Tomorrow Finance Blog https://www.tomorrowfinance.com.au/blog Home Loan News, Tips and Reviews Tue, 15 Nov 2016 23:24:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.3 Negative Gearing: How does it Work? https://www.tomorrowfinance.com.au/blog/negative-gearing-how-does-it-work/ https://www.tomorrowfinance.com.au/blog/negative-gearing-how-does-it-work/#comments Tue, 15 Nov 2016 23:03:46 +0000 https://www.tomorrowfinance.com.au/blog/?p=2668 “Negative gearing means the amount you’re paying on interest and other expenses is more than the income derived from the property. As a result, you’re making a loss.”

It’s a strategy that allows taxpayers to deduct any losses made on investments from their taxable income and in the early 2000’s it went from a niche activity to the mainstream.

Australia has over 2 million landlords, 60% of who reported a loss in the 2013-14 financial year, resulting in a total of $11 billion in claimed tax deductions.

If you’re making a loss, how is this an attractive strategy?

Besides the immediate tax benefits, the appeal for negative gearing comes from the fact that it allows a property investor greater flexibility compared to positive gearing which is heavily dependent on rental income to outweigh expenses. Because you’re making a loss, for negative gearing to work, over the life of the investment, the capital growth needs to outweigh the loss made.

Common tax deductions that you can claim

  • Property inspection fees
  • Landlord’s insurance
  • Interest payments
  • Building construction costs (usually written off in most cases)
  • Property repairs and maintenance
  • Council rates and water fees
  • Depreciation on assets
  • Body corporate fees

An example of how negative gearing works

Assume you have borrowed $400,000 for investment property valued at the same (no deposit). Interest on the investment loan is 6% pa, payable on an interest-only basis. Monthly interest on the loan is $2,000. Your annual salary is $70,000. Other property expenses total $5,000 annually. Weekly rental income from the property is $500.

Salary $70,000
Plus rental income $26,000
Less interest ($24,000)
Less property expenses ($5,000)
Taxable income $67,000
Tax + Medicare levy ($14,662)
NET INCOME $52,338

As you’ll need to cover some of the investment expenses from your employment income, the property can be considered negatively geared. The hope is a future capital gain will recoup these short term losses.

Assumptions:

  • The above example only takes the first year’s interest amount into consideration. Along with tax deductions, interest payments will reduce overtime.
  • Inflation, increases in rental income or changes in interest rates or income tax rates over time haven’t been taken into account.
  • This example doesn’t take capital growth into account as it does not affect the income calculation.

 The above example is taken from Moneysmart.gov.au

What are the main advantages of negative gearing?

  • Reduce your taxable income

The most common reason investors choose negative gearing. By claiming interest repayments and depreciation on the property and fixtures you can reduce your overall taxable income. Speak with a quantity surveyor and an accountant for more information on eligible tax deductions.

  • Increase in capital growth

Assuming you’ve purchased the right property, the value will increase over time. When selling the property this capital growth will hopefully outweigh any losses made.

  • Faster wealth accumulation

Depending on your personal circumstances, using capital growth to build your wealth is arguably a faster way to increase wealth than simply increasing income alone.

  • Less volatile property choices

Typically, property suitable for negative gearing is located in metropolitan areas and is therefore less reliant on factors such as surrounding employment industries to drive up demand.

Key considerations if you’re thinking about negative gearing

  • Negative gearing will drain your cash flow

As this strategy requires you to dip into your employment income to cover the cost of the property, it’s not without risk, particularly if you don’t have a reliable source of income or lack a financial safety net. It’s important to budget well and ensure you have enough cash flow to cover unexpected expenses like repairs and maintenance and leave yourself enough to live on!

  • Capital growth is not guaranteed

This investment strategy is heavily reliant on the value of the property increasing. If the value remains steady (or declines!), it will not cover the loss being made, further impacting your cash flow. If you run into cash flow problems you may be forced to sell the property, potentially making a loss.

  • Long-term strategy

As negative gearing relies on capital growth it is a more long-term strategy. If you’re planning to sell the property in 3-5 years, this may not be the best property investment strategy.

  • Negative gearing can affect your serviceability

By reducing your taxable income your loan serviceability will potentially reduce, limiting your borrowing capacity for future investment opportunities.

Negative gearing is great for those who want to benefit from the long-term capital growth of their property investments provided that they have done their research. As is the case with all investments, the choice in strategy should closely match the individual investor’s preferences of risk and personal circumstances.






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Nine Practical Ways to Increase your Borrowing Capacity https://www.tomorrowfinance.com.au/blog/nine-practical-ways-to-increase-your-borrowing-capacity/ https://www.tomorrowfinance.com.au/blog/nine-practical-ways-to-increase-your-borrowing-capacity/#comments Thu, 10 Nov 2016 02:58:16 +0000 https://www.tomorrowfinance.com.au/blog/?p=2632 Before you start looking for your dream home, the first question you should ask is; what is my borrowing capacity?

Your borrowing capacity or borrowing power, is the amount you can borrow to purchase a property. It varies from lender to lender, with each lender using their own method to calculate your borrowing capacity. However, there are several common factors:

  • Your current level of debt
  • Total value of your assets
  • Your present and future income
  • Your general living expenses
  • The loan-to-value ratio (LVR)

Your borrowing capacity serves two primary purpose 

  • Provides a guide to the kind of property you can buy
  • Prevents you borrowing more than you can comfortably repay

Today lenders operate under regulatory guidelines to ensure ethical and professional standards are upheld and legislation is in place to protect you from being granted a loan you could never repay.

It’s important to not rely solely on the legislation to protect you, but to also set your own responsible borrowing limits. A borrowing calculator is a great tool to help you determine the overall cost of a loan, the impact of interest rate rises and to provide a guide to your borrowing capacity. Additionally, there are steps you can take to help increase your borrowing capacity.

Tips to increase your borrowing capacity

  1. Consolidate existing debt

Banks assess your current debt level so it’s a good idea to 1) try and reduce this as much as possible before applying for a loan, or 2) effectively manage your debt by consolidating it into a single loan. Consolidating your debt can help you plan your finances easier and you may be able to refinance the consolidated amount into your new home loan.

  1. Improve your credit rating

A strong credit rating is important when applying for a loan so it’s important to be aware of any surprises potentially lurking in your credit history. Step one is accessing your credit file; you can apply for this through Veda.

If you find any issues in your credit file you can take steps to improve it. Bear in mind this can take time and you may need to negotiate with any potential lenders.

  1. Start saving

If you have a deposit less than 20% of the purchase price (LVR > 80%), you’ll most likely have to pay Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI); a one-off insurance that protects your mortgage lender in the event you default on your loan.

Therefore, your goal should be to save a 20% deposit. This will not only save you needing to pay LMI but will also improve your borrowing capacity in the eyes of your lender.

  1. Cut down on spending

Lenders will examine your living expenses such as rent, bills, groceries and entertainment. If you have children school fees and childcare costs will also be included. It’s good practice to review your current spending habits and assess if and where you may be able to cut down. This will also help you to save for your deposit!

  1. Reduce excess credit

Cancel any unused credit cards. Banks consider any credit cards to be drawn to their full limit when assessing your application. For example, if you have two credit cards one with a $5,000 limit and another with $9,000, a lender will calculate your credit card debt as $13,000.

  1. Split liabilities with your partner

If you plan to buy a property under your own name but have dependents, you can split your on-paper expenses with your partner. For example, if you can prove that your partner does and will continue to provide for your dependents financially, they may not be counted as your dependents in your application.

  1. Keep your financial records up to date

It’s good to get into the habit of keeping your financial records in order to make it easier to provide the right income information to lenders. Simply completing your tax returns on time is a good place to start.

Often by providing only your last two months pay slips crucial income is missed such as bonus payments, overtime amounts regularly received and rental income from investments.

An organised presentation of your financial records in your home loan application can save you and the bank a lot of time.

  1. Shop around

A low interest rate will obviously improve your borrowing capacity, but there are other loan features that can also help, so it can pay to shop around. These include interest-only repayments, fixed or variable rates or a line of credit. Take the time to carefully research your options before committing.

  1. Use existing property as cross collateral

If you already own property, you could use it as security for your new loan. While this minimises the risk for the lender, it can greatly increase your risk!

While you may be able to save money by not having to pay Lenders Mortgage Insurance if you borrow above their LVR limits, it can make refinancing with another lender more difficult and importantly, if you fail to meet your loan repayments, the lender is in a position to repossess your security, putting both properties at risk.






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Is it time to jump on the ‘Smart Home’ band wagon? https://www.tomorrowfinance.com.au/blog/is-it-time-to-jump-on-the-smart-home-band-wagon/ https://www.tomorrowfinance.com.au/blog/is-it-time-to-jump-on-the-smart-home-band-wagon/#comments Mon, 24 Oct 2016 01:28:04 +0000 https://www.tomorrowfinance.com.au/blog/?p=2620 Motion sensors that turn on your lights or voice commands that lock and secure your property shouldn’t surprise us anymore. Today’s home automation technology can pick out recipes based on the contents of your refrigerator and even suggest an outfit for the day depending on the weather outside and what you have scheduled in your calendar. More and more of these applications can be controlled through your smartphone.

It’s not alien technology

Home automation, through the use of ‘smart home’ products is a natural progression in our technology evolution, and it’s a sector that’s growing at an exponential rate. Amazon’s ‘Echo’ and Google’s ‘Google Home’ are easily the two most popular ‘smart home’ devices in the market that are aimed at the residential market, but there are many other established and emerging companies that are contributing to the growth of this industry.

Technology has impacted nearly every aspect of our lives, therefore it’s only natural that this digital transformation influences the homes we live in. It can also add to their value.

Smart homes in Australia

The average Australian household has nine connected devices, and by 2020 this number is expected to triple to around 29.

Telstra, the nation’s largest telecommunications provider appears to have recognised both the financial incentives as well as a growing need for residential solutions that aim to improve convenience and safety in the modern home.

The long term plan, according to John Chambers, Telstra’s Executive Director of Home and Premium Services is for, ‘smart home’ technologies [to] have a role to play in broader smart city initiatives, and data collected in homes – particularly energy management and health data.’

Telstra is looking to provide a new ‘smart home’ platform to users of its network by the end of 2016. Some of the features of the Telstra ‘smart home’ include allowing users to control various devices and features of their home through a mobile application.

To highlight the overall trend towards home automation, around 30 million households in America alone (out of 1,246 million homes) look to embrace ‘smart home’ technology by mid-2017. The main influencer of this shift is family safety. Smart security systems and video monitoring tools can be controlled and accessed through a smartphone allowing residents to maintain a protective gaze on their loved ones and belongings at all times.

What are the benefits of transforming your property into a smart home?

People are becoming increasingly connected, and the transformation of their homes into connected entities is inevitable.

The addition of ‘smart home’ technology, along with a good internet connection can make your property stand out.

People can be indecisive when it comes to purchasing and installing ‘smart home’ products because of the high costs involved. But with many devices becoming more affordable along with the added long term benefits, it makes sense to at least consider adopting and making the change.

Here are just five of the many benefits you can derive from adding smart home technology to your home.

  1. Experience customised comfort

Customise your immediate surroundings by having the right lighting and temperature settings for each room of your home. You could also have iTunes synchronised to your alarm, home stereo, phone or clock to create the right mood.

  1. Keep your family safe with smarter security

Using a more intelligent home security system will allow you to remotely monitor the security status of your home when you’re out, away or on holiday. Motion sensors can be used to trigger an alert notification on your mobile device if an intruder has entered your property in your absence. CCTV cameras can show you that the kids are ok. Similarly, a smart fire alarm can be set to inform you if the smoke detectors go off.

  1. Be more energy efficient

When all your devices are connected, you have greater control regarding monitoring your energy usage and costs. Many devices offer energy saving functions that automatically reduce the amount of power consumed. It’s also common for many smart lighting products to have built-in motion sensors that switch on lights when you enter a room and turn them off as soon as you exit the premises.

  1. Increase the resale value

The addition of ‘smart home’ technology can increase the resale value of your home. Smart homes are typically more energy efficient and secure, they also have that added ‘wow’ factor, which combined should act to increase their market value.

With many of today’s devices showcasing connective features and offering greater access to information it makes sense to consider the ‘smart home’ option. There are a wide variety of products on the market. It’s worth thinking about the type of buyer you’re trying to attract and whether ‘smart home’ technology would enrich their lives and make your property stand out.






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How is Airbnb affecting Australia’s Property Landscape? https://www.tomorrowfinance.com.au/blog/how-is-airbnb-affecting-australias-property-landscape/ https://www.tomorrowfinance.com.au/blog/how-is-airbnb-affecting-australias-property-landscape/#comments Thu, 06 Oct 2016 01:04:06 +0000 https://www.tomorrowfinance.com.au/blog/?p=2606 The sharing economy and Airbnb

The world is currently experiencing a global digital revolution.

As a result we’re witnessing the creation of the ‘sharing economy’; a socio-economic ecosystem built around the sharing of physical and intellectual resources.

Airbnb, a Californian-based accommodation platform, has built on this concept and empowered ordinary individuals by stripping away the reliance on traditional accommodation gatekeepers through the management of payments, marketing, and communication on a single platform.

An opportunity for property owners?

According to Airdna (an Airbnb rental data and analytics provider), there are over 70,000 Australian houses and apartments listed on the site, up from 40,000 12 months earlier.

Here is a breakdown from the top four Australian capitals (courtesy of Airdna).

SYDNEY: 21,851 active Airbnb rentals

Sydney

MELBOURNE: 13,359 active Airbnb rentals

Melbourne

BRISBANE: 4,302 active Airbnb rentals

Brisbane

PERTH: 4,486 active Airbnb rentals

perth

One main reason for the staggering increase in listings has been recognition of the income opportunities on offer. Airbnb provides an innovative way for property owners (and even investors) to use short-term rentals to generate a passive income.

The average price of a Sydney listing is $160 a night, while in Melbourne guests pay an average $118. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Airbnb hosts in Australia earn an average of $7,100 annually. Australia is quickly becoming one of Airbnb’s fastest growing markets, with Sydney in the top ten cities with the largest number of listings.

This additional income provides a strong incentive for people to list their properties on the platform as a means to pay off their mortgage quicker, renovate or simply improve their lifestyle.

Airbnb benefiting from tourism growth

Another influence on the dramatic increase in supply has been Australia’s tourism sector.

The weaker Australian dollar makes an overseas holiday less attractive for locals (70% of tourism is from Australians visiting their own country) and the weaker dollar also makes visiting Australia cheaper for international visitors.

Recent data from Tourism Australia indicates that 7.94 million visitors arrived in Australia in the 12 months to July 2016, an increase of 10.6% compared to the previous year. That equates to an extra 763,000 visitors who need accommodation!

With Airbnb increasing in popularity across the globe, more travellers to Australia are already familiar with the platform, which is helping to generate demand for short-term accommodation listings across the country.

Some people just don’t like to be ‘disrupted’

The sudden growth in the platform’s popularity has shone a light on some problems regarding short-term rentals in Australia.

Traditional accommodation providers like hotels are worried. According to Tourism Accommodation Australia, “for every 100 rooms listed on Airbnb in Melbourne, 55 hotel industry jobs were lost.”

Similar sentiments are shared by strata bodies and local councils across the country.

Unclear legislation complicating the sharing economy

“At a state level, we need some kind of statement clarifying that renting out your principal place of residence [as a short-term rental] is a permissible use.” – Mike Orgill, Airbnb’s Asia-Pacific director of public policy

According to Legal Vision, a leading commercial law firm, the legal treatment of Airbnb varies from state to state depending on where the property is situated. To complicate matters further, there is also a lack of understanding between different local government areas within states.

Two recent incidents in Melbourne and Sydney highlight this division:

Melbourne

In late July this year, a petition against Airbnb formed by residents of the Watergate Docklands apartment buildings in Melbourne fell apart when it was ruled out by the Victorian Supreme Court. The courts found that enacting the Owners Corporation Act 2006 regarding businesses that partook in short-term rentals went beyond the scope of what was intended by the parliament.

Sydney

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, a resident of NSW was notified by the Randwick local council that her Airbnb was being run as an “unauthorised” bed and breakfast. The council letter stated that ‘she could be liable for a maximum penalty of $1.1 million plus an additional $110,000 a day.’

While the stance by all levels of Australian government lacks uniformity, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) has already recognised the emergence of the sharing economy and is taking a more progressive approach.

Airbnb and the Australian Taxation Office

Hosts on Airbnb must declare their rental income to the ATO and if the annual amount earned is greater than $75,000 per year the host must register for GST. There are several excellent sources of information dedicated to this:

Using these guidelines there are three scenarios where you may be eligible to claim a tax deduction:

  1. Hosts who rent their entire premises on an occasional basis (e.g. when they’re away or on holiday) to make income on the side.
  2. Overseas investors who rent out their entire property locally through Airbnb.

Those who rent out a spare room through Airbnb in a home they reside in. In this instance they may only be eligible if they can provide evidence that they attempted to rent out the room at a commercial rate.

Airbnb recently joined forces with global tax services provider H & R Block in an agreement to ensure that sufficient tax guidance and tips are provided to hosts on the platform.

The future of sharing

Australia is becoming increasingly popular as a travel destination with many holiday seekers requiring short-term affordable accommodation which is helping to drive up demand. On the supply side, the financial opportunities Airbnb provides has seen listings double over the last 12 months.

In the absence of clear legislation around the country, Airbnb continues to disrupt the accommodation sector. As the ‘sharing economy’ continues to grow and become mainstream, government, local councils and strata organisations will be under increasing pressure to adopt a more progressive approach.

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Six DIY Upgrades to Increase Your Property Value https://www.tomorrowfinance.com.au/blog/six-diy-upgrades-to-increase-your-property-value/ https://www.tomorrowfinance.com.au/blog/six-diy-upgrades-to-increase-your-property-value/#comments Thu, 15 Sep 2016 01:35:39 +0000 https://www.tomorrowfinance.com.au/blog/?p=2597 If you’re looking to put your property on the market, make your home stand out from the other listings with some basic home maintenance and cost-effective DIY improvements. These small but effective improvements could greatly increase your selling price.

1. Creating space: Getting the right balance

Open plan, uncluttered spaces tend to appeal to a wider group of buyers because they offer a wider degree of living options. But before you take a sledgehammer to your internal walls, remember, spaces can lack definition if they’re too open, so it’s important to find the right balance.

  • If you have more than one living space look to combine them to create a single living area and renovate the other space into a private area like an additional bedroom.
  • One popular idea is having the living room combined with the kitchen.
  • The overall aim is to maintain a balance between open plan living and privacy.

And if you do plan on knocking down some walls, get advice from a builder; you don’t want a load bearing wall or one filled with pipes ruining your renovation plans!

2. Make your kitchen rule

Your kitchen is a key communal area of your home. As the practical and functional centre of the home potential buyers are immediately going to be drawn to it.

  • Revitalise your kitchen by cleaning the floors, surfaces, and bench tops thoroughly.
  • Ensure that the taps are working properly.
  • Change up the cabinets, cupboards and handles if they ruin the aesthetic or make your kitchen look dated.
  • Lighten and brighten the space by upgrading to energy-efficient light fixtures and globes.

There’s no need to spend ridiculous amounts of money on upgrading your kitchen. The key thing is to make sure that it appears up-to-date.

3. Get your bathroom looking spick and span

The first step to improving your bathroom is make sure it’s in proper working order, then get it looking up-to-date. As with your kitchen, a bathroom space needs to be functional.

  • Depending on the condition, you may want to think about repainting the walls.
  • Remove and replace the grout from the floor and wall tiles.
  • This will also be a good time to consider replacing the tiles if they look outdated.
  • Make sure the exhaust fan is in working order and not clogged up.
  • Fix any chips in your bath, toilet and sink to give them that brand new look.
  • Just like your kitchen, lighten and brighten the space by upgrading to energy-efficient light fixtures and globes.
  • If your budget stretches that far, switch out your old frosted glass shower screen to a more modern clear glass version.

4. Put that green thumb to use

Landscaping is one of the best upgrades to increase the value of a property. A good looking and well maintained garden will allow home buyers to visualise how they plan on spending their time outside the house during the various seasons.

  • Ensure shrubs, trees and bushes pruned and trimmed.
  • Remove any weeds and consider adding mulch or another garden covering around trees.
  • Mow any lawn areas and keep paths and walkways swept and free of leaves.
  • Add a lighting source in the backyard for some night time atmosphere.

Remember, the state of the garden is often a good indicator of the effort that the owner has put into presenting the property to potential buyers.

For those who live in an apartment, the simple addition of plants in colourful pots could make a significant difference.

5. Light it all up

Lighting fixtures can be expensive, however, upgrading them can have a direct impact on the value of your property. While you might be accustomed to the gloom, buyers prefer a well-lit space so new light could bring extra value to your home.

  • Adding down lights can add appeal to most spaces.
  • Use lighting to highlight other features such as artwork or even your garden.
  • Upgrade to energy-efficient lighting choices to lighten and brighten the house.
  • For those with more budget, consider installing a feature light in a key room for that wow factor.

6. New paint job. New house

One of the cheapest way to renovate your home is by painting it, and unlike electrical work, you can do it yourself.

  • The first impression buyers have of your property is the exterior, so a fresh coat of paint on the outside can work wonders.
  • Increasing the kerb appeal of the place will position your property in a better light compared to surrounding homes.
  • On the inside, pay attention to wear and tear, mould and peeling paintwork.
  • Choose neutral colours because of their wider appeal. Bold colours, while visually striking, can quickly become outdated.

Before putting paint to brush, get a preview of what colours suit your home by using free apps like Paint My Place or Virtual Wall Painter.

Giving your home a makeover before putting it on the market will cost money, but with considered planning and a DIY approach, you could reap the financial rewards.

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Hit Record on Live Video Streaming for Real Estate Agents https://www.tomorrowfinance.com.au/blog/hit-record-on-live-video-streaming-for-real-estate-agents/ https://www.tomorrowfinance.com.au/blog/hit-record-on-live-video-streaming-for-real-estate-agents/#comments Wed, 07 Sep 2016 23:47:39 +0000 https://www.tomorrowfinance.com.au/blog/?p=2564 Real estate agents are great marketers; consistently showcasing their listings through face-to-face meetings, online listings, print ads and increasingly via social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. However, there’s one emerging channel yet to be fully explored in real estate; live video streaming.

The Power (and Simplicity) of Live Video

Snapchat, Facebook Live and Twitter’s Periscope offer video marketing features that are easy to setup. You no longer need a huge production team or high-quality footage. Pull that smartphone out of your pocket and you’re ready to go.

It’s this quick, direct, unfiltered type of communication that has become all the rage.

In April this year, at Facebook’s annual F8 Conference, Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said “We’re…at the beginning of a golden age of live online video. People watch live videos longer, and they comment more than ten times as much as on regular videos.”

Adding the power of live video streaming to your arsenal of property marketing tools is definitely worth considering. Open inspections don’t have to be limited to specific days and times, you can conduct virtual tours of the property and surrounding areas, and importantly, potentially connect with a much larger audience.

Showcase the property with Snapchat

Snapchat

As most property agents know, selling a property involves selling the surrounding area and community too. Snapchat allows you to easily create content, in the form of pictures and short videos, about a home, the surroundings, nearby amenities and the local community, for your all your followers to view.

The success of Snapchat as a brilliant marketing tool for the real estate industry comes down to FIVE key reasons

  1. Snapchat runs on smartphones, so the barrier to entry is low. Carry it with you, film different property and surroundings, add some text and upload.
  2. According to Business Insider Intelligence, Snapchat receives more user engagement than any other app, with viewers spending up to 25-30 mins per session.
  3. Once viewed on Snapchat, the content disappears after a set period of time, so you can be guaranteed your audience will be watching intently.Snapchat allows potential buyers of the property you’re targeting to open snaps at their convenience ensuring their utmost attention.
  4. With Snapchat’s Geofilters you can create attractive custom filters that combine text, colours and pictures to market a specific location.

Setting up your Snapchat account

This brilliant video by BreakTheInternet shows you how to setup your Snapchat account on your mobile device. 

Three Snapchat ideas for property agents

  1. Provide quick home buying advice and tips
  2. Give a property walkthrough with commentary to highlight the features of each section of the house.
  3. Showcase parks, restaurants and shopping areas near the listing.

Building a Snapchat following requires patience

According to Alex Wang, a Californian Realtor, it took almost six months of consistent snapping to see results. Wang has 1600 Snapchat followers comprising of middle-aged individuals who are keen to hear more about property taxes, open houses, and negotiations. 

Like with any popular social media platform, gaining a substantial following requires patience and consistency.

Go (Facebook) Live with your open inspections and auctions

Facebook Live

As an advertising platform, Facebook offers businesses excellent targeting options including age, location, recent life events and hobbies and interests. Facebook Live brings that targeting power to live streaming.

Imagine a live-steamed open inspection, giving viewers access from the comfort of their home and able to be viewed by a much larger audience than would otherwise have physically been able to attend. You could potentially run multiple live open inspections on your Facebook page, allowing viewers to virtually attend two or more inspections at the same time.

Facebook Live is being embraced here in Australia

One of Australia’s largest property sites, Domain, the only Australian company invited to attend Facebook’s F8 developer conference in April, began using Facebook Live to stream auctions in May this year.

“Facebook Live allows us to show an auction nationally and internationally, taking the auction experience to the palm of our audience’s hand”, says Anthony Catalano CEO at Domain.

However, it’s not just big companies having success. Zac McHardy, a real estate agent from Queensland, live-streamed an open inspection to highlight the interest in the property. The tactic resulted in five offers, including one from a live-stream viewer.

Setting up your Facebook Live stream

Facebook provides a detailed breakdown of how you can use the Live Stream feature on other devices.

Three Facebook Live ideas for property agents  

  1. Run a live stream Q&A session for potential buyers to ask an array of questions, enabling you to answer them on-the-spot.
  2. Take potential buyers on a walkthrough of the property via live stream, as you speak with them about the property as if they were physically present.
  3. Humanise your brand by sharing life events and company milestones through a video to your followers.

Get more eyeballs on the listing through Periscope

Periscope

Periscope is a live-streaming platform that integrates with your Twitter profile and can be used on both iPhone and Android devices. Videos broadcast are viewable for up to 24 hours, allowing your audience to watch them at their convenience.

Additionally the videos can be downloaded and saved to your phone’s camera roll, enabling you to share them on other platforms such as Facebook or even your website.

Setting up Periscope

Twitter owns Periscope but both apps run separately. While you don’t need a Twitter account to use it, those with an existing Twitter presence can get the live stream to a much larger audience.

The Periscope page provides comprehensive information on how-to-setup your account.

Three Periscope ideas for real estate agents

  1. Connect with your existing Twitter audience and answer their questions through the platform.
  2. The commenting and like feature allows viewers to provide feedback on your broadcasts in real time.
  3. Record a property seminar on Periscope that audiences can attend from the comfort of their own homes.

Add live-streaming video and add value to your marketing plan

Real estate marketing relies heavily on visual elements when advertising, so using visual-rich live streaming is a natural alignment that can compliment existing marketing activities.

The low cost of entry and ease of use of the platforms (Snapchat, Facebook Live and Periscope) make trialling the technology worthwhile and if done properly, can help to decrease your overall marketing spend.

Most importantly, live video can enable you to connect and engage with a new, much larger, non-physical audience, greatly increasing the number of people viewing your listing.

Start recording today!

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POKEMON GO: Gamification and the Property Market https://www.tomorrowfinance.com.au/blog/pokemon-go-gamification-and-the-property-market/ https://www.tomorrowfinance.com.au/blog/pokemon-go-gamification-and-the-property-market/#comments Tue, 16 Aug 2016 05:37:12 +0000 https://www.tomorrowfinance.com.au/blog/?p=2489 Pokémon Go has caused a global frenzy with people of all ages caught in the hype. It’s even found it’s way into the real estate business; with agents capitalising on the craze by finding ways to add value to both to rent and for sale properties.

Local and global appeal of Pokémon Go

Released on the 6 July 2016 by Niantic, (a subdivision of Japanese gaming entertainment giant Nintendo) Pokémon Go has amassed well over a 100 million downloads to date.

According to the Macquarie ICT Innovations centre, Pokémon Go was downloaded 108,000 times during the span of a single Australian working day!

This amazing infographic put together by Kotaku breaks down the global domination of this game.

Pokéstops, Pokémon gyms and property marketing

pokemon-go-gym-and-pokestop-request-form-is-now-closed

 (Image source)

Could the augmented-reality game become a new way to increase interest of even increase the value of property?

In the US property agents are highlighting the proximity of Pokémon gyms and Pokéstops in their ads in the hope of attracting interest and the trend has started to appear here in Australia too.

Ben Nguyen, a Melbourne based agent says that using Pokémon Go references such as “Chamander” and large “master bedroom mew” to spruce up traditional property adverts is one way to stand out.

In an interview with realestate.com.au, Nguyen mentioned, “All properties are marketed in a cookie-cutter type of way. So any point of difference and anything we can do to set ourselves apart from other properties is going to help.”

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 1.29.58 PM

(Image source)

A Pokéstop as part of your property development strategy?

For those situated away from Pokémon Go landmarks, you can look at ways to add value to your actual surroundings by filling out an official request on the Niantic website.

Some of the required information includes:

  • GPS coordinates of your area
  • A good photograph of the area (with special focus on a landmark that isn’t business related)
  • Under ‘reason’ select “Pokéstop/Gym doesn’t exist.”

While the exact rules for successfully requesting Pokémon Go landmarks are yet to be clarified by Niantic, using existing Pokéstops and Gyms as a guide is a good place to start.

Popular types of premises include:

  • Churches
  • Government buildings
  • Monuments
  • Statues
  • Restaurants

Pokéaddicts can create an unhappy neighbourhood

Not everyone sees the game as a positive influence on business and property however.

We won’t accommodate Pokémon or those trying to look for them. I don’t

even care if we spoil their game; they’re not getting in”, said Deb Francis, managing director of Sydney-based property group A Class Concierge in an interview with Commercial Real Estate.

The recent removal of Pokéstops at Peg Paterson park in Rhodes occurred as a result of the hordes of gamers who congregated in hopes of catching a variety of rare Pokémon.

Local residents complained about late night traffic jams, rubbish left behind, blocked driveways and noise.

The next evolution of real estate marketing?

With the explosion of Pokémon Go in just over a month further blurring the lines between entertainment and business; just how far the adoption by businesses of augmented reality gaming will go remains to be seen.

Is this just a phase? Will it become yet another marketing tool for real estate agents to use? Or has it potentially opened the door to new and more engaging ways to use technology in the property market?

The only thing we do know for sure with Pokémon Go is that… you gotta catch ‘em all.

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Regional Property: What’s Happening with House Prices in Regional Australia [Infographic] https://www.tomorrowfinance.com.au/blog/regional-property-whats-happening-with-house-prices-in-regional-australia-infographic/ https://www.tomorrowfinance.com.au/blog/regional-property-whats-happening-with-house-prices-in-regional-australia-infographic/#comments Tue, 09 Aug 2016 01:01:31 +0000 https://www.tomorrowfinance.com.au/blog/?p=2245

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RENTVESTING: Helping Millennials get into the Property Market https://www.tomorrowfinance.com.au/blog/rentvesting-helping-millennials-get-into-the-property-market/ https://www.tomorrowfinance.com.au/blog/rentvesting-helping-millennials-get-into-the-property-market/#comments Mon, 25 Jul 2016 00:46:09 +0000 https://www.tomorrowfinance.com.au/blog/?p=2119 Hoping to buy your dream home one day?

If your answer is ‘yes’, the next question is, can you afford it?

Many millennials face affordability barriers in and around the city centres where they work and enjoy a variety of lifestyle and recreational activities, and with housing prices continuing to increase, the dream of owning a property in these locations is becoming increasingly out of reach.

That’s where ‘rentvesting’ could help.

It’s a concept that’s gained traction over the last couple of years and could prove to be a solution to millennial homeownership.

Before we dive into the concept, a quick overview of millennials.

Who are Millennials?

Also known as Gen-Y, these are individuals who were born between 1976-1993 and belong to the 18-35-year-old age bracket. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reveals that there are currently around 5.7 million Australian millennials.

Millennials and money

Data from the ABS points out that the average millennial household has a gross income of $113,152 a year, contributing to a net worth of $268,800.

Millennials are income rich, but it’s a different story when you look at their wealth i.e. assets accumulated over time.

According to a 2014 report by research body Grattan Institute, 26.9% of the total population aged over 55, hold 58% of all the wealth in the country.

Over the decade ending 2013;

  • The 45-54-year-olds saw their wealth grow by $163,000 (23%),
  • The wealth of the 55-64-year-old category had an increase of $174,000 (19%),
  • And 65-74-year-olds had an increase of $216,000 (27%),
  • While millennials, on the other hand, experienced a $10,400 loss in wealth (-4%).

This rising cost of property coupled with a reduced amount of wealth compared to other groups has forced most millennials to either rent or live with their parents.

This is where ‘rentvesting’ might help.

So what is rentvesting?

Rentvesting is when people rent a property in an ideal location they love and buy an investment property in a more affordable place.

The profile of a typical rentvestor varies from university students to those in their mid-40s. They primarily belong to two categories:

  • Those seeking a better lifestyle but who face housing affordability barriers.
  • People who want relocation flexibility due to work, study and other personal commitments.

Three benefits of rentvesting for millennials

1. Enjoy greater flexibility by being able to relocate freely

 Renting allows millennials greater freedom by;

  • Offering the ability to move whenever required.
  • Giving them the chance to travel for lengthier fulfilling periods of time.
  • Enabling the option to take on new work opportunities interstate or overseas.

2. Afford to live in upmarket apartments situated close to urban centres

 Rentvesting provides a larger number of location options:

  • Millennials can live in homes closer to central parts of the city.
  • They can experience greater choice in selecting upmarket properties to reside.
  • There can live in homes closer to nightlife and recreational hubs that would be expensive to buy.

3. Embrace the financial advantages that rentvesting has to offer

Rentvesting can provide several financial benefits:

  • Renting out your property can lighten your financial burden by having someone else assist with paying off your mortgage.
  • The entry and exit fees of renting are much less in comparison to selling a house and purchasing a new property.
  • With the right financial plan, you could potentially have two sources of income: income derived from your day job and rental income from your investment property. Banks may also be likely to offer more financial assistance considering your diverse revenue streams.
  • Renting out your investment property can offer many tax breaks. The Australian Taxation Office provides a complete breakdown of all the expenses you can claim.
  • With the perfect ‘rentvesting’ strategy you will find a location that offers capital growth potential. Make sure you spend enough time on research.

Getting into the rentvesting mindset

If you think rentvesting could be for you, it’s important to weigh up the pros and cons and approach it with the right mindset. Renting has its drawbacks so it’s important to be pragmatic about it.

Remember, the house you rent doesn’t belong to you; so you can’t necessarily make it a home and decorate it. Also, expect to pick up and move if your landlord decides not to renew your lease.

If you decide it’s for you, well, happy rentvesting!

If you’re thinking about buying an investment property, Tomorrow Finance can provide you with an investment loan to match your goals and we’ll work alongside you every step of the way to ensure you get the best service from your chosen lender.

Call 1300 754 562 or enquire online and a Lending Specialists will be in touch.

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How could the Brexit impact the Australian property market? https://www.tomorrowfinance.com.au/blog/how-could-the-brexit-impact-the-australian-property-market/ https://www.tomorrowfinance.com.au/blog/how-could-the-brexit-impact-the-australian-property-market/#comments Tue, 28 Jun 2016 23:59:07 +0000 https://www.tomorrowfinance.com.au/blog/?p=2108 That’s the question both property owners and prospective buyers are asking across the country, in the wake of the United Kingdom’s (UK’s) decision to leave the European Union (EU) last Friday.

The economy

The Brexit issue is considered by experts to be more a political one than financial and the advice from Treasury, the RBA and other regulatory bodies is that there is likely to be no significant direct impact on Australia’s economy, primarily due to our close economic alignment with Asia.

In the short term however, the current uncertainty around the UK’s exit date, process and future trade model with the EU is likely to lead to continued share market volatility. It is this volatility that one of the Big Four, like many others, believe could place additional pressure on the RBA to cut rates a further two times this year. The Australian cash futures are indicating odds of an August rate cut to 1.50% at around 90% and an additional November rate cut to 1.25% a one in three chance.

The property market

While the Brexit is not expected to have an immediate impact on the Australian property market, REA Group’s Chief Economist Nerida Conisbee believes the current uncertainty in the UK could increase demand in the Australian property market as overseas investors look to markets perceived to be more stable, such as Australia. Additionally, the local share market volatility combined with falling equity prices may see local property investors turn towards the security of bricks and mortar.

Additionally, with both major parties offering opposing approaches to addressing rising housing prices, there is no question that irrespective of who wins the Federal Election this weekend, major changes are looming for the Australian property market.

 

Image: marketwatch.com

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