Diligence and accountability are two of the simple yet most important values in property investment, and many of those in the business of creating wealth through properties know that keeping track of all the incoming and outgoings of their portfolios is, essentially, staying on the path towards success.
Buyer’s agent Paul Glossop believes that, while different people have different needs and wants as investors—and they should take that into account first and foremost—there are common ways through which they could manage their property portfolio well.
“Certain people want to track it, pre-tax, post-tax, to the finite, and some people are a little bit more [like], ‘I want to know the top line, so I can manage my back-end finances,’” he said.
“Personally, I'm quite simple—I have an Excel spreadsheet and [I look] at pre-tax, which I personally always like to understand… Post-tax is for my accountant to tell me, and I don't factor that into my equations on a running basis.”
Here are some of his advice for property investors who lay awake at night thinking, “Am I actually doing a good job?”:
For property investors in the acquisition phase, it is important to factor in every cent that it’s going to cost them to acquire the asset, according to Paul.
“Pre-tax… you always want to factor in… everything—from your deposit, to your mortgage, to your lender's mortgage insurance, if it applies, to your stamp duty, to your building and pest inspection, to your conveyances cost,” he said, “Some of those you'll have to pay cash for while others you can capitalise and also layer onto your mortgage,” he said.
Keeping track of every little detail of your portfolio may seem like a daunting task for many, but several softwares are now available to make the processes easier, and it will always do an investor well to explore which of these softwares would work best for them.
An Excel spreadsheet, for instance, can help an investor calculate their weekly, monthly, and annual running costs, letting them factor in insurance, council rates, water rates, vacancy rate, and other data that could affect the growth of their portfolio.
“There are very basic formulas you can put into an [Excel] spreadsheet which will give you the running costs on a property… [It could] effectively give you a number at the end of every year to say, ‘This is how much that property will either make you or cost you on a weekly, monthly and annual basis,’ and you can put in some parameters,” Paul said.
Smart Property Investment’s Phil Tarrant added: “I'm an Excel guy [as well]. I quite like to work out all the ratios and formulas myself because it makes me think about how I can look at my portfolio.”
There are also other software technologies and programs that property investors can subscribe to, like the Empower Wealth, Money Brilliance, and more. For investors who don’t have the time or are way more meticulous, they can opt to hire a professional bookkeeper to help them keep track of the nitty-gritty details of their property portfolio.
Phil has previously laid out the four different types of yield, including the Book Rental Yield, Net Rental Yield, Market Yield and Net Yield, which helps him gauge his progress as a property investor.
“The normal way you would look at a yield on a property would be: 'How much did it cost me...? How much do I get as a weekly rent…?' Another way that I look at it is I say, ‘How much does the property cost me and how much did it cost me to acquire that asset—buyer’s agents, fees, stamp duty, legals [fees], pest and buildings?' Then use that as a yield,” Phil said.
“That's the yield I typically look at, as in the cost to establish the asset, not what the actual thing costs in itself.”
He explained further: “Then there's another way you can look at it: As your return on investment, return on capital budgeting, [and] traditional cash returns.”
There are many different ways to determine how one’s portfolio is performing based on yield, but as in almost every process in the business of wealth creation, decisions must be based on the investor’s personal capabilities, limitations, and goals.
All successful property investors agree that surrounding yourself with the right people is one of the most important decisions to make in the business of wealth creation.
While it is advisable to educate yourself and understand the processes as much as you can, being guided by professionals would mean minimizing the risk of making mistakes.
“If you're focused on property, you want your accountant to really give you advice on how you can look to change or maximise your cash flow or look at your next investment, how that's going to layer into your established portfolio—that's something that really should be an ongoing discussion,” Paul said.
“If you've got other people that can layer in this opportunity and this insight, it makes you so much more empowered and geared towards getting a better outcome and becoming a better investor.”
At the end of the day, it matters most that an investor is well-oriented about the details of his own portfolio and the different factors that can affect its growth, as well as the specific goals that he is trying to achieve through property investment.
“Assess your portfolio needs to be based on what you're trying to achieve as a property investor… Know your numbers. If you know your numbers, [you can] review your portfolio as often as possible, think creatively about whether or not this portfolio is working for you,” Phil concluded.
Tune in to Paul Glossop’s Q&A episode on The Smart Property Investment Show to know more about the right program to keep track of your property without going into depreciation, how to decide where to buy and which investment property is right for you, how to identify opportunities, and how you can educate yourself about the interstate market.