property investment

Discussion – Rental guarantee

Many property advisory companies promotes their properties with rental guarantee benefits. While this sounds reasonable and brings many benefits to the buyer. Let us take a better look at this benefits.

Tl; dr;

As the old saying goes, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” 

Rental guarantee often indicates that the project, or a particular property, has some negative aspects. These issues are not highlighted by sale agents because of obvious reasons. 

If a project offers rental guarantee benefits, it is highly advised to research a lot more into the project, see if they are viable to your property strategy in the long run.

Benefits of Rental Guarantee

There are multiple benefits that can come out of this scheme, provided that the sellers hold up their end.

Firstly, it is often advertised of having a guaranteed rental income that is the same with the current mortgage interest rate, or higher to represent a good cashflow amount. This amount can cover the interest payments and all buyers have to spend is for principle payments and other operating costs. And since it is guaranteed, investors can have their peace of mind if the property cannot find tenants for an extended amount of time.

Secondly, it is much easier to forecast cashflow if there is a rental guarantee scheme in place. You can always have that much income, and if the property can find tenants, it will be even more income. The sky has never been bluer.

What are the dark sides of Rental Guarantee?

Who pays for the Rental Guarantee?

Just taking an example from Property Update.

The developer wants to sell properties at $600,000. However the market price in that area is around $520,000. And the rental yield is about 4.6% in that area.

If he offers the rental guarantee scheme, say 6% guarantee over 3 years. The amount to spend on that scheme, provided that there are tenants is $600,000 x (6% – 4.6%) x 3 = $8,400 x 3 = $25,200.

So if he can sell the property at $600,000, factor in the rental guarantee, he can still walk away with a nice bonus comparing to the market price of that property.

So the first hidden gem is that most of the time buyers actually pay for their own Rental Guarantee.

What happens after the scheme expires?

Most investors found that after 3 years, the yield drops back to its real value. If the market has not responded to the rental growth, they are stuck with an under-performed property.

Worse case, if investors try to sell, they can only sell it at market value. And if within those 3 years, the capital growth is not as good as it was advertised, they may end up having a property that is over-priced, and unable to find a buyer.

One more thing to note is banks are cautious to lend to this kind of properties. They will NOT consider the rental guarantee amount, but taking in the real market rent amount instead.

Do you actually get paid?

Sometimes, the entity operating Rental Guarantee scheme can go broke. And in that event, all “guarantee” is simply gone.

Let’s say the developer creates another company called Rental Guarantee Pty. Ltd. with $1 equity. This company will provide rental guarantee to the investors in a project. Then when people come around asking for the guarantee payment, the company simply goes bankrupt.

Since there is no regulations related to this scheme, it is totally possible to do so. Developers do not need to register with a government body to assimilate this scheme.

What can we do to protect ourselves?

If you are offered properties with this scheme. You need to do more research into the area.

  • Find out what is the market rent, and how much growth it has over the years.
  • Find out what is the average market price over the area. If the advertised price is a lot higher than the market price, it is certainly something to look further into.
  • Ask if you can have any discount if you just don’t take rental guarantee.
  • Check the entity that provides the scheme, as well as their ability to honour the payments.
  • Note for myself – Best thing to do is just don’t buy into those projects.

Summary

Rental guarantee is advertised mostly by developers and their reseller networks. Although on the surface it may seem beneficial, but personally I think it is a way to rip investors off of their hard earned money.

This is by no mean saying that there is no investor that benefits from this. I just feel that the chance I can land such benefits is minimalistic.

I do not think I will buy into any of those projects in the foreseeable future.

By Tuan Nguyen

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