were well-located. That’s formed the foundation of our property strategy, where we make sure that properties are close to the train station, or a big shopping centre, because that’s what’s going to drive the demand down the track.”

Who to work with

Unlike many investors, the Ali sisters didn’t recognise the value added by property professionals to their portfolio in the beginning. In fact, it took them four purchases to seek the guidance of experts. Needless to say, it turned out to be among their more costly decisions.

According to Sana: “You don’t know what you don’t know, and we didn’t know any better. In hindsight, it would have been good to work with a broker for our initial couple of purchases.” 

Through online forums, they found out about the benefits of working with a mortgage broker and has since worked with a few throughout their investment journey. They taught them not only what they needed to know about mortgage broking, but also what they want to be done differently.

Eventually, Mona and Sana grew to love the “numbers side of property” and went on to establish their own mortgage business, The Property Twins. The business aims to empower investors by offering different services, including building portfolio roadmaps and finding better loans.

According to them, their personal experiences as investors consistently help them provide the best customer service and most effective advice even amidst changing broking spaces.

Mona said: “We really look at building road maps for our clients upfront. On paper, we really put the options down — lender A, B, C, D, in that order — so you continue maximising what's really possible for you."

“Whilst you have no control over the lending policies or where your interest rates go, if you’re making that strategic choice, you’re keeping a lot of doors open for later investment," she added.

Helping investors

As investors-turned-mortgage brokers, Mona and Sana seek to improve the knowledge of Australian investors and ultimately help them achieve their financial goals. Their experiences as investors who, quite literally, started from the bottom allow them to provide realistic and well-rounded advice to different types of investors.

Instead of acting as mere intermediaries who bring borrowers and lenders together, they take on a holistic approach and help budding investors establish a good foundation for their investment journey.

The most important advice they give to their clients is to always implement long-term strategies, but also be flexible enough to alter plans accordingly along the way.

Sana explained: “You need to look at the big picture rather than just one product or one rate focus, because it's a long-term strategy for you.” 

“We are taking our clients on a journey. It’s not about one transaction at a time, it’s about the big picture and really educating them through the process, through the decisions that they are going to be making — just talking through the pros and cons, the rates and how it's impacting them and what their plans are in the next six to 12 months," Mona highlighted.

Finding the right mentors is critical to success in property investment, according to them. Finding the ones who will be willing to understand your goals, capabilities and limitations as an investor and give you tailored advice will certainly help you fast track your wealth-creation journey.

In fact, Mona and Sana themselves have made it a point to stay in contact with their mentors even after they have successfully crossed the $5 million-line.

As mortgage brokers, the Ali sisters go above and beyond their responsibilities to serve as lessons and inspirations to budding investors.

Mona said: “It’s been really rewarding to see the changes that people have had or the smart decisions our clients have made over the last couple of months. Whilst we’re not property coaches or mentors, that naturally comes to us.

“We pretty much hold their hand and say, ‘Look, this is what we would buy, this is what would make a good property and this is what you should be looking for, and where you should be looking.’ When you’re working with someone who’s been there, where you want to go, you cut down 10 years’ worth of effort,” she concluded.

 

The information has been sourced from propertytwins.com.au, realestate.com.au, Daily Mail and the Smart Property Investment website.

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Stories of success: The migrants that became Australia’s renowned Property Twins
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Will Magee has had ambitions to enter into the Australian property market for quite some time, but it has been more than just finances holding him back.  Having been granted permanent residency just two weeks ago, Will is wasting no time and is now in the process of signing papers and finding his first investment property.

" ["fulltext"]=> string(2483) "

In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show, Will joins host Phil Tarrant to share why he is purchasing his first property in partnership with his brother, discuss the complications that can arise from such a strategy, and unpack the ongoing plan for building a joint property portfolio with his brother.

Will will also share how they approached saving for their first property, why he is taking out the mortgage in his name exclusively, and share their savings plan for the year ahead.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

RELATED AREAS OF INTEREST:

From property in Australia to a ski lodge in Japan
Mortgage Trusts, an alternative first step for property investors
Should a real estate title be in one person’s name only?

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A property investment plan years in the making

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