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1 Contact us INV214 (04/04) To find out more about holding an investment property Talk to your a Westpac Home Finance Expert today Visit westpac.com.au/propertyinvestor beginner s guide to investment property Disclaimer This information has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this you should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. This book is based on information available at April Any information about tax mentioned is a general statement and should be used as a guide only. It does not constitute tax advice and is based on current tax laws and their interpretation. Your individual tax position may differ and you should seek independent professional advice on any taxation matters Standard Variable Rate of 5.98% p.a. Tax credit is based on marginal tax rate of 32.5% and depreciation is based on building cost of $250,000 built after Premier Advantage Package Conditions of Use apply and are available at westpac.com.au. Annual fee, currently $395, applies. Package benefits cannot be taken in conjunction with, or in addition to other special offers, negotiated rates or discounts. Not available to company and trust account holders. You must either hold or be approved for a Westpac Choice account in order to quality and continue to receive the benefits of the Premier Advantage Package. Applications must also meet our approval guidelines on individual products to qualify for relevant package discounts. All loan features are subject to Westpac s approval. This insurance product is issued by Westpac General Insurance Limited ABN (WGIL) and distributed by Westpac Banking Corporation ABN (the Bank). Before making a decision about this insurance, you should consider the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and policy wording and whether it is appropriate for you. This policy is subject to conditions, limits and exclusions on cover, which are explained in the PDS policy wording. This policy is not an investment in or deposit with the Bank. No Westpac Group company (other than the Bank as policy distributor and WGIL as issuer) has any liability in connection with the policy or this information. In some states, the Domestic Workers Compensation cover is issued and guaranteed only by Allianz Australia Insurance Limited ABN Things you should know This information is illustrative only and may vary due to your personal circumstances. Before making any decision whether to purchase an investment property you should seek your own independent professional advice tailored to your specific needs and circumstances. Westpac Banking Corporation ABN AFSL and Australian credit licence ACL

2 Contents Can you afford an investment property? Is an investment property right for me? Do your sums 4 4 Case Study 1 Olivia s story Consider your costs Positive & negative gearing Case Study 2 Nick s story 9 Finding the right property What you need to consider? What type of tenant do you want to attract? What to look for in the property Property checklist Structuring your loan Offset Interest Only Flexibility

3 Can you afford an investment property? We know it takes time to find the property and loan that are most suitable for you. That s why we have designed this guide to help you know what questions you need to ask to help you navigate through the process of finding the right investment property. Is an investment property right for me? An investment property may be able to: provide income from the rent you ll earn create capital growth reduce your taxable income Properties will generally offer a combination of both income and capital growth, but as some are more suited to one or the other, it s best to know from the start what your main goal is from your investment. Please remember that an investment property is a long-term investment and may require a sizeable initial investment and other investments such as cash, equities or superannuation may be more suitable. How can Westpac help you? If you re not sure if an investment property is right for you, our Westpac s Financial Planners can help. Do your sums Before spending your time searching online and lining up properties to view on Saturday, you need to know how much you have to spend. You can calculate your budget by working out: 1) How much money you have 2) The costs involved 3) How much you need to borrow Besides the money you have saved up, you may also have equity in your existing home that you can use. 3 4

4 Case study 1 Olivia s story Olivia has a home worth $450,000, and owes $250,000 on her home loan. This means she has $200,000 in equity. Olivia decided to use $36,000 from her equity to purchase an investment property for $180,000 and didn t end up needing to save a deposit. Please remember that your equity is based on what your property is worth now, which is probably different to what you paid for it. Some, or all, of this equity could be used to contribute to the purchase of your investment property. Valued at: $450,000 Still owing: $250,000 Reduces the amount of deposit required Increases options for the price of investment property being purchased Can eliminate the need for Lender s Mortgage Insurance when funding the investment property. Available equity: $200,

5 Consider your costs It s important to fully understand the initial and ongoing costs of owning an investment property. These may include, but are not limited to: Positive & negative gearing There are benefits to both of these investment strategies, but your individual circumstances will dictate which is the better strategy to adopt. Initial costs Irregular costs Negative gearing Deposit, stamp duty, registration fees, insurance, conveyancer/solicitor fees, valuations, property inspections (building and pest), strata reports, tax depreciation schedule. Ongoing costs Mortgage repayments, strata levies, council and water rates, property and landlord insurance, land tax, property management fees. This may include the refurbishment of blinds and carpets, replacement of appliances and ongoing maintenance. When you consider your ongoing costs, you should also factor in the impact of any potential interest rate increases in the future. is when the cost of owning the investment property is greater than the income you receive for the property. You can use this difference to lower your taxable income, reducing the tax that you pay. Positive gearing is when the income you receive for the property is greater than the cost of owning the investment property. How can Westpac help you? Visit and use one of our calculators to get a better idea of what you could borrow today. 7 8

6 Case study 2 Nick s case study Property Value $500,000 Nick s savings $120, Up front costs Deposit $100,000 Transaction costs $20,000 Loan $400,000 Annual expenses Annual loan repayments $23,920 Costs (i.e. property maintenance) $5,000 Annual income & benefits Annual tax impact $4,755 Annual rent (based on weekly rent of $395) $20,540 Nick s story 4 Nick had been planning to get on to the Property Ladder for years, but always thought it would be too expensive. Out of Pocket Expenses Annual $3,625 Weekly $ 70 9 Investment property holding cost of $70 per week based on following assumptions: Borrower having $120,000 for deposit and transaction and other upfront costs. Property cost of $500,000. Borrowing of $400,000. Transaction and other upfront costs of $20,000. Ongoing costs of $5,000 p.a.. Interest only repayments at 5.98% p.a. Rent received of $20,550 p.a. Tax benefit of $4,752 is based on borrower having a marginal tax rate of 32.5% and depreciation of 2.5%p.a. on a building cost of $250,000 built after This information is illustrative only and your own investment property holding costs will vary due to your personal circumstances. 10

7 Finding Good property investment is about being able to answer important questions about what makes a specific property a good investment. For example, the right WHY WILL THIS PROPERTY GIVE ME A SUSTAINABLE CASH FLOW? WHY WILL THIS PROPERTY GROW IN VALUE? property By understanding why a property makes a good investment, you will minimise the risk. Firstly, you should consider the way you choose an investment property may be different to how you would choose your own home. Think rationally, not emotionally. As long as your decision is based on making you money, it s OK not to want to live in the property yourself. Everyone will have a different opinion about how to pick the right property. Here are a few things to think about. What is the potential for capital growth? You can get a feel for this by researching the capital growth for both the local and surrounding area, as well as looking at the prices for any upcoming developments. What is the potential rental income? You can check out your competition by finding out the rental details and volume of similar properties in the area as well as the suburb vacancy rates

8 What you need to consider New vs. Old do you want something that s relatively maintenance free? Or do you want the opportunity to renovate and add value? City vs. Country trade off Distance from city centre House or townhouse or unit Size of block Cost of regular maintenance and upkeep Potential renovations required How easy will it be to sell the property if needed? There are pros and cons for each type of property so it s important to consider all options to determine what the right investment is for you or superannuation may be more suitable. What type of tenant do you want to attract? Put yourself in your potential tenants shoes, as they will all have different needs. Think about what could matter to them: Access to public transport Proximity to schools, parks, community facilities, shopping centres, restaurants/cafes, theatres and other amenities Off street parking Outdoor living space What to look for in the property Make sure you see a number of properties before you select one. It will help you identify what matters to you and also get a guide to what good value looks like. THINGS TO REMEMBER 1. Keep up with the planned and actual locations of new shopping centres and supermarkets as they target areas of population growth 2. A Northern or Northeastern orientation remains the preferred aspect of choice 3. Some areas have one side of the street that s considered better and more desirable 4. Once you have selected a suburb, look for properties that are around the median price for that suburb. It s best not to purchase the cheapest or the most expensive property in a suburb, as this could make it difficult to find a tenant 5. Units generally benefit from higher rental returns than houses 6. Find a property manager you can trust 13

9 Property checklist This checklist is designed to help you answer the right questions before you decide that the investment property is the right one. 1. What is the capital growth potential? 2. What is the potential rental income? 3. What sort of tenants do I want and what are their needs? 4. How easy will it be to find tenants? 5. Does the property meet the needs of tenants? Eg. Backyard, parking, number of bedrooms? 6. Is the property close to transport, shops, schools etc? 7. What are the ongoing costs of the property water, rates, strata etc? 8. What potential refurbishments/renovations are required to the property straight away and in the future? 9. How easy will it be to sell the property if needed? Speak to one of our expert Home Finance Managers who can provide you with suburb and property reports to help you in your investment property decision. 15

10 Our expert Home Finance Managers are here to help choose your loan. It s best to talk to one of our expert Home Finance Managers, who can visit you at your home or office, if necessary. There are a few things to consider when choosing your loan. Structuring your loan 1 Guide you through the journey of buying an investment property and provide you with various tools to help make the process easier. 2 Empower you to move quickly once you find the right property with an Approval in Principle. 3 4 Structure your investment loan to suit your current financial position. Provide you with suburb and property reports for your shortlisted areas making you more informed

11 Offset An offset account is a deposit account that s linked to your investment loan but allows you to handle everyday transactions. Every dollar in your offset account reduces the amount of interest you are charged on your investment loan. The more you put into the offset account and the longer it stays in there, the less interest you pay on your investment loan. You can make deposits to or withdrawals from the offset account, without affecting the size or tax-deductibility of your investment loan. $300,000 $250,000 $200,000 $150,000 $100,000 $50,000 0 Outstanding loan balance Offset account Interest paid on An offset account gives you the ability you to minimise the interest you pay, while you keep access to the amount available to you for home improvements, other investments or one-off expenses. Interest only Interest Only loans are ideal if you want to keep your loan repayments to a minimum and free up your cash for other investment opportunities. Also, interest is the only part of the repayment that can be claimed as a tax deduction. Another repayment type to consider is Interest Only in Advance. This allow you to pay 12 months interest upfront for a reduced interest rate and may allow you to take advantage of tax benefits. These are usually for terms of 1-5 years. Flexibility Many loans have flexible features that allow you to tailor it to your situation and change if things change for you. These include: Ability to make extra repayments to your loan Redraw facility that allows you to draw on your extra repayments from your loan when needed Ability to take a repayment holiday if you ve made extra repayments Ability to apply to increase your home loan if additional funds are needed Ability to switch from a variable to a fixed interest rate to provide certainty on repayments Other things to consider Save money by packaging your investment loan with your home loan under a package such as our Premier Advantage Package. The benefits include interest rate discounts, fee waivers and discounts on other products If you have a Self Managed Super Fund (SMSF), you may consider investing in a property through the fund. To speak to an SMSF Expert, please call (8am-6pm, Mon-Fri). Protecting your investment landlords insurance can help by protecting your property against damage or theft by tenants 19 20

12 Notes Notes 21 22

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