Using your SMSF to plan now for a future downsize and a seachange

Living in Sydney and I have many clients who dream of retiring up or down the coast or inland to more suitable and often slower paced areas of Australia.  SMSF Property Investment

Many plan to downsize and sell their Sydney home in retirement and purchase a place on the coast. The issue that arises is that they often feel they have identified the area or actual property they want to live in during retirement and want to secure it now. Others are afraid that the selected area will be priced out of their budget in future years with so many baby boomers retiring over the coming decades.

So here is a solution we used for a few of our clients wanting to plan ahead and reduce that risk.

Jeff & Joan (of course it’s not their real names!) came to see me in 2006 and they had a lovely house in Hills District of Sydney but it was 2 storeys and with Jeff’s knees playing up they knew that they would need a single level property later. Also they planned to move to Lake Macquarie to be nearer their children and hopefully future grandchildren in Newcastle in retirement.

They could not borrow to buy a property in their own names as they had business and family commitments that reduced their borrowing capacity.

They had a decent sized SMSF and could afford to buy a property as part of their diversified strategy so we put this strategy to them.

They identified a property they would like in Lake Macquarie that ticked all the boxes and was currently tenanted. We revised the SMSF Investment strategy and put the trustees reasoning for investing in residential property and the projected returns and maintained a diversified investment portfolio with the other funds. We also looked at options and exit strategies as part of the analysis and the investment stood up as a sound one for their portfolio.

There SMSF purchased the property in early 2007 for $400,000 and it was a sound investment over the following 5 years providing a reasonable rental income and about 3% capital growth per year over that time which was decent for a single level property just one street back from the water.

In 2012 Jeff decided to retire and Joan agreed to reduce her hours. They put their house in Castle Hill on the market and gave the Lake Macquarie Tenants 4 months notice which they felt was fair. Their Sydney property sold a few months later for $850,000.

We got a professional valuation on the Lake Macquarie property and it was valued between $480,000-$500,000, so we agreed a market value of $490,000. The couple elected for a lump sum pension commutation from their SMSF paid “in-specie” as the Lake Macquarie property from their Self Managed Super fund and because it was in NSW they did have to pay Stamp Duty on the transfer. I believe on Victoria and WA there  are exemptions that apply on such transfers as long as it is the same Beneficial Owners after the transaction. We sought legal advice here in NSW and were unable to get this concession.

The couple then used $150,000 to renovate the property and kept $150,000 in Term Deposits in their own name. This left approximately $500,000 which they contributed as Non-Concessional contributions equally to the SMSF.

What were the benefits?

  1. Secured their choice of future retirement home earlier.  The relief of having this certainty should not be underestimated by advisers.
  2. They did not over extend their personal debt which would have left them very exposed during a downturn in their business from 2008-2010
  3. Rental income from 2007 to 2012 was taxed at only 15% rather than their higher marginal rates.
  4. Secured a $90,000 tax-free gain on the investment property as they were in pension phase.
  5. Turned their superannuation accounts from mostly a Taxable component to accounts with more than $250,000 each of non-concessional components and Tax Free to their adult children as part of their Estate Planning.
  6. Oh and they missed the GFC effect on this portion of their investments!


  1. Yes we had to pay Stamp duty but that was highlighted from the start as a possibility
  2. The house prices did not run away from them in Lake Macquarie but at least they were not worried.

I must also mention a comment the clients made in their latest review and that was that in the 12 months since they moved they have not seen an alternative property, that would have suited their needs so well, come on the market so the advanced planning worked in their favour. Oh and they now have 2 grandchildren that they look after 2 days per week while enjoying the Lake Macquarie lifestyle they wanted.

Why not checkout my article “ What can my SMSF invest in?” as a good place to start.

As always please contact me if you want to look at your own options. We have offices in Castle Hill and Windsor but can meet clients anywhere in Sydney or online via Skype.

Keep updated by putting an email address in on the left hand column and pressing the “Sign me up!” button. Happy to take comments in the section below.

Bye for now.

Liam Shorte B.Bus SSA™ AFP

Financial Planner & SMSF Specialist Advisor™

SMSF Specialist Adviser 

 Follow SMSFCoach on Twitter Liam Shorte on Linkedin NextGen Wealth on Facebook   

Verante Financial Planning

Tel: 02 98941844, Mobile: 0413 936 299

PO Box 6002 BHBC, Baulkham Hills NSW 2153

5/15 Terminus St. Castle Hill NSW 2154

Corporate Authorised Representative of Viridian Select Pty Ltd ABN 41 621 447 345, AFSL 51572

This information has been prepared without taking account of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Because of this you should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness, having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. This website provides an overview or summary only and it should not be considered a comprehensive statement on any matter or relied upon as such.

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