What Are The Rules For Borrowing Money Through Your SMSF?

If you’re like most people, you’ve probably heard of self-managed super funds (SMSFs) but don’t know too much about them. SMSFs are a great way to manage your retirement savings, and one of the benefits is that you can borrow money through your SMSF. 

If you’re thinking of borrowing money to invest in your self-managed super fund (SMSF), it’s important to understand the rules around SMSF borrowing. 

By knowing the ins and outs of borrowing money through your SMSF, you can make an informed decision about whether or not this is the right option for you. So, let’s get started!

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How Much Money Am I Able to Borrow?

We are able to assist you in applying for:

  • Up to 80 percent of the property’s worth is available through standard SMSF investment loans. Note, however, that the majority of lenders will only allow you to borrow up to 70 percent of the value of the property.
  • For non-specialized securities, up to 75% of the property value can be borrowed against commercial real estate.
  • The majority of lenders will tack on a margin to their standard residential loan rates for SMSFs, although the size of that margin can vary greatly from lender to lender.
  • Low documentation, sometimes known as “no income proof”: SMSF low doc loans are accessible, despite the fact that there are numerous restrictions.
  • With an SMSF bad credit loan, you can borrow up to 80% of the value of a residential property or 70% of the value of a commercial property.
  • The following are some examples of standard investment loan rates: Your SMSF structure must meet specific standards.
  • If you have an unusual form of security or income, there are specialised lenders who can assist you.
  • Construction funding: SMSF construction finance isn’t available.

Different lenders have different policies on lending to SMSFs, particularly with regard to how they evaluate your capacity to repay the loan.

What Criteria Will Be Used to Determine My Eligibility for a Loan?

The majority of applicants for loans from SMSFs struggle the most with providing evidence that there is adequate income in the trust to cover the cost of the loan.

In most cases, the banks will evaluate the current income of the trust by looking at the tax returns from the two years before to the current year. After that, they will determine whether or not the current income plus the planned rental income will be sufficient to pay back the debt.

If a personal guarantee is supplied, some lenders will also consider the income of the members or beneficiaries of the SMSF when deciding whether or not to approve the application.

You are able to determine how some of the banks evaluate your current circumstances by using this SMSF borrowing power calculator.

Compliance with SMSF Regulations

The management of pension funds is subject to a unique set of regulations:

  • The fund must at all times be managed with the only intention of being able to provide benefits at retirement.
  • You are not allowed to use an SMSF to access your superannuation funds in an inappropriate or early manner.
  • SMSFs now have the ability to borrow money, provided that certain standards are satisfied.
  • Either all of the members can own the SMSF trustee collectively or all of the members can serve as individual trustees.
  • The number of members in an SMSF might range anywhere from one to four.
  • The SMSF is obligated to uphold and adhere to its investment strategy at all times.
  • The trustee is responsible for ensuring that the Self-Managed Superannuation Fund (SMSF) conforms with the legislation and guidelines issued by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

Avoid Double Stamp Duty

On the original transfer of ownership from the property vendor, stamp duty will be due and payable. The vast majority of consumers are unaware that certain banks have a security custodian structure that is distinct from others. As a result, the transfer of title upon completion of the loan may also be subject to additional stamp duty charges!

Certain financial institutions demand that you utilise their in-house security custodian, which is typically a Pty Ltd firm, to hold the real estate in trust for your SMSF.

This indicates that once you have paid off the property, you may be required to pay additional stamp duty in order to transfer the legal title to the investment property from the custodian to the trustee of the SMSF.

If you put up your SMSF loan with the wrong bank, you could wind up having to pay thousands of dollars more in taxes than you needed to. So it is essential to be very mindful with SMSF loans, and even better if you find a reliable accountant in your city.

Given the complexities of SMSF loans and stamp duty payments, it is imperative that you consult your accountant regarding the legal form of your SMSF loan.


Are There Any Limitations to This?

Because of the limits placed on SMSF loans, certain types of transactions are unable to take place. Take, for instance:

  • Construction loans are not available. As a consequence of this, the SMSF is able to pay for improvements using its own money, but it is unable to use the additional funds that were borrowed for this purpose.
  • Only a select few lenders will allow current SMSF loans to be refinanced into new terms and conditions.
  • It is not permitted to use your self-managed super fund (SMSF) to purchase a home that you intend to use as your primary residence (owner-occupied business premises are acceptable).
  • It is against the rules to sell a residential property that either you or a connected party owns to your SMSF (commercial property is acceptable).
  • When you borrow money from a bank for your SMSF, the bank will have liquidity requirements, but some lenders are more lenient than others.
  • We are unable to consider applications for SMSF loans from funds that have fewer than $300,000 in total assets at this time.

If you have a small SMSF balance (below $300,000), the fees connected with administering an SMSF could end up being more expensive than the earnings.

In these circumstances, you should discuss the costs and benefits of the transaction with your financial planner and consider purchasing shares or managed super funds until you have a greater super balance.

Exceptions to Borrowing with SMSF

An SMSF Trustee has the ability to borrow money in an indirect manner to purchase a “single acquirable asset,” which is most commonly a residential or commercial property. This is accomplished through a limited recourse borrowing arrangement.

How exactly would this operate in the real world, and under what circumstances would you use your SMSF to enter into an LRBA? The case study that you’re about to read will walk you through one potential scenario for investing your retirement savings in an LRBA.

How Do I Find Approval?

This form of lending is a relatively new option, particularly when compared to mortgages and business loans.

If your bank is unable to assist you, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us so that one of our mortgage brokers who specialises in SMSF and limited recourse loans can assist you in finding a solution. Each bank has developed its own method for evaluating applications for SMSFs; therefore, if your bank is unable to assist you, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

When Lending Money To The Bare Trust, You’ll Receive Lower Interest Rates!

A typical borrowing arrangement for SMSFs involves the lender making a loan to the trustee, even though the trustee does not legally own the property. This practise is commonly referred to as “borrowing money.”

Because one of the lenders will lend to the trustee of the bare trust or holding trust, this will allow you to qualify for LVRs that are higher and interest rates that are lower. The term for this practise is “maintaining a borrowing.”

To begin with, there needs to be an agreement between the trustee of the SMSF and the trustee of the bare trust in order to fulfil the requirements for SIS Act compliance.

If you are considering entering into such an agreement, it is in your best interest to consult with your accountant beforehand.

In addition to this prerequisite, the trustee of a bare trust must either be an existing company or a director of an existing company.

The lender will consider the income of the director of the trustee company or the most recent profit and loss statement of the trustee company, including any rental income, when determining the trustee’s ability to take out a loan.

Why Work With A Mortgage Broker?

The home investment and commercial loans that are made available by the larger banks are not as competitive as the loans that are made available by the smaller banks and building societies. As a direct consequence of this, many financial institutions completely withdrew from the SMSF market in 2018.

When it comes to a regular house loan, the rates that various lenders charge are not really different from one another. On the other hand, the fees and interest rates for an SMSF loan might vary greatly from one provider to the next.

In particular, the commercial or business banking divisions of many of the largest banks are the ones that handle the processing of loans for SMSFs. Because these divisions of the banks incur far higher costs than the standard home loan department, the interest rates on their loans are proportionately higher.

In addition to this, not all lenders are able to give you a mortgage that comes with an offset account, which is of the utmost significance if you have a significant amount of cash in your SMSF.

A 100% offset account is similar to a standard checking account, with the exception that it is connected to your mortgage account. Your interest payment will only be calculated based on the remaining balance of your mortgage after deducting the amount in your offset account.

The advantage of this is that you will be able to pay off the loan much more quickly, which will save you a significant amount of money in interest payments.

Case Study

1. Investing in Property with an SMSF Borrowing Arrangement

John and Sue, in their capacity as trustees of their SMSF, have come to the conclusion that they wish to make a direct investment in real estate but that they do not have sufficient funds in the bank account associated with their SMSF to purchase the property they want.

2. Consulting With a Financial Advisor

John and Sue learn during their first consultation with an advisor that they can use the money in their SMSF to make a down payment on a property, and the bank will grant them the remaining funds necessary to complete the purchase.

During the meeting, they find out that the majority of banks are willing to lend up to seventy percent of the value of the property. (70% Loan to Valuation Ratio – LVR) for an agreement that involves limited recourse borrowing.

3. Choosing a Home and Putting in an Application for an LRBA

They have determined that the property’s value to be $525,000 and wish to buy it. If this is the case, John and Sue will need to transfer at least $157,500 (30%) of the money held in their SMSF to the bank before their application would be taken into consideration.

They are fortunate enough to have sufficient liquid capital in their SMSF to satisfy the LVR, and as a result, they are accepted for the LRBA loan.

4. Updating the SMSF Structure

Since this issue has been resolved, they are required to make another appointment with the advisor, who assists them with all of the necessary procedures and documentation.

Their financial adviser will check to make sure that the SMSF is correctly set up to complete the acquisition in order to ensure that the transaction will go off without a hitch and that it will be possible to proceed with the purchase.

Following that, the financial adviser will:

  • Make sure that their SMSF’s deed contains the necessary borrowing powers in order for it to function properly. In this particular scenario, John and Sue’s SMSF deed needs to be modified so that they can borrow money through the LRBA, and their financial advisor is in charge of arranging for this modification to take place.
  • Create a holding trust corporation and a holding trust deed to protect your investment.
  • Make arrangements to have the deed stamped.
  • Make arrangements for resolutions and consents to be signed.
  • To ensure full compliance, you should avoid providing the bank, the ATO, and the ASIC with any pertinent information.

John and Sue won’t settle on their property until all of the necessary documentation is in order. The property will continue to be held by the holding trust on behalf of the SMSF until the outstanding balance on the mortgage is paid in full.

Following the completion of the mortgage payment, the holding trustee will hand over the title of the property to the SMSF.


1. What is a Self-Managed Superannuation Fund (SMSF)?

People who want to take charge of their own retirement savings can establish a self-managed superannuation fund, sometimes known as an SMSF.

Your employer payments will still be sent into the fund as they would be in a traditional super fund, and you will have the option to make additional contributions whenever you see appropriate.

On the other hand, in contrast to a conventional pension fund, the trustee, which can be either you or your firm, exercises direct authority over the assets in which your pension fund is invested.

A lot of people utilise their self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF) to help them plan for their retirement and assist them with tax planning.

2. When May An SMSF Take Out a Loan?

The ability of SMSFs to borrow money is being limited by legislation, as is the lender’s ability to seek recourse in the event that the trust is unable to fulfil its duty to make repayments.

The following is a summary of the regulations that must be adhered to in order for a trust to be eligible for a loan:

  • The asset is one that the SMSF may legitimately acquire under other circumstances (if it had the funds).
  • A security trust is being utilised in order to hold the asset in trust for the SMSF (a security custodian).
  • Immediately after purchasing the asset, the SMSF will have a beneficial interest in it.
  • After making all of the necessary loan repayments, the SMSF will have the ability to purchase legal title from the security trustee.
  • It is necessary that the lender have only a restricted recourse against one specific asset. This indicates that the lender must be unable to make a claim on any other assets of the fund in the event that the borrower fails to repay the loan.
  • Only one “single acquirable asset” can be the subject of any given borrowing agreement. When it comes to subdivisions or strata titles, each title is regarded as its own individual asset.

3. Why don’t the majority of banks finance super funds?

Because of the relatively smaller size of the market, the complexity of trust loans, and the fact that the lender’s recourse is restricted to the asset itself, the vast majority of lenders will not lend money to super funds so that they can buy investment properties.

What exactly does this entail?

A higher risk loan results in a lesser profit for the lender, so the lender must put in more effort.

However, not every lender has the same perspective on this matter!

There are some lenders who will even let super funds use their discounted residential loans for their operations.

4. What banks provide loans to SMSF trusts?

Because not all of the main banks have made the decision to lend to super funds, many clients of banks are unable to receive investment loans for their self-managed super funds unless they go through a specialised broker.

5. When should I submit an application for an SMSF loan?

We strongly advise that you submit the application for the loan at least two weeks prior to starting the search for a new home.

In the event that it is necessary to do so, this procedure can be sped up. Nevertheless, if you want to prevent being disappointed, it is best to always leave more time.

6. What is the turnaround time for approval?

When compared to applying for a standard home loan, borrowing money from an SMSF is a rather involved process.

The majority of clients say that it takes them about a week to gather the paperwork needed to apply for a loan, and after that, it often takes the banks another week to evaluate the pre-approval application and decide whether or not to accept it.

7. What structure will the loan have?

The loan is written to the trustee of the SMSF in its capacity as a trustee, and the security custodian is listed as the mortgagor on the loan.

The lender has limited recourse, and in the event that the loan is in default, they are unable to demand any of the other assets held by the trust as compensation.

Certain creditors ask that the members of the superannuation fund provide personal guarantees. Nevertheless, the guarantee is being changed so that guarantors will not be able to seek recourse against the super trustee in the event that there is a default on payment in accordance with the guarantee.

The members of the superannuation fund are not required to provide personal guarantees to other lenders, particularly if you are borrowing less than sixty percent of the value of the property.

This occurs more frequently with high-net-worth individuals who either have substantial SMSF balances or are able to come up with higher deposits.

8. Can I get low-interest rates?

It is dependent on the lending institution that you submit your application to. The major lending institutions offer rates that are priced very differently from one another.

If you simply speak to the bank you already use, you will very certainly be subject to a rate that is substantially higher.

9. Are there no deposit SMSF loans?

It’s a frequent misunderstanding that you don’t need a down payment to buy a home with your self-managed super fund (SMSF).

You will need a minimum of 24 to 25 percent of the purchase price to pay your initial deposit of 20 percent as well as any other charges, such as stamp duty. Why, therefore, do individuals insist that you don’t have to put down a deposit?

The reason for this is because your current superannuation account can be used as your deposit instead. For instance, if you have $100,000 in a managed super fund, you might transfer that money to your self-managed super fund (SMSF) and then use it as a down payment on a house.

Because of this, it is possible that you will not be required to save a deposit in your own name, as you would be required to do in the case of a conventional investment property bought outside of your super fund.

10. Do banks examine the recipients?

When considering new trusts, some lenders will look at the current income of the beneficiaries of the trust, as well as the superannuation contributions they have made in the past, as well as the superannuation contributions they intend to make in the future.

Their projected super contributions can be used in the evaluation of their loan provided they fall within the range of the maximum amounts that are permitted by the ATO and if they are able to make the payments without experiencing financial strain.

Lenders are aware of the maximum sums that can be made both as concessional contributions and as non-concessional contributions. These restrictions are subject to change from one year to the next.

They will not approve your loan application if it requires contributions that are greater than these amounts to demonstrate that your SMSF is capable of repaying the debt.

11. Will the lender take my contributions to my retirement account?

It is possible that the lender will not consider your super contributions as part of their evaluation if you are getting close to the age of retirement.

If you no longer have a personal income, then your contributions to your retirement fund will, of course, come to an end.

If this is the circumstance, the lender may choose to shorten the loan term or reduce the amount of the loan so that the revenue from the rental property is sufficient to support the repayments.

12. Will the lender accept any other means of payment for the loan?

Although some lenders are more accommodating than others, the majority of banks will not take income from shares or interest from the trust’s present assets as acceptable forms of payment.

If you are selling these assets to finance the down payment for the home you want to buy, then the revenue from these sales cannot be included in the evaluation that the lender does.

13. Can my SMSF purchase a home from my personal holdings?

Your Self-Managed Superannuation Fund is able to purchase commercial real estate that you already own; however, your fund is unable to purchase residential real estate that you or a connected party owns.

Getting it wrong could result in you having to pay a penalty tax equal to a significant portion of the balance of your superannuation fund; thus, it is in your best interest to obtain sound advice as soon as possible.

We strongly suggest that you speak with an accountant who specialises in Self-Managed Superannuation Funds about any potential tax issues that may arise as a result of the transfer of a property from your individual name into the name of your SMSF.

14. How can I apply for a loan through my SMSF?

Mortgage brokers and bank managers aren’t exactly known for their knowledge of self-managed super funds (SMSF), and even fewer are considered specialists in the field of lending to these funds.

By utilising our services, you will be able to obtain the most sound guidance on your SMSF trust loan.

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