How to Conduct In-depth Investment Analysis?

WHEN IT COMES to in-depth analysis of Commercial properties, it is obviously far more complicated than a simple rating system.

That’s because you actually need a sophisticated piece of software – of which there is a number out in the marketplace.

But you’ll find most of them seem overly complicated … are not very user-friendly … and tend to generate endless pages of output data.

There are about 20 Key Items involved.

So, let’s quickly run through these various items.

You have the purchase price, stamp duty and acquisition costs (things like your due diligence) all of which need to be included.

You also need to choose your loan-to-value ratio (LVR) and include any costs associated with the mortgage. Plus, your appropriate level of tax, which may vary – depending upon whether the “purchase vehicle” is an individual, a company, a unit trust or your super fund.

You must take into account the passing rental, the rental reviews, the un-recouped outgoings, ongoing management fees, and depreciation. Plus, you have to decide on the holding period and estimated selling yield down the track – which I will come back to in a moment.

Finally, you need to allow for the selling costs at that time; and also the capital gains tax – where you need to include things like your initial cost-base.

Without going into the intricacies of the specific software, what’s important is that you undertake your calculations within a fixed timeframe. And I generally tend to view everything over a 4-year period.

A lot of software packages like to stretch their calculations over 8-10 years. However, there are two problems with doing this:

  1. You can’t make accurate estimates that far out, but more importantly …
  2. It spreads your acquisition costs (stamp duty, legal fees, etc) and your selling costs (commission, advertising and legals) over a much longer period.

And that tends to distort reality and make everything look unrealistically attractive.

Instead, you should stick to 4 years – because, if the property does not make sense over 4 years … then you are simply kidding yourself to view it over 10 years – in the hope of making a reasonable return.

As such, my yardstick is an after-tax return of 10% per annum (or better) on your equity, over a 4-year period. Otherwise, you simply don’t proceed with that property.

As you will appreciate, many people might well say: “But I am buying it for the long haul”. And that’s okay.

Why the Short Timeframe?

My reason for four years (and there’s no real magic here) … other than over that period, people can have a change of circumstances. They’ll get married, divorced, posted interstate or overseas – even have kids.

Somehow, there will often be a change in personal circumstances. Therefore, whether you plan to, or not … it is a good idea to have a mandatory 4-year review. That’s why I settled on this timeframe.

You may continue to hold the property longer-term, and that’s fine. But you need to know going into the deal that if (for whatever reason) you find yourself having to sell the property in four years’ time … it is still going to make economic sense. And over the longer term, it makes it a very good deal going forward.

To help with this, I developed my Final Judgement software – which is made available to everyone in my Mentor group. And by using this software, you can calculate what (in technical terms) is called the internal rate of return.

In other words, what annual return will the projected after-tax cash flow represent … as an annual percentage on the equity you invest in the property.

Being “after-tax” is important because that takes account of your relative tax position. And if you have negative gearing, that’s taken into account as well.

Bottom Line: If you are getting a 10% pa or better after-tax … this represents anywhere from 14% to 18% per annum pre-tax … depending on your tax level.

And I wouldn’t have thought that was too shabby.

Your Key Steps When Packaging a Deal?

IT’S ALWAYS INTERESTING to discover some Commercial property investors still feel contracts there’s a need to include a “subject to finance” clause – so they can check whether or not funds will be available. 

However, they are in fact approaching things from the wrong angle. You see, you don’t need your finance approved before entering into a deal. [Read more…]

How Important is it to Have An Investment Strategy?

AS IT IS WITH ANY INVESTMENT you make – be it shares, property or collectables … you need to know where you are heading. Plus, also ensure you have a solid foundation upon which to base all your decisions.

So, clearly, the answer to this question is: “Very important!” And probably more so, when you’re considering a commercial property. [Read more…]

Should You Engage a Property Manager?

AS YOU CAN IMAGINE, this is a question I often get asked.

So, let me perhaps start by saying that with all my properties … I, personally, engage a skilled property manager.

And people then ask … If you know so much about commercial property, why don’t you manage the properties yourself?

The answer’s fairly straightforward – as there are basically 4 reasons … [Read more…]

The Current Office Market is Rather Confusing

IF WORKING FROM HOME is so appealing, why are businesses and governments choosing to hold onto their office space – and in many cases, lease even more?

According to the Property Council of Australia, Melbourne’s CBD towers were only 12% occupied in December – but 88% leased. And Sydney’s CBD towers were 23% occupied, but 91% leased. [Read more…]

Let’s Look Behind the Inflation Curtain

DESPITE THE RECENT new Omicron variant, consumer demand is surging against the backdrop of labour shortages, supply chain blockages and recent price increases.

All of this is causing confusion and some concern. And pundits around the world are detailing strong Inflationary pressure – which usually means interest rates are likely to increase, sooner rather than later. [Read more…]

Will People Return to the Office Anytime Soon?

IT’S OVER 18 MONTHS now since the pandemic triggered a total disruption to our everyday office routines – causing millions of people to work from home.

As we move into the second year – many established companies are still undecided on the new workplace model going forward. [Read more…]

CBD Offices … After Covid

BEFORE THE PANDEMIC, there was a shortage of office space looming within the Sydney and Melbourne CBDs.

In fact, both were heading towards unhealthy vacancy levels of around 2% to 3%.

However, with extended lockdowns and some new supply coming onto the market … all that has clearly changed. [Read more…]

Negotiating: The Top 10 Items on Your Checklist

AS YOU WILL APPRECIATE, Negotiating is a learned skill – it’s not something you’re simply born with. However, it doesn’t matter how good you become, you always need to enter EVERY negotiation – using a Checklist, which has stood the test of time.

To help you … here’s the Checklist I personally use for each encounter. [Read more…]

Seeds of Opportunity Emerge from the Turmoil

IT MAY SURPRISE YOU to learn that new businesses grew at a record rate during the last financial year. And that’s because COVID-19 served up a whole host of new opportunities among the economic turmoil.

Apparently, there were 365,500 new start-ups along with 277,700 established businesses closing shop – delivering a net gain of 87,800 new businesses.

As encouraging as that may sound, these newcomers will face challenges going forward – given they began in a climate of low interest rates and government support.

Nonetheless, they will clearly add to the demand for suburban office space – as workers seek to avoid the grind of a long daily commute.

Add to that the large CBD firms currently decanting whole departments out to the suburbs – to also be closer to where their employees live.

Bottom Line: Every change (however disruptive) brings with it seeds of opportunity. Sometimes these are hard to recognise – but highly profitable, for those who do.

The Retail Landscape Looking Forward

LEAVING ASIDE the effect of Covid has had on the general economy, the consequent drop in population growth and immigration will have a lasting impact upon … [Read more…]