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Jon and Debbie Cole
Published: February 2014
¿ PICKING A WINNER
QYou’ve done incredibly well with
property to date and you mentioned
in your profile that you want to add more
investments to your portfolio. How do you
decide where to buy?
AThe best way to answer the question
is probably to tell you how I chose my
last investment property, which I recently
purchased in Port Macquarie (New
I do a fair amount of research on the
various property markets I’m interested
in exploring by reading magazines,
attending worthwhile property seminars,
watching webinars and reviewing a
number of different websites.
It’s important to try and enter a property
market as close to seven o’clock on the
property clock as possible. This generally
ensures both rental and capital growth
potential, which enables you to go on and
purchase additional property investments
With regards to Port Macquarie, most
regional centres around New South Wales
have historically tended to follow the
Sydney market with regards to capital
price growth, maybe lagging by six to 12
months. Hence, given the recent strong
capital growth in Sydney, somewhere like
Port Macquarie is potentially now primed
to also grow.
In addition, there has been a lot of new
infrastructure to go into Port Macquarie
recently. For example, there was an
upgrading of the Pacific Motorway, as
well as upgrades and expansions of
the Port Macquarie Hospital and Port
In addition, Charles Sturt University is
preparing to build a large new campus
in Port Macquarie. There are also a
new Coles and a Kmart going into the
area, plus a number of other significant
expansions. For those reasons, I think that
Port Macquarie is sitting at about seven
o’clock on the property clock.
In addition, the rental vacancy rate in
the area is at 1.3 per cent, which is very
low, indicating a shortage of available
My buyers’ agent knows the Port
Macquarie property market very well
and he was able to locate a property
investment for me that was well priced,
well located and has a gross rental yield in
excess of six per cent.
As a result, it will be positively geared
for me. I should end up having a property
with good capital growth prospects, a
pool of tenants to choose from and it will
cost me nothing to hold it.
¿ DODGING STAMP DUTY
QHow did you manage to pay little or
no stamp duty on your six purchases?
What’s your secret?
AIt’s no big secret! There are two
main ways that I’ve been able to
reduce the stamp duty payable on my
property purchases – through government
incentives and by splitting the house-and-
land package into two separate contracts.
1. On July 1, 2010, the New South
Wales Government initiated a two-year
plan that allowed individuals who bought
property off the plan before construction
begins, at a cost of less than $600,000,
to avoid paying stamp duty. This was a
saving of up to $22,490 per property. I
bought most of my property in NSW off
the plan during this period and therefore
didn’t have to pay any stamp duty.
2. The other way to reduce stamp duty
is to again buy off the plan but to settle
on the land first. That way stamp duty is
only payable on the land. The building
component isn’t subject to stamp duty.
This presents a fairly significant saving.
Published: December 2013
¿ FINDING THE RIGHT HELP
QHow did you source a buyers’ agent
that you felt suited your goals and
with whom you were comfortable working
with? Did you have specific areas or towns
you were interested in before you engaged
their services or did the buyers’ agent offer
suggestions that suited your goals? What
prompted you to take the step to engage
professional help? I’m leaning towards the
idea as I think it would be ideal for a novice
like myself, but as my budget is limited I
need to know I’m making the right move.
I’ve heard their services can cost anywhere
from $10,000 per property purchase.
AAny professional you look to engage
in your property investment dream
team really needs to be on the same path
that you want to be on, but several steps
ahead of you so that they can show you
the way along.
If you find yourself in this sort of
scenario, they’ll be truly guiding you
with a passion rather than ‘selling’
you something that they don’t even
So I always interview anyone I want to
deal with first. Generally, five really well
thought-out questions will give you a
pretty clear indication as to if they align
with your goals and what you’re trying
My mentor always says that the
quickest way to get to any point is to find
somebody who’s already there and then
align yourself with them.
I had been mentoring and guiding
people through the same processes that
I had been through, but more recently
I have qualified for my buyers’ agent
licence so I can provide guidance on yet
Buyers’ agents work in a number of
different ways, but the key is that you’re
taking on a professional to meet your
needs and not someone else’s agenda, so
you need to know the things that you do
want, but also be guided by the buyers’
agent with the things you don’t know.
The way I work as a buyers’ agent is
that I do all the assessment of the person’s
situation and needs first and know how
the numbers need to look for them, then I
source a property that meets their criteria.
Quality research is core to the
investment process. I believe that good
research extends beyond the collation
of facts and figures. A two-pronged
approach to research is required, which
I like to refer to as ‘the numbers’ and
‘kicking the dirt’.
> The numbers. It isn’t difficult to find
endless data – sometimes this data
does little other than muddy the waters
or gloss things. Extracting information
that’s meaningful to the opportunity
you’re looking at is another skillset
again. I work closely with a research
team that does this very well.
Investors who have been featured in API answer questions from readers
Q&A // API CONNECT
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