Property Management on the Gold Coast

The sixth most populous city in Australia, the Gold Coast, has plenty to offer property investors and potential tenants. Because of its sunny climate and major tourist hotspots, it’s no wonder that more and more people are planning to migrate, transfer or temporarily reside in the land of surf, skyline and nightlife.Just about everyone loves The Coast and property investors are no different. I’m sure that many investment decisions are made wearing “rose colored holiday glasses”. Next thing these investors know is they are looking for good property management for their new Gold Coast property!Whether you’re the property owner or the potential tenant, the right property management company is so important. This is especially true in South East Queensland. In the 1980′s and 1990′s the “glitter strip” became known as the sleaze capital of Australia when it came to property investment. Every shyster and con-artist worth his or her salt wound up on the Gold Coast flogging dodgy investment deals to unsuspecting folk from the southern states.Today the “Glitter Strip” has shaken off its reputation as the destination for “want to-bees” looking to turn a fast buck. Today serious property investors look to Queensland, and the Gold Coast in particular, as fertile ground for profitable property investment.Many investors have purchased multiple properties on The Coast as the price of good property in good locations there is very cheap when compared to prices in Sydney and Melbourne where the majority of investors reside.Since the big majority of Gold Coast property investors live elsewhere in the country it makes sense that they would be looking for a local company to manage their investment. After all, many investors have tried to do this for themselves and eventually found that they could not manage the property adequately. If the property becomes vacant they have to hop on a plane to interview new tenants. If there are plumbing, electrical, pest, gas or other maintenance issues they have to track down local contractors. Managing a property from “out of town” is a logistic nightmare. Better leave it to the professionalsHowever, be careful in your choice of a Property Management company, especially on the Gold Coast. Look for someone who knows and loves the coast, someone who has a long term commitment to property investors and tenants alike and, above all, look for someone whose sole responsibility is to manage properties. These specialist property managers will look after your property better than you can, are probably cheaper than you can achieve on your own and, they know the best local contractors to make sure you get a good deal on those emergency repairs.

Top 10 Mistakes Buyers Make When Buying a Palm Beach County Property

Buying a home in Palm Beach County can be a very exciting exercise for a home buyer. It can also be frightening because of the pitfalls involved in the procedure. Thankfully, you can avoid these common mistakes committed by many first-time home buyers if you are aware of these mistakes.1. Not utilizing services of an attorney during closingMany buyers, when buying Palm Beach County property, think that they are covered and protected as they have a reliable real estate agent on their side. Remember that the job of a real estate agent is to find a home not to check and complete legal formalities. This is where the role of a qualified attorney comes into picture. Also, the fee of your agent is usually paid out of the proceeds and not comes out of your pocket. Your attorney not only looks at the agreement between you and the seller from legal point of view but also safeguards your interests. Hire an independent attorney and not the one recommended by your agent or the seller. This professional will check if all the documents are in accordance with the provisions of the law at the time of closing. You can have total peace of mind when you are represented by an experienced attorney when buying a Palm Beach Property. By law, you are not required to hire the services of an attorney at the time of closing in the state of Florida. But having an experienced attorney by your side at the time of closing when buying a property makes you comfortable as you know there is a professional safeguarding your interests. He also expedites the process of closing and completes it in a smooth and hassle-free manner.2. Overlooking problems with mold and cost of remediationMold is a big problem in homes in entire Florida. Mold thrives in warm and damp places and the climate in Palm Beach County presents ideal conditions for mold to develop and grow fast. High humidity is one reason why mold is such a big problem inPalm Beach County properties. Even if you and your family members are not allergic to mold, it is prudent to get the property properly inspected for the presence of mold. Mold can create breathing problems for your family and it can prove to be potentially hazardous for the health of your family. Mold remediation can be a costly and time-consuming affair. It is in your interest to either avoid buying a property infested with mold or negotiate with the owner to lower the asking price.Some buyers skip home inspection just because they like to save their money that is paid in the form of fee to an independent professional. The cost of a home inspection in Palm Beach County can range from $300-$500 depending upon the size of the property and what is included in this inspection. Imagine the kind of risk these home buyers are ready to take just to save small amount of money. There are also buyers who would like to believe the words of their seller who says that the property is fine and there are no issues with it. Do not make this mistake as the seemingly beautiful house may turn out to be a headache for you in future as you discover various problems with it.A home inspection, when done properly by a professional, can reveal problems that can take thousands of dollars to fix. But once you buy the house and move in, you cannot ask for compensation form the seller. If you skipped home inspection and now see mold growing at a rapid rate inside the home, it is you who must spend money on its remediation.3. Not doing due diligence at the time of title searchThe tile of the property you are buying in Palm Beach County is just as important as the structure. You worked hard to find a beautiful home in the area through Palm Beach property search. Now you must see to it that the seller has the full and clear ownership rights to the property so that these rights can be transferred to you without any problems. Title insurance and title search costs are paid by the seller in Palm Beach County. As such, you should not ignore this very important aspect of buying a home as it can have long term legal repercussions for you. Buyers not paying attention at the time of title search can pay dearly later when someone else lays claim to the tile of the property in future. Title search involves verification of title ownership records. These documents prove that your seller legally owns the title of the property and has the rights to sell the property to you.Your lender in Palm Beach County asks you for a title search and title insurance to safeguard his money. This is because he holds the mortgage for a long duration and he doesn’t want to find out that the property does not have a clear title. Your ender cannot afford to lose on his investment because of defects or clouds in the title of the property.4. Not reading covenants for HOAIf you have decided to buy a house in Palm Beach County that is a part of a homeowner’s association, you will be subject to the rules in the declaration of CC&R’s. If you do not know every HOA has its own covenants, conditions and restrictions that its residents have to abide with. If the single-family home or the condo you are buying is inside a planned community, you are bound to follow the rules and regulations imposed by your HOA.When you close escrow, you are made to sign a series of papers, one of which is the CC&R’s. It says that you have read these CC&Rs and agree to abide with them. Violating them in future can result in penalties and forced compliance that you may not like. Many HOA’s restrict the size and type of breed that you can own as a pet. They also have certain covenants in place to restrict residents from renting their units. They do this to preserve the character of the community and to maintain the general comfort level of the residents. There are also terms and conditions about the usage of common properties that you may not like as a resident. It is therefore advisable to get a copy of the CC&Rs and go through the document to know what is allowed and what is not permissible once you become the owner of a Palm Beach County property. Do not leave it up to the discretion of your attorney as he may not be aware of your likes and dislikes in this regard.Buying a Palm Beach County property in a wrong community can be a big mistake. You can do nothing but repent on your decision. This is where a knowledgeable real estate agent can help you when conducting your Palm Beach property search. Once you make clear your likings and requirements, he will avoid showing you properties in communities where you can face a problem because of HOA covenants. Yes, you can save hundreds of dollars by skipping home inspection at the time of buying a property in Palm Beach County. But you could end up paying not hundreds but even thousands of dollars if a big structural issue is identified after moving in.5. Not getting preapproved for mortgageThis is another big mistake committed by many buyers in Palm Beach County. These buyers are confident about their ability to secure a loan from a lender as they think they have a good credit and have decent monthly income. These buyers start their house hunt and even sign the agreement with the owner of the property to close the deal in certain number of days. It is only later that they find that lenders are not giving them the amount required to fund their purchase. For example, if the agreement has been signed with the purchase price mentioned as $400000 and the lender is only approving a mortgage loan of $300000, the buyer has to fill the gap and arrange $60000 over and above 10% down payment that he has saved in his bank account.This can be a very embarrassing situation for the buyer and if he cannot arrange the money in time, the agreement lapses, and he even forfeits the deposit he has paid to the owner of the property. To avoid being caught in such a situation when buying a property in Palm Beach County, it is necessary to get preapproval for a loan form a lender. This gives you a clear idea of amount of money that the bank is willing to finance for the purchase of a property.6. Not looking at creditIf you are desirous of buying a house in Palm Beach County, you know you need help from a lender to finance your purchase. The first thing that most lenders in Palm Beach County look at is the credit report of the applicant. Your application can be rejected by the lenders even if you are earning a decent monthly income if your credit score is below average. Many buyers make the cardinal sin of approaching lenders when they have a poor credit score. Their application is rejected as banks cannot take a risk on investing on a person who they consider as untrustworthy. This is the reason you should desist from approaching a lender if your credit score is low. You should work hard to improve your credit so that it becomes acceptable to lenders. You can always conduct your Palm Beach County property search later.Even with an average credit score, banks will give you a rate of mortgage higher than what they provide to borrowers with excellent credit score. This can make you pay a lot more for a property than you would if you are charged a lower rate of interest. It will also mean that your monthly repayments will be much higher, making the loan very costly for you. This is the reason why you should first work on your credit and only then approach a bank for a mortgage loan.7. Placing faith on mortgage information available onlineFirst time homebuyers in Palm Beach County, like in other parts of the country, rely too much on whatever mortgage information that is available online to them. They have gone through these terms and conditions many times and they become overconfident about their financing. They do their financial calculation about money that they can secure from a bank for the purchase of a Palm Beach County property. But things happen a little bit differently in the real world and these Millennials understand this fact in a bitter manner.Of course, you are entitled to all the free information available on the net from banks and mortgage brokers but you should not believe this information in Toto. Remember, information on internet is for general information purpose only. You need to seek clarification from the bank to confirm whether the rule applies in your case or not. Many buyers in Palm Beach County get a rude shock when they are told that they cannot get a particular rate of interest or a certain amount of money as mortgage.The problem with information on the net is that readers accept it on their face value. You should contact lenders and have a face to face chat with loan officers so that you can ask questions and get answers to them.8. Not anticipating associated costs of buyingThis is a very common mistake committed by first time home buyers in Palm Beach County. Many young buyers, in their excitement of having saved money for down payment believe that it is all they need to become the owner of a house. Yes, they will get the mortgage from a lender based upon their credit report and financials, but they need to have extra money in their account to pay for associated costs of buying. In addition to credit report fee, appraisal fee, title insurance fee, Escrow, State tax, and survey fee, there are also property tax and mortgage insurance that the borrower must keep in his mind when calculating the cost of buying a home in Palm Beach County.Let us understand this through an example. If the Palm Beach County property you are buying is priced at $250000, bank will finance 80% of this price and ask you to pay $50000 as down payment. In addition to this down payment, you require another 2-2.5% of the value of the property to be able to close the deal. Adding everything, the total amount of money needed to close the deal is $55756 in this example.What this example suggests is that you should be prepared to spend money on closing the deal and you cannot hope to be the owner by just saving down payment in your bank account.9. Not hiring the services of a real estate agentThere is so much information about home buying available on internet that many home buyers believe they can buy a home on their own. There is no dearth of buyers who believe they can save on the commission that real estate agents charge for helping in buying a home. This is incorrect as the fee of the buyer’s agent comes from the proceeds of the sale and it is the seller who pays the commission of both the agents.Trying to buy a home without a west Palm Beach real estate agent can be complicated and very tiring. There are many legal formalities to be fulfilled and the entire exercise right from making an offer to closing of deal can prove to be very intimidating if you are a first-time home buyer in Palm Beach County. Therefore, it is very reassuring to have a reliable and experienced realtor by your side all the way through. His knowledge and experience help in removing obstacles from your way. This professional makes the process of buying a Palm Beach County smooth and hassle free.Searching for a home that suits your requirements and budget in a given community or neighborhood can be a long drawn out procedure. A good quality realtor not only helps in identifying but also negotiates with seller’s agent to lower the asking price. He helps in drafting a brilliant offer so that it is accepted and remains with you till the time deal is finally closed and you can move in your new house. Not taking help from a reliable and honest real estate agent does not save you any money. On the contrary, buying exercise becomes more difficult and nightmarish.Buying a home can be tough without the help of best quality real estate agent. But when you have best real estate agent helping you, you will find that all your questions are answered and all your requirements in terms of location, features, and even price rage are fulfilled. Here it is important to note that you need to hire an experienced buyer’s agent, not a professional who is mostly handling sale of properties of his clients.10. Not being ready to make the movePalm Beach County is a hot housing market with a strong demand from buyers. It is a seller’s market with very tight inventory. Median home prices for single family homes here are $341500. Price per sq foot here is $190 which is less than $218 in Miami-Fort Lauderdale Metro Area. Sellers in Palm Beach County are getting multiple offers form buyers and they are getting over and above their asking price these days. In such a market, it becomes necessary for a buyer to be prepared in all respects. Many buyers try to buy a house in Palm Beach real estate market without homework with the result that they are mostly unsuccessful. If you are really interested, get preapproved and make an irresistible offer to stand out from rest of the buyers.

Property Bargains To Be Had In Spain?

The Spanish property market is not melting down, contrary to what you may have read. In fact the market for quality property is holding its ground, so forget that fantasy of bagging a nice villa for a song. But it is also a buyer’s market, which means bargains can be achieved, though if you want quality, you have to pay the priceThe event that sparked the doom-laden headlines was a fall in the Spanish stock market on 24 May. Jittery investors dumped property company stocks, dragging down the Spanish index and other European stock markets for good measure (London fell 0.77%). The stock market has not recovered its confidence in Spain’s housing market, and most of Spain’s quoted property companies have lost 25% to 30% of their market capitalization since February.But whilst the stock market hogs the headlines with bad news, what is actually going on in Spain’s housing market?According to the Spanish government’s figures everything is hunky-dory. Average property prices rose by 7.2% over 12 months to the end of March, and a market that was boiling just a few years ago, with prices doubling in 5 years, continues to glide towards a soft landing.But official figures aren’t the whole story, and are best taken with a large pinch of salt. Data from some other sources, and the confessions of costa estate agents, suggest stagnant or falling prices in many coastal areas popular with British buyers. Speculative investors have disappeared to riskier shores, buyers are fewer in number and more cautious, and a galloping construction boom has lead to a glut of certain types of properties in some areas. The big picture is of a struggling market.But there is also some good news. Though some buyers have lost confidence in Spain, there still appears to be a huge reserve of buyers if the price is right.To understand what is really going on you have to look at market segments in different regions.COSTA DEL SOLBuyer activity on the Western Costa del Sol peaked in 2003 and has been falling ever since. Corruption scandals, money laundering busts, and illegal building problems in Marbella damaged buyer confidence in the whole region, and a deteriorating price-value calculation encouraged potential buyers to look elsewhere. “Property prices are back to where they were 2 to 3 years ago,” explains Mark Clifton of the International Property Partners in Marbella.But after several difficult years there are now some grounds for optimism. Malaga airport is being expanded, and a new rail link under construction along the coast should significantly improve access, and boost visitor numbers. Corruption is being tackled, demand is diversified, and vendors many now realize they have to accept offers. Attractive properties in the right areas and the best developments appear to selling quickly if the price is realistic, and inland there is an acute shortage of the kind of fincas that British buyers with money are after. “Buyers today are savvy people with money, who are well informed and know what they want, not the deranged investors with 100% mortgages who inflated the bubble a few years ago,” explains Barbara Wood, of The Property Finders.It is now a better time than it has been for years to get quality property for a reasonable price that represents good value. But there is also still a glut of rubbish 2-bedroom flats in undesirable locations all along the coast. Steer well clear of these properties, as prices may well fall.At the eastern end of the Costa del Sol, in Almeria province, they are building to many identikit apartments. Expect trouble in this segment, perhaps with exception of beach front apartments and other desirable locations in limited supply.MURCIAMurcia is an ambitious late comer to the property game. There has been an explosion in the region’s property supply, with 10 times as many properties now being built than 10 years ago, much of it on golf course developments intended for foreign buyers.In recent years relatively high prices on the costas to the north and south drove property buyers, especially investors, into the arms of Murcia’s developers, with their easy-to-sell off-plan investments. But prices increased too far too fast, and resale prices on many projects have been dribbling down in search of demand for the last couple of years.”Some developers don’t seem to build what British buyers want,” comments Gordon of Blue Med Properties. “When prices rise, buyers expect more in return, so there is now a glut of properties on new developments that don’t match buyer requirements at the price. That’s going to stop prices rising anytime soon.”There are fewer British buyers around than in past years, though the ones that there are seem well informed, looking for value, and serious about buying if they can find it. Overall, the number of transactions are down, and given the amount of new property coming onto the market, expect prices to remain anaemic for some years. The few outstanding developments in the region, such as Hacienda del Alamo, which tick all the right boxes for British buyers, should benefit from buyers who like the region, and don’t mind paying for quality.COSTA BLANCAThe south Costa Blanca, centred on Torrevieja, is a great example of how to turn a lovely coastline into something closely resembling a council estate. Inland, the property market is a minefield of illegal built projects. Big estate agents on this patch happily stuff their financially-challenged clients with outrageous commissions of 20% or more in return for paying for a 200 quid inspection trip (sangria included) If it’s not cheap, then it’s not good value, and if it is cheap, then it’s just cheap. This is a down market area with a bad cement habit, so don’t expect prices here to go anywhere, except perhaps down.The North Costa Blanca, from Alicante up, is a different world, especially the upmarket area around Javea, Denia, and Moraira. The market on the coast is subdued but stable, and many vendors are no longer asking silly prices. “There are fewer transactions then before, but there is still substantial interest in quality properties in good locations that a core of affluent buyers want,” explains David Mear of VillaMia in Javea. Even so, there are also pockets of overdevelopment in this area, and prices for the had to sell stuff might need to come down by 10 to 20% to find a buyer.Inland the market for detached properties with the right characteristics appears in fine fettle. “Detached properties with a bit of land and a pool, within 1 hour of the coast and the airport, and under 300,000 Euros are selling well. I can’t find enough of them for my clients,” says Andrew Lupton, head of Stacks Relocation in Spain.COSTA BRAVATransaction prices on the Costa Brava, in particular the Baix Emporda part of the coast (Spain’s answer to Tuscany), have been rising gently in the last couple of years. There is a good stock of upmarket properties, the market hasn’t been flooded with new apartments, and demand is driven by both European and local buyers from affluent cities like Barcelona. Nevertheless, the market is cooler than it was, with more properties on the market than before. Buyers have more negotiating power as a consequence, and vendors will consider offers. “There are still some silly asking prices around, but the chances that someone will pay them are lower,” explains Louisa Grundon of local agents PCI.Whilst Spanish demand holds up it’s difficult to see prices falling, though it is also hard to imagine prices growing as strongly as they have in recent years. There are two factors that could shake up the market. On the one hand, the TGV-fast train will soon connect Girona and Barcelona, which could give demand for property a boost, and further drive up prices. But on the other hand, if the Spanish economy turns down, local demand for second homes could dry up, pushing down prices.MALLORCAIn the last decade Mallorca has consolidated its position as Spain’s top upmarket destination, and the first choice for A-list celebrities. Prices are high, but buyers are affluent, and there is a large stock of high-end properties, so it’s all relative. And in a rare display of enlightened thinking for urban planners in Spain, they even banned new development on the island from a couple of years, so there has been some restraint on the supply of new properties. As with the rest of Spain, the market has cooled down, and asking prices are more realistic. “Buyers are better informed, and vendors more disposed to negotiate if they want to sell,” explains David Novi, of Novi Properties Mallorca. “The overall number of transactions is down, but transaction prices are stable, foreign demand is steady, and it doesn’t look like prices will fall.” Mallorca benefits from diversified and affluent European demand, which reduces the risk of investing in property on the island. Menorca is stable, with low levels of new construction. Ibiza is a bit riskier, as there is a lot more property on the market, and its rave image is starting to get a bit tacky. On Formentera, owners can still ask what they want.WINNERS & LOSERSRecent headlines have rung the bell on Spain’s property boom, but in most areas popular with British buyers the boom ended several years ago. In place of the boom’s monoculture now we have a nuanced picture of regional market segments performing in different ways. As with all periods of change, there will be winners and losers.The real losers are the short term speculators who over-extended to buy off-plan for short-term gain in the final years of the boom. The lucky ones are breaking even, the rest are losing some or all of their deposits. The overhang of distressed investors will soon be gone from the market.Potential losers include anyone dumb enough to buy an obviously unattractive apartment in an overdeveloped area in the present market, or anyone ill-informed enough to pay a silly asking price.Loses may be more widespread if Spain goes into a construction-lead recession in the next couple of years. Unfortunately, this is not out of the question, given the extent to which Spain’s economy depends upon the housing sector for job creation and economic growth. A recession would hit Spanish demand for holiday homes hard, and prices could fall across the board. But even in this worst case scenario, which is hard to imagine when Spain’s economy is growing so strongly, quality property that appeals to foreigners will suffer least, and market will recover in due course.Winners include anyone who bought an attractive property in a good area 5 years ago or more. These properties should still sell in today’s market for a reasonable return.And potential winners also include anyone prepared to make the effort to find good value in today’s market. The market for quality property has not collapsed, nor will it, so forget about getting quality on the cheap. Bargains are not about cheapness, they are about good value, and now that the boom is over, this is the best time in years to find a bargain in Spain. Over the long term, the right property in Spain should deliver reasonable financial returns, to add to a great quality of life.

Many Would Be Interested in How to Go About Buying and Selling Property For Profit

Buying and selling for a profit used to be ‘easy’. Through the millennium you could buy a property and be guaranteed it would make money in a few years and in some cases, a few months. Some people (and mortgage lenders!) seemed to think house prices would continue to rise, others warned of a housing bubble, but didn’t seem to be able to accurately predict when it would burst.However, burst it did, starting in the States and hitting the UK very hard. The recession appeared to start in the property sector and within months we saw sales drop by 50% prices fall by 20% from a 2007 peak. Rental income which normally rises when house prices fall, has suffered with year on year falls of 5% or more, voids have increased as have tenant rent arrears.At the moment we seem to be in a strange state of flux. No-one seems to know what’s going to happen next. No-one can quite believe that such a sharp recession, within less than 12 months, can appear to be ‘over’. Yet, reports of green shoots in the property market and the wider economy seem to be talked about daily. The private sector is claiming their order books are growing again and recent figures even suggest unemployment is slowing.But are things really starting to turn around? What about the huge debt we owe as a country, estimated at £13,000 per head of our population*? It is true that business has taken the brunt of the credit crunch and the public sector has yet to be heavily squeezed? If this is true, what effect would public sector job cuts and pay being frozen (or cut) have on our economy – and the property market – next year?More importantly, as property investors, what does this mean for you? What’s the good news? What’s the bad news? And most importantly, if you have money to invest, are there any properties that are ‘safe’ to invest in? Are are short term profits from property possible, or is it only possible to make money out of property in the long term?The good newsMany investors who had pulled out of the market back in 2006 (or before) have been buying heavily since October 2008. Those that bought within the first six months of the crash benefited by snapping up bargains from the huge over supply of property for sale and a massive rise in repossessions. Buying ‘below market value’ became the ‘favourite phrase’ of the property investment industry and canny investors were buying properties up to 50% below their true value.The bad newsThe credit crunch however meant that investing in these bargains was only for cash rich buyers as buy to let, commercial and development finance became difficult and in some cases impossible to secure. The return of 25% deposit requirements, higher finance costs and recently a dramatic fall in the supply of property in many areas has made even ‘below market value’ deals have, in the last few months been difficult to fund and find.Added to the financing difficulties is the six month re-mortgage rule which stops an investor buying a property ‘below market value’ and then re-mortgaging it immediately to take cash out to invest in the next property. Although some still claim this can be done, most investment experts believe it’s only possible if during the process, someone commits mortgage fraud.So, if you can access cash, is this a good time to invest?Currently there are two schools of thought. The first believes that we are in an ‘artificial’ state of recovery. Interest rates are artificially low, help from the government is currently stopping repossessions and we have yet to see the effect of reducing public sector costs. As a result one school of thought continues to predict property prices falling further and staying low for some years as the impact of unemployment and a return to normal interest rates continue to depress the economy.The second school of thought is that although low demand and supply is causing the current signs of ‘green shoots’, the likelihood of lots of properties coming back onto the market is small. Some predict that interest rates will stay low for many years (CEBR estimate interest rates will only increase to 2% by 2014). As a result, their predictions are that property prices will remain stable, and in areas where there is a shortage of supply such as the South East and London prices may even show small rises.Whichever of these scenarios you believe will happen, one thing is for sure, that spotting the ‘bottom of the market’ is impossible. You will only know it’s been reached AFTER it’s been recorded! For example, for those hoping to pick up repossession bargains, latest statistics from David Sandeman at the EI Group show that the ‘bottom’ of the repossessions market (ie when repossessions sold through auction houses were at their highest) was Quarter 4 2008 – nearly a year ago!However, good investors will always be able to make money – in good and bad markets. And, although you may have missed some of the bargains that have been around in the 12 months, there are still plenty of areas and properties that are worth considering investing in, as long as you’ve:-1. Carried out extensive research
2. Considered different ways of making money from property
3. Accurately valued the property you are buying
4. Identified potential future capital growthResearch, Research, ResearchIn my view few people carry out enough research when buying an investment property, especially in unfamiliar areas. Those that don’t visit a property before they buy shouldn’t be investing at all, unless they have previously tried, tested and trusted independent people who carry out valuations independent of any property clubs or sourcing businesses.When researching an area or property it is essential to:-1. Visit the street and surrounding areas, research current supply and demand from a buyers/tenants perspective.2. If the property requires updating, make sure you have accurate quotes, and refurbishing the property will deliver a 20% return.3. If you are planning to rent the property out, check the rental value from an agent that specialises in rentals, rather than an estate agent/letting agent that may have a conflict of interest or have only just started a lettings business to help survive the recession.4. Check what properties are in short supply now for buying or renting. Areas that seem to be recovering from property price and rental falls already are likely to be the ones that will deliver good capital growth in the future.5. Secure feedback on potential sales value from estate agents and an independent RICS surveyor who is acting on YOUR behalf.6. Check out the future supply of other properties that might affect demand for your property. If you are buying a two bedroomed flat, what if another 1,000 are planned to be built? What planning permission has the local authority already given?7. Find out about the future population changes. If you are buying a large property to rent out to students, will there be enough families who can afford to buy a big property when you want to sell?8. If you are buying a three bedroomed property and are planning to turn it into a five bed, make sure the cost of the additional space will be covered by a real rise in the value of the property.Consider different ways of making money from propertyMany people just look to buy to let or renovation to make money from property. However, you can also invest in:-1. Buying land and build to let or sell.
2. Commercial as opposed to residential property.
3. Develop mixed use property, for example buying a shop and a flat above and renovating to then sell or rent at a profit.
4. Property funds and syndicates.
5. Working with developers to buy properties below market value via a ‘part exchange’ scheme.Accurately Valuing PropertyWhen we used to value properties at a professional part exchange business, we used to spend approximately three full days and use five professionals to help value the property accurately. And we had to. To make money from part exchange you have to buy a property at a discount of between 10-20% and then sell the property (typically via agents) within a three month period, or you’re likely to start losing money.To value a property you need to:-Understand what is happening in the local marketUse Hometrack and then visit local estate agents that have been selling similar properties. Hometrack will show you how many weeks and how many viewings properties require to sell, as well as what the average offer price is versus asking price. Use this information to check with local agents how accurate it is and what their experience of the market is currently.Identify previously ‘sold property prices’:-1. Go to a property portal for example Rightmove and click on ‘sold prices’.
2. Put in the property’s postcode.
3. Select a distance first time of 1 mile, then if few or no results select up to 3 miles.
4. Put in your type of property.
5. Put in 10% below the minimum price of the property valuations you currently have.
6. Put in 10% above for the maximum price of the property you have.
7. Then tick the box that says ‘include sold, under offer, subject to contract’
8. Find properties that have just gone under offer/sold and then follow up with the agent who sold the property.Find comparables of similar properties which have recently been soldA recent comparable is vital in understanding a property’s likely value, and is defined as a property that has sold recently in a similar location, ideally in the same road or a very similar property in a nearby street eg 1930′s semi, detached or Victorian terrace.Other Valuation MethodsYou can use the ‘on-line’ automated systems, such as Zoopla but be warned, these are never as accurate as carrying out your own research and their figures are typically based on ‘past’ not future prices.Finally if you are sure you have a property that is worth investing in, and especially if it’s in a terrible state and difficult to value, call in a local RICS surveyor to give a professional valuation which includes the likely costs of works and check these costs with local tradesmen.Identify potential future capital growthUp until the credit crunch, terraced houses have outperformed other types of residential investments from a capital perspective for the last ten years. Both investors and first time buyers competed to buy this property type and it led to an increase in the value of these typically two bed properties.Over the next five years, with a large public debt and recovering from a recession may mean people’s income doesn’t increase much and with a fall in the number of people able to invest, property prices are unlikely to increase much. In fact some reports (such as Knight Frank) suggest it will take until 2014 for prices to recover to their 2007 levels.So, if you want to buy property now and sell it at a profit in the future, you’ll need to start predicting which property types in your area are likely to sell in the future and appeal to as many buyers as possible.It’s unlikely that there will be a ‘magic’ answer to this. It’ll depend on local property supply, demand (which will vary according to the population and availability of finance) as well as how well the local economy recovers. To help you do this you’ll need to search for information on:-1. Likely population changes.
2. Planned increased supply of new builds and social housing.
3. Transport changes that shorten or ease the time it takes to get to towns and cities.
4. Areas and property types that will remain in short supply now and in the future.For example if the area you are investing in has an ageing population, then maybe there is a shortage of bungalows with manageable gardens. If another area has a shortage of two bedroom apartments within easy reach of a train station, shops and work and a relatively young population, then this type of property may be the best to invest in.In summary there are ‘no short cuts’ to make money out of property in the future. You’ll need to have cash for deposits and financial fees and carry out extensive research about the viability of an investment property now and in the future.Finally, with the government wanting to find lots of ways of paying of their debt, you will also need to ensure you secure good legal and tax advice so you buy the properties in the right way and minimise any tax bills that may be due now and in the future!