Strategic Planners

From: Felicity W.

Hi everyone
A friend has been talking to a company called Strategic Planners who are recommending negatively geared property in a suburb of Brisbane called Forest Lake.
Does anyone have any experience with this company or area?
Keep smiling
Felicity :cool:
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Reply: 1
From: Anonymous

Great sounding name, is their strategic plan to get their hands on your friends money?
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Reply: 2
From: The Wife

I know Forest Lake, however, I havent brought anything there.

I think your friend should walk around the place and see what she thinks, also, check out with the locals what they can get for rent, this is basic due diligence. Stress that they go there and look around.

Cheers, TW

~Before you criticize people, you should walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize them, you're a mile away. And you have their shoes~
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Reply: 2.1
From: Felicity W.

From what she was telling me she has been looking at property prices and rents on the internet, but can't find anything equivalent that's new which makes it a bit harder.
My concern is that she wants to invest for capital growth, and I think Forest Lake might be too far out of Brisbane to achieve high growth.
Keep smiling
Felicity :cool:
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Reply: 2.1.1
From: Anonymous

Beware. The area has a termite problem

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Reply: 2.1.2
From: Jason C

I know Forest Lake.... It is right beside Inala, for those of you that know Inala it is not a "Blue Ribbon" area. Over the past 10 years the land out that way has been developed, renamed and marketed. The set up there is pretty good, Kind of like a village, has its own schools, shops etc as well as a lake :). It is about 20-30 minutes out of brisbane city. (close by sydney standards).
I have come across LOTS of properties for sale in Forest Lake on the net. Is that a good or bad thing????
I am not sure what the rental returns are like either, But they are continuing to develop in Forest Lake and a few other estates even further out.
I lived locally for many years(20 odd) and find it amusing when they market the place as being so wonderful etc while it is right on the door step of what so many consider, rightly or wrongly, to be an area of brisbane that has very little going for it. I must admit though that I am rather biased in my thinking. :)
All that said...Horses for courses..
Good Luck with it
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From: Steve Navra

Hi Felicity,

Advise your friends to:

Step 1. ascertain what the expected rental income for the purchase is / will be, per annum.

Step 2. Divide this amount by the median rental yield percentage for the area. (Info from R.E.I.Q or ABS)

The result equals the Real Value of the property. (Based on Rental reality, rather than market sentiment.) ONLY BUY, if the asking price is equal to or less than this amount.

Other criteria include % of renters in the area. Ideally this should be less than 25%, otherwise their is too much rental competition and also too little capitalization in the area, which will stymie the future capital growth potential.



PS: Keep posting - your articles are always interesting!
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Reply: 2.1.3
From: Denise Macadam

Hi Felicity
I am from Brissy and know Forrest Lake - only a personal opinion but if shes looking for capital growth i think she could do far better than this area.
It wouldn't be on my list - but as someone said horses for courses,its a long way out - and yes neighbouring on Inala. A very "unattractive" area - I have quite a few coworkers who have invested out there, not great returns, its was just cheaper to buy into. Someone said big white ant problem - that's correct, big scam between the builders and contractors, houses sprayed with water - not the normal borer protection
Did affect quite a lot of new housing - actually there is only new housing out there.

Needs to have a really good look at the stats
Hope this helps
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From: Jenny F

Hi Felicity, I am in Canberra but I used to live in Forest Lake in the mid 90s and my house that I built there is now an IP. I was also visiting Brisbane only a couple of days ago and had a bit of a look at how Forest Lake had developed since I left in late 1995, as well as to look at my house. The posters above are all correct that Forest Lake generally has shown flat capital growth.

My own IP is doing fine re rental yield though, as it has only had about 5 days vacancy in 6 years and only 2 different tenants in that time. This is because I built a rather unique villa, quite different to the usual spec villas, even the ones with the deluxe fitouts. The tenants are well aware it is unique and willing to pay a fair rent and I might add willingly look after it very well too.

The thing to be careful of in Forest Lake, as other posters have suggested, is buying yet another spec box, just like every other spec box on the rental market. I can't comment on the typical vacancy rates but your friends would get a fair idea of yields if they visited Forest Lake's Sales Centre (which is right next to the lake) and had a look at the stuff for sale in the window and some quoted rentals achieved. There seems to be a fair bit for sale, and the really nice stuff is priced accordingly. The nicer stuff would probably rent very well but the yield might not be as good.

For example, villas (320SQM - 400SQM land) with a single story 3BR detached house on it will rent from $150 to $180 - I expect the most common rent is around $165. Most of the stuff I saw on Thursday seemed to be the typical average spec renter that would get maybe $165pw (and have lots of competition with other very similar houses). I wouldn't buy this stuff as there is just too much of it.

There are very few units or townhouses (ie residences with common walls etc) in FL - although I saw a 4 storey building being constructed near the town centre (main shops) which I guessed was a block of units. I have not researched what demand there might be for this sort of thing - presumably for those who find the maintenance of a detached home (ie grass and gardens) inconvenient.

The area's demographics consists mostly of families, including many who work at the Greenbank Army base and the RAAF base at Amberley. If I was to buy there again I would think of a place that had a double garage (with enough room for shelves on the side walls and a small workbench and a second fridge or small chest freezer at the end & also drive through access to the yard), four bedrooms - but bigger than normal (main bedroom 3.6 x 3.6 minimum, other bedrooms 3.4 x 3.4m min), with lots of wardrobe space deep enough for mens suits to fit (50cm is good) & a good linen closet. Main bathroom with a separate toilet and extra vanity, plus ensuite for the master bedroom. Exhaust fans in all wet areas. Large family room that flows from kitchen onto outdoor shaded area - such as pergola with not too much grass (mostly paving and bark chip gardens). Formal dining and lounge that flows together. Good security (deadlocks, window and door security screes, sensor lights) and well ventilated (lots of windows to provide cross-ventilation -ceiling fans are also popular). Kitchen with good size pantry, wall oven and hotplates (gas or Ceran), overhead cupboards and some pot drawers. And a pleasant colour scheme. Such a house would rent rapidly but the question would be if you could build or buy cheaply enough to get a reasonable return at the typical 4 bedroom double garage rental!!! I have not done the numbers so can only suggest they compare the offerings with what I describe above as maybe the ideal.

That said, Forest Lake is a lovely place to live, even tho' it is bordered by Inala on one side. It has good schools, buses, shops, great lake with family & BBQ areas and kiddie amusements, walking tracks, parks, some bush and lots of trees. It lacks a train line though (train commuters take a bus to a nearby station).

Unlike some of the nearby developments such as Springfield, the developers of Forest Lake (Delfin, a well known and highly regarded developer) left a lot of the original trees in place & paid a lot of attention to neighborhood landscaping, so the place has a really great leafy feel. It is actually a quite large area - the map of Forest Lake I picked up at the Sales Centre on Thursday shows it is almost fully sold up, the only land left is getting closer to the Logan Expressway (because of potential noise I would avoid the houses right near the expressway).

I would not expect that Forest Lake will see any capital growth at least until all the land is sold (why buy someone else's home in FL when you can build your own elsewhere in FL with everything you want?). I am not sure how much longer it will take to sell up all the land, but in 1995 it was said to be another eight years to completion.

I expect that once all the land is sold, some of the advantages of FL with the shops, the nice surrounds, the easy access to Centenary Hwy and Ipswich Rd (both go to city) and the Logan Expressway will see modest growth compared to some of the more "bland" developments a little further out. I don't expect it will have meteoric growth though as there is lots of land out there in south western Brisbane.

I would strongly recommend your friends take the advice offered by others above that they have a look themselves and go and visit (independently) the various RE agents selling and renting properties in FL & compare what they are being offered by Strategic Planners.

Good luck!
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