Health checks: How to review your property investments

KnowHow founder Bushy Martin says an important part of your property investment strategy cycle is the completion of regular health checks.

Regularly reviewing your property strategy, goals and performance is critical to ensuring you remain on track financially and that mindset expectations are still aligned with long-term goals.

On the Property Hub Property WEALTH podcast series, Bushy explained the who, what, when, how and why of property investment ‘Health Checks’.

Why are property investment health checks so important?

Periodic health checks create the appropriate level of personal commitment, accountability, resilience and mental fortitude to avoid all of the pitfalls that most investors experience.

“Most investors ignore the boring, uneventful monotony of investing in a quality, diversified portfolio and adopting a long-term hold approach. Instead, they allow themselves to be distracted and activated by the emotion of every shiny thing or the most recent media-driven hysteria,” Bushy said.

“This is why you need to ignore the short-term external noise from factors that you can’t control and adopt the time-honoured, patient and disciplined approach of investing in quality assets and holding them for the long term. You then focus on the only thing that you can control, and the aspect that will have the biggest impact on your investment success – how you think and behave.”

These reviews are particularly key in helping investors stay patient in their journey.

“Especially after you have made your first investment property purchase, you might start to become impatient, or get scared by the first rumour of market downturns. To achieve sustainable investment success, you need to overcome your in-built natural tendencies and emotional responses. In other words, the rational needs to tame the emotional,” Bushy said.

“And often, the trap here is not knowing how to be patient and let it happen. Sitting back and relaxing can be harder than you might at first think, especially when you’ve just entered the investment property market. Unfortunately, trying to take control is exactly what most property investors do – and then they wonder why the results don’t happen. Again, I’m stressing the importance of time in the market here.”

Who should you complete a property investment review with?

Bushy urged investors not to complete these health checks solo.

“Don’t make the mistake of kidding yourself that you can do these checks yourself. Odds are they will just never happen, and if they do, you will do a half-baked job that doesn’t address your thinking and behaviour and how it is impacting on your investment success,” he said.

“Speaking from personal experience, if I don’t pre-commit everything to a ‘who does what, by when’ with an independent third party, it just doesn’t happen properly.

“In addition, if I know I am paying for it, I am more likely to make sure I get my money’s worth and take the action required, and get others to perform, to justify the expense. In this respect, just because something is free doesn’t mean it doesn’t cost you, because failing to regularly review yourself, your circumstance and your investment portfolio plan will cost you dearly over the long term.”

How frequently should you review your property investments?

“I strongly suggest you meet at least every eighteen months to two years with your independent property strategist, accountant, finance broker and property manager, to benchmark your property performance and finance structure against your long term goals and lifestyle vision,” Bushy said.

“If nothing else, you need to be managing them to ensure they continue to work in your interests and are continuing to perform. This time frame is the best balance between too often and too long to overcome potential mindset self sabotage issues.”

What else should you review?

Bushy said the biggest mistakes property investors make is failing to review their plan along with their property portfolio performance.

“Using a sailing analogy, a health check can act like a navigational compass to ensure that your sail configuration and hull trim is adjusted to reflect the changing winds and water conditions. Periodic checks also ensure you are equipped with the required skills and provisions so you can keep tacking back towards your long-term, over-the-horizon destination,” he explained.

“In the context of our preventative wealth approach, an eighteen monthly ‘wealth health’ check is more about keeping your mindset and habits on track, than it is about making changes to your portfolio based on short-term market fluctuations. These checks are about inoculating and immunising your long-term thinking, as you hold long-term assets, so that you don’t catch a short-term ‘chop and change’ disease.”

Listen to the full podcast episode here.

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