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Archive for April 2017

What your tenant worries about

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Tenant concerns

While you as a property owner may have worries when it comes to tenants, it’s also good to look at the flip side of the coin and see what fears tenants have.

Rent rises are almost always the number one fear of a tenant. While you are within your rights to increase the rent annually, and if you’ve made improvements to the property, it may be pertinent to consider whether you’ve got a good long term tenant looking after the property. An extra $10/week rise in rent may be the difference between them looking elsewhere and you having to start looking for new tenants and running the risk of the property been empty for a period of time.

The release of a survey a couple of months ago highlights just how important is for property owners to understand what fears tenants have. The Unsettled: Life in Australia’s Private Rental Market survey was conducted by consumer group Choice, the NGO National Shelter and the National Association of Tenant Organisations revealed just some of the other fears tenants have.

Knowing what your tenant fears are can go a long way to pre-empting any issues before they become a major problem.

Here are some of the findings from the study:

Rental security

The research, found 83% of renters in Australia have no fixed-term lease or are on a lease less than 12 months long, and 62% feel they’re not in a position to ask for longer term rental security.

Try to give your tenant assurance security by giving them a longer lease; in our experience, tenants who have some security with a longer term lease care for your property as they make it into their home.

Discrimination

Half the tenants who took part in the study said they’ve been discriminated against. It is against the law to discriminate against a person because of the race, sex, pregnancy, marital status, disability, homosexuality, age or transgender of their relatives, friends or associates. You should also not discriminate against a tenant just because they’ve made a legitimate complaint with a previous landlord!

Blacklisted

Half the respondents also said they were worried about being blacklisted on a ‘bad tenant’ database if they made a complaint and listed the top 10 complaints for renters. Many of these issues were maintenance issues. Remember, as a property owner, it is within your interest to keep on top of these issues to prevent further expense down the track. The problems listed were:

  • Pests (cockroaches, moths, ants, etc)
  • Doors or windows that don’t close properly
  • Peeling paint or tiles coming off
  • Leaks or flooding
  • Mould that is difficult to remove or reappears
  • No flyscreens on windows
  • It’s difficult to keep property warm
  • It’s difficult to keep property cool
  • Locks that don’t work
  • A key appliance that doesn’t work

A good professional relationship between tenant and landlord is vital if your investment property is to remain occupied with tenants caring for their home. Issues can be dealt with swiftly before they become a major problem, and trust will develop between both parties.

A good property management company will assist with this. In our experience, good relationships work both ways, with tenants been amenable to property owner requests. For instance, later down the line you may need to have open inspections if you are planning on selling the property.

We believe if you look after your tenants, they will look after you!

With over 40 years in real estate and property management, our talented team is constantly looking for new and innovative ways to ensure your property investment experience is exceptional. This is why we are one of Newcastle’s longest established property management companies. To find out more about our letting services, or if you are looking for a property to rent, we’d love to hear from you and share our experience. Give us a call on 02 4954 8833 or pop into our Cardiff office for a chat.

Archive for April 2017

Seven golden rules for buying at auction

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Auction gavel

Buying at auction can be nerve-wracking if you’ve never done it before, (and it can be nerve-wracking even if you have!), but like everything which seems daunting, forearmed is forewarned!

First and foremost, you should know how an auction works. If you’ve never been to an auction before, go along to one; you don’t have to register your interest in buying, just attend and watch.

Here are our seven golden rules to help if you’re considering buying at auction:

Get your finance pre-approved

Having the finance pre-arranged is imperative when buying at auction. If you are the highest bidder, you usually need to pay the deposit there and then and provide the finance within a certain period of time. If you can’t raise the finance, you’ll forfeit your deposit, but there may be other terms and conditions meaning you’ll have to pay out more.

Do your homework

Talk to real estate agents and look at what prices for similar properties are going for. There are also online resources you can use for this too. These are only guides though. The property you are looking at may have additional benefits, such as a large acreage with the option of sub-dividing. This may mean the price maybe higher than other properties.

Alternatively, while you may love quirky additions, these may reduce capital gains later down the track.

While you’re looking at valuations of similar properties on the market, look to see how many are on the market too. If there are a lot, this could affect the price as buyers have a greater choice.

Consider all these aspects when deciding your highest bid.

Know the competition

As well as knowing what current valuations are, it’s also good to know the competition. Find out how much genuine interest there has been by asking the seller how many inspections have been carried out on the property. If there is a lot of interest, the chances are there will be some competitive bidding, and you may need to think your bidding strategy.

Get legal advice

Before you sign any documents or hand over any money, always take legal advice – it could save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

Pay for property inspections

As well as looking at the property yourself, get pest and building inspections done. You don’t want to pay for a property that’s infested with termites or has hidden major structural issues.

Your bidding strategy

Auctions can be a bit of a game in psychology, so dress like you mean business and call out your bids with confidence. Keep your highest price to yourself and some believe everything is in the timing.

Some believe in waiting until the last minute to be the final bidder, however they may run the risk of losing out if the gavel hits the block before the bid is placed. Others suggest bidding early, but don’t bid at your top price. That way you’ve room for manoeuvre if the bidding continues.

Don’t get carried away

No matter how much you want the property, do not get carried away in the excitement of the day. Know your upper limit and when to walk away. If you’re not successful with this property, put it down to experience and remain positive – another property more suitable for your needs and budget will always come onto the market.

We do more than simply sell and manage property, we’re here to give advice. If you’re thinking of selling your house at auction, or would like to know more about how an auction works and what it involves, our friendly team would love to help.

Over the 40 years we’ve been successfully operating in the area, we’ve helped thousands of people realise their real estate dreams and we are committed to delivering the best service and achieving the best possible results for our customers.

This is why we are one of Newcastle’s longest established property management companies. Give us a call on 02 4954 8833 or pop into our Cardiff office for a chat.

Archive for April 2017

Five things you Need to do when you Buy an Investment Property

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1140x880-invest-property-1

The ink has dried on the contract and the keys are in your hands.

Congratulations! You’ve done it. You’ve bought your investment property and you’re on the way to achieving your financial dreams.

Yes, the hard part of searching for a property, raising the finance, doing the paperwork and negotiations is over, but there are a few more ‘i’s to dot and ‘t’s to cross to ensure you get the full benefit of your new investment.

Valued for depreciation

Hiring a quantity surveyor to work out a depreciation schedule is something often overlooked by many investors. Over time, properties and items in them do suffer from wear and tear and lose value, and this can be used as a tax deduction. A quantity surveyor will look at two allowances:

  • Plant and Equipment – items within the building such as carpets, dishwashers and ovens
  • Building Allowance – the construction costs of the building itself such as brickwork and concrete

The ATO allows investors to claim depreciation as a tax deduction. It can be complicated to calculate, but a quantity surveyor can do it for you. Yes, you will have to pay for an expert to draw up your depreciation report, but the savings you make will be worth it – and the cost of hiring the surveyor is often tax deductible too.

Use a property manager

Yes, we know we’re biased, but a good property manager will seriously take the stress out of caring for your investment. They’ll find you good tenants, manage all communications with them, make regular inspections and update you with reports. They’ll take the call at 3am if there is a problem! A good property manager will give you peace of mind that your property is being properly cared for while you get on with putting your time and energies elsewhere.

Keep records

It is imperative you keep good records so you maximise your tax return. Your property manager will keep records, such as rental, maintenance and council tax payments, as a matter of course. But you may be able to make other claims on your tax such as expenses associated with visiting the property, insurance and payments to strata corporations.

Landlords insurance

Cover yourself for the unexpected; no matter how new your property is there is always the risk of storms or tenants inadvertently damaging property. There are a lot of companies now offering landlords insurance, but remember, the cheapest may not necessarily be the best. Use some of the comparison websites to see what is or isn’t covered, what the excesses are and always read the small print.

Review

Yes, your property is nicely ticking over, but it’s always good to review the situation. For instance, if you’re paying the water bill, consider putting in water saving devices or, consider other additions such as installing an air-conditioner, redecorating or upgrading security to encourage your tenants to stay longer. Make sure too, you are in-line with current legislation such as having smoke alarms and appliances regularly checked and serviced. A good property manager can advise on these aspects.

If you’re interested in finding out more about property investment, our knowledgeable and experienced team can talk you through the process and tell you what to consider so you can make informed decisions.

Newcastle Property Management have helped hundreds of property investors realise their dreams over the past 40 years, so give us a call on 02 4954 8833 or pop into our Cardiff office for a chat.

Archive for April 2017

Common fears of Property Investment and how to face them

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negative-gearing

Right now, there are some great investment properties on the market. Interest rates are still low, the economy is stable and annual capital growth is positive.

So what are you afraid of?

Here are five common property investment fears and five ways to overcome them to help you take the plunge and work towards your financial dreams.

I’m new to property investment and don’t know enough about it

No-one is born an expert. Yes, some people do seem to have a flair, but most property investors we help have started with no experience at all. While there are some great property investment seminars you have to pay for, there are also a lot of free online resources from reputable organisations you can look at.

Talk to those in the know. Speak to friends or colleagues who already have investment properties, real estate agents, financial advisors, accountants and other people with specialist knowledge.

That way you’ll learn the process, know your budget and you’ll all know the risks involved.

Buying the wrong property

Once again, speaking to experts and doing your homework can help overcome this fear. The most important thing is to look at whether a property is attractive to renters. The chances are run-down property in an undesirable area will be the wrong property. Educate yourself as to what renters are looking for and remember to treat your purchase as a business – while you might not want to live in a unit in the centre of town, many people do.

What happens if I can’t make the payments?

Interest rates rising, losing your job, the fear of not being able to keep up with payments can easily be reduced by knowing your budget, so always plan for the worst-case scenario. For instance, some people positively gear their investment (ie the rental income covers all the costs); while they will be paying tax on the income, they have peace of mind they are making a profit and this money can be saved for that worst-case scenario. Interest only mortgages are also an option and this may help keep payments manageable.

Bad tenants

This is a common fear, but realistically there are a lot of good tenants out there who want to make your investment their home. The best way to reduce the risk of bad tenants is to use a good property manager; they’ll use screening tools, such as employment verification, contacting previous landlords, credit checks and using a tenant database to ensure you get a good, reliable tenant. And the best bit is, the management fee is a tax-deductible benefit!

Property prices falling

Yes, this is a risk and nobody can predict what the market is going to do. Falling property prices will only affect you if you need to sell, but it’s wise to remember, investing in property is long-term. The chances are, while there may be a few fluctuations in property prices, your property will increase in value over a number of years.

Having been in business in the area for over 40 years, we are in the enviable position to give you honest information to help with the decision making process and help you realise your property investment dreams.

Our talented team is constantly looking for new and innovative ways to ensure your real estate experience is exceptional. This is why we are one of Newcastle’s longest established real estate offices.

If you’re interested in property investment, our friendly team would love to help so give ring us on 02 4954 8833 or call in at our Cardiff office – we’re here to help.

Archive for April 2017

Making a List and Checking it Twice

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checklist

You’ve made the offer, it’s been accepted and you’re now filling in mountains of paperwork. Or you’ve just had approval on that rental property next to the beach you had your eye on.

Whatever your reason for moving, according to some surveys, moving house is one of the most stressful life events you will experience. Even if you’re moving into the house of your dreams, the thought of packing, living out of boxes, organising the move, on top of disconnecting services and sorting a forwarding address can make the strongest people go cold at the thought.

But moving house needn’t be traumatic!

Like everything, having a plan is the key to a stress-free move.

To make your life easier and definitely less stressful, we’ve developed a great free resource to help you with your move.

Our Planning Your Move checklist starts at the very beginning of your move, giving you a timeline to work to so you know what needs to be done by when.

From when to select a carrier or removal company suitable for your needs to when to arrange the electoral roll transfer and advising the tax office, all you have to do is work through the checklist. It gives you peace of mind, so you don’t have to remember to do everything.

You can get this checklist straight to your phone. Simply text the word ‘People’ to 0416 906 799 and we will instantly send you a link so can download it direct.

As the moving date comes closer and you’ve seen you’ve ticked off the items on the checklist, you’ll find the whole moving experience less stressful than you anticipated.

We do more than simply sell or manage property – we’re here to make your life easier.

With over 40 years in the business, our talented team is constantly looking for new and innovative ways to ensure your real estate experience is exceptional. This is why we are one of Newcastle’s longest established real estate offices, so give us a call on 02 4954 8833 or pop into our Cardiff office for a chat.

And don’t forget to text the word ‘People’ to 0416 906 799 to instantly receive your free Planning Your Move checklist.