In the first of our quarterly blogs, Matt sits down with the founder and director of Rethink Investing, Scott O’Neill.

Rethink Investing has been in business for 9 years and is the largest commercial buyers’ agency in Australia, and purchased over 3750 properties worth a total of $4.25 billion on behalf of their clients, including many doctors.

Scott has released two best-selling books which you can view here on Investing in property and is a leading voice on commercial and residential investing.  Here, he shares insights on investing basics and the unique challenges locum doctors face in property investment.

 

Advice for doctors considering investment property? Common mistakes you see investors make?

Since doctors typically have higher-than-average incomes, we often recommend that they invest in high-quality assets. However, it’s worth noting that premium assets usually offer lower yields. A viable solution could be investing in commercial property, which not only tends to yield higher returns but also offers good capital growth potential, accelerating income replacement.

A common mistake among doctors is limiting their investments to local areas. Given their busy schedules, doctors might not devote sufficient time to managing their investments effectively. Additionally, their higher income levels can lead to more significant financial missteps due to potentially larger amounts spent or invested without thorough consideration.

 
What are the first things to consider if you’re thinking about getting into the market?

First, define your long-term objectives and then plan backwards from there. If your aim is to replace your income, focus on assets that align with this approach. Conversely, if you’re looking to build equity, seek out properties that offer opportunities for value addition. Keep in mind that everyone has different earning potentials, which influences the size and type of assets you might pursue. Ultimately, maintaining diversity in your investments is crucial for long-term success.

 

Residential vs. Commercial Investment?

The choice depends on the investor’s circumstances. For those with a secure job and a desire to quickly replace their income, commercial property is a better option. On the other hand, younger investors with limited cash or equity might find residential property a more suitable starting point. We typically recommend having at least $250,000 in cash to invest in commercial property, whereas residential property can be started with as little as $75,000. Generally, the more capital available, the more we lean towards recommending commercial investments. 

 

How does Rethink Investing assist locum doctors in conducting due diligence on investments?

Over the years, we’ve worked with hundreds of doctors and found that they greatly benefit from our comprehensive due diligence process. We handle every aspect needed to ensure the investment is high-quality and to minimise risk for the client. This includes having people visit properties, conducting multiple inspections, contacting tenants, obtaining building reports, renegotiating prices if necessary, or even advising clients to walk away if the deal no longer meets expectations. We invest as if it were our own money, providing the level of service busy doctors require. 

 

Is it still a good time to invest?

Yes, due to the high inflation, rents have increased at their fastest pace in many decades, leading to a significant long-term value uplift for commercial investors. The market anticipates interest rate reductions either later this year or early in 2025. When that happens, we expect a rapid 10 to 20% increase in market value. Therefore, there is currently an opportunity to make advantageous purchases, benefiting from higher rental growth and improved cash flow once rates decline. 

 
 
 
Financing Investments for Locum Doctors

The advantage of investing in commercial property is that you can typically secure a loan if you have a cash deposit. This means that even as a contractor or locum doctor without a full-time position, you can still obtain a commercial property loan. This type of loan, known as a Lee stock loan, is exclusive to the commercial lending sector. Building an income through commercial property can be especially beneficial for those in contractor-style positions. 

 

Does Rethink Investing have experience with lenders who specialise in working with doctors, understanding their unique financial situations?

Yes, Rethink Investing collaborates with Rethink Financing, one of the top three brokers in the country by volume in the commercial sector. We handle numerous commercial loans plus loans in the SMSF space, where commercial property is particularly advantageous due to the higher interest rates associated with superfund lending. Additionally, there are special deals for medical staff, allowing for higher lending ratios and the potential to acquire more real estate more quickly. Also, lending outside of your SMSF has lower interest rates.

 

Success stories with a doctor? 

Please check out a Podcast that Scott completed with Paloma, who is a QLD based Doctor – She replaced her income through commercial property and talks about her journey with Scott – here

 

How does your team at Rethink Investing help someone get started?

Simply reach out to info@rethinkinvesting.com.au and we will have a strategy discussion to work out if commercial or residential suits you best. Then we can deliver the types of investments that suit your risk profile and stage of investing.