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What To Look For In An Investment Property

May 20, 2008
If we have a look at the comparison between property and shares over the last one hundred years in Australia, we can see that property just edges below shares in your return on investment. By choosing the right investment property though, we can ensure our returns are much more substantial.

For a long term investment, we must look at buying property in the major cities of Australia. In the smaller capital cities, try and stay within a 10 km radius of the CBD. For Melbourne and Sydney, we can go out to a 15 km radius. It is important to understand that we want our property to be in a built up established area so when the economic downturns do come, we have our investment in a solid area, and not out in the mortgage belt which will suffer the most.

Look for property that adjoins well to do suburbs, as given time, the surrounding suburbs will be absorbed and taken for the ride. Once you have found a suburb that you are happy with, look for properties that are around the median price value for that suburb. You don't want to purchase the cheapest, nor do you want the most expensive. We want to be in the middle.

So do you want a house or a unit? Each has their pros and cons and it really is a personal choice. If you are new to investing and have limited funds, then you may want to buy a unit. If you have plenty of equity in which to invest it may be wiser to buy a town house or freestanding house. Just remember at the end of the day it is the land component that appreciates in value, while the building depreciates.

If you do purchase a unit, try and find one in a small complex of no more than 16. The rule of thumb is if it has a lift or a swimming pool, forget it. Go for something nice and boring, but is close to the cosmopolitan lifestyle and you won't go wrong. Remember to ensure the unit is greater than 50 meters square, or otherwise you will have trouble getting finance from any lender.

We have to look for property that does not lie on a main road, but rather two or three streets back from one. Near a school and a shopping complex is great too, but not directly across the road from one either.

Go to an area that you like, and get a feel for the area. It's amazing what you can pick up with your intuition. If you wish, ask people who live in the area what they like and dislike about it. You'll soon have an idea if this is a good area or not.

Once we are completely happy with an area we can refine our search to properties that are on the market. You can both research and find properties yourself, of pay for the services of a buyers advocate. If you are short of time and skill, it may be best to engage the service of an advocate. It is a one off fee and generally tax deductible.

If there is one thing I can impress upon you, it is that you try and buy the best property that you can afford. With the compounding effect over the years, your investment will far outperform those that are any less.
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