Make the most out of the silly season and book your end/start-of-year review with the Capital Properties team

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and what better way to celebrate than by taking a moment to reflect on your property investment strategy with Capital Properties? As the year draws to an end and a new one about to begin, it’s the perfect time to evaluate your property investments, set new goals, and make any necessary adjustments so you can hit the ground running in 2024.

In this blog post, we invite you to join us for an end/start-of-year review to help secure your financial future for the years to come. So, grab a cold one and let’s explore why a property investment check-up is the best way to close out your year.

The Capital Properties team live and breathe property investment for ADF members, and it’s our mission to make sure we help you achieve your property investment goals to reach future financial security. Our FREE Capital Properties Discovery Session is a great place to start, and we have tools and strategies to help you every step of the way.

On the go? Here’s 30 seconds of take outs:

  • Capital Properties clients use proven property investment strategies to weather the storms and make the most of the opportunities in the Australian Property Market.
  • An end-of-year review will make sure you stay on the path to financial success. The review covers:
    • Lifestyle and financial goals
    • Assessment of current property portfolio
    • Optimisation of property investment strategy
    • New opportunities identified
    • Prep for tax season
  • We’ll also cover latest property data, market analysis, research as well as your cash flow position and explore the options available to you, whether you’re ready to grow your portfolio, or make changes to get you closer to that point.
  • Book your end-of-year review now so you can hit the ground running in 2024.

Keep reading >>

Looking back to look forward

Before we welcome in the new year, it’s only natural to look back at the past one and reflect on the successes and challenges we’ve faced. In 2023, Australian Defence Force (ADF) property investors encountered plenty of opportunities and challenges in the Australian property market. From the highs of unprecedented rental demand in some areas and attractive government initiatives, to the lows of building supply issues and soaring interest rates, we’ve had a hell of a ride.

Capital Properties clients have used our proven property investment strategies to weather the storms and stay ahead of the game with growing portfolios and strong capital growth across all their investments. And we want to see you continue to succeed in 2024 and beyond. That’s why we encourage you to take advantage of a Capital Properties end-of-year review and make sure you stay on the path to financial success.

Why an end-of year review?

The comprehensive Capital Properties end-of-year review will allow you to:

  1. Review your lifestyle and financial goals

It’s easy to get busy and bogged down in the craziness of day-to-day life, especially if they involve training, exercises, and deployments. So, it’s important to speak to someone with an objective view to make sure you are still in line with your goals.

  1. Assess your current property portfolio

Together we can analyse your current property investment(s), assess their performance, and make sure they still align with your financial and lifestyle objectives.

  1. Optimise your property investment strategy

We’ll make sure you stay on track by working with you to optimise your property investment strategy to maximise returns and minimise risks.

  1. Identify new opportunities

The Australian property market is constantly evolving. The Capital Properties experts will help you discover new opportunities that may be worth exploring in the coming year.

  1. Prepare for tax season

According to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), 9 out of 10 rental property investors make errors in their tax returns, especially when it comes to interest deductions. The Capital Properties team can help you ensure your investments are structured in a tax-efficient manner to avoid facing the wrath of the ATO when it comes to tax time.

What does the end/start-of year review cover?

As well as making sure you have a clear vision of your goals and the strategy you need to get you there, our end of year review will cover some essentials such as:

  1. Latest property data and research

We’ll re-evaluate your investment property(s) cash flow position and comparative market analysis, including:

  • RPdata suburb and statistics reports for each property
  • Residex suburb reports
  • The latest Forecast ID demographic reports
  • Desktop and full valuations
  • Rental manager feedback and reviews
  • Vacancy rates
  1. Strategy development

We’ll look at the options available to you, whether you’re ready to grow your portfolio, or make changes to get you closer to that point. Our finance team will confirm your new borrowing capacity and discuss the next steps. If it suits you better, we can do all, or most of this, over the phone. Your options might include:

  • Option A. Capacity for a new purchase – If you’re in the position to explore your next property investment opportunity, we’ll help you get the ball rolling.
  • Option B. Increasing capacity – If you’re not ready for your next investment just yet we’ll share tips that will increase your capacity and help you get closer to your goals.

Option C. Consolidation – We can help you work out if you should consolidate your finance, find better interest rates, and reduce your investment/personal debt.

What’s next?

We know that the unique demands of Defence life mean you don’t always have time to stay updated and make sure your investment(s) is working the hardest for you. We created the Pinnacle Support Program to make sure you’re supported the whole way through your property investment journey. And we believe the end of the year is the perfect time to evaluate your property investments and set the course for the year ahead.

It’s also a chance for us to say thank you for your continued trust in our team. Your support is greatly valued, and we look forward to celebrating your successes in the years to come.

Get in touch now to book your end-of-year review and make sure you’re still on track to reach your financial and lifestyle goals.

If you’ve got some time, you can check out our FREE Property Investor Tools and Apps and download a copy of our book, Property Investment SOP  – essential reading for all property investors and first home buyers.

Are you ready to take your property investment journey to the next level?

At Capital Properties, we understand that achieving success in property investment requires a strategic approach. That’s why we’re excited to introduce you to the Capital Properties Property Investment Planner.

This 4-in-1 planner is designed to help you reach your goals of successful property investment for future financial security so you can create the life you dream of.

Invest in your future with the Capital Properties Property Investor Planner, the best 4-in-1 planner for property investors in Australia! Then come along to our FREE Capital Properties  Discovery Session where we’ll help you put these plans into action.

Our Property Investment Tools & Apps and Capital Properties Pinnacle Support Program will support you every step of the way.

On the go? Here’s 30 seconds of take outs:

  • As ex-ADF members, Capital Properties understand the barriers and opportunities ADF members face when it comes to property investment.
  • The Capital Properties Property Investment Planner was created by Capital Properties founder, Marcus Westnedge.
  • The user-friendly planner has tools, tips, and strategies to help you stay focused & learn to prioritise goals & tasks.
  • This is Australia’s best property investment planner with daily inspiration, mindset evaluation, hourly schedule, personalised goal setting, and there’s nothing stopping you from starting right now!

Keep reading >>

Designed by ADF Investors, for ADF Investors

The Capital Properties Property Investment Planner was developed by seasoned property investors who understand the challenges and opportunities in the Australian property market, as well as the barriers and opportunities you’ll experience as ADF members.

Marcus Westnedge, the founder and director of Capital Properties, brings a wealth of experience to the world of property investment. He joined the Royal Australian Navy at 17, bought his first property at 19, and built a multimillion-dollar portfolio before leaving the Navy.

He created a 7 step to successful property investment strategy that’s helped thousands of ADF members get on top of their financial literacy and use their disposable income to build generational wealth.

And because Marcus is passionate about helping others achieve property investment success, he’s developed this unique Property Investment Planner to get you started.

What makes this Property Investment planner the best?

It’s not just another generic planner; it’s a roadmap to help you navigate every step of property investment.

This comprehensive planner is packed with tools, tips, and strategies to make sure you stay focused and learn to prioritise goals and tasks like a seasoned property investor. It covers everything you need, including:

  1. Building better habits: Success in property investment starts with cultivating the right habits. Our planner provides insights and exercises to help you stay focused.
  2. Increase productivity: We’ll show you how to maximize your productivity, so you can make the most of your time and resources.
  3. The ‘Well-Formed Outcome’: Learn this specialised goal-setting technique to create a plan of attack and hit each of your targets.
  4. Self-evaluation for success:  Self-awareness is key to successfully setting goals, tracking progress and making necessary adjustments.
  5. Yearly ‘mind map’: A visual mind map helps you maintain clarity and focus on your property investment goals and plans for the year ahead.
  6. Annual budget template: Get a handle on your finances with our accurate annual budget template. Know where your money’s going and plan accordingly.
  7. ‘Personal Action Sheet’ and ‘Personal Action Plan’: Monitor your progress toward your goals with our monthly templates.
  8. Weekly strategy planning:  Consistency is key. Our weekly strategy planning templates make it easy to stay on track.
  9. Daily ‘to-do’ lists: Get stuff done. Each day will bring you closer to your investment goals.

How the Capital Properties Property Investment Planner helps you stay on course

Like every well-executed plan, you need to measure what matters. That’s why our planner is designed to prevent procrastination and keep you focused on your end goal. Here’s why it’s your key to success:

  1. Daily inspiration: You’ll find a dose of inspiration to keep you motivated every day.
  2. Mindset evaluation: Discover what a winning mindset looks like and adjust yours for success.
  3. Hourly schedule: Keep track of your daily activities and create healthy habits that’ll keep you accountable.
  4. Personalised goal setting: Define what success looks like to you. What are your career, financial, and personal goals? Think about family time, spiritual growth, recreation, and your long-term goals.
  5. User friendly: We’re all about helping you achieve success in property investment, so our planner is easy to use and gets you there faster.
  6. Undated: You can start using it right now, no need to wait for a specific date.

Your journey to property investment success starts here. With our Switched-On Strategy Series and Capital Properties Pinnacle Support Program you’ll have the full support of our experienced team.

So, make the first move and make sure you don’t miss out on this opportunity to take control of your property investment future. Purchase your copy of the Capital Properties Property Investment Planner today and set yourself on the path to success.


(I’d be assuming you’d have a good understanding! But just in case) Who and what is DHA?

Defence Housing Australia (DHA) was established in 1988 to provide housing and related services to Australian Defence Force (ADF) members and their families. This includes all members of the Defence Force, Officers and employees of the Department of Defence as well as anyone that’s contracted to provide goods or services to the ADF and their families.

DHA operates as a corporate Commonwealth entity and is one of nine Government Business Enterprises (GBEs) that has a Services Agreement with the Department of Defence. The DHA is represented in the Government by two Shareholder Ministers: the Minister for Finance and the Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel.

DHA is one of the largest property managers in Australia, with approximately 18,500 properties under management. About 70% of Defence housing is owned by property investors.

In this blog post, we’ll take a deep dive into DHA and answer the question “how does DHA stack up?” and more importantly, is DHA a good investment strategy for you?

The Capital Properties team are passionate about empowering you to develop the best investment strategy for your situation. Whether you’re just starting out, or growing your portfolio, our FREE Capital Properties Discovery Session will help you achieve your property investment goals for future financial security.

On the go? Here’s 30 seconds of take outs:

  • Defence Hosing Australia (DHA) provides housing and related services to ADF members and their families throughout Australia.
  • DHA is one of the largest property managers in Australia.
  • About 70% of Defence housing is owned by property investors.
  • DHA generates more than $1 billion of revenue per year.
  • ADF members have several housing options: Service Residence, Members Choice Accommodation, Living-in accommodation, & Rental Assistance.
  • DHA leases city apartments, townhouses & free-standing houses.

There are pros and cons of investing in DHA:

Pros of DHA investing:

  • Long-term lease options with guaranteed rental income
  • One service fee covers property inspections, annual rental adjustment, tenant management & property maintenance.
  • Monthly statements & online property management.
  • End of lease cleaning with appliance checks.

Cons of DHA investing:

  • Must buy/build in specific locations within 30kms of defence bases.
  • DHA have higher property management fees than other managers.
  • Restricted on rental rates/lease agreements.
  • DHA properties are sold at market value so you may not get maximum value if selling mid-lease.

Keep reading >>

DHA’s mission

DHA’s main mission is to “provide adequate and suitable housing and related services.” So, what does that mean exactly? Simply put, DHA works with the Australian Federal Government to administer Defence housing policy and provide housing and related services to Australian Defence Force (ADF) members and their families.

These services include:

  • Providing a property portfolio and managing and maintaining ADF housing.
  • DHA Housing Consultants help ADF members to find housing solutions throughout Australia.
  • Assist with bookings and allocations.
  • Manage allowance payments for ADF members in rental accommodation.
  • Meet Defence housing demands by building and purchasing properties.
  • Redevelopment of existing properties to meet Defence standards.

DHA’s commitment to shareholders

DHA doesn’t receive funding from the Federal Budget, but instead makes money from commercial rent, fees, and charges from Defence services, as well as sales and lease of property investments. Older properties that don’t meet current Defence standards, or excess land is occasionally sold to create revenue. Overall, DHA generates more than $1 billion of revenue per year. These profits allow payments of dividends to the Australian Government (based on 60% of net profit after tax).

DHA services to Defence

The Department of Defence is responsible for determining pay conditions for ADF members, including entitlement to subsidised housing. ADF members who don’t own a suitable home in their posting location are often eligible for housing assistance. There are several housing options available to ADF members and their families:

  • Service Residence (SR)

A Service Residence (SR) is a subsidised house or apartment that Defence provides to eligible ADF members who have Accompanied Resident Family (ARF) in a housing benefit location near Defence bases and offices throughout Australia. ADF members who don’t have a resident family (MBR) and members who have unaccompanied resident family (URF) might be eligible to live in a surplus Service Residence.

  • Member choice accommodation (MCA)

Member choice accommodation (MCA) are off-base rental properties and are available in most housing benefit areas, located close to base or city centres. These properties have 24-hour maintenance services, can be reserved without inspection and don’t require bonds or fixed term leases. The rent is automatically deducted from ADF pay.

  • Living-in accommodation (LIA)

Living in accommodation (LIA) are rooms that are allocated when the Defence member is in transit and needs a room for a short stay. There are 5 levels of LIA accommodation, usually single rooms with either shared bathroom or ensuite.

  • Rent Allowance

Rent allowance subsidises the cost of renting a property in the private rental market. ADF members are responsible for finding a suitable rental property, and signing the lease/paying the bond etc. They will then be paid a fortnightly Rent Allowance subsidy through the Defence pay system.

What are the DHA property requirements?

DHA seeks different types of properties depending on locations, e.g. city apartments, townhouses or free standing dwellings or townhouses. Each of these properties have certain criteria. For example, a free-standing property must:

  • Be within 30kms of a Defence base.
  • Have at least 3 bedrooms with WIRs – at least one with ensuite.
  • Must have a fully functional kitchen, dining area/room, lounge room and laundry.
  • Bathroom with separate shower and bath and separate toilet.
  • Lock-up garage.
  • Fully enclosed rear yard.

Location of DHA properties

  • ACT – Canberra & Queanbeyan
  • NSW – Glenbrook, Newcastle, Nowra, Sydney, Richmond & Wagga Wagga
  • NT – Darwin
  • QLD – Brisbane, Gold Coast, Cairns, Ipswich, Toowoomba & Townsville
  • VIC – Mornington Peninsula, Melbourne& Wodonga
  • WA – Perth & Rockingham
  • SA – Lefevre Peninsula, Campbelltown, Vale Park, Hewett & Adelaide Hills

Note, property criteria and locations are subject to change. See full DHA eligibility criteria here.

Is investing in DHA a good idea?

OK, now that we know how it all works, let’s investigate how does DHA stack up from an investment point of view? At Capital Properties, we know property investment is a great way to turn your disposable income into future financial

freedom. Our mission is to help you – Australian Army, Royal Australian Air Force and Navy recruits get on top of financial literacy and make the most of property investment opportunities to secure your financial goals.

Investing in DHA certainly has an appeal. It defines your market and ideal property for you, making those decisions of where to invest a little easier. It offers a secure rental yield, almost guaranteeing a long-term income. But like all investments, it’s important to explore each of the advantages and disadvantages before you make an investment decision. Let’s explore the pros and cons of investing in DHA in greater detail…

Pros of leasing to DHA

  • In some cases, DHA will commit to lease before you build or buy.
  • Long-term leases (usually 3, 6, 9 to 12 years), with a possibility of extension.
  • Guaranteed rental income – paid in advance from the date of settlement and even when the property is vacant.
  • DHA finds and manages tenants, making it easier for time-poor investors.
  • Service agreements with only one service fee.
  • DHA provides regular property inspections and annual rental adjustment in line with market valuations.
  • Carries out property maintenance including most non-structural repairs.
  • Regular independent rent reviews.
  • Provides monthly statements and access to online property management software.
  • End of lease cleaning with appliance checks.
  • Somewhat predictable capital gains as DHA selects properties based on local amenities/access to transport etc.

Cons of DHA property investment

The main argument we regularly hear against DHA property investment is that although the monthly yield is reliable, there’s often less opportunity for capital growth, particularly in regional areas. Let’s look at other potential cons:

  • You’re limited to purchasing/building in specific locations within 30kms of defence bases.
  • DHA have high property fees at 16.5% (or 13% for townhouses) compared to most property managers (approx. 4-10%).
  • Owner is still responsible for outgoing costs such as council, water and strata rates, land tax, insurance, termite inspections and some repairs and maintenance.
  • Limited control over rental rates.
  • Lease agreements include a variable extension period, potentially adding another 3 years to the lease (at DHA’s discretion).
  • Being locked into long-term lease, and tenants means it’s trickier to sell mid-lease.
  • Also, because of the long-term lease, the property can only be sold to investors and not owner-occupiers, limiting your buyers. This makes some banks reluctant to lend money for DHA investments.
  • There may also be restrictions on marketing the property, so it could take longer to sell.
  • DHA properties are sold at market value, which means the price is fixed and non-negotiable. So, you can’t negotiate lower when you buy, and you might not get maximum value if you sell mid-lease.

How does DHA stack up for you?

Investing in DHA has its merits, offering a stable income, long-term lease agreements with less stress about managing tenants and vacancies. However, it does come with potential downsides, like high property management fees, limited control over rental rates and potentially lower capital gains.

Like all property investments, whether it’s the right move for you, or not, depends entirely on your individual situation, including your risk tolerances and ultimate investment goals.

At Capital Properties, we’ll help you develop a property investment strategy that suits your circumstances. As former ADF members ourselves we know DHA investing inside and out and can help you make decisions based on our years of experience and market knowledge. Start by booking into our free Discovery Sessions.

And while you’re here, check out our FREE Property Investor Tools and Apps and download a copy of our book, Property Investment SOP  – essential reading for all property investors and first home buyers.

About this project

I’d been keeping an eye on these commercial sheds for a while as we’d often drive past on the way to school drop off.

My idea was to convert an Industrial Warehouse (concrete tilt slab construction) into office space!

These are the stages of the build so far, if you have any questions about this project email [email protected]

As part of our 2024 expansion, the Capital Properties Team is going back to the office!

Stage 1.

Installation of ‘corflute’ to protect the concrete polish.


Stage 2.

Delivery of the flooring supports & Frames.


Stage 3.

Mezzanine floor construction.



Stage 4.

Frame construction.



Stage 5.

Air Conditioning install.

Ac Install (1)

Ac Install (2)

Stage 6.

Air Conditioning frame & Ground Floor ceiling frame & ceiling battens.


Insulation (1)

Hallway Frame

Stage 7.

Insulation Install.

Insulation (4)

Insulation (7)

Stage 8.

Plaster Board install.

Plasterboard (1)


More to come soon, stay tuned…

Renovating your home or investment property for maximum return

Renovating your home or investment property before putting it on the market is a savvy strategy to maximise the return on your investment. A pre-sale renovation can significantly increase the property’s sale value, attract a wider range of buyers, leave less room for buyer negotiations, and ultimately lead to faster and more profitable sale.

In this blog post, the experts at Capital Properties explain why planning your pre-sale renovation is worth the effort and we’ll provide you with practical tips for budgeting and planning a successful renovation project.

Capital Properties FREE Discovery Session will help you with your next stage in property investment. Whether you’re just getting started or planning to renovate your investment property so that you can move onto the next project – we’ve got you.

Our Property Investment Tools & Apps and Capital Properties Pinnacle Support Program will support you every step of your property investment journey.

On the go? Here’s 30 seconds of take outs:

  • A pre-sale renovation can increase the property’s sale value, attract more buyers, save on negotiations, and result in a faster, more profitable sale.
  • Determine your budget by comparing local property sales price and how much value you can add with renovations.
  • Carry out a property assessment & create a checklist of work. Start with the biggest jobs, e.g., structural issues, then landscaping and consider any layout changes and electrical/heating upgrades.
  • Next, complete cosmetic repairs and consider professional styling.
  • Finally, think about where else you might be able to add value to attract your ideal buyer.

Keep reading >>

Is renovating your investment property really worth it?

In most cases, yes, renovating your investment property makes good business sense. We’ll cover the main reasons here:

  • Higher property valuation

We’ve discussed this before in our blog post “How to get a better valuation on your property”. A higher property valuation will strongly influence the sale price of your property before it even comes to market.

  • Maximise sale price

It’s important to look objectively at your property before you go to sell it. If you notice that some improvements need to be made, then so will your buyers. Some buyers will be put off by the work that needs to be done and others might question the value of the property and use it as a tool to negotiate a lower price. By making some calculated improvements (see below), you can set a higher asking price for more profit.

  • Speed of sale

A move-in-ready investment property is more likely to stand out in a competitive real estate market and sell faster. With less time on the market, you’ll also reduce holding costs such as mortgage payments, property taxes and insurance.

  • Better range of buyers

A well-renovated investment property with modern amenities will appeal to a broader range of buyers, from first-time homeowners to experienced investors.

  • Less negotiations

Humans are hard-wired to spot problems. And if we find one, we’ll look for more. There are few things more annoying than a buyer coming to you with a list of snags they want addressed before they’ll make an offer. It’s far better to sort out any issues pre-sale to avoid the need for negotiations. Buyers are usually more willing to pay a premium for a property that requires less attention or repairs, giving you more control over the selling process.

On the flip side however, there are some cons to carrying out a renovation. Of course, you’ll have to cover the costs for the renos, and you may lose some rent while you revamp – so sticking to a schedule is vital.  Plus, there are some tax implications. Although you will be able to claim some of the construction costs through capital works deductions, you can’t claim renovations as an immediate tax deduction. Plus, there’s some potential depreciation value loss from getting rid of old appliances. Learn more about this in our blog post “Tax depreciation reports 101.

We’ll explain how careful planning of your pre-sale reno will help you mitigate these downsides.

Setting your pre-sale renovation budget

Planning your pre-sale renovation might seem daunting at first. That old adage of spending money to make more sounds great in theory, but there’s always the question of whether you’ll be compensated with the return of investment (ROI).

The first step to planning your pre-sale renovation is to set your budget.  Only then can you develop a plan that will maximise your property pre-sale renovations.

Research the local real estate market conditions. What are comparable properties selling for? What’s the difference in costs between fully renovated properties and unrenovated homes? Ask your local real estate agent for their opinion; for example, should you consider adding an extra room, e.g. converting a study into a bedroom for a family property, or adding an external study to facilitate work-from-home? How much has your property increased in value since you purchased it?

At the end of this research, you should have a figure of how much value you can add with renovations and know when to draw the line so that you don’t over-capitalise. The next step is to research renovation costs and get quotes for the work. To do this you’ll need to carry out a property renovation assessment.

Property renovation assessment

Walk around the property – with your real estate agent if possible – and make a list of anything that needs attention. Whether it’s outdated fixtures, worn-out flooring, overgrown landscaping or cosmetic improvements that’ll boost the property’s appeal.

Prioritise the key areas that make the biggest impact on the buyer, i.e., kitchens, bathrooms, and flooring. As an ADF member it’s unlikely you’ll have the time to carry out the renovations yourself, so the next step is to get quotes from a few different contractors to ensure competitive costs. Just bear in mind that although price is important, you need to make sure the contractor has a reputation for quality, experience and delivering the project on time.

Planning your pre-sale renovation 

We strongly suggest that you appoint a project manager to create a project plan and oversee the renovations. It’s possible that you may need painters, carpenters, builders, landscapers, gardeners, stylists etc on site, so create a timeline so that everyone understands what’s happening and when. It makes sense to start by tackling the biggest/messiest problems first. Here’s where we’d start:

Fix any structural issues, e.g., repair the roof, stabilise walls and fix leaks.

Begin landscaping/clearing and planting early so that it’ll look great when it comes to market.

Next look at whether the layout could be improved. For example, consider knocking a wall through to make a larger, open plan living/kitchen area that will appeal to families and add more value to the property.

  • Upgrade electrics to bring them up to standard and install additional sockets and replace light switches with dimmers.
  • Upgrade to more efficient heating and appliances.

Everything you need to know about property investment in a nutshell

It’s been proven time and time again that property investment is a sure-fire method of making the most of your Australian Defence Force (ADF) wages for future financial success. With informed decision-making, a solid understanding of the basics, and a proven investment strategy, property investment can provide an additional income and long-term wealth.

In this Property Investment 101 blog post, the experts at Capital Properties will cover all the basics you need to know about property investment in Australia. We’ll discuss why you need a savings plan, what your minimum savings amount should be and how and why you need to get pre-approval. As well as why you should engage a Buyers Agent, and lots of other vital information you’ll need before you can move forward with property investment.

Come along to a FREE Capital Properties Discovery Session that’ll take you through Property Investment 101 in the most efficient way. Our team works with ADF members who are just starting out, all the way through to helping our clients manage multi-million-dollar portfolios. The best time to start is now.

On the go? Here’s 30 seconds of take outs:

  • Start a savings plan by looking at your income & expenses, then set up a regular direct debit into a property investment fund.
  • Capital Properties recommends a minimum saving of 10% of the purchase price of the property.
  • Check out eligible Australian Defence Force (ADF) financial benefits.
  • Getting loan pre-approval is essential as it saves time, money & heartache.
  • Work with a Buyers Agent who understands the ADF lifestyle & someone who specialises in regional and local area investments.
  • Research: location, property type, rental yield, capital growth, building inspections & financing options.
  • Work out cash flow and investigate tax implications.
  • Continue to monitor and adapt your property investment strategy for future growth.

Keep reading >>

Why do you need a savings plan?

It’s essential to have a well-structured savings plan in place before you can even begin to think about where and when to invest.

As an ADF member, using your steady income to build your savings with the goal to invest is key to creating the future of your dreams. A savings plan helps you set realistic financial goals so you can know when you’ll have enough for a house deposit.

How to start a savings plan?

  • Read our ‘5 Top Tips to start your savings plan’ blog post.
  • Work out your current expenses, including rent/mortgage, energy bills, telephone & internet, medical & dental, groceries, car/transport costs, insurances etc. Capital Properties Budget Planner will help.
  • Once you’ve figured out your expenses, look at the surplus, or figure out where you can save some extra dollars, then set a savings goal for each fortnight (or week/ month).
  • Open a separate savings account to manage your property investment fund.
  • Set up a direct debit so that the money goes into that account before it gets spent.
  • Become familiar with your incomings/outgoings so you’ll learn how to manage potential investment costs.

How much of a deposit do you need for property investment?

As a general rule, banks will only lend first-time property investors money if they have between 5% to 20% of the purchase price of the home in genuine savings.

At Capital Properties, we recommend that potential investors save a minimum of 10% of the purchase price of the property to get started. 5% to cover the minimum deposit required to secure the home loan and the remaining 5% should cover the additional fees, such as legal fees, property inspections and potential renovations.

The more savings you have to invest, the better. One, it means you’ll pay less interest over time. And two, with a deposit of 20% or more, you won’t have to pay lenders mortgage insurance (LMI).

Australian Defence Force (ADF) financial benefits for property investment

Australian Defence Force (ADF) members are often eligible for financial benefits that can be used towards property investment. For example, the Home Purchase Assistance Scheme (HPAS), Home Purchase or Sale Expenses Allowance (HPSEA) and the Defence Home Ownership Assistance Scheme (DHOAS).

These benefits/incentives can help you secure a loan with lower interest rates and fewer fees. We’ve discussed these in more depth in the blog post: “Buying a house while in the Defence Force”.

Why you need pre-approval

We’ve written a whole blog post on pre-approval before: “Why being finance ready pays dividends”. In summary, pre-approval is confirmation from a lender that you’re eligible for a certain loan amount based on your financial situation, credit history, and ability to repay the loan. Getting pre-approval for the loan before you start searching for your ideal investment property will save you time, money and heartache.

The benefits of pre-approval

  • Pre-approval gives you a clear understanding of your budget, allowing you to narrow down your property search.
  • You have a much stronger negotiation position with pre-approval. Sellers often take pre-approved buyers more seriously as they’ve demonstrated their ability to secure financing.
  • With pre-approval, you can move quickly when you find the right property, reducing the risk of missing out on a good opportunity.

How to get pre-approval

  • Complete a finance application with your lender.
  • Provide supporting documents. That’s usually:
  • Proof of identification (driver’s licence, passport, birth cert. etc.)
  • Proof of employment/income (payslips, tax return, bank statements etc.)
  • Proof of genuine savings (deposits made over several years)
  • Overview of living expenses and any debts.
  • The lender will process your application. All going well you’ll be issued with a pre-approval letter within a couple of weeks (sometimes faster).
  • Pre-approvals typically last 3 – 6 months.

Working with a Buyers Agent

Navigating world of property investment can be overwhelming, especially for first-time investors and time-poor investors. This is where a Buyers Agent can provide invaluable help. Finding a Buyers Agent who understands your unique challenges as an ADF member and someone who specialises in investments (in regional and local area markets) are worth their weight in gold.

Why working with a Buyers Agent is a smart move:

  • Searching for the right property, attending inspections, and carrying out due diligence takes time that many ADF members don’t have. A Buyers Agent will navigate this for you.
  • Buyers Agents have in-depth knowledge of the local property market, including property values, trends, and growth potential. They’ll guide you to make informed property investment decisions.
  • Get access to off-market properties with superior investment potential.
  • Buyers Agents are skilled negotiators who can secure the best deal for you.
  • TheCapital Properties Buyers Agent service will help you find your ideal property and negotiate the lowest price and settlement with ease.

Research: Location & property.

Thorough research is the cornerstone of successful property investment. Before making any decisions, take the time to research various locations, property types, and market trends. Factors to consider include:

  • Location

Look for areas with strong rental demand, infrastructure development, and potential for capital growth. Proximity to amenities, public transport, schools, and employment hubs can significantly impact a property’s desirability. Think about trends driving the market, for example the recent push towards “Lifestyle and the property decision making process”.


  • Property type

Consider the type of property that will appeal to your ideal tenant. Houses, units and townhouses all offer different advantages and potential challenges.   Think about the number of rooms required and look for properties with features like air conditioning, off-street parking, and modern appliances that’ll appeal to those tenants. The ADF property buyer checklist will help with some of these decisions.

  • Rental yield

Calculate the potential rental income in comparison to the property’s purchase price. A higher rental yield = a more financially viable investment.

  • Capital growth

Research the capital growth of the area to determine its investment potential. While past performance won’t predict future results, it can provide insights into the market’s behaviour. Access the Capital Properties Australian Property Market Report for up-to-date property statistics.

  • Building inspection

Before you make an offer on an established property, make sure you get a building inspection. It’ll give you a clear idea of the property’s condition and leverage for negotiation if there’s any issues. Our blog post “Why use a building inspector when constructing” is a great place to start.

Property investment financing options

It’s essential to have a good understanding of your financing options. Different loan types can impact your cash flow, tax deductions, and overall financial position. Some common loan structures include:

  • Principal and interest loans (P&I)

In a P&I loan, you make regular payments that cover both the principal amount and interest, gradually reducing your outstanding debt over time.

  • Interest only loans

With an interest-only loan, you just pay the interest on the loan for a specified period (usually 1-5 years). This can free up cash flow for other investments but won’t reduce the principal amount.

  • Fixed vs variable interest rates

Fixed rate loans offer more certainty around repayments, while variable rates can fluctuate with market conditions.

  • Offset account

An offset account is a savings or transaction account linked to your home loan. The balance in the account offsets the loan principal, reducing the interest payable on the loan.

Property Investment cash flow and tax implications

As with any source of income, property investment comes with legal and tax implications that you need to be across. During a Capital Properties Strategy Session, we cover everything you need to know about managing cash flow and tax implications, including:

  • Income
  • Rental appraisal
  • Interest rates
  • Loan amount
  • Holding costs

Tax considerations:

  • Cash flow/gearing:

Where the rental return is less, the same as, or more than your expenses and its effect on your annual tax return. Read more in the post “Property cash flow or gearing, negative, neutral or positive”

  • Stamp duty:

A state-based tax on property transactions which depends on the property’s value and location.

  • Capital gains tax (CGT):

CGT is payable on the profit made from selling an investment property. The rate depends on your income and the length of time you’ve owned the property.

Ongoing Property Investment strategy

It’s essential to monitor and adapt your property investment strategy on a regular basis. You must be aware of tenants’ requirements, property maintenance, market trends, and keep on top of all incomings/outgoings associated with the property

As your financial situation evolves, you can start leveraging your existing property portfolio to expand your investments. This could involve refinancing to access equity or diversifying your portfolio with different property types or other locations.

If you’re still wondering where to start with property investment, the Capital Properties team can help you navigate the entire investment process. Start by booking into our free Discovery Sessions. This property investment 101 will help you make informed financial decisions, so that you can confidently navigate the property market and make the most of your investment opportunities.

Check out our FREE Property Investor Tools and Apps and download a copy of our book, Property Investment SOP  – essential reading for all property investors and first home buyers.

New livable house rules and new design codes  

Are you on top of the new livable house guidelines? 

Livable house guidelines

Have you heard that the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) and National Construction Code (NCC) have recently updated the Livable Housing Guidelines, called ‘NCC 2022’? In fact, the NCC 2022 includes some of the biggest alterations to the Code since 2011 when they merged the Building Codes of Australia and the Plumbing Code of Australia.   

As busy ADF members, we know it’s hard to keep track of these changes. So, in this blog post we’ll explain what these new livable house rules and new design codes are and what they mean for your property investment portfolio. 

Remember, our Property Investment Tools & Apps and Capital Properties Pinnacle Support Program are designed to support you all the way through your property investment journey.  

If you’re short on time, but need to learn more about the new livable house rules and new design codes, then book into our FREE Capital Properties Discovery Session to learn more. 

On the go? Here’s 30 seconds of take outs: 

  • The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) have updated the National Construction Code (NCC). 
  • The update is called ‘NCC 2022’ & is current from 1st May 2023. 
  • A major change is the introduction of the Livable Housing Design Guidelines – co-developed with Livable Housing Australia (LHA). 
  • These new livable house rules and new design codes were developed to make houses more accessible & adaptable in the future. 
  • 35.9% of Australia’s population has a disability and that prevalence increases to 49.6% with people over 65 years.  
  • The new livable house rules support housing choice, ageing in place & reduces cost of housing modifications. 
  • Livable Housing Design Guidelines apply to new Class 1a & Class 2 buildings. 
  • Landlords can charge higher rents for accessible properties. 
  • There are 3 Living Housing Australia (LHA) standards, Silver, Gold and Platinum. See below for the 7 core design elements and full breakdown of the new design codes. 

Keep reading >>

The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) 

The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) is an organisation that writes nationwide standardised building requirements, including the National Construction Code (NCC).  

It’s the ABCB’s job to make sure that builders meet set standards for safe, accessible, and sustainable housing. They do this through education and industry engagement. The ABCB is part of a joint endeavour by the Commonwealth, state and territory governments, and the country’s plumbing and building industries. 

The National Construction Code (NCC) 

The National Construction Code (NCC) is the updated version of the Building Code of Australia (BCA). The NCC establishes technical design and construction parameters for buildings, including plumbing and drainage work.  

It sets the minimum required level for accessibility, amenity, health, safety, and sustainability levels for certain buildings in Australia. It is mandated by the Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB), on behalf of the Australian Government and each State and Territory government. 

The latest update to the Code is called ‘NCC 2022’ and is expected to be adopted by most Australian States and Territories from 1st May 2023. The following standards are considered integral parts of the new NCC 2022; NatHERS heating and cooling load limits, Whole-of-home efficiency factors, Fire safety verification method andLivable housing design. The Livable Housing Design Guidelines were developed by/with an organisation called Livable Housing Australia. 

Livable Housing Australia (LHA) 

Livable Housing Australia (LHA) is a not-for-profit organisation that partners with community and consumer groups as well as industry and the Australian government to work together to develop safe, accessible homes. They were the first to develop and publish the Livable Housing Design Guidelines. 

Why do we need accessible housing? 

In 2015, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers, found that approximately one-third of Australian households – i.e. 3.2 million households – have a person with a disability living there. That’s 35.9% of Australia’s population. And statistically that percentage is likely to grow, as the prevalence of disability increases with age with one in two (49.6%) people aged 65 years and over reporting a disability.  

Several years later, in 2019, the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) reported that the there was a significant shortage of accessible homes in the market. And many of the accessible properties were rented to people who didn’t yet need an accessible house. Additionally, new homes were not being designed with accessibility in mind, so even new homes sometimes required modifications to make them more accessible. 

In fact, in Australia, around 11% of people with disability have had to modify their home due to a poor initial design. 

What is livable housing design? 

Livable housing design was introduced to change the way some Australian houses are designed. The intention is to make homes easier to use and more adaptable to the changing needs of people over their lifetime.  

The new livable house rules and new design codes recognises that houses need to be designed to make them more accessible for everybody, and in particular, for individuals with mobility limitations and older people. These changes will support housing choice, ageing in place and will reduce the cost of future housing modifications as people’s needs change over time. 

An accessible home should look like any other house, except it should be easy for anyone to enter, no matter their mobility or disability. The layout inside the house should be easy to navigate and reduce the possibility of injury. 

When do the Livable Housing Design Guidelines apply? 

The Livable Housing Design Guidelines apply to all new Class 1a and Class 2 buildings. Download a .pdf copy of the Livable Housing Design Guidelines here. 

  • Class 1a:  all houses, including detached houses, terraces, row houses, townhouses and villa units. 
  • Class 2: INSIDE all apartment buildings. (Common areas continue to be covered under the existing Section D of NCC Volume One and the Access to Premises Standards). 

Each State and Territory are adopting the livable housing requirements at different times: 

1 October 2023  Queensland, ACT & Northern Territory 
1 May 2024  Victoria 
1 October 2024  South Australia and Tasmania 
N/A  NSW and Western Australia – not currently adopting provisions 

What do the Livable Housing Design Guidelines specify? 

All houses must meet certain design and construction criteria in order to meet the livable housing design guidelines. These key structural and spatial design elements are designed to ensure flexibility and adaptability of the home and prevent the need for costly home modifications in the future. There are three Living Housing Australia (LHA) standards, Silver, Gold and Platinum: 

LHA Silver Level 

The Silver Level has 7 core livable housing design elements:  

  1. A step-free, continuous pathway from the street entrance and / or parking area to the home.
  2. The home must have at least one level (step-free) entrance.
  3. Internal doors and hallways must allow comfortable and unobstructed movement between spaces.
  4. Easy access to an entry-level (ground floor) toilet.
  5. A bathroom that contains a hobless shower – aka a walk-in shower without a raised surround.
  6. Reinforced bathroom walls that allows for installation of grabrails near the toilet, shower and bath.
  7. Safe stairways that have been designed to reduce the likelihood of falling and injury and can be easily adapted in the future. 

LHA Gold Level

The Gold Level has 12 core livable housing design elements, the first 7 are the same as the silver, with the addition of the following elements:   

  1. The kitchen must allow easy movement between fixed benches and support easy adaptation. 
  2. The laundry space must also provide ease of movement between fixed benches and support easy adaptation.  
  3. There should be a space on the entry level that can be used as a bedroom. 
  4. Light switches and power points must be within easy reach for everyone.  
  5. Doors must be easily opened and closed, and taps must be accessible to everyone.  

LHA Platinum Level 

The Platinum Level has 15 core livable housing design elements, the first 12 are the same as the silver and gold, with the addition of the following elements:    

  1. The family/living room has enough clear space to allow people to move in and around the room with ease. 
  2. Windows sills are installed at a height that allows viewing of the outdoor space from a seated or standing position. 
  3. Flooring must be slip resistant. 

What Livable Housing Design Guidelines standards must you meet? 

Under NCC 2022, all new homes must comply with the minimum Silver standard. These changes essentially mean reducing steps where possible, allowing more space in the bathroom, wider doorways and hallways, and allowing for future adaptations such as grabrails in the bathroom. 

As a Property Investor, making sure your property investments are compliant with the NCC Silver standards is a no-brainer. Due to the current shortage in accessible housing, Landlords can charge higher rents by marketing the property as accessible. 

Jess Inder, National Disability Council Director, said Providers [NDIS] usually offer an increased rent to the landlord in order to secure the property, it is possible to also use the modifications as a value add for long-term gain.” 

Making sure your new build meets the Silver standard

  • Ensure ease of parking and house access from the street, driveway or garage.  
  • Have at least one step free entrance with an 820mm width (door in the open position) and a level threshold (or lip less than 5 mm). 
  • There must be a clear, level space measuring at least 1200mm x 1200mm as you arrive to the door. 
  • If a threshold ramp is necessary, it must be less than 56mm. 
  • Entry level internal doors must have an opening width of 820mm with level thresholds (or a lip less than 5 mm). 
  • Hallways must be at least 1000mm wide. 
  • The staircase must have no less than 2 risers or no more than 18 risers without a 750mm2 landing area. 
  • Each tread and riser must be the same measurement and be slip-resistant. 
  • There must be a toilet on the entry level of the home. The toilet must be at least 900mm and have a 1200mm clear space from the loo to the door. 
  • There must also be a hobless shower on the entry level with an easily removable shower screen door. 
  • The bathroom floor must waterproofed to meet the AS 3740 standard and the walls must be reinforced to allow for the installation of handrails in the future. 


If this is your first time hearing about the new livable house rules and new design codes, don’t panic, we’ve got you. We can help you navigate the NCC 2022 and Livable housing design guidelines to make sure stay ahead of the game.  

While you’re here, check out Capital Properties Switched-On Strategy Series and Capital Properties Pinnacle Support Program. 


Like attracts like. Success attracts success. 

How to attract success 

At Capital Properties we work with Clients every day who thank us for helping them advance their chances at financial success. Many have come to us with little clue of where to start in property investment. Some people have never had the opportunity to ask questions about investment, finance, and budgets in a safe, judgement free environment before.  

And we understand because we started in the same place. As a 19-year-old Navy Clearance Diver, our founder Marcus Westnedge was lucky that his mum pushed him to invest his Defence Force salary in his first investment property. Many years later Marcus has overseen the collective growth of an approximate $130-million property portfolio*.   

*Clients purchase price minus present value 2020.

This success is not a fluke. It’s the result of tried and tested investment strategies and plenty of inspirational mentors along the way.  

In this blog post, we’ll share why we believe that like attracts like, success attracts success and why a positive mindset and intentionally brushing shoulders with other successful investors can lead you to your success too. 

The Capital Properties FREEDiscovery Session is the first step to get you on your path to success. We’ll help you identify what success looks like for you and guide you to set goals to help you achieve that vision. 

On the go? Here’s 30 seconds of take outs: 

  • A growth mindset = a winning mindset and is crucial for success. 
  • Skills learned in the ADF; discipline, resilience, and a strong work ethic are a solid foundation for developing a success-oriented mindset. 
  • You can use strategies to develop growth mindset – read more below. 
  • We’re influenced by the people closest to us remember the saying “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future”.  
  • Connecting with experienced and accomplished investors will help with constructive feedback for a greater chance at success. 
  • It’s important to develop property investment connections that will help you achieve your goals. We share tips on how to do this below.  

Keep reading >> 

Why mindset matters

If you’ve been here for a while, you’ll know we’ve talked about mindset before. In fact, we mention it in each of the following posts (and probably a dozen more): “10 things when you’re starting out as a property investor”, “What the heck’s going on in the property market” and “Make uncertainty your ally”.  

 Just like any major life decisions, your mindset plays a crucial role in shaping your property investment journey and can make the difference between success and failure. According to Stanford Psychologist Carol Dweck and Author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success”, your mindset is necessary for you achieve your goals and it plays an important role in determining your achievement and success. 

As an ADF member, you’re already accustomed to discipline, resilience, and a strong work ethic. These attributes are a solid foundation for developing a success-oriented mindset in the world of property investment. 

Have you got the right mindset? 

There are two basic mindsets: fixed and growth. People with a fixed mindset tend to believe their abilities are fixed traits and can’t be changed. Therefore, they’re less likely to make an effort. 

However, people with a growth mindset believe that their talents and capabilities can be improved through effort and persistence. Even if you don’t naturally have a growth mindset, it is possible to develop one. In her book, Dweck suggests the following strategies for people to move from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset: 

  • Focus on the journey and not just the end goal. 
  • Use the word ‘yet’ to remind yourself that even you haven’t achieved the outcome yet, it is still achievable. 
  • Intentionally replace negative thoughts with positive ones. 
  • Embrace new challenges. 

What does a winning property investment mindset look like?

In our blog post “How to ease the hurt of a property downturn and keep going” we discussed developing the following mindsets:  

  • Become a lifelong learner. 
  • Be prepared to work for your goals. 
  • Proactively manage your investments. 
  • Adopt a pro-active mindset and make it happen. 
  • Develop resilience by cultivating a positive and growth mindset. 
  • Be discerning when asking for advice – get the right people around you.

And believe us when we tell you that cultivating these mindsets is the difference between winning and failing. Trusting in your ability to learn and adapt to new concepts and strategies is part of a winning mindset. Understanding that setbacks are also part of the journey means that you’ll start to look at challenges as opportunities for growth rather than giving up at the first hurdle. 

Like attracts like – learn from the best 

It’s a proven fact that we are hugely influenced by the people closest to us. As motivational speaker Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.” Another great Entrepreneur, Dan Pena, aka “The Trillion Dollar Man”, is known for saying “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future”.   

This idea is the same as ‘like attracts like’. We must recognise that the people we surround ourselves with have a significant impact on our lives, whether we like it or not!  

That means it’s essential to look at who we choose to spend time with. One of the most effective ways to guarantee property investment success is by surrounding yourself with investment experts. By connecting with experienced and accomplished investors, you’ll have access to invaluable knowledge, insights, and strategies. And while it’s good to have people in your life who are supportive and want you to succeed, you also need people who can recognise where you’re going wrong and can provide you with constructive feedback. 

How to find your property investment people 

If success attracts success – and we know it does – here’s how to develop and nurture the property investment connections that’ll help you achieve your goals:  

  • Network: Attend property investment events, seminars, and conferences so you can meet and network with other investors. Build relationships, ask questions, and learn from their experiences. Start with the Capital Properties Discovery Session.
  • Find a mentor: Seek out mentors who’ve personally achieved great success in property investment. A mentor can provide guidance, share their expertise, and help you navigate through the complexities of the market. Look for someone who understands your unique circumstances as an ADF member and can offer tailored advice.
  • Talk to the experts: Work with specialists in their field. If you’re looking at property, engage a Buyer’s Agent. Stay informed about the market by speaking to Real Estate Agents, or get updated Property Market Reports from the team at Capital Properties.

The Capital Properties team help you leverage the power of like attracts like & success attracts success. Our team has the experience and expertise to help you develop a winning mindset and achieve great success in the property market.  

Book a FREE Discovery Session where you’ll have the support of like-minded individuals and learn how a strategic approach to property investment can help you create a secure and successful financial future. 

Are you keeping up with NSW stamp duty changes?

In January 2023, 2 months prior to the NSW elections, both major parties agreed that housing affordability, stamp duty, and tax reform were significant voter issues. So, it’s no surprise that the NSW Premier at the time, Dominic Perrotett (Liberal/National Coalition) announced a key reform ahead of the elections called First Home Buyer Choice (FHBC) scheme.  The scheme allowed first homebuyers to choose between paying stamp duty or an annual property tax.

What are you entitled to under the NSW stamp duty changes?

Perrottet promised the scheme would help families in NSW access home ownership sooner, saying; “This national first will significantly reduce upfront costs, reduce the time needed to save for a deposit and will see most first home buyers pay less tax overall.”

The then Opposition Leader Chris Minns – now acting NSW Premier – criticised the plan as a “forever tax” and said it would be immediately repealed with a Labor government win. And Minns was true to his word, ending access to the scheme on 30th June 2023 and implementing his own changes to create the First Home Buyers Assistance Scheme (FHBAS). Let’s look at both schemes and what they mean for you.

Just like politics, property markets can also fluctuate, so it’s vital to stay aware of any changes that could affect your investment strategy. The team at Capital Properties stay updated to help you make informed decisions. Book into our FREE Capital Properties Discovery Session to learn more.

And if you’re already on board, our Property Investment Tools & Apps and essential resources from our Capital Properties Pinnacle Support Program will keep you on track.

On the go? Here’s 30 seconds of take outs:

  • The First Home Buyer Choice (FHBC) scheme allowed first home buyers to choose between paying stamp duty or a yearly land tax.
  • FHBC was for homes worth up to $1.5m & ran from January ‘23 until 30th June ‘23.
  • The First Home Buyers Assistance Scheme (FHBAS) started on 1st July ‘23.
  • Under FHBAS, property tax is abolished, & properties under $800,000 are exempt from stamp duty for first home buyers.
  • Plus, properties up to $1 million will have a reduced rate.
  • FHBAS applies to buying an existing home, new homes & vacant land for building.
  • Stamp (aka “transfer”) duty must be paid within 3 months of sale/transfer contract, except for off-the-plan – where it’s possible to defer up to 12 mths.
  • No stamp duty applies if land value is less than $350,000. Above that concessional rates apply.
  • See below for eligibility requirements & ADF exceptions.

Keep reading >>

First Home Buyer Choice (FHBC)

The Coalition’s First Home Buyer Choice (FHBC) scheme, which ran from January 2023 until 30th June 2023, allowed up to 6000 new homeowners to choose between paying upfront stamp duty on homes worth up to $1.5m, or a yearly land tax. The land tax was calculated as a flat payment of $400 plus 0.3% of the property’s land value. For example, if the house valued at $1 million, first home buyers could choose to pay an upfront payment of stamp duty = $40,090 or an annual fee of about $2200.

And the government allowed people who’d just missed out on the deal (if they’d purchased their first house after 11th November 2022), to apply for a refund on their stamp duty and pay the annual fee instead. It’s believed that at least 2,500 people would have applied for the refund.

Who was eligible for the First Home Buyer Choice (FHBC) scheme?

The scheme was immediately popular with NSW first home buyers, more than 100 applicants a day in its first week. Although it’s hard to find the exact figure paid out in refunds, it was estimated that more than $1.28 million was paid out to the first 30 applicants.

The scheme was especially popular amongst buyers in Sydney’s outer suburbs, in particular Blacktown, Bayside and Parramatta as well as coastal regions where most properties were valued above $800,000.

First Home Buyers Assistance Scheme (FHBAS)

Under the existing Labor government, access to the First Home Buyer Choice (FHBC) scheme was closed off on 30th June 2023. Introducing instead the First Home Buyers Assistance Scheme (FHBAS). From 1st July 2023 the option to choose between property land tax and stamp duty would be no more. People who had taken advantage of the FHBC scheme are allowed to continue to pay property tax and will still be exempt from stamp duty for as long as they own the property.

These changes were implemented to create, Labor says, “a simpler, fairer system than FHBC, where first home buyers purchasing properties at the top of the range under the former government’s scheme received a disproportionate share of the benefits.”

Under the new scheme, the property tax is abolished, and any property purchased under $800,000 is exempt from stamp duty. Plus, any property purchased up to $1 million will have a reduced rate.

Note, in Labor communications, stamp duty is also sometimes referred to as “transfer duty”.

Figure 1: FHBC vs FHBAS – comparison of stamp duty savings

Purchase price Stamp duty under FHBC Stamp duty under FHBAS Savings
$700,000 $10,363 $0 $10,363
$750,000 $20,727 $0 $20,727
$800,000 $31,090 $0 $31,090
$850,000 $33,340 $10,023 $23,318
$900,000 $35,590 $20,045 $15,545
$950,000 $37,840 $30,068 $7773
$990,000 $39,640 $38,086 $1555

What properties are eligible for the FHBAS?

The First Home Buyers Assistance scheme (FHBAS) applies when first home buyers are:

  • buying an existing home
  • buying a new home, and
  • vacant land on which you intend to build a home.

When must you stamp duty/transfer duty be paid?

Stamp/Transfer duty must be paid within three months of signing the contract for sale or transfer, except in the case of off-the-plan purchases.

If you buy off-the-plan and you intend to live in the property, you may be able to defer your transfer duty liability for up to 12 months.

What if you’re building on vacant land?

If the land value is less than $350,000, you won’t need to pay stamp duty. For land valued between $350,000 and $450,000, you’ll receive a concessional rate.

If you exchanged contracts between 1st August 2020 and the 31st July 2021, the concessional rate is offered for land valued between $400,000 and $500,000.

Who’s eligible for the FHBAS?

  • An individual (not a company or trust*) over 18 years of age who’s never owned or co-owned residential property in Australia or received an exemption or concession under this scheme.
  • The first home buyer(s) must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident.
  • There are requirements for living in the property for non-Australian Defence force members – increasing from 6 months to 12 months after purchase. However, ADF members won’t have to meet these (as long as everyone you’re buying with is on the NSW electoral roll).

*The Chief Commissioner could waive this requirement upon application. Contact Revenue NSW for more information.

As an ADF member, you may also be entitled to other home buying subsidies and incentives. We’ve discussed some of these in our previous blog post “Buying a house while in the Defence Force”.

The team at Capital Properties have been where you’re at now, and it’s our mission to help you take advantage of these opportunities and make smart investment decisions.

Don’t forget to check out Capital Properties Switched-On Strategy Series and Capital Properties Pinnacle Support Program.

Interest rates vs Australian property market

It’s not much of a stretch to conclude that if you’re reading this post, you’re a switched-on property investor, or on the way to becoming one. And you’ll no doubt be aware that the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) has just delivered its 12th rate hike since May last year, leaving many homeowners reeling. It’s estimated that the average Aussie borrower is now paying an additional $15,000 per year on their mortgage compared to 13 months ago. And some analysts predict that further interest hikes could continue in the coming months unless there’s a major downturn in inflation.

In this article, we’ll explore what the soaring interest rates means for the current Australian Property Market and what opportunities it may present. To do this, we’ll compare this time with challenges the market’s faced in the past.

Attending our free Capital Properties Discovery Session can help you discover when’s the best time for you to invest in the property market. We can make sure you’re ready so you can avoid any pitfalls, and help you take advantage of the opportunities that are out there.

On the go? Here’s 30 seconds of take outs:

  • The RBA has just delivered its 12th rate hike since May 2022.
  • Typical borrowers are paying $15,000 yearly more than 13 months ago.
  • Do you see ‘opportunity is nowhere’? Or ‘opportunity is now here’?
  • The 1991 recession caused multiple bankruptcies and soaring unemployment.
  • The 2008 GFC saw property prices fall initially, but a quick recovery due to government stimulus packages.
  • COVID-19 in 2020 saw growth in ‘lifestyle’ markets but the subsequent inflation caused current interest rate rises.
  • There are opportunities with migration, ongoing demand for rental properties, inter-state travel & lifestyle drivers.

Keep reading >>

The difference is perspective

In our March 2020 blog post ‘OPPORTUNITYISNOWHERE’ we talked about how the COVID-19 pandemic saw an unprecedented economic down turn and how that immediately affected the Australian property market. The strong start in the first few months of 2020 didn’t last long, with sales falling dramatically, making many investors nervous. In that blog post we also said that it’s “important to remember is that this phase will pass, and we will eventually get through to the other side”.

While some investors sat and waited for the storm to pass, there were others, Capital Properties included, that had a different perspective. It would have been easy to join the crowds predicting disaster, but instead we saw the potential in the great interstate migrate and the big shift towards the ideal Australian lifestyle. As we’ve said before: “Some people will see ‘opportunity is nowhere’, others will see ‘opportunity is now here. The difference is perspective.”

Current market compared with previous downturns

st as we did in the previous ‘OPPORTUNITYISNOWHERE’ post, we’ll compare this current slump to previous downturns. Because it’s a timely reminder to keep the big picture in mind as we assess the outlook for the property market for the rest of this year and apply the lessons we’ve learned that have helped us navigate these tricky markets before.


1991 recession drivers:

High rates of inflation

Inflation is the rise in overall prices of goods and services over time. We explain inflation in greater detail in this blog post (click here). The common effects of inflation are:

  • Rising prices reducing the purchasing power of some consumers (usually low-income earners), distorting purchasing power of others (high-income earners) to encourage spending, causing more inflation.
  • The cost of borrowing increases for new loans, but people with existing loans have the benefit of repaying these with inflated money.

Initial reduced unemployment turned to prolonged acceptance of higher inflation that sets off an spiral of price hikes and demand for pay increases, leading to increased unemployment.

High rate of account deficit

An account deficit happens when a country sends more money overseas than it receives from abroad. The largest component of an account deficit is usually a trade deficit, which means that a country buys more than it sells. If an account deficit remains on the books for a long time, it can mean future generations will be burdened with high debt levels and large interest payments.

1991 recession effects:

  • Many businesses went bankrupt and some of the major banks almost went under.
  • Unemployment rose from 5.8% to 11.2%


The global financial crisis (GFC) came about because of relaxed lending standards by the banks, which ultimately resulted in many US and European banks dissolve into bankruptcy.  Predictably, this caused the stock market to crash, and people could no longer access finance. This led to the greatest economic downturn in the US history since the 1930’s Great Depression. And ultimately the fallout created a global economic meltdown.

‘But you can’t borrow your way to a good time forever, and this recent example of a credit-fuelled boom was no exception’ – Luci Ellis. Head of Financial Stability Department. Reserve Bank of Australia.

2008 global financial crisis drivers:

  • Human psychology: When times are good, perceptions of risk diminish.
  • Lending standards eased.
  • High loan-to-value ratio loans.
  • Lo doc loans common.
  • High household debt.

2008 global financial crisis effects:

  • All capital cities in Australia saw property prices fall but the government created relief measures including First Home Buyer stimulus’ (aka the 5% deposit scheme).
  • As the stimulus took effect, housing prices recovered, so it was a very short sharp downturn in the housing market and the recovery in Australia was quite rapid.


The world hadn’t seen a pandemic like COVID-19 since the 1918 – 1920 Spanish flu. Although the World Health Organisation tried to guide us through it, each country, and in Australia’s case, each State and Territory, handled the pandemic differently. Overseas migration stopped abruptly, so population growth was dramatically reduced. That meant less demand for houses, and particularly rental properties.

2020 COVID-19 pandemic outcome:

  • Government enforced travel restrictions, internationally, nationally and locally.
  • Burden on public services, e.g. healthcare, police.
  • Public health measures = closure of building sites, reduced labour, no house opens, material shortages etc.

2020 COVID-19 pandemic effects:

  • Government stimulus packages including the Job Keeper subsidy and rental assistance package helped initial confidence.
  • Unprecedented early growth in ‘lifestyle’ markets (driven by work from home) gave way to post-pandemic declining property values.
  • The recovery effort to reduce inflation has resulted in current interest rate rises.


It’s not surprising that some property investors are stalling and more seem to be bailing. Although the reason for recent increased investor sales isn’t clear, it’s assumed some are due to the increased interest burden, though another driver is certainly capital growth in some still-strong markets.

Although (somewhat unbelievably) further rate hikes are still a possibility, there are still opportunities to be found.

  • Migration: We’re on track for a huge migration boom with more than 400,000 new immigrants expected to arrive in 2023.
  • Current and future strong demand for rental properties.
  • Inter-state travel & lifestyle drivers.
  • Capital gains in high growth areas.

The Capital Properties team have the experience and expertise to help you take advantage of opportunities in the property market. Book a FREE Discovery Session to learn how a strategic approach to property investment can help you create a secure and successful financial future.

Capital Properties

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