Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Income Investing - Rental Property

What do you need to know about property investment? Renting out a property gives one monthly income. It is similar to investing in a REIT except that you own the property. What are some things that one should note when buying a property for rental income?

Though I do not have a rental property, I do own my own property which I live in. As such, I believe I roughly have an idea of how mortgage loans work and how much one can get from rental income by investing in a property. Note that I am not focused here on buying properties for "flipping" or investing for capital gains. I am basically touching upon property investment for rental income. Should the property gain in value over the years, that is an added bonus.

BUYING PROPERTY IN SINGAPORE

Most people know that land is scarce in Singapore. I believe it was Robert Kiyosaki who also once mentioned in his book about property investment in Singapore. Even international movie stars like Gong Li and Jet Li have also bought property in Singapore before. Jim Rogers moved to Singapore to be closer to China.

Okay, the Jim Rogers case is not really related to property investment but you can tell from the decisions these people make, living in Singapore is something desirable. Singapore also boasts one of the highest standard of living in the world. As such, property investment in Singapore makes sense for both the locals and foreigners.

In Singapore, locals are given special priviliges to own property while foreigners need to apply if they wish to purchase restricted property like vacant land, bungalows, terrace houses and semi-detached houses. For public housing, the minimum requirement is usually that of being a Singapore Permanent Resident. Other rules do apply to. Check the HDB website here for eligibility requirements

WORK OUT YOUR BUDGET AND SHOP FOR THE BEST LOAN

Property investment requires a huge budget. To purchase a rental property, you will need to be able to pay the initial downpayment, monthly mortgage loans and monthly maintenance expenses. Banks will only lend you money based on the amount you are earning. Thus, the mortgage loan that you get cannot exceed a certain percentage of your monthly income (or combined monthly income if you are married).

Different banks give different loan packages so do shop around though a mortgage consultancy firm first. These mortgage consultancy firms usually tie up with the various banks and thus have a clearer picture on the best rates available. Ask them to do a comparison for you. The rates that they offer are usually the same as those offered by the banks so there is no additional cost to you. It saves you a lot of time too so it is much better to get a mortgage consultant instead of doing the comparison yourself. Of course, if you already have an idea of what the best rate in town is, then you can skip the mortgage consultants.

The key to earning income from a rental property is to make sure that your RENTAL INCOME exceeds that of the MONTHLY EXPENSES (e.g. mortgage loans, property tax, etc)

RENTING OUT THE PROPERTY

Get an idea of what the rental rate for your area is. Hire a few property agents if you are lazy to do your own leg work. Surf the internet for info. Usually, you will see similar properties and will be able to gauge the rental income that you can get.

RISKS INVOLVED

There are many risks involved when it comes to purchasing a property.

Firstly, there is the risk that you might not be able to get a tenant for periods of time especially when the rental market is down. You might need to lower you rent to an unprofitable rate just to attract tenants. Therefore, I believe that it is important that you always have spare monthly cash to afford paying the monthly mortgage installments should that happen.

Secondly, there are times when the property value drops. How will that affect you?? There is a little known clause involving bank loans that the bank is only willing to lend you a certain percentage (e.g. 80%) of the property's value. For example, a property could cost $1 million and the bank's maximum loan to you could be $800,000. Should the property value drop to $500,000 someday, the bank reserves the right to ask you to top up the difference between the maximum it can lend you and what you have already borrowed. In this case, it will be a whopping $400,000!! Of course, this scenario might or might not happen so it is something that you ought to consider when looking to buy a property.

READ THE ENTIRE SERIES:
1. Income Investing #1 - High Dividend Yield Stocks
2. Income Investing #2 - REITs
3. Income Investing #3 - Canroys
4. Income Investing #4 - Rental Property
5. Income Investing #5 - Bonds

5 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  2. This is a brilliant article. It will help a lot of people. Thanks for sharing it with us.

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  3. Rental properties are income based property because we can earn money from given it on rent. It provide a twice benefits that be owner of property and earning money from renting it so rental property investment is best option for real estate investment.

    Farm Sheds

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  5. I think investing in rental properties is a great option to go with and when you own your first rental property..it is one the best way you can get good returns in future.
    Newbuy

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