8 THINGS TO DO BEFORE BUYING AN INVESTMENT PROPERTY
Buying an investment property can sometimes feel like an overwhelming task. That’s why we have outlined the main steps for you as a guide.
1. RESEARCH YOUR STRATEGY
Before you begin on your property investing journey, it is essential to map a pathway that will take you to achieve your end goal. That’s where strategy comes in. Figure out what you would like to achieve by investing (we’re talking numbers here – no vagueness allowed) and research the best way to achieve this goal.
Ask yourself how many properties you need to buy and what particular type of property you should start off with. Are you looking to build equity or increase cash-flow? Attending a Binvested Map session will help you identify your needs at the start of your journey.
Ask yourself how much you can afford. How long will it be before you are in a good position to buy it? Are their alternate pathways available that can bring you to this point a little quicker? Speaking with a financial planner, property strategist and finance strategist can help you weigh up your options.
For example, you may be able to buy an investment property with a friend or family member, borrow money from a loved one or use your parent’s equity to get you started. Make sure you understand the possible ramifications of any decisions you make and build a strategy to mitigate the risks involved.
2. GET YOUR DEPOSIT
When you have decided how you will proceed, line up your deposit so it is ready to go when needed. You may have cash, equity or a gift to use as a deposit – whatever it is, get it on hand and ready to go. In general we suggest having 25% of the overall property’s value on hand as a deposit. This will help you avoid Lenders Mortgage Insurance costs and leave you with cash to cover associated purchase costs.
3. SET UP YOUR OWNERSHIP STRUCTURE
If you have decided to buy under a trust or under a Self-Managed Super fund, it is important to set up the structure before you start looking for properties. It can take a number of weeks to put these ownership structures in place, so, the sooner you do it, the better.
Whether investing through a fund, trust, personal or partner’s name, make sure you have thoroughly researched the benefits and drawbacks of your decision. Speaking with a qualified accountant and solicitor who specialise in property investing can help you make the best choice that will go hand in hand with your strategy.
4. CONSULT YOUR FINANCE STRATEGIST
It is essential to have a good finance strategist on board – and we’re not talking any old mortgage broker. You need to have a strategist with a proven track record in helping investors build property portfolios.
Setting up the right lending structure from day one can be the difference between owning 20 properties or just two, further down the track.
When you have found the right strategist, tell them about your immediate needs and long-term goals. They should then research the market for you and inform you of the most suitable loans available for your situation.
Get a finance pre-approval so you have a concise idea of how much money you can spend on the purchase.
Don’t fall into the trap of shopping for the cheapest rate. It is important to look to the future and choose finance that will give you enough mileage to expand your portfolio as you need it.
Remember also, shopping around for loans by putting in multiple finance applications will affect your credit rating and hurt your chances of getting the right loan approved.
5. LOCATE A SOLICITOR
Property settlements can be complicated. It is important to have a good solicitor on board if things turn messy. They will review the contract before you sign to make sure it is favourable to you in the event of any unexpected problems or delays.
The last thing you want to do is lose money on a property before you have even purchased it, or worse still, lose a good property because of a silly mistake.
Choose a solicitor who specialises in property law, and keep them informed about your progress. Make sure you know if they won’t be around over Christmas or other holiday periods if you are looking to buy.
6. LOCATE AND NEGOTIATE YOUR PROPERTY
Finally – you can start looking to buy! But, although you may feel excited, stressed, happy or anxious, make sure you don’t let those emotions guide you in your decision making process.
Remember, you are not buying the property to live in – you are buying it to make money on, as part of a well-thought out and researched strategy.
Ask yourself, will this property bring me closer to achieving my end goal? If the answer is yes, then make sure you ask yourself, how? Force yourself to sit down and go through the numbers, growth prospects and risks in a calm and rational way so you can justify buying the property with facts and figures.
The property should be in line with your strategy and should offer whatever you are looking for in your first purchase. There is no point buying a property unless it suits your situation and goals at this particular stage of your investing.
As you continue to expand over the coming years, your needs will change with each purchase. Focus on buying the right property for your present needs. Make sure this property will support you to purchase the next.
7. DO A PRE-SETTLEMENT CHECKLIST
Get your solicitor to review the contract. Make sure you understand your rights and obligations before you sign it.
Apply for finance. Don’t assume that the pre-approval will translate into the loan you need without any issues. Make sure your lender will definitely lend you the amount you need before signing the contract – sometimes banks will change policies without you knowing. Keep your finance strategist in the know and don’t delay in putting in your application.
Organise Pest and Building report. Find out if there is any structural damage that will need fixing. Sometimes it is possible to negotiate a cheaper price. A good buyer’s agency can be indispensable in making this happen for you.
Arrange landlord insurance. Find out what you need cover for and compare what is available. Don’t choose based on the cheapest option – make sure you get the best landlord insurance.
Find a property manager. Organising a property manager before settlement will allow you to move tenants into the property as soon as possible. If you have early access to the property, your property manager can arrange repairs or lease inspections. A good property manager should be proactive in keeping your property in optimal condition, and getting the best level of rent for the market.
8. SETTLE YOUR PROPERTY
Hurray! It is finally yours – and because you have taken all the necessary steps when the time was right, you can now get your keys and move your tenants in.
Now, you can watch the rent come in, the mortgage get paid and the capital value grow over the next few years.
Well, actually, you should keep your finger on the pulse and make sure your property manager stays on top of arrears, inspects the property for preventative maintenance and makes sure the tenants are looking after the place.
What comes next? Well, that depends on your strategy, of course …