Case Study: Investing from overseas in a hot market

By Nick Gentle
March 11 2016

Over the next few weeks I will share a series of case studies showing how actual clients have worked with us in different ways to secure an investment property.

When I asked our team for these stories I was a little nervous because I didn't quite know what to expect. I wasn't sure if our clients would be willing to share their experiences or if the case studies would have enough variety and substance to be valuable to you guys. After all, we cover "how we work" on our wesbite already and so many "case studies" are turn out to be not much more than thinly disguised advertisements, I wanted this to be authentic and useful.

What came back blew me away and I'm excited to share these stories. It's great to stop talking about how WE do things for once and focus on how and why folks with various backgrounds, challenges and goals work with us to move forward with property.

First up is Sarah, a client who worked with Maxine Clason-Thomas in a one-on-one buyers agency capacity to secure an Auckland property while living overseas in the Philipines. Sarah was kind enough to offer a write-up also, which is below Maxine's.

The thing I love about this story is how both Maxine and Sarah ignored the noise in the market, put together a game plan and executed step-by-step. In doing so they blew past some common excuses not to invest:

  • It's too hard to buy well in a hot market
  • Buying a property while overseas isn't possible
  • Buying a property sight unseen is too risky to make work

On with the show....

From Maxine Clason-Thomas…

"Sarah Wilson first made contact in June 2015 and liaised quite a lot with Maree [Tassell] in regards to how we could find them a property and what their criteria were.

Once Sarah had decided on Auckland, we proposed our dedicated finding service, where we work one-on-one to match a client with a property on the market and represent them throughout the deal.

As a first step I always speak with clients about investment criteria. In Sarah’s case these were:

  1. Specific areas, however wanted as central as possible within their price range.
  2. Tidy and liveable from date of purchase
  3. Room to add value
  4. Price and minimal yield criteria, however location and quality was a bigger factor
  5. Preferably freehold home as opposed to units, crosslease etc
  6. “Nicer” streets away from busy roads, highways and pylons.

From here I began to suggest properties that I believed were a good fit for her and added information on why I felt they would be good growth properties to purchase, such as development and improved roading and other infrastructure going into the area.

Once we settled on a property, I assisted her with the due diligence by arranging the building inspection (using her builder) and a drug test.  A LIM report was supplied by the vendor.  I viewed the property myself and met with the builder onsite to discuss any issues that might be a factor in negotiations.

I had opened negotiations with the vendor at the beginning of the process and by completing thorough due diligence and being transparent with the vendor we were able to secure a good price.

On the rent appraisal and final purchase price we achieved a 5.9% gross yield.

The process from initial introduction to going unconditional took about 2 months. To begin with Sarah was also searching for herself so it took longer than usual, however we got there in the end.

One reason it went well was that Sarah gave prompt feedback about what she did and didn’t like about a property I had shown her, so we could quickly move on to the next. Quick communication is key to narrowing down the right property, she was also enthusiastic and I felt she trusted my judgement, which gave me confidence to negotiate on her behalf."

Below: The property Sarah purchased in Auckland in 2015

From Sarah, the client…

"As New Zealanders living as expats in the Philippines, we had concerns regarding buying another property while living overseas. But then we also had concerns regarding not purchasing and missing opportunities.

I had previously viewed all New Zealand properties we had bought and I had taken a very active part in the selection process. So it was difficult not to view properties for ourselves. But we constructed a detailed list of what we were looking for and what the property should and should not have. I had previously met with an investment company from Hong Kong about some international property opportunities, but even the advisor agreed that what he was offering was not as good as what opportunities were available to me in Auckland.

In the end I decided iFindProperty were our best option to find a property with the potential for capital growth but still a positive cashflow. Additionally we wanted the opportunity to be able to add value to a property.

I provided Maxine with our criteria for the property and she researched and shared a number of options that met that criteria. We chose to use our own building inspector, solicitor, property manager, and mortgage broker to keep more independence, however Maxine was also able to recommend many well respected advisors. Communication couldn’t have been easier with Skype and email providing a cost-effective way to communicate with all parties.

iFindProperty offer more independence than dealing with a real estate agent directly. They understand the goals of the property investor, which many real estate agents fail to comprehend. They have more buying power with real estate agents due to their continual presence in the market.  Most property investors purchase too infrequently to have such strong relationships with real estate agents.

Below: Sarah realxing with her family in the Philippines

The end property price (including property finding fees), was no difference than purchasing directly with the vendor because of the discounted property price Maxine was able to negotiate. We bought it at a time many people were saying it was a bad time to buy in the Auckland market, but because of that we were able to achieve a better deal with less competition and a seller that had no choice but to sell.

Maxine and iFindProperty saved us time and we like that iFindProperty offer more options with both existing and new build properties throughout New Zealand.

We may have purchased our property without seeing it, but we purchased it with confidence. We have since visited the property when visiting New Zealand and have no doubts it is a good addition to our portfolio. We will definitely use iFindProperty again."

Learn more about the dedicated buyers agency service HERE.

To join Maxine's Auckland buyers hotlist click HERE.

I hope you enjoyed the article, we've got several more good ones in the pipeline. If you have an investing story to share we'd love to hear it so please get in touch.

Regards
Nick

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