Tax and legal advice
Michael Fuller

4 things you need to know before purchasing property through your SMSF

By Michael Fuller

Many of the world's richest have made their fortunes using this strategy, so what do you need to know before emulating their success?

The BRW Rich 200 List published in The Australian Financial Review in 2016 revealed that 50 of the wealthiest people made their fortunes through bricks and mortar, mostly through developing and selling property – rather than investing in (keeping) property, like average investors.

Average investors believe that purchasing properties and growing a large property investment portfolio is the way to build wealth. Subsequently, many leave all of their equity in their home and investments and wait for market forces to grow its value.

Wealthy investors, however, actively build their wealth in five ways: 

1. They always buy under market value
2. They look for cash flow-positive investments
3. They constantly monitor the market to buy and sell at the right time, to take up better growth opportunities
4. They use experts and partner with successful property developers to leverage their contacts, time, experience and expertise to make more money, faster
5. They develop property (and don’t always keep it)

Does it surprise you that many wealthy investors don’t actually keep property?

It’s true. The most successful investors are the ones who partner with reputable developers, providing them with seed funding to get developments off the ground. In return, these developers are happy to pass on their developer’s profit (remember this is not the only place a developer makes money!) while they do all the work.

Depending on the project and developer, it’s not unheard of for the investor to get a property directly from the developer at 15 per cent to 25 per cent below market value (cost price). This form of investing is often called ‘armchair development’, ‘passive development’ or ‘co-development’. In some cases, the investor can opt to take the profits in the form of good cash returns. 

Many people believe that you have to have money, and significant money, to make money. It’s true to some degree, as most investors who purchase (and keep) property at cost price have to have a very large initial investment to do so.

But, as innovative crowd-funding opportunities open up in Australia, anyone can partner with developers and invest in property development for as little as $10,000.

But most of us mere mortals aren’t aware of two things:

1. We need as little as $10,000 cash to partner with a developer and make around 20 per cent plus cash returns, without keeping a property
2. We can access this cash from our self-managed super funds

Some developers will ‘convert’ the standard 10 per cent deposit on an off-the-plan contract into an equity investment so that the investor can get significant growth on their ‘deposit’ during the development process. These investors are often given additional incentives unavailable to ordinary retail investors who aren’t aware of these structured deals.

With 72 per cent of investors stuck just owning one investment property (so says the ATO) this is exciting news for all aspiring investors. You can build up your super or cash deposit funds by investing in property development (investing for cash returns), until such time as you can afford a much larger deposit to partner with developers and purchase cost-price property to build your portfolio – if keeping property appeals to you. Of course, not everyone wants to have to deal with tenants and property management issues.

There are a few key considerations investors need to be aware of to make money in property development through SMSFs.

1. Buy in suburbs BEFORE prices go up
By choosing the right locations, you could see your investment money work harder for you. Free research tools can help you pinpoint these suburbs with scientific accuracy. 

2. Buy under market value
Successful investors make their money buying property at wholesale (or even cost) price. This means they never pay retail prices, which are often loaded with hefty commissions and other retail-specific purchase costs. Instead, they provide seed funding to developers in exchange for property at cost price – 15 to 25 per cent under bank/market value – or in exchange for healthy (20 per cent-plus) cash returns on cash-only investments. By buying under market value, they ensure they have a safety buffer against changes in market conditions during development or in the future.

3. Establish the set-up costs
Choosing where to invest wisely and controlling the set-up costs are paramount now that the days of double-digit growth are over. Be wary of spruikers or financial planners who are set to pocket handsomely from referral commissions, eating into your profits. They may not have your best interests at heart.

4. Choose the investment approach that suits your budget and strategy
Don't rely solely on market forces to deliver capital growth. You really can manufacture your own capital growth in two ways:

1. Partnering with successful developers to get cash flow-positive property at wholesale or cost price and significantly below bank valuation.
2. Investing cash with successful property developers for around 20 per cent plus cash on cash returns (sharing in the profit), and not keeping the property on completion.

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About the Blogger

Michael Fuller

Michael Fuller

Michael Fuller founded Hotspotcentral.com.au, creators of Boomapp.com.au, a free property research web app used by over 13,970+ property investors and industry professionals to confidently decide where and when to invest. Boomtown uses powerful algorithms and 'machine learning' to rate and rank over 15,000 suburbs based on how they compare against 8 respected property statistics pulled from numerous online sources including the property portals. 

Hotspotcentral.com.au is the only property crowdfunding service in Australia using sophisticated algorithms to identify high-performing investments for their subscribers who wish to not only acquire brand new properties at 15-25% discount using 'passive co-development' but also targeted cash-only returns of 20% plus per annum.

In his formative career, Michael has held senior roles in international finance, banking and data companies in Cape Town, London, Brussels and Sydney prior to founding Hotspotcentral in 2009. He now lives on 5 acres in the Gold Coast Hinterland with his wife and two daughters.

Email:
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podcast

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Tune in to the latest episode of Property Showcase, the podcast with the inside track on the products and businesses that will help turbocharge your portfolio, maximise returns and make your overall investment experience seamless and stress-free!

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To hear more about these services, make sure to tune in to this episode of Property Showcase!

 Make sure you never miss an episode by subscribing to us now on iTunes!

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Son Pham is the accredited Head of Mortgages at Rethink Financing\/Rethink Investing. He has over 6 years\u2019 experience writing loans, over 12 years in the wealth management industry working for the likes of CBA, AMP and private practice and he is also a licenced financial planner (AFSL 326450). He has multiple investment properties that are cash flow positive which help pay his mortgage on his home and fund his lifestyle.<\/p>\r\n

Son is able to write all types of residential and commercial property loans.<\/p>\r\n

In this episode of Property Showcase, head of mortgages at Rethink investing Son Pham joins host Tim Neary to unpack how an investor should approach getting a mortgage in place with banks tightening down on serviceability.<\/p>\r\n

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    In this episode of Property Showcase, director of investment services for Open Corp Michael Beresford,\u00a0joins\u00a0editor of Real Estate, Tim Neary to share why he disagrees that the cooling market means that the best times are behind us.<\/p>\r\n

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Mortgages in a tighter lending economy and why Brisbane is a good option
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  ["title"]=>
  string(82) "Stories of success: The migrants that became Australia’s renowned Property Twins"
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Sana and Mona Ali moved to Australia from Pakistan at the age of 15. Years later, the once-struggling migrants successfully turned their $40,000 savings into a $5 million-portfolio, earning the moniker “The Property Twins” — all before the age of 30. How did these millennials make their way to the top?

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The Ali sisters lived in low socioeconomic conditions for years since arriving in Australia in 2000, but instead of accepting their fate, they used their circumstance as motivation to work hard and achieve financial security.

According to Sana: “Moving countries was a huge personal challenge. We were living in a low socioeconomic area of Sydney and we just saw people around us living really good lives. It really pushed us and made us wonder, ‘What if we could buy more than one house?’”

They initially wanted just a strong financial foundation for themselves and their family and the sense of security brought about by owning a home. In less than a decade, they got all of it and more.

Aside from being able to build a 10-property portfolio, the Ali sisters were also successful in establishing a mortgage business that aims to help investors make the best decisions for their own wealth-creation journeys.

“We just want to feel that Australia is really home and to have our roots here,” Mona highlighted.

How it all started

What they lacked in funds, the Ali sisters made up for continuous education, training and mentorship.

In 2009, they have both spent years in the Information Technology and Project Management fields before progressing through finance roles. The high-net worth individuals that they constantly work made them realise that there’s more they can aspire for than corporate jobs.

They started doing research and eventually bought their first property in Parramatta through their combined savings of $40,000 and the aid of the First Home Owners Grant. Seven months later, they bought their second property in Blacktown.

Mona shared: “I personally wasn’t a good saver, because I loved shopping and shoes. Nothing wrong with that, but looking back, it's like a ‘need it versus want it’ question. Obviously, I did buy a lot of shoes but we didn’t go travelling and all of that. So, we did have some savings.”

The Ali sisters opted for cheap properties in the lower end of the market to jumpstart their investment journey for low-entry prices.

“The cash flow meant when we did rent the properties out, they could look after themselves,” Mona highlighted.

Sana and Mona advise investors to avoid being afraid of starting small. Being realistic instead of aiming for a dream home on their first shot at investing helped them enter the market sooner than later.

After all, property investment is a long-term commitment and, essentially, a kind of “delayed gratification”.

The twin’s property portfolio grew to consist of eight more properties spread across Western Sydney and Brisbane, including units, villas and townhouses.

Strategies

Not long after they started investing in properties, the Ali sisters sold their first two properties in Sydney to take advantage of the property boom that happened in the city. Prior to selling, they did cosmetic renovations on these properties to add value and eventually extracted equity from them.

The first property returned around $330,000 while the second property returned around $190,000.

Mona and Sana used the extracted equity to make their third and fourth property purchase, which are strata properties located in Blacktown. Less than 10 years later, the same properties have increased in value by 90 to 100 per cent.

As the market went more stagnant, Mona and Sana continued increasing their savings to improve the buffer for their portfolio. They saved 20 to 30 per cent of their salary, sacrificed travels, minimised eating out and drove a Kia Rio for years to save as much as they could.

For years, they carefully weighed their needs and wants to determine the things they could live without as they are building their portfolio.

Where to buy

The Ali sisters deliberately chose to buy most of their properties in the Western Sydney region, between Parramatta and Penrith.

According to them, having properties in such good locations, as in close to transport and other valuable infrastructure and establishments, helped them maintain good cash flow and minimise the impact of property investment on their finances and lifestyle.

While they have implemented different strategies throughout their investment journey, good location is one of their non-negotiables.

Sana explained: “We wanted to make sure the properties were well-located. That’s formed the foundation of our property strategy, where we make sure that properties are close to the train station, or a big shopping centre, because that’s what’s going to drive the demand down the track.”

Who to work with

Unlike many investors, the Ali sisters didn’t recognise the value added by property professionals to their portfolio in the beginning. In fact, it took them four purchases to seek the guidance of experts. Needless to say, it turned out to be among their more costly decisions.

According to Sana: “You don’t know what you don’t know, and we didn’t know any better. In hindsight, it would have been good to work with a broker for our initial couple of purchases.” 

Through online forums, they found out about the benefits of working with a mortgage broker and has since worked with a few throughout their investment journey. They taught them not only what they needed to know about mortgage broking, but also what they want to be done differently.

Eventually, Mona and Sana grew to love the “numbers side of property” and went on to establish their own mortgage business, The Property Twins. The business aims to empower investors by offering different services, including building portfolio roadmaps and finding better loans.

According to them, their personal experiences as investors consistently help them provide the best customer service and most effective advice even amidst changing broking spaces.

Mona said: “We really look at building road maps for our clients upfront. On paper, we really put the options down — lender A, B, C, D, in that order — so you continue maximising what's really possible for you."

“Whilst you have no control over the lending policies or where your interest rates go, if you’re making that strategic choice, you’re keeping a lot of doors open for later investment," she added.

Helping investors

As investors-turned-mortgage brokers, Mona and Sana seek to improve the knowledge of Australian investors and ultimately help them achieve their financial goals. Their experiences as investors who, quite literally, started from the bottom allow them to provide realistic and well-rounded advice to different types of investors.

Instead of acting as mere intermediaries who bring borrowers and lenders together, they take on a holistic approach and help budding investors establish a good foundation for their investment journey.

The most important advice they give to their clients is to always implement long-term strategies, but also be flexible enough to alter plans accordingly along the way.

Sana explained: “You need to look at the big picture rather than just one product or one rate focus, because it's a long-term strategy for you.” 

“We are taking our clients on a journey. It’s not about one transaction at a time, it’s about the big picture and really educating them through the process, through the decisions that they are going to be making — just talking through the pros and cons, the rates and how it's impacting them and what their plans are in the next six to 12 months," Mona highlighted.

Finding the right mentors is critical to success in property investment, according to them. Finding the ones who will be willing to understand your goals, capabilities and limitations as an investor and give you tailored advice will certainly help you fast track your wealth-creation journey.

In fact, Mona and Sana themselves have made it a point to stay in contact with their mentors even after they have successfully crossed the $5 million-line.

As mortgage brokers, the Ali sisters go above and beyond their responsibilities to serve as lessons and inspirations to budding investors.

Mona said: “It’s been really rewarding to see the changes that people have had or the smart decisions our clients have made over the last couple of months. Whilst we’re not property coaches or mentors, that naturally comes to us.

“We pretty much hold their hand and say, ‘Look, this is what we would buy, this is what would make a good property and this is what you should be looking for, and where you should be looking.’ When you’re working with someone who’s been there, where you want to go, you cut down 10 years’ worth of effort,” she concluded.

 

The information has been sourced from propertytwins.com.au, realestate.com.au, Daily Mail and the Smart Property Investment website.

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Stories of success: The migrants that became Australia’s renowned Property Twins
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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.

" ["fulltext"]=> string(2483) "

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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