Anyone can become an expert in an area by spending just two hours a week for six weeks. Even if you’re working full-time, you could easily spare a couple of hours over the weekend or after hours, especially during the daylight-saving months. And if it ends up taking a bit longer than six weeks to become an expert, it is still vital to your investing success that you invest that extra time and stick at it.
- The Property Press (the major local real estate publication), is ideal for property investment nz – which came out on a Tuesday, was a very useful tool. Every Tuesday morning I would drive to Manurewa, get a copy of the Press and go and sit in McDonald’s armed with my cell phone and a pen. As I sipped my coffee and munched on my hamburger I would work my way through the paper looking at three-bedroom houses for sale. Note that I wasn’t looking for a deal at this stage; I was just looking to see what was available.
- Phone the relevant agents and asking specific questions: How long had the property been on the market? Did it need any work? What sort of money did it need spending on it? What sort of rent would the property get now? What would the rent be after renovations? What are rents likely to be in the future?
- Each Tuesday I talked to about 20 agents and then, with 20 addresses, I would go and look at each and every one of them from the outside. I never went with an agent because (having been one myself!) I think they are mostly time wasters.Typically, they will take you on a ‘run’, show you around eight houses, none of which you would consider purchasing, followed by one that might suit at a really long stretch. It’s better to get the address(es) from them and do the drive-by myself.
- You will soon discover, as I did, that although a suburb may be quite small (e.g. Manurewa has a radius of just 5 km), property values and rents will vary quite a lot. In a lower socio-economic suburb such as Manurewa this price difference, while significant from an investing perspective, is actually quite small in dollar terms To recognise the difference, and to be able to spot the deals, you need to be a market expert. And if you are not, you can end up spending $40,000 more for a property than it’s worth, which will seriously affect your yield and your equity.
- Always get a valuation done, The major cost of a valuation is incurred when the valuer puts together their written report, as this is very time-consuming. The trick is to ring the valuer after they have seen the property, but before they write up the valuation, and ask them what figure they are going to put on it. If the value they come up with means the property would not be viable for you as an investment, you can tell them not to write it up, and it will only end up costing you about $100–$150 rather than $250.
After six weeks in Manurewa I moved on to another South Auckland suburb, Mangere and spent six weeks getting to know it really well. Then I focused my attention on Otara and did exactly the same thing. After 18 weeks I was an expert on all three areas and could spot a deal very, very quickly indeed. Many people become bored with an area and move on before they become totally familiar with it (some of the individuals at my tutoring sessions are guilty of this and I have to put them back on track). You really need to stick at it, otherwise you will never see the good deals plus you may make mistakes (and mistakes in real estate can be costly).
The above post is based on the book “The 15 Million Dollar Man” by Sean Wood, to read more click Property Investment and download 2 free chapters.