Experienced property investors recognise the value of these smart moves…

1. They seek the help of experts

As tempting as it is to go with your gut and hope for the best, investing in real estate is usually far more successful if there’s some strategy behind it. It’s not as exciting or spontaneous, to be sure, but that’s a short-term trade off for some long-term gains that could make a big difference to your life — and your family’s — when it counts.

Finding a real estate agent you can trust is gold, especially if they’re open to being called on for advice about the market or a particular property even when it doesn’t directly benefit them. Savvy investors also have a financial advisor or accountant on side, and an updated financial plan in place to reach their goals. These experts can advise on how best to structure an investment — in your name, in a company’s, in a trust, or as part of a partnership — and what to claim at tax time.

2. They buy with their heads, not their hearts

It’s easy to have an emotional response to a house or apartment, and to picture yourself living there. Successful investors know how to look at a property subjectively, however, and they buy with tenants rather than their own lifestyles and preferences in mind.

You might love Art Deco design, for example, but if there’s no parking, the kitchen has seen better days, or public transport isn’t within walking distance, finding good tenants might be a challenge.

3. They stay updated on the market

Smart investors take their time figuring out which towns and suburbs are yielding the highest rental returns, how vacancy rates fare in one area over another, and how the median price has fared over the past 12 months. It’s called reading the newspaper and signing up for property reports, folks, even if you’re relying on a property investment company.

It’s also worth talking to the local Council about any planned infrastructure development projects that could help or hinder a property’s chances of rising in value and being in demand. Keeping tabs on the market also means you can better gauge how much rent to charge.

4. They play it safe

To avoid headaches in the future, the wise investor knows the value of getting adequate insurance. Damage to property can not only be expensive to repair, but there’s also the potential for loss of rental income for longer than you may expect if the property needs to be vacant for the repairs to take place. Landlord insurance also provides a vital safety net if your tenants can’t or won’t pay their rent.

5. They don’t borrow more than they can afford

Experienced investors know interest rates won’t stay the same forever, and that life events have a tendency to occur when you least expect them to, often impacting your earnings. A new baby, a redundancy, accidents and illness — you get the idea. Factoring in a financial buffer is a very smart move.

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