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Property Investment Guide

Whether you’re a seasoned property investor looking to extend your existing portfolio, or you’re new to the property investing scene – regardless of your experience level – we’ve got you covered.

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If you're thinking of entering the property market, but don't know where to start, use this guide to better understand the process and considerations involved.

Before deciding to invest in property

Property investing can be a good way to build your wealth, but it carries a certain degree of risk. Before making a property investment purchase, you need to carefully evaluate the benefits and risks to decide whether or not it will be a viable investment for you. By consulting professionals or asking yourself questions, you can undertake a self-assessment to identify how much risk you're willing to endure.

Assess the risk

While property may be a less riskier asset compared to other options such as shares, you still need to evaluate the risk of the investment. When determining the degree of risk, you should conduct a cash-flow analysis with the help of an accountant or financial planner.

Benefits

  • Property prices have historically appreciated over time. Property prices move in a cycle, but the trend has always been up.
  • Rental yields represent a stable and consistent form of secondary income.
  • There are tax and depreciation advantages when you invest in property, like negative gearing.

Risks

  • Property is not a liquid investment. Your money is tied up if you invest in property.
  • If interest rates rise your mortgage repayments will increase.
  • Although relatively stable, property is still subject to market factors which can affect demand, availability and the value of the asset.

Seek professional advice

It's important that you consult professionals regarding your intended purchase. Speak to accountants, property experts, conveyancers, buyer's agents, local real estate agents, financial planners, and mortgage brokers to help you decide whether or not the property will represent a valuable investment.

An accountant can help you assess your cashflow and manage the paperwork involved in the property purchase, while a mortgage broker can compare different home loans to ensure that you get a competitive deal to suit your borrowing and investment goals. A solicitor can help you interpret and prepare legal documents before you sign on the dotted line.

You could also consider talking to a buyer's agent for advice on purchasing an investment property.

Learn more about buyer's agents

Doing your research

Immerse yourself within as much information and research as possible. You can leverage resources such as the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), CoreLogic Data, Residex and many other websites that provide property market data and insights which can form the basis of your research during this initial phase.

Develop a property purchase plan and write down all the key decisions you'll have to make throughout the entire process- from identifying your investment strategy to accessing finance, signing the paperwork and screening potential tenants.

What's your investment strategy?

After speaking with an accountant and financial planner, you'll need to form an idea of how you will make profit from the investment.

The most common investment strategies are:

  • Buy and hold. Purchase the property, wait for the value to raise and then sell. Income from rent can cover the mortgage repayments until the property is sold.
  • Renovate. Purchase the property, renovate it to add value to it, and then sell it at a profit.
  • Capital growth. Some investors try to zero in on a property and location that, in the current market, will quickly grow in value. These investors may stick to interest-only investment loans in order to reduce their non-tax deductible costs, and then sell the property after just a few years.

Finding the right property

Finding the right property is perhaps the most important step of all. You need to find a property that matches your investment strategy, appeals to renters and will retain value over time. You'll also need to make sure you're paying a fair price for the property and check that the property is structurally sound.

You will need to make decisions on the following questions:

  • Property type. Will you invest in a unit, a freestanding house or a townhouse?
  • New or established. Some investors prefer buying brand new buildings while others see more value in established dwellings. You can read more on the difference here.
  • Suburb. Your choice of suburb and location has a big impact on your investment. Be sure to look at suburb level data and hit the streets to see for yourself.

More advice on how to research the property market

Capital growth and rental return

Regardless of your strategy, you need to buy a property with some capital growth potential and one that you can rent out. In short, you need to do your numbers to see if the investment actually makes financial sense. You also have to make sure that the return your property generates is comparable to the return you would have made had you invested in another asset class, like shares.

Capital growth

Capital growth represents the increase in a property's value over a period of time and is why most people invest in property. The property market functions in cycles, with periods of growth, stagnation and decline, which have all been part of the Australian property market. Considering this, it's clear that investing in property should be done for the long-term, rather than expecting a quick return.

Rental return

Study the average rental price for similar properties in the area and ask yourself whether the rent you receive will be enough to cover property maintenance costs and still allow you to make a profit.

An important figure is the yield of a property, which you calculate by dividing the rent you receive over a year by the price you paid for the property, which is then multiplied by 100 to get a percentage. For example, if you purchased a property for $300,000 and are renting it out for $300 per week, which is $15,600 per annum, the gross yield would be 5.2% per annum. This figure can then be compared to the yield you would get from investing in shares, for example.

Getting an investment mortgage

Ready to get started? Make sure you've done the following:

  • How much can you borrow? Before you start comparing different home loans, you need to know how much you can afford to borrow. Enter your details into our borrowing power calculator to work out how much you can afford to borrow.
  • Compare mortgages. Find a suitable investment mortgage with a competitive interest rate. Watch out for high fees too.
  • Home loan pre-approval. Go to a lender and see if they offer home loan pre-approval, preferably with a credit check so you can shop around. Pre-approval gives you a price range to work with. It's crucial to know how much you can spend before you start looking at different properties and investments.

Final steps

Once you've found a property to purchase and you've started the home loan application you need to take these final steps:

  • Prepare mortgage documents: Speak to your lender to finalise the mortgage documents.
  • Hire a surveyor: A quantity surveyor can help maximise the tax deduction you get from the property.
  • Landlord responsibilities: If you want to put tenants in your investment property, read about your rights and responsibilities as a landlord and how to advertise correctly.
  • Appraisal: Get an independent appraisal of the property. Pest and building inspections are also a smart move. A conveyancer should also check the boundaries of the property if the investment is anything larger than an apartment.

Minimising your risks

PropertyInvestmentRisks

Savvy investors actively take steps to minimise their property investment risk, such as diversifying their property portfolio.

Here are some common ways to reduce your investment risk:

  • Cash buffer: Ensure you have a contingency buffer of funds to ensure that you can cover any unforeseen expenses that may arise in future (e.g. during untenanted periods).
  • Split or fixed rate loan: As many of the 'Big Four' have recently increased their variable mortgage rates you may want to consider splitting your loan or opting for a fixed rate loan so you have peace of mind in knowing exactly what your repayments will be each month.
  • Invest in different areas: As mentioned above, a good way to minimise your investment risk is not to 'put your eggs in one basket.' If possible, invest in different property types across a number of different regions to ensure that if there is an economic downturn, you will not be adversely affected.
  • Market research: Another way to lessen your investment risk is to undertake extensive market research into the market you're investing in. For instance, you may want to consider the supply and demand factors for the market, the average rental yield for similar properties, and check with local council to see whether any infrastructure projects are in the pipeline which could affect the demand and availability of property in the region.

Ready to invest? Compare finance options

Data indicated here is updated regularly
$
Loan purpose
Offset account
Loan type
Repayment type
Your filter criteria do not match any product
Name Product Interest Rate (p.a.) Comp Rate^ (p.a.) Application Fee Ongoing Fees Max LVR Monthly Payment Short Description
UBank UHomeLoan Variable Rate - Discount Offer for Investor Variable P&I Rate
2.99%
2.99%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Get a discounted, low-fee investor loan from a convenient online lender. 20% deposit required.
Athena Variable Home Loan - Investor, P&I
2.99%
2.95%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Athena offers a competitive variable rate for investors. No ongoing fees and no application fee. Principal and interest repayments.
State Custodians Low Rate Home Loan with Offset - LVR up to 60% (Investor, P&I)
2.74%
2.76%
$0
$0 p.a.
60%
A competitive rate with no application or ongoing fee. This loan is not available for construction.
IMB Fixed Rate Home Loan - 3 Years Fixed (LVR ≤90% Investor, P&I, NSW and ACT borrowers only)
2.74%
3.59%
$449
$6 monthly ($72 p.a.)
90%
NSW and ACT customers only. A 3 years fixed rate investor which allows extra repayments to be made.
UBank UHomeLoan - 1 Year Fixed Rate (Investor, P&I)
2.29%
2.93%
$395
$0 p.a.
80%
Investors can enjoy flexible repayments and an easy application process with this pioneering online lender.
State Custodians Low Rate Home Loan with Offset - LVR up to 80% (Investor, P&I)
2.90%
2.92%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
This investment loan keeps fees low, has a sharp interest rate and comes with a 100% offset account. This loan is not available for construction.
Well Home Loans Balanced Fixed Home Loan - 3 Year (Investor, P&I)
2.44%
2.76%
$250
$0 p.a.
90%
A competitive 3 year investor rate with principal and interest repayments. Optional offset account with a $10 monthly fee. Not available for construction purposes.
ME Flexible Home Loan With Member Package - LVR <=80% $400k up to $699,999 (Investor, P&I)
3.13%
3.57%
$0
$395 p.a.
80%
Package loan for investors making principal-and-interest repayments. Low fees and 20% deposit required.
Pepper Money Essential Prime Full Doc Home Loan - LVR >75% up to 80%
4.19%
4.38%
$599
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
80%
This is a competitive, flexible variable rate suitable for borrowers with a good credit history. Borrow up to 80%.
Hunter United No Regrets Home Loan - Investment
2.99%
2.99%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Variable rate mortgage with 100% offset account.
Well Home Loans Balanced Variable - LVR 90% (Investor, P&I)
2.82%
2.85%
$250
$0 p.a.
90%
Competitive variable investor mortgage to fund your property portfolio. You can add a 100% offset account for just $10 a month. Not available for construction purposes.
ING Orange Advantage Loan - $150k to $500k (LVR <=80% Investor, P&I)
3.24%
3.57%
$0
$299 p.a.
80%
Investors can enjoy a 100% offset account, a redraw facility and flexible repayments.
State Custodians Low Rate LOC - LVR up to 80% (Investor, IO)
3.15%
3.16%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Investors can easily access their equity using BPAY, a debit Master Card or cheque book with this interest-only line of credit. This loan is not available for construction.
UBank UHomeLoan - 3 Year Fixed Rate (Investor, P&I)
2.29%
2.82%
$395
$0 p.a.
80%
Pay no ongoing fees on this investment loan fixed for 3 years.
Athena Variable Home Loan - Investor, IO
3.09%
2.99%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A competitive interest-only investor rate with no application or ongoing fees. Requires a 20% deposit.
State Custodians Low Rate Home Loan with Offset - LVR up to 80% (Investor, IO)
3.15%
3.01%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A competitive rate with no application or ongoing fee. This loan is not available for construction.
ME Basic Home Loan - LVR <= 80% (Investor, P&I)
3.28%
3.30%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
A no frills home loan for investors.
Pepper Money Essential Prime Alt Doc Home Loan - LVR up to 55%
4.49%
4.68%
$599
$10 monthly ($120 p.a.)
55%
A competitive rate home loan with an offset facility for self-employed borrowers.
ME Flexible Home Loan Fixed - 1 Year Fixed Rate (Investor, P&I)
3.04%
4.90%
$0
$0 p.a.
80%
Lock in the rate on your investment loan with one year. Requires a 20% deposit.
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12 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    GenApril 28, 2017

    What are my financing options with a Skilled Migrant Visa? I understand the FIRB stipulation but wonder how to organize a mortgage as a US citizen. I’d like to purchase in QLD since my visa term is 5yrs. I do plan to eventually become an AU citizen. Thanks!! :D

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      DeeMay 4, 2017Staff

      Hi Gen,

      Thanks for your question.

      The home loan options being offered to temporary Australian residents are typical mortgage packages that would be available to Australian citizens or permanent residents. The main difference being the cap on the amount you are allowed to borrow and the down payment that is required. Depending on your job circumstances you may be able to qualify for up to 90% of the value of the property.

      You may compare your home loan options on this page.

      Cheers,
      Anndy

  2. Default Gravatar
    hilMarch 29, 2016

    Is it possible to buy investment property and lease back to myself

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      BelindaMarch 30, 2016Staff

      Hi Hil,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      I’ve sent you an email to follow up with this enquiry.

      Thanks,
      Belinda

  3. Default Gravatar
    HermanJanuary 9, 2016

    Why are lending institutions reluctant or are outright against lending for properties relating to student accommodation properties when the return is approximately 10% p/a near Bond university? There the students keep their accommodation as they do not have long periods between semesters.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MarcJanuary 11, 2016Staff

      Hi Herman,
      thanks for the question.

      Unfortunately lenders keep their lending criteria under wraps for the most part, but generally speaking some lenders view student accommodation as more of a risk because of its more limited usage when compared to a regular property. As always there are exceptions to this rule, so it’s always a good idea to speak to a mortgage broker, or at least approach more than one lender to see if you would be eligible for a loan.

      I hope this helps,
      Marc.

  4. Default Gravatar
    IreneAugust 19, 2014

    Is it always a bad idea to go with an investment property group to do everything for you?
    (eg. IPGA )

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MarcAugust 20, 2014Staff

      Hi Irene,
      thanks for the question.

      This depends on a range of factors. Using an investment property group which is reputable and proven to deliver results can be a good way to enter in the market if you’re unsure of the process and not confident purchasing a property yourself. I’d recommend contacting a qualified financial advisor before joining any investment property group.

      I hope this helps,
      Marc.

  5. Default Gravatar
    VivienJune 25, 2014

    Hi, can you tell me what is required to add your partner name to a title deed. Thank you Vivien

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      ElizabethJune 26, 2014Staff

      Hi Vivien,

      Thanks for your question.

      You might want to check out our page on adding your partner’s name to a title deed, which you can do by clicking here.

      Thanks,

      Elizabeth

  6. Default Gravatar
    BellaroNovember 27, 2013

    Are you able to get a home loan in Australia for a Property in the UK? I live and work in Australia and have the opportunity to make a huge profit on a property in the UK.

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      MarcNovember 28, 2013Staff

      Hello Bellaro,
      thanks for the question.

      An Australian lender won’t generally finance a property in another country. The other options you could consider would be using a line of credit obtained in Australia to finance it, or seeking finance in the country you wish to invest in. I’d strongly suggest speaking to a trusted financial advisor before carrying out any of these. Here’s some more information about investing in the UK.

      Cheers,
      Marc.

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