Does technology make it easier for you to invest?
Over the past few years we have witnessed a technological revolution of an unprecedented scale. Today, we have an app for everything. I know the exact location of my car at any given time thanks to an app on my smartphone. Other apps allow me to make video calls to my father in the UK and tell me how much I have exercised in any given timeframe.
Even a few years ago, this kind of access to technology would have seemed like science fiction.
So in theory, the ability to access information at the touch of a button is definitely a good thing. But does it really level the playing field? Does it allow a totally inexperienced investor to create wealth just as easily as a highly experienced investor? Certainly, younger and more tech-savvy investors seem to have great faith in their ability to use this technology to their best advantage.
However, with property investing, things are not always what they seem and I believe that an over-reliance on the information highway can have the opposite effect and lead to poor decision making, or eternal procrastination. Let me explain.
For me, investing wisely is about identifying the known drivers of capital growth, and buying at the right stage in the property cycle. Investing in undervalued areas with large, fast growing populations, diverse economies and a favourable supply/dynamic is the key.
Yet much of the information that technology brings us is historical. In order to make good investment decisions, we need to be projecting forwards - not looking backwards - because growth is not linear.
There are other issues. I have spent the past few days road testing some apps to see if I could find some value in them. One app required me to input all the data, prompted by questions such as Is the property in a school zone? (Apparently, it did not matter whether it was the best school in the country or the worst). This particular app promised to give me expert analysis on any property all I had to do was type in the address and answer the questions.
So, I duly typed in the address of a property that would definitely not meet my investment criteria, and then answered the questions it gave me as accurately as I could. The app highly recommended this property!
Making a good investment decision is all about getting the right amount of relevant information. It is about quality, not quantity. In the past, it was possible to make bad decisions because of a lack of information. But too much information can be equally debilitating. Technology has made it so easy to collect information, but you still need the ability to process and filter this information in a meaningful way, and that is the critical skill that the beginner investor often lacks. So, before you start relying on technology as your sole means of accessing information, make sure that it will provide the quality of information that you will need. Is there an alternative? Seeking the guidance of a property expert who already has the results that you are hoping to achieve could be a safer avenue. But if you fi nd a really good app, please let me know. Because I haven't found one yet.
NEED HELP WITH YOUR PORTFOLIO? Ian is passionate about helping others realise their goals through investing in property, and can be contacted at Ph. 1300 850 038