Some advice for rookie property investors

Property investment is not something you should enter into lightly.

But for some reason, that’s what a lot of people who have dreams of making millions with real estate do.

They think, “I can go out, buy a house somewhere, stick in some tenants to pay the mortgage and make a killing! How hard can it be?

Fact is most property investor’s fail!Wooden stamp with failed word

The stats show that around 50% of people who buy an investment property sell up in the first five years and of those who stay in the game, 90% never get past owning 1 or 2 properties.

Less than one in 100 property investors own 6 or more properties.

So if you’re looking to get into property or move up to the next rung of the property ladder, here are some words of advice:

Knowledge is property investment power!

Firstly you need to understand what makes a good property investment and recognise that not just any old digs will do.

You can profit from real estate in one of four ways, and if you get the combination right you’ll make money from bricks and mortar.

These are;

  1. Capital Growth – to build yourself a sound asset base your properties will need to appreciate in value at wealth building rates (in other words above average capital growth.) This will come from strong demand from owner occupiers (who push up property values) and tenants (who help you pay your mortgage.)
  2. Cash Flow – in other words your rent.
  3. Tax benefits – while you should never invest solely for this reason; a good tax strategy can help you manage your cash flow, decrease your tax obligations and increase your bottom line.
  4. Accelerated Growth – getting your hands a little dirty (metaphorically speaking) by investing in a property that needs a bit of cosmetic TLC through renovations or a major facelift through property development, is a great way to manufacture capital growth.


While timing the market is not the be all and end all, it certainly helps to understand how the property market moves in cycles. cycle

Following the herd and buying when everyone else is on the property bandwagon doesn’t always work.

That’s often when the market is near its peak.

On the other hand you have more chance of nabbing a good deal in a buyer’s market, when property is out of favour.

That’s why Warren Buffet said “Be fearful when others are greedy and be greedy when others are fearful.”


Location can make or break a property investment.

But what is the right location?

I look for areas that will have strong ongoing demand from a wealthy demographic of owner occupiers who can afford to and are prepared to pay a premium to live in good locations.

Some of the major drivers of this type of capital growth are:

  • Proximity to the city
  • Proximity to the sea
  • Adjacent to a prime suburb
  • Amenities’ such as proximity to a train station, large shopping centre, within the zone of a highly sought after public high school.
  • Suburbs that contain period style homes e.g. Californian bungalows, Federation, Victorian, Edwardian style homes.

Some of the best Melbourne suburbs for investing exhibit these traits, as do those in the Brisbane and Sydney property markets.  40994256_l

I also like buying in areas going through gentrification – a suburb that is relatively cheap now but has the potential for capital growth in the future as a wealthy demographic of people move in.

One way to find this type of location is to drive through the streets and look for some of the obvious indicators that people with money are moving in .

  • Are people spending large amounts of money on renovating/extending their homes?
  • Are there small black (or maybe now it’s white- the new black) BMWs and Audis parked in the driveways or are they old Ford Falcons and Holden utes?
  • Is the nature of the shops changing – more cafés and deli and lifestyle shops.

Money, money, money

A sound financial strategy is as important as a sound investment strategy when it comes to property.

Without a well rounded understanding of how to maximise your borrowing power, use equity as a leverage to build your portfolio and maintain a financial buffer to see you through the difficult times that we all ultimately face, you are setting yourself up to fail financially.

It’s important to set aside a cash flow buffer in a facility such as an offset account or Line of Credit, to cover you for a rainy day.

Financial fluency

While you could make lots of money in through property investment you could also easily lose it.

If you are financially illiterate when it comes to managing money, budgeting and even balancing the books at home, how do you think you’ll go when it comes to a multi-million dollar property portfolio?

You may need to learn the ins and outs of taxation and the financial advantages you can enjoy as a smart investor, as well as the best structures to own your investments in, such as personal, company and trust set ups.

Rather than trying to learn it all yourself and wear numerous hats, it’s worth surrounding yourself with a good team of professionals who can guide you with their knowledge and expertise.

An independent property strategist, a finance broker and an accountant should all be people you rely on to support you in the journey to real estate riches. If you’re the smartest person on your team, you’re in trouble!

Some final words of advice (or warning) for investors

  1. Formulate a plan – understand what you want to achieve and then make investment decisions accordingly.
  2. Be cautious –You’ll find everyone is happy to give you advice. Rather than listening to well meaning friends, it’s important to only listen to people who have achieved the financial independence you’re looking for and who have maintained it for a period of time.
  3. Understand the difference between a sales person and an advisor. Many sales people are cloaked as advisors and suggest they are representing you the buyer when in fact they are representing the seller or a property developer.
  4. Be prepared to pay for advice – it’s much cheaper than learning from your mistakes.
  5. Not everything that glistens is gold – often when you start out it can be tempting to see opportunities everywhere. The problem is you don’t yet have the perspective to decide what is a good investment and what is not.

Property doesn’t discriminate; it doesn’t care who owns it.

Today the residential property market is worth over 7 trillion dollars and over the next decade it will increase in value by billions and billions of dollars. If you get it right, you can have your share.

So what will you do about this?

If you’re looking for independent property investment advice to help you become financially independent, no one can help you quite like the independent property investment strategists at Metropole.

We’ll help you cut through the clutter of mixed property messages.

Remember the multi-award winning team of property investment strategists at Metropole have no properties on the market to sell, so their advice is unbiased. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned property investor, we would love to help you formulate an investment strategy or do a review of your existing portfolio, and help you take your property investment to the next level.

Please click here to organise a time for a chat. OR CALL US ON 1300 20 30 30.

When you attend our offices in Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane you will receive a free copy of my latest 2 x DVD program Building Wealth through Property Investment in the new Economy valued at $49.

Want more of this type of information?


Michael is a director of Metropole Property Strategists who create wealth for their clients through independent, unbiased property advice and advocacy. He's been voted Australia's leading property investment adviser and his opinions are regularly featured in the media. Visit

'Some advice for rookie property investors' have 9 comments

  1. December 11, 2013 @ 12:42 pm Cam C

    Thanks I really enjoyed reading this. I just posted this same comment on another of your articles but it was an old one so thought I’d do it again!

    I’m a little embarrassed to say that my wife and I are in our mid forties with 2 very young kids, an $850K mortgage (prob $200K equity), $200K super and that’s it (we’ve always worked but a few things haven’t gone our way). With about 20 years left for us working, could we achieve this sort of thing with good income ($200K)?


    • December 11, 2013 @ 1:12 pm Michael Yardney

      Cam. Thanks for your comment – there is nothing you should be embarrassed about.
      Now it’s time to take action. Learn and educate yourself, then get a good team around you to help you formulate a plan and take action.
      Use your good income to save a deposit and then buy the right type of property. Then let time, leverage and compounding work its magic


      • December 13, 2013 @ 8:01 am Cam C

        Thanks Michael, absolutely, good to hear. I’m reading your “How to..” book and enjoying it – really well written and helps me to get my head around the opportunity and I feel great relief to read in it that you suggest if managed well we can build our portfolio to the right level in 10 – 15 years.

        We want to take action and get moving NOW…we’re keen to buy our first investment property through a SMSF that I guess we need to set up….we have about $250K in it. Is this worth looking into seriously as a way to get underway in your opinion?


        • December 13, 2013 @ 9:21 am Michael Yardney

          There are very strict rules about who can give advice regarding SMSF’s and advice over the internet without fully understanding your situation would be very negligent.

          I suggest you see your accountant or a smart financial planner about SMSF advice.
          Of course if you’d like Metropole to assist you in helping formulate a property strategy we’d be happy to help


          • December 13, 2013 @ 12:07 pm Cam C

            ok no sweat – I’ll complete your enquiry from and we’ll get moving!

  2. February 7, 2014 @ 8:54 pm nick

    Hi michael
    I want to ask u if u think investing in blocks of units is or can be a good investment. Not to start of with after I get a few more houses first
    With thanks


    • February 7, 2014 @ 9:38 pm Michael Yardney

      Buying an older run down block of apartments and renovating them and keeping them as a long term investment is a great investment strategy. One I’ve used for many years.


  3. November 18, 2014 @ 10:26 am John

    Hi Michael,

    Great concise little article. As a long term client I still love reading your articles and have found that you never waver from your beliefs. Having been a client and built a reasonable sized portfolio now over the years I can assure others that this advice is given freely and with the intention of helping others avoid the minefields that lie just around the corner for the uneducated and those in a hurry. My advice to others would be not to go it alone and seek out the help of someone like yourself and others and form a team of respected experienced people who understand the needs of their clients. The destination is worthwhile but without a guide it is very easy to get lost along the way.


    • November 18, 2014 @ 10:30 am Michael Yardney

      Thanks for your comment John

      Some wise words from an experienced property investor


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