Successful property investing is much more about a strong gameplan than timing the market, and these simple strategies can help investors maximise returns and protect cash flow in a softening market.
Preparation and planning can make a good property investor even better, and the start of a new year is a great time to get ready for the year ahead.
Angeline Mann, director of Herron Todd White, said now is perfect to get into the right mindset and routines in order to find investment success in this new year.
“There’s no doubt the start of each year provides an opportunity to reassess your goals and make plans for achieving more – whether that be health, wealth or happiness,” Ms Mann said.
“Making moves now to prepare for real estate dealings in the year ahead means you won’t look back with regret come December.”
In order to find property investment success, here are Ms Mann’s top six resolutions:
The most successful investor this year will have the healthiest balance sheets in the face of the tight lending environment and the findings of the banking royal commission, due in February, Ms Mann said.
“Now is the time to get your financial affairs in order so you can put forward a strong case to the lenders when a prospect to buy arises,” she said.
Right now, Ms Mann also said it is important to do home budget and balance sheets when considering a new loan.
“Banks currently scrutinise household spending going back three-to-six months during the approval process, so be ready for a future loan application by implementing your new home budget straight away,” Ms Mann said.
“Also, ensure your records are impeccably kept and up to date.”
A smart property investor studies their existing lease details before their renewal date, Ms Mann said.
“Don’t wait to the last minute – know when your leases are due for renewal and understand the process. Being ill-prepared creates pressure and will have you making bad decisions,” she said.
Keeping tenants has never been more important in the face of rising vacancy rates, so Ms Mann recommended investors should be considering avoiding rent rises, especially to make up lost income during vacancies.
Instead, investors should be considering lowering their rents.
“If your $500-per-week property is vacant for three weeks, that’s $1,500 in lost income which equates to almost $30 per week. A better solution would be to reduce the rent to $480 a week and keep the tenant in place,” Ms Mann said.
Leases should also be falling during peak rental periods in a given area, and investors should update themselves on any new tenancy laws.
“There’s been some major changes to rental legislation across Victoria, while new rules are about to be introduced in NSW,” she said.
“Other states, such as Queensland, look to be considering changes too.
“Be across any tenancy laws now by staying in contact with your property manager.”
By keeping up-to-date with the latest data about interested property markets, investors can better identify good investing opportunities, Ms Mann said.
“There’s no substitute for studying actual, completed sales or rentals in a suburb across a three-to-six-month period in order to paint a picture of a market’s direction.
“If you have selected a location, start putting together a file of properties that have sold and/or leased in your price point straight away.
“This will educate you on what the market is doing and provide accurate evidence as to what you should pay for an investment property so you can secure it quickly.”
Although the bulk of transactions are likely to happen in the major capital city markets of Sydney and Melbourne, smart property investments can be found elsewhere, such as Brisbane and Adelaide, as well as some affordable regional centres.
“A strengthening in the tourism and agricultural industries has resulted in price rises across many previously underperforming markets in regional Australia,” Ms Mann said.
“Don’t be tethered to past biases about markets – consider those lesser-known locations as well.”
January is a time to think back on your investment goals and how that aligns with your current strategy, Ms Mann said.
“Retirement plans based on a property portfolio will involve some element of timing the market,” she said
Ms Mann also added smart property investors will be reconsidering their current strategy, especially for those with property in Sydney or Melbourne.
“You may need to delay or amend your plans if markets are softening – just be flexible so you can achieve your goals,” she said.
Property investment without any team of professionals on your side, while possible, can be very difficult.
“Now is the time to ensure you have a solicitor, [accountant] and other professional advisors on hand and aligned with your ambitions for the year,” Ms Mann said.
“Building relationships with advisors now means that when opportunities arise during 2019, you’ll be prepared to get the speedy answers you need to make fast, well-informed decisions.”
She added that investors should be dealing with those that have a “long-standing reputation of independence”.
“Bad advice can bring about disastrous outcomes. Look for experts who have a strong track record and no special interests beyond looking after their clients,” she concluded.