Rentvesting means you can purchase an investment property, while you rent another place to live in.

Why rentvest?

At first glance it seems like a strange thing to do, but there are many reasons to consider rentvesting which can be driven by a mix of lifestyle and financial factors.

  1. A first step into the property market

    A prime reason to rentvest is to get a foot in the door of the property market. It has become popular for young adults to stay in the family home, contribute a bit of board to mum and dad while paying off an investment property with the help of a tenant. It can provide for a quicker entry into property investment or home ownership than would otherwise be possible.

  2. Rent in a suburb you can’t afford to buy

    Increasingly, ‘rentvestors’ are renting homes in attractive suburbs in which they can’t afford to buy, while investing in a less attractive, but potentially higher growth location. Driving this trend is the difference in rental yields. As a percentage of property values, rents tend to be lower in desirable areas, down as low as 2%, than the yields of over 6% available in more affordable suburbs.

  3. Rent cheaply and buy a higher value property

    In the reverse situation, some people opt to rent cheaply while buying a higher-value property, often with the expectation the investment property will enjoy a higher rate of capital growth.

  4. A need to move house regularly

    For whatever reason, be it work or other, there are those who want to or need to regularly move house but still seek the comfort that owning a property can provide.

Making it work

Attractive as the lifestyle benefits may be, rentvesting also needs to work financially. At a minimum you need to be able to pay your rent and cover any net expenses on your investment property.

Over the long term you also want to end up in a better financial position through rentvesting than would otherwise be the case, so it’s important to understand the property market and form an opinion on where prices are headed. Do your research make sure the areas have the best rental returns.

There are also a number of tax issues, both positive and negative, to bear in mind:

  • You can claim a tax deduction against your earned income if the outgoings on your investment property (interest payments, council rates, insurance, agent fees, etc.) exceed the rental income, i.e. if the property is negatively geared.
  • Rental income in excess of expenses is taxable at your marginal tax rate.
  • Rent on the property you live in needs to be paid from after-tax income.
  • Any profit on the sale of a rental property is subject to capital gains tax, whereas the profit on a principle residence is tax-free.

Is it right for you?

Like the idea of taking in the sea views from your rented home while a tenant is paying off the mortgage on your investment gem in a suburb set to boom?

Rentvesting can provide you with a lifestyle you wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford, but for some others the insecurity of renting and potentially moving frequently may not be as appealing. It’s definitely worth exploring. It just depends on your objectives. Make sure you understand the pros and cons from all angles.