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December 7, 2015

How to maintain an ageing property investment

By CAM McLELLAN

Today, I want to talk about ageing portfolios. You’ve invested, done well and built up a portfolio of 30 brand new properties… but they were only brand new when you bought them!

When Al and I are stumped, we go to his dad Steve and ask for his angle because he’s a long-term investor.

In the early days he used to say to us, “Slow down boys, time is on your side!” but we didn’t listen to him, we went off like lunatics, building our property portfolio.

Now, we say the same thing to our staff when they’re getting all excited about building their portfolios.

Slow and steady wins the race but what happens after you’ve gone slow and steady and won the race?

When you start to age, you go and get fixed up – so what happens when your portfolio starts to age?

Let’s say you’ve got a 30-year-old property; you bought it new so you would get the best tenants, no rental vacancy, depreciation and quick loans but now it has aged.

You’re in a bit of trouble because you’re not appealing to the tenants, you’ve lost your depreciation benefits and the property isn’t getting the maximum rent.

The good news is you can turn it all around because your property has, worst case scenario, tripled in value.

We did the numbers: one option is to knock it down and rebuild a new house, but that doesn’t work.

We toyed around with selling it but that doesn’t work because of the tax you’d pay.

So, we ran it past Steve and he’s a builder, so that helps. He said: “What’s a new bathroom worth, $5,000? A new kitchen, $5,000 to $7,000? A paint job, $5,000? New carpet, $5,000? So, for $20,000 you’ll have a brand new house!”

You could even go crazy and spend $30,000! Steve explained that we’re not in the situation investors used to find themselves in when people were buying weatherboard houses.

When they aged, the weatherboard would rot and need to be replaced, the roof would rot and the house might have contained asbestos, which would’ve needed to be removed.

Today, you have a well-built brick house, with a concrete roof. We have new standards and the work to again make it appealing to tenants is cosmetic – it can get you another 20 years.

This article is the opinion of OpenCorp

Whether it’s building a successful property portfolio or investing in one of our development funds, we can help you through every stage of your investment journey. OpenCorp are property investment specialists.

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