Land Title in South Australia

When buying property in South Australia, be it purchasing land, a house, investment property or even an apartment, you are purchasing a “title” specific to the parcel of land or property which determines the type of ownership. Essentially, the main difference between the types of “titles” is whether or not the land is “shared” or owned in “common” with other owners. There are two main titles in South Australia, Torrens and community.

Torrens TitleA South Australian invention, Torrens title is a system which records and registers land ownership. Your name is “registered” on the Torrens title register when the Certificate of Title is lodged at the Lands Titles Office. You then become the owner of the property to the exclusion of all others.

This means that you, as the property owner, are responsible for everything within and related to, your property. You are wholly responsible for council rates, services of water, sewerage, storm water and any land tax applicable on the land. This title is particularly relevant to free-standing homes and some townhouses.

Community TitleThis an updated version of the older strata title, meaning that you own your block of land (or apartment) but you share aspects as a “community” i.e. responsibility of common areas is shared with other owners. While strata title is still relevant for existing titles, all new common allotments are now community titled.

A property such as a villa, townhouse or unit is often purchased under community title. When you buy one of these properties, there are ‘common areas’ (driveways, gardens, entryways and so on) used by all of the people living in the development or apartment block. These common areas have to be maintained by all of the unit owners collectively, through a community corporation, because they are shared. The individual owner is responsible for upkeep of the inside of their land and property, but they must share the expense of maintaining common areas.

Your lot entitlement (in simple terms the proportional size of your property compared to the entire property) determines your share you contribute to insurance and other fees charged by the corporation. All community schemes have by-laws that include provision for the administration, management and regulation of the use and enjoyment of the common property. The by-laws are an extremely important aspect of community title new purchasers must be aware of – how much are the fees and what rules exist that you must abide by. For example, many community corporations restrict pets to certain sizes or numbers.

Moiety TitleNow rare and sometimes referred to as a cross lease, moiety ownership of a property comes from being the registered owner of a share of the land the property sits on. The owner then leases the right to occupy their property, along with the right to use common areas, from the other unit owners. It is now common for moiety title to be transferred to either community or Torrens title.

Should you have any questions regarding the title of your land or apartment, or are considering purchasing a property and are unsure of the responsibilities that come with the title, please be in contact at info@salistings.com.au.

Justine

National Property Statistics

Australia’s housing market correction continued through August with the CoreLogic Report National Home Value Index tracking 0.3% lower over the month. Since peaking in September last year, values have been consistently tracking lower, down a cumulative 2.2% through to the end of August 2018.

The good news? Adelaide! As we have continually said, slow and steady wins the race, and while 1.0% annual growth does not seems spectacular, it points to value and affordability in South Australia. This coupled with renewed business confidence in the State is great news for both home owners and those looking to get into the market.

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Source: Corelogic.com.au

As always, please be in contact should you need assistance with any property matter.

If interested in an individual property appraisal or statistics on your suburb or local area, please email info@salistings.com.au.

Justine

1 July Property Legislation Update

Well we are a few weeks into the new financial year and, as is usual, property owners and investors should be aware of various changes to property rules from the ATO.

Australia wide, the greatest and possibly the one with the biggest impact on investors, new home buyers and developers is the requirement for purchasers of new residential premises or potential residential land to withhold an amount of the contract price and pay this directly to the ATO at settlement.

Essentially, this means for affected property transactions, purchasers will need to:

  • split the amount of GST from the total purchase price,
  • pay the GST component directly to the ATO by a disbursement at settlement, and
  • pay the GST exclusive purchase price to the property developer (vendor).

The new rule imposes requirements onto the vendor/developer as well. Developers need to give written notification to the purchasers when they need to withhold.

The actual liability for the GST remains with the property developer, however there are no changes to how property developers lodge their business activity statements.

Should you be contemplating purchasing new residential property or potential residential land there are a number of forms that need to be completed by the purchaser or their representative (a conveyancer or solicitor) after contract signing and prior to settlement. Speak to your agent or conveyancer to ensure you comply with the new requirements or visit https://bit.ly/2tLbVri for more information from the ATO.

1 July 2018 also marks the date from which first home buyers can access super contributions for the purpose of buying their first home. Since 1 July 2017 eligible Australians have been able to make voluntary super contributions of up to $15,000 a year, to a maximum of $30,000 over more than one year, to their superannuation account to help purchase their first home. Since 1 July 2018, eligible Australians are able to apply to their super funds to release these contributions (and earnings) for the purposes of purchasing a first home.

Finally, another change on 1 July 2018: Australians aged 65 years + can make a non-concessional (after-tax) contribution into their super account of up to $300,000 from the sale proceeds of their family home (main residence) if they have owned the property for at least 10 years. Couples will be able to contribute up to $300,000 each, giving a total contribution of up to $600,000.

Again, please visit the ATO website https://bit.ly/2udPt9Jor discuss with your financial advisor for detailed information related to your particular circumstances.

Justine Thomson

 

Selling a Tenanted Property

Selling a rental with tenants requires a number of additional requirements the owner and agent must abide by to ensure tenant rights under Legislation are met. While these requirements initially may seem onerous, by keeping a tenant “in the loop” with timely communication, any issues can be dealt with before they become insurmountable problems. There are pros and cons to selling a tenanted property:

Pros:

  • Rental income continues while the property is on the market.
  • Buyers benefit from purchasing a tenanted property – reducing costs such as letting fees and time vacant after settlement.
  • Potential buyers see the property as “rentable”

Cons:

  • Increased legislative requirements for notice to tenant
  • Reduced flexibility for opens
  • Possible lack of control over the standard of presentation of the property
  • Potential buyer pool – buyers after vacant possession may not be interested

A successful campaign of a tenanted rental keeps the tenant “in the loop” before, during and after the sale. A tenant who does not know what is going on, is uncertain of their future, or is kept in the dark with open times and notice will likely not be accommodating with access to the property for opens.

So, how do you do this?

Notice of Sale

It is a requirement before entering a residential tenancy agreement to advise a prospective tenant if owners have or intend to advertise the property for sale. A tenant can terminate a tenancy if the owner enters into a contract for the sale of the property within 2 months after the start of the tenancy agreement and did not inform the tenant of this intention.

Issue Correct Notices within Required Timeframes

On deciding to sell a tenanted rental property, an owner must advise the tenant with at least 14 days written notice they have entered into a sales agency agreement. Advertising the property or access to the property for the purpose of showing prospective purchasers cannot occur before this 14-day timeframe expires.

Once the initial 14 days has passed, the right of entry to the property for opens is outlined in the Act. These requirements include no more than 2 occasions within any 7-day period, at a time previously arranged with agreement of the tenant. If an agreement cannot be reached, at a time within normal working hours with reasonable notice. Reasonable notice is not defined, but at least 7 days minimum is advised.

Once the property is sold, the tenant must be advised in writing within 14 days or as soon as possible after the contract of sale is entered into of the name of the purchaser and the date from which rent is to be paid to him or her.

Remember, the tenant has a right to stay at the property during any open inspections, including on auction day. The tenant is also entitled to the quiet enjoyment of the property – continuous driving past or prospective purchasers walking around the property may not meet this requirement.

SA Listings tips:

  • Start an open and honest dialogue with the tenant as soon as the decision to sell the property is made.
  • All notices MUST be served in a timely manner, erring on the side of caution.
  • Provide the tenant with a complete schedule of inspections as soon as possible.
  • Any property manager MUST be in the loop with the decision to sell, plus the intended schedule. Consider combining routine inspections with other required access (such as photo sessions) in order to minimise tenant disruption.
  • Consider a small rent reduction throughout the campaign. This will show the tenant you are conscious of the disruption to the tenant’s enjoyment of the property.
  • Stay flexible. The tenant must not unreasonably refuse to allow access. However, be prepared and willing to negotiate access times.

SA listings will happily arrange for all of the above requirements to ensure your sale campaign runs smoothly. We also partner with experienced property managers who understand the needs of both tenants and landlords throughout a sales campaign.

Planning and preparation is needed. But if done, there is no reason the sale of a tenanted property should not go smoothly. Contact us for more information.

Justine Thomson

Disruptors in Real Estate

We are hearing the word “disruptors” quite frequently these days, used to describe traditional industries undergoing a shake-up to the way they have always done business. Think transportation with taxis and the advent of Uber, or Amazon’s effect on retail shopping. The combination of technology, forward thinking entrepreneurs and low barrier entries to market have seen consumers benefit from more choice. At SA Listings we have introduced a refreshing business model for the transaction of real estate turning the traditional way of selling real estate on its head.

The SA Listings business model is based on a fee for service, not commission. I worked for many years in Industry Superannuation Funds and believe strongly in the fee for service model over the Retail Superannuation Funds commission model and thought “why doesn’t this apply to real estate?” I had a property to sell and my only choice at the time was to sell it myself or pay a ridiculous commission of 2% or higher, inclusive of GST of the sale price, plus marketing and all other necessary expenses on top. Being time poor, selling it myself was not an option and I had little choice but to pay the generous commission to an Agent. It got me thinking……

Why not save people thousands of dollars and offer an exceptional high-quality service based on a fixed dollar amount?

Is this the Real Estate elephant in the room?

Could the successful Industry Super Fund model of charging a flat administration fee also apply to Real Estate? I went to work and over three years analysed available data about the time it takes to list and market a property, negotiate the sale and close the contract to determine the dollar cost average of selling a property based on a fixed hourly rate. The service and marketing was not to be compromised in delivery of the service and these factors were all added to the equation. My background as a CPA enabled me to crunch the numbers and come up with a new model.

The SA Listings model is based on a choice of low cost, fixed price sale packages inclusive of a full agent service with very high standards, all marketing, all Government searches and Form 1 – everything needed for a Real Estate Agent to successfully obtain the best price for your property. I am often asked where is the incentive to obtain the very best price for us if you are not commission based and my answer is simple: “By achieving the very best price and providing you with exceptional service means you will refer us to your friends and family”. The dollar amount is not the driver to do my job as a professional real estate agent.

As a new kid on the block we are often being criticised by other Agents as “ruining the profession” for charging a fixed fee and even some of our real estate professional associations are critics of the fixed fee model. We take all this criticism with a grain of salt, what we know is our model has strong support from the general public and that is all that matters to us. At SA Listings, what we care about, is providing you with an exceptional service in the sale of your home and getting you the very best price for your home whilst protecting your hip pocket from price gouging. Change is in the air and it is refreshing!

If you have a property to sell in SA and like our way of doing business, we would love to hear from you. Currently we are only operating in the SA market, however, if you have a property to sell interstate or are an Agent who resonates with this way of doing business, we are teaming up with like minded Agents interstate to replicate the model. To find out more about SA Listings, please visit, www.salistings.com.au. Please feel free to drop us a line and tell us what you think, we would love to hear from you.

Justine Thomson

Top Tips for First Home Buyers

To assist First Home Buyers get a step up on the property ladder, there are a few incentives you need to be aware of. To help assist, SA Listings has compiled this go to “Top Tips” for first home buyers looking to purchase in SA.

Top Tips Towards Home Ownership

First Home Super Saver Scheme: You can make contributions to your super account from your before tax pay to save for a house deposit. You are limited to $30,000 per person and capped at $15,000 per year. If you are self employed or your employer does not allow you to do salary sacrifice, you can claim a tax deduction on the after-tax contributions. To find out more, contact your Superannuation Fund direct.

Stamp Duty Savings: There are a couple of ways you can save on shelling out too much stamp duty! The SA Government allows for a stamp duty concession if you purchase an apartment off the plan anywhere in SA. What does “off the plan” mean? This means it is a new building that is yet to be constructed or it is a new building for which construction has commenced and the Commissioner is satisfied the work has not been substantially completed or it is an existing building where the Commissioner is satisfied that the building is to be substantially refurbished and the work has not yet commenced or has not been substantially completed.

The amount of stamp duty concession that applies depends on two things:

  1. What stage the construction is at from the date you enter the contract and 
  2. What the market value of the apartment is that you purchase.

To calculate how much stamp duty you need to pay for an “off-the-plan” apartment, there is a great calculator available on the Revenue SA websiteStamp Duty Calculator

Another way to save on stamp duty is to build. By purchasing a block of land and then building, you only pay stamp duty on the land, saving you considerable money. This additional money can be put towards the build rather than to State Government coffers. For example, if you buy a block of land for $150,000 and build a home for $200,000, you will only pay stamp duty on the land only. At current rates the stamp duty on $150,000 would be $4,830. If you had purchased an established home at $350,000 the stamp duty would be $13,830. This is a saving of $9,000! As a first home buyer this is a considerable amount of savings.

First Home Owners Grant (FHOG): The FHOG is a once of grant paid to eligible first home buyers on the purchase of a new build or construction of a new home. To be eligible for the grant the market value of the property purchased must be $575,000 or less. The amount of the FHOG is $15,000. If you purchase a newly built home, the grant is paid on settlement, if you construct a new build the grant is paid on date of first progress payment.

Pre-construction Grant for “Off-The-Plan” Apartment Purchases: For contracts of “off-the-plan” apartments entered into between 20 June 2017 and 30 September 2017 the State Government is currently offering a $10,000 pre-construction grant.

Savings: Don’t forget good old fashion savings. By saving a few dollars everyday, this can go a long way towards your first home deposit!

At SA Listings we know it is tough for first home buyers to dip their toe onto the property ladder but with sound knowledge and a good understanding of managing your money, the dream can be a reality! We hope this blog assists all those aspiring first home owners and should you have any questions, please send us an email or message us on facebook and we would be happy to help.

Justine Thomson

Please note: Information provided in this blog is current as at date of going to print 

Top Reno Tips Before Listing

I am often asked as an Agent, “What reno’s should I do to my home to maximise the price I achieve on sale?” Usually when a person is asking me this question, the work they are doing to the home is not for them to enjoy but to present the property as best they can to maximise return.

To answer the question, there are 5 key reno’s that will maximise the property price.

Paint: this can be done affordably if you manage yourself and can literally add tens of thousands to the sale price. Internally use a neutral white colour on all walls and ceilings. Do not do feature walls, this can polarise people if they do not have the same taste as you. Bring in colour with soft furnishings and wall art. It is also a good idea to freshen up external timber and gutters with a lick of paint if required.

Update the Kitchen: this is a major selling point of a home. Update door handles, fixtures and fittings. If the budget allows and the cabinetry/benchtops are out-dated, consider replacing the cabinetry with white laminate and upgrade the benchtops.

Update the Bathroom: you do not need to rip out and replace the entire bathroom but look at the quality of the sink, tapware and showerhead. If the tiles are dated, consider replacing or painting. Another low cost exercise is to clean all the mould from the grout. There are great products available on the market to make this job simple and easy.

Spruce up the Garden: the front garden is the first thing a prospective buyer sees. Make sure it is neat, tidy and presents well. Replace any dead plants with new, mow lawns and remove all weeds.

Repair and Patch: Consider fixing any maintenance issues including any holes/cracks in walls, cracked tiles, worn timbers and any appliances not working.

Your home is one of your most important assets and when listing to market you want to maximise your dollar return. Some hard work prior to listing should pay good dividends and will reflect in the final sale price.

Justine Thomson