The first step for new investors: ‘Start from the bottom’

If you have yet to dip your toe into the pool that is property investment, the most important thing for new investors is to “start from the bottom”, the co-founder of a multibillion-dollar property group has said.

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Speaking on sister publication’s Nest Egg podcast, the co-founder of the $22 billion Charter Hall, Cedric Fuchs, said property investors need to have a deep knowledge base that “goes beyond just being very good at property”.

“When you deal with property, you’ve got to know about the environment, you’ve got to know about contamination, you’ve got to know about town planning, you’ve got to know about architectural issues, you've got to know about finance and debt, youve got to know about tax, youve got to know about structuring of property trusts, youve got to know about the law in terms of managed investments,” he said.

“The knowledge base is huge. Anybody wanting to get into property, I would say to them the following: start from the bottom.”

Mr Fuchs explained investors need to learn the property management business as an entry point.

The next step is to make the lease “your bible”.

“Know it back to front so that if anybody asks you a question at any time, you don’t have to refer to the lease,” he said.

“You can refer to the lease for what the contents of the lease were in terms of the contract, but you should pretty much know off by heart all the conditions and terms in the lease.”

Finally, investors should take care not to run before they can walk.

Baby steps are essential, Mr Fuchs said.

“Consolidate all the time. Don’t go too fast and run ahead,” he said.

“The economic cycle is always alive. We’re always going to have these expansionary positions and then the cycle is going to change because of the fact that bankers have to put up interest rates because things are starting to get out of hand.

“You then have a threat of inflation, and that’s the time that they’re going to start to increase interest rates. Once interest rates start to increase where the real interest rate is higher than inflation, you’re going to find that youre going to get a recessed economy coming along, and thats going to have an impact on property prices and all of the asset prices at the same time.”

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