How I avoided the big mistake that most people make
Whether it is a first home, an investment, or a premise for a business, buying a property is exciting.
I remember the emotion when my wife Sal and I purchased our future home on the Surf Coast. There was tension during the bidding process, relief when our offer was accepted and anxious reflection of our decision-making as we signed the contract… “are we going to regret any of this?”
While I’ll always rue not bidding more for the house with the beach view, the one decision that I never lost sleep over is who we chose as the owner of the property’s title.
Factors to consider & prioritise before you purchase
Taking time to understand each ownership option’s financial pros & cons before purchase is a great way to choose the best option. Some variable factors include:
- Personal use (home &/or holiday house)
- Income tax
- Capital gains tax (CGT)
- Legal protection
- Stamp duty
- Government grant eligibility
- First home super saver (FHSS) scheme
- Family succession
Before we purchased, Sal and I had targeted what we desired as a family. Our priorities were (in order); the flexibility to use as a home, investment property or holiday home throughout our lives, avoiding significant CGT if we sold, legal protection and finally, short term tax savings.
Once we understood the financial impact of each ownership factor, we were able to make a clear decision on the legal property owner that best suited us. In our case, we chose to purchase in joint names, with the option to move entirely into Sallie’s name, given my higher legal risk as a business owner.
Property ownership choices
Most property in Australia is purchased in either individual or joint names. The reasons are likely a combination of generational status quo, short-term tax benefits, limited awareness of alternatives, and a single-minded focus on the property’s physical attributes.
Hindsight will show that the typical choice is not always the best. But, unfortunately, this is an expensive lesson for many who failed to consider alternatives.
We understand everyone’s circumstances are different when it comes to property ownership. If you have a unique circumstance you’d like to discuss, we’d love to hear about it.