Buying an Investment Property

What you need to know about investing in property

The pros and cons of property investments

Property investment is often seen as being less risky than other forms of investment. However, while it may seem more straightforward, there are pitfalls to be aware of. Here’s what you need to consider about investing in property.

PROS

  • Less volatility – Property can be less volatile than shares or other investments.
  • Income – You earn rental income if the property is tenanted.
  • Capital growth – If your property increases in value, you will benefit from a capital gain when you sell.
  • Tax deductions – You can offset most property expenses against rental income, including interest on any loan used to buy the property.
  • Physical asset – You are investing in something you can see and touch.
  • No specialised knowledge required – Unlike some complex investments, you don’t need any particular specialised knowledge to invest in property.

CONS

  • Cost – Rental income may not cover your mortgage payments and other expenses.
  • Interest rates – A rise in interest rates will mean higher repayments and lower disposable income.
  • Vacancy – There may be times when you have to cover the costs yourself if you don’t have a tenant.
  • Inflexible – You can’t sell off a bedroom if you need to access some cash in a hurry.
  • Loss of value – If the property value goes down you could end up owing more than the property is worth.
  • High entry and exit costs – Expenses such as stamp duty, legal fees and real estate agent’s fees.

COST TO BUY AND SELL

Some of the costs involved to buy and sell a property include:

  • stamp duty
  • conveyancing fees
  • legal costs
  • search fees
  • pest and building reports

If you sell your property, you will have to pay agent’s fees, advertising costs and legal fees. You may also have to pay capital gains tax if the property has increased in value.

BORROWING MONEY TO BUY

If you borrow to invest, you will have to pay the property mortgage. Don’t rely on rental income to cover the mortgage – there may be times when your property is empty.

Many people buy investment property with interest-only loans, but remember the interest-only period will end after a certain time. This means your repayments will increase to pay the amount borrowed, plus the interest. See interest-only home loans to find out how they work.

COSTS TO OWN AN INVESTMENT PROPERTY

Ongoing costs of investment properties include:

  • council and water rates
  • building insurance
  • landlord insurance
  • body corporate fees
  • land tax
  • property management fees (if you use an agent)
  • repairs and maintenance costs

TAX ON YOUR INVESTMENT PROPERTY

Although you may be able to claim tax deductions on expenses, you’ll still have to pay them up front. For positively geared investments, you may pay tax on your rental income.

WHERE TO BUY

  • Areas you’re familiar with will take time to research.
  • Look for areas with high growth, higher rental yield and low vacancy rates.
  • Find out about proposed planning changes in the suburb that may affect future property prices.

WHAT TO BUY

  • Look for properties with appealing features like a second bathroom, a garage and access to schools, shops and transport.
  • Consider maintenance costs based on property type, age and features.

HOW TO BUY

  • Be wary of property investment advice from groups of service providers. Property developers, accountants, lawyers and mortgage brokers might recommend each other’s services.

FOR LEGAL ADVICE REGARDING PROPERTY INVESTMENTS PLEASE CONTACT US TODAY.

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