Frequently asked questions

Can Sell or Hold really help me?

What if my property has fallen by $100,000?

If your property has dropped in value since you bought it, you may not have sufficient post-tax sale proceeds to buy an alternative property, should you decide to sell your current one. You may even have negative equity, that is, not enough money to pay back the loan.

In this case, the assessment that Sell or Hold performs is no longer a comparison of opportunity costs against recycling costs. The assessment approach switches to a "stop-loss" model. The idea behind this model is to decide on the best course of action to limit losses. Although you have to spend money to sell your property and although you may not have much left over after you sell it, it may still be the best course of action to take if your property is forecast to lose more value in the coming years.

Many investors think that a loss is not "realised" until they sell. That can be misleading. If your property has gone down in value, then you have incurred a loss regardless of whether it has been "realised" or not. Holding it doesn't avoid the loss, it merely delays the realisation.

No decision you can make now will alter the past. The decision you make now is only relevant for the future. What's important, is where the property will go in the future. What decision can you make now to improve your net position of the future?

Sell or Hold tries to find alternative markets that will outperform your current property. If the forecast growth, rental income and expenses for the alternative property are larger than the forecasts for your current property and by an amount that exceeds the recycling costs, then you'll be in a better position at the end of that forecast period (if the forecast comes true). If you started in a negative net position, you may still be in a negative net position. But if that negative net position is less than where you started, then you'll be better off.

Are the growth forecasts accurate?

The growth forecasts are based on an algorithm called the Demand to Supply Ratio (DSR). You can watch the following video to see if you think the DSR can forecast future growth accurately. 

About your account

Do I need a Facebook, Linked In or Google account?

Yes, you need at least one. You can choose which one. You login via that social media. That social media authenticates your credentials. We don't. This makes it easier for you to remember your login details. You only need to remember which social media you chose when you signed up, you don't need to remember another password.

If you don't have an account with one of these social media platforms, you can easily create a Google account. There is a link you can click towards the bottom of the Sign-in page. This will take you to Google and allow you to enter details for your new Google account.

How do I change the social media I use to login to my account?

It's possible you may close an account with a particular social media platform. If you used that social media platform to login to Sell or Hold, that platform can no longer be used to login to Sell or Hold.

But Sell or Hold will still maintain a copy of the email address you registered with that social media platform. All you need to do is ensure that the new social media platform you choose to login to Sell or Hold via, has a record of the same email address. If it is a different email address, a new Sell or Hold account will be created and any properties you added to your original account will not appear in the My Properties page.

How do I reset my password?

Sell or Hold does not have your password. Your password is recorded with your chosen social media platform. You will need to contact your chosen social media platform to have your password with them reset.

How do I change my email address?

You will need to contact the social media platform you use to login to Sell or Hold. Follow their instructions on how to change your email address. The email address Sell or Hold has on record for you will be automatically updated next time you login using the same social media platform.

Note that you should login to Sell or Hold soon after changing your email address. Sell or Hold will still have your old email address on record until you next login. If there is some correspondence Sell or Hold needs to email to you, it might not reach you if it is sent after you changed you email address, but before you next logged in to Sell or Hold.

About your list of properties​​​​​​​

Is a townhouse a house or a unit?

Sell or Hold considers townhouses with more than 2 bedrooms to be houses. A townhouse with less than 3 bedrooms is considered a unit. If your property is a townhouse and has more than two bedrooms, select House in the Check Market page.

How do I delete a property?

Once a property has been added to your list in the My Properties page it cannot be deleted. If this is a nuisance, contact us and we'll add a "property delete" feature to the website.

Where did all my properties go?

If you can't see any properties on the My Properties page and you're sure you added one previously, you've probably logged in via a different social media platform to the one you logged in when you first added a property.

Sell or Hold identifies who you are by your email address. If you updated your email address with your chosen social media platform, Sell or Hold will not know about this update and will assume you're a new member. When you login, a new account will be auto-created.

It's also possible that you have multiple accounts with the same social media platform. You may have mistakenly logged in using a different account. If the different account has a different email address, then Sell or Hold will assume you're a new member and will auto-create a new account.

How do I change the street address/name of a property?

You can change the street address of a property in the Property Details page. From the My Properties page, click on the link to edit or view the property. It will appear in the Property Details page. Click on the street address of the property and it will turn into an editable field. To save your change, simply tab out or click somewhere else on the page.

How do I change the suburb of a property?

You cannot change the suburb in which your property resides once you have created it. If you chose the wrong suburb, create a new property and select the correct suburb.

How do I change a property from units to houses or vice-versa?

You cannot change the property type once you have created a property. If you chose the wrong property type, create a new property and select the correct property type.

About payments​​​​​​​

What's included in the price?

After investing thousands of "man hours" and hundreds of thousands of dollars since 2010 to refine the predictive forecast capabilities used in the Sell or Hold platform, we are proud to bring to market a very affordable alternative for property owners. Instead of potentially paying thousands of dollars for a professional analyst to perform this reporting work, property investors and home owners are able to support one of their most expensive life decisions at only a fraction of the price.

Building & Pest inspections and Depreciation Reports, which generally range in cost from $400 – $1000 each, help the owner to save in the range of thousands to tens of thousands of dollars for their fee. Access to the Sell or Hold Assessments for an existing property is priced at the lower end of this range. The benefits start in the tens of thousands and go up to potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars. You can run unlimited assessment reports, using that month’s data, comparing your existing property against identified alternative markets that show a potentially superior return on your investment.

We have also taken the time to evaluate numerous questionnaires asking what owners would consider to be a fair and reasonable price for this service. And we are very pleased to report that our current price is below the average.

What's included:

   - A guided fact-find to estimate the cost of selling & buying elsewhere
   - Automated scanning of tens of thousands of potentially better markets
   - Browse alternative markets and run multiple reports on each
   - Growth forecasts for both current and replacement investments
   - Analysis of break-even point when you'll be better off (if selling)
   - Full report on your situation, our forecasts, suggestions and next steps
   - Insightful market data as of the month of payment

When do I pay?

The service is free up until a point. You can add as many properties to your list as you like. You enter details for each one, such as the current value, rental income, expenses, etc. Once you have completed this data entry for a property, the next step is to get a list of potential alternative markets. You must pay prior to seeing this list.

Once you have paid, you can update your property's details, see multiple alternative market lists and generate multiple reports without having to pay again. However, the data the list of alternatives is based on and the data the generated report is based on, will only be for the month that was current at the time of payment. If you continue to run different scenarios for months into the future, they will all be based on data that was current at the month of payment.

Do I make recurring payments?

No. There are no recurring payments. You make a one-off payment for each property you want to perform a sell or hold analysis on.

However, you may want to get fresh market data from time to time if you are keeping your eye on your property over an extended period. Acquiring up to date market data will require an additional payment. You pay for this when you need it. There is no recurring payment.

How do I get up to date data?

If many months have passed since you first made payment for a property analysis, you may want fresh up to date market data. You will need to make an additional payment for this. Note that market data is updated monthly, usually a week into the new month. You will only be presented with the opportunity to pay for up to date market data when you next list alternative markets and when that data is available. You will not be offered the chance to make an additional payment if the current data being used in your analysis is still the latest month's data.

About your property details​​​​​​​

How do I change the street address/name of a property?

You can change the street address of a property in the Property Details page. From the My Properties page, click on the link to edit or view the property. It will appear in the Property Details page. Click on the street address of the property and it will turn into an editable field. To save your change, simply tab out or click somewhere else on the page.

How do I know what values to enter?

You can hover your mouse over the information icon to the right of each field's label. This will give a one-liner explanation. At the end of the one-line is a "more..." link. Click on this link and a new page will appear in your browser with more details about this field. These details should include instructions on where you can find the relevant data and how important the field is to calculations.

How come there are already values in some fields?

Some fields are defaulted by the system. This means values are automatically entered into fields by the system before you even start editing a property. This saves you time if you think the default value is close enough to the true value. You can always overwrite defaults with  more precise figures for greater accuracy.

Why can't I edit some fields?

Some fields are read-only. You cannot edit these fields, they are calculated for you.

To change the value of an un-editable field, you will need to change the values in fields that it is dependent on. For example, the 'Gross rental yield' is dependent on the 'Current property value' and the 'Rental income per annum'. Change the 'Current property value' and you'll trigger a recalculation of the 'Gross rental yield'.

Do I need to fill in every field on the Property Details page?

No. Not all fields are mandatory. Each field has a help icon you can click on to get some idea about the field. The tool-tip for each field will contain a link to a section on one of our help pages that explains all fields in detail. Each field explanation will describe how important the field's value is in determining the sell or hold recommendation.

What do symbols/icons next to each field mean?

An entry box or field may have a red or orange symbol next to it. A red asterisk/dot means the field is mandatory, you must enter a value before you can proceed to the next step. Any red symbols must be resolved before you can proceed to the next step in your analysis of your property.

An orange symbol is a warning. It can be ignored but you should at least check what it has to say. These appear when unsual values have been entered. It doesn't mean your value is wrong, it just means you should check it.

What if my property is my home, not a rental?

To get the system to assess your home as if it was a rental property, you will need to do 3 things:

1) Estimate the weekly rent. You can look for similar properties in close proximity to your property among the real estate rental websites to guesstimate what rental income might be. You'll get a more accurate idea if you were to ask a local property manager for their opinion.

2) You will need to estimate a few expenses too, like: management fees, insurance, council rates, etc. The system will default many of these for you.

3) The last thing you will need to do is set the capital gains tax discount to 100%. This means you're telling the system that you will not be paying capital gains tax if you decide to sell. Tax law states that if you sell your home, you will not need to pay capital gains tax. But check with your accountant to be sure if you believe your circumstance is peculiar.

Why is the replacement property so expensive?

You may have a lot of equity in your current investment property that has built up over time. This is the difference between the value and the amount still owing on it.

The property may have been purchased 10 years ago for $300,000 and not it is worth $600,000. During that time you may have paid down the mortgage to $200,000. This would leave you with equity totalling $400,000.

If you were to sell the property, you would have to pay capital gains tax and a selling agent a commission. But you may end up with $300,000 after tax. This would go towards the purchase of a replacement property.

With an 80% loan to value ratio, $300,000 could buy you a property worth well over a million dollars - if you could afford to borrow that much. If you know your borrowing capacity is lower, enter the maximum amount you can borrow in the Borrowing Capacity field. This will bring down the price range of the potential replacement property.

Alternatively, you could preserve some of the available equity. This could be used to renovate for example, or it can simply be held in an offset account to reduce interest expense.

About alternative markets​​​​​​​

What is in the 'Value' column in the 'Current Market Table' on the Alternatives page?

The Alternatives page contains a 'Current Market' table that has a 'Value' column. This is the value of your current investment property. The value that appears in this column was entered in the 'Current property value' field of the Property Details page. The value entered in that field should reflect what the property would sell for right now.

What is DSR?

DSR stands for Demand to Supply Ratio. It is an algorithm that measures the level of demand with respect to supply for property markets around Australia.

Supply and demand are the sole dictators of price growth for any commodity or service. Property is no different. If demand for property exceeds supply, then prices for property will rise. The DSR is used to gauge the capital growth potential for property markets based on their supply and demand characteristics.

The DSR is a score between zero and 100. The closer the score is to 100, the more potential there is for capital growth. The closer the score is to zero, the more chance there is of negative growth. A score close to 50 means the market is in balance and capital growth should be close to zero.

The DSR measures the current balance between supply and demand. If there is a state of imbalance, it will not last forever. Eventually, the market will re-balance. The DSR is therefore a short-term indicator of the direction in which prices will move and how quickly. It is not a long-term predictor of capital growth.

The DSR is most accurate in predticting growth over short periods into the not too distant future. The smaller the period of interest, the more accurate is the prediction. Predictions beyond about 3 years start to lose accuracy.

What is reliability?

Reliability, or Statistical Reliability as it is sometimes referred to, is the level of reliability calculated for the DSR. Like the DSR, it is also a score out of 100.

Not every suburb around Australia has the same amount of data available. Some data can be patchy or volatile especially for thinly traded markets. The DSR is rated in terms of its reliability using a number of considerations such as:

  • Volume of transactions or size of the market
  • Volatility of the values in prior months
  • Consistency among the same values provided from different sources

Rather than have a simple pass or fail mark to determine whether a DSR is reliable enough or not, it is given a reliability score out of 100. This allows investors to gauge the level of confidence there is in the DSR.

As a general rule the reliability should be over 50 to have some degree of confidence in the DSR. The higher the reliability, the better.

What are Historical Cases?

When trying to forecast the capital growth for a property market, the DSR is used. The DSR for a property market is a score for the potential for growth over the next few years. But it doesn't give a precise figure for the amount of growth.

To calculate the amount of growth, we look at prior cases where similar property markets had the same DSR. We look at the growth those markets had and calculate a kind of average.

Since most property markets are in a state of balance, the DSR for them is usually around the 50 mark out of 100. There have been literally tens of thousands of cases like this in the past over many years.

However, some markets are quite different. They may have a very high or very low DSR. These are the edge cases. There have been very few of these in the past. This small sample size makes predictions of future growth less reliable.

The count of historical cases is often shown to highlight how reliable a growth prediction is likely to be.

Note that every month there will be more and more cases added to the history, thus improving the accuracy of predicting capital growth for a specific DSR.

What is Yield?

The yield for an investment property is the level of rental income being received compared with the value of the property. It is expressed as the percentage of the property's value received in gross income each year.

For example, if a property receives $500 per week, then over 52 weeks, it would accumulate a total of $26,000. If the property was worth $600,000 then the yield would be 4.33% which is calculated as: 26000 divided by 600000 = 0.0433333 which as a percentage is roughly 4.33%.

Higher yielding properties are great for investors who have tight cash-flow. Paying mortgage interest and other expenses for a property usually means the property is running at a cash-flow loss, i.e. it is negatively geared. Investors can only own so many negatively geared properties before they are no longer able to fund the cash-flow shortfall with their surplus personal income. This is why many investors go in hunt of cash-flow positive properties.

What are post-tax sale proceeds?

When an investor sells their property, they receive money from the buyer. But from that money the lender needs to be paid back any outstanding mortgage amount.

There are also other costs that need to be paid that are known as "exit costs":

  • Capital gains tax
  • Selling agent's commission
  • Legal fees

The sale price of the property minus the outstanding mortgage amount minus all the exit costs will leave an amount called the post-tax sale proceeds. This is the amount of money left over after paying capital gains tax (if applicable).

If an investor is selling their current property to buy an alternative one, the post-tax sale proceeds will be the funds they use to pay for the deposit and all other entry costs for the new property. Entry costs include:

  • Stamp duty
  • Legal fees
  • Inspections such as building and pest or strata reports​​​​​​​

What is 3 year net position?
The 3 year net position is the sum of the following for an investment property:

  • Capital growth; plus
  • Rental income; minus
  • Expenses

It is the net gain in wealth that the property delivers over the next 3 years.

The capital growth over those 3 years is forecast based on the demand and supply characteristics of the market in which the property resides. A forecast for rental growth is also factored in as is an estimate for future expenses.

The 3 year net position is the increase or improvement in an owner's financial situation brought about by owning the property. Note that it is not the final value of the property after 3 years - it is a forecast of the amount of wealth created by the property in the next 3 years.

What is 3 year better off by?
The 3 year better off by figure is an estimate of the amount in dollars by which you're forecast to be better off by in 3 years time if you were to replace your existing property with a specific alternative. In other words, it is the estimated amount in dollars by which the alternative is forecast to outperform the current property. 

The figure is calculated by running through a scenario of selling your existing property and buying an altenative. The current property value, outstanding loan amount, agent's commission, capital gains tax and all other selling costs are considered to calculate the post-tax sale proceeds. This gives an initial target price of the alternative property.

This target price is further refined to take into consideration entry costs such as: stamp duty, legal fees and inspection costs. All alternatives have been chosen because they fit within this target price range.

The capital growth, rental income and expenses for the alternative property are estimated for 3 years into the future using the demand and supply characteristics of that market. The same is done for the current property. The total net wealth created for each property is then compared to see which would have been a better choice - holding the existing property or selling it to buy the alternative.

If the alternative property is forecast to putperform the current property, then the "3 year better off by" will be positive. If the "3 year better off by" is negative, then it means the current investment property is forecast to outperform the alternative.

What is ROE?

ROE stands for Return on Equity. The ROE is calculated as the percentage of wealth created over the period of analysis which is 3 years. It's the net position after 3 years divided by the amount of equity in the property.

For example, if the property is worth $500,000 and the loan outstanding is $350,000 then there is $150,000 worth of equity in the property. If the 3 year net position is forecast to be $100,000 then the ROE would be calculated as 100000 divided by 150000 = 0.666667 or 67%.

The ROE is a measure of how hard your equity is forecast to work for you. The higher the ROE, the better the forecast.

Note that if you have a high loan to value ratio, your equity is working harder because of the higher leveraging rate. If, however, you've built up a lot of equity in a property, although it is a good thing from a cash-flow perspective, your equity may not be creating you wealth at its full potential.

ROE figures appear on the Alternatives Report page. They appear in 3 tables:

  1. Current Market
  2. Comparison Market
  3. Alternatives

If you want to have your equity working harder for you, you might like to sort the rows in the Alternatives table by ROE from highest to lowest. Then pick a market from near the top of the list. Compare this market's forecast ROE with the forecast ROE of your current property.

What is the Rank?

The Rank appears on the Alternatives Report page amongst the columns of two tables:

  1. Comparison Market
  2. Alternatives

The Alternatives table contains a list of alternative property markets that could be suitable replacement property markets for your current investment. The list is limited to the top 100 property markets within the price range applicable for the estimated post-tax sale proceeds. The list is also limited to only include those property markets with sufficient statistical reliability.

The list of suitable alternative markets is sorted by '3 year better off by' from highest to lowest. This is the default sort order. It can be changed by clicking on the sort icon next to each column header. Subsequent clicks on the same icon will reverse the order.

One of the alternative markets has been selected to be the Comparison Market. The details of the comparison market appear in the Comparison Market table above the list of Alternatives.

The initial comparison market when first entering the Alternatives Report is chosen by Sell or Hold automatically. It is a balance between forecast growth potential (DSR) and historical cases.

The Rank columns shows where the Comparison market sits in this sort order with respect to all the other alternative markets.

What is the Median?

The median is a statistical term for the middle figure in a set when that set is ordered. It is used in property to try and represent the typical value for properties in a market.

If 5 properties sell during a month with different sale prices they might appear in order as follows:

  1. $424,000
  2. $489,000
  3. $500,000
  4. $505,000
  5. $550,000

In this case, the median would be $500,000. If there is an even number of sales, the average of the two middle numbers is taken to be the median.

The median is sometimes misleading since it can depend on what is selling for the month. If only cheap properties sell for the month, the median may not represent the true value of properties in that market.

The Median appears on the Alternatives Report page amongst the columns of two tables:

  1. Comparison Market
  2. Alternatives

The median in these tables is the median for the market appearing in the same row.

What are Spare Funds?

Spare Funds appears on the Alternatives Report page amongst the columns of two tables:

  1. Comparison Market
  2. Alternatives

The spare funds in these tables is the amount of money left over from the post-tax sale proceeds after they have been allocated to buying a replacement property from the alternative market in the same row.

An alternative property of a certain value will require a deposit and entry costs. After taking out the deposit and entry costs, there may be some money left over. These are the estimated Spare Funds.

Entry costs typically consist of:

  • Stamp duty
  • Legal fees
  • Inspection costs such as building and pest or a strata report

The Sell-or-Hold model will allocate any spare funds available after a replacement purchase to the new property's offset account. The interest rate is assumed to be the same as the current property's interest rate. The interest expense calculated for each month of future ownership of the new property will be decreased according to the amount of spare funds and the interest rate of the new loan.

When choosing a potential replacement market from the list of Alternatives, you may value having more left over funds for emergencies. If this is a high priority for you, order the alternative markets in the table by clicking on the sort icon in the Spare Funds column header. The sorting reverses for each subsequent click.

Once you've sorted alternative markets from highest to lowest by Spare Funds, you can then select a market near the top of the list. This will make Spare Funds a priority for you. It typically means the property market targeted will be cheaper leaving more left over after purchase.

However, this is not always the case. Some states charge more for stamp duty than other states for the same priced property. You may find cases where the spare funds are higher for a property market that is more expensive than a similarly priced market in another state. Check the state government duties for details.

What are State Government Duties?

When buying a property, you must pay the state government in which that property resides varies fees and duties. These are commonly referred to as "Stamp duty".

These fees appear in the State Government Duties table on the Alternatives Report page. The fees and duties shown are the for select Comparison Market. You can select a different comparison market from the list of Aternatives.

There are usually only two parameter that determine the total cost of state government duties:

  1. The sale price of the property to be purchased
  2. The state in which the property to be purchased resides

​​​​​​​The more expensive the property is, the more expensive the state government duties will become. Depending on price, some states can be a lot cheaper than others.

About reports​​​​​​​

How do you forecast capital growth?

Capital growth happens when demand exceeds supply, it is a fundamental law of economics. Capital growth is forecast by gauging the relative difference between supply and demand in a property market.

Demand is measured by metrics such as: ​​​​​​ auction clearance rates; speed at which properties sell; average price discounting; and many more. Supply is measured using: the percentage of stock on market; and the proportion of renters to owner-occupiers.

About 20 metrics are combined to score the level of demand relative to supply for a property market. This is a figure out of 100, called the Demand to Supply Ratio (DSR).

Historical growth rates for property markets with specific DSRs of the past are examined to estimate the capital growth rate for the future. If a certain level of imbalance between supply and demand in the past resulted in 8% p.a. growth, then there is good reason to believe that a similar level of supply and demand right now will have similar growth rates.

The more historical cases of DSR values, the more reliability can be placed on the estimated growth. Very rare DSR scores will have less reliable growth rate forecasts.

Note that this method cannot forecast accurately for many years into the future. However, as a short-term predictor, the DSR has proven to be far more reliable than the highest profile property investment experts. More data is being obtained every year and forecasting is being continually improved.

To read more about the DSR, visit its source:

How do I save my report to disk?

You do not need to save your report to disk. You can login again and view the report in the future. However, if you pay for up to date market data, you will only see the fresh data, not how the report looked when you first generated it.

Note that you can generate multiple reports. You can view these side by side in your browser to compare them. You do not have to save them to disk.

Depending on the type of web browser you're using, it may be possible to save the page as PDF. Google chrome and Firefox allow you to save web pages as PDF. Try printing the page and see what options appear in your browser.

You can also save a web page to disk as a HTML file. On Windows devices a Ctrl-S will open a dialogue to save the web page to disk.

Why does my report look completely different now?

Your report may look different for any one of the following reasons:

  1. You may have accidentally selected a different property
  2. You may have changed numeric details about your property. In some cases this may even change the type of the report generated.
  3. You may have paid to get fresh market data which might change the report details
  4. We may have updated the style, content or calculations in the report to improve it

Did we miss something? Send an email to and we will get back to you as soon as possible.