Using your self-managed super fund (SMSF) to buy an investment property can be a great way of growing your wealth and ensuring you can take a well-deserved holiday when you retire. There’s a reason more and more Australians are using SMSF property investments to build a comfortable retirement! However, there are a few things to consider before diving in the deep end.
1. Is an SMSF property purchase right for me?
Before you start buying property through your SMSF, you must ensure that investment properties are in line with your fund’s written investment strategy. Generally speaking, using your SMSF to invest in property can provide better results when you hold on to the property for a long time. This will also insulate you against temporary dips in the market.
2. Is a property purchase through my SMSF tax effective?
Depending on your circumstances, purchasing property through an SMSF may be beneficial in reducing tax. Tax on an SMSF property is generally 15% for rental income and 10% for capital gains (providing the property has been owned for more than one year), which is much lower than taxes on a personally owned investment property. The best part is that once you retire and draw a pension from the fund, tax on rental income and capital gains is 0%!
3. Can I use the property?
Generally speaking, you cannot use your investment property, nor can you buy from, sell or rent to a relative or friend. This is a blanket rule for residential properties, including holiday homes, as SMSF investments are for the sole purpose of providing for your retirement, not for personal enjoyment. If you wish to use an investment property or rent it to someone you know, another structure such as a family trust may be better for you. The drawback to these is they typically don’t enjoy the tax benefits that SMSF properties do.
You can buy a residential property to live in for your retirement. However, you cannot use the property until you retire and you start drawing a pension from the fund. You could also be exempt from capital gains tax. Make sure you speak to an expert before signing on the dotted line though, as everyone’s situation is slightly different.
If you purchase a commercial property and you run a business, you can lease the property to your business. That said, the business must pay market rate – ‘mates rates’ are strictly forbidden.
4. Do I have enough money in my SMSF to buy an investment property?
While you may have enough money to purchase a property, that’s not the only factor to consider. You’ll also want to think about how diverse your assets are to protect yourself from losses. As a simple rule of thumb, only buy property if your fund has enough money to buy an investment as well as hold other diverse assets.
Borrowing money to purchase an SMSF investment, however, may be beneficial to you, especially when you can take advantage of low interest rates and negative gearing.
SMSF property loans are more complex and difficult to obtain than personal property loans. Most lenders will also require higher a higher deposit, at least 20–30%. The reason is that SMSF property loans are limited recourse, which means that the rest of your fund can’t be touched if it defaults on the loan.
If you want to learn more about SMSFs, download an today.