smsf loan

3 Things to Consider Before Applying for SMSF Loans

smsf loanThere are few things more vexing than having your Superannuation fund barely growing when some well placed real estate investments could enable you to retire much earlier.  Self Managed Superfund Loans (SMSF) can help you tap into that retirement fund even if your credit rating is less than perfect.  As good as this may sound, there are three important factors to consider before you begin the application process.

Your Age and Proximity to Retirement

If you are interested in investing, then you know that Australia is a star in many areas of the economy.  On the other hand, people in their 50’s and 60’s that lost everything during the 2007 Recession in the United States can tell you that there are no guarantees when it comes to investment.  Therefore if you are within 10 – 15 years of retirement, try to avoid putting more than 20% of your Super at risk.  An SMSF may still be a viable option at this stage if you can live on 80% or less of your total retirement fund.

Current and 5 Year Projected Value of Potential Real Estate Investments

Foreign citizens and business owners are more eager than ever to tap Australian markets, open shopping centres, and engage in other wealth promoting activities.  From that perspective, having one or two key real estate investments in your retirement portfolio can ensure a wealthy retirement with plenty left for the next generation.  When appraising the value of any given property:

  • ask local business owners about other companies that may be interested in moving to your area
  • take a survey of the local people and find out which products and services they are interested in
  • find out which businesses offer these services and find out how soon they can build in your area

What Limits Will You Set for Property Management?

Regardless of your age, property ownership will also come with a range of expenses.  This includes taxes, building maintenance, and interest on any loans taken using the property as collateral.  Once you know the current and 5 Year projected value of the property, it is time to decide how much money you are willing to spend before leasing or even selling the property.  If you miscalculate the projected value, or wind up taking more loans to maintain the property, you will have to sell it at a loss in order to prevent further financial problems.  At the very least, if you have a target number in mind, making that decision will be a bit easier when and if the time comes.

SMSF loans are a tool you can use to generate increased wealth.  While Australia’s economy may be strong, keeping these three key things in mind can help you protect your investment and ensure that you get the most out of each investment.  As an added bonus, when you start doing basic real estate research, you are sure to find out all kinds of fascinating things that may lead to other money making opportunities.

Contact one of our lending experts to discuss your options and tailor a comprehensive Loan Proposal suited to your specific lending needs.

Fine Tune Your Commercial Real Estate Crystal Ball

Don’t you wish you had a crystal ball that showed you what is to come in the future? A simple wave over the crystal ball, the mutter of a magic word, and your entire future is there, revealed in front of you. Now that you know what is to come, you can prepare and move accordingly so you can be ready for what the now identified future holds.

Unfortunately, this crystal ball does not literally exist, but in commercial real estate there are many tools that you can use that act like a crystal ball. They can show you the future in an indirect way so you, too, may pla
n and move accordingly in order to take advantage of the market place.

Fining tuning your commercial real estate crystal ball is really a matter of paying attention, doing some basic research, and being on top and aware of all elements in your comfort zone, or concentrated area of focus and influence. It does take vision and an element of creativity to really fine tune your crystal ball, and, for some, it is the best aspect of commercial real estate! Being able to predict, envision, and then create something that at one time did not even exist, not even in an idea, and then search out the resources to create and put the plan in motion is a commercial real estate insider’s dream.  When done effectively, it can be very satisfying and lucrative!

You should already be doing many things that assist you in predicting and planning for the future, which is extremely important in commercial real estate. If you can see an opportunity coming before it actually presents itself, then you are able to prepare for that opportunity before anyone else, and reap the benefits. These things may include driving the streets of your community to see what land and buildings are for sale, what centres are vacant for leasing, attending planning and zoning meetings, reading the local newspaper for economic and real estate changes or trends, as well as researching other cities and how their market may affect yours in any way, shape or form.

As a real estate insider, it is pertinent that you are up to par, and even an expert in your comfort zone. These things listed above are how you are constantly informed and a step ahead of other real estate people, as well as your own market.

Besides doing these things religiously, and always analysing the data that you collect, there are a few other specific tools that will allow you to see into your commercial real estate future and identify opportunities that others will miss.

The first is a city’s or town’s future land use plan or map that shows the future zoning and use for all the land within a city or town’s limits. Some cities may not have one if they are too small and not looking for growth. However, most cities do have master use plans that are used to dictate the entire future of a city’s economic make-up.  The reports that go along with these offer a wealth of demographic information as well which provides great insight into the future development of an area.  For example, here is the link to the Melbourne Growth Plan documents http://www.planmelbourne.vic.gov.au/Plan-Melbourne . In addition, check out the actual planning websites for your specific state, city or region. Here is Victoria’s http://planningschemes.dpcd.vic.gov.au .

These maps and report are used to plan for growth so that all elements of a city or town are controlled. Zoning and use may change for operating properties; others may remain the same. There is the possibility of raw land to be annexed into the city, having a specific use, offering huge opportunities to the commercial real estate investor. There may be a need to tear down or renovate old properties, and develop them for a different use.

The possibilities of what a future land use map holds is gold in the eyes of an investor, and extremely important to all those working in commercial real estate. Refer to this map, and actually visit the locations of where there is change to identify opportunities. As every area is different, you will be amazed as to what opportunities will unveil themselves when you bring to it a little vision, creativity, and insider information regarding the zoning and use of a property.

Another tool to see into the future is the economic forecast for your area. By looking at both the past and future per capita income, population growth rates, housing costs and other such data that can be found via the Bureau of Statistics, you can see the overall economic environment of your city or town and how it is performing.

Perhaps a continuing decrease in population means people are moving out of the area, telling you not to invest in new home or unit development in that area. Or, the growth has been so extreme that the area is in desperate need of commercial property in order to support the influx of people. You can definitely plan on how you are going to move in the market with this information by your side.

The final tool I urge you to utilise when predicting your commercial real estate future is already approved infrastructural changes within your city. This will require you to attend city and town meetings regarding zoning, planning, development, etc. There could be discussion of a new development a year or more before it actually occurs, and once you hear about it, you can start putting your own ideas into place.

As I am sure you already know, large, influential, infrastructural changes can greatly increase the land values of properties that surround them. For example, a large shopping centre being developed will increase the value of all the land surrounding it, as well as possibly call for a greater demand of residential units, and an increase in the rental prices that can be charged according to the new market.

Let’s say that you hear two years in advance about a shopping centre that will begin development after it is approved. You are then going to get a jump on all competition, look at the site, the land surrounding it, and the opportunities it may offer. Can you purchase the now extremely cheap land adjacent to this site, or perhaps the poor performing units nearby in anticipation of this new development so that you may benefit from the price increase this major infrastructural change is going to cause?

Absolutely!

These things happen all the time, and I urge you to be a visionary and look to the future. After all, this is where a majority of commercial real estate profits are made- by creating something that either wasn’t there, or improving upon what is there.

As you can see, you may not have a crystal ball that does all the work for you, but I promise that if you use these tools and follow these guidelines, you will be preparing yourself for great opportunities that others, quite simply, will overlook. It will take some effort and constant dedication. However, the results that you yield will be worth it. Actually, it is much easier to be the first mover, rather than suffering the increased land prices and changes after a development is already in place or even underway.

Realise your power to predict the future and plan your goals accordingly! You will be successful with these tools, so implement them today.

Author: Melanie Burns

To discuss this article or anything else to do with your finances, please call our office today on 0434 087 735 or email us and we will be happy to assist you.

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Don’t you wish you had a crystal ball that showed you what is to come in the future? A simple wave over the crystal ball, the mutter of a magic word, and your entire future is there, revealed in front of you. Now that you know what is to come, you can prepare and move…

Selling Your Home – Don’t Be A Victim

Selling your home can be a complex process. If you make mistakes, you may be unable to sell your home or have seller’s remorse. There’s no need for this if you keep in mind the following.

Overpricing Your Home

It’s important to be realistic about the value of your home. Sellers should insist their real estate agents present them with objective criteria for pricing. Comparative information is the most critical in getting a house priced properly. If you ask for too much, it’s hard to ask for less later on in the process.

Not Displaying  Curb-side Appeal (I know – an American term – but it works!)

You don’t have to invest thousands of dollars into redecorating your home. But there some basic steps you must take to present your house in the most positive light.

Overdoing Home Improvements

Don’t go overboard staging your home. It should feel warm and inviting. Lawns should be freshly cut, plant some flowers, organise the home’s interior, rid the home of foul smells and apply new coats of paint to all walls and doors.

Not Understanding The Buyer’s Offer

Carefully reviewing and understanding the offer or purchase contract is imperative. Here are a few things to look for:

1. Has the buyer agreed to pay down a significant deposit?

2. Is the offer contingent upon the owner selling his or her present home? If so, how is the selling process transpiring?

Home Inspection/Open Houses

Have general inspections done in advance. Even though buyers will often have the house inspected again, it’s best to prepare for any potential problems.

Withholding Information

While it is tempting to hide or fail to mention the snafus of a home for example, it’s a hotel for cockroaches or termites, located in an area that’s prone to floods or fires, it is best to give buyers full disclosure. This kind of information can greatly affect the value or desirability of the property.

Be Objective:

While you may think your pink walls or roman columns are fabulous, it is best to keep that opinion to yourself.

Poor Real Estate Agent Communication

Sellers should take a pro-active approach to the selling process and not rely completely on the agent. Sellers should insist upon regular updates about the house and never assume the agent has taken care of everything. It is the seller’s responsibility to ensure everything is running smoothly.

Investigate Buyers

Once you have an offer on the table, it is imperative to secure confirmation of loan approval from the buyers (or their conveyancer/lawyer). Many do not ask about this – you are well within your rights to do so – and generally the buyer will have a finance clause in the contract that they must adhere to (unless you sell at auction and that is another article entirely!).

If you follow these steps, you will go a long way towards avoiding being a victim in the home selling process.

Author: Melanie Burns

To discuss this article or anything else to do with your finances, please call our office today on 0434 087 735 or email us and we will be happy to assist you.

Sherlock Holmes Lending Solutions

Budget for Settlement Costs – Loan Origination Fees, LMI (Lenders Mortgage Insurance) & Stamp Duty

Once you reach an agreement on the purchase of a home, things start moving quickly. In the chaos, it is important to remember to budget for settlement costs.

Settlement costs are fees associated with miscellaneous events associated with a home purchase, things such as property inspections, stamp duty, conveyancing fees etc. Even if you are purchasing a home for the first time, you are probably aware there are closing costs that have to be paid. Rarely, however, are you aware of just how much and how fast the can accumulate. If you have not budgeted for them, they can put a kink in the settlement or even cause you to lose the home.

A couple of closing costs to keep in mind are origination fees for home loans and lenders mortgage insurance. The mortgage related costs are only a small part of the overall closing costs you can face, but deserve a closer look.

Origination fees for home loans can be a shock to first time buyers. Few realise they are going to have to pay such things. Origination fees are costs charged by a lender for services used to determine if the lender should give you a loan in the first place. For example, a lender will often charge you fees for having a valuation done on the property. Infuriatingly, the lender will also charge you fees for processing the loan and preparing the loan documents. On a $400,000 loan, the origination fees can quickly add up to thousands of dollars.

Lenders mortgage insurance, often called LMI, can also be a nasty little surprise. The magic number when considering LMI is 20 %. If you pay a deposit on the home that is less than this amount, you are almost certainly going to have to pay LMI. LMI is simply insurance that protects the lender should you default on the loan. The cost can add up to hundreds and into the thousands of dollars, so make sure you know what is expected of you.

Stamp Duty is the one, in my experience, that is consistently overlooked.  As a general rule I always tell clients to allow approx. 4% of the purchase price to cover these costs.  It is usually a little less, and varies from state to state – however I find it always better to lean towards the conservative side. Settlement costs are aggravating – budget for them up front, and you will feel less aggravation.

Author: Melanie Burns

To discuss this article or anything else to do with your finances, please call our office today on 0434 087 735 or email us and we will be happy to assist you.

Once you reach an agreement on the purchase of a home, things start moving quickly. In the chaos, it is important to remember to budget for settlement costs. Settlement costs are fees associated with miscellaneous events associated with a home purchase, things such as property inspections, stamp duty, conveyancing fees etc. Even if you are…

The “REAL” Real Estate Roller Coaster

Buying a home is a process fraught with emotional ups and downs. For most people, it will be the most expensive and involved purchase they ever make. On top of the importance of this purchase, is the lack of time one has to make a decision before purchasing a home.

The average amount of time a potential homebuyer spends looking at a prospective home is 96 minutes! For a home that you may spend the next ten to twenty years living in, well, an hour and a half seems like an unjustly short amount of time spent to make such a drastic decision. This “hot” decision making environment, where the pressure is on, is one of the key aspects of a buyer’s emotional stress. But, the fact is, good homes sell fast, and buyers have to be ready to commit to a purchase in a short time. This being said, the “sure fire” way to make a good decision in such a short period of time, is to learn to become a smart, analytical shopper. Not that emotions need to go entirely by the way side – but you must know when emotions are playing into your decision making process, what is at the core of those emotions and whether or not they are helpful to your process. Be your own psychologist, and the sooner you do the sooner you will get off the doctors couch and into a new home!

One approach to help mitigate the emotional roller coaster of the buying process is to truly set out your specific priorities in terms of what you want and need in your new home. Ask yourself, “In order of importance, what are the most important elements for my/our new home?” Proximity to schools, the location and neighbourhood, commuting distance, rates and costs, energy efficiency, shopping accessibility, and recreational facilities are just a few of the considerations a buyer should prioritise beforehand. If purchasing with a spouse or partner, you may discover your priorities are slightly or even vastly different. It is very important that you spend the time to make concessions and get on the same page as best you can.

Other aspects of your priority list may include the type of home you are looking for. These parameters could involve the size of the home or a particular style of home. If you’re set on a particular style of home, this may affect the neighbourhood parameter of your search, as not all houses of certain types are in every neighbourhood. So, as you see, one way to help curb emotional reactions, is to make sure you know what you’re looking for, and in doing so narrow your search. This way, what you’ll be looking at will be within the list of parameters you set out in your priorities. You can then rank homes based on how well they fit into your priority system. Of course, there will be concessions to be made here, as it may not be that a home fits your every single priority in exact order – but at least you’ve done some good analytical homework in advance and have a system for ranking your prospects.

Another tip for dealing with emotions, is to catch yourself when you are honing in on one particular feature of a home, as the “dream feature” of the home.  A “dream home”, should be so, because it satisfies those myriad of components (priorities) that create “your dream of your home”. You may want to check in and ask yourself if you’re being clouded by one enticing feature and have lost touch with your list of priorities.

Another dangerous aspect of buying a home based on your “gut” feeling, is that your guttural instinct may be good for you, but not so great for re-sale. It is, in almost all cases, very important that you consider the potential re-sale value of your home as one of your top priorities. You don’t want to be stuck with a “dream home” that turns out to be everybody else’s nightmare. The investment aspect of purchasing a home, lies in its re-sale value. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to buy in a well-established, totally investment-proof neighbourhood. You may have done your homework and feel confident in buying in a neighbourhood that has great potential for five to ten years down the line. Likewise, the home you are investing in may need improvements that you have the funds and/or the expertise to accomplish. But, you must at least consider the re-sale value of your potential home. Otherwise, you could be investing in a money pit that you’ll never be able to unload for the money that you should.

Keep in mind, smart sellers are bound to know the realm of buyers emotions, and will appeal to your weaknesses. Keep your critical eye sharp, especially when a home seems to smell of professional home staging. It’s not that home staging is trickery, or dishonest, but you might need to work extra hard to look beyond the beautiful and well-appointed furniture and the incredible artwork and the smell of Lemon Meringue Pie – as none of the above are included in your purchase.  Just make sure you look at the house itself and not its decor, set-up – and, DON’T EAT THE PIE!

If all these steps have been taken, you’ve approached the searching process having analysed and prioritised your wants and needs, and you’ve considered the re-sale potential of the properties, then you can allow your emotions to guide you somewhat. Perhaps you’ve been lucky enough and smart enough to mine out two potential properties that fit both your priorities and parameters, at this point, a bit of the old gut instinct can refine your process and actually help, and not hinder the decision making process.

Author: Melanie Burns

To discuss this article or anything else to do with your finances, please call our office today on 0434 087 735 or email us and we will be happy to assist you.

Buying a home is a process fraught with emotional ups and downs. For most people, it will be the most expensive and involved purchase they ever make. On top of the importance of this purchase, is the lack of time one has to make a decision before purchasing a home. The average amount of time…