Investing in property can be a daunting task, with so many things to think about. Remembering it is a long term investment and nobody wants to get it wrong.
I regularly talk to people about taking their first leap (of faith) onto the property ladder or how to use the value in their current property (also known as equity), to invest in shares or pay off bad debts (think credit cards, personal loans, the kind of debt that is costing you money, not building your wealth).
I find people are often paralysed, kept in a state of inaction for fear of making a mistake or simply not knowing where to start with a complex and unfamiliar process. My advice is to keep it simple, start with baby steps and work with a team of experts you trust and can rely on, to guide you through each step.
Budding property moguls, where do we begin?
1. The Big Picture
Starting with the big picture helps to set a strategy. Ask yourself questions like:
- What do you want to achieve by investing in property?
- Is it for a place to live, if yes, is it for the long term or just a stepping stone in the short to medium term (think 1 – 5 years) before upgrading to another home?
- Is it purely an investment for long term wealth building?
It doesn’t have to be set in stone but I find dedicating some time to think about what your objectives are, will help clarify your strategy.
2. What can you afford
Work out how much you can afford to contribute each month to a mortgage. This is a nice way of saying do a budget. In my experience, it is rare for people to actually have a budget in place. It’s boring, I know. However, it’s important to understand your current cash flow and what you can afford to set aside for home loan repayments.
Be realistic about what is important to you and your lifestyle and working out what is non-negotiable. How often do you need (yes need, not want) to go to the hairdresser or beautician? What kind of holidays do you like? Are you backpacking or living it up in Lake Como each year?
3. The deposit
Work out how much deposit you will have. This can include cash savings, a gift from (very generous) parents or even using the value (equity) in another property (either yours, or that of, again very generous parents). If you need to save more, how much can you save each month (see point 2 budgeting) and what unnecessary expenses can you cut back on?
These three steps combined will quickly shape where and what type of property you can buy. As an experienced mortgage advisor I use this information to connect the dots for you and formulate your plan.
And remember, all those property moguls out there, all started with the same three steps.