16 July 2018
Be a smart investor and have a loan strategy.
You have saved away and have enough cash to consider purchasing property as an investment. Like any purchase, it is a huge one so having a strategy in place will keep you focused and ensure that you are doing as much due diligence as you can for a successful investment.
Not many successful investors became successful by accident – we recommend you start by seeking professional financial advice to really determine what your borrowing capacity is and how realistic your investment is.
Debt does not have to be scary, unless it is the wrong type of debt. In an ideal situation, you will want your debt to be productive and if you have planned how your cash flow will be affected, then you can have a clear understanding of how purchasing that next investment will affect your lifestyle. Productive debt in our eyes can be used as an advantage to buy an asset or generate income such as rental income.
Understanding your loan strategy
If you are looking to invest in multiple properties, we think it’s important to understand the short and long term perspective of property ownership. You have to think about how this next loan or investment is going to influence your life and your cash flow as well as what the situation might look like with your third or fourth investment. We say this as it can really make a difference in the type of property you purchase in the first place.
Think about how positively or negatively geared loans will affect what you purchase or how you live in the future. It may seem odd to be thinking so far in advance, but we think it is important to really understand your financial situation and also the results you would like to achieve as a property investor.
This is where we think it is important to be surround by the right advice. The right financial advisor for you will be able to help you plan the various scenarios to suit your end goal – after all everyone has different goals in their lives.
25 June 2018
Many investors steer clear of vacant land because they mistakenly believe they can’t claim interest repayments on it.
In fact, the biggest thing that most accountants get wrong when advising clients on vacant land is that the interest component on it isn’t tax deductible.
I’ve had many arguments with many accountants about this topic over the years!
The key component is the clear intent to build a property within a reasonable timeframe. If the investor was audited, the investor would need to prove that the timeframe – whether it’s a few weeks or months – was necessary to enable to construct the investment property.
I’ve heard this ‘non-advice’ so many times over the years and that’s why it’s so important that you get advice from a property accountant with a strong understanding of the relevant legislation.
Which land is best?
With vacant land, there are a number of different strategies that you could implement.
The first one is residential land that is being carved up by a developer, but you buy before the titles for each individual block have been registered. Effectively, you’re buying land off the plan, but it’s important to understand that there are pros and cons to this strategy.
The pro is that if it’s in a high-demand area and you’ve bought during the early stages of development, you tend to make some money. You also generally only need to put down a few hundred or thousand dollars as the deposit. Naturally, because you are very much dependent on how fast the developer can register each block, you’re at the whim of the market, which can be a con. For example, in my portfolio, I once bought 18 blocks of land that were not yet registered.
In fact, registration wasn’t supposed to happen for another two years. However, it happened in just eight months and I wasn’t ready. So all of a sudden I had 18 parcels of land that I had to settle on, but I didn’t have my finance organised.
After discussing it with the developer, I ended up settling on four of them and he released the other 14 back to the market, which worked out well for him because the market had improved.
So, if the land is registered well ahead of time, you can be left scrambling.
On the other hand, if registration takes longer than expected, the market could have slowed down. Like any off-the-plan project, you only need one bad valuation to negatively impact
the entire subdivision or development. Plus, everyone will be building at the same time, which means you’re competing for trades and will likely be finished at the same time, too, and that means a strong likelihood of softer prices.
What about greenfield and infill sites?
When I say greenfield sites, I mean blocks of rural land that you intend to rezone for residential usage. Now this is a strategy for more advanced investors because there is more risk as well as a higher financial component required for earthworks and approval costs. Greenfield sites can be bought for an affordable price, but if you can’t get the subdivision approved you need to have the money behind you to fight all your way up to the Environment Court if necessary.
A better strategy is to target infill sites within already established residential areas.
In this scenario, you buy a larger block of land, usually with a house on it, to carve off the land at the back or the side to sell as vacant or with a new property on it.
The other option is to subdivide, then construct a new dwelling and then keep both. Infill developments can also lean towards knocking the old house down, splitting the block into two and selling the vacant land, or building two houses or even multiples. It must always come back to whether there is a market for your project and whether the numbers add up, because you must take into account all of the costs on the way in and on the way out.
That way you can make an educated decision whether to keep holding long term or take your profits to invest elsewhere.
Whichever strategy you choose, you must do your figures on the worst-case scenario to see if it adds up. That’s because land generally has a lower, or no yield to start off with, which means your holding costs can be higher than with a house, for example.
At the end of the day, vacant land as a strategy, does work. You just need to have your eyes wide open to ensure your figures are correct and you must understand that it might be a while before income rolls in.
Finally, it goes without saying that you must get tax advice from a specialist accountant who understands property. If you don’t, you could end up with pockets just as vacant as the land you’re investing in.
29 August 2017
Have you ever wondered how property investors seem to keep buying properties without saving up for years to put down a deposit? It’s because they’re using a tactic called leverage: using the equity generated by the rising value of an existing property to purchase a new one. This property then grows in value, allowing the investor to repeat the process and buy again.
Sounds good in theory, but is it all it’s cracked up to be?
How leverage works
Leverage is a simple concept. It’s borrowing to increase the potential return of an investment. Taking out a mortgage to buy a home is a form of leverage.
Leveraging the equity in an existing property – whether a home or an investment – depends on the value of that property growing while the size of the mortgage reduces or stays the same. For example:
- You buy a property for $400,000, putting down a 20 per cent deposit ($80,000) and borrowing the remaining 80 per cent ($320,000)
- Over time, the property increases in value by $100,000. The 80 per cent mortgage would now only be 64 per cent of the property value – or less if you’re paying off the principal as well as the interest.
- You refinance, increasing your mortgage up to 80 per cent of $500,000. You create a cash pool of $80,000, which can be used as a deposit to buy an investment property
Property investor and mortgage broker Jane Slack-Smith of Investors Choice Mortgages highlights a number of benefits to this strategy.
“Using equity in this way minimises risk by keeping your cash in your pocket – you’re not using your cash reserves,” says Slack-Smith. “It also takes a long time to save cash – say, five years to save $100,000. In that time, property values are likely to increase faster than the interest on your savings.
“By using equity in an existing property, you can get into the market today and buy at today’s prices, benefiting from the coming years’ growth.”
There are risks to leveraging equity to buy investment properties. First and foremost, you have to be certain that you can service all the mortgages you’re taking out, otherwise you could lose some or all of your assets. Researching potential purchases thoroughly is essential to avoiding a bad investment, says Slack-Smith.
“Leveraging equity doesn’t relinquish you of the responsibility of researching before buying an investment property. You should ensure that you have a clear strategy – flipping or buying to hold – as well as ensure you’re buying in a good suburb.”
You could also end up being plagued by cross-collateralisation if you’re not careful. This is where lenders use equity in more than one property to secure the loan. While it may allow you to borrow more in the short term, in the long term it could hinder your empire-building plans.
“Cross-collateralisation reduces your flexibility. If you want to draw out equity from an investment property in a few years, it means the bank may refinance your entire portfolio, rather than just one property.”
Depending on how individual property values have changed, that could mean you’d be unable to access any equity. While cross-collateralised loans can be disentangled, it can take up to six months.
Plan of attack
It’s essential that you plan ahead before you start refinancing. A good mortgage broker should be able to help you with this process.
“It’s important to have a clear initial plan of how you’re going to set out your finances. If you plan to buy two properties, ensure you have enough equity to cover the deposit, stamp duty and buyer’s agent fees for both purchases.”
Slack-Smith recommends setting up individual loan splits against your first property that will only be used to finance the purchasing of further properties. The interest on those splits should also be tax-deductible, as long as those splits are only used for investment purposes. She also recommends setting up the splits as lines of credit, rather than as a conventional mortgage.
“A line of credit is usually a little bit more expensive, but it’s like a big credit card – you don’t pay for what you don’t use. Just be disciplined and don’t use them to finance new cars or holidays!”
Leveraging equity growth in your existing properties can help you build a property empire faster – as long as you set it up correctly from day one and do your research. Otherwise, you could find your portfolio collapsing faster than a house of cards.
07 June 2017
There are fears the launch of a “rent bidding” app will push Aussie rents up even higher. Photo: Jim Rice
Following a lengthy period of falling rents and sharply rising vacancy rates, early signs are now emerging that the Perth rental market may be steadying.
Latest Domain data reports that the median asking rent for a Perth house over April remained at $360 per week, the same as reported over the previous month. Although steady over the month, Perth house rents are 10.0 per cent lower than recorded over April 2016.
Median asking rents for units were also steady at $300 per week over the month but similar to house rents have fallen sharply over the past year – down by 14.3 per cent.
Similar to rents, Perth vacancy rates have also stabilised over April at 3.9 per cent for houses and for units down from 4.2 percent recorded over March to 4.1 per cent. Total vacancy rates for both houses and units combined fell to 3.9 per cent over the month which was the lowest result since March 2016.
Although rents and vacancy rates have steadied over the past month, Perth remains the most tenant-friendly mainland capital with relatively low rents and a wide choice of available homes. By contrast, vacancy rates in most other capitals are generally tight and tightening for both houses and units.
Sydney remains the most expensive capital for tenants with a median asking weekly rent over April of $550 for both units and houses. This is an increase of 3.8 per cent for each over the past year and 52.8 per cent higher than Perth for houses and remarkably 83.3 per cent higher for units.
For more information on property management contact Ron Padua on 0404 428 843 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
18 May 2017
Author: Rachel Preston-Bidwell via reiwa.com.au
Renting out your property for a reasonable price and turning it into a successful investment can be challenging, especially in the current market. We share some tips on how to make improvements to your home to get a tenant in as quickly as possible and obtain a rent price that works for both parties.
1. Make some home improvements
If your investment property is a little older, it may benefit from some low-cost cosmetic renovations, including:
- A coat of paint
- New blinds or curtains
- Fresh carpets
- Updated/modern light fittings
Freshening up your rental property and repairing any damages can make a big difference to a prospective tenant.
You may also wish to consider installing features such as air conditioning, security screens or an alarm. These types of items can potentially add value to your property and also be an attractive incentive to a tenant.
Read more about the features tenants want in a rental.
2. Consider tenants with pets
Many landlords won’t allow tenants with pets, so those who are willing to be pet friendly are at a particular advantage and can potentially attract a higher rent return.
If you are concerned about a pet damaging the house, talk to your property manager about a pet bond, in addition to your main bond, to cover fumigation costs if required at the end of the tenancy.
3. Speak to a property manager
Property managers have a good understanding of the rental market, including the types of properties in demand in a particular area and the going rent prices.
Speak to a local property manager for recommendations on rent and even about what improvements you could make to your investment property. They can also help ensure you don’t overcapitalise on your rental, by recommending what improvements are sought after by tenants and what to avoid.
If you’re looking to rent out your property, speak to us on (08) 9475 9622 or email email@example.com
10 May 2017
Perth’s property market continues to encourage first home buyers, with the latest preliminary data for the March quarter 2017 revealing the bulk of transactions occurred within the $400,000 to $450,000 price range.
REIWA President Hayden Groves said market conditions in the March quarter highlighted that housing affordability remains an east coast issue.
“While the dream of home ownership is becoming increasingly difficult in some parts of Australia, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, this isn’t the case in Perth.
“First home buyers remain active and continue to take advantage of improved affordability and choice in the market to secure a property that meets their needs. These factors, combined with record low interest rates, makes for positive buying conditions for those looking for a first home,” Mr Groves said.
Median house and unit price
Perth’s median house price slipped back over the quarter, with the preliminary median coming in at $505,000 for the three months to March 2017.
“This softening in median price is due to the ongoing trend of comparatively more transactions occurring in the lower end of the market, with fewer sales of properties in the $700,000 to $1.5 million price range. However, once all transactions have been accounted for, it’s likely the median will lift to around $517,000, just shy of December’s quarterly median,” Mr Groves said.
Perth’s preliminary median unit price held up reasonably well over the quarter, coming in at $411,750 for the three months to March 2017.
“In the unit market, although there were more transactions occurring in the $350,000 to $450,000 price range, early indications suggest there was also a boost in volumes between $600,000 and $1 million, which has kept the unit median strong over the quarter,” Mr Groves said.
The preliminary total dwelling sales figure for WA came in at 6,496 for the three months to March 2017.
Mr Groves said this figure was below the revised December quarter 2016 sales figure, which wasn’t unusual.
“Although preliminary total WA dwelling sales figures are down compared to the December quarter, once all transactions for the March quarter have been recorded, we expect this figure to lift to approximately 8,500, putting this quarter’s activity levels on par with the December 2016 quarterly figures.
“Additionally, early indicators suggest a rebound in house sales in the Perth metro area for the March quarter, with transactions expected to lift to around 6,500. This would put house sales volumes in the Perth metro region for the March quarter up significantly higher than the December quarter 2016 and marginally above the same time last year.
“These stable, moderately improving market conditions provide for equitable buying and selling conditions for both buyers and sellers,” Mr Groves said.
Listings for sale
Listings for sale in Perth increased over the quarter, sitting at 14,845 at the end of March 2017.
“It’s common for listings to rebound in the March quarter following the seasonal dip in listings over the festive period. This quarter’s listings figure is similar to levels experienced in the latter half of last year.
“Stock levels have been well controlled with total listings having declined by 2.7 per cent compared to the March quarter 2016,” Mr Groves said.
Average selling days and discounting
On average, it took vendors 70 days to sell their property in the March quarter.
Mr Groves said the proportion of vendors needing to discount their asking price held steady over the quarter at 55 per cent.
“We’ve also seen an improvement in the amount vendors are having to discount by, with figures revealing the average discount had fallen to 6.4 per cent in the March quarter, from seven per cent in the December quarter 2016,” Mr Groves said.
03 May 2017
Christina Zhou via domain.com.au
- Worst house on the best street taking up the best spot
- Buying the best or worst house on a block
- Off-the-plan buyers seeing losses and lacklustre growth
Buying the worst house on the best street is a classic real estate adage, but it could be among the worst investment advice for those who don’t do their due diligence.
Crumbling houses being marketed as a “renovator’s delight” or a “blank canvas” may appear to be a bargain or an entry in to the area, but it might also require a buyer with deep pockets to do a thorough update.
Wakelin Property Advisory Richard Wakelin said buyers who purchase the worst house on the best street might need to spend a lot of money on rewiring, restumping, re-roofing or re-plumbling. The property might have “hidden costs” and also unfixable issues such as backing onto apartments or light industrial-type property, he said.
Tax depreciation and stamp duty concessions should not be the main considerations for buying an investment. Photo: Jessica Shapiro
“It definitely falls into the lure of a renovator’s delight, and most people get badly caught out by what they have to do to get the foundations of the actual building right,” Mr Wakelin said.
Some property advisers point to seemingly attractive tax advantages and stamp duty concessions that come with buying off-the-plan, but buyers who overlook other fundamentals could find themselves stumbling into an investment pit hole.
Investor Neda Tesic, 32, was encourage by her ex-partner and a former financial advisor to buy an off-the-plan two-bedroom apartment in Maidstone, about eight kilometres west of Melbourne’s CBD.
High rental yields could mask the property’s scarcity value. Photo: Peter Riches
She sold the property in 2015 for less than what she bought it for in 2008, during which house prices in the suburb took off.
“[They] talked about depreciation and I just took it for what it was, not realising the full story; in terms of how inflated it would be,” said Ms Tesic, who works in sales for an accounting software company. “It was so hard to get tenants in there as well because there were so many other apartments in the area.
“It was a very expensive lesson,” Ms Tesic said, adding that she would now take more time to research and look at comparable sales in the area.
Experts say time in the market is key. Photo: Simon Bosch
Mr Wakelin said many poorly performing properties were marketed with tax advantages as their main selling point.
Tax attractions such as gearing strategies, depreciation allowances and stamp duty savings might assist the financing of an investment in early years, he added, but they should not be the primary reason to invest, because too often they mask the property’s scarcity value and propensity for capital growth.
While some investors try to time the market, many property experts argue it is better to buy when you can afford it.
“Time in the market” rather than “market timing” was the key, but investors needed to do their research very thoroughly, Mr Wakelin said. “Procrastination is the greatest thief of time.”
An investment offering high rental yields could also raise a red flag.
Allen Wargent Property Buyers principal Pete Wargent said the worst investments over the past decade in Australia had been those where people had focused on the rental yields to the exclusion of almost everything else.
Though mining towns offered rental yields of 15 per cent or more during the mining boom until 2012, it reflected the risk in the asset, he said.
“A lot of people have been badly hurt, particularly since 2012, and I think some of the high-profile locations that have been hit have been small mining towns, but even in some larger areas like Gladstone have had some severe corrections.
“That’s probably been the worst advice in Australia over the last 10 years.”
Sydney buyers’ agent Victor Kumar, director of Right Property Group, said one of his bad investments was a serviced apartment he bought in 2009, with the intention of hosting friends and family and using it as a holiday pad.
Though the gross rent could look really attractive, a lot it goes into the letting fee and running costs, Mr Kumar said, adding that serviced apartments were also very seasonal.