rental property in tip top shape

Keeping a rental property in tip-top shape

So you’ve found the perfect rental property? Congratulations!

Many people choose to rent over buying for a variety of reasons. While some find it easier financially, others prefer the freedom of being able to move about once their lease is up.

When you buy a property you are free to do what you wish with it; however, one of the only downsides to renting is that you don’t have this freedom and must be prepared for yearly inspections from your agent or landlord.

Here are a few tips to help you keep your rental home in perfect condition and avoid any conflict with your landlord or lease agreement:

1. Sweep, scrub and clean regularly

It sounds like a no-brainer for most people but for some tenants, a deep-clean only occurs when they have had warning of an impending yearly inspection by the agent or landlord. Periodically, borrow a steam cleaner from someone you know (especially if you are moving out – this is generally a requirement of an end-of-lease clean). Even if you aren’t moving out, a good carpet clean can freshen up your entire home. Clean walls regularly- cooking and other fumes can leave walls dirty. An excellent DIY all-purpose cleaner can be made in a flash with a bowl of hot water, a splash of white vinegar and a couple of spoonfuls of baking powder. It’s also non-toxic and pet and child friendly.

Probably the most important tip in regards to maintaining your rental property is to never hammer hooks or nails into your walls! Report any previous wall damage on your initial condition report that you submit to your agent or landlord upon moving in so that previous tenants doing this won’t come back to bite you later. There are many adhesive options at your local hardware store that won’t leave any marks on your rental property.

2. Avoid smoking inside

This is especially important if you live in a flat or apartment complex, where your proximity to your neighbours is much closer. Many rental properties these days stipulate no smoking inside on their lease, as walls and ceilings can become discoloured and carpets and curtains smelly. Find an outdoor area if there isn’t already one, where you aren’t upsetting anyone or causing property damage.

3. Deal with rental maintenance issues as they arise

A leaking toilet or shower head, broken boiler or malfunctioning stove can all be frustrating to have to deal with – especially when it isn’t your home or responsibility to fix them. Don’t leave concerns like these until a later date to fix. A leaking tap or broken shower head may seem like small changes that can be dealt with next week, but the amount of water this will not only waste but cost you on your next bill could be tremendous.

 

Enjoy your new home!

If you live in Brisbane North we recommend Emerald to clean your carpets and for pests control.

real estate agents in victoria

Little fact on Real Estate agents in Victoria -Australia

Did you know that  13,903 people listed themselves as Real Estate agents in Victoria or working in real estate in the last census? This figure was the reported figure according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ (ABS) last census data. But the the number of Real Estate agents in Victoria includes people who are indeed Real Estate agents but also includes Business Brokers, Property Managers, Principals, or Real Estate Representatives.  Impressively within the state of Victoria, these 13,903 agents are employed across 6,955 businesses. This is close to 20% of the total of Australian Real Estate businesses as recorded in the 2013 Real Estate Business Survey conducted by the ABS.

real estate agent

The five signs you’ve got a good real estate agent

We all know the way it goes with a real estate agent: long-winded sales pitch, over-the-top smiling, and words that you’re actually not really sure you can trust. Salesmen, by nature, know exactly how to turn something not-so-sellable, into something that’s a hot grab to get a hold of. That’s why it can be tricky business selecting a good real estate agent that’s honest, genuine and able to still do the job efficiently and smoothly, without spending the big bucks to do so. Fortunately, there are a few handy traits to look out for in a good real estate agent, ones you can use as criteria for discovering who’s able to take on your property to the right extent.

1. Communication is key

All good salesmen should be able to communicate. Unfortunately, most of them just know how to talk at people, not with people. When selling or buying a property, it’s stressful enough without the added pressure of finding someone who is honestly able to help you in an authentic way. In an industry that’s extremely time-sensitive, this becomes even more critical. Good agents know how to communicate with both buyers and sellers, and can guide each client through the process with ease.

2. They take on a proactive approach

Like any sales position, chasing leads is a primary part of the job. Good agents are able to track these potential sales, communicate with both buyers and sellers and actively seek feedback. You should not have to chase a real estate agent to get a report on open house , inspections or other important days in the selling of your property.  They’re simply proactive in all walks of their job. You should have their mobile number .  They should answer their calls or phone you back within the day.

3. They’re good listeners

It doesn’t pay to watch clients talk without actually taking on board what they’re saying. Knowing what is being said and how to find a resolution is a top quality of a great real estate agent. They’re able to consider special requests and considerations and actually listen to what buyers and sellers are after. Watch a real estate who keeps notes of your questions.  How do you feel after meeting the agent, have you felt understood or did you get lost in hearing too much of the agent’s words?

4. They’re in it for the clients

Agents that are actually doing their job to help people, rather than just earn commission, are the key difference to good and bad professionals. They’re the ones that exceed expectations and go that one step further, every time. They’re also the ones that land more sales because of it. They are legally bound to a fiduciary relationships but this duty can be done in a clinical, practical way or with a caring , understanding approach.

5. They’ve got references handy

If they’re actually genuine about their job and know they’re good at it too, these agents will be more than happy to dish out a list of their most recent clients (without hesitating). They know they’ve got good word going for them, and they’re not afraid to use it – with good reason.

All the above can be perceived when selecting your real estate agent.  For any help  contact AgentFinder .

Simple ways to increase your property’s value

No matter which way you look at it, property is a big investment. Whether you are renovating, renting or looking to sell you want to make a reasonable return on your property. So here are some simple ways you can increase your property’s value.

Patch up and paint

Whether you are renovating, renting or looking to sell, patching up and painting are quick and easy ways to rejuvenate your property. This should be done both externally and internally. Begin by patching up any cracks or chips in the walls, especially if you are looking to sell, as the perceived value of a property is often determined by the quality of interior walls. Ensure that you apply a fresh coat of paint on your interior walls. Opt for a neutral colour, such as off-white, in order to make the property feel fresh and clean.  Neutral colours when selling or renting is also a way to appeal to the majority of buyers and possible tenants.  Be aware that colour rarely is as it looks on the paint card.  Buy a tester first and paint a patch on each wall of a room to see how the colour looks on different lights.

Landscaping and garden maintenance

If you have a garden on your property, it is essential that it is neat, tidy and aesthetically pleasing. An unkempt, messy garden will always affect a buyer’s or renter’s opinion of the property negatively. If you want to re-do the garden, opt for low maintenance, drought-resistant plants and ensure that the garden is free of weeds. If your garden is out-dated, consider landscaping so you can make the most of the space you have. Ensure you create an outdoor living area for eating and entertaining, as these are always attractive to renters and buyers.

Interior flooring

While you may not think it, one of the first things potential renters and buyers look at is a property’s flooring. In order to increase your property’s value, you need to ensure that your flooring is contemporary, clean and chic. Better still, opt for flooring that is easy to maintain, such as tile or wooden flooring. If you like the look of carpet, opt for a stain-resistant and durable carpet in a neutral colour, such as cream or beige. Do away with old, stained or musty carpets, as these are never attractive.

If you want to increase the value of your property, consider enlisting the help of real estate agents. The right real estate agent can help you figure out what renovations can give you the best returns on your investment.  AgentFinder can help you find a real estate agent in your area. Click here for AgentFinder’s help.

rental

Rental applications: the ultimate guide

With the current rental market, it goes without saying that securing that perfect property gets harder by the minute. We have put together a guide to take you through the best way to go about putting together that winning application, placing you on the top of the pile when it comes to narrowing down potential tenants.

Honesty is key

Dishonesty is transparent and will certainly not help your chances in securing a rental. With the slightest of research, dishonesty in your application will be obvious and your chances with not only the given property, but also with the agent listing the property, will be jeopardised.

A cover letter goes a long way

A cover letter is the perfect platform for you to formally introduce yourself to the landlord, providing details about yourself and expressing why you would like to secure the property. A succinct and well-worded cover letter will guarantee that you make an instant and lasting impression.

Financial stability

A great way of demonstrating that you have the ability to meet rental payments in a timely manner is by showing that you have a regular income. One of the key items that a landlord looks for is stability in a tenant. Attach documentation proving income (bank statements) as well as regular wages and pay cheques. Remember that a landlord wants hassle-free tenants who are able to make rental payments in a timely manner. If you can demonstrate your ability to meet these criteria, you considerably increase your chances of securing the property.

The endorsement of references

This is a big one. If you have a past landlord or property owner who can vouch for you and write you a glowing reference letter, you will automatically be at the top of the queue. Ensure you include both a reference letter from a previous landlord as well as one from a current employer. Nothing looks better in a rental application than a previous landlord stating that you as a tenant looked after their property as if it was your own.

Time

It is often important to be quick when filling the tenancy application from the real estate agency and gathering the required ID photocopies.  So be prepared by photocopying your passport, driver licence, a recent bank statement, medicare card, car registration document… Do it before viewing properties so you can act rapidly if you wish to apply for  the rental.

Photo: For Rent by Editor B licensed under Creative commons 4
curb appeal for potential buyers

Boost your property’s curb appeal for potential buyers or tenants

Curb appeal refers to the overall appearance of your property from the street. In particular how a property appeals to potential buyers. This includes the property’s age, condition and design, as well as the front garden or yard that faces the street. Often potential buyers will physically or virtually drive-by a property in order to eliminate any properties that they see as undesirable or to search for any properties they would wish to own. Read more

Photo: Nine Rocks! by sugarfrizz licensed under Creative commons 4
investment property

Four tips to find the right agent for an investment property

When you are purchasing an investment property, you need an agent that you can trust to not only help you with the purchase, but to help you to make the most of your investment through managing rental income.

Here are our top four tips to help you find the right agent for your investment property purchase:

1. Research

You need to know the ins and outs of your agent, as well as potential property purchases or renters. Look at a few different agencies to get a feel for how they operate in your local area. Needless to say, these days, checking on the different strengths and weaknesses of your local agent is as simple as a click of the button. While you can’t take every review as word-for-word advice, you can get some insight about where they focus their attention.

2. Local expertise

The locality of a real estate agent is potentially their most important strength. They know the other homes in the area, rental returns, locality of the best cafes and transportation, and will even have lists of reliable potential tenants for the area.

3. Trust your agent

You need to feel as comfortable as possible with your agent. This person will essentially become the gate-keeper for your property. If you aren’t 100% sure, you may need to either resolve the issues or find another agent. When you are first looking for an agent to manage your investment property, including a purchase, make sure that you can have a chat to the rental manager. If conversation flows and is easy, you’ve got a great start to open and honest communications. As there is a high turnover of staff in property management it is wise to know how long the property manager who will look after your investment property has been in that position.  While you cannot guarantee that this person will stay many more years , it is an indication that the agency treats its employees fairly and increase the likelihood of the next property manager staying more than a few months.  Nothing is worse than a constant change of property manager.  You ant one that knows you and your property.

4. Ask questions

Your property manager is there to act as a liaison. You pay them to look after your property for you. Don’t hesitate to call an property manager a few times during the process of selection. Are they always available and ready to talk? Are they always friendly or do they seem too busy to chat? The treatment you receive now is most likely going to be better than the treatment you receive later, once their sales process is over.  To make your selection you can use the help of AgentFinder at agentfinderservices.com.au  They will provide you with a list of agencies in your area and many information of their property management services.  As a bonus you can ask your questions and they will report back to you their findings.  All you will need to do is select the few  (or the one) you wish to meet to see how you feel about them. You can also let  AgentFinder choose the best one for you, they will explain their choice and  you are still free to disagree, you always are making the final choice .  They can also have a chat with you to help you find the best property management agency if you need more help.

Photo: Homeownership by MarkMoz12 licensed under Creative commons 4
sell your property- get the sale contract

How to prepare to sell your property

Unfortunately, to sell your property you have to do more than putting a ‘For Sale’ sign in your front yard and waiting for the buyer to walk through the door. To help you through the process of selling your home for the first time, we’ve come up with some handy steps to guide you.

Step one: make the decision to sell

The first step is deciding the best time to sell your property. Is the market a good seller’s market? Should you buy a home before or after the sale and will this affect the sale at all?

Step two: choose a real estate agent

You want to choose an estate agent that is perfect for you, so consider this step wisely and carefully. You want someone who is going to advertise, show off and complete the sale of your home perfectly. You want to know as much as possible.  AgentFinder at www.agentfinderservices.com.au can help you get detailed information on real estate agents in your area.  From their recent sales and commission to their method of selling and type of agency.

Step three: decide on the selling process

The next step to sell your property is to decide with your agent how your home should be listed, shown and sold. Determine how much your house should be sold for by getting it appraised and consider its location, size, features and condition. Your estate agent should be able to give you a suburb report and help you with your price estimate.

Step four: legalise the sale

You need to now sign an agreement with your estate agent. Through this contract the commission and sale price will be outlined, as well as how much is to be spent on the sales process and how the sell of your property will be undertaken.

You must also get a Vendor’s Statement and a Contract of Sale which your solicitor or conveyancer can provide you with. These documents will have all of the details of your home listed for the potential buyers to take home.

Step five: prepare your home

Next comes the preparation for sale process, which includes taking photos of your home, getting floor plans drawn and getting your estate agent to help you write ads. You need to ensure your home looks its best for the photos and in preparation for any visits by potential buyers, which will be organised through the estate agent.

Step six: negotiating a sale

The exciting part of negotiating a sale, either through an auction or from an offer, comes next. The buyer and the seller need to agree on a price and this will be mediated through the real estate agent. The buyer will put down their deposit and the contracts can be drawn up for the sale.

Step seven: settlement day

Congratulations! You’ve now sold your home and you can hand over the keys and legal rights to the buyer to receive the bank payment from the sale.

Key for renting

Renting – keys to build a good rapport with your real estate agent

Building a good relationship with your new real estate agent can be difficult when you are renting. Often they are busy and, as a tenant, you feel that they aren’t getting back to you on matters that you feel need addressing urgently.

A cracked pipe, a leaking toilet or malfunctioning air-conditioning in the peak of the Australian summer can all create intense anxiety and stress for those having to live with the situation.

Here are three make-or-break hints on building that (often tenuous) relationship with your real estate agent:

1. Be honest from the beginning

From the viewing of the property to the application stage, right through to the (fingers crossed) tenancy agreement with your agent, it is always important to maintain a good history of honesty. Providing honest professional and personal references (both workplace and previous landlords if you were renting a property before) can go a long way.

the key for renting

Key inserted in door lock

 

2. Ask questions

Nothing shows more that you are serious about renting a property  than asking questions.  What methods of payment do they accept for rent each month? Is water usage included or billed separately? Does your apartment block run on one water meter or is each billed independently? Make a list of questions before you view a property to take with you. Being certain of all of these questions can mean the difference between a strained relationship with your agent later on, and a positive and friendly one.

3. Be polite when asking questions and ALWAYS keep a paper trail

You will find quite quickly when renting a property, that if you are to pester your real estate agent with questions over the phone, they will often be out of the office on inspections or viewings, and your entire relationship will be based on voicemails. Put your questions into an email for them. This way you have digital proof of the conversations and agreements that have occurred and issues that have been raised – and it also means that time-poor agents, who very often respond to emails outside of office hours, will respond once they are back in front of their computer. Agents have many tenants to take care of, so it also helps to email so that they have time to look up your details and give your a concrete answer, without putting them on the spot over the phone.

Photo: Key to the door by Alan Cleaver licensed under Creative commons 4
Image from Flickr

Real estate agents help home staging your property

You’ve made the big decision – sell, sell, sell! The property you’ve spent years living in as a family home or have spent thousands of dollars and countless hours doing up as an investment is ready for the real estate market.

This is where the knowledge and experience of a qualified real estate agent comes to the fore. Not only can they help with listing your property for sale and taking care of all of the paperwork and hassle, they also know how to sell it.

One of the most crucial aspects of successfully selling a property is what’s known as home staging – getting the space ready for potential buyers to physically inspect.

Real estate agents have market knowledge

Real estate agents know what sells and what doesn’t for real estate in Australia. In the lead-up to a home open event, their expertise will be invaluable in identifying areas of the property that need a total overhaul, cleaning or some simple improvements.

If your garden looks tired, they can help arrange landscaping, and if your home is cluttered, they help arrange storage for your stuff, ensuring the inside is neat and tidy when buyers arrive.

Real estate agents help avoid the clichés

Bread baking in the oven. Scented candles burning around a just-filled bath sprinkled with rose petals. A dining room table gleaming with silver cutlery and the good china.

Many homeowners put on these little tricks to make their properties shine – but these days putting on too much of an effort is seen as cliché. A real estate agent will help ensure the house is clean, presentable and attractive without resorting to cheap tricks.

Real estate agents take the stress out of home staging

A home listed for sale at a million dollars that looks like a dump will not attract offers anywhere near the asking price. But by working closely with a real estate agent, you can make sure that your home staging effort showcases your property perfectly – and it could even add a few extra dollars to the price.

By having someone with broad experience in home staging, you will be able to open your front door to buyers with confidence, knowing you’ve done everything you possibly could to present your home in the best light.

Photo: living room at morning by jinkazamah licensed under Creative commons 4