what is rentvesting?

GJ Central Park Popcorn.jpg

how does rentvesting work?

So you’re hip, you’re cool and you’re still living at home? What about before you move out of home - should you buy an investment property? Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

What if you’re renting in a suburb or city that you love and want to stay living there, but you can’t afford to buy?

Rentvesting is renting where you want to live and investing elsewhere.

Rentvesting can be not tying up a heap of your income on housing costs and just focusing on investing.

You might have pressure from others in your life to just save for a house to buy to live in - that’s not the only way to roll. Just because someone from another generation did this - it does not mean you should do what someone else did.

If you’re wondering, that’s me in the picture eating popcorn in a suite over Central Park, NYC.

The pros and cons of rentvesting

Pros

Banks can look more favourably on you when borrowing to invest as opposed to buying a place to live in

This is for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the debt that you are getting will produce an income, that income is also used to service the loan. Secondly, usually when people want to buy a home to live in they will want to borrow the maximum possible, making servicing even tighter.

You can live in a premium location while you invest elsewhere

Want to live in a capital city? Want to live by the beach? Want to live in a great school catchment? Buying in these locations may be prohibitive but you could likely rent for less than the cost of a mortgage repayment in these premium places. This means you must build wealth elsewhere for your future.

Flexibility with your career & life

You may have a national role and move around for work every few years. You may not have children and are self employed and do not need to be tied down anywhere. You may just like the freedom to follow the wind and try cool places to live. Renting does allow the ultimate flexibility.

Cons

You don’t own where you live

Want to hang up some nice art? Wouldn’t that wall look nice painted or removed? Sorry - you don’t own the place. This is more of a problem with older locations as they are exactly that - OLD. Newer properties to rent will often make this strategy easier as you may like actually living in the property. Some people may have to rent in older places if they wish to be more aggressive with their investing.

You have to put up with landlords and agents

This could be the most annoying part of the whole deal. Inspections every three months, long turn around times for repairs and just having to deal with other parties - generally only when there is a problem. Most people do not mind the agent coming and carrying out their inspection while they are not home.

Uncertainty of living arrangements

This can be a problem if you’re self-employed, a young family or have to travel a lot for work. You’re always 3 months away from needing to find a new rental property to live in when you’re renting (if you’re out of your lease period). What if you’ve got an event planned that is a big deal and you’re asked to relocate. It can be a very disruptive time in your life and no-one likes moving crap. If you’re onto a good landlord and/or agent, a great property and location - try and lock in a long lease. Remember to negotiate on the rent for any leases over 12 months (or any leases for that matter!).

Other thangs

This is why it’s a great idea to possibly look at getting an investment property before you leave home, to lock the costs and strategy in before other “priorities” emerge.
— Glen James

A word of caution

Rentvesting is great if you believe the pros outweigh the cons. For me personally - they do not. I have a home that I live in and pay a mortgage on. It would make more financial sense for me to have investment properties only with all my debt being tax deductible. But I just need to own where I live. Rentvesting is only effective, if you actually complete the strategy. A lot of people start out to rent where they want to live and never get around to investing as they get distracted with other expenses and “life”. This is why it’s a great idea to possibly look at getting an investment property before you leave home, to lock the costs and strategy in before other “priorities” emerge.

It’s not forever

The good thing about a strategy is you can make a strategy to suit your own life and goals. You may choose to live in a terrible place for the short term, while saving for a deposit for the first investment property. Then once you have your property you can then move to a more premium place to live. It’s up to you to choose your own adventure. Generally, it’s also a bit of a plan to beef up equity with investment properties, sell them and buy where you want to live with little to no mortgage - then start again…

Other options

You do not need to buy an investment property as the “vesting” part of this strategy. You may choose to invest into a manage fund, super (if you’re a bit older perhaps), an investment bond or even use this time to live somewhere cheaper or more convenient if you’re building a business.

Happy renting (not me, I hate renting),

Glen
Glen James is the host of the my millennial money podcast

p.s. if you do want to have a chat about this strategy, my colleague John Pidgeon does a clarity call on these issues and you can reach out here.