Deciding on the best property investment strategies for you can be a daunting task, especially if you’re a first-time property investor.

But give yourself credit!

You’ve already accomplished a big part of the daunting task – making the actual decision to invest in the property market.

If you can take one bold step towards a flourishing investment future, the next few steps shouldn’t be much more challenging.

To ease any pressure that you may be feeling; we have compiled a list of some of Australia’s most popular property investment strategies.

While there is no ‘one size fits all’ property investment strategy, this list aims to provide some direction when it comes to picking the best investment path for you.

1. Purchasing Your Own Home

One of Australia’s most popular property investment strategies simply involves buying a home in which you can principally reside.

Whilst you don’t immediately generate revenue from living in the property you buy, the two most significant financial advantages of this property investment strategy are that:

  • Your cost base is likely to considerably rise in value, especially if you do any renovations and/or hold onto the property for an extended period.
  • If and when you decide to sell the property, you will be exempt from paying capital gains tax.

Generally, this is how most Australian’s first get their foot in the property market door.

2. The Buy and Hold Property Investment Strategy

The buy and hold property investment strategy involves purchasing a property with the ultimate goal of holding onto it long enough to generate capital growth.

Deemed as one of the most straightforward property investment strategies, all that you are required to do is purchase the property and let it appreciate over time.

The only downside of going this route with your investment property is that it’s likely to take up to 7 – 10 years before you realise any capital growth.

However, while you are waiting to realise capital growth, you could use the property to generate a rental income.

The rental income can cover the mortgage costs and comes with one significant benefit: investment property tax deductions!

Knowing about your investment property tax deductions could be the difference between you hoping to earn enough money from your investment and having actual positive cash flow.

You can claim:

  • tax depreciation;
  • interest on the loan you used to purchase the property; as well as
  • rental expenses such as advertising costs, utilities and insurance

For the best ways to maximise your investment property tax deductions have a look at our ultimate guide here.

3. The Gearing Property Investment Strategies

Put simply; gearing means that you have borrowed money to buy your investment property.

(a) Negative Gearing:

Negative gearing occurs when you borrow money to invest in property and the income you make from it, through rent, for example, is less than your expenses.

In other words, you’re running at a loss.

Running at a loss is not an ideal situation, but in terms of Australian tax law, it’s not actually all that bad.

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) allows property investors to deduct any losses they make on their investment property from their taxable income.

Investors who purchase properties for the long term capital growth don’t usually expect to make their money on the rent.

So, they will generally use the negative gearing strategy in conjunction with the ‘buy and hold’ property investment strategy.

While the investors wait to cash out on the property’s long-term capital growth, the rent can contribute to any expenses incurred.

Example 1:

Linda purchased an investment property in 2017 for $330,000.

She was able to cover some of the cost but took out a $300,000 loan to cover her shortfall. Her annual interest payable on the loan is $21,000.

Linda has decided to go with the “buy and hold” property investment strategy and rents out her property in the interim. She charges her tenants $350,00 per week in rent, which totals to $18,200 in annual rental income.

$350,00 per week x 52 weeks = $18,200 annual rental income

$18,2000 annual rental income – $21,000 annual interest on loan payable = – $2,800

Linda is running at a loss of $2,800 per year, and so her property is ‘negatively geared’.

The benefit, however, is that she can reduce her taxable income by $2,800, which means she will pay less tax on her investment property.

(b) Positive Gearing:

Positive gearing, on the other hand, involves having an income that amounts to more than your expenses.

In other words, you are consistently making a profit from your investment property, and you could use the surplus income to reduce the size of your loan, for example.

Unfortunately, this does mean that you will be subject to a higher marginal income tax rate.

4. The Renovate and Hold Investment Property Strategy

The objective of renovating and holding your investment property is maximising the earning potential of your property.

Example 2:

In 2018, Mitchell purchased an investment property in Sydney in a prime location, boasting beautiful Sydney Harbour views from the dining room, kitchen and the lounge room.

The purchase price of the property was $920,000.

He spent $115,000 on renovation costs to remove the walls between the dining room, kitchen and lounge room. The idea was to increase the amount of natural light into the property by creating a more open plan living space.

After the renovation costs, the value of the property increased to $1,120,000.

Before the renovation, Mitchell’s rental rate was $950 per week. Post-renovation, he was able to increase his rental rate to $1200 per week.

This increase covers the interest costs for the loan used to complete the renovation and leaves him with surplus income.

The risk, however, with the ‘renovate and hold’ property investment strategy is that there’s no guarantee that your circumstances will turn out the same as Mitchell’s example.

While you may plan as best as you can to lessen the risk, there still is a chance that your newly renovated home won’t make more money than you spend.

5. The Flipping Property Investment Strategy

Not all property investors are interested in waiting years to see a profit from their investment. So, instead, they search for old, broken-down properties to renovate to increase the sale value.

This process is known as “flipping”.

The benefit of this property investment strategy is that you can make a profit relatively quickly because most investors try to complete the entire process within 12 months.

However, it is one of the property investment strategies that demands the most skill.

A lot of planning has to go into ensuring that you accurately predict the potential of the renovation. You also risk spending more money than you budgeted if you don’t tightly monitor your costs.

This property investment strategy is generally best suited to an experienced investor who is looking to expand his/her portfolio quickly.

6. The Subdivision Property Investment Strategy

Subdividing involves purchasing one piece of land and legally splitting it to create two individual parts of the land.

Subdivision can provide you with various options. You can then either choose to:

  • sell off each subdivided part of the land; or
  • you could keep one piece of the land and sell the other; or
  • you could keep both and use one plot to generate income and the other as your primary residence.

Not only will you have various options when it comes to deciding how to utilise the plots, but the value of the land will also generally increase once it has been subdivided.

However, compared to other property investment strategies, subdivision generally takes a longer time to complete.

In the time that it takes to complete the subdivision, there may be a change in the market, making it challenging to sell one or both individual parts of the land.

Similar to the renovating property investment strategies, there is potential to maximise the return on your investment, but there are also quite a few risks.

For that reason, you must do all the necessary research and calculations beforehand to make sure it’s worth the potential risks.

Key Takeaways

There is “no one size fit all” strategy when it comes to property investment strategies.

The key to picking the right property investment strategy for you is making sure it lines up with your current financial needs as well as your future financial goals.

This alignment requires having a good understanding of the property market in its varying stages.

Right now, it may make the most sense to gear your property negatively for the tax benefits. While at a later stage, it may be better suited to renovate with the goal of eventually positively gearing your property.

Either way, it pays to speak to an expert.

As a team of property investors ourselves, we, at Duo Tax, understand that every dollar counts. We’ve got the expertise to help you maximise the return on your investment.

To see how our quantity surveyors can help you, get in touch today!

Disclaimer: Please note that every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided in this guide is accurate. You should note, however, that the information is intended as a guide only, providing an overview of general information available to property investors. This guide is not intended to be an exhaustive source of information and should not be seen to constitute legal or tax advice. You should, where necessary, seek a second professional opinion for any legal or tax issues raised in your investing affairs.
Portrait of Tuan Duong

Tuan Duong is an award winning Quantity Surveyor and leads Duo Tax Quantity Surveyors – Australia’s fastest growing provider of Tax Depreciation. Reach out to him directly on 0431 154 356 or email tuan@duotax.com.au

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