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.
Tips for Keeping Your Home Secure During The Christmas Holiday
It doesn’t just happen in the movies (remember the Christmas movie, “Home Alone”?). Burglars getting busy during the holiday season is true and it can happen to you. It’s the perfect opportunity for them to ransack homes, especially those whose owners are away on holiday.
But this shouldn’t stop you and your family from taking that much needed time to enjoy, relax and have fun. Making sure your home is safe and secure while you’re away is not that difficult, but it will need a bit of planning on your part.
For your peace of mind, here are a few tips to keep your home secure, regardless of how long you’d be away on holiday:
Don’t overshare on social media
Social media has made it easy for people to share thoughts, a few happy photos and the exotic location where you are having a grand time. But this is not always a good thing as this might alert thieves that you’re away and your home is an easy target.
Making your account private, even temporarily, doesn’t help either because people don’t know personally the majority of their “connections” in their social network.
Don’t announce on social media that you’re going away and refrain from sharing photos until you’re back home. It’s easy to compile data about you, including where you live and if you will be away, through your social media posts.
Check your home security
Make sure your security is up to date. A faulty deadlock or loose window frame will make it easy for burglars to get into your home.
Ensure your alarm system is working, your sensor lights have new light bulbs, and your smoke alarms have new batteries.
It’s not a good idea to hide your keys under the welcome mat or in one of your potted plants-ever. Be careful in letting tradespeople or acquaintances borrow your keys because it’s easy to make a duplicate, and for burglars to get into your home without any obstacle.
Ask the help of a trusted neighbour
It pays to be friendly to your neighbours. Ask a neighbour you trust to look out for your home and collect mail, leaflets or newspaper while you’re away. Uncollected mail or newspapers is an obvious sign that nobody is home.
Another sign of an empty house is an empty driveway. Your neighbour parking in your driveway will signal that someone is home.
These are just a few of the things you can do to make it look like you’re home.
In addition, install lights that automatically turn on during the evenings. Hang some laundry on the line. Or, have a friend mow your lawn to prevent it from getting overgrown, if you won’t be returning for weeks.
Keep your valuables in a safe
Hide valuables like money, jewellery and watches in hard to find places like a safe or small vault. But remember that burglars know that the family safe will likely be in the bedroom, so considered hiding your safe in an unlikely place in your home.
One final tip, make sure everything is locked before leaving. This includes doors, windows, side fates, outdoor sheds, garages, and even the doggy door. In the chaos of leaving for the airport, or beginning a long road trip, people can forget things. You don’t want your holiday to be ruined by constantly thinking and worrying if you had everything locked before leaving.
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.
How to Screen Potential Tenants For Your Rental Property
One of the important factors that influence the success of a rental property is finding the right occupant. With the right tenant, it is guaranteed that rent will be paid on time every time and the property will remain reasonably intact, save for normal wear and tear. With a bad tenant, the condition of the investment property is always uncertain.
With more and more people moving in and out of different Brisbane suburbs, if a property is well-marketed and presented, there’s no doubt it will attract various types of tenants. However, for self-managed landlords, finding the right tenant for their property can be tricky and challenging.
Any prospective tenant will put their best foot forward during the initial walk-through of the apartment. This makes it difficult to make an informed assessment during this brief interaction. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to finding the best tenant. You can, however, do a thorough screening of each applicant before allowing them to sign a lease.
Here are some tips to help you sort the good from the bad, and give you a pleasant and profitable investment experience:
Get Relevant Information
The rental application is a series of questions that allows the landlord to know about the prospective tenant. To get the best results, the questions should cover financial, employment and personal information.
It is also important to gather lifestyle information. Is the applicant a pet owner? Do they work odd hours or away from home? Do they often get visitors that would stay in the property?
The information they provide in their rental application should give you an idea of whether or not they are the kind of tenant that you are willing to trust your property with.
Ask For References
Do at least three reference checks from past landlords when possible. Ask the landlords how long the applicant stayed at previous properties and their reason for leaving. Good tenants live in one property much longer, usually at least a year, and their property manager or landlord reference will be available or easily obtainable. Any discrepancy in the information provided implies that something is being kept secret by the applicant and would usually raise a flag.
Check a Tenancy Database
You can check if the applicant is included in any tenancy database, a record of personal information about tenants who have had issues with their tenancies. The database tells landlords or managers whether prospective tenants had a previous record of not paying rent or damaging the property.
Here are tenancy databases that landlords or managers can contact:
Tenancy Information Centre Australasia
National Tenancy Database
Trading Reference Australia
Interview the Applicant
Conduct an informal interview of applicants that have passed the initial background screening. You can do this either by phone or face to face during a walk-through of the property.
When showing the property, pay equal attention to “selling the property” and evaluating the prospective tenant. Ask questions that will help you determine if they meet your requirements for a tenant. Do they conduct themselves in the right manner? Do they look neat or unkempt? Do they smoke?
Consider Hiring a Property Manager
A property manager will take a lot of load off your back as a landlord. They will take over many responsibilities, including screening prospective tenants and managing the operations of your investment property. Unlike self-managed landlords, they have access to tenancy databases, individual public records, identity verification and credit history.
At the outset, make sure your property is properly presented and marketed in order to attract as many prospective tenants as possible. Having a large pool of applicants increases your chances of finding a long-term tenant.
It’s a grey area (or black or green) and the cause of mould is a commonly asked question when it comes to maintenance of a rental property.
Mould comes in all shapes, forms, and places in a house or unit, and it can be more wide spread depending on the season and where you are located in Queensland.
Mould in the home can usually be found in damp, dark or steamy areas, e.g. bathrooms or kitchens, cluttered storage areas, recently flooded or wet areas, and areas with poor ventilation.
Mould in a regular shower recess could result from a persistent leak or be a matter of domestic hygiene on the tenant’s part, whereas mould on the living room ceiling might indicate a structural problem or lack of ventilation, and therefore be a matter for the dwelling’s property manager or owner.
In the aftermath of severe weather events there’s ample opportunity for mould to take hold of water-damaged properties.
With winter here, hot showers become the norm so tenants are advised to ensure proper ventilation to prevent the mould from blooming.
What Should I Do If I Find Mould?
If mould occurs, it should be dealt with thoroughly before it becomes a bigger issue.
When mould spores are present in large quantities, they can present a health hazard to humans, potentially causing allergic reactions and respiratory problems.
Because there’s no hard and fast rule about mould, keeping an open mind about the source and cause should help lead to a satisfactory conclusion.
If need be, a mould specialist should be called to the property to ascertain the cause.
Although the Residential Tenancies and Rooming Accommodation Act 2008 does not make specific reference to mould, it does refer to the general standard of the property at the start and end of the tenancy, and how it should be maintained throughout the tenancy.
If mould is a problem at a rental property, all parties should be willing to communicate and find a mutually agreeable approach to deal with the issue in a timely manner.
For questions about your rental property, or tips, advice and other enquiries about property management, you can head over to our blog section or contact the Arrive team on 61 733 473 737.
First-Time Home Buyers: The Most Affordable Suburbs for You
Domain has released its First Home Buyers Report which reveals the Australian suburbs that are the most affordable for first home buyers.
The report, which covers all eight of Australia’s capital cities, takes grants and initiatives for first home buyers into consideration, and looks at the average median price that can considered to be affordable for first home buyers.
The most affordable area overall, according to Domain, is Greater Hobart which has the most affordable suburbs that are closest to a CBD.
The Greater Hobart area has the lowest entry price point for houses, with a median at $130,000 in Herdsman Cove, 22 kilometres away from the closest CBD, while the Greater Adelaide area has the best median price point for units.
“While Greater Adelaide is the most affordable region for first home buyers looking for units, with the median price in Rosewater – the most affordable suburb in Greater Adelaide – at $154,000,” Domain’s chief data scientist Nicola Powell said.
The report considers a suburb to be affordable if it is below the average home loan size over the same period per state or territory plus a 20 per cent deposit and additional grants.
The cheapest suburb for each capital city, as determined by Domain, are:
Houses – Gosford ($412,5000, 65km to nearest CBD)
Units – Ettalong Beach ($301,500, 51km to nearest CBD)
First home buyers in Sydney have access to the First Home – New Home scheme and a $10,000 First Home Owner Grant.
Under the First Home – New Home scheme, a new home valued at $550,000 or under are exempt from stamp duty. There are also concessions available for homes valued between $550,000 and $600,000.
The First Home Owner Grant is also available for purchases made on or after January 1 2016.
Houses – Millgrove ($295,000, 70km to nearest CBD)
Units – Albion ($225,000, 15km to nearest CBD)
First home buyers in Victoria have access to the First Home Owner Grant and stamp duty concessions.
The First Home Owner Grant is worth $10,000 for new homes valued under $750,000, with another $10,000 available for homes in regional Victoria, from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2020.
Stamp duty concessions are eligible for both new and established homes valued at $600,000 or less up to a potential 50 per cent.
Houses – Brendale ($259,750, 20km to nearest CBD)
Units – Mount Warren Park ($183,500, 39km to nearest CBD)
First home buyers in Queensland have access to the First Home Buyers Grant and transfer duty concessions.
The First Home Owners’ Grant is valued at $20,000 for new and substantially renovated properties at $750,000 and below, but it is only available until 30 June 2017.
Transfer concessions are on a sliding scale, determined by the total amount of duty payable by the value of the purchased home and the concession rate minus the first buyer concession.
Houses – Not considered to be affordable.
Units – Hawker ($277,500, 11km to nearest CBD)
First home buyers in the ACT have access to the First Home Owner Grant, and stamp duty charges at concessional rates.
The First Home Owner Grant is valued at $7,000 for the purchase of new or substantially renovated homes priced below $750,000.
Stamp duty is also charged at a concessional rate for new or substantially renovated homes priced below $590,000. For homes priced below $590,000 and above $468,000, stamp duty is valued at $14.70 per $100 or part of $100 where the dutiable value exceeds $468,000. Homes priced at or below $468,000 have a $20 duty payment.
Homes – Medina ($250,000, 39km to nearest CBD)
Units – Orelia ($165,000, 39km to nearest CBD)
First home buyers in Western Australia have access to various grants, special rates for stamp duty and the Shared Home Ownership Scheme.
Concessions are available in the form of a $10,000 grant and a payment of an additional $5,000, the latter of which is only available until 30 June 2017. Eligibility for the grant is determined by the value and geographical location of the home.
Stamp duty is also charged at a special rate for first home buyers for homes valued below $530,000. Homes, both new and established, above $430,000 and below $530,000 will have duty imposed at the rate of $19.19 for every $100 or part of $100 with the dutiable value exceeding $430,000.
New and off-the-plan homes offered by Western Australia’s Housing Authority are also available to be purchased through the Shared Home Ownership Scheme, which gives first home buyers a SharedStart loan through government lending agent Keystart. This allows for just a $2,000 or a 2 per cent deposit, whichever is greater.
Houses – Elizabeth North ($176,500, 29km from CBD)
Units – Rosewater ($154,000, 12km from CBD)
First home buyers in South Australia have access to the First Home Owner Grant and off-the-plan concessions.
The First Home Owner Grant is currently valued at $15,000 for new and substantially renovated homes under $575,000.
First home buyers buying off-the-plan can also be potentially eligible for concessions on new apartments at or below $500,000.
Houses – Herdsmans Cove ($130,000, 22km from CBD)
Units – Claremont ($174,000, 14km from CBD)
First home buyers in Tasmania have access to the First Home Owner Grant, valued at $20,000 until 1 July 2017 for the construction or purchase of new homes, including off-the-plan. After 1 July, the First Home Owner Grant will be valued at $10,000.
Houses – Not considered to be affordable
Units – Millner ($331,500, 10km from CBD)
First home buyers in the Northern Territory have access to the First Home Owner Grant, First Home Owner Discount and the Household Goods Grant Scheme.
The First Home Owner Grant can be claimed for both new and established homes, valued at $26,000 for a new home and can be potentially available for established homes.
First home buyers purchasing established homes can access the First Home Owner Discount, removing stamp duty for homes below $500,000. Additionally, a $10,000 grant is available for first home buyers to renovate the home.
Also available for first home buyers purchasing or constructing a new home is the Household Goods Grant Scheme, which allows up to $2,000 claimable for new household goods.
Good news – only applies to properties purchased after 9th of May 2017.
The Federal Government has proposed adjustments to depreciation legislation in the 2017 Budget.
Under the new rules which are yet to be legislated by Parliament, investors will be able to depreciate new plant and equipment assets within a new property and items they add to their property; however subsequent owners who acquire a property after 9th of May 2017 will not be able to claim depreciation on existing plant and equipment assets.
Investors will still be able to claim qualifying capital works deductions, including any additional capital works carried out by themselves or a previous owner.
The budget notes were clear that existing investments will be grandfathered. This means that anyone who has purchased a property up until the 9th of May 2017 will be able to claim depreciation as per normal. The new legislation will be in force from 1st of July 2017.
If your clients fall under this category, they can still claim depreciation on plant and equipment assets for both new and second-hand properties.
We are currently speaking with government to further understand the intricacies relating to the budget notes and the proposed changes to depreciation and equipment assets.
Easy landscaping options for your investment property
If you own an investment property, it’s always good to know a few quick and easy ways to improve your asset.
Landscaping is one of the best ways to spruce up an investment property, as it will make your property look fantastic, and your tenants will be happy with their well-maintained home. Not only will your investment property look more attractive to prospective renters, but landscaping can also increase the value of your property. Here are some easy landscaping options for your investment property:
Use plants to your advantage
Does your property overlook the neighbour’s place or an unattractive, noisy road? Planting tall shrubs, trees, or hedges might be the perfect solution. Plants can be used as a way to block unpleasant views, reduce noise pollution, or enhance the privacy of a home. Even if they don’t entirely solve the problem, a protective screen of plants will improve the property’s value in the eyes of prospective tenants or buyers.
Choose plants for aesthetic appeal
Add instant aesthetic appeal to your investment property by choosing beautiful, colourful plants to brighten up your entranceways and social outdoor spaces. Fill pots and planters with vibrant flowering perennials, and plant your garden beds with species that look great but are low maintenance. Native plants are a wonderful option as they are naturally suited to your local climate, and they don’t require as much care as non-native plants. If your property is based in Perth, check out Billy Buttons, Eucalyptus trees, Brown Boronias or hibiscus.
Even a few trees can add value to your investment property. Tree-lined streets are attractive to buyers and tenants, as most people view them as an eco-friendly advantage. The shade of trees helps keep homes cool in summer, and a well-placed row of trees can act as a handy windbreak during winter. Trees also create a sense of harmony and peace, naturally improving the aesthetic and atmosphere of any property.
Install solar-powered lights
Solar-powered lighting shows off your garden at night and stops people from tripping over in the dark. You can use solar-powered lights to line pathways, decorate an outdoor entertaining area, or illuminate a garden bed. They’ll make your investment property seem more warm and inviting – and since they run on solar power, they won’t increase your electricity bills!
Define the edges of your lawn
Defining the edges of your lawn will make your property’s garden look neat, tidy and well maintained. To define lawn edges, simply grab a sharp spade and cut a separation between the lawn and whatever it butts up against (driveways, fences, garden beds, etc). To go one step further, you can outline the edges of your lawn with a physical barrier such as bricks, timber or stone.
Invest in a new lawn
Any home looks fabulous with a luscious, healthy green lawn. If your investment property’s lawn is looking patchy, dry or brown, it could be time to invest in a new lawn. There are several types of turf available, so speak to an expert to find out what turf is right for your property.
Why Now Is The Best Time To Be A Renter In Brisbane
NOW is the best time to rent in Brisbane with the city fast becoming a renter’s paradise, according to the latest REA Group Property Demand Index.
While southern capitals saw record rental demand in March, Brisbane’s housing oversupply has seen it become a renter’s paradise with the number of tenants unable to keep up with the growth in homes available for rent.
(Image source: REA Group)
Among the freebies being thrown in by owners to sweeten the deal for potential tenants were one to four weeks worth of free rent in some properties with others offering things like free gym membership.
The Index named Queensland as “the country’s most concerning market” after buyer demand declined slightly over the month (-0.2 per cent for all dwellings) but there was “a larger drop in rental demand on realestate.com.au” (-1.7 per cent).
Somewhat surprisingly given the publicity surrounding the supply of units in the market, the rent index for houses saw a higher drop in Queensland (-1.8 per cent) than units (-1.5 per cent).
“Brisbane in particular is seeing high levels of development and dropping rental demand suggests that the market in Queensland will continue to take some time to absorb the supply,” the report said.
High levels of unit supply, particularly in Brisbane, was having a more negative impact on the market but there was some reason for investors to still hope, given developers had slowed down on the rollout of planned developments.
“On the positive side, the pipeline of new apartments in Brisbane remains low, which will give the market time to absorb current stock.”
Nerida Conisbee, REA Group Chief Economist said cooling measures pushed through by APRA and banks continuing to increase rates independently of the RBA had so far failed to stem skyrocketing prices in Sydney and Melbourne.
She said there was yet to be any impact on consumer demand for property on realestate.com.au.
“Borrowers are shrugging off rising interest rates and restrictions to lending, continuing to search for property on realestate.com.au,” she said.
“With the impacts from these measures likely to take some time to flow through, people can expect to see continued property price increases throughout April.
“On realestate.com.au we’ve seen a 25 per cent increase in demand year-on-year from consumers looking for property. Increasing demand in the market is driving record property prices.
“Concerns about affordability will continue to gather pace in 2017, with the record price growth in 2016 set to continue.”
Maintenance of your B&D garage door and opener is critical to ensuring its smooth, quiet, reliable operation, and in most cases is necessary to ensure your warranty remains valid.
COLORBOND AND COLOURED STEEL FINISH DOORS
Your coloured steel door has been pre-painted with a silicone modified polyester formulation, which is one of the best paint films available today. However good a product may be, all exposed surfaces require some attention to guard against corrosion and any other harmful atmospheric effects.
Washing the door with clean water and a cloth every 14 days is recommended. More frequent washing is advised in salty or industrial fallout areas.
Remember, when you think of cleaning your car… clean your door!
NOTE: DO NOT WASH THE AUTOMATIC OPENER, IT WILL VOID THE WARRANTY AND COULD CAUSE ELECTROCUTION.
Regular Maintenance Required
B&D recommends that you check the operation of your door at least every three to six months (more regularly in extreme environments or frequent use). The effort required to manually open and to manually close the door should be about the same (if door has an automatic opener, put into manual mode before testing door).
NOTE: IF CORRECT MAINTENANCE & SERVICING ARE NOT CARRIED OUT, WARRANTY MAY BE VOID.
(every 3-6 months)
(Rolling Doors) Clean the internal sections of the guide tracks with a cloth dampened with mineral turps or methylated spirits. Polish vigorously to achieve a smooth, dirt and moisture resistant surface, allowing the Nylofelt to glide more easily. DO NOT USE GREASE OR OIL ON THE GUIDE TRACKS.
(Sectional Doors) Should be cleaned as per rolling door instructions, but do not required polishing of the internal guide tracks.
(If fitted) Sparingly lubricate with an all purpose machine oil. Also lubricate wheel to axle bearings.
No lubrication is generally required, however silicon spray may be used if necessary.
(Where accessible). Wipe over with an oily rag.
Your lock does not require special maintenance, however if the key becomes stiff, a spray lubricant such as RP7 is recommended. Do not grease the lock.
Lubricate with Chain Lube.
Service & Repair
(If fitted). Check for wear through by rubbing. If there is fraying or signs of corrosion contact B&D or an approved B&D dealer. These cables are under extreme tension and should never be adjusted, except by B&D Doors or approved B&D Dealers.
Check all screws, nuts and bolts to ensure they are secure.
It is natural for springs to lose tension. Should the door become hard to operate or completely inoperative, contact your local B&D office, or call the B&D dealer who installed your door.
To keep your door running well, it is recommended that your door be serviced by an experienced technician, every 12 months or earlier if required. Contact B&D Doors for more advice on servicing.
The spring unit is under tension at all times and should never be adjusted, except by B&D Doors or approved B&D dealers. No operator or other person should ever stand directly in the path of the door in its downward travel or walk through doorway while door is moving. Always use the door handle to manually operate the door. If the door is now or later becomes automatically operated, the pull down rope on the door must be removed.
DO NOT PLACE YOUR FINGERS NEAR ANY MOVING PARTS OR BETWEEN THE DOOR PANELS WHEN THE DOOR IS OPERATING EITHER AUTOMATICALLY OR MANUALLY.
*Cedarpanel Woodoil Application Instructions:
To keep your B&D Cedarpanel door in optimal condition, WoodOil needs to be applied.
If you have an automatic opener fitted to your door it is important that you ensure the optimum operation of your door, otherwise you may reduce the effective life of the opener, and void your opener warranty. For more information refer to the maintenance schedule in your opener’s instruction handbook.