Australians have long favoured bricks and mortar investment over the stock market.

But with recent lender restrictions, interest rate hikes and talk of property price corrections and a housing crash, Aussies are said to be losing confidence in the viability of property investment.

For a confident property investor, they know not to panic. They understand the market is cyclic and property values fluctuate over time. They ignore the hype and focus on researching the market, gaining knowledge, and having a plan.

If you’re looking to get started in property investment here are six common-sense tips to help you become a confident property investor:

  1. Know why you want to buy an investment property

Typically, the reason people invest their hard-earned money in property is to generate reliable income and capital returns over the long-term.

While there’s no right and wrong, like any investment, there are pros and cons in property and it pays to know why you’re doing it and want you want to achieve before diving in head-first.

For example, if you’re keen to get your foot in the real estate market with the view to eventually living in your investment property, high rental yields to help cover the mortgage may be a key goal.

On the other hand, if you’re investing in property as part of your retirement plan, your objective may be to buy in an area with low volatility, sound yields and the potential for growth.

  1. Know what type of investment property you want to buy

Good investment properties appeal to the broader rental market. Knowing what your future tenants are looking for will help you determine what type of investment property you should buy.

Typically, properties that are well presented and maintained with all appliances in good working order and located close to transport, shops and schools drive higher demand.

Other things such as built-ins, ample storage, a lock-up garage and second bathroom are attractive features for tenants across all market segments from singles to retirees.

Buy an investment property when you’re financially ready, not when the market or your friends, family and colleagues say it’s a good time to buy.

  1. Know where you want to buy

Buying an investment property in a location that you’re familiar and comfortable with provides a greater sense of certainty. It can also save you time in exploring and researching, as you may already know the more favourable streets and the area’s proximity to amenities and the CBD.

Once you’ve pinpointed the locations in which you’re keen to invest, it’s worthwhile to speak with the real estate agents in the area to get a current gauge on such things as rental yields, vacancy rates and expected growth.

Be sure to also check if there are any planned infrastructure upgrades like roads and rail or new developments in the area that could positively or negatively impact the future value of your investment.

  1. Know that market timing isn’t everything

Buy an investment property when you’re financially ready, not when the market or your friends, family and colleagues say it’s a good time to buy.

Do your research, understand the risks – as with any investment – and learn how to manage these risks, for example by doing your due diligence, setting goals, and seeking financial planning and property advice from independent and experienced experts.

This will give you the confidence to invest when the time is right for you.

The longer that you hold onto an investment property the more likely your property will increase in value and you’ll achieve greater capital growth.

  1. Think long-term strategy

Buying and selling an investment property involves high entry and exit costs, such as real estate agent’s fees, legal fees, and stamp duty. Not to mention the insurances, rates, and maintenance expenses payable for the time you own the property.

Typically, the longer that you hold onto an investment property the more likely your property will increase in value and you’ll achieve greater capital growth.

You want your property to work hard for you, so providing you can confidently manage your cash flow and debt, holding on to it for as long as possible is a sound strategy.

  1. Treat your property like a business

Self-managing your investment property will save you paying management fees to a property agent, but it also means you’ll need to take care of everything.

As the property owner, you’ll need to find and screen tenants, set and collect rents, respond to tenant requests and complaints, conduct regular rental inspections and organise trades for property maintenance and repairs.

Like running a business, managing an investment property by yourself takes time and a lot of energy. In a competitive rental market, you don’t want to risk mismanaging one of your biggest assets.

If the management fees are your biggest driver to do-it-yourself, it might help knowing that the management fees you pay are tax deductible.

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