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Property Investment Articles

Monday, March 07, 2011
This article describes the FOURTH ELEMENT of the SEVEN  elements to building a successful property portfolio so that you can reach your financial goals sooner”

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4. The Right Property – “How to buy the right property at the right time in the right location in less than 5-minutes

“How to buy the right property at the right time in the right location in less than 5-minutes”

Sourcing the Right Property:

Once you have decided the Right strategy, organized the Right finance and sought the Right tax advice you then need to source the Right Property.

This can be an extraordinarily time-consuming, complex and confusing process. You can do it yourself if you have ample, and I mean ample spare time to spend hours upon hours every night and weekend researching and ensuring that you are completing your due diligence. You will need to research:

•       the best states to invest in all across Australia
•       the best suburbs within those states
•       the best streets in those areas
•      the demographics (in relation to those in the area – their age, sex, marital status, average income, family size and
Whether they are renters or owners – both now and predicted)
•       the capital growth of the area – both now and predicted
•       the average rent of the area – both now and predicted
•       the infrastructure of the area – both now and predicted
•       the government zonings of the area (now and planned changes)
•       the government’s plans for development of roads, hospitals, schools, shopping centers, etc
•       the government’s planned changes or improvements to surrounding roads, highways and suburbs
•       plus many, many more factors

Once you have researched all of the above and you are sure that you have located the right area of Australia to invest in, you will then need to contact all the local real estate agents, set aside a few weeks of your time, try to arrange all of these agents to show you the stock they have on hand at that time and hope you can find a property that meets your criteria during this time, otherwise you will need to re-book the trip and go again when new stock reaches the market…

…or you can simply use a property buyer’s agent service or a property aggregator…

 What is a buyer’s agent or property aggregate? 
You need impartial, independent and reliable advice in order to be successful at property investment and that’s precisely what buyers’ agents and property aggregators are in the business of providing.

‘Buyer’s agents work for the buyer NOT the seller’.

Imagine that instead of having to contact heaps of different real estate agents and developers and then having to sift through all of the competing and contradictory information they give you, imagine if you could contact just one agent and they would do all the running around for you.  They would contact many different vendors, real estate agents, developers, etc and, after determining what your needs and wants are, they will then present a summary of the best options available on the market at the moment that suit YOUR NEEDS. 

That’s what Buyer’s agents or Property Aggregators’ do. They work for you.

They provide market analysis and identification of growth areas in the capital city markets. They identify, source and negotiate specific investment properties in keeping with market conditions and the client’s requirements. Clients are provided with recommendations in a written report covering:

•       indicative investment cash flows
•       detailed market demographics and commentary
•       specific property recommendations
•       property plans, ,photos, specifications etc
•       full financial spreadsheets
•       assisting clients with the inspection and purchase of appropriate investment properties
•       negotiation of purchase price
•       coordination of the purchase process and ongoing client support

 What to look for in a buyers agent

Independence is the number one factor. Ask them if they:

•   Sell more than one product from more than one           developer
•       Have access to all of the fast-growing states of Australia.
•       Are knowledgeable about investment strategies.
•       Are experienced in property investment. Do they walk their talk? Ask them, “How many properties do you own?” Don’t be afraid to interrogate them. It’s your money they will be spending so you need to ensure you are 100% comfortable with their knowledge and experience.
•       Have access to every other specialty field necessary to help you complete the transaction, that is:                                          
1.      property strategists
2.      a finance team
3.      tax advisors
4.      property managers
5.      life coaches
“A really good buyer’s agent is knowledgeable about most mainstream investment strategies. They have an understanding of what the client’s needs are on a more personal level with regard to their goals, strategies and fears. They have the ability to ‘hear’ the client’s views and to take them and turn them into fully-realized achievements.”

Why use a buyer’s agent?

In a nutshell, because they save you the time you would otherwise spend researching. They save you the cost of the trips (all of which are non-tax deductible as you haven’t selected a property yet). AND THEY ALLOW YOU TO SLEEP AT NIGHT because you have done your due diligence by focusing on selecting the right buyer’s agent, trusting them to select the right property.

Buyer’s agents are experienced professionals who buy properties on behalf of clients on a daily basis. They have extensive contacts and have many buying strategies at their disposal. In other words;
‘They take a client’s request and apply their experienced strategies to deliver the best result for that client. You wouldn’t ask a boxer to do brain surgery…why not use an expert property sleuth to find the right investment for you?’

  An example of this is my own experience with buying a property in Frankston, Victoria and Springfield, Queensland.  For the Frankston property, my husband and I spent hours researching, calling agents, comparing properties on the internet, etc. Then we took four days off work, flew to Melbourne and spent four solid days in a hire-car looking at as many properties as possible. Our heads were spinning and we had no real idea of what we were doing. In the end, we spent $3,500 on the trip (not to mention the cost of four days off work and countless hours of research) and simply wanted to buy something…anything…so we didn’t have to do it again. So we bought the best of a bad lot and hoped for the best.

When we decided to buy in Queensland, we hired a buyer’s agent, accepted his recommendations and signed on the dotted line. To this day, we have not even seen this property and it has performed far better than the Frankston one.

I used to think I knew it all and could do it all myself. Now I realize it is far more appropriate and time-saving to pay the experts to do what the experts do best – allowing me to do what I do best – advising others on tax and finance strategies.

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Property Investment Articles

Monday, March 07, 2011
This article describes the FIFTH ELEMENT of the SEVEN  elements to building a successful property portfolio so that you can reach your financial goals sooner”

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5. The Right Management – “How to have a remote control property portfolio which means no rental headaches for the  lifetime of the ownership of the property”

The Right Management

 “How to have a remote control property portfolio which means no rental headaches, ever, guaranteed”

What if I were to suggest that you don’t have to worry about late rents? Or no rents? That’s right – we can find you properties with guaranteed rent for 10 years without excessive management fees and restrictive clauses locking you in for the whole period. But oops…! This is a secret I shouldn’t be revealing!

Why Use a Property Manager?

  “It’s crucial that your investment property is well-managed and that you choose a good property manager. Effective property management is the key to protecting your asset. Remember, it’s not just a property, it’s a significant investment and you want it well looked after. You want its value to remain high and you want the best rental return on your investment.”

 Some landlords try to manage their investment property themselves. Sometimes this works OK. However, there can be many pitfalls. We have found from our experience that a good property manager is worth their weight in gold in looking after our investment and saving us hassle.

A good property manager will excel in the following:

– Marketing your investment properly to get the maximum exposure to the right kinds of tenants. Effective marketing is a key factor in ensuring your property is not left vacant.

Legal requirements
– Being fully aware of all legal requirements and ensuring that all requirements of government legislation relevant to your investment property are complied with – advising you on your rights and obligations.

Your rent
– Consistently monitoring market trends for rental returns and ensuring your investment is getting the highest possible rental return – regular rental reviews – ensuring tenants pay the rent on time.

Tenant selection
– Ensuring the best quality tenant for your investment property – following strict and professional guidelines in
tenant selection, including checking references, employment stability and proof that the tenant is capable of paying the rent and a proven quality in their previous rental history.

Agreement preparation
– Arranging the preparation and signing of the residential tenancy agreement and lodging the rental bond.

Tenant management
– Ensuring the tenant is well educated in the terms of the residential tenancy agreement and that the terms of the tenancy agreement are complied with
– Building a good relationship with the tenant – a happy tenant is a tenant who stays and who will contact their property manager immediately with any issues.
– Acting as a negotiator in any disputes between tenant and landlord. A good property manager can ensure that most disputes between landlords and tenants are solved before they escalate.

Rent collection
– Providing a good range of options for tenants to pay their rent – requiring tenants to pay rent in advance – daily
monitoring of incoming rentals – having zero tolerance for any rental delays.

Looking after your investment
– Knowing your property, inside out – conducting regular inspections of your property (as per the legislation) and forwarding you a written report on its condition and any maintenance that may be needed.
– Conducting regular external surveillance of the property to assess the external appearance and to ensure its being well-maintained.
– Giving you feedback to help you budget for larger items of expenditure that may be required – providing an after-hours contact for emergencies.

– Communicating well with you on your investment.

Saving you hassle
– No need for you to interact with your tenant at all – paying bills for you – invoicing tenants for user-pays water costs – monitoring and handling any maintenance required, obtaining quotes, dealing with trades people, ensuring the job is well done – providing statements for your tax return.

And if you decide to refresh your investment portfolio
– Liaising with your tenant and your real estate agent to make the sales process easier, smoother and faster – or liaising with your mortgage broker regarding access for valuation purposes, all making things easier for you to refresh your portfolio.

The Right Management solution is one of the most important strings to your investment bow. The management of your property ensures that your investment is being looked after in all aspects. The property manager makes sure that your interests are looked after priority number one! Diligent property management will ensure that your investment property is always tenanted with only top quality tenants.
The point is that the Right Management is the tool that allows you to have a safe worry-free investment solution that is truly ‘Set and Forget’.

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Property Investment Articles

Monday, March 07, 2011

This article describes the ninth strategy of nine property investment strategies.

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Strategy 9 – Guaranteed Leasebacks


A genuine guaranteed leaseback is a rare thing. If you can find one it can be an outstanding way of ensuring your ‘sleep-at-night’ factor. The biggest fears in property investing are; “What if I can’t find a tenant?” and “What if my tenant doesn’t pay their rent?”

A genuine guaranteed leaseback can take both of these fears away as the guarantor pays you your rent regardless of whether the property is tenanted or whether the tenant is paying the rent.

You can therefore rest easy knowing that your rent will be coming in to cover your mortgage, each and every month.


Well… don’t get me started on this one or I will go on for pages! In a nutshell:

There have been many fly-by-night companies predominantly based in Queensland who flew around the country hosting free property information sessions and drawing innocent investors in through mass telemarketing and promises of free holidays for their attendance. Then the holiday turned out to be a property tour, free of course, as long as they viewed the properties whilst they were there. The organizers then convinced the innocent investors to purchase the properties through ‘rental guarantees’ that sounded too good to be true.

And yes, they were too good to be true.

In some cases, the company went into liquidation straight after completing the final sales. Of course, this meant that the guarantee wasn’t worth the paper it was written on. Alternatively, the cost of the guarantee to the company was simply embedded in an inflated price for the property. At the expiration of the guarantee the investor found that they

could not rent their property for anywhere near as much as was predicted. Further, there was never any real tenant in their property. The company had simply used the inflated profits to pay the rent to the investor for the promised period.

Worse still, there were now hundreds of vacant properties in the area all on the market for rent at the same time. And to add insult to injury, investors who couldn’t afford to keep the property now that the rent was substantially less than predicted, tried to sell their property only to find that it was worth considerably less than what they had paid in the first place.

Once again, do your due diligence:
•       Ensure the properties are not over-inflated to compensate for the rental guarantee.  For example, are you able to buy the property on the open market, or from the developer for the same price without the rental guarantee?

•       Ask the guarantor, “What’s the catch?” There must be something in it for the guarantor or they wouldn’t do it. Ask them, “How do you make your money?”
•       Check or  and ensure the predicted rental is in line with the current market rental.
•       Check that the company offering the guarantee has been in business for a considerable length of time.
•       Check the company has a sound reputation. ‘Google’ the company name and you will reveal any ‘dirt’ or dissatisfied customers.
•       Ensure the rental management fee is in line with industry norms – around 7–8% depending on the state.
•       Ensure you can withdraw from the leaseback any time you want to in case your circumstances change and you want to sell the property or move into it.
•       Most of all Get professional advice

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Property Investment Articles

Monday, March 07, 2011

This article describes the eight strategy of nine property investment strategies.

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Strategy 8 – House and land packages


Delayed settlement gives you time to get your finances in order and even buy more property than you could afford to in your current situation.

Stamp duty savings as you pay stamp duty on the land component only.
In a moving market, an investor can make a gain on the investment simply by holding it in the period between agreeing to purchase and when construction is complete.

Some investors use this opportunity to buy several ‘off the plan’ developments with a view to selling off some before settlement to pay for the remainder.


Units are subject to the possibility of oversupply in the period between agreeing to purchase and when construction is completed. (avoid this con by sticking to house and land packages, townhouses or unit developments with lower number of units)

You have no control over another 10 apartments blocks going up around yours.

Can become a nightmare if the developer goes into administration before the project is complete.  (avoid this con by ensuring the developer is fully insured).

Low valuations of the final development may lead to additional funds being necessary to complete.  (Avoid this con by obtaining professional advice as to your financial position if this occurred)


“The good news is that a lot of the cons can be extinguished by undertaking the due diligence and research. You need to ensure that the developer has a sound track record of choosing houses in the right location, choosing builders that have stable and profitable track records, and choosing house and land packages instead of units. Land is much more governed by the rules of demand and supply because it is scarce. The closer to a CBD the scarcer it is.”

You also need a really good mortgage broker. House and land contracts and the process itself is fraught with complications and technicalities. You need a broker who is experienced in financing for such developments. See later – how to select a mortgage broker.

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Property Investment Articles

Monday, March 07, 2011

This article describes the sixth strategy of nine property investment strategies.

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Strategy 6 – Buy and flip

This can mean different things to different people but what it usually means is to buy ‘off the plan’ and sell before settlement. Some investors use this strategy to buy a few properties and then sell most of them before settlement. They then apply the profits to reduce the debt on the properties they retain. A fantastic strategy for the experienced investor and it works well in an upward-moving market. However, it can be fraught with danger if the market falls during the construction period and you don’t have the spare resources (cash or equity) to cover the shortfall. It can be a bit like the stock market ‘margin calls’ that are rapidly bringing the share market to a grinding halt.

If you intend to buy and flip it is important to get professional advice to ensure that you can cope with a possible decline in value.  If your financial position is such that you could survive such then the buy and flip strategy can bring some fantastic possibilities.

If you proceed down the buy and flip path (after seeking professional advice) – look for developments with the following criteria:

•       Look for brand new developments
•       Developments that have the longest possible timeframe to completion
•       Projects with Progress payment plan that does not require the bulk of the payment till near the end of construction
•       Be first in – often the best gains are to be made early when the developer needs to sell quickly to meet the banks
‘pre-sales’ requirements.  If you wait till the end – you are only choosing from stock no-one else wanted to buy, and /or the price may have already risen substantially as the developer is no longer in need of a quick sale.
•       Of the other hand, sometimes the final lots are discounted as the developer needs to move them quickly so as to move on to his next project.
•       Just get advice from a food quality buyer’s agent who knows about the development.

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Property Investment Articles

Monday, March 07, 2011

This article describes the fifth strategy of nine property investment strategies.

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Strategy 5 – Buy and build and sell or hold


This strategy is similar to the ‘buy and subdivide and sell’ strategy and once again not for the faint-hearted. On the upside, once again there is profit to be made, particularly for those able to be involved in the building process themselves.


As above for subdivision –tax consequences will be adverse and you will have to become involved not only with councils, surveyors and the like but also with builders, trades-people, suppliers, etc. It could almost be a full-time job, so unless you’re like me and enjoy that sort of thing, I would recommend you stay away from this strategy until you are more experienced.

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Property Investment Articles

Monday, March 07, 2011

This article describes the fourth strategy of nine property investment strategies.

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Strategy 4 – Buy and sell


 A simpler version of the buy, renovate and sell example above only that you don’t have to renovate. You simply buy, hold and sell for profit. This can be a great strategy in a fast upwardly moving market.


 Once again, transaction costs make this a very difficult strategy to profit from. You need your property to increase around $40,000 in value before you will even break even. This is on average one year’s capital gain. In my personal opinion, this is a strategy best avoided unless you know something about the future direction of a market that no-one else knows (sort of like ‘insider trading’ in the property market).

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Property Investment Articles

Monday, March 07, 2011
This article describes the THIRD ELEMENT of the SEVEN  elements to building a successful property portfolio so that you can reach your financial goals sooner”

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3. The Right Tax Advice  – “How to build your property portfolio using the tax man’s money”

The Right Tax Advice

“How to build your property portfolio using the tax man’s money”

 “It is crucial to get the tax strategy right from the beginning. The wrong choices during the crucial purchase period can result in losing tens of $1000’s in tax benefits forgone. It is also very costly to change the structure further down
the track.”

We will review individual personal situations, tax brackets of major stakeholders, future tax brackets, and many other issues so we can find way to legally maximize tax deductions such as depreciation and minimize income and capital gains taxes.

Issues that you need to consider before you invest in property are:

a)     What structure to use to maximize tax benefits – individual, company, trust, self-managed superannuation fund?
b)    What the income tax, negative gearing, capital gains tax and land tax issues related to each structure are – choosing the wrong structure can seriously increase your tax liabilities.
c)     Whose name to buy in to maximize tax benefits – most people think that they should buy in the higher income earner’s name and this may be correct but can exacerbate capital gains tax and land tax.
d)    Tax deductibility of pre-purchase and ongoing costs – can you claim the travel expenses to travel around the world (or Australia) looking for property? Perhaps.
e)    How to maximize tax deductions – how are you going to record all your expenses? Should you get a depreciation report? What about travel expenses for interstate properties? Can you renovate before a tenant moves in and claim these expenses?
f)      Structuring finance so as to maximize tax benefits – this is a very important step that many people get wrong.
g)    Is there any way of legally extracting the equity from your home and using it to buy your next home in a tax-effective manner? Perhaps.

At Wholistic Financial Solutions we are able to assess each and every clients individual circumstances and provide expert taxation advice as to the best was to structure your portfolio to minimize tax.

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Property Investment Articles

Monday, March 07, 2011
This article describes the SIXTH ELEMENT of the SEVEN  elements to building a successful property portfolio so that you can reach your financial goals sooner”

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6. The Right Coach – “Discover why most property investors fail – and what to do about it”
The Right Coach

“Discover why most property investors fail – and what to do about it”

This is very simple.

Most ‘wanna-be’ property investors fail because they fail to ‘act’. They really, really want to do something but they just don’t know where to begin. They start researching and get even more overwhelmed – there is so much out there! Many people then suffer from ‘paralysis of analyses’.

They get so caught up trying to pin-point the best time to buy, the best location to buy in, and the best type of property to buy. In the end they simply DON’T buy.

Many people want to research and research until they are absolutely, 100%, without-any-doubt sure that they are entirely correct and certain of their decision. If they wait till then they will simply never buy. As an experienced property investor I know you can never be 100% sure you have got it right. Even the most experienced investors get the 'D-Day’ (exchange and settlement day) jitters. It is human nature to have fear and doubts.

Other people want to do it but just can’t work out how to put aside that extra $2 a day. And I am serious, that’s all it costs at the moment to buy a property (depending on your tax bracket and the type of property you buy).

Others are just not sure whether they should invest first or buy their ‘white picket-fenced’ house for the Golden Retriever and the kids and invest later. Others simply think, “I can’t do it. It would be too hard for me.”

So what’s the answer?

Get a coach!
“What?” you say, “What’s therapy have to do with investing?” Well, a lot actually.

 What is a coach?

A coach can help you determine things like:
 What is your definition of success?
1.      Are you there yet?
2.      What do you really want to achieve in life?

 A coach can give you the support and encouragement you need to achieve your goals. They are someone who is on your side, objective and ready to assist with any blocks or challenges you may face along the way. A coach will provide guidance and help inspire you to design your financial and life journey. They will celebrate the good times with you and provide encouragement during the challenges. They can teach you to how to examine your financial beliefs and values, trust your instincts and build your excitement to be the best that you know you can be.

A coach will help you:

•   find out where you are at right now
•   look at alternative options should anything not be working for you
•  put into place the new actions to help you reach your desired destination

At Wholistic Financial Solutions all our sales agents are trained as property ‘coaches’ not just sales agents.  They will not ‘shove property down your throat’.  They will simply work with you, your goals and dreams, and hold your hand along the investment journey.

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Property Investment Articles

Monday, March 07, 2011

This article describes the third strategy of nine property investment strategies.

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Strategy 3 – Buy, subdivide and sell or hold


Fantastic opportunity for those not faint-at-heart.

Serious profits can be made by buying land capable of subdivision and doing what the previous owner was obviously too scared to do.


You need a large amount of capital (i.e. cash) behind you as, particularly in the current environment, the banks are simply not willing to lend serious money to even the most experienced property developer. If you are a novice your

chances of getting finance are seriously slim. It still can be done but you will need to put in a large portion of the funds for the development yourself. There are ways around this, such as: vendor finance, joint venture partners, and obtaining pre-sales. Above all else – seek professional advice.

In this instance, the tax man will definitely see you as a property developer rather than an investor. This means you will be subject to income tax and GST as opposed to the far more lenient capital gains regime.

You will also need to become involved with local councils and their development approval processes, surveyors, architects, etc. You will need to make this almost a full-time job.

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