Tax and legal advice

Key things to consider about property in SMSF

By Naomi Mitchell

naomi mitchell tnWith housing prices in parts of Australia currently being some of the highest in the world, many investors are likely considering the potential of SMSFs to fund property acquisitions. However, because SMSFs are a relatively new and complex investment avenue, there appears to be a general lack of awareness around what information to gather and what questions to ask before attempting to use this funding option.

Blogger: Naomi Mitchell, partner,Younis and Co.

In this three-part series, I’ll aim to tackle some of these questions and provide information about some of the most fundamental, but commonly overlooked, aspects of SMSF property investing.

In this first blog, I’ll be focusing on the importance of not only getting your SMSF structure correct before signing a sale contract, but also properly understanding the restrictions placed on SMSF property investments.

1) Get your SMSF structure correct before signing the sale contract

Before you attempt to use your SMSF as an investment vehicle, it is important to consult professional advice to ensure that you establish the correct SMSF structure.  

Depending on whether or not you’re borrowing in your SMSF to fund the purchase, your SMSF structure – and the requirements surrounding the structure – will be different.

If you’re not borrowing, you will need to have your SMSF structure established before you move ahead and sign the sale contract.

If, however, you are borrowing, you will be required to establish not only the SMSF structure, but also the borrowing structure. A SMSF itself can’t borrow money and, as such, you will need to set up a bare trust as well as a custodian company.

The main reason that it is important to get your SMSF structure correct before signing the sale contract is because the name on the sale contract needs be correct and, the name will differ depending on whether or not you are borrowing.

If the property purchase doesn’t involve borrowing in the SMSF, it will be the trustee of the super fund who will be required to sign the sale contract, and the super fund that will need to pay the deposit. If, on the other hand, you have SMSF borrowing in place or intend to do so, it will be the custodian that will be required to sign the sale contract.

If your structure is incorrect, and you go ahead and sign the sale contract in the wrong name, you will need to rectify the mistake post-exchange. This process is not only complex, but it can incur significant costs.

2) Understand the restrictions placed on SMSF property acquisition

One of the key things that prospective SMSF property investors must recognise is that there are tight restrictions on the type of property that a SMSF can acquire.  For example, a SMSF generally can’t acquire assets from a ‘related party’. Under SMSF regulations, the term ‘related party’ refers to fund members and trustees, as well as relatives and business partners of fund members/trustees.  

A prospective SMSF investor must also consider the intended purpose of their purchase – that is, how they plan to use the property. For example, a property acquired through a SMSF can only be for commercial or investment purposes, and not for the fund members or their associates to live in.

This restriction works to preclude a number of different possibilities in terms of how an investor can use their property post-purchase. For instance, if an investor is looking to buy a property to rent out to their children or to holiday in every three weeks, a SMSF is not going to be a suitable investment avenue for them.

It is for this reason that it is so important to understand what you can and can’t purchase within a SMSF. Investors can potentially waste a great deal of time and money – as well as incur legal liability – if they head down the SMSF property investment path without fully understanding the associated rules and regulations. As such, it is always wise to engage a qualified accountant specialising in SMSFs before taking the idea any further, as they will be able to advise you on your compliance obligations and give you a clearer idea as to whether or not a SMSF is an appropriate funding mechanism for you.


 About Naomi Mitchell

naomi mitchell

Naomi Mitchell has over 17 years’ tax and business advisory experience. She specialises in superannuation, overseeing over 120 self managed superannuation funds with assets over $40 million. Her clients cover a diverse range of industries including food manufacturing, construction and engineering, and hospitality.

For more information on SMSFs or the various services that Naomi and her team at Younis and Co offer, please visit http://www.younisco.com.au/.

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With the softening market impacting property values in many parts of Australia, Sally Dale, Opteon state director for NSW, ACT and Qld joins us to discuss the importance of valuations in the current property market

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Joining host Phil Tarrant, Sally will draw on her 25 years of experience in valuation and discuss the processes involved in arriving at a value for a particular property. She will also share how that process differs between commercial and residential properties and the difficulties which regional property valuations can present.

Sally will unpack the importance and cost of regular valuations on your properties, discuss whether presentation and owner input can sway a valuation and share what you should look for when seeking a reputable property valuer.

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!

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A softening market can be a difficult time for a property investor with finance approval tightening and property capital growth slowing, and while many real estate agents are also feeling the squeeze McGrath Brighton Le Sands' Bill Tsounias claims it is simply the market returning to normal.

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In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show, Bill joins host Phil Tarrant to share his thoughts on the current Sydney property market, and to share the shifts that he has seen in house and unit sale prices following their worst quarter in the past decade.

Bill will unpack why properties are spending longer on market, share what he believes property investors are doing wrong when trying to sell their properties and share the secrets to getting the best out of a real estate agent and an auction in the current softening market.

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!

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Gavin Kemp and his now-fiancé bought their first property together after only six months of dating. They weren’t even living together at the time. Now, two years on, the pair have bought five properties, sold two and have a solid plan in place for their ongoing property journey. 

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In this episode of the Smart Property Investment Show, Gavin joins host Phil Tarrant to discuss how he chose the locations where he decided to invest and how, due to the initial lack of education (something that he now values highly), he lost money on his first two investments.

Gavin will share his thoughts on the current property market, reveal the people who he has leaned on throughout his property journey and discuss why his strategy employs a zero procrastination rule.

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!

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Launceston
Raceview

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A joint property portfolio before they were even living together

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