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1. What's being built nearby?
New infrastructure projects can be beneficial or detrimental to your investment property. Find out what's being planned and when it's due for completion by logging onto infrastructureaustralia.gov.au. This has links to all state infrastructure planning departments.
2. What's it worth?
A property's selling price doesn't mean it's worth it. Invest in a property valuation - usually starting at around $350 - to assess the property's true worth and then use that to negotiate the price.
3. What's happening in the local market?
What's happening in the local area can directly impact the property market - either negatively or positively. The best way to find out is to get out there yourself. It's also wise to look at local demographics, crime rates and employment drivers in the area - take a look on the Australian Bureau of Statistics' website (abs.com.au).
4. What's the rental potential?
Just because an agent says a property will earn $400 a week in rent, doesn't mean it will. Use property portals such as Domain and realestate.com.au to get a realistic idea of rents on comparable properties and ask an independent company to do a rental appraisal.
5. Capital gains or rental return?
Investors need to consider whether they are chasing rental returns or capital gain and in the case of multiple investments, it should be the latter.
6. Is there competition?
A market saturated with investors will reduce your chances of successful rental returns. Contact the local council to find out what percentage of homes are owner occupied and exercise caution in big apartment blocks.
7. What's included in the title search?
Don't assume everything is included in the sale. Make sure you identify what's for sale - including parking spaces and storage facilities - and ensure this is reflected in the title search.
8. What's the state of the accounts?
Properties on strata plans incur a monthly maintenance charge, which is deposited into a sinking fund and used to pay for the lifts, grounds and carpets. Ask to see the Body Corporate Disclosure (it's a legal right), which outlines exactly what's been spent and what works are planned.
9. Who's your target market?
It's essential you identify your potential tenants and know what they would be looking for in a rental property. If you're looking at a property in a university town, you should be looking at a multiple occupancy homes near transport and amenities.
10. What's the property management situation going to be?
Every state of Australia has its own tenancy laws. These laws assign rights and responsibilities to both the landlord and the tenant. Failure as a landlord to fulfil your rights can result in severe financial penalties, so find out what you'll be required to do.
Source : Life @ Home (5 November 2012)