As a consecutive three-time PropNex 'Champion Team Leader', Kelvin Fong is as talented a property investor as you'll get. He is adept at analysing the market and has helped numerous clients and students minimise risk and maximise profits. Also the CEO and co-founder of the training company Zest Academy Group, Kelvin is equally capable at spreading the property investment gospel. Here are 10 of his tips on how to succeed in the game:
Two golden rules
Kelvin attributes his enormous success to two important "golden rules", as he calls them: always look for the potential upside, and always calculate the amount of risk involved in the investment. "Based on these two rules, you'll clearly know if it's worth investing in the property," Kelvin assures.
Don't believe the hype
Always refer to facts and figures and not the hype surrounding the property or, especially, your own hopes and emotions. Before you dive in, do your research based on the two golden rules and work out if you have sufficient funds to hold onto a property for at least a few years.
Enter at the right price
When it comes to choosing the right property, the starchitect's brand name or even the location is not as critical as the right entry price, Kelvin says. This means cross-checking a property's price against surrounding properties'; if it is lower than its neighbours, that means you're taking less of a risk and have the potential to make more of a profit.
Besides the affordability angle, Kelvin points out a property's popularity as a key consideration. It has to be sizable enough—40- to 50-unit developments are too small, says Kelvin—be located in a reasonably well-known area and have a strong publicity push. "When the market goes up, these are the properties whose prices will double or triple up faster," the investor explains.
Technique over concept
For greenhorns only just starting the game, Kelvin recommends a thorough step-by-step course that teaches techniques rather than broad concepts. His school, Zest Academy, equips its students with the skills one needs to identify the right properties and make astute decisions through their property investment programme, the Millionaire Property System (MPS).
Keep it real-time
Another bonus Zest Academy provides: the MPS proprietary software that tracks in real-time price changes in the property market. Using this, investors are able to see get the most up-to-date information on how the market is behaving so they can make the right investment decisions.
Look for uncertain times
The difference between newbies and "real investors", according to Kelvin, is that the former will wait for good times to invest while the latter craves market uncertainty. "If the market isn't good, there will be buying opportunities and interest rates rates will have to stay low," he explains. "It can't go up when the market is down because businesses will have problems and the government will not allow this to happen. As long as you have done your calculations and are not speculating, then you can take advantage of these opportunities."
Multiply your assets
Even seasoned investors make mistakes. These investors often have trouble formulating an exit plan: when to sell their property. "They should take this opportunity to cash out their profits," Kelvin says. "And if they do, they will probably be able to buy more properties. That is how people multiply their wealth through the multiplying of their properties. Look at the billionaires out there; they don't just own a single property but multiple ones."
Make your money work harder for you
If today a private property has exceeded its 2007 peak price, investors should seriously consider selling. "Ultimately, there's always an opportunity to look at another asset. Do not be emotional and just hold on to the property," Kelvin urges. "We can't keep working hard for the money, we should use the money we earn to help us multiply our assets."
Unlike the stock market, the property market isn't as volatile and subject to extreme changes day-over-day. Kelvin explains that as long as an investor has the adequate knowledge, holding power (the resources needed to keep a property for a few years) and confidence in the long-term economy of Singapore, "you won't lose".