From First Purchase to First Tenant – Be Prepared

Expert Advice: by Lindy Lear

Investors put maximum time and effort into their property selection and purchase and then think it’s time to relax. Hold on, there is bit more to do!

Finance
Starting your finance application before or as soon as you sign an Expression of Interest will give you a head start.. Be prepared by having all your finance paperwork together to forward to your bank or broker ( eg bank statements, payslips, ID)  He will love you for your efficiency. Without them he cannot ask for the money from the bank!

Contracts
Find  a solicitor/conveyancer who knows the area and is qualified in the state where you are buying. Do not get the cheapest quote, as you get what you pay for. Find someone who actually reads the contract for you and answers all your questions.  Once contracts are signed the clock starts  ticking for all the important cooling off, building and pest and finance date periods They will do all the work to make sure the legal side of the purchase ticks all the boxes and will act for you at settlement (transfer of funds from your bank to the vendors bank).

Building & Pest Inspections
Top priority when you are buying a property so you have confidence that there will be no nasty little surprises hidden under the floorboards. If it is a newly built property, a handover building inspection report is a godsend for investors who are interstate and cannot be present at completion.

Property Manager
Think of them as your business partner, running your property business! You want the best so shop around, as the lowest management fees may not equal good service. My ideal property manager is someone who has experience, keeps in touch, and has  longevity in their job telling me they love their job.. They make sure that you get the best tenants and handle any problems along the way so you can focus on finding your next property! As you want to have a tenant ready at settlement, the earlier you select a  manager, the sooner she can be screening potential tenants for you.

Insurance
The bank will want you to insure the property and will tell you the amount for your building insurance. Shop around for policy inclusions as well as competitive premiums. We all know about natural disasters in Australia! However the “must have” for investors is Landlords Insurance to cover you against things such as accidental or malicious damage, breaking a lease and public liability. Depending on which state you buy, premiums start from $280 per year, a small amount to pay for peace of mind.

Depreciation Schedules
If  you want the taxman to contribute to your property expenses then depreciation is the key. Newer properties attract higher depreciation. Basically your property is a business and the building and the contents can be written off (or depreciated) over time against property business income (the rent). Wow! For accuracy and higher claims find a reputable quantity surveyor company to prepare the report rather than your accountant who only does an estimate. For approx $400 - $500 expense when you buy your property you can claim back thousands of dollars over the life of the building.

Accountant
My accountant is my best friend because they prepare and submit my maximum tax deductions every year. Or consider claiming expected refunds back as a  tax variation in your  pay, rather than at the end of the financial year. This money can help run your “buffer” investment account for your property expenses. Taxman is working for you again!

The Paperwork
One property can equal a table full of paperwork after one year, so imagine what multiple properties could do to your dining room! There is a better way. Buy yourself a ring binder folder ( I like white ones) and a pack of  10 Tab Dividers. Every time you are sent paperwork (eg rental statements, bank statements etc)  file it in the folder! How easy is that?  And your accountant will love you at tax time when you present them with this miracle folder.

By then you will be ready to relax and have a champagne and enjoy being a new property investor. Congratulations!

 

Lindy Lear is a successful property investor who had a late start into investing, yet has grown her portfolio to eight properties in three years. She is a qualified property advisor and general manager of Rocket Property Group, and she won the Reader’s Choice Award in 2009 & 2012 for Property Investment Advisor of the Year. Lindy is passionate about helping others realise their goals through investing in property, and can be contacted at 02 8012 9669 or visit www.rocketpropertygroup.com.au

To read more Expert Advice articles by Lindy, click here

Disclaimer: while due care is taken, the viewpoints expressed by contributors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Your Investment Property

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