Category Archive: Uncategorized

  1. Renting with pets – putting your best paw forward

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    Renting with pets doesn’t need to be impossible!

    For pet owners, finding a rental property that accepts pets can be a nightmare. Unfortunately, it only takes a few bad apples to ruin the whole bunch. All one landlord needs is a single irresponsible pet owner as a tenant to put them off for life. But it needn’t be the case.

    Put your best paw forward

    When it comes to renting with pets, it’s all about being smart and upfront. Honesty is the best policy. Show your prospective landlord that you are a responsible pet owner.  Be as upfront with your pet’s details as you would your own. The more information, the better. Your landlord will be comfortable in knowing everything about you and your pet as opposed to finding things out the hard way.

    Be Creative

    We recently received this highly adorable and highly commendable ‘Pet Resume’ for Doug the Pug. And can we say how well received it was by our office as well as by the prospective landlords. Not only have they presented Doug the Pug in the best way possible, they have outlined everything a landlord would want to know about an incoming pet.

    Answer all the Questions

    The owners of Doug the Pug were smart. They predicted and answered all the questions a landlord would want to know.

    • How old is Doug?
    • What breed is Doug?
    • How often is Doug alone during the day?
    • When he is alone, where does he reside?
    • Does he sleep inside or out?
    • Does he obey commands?
    • Is Doug toilet trained?
    • Does he shed?
    • Does he nuisance bark?
    • Any other additional notes from the owner.

    Submit your Pet Resume with your Application

    Submitting your Pet Resume with your rental application will improve your chances of securing your next rental property. The bottom line is, some landlords will not accept pets no matter how adorable they are. The other half will. So in summary, work on your chances of convincing the other half that your pooch or pet is the pick of the litter when it comes to pet tenants.

  2. HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR TENANT RETENTION IN 4 SIMPLE STEPS

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    As a landlord, finding good tenants is half the battle. But sometimes, once the perfect tenant is found, there is the tendency to sit back and hope the tenancy continues on without any hitches. The other half of the battle is keeping good tenants.

    As landlords, we can fail to continue to put in the hard yards to ensure our tenants stay on. It is important to acknowledge that the race is not won once the chase is over. By taking the time and putting some extra effort into your tenant/landlord relationship, you’ll be on the right track to ensuring the long-term viability of your tenancy contract and continued tenant retention.

    So, what are these magical tenant retention strategies we speak of?

    1. Attending to maintenance requests promptly
    2. One of the key points in keeping your tenants happy is to act quickly and effectively to all maintenance requests. As a tenant, there is nothing worse than a leaking shower or broken oven. It goes without saying that urgent repairs such as busted pipes or gas leaks should be responded to urgently. For your tenant’s sake, responding to the smaller, more mundane requests as efficiently as the urgent ones will result in an appreciative, and happy tenant.

    3. Regular rental increases rather than large lump sums 
    4. Tenants understand there is the possibility of rent hikes throughout their tenancy. However, most tenants, like the rest of us, work to a budget that includes their rent as one of their major expenses. Any major rent hikes that are far and above their current rate will no doubt throw their budget out. Keeping rent rises small will help keep your tenant’s budget in check and more affordable. Small, more regular rises are a lot easier to swallow than one lump sum.

      Keeping your rent slightly below market value will also work towards keeping tenants on for the long term. They can see there is added value in your property when compared with others on the market.

    5. Open lines of communication
    6. This point ties in nicely with Point #1 in keeping open lines of communication between landlord and tenant, no matter what the enquiry. This will help build a solid relationship built on trust and respect with your tenant, which will work well for you in the long run.

    7. Choosing the right property manager (Hint hint!)
    8. Choosing the right property manager who works for you is one of the most important choices you can make. The right property manager can help select the most well-suited tenants and work as the intermediary between landlord and tenant. Finding the right property manager you can trust will work for you and your property is key in the whole process.

      Retaining good tenants will not only ensure your property is well maintained and cared for, but it will also save your hip pocket in the long term. The costs involved with tenancy changeover including letting fees and lost rent when vacant all add up. Taking the extra time to nurture your existing tenants and putting in some tenant retention strategies in place will result in happy landlords, happy property managers and happy tenants.

     

  3. BENEFITS OF THE NEW ONLINE RENTAL BONDS SYSTEM

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    As of 30th January this year, new changes came to the Residential Tenancy Act 2010 came into place with the introduction of Rental Bonds Online. The introduction of the system has created a secure and reliable method for tenants, agencies and landlords to lodge, manage and refund bond payments.

    For landlords and tenants, registration is mandatory and tenants must now be invited to use the new online system. For tenants, the registration process is quick and easy, the system is easy to navigate and makes the entire bond process more streamlined and effective.

    No longer do tenants need to chase up their bond refund once their tenancy has ended and vice versa for landlords at the commencement of a new tenancy agreement. The new system does it all for you.

    The new system will create your personalised account with Rental Bonds Online that you can access at any time of day for up-to-date, real time progress of your bond. The new system allows you to:

    • Pay your bond directly to NSW Fair Trading with BPAY, Visa or Mastercard
    • Check the status and progress of your bond lodgement or refund
    • Receive email and SMS phone notifications related to your bond
    • Submit a claim to get your bond money refunded online after your tenancy has ended.

    The introduction of the new online system will streamline all rental bond transactions, with less double handling between tenants, landlords, agencies and the Department of Fair Trading. It creates a more transparent and smooth bonds process that is much easier for both parties involved.

    More information can be found at the NSW Department of Fair Trading FAQs.

     

  4. HOW TO REPORT REGULAR AND URGENT MAINTENANCE ON YOUR RENTAL PROPERTY

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    As a tenant, you are no doubt going to come across the need for maintenance on your leased property. Whether it is for a broken window latch, a wobbly fan, leaking taps or something on a more serious note like a burst pipe or gas leak – it is more than likely going to happen.

    As a tenant, the best habit to get into is the accurate reporting of any scheduled and emergency maintenance performed on the property. Accurately reporting maintenance requirements and the scheduled performed activities including who, where and when, ensures you are covering all bases in regards to your responsibilities as a tenant. Your property managers will also be super excited to also have a well-organised and flexible tenant on their hands.

    So, what are the best things you can do when arranging scheduled or urgent maintenance?

    1. Report the required repairs in writing to your property manager

    When we say in writing, we mean via email. Sending important information to your property manager via text message is a surefire way to get your request lost. With constant communications back and forth between tenants and landlords, text messages can easily be overlooked. Sending your request via email ensures the information is kept on file and viewed within the office when it can be actioned immediately.

    1. The more information the better!

    Too much information about your required repair can never be enough. Include any photos and videos of the repairs required including any error messages on electronic equipment. All information regarding the product is helpful including the model and make. If the appliance/equipment has a sticker on it, snap a pic of the details and attach to your email.

    1. Be flexible with access times

    This is often a time of frustration for both tenants and property managers in arranging a suitable time to allow the designated tradesperson access. Being flexible with your days and times will ensure your required maintenance is performed promptly. Let us know if you are happy to arrange a time on your behalf and use our key to access your premises. If you prefer the tradesman calls you direct, ensure to answer as promptly as you can and arrange a time that suits both parties. Note that unless it is an emergency most trades cannot visit after hours – so being flexible here is key.

    1. Ensure your contact details are up-to-date!

    Making sure we have your correct contact details on file ensures that we can contact you and arrange your maintenance as quickly as possible. It is commonplace that we arrange repairs but tradesmen are left frustrated if they cannot contact you due to incorrect contact details.

    In the case of urgent repairs

    Tenants NSW states that an urgent repair is:

    • A failure or breakdown of the gas, electricity or water supply
    • A failure or breakdown of any essential service for hot water, cooking, heating, cooling or laundering
    • Any fault or damage that makes the premises unsafe or insecure
    • Serious damage from a natural disaster.

    If an urgent repair is required, contact your agent to discuss immediately. If your agent cannot be contacted or it is after hours, contact the tradesman listed on your lease agreement directly.

    If you cannot contact your listed lease tradesman, you are able to contact a tradesman of your choice to perform the urgent works. It is advised to only pay up to $1, 000 as this is the limit your agent can pay you for reasonable costs. This amount should be repaid to you after 14 days.

    In any case, making contact with your agent is your best first step in the process – whether for regular or urgent repairs.

    If you have any required repairs at your property, email us at Elizabeth@aspectestateagents.com.au or kim@aspectestateagents.com.au and we’ll get right on it.

  5. HOW TO PREVENT MOULD FROM MOVING IN AT YOUR PLACE

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    There is nothing like spotting a big patch of spreading mould on your bathroom ceiling when you are relaxing in a nice, well deserved warm bath at the end of a hard working week, or the terrible realization that mould is spreading throughout your wardrobe quicker than you can say end of season sale.

    WHAT IS MOULD AND WHY DOES IT LOVE MY HOUSE?

    Mould loves warm and damp places, particularly in areas where the relative humidity is 80% or higher. It needs (and thrives) on moisture – most commonly found from condensation. Put these two things together and you have yourself the best recipe for mould on the street. Pity it’s the one thing you don’t want others seeking the recipe for.

    Thankfully, it takes just a few simple steps to ensure mould doesn’t take hold in the first place or to stop it in its tracks. With the summer months halfway through and the cooler and darker months on their way, thinking about the health of your home is a good proactive practice to prevent future mould outbreaks.

     

    STEPS TO PREVENT MOULD BECOMING YOUR NEWEST HOUSE GUEST

    So we’ve established that mould doesn’t like warm and damp places, so let’s discuss what you can do to prevent these perfect places for mould to settle in.

    1. Let in as much sunlight as possible

    Letting sun in allows spaces to dry out and prevent moisture rich areas.

    1. Keep good airflow

    Open those windows! Let as much fresh air as possible into your home to ensure adequate ventilation.

    1. Don’t store away wet belongings

    Ensure any clothes you are hanging in your wardrobe are completely dry before you put them away. Any dampness will encourage those mould spores to grow and grow and grow. This becomes tricky as the cooler months kick in with less sunshine to dry clothes so be aware of this crucial point. Same goes for footwear – if you’ve got wet shoes, keep them outside in the sun until completely dry before storing away. Your wet clothes and shoes attract the green furry mould we’ve all seen before as opposed to the sooty mould you find in bathrooms and ceilings.

    1. Keep condensation at bay

    Wipe down wet areas especially anywhere condensation appears such as heaters and bathroom areas. Turn on your fans in your bathrooms when taking a shower or bath to ensure good ventilation throughout the room.

    Being vigilant about keeping your home dry and free of damp will ensure you survive another mould-free year.

     

     

     

  6. Preparing Early for End of Financial Year with Depreciation Schedules

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    As property investors, we are always happy to stumble across ways to increase our tax return and consequently, our bottom line. So when there are simple techniques and actions you can take to ensure your investment is working its hardest for you – we want you to know about it.

    This week it is depreciation schedules. For those seasoned investors, depreciation schedules are stock standard. But for those who are new to the property investment game, we have broken them down to the basics, to ensure you are armed with the best information regarding your investment property as we zoom towards EOFY.

    WHAT IS A DEPRECIATION SCHEDULE AND DO I NEED ONE?

    A depreciation schedule is a report by a qualified surveyor that determines the value left in your property, which is then handed to your accountant at tax time to reduce your taxable income.

    There are two types of depreciation that can be claimed.

    1. Plant and Equipment

    Think of the equipment that is inside the property such as dishwashers, fridges, washing machines, carpets and blinds.

    1. Building Allowance

    Think of everything it took to build the property including bricks, mortar, concrete, render etc.

    Both the depreciation of the plant and equipment and the building can be assessed by a qualified surveyor and combined to reduce your taxable income. It is a commonly overlooked, yet such a simple task that can drastically increase your bottom line and fill your pockets come tax time.

    The short answer if you need one? Yes.

    WHEN SHOULD I GET A DEPRECIATION SCHEDULE DONE?

    Whether your home is old, been renovated or is brand new, you are entitled to claim depreciation.

    The best time to call in your property surveyor is right after settlement prior to accepting your first tenant. (Realestate.com.au) Your surveyor can assess your property and provide an up-to-date assessment on the value of both plant and equipment and building to effectively collate your yearly depreciation schedule. Depreciation schedules can take up to three weeks to prepare, so looking into booking a surveyor now will ensure you are ready come tax time and will beat the last minute rush.

    ONE LAST NOTE

    Another good piece of information, depreciation schedules are 100% tax deductible, so every move you make is working for your bottom line. So get cracking and book your depreciation schedule today and get the most out of tax time.

     

     

     

     

  7. Top 5 features tenants look for in a rental property

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    When putting your property into the rental pool, you want to ensure you are putting forward an option that ticks as many boxes in your potential renter’s wish lists. The more features and benefits your property provides, the greater the number of applicants and the higher the rental income you can yield.

    There are influencing factors which are out of your control such as transport, schooling, shops an facilities which would have come into play in your initial purchase of your investment property.

    For apartment owners, a 2015 survey of more than 1000 Sydney apartment owners and renters commissioned by developer lobby group Urban Taskforce found that investors are paying tens of thousands for features that aren’t on the priority lists of renters. 60% of respondents rated a balcony the key ‘must-have’ facility above parking, views and a swimming pool with 81% of respondents placing secure parking at the top of their list. (www.domain.com.au)

    So let’s sweep these factors aside for now and look at the top 5 items you can look at including now or in the future to help achieve the greatest return on your investment.

    1. A GOOD SIZE AND QUALITY KITCHEN
    2. The kitchen is the hub of every family home, so having a well-appointed kitchen that makes the best use of space will appeal far and wide. Installing modern appliances such as dishwashers and microwaves will add that little bit extra to a potential tenant.

    3. AIR CONDITIONING AND HEATING
    4. Whether you are in the blistering heat of Queensland or the chilly winters of Melbourne, having a good heating and air conditioning will add a big tick to your property.

    5. GARAGE
    6. Having a double garage is the ultimate garage solution for renters especially for families. If you don’t have the double garage, having a single garage with well-functioning and well-organised storage options will greatly help. There are many storage solutions to be found at major stores like Bunnings and Ikea to maximise storage options.

    7. GOOD OUTDOOR ENTERTAINING AREAS
    8. We are Australian and that means we spend a lot of time outdoors – living and entertaining. Having adequate outdoor spaces that are user-friendly and allows renters to see themselves enjoying the space with friends and family.

    9. ADEQUATE STORAGE
    10. To a tenant, having adequate storage is a must-have on their rental property checklist. Adequate cupboard space throughout the property including wardrobes, linen cupboards, kitchen storage and any additional areas are definitely taken into consideration when choosing a rental property. If you are limited with your storage capacity on your property – get creative and think outside the box of areas you could utilise or transform into usable space. Head to Ikea for lots of storage inspiration and products to get you started.

      Thinking about the needs of your potential tenants will assist you in achieving your desired rental income and a greater likelihood of securing long-term tenants.

  8. Using nature to pretty up your balcony this Spring

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    For unit owners, with the lack of large backyard spaces, we tend to focus our designing efforts into the interiors of our home. Signature pieces to make a bold statement in a room, unique artwork to bring a room to life and sift furnishing for that personal touch and to really make it feel like home. Sometimes, without our intended meaning, our balconies can be left as a last afterthought, with the addition of an outdoor setting perhaps with some haphazard furnishings.

    If this sounds like you, then it is the perfect time of year to change the look and feel of your perhaps lack-lustre balcony once and for all.

    SPRING IS HERE AND WITH IT COMES COLOUR!

    Spring is here and with the clear skies, warm days and cool nights comes an array of colourful and aromatic plants and flowers at our disposal. For unit owners, with the number of affordable designer takes on outdoor furniture and accessories, it can be easy to head to the shops to find something to fill a void on our balconies. But now, with spring upon us, all we need to do is to look outside and see the wonderful delights on offer for our decorating needs. Nature offers one of the most underrated, yet most affordable and rewarding ways to decorate.

    For those who may not be the greenest of thumbs, we have compiled some quick and simple ideas to give you balcony a boost of colour and freshness this Spring. And get ready, because Bunnings is about to become your best friend.

    Vertical Wall Gardens

    No longer do your balcony walls need to be plain and purely structural. The popularity of vertical green walls continues to rise which means there are an abundance of DIY vertical green wall kits and ideas on the market. Here are some amazing Australian sites with DIY kits and ideas to get you started and give you some vertical garden inspiration:

    https://www.bunnings.com.au/our-range/garden/garden-decor/vertical-gardens

    http://www.lusciouslivingspaces.com.au/

    http://www.wallgarden.com.au/

    https://www.holmanindustries.com.au/products/greenwall-vertical-planting/

    http://www.verticalgardensaustralia.com.au/

    http://skalegreenwall.com.au/

    Potted Plants

    Simple and effective, choosing your favourite plants and sourcing some striking pots to house them in can make all the difference. Be sure to choose the right plants based on your outlook and whether your balcony catches more sun or shade. Once again, head to Bunnings or your local nursery.

    Herb Planter Boxes

    Not only are herb planter boxes a sentimental favourite, they will also add a bang of flavor to your cooking! There is nothing better than the smell of fresh herbs on your balcony or patio, and add that to the ease of simply walking outside to pick your required herb instead of relying on dried varieties or last minute dashes to the shops. Searching for herb planter boxes will bring up a massive array of ideas to get your new little herb garden growing.

    If all else fails….

    If getting green is just not your thing, Christmas is only five weeks away so cover that balcony in strings of lights and inflatable Santas to but you time until next year! You never know, Santa just might leave you a new planter box, soil and herbs in your Santa sack this year.

     

  9. HOW TO BOOST YOUR CHANCES OF APPLICATION APPROVAL ON YOUR DREAM RENTAL

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    Let’s be honest – the rental game can be brutal. Especially in areas of high demand, it may seem as though you need to know someone on the inside and that scoring your dream rental seems less likely than stumbling upon a gold bullion at the beach.

    But rest assured, there are some sweet and simple tips that can help your application move more towards the top of the pile towards approval and the keys to your new leased property. Simply changing a few of your habits can make a big difference.

    1. Be vigilant

    Download every real estate app or website you need on your home computer, mobile or tablet. Check a few times a day so you are alerted as soon as a suitable rental is listed in your area. Finding out a day or two late about a new property may be the difference between missing out and being in with a chance.

    1. Get in touch with your local agents and property managers

    This may seem labour intensive but it is worth a shot – anything to help you stand out. Draft yourself a cover letter and make a personal visit to all your local agents, introduce yourself briefly and leave a copy of your cover letter. Detail about yourself and your flatmates (if applicable), what you are looking for and price range, your job situation and general information about you and why you are a perfect tenant. As soon as a property is listed, call the agent to discuss and arrange a time to meet (if prior to the open inspection).

    1. Be organised! Have your documentation ready and in order

    Before you even think about applying for a property, do yourself a huge favour and get multiple copies of all the paperwork you will need to apply. This will include:

    • Application form
    • Photo ID
    • References
    • Pay slips
    • Cover letter

    In the cases where certified copies are needed, have this done beforehand, so you are 100% ready to go.

    1. Apply online quickly

    Where possible, submit your application online as soon as the property becomes available. Time is of the essence so get in early to be considered quickly.

    1. Be courteous

    Agents understand the frustration and stress that can come with the rental search. We understand that – yet be sure to always be courteous and polite to the property managers or agents managing the process. Kindness goes a long way!

    1. Put your best foot forward

    When you show up to the inspection or open homes, be sure to present yourself in the best way possible. That means no bare feet if you have just been to the beach or yesterday’s clothes. Put in some effort in the dress department to show the level of care you take for yourself – and for the home you are to live in.

    1. Follow up

    Just like a job interview, don’t be afraid to thank the agent following your inspection and follow up for good measure. It shows you are courteous and also interested in the property.

    By taking on a few pointers, it could be all the difference to getting your application looked at and given the stamp of approval.

    Keep up the search and good luck!

  10. QUICK I NEED A MAKEOVER!

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    The Top 5 Cosmetic Makeover Tricks for your Rental Property

    Is your property starting to look a little worse for wear? Maybe it is a little rough around the edges and in need of some TLC? If you are looking to put your property on the leasing market, or are inbetween tenants, one of the best things you can do to yield a higher return on your rental property is to give it a quick cosmetic makeover.

    Not only will giving your rental property a quick cosmetic facelift give it a new lease on life (pardon the pun), it will also attract more renters in their search for the perfect property and their willingness to pay the rent on offer.

    Here are our top 5 cosmetic makeover tricks to breathe some new life into your rental property.

    1. PAINT

    Painting is first on our list of cosmetic necessities. Giving a fresh coat of paint does wonders for a property. It can change the feel of a home and add a new sense of fresh and newness for the next tenant. So either call in the professionals or grab that bunch of mates that owe a few favours and have a painting working bee.

    2. NEW CARPET

    New carpet can be a fairly costly exercise and may not be in your cosmetic budget, but if you have the funds to spare, putting down some new carpet can make your rental property feel like new. When choosing a carpet for your rental property, choose one that is up to the chore of withstanding some wear and tear.

    3. NEW DOORS OR KITCHEN HANDLES

    If your kitchen draws and doors are looking a little worse for wear, consider replacing the doors to instantly add new life into your kitchen. If doors are not on the budget, look at replacing just the handles. It’s amazing what new handles can do to a kitchen and they can be picked up relatively cheaply at any kitchen or Bunnings store.

    4. GARDENING AND MULCHING

    When thinking of a cosmetic makeover, be sure to think about the exterior of your property. Put the gardening gloves on and get stuck into pulling out those pesky weeds that have grown over Spring. Mulching your garden is one of the best exterior projects you can do. It brings out the colours in your garden and adds a feel wow factor to any front or backyard. Plus, it will help keep the weeds at bay for your next tenant (always appreciated).

    5. NEW CURTAINS

    You may not think it, but when potential renters enter your bedrooms, once they have deciphered the size and storage, curtains are often the first thing that draws their eye. Why? Curtains are more often that not the only soft furnishing item in the room. If they look as though they haven’t had a clean since the late 80s, it sets the tone for the rest of the property. On the other hand, if the bedrooms have new, neutral-toned curtains that will match any décor, then it’s a huge plus.

    That’s our top 5 quick cosmetic suggestions to consider before you lease out your property to ensure you are putting your best property foot forward.