Thursday, June 30, 2016

Selling a property in the top end? New ATO requirements may affect you.

We have just clicked over to a new financial year, which is always a busy time for both individuals and businesses alike. With so much going on, including the federal election, some sellers may not be aware of an important change which has taken effect from 1 July 2016, regarding the sale of a property for $2 million or greater. The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has introduced a new withholding tax regime. This is in the event that a foreign resident (for tax purposes) sells a property for $2 million or more, the purchaser will be required to withhold 10% of the purchase price, and pay this amount to the ATO.

A change like this can create a number of questions, so let's see if we can make things 
a little clearer...

Will this affect me if I am an Australian Resident?

The answer is yes. There's an additional step you are now required to take. Every seller needs to obtain a Clearance Certificate from the ATO proving that they are not a foreign resident and confirming that the 10% withholding tax is not to be withheld from the sales proceeds. The presumption is that monies will need to be withheld unless the Clearance Certificate is provided.

Who needs a Clearance Certificate?

The new rules apply to every person, trustee or company selling property with a market value (or agreed purchase price) over $2 million. This means, if there are two people on the title, both parties will be required to obtain separate Clearance Certificates prior to settlement.

What if I am in the process of already selling a property?

This new provision applies only to those Contracts for Sale entered into on or after 1 July 2016.

How would you go about obtaining a Clearance Certificate?

The 'Foreign resident capital gains withholding clearance certificate' application form can be downloaded from the ATO website and lodged with the ATO via fax or post. The application is free of charge.

What is the role of real estate agents?

It is important to note, that real estate agents are not allowed to be involved with this process as this could be viewed as giving tax advice, which we are not in the position to do. However, we are certainly here to help make sure our clients are aware that this process is required, so they can get the ball rolling as early as possible in the lead up to settlement.

For further information be sure to jump onto the ATO's website at or give them a call direct on 13 28 65. They'll be able to answer your queries and help steer you in the right direction.

It's a new financial year and Team Toop are excited to continue to work with our clients as 
we head into the second half of 2016! 

Suzannah Toop

Thursday, June 23, 2016

End of Financial Year… It’s Tax Time!

We all know it's tax time when the End of Financial Year sales hit the airwaves! This is always a busy time for many organisations and businesses as they work to ensure everything is in order before the new financial year clicks over. For investors, heading into the new financial year this year however, is a little different. There is uncertainty as to the tax implications surrounding negative gearing, and investors across Australia will be eagerly awaiting the outcome of the July election to see what the future holds.

Despite the election, landlords can still make the most of the lead up to June 30 and look to claim a range of tax benefits available to their rental property or portfolio. Areas for investors 
to consider are:

Depreciation schedules. 
The average amount that can be claimed on your property, in the first year, ranges between $4,000 to $15,000 - so this is definitely worth looking into! Depreciation benefits can apply to the dwelling alone or individual items within the property such as hot water units and air conditioners.

Uncompleted maintenance items. 
This is the best time to arrange any last minute repairs to your property, or replace any items you might have been putting off to ensure they are considered in FY15/16.

Getting ahead. 
Some investors take this opportunity to prepare for the year ahead by pre-paying expenses such as water and council rates.

Capture everything. 
Having a look back through all of your expenses from FY15/16 to ensure they're included is key. Remember, if you are an interstate investor, you can look to claim travel expenses when visiting your investment property.

As we head into the new financial year, despite the uncertainly on negative gearing, there is still some planning that can be done. If you would like to know more about what you could be doing in the race to June 30, be sure to chat to your property manager. As agents, we are in the prime position to help you out, or point you in the right direction.

Happy New Year!

Suzannah Toop

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Online trends result in buyers’ wanting an offline lifestyle.

There is no denying that today we live in a fast paced world. Technology is moving at a rapid rate and has made us globally connected, 24/7 right in the palm of our hand. Even if your hands are tied, information is only a Siri command away...

With the way the world of communication is changing, it's interesting to see the impact on the real estate market. Being in the business of helping people buy and sell their homes, when you ask people what their idea of 'home' is, you will receive many different answers. The common theme is that 'home' is a feeling rather than a physical dwelling. So, as our pace of life quickens, what we are seeing in the real estate world is that buyers' are looking for a home where they can switch off, be 'offline' and relax.

In Adelaide, we are seeing this trend directly impact our market. For example we are noticing an increase in demand for Adelaide Hills lifestyle properties. The hills market is showing great value for buyers' and it offers what so many people are now craving - large blocks of land with the convenience of still being close to the city, and a retreat from the connectivity of modern living. Adelaide is unique in many ways but especially for offering affordable getaways close to the city.  

With mindsets starting to shift on what people are looking for in a home, we are seeing suburbs such as Stirling, Aldgate and Crafers in huge demand. Value for money within the hills is at an all-time high and the ability to have space and privacy, with the convenience of a cosmopolitan lifestyle is what hills living is all about. World class wineries on your doorstep, space for the kids to kick the football and restaurants within walking distance are just some of the factors drawing people to the Adelaide Hills.  

The average South Australian property on the market attracts 537 website visits, however Toop&Toop's hills listings are attracting on average of over 1,465 visits per property! That's almost triple the amount of buyers looking at these areas. Property prices are now also starting to expand and grow as a flow-on from the increased demand in the area. The median house prices for suburbs like Aldgate, Heathfield and Bridgewater are at the highest we have ever seen. Demand for executive rental properties in the hills are just as strong too. If you have been thinking about selling or leasing your property, it would be worth talking to our Adelaide Hills Specialists - Anita, Matt, Sarah and Jared to find out exactly how leveraging these buyer and tenant trends can help you achieve a premium result. 

So, for those who have realised what many are just catching onto now, the Adelaide Hills is a great place to call home. The hills are well and truly alive, and why wouldn't they be... in a world that is moving at such a rapid pace, they truly do offer the best of both worlds!

Thursday, June 09, 2016

We call Adelaide home… but why are we not investing in our own backyard?

Leading economists are confused about why local Adelaide investors are not taking advantage of the current property investment market.

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to talk with Senior Economist, Dr Andrew Wilson, on the Australian property market where he shared his knowledgeable (and quite profound) insights.

At the moment Adelaide is a robust market and Dr Wilson explained the reasoning behind this. He highlighted that right now you can still purchase property at very affordable levels compared to interstate markets, yields up to six to seven per cent are being achieved and we have very tight vacancy rates. Additionally last year was Adelaide's best year of performance 
in eight years.

Dr Wilson's comments support exactly what we have been seeing within the investment space since late last year. Adelaide has fantastic investment opportunities, literally on our doorstep... yet it appears to be the interstate investors that are making the most of this - not us.

With strong signs coming through from property analysts, where are they seeing the greatest activity?

The east and western suburbs of Adelaide are continuing to be the strongest markets at the moment. Houses for rent (compared to units or apartments) are performing very well as there is a fixed amount of supply, particularly within the ring of suburbs around the Adelaide CBD. This is in contrast to the northern suburbs of Adelaide, where the market is currently quite flat as a result of the changes in the manufacturing industry.

So where are the up and coming locations?

The southern suburbs are starting to experience growth, driven by increased accessibility of public transport and the affordability and lifestyle that these suburbs offer. As demand develops for this area, we also expect to see this flow through to an increase in investment activity.

Looking at the next few years, Dr Wilson expects that across Australia investors will be chasing yields, not capital growth. He foresees that investors will rely less on general upswings or broad market trends, and activity will be based more on individual circumstances and opportunities that present themselves at a 
local level.

Personally I found it very interesting being able to pick Dr Wilson's brain on all things investment. Adelaide is very much on the property analysts' radar across the country 
and we can see why!

If you want to get involved in the Adelaide investment market, we'd love to chat with 
you. Feel free to give me a call personally on 
0413 594 285 and we can help you with your next investment purchase or management.

Suzannah Toop

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Winter Wonder … is winter a good time to sell?

Today marks the first weekend of winter and as we head into the change of season, the following question is on some sellers minds' right now ... "Is now a good time to put my home on the market? Or am I better to hold out until spring when the sun reappears and the garden is in full bloom?" Over the last few years, the tradition of the 'Spring Selling Season' in real estate has changed. Technology has created new opportunities to surpass these past real estate patterns and with buyer demand so strong and consistent, no matter what the season, the industry has seen fantastic results from winter selling when demand outweighs supply.

There are pros and cons too ... but what if you could have the best of both worlds? Tap into current hot buyers who are eager to view property, frustrated at the lack of stock in winter and willing to pay a premium, all without jeopardising a strategic, fresh and high impact spring launch, making sure your home stands 
out from the spring pack. 

History shows us that the use of our ToopVault is taken to another level in the winter months. The ToopVault enables us to fast track sales and leverage exactly this situation. We recognised that when selling a home, there is unavoidable 'down-time' between appointing an agent until the public market launch of the home. The industry average to prepare a home for sale is three weeks and the logistics include minor property improvements, styling, photography, signboard production and marketing brochures to name a few. Keep in mind, buyers want an edge too. They crave to see new properties first, and often are happy to stretch their budgets and put their best offer forward if it means they can secure your home before public inspections begin. 

Currently we are finding that buyers are frustrated. Interest rates are at an all time low and there is increasing demand in the market therefore buyers have been extremely annoyed from continually missing out. Feedback over the last 18 months has shown us that our ToopVault buyers will see past small things required to get a home ready. This is because they had an edge on the market and were given time to see a property before others and were able to make their decision about a property before it was 'snapped up'.

ToopVault allows our client's home to be marketed in a unique way, unlike any other agency in South Australia. There are plenty of early advice products out there, but the ToopVault takes this service to a whole new level. We can communicate and market a home immediately from the day we are appointed. When our team meets with you, they can take photos of your home on the spot, write a brief description, then upload this into our system and launch the property instantly to the ToopVault ... all before they even leave your property! This is then broadcast to our ToopVault members who have the opportunity to view and purchase the home before professional marketing begins or before it is released publicly. This is very powerful marketing, and low cost.

The ToopVault's strength is undeniable. We currently have 5,646 ToopVault subscribers (with this number increasing daily). This is over a 100% increase since last winter. So whether you're thinking of selling now or in spring, ToopVault offers the best of both seasons! If you would like to find out more about how many ToopVault members we have looking for a home like yours, and how we can leverage this demand to achieve a premium for your property, be sure to speak to Team Toop this weekend!