Did you know that investing interstate is something that few Australians do?
I can understand the reluctance.
For most people, handing over several hundred thousand dollars for an investment property is a psychological challenge in itself.
No matter how much research you do, there is always the concern that the property you invest in won’t perform.
Add an interstate location to the mix – meaning you’re not able to see, visit and drive by your shiny new asset whenever you like – and it can create enough ‘fear of the unknown’ to stop investors from taking any action at all.
The Big Mistake
It leads to a common and costly mistake that many landlords make: only investing in their own backyard.
They do this because it’s in their comfort zone, but currently, there are many regions in Australia where doing this makes extremely poor financial sense.
While strategic property investors from interstate have had no problem turning their attention to markets such as Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, with the expectation that sectors of these markets will outperform the average in the medium term; others will miss out – held back by their fears and inhibitions.
Unfortunately, some will take action, but without the benefit of experience or local market knowledge behind them, they’ll invest in the wrong areas or wrong property types.
How can you make sure you’re not one of these who lose out?
Don’t fall into the trap of the following common mistakes made by inexperienced investors:
- Buying off the plan:
The off the plan and high rise apartment market is dominated by investors who are often speculating, rather than owner occupiers who will underpin property values.
Ultimately, you wind up paying a premium and will have minimal capital growth and rental growth due to oversupply.
- Buying in outer suburban areas:
They may seem like they have all the right ‘bells and whistles’, but when you invest, you have to be mindful of the essential fundamentals that drive price growth.
These outer-suburban segments of the market have underperformed historically, and are likely to continue to do so in the future because of the typical demographic who buy there – young families who are price and interest rate sensitive.
- Buying sight unseen:
I’ve heard horror stories of people who have bought sight unseen thinking their investment property had an incredible view (it did – but only from the laundry) or who didn’t realise that power lines dominated the streetscape, because they relied on agent’s photos only.
Moral of the story: don’t risk purchasing site unseen unless you have a trusted representative (such as a local – not interstate- buyer’s agent) review the property on your behalf
- Buying from property marketers:
There’s only one person likely to make a decent profit from this transaction – and it isn’t the investor.
There are far safer, easier, smarter ways to invest in property than this.
- Buying under advice from out-of-town advisors:
Most importantly, don’t use interstate buyers agents who fly up, see a few properties, make an offer and fly out again.
They don’t have the perspective and depth of experience that one needs to understand what makes a great property – and what doesn’t. why one side of the street is worth more than the other, or why one particular street in a suburb is worth considerably more than other.
You need to rely ‘on the ground’ experience to ensure you minimise the risks.
Buying property interstate can be a savvy and financially rewarding way to grow your property portfolio.
As with every investment you consider, you need to evaluate whether the opportunities on offer align your goals and your investment strategy, rather than jumping into a market because it’s generating positive headlines.
George Raptis is Director of Metropole Property Strategists in Sydney. He shares his 27 years of experience in the property industry as a licensed estate agent and active property investor to help create wealth for his clients.
He is a regular commentator for Michael Yardney's Property Update.
Read more Expert Advice from George here!
Disclaimer: while due care is taken, the viewpoints expressed by contributors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Your Investment Property.