June 2018 Sydney Rental Trends


If you want to live amongst Sydney’s most prestigious suburbs all signs are pointing East.

The Eastern Suburbs of Sydney have long been known for an increasing rental demand but what kind of rental prices are they fetching?

Bellevue Hill has taken the lead for highest median rent price for houses at $2048 p/w, with Point Piper taking number one spot for highest median rent price for units at $998 p/w.

According to Domain Groups latest Rental Report it seems Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs have graduated to become the most costly region in the country.

Overall, when you combine houses and apartments, the highest ranking Sydney suburbs for median rental prices, according to the latest Domain Group Data for June 2018, are;

  1. Darling Point – $2,625
  2. Watsons Bay – $2,500
  3. Tamarama – $2,200
  4. Bellevue Hill – $2,024
  5. Vaucluse – $1,875
  6. Kurraba Point – $1,800
  7. Rose Bay – $1,768
  8. Dover Heights – $1,700
  9. Double Bay – $1,690
  10. Clontarf – $1,650

When it comes to popularity as opposed to price and prestige, Sydney CBD was the most searched for suburb followed by Surry Hills, Paddington, Newtown and Darlinghurst. It seems convenience and ease of transport is highly desired by Sydney renters. Mosman is the suburb most frequently searched by those looking to purchase.

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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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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3 Keys to Choosing the Right Tenant


Approved Tenants

The right tenant is the corner stone of a successful investment property. This is where the rubber meets the road. The tenant can either make or break both your financial position and your spirit. Many property owners have already experienced the pain and frustration of a nightmare tenant which can potentially be 12 months of well.. hell.

The following are the three crucial qualities we need to identify and look for in a tenant to become the perfect match for your property,

1. Reliability – will they pay the rent on time?
Successful applicants will need to prove financial stability and a regular income. Without this your steady income stream is at serious risk. Once this has been established, avoid the burden of costs associated with rental arrears by ensuring your tenant has a long history of disciplined payments. After all you may be relying on this income to pay bills of your own, such as a mortgage.

2.Responsibility – will they look after the property?
A responsible tenant that will treat your property like their own are worth their weight in gold. Respect and diligence goes a long way, this means taking great care in the cleanliness and presentation of your property as well as reporting any maintenance concerns with effective communication. Remember: A clean tenant that takes care of their home and surroundings will be attracted to apply for a property that is in tiptop shape to begin with.

For more information on presenting your property to attract the right tenants see our previous blog “7 Easy Ways to present Your Property to Attract Great Tenants”

3.Co-operation – will they be co-operative in the event of an emergency?
An easy-going effective relationship between landlord/agent and tenant is essential. Emergencies will happen from time to time and prompt access to the property to carry out repairs or clean ups can save further damage and/or costs. A good tenant needs to be willing to communicate and be co-operative to find and implement a solution if necessary.

Having the right tenant will not only give you a good financial return but will also give you the peace of mind you are looking for. Take your time in choosing a quality tenant and don’t be afraid to go with your instincts on occasion, it is better for your property to remain empty for another week then to be occupied with a bad tenant that will be difficult to remove.

When you find ‘the one’ look after them and they will in turn look after your investment.

See our previous blog for the featured Landlord Checklist, a guide to a maintaining a happy tenant in “How to Keep a Great Tenant”.

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How to make it easy for a property manager to choose you as a tenant.


Keys to your new home

The Sydney rental market can be very tight sometimes, with vacancy rates usually under 2% in most suburbs, especially at this time of year.

It’s not unusual to have over thirty groups of people visit an open for inspection and then compete with 10- 15 other applicants.

So how can you give yourself the best chance of winning against such odds?

1. Tenant Application
Make sure you fill it in accurately and completely. If a property manager has to chase anything up they may decide it’s easier to look at the next application.

2. Documentation
Make sure you have all the necessary documentation. You need to demonstrate to the property manager that you can afford the property, that you are reliable and that you will take care of the property.

You need to provide pay slips, bank statements and possibly tax returns if you are self employed that prove you can afford the rent without undue strain. Remember that an average rental of $500 per week is a commitment to pay over $26,000 over the next twelve months.

From your past and present landlords/agents obtain an up to date tenant ledger.

Written character references are also important. They show that people think of you as honest and reliable, and this will help you stand out as a worthy tenant.

Proof of identification is required in the form of passport, drivers licence, Medicare card etc. For the 100 point checklist see our previous blog “Proof of Identity”.

3. Are your referees ready?
If your application makes the shortlist, the property manager will call your past and present employer and landlord/agent, as well as any other referees you have nominated. It’s important to let your referees know they will be receiving a phone call and that you would appreciate any messages be responded to quickly. Any delays here will open the door to other applicants whose information can be verified quickly. Also, check with your employer or HR department to see if they need written permission from you to enable them to discuss your employment details with a property manager.

4. Are you ready?
Don’t wait until you see the perfect property before you start to complete an application form. Do it now, be ready, so when you do find your ideal property you can act quickly. Think of creating a tenant resume, much like an employment resume, that you can keep updating. There are several sites that offer on line applications such as 1Form and tApp.

To a property manager this type of tenant is a clear winner, because the easier you make it for a property manager the better the chances are of them selecting you as their tenant.

There are three crucial qualities landlords look for in a tenant, find out in our blog “3 Keys to Choosing the Right Tenant”

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How To Keep A Great Tenant


Huffington Post Australia (ways2)

Once you’ve got one, you’ll want to be sure they stay.

(From the article and interview featured in The Huffington Post Australia)

One of the challenges of property investment is being able to find the elusive ‘perfect tenant.’ It’s that ideal tenant that will ensure the financial success of your property, as well as give you peace of mind that they will take great care of your investment.

A good tenant is made up of several factors but perhaps the number one attribute is a person who always pays their rent on time.

Real estate expert and author George Astudillo told The Huffington Post Australia late rental payments is a top frustration for many landlords.

“Late payment leads to frustration and embarrassment as it makes the landlord late in paying expenses, such as a mortgage,” Astudillo said.

“Cleanliness is a major factor; an ideal tenant will take care of the property. Being lazy with household chores will speed up wear and tear. Paint needs to be dust and grime free and carpet will wear out quickly if grit and soiling are allowed to accumulate.”

“A perfect tenant is a co-operative tenant, particularly in the event of a problem. Life is unpredictable, it’s tough enough dealing with challenges without a tenant making things more difficult.”

The trick is to choose wisely when you choose a tenant and don’t take any chances. You might be tempted to take a risk on a tenant who’s willing to pay more money. However, Astudillo said if they turn out to be less than they promise to be, the cost of new carpet, repainting and repairs will quickly absorb the increase and leave you in debt.

“If a property has been vacant for a while there can be a tendency to cut corners. Don’t let the temptation cloud your judgement,” Astudillo said.

“Sometimes a tenant just seems so nice, you want to give them the benefit of the doubt. Remember nice people don’t always make good tenants.”Keeping a great tenant

Once a landlord selects the right tenant, it’s wise to take steps to make sure they stay put. If you’re not careful, your tenant will leave: turn over costs a lot of money, including marketing fees, agents’ fees and possible property damage. See our blog “3 Keys to Choosing the Right Tenant”

While there are multiple reasons why tenants move – and many will be out of your control – there are some simple things you will have control over

“Looking after your tenant and the property they live in makes good business sense. The tenant is your customer, and having a happy customer is always good for business,” Astudillo said.

George Astudillo’s Landlord Checklist

Repairs

Treating repairs too casually or without care is the most common reason for creating distrust and discontent in tenants. Unless the problem is an emergency, they are at the mercy of the owner. Reasonable requests for repairs should happen quickly.

Maintenance

Allowing the property to deteriorate will change the appeal to the tenant. If the property is no longer up to the quality the tenant is prepared to pay for, they will move. Keeping your property looking its best will also mean you can keep the rent within reach of the market.

Rent reviews

Rent increases that are excessive, either too many or too much, will also make a tenant feel taken advantage of. In these situations, the tenant will start looking for better value elsewhere.

Courtesy and Respect

Tenants need to feel respected. Your attitude towards repairs, maintenance and rent reviews, as well as the tenants’ right to privacy, are simple ways to show respect.

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Why Most Landlords Fear Tenants With Pets


Why do landlords fear tenants with pets

More than 60 per cent of Aussies are pet owners so it’s a major concern for renters.

Australia is a nation of pet lovers, with 63 per cent of households owning a four-legged friend – including pets with fins, wings and everything in between. Many of us could not imagine our lives without a pet. But when it comes to renting, finding a home that will allow one or more pets is always challenging.

Read the full Huffington Post Australia interview HERE.

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What to look for in a tenant


Tenant in tiles 650 x 488

Who you select as the tenant for your investment property will have a major impact on both your financial return and your peace of mind.

There are three things that you need to look for in a tenant:

  1. Reliability

This is mainly about paying the rent. You need to be sure that the tenant can afford to pay the rent without undue strain. As a general rule of thumb, rent should be around a third of the (combined) gross income of the applicant(s).

  1. Responsibility

How will your tenants treat the property? It’s important to make sure that they will take the appropriate steps to keep the property clean, minimise any wear and tear and are ready to advise of any property issues that may come up. A careless tenant, on the other hand, will create extra problems which means more costs to you.

  1. Responsiveness

In the event of a problem the last thing you need is an uncooperative tenant. Willingness to collaborate and assist will not only make life easier for all, but will also reduce costs and time.

The first two points can be easily addressed with an effective tenant application. You will want to follow up on the application to confirm financial details with employers and past tenancy performance with landlords and agents. As a final measure, you can also run a check through a tenancy database such as TICA or National Tenancy Database to make sure they are not listed as a problem tenant.

However, recognising a co-operative nature may require more of a gut feel evaluation. Use the time during inspections and negotiations to assess the personality and character of the potential tenant. Their attitude during these moments can be very revealing.

Many of the problems faced by property investors can be avoided by selecting the right tenant. It’s the tenant that underpins the success of owning an investment property, both commercially and emotionally. So it’s important not to take risks or compromise when it’s time to choose a tenant.

Have you seen our blog “3 Keys to Choosing the Right Tenant”?

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How To Make Renters Love Your Property Like It’s Their Own


Huffington Post Australia (love your property)

There are rules you need to follow if you want to attract the ideal tenants.

One of the major challenges for any property owner is attracting tenants who actually want to live in your house or apartment. It’s vital to have a positive first impression if you want to lease your property at the top rental dollar, as well as attract the ideal tenants.

 “The problem with most rental properties is that they look and smell like rental properties.” Real estate expert George Astudillo told The Huffington Post Australia it was worth putting an effort in to attract the best tenant.

Read the full Huffington Post Australia interview HERE or take a look at our blog “7 easy ways to Present Your Property to Attract Great Tenants”

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Is your Investment Property Ready for Winter?


Condensation

With winter now upon us, it is important to ensure your investment property is prepared for the change in weather.

The number one challenge in winter is mould.

More and more research is becoming available on the health dangers posed by mould, though it is still a grey area in regards to rental properties.

There are basically four ways that mould exists in properties:

Lifestyle

Cooking, showers and drying clothes indoors are the main ways that tenants contribute to the build-up of excessive moisture inside a property. Without adequate ventilation, the excess moisture will result in condensation and eventually mould will form. The best and cheapest remedy is ventilation – opening windows or providing airways to let the steam and condensation escape.

 Repairs and maintenance

Mould can also be caused by a lack of maintenance, or repairs that have not been carried out quickly enough. For example, if a blocked gutter spills water onto walls and inside wall cavities, this would be a maintenance issue. If the gutters need replacing, it would be a repair issue.

It is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that the property is maintained correctly and that repairs are carried out in a timely manner to prevent mould occurring.

Design of the property

Sometimes it’s the design of a property – the way it is sited or built – that may cause mould to become a problem. Some south-facing walls rarely see any sunshine and will remain damp for much longer after rainfalls. In persistent wet weather, walls may not get a chance to dry out. Additionally, there will be areas of the house such as basements that are more prone to condensation.

Climate

Tropical zones where high temperatures are combined with high humidity and/or rainfall, such as Cairns, are more prone to mould growth.

Given that there is little one can do to change the structure of a property, it becomes the tenant’s responsibility to make sure there is adequate ventilation to prevent the build-up of mould.

Mould can be destructive to both the property and its fittings. By making it easier for the tenant to manage and prevent mould build up, you are also looking after your own interests.

Tips to counter mould:

  • Have the kitchen exhaust fan and clothes dryer ducted to the outside wherever possible to help ventilate rather than recirculate.
  • In bathrooms, choose an exhaust fan activated by the light switch to control steam.
  • Regular cleaning is necessary in bathrooms, kitchens and laundries particularly around tile grout and silicon.
  • Make sure showers are properly water-proofed to meet the National Construction Code standards so as to prevent water seeping through walls. This is very common in older properties. Waterproof membranes don’t last forever and are likely to break down in five to ten years.
  • Under-house ventilation systems can reduce moisture collecting under floors. They can be inexpensive and automatic, timed to self-activate throughout the day.
  • Use mould-inhibiting paints to reduce the effects of condensation.
  • In wet areas, use paints with a higher gloss level and avoid a matt or flat finish.
  • Control damp coming from outside by checking for leaks in roofs, gutters and downpipes.
  • Install a gutter-guard system to prevent leaves causing blockages.
  • Consider window security that enables some windows to be left slightly open to provide ventilation.

Winter is coming, is your property ready?

For more handy tips on preparing your property for winter see our blog “Winter is Coming- A Rental Property Checklist”

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Has your tenant asked to make changes to your property?


Occasionally a tenant feels there may be some fixtures or fittings that would make their home more comfortable, enjoyable or safe for them to live in.

It might be repainting, screens on windows, new curtains or even air-conditioning.

Firstly, legislation states that the tenant cannot make any alterations, add any fixtures or make any additions to the property without the landlords written permission.

If the tenant requests to make alterations at their own expense and you feel that the request is reasonable, make sure your consent is detailed and in writing. Also add that a condition of the approval is for the tenant to restore the premises to its original condition when they vacate (unless you like it so much you want it to stay).

If you feel that it is not only reasonable but something that would add value to the property, consider doing it yourself. This way you have total control over the tradesperson, quality of work and materials.

When the tenant vacates, they are entitled to remove and take with them any item they have paid for, and they are obligated to return the property back to its original condition. Of course, if the item was paid for by you, they cannot remove it without your consent.

Now it’s important to understand that you may not unreasonably refuse consent if the change is of a minor nature.

So what is considered minor? Examples of works of a minor nature include:

  • Installing extra security devices
  • Installing a phone line
  • Connecting broadband internet or cable television
  • Some picture hooks
  • Hand rails for the elderly

What would constitute a reasonable refusal?

  • Structural changes
  • Changes not easily repaired or made good on vacating
  • Changes not consistent with the nature of the property
  • Changes prohibited under law
  • Painting

Unless the tenant is a professional painter or handyman would you take the risk in allowing them to paint your property?

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