As property developers offer attractive payment terms, banks providing affordable mortgage rates and increased talk allowing expatriates to take out mortgages, more and more local and foreign Vietnamese property investors have begun building a nest egg. And while you begin to shift your investment dollar away from gold and green back to bricks and mortar, make sure you consider the following steps before you start:

 

Know what you want to achieve. Where do you see property investing taking you over the short and long term? Would you like to build equity now and establish a passive income stream later, or do you need more cash flow in the near future? Write out your end goal — the thing you would like to achieve by investing in property — and define it in as much detail as possible. Break it down further into steps and give each step a time frame. You now have a skeleton for your strategy.

 

Know where you stand financially and develop a strategy. Enlist the help of an independent financial advisor or consultant to help you identify your savings capacity. If you don’t have enough savings to make the minimum payments or for other purchase costs, look at ways you can increase savings until you do.

 

Build a success team. In addition to finding a property investment expert and an independent financial advisor or banker, make sure you find an accountant and solicitor who are all on the same page with you and each other.

 

Buy properties strategically and in the right order for your goals. For my own investing, I developed three principles that I have stuck by and still stick by today.

 

1) Each property should be bought below market value to allow for a buffer to mitigate risk.

 

2) They should be bought in an area with strong growth prospects (e.g. close proximity to Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi CBD, new infrastructure and consistent renter demand).

 

3) In the event the property is bought with a mortgage, they should also offer a neutral to positive cash flow so that they are paying themselves off. Make sure you are not in the red.

 

If a property is missing one or two of these qualities, I won’t buy it. The other thing to keep in mind is that in order to build a property portfolio in the quickest and most beneficial way, it’s critical to buy properties in the right order to achieve your goals.

 

Different properties offer different things to different people. Some are better at achieving capital growth, while others are better at delivering a good rental return. Depending on your needs and strategy, you will find that purchasing in a specific order will benefit you the most, while buying haphazardly may prevent you from achieving your goals.

 

Keep your finger on the pulse and stay committed. Building a property portfolio is not for the faint-hearted but if you jump in at the boom, make sure you can also weather any potential bust.

 

Greg Ohan is the Vietnam director of JLL, a leading global real estate services firm. Email your questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit joneslanglasalle.com

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