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Office shot
Dougmal Harcourts - The Property People

Friday, 13 June 2014

Property Investment 101

Property investment can be financially rewarding, however, before investing you first need have a clear idea of what you want to achieve.

What’s the best investment choice? Established property, off-the-plan, newly built, or a property with potential to grow in value immediately after renovation?

On paper new property often seems to tick more boxes, but the best answer is "it depends". The right investment choice is dependent on each individual's investment goals and their stage in life.

There are many articles and books out there that claim to have “the secrets to successful property investment”. There are no secrets – you just have to know all the facts, do your due diligence, know your numbers, and know what your own investment goals are.

Established property can have an edge on capital growth, but new properties bring the benefits of depreciation, which can help investors with cash flow.

At present, the government also has incentives in place to stimulate new housing – so this should also be taken into consideration.

If cash flow, rather than capital growth is your priority, then finding a positively geared property is what you’re after. Positively geared properties are those that produce more investment income (i.e. rent) than the interest expense (and other deductions). Yes, these are a little harder to find, but still possible.

A common strategy is to buy something established that generates a good rental income as well as good capital growth (which you then tap into to buy a second property). This means you are not under too much strain to service your loans.

Some experts believe that capital growth should be an investors’ priority. They believe it’s buying the right property at the right location that's going to make you money, and not the odd dollar that you save in your income tax.

Only about 15 per cent of investors buy a property to add value. Renovating suits experienced renovators or investors who are not desperate for rental income on settlement. Properties can be vacant for months during renovation and you have got to take that into account.

While renovating a property can increase its capital growth and rental yield, investors should be aware that the interest payments made when their property is being renovated are not tax-deductible, because the property is not available for rent. Instead, that period of interest payments is added to the property's capital value and is deducted from any capital gain when the property is sold.

It’s important for all investors to collect all the facts, and in most cases gain some financial advice before investing in property. Not doing all the work up front can result in a disappointing investment.

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