Ignorance aint bliss

Private Property South Africa
RE/MAX

For the large majority of consumers, purchasing a property will be the biggest investment decision they make and one that will affect their financial wellbeing for a long time to come, says Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.

He notes that it is highly likely that the property they purchase will account for the largest percentage of their net wealth, which is why it is comforting to know that owning a property is a viable investment option that has proven itself, over time, to be a cornerstone of building personal wealth. “Many savvy property buyers have been able to live out the lifestyle of their dreams through well-researched property investments,” says Goslett, who points out that in all investment endeavors the key element to success is knowledge.

Do your research!

“Regardless of whether it’s purchasing property, shares or any other financial investment – it’s all about putting in the time and doing the research. It is vital for any investor to study the market and know how and where to invest in order to make the most of the current conditions surrounding the market they choose,” he advises. “Irrespective of the market phase, one still needs to make the most informed decision and take into consideration all related factors before a decision is made. For property investors, these factors would include the location and future potential appreciation of the property over the medium- to long-term, which are important elements regardless of the conditions surrounding the transaction.”

According to Goslett, consulting with a financial adviser or experienced real estate professional is highly advisable for property investors who are unsure if they are making the correct decision. “The saying that ignorance is bliss might pertain to certain elements of life, but property investment is certainly not one of them. Making a bad investment decision due to lack of knowledge can be the difference between financial independence and losing thousands. However, having said that, real estate investment is far more forgiving than other vehicles of wealth creation,” says Goslett.

While the property market experiences cyclical phases, it is a far less volatile option than the equity and share markets. Additionally, says Goslett, unlike other forms of investment, property investors have complete control over their asset. “Although there are sometimes unexpected factors that can impact on the property market, generally property price growth is fairly consistent over time. This makes it easier to more accurately predict the potential return on investment with a property purchase as opposed to any other investment class. Unlike other investment options, there is no need for a property investor to constantly be watching the market to see exactly the right time they need to sell to make a profit,” he says.

Finance and leverage

Another aspect that sets property apart from other investment options is the fact that it can be financed and leveraged. Essentially this means that the investment can be purchased using the bank’s money. “Investors who can show the necessary levels of affordability required by financial institutions and can meet the loan repayment conditions will be able to qualify for the finance to purchase the property. Property is the only investment option that banks are willing to finance because the property acts as collateral for itself. The money that financial institutions lend is going into the investment of an asset that will appreciate in value if it is managed correctly. Should the investor default, the sale of the property will largely mitigate the bank’s loses,” explains Goslett, who notes that property is one of the few investments that either keeps up with inflation or outstrips it over the long term.

Property is and always will be a vital component of any investment portfolio, provided the principals of property investment are always adhered to. “Property needs to be viewed as a medium to long-term investment in order for the investor to truly experience its full potential. Property will remain a sought-after asset class in the future and a key building block to personal wealth,” Goslett concludes.

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