You're in the investing game to make money...but what is responsible property investing?

Responsible property investing...that could be just about anything, you might think...

I got all serious about the best way to treat your tenants as a landlord elsewhere. This is something bigger though. Responsible property investing is more about a global perspective.

Right now, as we speak, the world is going through massive changes. Nearly every country on Earth is either in recession, or heading for it, and the start of the slide was the Sub-prime (link?) mortgage crisis in the USA. All over my own country, Australia, we are in the midst of the worst housing shortage we have ever seen. There aren't enough properties available to rent, and not enough housing stock is being built to meet demand.

It's time to start thinking and investing responsibly for others as well as ourselves (remember - always create a win-win situation!)

Responsible Property Investing is about helping the planet and our fellow humans.

As I write, the impact of global warming is making itself felt all over the eastern half of Australia. The state of Victoria has seen bushfires kill hundreds (we still don't know how many) and it will take years to rebuild the towns that were razed to the ground: obliterated in their entirety. Meanwhile, New South Wales and Queensland have had huge percentages of their area declared Natural Disaster Zones because they are under metres of floodwater. Once again, it could take years for these areas to recover, just as it will take years for places in America to recover from the hurricanes and tornadoes that have battered their shores and inland regions over the past few years.

As others start to think seriously about responsible impact on their environment, so we should start to think and act on it too. As investors in rental property, we should think about how to carry our efforts into responsible property investing too...


The balance just tipped….

From January 1st 2009, Queensland in Australia introduced their Home Sustainability Declaration form for all vendors or houses, townhouses and units in that state.

The aim is to inform buyers about the sustainability features of a property and increase awareness of the value of such features.

Investing in Property expects other Australian states and international jurisdictions to follow suit which will force us all into more responsible property investing. Read more about the Queensland Sustainability Declaration

These occurrences shouldn't be looked on as deterrents to investing: A wise man once said, "In every cloud, there is a silver lining" and a very dear departed friend of mine (Robert Owen) once told me to remember this equation:

Problem = Challenge + Opportunity

Challenge and Opportunity.... hmm...

We have both in all of these situations. As people pick up the pieces of their shattered lives from such disasters, there are opportunities for investors, not just to make real money, but also to be compassionate and help. There will be people in these places who had no insurance or savings aside to cope with the loss of everything they own. There will be still others who were renting and are now forced into a tight rental market made even tighter by the loss of 3000 homes across a single state. And the costs for them may become prohibitive.

You, as an investor, can take advantage of government schemes to help encourage more people to build affordable rental housing. You can also take the looser rental concept of vendor finance (I talk about this elsewhere) to help people get back into their own homes.

Use your imagination! There are endless possibilities that will give you profits, while helping people into homes and providing jobs in a recession for people in local industries.

Outside of the disaster zones, we need to consider both our consciences, the consciences of our tenants, and prepare for tougher regulations due to global warming. As the cost of energy rises, more and more people are finding it hard to meet the costs of power, heating and cooling, as well as water, as some dams begin to run dry. Building (or installing) sustainable systems into our investment properties will begin to make them more attractive to renters who want to have less impact on the environment (quite hard to do in most rental properties I've ever lived in!) and less expense.

Responsible property investing is largely about the environmental and sustainable options available to you, from water tanks and insulation (both currently covered by some sort of rebate from the Australian Federal Government) to solar, wind power and greywater systems.

Think of installing any or all of these

(within your means and ability to continue to sustain the costs or maintain at least a reasonable profit):

Install Water Tanks to save the environment and get better tenants.

Other Important Things to Consider

Pay it Forward... take some of the profits of your success and donate to charity with these ideas.

A Queensland Home Sustainability Declaration is compulsory in that state from 1st January 2010.

Return from Responsible Property Investing to Investing in Rental Property