The 10 most important life lessons of a property investor

It wasn’t that long ago that I celebrated another birthday. 

I won’t tell you how old I turned, but nowadays my candles cost more than my birthday cake!

As I’ve been investing in property, and some would suggest rather successfully, since my early 20’s, I’d like to share some of the most valuable investment lessons I’ve learned over the last four decades in the hope that they’ll make your investment journey smoother.

1.  Have a Plan

Strategic investors have a plan, know where they are heading and follow a proven system to take the emotion out of their decisions and give them more consistent results.

They make educated investment decisions based on research and buy a property below it’s intrinsic value, in an area that has above average long term capital growth and then add value to manufacture equity.

2. Take a long-term perspectiveTake a long-term perspective

The property market moves in cycles and in every decade there are a few years of flat or falling property prices, however well located real estate has increased in value by an average of over 8 per cent per annum over the long term.

Imagine if you could buy the house your parents bought at the price they paid thirty or forty years ago; how many properties would you have bought then knowing what those properties would be worth today?

3. Treat your property investment like a business

The successful investors I know have grown a substantial asset base by treating their investments like a business.

They do this by surrounding themselves with a great team of advisors, getting the right type of finance, setting up the correct ownership and asset protection structures and knowing how to legally use the taxation system to their advantage.

4. There is not one property market 
property investors

While many people generalise about “the property market” there are many submarkets around Australia.

Each state is at a different stage of its property cycle and within each state the markets are segmented by geography, price points and type of property.

For example the top end of the market will perform differently to the new homebuyers market or the investor segment or the median priced established property sector.

And while at any time there are hundreds of thousands of properties for sale in Australia, most are not investment grade properties.

5. The crowd is usually wrong

The crowd is usually wrong

“Crowd psychology” influences people’s investment decisions, often to their detriment.

Investors tend to be most optimistic near the peak of the cycle, at a time when they should be the most cautious and they’re the most pessimistic when all the doom and gloom is in the media near the bottom of the cycle, when there is the least downside.

Market sentiment is a key driver of property cycles and one of the reasons why our markets overreact, overshooting the mark during booms and getting too depressed during slumps.

Remember that each property boom sets us up for the next downturn, just as each downturn sets the scene for the next upswing.

6. There will always be reasons not to invest

Every year brings its own set of crises and lots of reasons not to invest.

You can go back as far in history as you like and there won’t be a crisis free year.

Sure some years are worse than others, but there is always bad news and much of it is unexpected.

Where investors get into trouble is that rather than focusing on their long term goals, they see these crises as once in a generation events that will alter the course of history, when in reality they are just the normal path of history.

7. The devil is in the detail

With so much market analysis available to us today, it’s easy to get caught up in the detail and scared into inaction.

It’s better to keep an eye on the big picture and look at the property markets through a telescope and not a microscope.

8. Remember it’s about property

Remember it’s about property

You’re in the business of property investment, yet at times investors forget the age-old rule of buying the best property they could afford in proven locations.

Instead they get sidetracked by get rich quick schemes or glamorous finance or tax strategies and lose out.

Fact is…property is not a get rich quick scheme.

Don’t get carried away by the next hot spot or latest fad – make your investing boring, so that the rest of your life can be exciting.

Warren Buffet was right when he said; “Wealth is the transfer of money from the impatient to the patient.”

9. Use Debt as a tool

While many people worry about debt, smart investors use “good debt” and leverage to build their asset base.

They then protect their assets by buying time though having a “rainy day” cashflow buffer set aside in a line of credit or offset account.

10. The 2 big drivers of property valuesThe 2 big drivers of property values

While in the short term our property markets will be driven by market sentiment, interest rates, supply and demand and micro-economic factors; in the long term the value of well located properties will rise propelled by the twin factors that have always driven long term property prices – population growth and the wealth of the nation.

Both of which will increase substantially over the next few decades.

Learn from these lessons and the rollercoaster ride of your property investment career may not be as dramatic.

Remember both fear and greed will send you down the wrong path, but sense and sensibility will keep you heading in the right direction; toward real estate riches.

What about you…

Learn from these lessons and the rollercoaster ride of your property investment career may not be as dramatic.

Remember both fear and greed will send you down the wrong path, but sense and sensibility will keep you heading in the right direction; toward real estate richesWhat about you.

While there will be ups and downs and lot’s of problems ahead, we are indeed the lucky country and our economy will remain the envy of the developed world. Needless to say- a strong economy is good for our property markets.

So, if like me, you are confident that Australia has a prosperous future and at the same time our population is going to grow, this means we’ll have more people who will need property for shelter and their prosperous lifestyles will allow them to afford quality property.

This means the long-term viability of our property markets is assured.

In the short term there will be some challenges and some great opportunities so it is critical to learn from experienced and successful property investors, from someone who has already achieved what you want to achieve and has retained their wealth in the long term.

Owning real assets is a powerful wealth creator and with our property markets moving on, as the report suggests, a whole new generation of property millionaires will be created over the new decade.

However, if history repeats itself, and it most likely will, most people who get involved in property investment will not become financially independent.

Many will buy the wrong property or at the wrong time or in the wrong location.

With so many mixed messages out there about what type of what makes a good property investment it’s hard to know who to listen to. 

what properties are investment grade

It’s hard to know who to trust.

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

Remember the multi award winning team of property investment strategists at Metropole have no properties 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 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.

Just click on this link to find out more and reserve your place.


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

'The 10 most important life lessons of a property investor' have 8 comments


    September 9, 2016 Jerry

    Happy another birthday.
    Number 5, THE CROWD IS USUALLY WRONG, is it something that we want because when a crowd comes into a area means the price going up?



    October 30, 2015 Larry

    Been to your conference read your property books
    Question on cash machine
    Is the LVR based on total asset including own home
    To activate the cash machine
    Or just the investment portfolio
    Since capital growth is on total assets
    Thank you


      Michael Yardney

      October 30, 2015 Michael Yardney

      The end result to live off your “cash machine” is you need your own home without debt and a susbtantial proeprty portfolio with low LVR’s so it produces enough cash to provide serviceability



    October 29, 2015 Isaac Szmerling

    I find it most valuable and helpful to be periodically reminded by you of these, and other, very important life lessons and which while being tailored for Property Investors apply generally to whatever goals a person has.



    May 19, 2015 Gordon Jablonski

    Hey! It’s nice of you to share the most important life lessons for a property investor. All people belongs to real estate will find it beneficial.



    February 20, 2013 hedge fund Trading X

    Very neat blog post.Really thank you! Will read on.



    February 9, 2013 Sonja H

    Thanks Michael – I look forward to your articles.
    They make me think about property (and myself) in a different way


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