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10 Mistakes to Avoid on Your First Real Estate Investment

10 Mistakes to Avoid on Your First Real Estate Investment

Mistake #1: Bad Financing

Bad financing can be one of the most lethal mistakes possible. I have personally seen more real estate investors lose money or go out of business from bad financing than from any other mistake.

What is bad financing? For me, it includes a combination of the following:

  1. High interest rate
  2. Adjustable interest rate
  3. High monthly payment
  4. Balloon payment
  5. Personal recourse

Most residential bank mortgages at least save you from the first four mistakes because the interest rates are low, fixed for 30 years, with amortizing payments, and there are no balloons. But they almost always require personal recourse, meaning you personally guarantee the loan with your other assets and future earnings. This is probably a reasonable trade-off.

Many commercial, portfolio, hard money, and private lenders, however, do not meet any of these criteria. And that could be a problem, especially on your first deal.

If you borrow at 12 percent interest with a large monthly payment, a balloon due in one to three years, and full personal recourse for the loan, you are likely taking too much risk.

Why? Because the property will likely have negative cash flow with the high interest rate. A balloon note means you will have to refinance or sell in a very short period of time. As many learned in the 2008 credit crisis, trying to refinance when credit dries up is very difficult even with perfect credit and good income. And personal recourse means that if anything goes bad and your lender loses money, they could chase you around and take your other assets in order to collect.

I have always used a lot of private and seller financing for my real estate deals, and I keep this list of financing mistakes in mind. For example, I might trade off a little higher interest rate and a larger down payment in exchange for a longer loan term and no personal recourse.

Mistake #2: Bad Location

Real estate value always begins with location. The people and businesses who will rent or buy from you begin with location, and then they evaluate other criteria like the lot and the house.

Because it’s so important, you should study the best and the worst locations in your area before buying. There are investors who make money in bad locations, but it’s a challenging game that beginners should probably avoid.

I bought a lower-priced single family house once at a below market price with excellent seller financing terms. But the location was awful. I could not consistently attract good tenants because the neighbors were not pleasant (or safe) to live around.

On the other hand, I have bought properties in good locations that I made mistakes on, like paying a little too high of a price. The good location helped to bail me out of some of those mistakes.

Mistake #3: Misjudging Resale or Rent Value

I would argue that our number one job as investors is to understand how our end customers (renters and buyers) make buying decisions and then to translate that to a value. If we can’t determine the full value potential, we will have a hard time making a confident purchase offer that earns us a profit.

This job is important. But it’s not easy. It’s a skill that you must commit to learn and then continue to refine every day for the rest of your investment career.

On your first deal, it’s likely you are not yet an expert on value, so there are a few things you can do to help yourself:

  • Reduce your target market to a relatively small, manageable area.
  • Study all of the transactions in your market daily using tools. For me, this is like the daily weight training of real estate that keeps me fit and competitive.
  • Hire professionals for assistance. For resale value find a very competent real estate agent and/or appraiser. For rental values find property managers with multiple units in your area.
  • Take courses on valuation at your local Associate of Realtors or other continuing education school.

Mistake #4: Underestimating Repair Costs

It is inevitable that you will underestimate repair costs at some point. But you want to avoid enormous cost overruns that could cause you to run out of cash or face other problems.

To avoid large mistakes, learn a good repair estimating system.

Also be sure to get help from other more knowledgeable investors or contractors. Don’t be afraid to pay these people for their time and knowledge.

You can meet these people by:

  • Attending local meetups
  • Attending local real estate club meetings
  • Driving neighborhoods looking for remodel projects
  • Asking on the  Forums

Mistake #5: Running Out of Cash

Your investment properties are like your race car. Cash is like your car’s fuel. When out of fuel, even the most powerful race car in the world sits still. If you run out of cash, even the best investment property will hurt your wealth building.

So you want to avoid running low or running out of cash.

This usually happens for a couple of reasons:

  1. Underestimating repair costs (see mistake #3 above)
  2. Underestimating future capital expenses on a rental property

Capital expenses are big ticket items like a roof or a heating-air system replacement. If these costs hit you unexpectedly, it can become a big problem.

 Mistake #6: Letting Emotions Drive Your Decisions

This is a huge mistake for newbies. And it’s understandable. I mean it IS an exciting chase to look for your first deal.

But you have to balance your enthusiasm with cold, hard, and objective analysis.

I love enthusiasm. It’s critical as an entrepreneur because it helps you push ahead through the many obstacles you will face.

But I have also learned to never make big financial decisions with emotion alone. I use a process of analysis that filters each of my deals. I also run every deal by someone else, which typically means my business partner but sometimes includes other mentors and advisers.

My process begins with basic criteria, including general locations, neighborhoods, housing types, construction quality, etc. This helps me to filter down the enormous number of properties out there.

Then I use a deal analysis process to analyze the numbers. Here is my basic go or no-go system for a deal.

 Mistake #7: Choosing the Wrong Real Estate Strategy

Real estate investing has MANY strategies. And it’s easy to get overwhelmed or waste time chasing the wrong strategy.

Here’s a tip: You won’t find a perfect strategy. But you can find one that pretty well suits your unique strengths, your short-term needs, and your long-term goals.

So, instead of borrowing the perfect strategy for someone else, think hard about what you really want and which real estate strategy will get you there.

Mistake #8: Choosing Bad Contractors

Finding contractors who will do good work, finish up on time, clean-up after themselves, and charge reasonable prices is harder than finding buried treasure on a beach. Yet the people who do work on your fix-flip or rental deal will make or break its success.

Mistake #9: Not Using Your Due Diligence Period

Some experienced investors make offers with fast closings, in as-is condition, and with no due diligence period. This may help them get a lower price, but for your first deal this is probably not the best route to go.

Instead, include a short but reasonable due diligence period that allows you to get out of the purchase contract if you find a problem.

Here are a few of the important things I usually do during due diligence:

  • Obtain a very good professional third party property inspection
  • Repair estimates (see mistake #3 above)
  • Evaluate zoning and local ordinances (for example, the college town where I invest has a law that you can’t rent to more than two students in a residential zoning district)
  • Get a professional third party opinion of value and rental comps

Basically, you want to double check all of the key assumptions you used to make your offer. If you find that you made a bad assumption, you may need to renegotiate or walk from the deal.

Mistake #10: Not Learning From Your Mistakes

You have just read 9 mistakes to avoid, and I could probably tell you another 20. But no matter what you learn, you will still make mistakes. I guarantee it.


Real estate is an entrepreneurial venture. We entrepreneurs shoot for the stars, but we also take risks that could turn out badly. This can be a difficult pill to swallow on your first deal. But risk doesn’t have to be a bad word. I see it as a barrier to entry. It means that the less committed, pretender-investors don’t bother. They drop out when it gets too tough.

The successful real estate entrepreneurs aren’t perfect. They have scars to prove all of their past mistakes. But they learn to avoid the fatal mistakes that would knock them out of the game.  And they learn to always keep moving forward.

Forward movement. That’s what entrepreneurship is all about.


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‘A bit forgotten, in a good way’: Tweed Shire, a green pocket tourists tend to overlook

Bound by the Queensland border, the Pacific Ocean and the Border Ranges National Park, the Tweed – as it’s affectionately known by the locals – flies a little under the national radar.

“Being just south of the border, it’s a little bit forgotten, but in a good way,” says Sophie Carter, of Sophie Carter Exclusive Properties. “It’s not overdeveloped and you can live a coastal lifestyle that’s not as busy as the Gold Coast. We’ve got all the attributes of better-known areas, but without the hustle and scrutiny.”

Only five minutes from Coolanagatta Airport but not under the flight path, Tweed Heads is
the region’s urban centre and provides all the expected urban amenities. But it’s perhaps the shire’s riverfront towns like Murwillumbah that lure the most tree-changers.

Valley views

Tweed Shire: a Green Pocket Tourists Tend to Overlook
Mount Warning in the Tweed Range, gathered in morning mist. Photo: Destination NSW

Owner and director of Madura Tea Estates Stephen Bright spent the first few years of his working life with a big accounting firm in Sydney before moving to the north coast in his 20s, looking for a rural lifestyle with employment opportunities.

“What was attractive at that time was that everything in the Tweed was so idyllic,” he says. “It’s a beautiful valley that’s very close to the far- north coast and beaches, with large tracts of rainforest and a very active agricultural scene in cane, bananas, dairy and logging. And within the valley there’s a significant amount of value-adding going on, like processing for milk and milling for timber.”

Tweed Shire: a Green Pocket Tourists Tend to Overlook
Stephen Bright of Madura Tea NOT FOR REUSE
Stephen Bright of Madura Tea describes Tweed Shire as idyllic. Photo: Supplied

Bright spent his first 17 years as an accountant in Murwillumbah before buying Madura Tea Estates. He has grown the hinterland business by expanding the product range and broadening the distribution through Australia’s largest supermarkets, in turn providing stable employment for the Tweed locals.

Madura now claims 4 per cent of the tea category within the grocery sector in Australia and a tour of the estate allows a close-up view of tea growing, processing and packaging.

Time for a cuppa

Tweed Shire: a Green Pocket Tourists Tend to Overlook
Madura Tea Estates has received approval for an on-site cafe. Photo: iStock

The estate has recently received approval to operate a cafe on site and Bright is looking forward to serving visitors with a cup of their home-grown brew in the near future.

“We’re on the tourist trail so it makes sense to serve light refreshments for visitors,” he says.

A strong cafe and dining culture is already well established in the Tweed, and Carter’s favourites include Cabarita Beach’s Paper Daisy, Cubby Bakehouse in Chinderah, Friday Hut Dining in Possum Creek and Ancora in Tweed Heads.

You’ll also find a cafe at the Tweed Regional Gallery.

Top home in the area

Tweed Shire: a Green Pocket Tourists Tend to Overlook
2402.53 Bay Street Tweed Heads
2402/53 Bay Street, Tweed Heads. Photo: Supplied

A recent renovation has furnished this penthouse with Carrara marble finishes and Miele appliances across a 563-square-metre floor plan.

The property has stunning views over the Tweed River and comes with its own rooftop pool.

Sophie Carter Exclusive Properties are selling the property with a $2.65 million guide.

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Bayside tenants pay Melbourne’s most expensive rent

Bayside renters can expect to dish out more than tenants across the rest of Melbourne and prices are predicted to keep increasing.

CoreLogic data shows it costs a median of $824 weekly to live in a house in the seaside suburbs, while those looking to rent a unit can expect to pay a median of $520 a week.

It’s the most expensive municipality for renters across Victoria.

The asking rent has jumped from $810 for houses and $500 for units in 2017, despite being a challenging period for Melbourne’s real estate market.

Bayside Tenants Pay Melbourne’s Most Expensive Rent - Investors Advisors

It costs $3900 a week to rent the five-bedroom house.

Bayside Tenants Pay Melbourne’s Most Expensive Rent - Investors Advisors

Bayside’s median asking rent is $824 a week for houses.

The median sale price for Bayside houses decreased by 4.1 per cent to $1.8 million during the same period. general manager for rent Kul Singh said prices were impacted by softening sales conditions.

“Investors hold onto stock and look for rental yield growth, which impacts weekly rents, while buyers concerned with further declines also enter the rental market,” Mr Singh said.

Bayside Tenants Pay Melbourne’s Most Expensive Rent - Investors Advisors

Some of Melbourne’s most prestige rentals are found in the area.March 23: Jack Boronovskis’ Victorian property wrap

“These factors result in increased competition for rentals in popular areas, which often end in rental prices increasing.”

Investors are set to earn 2.4 per cent in rental yield a year on their Bayside house, which is below Melbourne’s average 3.1 per cent.

Greater Melbourne’s median asking price for houses is $430 a week, which is an increase from $420 in 2017.

Bayside Tenants Pay Melbourne’s Most Expensive Rent - Investors Advisors

6 White St, Beaumaris is on the rental market for $1600 a week.

Bayside Tenants Pay Melbourne’s Most Expensive Rent - Investors Advisors

The property includes a luxurious outdoor entertaining area.

It costs the same amount to rent in Tasmania, while Sydney, Canberra and Darwin are more expensive at $560, $550 and $500 respectively.

Melbourne units cost a median of $420 a week to rent, which is the third most expensive across the Australian capital cities, behind Sydney and Canberra.

Melton is the cheapest, with a $370 weekly asking price.

Bayside Tenants Pay Melbourne’s Most Expensive Rent - Investors Advisors

112 Beach Rd, Sandringham is for lease at $850 a week.

Bayside Tenants Pay Melbourne’s Most Expensive Rent

It’s priced close to the municipality’s median asking price.March 23: Jack Boronovskis’ Victorian property wrap

Mr Singh said inner-city pockets were more likely to have price jumps because of demand.

“We would expect to see the most popular rental destinations continue to become more expensive due to increased competition, particularly if supply of rental housing decreases as a result of the proposed Labor policies relating to negative gearing and investors,” he said.

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Healesville: The locals love living here and will tell you all about it

Warning: there’s something a little irksome about Healesville locals. They absolutely love living in Healesville, and they’re not afraid to tell you.

“It’s pretty much perfect,” says Benjamin McKenzie, who moved from Brunswick with his partner five years ago when the couple were expecting their first child.

“I really can’t think of a single negative thing to say about Healesville!” long-time local Mia McKay gushes. “I am wracking my brain.”

They’re not the only ones. Wander the main street and ask anyone you meet – you might just find yourself considering a move. And who could blame you?

Set amid the picturesque Yarra Valley, 52 kilometres north-east of Melbourne’s CBD, Healesville marries yesteryear charm with a drool-inducing spread of top-notch gourmet fare – restaurants, wineries, breweries, distilleries and cheese factories are dotted about the surrounding paddocks and hills.

Surveyed in 1864, after years as a layover point on the track to the Woods Point goldfields, the town evolved into a holiday destination for well-to-do Melburnians upon the introduction of a railway line, now resurrected as the Yarra Valley Railway tourist train between Healesville and Yarra Glen.

Cultural experiences abound, with the TarraWarra Art Gallery, Memo theatre and annual Healesville Music Festival (held each November).

There’s country horse racing, an organic market, and the spectacular Bicentennial National Trail that follows historic stock and coach routes all the way to Far North Queensland. Add the cute natives at the famed Healesville Sanctuary, and it all sounds pretty idyllic.

McKay and her partner keep horses, host local music acts on their verandah, and volunteer at the annual music festival. On a Friday night, you’ll find them at Watts River Brewery enjoying the live music and the company of other locals.

It’s a scene that McKenzie enjoys too, adding that he has struck up friendships with other new fathers, a sense of comradery forged over a drop of the house IPA.

Healesville: Locals Love Living Here & Will Tell You Why - Investors Advisors
The kitchen and pizza oven at Giant Steps restaurant in Healesville. Photo: Arsineh Houspian

The McKenzies have never regretted their tree change. “We were getting really sick of the city. It was so busy and polluted. It just felt exhausting … We took a chance and it’s been great.”

Healesville gave them more house and garden for their money, the fresh air they were craving and land enough for a shed, a veggie garden and backyard cricket.

Their property even has a creek flowing through it – I mean, come on. The family enjoys ready access to the bush, as well as the small-town community feel. Life has slowed, in the best of ways.

Barry Plant director Jenny Webb loves Healesville too. “It’s a place that has a slower pace and a country feel, but there’s lots happening,” she says. “People know and help each other here; it’s a nice place to be.”

Healesville property prices have “increased dramatically” over the past five to 10 years, according to The Professionals’ Lyndal McMath-Hall.

And while things have cooled of late – Domain data places the town’s median house price at $610,000 – McMath-Hall notes that as prices rose in 2016-17 buyers spilled over from out-of-reach suburbs such as Lilydale, Mount Evelyn and Mooroolbark, bringing an influx of first-home buyers and young families.

Healesville: Locals Love Living Here & Will Tell You Why- Investors Advisors
It’s famous for its eponymous sanctuary, but there’s plenty more to Healesville. Photo: Justin McManus

Property stock reflects the town’s wide appeal, with a spread that includes smaller units for around $350,000 to $450,000, new townhouses, large family homes that can fetch as much as $750,000, and sweeping million-dollar lifestyle properties.

And once people move here, Webb says, they tend to stick around, even if they need to upgrade or downsize to make it work.

With good schools, shopping and buses, and access to the CBD via trains from Lilydale, the town isn’t set up just for weekend crowds.

When pushed, McKenzie concedes if he has to find a negative, he could do without the tourists that make things “pretty hectic” on weekends. But McKay embraces the visitors – “If they’re coming to appreciate my home town, then I’m pleased about that, I take it as a compliment”.

After all, as Webb points out, without the tourist dollar there wouldn’t be so many jobs, nor the established infrastructure that the locals enjoy year-round. Perhaps not even so many world-class wines to sample without the steady stream of thirsty guests.

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Sixties-Inspired house hits the market

Reminiscent of the Peter Sellers’ film classic, The Party, this eclectic masterpiece must be seen to be appreciated.

60s Inspired House Hits the Market - Investors Advisors

The outdoor area includes an entertaining deck and pool. Picture:

Selling agent Richard Young, from Caporn Young Estate Agents – Claremont, says the residence at 42 Alexandra Road, East Fremantle presents an “out-of-the-box” real estate proposition, heavily inspired by the 1960s film and unique décor.

“It’s a very edgy, contemporary home. It’s got amazing spaces and it’s just been very well done,” Young says.

“It’s really designed so that each of the spaces has their own amenities. So, the master suite is a true master suite with its own fridge, dishwasher, sitting area, TV area – it’s really quite a special property.”

60s Inspired House Hits the Market - Investors Advisors

The home features industrial-style floating staircases. Picture:

Built by the current owners in 2012, the five-bedroom, four-bathroom property heralds an abundance of space and light, and natural stone and timber detail to create a private sanctuary.

With clean, geometric lines, a passive solar design, and breezeway considerations, the home is set high on Alexandra Road with vistas extending across the treetops and to Fremantle Harbour.

60s Inspired House Hits the Market - Investors Advisors

The kitchen bench can accommodate 20 people. Picture:

The property features travertine flooring, complete with underfloor heating in the living areas and bedrooms, and a separate study.

Entertaining has been a significant consideration in the design, with the kitchen bench large enough to accommodate 20 people and bi-fold doors that open from the living area to the pool deck, which also hosts an outdoor shower.

60s Inspired House Hits the Market - Investors Advisors

The house has two lounge areas. Picture:

The kitchen has a Vintec wine fridge, a built-in coffee machine, two separate larders, two integrated cupboard-concealed dishwashers, and a fridge.

The two industrial-style floating staircases have been carefully crafted with steel frames against custom-made timber slats imported from Singapore.

60s Inspired House Hits the Market - Investors

One of the five bedrooms. Picture:

There is integrated remote perimeter and front deck access from the two split-level, lower-ground bedrooms, as well as a below-ground cellar and safe, a ducted vacuum system, attic storage, garden water tank, and rear access to the secure four-vehicle carport.

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Property trends: The Brisbane buyers turning their backs on renovated Queenslanders

Lifting and building in underneath a Queenslander has been the modus operandi of many a Brisbane renovator these past 15 years or so but there’s now a new breed of buyer who is begging for you to stop.

Property experts are reporting a rapidly growing number of house hunters who are bemoaning the lack of Queenslanders kept to their original one-level design during the renovation process, with one agent calling it the next big trend to sweep Brisbane.

Tyson Clarke of Queensland Sotheby’s International said he had a list a mile long of frustrated buyers chasing a single-level Queenslander.

“The emphasis has been on making Queenslanders bigger and better for so many years but I’m finding buyer after buyer who wants a smaller, well-designed character home,” he said.

“Bigger is not always better — my buyers don’t want that many bedrooms, they don’t want the stairs and they don’t want that much space.”

Real Estate Trends: Buyers Turning Backs on Queenslanders - Investors advisors
35 Emma Street, Kalinga was hotly contested when it sold earlier this year. Photo: Queensland Sothebys International

Mr Clarke said he had one client who had been searching for the right house for more than 12 months.

“She’s been looking for a year for a place with character that doesn’t have stairs,” he said. 

“She’s so frustrated and keeps saying ‘why do people keep lifting them and making them five bedrooms?’ She doesn’t want a Queenslander that’s been doubled or tripled in size. She wants the Queenslander in its more original form with only a few steps up to a front verandah.

“I have so many more clients who want exactly the same thing. So you can imagine what happens whenever one of these houses comes up — which is rarely — buyers are all over them.”

Earlier this year Mr Clarke listed a house at Emma Street, Kalinga — a two-bedroom, two-bathroom low-set character home that had been beautifully renovated — and it was snapped up within days for an impressive $1.27 million.

Real Estate Trends: Buyers Turning Backs on Queenslanders - Investors advisors
35 Emma Street, Kalinga was beautifully renovated but all on one level. Photo: Queensland Sothebys International

“People were all over that house. We had 210 individual groups come through. It was unbelievable how popular it was and everyone just kept asking if we had any more like it,” he said.

Mr Clarke recently listed a renovated cottage at 4 Owen Street, Wooloowin, in Brisbane’s inner north, and said he had 30 phone enquiries on the first day and 61 groups through in the first two open homes.

“Just think about it. The biggest section of the population is those who are retiring or nearing retirement. Over the next five to 10 years there’s going to be a massive transitional change to the whole structure of our city,” he said.

“The demand for homes like this is going to explode and, at the moment, there is so little supply of it.

“People want to downsize from something big but not always to apartments — they’re too restrictive. I know buyers who’ve moved into penthouses at Newstead and Teneriffe but they want to get out of them, they’re tired of having their pets in apartments.

Real Estate Trends: Buyers Turning Backs on Queenslanders - Investors advisors
Inside 4 Owen Street, Wooloowin. Photo: Queensland Sothebys International

“They want a character house in an inner-city location but they don’t want all the stairs and they want a backyard but not an enormous one; they’re asking me is there room for a veggie patch and a dog.”

Independent buyers agent Wendy Russell is based in Brisbane and said she was fielding the same requests as Mr Clarke.

“I recently worked with a woman who relocated from Sydney back to her home town of Brisbane. She was very specific — she wanted an original colonial Queenslander, all on the one level, nothing built in underneath,” Ms Russell said.

“We managed to eventually find it but it was done as an off-market deal. It wasn’t easy to find something. I’d say Tyson is right — these sort of buyers know what they want, they want it to be a home they can stay in the rest of their life, so they don’t want stairs but they still want the character and all the amenities of the inner-city locations.”

Mr Clarke said while there were still plenty of unrenovated single-level cottages in Brisbane, the challenge was finding cottages that had been renovated without being tripled in size.

Real Estate Trends: Buyers Turning Backs on Queenslanders - Investors advisors
35 Emma Street, Kalinga. Photo: Queensland Sothebys International

“Obviously for families, they’re still going to want that space. But there is such an important segment of the market here that’s being missed and it’s only going to become more of an issue in the coming years,” he said.

“I have a category of homes in my system called low-set homes. There are but a few on the list. And another category is low-set buyers — that list is chockas. There’s an opportunity here for renovators.”

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Chinese buyers tipped to search for property as significant investor visa program matures

One group of international buyers looks set to keep searching for high-end homes in Australia despite the curbs on cross-border purchases.

Participants in the significant investor visa program, which allows a pathway to permanent residency in exchange for a $5 million investment in Australian business, are expected to be buying over the near term.

The program began in late 2012 and requires visa holders to lock up cash in shares or another business for a minimum of four years.

Experts say the visa has been popular with Chinese applicants, such as business people who want to split their time between China and Australia.

Those migrants whose four-year terms are expiring will then have the choice to apply for permanent residency, freeing up the cash. This would make funds available locally even as the Chinese government has clamped down on cash being taken out of the country.

From the start of the program to June 2015, some 879 visas were granted, according to the Department of Home Affairs.

In fiscal year 2016, 552 visas were granted, then 405 the following year before dropping back to 183 in fiscal year 2018.

Temporary residents in Australia can buy one established property to live in but are not permitted to buy established homes to rent out. Residential property investments are not allowed to make up part of the $5 million invested.

Those on the SIV program who gain permanent residency after four years are expected to have a realistic commitment to continuing business or investment, but with a permanent visa they do not face the same restrictions on the type of investment.

Carrie Law, chief executive of Chinese international real estate website, now expects some of the cash to flow out of approved investments under the scheme and into the premium property market.

Investor Visa Program: Chinese Buyers Search for Property - Investors Advisors
Experts tip a rise in well-heeled buyers looking at high-end homes.

“Expect an increase in the number of well-heeled buyers looking at expensive listings,” Law said.

“By definition these buyers are very well-to-do. They are wealthy enough to lock up $5 million in strictly controlled investments for four or five years just to obtain a visa and residency in Australia.”

Kay & Burton partner Jamie Mi said the significant investor visa was popular with her international clients looking for prestige Melbourne homes.

She noticed several buyers in this situation, now applying for permanent residency, started looking for property last year and expects more this year.

“A lot of those Chinese buyers see good value in buying this year. Definitely, I would expect them to free up all their money to buy commercial or residential,” Mi said.

“I think this year to us, we will be really busy.”

Sydney Sotheby’s International Realty managing director Michael Pallier said someone releasing $5 million might upgrade the property they currently own, but had not yet seen buyers doing so.

“If they invested in shares it could be worth more than $5 million now … or could it be worth less,” he said.

“I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they would upgrade to a more expensive property.”

He is also seeing continued demand for property from international buyers who have received Australian citizenship and established themselves in Australia.

David Chin, managing director of China-focused consultancy Basis Point, expected visa holders who became permanent residents to use the cash for property focused business opportunities such as property development.

“They may be interested in non-bank lending opportunities where the banks have pulled back on lending,” he said.

“That’s a double benefit of keeping an eye on property market conditions … and deploying that capital.”

Alternatively, a business person could buy an Australian vineyard and use their existing Chinese distribution network to increase local wine production, he said.

Law said wealthy Chinese were flocking to similar visa programs all over the world.

“Some see this as a sign that wealthy Chinese are fleeing their country, but that’s not true,” she said.

“Most Chinese who get golden visas do not actually move overseas. They use their new visas and citizenships to make international travel and investment easier.”

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Affordable havens: The sub $300,000 suburbs on the verge of extinction in Brisbane

Median House Prices Brisbane Suburbs [Affordable Havens] - Investors Advisors

Riverview resident Telita Webb with two of her children, Margaret (5) and MJ (7). Picture: AAP/David Clark.

SUBURBS with a median house price of $300,000 or less are on the verge of extinction across Brisbane.

Figures from property researcher CoreLogic show house prices in some of the city’s most affordable postcodes experienced above average growth over the past year, leading to a drop in sales at lower price points.

Only 1.7 per cent of properties in Brisbane changed hands for less than $200,000 in 2018.

In 2019, there are no longer any suburbs in the Brisbane local government area with a median house price of $300,000 or less.

RELATED: Brisbane’s affordability on the rise

Median House Prices Brisbane Suburbs [Affordable Havens] - Investors Advisors

This two-bedroom house at 21 Sinclair St, Ellen Grove, recently sold for just $222,000.

Across Greater Brisbane, there are now only 19 mainland suburbs with a median house price under $300,000, whereas there were double that number a decade ago.

The last affordable havens can be found in the Ipswich suburbs of Riverview, Dinmore and One Mile, in the Logan locations of Kingston, Logan Central and Woodridge and in Caboolture South in Moreton Bay.

The median house price in Greater Brisbane is now $532,000, according to CoreLogic.

More than a third of sales in Brisbane during 2018 were between $400,000 and $600,000, while 7.8 per cent were at $1 million or more.

CoreLogic senior analyst Cameron Kusher said that was a drastic change from the state of affairs over the past couple of decades, with the majority of sales in 1993 and 1998 coming in below $200,000.

“Over time, there has been a steady climb in the share of sales across the more expensive price points,” Mr Kusher said.

“While you’d expect this in the markets that have seen strong value growth such as Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart, we have also seen it across markets where value growth has been much weaker.”

Median House Prices Brisbane Suburbs [Affordable Havens] - Investors Advisors

CoreLogic senior research analyst Cameron Kusher. Picture: David Clark.

Mr Kusher said that even though he expected slightly more sales to occur at lower price points over the next year, he did not expect any material change in the share of sales under $200,000 — in fact they may reduce even further.

Real Estate Institute of Queensland chief executive Antonia Mercorella said Brisbane still had plenty of affordable suburbs with good quality housing compared to Sydney and Melbourne.

“We have so many affordable options in really high growth suburbs,” Ms Mercorella said.

“They’re not going to run out tomorrow.

“And many are still within a 12km to 15km radius of the city, which is pretty mind-blowing compared with Sydney and Melbourne.”

Median House Prices Brisbane Suburbs [Affordable Havens] - Investors Advisors

REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella. Photo: Claudia Baxter.

Ms Mercorella said Brisbane’s affordable havens provided great opportunities for entry level property buyers.

“Many people assume a $300,000 house must be a dump, but that’s just not the case in the southeast corner,” she said.

“Low price does not mean low quality.”

Nick Kruger, principal of Your Haven Realty, said there were still plenty of opportunities for first home buyers to get a foot on the property ladder in Riverview, which has the cheapest median house price in Greater Brisbane.

MORE: Labor’s plan to hit Brisbane rents

Mr Kruger said that he had noticed a shift in the buyer profile in the market as a result of the banks cracking down on lending.

“Predominantly, in the past, investors were snapping up these properties for their SMSF because of the good rental returns,” Mr Kruger said.

“Now the banks have cracked down, that’s incentivising a market change.

“It’s better for owner-occupiers now, because they have a chance to get it over investors.

“But in time, obviously these prices will jump so the sooner you can get in, the better.”

Median House Prices Brisbane Suburbs [Affordable Havens] - Investors Advisors

This house at 57 Price St, Riverview, is on the market for offers over $245,000.

He is marketing a three-bedroom house at 57 Price St, Riverview, which is currently leased for $290 a week and is on the market for offers over $245,000.

“That’s a good figure for an investor,” Mr Kruger said.

“At that price point, for a three-bedder on a 600 sqm plus block so close to Redbank Plaza and within 5 minutes walk of sought-after schools, I definitely it’s ideal for first home buyers or young families.”

Single parent Telita Webb has rented the home with three of her children for the past year, but would love to buy the property if she could afford the deposit.

“I love the place; Riverview’s my home,” Ms Webb said.

Chris and Tiffany Campbell live in Bundamba, which is one of greater Brisbane’s last affordable havens — just scraping in with a median house price of $292,752.

The couple are renovating a turn-of-the-century Queenslander, which they recently bought for $315,000.

“Bundamba has a bad wrap; I’m not sure why,” Mrs Campbell said.

“The street we live in is so quiet and full of beautiful, old Queenslanders, and you can see the growth potential.

“I think it is one of those places a lot of people forget about.”

They sold another property last year that they had bought and renovated two years earlier in North Ipswich and made more than $100,000 in profit.

we knew going into it and paying price we did in an up andcoming suburb it was going to be a good investment

Median House Prices Brisbane Suburbs [Affordable Havens] - Investors Advisors

Chris and Tiffany Campbell have owned a number of homes across Brisbane’s affordable havens. They have renovated them and sold for a profit. Picture: AAP/David Clark.

Propertyology managing director Simon Pressley said Ipswich was becoming a popular location for property investors because of its affordability, solid rental yields and good infrastructure.

But Mr Pressley said he was not convinced the region had the ability to create the volume of jobs required to put pressure on the local labour market and drive property prices significantly higher.

“One could do worse than investing in Ipswich, however, my overall rating of the Ipswich property market is a middle-of-the-road performer for the feasible future,” Mr Pressley said.


Suburb Region Median house Change in median Change in median

price Mar 2019 12 mths to Nov 2018 5yrs

1. Riverview Ipswich $256,787 -2.3% 13.7%

2. Dinmore Ipswich $259,481 9.0% 35.2%

3. One Mile Ipswich $260,181 0.0% 15.9%

4. Leichhardt Ipswich $264,565 2.1% 22.5%

5. Rosewood Ipswich $273,359 6.9% 19.2%

6. Logan Central Logan $273,541 -3.4% 26.1%

7. Woodridge Logan $274,352 -1.3% 28.1%

8. Basin Pocket Ipswich $275,769 -4.6% 25.6%

9. Ebbw Vale Ipswich $276,599 -6.1% 20.3%

10. Kingston Logan $285,032 -2.4% 24.2%

11. Goodna Ipswich $285,329 -4.1% 10.8%

12. Tivoli Ipswich $292,168 -2.7% 8.6%

13. Bundamba Ipswich $292,752 4% 14.4%

14. North Booval Ipswich $293,058 4.6% 17.9%

15. Caboolture South Moreton Bay $293,517 0.6% 16.2%

16. Gailes Ipswich $293,572 0.7% 11.8%

17. Churchill Ipswich $295,020 1.1% 7.2%

18. East Ipswich Ipswich $297,405 13% 27.1%

19. Wulkaraka Ipswich $299,733 6% 2.6%

(Source: CoreLogic)

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Escape to Penguin, Tasmania: ‘Come and spend a weekend – you won’t want to move back’

It’s hard to think of a town with a cuter name with Penguin, Tasmania, named for a local penguin colony spotted by botanist Robert Campbell Gunn in 1861.

The small seaside locale on Tasmania’s north coast has embraced its name; a Big Penguin statue draws onlookers along the esplanade and smaller motifs are scattered throughout.

But there’s more to the town than birdlife. Late last year Penguin received a boost with the Seven Day Makeover project, where residents worked together, building and painting civic projects.

Funded by Creative Communities, a place-making organisation, decks and a stage were installed for musicians to perform on along the esplanade, and a penguin adventure trail was developed to help much-welcomed visitors find all the local landmarks.

David Engwich, Creative Communities’ director, was “stunned and delighted” by the way the community had rode the wave of momentum after the initial makeover.

The Big Penguin in Penguin Tasmania: Come & Spend a Weekend -Investors 
The Big Penguin in Penguin, Tasmania – but there’s more to the town than the statue. Photo: Diane Reed

“Now the community has started raising its own funds,” he said. “We think the Penguin community is setting the gold standard for other communities.”

Local resident Ross Hartley said the makeover had had “a profound impact on the town”.

“People came out of the woodwork to make that happen,” he said.


Population: 3849, as of the 2016 census. Apart from the attractions along the water, Penguin is also home to two beautiful historic churches and a replica Dutch windmill, presented to the town in 1988, a swathe of new sporting facilities, and the heritage-listed Penguin General Cemetery.

Who lives here?

Mr Hartley said Penguin appealed to families – with the local school slated for a $20 million redevelopment to be completed in 2022 – as well as some professionals.

“We have the UTAS Burnie campus just up the road,” he said. Some of the university’s academics also live close by.

Penguin Tasmania: Come & Spend a Weekend -Investors Advisors
Penguin, Tasmania. Photo: Creative Communities International/YouTube

Leah Morrow, from Avalon Body Boutique on Penguin’s main street, has seen an influx of people from other parts of Tasmania, and also the mainland, and they are sticking around.

“I’ve been living here 14 years; I don’t see myself moving from here,” she explained. “There’s a lot of people moving to the area.”

This is supported by the median house price of the town – a modest $285,000 compared to the cities, but with 9.8 per cent growth year-on-year, and 15.2 per cent growth over the past five years.

What happens here?

The new decks along the waterfront have encouraged the local music scene, said Ms Morrow, and several local cafes and restaurants hold regular live music nights.

“Naturally the markets every Sunday; they are always a drawcard,” she added. “With the beautiful weather that we’ve been having, and the live music, it’s really been attracting people just walking along and enjoying it.”

Mr Hartley pointed to the many outdoor activities on offer around the area.

“You can go bushwalking just behind town, [or] you can walk from Penguin to Cradle Mountain. For a little place, we do have a lot of stuff,” he said.

Penguin Tasmania: Come & Spend a Weekend -Investors Advisors
Penguin, Tasmania.

What’s life like?

Ms Morrow described Penguin as a community-minded place. “When people are ill, we rally around,” she said. “I think, as far as being a tight-knit community, I don’t think you could get any tighter. But people are given space as well.

“In the major cities, it takes you three hours to do your shopping, just because of the traffic. But here in Penguin it can take three hours because you’re chatting to people, having a coffee, and enjoying the beautiful weather.”

Mr Hartley agreed that the weather was better than in much of Tasmania.

“Because it’s near the beach, it’s a nice climate,” he said. “We rarely get a frost here in Penguin, and the lowest temperature would be five or six degrees in winter.”

What about work?

Tourism was a strong economic driver within the town, and both Ms Morrow and  Mr Hartley said tourists were still arriving in droves despite summer ending.

But with Burnie and Devonport so close — both less than half an hour’s drive — it was easy for residents to commute there for work, said Mr Hartley.  “You can practically walk to Ulverstone,” he added.

Why move here?

As Ms Morrow says, it’s just the feeling of the place.

“It’s a really nice vibe,” she said. ” I would just say come and spend a weekend – you won’t want to move back. That is basically what I did.”

Diane Reed set up a Facebook group to help keen future Tasmanians navigate their move south, having made the move herself from Victoria. She regards herself as the “luckiest woman alive” by calling Penguin home.

“We chose Penguin mostly because of its natural beauty and awesome community feel,” she said. “People here actually care about each other.”

She said aside from services in the nearby cities, the town itself had two doctors, three supermarkets, an “awesome bakery”, post office, bank, and an assortment of small shops.

“With three and half thousand people, it’s got a village atmosphere and the main street is right on the beach,” Mr Hartley said.  “There’s not too many places that have that.”

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Sydney first-home buyer stamp duty exemptions and concessions on the decline


Sydney properties are becoming more affordable as prices fall, but the number of first-home buyer stamp duty exemptions and concessions have taken a sizeable drop of more than 20 per cent in the past year, new data shows.

About 6200 exemptions and concessions were granted to first-home buyers in NSW over summer, data from Revenue NSW shows. There were 7940 issued over the same period last year.

“We have seen a bit of a drop-off in first-home buyers in the past few months,” said Domain research analyst Eliza Owen. “Even though property prices have become cheaper, in some ways it has become harder to get a mortgage [due to tighter lending restrictions].”

Last month, 1961 exemptions were granted, the lowest monthly number since July 2017, when the threshold lifted from $550,000 to $650,000 while the concession cap increased from $650,000 to $800,000.

The change boosted first-home buyer activity, Ms Owen said, prolonging price growth at the lower end of the market as the downturn took hold.

“Those who could afford to may have already utilised the policy and now we’re seeing that … drop-off,” she said.

“[But] even when we talked about a surge in first-home buyers, once investors started dropping out of the market, it was still at a relatively low level compared to some of the previous peaks we’ve seen.”

Monthly lending to first-home buyers peaked last April and has been on the decline since, the most recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows. But the proportion of first-home buyers in the owner-occupier market is still growing, with first-home buyers responsible for almost one-quarter of loans.

The number of grants issued for new homes is also in decline, with about 1770 issued over the past three months —  3.8 per cent less than the previous summer.

Sydney First Home Buyer Stamp Duty Exemptions Decline - Investors Advisors
First-home buyer couple Stephanie Nowicki and Mervin Sayseng are buying a house and land package in Riverstone in north west Sydney.

Among those looking to make the plunge are Mervin Sayseng and Stephanie Nowicki, who are buying a house and land package in Riverstone – about 48 kilometres north-west of the central business district.

“I don’t think that prices will go down much more, at least in our range,” Mr Sayseng said. “We’ve kept our budget at $650,000 … due to stamp duty concessions and how much we had saved. For established homes, [the threshold], it’s very limiting.”

Where are first-home owners buying? (March 2018 to February 2019)
SuburbPostcodeNumber of first-home owner grantsNumber of first-home duty exemptions or concessionsTotal benefits
Spring Farm2570369427$9,482,673
The most common suburb or town for the postcode has been shown. Source: Revenue NSW.

In the past year, $6.6 million was given to first-home buyers in Riverstone. The most benefits were cashed in in Liverpool, followed by postcodes covering Campbelltown, Westmead and Werrington. Of the top 20 areas, postcode 2205 — covering Arncliffe, Wolli Creek and Turella — was the closest area to the CBD.

First Home Buyers Australia director Taj Singh said most of his clients using benefits were buying entry-level apartments far from the city.

“We need these thresholds looked at. They’re so out of date in terms of the dollar value,” he said. “Even 20 to 30 kilometres out of the city, prices are well over the [stamp duty exemption] mark.”

Mr Sayseng said if the stamp duty exemption cutoff had been $50,000 higher it would have made a big difference.

“Increasing the exemption would be nice, when we were looking at housing — even around Plumpton and areas like that — if we could spend $50,000 more it was a major step up in what we could buy.”

Though house prices are falling, the average loan size to first-home buyers has been relatively flat, said Commonwealth Bank senior economist Gareth Aird.

“They’ve still got the appetite to borrow the same dollar amount,” Mr Aird said. “They’re just getting a better property now, for no more money. “

The overall appetite for finance has changed, with an ever-growing number of prospective buyers waiting to see if prices fall further.

“We as a bank are approving the same proportion of loans … the average size is the same and the approval rate is about the same. That implies the number of applications is just down,” Mr Aird said.

“All things being equal, you’d expect the number [of first-home buyer benefits] to go up, because more properties are selling under the threshold, but demand is weakening so that’s just not happening.”

Grattan Institute fellow Brendan Coates said first-home buyer benefits were an ineffective way of improving affordability because they tended to inflate prices.

“The fewer of these things being giving out is probably the better. There’s certainly no case for lifting the threshold and it would better if they were abolished entirely,” Mr Coates said.

While grants and exemptions could bring forward first-home buyer purchases and help them pull together a deposit quicker, Mr Coates said, they did not make housing cheaper.

He said it would be better if the state government abolished stamp duty for a broad-based land tax, which could boost turnover, and increased the supply of property in inner and middle-ring suburbs.

“It just takes a government that’s willing to take the risk … which neither side of politics was heading into the election.”

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