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Using Home Equity to Buy an Investment Property

The New Zealand property market has traditionally been a strong avenue for wealth creation, and many Kiwis consider “buying an investment property” a viable strategy for their financial future. However, the initial hurdle of securing a sizeable deposit can often be daunting. This is where leveraging the equity in your existing home comes in.

This article explores how you can utilize your home’s equity to buy an investment property, helping you navigate the process in the context of the New Zealand market.

Using Home Equity to buy an investment property

Understanding Equity and its Application

Equity essentially refers to the portion of your home you truly own, calculated by subtracting the outstanding mortgage balance from the current market value. As your property value increases and you make regular mortgage repayments, your equity grows. This accumulated equity can be used strategically to achieve various financial goals, including buying an investment property.

Topping up your existing mortgage

While topping up your existing mortgage is indeed a primary way to access your home’s equity for investment purposes in New Zealand, there are several crucial aspects to consider specific to the New Zealand market:

Benefits:

  • Convenience: Similar to other countries, topping up your mortgage often involves a streamlined process with minimal additional paperwork in New Zealand. Existing lenders typically have easier and faster access to your information, potentially accelerating the funding process.

  • Potentially lower interest rates: Generally, mortgage interest rates in New Zealand are lower than personal loans or credit cards. However, it’s important to note that interest rates have been rising in New Zealand, so comparing current rates across different loan options is crucial.

  • Tax implications: Depending on the specifics of the situation, interest on mortgage top-ups for investment properties in New Zealand may or may not be currently tax-deductible. It is important to get professional accounting advice on this aspect as it can make a significant difference to consider when evaluating the overall cost of using your home equity.

Drawbacks:

  • Increased debt burden: As with any top-up, you’ll be adding to your existing mortgage, increasing your overall debt and extending the repayment period. This translates to a larger portion of your income dedicated to monthly repayments.

  • Risk of foreclosure: As in any loan scenario, failing to make repayments puts your home at risk of foreclosure.

  • Limited access to funds: Similar to other markets, the maximum amount you can access is typically capped at 80% of your home’s value minus your existing mortgage balance. This might be insufficient for your investment needs, especially considering the current rising property prices in New Zealand.

  • Impact on future borrowing: Having a larger mortgage can limit your borrowing capacity in the future, potentially affecting your ability to access other loans for emergencies, additional investments, or even renovations on your existing property.

Steps to Take When Using Equity to Buy an Investment Property

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  1. Evaluate your financial situation: Before embarking on this journey, meticulously assess your financial health. This includes calculating your current debt-to-income ratio, considering your ongoing expenses and future financial obligations, and ensuring you can comfortably manage the additional financial commitments associated with owning an investment property.

  2. Seek professional advice: Consulting a qualified financial advisor and a lawyer specializing in property transactions is crucial. They can guide you through the process, assess your circumstances, and ensure you make informed decisions.

  3. Research the market: Conduct thorough research to understand the New Zealand property market, particularly the areas you’re considering for your investment. Analyze rental yields, potential capital growth, and associated costs like maintenance and property management fees.

  4. Secure investment property home loan pre-approval: Obtaining pre-approval for an investment property home loan from a bank or lender will provide you with a clear understanding of your borrowing capacity and strengthen your position when negotiating for your investment property.

  5. Find the right property: When searching for your investment property, prioritize aspects like location, rental potential, and long-term value. Consider seeking the assistance of a reputable real estate agent specializing in investment properties.

Important Considerations

The New Zealand property market, like any other, is subject to fluctuations. Carefully consider your risk tolerance and ensure you’re comfortable with the potential for market downturns impacting your investment.

Buying an investment property involves ongoing responsibilities such as tenant management, property maintenance, and potential unexpected expenses. Factor these costs into your calculations to ensure you have a realistic understanding of the financial commitment involved.

Tax implications also need to be factored in. Seek professional advice to understand the tax implications associated with owning an investment property in New Zealand.

Beyond the Basics: Advanced Strategies and Considerations

  • Mixed-use dwellings: Consider exploring mixed-use dwellings, where a single property houses both residential and commercial spaces. This can offer potential benefits like increased rental income and diversification of your investment portfolio.
  • Positive gearing: This strategy involves purchasing an investment property where the rental income generated exceeds the associated costs, including the mortgage repayments. While not always guaranteed, positive gearing can help offset the initial financial burden and potentially lead to capital growth in the long run.
  • Negative gearing: In contrast, negative gearing occurs when the rental income fails to cover all the associated expenses, resulting in a net loss. This strategy can still be beneficial for tax purposes, but it requires careful consideration and long-term planning to ensure the investment holds value and eventually becomes positively geared.

Utilizing your home equity to buy an investment property can be a powerful wealth-building strategy in New Zealand. However, thorough research, careful planning, and professional guidance are crucial for navigating this process successfully. By carefully weighing the risks and rewards, ensuring your financial situation is suitable, and making informed decisions, you can leverage your home equity to pave the way for a secure financial future. Remember, responsible investment and a long-term perspective are key to reaping the full benefits of this strategy.

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Additional Considerations for Aspiring Property Investors

  • Building a property portfolio: While starting with one investment property is a common approach, some individuals aim to build a portfolio of properties over time. This can help spread risk and potentially amplify potential returns. However, it’s crucial to manage the increased complexities and responsibilities associated with managing multiple properties.
  • Considering alternative investment options: While property investment can be lucrative, it’s not the only option for building wealth. Explore and compare other investment avenues like shares, bonds, and managed funds to diversify your portfolio and potentially mitigate risk.
  • Staying informed: The New Zealand property market is constantly evolving. Staying informed about market trends, legislative changes, and economic factors impacting the market is essential for making informed investment decisions. Utilize reliable sources like reputable financial news outlets, government agencies like the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, and industry reports to stay abreast of developments.
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The Final Word

Utilizing home equity to buy an investment property can be a powerful tool for wealth creation in New Zealand. However, it’s not a decision to be taken lightly. By carefully assessing your financial situation, conducting thorough research, seeking professional guidance, and adopting a responsible and long-term approach, you can increase your chances of success and navigate the exciting world of property investment with confidence. Remember, knowledge, planning, and calculated risk-taking are key ingredients in building a secure financial future through property investment.

Ready to take the next step?

Visit our contact page to learn more and connect with us. We are here to help you navigate the exciting world of property investment with confidence.

Additionally, you can book a free consultation directly on calendly here.

Auckland Mortgage Broker North and West Auckland Ben Konings, The Mortgage Supply Company

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