The start of a new year is an excellent opportunity to examine your rental property, look at the investment environment and make some plans for what you want to achieve over the coming year.
By the time you read this, hopefully you will still be on your Christmas break and will have some time to have a good think about what you are doing with your property, free from work or business commitments.
This doesn’t need to be a big chore that cuts into your holiday but can actually be good fun. It is also a good idea to take the opportunity to talk to your partner about where you are in live and where you would both like to go over the coming year. An open chat over a wine on a warm summer night is a wonderful way to start the process.
Remind yourself why you started investing in property in the first place. What was it that you wanted to achieve? Was it financial security, early retirement, over seas travel, more family time or the opportunity to start a business? Whatever your reason, it is good to consider your end goal and ascertain if it is still what you want and if you are on track to achieve it.
Is it time to buy more property or is it time to sell some and reduce your debt to maximise cashflow? Is it time to get a property manager to give you back more time? Are there other aspects to consider in your life? Your job, your business or where you live perhaps. Can property help you to achieve the lifestyle you desire?
There are many favourable factors for property investment at present. Stable prices, increasing rents, low interest rates and less demand from other investors. Different markets in different parts of the country have different economies though. So how is your local economy performing? Are there any opportunities that you haven’t explored? Are there any concerns you have about your local economy that mean a change in your strategy could be a good option? Would investing in another area provide better opportunities to achieve your goals?
Consider your existing properties. What are the tenants like? Are they good tenants or do you need to change the way you manage them? How have rental prices changed in your area? Have they gone up, down or sideways. Do you need to adjust your prices?
Is there any maintenance that needs to be done? Has anything been nagging at you over the past year that you think you should get around to doing? Is there anything you can do to the property to increase its value or enhance your tenants enjoyment of the property? Happy tenants stay longer and pay higher rental prices.
What are your management systems like? Is everything in order and well managed? Does the end of the tax year fill you with dread or is it all in hand? Efficient and timely management saves you time and often money. If you don’t have the time, skills or experience to effectively manage your property, would hiring a property manager be a good idea? Could a rent increase pay for the property manager?
Setting aside some time to think about your property is always time well spent. The Christmas/New Year break is an excellent opportunity to think about, discuss and plan what you are going to do over the coming year. Don’t forget to write your plan down though as it is all too easy to forget what you were going to do when your break is over and life’s regular commitments start to take control again.