1. What if we have problems with tenants – or can’t get one?
Make sure you have landlord insurance set up which will cover you for damage or loss of rent. You should also line up a good property manager as soon as possible – ideally prior to settling – to help you get a tenant in as soon as possible, and to do the hard work of tenant screening, lease agreements and liaison.
2. What if I buy the wrong property?
There’s no substitute for research here – buy a property in an area where you know it can be rented, and where capital growth is likely. Remember, too, that property is a very forgiving investment – I have clients who’ve made every mistake in the book, and they’ve still made money.
3. What if I can’t meet the mortgage payments?
Get your finances in order before you start investing: principally, make sure that you can cover the payments, and that you’ve got a cash buffer to cover you for unexpected circumstances. You should also get acquainted with techniques to make things more affordable, such as negative gearing and depreciation allowance. Finally, buy a property in an area where you know you can sell it if you have to, so that you’ve got the ultimate get-out clause if it all goes wrong.
4. What if I end up losing money?
Be proactive about adding value – consider renovations, even if it’s just repainting and putting in new carpets. Take control of your asset – don’t just leave it down to market forces.
5. What if it’s a scam?
Again, this comes down to research. Scams typically trade on ignorance: as long as you are thorough about investigating your chosen areas, you should be fine. And remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!