Property

Granny flats - turning backyards into gold

John Collett and Caitlin Fitzsimmons Granny flats are proliferating like crazy, at least in NSW where the rules are much more relaxed than in Victoria.

SHARES RACE

Shares Race Week 2: leader plots a map to success

Vanessa Desloires There's been a shake up in the ranks this week, and one clever tipster has shot from fifth to first place on a bet in volatile small cap stocks.

Rate cut puts savers in a pickle, but good for borrowers

Borrowers could soon see their repayments fall considerably if lenders pass on the full cut in the official cash rate.

John Collett Changes in the official cash rate always create winners and losers. Irene Dumer is one of the winners.

QUIRKY INVESTMENTS

Contemporary art collectors seek next big thing

Mirka Mora's 1972 painting Mermaids and Friends sold for $3400.

James Cockington Keen buyers at the latest Leonard Joel fine art auction were ''all looking for the Brett Whiteley of the future''.

Four rules for investing in uncertain times

John Manuel Owing BHP and Rio Tinto isn't diversification, nor is owning a rental property down the road from your own home.

INVESTMENT 101

Motley Fool: compile a watchlist of companies you like and wait for opportunity

Scott Phillips If you understand a company's strategy, management and opportunity, you'll be ready to pounce when the market next throws the baby out with the bathwater.

NOEL WHITTAKER

The beauty of dividends for investors

Noel Whittaker Don't forget that it is the after-tax return of investments that counts and that is where franked dividends come into their own.

INVESTMENT 101

Motley Fool: It's not just about what a company does, but what it has

Scott Phillips In recent weeks, we've been looking at some of the attributes of a great company, on the premise that the better the business, the greater our chance of investment success.

THE MOTLEY FOOL

Motley Fool: never buy from private equity

Myer's share price has never reached the IPO height.

Scott Phillips Any time you read "accepted wisdom", you should ask yourself whether that's simply code for "I just use the same tired cliches as everyone else".

QUIRKY INVESTMENTS

Arthur Fleischmann sculptures for sale after decades in storage

Arthur Fleischmann's Spring. Estimates $2000-$3000.

James Cockington Sculptor Arthur Fleischmann spent a productive 10 years in Sydney, but his works from this period were kept in storage for half a century, and will now be sold.

Investment 101

Motley Fool: Modern day moats

Look out for companies that surround themselves with

Scott Phillips The best companies in Australia are surrounded by moats – although not the ones you are thinking of.

WELL HEELED

Congratulations, you're a landlord; now get your tax deductions straight

A holiday home in Eden, on the NSW South Coast. There are rules worth knowing about letting out properties and tax.

Melissa Browne If you're letting a property to tenants, it's important to know what you can and cannot claim.

ASSET CHECK

Reserve Bank and election guarantee an unsettling time for investors

The Reserve Bank has warned of an oversupply of apartments.

Daryl Dixon By highlighting the increased risk for both investors and the banking system of an oversupply of apartments and commercial real estate, the Reserve Bank has added to the normal uncertainty facing...

INTELLIGENT INVESTOR

Who's the real Woolworths villain?

James Greenhalgh Do you feel sorry for Woolworths' former chief executive Grant O'Brien? You probably don't.

BANKS

Big bank 'dividend trade' far from over, analysts say

Most investors and super fund members own shares in the Big 4 banks.

John Collett Increasing bad debt provisions, dividends under threat and falling share prices are giving long-term big-bank shareholders pause to think.

THE HONEST BROKER

When 'defensive' assets turn dangerous

Infrastructure stocks such as Sydney Airport have bubbly valuations as investors look for safe havens.

Marcus Padley At some price every stock becomes dangerous, even so-called defensive assets such as Transurban and Sydney Airport.

INVESTMENT 101

Motley Fool: The beauty of dividends

Dividends are like turbocharged bank interest.

Scott Phillips Have you ever wondered why so many investors are enamoured with dividends?

INTELLIGENT INVESTOR

Australia's other great duopoly is literally pathological – Sonic and Primary

Graham Witcomb There's Coles and Woolies, Qantas and Virgin, but the new duopoly in town is Primary Health Care and Sonic Healthcare.

ASK NOEL

Are volatile shares worth the pain?

Keep in mind that it's normal to have four negative years out of every 10 if you are investing in the sharemarket.

Noel Whittaker A reader asks Noel Whittaker how dividend income overcomes the volatility of shares.

QUIRKY INVESTMENTS

The number plates that are worth more than cars

James Cockington There are people driving around today with number plates worth more than their cars.