Nila Sweeney

Only 6% of the Australian population consists of property investors. This group of people tend to be less understood by the general public in comparison to homebuyers. Property investors are in fact a very unique group of Australians who have decided to proactively take control of their own financial future instead of relying on government assistance when they retire. By taking greater responsibility for their finances, investors set a great example for their friends and family.

Being a property investor is challenging. It takes strength of character. As Australian residential properties do not have very high yields in general, property investors usually need to be disciplined with their cash flow. Even with negative gearing benefits, it is not unusual to see property investors having to reduce their lifestyle for a period of time to carry negative cash flow from their properties.

Another major difficulty property investors need to confront and overcome is the need to take on more debt. Taking on debt is one of the most effective ways to create wealth through property. It takes a person who is financially astute, who has courage and determination to do so.

Property investors are also disciplined and focused. Compared to homeowners, property investors also need to spend a lot more time educating themselves in taxation, asset protection, finance, property selection, risk management and people skills, etc. Simply falling in love with a property is not quite enough to make you an effective investor.

Many property investors do not give themselves enough credit for what they do. The general public certainly do not.

People usually get better results when they feel good about what they do. Property investing is no different. The Investors Direct Property Investor of the Year Award provides a way to celebrate our achievements as property investors, and more importantly to acknowledge the contribution investors make to the community at large.

Anyone can win

The ultimate winner of the award will not just be measured by how much money they make; they will be measured by:

1. How effectively they use their resources within their own circumstances. For example, a person earning $50,000 per year and who manages to pay off $10,000 of their mortgage a year is more productive than a $100,000 wage person paying off $10,000 principal a year.

2. How disciplined they have been in running their budgets and sticking to a productive plan. Discipline is critical if we are to sustainably move forward as a nation and as a society. Too much speculation and not enough real production is counterproductive to the long-term viability of us as individuals and to us as a nation.

3. How much they produce and how much value they have created for others. This could be in terms of renovation or other value-adding activities in properties. It could also be in the work they have done beyond their duty to add value to others. 

Great prizes on offer

To the winner and two runners up go some great prizes, including $7,000 in cash, free valuations, depreciation schedules, insurance valuations from Opteon, a suite of Residex Reports, a Your Investment Property 12-month magazine subscription, and a special feature in the February 2009 edition of Your Investment Property magazine.

How to enter

If you feel that you are determined and disciplined, have integrity, are generous and entrepreneurial, then you have what it takes to be Australia's first Property Investor of the Year. Simply enter the competition online at www.yourinvestmentpropertymag.com.au

Nila Sweeney (editor of Your Investment Property), John Edwards (CEO of Residex), Greg Sugars (CEO of Opteon Property Group), Andrew Gale (MD of PIPA) and I will judge the awards and the winners will be announced in the February 2009 edition of Your Investment Property.

Remember that these awards are not about how many properties you own or how much money you have made - the awards are about recognising people who effectively use their own resources given their own circumstances. Good luck!

Bill Zheng, CEO, Investors Direct

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