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Debbie Roberts: My top tips for late starters

Wednesday, November 18, 2020



If retirement is right around the corner for you, you might be thinking that it is too late for you to start investing in property, and you might be wishing that you had started 20 years ago. However, it's not necessarily true that you have missed the boat completely. It will depend on how much time you have left until retirement, what your borrowing capacity is, and what your equity and/or cash position is. So, bearing in mind that this is not the forum for individual financial advice, here are some general tips for you.

Tip #1: Speak to a mortgage adviser ASAP

You need to determine what your purchase capacity is, based on both equity and provable income. If you don’t have large amounts of cash available that you can use to buy property, you will also need to understand what your mortgage payments would be on a purchase. For example, if the bank is only willing to give you a 10 year loan term on Principle & Interest, this is going to cost you a lot more than someone who can get a 30 year loan on Interest Only terms.


Tip #2: Reduce the risk of making a mistake

Time fixes many mistakes in the property market, but if your timeframe is limited, it is vital that you reduce the risk of making a mistake because you won’t have the benefit of time on your side to do the “healing” for you. When it comes to property, a bad decision can take a decade (or more) to recover from financially. With property investing, the more you know, the lower the risk. There are plenty of free resources available about how to be a successful property investor, including on our website www.propertyapprentice.co.nz so do your homework and reap the benefits. Then, when you find the right property, make sure you do thorough due diligence on the property before you go unconditional, to ensure that you don’t inadvertently buy a lemon that could ruin your retirement.


Tip #3: Leverage your time and knowledge

If you are going to rely on personal experience and free resources to gain your knowledge, that can take several years. If you want to reduce the timeframe for your learning curve, get yourself a coach or a mentor, so that you can utilise their knowledge and experience to help you to get started sooner rather than later, using their guidance to ensure you are looking at the right sort of deal for your situation. Having an experienced investor to help you to navigate the property market can give you a huge advantage, especially if they don’t have a vested financial interest in the properties you are looking to buy.


Tip #4: Location. Location. Location.

The best place for you to invest, might not actually be in the same city/town that you live in, especially if you are close to retirement age. Be prepared to look further afield if necessary. You need to balance both cash flow and capital growth. Avoid small towns in the middle of nowhere, especially if they have a shrinking population!


Tip #5: It's better to start late than to not start at all

We have seen many of our clients successfully start investing in their late 50’s and early 60’s, and while most of them would tell us that they wished they had started 20 or 30 years earlier, they would all say that they are glad that they actually started, rather than just assuming it was too late. Starting late is better than not starting at all, and you can make a significant improvement to your financial position within a few short years if you have a good strategic plan in place. You might not be able to achieve the same results that you could have if you started 30 years ago, but hindsight always has 20/20 vision, doesn’t it? So, even though you can’t buy a property yesterday, you can certainly start today… as long as you either have the cash resources, or the borrowing capacity to allow you to do it.





Debbie Roberts 

Debbie is an Investment Coach and Director of Property Apprentice. Property Apprentice provides ongoing training for investors as well as regular free seminars for beginners. 





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