Before we go any further, you need to take a look at your current situation. Are you married/defacto or are you single? Are you young or are you nearing retirement? Do you have children? Are you willing to move house to achieve a goal or do you want to stay in the same area - or even the same house? Do you already own a house or are you renting? Do you have any cash or assets that could be easily liquidated (such as a vintage car or valuable collection)?
All of these things are going to change the way you can invest in property.
If you need to stay in a particular area for some reason, for example looking after elderly relatives or keeping your children in the same school, you will be limited to houses in that area you can afford. If you cannot afford any in the area, you will be limited to buying houses in a cheaper area. If the cheaper area is a long way away, you will need to engage a property manager to look after it if it is rented out. If you are trying to renovate it or build on a more distant property you'll have to work out how you allocate your time spent between your house and your new project.
If you have children, you will have the same questions about relocating but additional ones about wanting to expose them to all the dust and debris of renovating, and if you are willing to share your home with strangers. If you are not willing to do any of these, your options quickly become limited to building for profit, subdividing and becoming a conventional landlord.
Having cash or an existing house increases your options rather than reducing them, and many of the techniques discussed on these pages will be open to you. If you don't have any cash or assets you are going to have to take a step back and earn some money first for that initial deposit.
If you are part of a couple rather than a single you immediately have a second income you can use, or an extra pair of hands to help renovate. If you are both on pensions or allowances this income will be low, but still higher than a single person on a low fixed income. If you are younger, you have more time to create a profit safely than someone who is nearing retirement. Someone nearer retirement might need to take more risky strategies to reach their goals in a shorter time frame, but conversely older people are more likely to have a larger asset base.
But before we talk in depth about different ways to make money from property investment on a low income, lets look at your goals and why you want to invest in property in the first place.
Photo by WoodleyWonderWorks / Flickr