Category Archive: Uncategorized

  1. THE 5 GOLDEN RULES TO STRESS FREE RENTING WITH PETS

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    When it comes to renting with pets, there are 5 golden rules to obey. Following these rules will ensure you and your pet have a long and harmonious tenancy agreement with your landlord. When it comes down to it, it is really just commonsense. The same rules apply to renting with pets as it would be for renting with humans. The rules are pretty consistent. It all comes down to respect. Respect for yourself, the property and  your landlord. If you keep that in mind, these rules are pretty straightforward.

    1. Always seek permission

      Before you think about applying for a property, or heading to your local pound or pet store, seek permission for your landlord. All tenancy agreements should clearly state whether pets are acceptable. If unclear, always seek permission first. It is a lot easier to seek permission and be granted a yes or no before you have moved in or have that cuddly new puppy in your arms.

    2. Follow the rules

      As with allowing pets, your tenancy agreement may state whether pets are allowed indoors or outdoors only. These requests are there for a reason. If your landlord requests outdoor pets only, ensure to oblige. Most pet-friendly properties will have secure backyards that are fully fenced so your pet can be safe and comfortable. If the property is not fully enclosed and there is a threat to the safety of your pet, it may not be the best property for you. So continue your search.

    3. Clean up after your pet

      This is another commonsense request really. Similar as your landlord would expect you to keep the premises clean and tidy. Same goes for your pet. Clean up after their messes in the backyard. If they are allowed indoors, ensure any pet hair is cleaned regularly. Where carpet stains occur, clean them straight away to prevent permanent stains. If they dig and tear up the yard, ensure to replace holes and grass where you can once this phase passes.

    4. Keep nuisance noise down

      For your neighbours, there is nothing more irritating than a nuisance barker. If you intend on leaving your dog for long periods, ensure they have been sufficiently excercised prior to your departure. This will mean they are happy to sleep in contentment until your return. Bordeom busters and chew toys do help, but they are not a long-term solution. Domestic pets love company. If left for long periods of time you could have a nuisance barker/howler/crier on your hands. And some grumpy neighbours.

    5. Contain your pets

      This gets particularly tricky when cats are involved. Where your landlord allows pets at your property, this doesn’t mean your neighbours want them too. If you have a dog, ensure the backyard is fully enclosed with no gaps for escape. If a cat is your pet of choice, ensure they aren’t nuisance roaming the streets and other neighbour’s homes throughout the day and evening on the hunt for food.

    For further information, contact the The Tenants Union of NSW or check out their handy ‘Tenants’ guide to renting with pets in NSW

  2. 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.

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

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    Improving your Focus on Tenant Retention

    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

        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 burst pipes or gas leaks should illicit and urgent response. 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.

      2. Regular rental increases rather than large lump sums 

        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.

      3. Open lines of communication

        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.

      4. Choosing the right property manager (Hint hint!)

        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.

    Good tenant retention 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.

  4. BENEFITS OF THE NEW ONLINE RENTAL BONDS SYSTEM

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    The Introduction of Rental Bonds Online

    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 new online rental bonds 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 to the new online rental bonds system is mandatory. Tenants must also 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. 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. 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
    • Once your tenancy is at its end, submit a claim online to get a refund of your bond money

    The introduction of the new online system will streamline all rental bond transactions. There is 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.

    Find more information at the NSW Department of Fair Trading FAQs.

     

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

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    Keeping your Maintenance Reporting Spot On

    As a tenant, you are no doubt going to come across the need for maintenance on your leased property. Whether for a broken window latch, a wobbly fan, leaking tap or something more serious 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 have a well-organised and flexible tenant.

    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 for them to lose your request. 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.

      2. 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.

      3. 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.

      4. 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 you require an urgent repair, contact your agent to discuss immediately. In cases where you cannot contact your agent or 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.  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 it be for regular or urgent repairs.

    Need any repairs at your property? Email us at Elizabeth@aspectestateagents.com.au or kim@aspectestateagents.com.au and we’ll get right on it.

  6. 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 realisation that mould is spreading through 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.

    2. Keep good airflow

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

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

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

       

       

       

  7. 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.

    2. Building Allowance

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

    3. 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. They will provide an up-to-date assessment on the value of both plant, equipment and building. These values will effectively collate your yearly depreciation schedule. Depreciation schedules can take up to three weeks to prepare. Book a surveyor now to ensure you are ready come tax time and beat the last minute rush.

      ONE LAST NOTE

      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.

  8. 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. You want to tick 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. These include transport, schooling, shops and facilities. Although, these would have come into play in your initial purchase of your investment property.

    So what do rental applicants want?

    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. It rated above parking, views and a swimming pool. 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. Let’s 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.

      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.

    2. AIR CONDITIONING AND HEATING.

      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.

    3. GARAGE.

      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.

    4. GOOD OUTDOOR ENTERTAINING AREAS.

      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.

    5. ADEQUATE STORAGE.

      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.

  9. Using nature to pretty up your balcony decor 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 balcony decor can be left as an afterthought. More likely the recipient of a mere outdoor setting with perhaps some haphazard furnishings.

    If this sounds like you, then it is the perfect time of year to change the look and feel of your 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 yet effective! Choose your favourite plants and source some striking pots to house them in. It can make all the difference! Be sure to choose the right plants based on your outlook. Consider 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. 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 buy you time until next year! You never know, Santa just might leave you a new planter box, soil and herbs this year.

  10. HOW TO BOOST YOUR CHANCES OF RENTAL APPLICATION APPROVAL

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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 expedite your rental application approval. 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.

    2. 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).

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

    5. 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!

    6. 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.

    7. 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!