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How to invest in property when you have a full time job?

Monday, April 11, 2016

The week starts of normally enough, you wake up with a massive case of Mondaytitis that no amounts of coffee will cure. You get into the Grind Factory (aka the office), after sitting in the traffic for a whole hour. That's ok, it builds character. So you say to yourself. The next 48 hours go by like a blur, you are so depressed by the work week you simply can’t bear to give it much consciousness. Then came hump day.  You go into sensory overload after being hit with waves of elation and dread only a marathon runner at half way point can understand.  No matter, pay day tomorrow.  Things are looking up.  Friday afternoon finds you stumbling out of the conference room after a particularly gruelling catch up with the boss. The whole office is busy planning BBQs and mini breaks and you are told the Mrs is on the phone. Great, you think to yourself. Not only have you not gone to the dry cleaner like she told you to, you are about to break it to her that your tenant has just put a hole in the wall and you are going to have to spend the whole weekend patching that up.  After being sufficiently guilt-tripped for not prioritising family time and having children who barely remember what you look like, you put the phone down absolutely exhausted.  This is not how you envisioned your life would turn out at all.  You are a goal setter, a go-getter, a thinker, an entrepreneur for Pete's sake!  Being chained to this desk just isn't right.  When you started investing in properties you thought you would get out of the 9-5 shackles sooner but 10 years later you are still here.  So you ask yourself the big question: 

How can I get to where I want to get to if I only invest part time?!

Many part time investors bemoan time as their Achilles heel.  But it is a mistake to think that your part time portfolio does not have the same growth potential as that of a full time investor.  To get the most out of your part time property experience you have to approach your investment with a fresh mindset.  Here are some tips to help you invest successfully in property when you still have a full time job:

1. Rejoice!
Don't be down. Having a regular income is an awesome thing! You are more likely to put down a greater deposit and have access to better loan opportunities. Bank are far more likely to lend to you on favourable terms if you have a good amount of deposit and regular salary. Also having that security of income that is independent from your portfolio performance means that you are able to wear financial storms (such as market crash or rent arrears) better.
2. Invest purposefully
Like Jimmy said, there are many ways to prosper from property. You could buy-and-hold, trade, develop or combine different strategies. There is no one best strategy but there is a best strategy for you. Because as a 9-5er, your time is precious so you do not have the luxury to scatter-gun your investment approach. Ask yourself what is your goal? What are you investing for? Do you want to quite your job in 3 years? In 10 years? Do you want to pad out your retirement? Do you want to create long term generational wealth? Do your homework an find the best strategy for your goal and stick with it.  
3. Stop thinking like a part time investor and start thinking like a business owner
Look at your boss at work, do you see him doing everything and anything just to keep the lights on? No, that is why he hired you in the first place. Stop downplaying your investments as something you do on the side and start treating the whole portfolio as a business you are responsible for. What do successful business owners have in common? They know to leverage good people and good tools.  Your time is limited so learn to spend your time doing what you can do and delegate to others what you can’t do. Say you are great with numbers but can’t tell a spanner from a screwdriver then you know you are better off spending your weekend analysing deals rather than plumbing a shower leak for you tenant. Give your teenager cash incentives to help you keep your books or general rental maintenance. Consider a JV where you can leverage your business partner’s complimentary skills. 50% of a great deal is better than 0% of no deal.  There are many tools available to help you make decisions quickly. Set up auto-alerts on Trademe and RPNZ to collect property leads. Use a property return calculator and RPNZ comparative sales report to help you narrow down the leads to a short list of good deals.

Related deal: Discounted RPNZ subscription for APIA members

4. Commit
Yes, the Big C word. Do you know that Auckland is littered with investors whose portfolios are stunted after their second properties? Commitment, not time, is the one thing that separates good investors from the rest of the pack. An uncommitted and ill-disciplined investor is never going to achieve much success even if she "invests" 40 hours a week. How do you stay committed to your portfolio? Start by building a daily property habit. Set aside 30 minutes a day to perform specific action points. You could be spending the 30 minutes to educate yourself by watching APIA TV, or analysing deals you filtered from RPNZ or read an investment book. No matter what you do, by making property part of your daily routine you will train your mind to be more focused on your goals and give yourself the opportunity to become a more confident investor
5. Focus on quality over quantity
Many investors think that specific acquisition goals will push them to be more active and compensate for the lack of time they have to spend on their portfolios. However fixating on closing a specific number of deals within a specific timeframe distorts the point of purposeful investing. You should be focusing on buying solid good deals rather than many deals. Don’t fall for the temptation of buying a bad deal just because you want to get a deal, take the time you need to find the best deal for you.


Do you invest in property part time?  How do you stay motivated?  

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