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Open Home Inspections – What to Look For

Look for the details when you go for an open home inspection

Open Home Inspections – What to Look For

The property market is hot and homes aren’t lasting long before being snapped up. If you’re looking to buy and visiting multiple open homes every weekend, it can all become a bit overwhelming trying to remember what each property looked like. But not taking your time to look around properly can lead you to offer, and potentially purchase, a home that may become a money pit.

While you will have the benefit of a building and pest inspection, you don’t want to get too far into the process and realise you’ve missed out on a great home because you didn’t inspect a not-so-great home thoroughly.

Potential buyers – get your notepads ready. We’ve put together some handy tips on what you should be looking for at your next open home inspection.

Mould, Damp and Water Stains

 Mould, damp and water stains can all be indicative of a larger problem. As you walk around the home, check for mould and water stains on the ceilings (as this can indicate a leaky roof),  and open cabinets in the kitchen and bathroom to see if there are any signs of mould or dampness which can indicate a water leak. Other areas you may find the mould and water stains are around the toilet, in the laundry and in the caulking in the shower and around basins.

Cracks in the Ceiling and Walls

Cracks come in two forms – fine cracking and large cracking. Fine cracks could be due to the plastering being done incorrectly at the time of construction and they can eventually cause the plaster to become loose and fall off.

Large cracks can be the result of building movement and can appear internally and externally. These cracks require further inspection by a building inspector if you go ahead with a contract on the property.

Downpipes and Gutters

 Far too often downpipes and gutters aren’t maintained; they are left to overfill, go rusty and get damaged. While you can’t carry a ladder around to open homes with you, it is well worth looking up to see if you can spot any damage or rust to the guttering, as well as seeing if there are leaves or plants growing in the gutters. This could indicate that the gutters are blocked, which could cause water to overflow into the property.

When looking at downpipes, check that they are discharging into the correct drainage, and don’t have any holes in the pipes. You should also check, if possible, if the drainage is clear or blocked.

How Noisy Is It?

Noise levels are something that many people forget to check – how much traffic is going past? Can you hear the traffic from inside the property? Are there noisy neighbours? It’s a good idea to remember that open homes are held at optimal times – you may not get a great indication of how noisy the property is at 7am on a week day when you are inspecting at 10am on a Saturday.

If you are seriously considering placing an offer on the property, take the time to drive past at different times of the day, and night, to get a good indication of the noise levels.

What’s the Natural Light Like?

 When you walk into an open home, the sales agent will more than likely have all the lights turned on to maximise lighting inside. This of course doesn’t give you a good idea of the natural light. If you can organise a private inspection at a different time of the day, you will be able to get a better idea of the levels of natural light. If not, look out for the placement of windows and how large they are.

Another consideration is which way the windows face. While a west-facing window might bring you plenty of light in the afternoon, there’s a good chance it’s going to heat up your home, so you’ll have the blinds or curtains closed anyway. Knowing which way the property is positioned and therefore which ways the windows face, you’ll get a good idea of whether you can use natural light to your advantage or whether you’ll need to use internal lighting.

There are plenty of things to look out for when attending an open home. Make a list of your must-have and your like-to-have features and keep those in mind. Buying a home is a large investment and something you certainly don’t want to get wrong.

If you’re ready to buy a new home, but you aren’t sure where to start, Thank You Real Estate has a team of Buyers Agents who can take the stress out of looking for your new home. Contact us today to find out more.

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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.