Buying an investment property

Hi...I am pretty new to this forum and as I mentioned before I am loving it...
My husband and I are renovating a house, but we are also desperate to buy an investment property and start our property portfolio.
We really don't know what the first step is to buying the first IP. Is it the same as buying for the first time? Do we get an approval from our lender first and then start shopping? I just can't remember the process and I am itching to get started...any tips would be great.
I would call a broker (plenty of good ones on Somersoft) and find out what you can borrow. Perhaps you could borrow more when your current renovations are finished and you can get a higher valuation?

Once you know how much you can spend, then I would start looking. If you are "over" renovation, you might like to start with something that can be rented straight away, or you could get some "jollies" by buying something and renovating it straight away.

We have only ever bought one house that didn't need pretty serious cosmetic work before it could be rented. Sometimes that was just pulling up carpets, having floors polished, and a lick of paint. When we could afford it, between tenants we slowly did bits and pieces, new kitchen one time, new bathroom another time, add a deck etc.

The hard part for us was often that we didn't want to rent it with its horrible brown, green and blue shag pile carpet and nicotine stains, so we HAD to spend time doing some basic things in order to get a tenant, but at the same time, we NEEDED the rent to start coming in. We have had many times when we have to get in, get it done and get out and start that money flowing. Enjoyable though to see a sow's ear turn into a silk purse through our efforts.

Each time the rent went up as the house was improved. It went from us looking better dressed than our potential tenants, to us looking like we were the hired help as the houses started looking better and better. I had to start "dressing up" to hold open houses instead of being in my paint spattered gear :D.

It has been a long, sometimes hard, road for us but we have enjoyed every minute. We don't hold a lot of IPs because we are happy with our life balance, but everyone's plans are different.

Best advice is to enjoy the journey, make sure you have some money tucked away for emergencies and not let the first problem tenant put you off.