Can I Do My Own Maintenance At My Investment Property?
Too many Landlords believe that they are saving money by attending to maintenance themselves, however, often the “quick fix” is not always the best solution nor outcome for both Tenant, Lessor and Agent.
Public Liability issues can come about if the repair is not performed correctly or worse, someone gets injured by the inexperienced repair.
In most cases now, it is against the law to carry out Electrical or Plumbing issues, unless you are a qualified contractor.
Utilising a managing agents list of preferred contractors, has many benefits.
Advantage of Letting Your Property Manager Handle Maintenance
In most cases their Contractors are:
Have completed a Contractors Agreement prior to attending your property, which indemnifies both you, the Lessor and us the Agent of any liability, in the event that a mistake is made
Many expert Property Managers have educated their contractors in;
how to present their time and labour onto an invoice
How to liaise with a Tenant to arrange easy access
Prepared to collect keys from the office if the tenant cannot be at home
Call the office is the suspected cost will be more than $150
Provide photos if issues if required
Recommend replacement over repairing if warranted
Will return to fix for free is the problem repaired reoccurs
Are the eyes and ears in so far as the state of the maintenance?
Report back to the office with anything untoward with the Tenancy.
For peace of mind and a small investment, it is recommended utilising qualified tradespeople to maintain your investment property and in most cases, these are a tax deduction.
Mould is fungi that can be found everywhere in nature, both indoors and outdoors. You will generally see them where it is warm, moist and humid. But moulds are resilient. They can thrive even in dry conditions and other harsh environmental conditions that don’t normally support their growth.
Moulds reproduce by producing spores. When spread by winds and air currents, spores can easily enter the interior of a home. Currents are created in a home by such simple actions as using the vacuum cleaner, opening and closing the door, etc.
4 Common Mould Types Found in Homes
There are various types of moulds found indoors. Here are some of the common types:
Cladosporium: This genus of fungi is characterised by olive-green to brown or black colonies and appear as dark-pigmented conidia in simple or branching chains. You will find these in living and dead plant material. Cladosporium is plentiful in air as it is easily spread by wind. The indoors species can be found in surfaces that are constantly damp.
Penicillium: This genus of ascomycetous fungi is used as an important ingredient in the manufacture of food and pharmaceuticals. However, some species of this type of mould can also damage the machinery and the materials used to process them. It is present in the air as well as indoors such as residential properties and public buildings. Penicillium can grow indoors even if the level of humidity is low, provided there is enough moisture.
Alternaria: This genus of ascomycete fungi are major plant pathogens and are common allergens that causes hay fever and hypersensitivity reactions in humans. They are found everywhere – air, soil and water – even indoors and on objects. Alternaria has club-liked spores and grows in colonies that appear green, black or gray.
Aspergillus: This is a type of deuteromycetes fungi and is closely related to the Ascomycota fungi. They can grow on carbon-rich substances as well as in environments that are lacking in nutrients. A good example for the latter is niger, which can grow on wet walls, which can promote the growth of mildew. There are some species of this type that can cause major diseases in humans and animals.
How Mould Affects Health and Damage Properties
Mould attacks both the property and the health of the people living there.
Mould destroys surfaces where they grow as it is their nature to decompose matter. When construction materials such as wood are steadily exposed to moisture from outside, moisture will penetrate the interior walls, creating the right conditions for mould growth. Don’t let moulds linger because the longer it is left alone the more damage it causes.
A house with mould issues would be a lot harder to sell because of the stigma attached to mould. The home may be thought of as having a lower value. Potential buyers would hesitate to make an offer as the repair cost would be at the back of their mind.
In addition to property damage, mould poses health risks to humans, especially for those who have sensitivity to them. Some of the reactions that these people could experience due to exposure to mould include: nasal stuffiness, coughing or wheezing, throat irritation, eye irritation, and even skin irritation. People with mould allergies can experience more extreme reactions.
Sick people with compromised immunity like those suffering from lung diseases or infections are advised to keep away from areas that may have mould such as cut grass, wooded areas and compost piles.
Preventing Mould Infestation in Your Home
Being proactive is the key to preventing mould infestation. Here are some ways you can control mould inside your home:
Control humidity levels
Fix leaky roof, windows and pipes immediately
If you’re home becomes flooded, clean and dry the affected areas thoroughly
Ventilate the shower, laundry and cooking areas
If you suspect that you have a mould issue, don’t delay in addressing it. Don’t commit the mistake a lot of people make: thinking that only obvious moulds are the problem or that moulds only grow in wet or humid climates.
Getting Rid of Mould Infestation
Mould is a nuisance and a danger. It can ruin not only the appearance, but also the very foundation of your home if left unchecked.
But before attempting to clean up mould, be aware that you may be putting your health at risk.
Mould spores cannot be totally eradicated. But you can use a natural mould spray to at least reduce the volume of spores floating in the air.
To avoid exposure from moulds in the air, use an N95 particulate respirator, also called TC-21C particulate respirator. Also, wear rubber gloves, eye protection and clothes that can easily be laundered or discarded afterward.
Cleaning Up Your Mould Problem at Home
Here are some tips to help you clean up your mould problem at home:
Repair all water leaks immediately and make sure all items are totally dry.
Use detergent and water to scrub mould from hard surfaces. Dry completely.
Carpets and other absorbent items should be disposed if they have mould as it is impossible to completely rid these materials of mould.
Mouldy surfaces must not be painted or caulked. The surfaces must be cleaned of mould and dried before painting them. Paint on mouldy surfaces is not likely to last.
If you’re not confident of cleaning mould off an item or surface, consider calling in the specialists. It’s easy to search online for specialists on furniture repair and restoration, carpet cleaning, art restoration and conservation, plumbing repair, and so on.
Make sure to hire the right specialist by asking for and checking their references. Go for specialists who are connected with professional associations.
State Government Taxes Putting Pressure on Property Affordability in Queensland
Queensland residential real estate affordability is under threat as the Government’s stamp duty cash grab increased by $273 million from FY2016 to FY2017, ABS data for the financial year 2017 has revealed.
Queensland State Government coffers have received a plumped up injection of $3.278 billion in stamp duty on conveyances in FY2017, compared with $3.005 billion in FY2016.
This increase means more than 25 per cent of the total taxation revenue in Queensland is coming from stamp duty on conveyances. When land tax and other taxes on property are added to the equation, more than 38 per cent of the total taxation revenue comes from property-related taxes or the equivalent to about $5 billion in FY2017.
Stamp duty on conveyances revenue contribution has increased from 17 per cent in FY 2013 to 25 per cent to June 30, 2017.
Stamp duty on conveyances is the second-largest contributor to the Queensland coffers behind payroll tax, which delivered a hefty $3.695 billion last financial year.
REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said the State Government was taking too much from the property sector.
“We have good affordability in our residential market and great affordability in our commercial market, but rising stamp duty costs are threatening that affordability,” she said.
“In residential real estate, hefty stamp duty costs serve to stifle housing mobility. Upgraders and downsizers put off the next move because of the onerous stamp duty they will have to pay when they move,” Ms Mercorella said.
“An upgrader moving from a $500,000 home to a $750,000 home would be forced to pay an estimated $20,000 in stamp duty, on top of the cost of their new home, along with various costs associated with buying and selling property,” she said.
“The reality is simply that stamp duty is threatening our affordability,” she said. “The REIQ has long advocated for the abolition of stamp duty. It does the property sector no favours and the State Government is now in danger of killing off the golden goose,” she said.
The Henry Tax Review found that stamp duty was an inefficient tax that led to housing problems.
The full abolition of stamp duty would serve to increase housing affordability for all Queenslanders and result in a dramatic boost to property transactions. It would also help unleash a flurry of economic activity that would have a positive kick-on effect not only in real estate, but throughout the Queensland economy.
Abolition of stamp duty will:
Allow new homeowners to put the subsequent savings towards paying off the cost of their new home;
Make purchasing a home more affordable for the average Queenslander; and
Provide greater flexibility and choice for aspiring home-owners.
It is nothing more than an inefficient and regressive tax that stymies economic activity in the real estate sector.
The system needs to be reformed and a modern property tax process needs to be introduced.
The March quarter vacancy rate data reveals generally improving rental markets across Queensland, according to REIQ’s Q1 2018 Vacancy Rate report, released today.
Regional Queensland, in particular, has delivered good results in the wake of a two or three bleak years.
REIQ CEO Antonia Mercorella said the regional vacancies improvements this quarter followed, broadly speaking, similar small improvements in 2017 Q4, and that these small but steady improvements were the hallmarks of Queensland real estate.
“Some of our markets, such as the Gold and Sunshine coasts, remain uncomfortably tight and we would like to see more investors enter those markets, however APRA’s tightened lending criteria is not encouraging investors to consider property. The result is tight markets remain tight, despite good opportunities for landlords in those markets,” she said.
Greater Brisbane’s vacancy rates eased by 0.1 per cent to 2.7 per cent, which remains a healthy market.
Looking more closely at this region, Brisbane LGA also eased 0.1 per cent to 3.1 per cent, which indicates a healthy market for a second consecutive quarter.
Zooming in closer, the inner ring (0-5km radius) tightened and returned from the weak range to a healthy 3.5 per cent. This is good news for this market as it reflects good rental options for tenants, and good opportunity for landlords to secure good tenants.
The middle ring (5-20km) eased slightly, moving from the tight to the healthy range and recording a vacancy rate of 2.8 per cent.
“It’s gratifying to see that all areas of the Brisbane rental market are operating in the healthy range and this start to impact speculation about oversupply,” Ms Mercorella said. “The data shows a very resilient market capable of absorbing the perceived oversupply.”
Ipswich tightened marginally, moving from 3.1 to 3.0 per cent, but has maintained its position as a healthy rental market.
“This area is really a growth corridor for Queensland and we’re seeing buyers and renters flocking to this part of the southeast corner. It’s great news that the rental market is maintaining its stability and healthy status,” Ms Mercorella said.
The Logan rental market eased 0.2 per cent to reach a still-tight 2 per cent vacancy rate. Historical trends put this market at around 2 per cent to 3 per cent, an indication that this market is operating business as usual.
Moreton Bay tightened by 0.2 per cent to 1.4 per cent. This market is generally a tight market and it is one of Queensland’s fastest growing regions.
Redland eased 0.2 per cent but remained tight, with a March vacancy rate of 2.4 per cent.
The Gold Coast held steady at 1.1 per cent. This market was measured in the lead-up to the Commonwealth Games and it will be interesting to see how the next two to three quarters shake out as visitors leave the region. Early next year, the Athletes Village will be redeveloped into a Health and Knowledge Precinct including mixed-use residential precincts with more than 1100 apartments.
“Our hope is that these units will find investor buyers and this could contribute to easing the tight rental conditions in this beautiful part of the world,” Ms Mercorella said.
The Sunshine Coast, overall, has a vacancy rate of 1 per cent. Caloundra, along with Gympie, has the tightest vacancy rate in Queensland, with just 0.5 per cent of properties vacant.
“The Sunshine Coast is very challenging for renters who are looking for accommodation and we have said consistently for quite some time that this market would benefit from additional investor activity. The upward pressure on rents, as a result of this tight vacancy rate, will serve to push this market towards unaffordable,” Ms Mercorella said.
Noosa is also very tight, at just 0.8 per cent.
“It’s no surprise that renters are flocking to this market – it’s such a stunning part of the world with employment opportunities – but additional supply into this market would be very beneficial,” Ms Mercorella said.
Fraser Coast, which is made up of Hervey Bay and Maryborough, is a tight market, although it has eased somewhat. Fraser Coast has moved from 1.6 per cent in December to 1.9 per cent in March. Hervey Bay is now 1.8 per cent – a tight market – and Maryborough is now 2.5 per cent, which is a healthy market.
Cairns has also eased from 1.6 per cent to 2.1 per cent, moving this popular destination closer to a healthy rental market.
We have seen some positive news this quarter in regional Queensland, with many markets improving either a small amount or a considerable amount.
Bundaberg has moved from 1.7 per cent to 3.4 per cent. This is quite a jump, but there’s likely to be a seasonal factor at work here with the transfer season impacting vacancies as people move in and leave for employment factors. Bundaberg remains a healthy rental market.
In continued good news for Gladstone, this market has fallen for a third consecutive quarter. Essentially this market has improved significantly since March 2016 when the vacancy rate was 11.3 per cent.
“We are seeing some stabilisation of the market in this area, with the rental market delivering some cautiously improving. It’s been a long time coming and we’ll continue to wait and see with this region,” Ms Mercorella said.
Mackay is another good news story, with significant improvements from December 2016, when vacancies were 7.9 per cent.
“To see this market at 3.6 per cent, which although it is technically just outside the healthy range, it is still in reasonably good shape and this is very encouraging. It has been consistently improving over the past couple of years and we have much to be optimistic about,” Ms Mercorella said.
The Rockhampton vacancy rate has been somewhat volatile in the recent years, however, we are starting to see some consistent downward trends emerge. The fourth consecutive quarterly fall has resulted in the lowest vacancy rate since September 2014, of 4.1 per cent.
Toowoomba has tightened to its lowest vacancy rate since September 2016. With just 2.3 per cent vacancies, this market is in the tight range.
Townsville has tightened again and this is now the lowest rate it’s been since 2013. This is a continued good news story for this market which represents some of the best buying opportunities in Queensland at the moment. The vacancy rate is 3.8 per cent and while that is just outside the healthy range (healthy is 2.5 – 3.5 per cent) it is a vast improvement on the highest rate of 7.1 per cent in September 2016.
How Repainting Can Make Your Property More Desirable to Tenants
For every day you have a vacancy at your rental property, you are losing potential rental income. There are, however, simple fixes to make your property more desirable to prospective tenants.
First impressions are lasting impressions. If the exterior of your building is not up to par, a prospective tenant may not even want to come inside.
How to do Makeover With Paint
For a few hundred dollars you can completely transform a space. A fresh coat of paint can revive tired walls, brighten dim hallways and highlight architectural features such as high ceilings etc.
Stick to Neutral Paint Colours
You want your property to appeal to the masses. So Stick to neutral colours such as off-white, grey and cream to make the place feel light and bright to make space feel bigger and more inviting.
When it comes to maintenance, approach your tenants with a sense of fairness. Just think of yourself as a renter, and become the landlord you would like to have. It is just as easy as that, and the money you save in lower vacancy rates and tenant care of the property will be well worth the little extra service you provide.
You can easily see why keeping tenants happy to renew their lease saves you money.
Premiere Painters – and their staff have a real passion for property investing.
How nice would it be to work with them? There’s only one way to find out, contact them on 0438 783 739. Or visit their website – www.premierepainters.com.au.
Let’s talk about a subject everybody, hates, the removal of wallpaper.
New wall coverings can transform a room, taking it from boring to beautiful. But before you can determine the best approach to removing your old wallpaper, you need to know the type of wall covering and the type of wall surface that’s underneath. The cost of removing old wallpaper depends on a number of different factors
Wallpaper removal is easy. Well, maybe it’s not really easy, but I have good news for you. Yes, stripping wallpaper is messy and it is time-consuming. You would rather do almost anything else. As a professional, my clients have often told me that if not for the wallpaper removal, they would have decorated the room themselves. It is such a deterrent.
First, KNOW that this is going to be a messy job. There is no way around that. Bits and pieces of wet paper, covered in adhesive, will end up stuck to everything that’s not covered. Fortunately, it cleans up easily with some soap and water. So prepping the work area is vitally important.
What kind of wall covering do you have?
You may be lucky and have dry strippable paper. This makes removal very simple, faster and cheaper! If you can peel a small corner of your wall covering and peel it back easily, then you have dry strippable wall coverings and removal will be fast and easy. If the wall covering doesn’t come off, or if only the top coating comes off, then you will need more invasive removal techniques
Wall covering removal techniques
Soaking and scraping it off
The surface can be soaked with warm water and wallpaper solvent and then peeled off in a similar manner.
Steaming it off
If you must remove more than one layer of wallpaper or remove wallpaper that has been painted over. And if the wallpaper was not applied to a properly sealed surface, removing it without damaging the wall can be next to impossible. For these tough jobs, a wallpaper steamer is necessary.
Although you can use a steamer and wallpaper scraper with relative confidence on plaster walls, use caution on drywall, which is much more vulnerable to water damage and is more easily gouged.
Different types of wallpaper removal will take different lengths of time. Most professionals would charge by the hour for this type of job and should be able to quote an estimated price ahead of time-based on the size of the room and the type of paper being removed.
Wallpaper removal is a difficult area to estimate properly because so many factors that influence the successful completion of the job are unseen and can’t be observed until work is begun. For this reason, when we quote a price for wallpaper removal, the following factors are used to establish the estimated cost.
In the event of any damage caused to plaster walls during the removal of the paper, we can patch this up once we’re ready to paint and the walls are dry again. I would leave the room for 2-7 days if you have time, just to make sure the moisture is out of the wall.
If you have any questions please call us and see how we can help you on you’re next project.
How Nice Would it Be to Work With Us?
There’s only one way to find out, Contact us Today on 044 064 522.
After receiving applications from prospective tenants and reviewing their information, you should consider conducting an informal interview with the applicants on your shortlist. You can do this either by phone or in person when they go for the walk-through.
Holding an interview is an important step in the screening process because you get to ask important questions that can help you gain more insight into each applicant, allowing you to separate the good from the bad.
Here are some important questions to help you screen prospective tenants:
1. Why are you moving?
The usual reasons are things like transferring to a new job, a growing family or looking for a bigger home. If they the reasons are eviction or disagreement with a neighbour or former landlord, then this is a red flag.
2. What is the status of your employment?
Finding out what the applicant’s source of income is will let you know of their ability to pay rent on time. Follow up with a question of how long have they been employed in their present job to give you an idea of job stability.
3. How much is your monthly income?
This will tell you whether the person can cover the rent. A good rule to follow is that a tenant’s monthly income should be adequate to cover rent for two and a half months. If there are two earners, take into consideration the combined earnings.
4. Are you paying additional expenses, i.e credit card debts?
The person’s income will give you a general idea of their ability to pay rent, but they might not always be able to pay rent on time if there are other stuffs they are paying for.
5. How many people will reside in the property?
The ideal is a maximum of two people in one bedroom. The fewer people the less wear and tear on your rental property. You also need to follow the fire code that requires only a limited number of people who are allowed to rent and live in an apartment. Health and safety risks are also avoided with fewer people.
6. Do you have any pets?
If you don’t allow pets in your property, it’s best to know upfront, so you don’t waste any more of your time and the applicant’s.
7. Have you been evicted?
You can find this information in a tenancy database, or the person may deny it, but it is still worth asking because life is not black and white. If the answer is “yes”, you are giving the person a fair chance to explain what happened. If they had been down on their luck at one point, the eviction may be just a minor setback in their lives and does not represent their financial capacity now. If they reason is damaged to property or other disruptive behaviour, that puts them in “unsuitable” tenant category.
This is also the perfect time to request for references from the applicant’s employer and former landlord and to ask their permission to conduct a credit and background check on them. Not giving their consent is grounds for you to eliminate them from your prospective tenant pool.
You can learn a lot about an applicant just by asking the right questions and listening to their answers. Based on their responses, you can pre-qualify tenants, identify their expectations and set your requirements.
If you can’t spare the time and effort to deal with tenant applications, think about hiring a property manager. A property manager will take on the responsibility of overseeing your rental property, including the screening of tenants.
Property managers bring with them many benefits, including access to tenancy databases that provide extensive tenancy information and a database of pre-approved tenants who have been deemed suitable. Self-managed landlords do not have these advantages.
Upgrades That Will Make Your Rental Property More Profitable
Keeping your rental property well-maintained ensures your tenants are happy, and your property gets rarely vacated. But in order to create a more positive cash flow for your investment, and even increase the market value of your property, considering property upgrades can boost your rental profit. The mention of spending for upgrades or renovation expenses easily scares many landlords, but the trick here is to identify which areas to improve that will both benefit your tenants and bring higher return on investment.
Here are some upgrades that will help maximize your investment property without overcapitalising:
One of the top renovations for profit recommended by many experts is redesigning the kitchen. Nowadays, modular kitchens are the trend – and they improve the livability of a house or apartment without costing the owner too much money.
To ensure you get a well-designed kitchen, use a custom kitchen builder as they will supply and install the cabinets as well as offer a warranty. Be consistent with your renovation designs as well, as the lack of aesthetic value can drive away potential tenants . For example, do not combine an expensive, branded kitchen appliance (like a stove) with poor quality cabinets and storage that are not durable.
The number of bathrooms in new homes has been on the rise, with an average of 2.6 bathrooms per home today. It makes sense to update or add a bathroom, as tenants and buyers clamour for modern, clean and stylish fixtures and fittings in this area of a property.
Make sure to set a clear budget at the outset of the project and make it a goal to stick to a fixed price. It is easy to spend too much as there are many parts or components to a bathroom.
Repainting the walls with modern colours and shade is probably one of the best ways to boost the appearance of a home’s interior. Choose a neutral colour throughout so it would be easy for tenants or buyers to bring in whatever furniture they have from their old place. A light colour on the window frames will attract the eye outside, creating the illusion of a bigger space.
There is trend nowadays towards creating an outdoor area that offers indoor outdoor living. In the past, it was enough that a patio has a barbecue grill and some chairs. Now, the outdoor area is considered an extension of the inside of the home. The outdoor area has the power to evoke the emotions of buyers and tenants. They see a well-designed patio area, imagine themselves relaxing in there and they are sold.
There are small, inexpensive jobs you can do to boost the profitability of your investment property such as:
Install a new modern door to increase the curb appeal of your home.
Install new door handles.
Install secure locks and/or security doors.
When making a renovation for profit, plan it with a broad audience in mind, instead of including too many elements based on your personal tastes and preferences. Remember that you’re not going to live in the property, other people with likely different tastes from yours, will.
Double check the costs of your upgrades. To ensure you are not being overcharged by tradespeople or suppliers, hire a quantity surveyor for the major jobs to give you the figures on labour costs, material costs and tax deductions that you are entitled to claim.
The Best Type of House in Rain-Heavy Areas in Australia
The impact of heavy rains and its subsequent flooding can be devastating to human life and property. With climate change, flood disasters have now become common more than ever. This is why it is wise to factor in the location and the type of house when buying. But what if the location where your house is sitting in had been flooded in recent years?
It could turn out to be more expensive to relocate than to rebuild to make your home flood-proof. Australia has a recurring problem with flooding because people are still building in the path of floods and population growth continues unabated in low-lying floodplains.
Houses for flood-prone areas
Homeowners living in flood zone can either flood-proof their homes or build their properties high on stilts or stumps.
Many houses across Australia – from colonial homes to Queensland bungalows – are elevated off the ground. There are many practical reasons to build off the ground: to allow houses to be built on uneven or hilly ground and to counter flooding in flood-prone areas.
Houses on stilts were common until 1980s. Thereafter, there was a population boom that prompted for bigger houses. The stilts were removed to build below – additional bedrooms, new living areas, etc. At the same time, climate change happened and the rains seem not so heavy anymore.
Australians forgot that they live in a subtropical climate and that rains and monsoons are part of the landscape. They got used to living in dry conditions that they’d forgotten to build for wet conditions. Buildings, home and shops built close to the ground sprouted and more and more dwellings were being constructed on worst lands.
If you are building a house from scratch, it is worth considering a resilient house design. This requires resilient materials and construction. This type of house can still be occupied during a flood event, when utilities such as water, gas and electricity may be cut off. The house design is conceived to be self-sufficient in electricity, water and food. Food would be the responsibility of the occupants, obviously, but the house itself should be a passive solar design featuring potable water and bottled gas storage facilities.
Flood-proofing your house
If either elevating your home off the ground or building a flood-resilient house aren’t options you can consider at the moment, you can still do minor works to make your house flood-proof.
Dry flood-proofing: This involves installing floodgates to keep water out of your house. The base of doors and vents in brickwork will be sealed using these removable barriers.
Wet flood-proofing: This method requires allowing water in and out as easily as possible using tiled floors and water-resistant plaster boards. This would be helpful especially during massive floods where walls can be damaged by water buildup.
Buy the right electrical appliances: As much as possible pick electrical appliances that can easily be lifted to higher locations, or can be kept in high locations. For example, choosing a front-loading washing machine over a top-loader as the former can be installed on a shelf.
One major storm, or one major downpour, can easily cause damage to property. And in light of major floodings in Brisbane and other parts of Australia, building or re-building on wet conditions is worthy of a serious consideration.