Five tips for young aspiring property investors

Five tips for young aspiring property investors
Five tips for young aspiring property investors

I caught up with a friend last night after she returned from a great holiday. As the conversation steered from cruise ships to saving money, she voiced her aspiration to purchase an investment property.

At 32 years old, I was thrilled to hear from someone so young – just shy of her 21st birthday in fact – who is already contemplating her financial security for later in life. I believe that the best executed plans in life are always those that are planned as early as possible. The thing about starting in property investing at a very young age is this: at just 20 years young, my friend will face a slew of challenges.

However, these challenges should not deter her. In fact, well-planned property buys at a young age can really expedite growth and gain for later in life. You just need to find work-arounds for the (many) challenges you will face.

Here’s a list of considerations for very young (under-25) aspiring investors.  

Identify whether property is the right investment class for you  

A property is a big commitment for anyone, but especially for a young person. I say this because between the ages of 18-25, young people are likely to have many lifestyle changes, and most of these will be unexpected. First are the financial ones: moving out of home, working part time if a student and earning a modest – and sometimes inconsistent – salary. Then there are the lifestyle ones: deciding to go backpacking for a year randomly, changing study courses or stopping/starting full time work for study reasons. Plus, as the busiest social years of your life there’s partners, friends and parties/adventures away.

What I’m getting at is this, it can be an unpredictable and inconsistent time in your life. Property investing best suits people who are disciplined and understand it is an ongoing commitment that requires focus. For this reason, investment classes that are less admin-heavy – such as shares, term deposits and managed funds – can be more attractive and a safer investment for first time younger investors.  

Managing your own expectations  

It’s smarter to do this yourself, because there will be many other parties (parents, lenders, solicitors, and so on) who will be the quick to serve you reality checks at every stage. This won’t happen as often and won’t disappoint or deter you, if your expectations out of an investment property exercise are more realistic.

At a young age it can be hard to distinguish between, say a pretty property that you ‘like’ because you think it’s a nice place to live yourself, with a property that stacks up well as an investment. Investing is not about that experience – that’s what home buying is for. No, investing is about numbers. Managing your own expectations on how you expect an investment property to look and feel, versus the reality of a property, is one of the first things you need to do.  

Savings, savings, savings  

Before you even consider budget and spend range; know this. For under-25’s and especially for under-21’s, a lender will want to see at least 12 months of consistent savings before giving loan approvals. Racking up credit card debts won’t look good either (though if you have one and are paying it off diligently, this might serve you well). Lenders want to see evidence of consistent savings efforts.

On this, it is worth considering some government savings incentives currently on offer for first home saver accounts. With these kinds of accounts you are rewarded with government contributions in proportion to the amount you contribute. Do be weary of the terms and conditions with these accounts, however, as some accounts have penalties or restrictions on pulling your savings out earlier than the term date for the accounts. Many lenders offer these kinds of saver accounts in collaboration with the Australian government. Here is a great comparison site for several of these saver accounts.

Be realistic about your budget

As an extension of the above point; it is unrealistic for an under 25 year old (unless they have managed to secure a very above-average wage for their age) to spend say $500,000 or $600,000 on their first property – home or investment. In fact; odds are most lenders will turn you down. Even if they didn’t, I would not personally spend that much money on a property at such a young age. It is too much of a commitment. If you are a teenager or in your early 20s I’d look at a maximum spend of $200,000 to $250,000 on your first investment property. Securing finance will be easier; and managing the property will be more realistic.  

This may mean you can’t afford your own backyard

Based on a $250,000 maximum spend rate, you will need to assess where you can afford to invest. Odds are, if you currently live within a 20 kilometre radius of Sydney, Melbourne, or Perth, it’s highly unlikely you will be investing near where you live. Challenge yourself to consider towns and cities that aren’t your own, or even within your home state. The key to successful location-sourcing for investment properties is not simply in following trends of ‘hot suburbs’ reported in the media, but on suburbs where the sums add up to produce a viable investment prospect.

Cameron McEvoy is a NSW-based property investor and maintains a blog, Property Correspondent.

                        

Cameron McEvoy

Cameron McEvoy

Cameron McEvoy is a NSW-based property investor and maintains a blog, Property Correspondent.

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