Property investors are currently overwhelmed with choices and overloaded with information – so if you’re confused, you’re not alone. It’s not uncommon to feel anxious about how you can grow your portfolio and secure your financial position in the current rocky economy, as the decision you make now will have impacts well into the future.
That’s why we turned to the experts for advice – specifically, for the best advice that they’ve ever received. We rounded up Australia’s leading property advisors, industry experts and high-profile investors – and even one international property icon – and asked them to share the words of wisdom that helped give them the edge.
Get in and get it done
Donald Trump, billionaire property developer
I think of my father (Fred C Trump) every single day. He was a tremendous presence in my life and the example he set for me remains intact. His integrity was beyond reproach, and the legacy he left behind was as important to him as it is to me. In that sense we are still very much together. Our goals may have been different--he didn’t see why I wanted to build glass skyscrapers, for example, when bricks worked for him as a developer--but the means were the same: hard work, focus, integrity, and a standard that would not be diminished by time or circumstances.
I learned a lot from my father, especially about business. Probably the best advice I ever had came from him. He had a four-step formula for getting things done: Get in. Get it done. Get it done right. And Get out. Simple, concise, and it works.
The other thing my father told me was to “know everything you can about what you’re doing.” I’ve followed that advice too, and I think it’s apparent that it works. I’m very thorough, as he was, and it can save you a lot of time in the long run.
I know I wouldn’t be the businessman I am if it weren’t for my father. I hope I pass on the same drive and determination to my children that he gave to me.
Think about your purpose
David Koch, business and finance commentator and co-host of ‘Sunrise’ on Seven
Like many people, I used to ask “what should I do with my money?”, but I’ve learnt to ask, “what do you want it to do for you?” It’s important to think about it. Do you want to save for a deposit on a house, do you want income to live on, do you want to plan for retirement? Are your goals short term or long term? Are you saving for a holiday? It’s all about you.
That’s why you need to think about your money, because it will narrow down your options. It’s not that hard.
Then, it becomes about discipline. Saving a small amount on a regular basis adds up, and the earlier you start the better. It can be as easy as organising a direct debit from your cheque account for 10 per cent of your salary each pay day in to a separate investment account. It’s done automatically and I bet you don’t even notice it. It will happen without you thinking about it.
Or what about at the end of each day putting every gold coin in your pocket or purse in to a jar? Hide the jar from the rest of the family to avoid pilfering, and you’ll be stunned how quickly it grows.
Work hard for a deposit – and never sell
Patrick Bright, buyer’s agent and director, EPS Property Search
I was given lots of advice when I started out investing in property, and I’m glad that I chose to ignore most of it. However, there were two valuable pieces of advice that I did listen to.
The first words of wisdom were “if you don’t have a 20% deposit then you can't afford to buy the property”. Thankfully, I listened, and I’ve never been under mortgage stress because of it.
The second piece of advice was to buy, refinance and buy again, rather than ever selling a real estate asset in order to buy a larger or additional property. Again, I heeded this advice and my property portfolio is based on a buy and hold strategy. Sure, you can become wealthy buying and selling your way to a large property, but I believe it’s better to own several good quality properties for the long term in order to diversify your investment.
Pay yourself first
Margaret Lomas, founder, Destiny Financial Solutions
Many years ago I was told that, whatever I earned, I had to imagine that I actually earned 10% less and plan my budget around that. The remaining 10% had to be saved or invested, and this was something that I had to do before I did anything else.
That way, a commitment to saving and ultimately investing would be ingrained early. Since most people live within their means whatever that is, then taking out 10% before I did anything else would ensure that I was always investing.