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Painless property investment

defence housing

You’ve worked hard all your life, now you’re ready for your investments to work hard for you. But how can you focus on your bucket list, when you’re managing a property portfolio?

After decades of hard work, retirees may start looking forward to a lifestyle that may involve travel, indulging in a hobby or spending quality time with the grandkids. Their finances may be in the family home, superannuation and an investment portfolio.

A home is a tangible asset and historically, investors have been rewarded for venturing into the property market. Unfortunately property markets have been making headlines for all the wrong reasons lately. But despite the recent gloom, investing in residential real estate still holds appeal for many Australians.

Investment properties need to return a steady, stable income not just for the next 10 years, but as improvements in healthcare mean we’re living longer, possibly the next 30.

Nationally, there has been a long-term trend in population growth. More recently, there has been an increase in jobs and infrastructure development across the country. These have historically been some of the leading indicators to property price growth and in order to capitalise on these indicators you might consider that it’s time to get into the property market.

Defence Housing Australia

Defence Housing Australia (DHA) is one of the largest property managers in Australia. With approximately 18,000 properties Australia-wide, the organisation has oversight of a portfolio valued at around $11 billion.

Each year DHA sells a portion of its property portfolio to prospective investors who then lease the properties back to DHA on a long-term basis. These properties are used to house Defence members and their families as they post to different locations Australia-wide where the Defence Force has a presence.

The revenue generated from this activity is DHA’s primary source of capital. It contributes to funding DHA’s operations and enables DHA to provide quality housing to Defence members and their families

Suzanne Pitson, General Manager of the Portfolio Management Group at DHA says that DHA investments suit investors looking for a long-term hold strategy without maintenance or tenant hassles.

‘The security of DHA’s long-term lease and an income stream generated by our reliable rent has generally offered our investors some peace of mind. Generally, the day-to-day aspects of managing the investment property is taken care of, including coordinating and paying for most non-structural repairs and maintenance.

‘Therefore in our experience, DHA’s investors have benefited from our property expertise and the security of having a long-term lease agreement.

Defence Housing Australia

How does it work?

DHA properties are released for sale every second Tuesday and are available for preview through the DHA website for nine days before being sold through a ballot. Properties are sold with a lease to DHA of between nine and 12 years. During this time DHA takes care of most management aspects of owning the property.

‘However, as with any investment, some responsibilities and risks are retained by DHA investors,’ Ms Piston said. ‘These include the payment of compulsory insurances, applicable government or council rates and taxes, fulfilling strata obligations and responsibility for some repairs and maintenance items including structural issues/defects.’

Other companies have attempted to emulate DHA’s sale and leaseback program however, few can match it’s ability to provide investment opportunities offered by DHA with properties available across all of Australia.

‘We only sell properties that are integrated throughout the community, not those located on Defence bases. They are within close proximity to schools, shops, public transport and other amenities. Our property portfolio consists of mainly freestanding houses however, we also offer townhouses and apartments in selected locations.’

Who can invest with DHA?

There are a lot of misconceptions out there that you need to be involved with the Australian Defence Force to invest with DHA, but in fact a DHA investment property is available to all Australians.

‘Although many Defence members have invested in DHA property, the majority of our investors have no connection to Defence at all,’ Ms Piston said.

‘Our most common investors are just like most Australians, they just want to generate wealth and secure their family’s financial future. Many of them want to spend time doing what they love most and they don’t want to have to worry about the day-to-day management of their investment property such as regular maintenance and tenant management.

The one thing that the majority of DHA investors have in common is that they don’t want to have to worry about tenants, maintenance and the general day-to-day aspects of regular investment properties.

Long-time DHA investor Lynette Pope discovered DHA after finding that a conventional investment property not only took most of her free time, but also left her with further financial outlay.

‘We had trouble with our first investment property,’ Lynette said. ‘It was a brand new property and we had trouble with tenants looking after the property and then we had vacancies.

‘DHA is far better than any other property investment because they take the worry out of it. You have regular income whether the properties are occupied or not and they are maintained. They take the worry out of it because they keep an eye on the occupant and make sure that the property is being looked after.’

Defence Housing Australia

What do I get for my outlay?

Aside from a reliable income stream from DHA’s long-term lease and the ability to enjoy your life without worrying about your investment property, DHA offers its investors a package of benefits that means you can get on with the things that you’d rather be doing.

‘A distinguishing feature of our lease is DHA Property Care – an extensive range of property-related services we provide throughout the lease term in return for a service fee,’ Ms Pitson said.

‘We’ll manage the occupants for you, carry out inspections and report back to you at periodic intervals so you can be certain everything is in order. We know that you’re investing with us because you don’t want to worry about your investment but would rather focus on the things that you enjoy doing

DHA will also organise (as well as covering the costs of) most non-structural repair and maintenance works, including the replacement of fixed appliances.

‘As a property investor you will have some obligations under a DHA lease, but compared to a typical residential property investment your time outlay is significantly less.’

In addition to this, DHA will ensure that your investment property is returned to you at the end of the lease in good condition. The property make-good service ensures that your investment is professionally cleaned, appliances are clean and in good working order and that the landscaping is neat and tidy.

‘Depending on the lease term we’ll even paint the property and replace the carpets.’

How do I get started?

The first step is to register your interest at dha.gov.au. A sales consultant will be allocated to you and will be able to talk you through the benefits, the buying process and the lease.

Once you’re registered you’ll received DHA’s fortnightly property release email so you are the first to know about new opportunities available. You can also follow DHA’s Facebook page, DHA Invest, to keep up-to-date with releases and property investment insights.

Disclaimer: Investment is subject to DHA’s lease terms and conditions of sale. Investors retain some responsibilities and risks, i.e. rent, restoration and market fluctuations. Prospective investors should seek independent advice. Rental floor applies only to DHA properties leased under DHA’s Lease Edition 6C., which will not cover all DHA properties. Rent is subject to abatement in limited circumstances. Make-good is subject to the duration of the lease and the obligations of a body corporate.

See dha.gov.au/lookforward for relevant information.

Find out more > dha.gov.au

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Life Begins At

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