Investing in property has long been a gateway to supplementary income and financial freedom and when undertaken in the right way it can be a great addition or transition in your working life. However, if you’re not careful it can turn into a nightmare.
As with everything, and especially where your financial status is concerned, thorough research and planning is essential for success.
If this is going to be the year where you make your first move in the property investment world make sure to consider the points below.
Cash Flow or Capital Gain?
Within the property market there are two major strategies to generate a return – rent (cash flow) or buy to sell for profit (capital gain).
While there are variations of the above those are the two primary methods and due to the potentially wildly different pros and cons of a rentable property and a sellable property it’s important that you choose your path before making a move on any potential projects.
With that in mind it’s completely acceptable to alternate between strategies as you evolve into a more experienced investor.
Property Market Fluctuations
It’s easy to become swept up the emotion of a booming or sinking property market but it’s important to ask yourself “if property market prices stopped going up tomorrow what would I do?”
If you’re a first time investor the only assumption you should ever make is that the property market will fluctuate and prices, at some point, will dip. If you begin to work off of that principle you can start to develop your property investing strategies, savings and cash flow with a long-term focus in mind, rather than relying on short-term gains to stay afloat.
Use this long-term focus when considering each new potential property and drown out the noise of the market around you.
What Comes Next?
In some cases you may be working with an investing partner or using capital provided by someone else, but if, like the majority of first time investors, you’re only using your own finance you need to plan ahead.
Successful property investors are like great snooker players, always thinking two or three shots ahead, and it’s important to consider what you’ll do when you’ve used 90% of your investment pot on an investment property deposit, fees and any required repairs or alterations.
What Area To Invest In?
Location, location, location!
How many times have you heard or seen the above phrase? Even property novices have heard those three famous words repeated over and over again like a mantra and that’s because the sentiment remains the same decade in, decade out.
Before deciding on location you should choose your investing strategy (as mentioned above) as this will begin to dictate what type of property you’re looking for and in what area. For example, a buy-to-let strategy can potentially be much more achievable in an urban or suburban area when compared to a rural market.
When all of the above has been decided you must pick your location carefully and this process begins from top to bottom. You will start on a macro level, deciding what country, county and town or city to invest in and finish on a micro level where you should analyse specific areas, housing estates and streets.
No detail is irrelevant during this phase.
Why Are You Investing?
From the outside looking in property investment can appear to be the perfect move and in many cases it can be a great investment choice or career move. However, as with every job and some other types of investments, it requires hard work, smart planning and commitment.
Before making a move take the time to consider why you’re actually wanting to invest in property. Your motives, and subsequent commitment levels, will quickly dictate your actions.
This is simply a broad overview of 5 major considerations you should be aware of before investing in any property. The property world is a complex and ever-changing environment but can represent a world of opportunity.
If you want hands-on advice from experienced investors here in Northern Ireland check out our upcoming Property Investing for 2017 workshop here!
Also, if you're more interested in entering the property market as a homeowner for the first time take a look at our tips here.
Finally, if you have specific questions or want to network with other investors, to learn and/or team up for potential deals, join us at the next Belfast Property Meet by clicking here or contact us here.
Depending on the situation a house deposit can be the biggest single outlay of cash anyone ever makes. The reality of this means you need to think long and hard before parting with the bulk of your savings.
It’s worth considering just how much you can save to put towards your deposit as even though options start at 5% mortgage rates can become much more competitive from 10% and 15% onwards.
To help with this you could check out Money Saving Expert’s mortgage calculator and also take a look at the Government’s Help to Buy ISA which was launched specifically for first time buyers in 2015.
Your Credit History
A healthy credit history and score is essential when buying any house. Due to financial mismanagement pre-2007 credit scores have become even more important and the reality now is that a poor score will result in instant mortgage rejections.
There are plenty of ways to boost and manage your credit history including ensuring you’re registered to vote, pay utilities and bills on time and ensure addresses and records are up to date.
This is a long term project so don’t worry. Put best practices in place and check your rating before any application to avoid shock and disappointment.
Proof of Income
The proof of income topic can easily be split down the middle with salaried or hourly wage earners on one side and self-employed on the other. If you’re an employee your two or three most recent wage slips, with yearly earnings visible, will generally be enough.
If you’re self-employed you’ll have to work a little harder to prove your income. This will include 2 years of accounts, having an accountant, proving a track record of regular work, providing a good deposit and having a healthy credit rating.
Although your property deposit might seem like the most important element of any deal, due to the large cash outlay, the reality is you need to focus more on your monthly mortgage payments.
Here, it is absolutely crucial that you agree to what you can afford today, rather than project potential earnings in the future onto this deal.
It is also recommended that you organise your mortgage deal, and have it in place, before searching for properties. As a result you will be able to move quickly and efficiently when everything is sorted. It should be noted that mortgage deals generally last for up to 6 months in principle and if that time has passed you would be advised to research incase better deals have become available.
The Backup Plan
The final consideration should be your backup plan. If you secure a mortgage and then, at a later date, unfortunately lose your job or ability to earn you will need to ensure you can still fulfil your monthly payments.
This can come in a variety of shapes and sizes but generally boils down to what your partner can provide financially (unless you’re buying alone) or what savings you have stowed away for a rainy day.
Good luck with your property search in 2017 and beyond! If you have specific questions or want to learn more about the property market in Northern Ireland join us at the next Belfast Property Meet or click here to contact us today.