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1. Being a professional in the space. I have seen many people beat the stock market with property short, and even, medium term. I haven't seen many DIY investors do it long-term, unless they get lucky. Real estate professionals can be different.
2. Investing in real estate investment trusts (REITS) if you aren't a professional real estate investor. It is cheaper, more efficient, less hassles and can be held with bonds and stocks.
3. Focus on yields and leverage, and not capital appreciation. Hoping that the person coming after you will pay more for the same asset is speculation. Hoping you can "out research" the market isn't likely a winning strategy in this world of open information. If Manila, London, Shanghai or any other property market is obviously such a good buy, then everybody else in the finance world will know too. In reality, smaller units can have better rental yields, if you AirBnb.
4. Don't take big risks like put the house in your spouse's name. I have seen many expats make this mistake because doing so is easier.