7 New Years Resolutions for your Investment Property


With 2019 fast approaching now is the time to be thinking of the goals you’d like to achieve for the management of your investment property, to ensure that your investment will continue to provide a sustainable, consistent and trouble free income for years to come.

An investment property requires advanced planning and follow through. Creating a list of New Year’s resolutions before the start of the new year can ensure that you have confidence, a systemised approach and the right mindset to grow your asset.

Here is a checklist for you to get started when preparing for a successful 2019.

1. Insurance

Landlord insurance is your investment property safety net. You should be asking yourself ‘Do I have the appropriate cover?’ and ‘Am I making the most out of what I pay for?’. There are also different types of cover depending on whether you have an agent or manage the property yourself. Take the time to review what you have. For more on Landlord Insurance see our previous blog ‘Landlord Insurance- Manage Your Risk’.

2. Smoke Alarms

As a landlord you are legally required to have met the obligations for the installation and maintenance of smoke alarms in your property. Many smoke alarm companies will offer unlimited servicing programs to provide peace of mind knowing your tenants and property are protected. Make sure all your bases are covered. New reforms to the tenancies act coming next year will mean you, as the landlord, will be fully responsible to make sure smoke alarms are operational.

3. Mortgage review

Keep your investment tailored to your budget and working in your best interests by regularly reviewing your home loan. If you haven’t reviewed your current interest rate in the last few years, you may be paying too much interest. It’s easy to let the finer details of your mortgage fall by the wayside but by keeping an eye on the market you may just come across a great deal. Sign up to a comparison website or ask a mortgage broker for advice.

4. Rent review

The new reforms to legislation will mean rent increases may only be implemented once in a twelve month period. Schedule your rent review date a few months in advance to coincide with a routine inspection. At Property Quarters we conduct regular rent reviews and keep an eye on market changes to ensure your property is keeping pace. See our blog ‘Rent Reviews- 5 points to Consider’.

5. Property Maintenance

One of the most nagging of New Year’s Resolutions, but just as equally important, is appraising your property for repairs and updating. Unexpected repairs can happen at any time, don’t be caught out unprepared. Create a plan and put aside funds. Most repairs and maintenance are tax deductible, check out our ‘Landlord Resource Centre’ on our website for a quick overview of investment depreciation.

6. It’s not who you know it’s what you know!

Knowledge is power so make it a priority to become as shrewd as possible in property investment. Your carefully planned nest egg is critical to your future. It can make a real difference between struggling to make ends meet and the joy of a secure retirement- so make your investment work to its absolute potential! You can do this by brushing up on your knowledge. Our website ‘www.propertyquarters.com.au’ is packed with free information to get your landlord mindset on the right track.

7. Review of your managing agent

“Choosing a Property Manager is possibly the most important part of owning an investment property. You are relying on a professional to guide you towards financial independence; make sure you are in the right hands.”–George Astudillo.

Your managing agent should be in regular contact with you, efficient with planning, have extensive market and industry knowledge and above all they need to look after your best interests at all times. If you have any doubts about how your property is being looked after it might be time to make a change.

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

New Reforms to the NSW Residential Tenancy Act


Tenancy-Agreement 650 x 488

The Residential Tenancy Amendment (Review) Bill 2018 has now been passed by Parliament.

The Bill has been designed to ensure the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 continues to protect both tenants and landlords. Whilst the Bill has been passed by Parliament, the next step is the development of the regulations, being the specific requirements for monitoring and enforcing the law. The regulations will also answer many of the questions raised by the Bill including the start date for the reforms.

What are the changes?

Minimum Standards
There are rules of what makes a property fit for living. These include:

  • Property is to be structurally sound.
  • Each room must have adequate lighting and electricity outlets
  • Property must have electricity, gas or oil (dependant on availability), proper plumbing and drainage, ventilation and bathroom facilities in a separate room including toilet.
  • All of the above-mentioned should be free of dampness/mould and in a good state of repair

Disclosure of information
If the property is a strata lot (ie apartment, townhouse, unit) a copy of the strata by-laws must be given to the tenant before they enter into a tenancy agreement.

Condition reports
Landlords and agents will have the option of giving the tenant either 2 copies of a written report or one electronic version on signing the tenancy agreement.

Landlords information statement
Landlords will need to sign a new form acknowledging that they know their rights and responsibilities as a landlord. The agent will need to have a signed hard copy of the document before they can sign a tenancy agreement on behalf of the landlord. This form has yet to be created.

Landlord’s remedies on abandonment
The break fee payable by a tenant on a fixed lease will change to,

  • 4 weeks rent if less than ¼ of the lease has expired
  • 3 weeks rent if more than a ¼ but less than a half of the term has expired
  • 2 weeks rent if more than ½ but less than ¾ of the term has expired
  • 1 weeks rent if more than ¾ of the lease has expired.

Termination notices for non-payment of rent or charges
The landlord will be able to issue a termination notice when a tenant has not paid rent, water usage or utility charges for more than 14 days.

Smoke Alarms
Landlords are fully responsible for Smoke Alarms. A tenant that carries out repairs to the smoke alarm, such as change of batteries, is entitled to be reimbursed.

Repairs/Alterations
Tenants will be allowed to make some changes to the property without needing to seek permission. A list will be included in the regulations.

Rent Increases
Tenants on a periodic tenancy agreement, i.e. where the fixed term has passed, can only be given one rent increase in any 12 month period.

Domestic Violence

Termination
If a tenant is the victim of domestic violence, they will be able to give notice to vacate the property effective immediately, even if the tenant is in a fixed lease, without penalty. A tenant would be considered a ‘domestic violence victim’ if they have a current DVO or they are co-tenant/ person related to the tenant with the DVO that lives on the premises. A tenant would also be eligible if they hold a declaration from a medical practitioner that states domestic violence.

Liability of tenant or co-tenant for actions of others
If domestic violence occurs on the premises and damage is done to the property as a result, the tenant, as the victim of domestic violence, will not be responsible for the cost of any repairs. Any co-tenants to the lease may also be exempted.

Marketing
If a tenanted rental property is due to be marketed for sale or lease, the agent has only one opportunity within the 28 day period before marketing begins to take interior photos. Tenants must be given fair notice to enable them to remove any personal effects they would not like presented in the photos.

A landlord will need written consent from the tenant to publish photos where any of the tenant’s possessions are visible. This consent cannot be unreasonably withheld unless under the circumstances of Domestic violence.

The new tenancy reforms create a greater need for Landlord Insurance. The changes to the break lease penalties could mean higher losses from tenant abandonment and the allowances to victims of domestic violence means that landlords will also become victims.

With the landlord becoming fully responsible for smoke alarms, it will be essential to use the services of a specialist smoke alarm inspection service.

As always, we will need to read the fine print once it has been written and released as law.

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

Rent Reviews- 5 Points to Consider


A rent review is essential to check whether it’s time to increase the rent or leave it alone.

I’m going to stick my neck out here and state that most people hate losing money. You know, you buy a big-ticket item and then a couple of days later find that you could have bought it elsewhere for substantially less money. Ouch.

In real estate investing, there are many ways to lose money and they all hurt. But I’ve noticed there is one way to lose money that investors don’t even notice – Rent Increases. Many owners (and their agents) don’t have a schedule and procedure to review the rent. This means that money is being lost and you don’t even know about it until it’s too late.

For a lease to be eligible for a rent increase it MUST NOT be in a fixed term. Tenants that have signed a 6 month or 12 month lease are exempt from rent increases until the fixed term of the lease expires and becomes a periodic lease (or continuing agreement).

So how do you check if it’s time for a rent review?

There are 5 key points to consider,

1. Timing

Outside of a fixed term lease of less than 2 years, NSW legislation says you can make increases as frequently as you like. It is recommended to conduct a ‘Rent Review’ annually at the same time you are performing a routine inspection. This will keep you in tune to the movements of the rental market and your tenants will be conditioned to small increases over time.

If your tenants are on a fixed term, a good time would be 70 days before the fixed term ends. If your tenant is worth keeping, offering a new lease term may be a good idea.

2.Size

Smaller increases are preferable over larger jumps. A high sudden increase will feel like a shock and may spur the tenant to consider moving or apply to the tribunal for a review.

3. Rental Market- Comparable Rentals

To conduct the review, we simply look at how many similar properties are currently available and what is the asking rental, and what similar have properties recently been leased for. Knowing what’s happening in the area is critical, you don’t want to lose the tenant for a few dollars and then find the property is vacant for weeks.

Keep in mind that tenants generally look for value when choosing a rental property. Increasing the rent based solely on the level of your expenses is not a good strategy.

4. Condition of the Premises

In performing a rent review it’s also important to see how the property has changed. Is it still looking like it did when the tenant moved in or is it starting to look a little tired? When looking at comparable properties make sure the level of finish and condition is similar.

5. Correct Notice

NSW Legislation states that we must give the tenant 60 days’ notice plus 4 days for delivery by post unless you have authority from the tenant to use email to deliver notices.

The notice must include the amount the new rent will be, the day the new rent amount will take affect and be signed by either the landlord or agent.

Managing investment properties require thorough schedules, take a look at our previous blogs ‘Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail’ or ‘Budgeting and Expenses’.

If you would like help with conducting a rent review or would like to know what your property could rent for in today’s current market, call George from Property Quarters on 0412 330 588. You will be provided with a free and no obligation, detailed report on the rental market in your area and where your property fits in. Alternatively you can leave a message here and one of us will be in touch with you.

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

Location Profiles in the Eastern Suburbs


Looking to invest, buy or rent in the Eastern Suburbs and would like to know a little more about what each area represents?

At Property Quarters we have compiled location summaries across the Eastern Suburbs. Our ‘Location Profiles’ page features ready statistics for you to view when considering where to invest, buy or rent.

We have done the research for you with a little help from the Australian Bureau of Statistics to provide current/past demographics and dwelling overviews. By including past and current census information you can compare statistics to analyse target growth areas. Our easy to comprehend information profiles will also make identifying suburbs that match your criteria and purposes simple, with just a few clicks.

Create a portfolio by either saving or printing our convenient PDF. Download links are at the bottom of each page.

At Property Quarters we love hearing your feedback, please feel encouraged to send us suggestions on how you think we could improve or add to our profiles by clicking here.

Click here to visit our Location Profiles page.

For more information on rental trends in the Eastern Suburbs see our blog ‘June 2018 Sydney Rental Trends’.

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

7 Tips for Spring Cleaning Your Home


Glass Cleaning

After what seemed like a long and chilly winter, Spring has finally arrived, and it feels glorious!

Along the Sydney coast we have already enjoyed days filled with clear skies and warm temperatures, perfect for inspiring a Spring clean! So now it’s time to throw open the curtains and get busy turning your home from closed in to fresh and airy.

An annual clean can seem daunting so here are seven tips to get you started.

1. Floor Coverings
With the winter months comes wind, rain and dust which means wet and muddy shoes all over your carpets. Vacuuming your carpets won’t get all the winter muck out, a steam or dry clean will give them a deeper clean and a fresh look and feel.

Give your rugs a similar treatment or at the very least a good beating, great for the rugs and your cardiovascular system (not to mention all that pent-up winter stress).

TIP: Magic erasers are great for small scuff marks on timber floors.

2. De-clutter
Don’t let your possessions overwhelm you, all you need is an open mind and an open bag. Clear all surfaces such as benches, tabletops, window ledges and bookshelves to make your rooms look bigger and more Zen like.

Create an organised approach to storage. Consider reducing the number of unused items in your wardrobes and cupboards, it can be very cathartic to let some stuff go creating more space in your life for new experiences.

TIP: Read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art od decluttering and organising” by Marie Kondo

3. Blankets and Bedding
You may ‘rest easy’ knowing your pillow cases and quilt covers are regularly changed however the pillows and quilts themselves can often be neglected. Invest in a good professional clean for quilts while some pillows types can be washed in the washing machine.

Dust mites and allergens play havoc on your senses so be sure to vacuum your mattress where they are likely to accumulate. Follow this up with a decent mattress and pillow protector and you will prolong the life of your bedding.

TIP: Don’t forget to give lounge room pillows and throws a good airing outside on a sunny day.

4. Oven
There’s nothing better on a winter night than a good lamb roast and delicious baked vegetables. However, it’s now time to see how your oven is faring? Cleaning your oven doesn’t have to be a nightmare and using bicarb soda and vinegar is both gentle on the environment and very effective.

TIP: Citric acid (found in the baking section of your supermarket) is great as a safe household cleaner.

5. Furniture
Get ready for weekend entertaining, but before hosting the long-awaited Spring barbeque you’ll want to freshen up your patio/entertaining area. Tackle the barbeque grill first as this is the hardest.

Rid your seat cushions of any built-up dust and dirt, better yet you may want to invest in new vibrant cushions that will give your table setting an instant lift. Hose off tables and chairs of any pesky cobwebs and settled dust, likewise with any outdoor umbrellas that have been folded for a while.

TIP: Solar powered outdoor lights and lamps make for a warm inviting atmosphere at night.

6. Gardens
Spring is the perfect time to bask outside on those warm sunny days. But first, a garden spring clean is essential to make your outdoor area look and feel relaxing.

Decide how much to prune to create space and to encourage flowering and fruiting. For larger plants, be careful not to prune much needed shade branches as the smaller plants as well as yourself need protection from the sun. Rake any leaves or debris away from the garden bed in order to turn soil and easily spot unwanted weeds.

TIP: Leafy green foliage and off-cuts can be used in a vase to brighten rooms and table settings.

7. Let There be Light
Don’t let that layer of dust and dirt covering your windows stop you from swinging those curtains open and letting in that glorious light. The window clean is the last on our list but will likely make the biggest impact. With a soft bristled broom brush over the outside of the glass to get rid of any cobwebs and dirt. When washing don’t be tempted to use newspaper but instead use a clean microfiber cloth, this is much more effective and less likely to leave marks on your frames.

Don’t forget to give your screens a good rinse of any dust, dirt and cobwebs that have accumulated whilst the windows have been shut.

TIP: Use a blackboard eraser in circular motions to get rid of any streak marks left behind on glass.

 

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

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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Landlord Insurance- Manage Your Risk


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Landlord insurance is your investment property safety net and should be considered a ‘must have’.

It will protect you, your family and your property from potential financial difficulties, thereby lowering your investment risk.

Nobody knows what’s around the corner. Situations change and good tenants can also change under specific circumstances. You don’t want the events in your tenants’ lives to consequently have an adverse impact on yours.

Looking for the appropriate insurance cover can be confusing and time-consuming. Take your time deciding as above all you don’t want to find out you are not covered when you need it most.

The following is a guide to the different types of cover and what they entail.

Building insurance covers:

  • Replacement cost of the building;
  • Demolition and removal of debris;
  • Locks and keys; and
  • New structures to comply with all statutory requirements.

If you own an apartment, building insurance is paid through your quarterly fees. Wallpaper and paint may not be included though and should therefor be included in your contents cover.  Other items that can be added separately are things such as air-conditioning, lighting and flooring.

Contents insurance covers:

  • Carpet and other flooring
  • Light fittings
  • Window finishes
  • Manchester and linen (if supplied)
  • Any furniture itemised in the tenancy agreement
  • Kitchenware cabinets and appliances
  • Bathroom vanity, cabinetry and shower screens
  • Tap ware
  • Tiling, paint and wallpaper
  • Household goods such as gardening equipment
  • Washing machines and dryers
  • Potted plants
  • Portable pools, spas and equipment

In an apartment, make sure you know which items are not covered by the strata building insurance as you may want to include them in your own insurance. In the event of fire elsewhere in the  building, your unit may be affected by smoke and water damage consequently needing new paint and carpet, or at the very least cleaning as a result.

Events

There is a wide variety of events that can be covered, including:

  • Accidental loss or damage
  • Malicious damage
  • Theft
  • Fire or explosion
  • Lightning
  • Earthquake
  • Riot or civil commotion
  • Water damage – leaks, rain, floods and tsunamis
  • Oil heater leakage
  • Accidental glass breakage
  • Storm or rainwater
  • Electric motor burn out
  • Impact from aircraft, trains, automobiles, space debris, satellites, falling trees or branches, TV antennae, satellite dishes or radio masts

Keep your property safe from unnecessary damage by reading our previous blog: Winter is Coming- A Rental Property Checklist.

Check policy exclusions carefully. For example, some policies do not cover:

  • Accidental damage caused by the tenants
  • Theft by the tenant
  • Damage by the tenant’s pets
  • Tsunamis or other actions by the sea or rivers

Loss of rent

This covers you for loss of rent in the event that the property is not habitable and cannot be leased due to any of the events listed above.

It also covers any rent default by the tenant. However, there are usually conditions attached to a rent default claim, so check the conditions carefully.

When choosing a good tenant there are a few things to consider in order to maximise your financial return. See our blog: 3 Keys to Choosing the Right Tenant.

Public liability

This relates to your legal liability as the owner. It is in regards to an event at your investment property which results in death or injury to other people or damage to other people’s property in or at your investment property.

Consider a minimum public liability cover of no less than twenty million dollars.

No matter what your appetite for risk is, having the right Landlord Insurance goes a long way to creating peace of mind.
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Routine Inspections- How to Keep Your Property Looking Great


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You should be inspecting your property twice a year.

During these inspections, you are looking for repair and maintenance issues and ensuring the tenant is looking after the property.

An accumulation of dirt, together with a cluttered and untidy lifestyle, will accelerate wear and tear. This means appliances may break down more often and will need replacing sooner. This also applies to carpets and painting – resulting in higher costs.

With a new tenant, schedule the first appointment by the end of the third month. This will give the tenant a little time to settle in and you can see how they keep house.

Give the relevant notice, which in NSW is 14 days in writing, and arrange a mutually acceptable time. Your relationship with the tenant is important, so try hard to fit in with his routine; most tenants aren’t too fussed about allowing you access and in some cases they may not wish to attend.

Keep this inspection informal and quick. If you have chosen your tenant well, the property should look great, but if you see that the property is being poorly looked after, you are well within your rights to request the property be brought up to standard. It is a condition of the lease to keep the property reasonably clean, meaning that the tenant should not be causing damage or excessive wear and tear. You should also expect it to be tidy enough that all areas are accessible for regular cleaning. Give the tenant seven days to clean the property to a reasonable standard and arrange to return for another inspection.

If the property is still not appropriately clean, discuss the situation with the tenant. At this stage, take photos as a record, as you may need them later. Then, if all else fails, you can treat this situation as a breach of the agreement and give the tenant a termination notice.

If the property is clean and you’re happy with the presentation, diarise another inspection as permissible in your state. The second inspection should take place six months later or about three months before the tenancy agreement expires. This time the inspection should be more thorough – again looking at the presentation of the property and at any maintenance and repairs that may be needed.

If the lease is approaching or past the end of the fixed term, you should also use this time to consider any rental increases.

When sending out the “Notice of Inspection” attach a simple form that the tenant can fill in recording matters requiring attention or repair. Usually, the tenant is aware of most of the issues with the property and it is a great help to note them down.

Tenants will undoubtedly at some stage ask for alterations to be made to your property, for more information on how to deal with these requests see our previous blog “Has Your Tenant Asked to Make Changes to Your Property”.

This is also a good time to update the tenant’s contact details.

Once at the property, start inside and work your way through every room with the following checklist to guide you:

  • Does the woodwork need repainting or varnishing?
  • Is general painting required?
  • Presence of mould, often found in bathrooms and laundries but can be particularly dangerous if found in bedrooms.
  • Loose electrical fixtures such as power points, light switches, light fittings.
  • Check for worn carpet areas and any stains
  • Check locks with your set of keys
  • Are kitchen cupboards still aligning and closing correctly?
  • Check bench tops
  • Check appliances – cook top, oven and exhaust fan etc
  • Smoke alarms should be in working order, there should be one on each level of the home.
  • Check outside – look at gutters and downpipes
  • Check the gardens and pool
  • Check overhanging branches- Check for any pruning or cut backs that are due and in the case of council approval make a note to lodge an application.
  • Pool fences and gates in compliance, check the perimeter to ensure there are no unsteady railings or backyard items against the fence.
  • Lawns should be cut regularly, and gardens maintained neatly in accordance with the lease

How involved are you in the management of your property? See our blog “Managing Your Investment Property.”

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