The evils of Negative Gearing?

article_05082013Barely a day goes by in the media that there isn’t an article published discussing the challenges of the Australian housing market and how much prices have risen over recent years. The long held ‘Great Australian Dream’ of owning your own home is frequently trotted out to tug at the heart strings of TV viewers when trying to find a suitable scapegoat for sky high property prices. Throughout much of 2014, focus was being placed on foreign investors landing on our shores with suitcases full of money and pricing us locals out of the market. Currently the place for blame is on negative gearing. Whilst I’m happy to agree that negative gearing may have had some contribution to price rises, it’s important to take into account the huge amount for factors at play here. Although I’m no economist, it doesn’t take a genius to realise that the combination of negative gearing, foreign investment, historically low interest rates, ease of finance, ongoing agent under-quoting and the sense of urgency portrayed in the media all play a role. Not to mention the fact that almost 70% of Australians choose to live in capital cities and that there is only so much land available in these relatively tiny pockets of our enormous country. Geography and demographics certainly play a role.

Of course I’m biased…but while I do think that negative gearing has an important role to play in supporting investors and in turn the housing market in Australia, I agree with statements made regarding investors only investing in property simply for the tax advantages. To me, purely investing for the benefits of negative gearing is completely the wrong approach (although plenty do it). Following here are two videos worth a watch. The first is a clip from ‘The Project’ on Network 10 which aired last night and fired me up to write about this topic. Pay careful attention to the generalised statements and overall tone of the clip, it’s enough to make you go out and push the nearest property investor under a bus. The second clip by well known Australian property investing wunderkind Nathan Birch is intriguingly entitled Negative Gearing Sucks Balls. Nathan’s explanation about negative gearing and why people get caught out by it is spot on in my view. My thoughts? Negative gearing is a useful bonus for investors but certainly not a reason in itself to invest in property. Check out the clips below and make up your own mind!


Renovation Rescue – Day 11

Day 11 of the reno and even though I’m absolutely exhausted at the end of each day, today I couldn’t get back to the property fast enough as I had planned to do what I anticipated to be the most fun activity of the entire project and it certainly didn’t let me down. I actually did the first part of this project yesterday (as it takes 48 hours to complete) but didn’t want to blog about it until I could display the finished product to my trusty followers. It was time to re-surface the benchtops!

Now usually most people probably would not get all that excited about bench re-surfacing but I had discovered this product called Rustoleum Countertop Transformations. It’s so much cheaper than having to get new benchtops and a stack of fun to actually do. The benchtops were a revolting green colour (once again a remnant from the 70’s) and were in fairly ordinary condition. Whilst intact, they were faded and had several nail and screw holes throughout them from various things. There were a number of steps involved including sanding the benchtops, giving them a coat of an adhesive base paint, spraying ‘decorative chips’ over the surface (as well as about half of the kitchen), waiting overnight, scraping and then sanding back, then finally applying a  2-part protective coat over the top. Throw in a visit from my friend Dora as well as a quick lunch with friend and fellow renovator Ryan and it was a hugely successful day. I need to say no more, I’ll let the videos and photos below show you the fun part!

The award winning masterpiece below filmed by the technologically savvy foreman shows the highlight of the process (besides the finished product). The Sir David Attenborough style narration is excellent.

And this is the product instructional video showing some very smiley Americans having a great time with their countertop transformation!

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Queensland luxury for $25,000,000

It’s been a while since I’ve posted an ‘in your dreams’ property and a lot of those in the past have been from the USA. It’s great to find a good local one and this one hits just the right spot. Located a stone’s throw from the Great Barrier Reef in Airlie Beach you’ll find the amazing Mandalay House and it can be all yours for just $25 million AUD. What do I get for my hard earned millions I hear you say? Well once you fly in to your private heli-pad or sail in to your own personal marina with space for a 24m yacht as well as your 2 jet skis you can casually stroll up you your 2629 sqm (over 28,000 sq feet!) luxury home. Even before you get inside you will have passed your massive pool, huge outdoor entertaining areas, caretakers cottage and personal water desalination plant (some would say the desal plant is excessive but you can’t go washing your diamonds in salt water). Once inside you have the choice of 6 king size bedrooms (the master bedroom covers 144 sqm with lounge room & separate 52 sqm walk in dressing room) , 9 bathrooms, cinema, gymnasium and pool room, a climate controlled cellar with dining space for 12, your own internal elevator and car parking for 6 or your luxury cars if you didn’t get the helicopter here. Top all of this off with breathtaking views out over the Whitsundays and you’ll be rushing off to get your checkbook from the glove box of the Aston Martin. Still not convinced? Just check out the marketing video below…butterflies appear to be included with the price.

Exciting news!

In the interests of blatant self promotion I’ve attached the following image…more news to come soon!


2014 property advice from the stars…literally!

zodiac-signsHappy new year everyone! For a lot of us the start of a new year brings us the opportunity to evaluate what we’ve been doing and kick off with a few New Year’s resolutions. For some it’s giving up cigarettes or losing weight, for others it might be to do with family or financial matters. If you’re thinking about taking the first steps to getting onto the property ladder or making further progress from what you have already done then it’s a great time to set some goals and think about how you are going to get there. Whilst I always suggest that you evaluate advice very carefully and make sure there is some good evidence to back it up, I just couldn’t resist re-posting the following that I discovered online today – Your Property Star Guide to 2014! Keep in mind that this is not rigorous evidence-based research…but who knows, if the stars and planets align…

FIND out what the stars have in store for buyers, renters, sellers and landlords in 2014. You probably noticed the record number of auctions and house prices during 2013. Was it written in the stars? Yes, Jupiter rules expansion, hope, confidence, and optimism, while Cancer rules home, family, real estate and ancestry. Jupiter, in Cancer since June 27, 2013, will remain until July 17, 2014, creating another property market boom. From mid-2013, our property market went gangbusters and peaked around December 12, 2013 when Jupiter trained Saturn in Scorpio, a powerful astrological aspect for maximising your return on investment. Jupiter will be retrograde until March 6, 2014. This typically delays settlements, encourages gazumping, withdraws properties from sale and creates problems with “finance subject to approval” agreements. Jupiter inflates expectations; vendors can get greedy holding out for the highest price. Until 17 July 2014 while Jupiter remains in Cancer, buyers will seek bigger homes, particularly with three or more bedrooms to meet the current baby boom, but also to accommodate older family members. On July 17, 2014, Jupiter enters Leo which rules love, fun, leisure, sports and children. Homes near parks, beaches, sports facilities, entertainment, shopping and coffee precincts will appeal enormously as will nearby childcare centres and schools. Apartments near these areas, with pools, BBQ areas, stately lobbies (mirror and glass), fashionable addresses, impressive views and large balconies or courtyards for entertaining will dominate demand.
You could make a fortune buying, selling, leasing, developing, renovating, or investing in property on April 30, May 6, 24 and June 8. However, an ultimatum from your boss or tough business conditions may force you to move, sell, lease or relocate on July 4, 22 and 28. An impulsive home purchase or DIY project is a bad idea on July 9, 25 and August 1 however on those same days, an older family member may provide your first home deposit, suggest property-related tax offsets or leave you real estate in their will. Your partner may disagree with your property plans on July 19. While Mercury is retrograde from June 8-July 16, you may experience delays or reversals with your paperwork. A property expert may give you a fantastic insider’s tip on house or land yet to be advertised on June 29, July 19 and 24.
Jupiter in your solar fourth house of home and family from July 17, 2014 ushers in a 12-month window for you to expand your property portfolio, your physical home and perhaps your family, too. On July 25, August 19 and September 26, you may find the home of your dreams, finish renovating, or plan a party at home. Saturn in your solar seventh house of relationships suggests your past or present partner may disagree with you about buying, selling, renovating, decorating or investing in property on August 3, 9, and 27. The Full Moon of August 10 points to crunch time around career choices vs. domestic obligations. You will adore spending time with your family, entertaining guests or househunting for the home of your dreams on July 25 and August 19, with a big change due in your domestic environment from the New Moon of July 26.
An extra source of income may dry to a trickle until March 7, 2014 while Jupiter is retrograde in your solar second house of income, putting projects and investment plans on hold. You might want to get your property refinanced, valued, insured or left in a will to a loved one on August 22, September 4 and 15. In other cases, a wealthy family member may help you with your home deposit or mortgage or can introduce you to an architect who can help you maximise your home value with a subdivision, for example. On August 25, 26, September 10 and 22, you may decide to spruce up your home office, look for a house that’s closer to your workplace, do domestic repairs for yourself or tenants, or consider getting a pet for the kids, companionship or daily exercise.
Your and your partner could disagree regarding a home purchase, sale, renovation, extension, repair, or investment on January 1, April 23, June 15, September 10, October 5 and 9. You may upset your landlord, tenants, flatmates, real estate agent, architects, tradies or council official if you’re arrogant on January 8 and April 23. You may have to find new business premises without much warning on April 23, June 25, July 1, September 13, October 8 and 11. Invest in real estate, buy high-end fittings for your renovation or splurge on homewares on September 11, October 11, 14, 17, 18, 21, 23 and November 1. You may move, sell, renovate, decorate, extend, renew your lease, invest or improve your property following the New Moon of September 24. Schedule DIY jobs on October 10, 17 and 20. When Mercury goes retrograde from October 11-26 you could play phone, email, contract and meeting tag with property industry people.
An insider tip could net you a bargain on May 24. Take care you don’t overextend yourself buying a bigger house, apartment, holiday house, investment property, or renovation on August 1, November 10, 14 and 23. You may refinance your home loan, team up to buy real estate, get a house as part of a settlement, receive a tax refund to put towards your home deposit, or be left property in a will on August 7, October 28, and November 12. Undertake domestic chores from DIY repairs to cleaning out the garage on August 15, 26, November 2, 4, 17, 18 and 22. You may find a gorgeous home or decide to redecorate on October 27. Mercury goes retrograde on October 5-November 11 pointing to delays in property matters and unresolved family issues. You could move, sell, renovate, invest in property or revise your household arrangements following the New Moon of October 23.
Don’t let your partner make domestic repairs nor buy property on September 22, November 20, 27 and December 1 as it’ll be Mr Bean-quality without the comedy. Invest in property, apply for your first mortgage, refinance it, or check how you can claim tax expenses on your home/s on October 5, November 27, December 5 and 6. You may get some amazing insider info that helps you snap up a property on October 9, December 5, 12 and 15. From the New Moon of November 22, you’ll be action stations at home, probably getting everything ready for the holiday season with your house ready to receive guests by the Full Moon of December 6. You could be ultra-busy on December 8, phoning, negotiating, emailing or meeting with real estate industry people regarding a house purchase, sale, lease, renovation or investment.
You could decide to buy, sell, lease, invest, renovate, develop, get pregnant, ask your adult child to return or move out and/or to insist your (grand) parent/s need nursing care as soon as New Year’s Day, with more news likely on January 7, 11, November 11, December 21, 22 and 25. You may make long-term financial commitments about your home or an older family member on January 6, 11, February 25, and December 2. Your (grand) parents may need your help on November 2, December 14 and 27. You may have to cut working hours or make your office into their new bedroom to take care of them. You could be very upset about domestic issues on January 16 and March 3, while you and your partner could disagree about your family, housework, or whether to relocate or buy a property together on November 13 and December 21.
You may feel burdened by domestic issues, caring for elderly (grand) parents, or property commitments on 26 January, February 12, 19, March 11 and 30. When Mercury goes retrograde from February 14-March 1, you could experience delays in dealings with tenants, landlords, real estate agents, tradies or council officials. Take a creative approach to balancing work and family commitments on January 16, 29, February 19, March 19 and December 21. After the New Moon of January 30 you may make the leap to freelance or consulting work, launching your own home or property-based business, or joining the family company, especially if you get “an offer you can’t refuse” around the Full Moon of February 14. Listen to your intuition and look for helpful clues regarding a property you’ve got your eye on January 25, February 15, 16, March 15 and 30.
Domestic bliss, from finding the house of your dreams, enjoying a family reunion, moving in with a lover to welcoming a child or puppy, is yours on February 24, March 23 and April 11. You may find, buy, sell, lease, relocate, restore, renovate, decorate or invest in property on March 1, 4, 27, 28, April 18 and May 24. You may receive a no-strings-attached gift of money from a family member, a tax refund, inheritance, divorce settlement or grant then. You may need to make alternative accommodation arrangements for an ageing (grand) parent on March 14, April 3 and 25. When Mercury goes retrograde from February 7, not fully operational until March 21, a building project may suffer delays or you may rethink a particular domestic arrangement. You could also experience further property confusion when Neptune goes retrograde from June 10-November 17.
The New Moon of March 30 suggests you may move, sell, buy, lease, renovate or invest, or involve yourself more heavily with your parents, but your partner seems disenchanted with the idea (or your family) on April 1, 15, and May 19. Don’t give your household members ultimatums on April 3, 15, 22, and May 15 unless you can bear the consequences! A company relocation (whether it’s a longer commute or you have to sell or rent your house) could sour domestic happiness on April 9, 15, 16 and May 11. Great property or family news is likely on April 2 and May 18. You may discover you’re pregnant which could thrill – or shock – your family accordingly. When Uranus goes retrograde from July 22-December 22, your twenty-somethings may boomerang home for a while. Some of you may have to rethink your parents’ home care arrangements.
You may discuss, read, email or sign documents about moving, selling, buying, leasing, renovating or investing in property on April 27, 28, and June 4. Some of you may buy beautiful furniture, homewares or artworks. The New Moon of April 29 suggests a new domestic chapter is likely soon. You may have to take care of an elderly or ill family member while other Aquarians could discover they’re pregnant on April 30, May 4 and June 9. You may start a new job which requires childcare arrangements or organise a cleaner to do regular housework tasks on April 30, May 6 and June 18. Business demands could intrude upon your family or alternatively, your boss may harshly question your dedication if your house purchase, renovation or development is interrupting you at the office too much on May 3, 11, and June 13. Trying to juggle family members and your superiors will requite delicate handling.
Don’t make hard and fast decisions about property transactions on May 11, 29 and June 30 because you won’t be thinking straight. That so-called “renovator’s dream” could end up The Nightmare on Elm Street. You may join the family firm, work (more) from home, set up your office in your house, hire home-based employees, or organise a household roster on May 13, 31 and July 13. You could buy, sell, lease, design, renovate or invest in property on May 15, 18, June 6 and July 7. The New Moon of May 28 suggests you could be moving, changing flatmates or welcoming the pitter-patter of little (furry) feet but you might find your plans get delayed from June 18-July 2 while Mercury is retrograde. You may play email, phone call, text message or meeting tag with vendors, buyers, landlords, tenants, real estate agents, tradies or council officials then.
You can access the original article here

The Top Mistakes made by new Property Investors

Some wise words on things to consider when taking the first step on the property investment ladder!


So what do you think the top mistakes are that the newbie property investor makes? Buying the wrong property? Choosing bad tenants?  Well lets see:

 1 – Not pulling the trigger

You keep finding excuses not to buy. The market isn’t right, you don’t have time to devote to searching for the right property, you are worried about making mistakes. Well, there is never a good time, and you will make the odd mistake or two. So don’t panic and just go for it.

2 – You get what you pay for

Buy cheap, get cheap. So you need to go for a well maintained solid property. You don’t have to buy the top of the line properties, but you have to buy a property that isn’t going to kill you on the maintenance costs either.

 3 – It’s not all about rent

A positively geared property is a great…

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Why You Shouldn’t Listen to Donald Trump – The Barefoot Investor

When it comes to investing in property everyone seems to be an expert and is full of advice, both good and bad. You’ll hear disaster stories by the bucket load and I often suggest that a lot of this information comes from people who have not experienced property investing themselves. You’ll hear “I have a friend that had a terrible experience when…” etc, etc. So going on this philosophy you’d be inclined to think that advice from someone who has done it before would be a lot more useful. Often it is, but you still need to approach it with a critical eye and always ask yourself when receiving advice from someone, what’s in it for them? This, I’d also strongly recommend when attending one of the many property investment workshops or seminars that are frequently marketed to the masses. There are lots to choose from and whilst some are very informative and useful, there are also ones out there that are simply a sales pitch.

When browsing through the blog from Scott Pape at The Barefoot Investor I came across the article below highlighting that even when the advice is coming from one of the most successful real estate tycoons of all time you can still be taken for a ride. Click below and read on…

Why You Shouldn’t Listen to Donald Trump – The Barefoot Investor

An agent with bling!

Thanks to everyone who is sending me ideas and great pieces for the blog. My wonderful sister who also loves a bit of property investment herself sent me this great advertisement for a property currently for sale in South Australia. I’ve heard people comment about getting their money’s worth out of their estate agent and the vendors of this house have done particularly well with theirs. I can’t envisage a lot of agents out their singing and dancing (even if pretty badly) to sell a property but good luck to him, it’s certainly unique!

Hooked on Houses!

One thing that I’m always on the lookout for are great websites that delve into property in a variety of ways, be it investment, buying and selling, design, celebrity homes and the weird and wonderful. One website that I was recently alerted to by a friend is Hooked on Houses which is the brainchild of Julia from Ohio. It contains a great range of topics and information from renovation before and after, to houses featured in movies and TV. One of the posts that has really made me laugh relates to the interesting world of property listing photos.


From investigating Ways Dead Animals Can Kill a Real Estate Listing (above) to the more subtle Unusual Things Found in the Real Estate Listings (as seen below…yes there is a couch in there somewhere) it’s an eye-popping exploration behind the curtains of other people’s homes.


I’d also recommend having a look at the before and after page if you’re after some inspiration for your own projects! Thanks to Julia for her great website.

Lifestyles of the rich and famous


Now I’m sure that this website has been around for ages but I just stumbled across it a few weeks ago and have spent hours trawling through the archives. Whilst it’s not necessarily all about investing, a lot of the articles are great for anyone with an interest in property in the US. Note that you can select various areas in the states from the drop down menu at the top. I’ve spent a lot of time looking at LA…you can dream can’t you? If you click the picture above it will take you to an article featuring the mansion built on the site of Walt Disney’s last home which is on the market for around $90M.