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Depreciation Claims on Investment Property

what is tax depreciation for investment properties

Investment Property Depreciation – What You Need to Know

If you’ve recently purchased an investment property, or you’ve been thinking of purchasing one, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of deductions that can be made against the tax you pay. One of these deductions is depreciation of both the property and the contents inside the property.

But what exactly is depreciation? And how does it help come tax time?

Depreciation is essentially a deduction on your tax that allows you, as an investor, to offset the decline in value in both the property and items that are permanent fixtures within the property – ovens, dishwashers, carpets, blinds, air conditioners, and so on. One of the biggest benefits of depreciation is that it is a “non-cash deduction”. This means that unlike other deductible costs associated with owning an investment property, there are no ongoing costs to depreciation; you don’t need to spend anything to get the deduction.

It is important to keep in mind that every item has a lifespan that the ATO says it should last before needing to be replaced. This then creates the length of time that the depreciation will be spread over.

New Builds, Renovations, and Older Homes

One of the biggest questions around depreciation is who can claim. Does the property need to be of a certain age before you can start claiming depreciation or is there an age where you can’t claim depreciation?

Essentially property depreciation can be claimed on a building of any age. If the property was built after July 1985, you can claim deductions on both the building and the fixtures, while if the property was built prior to that date, you can only claim on the fixtures. It is certainly worthwhile having a depreciation schedule produced – saving on your tax is still a saving after all.

So what about claiming on a renovated property? This one is a little more work as you will need to know how much was spent on the renovations (and you do have an obligation to the ATO to provide this information). If renovations were completed by a previous owner of the property, you can still claim. If the cost of the renovations is unknown, you will need to engage a quantity surveyor to make an estimation of the cost of renovations.

Claiming Depreciation on Your Investment 

There are two ways that depreciation can be claimed on an investment property: capital works and depreciating assets.

Capital works depreciation looks at the construction costs involved in building the property. We mentioned above that every item that is depreciated has a lifespan. In the case of a new build, depreciation is spread over 40 years as the ATO has ruled that a building lasts 40 years before it needs to be replaced.

Depreciating assets are those with a limited effective life that decline in value over time. In an investment property, this includes items such as light fittings, ovens, cooktops, carpets, furnishings. The ATO has listed all the items you can claim and how long you can claim them for; for example, a carpet is estimated to last 10 years, a cooktop 12 years, and a split system air conditioner 10 years.

It’s important to know when these items were purchased where possible as the depreciation lifespan is different in some categories depending on the purchase date.

How to Claim Depreciation

There are two options when claiming depreciation – the prime cost method and the diminishing value method. It is of course advisable to speak to an accountant about which option best suits your situation.

The prime cost method essentially provides you with an equal tax deduction for each year of the effective life of the item.

The diminishing value method allows you to make higher claims in the first few years after purchase and then smaller claims as the item gets older.

What is a Depreciation Schedule?

 Simply put, a depreciation schedule is a report outlining all the depreciation deductions that can be made relating to your investment property. It is a good idea to engage a quantity surveyor to put together the report for you. Quantity surveyors assess the value of the construction work and put together a report for you.

When you own an investment property, it’s essential that you are getting all the tax deductions you are entitled to. Depreciation is an important factor that many property investors forget about and therefore miss out on deductions that could save them in tax. Talk to your property manager or accountant about having a tax depreciation schedule completed on your investment property.

If you’ve never had a property depreciation schedule completed, or you want to discuss how one can help you, reach out to the team at Thank You Real Estate, and we can assist.

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Appreciating the True Value of Good Property Management

At Thank You Real Estate, we educate the landlords to understand the true value of good property manager.

Cameron has lived in Western Sydney his whole life, so when he bought his first investment property, he chose a nearby suburb that he was familiar with. Within a few years, he was able to access the equity in his first investment property and buy a second investment property, also in Western Sydney. Cameron worked really hard to build up his property investment portfolio, so naturally, he wanted to protect it. He knew he didn’t have time to manage the property himself, but he wasn’t sure if paying a property manager was worth the cost. He’d heard that fees can vary greatly between agencies – should he just go with the lowest fee? Would that be the best choice for his investment?

If Cameron’s story sounds familiar, it’s because it’s a common one. Property owners naturally want to see the greatest possible returns on their investment properties. But sadly, many people think that this can be achieved by choosing the cheapest property management option. By focusing solely on price they’re misunderstanding the main crux of what it means to have an investment property managed and, as a result, they’re unable to get an accurate comparison of like for like.

Getting the Right Information

In Cameron’s case, he realised that he needed more information. It wasn’t enough to just compare ‘Price A’ with ‘Price B’. Doing so would be like comparing a second-hand Hyundai with a brand-new Mercedes. So, Cameron started asking questions. In doing so, he was able to determine who was offering transparent, high-value service at a reasonable price…and who was disguising bad property management behind a smokescreen of “discounted” fees.

Property Management Fees 

When comparing property management fees, Cameron looked for prices that were reasonable and market competitive. He asked what services were included and what kind of industry experience the property manager had. He realised that, while there’s nothing wrong with fair negotiations, a property manager that is reasonably compensated would be working harder for his investment than one with little financial incentive. And he started to appreciate that below-average pricing = below-average service.

How to Identify High-Quality Property Management

The more research Cameron did, the more easily he was able to identify high-quality property management. He started to look at:

  • Quality: Does the agent understand what quality service is? Are they dedicated to achieving the best possible result, not just the quickest or easiest result?
  • Skill: Does the agent have both the capacity and the skill necessary to achieve an above-average market rate for your investment property? Do they have a timeline that they work to when finding and evaluating a new tenant?
  • Strategy: Does the agent have a strategy in place to prevent a tenant from going into rent arrears or do they rely on stressful hearings at the NSW Civil & Administrative Tribunal (NCAT)? Do they look for long-term tenants, understanding that a 12-month lease means a 50% reduction in fees for the investor when compared with a 6-month lease?
  • Documentation: Do they pay meticulous attention when completing and filing the necessary paperwork? Do they understand the importance of accurate documentation, realising that incorrect paperwork could seriously jeopardise your valuable asset?

Fortunately, Cameron’s story has a happy ending. By taking the time to compare property management companies he was able to weed out the agencies with hidden fees and poor management strategies. He found a property manager who he felt comfortable with and who agreed to manage his investment property at a fair and reasonable rate. An agent who delivered high-quality service, had exceptional skills, a well-planned strategy and a thorough documentation process. As a result, both of Cameron’s investment properties have had lower vacancy rates, long-term tenants and rent that is always paid on time.

Thank You Real Estate offer boutique property management services to Sydney investors. Our experienced property managers are committed to providing exceptional service at a fair price, always working hard to ensure your investment is delivering the highest possible return.

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Lease Renewal NSW – An Easy Explanation

Lease renewal in Sydney is a hot topic thanks to recent changes to Residential Tenancy Laws in NSW

Lease Renewal NSW – An Easy Explanation

Lease renewal in Sydney is a hot topic thanks to recent changes to Residential Tenancy Laws in NSW. Effective from 23rd March 2020, the NSW Government says these amendments are designed to “improve tenants’ renting experience while ensuring that landlords can effectively manage their properties”. But change always brings a level of uncertainty. Many landlords are now wondering how the new regulations will affect their investment properties and, in particular, what impact this will have on lease renewals. 

Lease Renewal NSW Explained

Lease renewal generally occurs near the end of a fixed-term tenancy agreement. Before the end of the lease, a landlord may decide to:

  • End the lease: The tenant vacates the property.
  • Renew the lease: The tenant signs a new contract agreeing to lease the property for a fixed period of time. 
  • Have a periodic agreement: The tenant continues living at the property and paying rent, but on a month-to-month basis which can be ended by either party providing the necessary amount of notice.

Landlords have typically favoured a lease renewal over a periodic agreement because of the stability that it provides. 

What is Involved in the Lease Renewal Process?

If you want to offer your tenant a renewed lease, then your first step should be to talk to your property manager. They can conduct a rental assessment to see whether the current rent is still in line with the market average or whether a rent increase can reasonably be implemented. Your property manager will then send a Notice for Lease Renewal to the tenant, which will outline the terms of the new agreement (including the length of the new lease and any proposed changes in rent). This lease renewal letter should be sent out prior to the end of the existing lease, as this allows plenty of time for the paperwork to be completed. 

How Do Recent Changes’ Affect Lease Renewals in Sydney?

When a tenant breaks a fixed-term lease, they are required to pay a break lease fee. Under the new regulations, these fees are fixed and dependent on how much of the current lease is remaining:

  • If less than 25% of the lease has elapsed, then the fee is 4 weeks rent
  • If less than 50% of the lease has elapsed (but more than 25%), then the fee is 3 weeks rent
  • If less than 75% of the lease has elapsed (but more than 50%), then the fee is 2 weeks rent
  • If more than 75% of the lease has elapsed, then the fee is 4 weeks rent

This means that there is a strong deterrent to breaking the lease in the initial stages of a tenancy, but that this will diminish with times. 

What Are the Benefits of Lease Renewal? 

You may now be thinking: “What are the benefits of lease renewal since the tenant can break the lease anyway?” In an effort to avoid a lease renewal fee, some investment property owners may think that a periodic agreement is the preferred choice. But renewing a lease comes with a range of benefits that far outweigh the minimal costs associated with a lease renewal. These include: 

  • Keeping a good tenant: If you’ve found a reliable tenant who is caring for your investment property and paying the rent on time, then it’s well worth signing a lease renewal. A tenant left languishing on a periodic tenancy may feel that their situation is unstable and could start looking for a new rental property nearby that offers more stability. 
  • Minimising costs: Every time a tenant moves out of your property you will face costs associated with advertising the property and potential lost rent. Tenants on fixed-term leases are less likely to suddenly move out because of a concern about how this may impact their reputation as a reliable tenant.

Handling a lease renewal is just one of the many ways that a reliable property manager can make life easier for a rental property owner. If you’re looking for a property manager who has industry experience and delivers high-class service, then contact Thank You Real Estate for a free rental property appraisal

 

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Switching property managers is easier than you think

Switching Property Managers is Easier Than You Think

Switching Property Managers is Easier Than You Think!

You’ve realised that your investment property managers just aren’t delivering the service you deserve…now what? How do you find the right property manager? The kind of property manager that will look after your property like it’s their own. An agency where property management fees are offset by exceptional service, ample industry experience and a commitment to practising what they preach. And once you’ve found this agency, just how complicated is it to make the switch?

Fortunately, this process doesn’t need to be hard. It doesn’t need to be complicated and it doesn’t need to involve hours and hours of research. Thank You Real Estate is here to help.

Why Choose Thank You Real Estate?

Thank You Real Estate offer superior property management services in Sydney and were founded on the principle of ‘they do what they say they will do’. With a committed team of knowledgeable property managers, Thank You Real Estate is the right choice, thanks to our:

  • Local Knowledge: Based in the Greater Sydney area, Thank You Real Estate currently operates across 16 suburbs, including Parramatta, Westmead, Wentworthville, Blacktown, Granville, Pendle Hill, Quakers Hill, Marsden Park, Castle Hill, Baulkham Hills. Local knowledge is an essential part of good property management, allowing for trusted local contacts and accurate rental assessments. 
  • Customer Reviews: Any property manager can say they’re the right choice – but what do their existing customers think? Thank You Real Estate enjoys a 5-star overall review rating on the independent website Rate My Agent, in addition to client testimonials proudly shared on our own website.  
  • Exceptional Service: At Thank You Real Estate, our property managers have rejected the old school agency mentality of “near enough is good enough”. Instead, we strive to be positive, flexible and committed, utilising the latest technology and fostering a high level of professionalism and excellent time management.  
  • Value for Money: Property management cost is always an important factor for investment property owners, as you try to balance the right level of service with the right level of cost. To assist with this, we’ve built a business with low overheads and operational costs, allowing us to deliver superior service without the weighty price tag. 
  • Great Communication: To assist with seamless communication we’ve invested in cloud-based software applications that are highly secure and allow for a greater level of automation. You’ll automatically receive notifications regarding payments, inspections and other routine matters, freeing our property managers up to handle more complex tasks in a direct and one-on-one manner.  
  • Innovative Business Structure: Investment property managers often operate within a hierarchical system that can make it difficult for you to know who you should be speaking to. Thank You Real Estate has done away with this old business model, allowing clients to speak directly with the business owner, who is intimately acquainted with all end-to-end aspects of the business. 

Is Switching Property Managers a Complicated Process?

Not at all! At Thank You Real Estate we have made this process as simple and stress-free as possible. Once you’ve decided to make the switch to Thank You Real Estate, you’ll be provided with a simple form that confirms you have authorised us to manage the property on your behalf. After signing an online agreement, there’s nothing else for you to do – we literally take care of everything, at no cost to you.

For more information on just how easy it is to switch to a new property manager, give our helpful team a call on Ph: +61 430 607 866 or use our online form to request a callback.

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5 Warning Signs it’s Time to Switch to A New Property Manager

looking to switch property manager who listens to you and work for you.

5 Warning Signs it’s Time to Switch to A New Property Manager

An investment property is a valuable asset – so why entrust it to just anyone? Your investment property managers are responsible for finding reliable and trustworthy tenants, making sure rent is paid on time, keeping maintenance issues in check and minimising vacancy periods. If any of these responsibilities are not being cared for adequately, then you’re probably losing money.

So, how do you know when it’s time to switch property management? And when is the best time to make the change? Start by asking yourself these 5 important questions:

  • Are your property managers delivering high-class service?
    Property management
    in Sydney may vary in terms of what services are provided. A budget property manager may only handle incoming rent or routine inspections, leaving the bulk of the work in the hands of the property owner. Others may say that they’ll take care of everything, yet inspections aren’t regular and rent payment is sporadic at best. If you feel like your property manager could be doing more, then it’s probably because they should be doing more.
  • Is the property management contract being honoured?
    The contract initially provided by your investment property managers will have specified certain terms that you both agreed to comply with. This would have included property management fees, what services they would provide and what your responsibilities are as a landlord. If you’re paying the required property management fees but you’re not receiving the listed services in return, then it may be time to look at switching.
  • Are they keeping up with routine maintenance?
    In New South Wales, landlords or their authorised representatives can legally inspect a rental property up to 4 times per year. Without regular inspections, how will you know if the tenants are taking appropriate care of the property and whether any routine maintenance work is required? If tenants are reporting maintenance problems, are these issues being forwarded to you promptly by your property manager? A minor water leak, if left unchecked, could eventually result in thousands of dollars’ worth of water damage to your asset.
  • Does your property manager have relevant industry experience?
    Industry experience plays a key role in property management in Sydney. With stiff competition in the housing market, property management rentals typically receive a flood of applications. Without industry experience, how will a property manager screen the applicants? Will they be diligent enough to complete reference checks? Do they know what red flags to look out for? When mishandled due to a lack of experience, property management can cost you significantly in terms of unpaid rent, damages and Tribunal fees.

  • Do your investment property managers prioritise ongoing training?
    As of the 23rd of March 2020, changes were made to the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 and the new Residential Tenancies Regulation 2019, the regulations governing tenancy laws in NSW. Failure to keep up with changing regulations and real estate industry best practices can result in, at best, sub-par service and at worst, costly mistakes that land you in front of the Tribunal. Make sure that your Sydney property management firm is investing the necessary time in ongoing staff training.

If your current property managers aren’t delivering the service that they should be, then what is involved in switching to a new property manager? Start by checking the terms of your contract, as this should spell out the minimum notice period that you’ll need to provide. It’s best not to wait until the end of a current tenancy before switching property managers, as this could result in extended periods of vacancy.

If you’re looking for a property manager that ticks all the right boxes, then Thank You Real Estate is here to help. Catering to the suburbs but not limited to Parramatta, Westmead, Blacktown, Pendle Hill, Quakers Hill, Marsden Park, Schofield, Epping, North Epping  and surroundings, our experienced property managers are committed to delivering the service your property deserves. To discuss switching property management to Thank You Real Estate, give us a call on Ph: 0430 607 866, or fill out the online form to request a callback. Once you’ve decided to switch, the rest of the changeover is simple – because we’ll take care of all the paperwork for you. We can even give notice to your (now former) property manager and arrange for a seamless transition. Minimal hassle and the peace of mind that comes with knowing your property is now in safe and reliable hands.