6 common mistakes to avoid when investing in real estate for the first time

6 mistakes to avoid when making your first real estate investment

Investing in real estate? A sound strategy for securing your finances and preparing for the future. But before you commit yourself, it’s vital to be aware of the pitfalls to avoid. Here’s an overview of the mistakes to avoid when investing, ensuring you’re informed about potential missteps when making your first real estate investment.

1 – Failure to properly define your real estate investment project

common mistakes to avoid


When investing in a real estate project for the first time, it’s important not to rush the process: enthusiasm should not take over from reflection. That’s why you need to carry out thorough research and carefully prepare your investment project. This is the key to saving time and better understanding the risks involved.

There are a number of factors to consider when selecting your first real estate investment:

  • Your budget: clearly establish the amount you are prepared to invest, taking into account your available financial resources.

  • Your needs: identify your specific needs and priorities, whether in terms of financial return, security or portfolio diversification. 

  • Your objective: define your investment goals. Diversifying your portfolio? Preparing for retirement? Buying a primary residence? Buying a rental property to generate income? Your objective will determine the nature of your investment.

  • Your investment horizon: it’s crucial to consider the length of time the invested funds will be tied up. By its very nature, real estate is not a short-term investment. You should invest funds you will not need in the near future, and carefully assess how long you are prepared to hold on to your real estate investment. 

  • The type of property: choose the type of property (apartment, building, house, etc.) that best matches your objectives and investor profile. 

  • Geographical area: carefully select the location of your investment, taking into account various criteria such as rental demand, property market trends and the surrounding infrastructure.

It is also important to choose an investment product that matches not only your objectives, but also your means of achieving them. For many people, “real estate investment” is synonymous with “buying a rental property”. However, in Switzerland, access to this type of investment can be difficult: there are many rules governing the purchase of real estate, and the funds required to carry out such an investment can be a limiting factor. Fortunately, there are many other ways to make your first investment in real estate: crowdlending or crowdinvesting in co-ownership, for example, offer many advantages, including a more affordable entry price.

2 – Ignoring local specificities

common mistakes to avoid when investing


When defining your real estate investment project, you need to consider the geographical area in which you plan to invest in its entirety and to assess the region in depth by taking into account local specificities.

  • The impact of geographical location on the choice of property: real estate is intrinsically linked to geographical characteristics. Prices, rental demand, market trends and even regulations vary from one region to another. In addition, constraints linked to natural hazards such as floods, earthquakes or fires, as well as the topography of the terrain, can have a significant impact on the value and viability of a real estate investment in a given region.

  • Researching and analyzing the local market: before committing to any real estate investment, it is essential to thoroughly research and analyze the local market. This includes examining price trends, supply and demand, and understanding the economic, demographic, social and environmental factors that influence the local real estate market.

  • The choice of location: this is one of the most critical aspects of any real estate investment. Opting for a strategic location can increase the value of your property and guarantee an optimal return on investment. On the other hand, a poor choice of location can lead to rental difficulties, depreciation of the property’s value, and unsatisfactory returns. Is the property close to public transport and shops? If the property is intended for a family, is it located close to schools? These are just some of the questions you need to answer before making your first real estate investment.

3 – Not planning for the long term

common mistakes to avoid when investing


Investing in real estate should pay off over the long term. To ensure this, it’s important to assess all the costs associated with the investment itself. These include notary fees, property taxes, any maintenance and renovation costs, as well as the financial charges associated with a mortgage. Ignoring these costs can distort your financial forecasts and compromise the overall profitability of your investment. Maintenance costs can accumulate over time and have a significant impact on the long-term profitability of your real estate investment. Don’t underestimate these expenses, and include a safety margin in your financial projections to cover any unforeseen expenses.

How to avoid this mistake? mistakes to avoid when investing

When investing in real estate, it is essential to establish a sound long-term financial plan. Make sure you manage your cash flow carefully, keeping a close eye on your income and expenses. Build up sufficient reserves to deal with any contingencies, and develop a clear strategy to enhance the value of your investment over the long term (increased rental income, renovations to increase the property’s value, etc.).

4 – Neglecting to diversify your investment portfolio 


Most experts recognize the importance of diversifying your investment portfolio. By spreading your investments across different asset classes, you increase your chances of enjoying stable long-term performance.  Real estate is often considered an ideal sector in which to diversify, since it is uncorrelated with traditional financial markets such as the stock market. Its performance is only slightly affected by stock market movements. By diversifying your portfolio with real estate, you avoid concentrating all your investments in a single type of asset. This approach allows you to spread risk and limit the potential impact of losses on any single investment. 

Finally, it’s important that you keep an eye on the balance of your portfolio. Simply investing in real estate is not enough to guarantee an effective diversification. The nature of the investment must be in line with your overall strategy. Furthermore, the subsequent addition of investments in other asset classes can upset the balance of your portfolio and undermine the advantages of diversification.  If you notice an overweighting in high-risk assets and a lack of safer assets, such as real estate with stable returns, it may be appropriate to readjust your portfolio by selling some risky assets or investing in assets offering a higher degree of safety.

5 – Do everything on your own

common mistakes to avoid when investing


When it comes to real estate, a common mistake is trying to manage everything on your own. Remember that real estate is a complex, dense and technical area. It encompasses diverse fields of expertise such as property management, finance, regulation and property maintenance. It’s difficult to master all these skills on your own. The processes involved in acquiring, managing and selling real estate can be complex, requiring in-depth expertise. Therefore, it is crucial to know how to get the right people and advice, especially in the case of a first real estate investment. Working with competent professionals can not only save you time and effort, but also help you make informed decisions and avoid costly mistakes. And that is priceless!

6 – Waiting for the perfect property to invest in 

Bien souvent, lors d'un premier investissement immobilier, on commet l'erreur de vouloir trop attendre avant de se lancer. Bien qu'il soit essentiel de ne pas se précipiter dans une décision d'investissement, patienter indéfiniment en espérant trouver la perle rare peut retarder votre projet de manière significative, vous privant ainsi d’opportunités potentielles de croissance et de rendement. 


Perfection does not exist. When investing in real estate for the first time, people often make the mistake of waiting too long before making the move. While it is essential not to rush into an investment decision, waiting indefinitely in the hope of finding the perfect property can significantly delay your project, depriving you of potential opportunities for growth and returns. Stable and resilient, the Swiss real estate market offers numerous opportunities. Waiting for the perfect moment to invest is therefore not a judicious solution, and can result in missing out on interesting investment opportunities, even in times of economic turmoil.  Rather than looking for the “perfect property”, you can evaluate each property as a potential investment. This means checking whether it fits in with your overall investment strategy, and whether it meets your financial criteria as well as your expectations in terms of profitability. Foxstone offers solutions that help overcome the difficulties faced by first-time real estate investors.

  • Crowdinvesting co-ownership: several investors pool their funds to acquire an existing, already-occupied investment property. Management is made easy, since it is delegated to a property management company, and investors receive a steady and regular income. 

  • Crowdlending: investors lend funds to a developer to finance a real estate project. They receive interest either annually or when the loan matures. At the end of the term of the operation, which varies from 1 to 3 years, they recover their initial investment.

The projects offered by Foxstone are carefully selected by a team of experts. They identify promising opportunities and offer a choice of quality properties, ready to answer any questions and guide investors.  Foxstone offers affordable investments from CHF 10’000, and a way to participate in quality real estate projects without a large initial capital outlay.  Foxstone also offers educational resources to help you better understand real estate investment. Blogs, webinars… Find useful tips and information, including mistakes to avoid when investing, to help you succeed in real estate.


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