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The Mental Journey

The property investment journey is taxing mentally for first-time investors, but Lauren Worsley explains why it’s worth pushing through those doubts.

By: Lauren Worsley

1 July 2019

Awesome! You’re ready to buy an investment property, either your first, or maybe in an area you haven’t purchased in before. You’ve done your homework, have your finance lined up, all the correct tax structures in place and the best possible property accountant/ lawyer on your side.

After hours spent poring over location statistics and religiously opening all the property market related emails that come your way, you feel ready. You’ve read the books, been to the seminars and are ready to pounce on the first amazing deal that meets your goals.

Or are you?

It’s been said that property can bring out the best and worst in each of us, and while most of us know the nuts and bolts of getting ready to buy (finance, structures, etc), most people don’t realise the impact of their own risk profiles, conditioned biases, tolerance for uncertainty, personality traits, relationship with money, ability to deal with pressure, and ability to secure a good deal in a fast market.

The moment when you have to pull the trigger for the first time will be scary and you need to be very clear on “why” you are doing this. If you understand both your “why” and that you’ll be scared anyway, you will be better able to secure a property that fits your goals and not shoot yourself in the foot by (insert one of the below):

• Second guessing yourself

• Waiting for something better

• Overanalysing

• Giving in to fear of the unknown

• Catastrophising or talking to lots of well-meaning but ill-informed non-property people (aka “the BBQ committee”).

Having finance approved and the property in front of you is half the battle and probably the easy part – managing your own personal fear response/ decision-making process is even more crucial, so lean on your team to keep moving forward.

Yes, it is going to feel scary putting pen to paper for the first time, particularly if you are buying sight-unseen through a buyer’s agency and you’re new to investing. But that’s okay too – it means you’re normal!

I remember having to sign my first sale and purchase agreement too – I know it’s not easy. The 10th one is much easier, I promise – and it’s my wish for you to experience number 10, or whatever your number is, and be able to look back and have a chuckle.

In over fifteen years in the New Zealand property investment game, it’s been made clear to me that the most successful people in property are not necessarily the most academic, wellheeled or analytical – the one quality that sets them above the rest is that they felt the initial fear and did it anyway.

People who invest a lot surround themselves with a good team and then trust those experts to get on with their jobs. They don’t fret over the potential for something to get damaged, they get it checked, line up insurance and keep going. Most people will experience bumps in the road, but the bumps are usually small, especially in hindsight. Compare financial freedom with “I might have to fix a heat-pump” and you’ll see the difference.
A neat trick for when you are confronting something new is to get specific about risk and ask yourself “What’s the worst that could happen? How could I mitigate it and how would I deal with it?” Usually the answer becomes a small number and one that you can absorb. Once you write things down they cease to be vague and you can proceed with more certainty.

There is always somewhere you can start to set you on the path to financial freedom. Get clear on your “why”, know your strengths and weaknesses and ask for help if you need it. Then feel the fear and do it anyway. Happy investing


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