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.
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!
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”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Copyright © 2016, www.propertyquarters.com.au
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.”
Copyright © 2016, www.propertyquarters.com.au
With winter nearly upon us it’s time to make sure our rental properties are ready for the change in temperatures and wet weather.
The winter season will invariably bring along frost, potentially damaging storms and excess water. Having your property in tip top shape will mean less chance of expensive emergency repairs and an unhappy tenant.
Get your home “Winter Ready” by going through the following checklist.
Check the roof, particularly around vents, skylights and chimneys for leaks. With roof leaks comes water damage which can start off as stains on the ceiling or walls that can quickly turn into bigger problems such as mould, rotting frames or destroyed insulation. A regular inspection will save lengthy repairs.
2. Clean Gutters
During rain periods, gutters guide water runoff to drain away from the house. This protects house siding, windows, doors and fascia from water damage. Clogged gutters can form dams where water backs up and can seep into the roof cavity. Using gloves, remove fallen leaves and debris from your gutters, then give them a good rinse with the hose. Spare your lawn by having a large garbage bag handy to collect the debris.
3. Air-conditioning Filter
Air-conditioning is still the safest and most energy efficient system for warming a home saving an enormous 72% less on your energy bill in comparison to portable heaters. Make sure your air-conditioner filter is clean, the unit serviced regularly and working well to keep the household toasty all winter long.
4. Trim Trees
High winds in winter can cause tree branches to break and fall, potentially resulting in costly property damage. Late Autumn is a good time to make cut backs, as leaves fall and branches are revealed once again, making it easier to identify and remove. Make sure to trim back tree branches overhanging the roof, windows or driveway. If you have a large tree that requires council approval to cut back, make an application now.
The number one challenge in winter is mould. There is a number of reasons your home can accumulate mould. Check your that your ventilation is working efficiently, especially exhaust fans in the bathroom where windows will be shut during colder weather. Range hoods in the kitchen are designed to extract moisture from stove top cooking and kettles – a good working range hood will help during the chilly season when window ventilation is low. Be sure to in inspect your window and door seals to make sure they are in good working condition as this will contribute to condensation inside the home.
For more information including tips to counter mould see our previous blog “Is your investment property ready for winter”
Copyright © 2018, www.propertyquarters.com.au