Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Property Market Trends In 2017

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Buying property is a quintessentially Australian part of life in the land down under. It’s such a popular past-time that around half a million properties are purchased across the country every single year, according to the Reserve Bank of Australia.

In fact, real estate is such a huge part of our economy that entire TV channels, magazines and industries are dedicated to helping us do it the right way.

Whether you’re buying your first home, your Dream Home or a piece of real estate as an investment, there are dozens of different ways to make the most of current market conditions. So what are some of the property trends that are driving the market in 2017?

Apartment oversupply risks

In certain markets across the country, including parts of Brisbane and Melbourne, experts are concerned that too many apartments are being constructed. This can impact the value of these properties, because when there’s too much ‘supply’ and not enough ‘demand’, the market is out of balance.

Property owners and landlords are forced into a position where they have to lower their asking rents or asking prices in order to secure a tenant or a sale; we’re already seeing evidence of this in Brisbane’s inner city markets, where some apartment owners have had to slash their rents over the last 12 months.

When buying real estate off the plan, many property buyers find themselves locked into rigid, inflexible contracts that can be costly to get out of – and in some cases, you may be forced to settle (or purchase) the property.

This can bring about some serious financial consequences, which is why we would advise you to always have your conveyancer or solicitor review your contract prior to signing it. We can give unbiased, objective advice based on our experience, to help you make better informed decisions.

How else can conveyancers help you with your property transaction? Click here to see how Good Conveyancers Use Building And Pest Reports To Save You Money >>

The rise of rent-vesting

Never heard of rent-vesting? In simple terms, it’s the savvy person’s answer to being priced out of the market.

With the way some capital city markets have grown in value in recent years, many would-be property buyers are feeling shut out of the market. This has paved the way for the rise of rent-vestors – that is, people who rent property where they want to live, and buy property where they can afford.

For instance, in Sydney, you might choose to rent a bedroom in a house in Bondi, while you purchase a more affordable investment property in Parramatta. You place a tenant in your investment property to help you pay off the mortgage, while you continue to pay rent to live in the neighbourhood of your choice.

This is a trend that has grown in popularity in the last three years, and looks set to continue throughout 2017.

Buying property can be complicated and at Think Conveyancing we are here to help you navigate the process. Our trained and qualified lawyers are committed to delivering exceptional customer experience and advice, so feel free to contact our friendly team today on 1300 932 738. You can also contact us online here.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Does Conveyancing Cost More For Expensive Properties?

think-conveyancing-does-conveyancing-cost-more-for-more-expensive-properties-750x367

Conveyancing fees are an expense you need to factor in when buying or selling a property. But many property buyers want to know: does the cost of your conveyancer change depending on the price of your property?

The answer is: it depends, on many factors.

It depends on the complexity of the transaction, the location of the property and the experience and pricing policies of the conveyancer you’re working with.

Understanding conveyancing costs

Generally speaking, costs will always vary from one conveyancer to another, and the value of the property can act as the biggest determinant. In general, the more expensive your property is, the higher your conveyancing costs will be.

There are conveyancers that charge a flat fee for all legal services, while there are others who charge a sliding fee based on the property sale price. Hence, conveyancing fees can range quite widely.

Aside from the sale price, one of the things that increase your conveyancing costs is disbursements. These are charges acquired by your conveyancer from third party services on your behalf. Examples of these charges are:

  • Title search fees
  • Local council building certificate search fees
  • Owners Corporation certificate search fees
  • Land Tax Certificate search fees
  • Council rates search fees
  • Water rates search fees
  • Fees for other property searches as may be necessary
  • Settlement Agent fees

Are you wondering what your conveyancer actually does when working on your transaction? Learn more here.

Focusing on more than the price

A big consideration when reviewing conveyancing fees is the different services that each conveyancer offers. One conveyancer may be bringing a lot more to the table than another, particularly if they are a qualified solicitor, so it is understandable that they might charge more than other conveyancers.

In addition to the value of the property, some of the common procedures that can influence your conveyancing fees include the time spent reviewing the contract of sale, and applying for and reviewing a full set of certificates. These certificates provide important information like the owner’s corporation fees, unregistered easements, building information, water information statement and final inspection results.

It’s also crucial to remember the role that your conveyancer plays; in many ways, they are your advocate throughout the buying or selling transaction.

They can also negotiate with a vendor’s representative if you would like to request any changes to the contract of sale terms and conditions, and they’re always looking out for your best interests. Sometimes, they may provide general legal advice related to the property purchase, if that falls within their skill set.

Before hiring a conveyancer, it is important to clarify the services that they offer so you know what you are actually paying for. Ask for a breakdown of the expenses and determine if this suits your budget.

At Think Conveyancing, our focus on customer service ensures we always put your needs first. As such, we place a lot of value on transparency, so we are more than happy to provide you with a written quote that clearly outlines our fees and services – so there are no surprises along the way. For more information, contact our friendly team on 1300 932 738. You can also contact us online here.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Does Conveyancing Cost More For Expensive Properties?

think-conveyancing-does-conveyancing-cost-more-for-more-expensive-properties-750x367

Conveyancing fees are an expense you need to factor in when buying or selling a property. But many property buyers want to know: does the cost of your conveyancer change depending on the price of your property?

The answer is: it depends, on many factors.

It depends on the complexity of the transaction, the location of the property and the experience and pricing policies of the conveyancer you’re working with.

Understanding conveyancing costs

Generally speaking, costs will always vary from one conveyancer to another, and the value of the property can act as the biggest determinant. In general, the more expensive your property is, the higher your conveyancing costs will be.

There are conveyancers that charge a flat fee for all legal services, while there are others who charge a sliding fee based on the property sale price. Hence, conveyancing fees can range quite widely.

Aside from the sale price, one of the things that increase your conveyancing costs is disbursements. These are charges acquired by your conveyancer from third party services on your behalf. Examples of these charges are:

  • Title search fees
  • Local council building certificate search fees
  • Owners Corporation certificate search fees
  • Land Tax Certificate search fees
  • Council rates search fees
  • Water rates search fees
  • Fees for other property searches as may be necessary
  • Settlement Agent fees

Are you wondering what your conveyancer actually does when working on your transaction? Learn more here.

Focusing on more than the price

A big consideration when reviewing conveyancing fees is the different services that each conveyancer offers. One conveyancer may be bringing a lot more to the table than another, particularly if they are a qualified solicitor, so it is understandable that they might charge more than other conveyancers.

In addition to the value of the property, some of the common procedures that can influence your conveyancing fees include the time spent reviewing the contract of sale, and applying for and reviewing a full set of certificates. These certificates provide important information like the owner’s corporation fees, unregistered easements, building information, water information statement and final inspection results.

It’s also crucial to remember the role that your conveyancer plays; in many ways, they are your advocate throughout the buying or selling transaction.

They can also negotiate with a vendor’s representative if you would like to request any changes to the contract of sale terms and conditions, and they’re always looking out for your best interests. Sometimes, they may provide general legal advice related to the property purchase, if that falls within their skill set.

Before hiring a conveyancer, it is important to clarify the services that they offer so you know what you are actually paying for. Ask for a breakdown of the expenses and determine if this suits your budget.

At Think Conveyancing, our focus on customer service ensures we always put your needs first. As such, we place a lot of value on transparency, so we are more than happy to provide you with a written quote that clearly outlines our fees and services – so there are no surprises along the way. For more information, contact our friendly team on 1300 932 738. You can also contact us online here.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Conveyancing and Tax: What Can You Claim on Your Tax Return?

think-conveyancing-conveyancing-and-tax-what-can-you-claim-on-your-tax-return-750x367

Australia may be one of the only countries in the world where its people look forward to tax time. At least, Australian property investors do; they are always excited about end of financial year, because property investors have access to numerous tax deductions!

While it’s true that many of the fees involved in property investments are tax deductible, some of the expenses you incur as a landlord are not in fact allowable deductions.
According to the Australian Taxation Office, there are three main types of rental expenses:

  1. Those that cannot be claimed
  2. Those that can be claimed as immediate deductions
  3. Those that can be claimed as a deduction over a number of years

Those that can be claimed immediately means that they will be reflected on the income year that the costs were incurred. These may include bank charges, body corporate fees and charges, council rates and insurance. You may also claim the cost of advertising for tenants, and you can claim interest charges incurred on loans, as long as the property is being rented or is available for rent.

But can you claim your conveyancing fees?

According to the ATO, you may immediately claim some legal costs and lease document expenses, as long as these were incurred in the course of renting out an investment property.

However, broadly speaking, conveyancing fees (and other expenses like stamp duty) charged on the transfer of the property cannot be claimed as deductions.

This is because these expenses are considered to be costs incurred on the purchase and sale of your property, rather than costs that incurred as part of owning your income producing asset. As such, they are deemed to be ‘capital costs’ and are not deductible.

However, all is not lost – you don’t lose out on tax benefits altogether. Instead of being able to claim an immediate deduction, your conveyancing costs will form part of the cost base of your property. This is important, as when it comes time to pay capital gains tax upon the sale of your investment, any money you have spent on conveyancing can be taken into account for the purpose of reducing your tax liability.

Keep in mind that legal expenses incurred during the management of your property are entirely different, and may be tax deductible immediately. Running costs are considered by the ATO to be those that are incurred to maintain the property. For instance, legal expenses associated with the lease would be considered a running cost and would therefore be tax deductible against the rental received.

What are the differences between a conveyancer and a solicitor? Learn more here.

Working out your tax rights and responsibilities can be complicated and at Think Conveyancing, we always advise our clients to seek out the services of an experienced accountant to help you maximize your tax return. Of course, we’re always happy to help with any aspect of our conveyancing requirements, so for more information on our services, please contact our friendly team on 1300 932 738. You can also contact us online here.


Conveyancing and Tax: What Can You Claim on Your Tax Return? posted first on http://thinkconveyancing1.blogspot.com

Conveyancing and Tax: What Can You Claim on Your Tax Return?

think-conveyancing-conveyancing-and-tax-what-can-you-claim-on-your-tax-return-750x367

Australia may be one of the only countries in the world where its people look forward to tax time. At least, Australian property investors do; they are always excited about end of financial year, because property investors have access to numerous tax deductions!

While it’s true that many of the fees involved in property investments are tax deductible, some of the expenses you incur as a landlord are not in fact allowable deductions.
According to the Australian Taxation Office, there are three main types of rental expenses:

  1. Those that cannot be claimed
  2. Those that can be claimed as immediate deductions
  3. Those that can be claimed as a deduction over a number of years

Those that can be claimed immediately means that they will be reflected on the income year that the costs were incurred. These may include bank charges, body corporate fees and charges, council rates and insurance. You may also claim the cost of advertising for tenants, and you can claim interest charges incurred on loans, as long as the property is being rented or is available for rent.

But can you claim your conveyancing fees?

According to the ATO, you may immediately claim some legal costs and lease document expenses, as long as these were incurred in the course of renting out an investment property.

However, broadly speaking, conveyancing fees (and other expenses like stamp duty) charged on the transfer of the property cannot be claimed as deductions.

This is because these expenses are considered to be costs incurred on the purchase and sale of your property, rather than costs that incurred as part of owning your income producing asset. As such, they are deemed to be ‘capital costs’ and are not deductible.

However, all is not lost – you don’t lose out on tax benefits altogether. Instead of being able to claim an immediate deduction, your conveyancing costs will form part of the cost base of your property. This is important, as when it comes time to pay capital gains tax upon the sale of your investment, any money you have spent on conveyancing can be taken into account for the purpose of reducing your tax liability.

Keep in mind that legal expenses incurred during the management of your property are entirely different, and may be tax deductible immediately. Running costs are considered by the ATO to be those that are incurred to maintain the property. For instance, legal expenses associated with the lease would be considered a running cost and would therefore be tax deductible against the rental received.

What are the differences between a conveyancer and a solicitor? Learn more here.

Working out your tax rights and responsibilities can be complicated and at Think Conveyancing, we always advise our clients to seek out the services of an experienced accountant to help you maximize your tax return. Of course, we’re always happy to help with any aspect of our conveyancing requirements, so for more information on our services, please contact our friendly team on 1300 932 738. You can also contact us online here.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

9 Property Contract Phrases Explained In Layman Terms

think-conveyancing-nine-property-contract-phrases-explained-in-layman-terms-750x367

Property contracts can be hard to decipher by yourself, which is why it makes good sense to hire a conveyancer to help you navigate the path forward.

Still, it doesn’t hurt to educate yourself about the common terms that you might find in your contract of sale, so following are a dozen of the most common:

Certificate of Title

The Certificate of Title is a document that shows the location, volume and current ownership of a given property. It also shows easements, covenants, mortgages, and other third party interests in the land. Every time the property is sold to another owner, the name of the new owner is registered on the Certificate of Title.

As the owner or mortgagee of a property, you are given an official duplicate of the Certificate of Title, while the original is held at the Land Titles Office.
However, as the conveyancing process is now moving towards becoming paperless, the issuance of paper Certificates of Title is slowly phasing out and the Land Titles Office is working with most major banks to convert paper Certificates of Title to electronic Certificates of Title.

Contract of sale

A contract of sale is a legal contract that outlines the exchange of property from the seller, also known as a vendor, to the buyer. It outlines information such as the purchase price, special conditions, and finance arrangements.

Conveyancing

Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring the title of a property from one person to another. Where this is pursuant to a sale and purchase transaction, it involves drawing up and carrying out a written contract that includes the agreed purchase price, date of transfer, and obligations of both parties.
Conveyancing also needs to be undertaken for mere transfers where there is no ‘buyer’ or ‘seller’ per se (e.g. transfer between spouses, ex-spouses or family members without any purchase price).

Cooling off period

As a consumer, you may (subject to certain conditions being met) have the right to change your mind during the cooling off period following your agreement (via signing a written contract of sale) to purchase a property. Depending on the state or territory you’re in, the cooling off period varies and you also may be required to pay a fee to walk away from your contract during the cooling off period. For instance, in Queensland the cooling off period is five business days, and the fee is 0.25% of the purchase price.

However, there are circumstances where you may not be entitled to a cooling off period. A common example of this is where the property is bought under auction or where the buyer is a company.

Easement

An easement is the right of a person to use part of another person’s property for a specific purpose, usually for an agreed fee. It also refers to the right to prevent the property owner from using a part of their property in a particular manner.
Easements, like a right of way or utility and sewer lines access, can affect the value of a property and restrict the manner in which the property is used, so it should be duly consulted with a conveyancer.

Encumbrance

An encumbrance is a claim against a property by a party who is not the owner. It refers to any obstacle that may become known during a transfer of land, like easements, mortgages, leases, covenants and caveats.

Mortgage

If a loan borrower defaults in payment under the loan contract, the mortgage gives the creditor the legal right to sell the borrower’s property in order to reclaim the amount owing to them.

The buyer’s conveyancer should always ensure that the seller’s mortgage is discharged at settlement so the new owner does not take on the previous owner’s mortgage.

Settlement date

The settlement date is the date on which the property title is legally and officially transferred to the buyer. The balance of the purchase price and any financial adjustments and payments, like land taxes and council rates, will be made on the settlement date. Once a settlement is confirmed to have successfully occurred, the buyer may arrange with the agent to pick up the keys.

Strata title

Strata title is a form of ownership created for multi-level apartment blocks and horizontal subdivisions with shared areas like swimming pools and car parks. In other words, these properties consist of individual properties – like apartments and garages – and common areas – like driveways and gardens. When you purchase strata titled property, your conveyancer will review extra documentation such as the Owners Corporation’s Certificate in the disclosure statements, to check for potential risks such as large upcoming expenses i.e. Repainting the complex, replacing the roof, etc.

These are just some of the terms and phrases you might come across during your property transaction. If you have any questions or would like any terms explained to you, you can contact our friendly team at Think Conveyancing on 1300 932 738, or contact us online here.


9 Property Contract Phrases Explained In Layman Terms posted first on http://thinkconveyancing1.blogspot.com

9 Property Contract Phrases Explained In Layman Terms

think-conveyancing-nine-property-contract-phrases-explained-in-layman-terms-750x367

Property contracts can be hard to decipher by yourself, which is why it makes good sense to hire a conveyancer to help you navigate the path forward.

Still, it doesn’t hurt to educate yourself about the common terms that you might find in your contract of sale, so following are a dozen of the most common:

Certificate of Title

The Certificate of Title is a document that shows the location, volume and current ownership of a given property. It also shows easements, covenants, mortgages, and other third party interests in the land. Every time the property is sold to another owner, the name of the new owner is registered on the Certificate of Title.

As the owner or mortgagee of a property, you are given an official duplicate of the Certificate of Title, while the original is held at the Land Titles Office.
However, as the conveyancing process is now moving towards becoming paperless, the issuance of paper Certificates of Title is slowly phasing out and the Land Titles Office is working with most major banks to convert paper Certificates of Title to electronic Certificates of Title.

Contract of sale

A contract of sale is a legal contract that outlines the exchange of property from the seller, also known as a vendor, to the buyer. It outlines information such as the purchase price, special conditions, and finance arrangements.

Conveyancing

Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring the title of a property from one person to another. Where this is pursuant to a sale and purchase transaction, it involves drawing up and carrying out a written contract that includes the agreed purchase price, date of transfer, and obligations of both parties.
Conveyancing also needs to be undertaken for mere transfers where there is no ‘buyer’ or ‘seller’ per se (e.g. transfer between spouses, ex-spouses or family members without any purchase price).

Cooling off period

As a consumer, you may (subject to certain conditions being met) have the right to change your mind during the cooling off period following your agreement (via signing a written contract of sale) to purchase a property. Depending on the state or territory you’re in, the cooling off period varies and you also may be required to pay a fee to walk away from your contract during the cooling off period. For instance, in Queensland the cooling off period is five business days, and the fee is 0.25% of the purchase price.

However, there are circumstances where you may not be entitled to a cooling off period. A common example of this is where the property is bought under auction or where the buyer is a company.

Easement

An easement is the right of a person to use part of another person’s property for a specific purpose, usually for an agreed fee. It also refers to the right to prevent the property owner from using a part of their property in a particular manner.
Easements, like a right of way or utility and sewer lines access, can affect the value of a property and restrict the manner in which the property is used, so it should be duly consulted with a conveyancer.

Encumbrance

An encumbrance is a claim against a property by a party who is not the owner. It refers to any obstacle that may become known during a transfer of land, like easements, mortgages, leases, covenants and caveats.

Mortgage

If a loan borrower defaults in payment under the loan contract, the mortgage gives the creditor the legal right to sell the borrower’s property in order to reclaim the amount owing to them.

The buyer’s conveyancer should always ensure that the seller’s mortgage is discharged at settlement so the new owner does not take on the previous owner’s mortgage.

Settlement date

The settlement date is the date on which the property title is legally and officially transferred to the buyer. The balance of the purchase price and any financial adjustments and payments, like land taxes and council rates, will be made on the settlement date. Once a settlement is confirmed to have successfully occurred, the buyer may arrange with the agent to pick up the keys.

Strata title

Strata title is a form of ownership created for multi-level apartment blocks and horizontal subdivisions with shared areas like swimming pools and car parks. In other words, these properties consist of individual properties – like apartments and garages – and common areas – like driveways and gardens. When you purchase strata titled property, your conveyancer will review extra documentation such as the Owners Corporation’s Certificate in the disclosure statements, to check for potential risks such as large upcoming expenses i.e. Repainting the complex, replacing the roof, etc.

These are just some of the terms and phrases you might come across during your property transaction. If you have any questions or would like any terms explained to you, you can contact our friendly team at Think Conveyancing on 1300 932 738, or contact us online here.