By Steve Waters
We live in a world of specialisation. Everything from cleaning to dog walking is a hireable skill, made available so you can free up time and concentrate on your own specialties.
So, it seems strange to me that many people decide to go it alone when they invest in real estate.
Investing in property involves making some of life’s most significant financial decisions, and smart buyers know it’s best tackled with professional help.
I’ve narrowed down the list and identified which three advisors must be on your team at a minimum when building a portfolio.
I’ll even show you how to separate the good from the great, so you can benefit most.
Why have advisors?
This seems like a fair question. Aren’t advisors expensive? Won’t I be giving up some control of the process? Buying property isn’t that hard, surely?
The self-investing clients I’ve met often fall into one of two categories.
The first are those who’ve had a go at investing, hit a hurdle and realised they need professional help to fix the problem.
The second are investors who’ve been successful, but recognise the they need some oversight and guidance to keep moving forward.
Now, I believe if you have a DIY personality that craves experience, you should have a crack at self-investing. It’s a good way to learn and there’s no better motivation than having money in the game.
That said, however, most individuals benefited from professional guidance right from the start.
Buying property is easy – however, maximising the outcome is tricky. And, try as you might, there are elements of finance and planning that you will never fully comprehend without a specialist on your side.
Buying alone also brings an opportunity cost. You waste you own precious time and resources and will fall short in your strategy.
In addition, buying without an advisor can see investors “Dr Googleing” themselves into a coma of analysis paralysis. Worse still is the self-destructive nature of confirmation bias, where you find information online that just confirms your own pre-formed ideas. It’s hard to break free of your own opinions without an honest and open advisor on hand to tell it straight.
Finally – buying might be easy, but what next? Advisors help keep you on track to your goals by ensuring you build and maintain your portfolio properly.
My top three advisors
Accountants with experience in the property investment and all other fields make your money work harder and ensure you get tax advantages.
Remember – buying property solely to maximise tax deductions isn’t a smart strategy, but maximising tax advantages is one plank in the raft of consideration.
The thing that separates good accountants from great accountants is tax planning.
Ninety-nine per cent of people go to an accountant at the end of the financial year, hand in their information and say, “What can you do for me?” That’s fine for a good accountant.
But, for me, a truly great accountant is proactive, not reactive.
A great accountant will say, “We’ve got this year done and dusted. We acted according to the plan we laid out 12-months ago. Now is the time to plan for next year.”
It’s this sort of forward thinking that will ensure your affairs are kept ahead of the game.
- Mortgage Broker
A great mortgage broker is essential.
There are the standard advantages of course. They’ll have access to multiple lenders, can shop around for your loan, minimise your costs and interest, and will actively seek a financier who says, ‘Yes’.
But a great broker will actually create a finance environment ‘business plan’ for the medium and long-term.
Great brokers are not just concerned with the next property purchase, but are thinking three or four properties ahead. They are creating a long-term finance plan for you, treating it like a business strategy.
- Property investment advisor
A qualified property investment advisor (QPIA) helps create a portfolio strategy based on your goals and your financial resources – both now and in the future.
Property investment advisors reverse-engineer your path to success, mapping out what type of properties you’ll need and when. They define your investment requirements so a buyers’ agent can secure the right holding.
Great investment advisors also save you on research. When you start looking into potential investment areas, there are a lot of details to learn. It can be exhausting – from high level economics down to street level sales.
And then once you’ve bought, you’ll ignore the market until it’s time to purchase again in a year or two.
Why not just rely on an investment advisor who’s constantly searching multiple markets across the nation, building on their knowledge and seeking out the right opportunities?
Every property has a purpose in your portfolio, and great advisors will regularly manage and review your numbers to keep things on track.
Unlocking advisor potential
So, you’ve found three great advisors… but there’s one element that must now be addressed.
You mortgage broker, accountant and investment advisor must have defined, regular and open communication with each other about your wants and needs. They must know your goals and work together to help you achieve them.
Here’s an example of why –
Your accountant advises you to buy a property in a trust because you need asset protection.
Your broker might then say, “OK… but I can’t get you finance in that entity.”
Finally, your strategist says, “We’re going to subdivide this property in the future as a joint venture and need the right structure to make that work.”
As you can see, this situation needs advisors who can cross-collaborate to ensure the best possible outcome for their client.
It requires advisors who are a team… your team – full of knowledge, experience and guidance.
Buying an investment is thrilling, but don’t ignore the benefits of paying for great advice. Lock down your dream cohort and ensure that you come out a winner in the long-game.