Buying Property with super
Self-managed super fund property rules
Buying property with Super and your SMSF is only permissible if you comply with the rules.
- Must meet the ‘sole purpose test’ of solely providing retirement benefits to fund members
- Must not be acquired from a related party of a member
- Must not be lived in by a fund member or any fund members’ related parties
- Must not be rented by a fund member or any fund members’ related parties.
However, your SMSF could potentially purchase your business premises, allowing you to pay rent directly to your SMSF at the market rate.
What it will cost you
SMSF property sales may have many fees and charges. These fees can add up and will reduce your super balance.
You should find out all the costs before signing up including:
- Upfront fees
- Legal fees
- Advice fees
- Stamp duty
- Ongoing property management fees
- Bank fees
Borrowing or gearing your super into property must be done under very strict borrowing conditions called a ‘limited recourse borrowing arrangement’.
A limited recourse borrowing arrangement can only be used to purchase a single asset, for example a residential or commercial property. Before committing to a geared property investment you should assess whether the investment is consistent with the investment strategy and risk profile of the fund.
Geared SMSF property risks include:
- Higher costs – SMSF property loans tend to be more costly than other property loans which must be factored into your investment decision.
- Cash flow – Loan repayments must be made from your SMSF which means your fund must always have sufficient liquidity or cash flow to meet the loan repayments.
- Hard to cancel – If your SMSF property loan documentation and contract is not set up correctly unwinding the arrangement may not be allowed and you may be required to sell the property, potentially causing substantial losses to the SMSF.
- Possible tax losses – Any tax losses from the property cannot be offset against your taxable income outside the fund.
- No alterations to the property – Until the SMSF property loan is paid off alterations to a property cannot be made if they change the character of the property.