Is It better to buy an investment property or a home first?

Justin Wang is the embodiment of a self-made entrepreneur. From unassuming beginnings to life as a property giant – he now personifies the paradigm for financial freedom. He built PIA (Property Investors Alliance) when he realized the profitability of the Sydney residential property. His considerable charisma would spearhead a veritable empire of altruistic financial freedom. We recently caught up with Justin to ask him whether it’s better to buy an investment property or a home first; and here’s what went down:

Can you tell us a bit more about yourself? What are your hobbies when you’re not busy with PIA?

My hobbies and passions are reading, writing, and practicing Tai Chi. When I was young, I found that most of my friends with similar passions spent 100% of their time following it religiously. I was concerned for them because I felt that focussing too much on their passion and hobbies meant they couldn’t maintain their jobs, so therefore, how can they keep their lifestyles and follow their passion?

Even though I had my hobbies and passion projects, wealth building has always been my top priority – I’ve always wanted to achieve financial freedom and accumulate wealth so that I didn’t have to worry about my future. At the end of the day, it’s all about maintaining balance in your life. You need to be able to balance your hobbies and true passion while at the same time working on building your wealth. It took me 35-40 years to finally find the secret to wealth building. Eventually, I realised that investing in Sydney residential properties is the key. So from 2004-2005, I started to promote my own experiences to the Chinese community – as a result, many of our young clients began to invest in their first property, then eventually their second, third and fourth. Seven years later, this move turned them into millionaires, bringing them passive income for many years to come. Working or making money for them now is just an option. Whenever they get into their hobbies like basketball and other sports, they are relaxed and happy knowing they don’t have to worry about their future since they are receiving passive income from rent and are millionaires. External factors such as things happening in the world do not affect them financially – they are all financially secure. That’s why whenever I talk to young people, I always remind them to enjoy life but to keep in mind that time passes by quickly. They need to consider what will happen to them financially when they’re older, like in their 50s or 60s. They need to think about property investment while they’re still young before it’s too late.

Most young people don’t own property and live with their parents or rent. Most haven’t explored the possibility of investing in property. What is your advice to them? How can they get started?

The majority of people prefer taking the easy path. They find that renting is more manageable, so they don’t have to worry about a mortgage or any responsibilities. They feel that renting is better than buying. Or staying with their parents – so they can enjoy life and buy nice cars. Your life may be easier today, but remember that more challenging times will come soon enough. Once you get hit by a financial crisis, rent will eat away at your income. The people who own properties will pass it on to you and you will feel the crunch. So don’t focus on just today; think about the future. People always think, yes, I want to be rich – but how can I start? Buying property is too expensive. I can’t afford the down payment or ongoing costs of running a property. For example, if someone grew up in a house in the Bondi area, their mindset is to buy a home in Bondi as well. Of course, that will not be affordable for them because prices in that area are too high.

That’s why I started to promote the “B & R” or “buy & rent” model – to buy their first property as their first investment. For example, if my client lives in a 1-bedroom apartment in Randwick – they can buy a three-bedroom unit in the western suburbs because the prices there are a lot cheaper, and tenants can cover the majority of the mortgage. Although the client may not be familiar with the area, they know that the property’s value will increase eventually, and they’ll be able to refinance in 2 to 3 years. The “B & R” model will allow you to buy in an affordable area and treat buying property as part of wealth creation, not just a hobby.

When’s the best time to get into the property market?

There are two ways people react to the property market. One is when everyone starts to believe that the prices of the properties have gone up – most people will think that the prices continue to rise. Another situation is when people believe that property prices are going down. If the property prices are rising, people may assume that’s a problem because they’ll think that the prices are going up too fast. If the property prices are going down, the same person will feel that’s also a problem because the property prices will go down even further. The problem is “fear” – it’s the fear of taking the plunge.

Right now, everyone is concerned about the high-interest rates; it’s all over the news – the prices of the properties in the top suburbs are taking a massive hit. Most people feel it’s better to wait to buy a property because the market is bad. But let me give you a scenario; if Woolworths suddenly declare that they are slashing the prices of everything at half price, is this good or bad for you? Of course, as a consumer, this is great news! Hence if the property market is “soft”, and everything is cheaper, most people believe that it’s bad for them to get into the property market when in fact, it’s actually good for them. It’s better to buy a property in a “stressed” market because you’ll be able to buy a property at a reasonable price. If the market is good and the prices of properties are going up, that’s when people tend to purchase properties. The problem is that if you’re not fast enough to take advantage of the opportunity when news breaks out about the market, you’ll miss your chance to get into the property market. Only a tiny portion of the population will be adept enough to take advantage of the situation.

Should people buy an investment property or a home first?

Australians are lucky to live in Australia because owning homes here is reasonably achievable. One side of the population is complaining that the prices of the properties are too high – the other side, on the other hand, has no courage to jump into the property market. Owning a “dream home” is not affordable today because people feel that renting is a lot easier and stress-free. The problem with renting is that renters will miss out on future capital gains from owning their own property and be victim to constant rent increases. So what’s the solution to this dilemma? It would be best if you found a place where the mortgage is cheaper, enabling you to save up for a deposit to buy a property and rent that out. Using the “B & R” model, the tenants will pay 70 to 80% of your mortgage, and you’ll get considerable tax benefits. Once you understand the concept of the “B & R” model, you’ll be able to buy 2-3 properties which will enable you to refinance in the future, and then you can buy your dream home.

What are the five steps to becoming a multi-millionaire?

1. Realise the importance of owning a property because this will affect your future and the future of your next generations. If you understand this, then everything will fall into place.

2. Owning a residential property is not just about owning a home; it’s also about wealth building and buying property as an investment.

3. You need to understand leverage – how to use the bank’s and other people’s money to make you rich.

4. Time is very important – buying a property is like raising kids; give the kids enough time, then they’ll all eventually grow up. They don’t grow up overnight! It’s the same with property investment; you don’t become rich overnight; it takes time to build wealth. It’s better to buy at an early age to earn considerable capital gains on your property. Don’t hesitate to buy a property; every time you wait, you miss out on the opportunity of becoming financially free.

5. Buy a property as soon as possible. The key to financial freedom is to buy, don’t shop around – if you keep shopping around, you’ll never start because you’ll never find the perfect property that will reach your every expectation. Just follow my advice and purchase a Sydney residential property – give it enough time, and you’ll end up the winner in life.