Four key steps to maximising your property investment through your SMSF

Four key steps to maximising your property investment through your SMSF
Four key steps to maximising your property investment through your SMSF

With the ability to negatively gear property in superannuation while still at work against your personal tax, more people are looking at this strategy to improve their lifestyle in retirement.   This ability to buy property, which will be tax free in your retirement, can greatly boost your future income. However, many people take shortcuts that reduce the upside of this strategy and unfortunately,  in some cases, unintended costs are triggered. To maximise the strategy, four key steps are necessary.

  1. Talk to your specialist SMSF accountant or financial planner to ensure the property you are looking at is allowable. In summary, borrowings can be used to purchase, repair, and fund interest expenses. Cosmetic renovations (not an improvement) are permitted with borrowings, and while you can improve a property by adding floor space, granny flat, etc, this must be done using SMSF cash. off-the-plan purchases are allowable, but not the purchase of land and the subsequent construction of the building. During this talk you can discuss the rollover from other super funds and any insurances etc., you may need.
  2. Get pre-approved finance. In many instances the banks will require a financial planner to sign off on your SMSF strategy, but this is normally a relatively simple thing. You may need to top up your super if you do not have sufficient deposit etc., but you can lend money to your SMSF from say cash or equity from outside super. As this is not a super contribution, there is no limit on the amount, and it can be repaid prior to retirement.
  3. After steps one and two are complete you can then put in place the paperwork. Caution is needed, as not all suppliers of the required documents are equally skilled. If you are lending money to your SMSF then you need these documents, and it is also advisable to complete additional documents as in many states a future second stamp duty on the property may be payable if all required documents are not completed.
  4. Now the fun stuff: go out and secure the property.

 

The above may look intimidating, but it is just administration that your specialty advisor will help you with and for most people, it’s no more daunting than the process of purchasing the property; it’s simply just some “extra paperwork”. The ability to leverage property in super can be very beneficial, but ensure you follow these relatively simple rules to maximise your benefits.

Ken Raiss is a certified accountant and director of Chan & Naylor national accounting firm. Chan & Naylor offers a free five-minute question-and-answer session on its website under the "Ask the Experts" section.

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