​Your Investment Property's Reader's Choice Awards 2014


Your Investment Property’s 7th Annual Readers’ Choice Awards offered you, our readers, the chance to nominate your most trusted advisors and agents. So who have you voted for?

In an industry infamous for being a stomping ground for sly operators ready to pounce on unsuspecting investors, knowing who to trust is a must.

So what better way to find out than by asking you, our readers, for your opinions on who has helped you the most on your investment journey and who you believe deserves your trust.

You are the ultimate judge of the quality of service you have received from the property professionals you’ve dealt with, and your overwhelming response has shown who’s delivered above and beyond the call of duty and helped you achieve your goals.

We asked you to nominate your favourite experts in five different categories, including:

YIP Awards Categories 2014

The results showed that you value commitment, integrity and inspiration from these experts. Without exception, the winners this year all displayed unwavering devotion to your success as property investors.

Thank you for all your efforts and contributions to this year’s Readers’ Choice Awards. We hope this will encourage more people in the industry to embrace these qualities.

Ben KingsleyProperty Investment Advisor of the Year: Ben Kingsley
Empower Wealth

How important is it for investors – even the experienced ones – to engage an advisor?
Wealthy business people and families tend to make a point of getting expert advice to further build and create additional wealth, as do professional sportspeople. So, to me, it makes sense that anyone who wants to do well as an investor would seek out professional expertise to help them achieve that goal and maximise the value of their investments.

How prevalent are property scams at the moment, and how can you, as an investor, spot them?
Good times in the property market encourage all sorts of less-than-reputable operators to come out of their hiatus. As soon as they see a bit more activity in the market they tend to pop up. This means that it is only natural that as property values go up, so too do the number of property scammers in operation.

When it comes to spotting scammers, you need to ask questions like: Who is this person actually working for – you, themselves, or on behalf of a developer or builder? Are they acting in my best interests? Are they giving independent advice? Is this person qualified to give that advice? How is this person getting paid and how much? And finally, is the fee that you are paying a fair representation of the value of the advice you are receiving? Essentially, it is all about establishing whether their advice is truly independent and whether it provides you with the best knowledge and information for your specific needs.

How do you ensure you’re dealing with a reputable company? What are the signs to watch out for?
In terms of establishing whether a company is reputable, investors should find out whether the company is a member of a professional association, like Property Investment Professionals of Australia. The company should adhere to a strict code of conduct when it comes to disclosure and professional advice. And the client’s interests should always be number one. Also, you should look at a company’s reputation within the industry, and whether it has received any awards. Get testimonials; investigate what is said about the company in property forums and in the public arena. These are all good starting points when it comes to establishing how reputable a company is.

What are five tips that you would give to new investors before they make their first purchase?

  1. Most inexperienced property investors make big mistakes, so start off by looking at your own abilities. You need to do a realistic and honest assessment of your property investment skills, knowledge and experience. And, from that assessment, you should be able to identify whether you need professional advice or help in pursuing property investment and building a good portfolio. Being honest with yourself is key! Too many people think they know property investing, but they really don’t know what makes a great investment area or investment-grade property.
  2. Make sure that you have the cash flow to afford a property investment both now and in the future.
  3. Think about what type of property investment returns you are seeking. You are usually going to be looking for either good capital growth or high rental yields (which often means less capital growth). So you need to think about what is going to best suit your situation and what you can afford. And you need to understand the investment returns that you need to achieve, both short and long term.
  4. Always get specialist advice from a relevant professional. So when it comes to tax, go to a qualified tax accountant. When it comes to investment, go to a qualified property investment advisor. When it comes to making a purchase, go to a licensed buyer’s agent.
  5. Understand your investment horizons. Establish what your property investment goals are and how they link to your overall personal and financial goals. Think about how your investment goals correspond with living a fulfilling life, and make sure that they don’t detract from it.

How does it feel to win this award?
It’s fantastic – both for me and for my team. To be a great property investment advisor you need to have an excellent team around you to do the sort of property analysis and advisory work that we do. So for me this is really a team award, rather than an individual award. I’m really passionate about property investing, and lucky to be able to come to work every day and do something I love doing. It is a huge responsibility playing with our clients’ money and financial futures, but it’s also so rewarding knowing that you are helping to change people’s lives in a positive financial way.

What readers said
“My wife and I first met Ben in 2012 and straight away felt a level of confidence and comfort with him. I can be sceptical at the best of times, and without reference immediately felt that Ben's demeanour, experience and knowledge would serve our best interests. Importantly, we felt he would be very easy to deal with and that would make the entire process more enjoyable. We then employed his services to devise a property investment plan that we believe has our future well set – we are very happy with it and progressing well.

“Ben and the Empower Wealth team took the time (more than we anticipated) to properly understand our goals and to work through a plan that would best suit us. Ben operates in a highly professional manner but also speaks at a level that allows the uneducated to understand and follow, and that meant we had even greater confidence in what was being prepared.

“I think Ben is a highly credible person foremost and certainly has a great reputation which is clearly having a positive impact on Empower Wealth. Ben also shows a willingness to go above and beyond and as a result we feel genuinely valued as a client rather than just a number. I would regard Ben as the best advisor (of any type) that we have dealt with. I have already endorsed Ben to friends/family and will continue to do so.”

- Richard Henebery

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