Hard questions every investor should ask come the new financial year: Frank Valentic

Hard questions every investor should ask come the new financial year: Frank Valentic
Hard questions every investor should ask come the new financial year: Frank Valentic

GUEST OBSERVER

End of financial year has arrived. But for property investors, tax time isn’t just about deductions and depreciation schedules – it’s also a great time to re-evaluate your investment property and ensure you are in good standing for the next financial year. 

Investors should ask themselves the following five ‘hard questions’ this month if they want their property to remain competitive - and occupied - in the current rental market. 

  • Are the tenants right? 

Most rental agreements wind up after twelve months, which means it’s a good time to assess whether the tenants are right for your property. Ask yourself, do they pay their rent on time and take care of the property? Or is your property manager regularly chasing payments? If you answer yes to the latter, then it might be time to find new occupants. Ultimately, discuss with your property manager if they think the tenants are suitable – they see plenty of properties and tenants each day and can advise you if your tenants are right. 

  • Is it time to review the rent? 

The new financial year is also a great time to assess whether the weekly rent is on par and if it’s providing you with the right returns. Not all rental agreements come to an end in July – but it doesn’t mean you can’t start planning and reviewing the market. 

Often in a competitive market place, it’s acceptable for landlords to increase the asking rent to match rises in inflation. Similarly, if an area has become more desirable with the introduction of new infrastructure or amenities (such as a nearby university or improved public transport), then it’s ok to determine with your property manager a reasonable rental increase. 

On the other hand, when the real estate market is booming, the rental market often falls flat as residents decide to purchase a property for themselves. During this time, to ensure that your property is competitive and doesn’t become vacant, it might be worth keeping the rent on hold until the next financial year when it’s time to review again. 

  • Are you covered? 

Landlord insurance is a must for any property investor. After all, you need to protect your assets in case your tenant does something that seriously damages your property. However, in the hustle and bustle of tax time, many people forget about renewing their landlord insurance. So make sure you or your property manager ticks this box come the new financial year. 

  • Is it time to do some handy-work?

Many investors purchase a property with the hope to renovate down the track when further finances become available. The next thing you know, one year becomes five and you haven’t even picked up a hammer and nail. 

Renovating your property can provide excellent rewards on your investment. In the short term, an improved property can enhance the appeal for renters, while long term a little bit of handy-work can result in greater capital growth for when you decide to sell down the track.

If you analyse your finances at EOFY and don’t have the budget to conduct a full blown renovation, remember that a little bit of handy work such as a quick coat of paint can go a long way. Doing small jobs over a long period of time can ease the hip pocket and also get your home up to scratch. And your current tenants will appreciate your efforts in preserving the property. 

  • Should you refinance? 

For those who have had held their current home loan for several years, it’s likely that your lifestyle and financial situation have changed - so it could be worthwhile refinancing your property. 

Every investor should consider refinancing to find themselves a better deal. For instance, you may find a lower interest rate or a loan which offers additional features (such as redraw or account splitting), or perhaps you’d like to use this equity to renovate the home. Refinancing may also offer potential tax benefits if you can access equity to invest in further properties for your portfolio. Regardless of the reason, speak to your financial advisor who can provide the best advice if this is an option for you. 

It’s no easy feat being a property investor. While you can call on the advice and services of property managers, financial advisors and legal advisors, ultimately these hard questions will come down to you. Take the time each financial year to reassess your investments and you’ll be in a strong position to maximise your short and long term returns. 

Frank Valentic is the founder of advantage property Consulting, an independent Buyers’ Agency spanning Buyers’ and Vendors’ Advocacy, Property Management and Owners Corporation services. Frank is also a Buyers’ Advocate Judge on “The Block” TV Show. He can be contacted here.

 

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