Rule No.1 is check the facts

Mercury (Hobart) - Property - - Front Page - AN­DREW WIN­TER

THEREre­ally is an ex­cep­tion to ev­ery rule, es­pe­cially in the prop­erty mar­ket.

You can be as­sured at ex­actly the mo­ment you let your guard down, pre­sume some­thing is absolutely, un­equiv­o­cally a fact, a def­i­nite out­come, or just good old-fash­ioned cer­tainty, the above rule will jump out at you and slap you in the face like a prover­bial for-sale board. Iron­i­cally, the no-ex­cep­tions rule is the only rule of prop­erty you can gen­uinely rely on with­out ex­cep­tion.

One of the real perks about be­ing lucky enough to com­bine­mylove of prop­erty with the world of me­dia is I get to hear so­manys­to­ries and ques­tions that it gives­me­far more in­sight into buyer and seller be­hav­iour than I ever re­ceived as a prac­tis­ing real es­tate agent. It is sim­ply won­der­ful! Some are short but sweet ob­ser­va­tions, while oth­ers are as long as a novel with all the in­tri­cacy of a spy thriller.

One ques­tion re­cently gotme think­ing. It stated that due to job re­lo­ca­tion this per­son was mov­ing to a coun­try town, with an ap­prox­i­mate pop­u­la­tion of 2500. As he had about $40,000 saved, and there was noth­ing to rent within this par­tic­u­lar town, he wanted to buy. Did I think this was a good in­vest­ment? Af­ter all it might be just a short-term job place­ment, so it was pos­si­ble he would need to sell the prop­erty af­ter what I pre­sumed was only a year or two?

Herein lies­my­crit­i­cal mis­take; I for­got there could be an ex­cep­tion to ev­ery rule! My­first reaction was this guy clearly was not right. How­could a town of 3000 have no rental properties avail­able? I as­sumed I would find him some op­tions on line and sug­gest he rent first. I would then rec­om­mend not to buy un­til he had time to re­search and get to know the lo­cal mar­ket by be­ing there.

Luck­ily, how­ever, I did check be­fore hit­ting send. Ini­tially, it was more to look at the hous­ing mar­ket gen­er­ally, rather than rental be­cause, ob­vi­ously, there must be some­thing on­line.

How­ever to­my­to­tal shock – and I checked our two largest prop­erty web­sites two days in a row – there re­ally was noth­ing. Absolutely zero. I did lo­cate one or two in a nearby town, but that was 97km away – hardly ‘‘sur­round­ing sub­urbs’’ is it?

So I had wrongly as­sumed that ev­ery town would at least have one or two homes avail­able at any one time for rental. Myre­search­nowmeant that­myre­sponse needed to come from a com­pletely dif­fer­ent an­gle.

NowI won­dered if this guy should buy ASAP, be­cause as soon as he moves away, he can re­tain the home and the rental de­mand could make this one very pos­i­tively geared rental in­vest­ment.

What was­myeven­tual ad­vice? I played safe and sug­gested, af­ter a lot of on­line search­ing, there were a num­ber of short-term units and mo­tels he could stay in in. This could po­ten­tially be a great lit­tle town to in­vest in, but to avoid en­ter­ing the ‘‘high-risk’’ cat­e­gory I strongly sug­gested he should get to know the lo­cals, watch the mar­ket, check out prop­erty pa­pers, look at the sale/sold boards and at­tend open houses (if they have any) be­fore buy­ing.

Re­gard­less ofhow big or small your town is, it’s im­por­tant to try to get a true feel for the mar­ket and area, find out the right side of town. Most im­por­tantly check the rental mar­ket out, too, as that lack of sup­ply could have been a blip – next month the mar­ket could sud­denly see a real sup­ply surge.

It seems there re­ally is an ex­cep­tion to ev­ery rule. I mean a town with no rental properties avail­able at all – whowould have thought of that?

By the way, I checked again and ac­cord­ing to realestate.com.au, the big­gest prop­erty-list­ing site in Aus­tralia, there still are no rental properties avail­able in this town, or sur­round­ing ar­eas.

Should you be in­vest­ing in a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion, please check all the facts and do your re­search, be­fore you part with a sin­gle dol­lar. WhenI checked the 2011 cen­sus, it re­vealed more than 40 per cent of the town’s hous­ing stock is ac­tu­ally rental properties. Clearly they don’t move out very of­ten!

NOWHERE TO RENT: Find­ing tem­po­rary ac­com­mo­da­tion can some­times be be­wil­der­in­gly dif­fi­cult.

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