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TaxATION... WAIT! don'T Stop Reading. free STUFF inside

Yawn... many of us hate tax. Or are at least bored by it. (sorry to the few details people I just offended) 

But what if I said the 3 minutes you take to read this could be worth $3000? $6000? more?

With tax returns due at the end of the month (if you lodge yourself) I always get asked about depreciation at this time of year.  Truth is, it doesn't matter when, but at some point you should ask yourself..."have I got depreciation schedules on all my investment properties?"

Now, some of you are saying "I don't even know what that is!" 

Ok, what is depreciation?  In a nutshell: 

Depreciation

Depreciation is a reduction in the value of an asset over time, due in particular to wear and tear.
"provision should be made for depreciation of fixed assets" - in residential property this means your carpet, blinds, oven, dishwasher, etc etc.  Basically anything that isn't part of the structure of the building and can wear out. 

The bad news: this stuff wears out and needs replacing eventually. 

The good news: the ATO lets you claim the cost of wear and tear every year.  

So if you put in new carpet last year - you can claim a portion of the wear this year. And you should. Why? Because this creates a "phantom" tax loss - ie a claim that reduces your taxable income but doesn't cost you actual cash this year.

That means you pay less tax.

That is good news, and its worth thousands (see - I told you it would be worth it to keep reading). 

If you are a property investor trying to grow a portfolio and have lots of properties, or even just 2 or 3, then you need to learn to manage your cashflow.  It's one of the hardest parts of long-term success.  Let's face it, we all hit cashflow walls occasionally, and if you ever want to take a holiday you need to know you can pay all those bills. So please, get a QS report done sooner or later. You won't regret it and you will make lots of $ back every year. 

After a cheeky headline like the one above I know you're not still reading because I am entertaining.  Wait no more - here is the free stuff I promised.  Well, I know the good people at Depreciator - one of Australia's few quality nationwide residential Quantity Surveyors I would trust.  I have personally used them on investment properties of mine and been thrilled with the results.  They offered a discount for my clients.  I don't get any commission at all for this, I just want my clients, and anyone who visits this blog - to get a really good deal.  

So - it's discount time. Follow this link and take Depreciator up on their offer of a phone call.  When you get on the phone request a $55 discount and mention Precium. 

Getting a good QS report results in thousands of money back over the years of claiming stuff. If you know someone who owns investment properties that isn't claiming all they can - then you are costing them thousands by NOT sharing this blog post to them. (do you feel guilty yet?)

Have a nice day :)

 

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May Market?

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May Market?

I have a few semi-related bits to post - so I will break things up.  I will send the market update today and the "part 2" (technical term I know) in a few days. 

Market Update.  Short version - the south coast is humming along.  RP Data and Your Investment Property Mag agree, they interviewed me for this article on the Illawarra being the best performing regional market in AUSTRALIA for the last 12 months.  Well worth a read but the take home summary:  Baby Boomers retiring out of the capitals is having a big impact on the market.  If you plan on getting into the market but were wondering if it was better to wait a yr, be warned, prices are on the up. 

http://www.yourinvestmentpropertymag.com.au/news/illawarra-revealed-as-australias-strongest-regional-market-216672.aspx

P.S. The Illawarra & Shoalhaven Regional Plan (which is in part driving the above market results) is something lots of people have been interested in so I put a link to download it from the precium.com.au home page.  Feel free to check it out if you haven't already.  (NOTE: Image shown is new Burrill Lake Bridge under construction image courtesy of Darryl Gamma)

 

Part 2:  Those of you who know me know I love property data (nerdy I know) well I am working on putting together what I believe will be Australia's best value property data access and some great education tools for those of you who are the DIY investor type or just want to know it all. 

STAY TUNED for part two...

 

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Property Management - Good, Bad, Ugly

Have you heard the (familiar) horror story?  

 

Good Bad Ugly.jpeg

Nightmare tenant stops defaults on rent, trashes property, invites squatters, devalues home, upsets neighbours and ruins cashflow putting investor into financial stress because they still have a mortgage to pay….that story.

 

Ugh. (shudder)

 

One of my places got trashed once.  Tenant stopped paying rent, spent the money on drugs, we commenced tribunal action but they did a runner owing quite a bit.  The house was left in a terrible state and they stole a bunch of stuff. By the time I get the place cleaned up and rented again I was way out of pocket.  I got my insurance money eventually but it took a long time to actually get paid.

 

Now before you cry for me, don’t worry I am a big boy, I can cope, chalk it up to experience.  And no, it didn’t turn me off property (obviously).

 

But no one likes the thought of that happening. It scares a lot of people away from property altogether, and pushes others into overpriced new or off the plan properties because of some imagined promise that this wouldn’t happen if your rental is shiny enough.  It isn’t true, I have heard the same story even in new properties and high priced markets.

 

How do we 100% avoid the risk this kind of thing happening to us?

 

Truth is, you can’t.

 

But you can minimise it.

 

When I reviewed why it happened to me, I was cranky.

 

Then I got honest. I was left with 1 main reason.

 

I should have picked a better property manager, they screwed up royally (long story) but I hired them so again, my fault.

 

Newsflash...

 

Choosing a property manager is actually one of THE MOST important parts of the whole property investing shebang. Get it right and the experience of ownership is smooth and fun for the most part.  Get it wrong, and….

 

I might do another post on this later but for now, here is a few quick things to look for in a PM.

 

1 - Accurate appraisals - knowing the numbers in their market so they don’t over or under rent your property.

2 - Being willing to instruct and help landlords on required renos and maintenance to put your property in the sweet spot of best local tenants. (ie yes to dishwasher, no to helipad)

3 - Being able and willing to screen the bad tenants out. (how they do this is everything, they have different ways but it must work)

4 - Having systems to pick up rent defaults and take matters to tribunal quickly when required, and being able to represent the landlord (not the tenant) in those cases.

 

In case you are wondering - no, I don’t do property management, and no, I don’t take commissions for recommending anyone.   I just spend a lot of time looking hard for the good ones and stick them when I find them.  Which makes me appreciate mine even more.  Come to think of it, I might ring one today to say something nice.

 

When you find a good one, look after them.  It’s a stressful often thankless task.

 

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5 Things Mum taught me about Property Data

DISCLAIMER: This is not my actual mother. She would be horrified if I put her photo up here so you get this lame GIF instead. Mum doesn't even look like a bit like this.  Sorry mum. 

DISCLAIMER: This is not my actual mother. She would be horrified if I put her photo up here so you get this lame GIF instead. Mum doesn't even look like a bit like this.  Sorry mum. 

 

I love my mum.  She taught me a lot.  Especially about Property Data.  I am almost certain mum was talking about property data when she drummed these life lessons into me at a tender age.  Given it's Easter (not sure if that has any correlation at all) I though I would share her best thoughts on the matter. 

 

 

1 - "You'd forget your head if it wasn't screwed on."

 

It’s amazing how markets forget.  Despite when data is singing a clear supply demand song, we think things like “this time its different”.  Data shows that trends in property are long, but also that they can and do reverse.  We need to watch the data and learn to interpret it to see future trends by comparing to decades of previous market movement, not just months or years.

 

2 - "What if everyone jumped off a cliff? Would you do it, too?"

 

The desire to be part of the herd is strong.  Think about your next BBQ, how will you explain your investment choices to your best friend?  What will be the look you get?  It’s really tempting to just buy what everyone else is buying.  

 

I don’t like to rag on the media but they at times have been complicit in this.  Loads of people start heading in one direction, even if that one direction ends up being off a cliff like lemmings. Journalists forced to create more content are desperate to tell a story that support their industry.  Media companies derive their livelihood from ad revenue.  This revenue often comes from large property developers with vested interests in huge new unit developments.

 

The result in property can be a huge pressure for TV and News outlets to present new off the plan apartments as great investments.  Often they are not.  My apologies to the marketing firms, but data driven decisions to target the right (often established, not brand new) properties based upon real metrics for supply and demand is a better pathway in my humble opinion.

 

3 - "It's no use crying over spilt milk."

 

We all want to go back in time to when our grandparents were little and buy cheap properties for a few dollars each.  We can’t.   Data is far easier to interpret in reverse, but we don’t have that luxury.  However, I have found by studying the cycles of the past we can better observe the same trends, get a feel for datapoints in the present and plan for the future.  

 

4 - "When I was your age, I had to walk ten miles through the snow, uphill, by myself, to go to school."

 

(2nd Disclaimer, it was actually Dad, more than Mum who said this one, but it is still good. I don’t even know how long 10 miles is.   Maybe property data can tell me?)

 

I don’t like to play the age card (mostly because it makes me feel old), but I began investing 15 yrs ago.  It was in the early days of the internet. Data was really hard to get.  I knew even back then that good information would lead to good purchases.  I had to purchase my suburb reports one at a time and print them out.  They cost about a day’s wages (each).  I would drive down my chosen streets with a pile of paperwork and a highlighter looking for comparable sales and make notes.  I can still remember the agent’s face the first time I said - “It’s not worth more than $XX because the one 2 doors up just sold for $XX”  He wasn’t expecting a kid from interstate to say that. Priceless.  

 

These days data is of higher quality, for less money, and accessible in far more convenient manner.  There are no excuses to make choices in the dark.

 

 

 

5 - "Go play outside! It's a beautiful day!"

 

The really good news.  Data tells us when the sun is shining. And mum made sure we always made the most of sunshine.  Don’t sit on the sidelines or mope inside when the weather is good.  Certain sellers of doom have lost their own money and (worse) cost other’s fortunes proclaiming wholesale market crashes that have not eventuated. We all have to make a choice.  A choice to be in the market, or not. No one can take that choice from you, the risk of doing either remains yours. Whether the next thing in the market is price rises or price falls, or a flat market, the newspapers probably aren’t going to predict that so well for you ahead of time. The best way I know to sleep at night is to learn to think for yourself about the data, because it doesn’t lie.

 

 

 

There you have it.  5 Lessons from Mum that shape the way I use Property Data each day. Useful?

 

(Ok, so maybe mum wasn’t ONLY talking about property data when she handed down these evergreen snippets of wisdom while we were growing up. She might have had more general life lessons in mind, but I like to apply what I learn, and she loves me, so I know she will forgive me for taking a little poetic license.)

 

PS

Dad went to school in Melbourne, it didn’t snow that often and am pretty sure it wasn’t 10 miles walk to school.  I think he was a little loose with the truth there, but the lesson is still useful and I use it with my kids now, it’s fun.  The others were all solid, I promise.

 

 

PPS Thanks for everything mum - love you!

 

Matt

 

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A Selfie? Really?

Why would Matt send out a SELFIE?

...when our feeds are chock full of them.  

It’s not even very good. Or interesting. (and WOW my head is shiny)

 

Ok - story time. You see the other day I was in the city walking - when I stopped. 

I had a moment. 

I took this photo...but I need to go back further: (warning, this is long)

Some of you know I used to be a social worker.  I actually had my first full time gig in Redfern 15 yrs ago. It was great, and my office was a few doors down from this spot, the corner of George and Cleveland St.  Back then I just invested in property on the side, it was a hobby more than anything else, but I loved it, along with my first passion which has always been working with interesting people.  I was newly married and the world was in front of me.

3 years into that job, I was driving to work, coming along cleveland st about to turn left onto George St. The traffic was only doing 50km/h but there was a lot of it.  

A  pedestrian stepped out in front of me just as I was turning.  

I jammed on the brakes. 

I stopped. (thank goodness) I saw her face out my windscreen she looked relieved and sheepish.  She new it was her fault. 

Then it happened. 

SLAM. 

A B-Double truck right behind me slammed into and completely consumed the back of my corolla.  It was sent spinning across the intersection. 

I can still remember the instant pale look of horror on her face as the pedestrian watched my car violently spinning in front of her, no, towards her.  I think I missed taking out her knee caps by about 5cm. 

I spent 6 weeks in physio for my neck, but made a full recovery.  No one was permanently injured, or worse killed - thank God. The rest was a blur.  

Back then I had dreams, but I was uncertain.  I had plans but no confidence.  I didn’t know how life would pan out. 

Then the other day when I walked that road - I had a full on flashback to that accident. I felt the emotion, re-lived the moment, it was involuntary.  Then completely out of the blue I felt gratitude wash over me like a wave.

You see, I am lucky, or blessed, or whatever the right word is.  A very patient loyal woman loves me, and I have 4 incredible children who (sort of) put up with my dad jokes.  I think back to that young man who got spun across the intersection by that truck and I think life could have panned out so many different ways. I am so grateful to be right where I am right now.  I’m not trying to make light of the trials or tragedies, they happen too. But really things are way better than I deserve.

If you are like me there is always another goal to set.  But for now maybe we should both take a moment to be thankful for the journey thus far. For the good stuff, and the hard stuff.  

I guess this is like a really late New Years reflection, and I am saying thanks.  Thanks to the amazing clients who I get to work with, to friends, family, God.  

I sincerely hope you can find a bit of that feeling too, somehow, even when things are hard. 

And sorry about the ramble. (not to mention the selfy!)

Matt

PS - In case you were wondering will I talk about property?  Yes, I'm itching to share a few ideas next time.  I actually have a few ideas I want to share with you and get some feedback if that is ok? 

 

 

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Me in the media - apparently.

So this morning I was hunting away (glamourous I know, I do quite a bit of that) for a block of land for a small developer I and working for, and the phone rings...its a journalist.  

Apparently a phone interview done months ago went to print and I never found out about it, I thought it must have been trumped by Trump or other more controversial news.  Too funny! Anyway, I hope this is useful and gives some context to your property making decisions when thinking about locations. 

http://www.yourinvestmentpropertymag.com.au/news/infrastructure-investment-and-decreasing-affordability-in-sydney-drive-interest-in-nsws-south-coast-203569.aspx

 

 

PS - yes, we do have the best lakes, and the best fish n chips, and the best...I will stop now.

 

Matt

 

 

 

 

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Berry Bypass Video

Locals love to hate traffic they aren't used to, but its hard to argue that this road improvement is impacting the coast.  I get a lot of questions about the progress of Berry bypass road works - from coast dwellers looking to commute to jobs up north, but mainly from Sydney Baby Boomers thinking about the retirement move south and from Sydney Investors who know that ship has sailed and are looking where to buy too.  Well since I drive past each week doing inspections between Wollongong, Kiama, Nowra and Ulladulla I thought I would snap this for posterity. I might do it again in a month or 2 and see what has changed.

October 15 Gerringong = final stages, Berry mid way lots of work still to do.

#southcoast #property #buyersagent 

Ps love sunny inspection days!


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