Let your head not your heart have the deciding say when buying an investment property. It’s tempting to allow your emotions to get the upper hand if you are purchasing your own home, but if you don’t intend to live in the property, look at it with ‘investment eyes’ only.
Take a long term view
Take advantage of the cyclical booms that occur in property by planning to keep your investment for the long term. Be prepared for the highs and lows by making sure you have realistic financial goals and are comfortable with how much you are borrowing.
Do your homework
Obtaining as much market information as possible about the property will help you make an objective decision. Research the capital growth history of the area and the potential rental income of the property (real estate agents and property research companies are a good starting point).
Maintaining a good occupancy rate is crucial to your investment success, which means it is important to invest in an area with rental appeal, close to transport, schools and shops. A well-maintained, appealing property in good condition and in the right area should not be vacant for long periods, if at all.
Calculate your net return
The net return is the figure you need to know about in order to understand how your investment is travelling. A quick way to calculate it is to determine the gross rental return and then deduct 25 per cent for outgoings such as maintenance, rates and insurance. While rents won’t rise quickly, the cost of the investment can fluctuate dramatically, affecting your net return.
If your loan repayments, fees and other costs exceed your rental income you can negative gear your property. This means that its net loss can be offset against other income you earn, reducing the amount of tax payable on your other income.
Make use of equity
You might feel reluctant to use the equity in your home to buy an investment property, but it can be an ideal ready-made ‘deposit’ that reduces your reliance on savings. You can use the equity in your home or another investment property to buy a property without having to find any cash, even for the costs associated with the purchase.
A good tip is to revalue your property every year so that you can use your additional equity to negotiate a larger loan that you can reinvest in another rental property.
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