Boosting the Size of Your Portfolio with Unused Equity

The goal of most property investors is to have a portfolio of sufficient size and diversity that they are able to weather any economic downturn and still have enough assets to generate a reasonable income. This goal is achievable as long as investors understand the fundamentals of the real estate market, and they have some equity in an existing property to get them started.

Start a Real Estate Portfolio with Unused Equity

If you already have a home mortgage that has been running for a few years and the value of your home has increased during that time, you already have some equity. This is simply the difference between what you owe on your mortgage and the value of your home. Depending on individual circumstances, this could be a substantial amount of money, enough to use as a deposit on investment real estate.

Get the Right Finance and Structure for the Best Outcome

If you have one or two real estate investments with unused equity, then you are to be congratulated. You already have a substantial platform on which to further increase your portfolio. However, before you go ahead and make any decisions, you need to make sure that you have the right structure to hold your assets and the right finance arrangements in place.

Interest rates currently are at historically low levels with no sign of an increase in the foreseeable future. This is the perfect time to be thinking about continuing to add to your portfolio, and we are here to assist with advice on how to set everything up to get the most out of your situation. We are Position One Property, an investment property specialist with suitable real estate stock available ready to be recommended to astute buyers.

Buy Where Demand is Just Beginning to Build

We do not limit ourselves to just one area of the housing market, and this is a key point for our clients to understand. While the market at the moment is talking up inner-city apartments that have become expensive as a result, we have equally suitable properties in many others areas where demand is just beginning to outstrip supply.

Don’t Let Unused Equity Just Sit There

Market research shows the growth areas throughout the state, and it is these areas that will provide the demand for rental housing that can turn your stagnating equity into a wealth creating strategy. You need to have enough income to make intermittent mortgage payments in the event that one or more of the properties become vacant for a short time. If you can do this, your equity can be used to finance additional purchases in growth areas.

If all this sounds interesting, contact us to make an appointment to speak to one of our specialists.

How To Reduce The Risks That Cause Financial Failure

There are some life events and circumstances that can derail efforts to achieve financial independence. Some of them are out of our control like natural disasters and accidents, but our society has developed products such as life and health insurance to mitigate the consequences. “Lifestyle” diseases can also be controlled by making better food and exercise choices.

Apply Some Risk Management Strategies for Financial Security

Aside from these unfortunate events, there are other threats lurking that can throw into chaos our attempts to create financial buffers against unforeseen circumstances. What we can do, however, is to recognise these threats and apply some risk management techniques to create a soft landing if it becomes necessary.

Income Protection Insurance is Only the First Step

For most of us, secure and reasonably paid employment is the starting base. Income protection insurance and actively managing your career through upskilling, as well as promoting or starting your own business are some ways to reduce risks in producing a regular income. Understanding how the economy works and watching for changes like Australia’s recent decline in mining income are other ways.

Assuming that your income is secure for the foreseeable future, you could now be working on creating those financial buffers. We recommend always having some cash savings on hand for emergencies, but accept that with interest rates as low as they currently are, the returns are meagre. The only advantage is instant accessibility, which is why you should only do this for emergencies.

Share Market Volatility Deters Amateurs

Investing in the share market is an option, but only if you have the time and desire to learn and understand how it works and how to maximise investments. For most people, shares are a commodity that is best left to experts in this field to manage.

Property Investment has Many Advantages

The property market is the one area that has continued to perform over a long period of time in Australia. It is also one that most people who own or rent their homes are familiar with. No market is completely safe from economic downturns but we have found property to be one of the best vehicles for achieving financial security.

At Fountain Property Group we have experts available to help you select the right type of property for your circumstances. We will also arrange professional property managers who will select the best tenants and look after the ongoing maintenance.

Good Property Management and Insurance Cover Mitigates Risk

Landlords’ protection and home and contents insurance policies will protect your asset from unforeseen events. With industry-best property managers handling the day-to-day details, you will hardly need to lift a finger on your journey to financial security. Whether you are looking for capital growth, high rental returns or a long-term strategy, we can assist you.

You Are Never Too Young To Invest In Property

Most young people starting out make sacrifices to become independent. They may work low-paying casual jobs to pay for university or complete an apprenticeship to get qualifications. If they leave home to access these opportunities, they usually forego new clothes and entertainment, and even eat poorly to pay rent and transport costs.

Enjoy Success but Temper it with Discipline

When they earn their first substantial salary, the temptation to make up for what they missed is great. They often spend wildly on parties, holidays, latest fashions, a new car or other symbols of their hard-earned status. While they have earned the right to enjoy these rewards, a little discipline could improve their long-term situation.

They would enjoy more financial security in the long term by having a chat with one of our investment experts at Fountain Property Group. The best results in wealth creation through property investment are achieved by starting as early as possible, and there are a couple of reasons for this.

Long-term Projections for Property are Still Solid

One is the long-term performance of the Australian property market. Over the past fifty years, property has doubled in value every ten years, apart from a couple of minor hiccups. Despite predictions that our property bubble is about to burst, this has not happened and some expert opinions suggest it is still unlikely.

If current trends continue, the most likely scenario is that over the next twenty years, property will increase in value. These increases may not be as high as the average long-term figure of seven percent a year, but should at least reach four percent. This is still a very healthy return for the person who has invested in the right type of property, and we can help with that.

Investors Need Good Advice When the Market Turns

There will always be market corrections as investors respond to whatever is going on in the world economy. It is during these corrections that investors “going it alone” without good advice lose out. The right kind of property in the right location is the key to riding out these market corrections.

Take Advantage of Negative Gearing While It’s Still Available

This brings us to the second reason for getting into property investment early in life. The right kind of property will consistently earn rental income. However, it may not cover all expenses, especially early in the term of a mortgage. Current negative gearing laws allow these losses to be used to reduce tax payable. These laws may not be around forever, so we believe the time to take advantage of them is now.

Why work hard in your early years to get a good job or enter a lucrative profession, then fritter it away with years of ill-disciplined spending? We can help you get the lifestyle you want in retirement by investing in property now.

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Could Your Staff Handle a Fire Emergency?

Over the past couple of years there have been several major house fires around the Brisbane area involving complete property destruction and tragic loss of life. Smoke detectors that did not work, fires that started during the night when the family was sleeping and leaving candles burning were some of the causes. There have also been fires on business premises, and although these cause income loss and great expense, they rarely result in employee deaths.

What are your Responsibilities under our Fire Safety Legislation?

There is a very good reason for this. Building owners or occupiers of certain types of buildings are required by law to install specified fire safety equipment at strategic locations. They must also appoint fire safety advisors in some cases, and all must have fire emergency procedures in place, including regular fire evacuation drills.

With this in mind, now is a good time for anyone with responsibilities under the fire safety laws to make sure they are complying. A good place to start is with the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services web page. All the various definitions and criteria are there, along with information sheets so you can see where your level of responsibility lies.

Can You Use a Fire Extinguisher? Can Your Staff?

As business owners ourselves, the Fountain Property Group has a legal obligation to ensure the safety of our staff while they are on our premises. One of the ways we do this is to provide training to our staff in the fire emergency procedures applicable to our building. This is not as hard as it sounds, and we start with basic instruction in how to use a fire extinguisher.

Which One is the Right One?

You can either do this yourself, or engage professionals to do it for you at your workplace. The training involves a short information session on the various types of fires and the correct methods of fighting them, followed by an actual demonstration This is important and will vary from building to building, depending on the type of fire most likely to break out. For example, a restaurant kitchen where there is hot fat would use a different method from an office building where electronics and paper are the main fire hazards.

Emergency Evacuation Training Saves Lives

The other major employee training exercise is the emergency evacuation. Once you have developed the procedure, staff training is essential so that they all know their roles in an evacuation. Larger businesses have a safety committee and nominate wardens and various other roles to staff members. Regular fire drills and evacuations are essential so that everyone knows how to respond in a real situation.

If you do not have these procedures in place, find out your responsibilities and get your emergency procedures happening. There is truth in the saying that the life you save may be your own.

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Getting Into Property – An Alternative Approach

There has been much media comment lately about the Australian property market, much of it focused on the high prices being paid, especially in Sydney and Melbourne. This media conversation is bemoaning the likelihood that young Australians will never own their own homes like their parents did, and that they are being priced out of the market by investors.

Property Opportunities Available Outside Sydney and Melbourne

Like all such conversations it has some merit, but it is also ignoring the huge diversity of property available in Australia. It also concentrates its argument in two relatively small geographical locations, albeit those containing a significant proportion of our total population. In our other capital cities and large regional centres, properties are being snapped up by first home buyers and investors at reasonable prices.

How do we know this? We are the Fountain Property Group, a one stop solution for people interested in building an investment portfolio. Over the years we have been in business, we have heard many reasons why people think they can’t buy a home. With the right advice, these reasons can all be overcome.

Stable Income and Savings History a Good Start

The first issue is, naturally enough, having a sufficient and stable income that would give a lending institution the confidence to approve a home loan. The next factor is having a reasonable deposit firstly to avoid paying mortgage insurance, and also to demonstrate your ability to maintain a regular savings pattern over time.

Could Tenants in Common be the Answer?

Both these considerations apply equally to an owner-occupier, or to someone interested in purchasing an investment property. Another way to mitigate the risk, should something unexpected happen, is to purchase property with two or more other stakeholders under a legal structure called tenants in common.

If each party contributes an equal amount they become tenants in common in equal shares. If one or more parties contribute a larger or smaller share, they become tenants in common with shares in proportion to their contribution. There are some other issues that need to be discussed, but this is a viable way for people to purchase a home, particularly an investment property.

Good Properties at Affordable Prices in Regional Centres

The other factor that many people do not consider is the location where they want to buy. If it is for a home to live in, obviously that must be near employment. If, however, they are starting a property portfolio, there are many locations throughout the country, other than the capital cities, where they can get started. Wherever there is a demand by tenants for housing, there is opportunity for investors.

This, and other advice such as ownership structures, cash flow and management, is available to our clients at the Fountain Property Group. Anyone with a reasonable debt history and regular income can own property.

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Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF) – A Great Investment Strategy

Many Australians are becoming savvier about investment opportunities. With this in mind they are seeking ways to improve their retirement nest egg and reduce the flow of proceeds to the tax man—he who must be feared and revered.

The superannuation tide is turning and many of us are now choosing to take control of the greater flexibility a Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF) can offer. Experienced investors and entrepreneurial mums and dads of the world are looking to secure their future by using this form of investment.

This is due to the generally higher payouts that can be gained and the amazing tax breaks offered. Another of the greatest advantages of this style of fund is the flexibility it offers.

Family members, (generally husband, and wife) have the ability to pool their resources, which allows them an inordinate advantage to invest in solid bricks and mortar as opposed to being at the mercy of what an employer funded superannuation may deem a reliable investment – this would usually entail a series of options with varying risks and rewards, typically in the share market.

Flexibility is not the only advantage, however. Other attractive benefits include vastly lower fees and the ability to create an estate plan that is designed to cater for the individual.

Whether you already own an SMSF or you are considering this form of investment in your future, Fountain Property Group  offer innovative and lucrative investment solutions that will slot straight into this form of strategic investment.

We do the Hard Yards

During our long association with the property market, we have come to understand and identify that just under half of all real estate transactions are made by people looking to create a wealthy nest egg for their retirement.

We were able to quickly identify that many investors be they old hands in the industry or newcomers, were time poor or had little knowledge or resources to correctly and decisively conduct their own due diligence.

Any number of our clients can make more money doing what they do and leaving this form of investigation to us. We take the stress, strain and, most importantly, the risk out of buying all forms of property.

Not only are we far better equipped to carry out these critical investigations using our vast network of contacts, we are also in the enviable position of being able to network with any number of reputable people in the accounting and mortgage sectors.

Take advantage of our vast experience, skill, and contacts. You will not be disappointed.

Building Your Retirement Nest Egg

Did you know that you cannot insure a share portfolio or term deposit?

Any risk or negative outcomes that may evolve from a drop in the market in these two investment options cannot be protected in any way. If you don’t know what you are doing, you could end up paying off shares that are worth nothing.

When you invest in property you can relax knowing that through fires, storms, busted pipes or any other number of accidents, you can insure your asset against damage and have it repaired without forking out more cash.

Tax Benefits and Incentives

Perhaps because housing is always in such demand the taxman smiles upon the investment of property like no other investment. All sorts of tax breaks and incentives are offered to assist with this form of investment.

Time Poor?

Fountain Property Group are not your average real estate agents where you can come and list your house and we market and sell it for you.

We are a company that sources properties for buyers and we are not restricted by any territories or boundaries like some of the major agencies are. As such, we have full flexibility to go wherever the market is hot or where we feel an area is poised for growth.

We source properties in strategic areas and only after completing our full due diligence on each and every one of them do we offer these to our clients. This is the most important step you can take in any property deal. It is essential that the properties we offer have met our strict criteria.

Our services go even further beyond this as we are able to design the correct structure required to purchase property, thus ensuring our clients also gain maximum tax advantages.

Let us guide you from beginner through to seasoned entrepreneur with our proven program.

Nearly 20 Years’ Experience

Knowing where to look and what to look for is not something easily gained. It can take years of being in and around the industry before you start to get a handle on its ebbs and flows. Are we the experts? Our short answer is yes, but we are not cocky about it. We continue to research and educate ourselves to ensure we stay on top of the trends.

Anyone Can Do It!

It does not matter whether you are a savvy developer, builder, banker, or a mum and dad investor.

With the money, the right advice, guidance and decisions, anyone can make a success of this form of investment.

5 Property Problems to Avoid

When purchasing an investment property, it is imperative that an inspection is conducted to ensure that the property does not only look good from the outside. Inspecting the property also saves you from thousands of dollars of unexpected repair and maintenance. Here are 5 property problems you need to avoid.

Water damage. Signs of water damage in the property is very alarming – as this can be very expensive to fix. When inspecting a property for water damage, check for stains in walls, ceilings, in cupboards, in the kitchen and in the bathroom.  Check for the presence of mold and mildew that can affect the structural integrity of the property. It is also important to check all gutters and downpipes to ensure that no water is leaking in the ceiling, which can cause serious insulation and electrical problems. When inspecting a home, it is best practice to turn on all the taps to see the water pressure. A low water pressure may indicate a possible leak that needs to be addressed.

Foundation. The property should also be checked for structural integrity issues in the foundation. Stay away from properties that show signs of termite damage – as this can cost thousands of dollars to repair. Check for foundation issues, such as damaged floorboards, rotten wood supports, as repairing this can be expensive. It is important to check these issues especially for older properties, as a soft foundation can give way and cause properties to shift over time.

Plumbing and Electrical. These are perhaps one of the most common issues when purchasing property. Pipes and drainages should be checked, as well as electrical issues. Flickering lights are a possible sign of electrical damage – and this has to be addressed immediately. Electrical insulation is very important to protect your property from fire and other severe damage.

Pest damage. The property should be checked for ants, termite and rodent infestation. Any one of these can cause thousands to repair, depending on how severe the situation is. Expect that there will be repairs along the way should you find any pest damage in the house.

Paint Job. Always ask when the paint job was done, as this can be used to conceal issues in the house. If it has been done recently, make sure to check for possible cover ups in water damage. Inspect the walls, ceiling and floor.

When purchasing property as an investment, you can choose to inspect on your own should you know what to look for. Also consider bringing in the experts if you are unsure – better that you know now what needs to be done to improve and repair the property than find out after you signed the dotted line.

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6 Tips to Increase Office Productivity

No matter what type of business you run, there are several things you can do to improve productivity. Businesses should be aware of this constant need, as there are a lot of things that can drop employee motivation and affect productivity.  By making sure that productivity-killers are addressed, you can ensure a healthy working environment where people would want to proactively work for you, not just because they have to. Here are 6 tips to increase productivity in the workplace.

Get rid of the productivity-killers.  It is very important to identify productivity-killers, as these things affect motivation and productivity.  Ensure that people in the workplace exude a positive aura. Constructive criticism is an important part of the workplace, as this helps lead the team to the right direction – however, make sure you understand that the wrong type of criticism can create friction and drop workplace productivity. Keep in mind that when you offer criticism, you also take into account the end goal – does it provide people the push they need to function better, or does it cause employee production to regress?

Email has recently been cited as a productivity killer, as most people use read and reply to emails within the first several hours of the day. Allot at least several minutes, and schedule an email check throughout the day. This will allow you to work on the most important tasks of the day and attend to only the emails that require immediate attention.

Motivate. Motivation in the workplace is a necessity. Employees tend to get easily bored when faced with monotonous and repetitive tasks. It is important to touch base with every employee, track their progress and see where they can improve on by providing the right kind of motivation. There is no perfect formula to motivate individuals, as their needs vary.

There are basically two types of people in the workplace – employees that gets motivated by challenges, and employees that get motivated when encouraged. Be sure to identify which employee needs that extra challenge to perform better, and which employee needs that once in a while encouragement.

Set goals and timely feedback.  Employees tend to respond better when given clear goals and timely feedback. This is where a good management plan comes in. Create a clear timeline as to what you expect from the people at the workplace.  When providing feedback for errors and improvements, make sure you clearly state the reason as to why it is corrected, and what the repercussions are.

Collaborate. Collaboration fosters trust and teamwork in the workplace. This is also one of the most important things to consider when planning to streamline tasks and keep them efficient as possible. Your workplace should take advantage of the latest technologies that are designed to help office productivity, be it file sharing, collaboration software of even mobile applications.

Develop skills. Employees nowadays develop a wide array of skills that complement their current roles, making workplace productivity much better. Provide opportunities to develop skills and career advancement.

Communicate. Effective communication gets the message across at the right time, the right context and the right manner. Ensure that you encourage healthy communication in the workplace. A proper hierarchy should also be in place, so that people can air out their concerns and inquiries appropriately.  Communication should also be clearly defined, so that no time is wasted trying to contact people via email when they prefer to be contacted a different way.

Keeping up with office productivity is a holistic approach that when executed correctly can create a distraction – free environment and a motivated workforce. Keep these things in mind to keep your steer the workplace in the right direction.

How to Find the Right Property Manager

rental4Property Management is a crucial part of your investment, as more Australians invest in property. Choosing the right property manager will help you in the day to day tasks of handling your investments. There is more to just collecting rent in managing your investment property. A property manager is tasked to address tenant issues, property repair and maintenance, and much more. But, how do you choose the right Property Manager?

Property Manager credentials. Most agencies have several departments, so make sure you choose one with a dedicated property management department. Choose a property manager with a proven track record of successfully managing properties. Your property manager should also have years of experience in real estate. Provide scenarios so that you can hear firsthand their ability to resolve conflict and other issues that may arise.

Property Management Proposal. Do they take the time to sit down and talk to you about their plan for your investment? You should take these small but critical details as a consideration – as property managers should at least have the time to discuss things with you, rather than just send you a sheet of paper.

Property Inspections. Choose a property manager that takes the time to accompany tenants for inspection. In this way, inquiries of prospect tenants can be addressed right away. Hiring a property manager that does this ensures that they are concerned about your profitability.

Property Maintenance. Property managers should have extreme attention to detail. They treat your property as their own, so you can be assured that your property is always in good condition. Choose a property manager that can make repair recommendations, and look into their plans for routine inspections and maintenance.

Property Manager availability. Are you looking for a manager that specialises in local properties, or will you have properties spread out in different areas? Your property manager should be well adept with the varying issues for each location. Hire a property manager that specialises in a large geographical area.

Court experience. As the landlord, certain instances may require you to appear in court to protect your rights. A good property manager should have a good grasp of the most recent changes to tenancy laws.

Whatever your goals, choose a property manager that treats your investment as their own. Proactive managers can increase your rental return and unlock the full potential of your investment property.