7 Ways to Add Value to Your Investment Property


In Sydney’s current rental market the competition for tenants is heating up!

According to the Domain’s latest quarterly rental report, residential rental prices in some parts of Sydney have fallen by almost 10 percent in the last year. This is creating a unique opportunity for quality tenants to shop around. Here’s how to beat the competition and minimise your property’s vacancy time by keeping your investment property at the top of their shopping list.

A fantastic tenant is the most valuable addition you can have for your property, and here are 7 cost effective ways to beat the competition, and add more value to your investment:

1. First Impressions

If your investment is a house then first impressions start on the street. Improve your street appeal by keeping the front façade clean and free of clutter. Gardens need to be manicured and pavements clean. Fences should be in good order and maintained with a new coat of paint if necessary. In the case of an apartment the entrance will be what new tenants judge first. Doors, screens and light fittings should all be in good working order, clean and without any signs of damage. Be sure to make regular contact with your managing strata agency in order to ensure common areas are maintained to a high standard.

2. Bathrooms Renovations

Small alterations to your bathroom and kitchen can make a huge difference to the style and feel of the property. You don’t have to do major works to successfully update these rooms either. Re-grouting tiles, replacing fixtures such as taps, spouts, towel rails and toilet seats will make an impact. When choosing new fixtures chrome is time proven to look the cleanest and most effective. Modern light fittings with clear white lights will contribute to a cleaner ‘new’ feel as well.

3. Heating and Cooling

If your property has a tendency to be either too hot or too cold during the year, you could run the risk of losing a great tenant and have a constant run of short term renters. Unbearable summer heat or energy consuming heaters can be deal breakers. Consider offering solutions such as split cycle air conditioning, ceiling fans, block out blinds or window insulation. Ceiling insulation can reduce energy consumption by up to 45% and assist with large gaps or drafts. Suitable heating and cooling is a real drawcard that will undoubtedly increase value.

4. Flooring

The choice of flooring can make a big impact on the look and feel of a property. Whether you have carpet, timber or tiles; good quality flooring and in great condition is an absolute must. Carpet does not last forever in fact most have a lifespan of 7-15 years. Don’t wait for your carpet to become shabby before replacing or it might become the seed for your tenant to relocate. Timber flooring will need attention occasionally to look buffed and polished as dull floorboards covered in scratches or marks gives a neglected feel and will take value from the entire room/property.

5. Window Finishes

Clean, spotless windows create a great impression of a neat, tidy and well maintained property. Consider window finishes if there is a need for privacy or shade. The right blinds will control the light, provide privacy, increase insulation and make a visual impact. Ensure each window has the appropriate security in place and consider well fitted flyscreens on some windows.

6. Garden and Outdoor Areas

Every home with an outdoor area can be sculpted into an open air extension of the home. For new lawns the use of buffalo grass is recommended for its weed resistance and slow growing properties. Think attractive and low maintenance as a rule of thumb for outdoor garden areas. Whether it be a large backyard, small courtyard or balcony, a simple design will keep these areas looking neat and tidy for longer making it easy for a tenant to look after. A superb tenant may not always have a green thumb!

7. Security

According to statistics break-ins occur every 3 minutes in Australia. Basic security measures are vital to your household and property. To know more about what security and safety issues are essential, check out the Fair Trading website here.

Using some of the tips above will help you to attract a great tenant, fast, and it will create value for your property. Of course there are many other factors that will influence time on market, such as your asking price, so feel free to read our blog ‘Setting an Asking Price, The First Step in Marketing’.

Send us an email and we will send you a copy of the book “The Landlord Mindset: 7 Keys to Buying and Managing Residential Investment Property”

The Perfect Open for Inspection


Is your rental property ready for business?

Whether it’s an open-home inspection or by appointment, to be successful requires planning and preparation.  How’s we conduct the perfect inspection. Early planning is crucial.

1. With or without tenants?

You are entitled to show the property to potential tenants prior to the current tenant moving out, in NSW two weeks written notice must be given to the tenant before the first and subsequent inspections are organised.

When the market is strong, we can often find a tenant to move in straight after the old tenant has vacated. However, it’s best to allow a little time to make any repairs or upgrades that may be necessary.

The main risk of hosting inspections in a tenanted property is that you don’t have much control over the presentation. Even with the best tenants however, there might be stacks of packing boxes scattered which may make the property look smaller and cluttered.

If the tenant is breaking the lease you can expect their cooperation. They won’t be able to vacate until a new tenant is found, so, it’s in their best interest as much as yours to find a new tenant quickly.

When showing the property with the current tenant still occupying, we try to arrange private appointments. This gives us time to to explain any awkward situations and also addresses the issue of security, as we are better able to look after the tenants belongings.

2. Open house or by appointment?

In the case of a vacant property, there are many advantages to having an open-house inspection.

Most tenants actually like the simplicity of just showing up without having to call an agent or owner to arrange an appointment. Additionally, having a number of interested tenants in the property at the same time will also create a sense of urgency. This is the main reason why we restrict inspection times to fifteen or twenty minutes – to make the inspection look busy.

With private appointments, we can give a more personalised tour, taking time to highlight all the best features.

3. First impressions

You only get one chance at a first impression.

We like arrive early and prepare the property to its best advantage.

* Open curtains, blinds, windows and doors to freshen the property. Use curtains and blinds to your advantage to soften less-desirable outlooks while letting in as much light as possible.

* Switch all lights on, even in rooms that may not need it; people love light. In the kitchen, turn on the range- hood light and bench-top lighting. Use lamps to create mood lighting where possible.

* Ensure sinks and basins are clean and clear of any residual water.

* In winter we’ll try to have the heating on and in summer the air-conditioner, to level out any extremes.

* Turn on outdoor spas, fountains and garden lights.

* Blend some essential oils to create a calming fragrance, such as lavender and bergamot.

We are now ready to host a perfect inspection.

About Us

George Astudillo is the founder of Property Quarters, an agency that values communication and great relationships with its landlords.

George now has more than 30 years in real estate, including 15 years as the owner of a national real estate franchise. He’s also an accredited auctioneer and is the author of “The Landlord Mindset”, a book with his best tips to help landlords look after their investments. His book has been quoted in the SMH, The Huffington Post and The Age.

As the founder of Property Quarters, George takes great care in looking after his landlord’s investments. Having seen it all and worked with may landlords and tenants, he’s a strong mediator and negotiator and knows how to navigate through property legislation.

George is trusted by his landlords to advise on the financial management of their investments. He’s put in place proven processes to ensure each property he looks after is managed effectively to retain its value, quality tenants and rental income.

If you’re looking for a property manager who thinks like a landlord and whose business is built on tested processes, contact us by clicking HERE.

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Copyright © 2016, www.propertyquarters.com.au

Setting an Asking Price- The First Step in Marketing


Mortgage Calculations Image

Where do you start when marketing your investment property?

The answer is- setting a rental price.

In our previous blog we discussed ‘Marketing Your Rental Property- The 5 Essentials’ now we will start at the beginning. It is important to get your initial asking price right as the wrong thinking and strategy could lead to lengthy vacancies subsequently affecting your bottom line.

Market value is the price a tenant is prepared to pay a landlord under normal conditions at a given time. What that means is that, from a field of possible properties to choose from, the tenant will decide which one represents, to them, the most appropriate home and the best value.

There are many factors that can influence the rental price, but the two main ones are supply (how many properties are available) and demand (how many tenants are available) at this particular moment.

If there are more tenants looking to rent than there are properties, they will compete with each other, pushing prices up. On the other hand, if there are more properties available than there are tenants, the landlords compete, pushing prices down.

The relationship between supply and demand for rental properties can be estimated by knowing the vacancy rate. The vacancy rate indicates the percentage of investment properties that are currently vacant. Each area has a different vacancy rate, and each area has a different method of interpreting the vacancy rate.

For example, Sydney vacancy generally hovers around one to three per cent. The lower the vacancy rate, the tighter the market and the stronger the rental prices. At vacancy rates below one per cent, tenants become desperate and start offering more than the asking price to secure a property.

In other areas, a vacancy rate of eight to ten per cent might be considered normal. Check out the vacancy rates in your area, as this is the first indicator of how strong the rental market is at the moment.

Keep in mind that, like buying, renting has seasons as well. Generally, the closer to Christmas, the fewer tenants will be looking. This starts to become noticeable in November, but December is traditionally very quiet. On the other hand, beachside properties are more desirable in summer and become quiet in winter.

 

Research

Once again, it’s time to research. There’s a number of resources that be very helpful in giving you an idea of current prices. Companies such as Australian Property Monitors and CoreLogic RP Data can provide information on properties that have been leased in your area.

It’s also helpful to know which properties you will be competing with. While tenants start their search sorting properties by price and location, it’s quality and cleanliness that will determine value leading to their ultimate choice.

Look on domain.com.au or realestate.com.au for a list of what is available. However, to get a real feel for comparable properties, you need to take the time to inspect them.

Finally, keep in mind that your expenses have no bearing on what a tenant will be willing to pay. This is a trap many investors set for themselves – needing a certain rental to cover their costs. Eventually, they either get lucky, which is rare, or lose months of rent.

Pricing strategy

Once you have a feel for price, an effective strategy is to start at slightly higher than the market rate and be ready to move down quickly if necessary. Being slightly above the market gives you the opportunity to get a premium rent if it’s out there, but be ready to listen to the market and act quickly if it’s not.

Renting a property is different to selling your home. When selling, it pays to wait for the best price you can negotiate, even if that may take a little while. After all, you only get one chance. With renting, every week the property is empty is costing you money in lost income.

Chasing a few extra dollars in weekly rent makes no sense if you are losing thirty times that every week in lost rent. The longer the property is vacant, the less money you will make. Sometimes, accepting a lower rent, particularly to secure great tenants, is the wise move.

 

Want to know what you property could rent for in today’s current market? Obligation and cost free, call George from Property Quarters on 0412 330 588 for a detailed report on the rental market in your area and where your property fits in. Alternatively you can leave a message here and someone will be in touch with you.

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Marketing Your Rental Property – The 5 Essentials


Laptop property search

Marketing is how you let potential tenants know your property is available.

The goal of marketing is to attract the right tenant that would love to rent your property. Ideally, we would like to see more than one tenant apply for the property, as this will give you choice.

Once you have decided on the asking price it’s time to begin marketing. So where do you start?

Here are 5 points to consider:

1. Disclosure
While rules on disclosure vary from state to state, it is important to make sure you are not knowingly making any misleading or deceptive statements or promises. You need to disclose the following,

  • Any repairs that are needing to be made after the tenant moves in.
  • Whether you intend to sell the property and have prepared a contract in readiness. This is necessary in some states.
  • Any material facts: This includes whether the property is prone to bushfire, flooding, health risks such as lead paint or asbestos on the premises and any violent crimes that may have occurred.

Your marketing must not state or imply that you wish to exclude possible tenants (either directly or indirectly) because of their: Race, sex, pregnancy, disability, sexuality, sexual preference, or age.

2. Copywriting
Good copywriting is an art. Using words to describe a property that are accurate and enticing is not easy. Tenants are looking for lifestyle, so start by converting the physical features of the property into word pictures that have feeling.

  • ‘Glorious, light-filled rooms’
  • ‘Sparkling kitchen and bathrooms’
  • ‘Beautifully-proportioned bedrooms’
  • ‘Outdoor area perfect for entertaining’

The challenge is not to sound repetitive or dull.

It’s a balancing act of giving the necessary information without going over the top or being misleading. Nothing is more upsetting to potential tenants than taking the time to inspect a property and then being disappointed by inaccuracies in the marketing. If you advertise harbour views or glimpses, make sure they are easily viewed or glimpsed.

3. Photography
A picture paints a thousand words, so what are your photos saying about your property?

Photography is playing a larger role in real estate rentals. Have a quick look at some property websites to see what you’re up against. Start with the Sales sections – you’ll quickly see that professional-looking photos make a property look amazing. Then look through the rentals.

Many tenants don’t even read the description; they judge the property from the images. How do you want your property to appear on a big screen?

The limitation on a typical digital camera is the focal length of the lens. A wide angle lens will let you fit more of the scene into the frame. This is critical with internal photography, as you are often limited with space to manoeuvre.

Good, professional looking photos make a significant impact on the success of your marketing.

For tips on taking excellent real estate photography see our previous blog “7 Tips For Great Real Estate Photography”.

4. Floorplan
Floorplans have been used in selling real estate for many years. From a rental perspective, a floorplan is an easy way to differentiate your property from the competition and provides a very effective memory jogger for potential tenants of how the property flows.

They are a useful tool that tenants can take home to imagine and plan the placement of furniture. By doing this, the tenant starts the process of mentally moving into the property.

5. Advertising
Once you have your marketing materials in place, the next decision is how you will advertise your property.

The Internet has become the place to look for rental property, now well surpassing print media publications. The largest two Australian websites are realestate.com.au and domain.com.au. These two represent the bulk of property in Australia, both in sales and rentals, and are the first places that tenants look. These two websites have convenient smart phone applications that are used by the majority of those routinely looking for a rental.

The first few weeks of marketing is vital and every week your investment is vacant counts as lost rent. By following the right steps you can rest assured knowing you will have the right tenant in no time.

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Copyright © 2018, www.propertyquarters.com.au

7 Tips for Great Real Estate Photography


Real Estate Photography

If a picture paints a thousand words, what do you want your photos to say about your property?

Bad real estate photography is everywhere, in fact there are blogs and Facebook pages that are dedicated to the subject. Although these are funny, we don’t want potential tenants laughing at our property.

So, what do we need to ‘focus on’ to get it right?

1. Less is more
Just because there are rooms in the house doesn’t mean you need to take a photo of all of them. Some are just too difficult to capture. A photo of a corner only says the room is too small. If the result is less than flattering, leave it out.

2. Keep it real
Nothing upsets potential tenants more than unrealistic photos. If you intend to use a view shot, make sure it is easily seen from the property. If you need binoculars or need to lean out of the bathroom window to see the same view, you will lose credibility as a landlord. And the same goes for using props to hide faults, either fix the problem or don’t take a photo of it.

3. Quality equipment
Many of the poor photos on the internet come from cheap cameras or even iphones. To take good quality photos you need good quality equipment. The bare minimum would be a good digital camera, wide angle lens for interiors, a decent add-on flash unit and a stable tripod.

4. Stay straight
When using a wide angle lens, it easy to end up with distorted images. Make sure you are holding the camera straight and that it is level. Tripods which include a spirit level are very handy.

5. Attention to detail
Look around and take an inventory of what the camera will see and record. Check what may need to be removed from the scene. In kitchens particularly, you may need to declutter by removing tea towels, dish washing detergents, cleaning brushes etc. Also check that blinds are all level and open for the best light. Bathrooms should be entirely clear.

6. Timing
Natural light is very sought after in a property. Choose a time of day that works for the property. This is particularly important for the exterior photos as you want the sun behind the camera and shining on the property. Photos taken just before dusk can be difficult to time but can also be very rewarding for the right property.

7. Photoshop
Only process the images to crop and tidy, and remember point two above, keep it real. There are big penalties for misleading consumers, be aware of the restrictions such as removing objects from pictures such as power lines and unsightly electricity boxes. For more information on rules and regulations see The Department of Fair Tradings Advertising Guidelines.

Real estate marketing focuses on images. Potential tenants want to see the main features of the property and want to be impressed. Quality photography together with a well written description can create a vision of a lifestyle that will appeal to the right tenant.

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Copyright © 2018, www.propertyquarters.com.au