Whether you are a real estate rookie or an old hand at investing, staying up to date on the latest trends can be tough. The market is constantly changing and monitoring its moves takes time and commitment.
Fortunately, there is no shortage of resources to help you along the way. There are experts who can guide you on where and when to invest. There are data repositories for all of your research. And there are a wide range of commentators ready to share their opinions and advice. All the support you could ever need is usually only a few clicks away.
But what resources does a real estate investor require? Where should you be looking for them? And how do you know which resources are the best?
Tap into sources of credible market data
When researching potential purchases and market rents, many investors use the main real estate sites, like realestate.com.au and Domain. While these are great sources of certain information, it is important to remember that they are primarily marketing channels. As such, the majority of their content is geared toward supporting those selling and leasing properties.
When investing, you want to get as much information about the properties you are considering as possible. This includes details of any recent renovations (there may be tax benefits) and local market trends (to help forecast potential gains). While you can get some of this from the main sales portals, some of smaller sites can provide a lot more useful information.
For example, many experienced investors and buyers agents use Real Estate View to research their potential purchases. Through this site, you can access previous online listings for the property, including all of the old pictures. This can give you invaluable insight into what the place used to look like and how it has been marketed.
Similarly, Core Logic is the preferred source of market data for many real estate industry experts. Rather than just relying on median prices, Core Logic calculates values based on the property’s individual components. This more analytical approach tends to be more meaningful and accurate than the ‘averages’ used by many other sites.
If you are struggling to choose where to invest, check out the Your Investment Property magazine. Their Top Suburb section uses CoreLogic data and allows you to sort areas by their rental yields and capital growth. You can also download free suburb reports for more detailed information on local market trends and demographics.
Canvass the opinions of commentators
There is a reason why some say real estate speculation has become a national sport. From boardrooms to backyard BBQs, talk of the state of the property market and what comes next is almost unavoidable. While everyone has their thoughts, opinions are not facts and should always be treated with a healthy dose of scepticism.
However, in a market as dynamic as real estate, expert commentary is often one of the best sources of insight. Unless it is your full-time career, you probably don’t have the time to closely monitor every move and change. Thankfully, there are plenty of people who have built a career on analysing the data and predicting trends.
When seeking out market commentary, the aforementioned Your Investment Property magazine is a great place to start. In addition to covering the latest property market news, it features opinion pieces from some of the industry’s biggest names. You can also access a wide range of information and education resources, to help you sharpen your investment skills.
You should also check out Michael Yardney’s Property Update. Michael has been writing about real estate for almost 20 years and is a successful investor and developer. His site is one of the world’s most popular property investment blogs and his daily newsletter has over 1.5m subscribers.
Alternatively, if you prefer a stronger focus on the financials of property investing, Pete Wargent might be more your speed. Considered one of Australia’s finest financial minds, he shares his knowledge and insights through his daily blog. A noted author, he is committed to helping others achieve their financial freedom through investing.
Leverage the practical experience of a buyers agent
Often, investors feel like they have to forge their own way and work out things for themselves. This could not be further from the truth.
Most seasoned investors understand the importance of finding a trustworthy market expert to partner with. Usually, this is someone that can manage the buying or renting process for them. Often, it is also someone that takes a national (or international) view of investing and can help them to identify opportunities outside of their home market.
Working with such an expert can save a lot of time when it comes to searching for, or managing, properties. It also provides another set of eyes to review investment decisions. This can help remove some of the emotion from the process and help ensure a methodical, mathematical approach is adopted. It also means there is someone to challenge natural biases and unfounded opinions and maintain focus on their investment goals.
A buyers agent, like Search Party Property, is the type of expert you can look to partner with. Unlike a traditional real estate agent, a buyers agent will not be wedded to a specific sales portfolio (i.e. those listed with their agency). They should also be able to recommend a wide range of properties across multiple areas.
As most buyers agents primarily work with investors, they have a better understanding of the end-to-end investment process. They should also have a clear view of the difference between a great home and a great investment opportunity.
While working with a market expert can be beneficial for all investors, it is particularly valuable if you are a first timer. Not only will they be able to help you choose the right property, they can guide through the whole process. They can help you work through setting your investment goals and developing your investment strategy.
As with any type of investment, the key to successfully building your property portfolio is research. You should always do your due diligence and make sure any advice you receive suits your situation. If you are still not sure if an investment is right for you, consult your accountant or financial planner.
It is also critical that both your financial goals and investment strategy are clearly defined. This will not only help guide your decision making but also make it easier to identify suitable reference materials. There is a lot of information out there, so you need to know what you are looking for.