Finance advice
Importance of cash buffer

The importance of keeping a cash buffer

By Bianca Dabu

Investor Andrew Scott has regarded cash buffers as an important part of his wealth-creation journey—and so should every investor. Why do you need to establish your “rainy day savings” and exactly how much money do you need?

Mr Scott described himself as an average investor in terms of diligence, which fortunately balanced by his wife with whom he invests with. According to him, her “fantastic planning” involves everything from numbers to strategies.

In contrast, he thinks of himself as a “back-of-an-envelope kind of guy”.

Mr Scott said: “I will look at the number, say, ‘Yeah, they look all right, yeah.’ I'll make sure it's okay. I'll check the monthly statement—rents coming in, mortgage hasn't gone up that much, so we should be all right, don't worry about it.”

“But I don't stumble in like a blind idiot, throwing money away and not worrying about this and that. I've got my numbers organised, I'm just not one of these people who sort of reviews their portfolio every month,” he added.

Despite his lack of meticulous attention to certain details, the investor has always remained careful about risk management. He makes it a point to sort out his finances, which is key to portfolio growth.

Aside from refraining to get high-risk investments, another one of Mr Scott’s personal secrets to success is his buffer fund—a pool of emergency money—that has gotten him through unexpected issues in his investment career.

‘Rainy day money’

If other investors have a specific formula to determine the cash buffer they need to have—for example, three months’ worth of portfolio costs—Mr Scott simply dedicates $10,000 for each of his property.

“I've got about $30,000 sitting there that's not part of the offset, it's not part of anything else … just cash money,” the investor highlighted.

Case study

One of the biggest problems he’s had to face throughout his journey is an unexpected maintenance problem on his property in Midlothian. The property rates usually cost him around $800 to $900 per quarter, but at one point, a statement came through saying he had to pay $3,500.

Apparently, there has been a water issue caused by a burst in the main base, but upon further inspection, Mr Scott discovered that the problem was worse than he thought.

According to him: “Probably something I should have looked at when I got the place originally—when they built the thing [20 to 25 years ago], they planted a lovely little tree just over where the line is. We suspected that the leaks are probably under that.”

“There's no way we're getting to that without going through the tree. A ridiculous amount work to get rid of the tree, dig it all up, all that sort of stuff. You're only other option is to basically put in a new pipe. So, I had the huge bill because I had the pipe put in as well,” he said.

Overall, he had to shell out around $5,000 for this unexpected issue. Had it not been for the cash buffer that he kept, he believes that the problem may have put his portfolio back a year or more.

The emergency fund he had helped avoid any mental stress or any negative pressure on his lifestyle, the investor said.

Mr Scott highlighted: “Did I want in this situation? Of course, I didn't. But have I put something aside for if these situations come up? Well, yes I have. I'm not all of a sudden, ‘Oh my giddy aunt! I'm on tomato soup for a week, or six months to try and get this money back.’ ”

At the end of the day, the bills were paid and the issue was sorted out, and he’s currently building his buffer up again for the same property at his own pace.

 

Tune in to Andrew Scott's episode on The Smart Property Investment Show to know more about how he effectively manages both his funds and stress levels as an investor.

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Will Magee has had ambitions to enter into the Australian property market for quite some time, but it has been more than just finances holding him back.  Having been granted permanent residency just two weeks ago, Will is wasting no time and is now in the process of signing papers and finding his first investment property.

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In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show, Will joins host Phil Tarrant to share why he is purchasing his first property in partnership with his brother, discuss the complications that can arise from such a strategy, and unpack the ongoing plan for building a joint property portfolio with his brother.

Will will also share how they approached saving for their first property, why he is taking out the mortgage in his name exclusively, and share their savings plan for the year ahead.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

RELATED AREAS OF INTEREST:

From property in Australia to a ski lodge in Japan
Mortgage Trusts, an alternative first step for property investors
Should a real estate title be in one person’s name only?

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A property investment plan years in the making
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Median house prices in regional Victoria outperformed that of Melbourne in the June quarter, the latest REIV figures reveal. 

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Median house prices in the regions rose 4.0 per cent to $419,500 but in Melbourne they dipped by 0.6 of a percentage point to $840,000.

The result in Melbourne was due to a 0.8 of a percentage point fall in prices achieved at auction; this was despite a lift of 2.3 per cent in private sales.

Inner Melbourne suffered due to auction prices, where median prices fell by 4.9 per cent to $1,459,000 but it was middle Melbourne that was hardest hit, with a 5.4 per cent drop to $974,500.

Outer Melbourne had a good quarter with the median rising by 0.5 of a percentage point to $681,000.

Apartment prices in regional Victoria grew by 3.7 per cent to $304,500 while the metro media was up by 0.5 of a percentage point to $604,000.

REIV President Richard Simpson said that despite fewer sales, many sectors of the market were performing well.

“2017 was a bumper year and while the trendline has flattened, despite the fall in median house prices in the June quarter, median prices are still up this calendar year for both houses and units, in Melbourne and in the regions,” Mr Simpson said. 

In particular there was been strong growth in regional centres which is probably due to the first-home buyers’ concessions said Mr Simpsons.

“The first-home buyers’ concession has been a boon for regional areas. A new entrant to the property market buying a house at the regional median will pay no stamp duty, while a first home buyer of an apartment in Melbourne at the median price would pay stamp duty of nearly $25,000,” he said.

Mr Simpson said that more prospective buyers are looking towards regional Victoria which is also having an effect in Melbourne.

“Melbourne’s outer perimeter continues to grow. Small increases in the June quarter mean that the median prices for both houses and units have risen over 10.5 per cent from a year ago.

Mr Simpson said moving forward that vendors need more realistic expectations as the highs of 2017 are now over.

“Negative chatter about the future of the sector coupled with stronger lending controls by financial institutions has created some uncertainty and vendors need to be realistic with their price expectations,” Mr Simpson said.

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Regional Victoria showing up Melbourne in price performance, new data finds
object(stdClass)#1203 (52) {
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  ["title"]=>
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  ["introtext"]=>
  string(381) "

If Mark Hodge’s face looks familiar to you it could be because of his time working as a professional entertainer which saw him working with the Australian ballet, appearing on multiple seasons of Dancing with the Stars and touring in musical theatre for 17 years. What you may not know is that Mark is also heavily involved in the short-term property rental marketspace.

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Mark joins host Phil Tarrant to discuss his transition from entertainer to investor, a journey pushed forward by dance related injuries and even a hit and run which saw him needing to find alternate methods to bring in an income. Mark shares how bad long-term tenants and a gang member guided him to the short-term rental market, and how this pushed him into helping others to realise the same benefits.

Mark will also address the common concerns, discuss what his company Maisonnets specialise in and unpack how they are making the process of filling short term rentals easier for investors.

If you like this episode, show your support by rating us or leaving a review on iTunes (The Smart Property Investment Show) and by following Smart Property Investment on social media: FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.

If you have any questions about what you heard today, any topics of interest you have in mind, or if you’d like to lend your voice to the show, email [email protected] for more insights!

RELATED AREAS OF INTEREST:

The hard-to-swallow truth: The prickly points of the Airbnb reforms
Airbnb reforms unpacked for property investors
Airbnb leasing: What are a landlord’s rights and responsibilities? 


AREAS MENTIONED:

Melbourne
Sydney
Rushcutters Bay
Maroubra
Potts Point

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From pirouettes to property investment

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