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Property tycoon's TV show says now is the time to buy

AN international property expert who has made millions through property investments has shared some of his best-kept secrets with Irish investors hoping to make the most of the current market.

Belfast-born property tycoon Gary McCausland is advising Irish property investors to take advantage of the prevalent climate and purchase within the next year.

The millionaire property developer, who has made his fortune over the past decade buying and selling hundreds of properties around the world, says there are a number of fundamental tips that people need to follow if they are to make their fortune.

"I know in Ireland a lot of people have gone through the pain and misery. I've learned so many lessons myself so now I want to show people the pitfalls to avoid," he said.

"You make your money in property when you buy, not when you sell. So it's essential to look for a bargain, you want to buy low and sell high. A lot of people make the mistake of buying high and chasing the profit but you can't do that, you always have to buy under the asking price.

"Look for motivated sellers too. The more motivated the seller, the better chance you have of getting a bargain. They can be anyone from people in debt to people who are moving abroad and who just want to sell quickly, to developers who have created a development but just can't sell them anymore. They're very motivated, so you can go in and get properties way under market value and that's a very good start.

He continued, "Location is also very important. I don't mean the best part of town but rather locations which are up and coming. You should look for something on a fringe or streets that I call 'skip streets'. If you go down a street and see lots of skips and work going on, you know that people are investing in that street. In fact, in places like London and Dublin, when the boom happens, you can almost see it unfold street by street."

The property magnate believes that researching your potential rental market and ensuring that you have the ability to add value to a premises is vital when investing.

"Don't simply look at the bigger picture -- interest rates, inflation and employment -- look at the micro market. You have to understand who's going to buy your property. Is it going to be students, professionals or a family? If you can rent it out you are in an area that's sustainable so the worst-case scenario is that you can rent it out and cover your mortgage. That should be your basic starting point.

"You also must be able to add value to the property. It can be anything from putting on a conservatory, a loft extension or a basement to getting planning permission for change of use."

Mr. McCausland, whose new series, How To Be A Property Developer, airs on TV3 at 8pm this Tuesday, says people need to invest within the next year in order to take advantage of the current property slowdown.

"Hitting the very bottom of the curve is near impossible but we know the market has taken a hit. No one knows how far that hit is going to go but it won't last forever. This time next year will be a really good time to buy, just before the market starts getting stronger again. It's an absolute war out there now. It's really difficult, but do your homework and you could make a killing."

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