Detoxification is a process of achieving and maintaining balance – specifically, eliminating harmful and destructive processes and practices to restore optimum vitality. While it typically refers to the physical body the same principles can also apply to property investment – think of it as a property health-check.
Undertaken once each year, the process involves a review of the past health or performance of your property, a maintenance check on holding costs, and assessment about how all of these factors impact future asset performance.
But that’s putting the horse before the cart.
What’s the reason for your investment?
A healthy property starts with a healthy psychology about your investment – that is, a sound grasp of what motivated you to invest in the first place. Homeowners, don’t for a minute think this excludes you. After all, a home is often the biggest investment decision most of us ever make.
Getting back on track, what is your reason for investing? Is it for future wealth and security, to reduce taxable income or for cash flow? If like most people, you invested in property for security your strategy is clear – your property must provide capital growth. That is, your property must at minimum keep pace with market growth in order to provide ongoing financial security. Note, the right property will also help grow your wealth, not just your security.
Assessing the performance of your property
While most real estate eventually increases in value, the rate of growth and performance can be vastly different between properties, even seemingly similar varieties. That’s simply because, like people, each property is unique in its physical location, layout, construction, amenity and so on.
In 2015, Australia’s residential dwelling prices rose by 7.8% overall according to researcher CoreLogic. That figure includes both houses and units / apartments across Australia. Simultaneously, Sydney and Melbourne dwellings grew by 11.5% and 11.2% respectively, while Brisbane and Canberra were the next closest performers, both growing by 4.1%. If this isn’t evidence enough of the disparity in performance between property types, perhaps the disparity between Melbourne’s house and apartment growth performance will convince you – the former growing by 11.7% for the year and the latter by just 6.9%, which is slightly less than the national average growth recorded for all dwellings.
But “how do I assess the capital growth rate of my property”, you ask? It’s simple really. Identify recently sold comparable properties in your area and ask yourself how these compare with your property. Determining the value of a property isn’t rocket science, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get it horribly wrong. If in doubt, seek advice from a professional such as a property valuer who can provide a current market value against which to measure your property’s performance.
Now you have a rough idea of the value of your property, you can compare it with the price you paid. How does the growth of your property compare with the national average? Is it time for a closer examination of the quality of your investment or do you have new found equity in your property you never knew you had?
Both of these scenarios have implications for your long-term wealth – but only if you act on the information.
Conducted annually, a simple “property detox” will assist you in auditing and assessing the quality and performance of your home or investment property to better manage your largest financial asset and achieve better financial outcomes.
Like investors, homebuyers should invest in professional, independent and customised advice, if required, to assist with their home purchase.
Authour: Greville Pabst
Property expert Greville Pabst is Executive Chairman of WBP Property Group.