REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT INDUSTRY UPDATE JULY 2016
Here’s a snapshot of what’s included in this month’s update. Click on the links to go directly to the article.
- NATHAN’S UPDATE: HOW HEALTHY IS YOUR PORTFOLIO?
- LEGAL UPDATE: VENDORS NOW REQUIRED TO PROVIDE A CLEAR LAND TAX CERTIFICATE
- ACCOUNTING UPDATE: PREPARE YOURSELF TO LODGE YOUR TAX RETURN
- FINANCE UPDATE: DEBT CONSOLIDATION, WHAT YOU SHOULD CONSIDER
- PROPERTY MANAGEMENT UPDATE: AVOID MID-YEAR VACANCIES FOR BEST RESULTS
- FINANCIAL PLANNING UPDATE: BREXIT SHOCKED INTERNATIONAL MARKETS
NATHAN’S UPDATE: HOW HEALTHY IS YOUR PORTFOLIO?
From a young age I wanted to make millions through property. I had a goal of 25 by 25 but I didn’t let my ambition blind me. I understood the importance of building a healthy foundation portfolio first, so I didn’t bite off more than I could chew while still making quick progress.
You’d think that at 200 + properties my portfolio is pretty healthy right? I would definitely hope so! That’s a lot of different moving parts. I can’t afford to just hold on and hope that they keep spinning until I get to where I want to be.
So I make sure to have regular reviews with my success team of financial planners, accountants, finance specialists and property managers. I may be good at making property deals happen, but I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for the support of my success team who make sure my portfolio is always optimised.
Reviewing your portfolio is essential to making sure it is on track to help you achieve your financial goals which is why we are now offering a portfolio review package for $1,900.
THE PACKAGE INCLUDES:
• RP Data reports on all your properties
• Rental review on all your properties
• Review Session With An Accountant
• Review Session With A Property Investing Finance Specialist
• Review Session With A Financial Planner
Get in touch with us to find out more about this package CLICK HERE.
LEGAL UPDATE: VENDORS NOW REQUIRED TO PROVIDE A CLEAR LAND TAX CERTIFICATE
The government introduced new laws on July 1, in an effort to plug more holes in the leaky property tax bucket. Vendors now need to provide land tax clearance certificates to purchasers when selling a property. Up until this point, it was the purchaser’s responsibility to obtain a clear certificate, the new laws place the responsibility on the vendor to have no outstanding land tax on a property at the time of sale.
It may seem trivial, however, this change will help the government collect information around property sales such as price, the vendors share of ownership, tenancy, country of citizenship etc. whereas up until this point they only had visibility of the buyers details. Previously sellers could potentially avoid paying land or capital gains tax by not voluntarily disclosing the liability.
ACCOUNTING UPDATE: PREPARE YOURSELF TO LODGE YOUR TAX RETURN
One thing about property ownership is a certainty, and that is reporting on your tax return. Property can be used effectively as a tax minimisation tool for many investors and some utilise it as a finance tool for their future purchases. Either way, it’s important to make sure that you are capturing and reporting everything you should about your property when completing your return.
The investors who make the most of tax time opportunities are the ones who have carefully spent the time arranging and organising their paperwork. This aspect of property investing can be the most difficult or disliked but it is certainly integral to optimising your portfolio financially.
Good organisation means you are claiming as much as you can against your property to help with your tax optimisation, or showing the banks that your portfolio is performing well to help access more finance. Without the paperwork you are essentially costing yourself money, either by not having as efficient a tax return as possible or not getting future lending!
We think that keeping a spreadsheet, folder or simply a digital copy of everything you have can easily and effectively capture all the costs and incidentals.
Here is a list of things to check your bookkeeping against before you visit your accountant.
• Agent’s statement
• Interest statements
• Council rates
• Water rates
• Strata levies
• Travel (property visits)
• Depreciation reports (if applicable)
• Lender Mortgage Insurance costs
• Settlement charges
• Bank fees on investment property accounts
• Research tools and subscriptions
FINANCE UPDATE: DEBT CONSOLIDATION, WHAT YOU SHOULD CONSIDER
No doubt you’ve heard or seen ads where companies promise to clean your financial slate and wipe away your debts through debt consolidation. Well, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Debt consolidation should not be confused with debt elimination!
Debt consolidation is where you transfer your personal of credit card debt into your mortgage, with the advantage that you only have to make one repayment. You can spread the repayments out over a longer term and the interest rates are probably lower. On the surface it seems like you’ve magically removed your credit card, HECS/HELP or car debt, however, in reality, you’ve just swept it under a very big rug called your mortgage.
Debt consolidation does have its appropriate time and place, however, there are very good reasons to avoid the temptation if you are interested in investing in property. Consolidating debt into your mortgage may push your loan to value below the critical value of 80 per cent required to withdraw equity. It is important to plan out your goals and communicate them with your financial planner and broker. A good broker may be able to assist through correctly structuring your loans, consolidating debts or even negotiating a lower rate and repayments, freeing up your cash flow if this is in line with your goals and investment strategy.
Below are a few things to keep in mind if you are considering consolidating your debts;
Unused Credit Card Limits: The bank will assess your debt obligations based on your overall credit card limit, not just the amount owing. For example, a $10,000 card assessed at 2.5 per cent would add $250 per month to your assessed expenses, whether there is any money owing or not. It’s best to avoid having excess credit available if you don’t plan on using it.
Keep on top of your repayments: Most lenders require 6 months of statements with a timely repayment history before they consider consolidating your debt into a mortgage. After all, they want assurance that you can pay them back.
Keep a good credit score: There is an increasing emphasis on having a good credit score these days. There are services available online which will provide you with your credit score. It’s worth knowing what the lender will see when they pull up your score and what you may be able to improve it.
Have your paperwork in order. By practising good record keeping and summarising all your incomings and outgoings the banks will be able to clearly assess your situation, giving you the best chance of a favourable outcome. Keep a separate folder updated with your most current documents such as payslips, bank statements, rental statements etc.
PROPERTY MANAGEMENT UPDATE: AVOID MID-YEAR VACANCIESS FOR BEST RESULTS
While mid-year might be a time when many naturally take a look at their finances and decide to shake off the dust, they are much less likely to do the same with their wider life in general. The end of the year is when people are most likely making big changes in their life such as relocating where they live. So if summer is a peak time of demand for properties including rentals, it would stand to reason that mid-year is probably the lowest. In fact, this is exactly what we have observed.
December through to February is the peak enquiry period for rental properties managed by Blink Property, with some properties lasting as little as a few hours before being tenanted. However, we see that enquiry rates drop down by as much as 50 per cent at this time of year, and vacancy periods can be up to 2 – 3 weeks due to low renter demand and an abundance of supply.
You don’t need stats to know that it’s best to list a property while enquiry is high (by the way, the stats do show higher rents are achieved in these conditions). If vacancies are low you will gain more in rent as the demand is high. Vacancy rates are an extremely important factor when looking at the revenue your investment property will achieve.
During the down time where vacancies are high and enquiries is low, owners often are faced with a double-edged sword. The rents are often reduced in order to get the property tenanted, meanwhile, there is an oversupply of properties meaning it takes longer to secure a tenant.
Your lease renewal timeframes play a vital role in ensuring you get the best from your investment. To the extent which you are able to control, you should be advertising your properties for lease only at the most favourable times of the year. Your agent should ensure that lease renewals and consequent potential vacancies don’t needlessly fall within quiet periods when there is a trend of high vacancies and low enquiries.
FINANCIAL PLANNING UPDATE: BREXIT SHOCKED INTERNATIONAL MARKETS
Britain’s overnight decision to leave the European Union or ‘Brexit’ sent shockwaves through international stock, commodity and currency markets as businesses, banks and investors scrambled to re-evaluate their positions and minimise their exposure to the possible negative side effects. The decision by the British people to withdraw may have taken markets by surprise, yet, it did not occur in a vacuum.
There were a number of global social and economic trends which triggered the vote;
• Large scale migration within Europe (East to West) as well as to Europe from within Africa and the Middle East has created nationalist tensions and an ‘us’ vs ‘them’ mentality.
• A long-running trend of international economic integration (Globalisation) has transformed trade by removing the red tape around trade, capital, and labour movements, creating a pressure cooker of angst amongst workers over job security and financial regression.
• Weak political and financial representation from the European Union left the region ill-equipped to combat the fallout of the GFC, without a currency devaluation pressure release valve.
• Dissatisfaction and anger at the unelected bureaucrats within the European Union Commission who seemed out of touch with the voter’s plight and merely represented the interests of the ‘elite’.
So what happens now? Britain is now a small, open economy that is heavily reliant on foreign capital to finance its large current account deficit. The Brexit is an unprecedented situation, and markets don’t know exactly what to expect or how to react. The only thing that is certain is that there will be a period of instability until Britain finds an equilibrium in its new identity.
So, is it a good idea to be investing in the share market at this time? While it may be tempting to sell up and run for the hills, it’s worth remembering that these times also represent some of the best wealth creation opportunities. Shares represent an ownership in real assets and in corporations that have human and financial resources at their disposal, they can adapt to new threats and opportunities. Unlike bonds or cash, businesses are dynamic living organisms that are driven by growth and survival. Even in environments like we see now, good businesses have numerous opportunities to grow and thrive while rewarding their shareholders.
While bonds or cash have often been seen as safe alternatives to the volatility of the share market, they also entail risks. The interests of anyone holding these assets are completely opposed to those of the government who are in a position to dictate your return. Essentially, you are betting that the government will act in your best interest and not that of the electorate.
Now would be a good time to sit with your financial advisor and reassess your investment position against your goals and the new opportunities and risks present in the market.
This communication has been prepared on a general advice basis only. The information has not been prepared to take into account your specific objectives, needs, and financial situation. The information may not be appropriate to your individual needs and you should seek advice from your financial adviser before making any investment decisions.