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Written by Sally Norton for Vogue Real Estate Australia

Getting into the rental business is a fantastic way to make some long-term passive income and spice up your investment portfolio. Although investing in real estate can be quite daunting for first-timers, it can also be a gratifying endeavour if you make the right choice of property. However, precisely that it the most significant issue most investors face – finding a suitable rental property. Luckily, to ensure you pick the right property, all you need to do is a bit of research. Therefore, let’s take a look at seven features of a profitable rental property.

Drumroll, please… Location is the key.

Location, location, location… That is the very first point to consider when deciding whether to invest in a particular property. You want it to be in the right area as it will determine the type of tenants you will have and the vacancy rates. For example, if your property is in the vicinity of a university, it will likely attract students. This is a positive thing, as you will have plenty of tenants to choose from. However, you should be prepared to have your property vacant during the summer. On the other hand, if your tenants sign a 12-month lease, this won’t be a problem.  Moreover, you can choose a new and promising neighbourhood or play it safe by investing in an area showing steady growth. Also, depending on what your end game is, you may opt for commercial areas.

A beautiful picture of a neighbourhood at sunset
The location of your property is the most critical factor to consider.

Low crime rates are imperative.

Very closely related to the location is safety. No-one wants to live in a neighborhood where they can’t feel safe. Therefore, you must check crime statistics in the area you are interested in. See what the rates for vandalism are. You will want to know how many serious and petty crimes have been committed. Also, it is vital to note if criminal activity is on the increase or it is declining. Ask around about how often police visit the neighborhood. 

When you research this topic, don’t rely on what the seller tells you. Talk to the police or check the data in the public library. If the seller intends to get rid of the property fast or it is in an area with high crime rates, they may not be honest about it. Unfortunately, you probably won’t be able to find an utterly crime-free neighborhood. Nevertheless, some are safer than others.

Reasonable property taxes 

Property taxes vary considerably from one area to another. If you want your rental property to be profitable, you must know how much you will have to pay on property tax. That said, it’s important to note that high property tax is not necessarily a bad thing. In a fantastic neighborhood that will ensure long-term tenants and a fair amount of rental income, it will not be a problem. Nevertheless, some not so attractive areas have high taxes, too. You should also investigate whether there is a probability for the taxes to increase in the near future. So, make sure you do your due diligence before falling for a property.

A model of a house in a shopping cart.
There are many features of a profitable rental property. Property tax is one of them.

School proximity is also a significant factor.

If a family with kids is searching for a new home, one of the first things they will check is the proximity of schools. Also, they will be interested in the quality of the school district. So, if you want to attract families, this is the way to go.

On the other hand, if you are into commercial real estate, this will be no factor whatsoever. If a company wants to move its offices to a new location, the school district is of no importance. So, as we have mentioned before, you must know what your end game is and what type of tenants you hope for. 

Check the job market in the area.

If the area sees an increasing number of job opportunities, it will attract more tenants. So, if a huge company announces moving to the area you are looking at, it’s a pretty safe bet that their employees will swarm there and need a place to live. Commercial moving is a complicated task, and companies like to stay on top of this whole process. So, if they have decided to relocate to the area, you may as well invest in it.

Amenities make a neighbourhood attractive.

Secluded property in the middle of nowhere certainly has its appeal. However, it also has limitations in terms of tenants. People like to live close to grocery stores, great restaurants, cafes, parks, and other green spaces. Young people especially want to live in an area where they can walk to all these amenities.

Therefore, when you visit the property you like, check the surroundings and see if there are movie theatres and gyms. Also, it’s crucial to know what is the public transport situation.

A profitable rental property is the one that doesn’t get damaged due to natural disasters.

All jokes aside, insurance is one more expense you will have to factor in when calculating your return on investment. If the property is in an area where earthquakes or tornados are frequent, there is a risk of flooding, or fires often break out, insurance costs will be higher and take a considerable chunk of your rental income. Tenants will also be reluctant to move to such places. This, it may be best to look elsewhere.

A well-maintained home.
After carefully considering all the factors and deciding to invest in real estate, don’t forget to keep it well-maintained.

Conclusion

Real estate is a challenging and risky business. Wrong moves could obliterate your income. But if you do your research well and understand what features of a profitable rental property are, you will reap all the benefits of your investment. Finally, remember that maintaining your rental property in pristine condition will ensure you continue to attract tenants. People want to live in a place that looks great, and they will be willing to pay for it. So, even if you invest in exceptional real estate, it may all be in vain if you fail to invest some effort in the upkeep.

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Written by Sally Norton for Vogue Real Estate Australia

To sell your home, you need to know all the handbook tricks and use them wisely. It’s not enough to clean up your property and call it a job well done. The real estate market has become an incredibly competitive field. Making sure that yours is in the best condition possible will get you far. Although making your rental property stand out isn’t easy, it’s achievable. Let’s go through 5 tips that are bound to help you. 

1. Hire the best of the best to make your rental property stand out

One of the most important things when trying to make your rental property stand out is to be surrounded by the right people that’ll enable you to do so. You need to find professionals that will offer selling property services like no other company out there. Depending on your living area popularity, you might need to dig a little deeper to find such people. However, when you do, it’s all worth it.

One of the best ways to hire the right people that’ll help you make a rental property stand out is by asking your friends for recommendations.
Two friends talking.

Here’s some advice to speed up the search process:

  • Ask around
    In this digital age, we’ve become somewhat cut off from one another. We explore our options only by surfing the net without looking right in front of us. Asking your colleagues, friends, relatives, or even acquaintances is a great start.
  • Go through some reviews
    Once you’ve got a rough idea about who you want to hire, you need to further vet this company. Going through the reviews that people who previously hired them have left is your best bet. Try to look at the whole picture instead of looking for a seemingly perfect grade.
  • Follow your instincts
    Okay, so you’ve found your company and made sure that they’re eligible enough to guide you through this. However, how can you be really sure that they should help you make the rental property stand out? Simple. Set up a meeting, prepare some questions, and use your brain as well as your gut. Trust that you’ve done enough, and don’t let your spirit be crushed.

2. You have to give to get

If you’ve come here looking for some secret recipe for making your rental property stand out, we’re sorry to disappoint. Of course, there are always tips and tricks that could help push you in the right direction. Nonetheless, without agreeing to give this your full potential as well as time, money, and energy, you’ll end up making your rental property a pretty mediocre place. This isn’t necessarily the worst thing you can do, but it isn’t the best one either.

One thing to do is remodel the areas that need a bit of freshening up. If you want to set up a renovation that goes smoothly, there’s no room for unprofessionalism. It is vital to surround yourself with the right people, invest in quality instead of quantity, and be present and aware. There’ll surely be days when you won’t have the energy to deal with all the hassle. Those usually turn out to be the most important ones.

Making your rental property stand out requires more hard work than you think.
A sign that says “work harder” implying that making your rental property stand out is quite hard.

3. Making your rental property stand out by using the market’s tricks to your favor

Knowing what people want, makes it easy to deceive them. This is precisely why the real estate market has been able to pull some pretty deceptive tricks that make people interested in renting or even purchasing a property. Researching your neighborhood’s properties for lease will give you an inevitable advantage. Once you get the hang of what’s expected from a desirable estate, the ball will be in your court. 

  • Offer something fresh
    Even if your property matches the gold standard in your neighborhood, don’t stop there. You need to go above and beyond to make a difference. Show your possible tenants your home’s real potential.
  • Get on everyone’s radar
    One of the best ways to expand your target clientele is to make your home a marketing revelation. Nowadays, it’s all about being seen and heard. The best way to do so is through social networks. Make professional photographs get a gripping, unique, and terse message across that’ll pique people’s interests.
  • Think about your target clientele
    If families are your primary clientele, don’t try to sell perfection. Make sure that they feel at home the second that they walk into your rental property. Screening potential tenants isn’t as easy as it sounds. However, if you’ve hired the right people, it shouldn’t be too hard.
Having your rental property stand out means nothing if you don’t market it well.
A sign for a rental property that’s made to stand out by being marketed.

4. The devil lies in the details

Sweating the small stuff surely doesn’t sound like something you want to do. However, if you genuinely wish to elevate your rental property and make it stand out, you should consider it. Offering something that no one else is will not only amp up your rental property but also raise its market value significantly. Add-ons might sound tacky and lacking quality, but they’re just another way to give the people what they want while looking for their future home – to feel pampered and luxurious.

5. The curb appeal makes all the difference

People notice the vibe and the overall appeal of the home as a part of the first impression. If there’s one thing to pay special attention to, it’s its curb appeal. Your home’s exterior is the first thing your potential tenants will notice. Make sure that it’s impeccable. Luckily for you, this doesn’t have to extrude too much of your energy nor your budget. Painting your facade, adding cozy lights to your front porch, or pruning your bushes could set the tone for what to expect once you come inside.

There are several things you should focus on when making your rental property stand out. Exterior and renovation of problematic areas is a must. But also, don’t underestimate the power of working with the right real estate agent and marketing. And success is guaranteed.

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Written by Sally Norton for Vogue Real Estate Australia

Long-term, rental properties proved to be one of the most reliable of all investment options. It has been proven over the years that, no matter the economic situation, brick-and-mortar provides security. This resilience is partly why the number of landlords in the world is unlikely to diminish. Security is not only visible in the tangibility of the investment but also the financial gains it provides. Aside from being a robust investment class, relatively immune to recessions, and other crises, what other reasons make rental properties a great investment?

1. Getting started is not too difficult The majority of Australian landlords started small, without a clear intention of becoming property investors. The first step was always to buy your first condo. Later on, when the property started to appreciate, savvy homeowners discovered the benefit of owning a property that can repay itself over the years. This is the moment when they decided to save for an investment property. After all, it is easy to recognize the advantage of (mostly) passive income.

Suburban properties in Australia.
To ensure you found the best location for your rental property, you should explore the neighbourhood in person.

Furthermore, investing in rental properties does not require education or expert knowledge. While a search for the right market and the right kind of property takes time, it is inexpensive or free, and you can easily do it online. To get a more solid return on investment, look for a good neighbourhood for your rental property, and do not hesitate to explore it on foot.

2. Getting financing isn’t difficult either

From the lenders’ point of view, home loans are the safest option, which is why they lend up to 95% of the property value at lower interest rates. This is something potential investors should exploit. Access to greater leverage is complemented by the fact that landlords get their rental property subsidized by tenants via rental payments.

3. Investment in rental properties fits every budget

While it may seem at first glance that property in Australia is too expensive, one should look again. True enough, cities like Melbourne and Sydney demand higher investments. However, property prices and rents in big hubs tend to drop the least, recover faster, and appreciate more than elsewhere in the country.

Properties in Perth, Australia.
Smaller cities may be the right location for affordable rental properties.

Still, the 24-hour cities are not the only locations that renters favour. Following the workforce, you will locate the best destination(s) for your rental properties, and they point to the more affordable, developing areas. Moreover, the property market allows negotiations, unlike other markets. You can obtain a very good price to value ratio by combining your negotiating skills and a search for undervalued properties.

4. Property investment in Australia benefits from a favourable taxation environment

If you wish to leave Australia and start over abroad, you can always sell your rental property. If you’ve held it for more than a year, you will pay the capital gains tax only on half of the profit. More details on different tax deductions available at the moment can be found on the ATO (Australian Taxation Office) website.

5. It is a stable long-term investment

Living partly off rental income is a long-term plan for many property investors. The low volatility of the property market allows these plans to come to fruition. A property in the right location supported by regular demand is more likely to endure both brief and longer-lasting crises. Even if the crash happens, the property and the land it stands upon will still maintain a certain value. Following that scenario, you can sell the property, move furniture to a storage unit that is spotless, weather the crisis, and then start anew.

6. Australia’s economy is generally solid, and the government is likely to support property owners and landlords Following this year’s recession, Australia is on the road to recovering, albeit rather slowly. The government already has a plan to boost growth, jobs, and consumer and business confidence. Fiscal support is also in the plan, including tax incentives, targeting the private investment sector, among other things. Moreover, (any) government is highly unlikely to aggravate homeowners and property investors as they, essentially, make the majority of voters.

Apartment building in Sydney.
Job opportunities go hand in hand with the housing demand – they are both often much higher in big cities.

(Sub)urban development works in landlords’ favour, too. Government and company investments in roads, airports, amenities, and other projects that improve the quality of life provide employment opportunities and, thus, raise the demand for housing. Even though you don’t participate in these investments they still raise the value of your property and its rent.

7. You have full control over your investment

If you don’t wish or can’t afford to invest your time and effort into the search for the ideal rental property but still want to benefit from it, you can always outsource the tasks. True, hiring a professional will cost you. However, at the same time, the return on investment is more likely to be higher and quicker.

On the other hand, if you want full control over your investment and don’t mind a hands-on approach, you’re free to try. Being an active landlord means balancing expenditures (maintenance, mortgage payments) and revenue (rent). Hence, rental properties allow you to decide whether you’ll team up with a real estate agent or a property manager or run your property all by yourself.

8. A rental property is something you can pass on to your children Rental properties are a good investment for one more reason: they are unlikely to lose value with adequate maintenance – on the contrary. You can pass the ownership to your children at any time. Rental properties are a valuable asset as long as they are in strategic locations. The demand for housing is not the same everywhere in Australia so only a well-positioned property will yield a reliable financial gain to you and your successors.

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Written by Sally Norton for Vogue Real Estate Australia

If you own a rental property, you are aware of all the benefits that come with managing it. However, while the financial benefits are great, depending on the property, you may feel like you are putting in a lot of time and effort into managing it. Possibly even the time that you don’t really have. This is when most people usually consider having a property manager.

In many cases, you will be able to handle your rental property yourself. If you fancy yourself a handyman, live close to the property and don’t mind devoting some time to it, you’ll do just fine. However, if you are struggling with any aspect of managing it or would like to expand your business, it is time to consider all of the benefits of having a property manager.

The finances

Setting the right price

If you’ve gone about renting your property on your own, the way you probably determined the price was finding out the ballpark amount of other similar properties in your area. However, even though this can serve you well for a time, hiring a property management company will help you professionally determine the best possible pricing for your property. They will bring their expertise to ensure that you are making the most money off your property, while maintaining a low vacancy rate at the same time.

Not bothering with payments

Among the financial benefits of having a property manager is not having to bother with many of the common issues landlords are faced with. One such issue is collecting payments. This is something people often struggle with themselves. Depending on the tenants, it can be difficult to get it done as well as awkward. On the other hand, property managers have their ways of collecting rent and making sure they are on time.

Profitability

Having a property manager will help you become more profitable in this business. As a rule, most property managers charge 6 to 10 percent of the property’s monthly rental for their services. The fact that they are taking care of this side of the business allows you to focus your attention elsewhere. Also, in many cases, the managers’ service fee will be tax-deductible. You’ll end up saving more money than if you were doing the property management yourself.

One of the ways how having a property manager can make your business more profitable is that it doesn’t limit you when it comes to the locations of your properties. While you’re doing things on your own, you will mostly focus on the area in which you live. Having a property manager can help you expand to other locations that might turn out to be more profitable.

The tenants

Finding the right tenants

If you’re only starting your rental business, finding the right tenants might seem very intimidating. To be honest, knowing how to protect yourself against bad tenants is quite a serious business. You need to do a bunch of checks to ensure you can trust these people to rent them your property. If you can, having a property manager do it will save you a lot of time and trouble. They will know what red flags to look for and how to get their credit reports, background checks, employment verifications and references from previous landlords.

Before there are any potential tenants to screen, property managers will also be able to help you with finding the best way and locations to advertise your property. This is something that is key if you want to avoid having your property vacant for long periods of time.

Management

The essential activity a property manager is tasked with is managing the relationship between the tenant and the landlord. They will be expected to handle routine maintenance, as well as any emergency maintenance if the situation occurs. In addition, they will handle routine inspections as well as manage conflicts should they occur. If you are planning to offer furnished rentals, they will also help with the move. It is not outside of their job description to do things like take furniture apart for transportation, for example.

Maintenance

One of the benefits of having a property manager is also the fact that they will have already established relationships with different vendors. You will use these vendors for all of the repairs and maintenance necessary for the proper functioning of your rentals.

Instead of struggling with finding the right plumber, contractor or electrician yourself, a project manager will handle that part for you. Not only that, but they will be able to find you the best work for the best price. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, they will oversee all necessary maintenance projects. This way, you will save money and time while ensuring your property remains appealing to potential tenants.

Relationship with tenants

Besides being able to screen potential tenants really well, their relationship with tenants allows you to steer clear of any possible confrontations in most cases. Furthermore, having a property manager makes your rental more attractive to tenants as they know there is someone whose sole job it is to ensure their property is spick and span. It doesn’t matter what issue they come across. They will have someone to talk to about it at all hours of the day.

Is it worth it?

All in all, it seems that the benefits of having a property manager are immense. If you own more than one rental or don’t live close to your rented property, having a property manager would make your life a lot easier. Seeing how well they function may even inspire you to expand your business as a landlord. Your property will be taken care of and your tenants satisfied. All you’ll be required to do is come and pick up the cheque!

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Written by Sally Norton for Vogue Real Estate Australia

Unless you are an experienced landlord, evicting tenants might seem like an extreme measure. But, unfortunately, most landlords will have to deal with evictions at least once in their life. So, if you plan on becoming a landlord in the near future and you don’t want to hire property management service, you need to know which are legitimate causes for evicting tenants.

What are legitimate causes for evicting tenants

To fully understand legitimate causes for evicting tenants, we are first going to cover them and then explain how to tackle them properly. Know that just because you have a disagreement with your tenant doesn’t mean that you can ban them from your property. Evicting a tenant is a legal procedure, and you need to tackle it with the necessary care.

A landlord pointing and shouting angrily.
Unfortunately, it is usually not enough to simply tell you tenants to leave, even if you have legitimate causes for evicting tenants.

Rent payment issues

The most common reason for evicting a tenant is because they are not paying rent. The concept of this is pretty straightforward, you don’t pay, you can’t stay. But, there are certain intricacies that you should be aware of. Namely, there is a difference between not paying rent, and being late with rent. In order to differentiate properly between the two, you need to study your lease and ensure that you are adequately covered. Keep in mind that most courts won’t help you out solely for unpaid late fees, which is why you need to carefully outline when late fees become rent issues.

Lease violations

While we are on the subject of a lease, it is important to note that this piece of paper is your strongest line of defense when it comes to protecting yourself from bad tenants. You may think that you know how to judge people and that this will help you avoid bad ones. But, trust us when we tell you that sooner or later a bad tenant is going to fly under the radar. And the best way to evict them is to find an instance where they are violating your lease. Among the more common lease violations are:

  • Having a pet, without prior authorization from the landlord.
  • Housing people for a prolonged amount of time. If your tenants want their friend or paramour to move in, you need to draft another lease for them to sign.
  • Subletting of your apartment to other people. Unfortunately, some tenants want to be crafty and use other people’s apartments as a way to make money.
  • Improper use of the apartment (for commercial or for storage use). This is why you need to outline that your lease is residential if you want your real estate to be solely used for living.
  • Complaints from the neighbors. Most buildings and neighborhoods have commonsense codes that your tenants need to adhere to. If they throw parties at 3 a.m. you can expect to first get complaints, and maybe even fines.

The more items you can add to your list, the better case you will have in court if an issue occurs with your tenant. So, do yourself a favor and hire a competent lawyer to help you out.

A lawyer helping a person make a contract in order for them to have legally legitimate causes for evicting tenants.
Hiring a lawyer to help you draw a decent contract is well worth the money spent.

Sizable property damage

It should be pretty obvious that property damage is a sufficient cause for eviction. But, it is important to keep in mind that most property damage doesn’t occur due to tenants intentionally causing havoc. Tenants are simply careless. Therefore, they might avoid or outright ignore a minor issue regarding your real estate. Unfortunately, most minor issues become quite substantial if left untreated, which is why sizable property damage is surprisingly common. To help battle this, you should inspect your property at least once a month. If there is any damage, you can either ask your tenant to fix it (or do it yourself).

Illegal activity

If you suspect that your tenant is practicing illegal activity in your apartment, you can and should evict them. Illegal activity is one of the more legitimate causes for evicting tenants, as you can get tangled up in something that you never even dreamed of. The moment you suspect that your tenant is practicing something illegal, you should start the eviction process.

How to evict tenants

Depending on why you are evicting your tenants, the actual process of eviction can be a bit tricky. Even though you may have legitimate causes for evicting tenants, you cannot simply lock them out. Know that just like they have legal obligations to you via your lease, you have legal obligations to them. Therefore, you should always do your best to make the eviction process as by-the-book as possible, especially when handling unreasonable renters. In most cases you will go through the following steps:

  • Notify your tenant and terminate your lease (30-day notification is usually required).
  • If the tenant doesn’t leave, notify the local eviction court.
  • Attend the hearing regarding the eviction.
  • Get court permission to evict your tenant.
  • Get in contact with the local authorities.
  • Show up on the eviction day with the representative of your local P.D. and reclaim your real estate.
  • Change the locks.
A scale and a hammer as symbols of court.
You need to be able to convince the court that evicting your tenant is a must.

Final tip

While at times it may seem like a good idea to take matters into your own hands, we strongly advise you to refrain from doing so. Tenants can be quite difficult to deal with, especially when it comes to evictions. Therefore, you really want to avoid getting a couple of friends together and forcing your tenant out. Know that they can sue you afterward and put you in much more trouble than you otherwise would be. Our advice is to always follow the necessary legal procedure when handling any issue as a landlord. This is, by far, the best method of evicting tenants, especially if you want to avoid headaches in the long run. 

Written By Sally Norton for Vogue Real Estate Australia

Being a landlord is easily one of the most overrated ways in which you can make money. On the surface, it seems that you only need to sit back and collect the rent money. No trouble, no hassle… But, in reality, being a landlord can often be difficult and stressful. So, to give you an idea of what being a landlord is like, we are going to go over the most common issues landlords are faced with today.

Before finding a tenant

The issues landlords have to face start before they even find a tenant. After all, you are the legal owner of the property you wish to rent out. This means that you have to take care of it and deal with certain legal aspects connected with real estate ownership. If you do this in time and you take the necessary steps, the whole process won’t be too difficult, especially if you own low-maintenance property. But, by no stretch of the imagination will you be able to say that being a landlord is easy, even if everything is going according to plan.

Keeping your apartment functional

One of the issues landlords are faced with is taking care of their real estate while not living in it. If you own your own home, you probably already know how difficult it can be to maintain it. Every so often an issue will occur with the plumbing or with electricity. Alongside that, you have to keep your home clean and regularly check it in order to catch issues in their infancy. If you own a house, you’d be smart to familiarize yourself with the gutter cleaning process, as roof issues can be quite costly to deal with. Now, all of this can be difficult enough to do while you are living in your home. So imagine what it is like when you don’t live in it.

A well maintained apartment, showing one of the most common issues landlords are faced with.
You’d be smart to check up on your apartment regularly.

Now, it is true that while your apartment for rent is unoccupied, it will remain in fairly good condition. After all, it is precisely the life routines of people that bring the most issues and dirtiness. But, if something does happen, you will need to have a bit of luck in order to catch it early. So, it is the job of the landlord to regularly check up on their property.

Finding a decent tenant

Another issue that every landlord has to tackle is finding a decent tenant. Now, you might think that most people are decent enough to be trustworthy tenants that are going to treat you and your property with respect. But, once you become a landlord, you will soon learn that this is simply not the case. A tenant that is honest, responsible and punctual is a dream. This is why one of the most important tasks a landlord has to deal with is finding a good tenant.

A landlady shaking hands with a tenant.
One of the biggest issues landlords are faced with is finding a good tenant.

Any experienced landlord has at least one disastrous story where a tenant caused more trouble than they ever thought possible. In fact, it is not uncommon for landlords to end up in court with their tenants due to damages, financial issues, and even assault. So, it is not an overstatement to say that finding a good tenant is one of the most important things a landlord has to do.

Issues landlords are faced with once they find a tenant

So, let’s say that you’ve managed to keep your apartment in proper condition. And that you’ve managed to find a decent tenant. With that, all of your troubles are gone and you can simply enjoy your rent, right? Well, not quite. Being a landlord doesn’t stop once you’ve found a decent tenant. After all, this is still your property, and you need to ensure that it stays in proper condition. Furthermore, you need to build a proper relationship with your tenant so that you are able to both check your apartment and make them feel welcomed to stay there.

Staying organized

One of the more surprising issues landlords are faced with is paperwork. From legal documents concerning your real estate and your current tenants to various bills and payments that your tenants provide. So, the last thing you want is for it to get disorganized. In order to manage this properly, you need to take the following steps:

  • Create a filing system – The only way to keep your paperwork in order is to make a filing system and to stick to it. The more consistent you are, the fewer issues you are going to have.
  • Do not let things pile up – While it is quite easy to simply toss your paperwork on your desk, it is the last thing you want to do.
  • Keep digital copies – Papers can be lost or destroyed. Do yourself a favor and create digital copies of important documents.

Taking care of your tenant

If you do manage to find a trustworthy, responsible tenant, you need to make sure that they are taken care of. First, you want to make sure that your rent is fair. Everyone values their property much more then it is actually worth. So, try to alter your rent so that it fits current real estate trends.

Second, you need to be proactive. This means that you need to show your tenant that you care and that you are willing to help them out. You can even familiarize yourself with what they are going to ask you during the interview, in order to better know the tenant's needs. No one likes an overbearing landlord, but no one likes an absent one. And finally, you want to deal with maintenance issues as quickly and efficiently as possible. By doing so, you will keep your apartment in good shape and you will keep your tenant happy.
Cheaper rent will motivate tenants to stay longer in your apartment. This can be especially useful once you find trustworthy tenants.

Second, you need to be proactive. This means that you need to show your tenant that you care and that you are willing to help them out. You can even familiarize yourself with what they are going to ask you during the interview, in order to better know the tenant’s needs. No one likes an overbearing landlord, but no one likes an absent one. And finally, you want to deal with maintenance issues as quickly and efficiently as possible. By doing so, you will keep your apartment in good shape and you will keep your tenant happy.

Written By Sally Norton for Vogue Real Estate Australia

Having rent coming in every month is a great way to add some more funds into your monthly budget. In fact, this is such a lucrative situation that some people have made it their mission to acquire as many rental properties as possible which will then be rented to potential tenants. However, if you are going into this situation with unrealistic expectations, you might find yourself disappointed at the end of the day. Especially if you haven’t taken any measures to protect yourself against bad tenants. 

Hey, these things happen. As a landlord, you will most likely have to deal with a bad tenant sooner or later (unless you have crazy amounts of luck). In that situation, you’ll need to come up with good solutions to solve the crisis. But one might ask you this – why look for a remedy for the situation when you can prevent it altogether? Whether you have just bought your first condo that you are thinking about renting or you already have a range of properties, take the aforementioned measures of precaution and you won’t regret it.

Never make verbal deals

This one almost seems too obvious of a mistake for anyone to make. Yet, you would be surprised to know just how many landlords rely on verbal deals – at least in the beginning. For starters, verbal deals never hold up in court. Should you have any problems with your tenants, you will basically be trapped with zero chance of winning.

That’s why you should not only sign a formal contract but also ensure that every tenant gets his/her copy of the agreement. The lease agreement should state clear rules, such as no smoking on the promises, the time frame when the rent is paid and so on. Just make sure the rules are clear to all parties – should they neglect a rule, you always have the protection of a lease working in your favor. 

Make sure your tenants provide sufficient information

You are not exactly offering a job but the person who gets your home for a year (or more) needs to be qualified. You need to ensure that they can afford the rent, for starters, especially if your property is located in a good neighborhood where the rental prices are steep. That’s why it is completely okay to request your tenant to fill out an application form. Only a few of the pieces of information your tenant should provide include: 

  • Social security number
  • Current and last two addresses (in pair with the landlords’ name and contact information)
  •  Sources of income
  • Major expenses
  • Information about the vehicle they own

Check the references your potential tenants gave you

Your potential tenants bothered to provide the pieces of information you requested. Great – now you have to do your part of the job. You need to call up every contact that was listed as a reference! We don’t suggest you rely too much on close personal friends of the potential tenants or even their current landlord. Who knows – the landlord might be eager to get rid of them, forming an unrealistic picture. The best references (or the truest ones, at least) are those that come from past landlords and past/current employers. 

Trust us – the knowledge you gain this way will be priceless. Some landlords find out that tenants aren’t responsible when it comes to paying rent. Others find out they are casual rule-breakers. And then there are those who learn that the easy way to disassemble your furniture is simply to let tenants occupy your house – that’s how extreme of a situation others have found themselves in.

Perform all the necessary checks to protect yourself from bad tenants

That’s right – you can probably guess what this means! This is the right time for a background check where you would look into the existence of a criminal record. Also, you want to perform a credit check and get an insight that will be of great help. Luckily, these days it is very easy to perform background and credit checks, so you shouldn’t have a problem with this. 

It goes without saying that you should let your tenants know you intend on performing these checks. The good news is that you might be able to weed out incompetent tenants this way. If they suddenly lose interest in your property after you disclose your intentions, you can rest assured they have a skeleton in their closet. You will be saved without having to lift a finger.

Be regular when it comes to inspections

One of the best ways to protect yourself from bad tenants is to simply keep a close watch on things. And that’s what regular visits to your property will do! You are legally within your right to perform inspections that will ensure your property is being well-maintained. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can just barge in and perform an inspection on the spot. That’s not how these things work. You need to give your tenants a weeks’ notice prior to conducting an inspection. 

But be careful – we always suggest you play it safe and check the local laws on what’s the legal way of performing an inspection. Better yet – consult with your attorney when forming the property rental agreement in the first place. They will be able to give you the best pieces of advice that will ensure your maximum safety. And that is the end goal here, isn’t it?

One thing is for sure – regular inspections will give you enough time to notice anything going wrong. You won’t have to wait before the problem becomes too big to address it. You can simply nip it in the bud. That will not only help you protect yourself from bad tenants but it will also help you maximize your profit. You won’t have to spend time or money on tenants that will turn out to be bad. If you notice them breaking the rules and not keeping your property in decent shape, you will be able to take the steps needed for them to vacate your premises.

 

Written By Sally Norton for Vogue Real Estate Australia

When it comes to becoming a homeowner, almost every buyer is extremely cautious and wary of many loopholes. That’s why it’s so surprising that people aren’t treating tenancy with the same caution. It might sound to you like signing a property rental agreement isn’t as legally binding as becoming a property owner for the first time – and you would be right to some extent. But that still doesn’t mean you should not dot your i’s and cross your t’s before putting your signature on a piece of paper. After all, legal documents are well-known for their ambiguity and fine print which usually holds crucial pieces of information.

Checking important things and pieces of information before signing the deal is important in all cases and circumstances – but it’s of special importance if moving from another country and trying to find a humble abode in a different state. Then you might take it for granted that the same rules apply in the new country as they do in the old one, creating confusion right after moving. Luckily, all you have to do is pay attention to the following items and you will be all settled into your new place soon enough.

Check the deposit terms and conditions

It’s no secret or surprise that almost all property owners will require a deposit to be paid before moving in. In most cases, the deposit is equivalent to 4 weeks’ worth of deposit bond and 2 weeks’ worth of rent and can be used by the landlord in case you cause any damages to the property or leave the premises without cleaning up. A deposit bond acts as a substitute for cash, making it very useful when you don’t have money at hand.

However, the deposit is there as sort of a safety net – not a gift your landlord receives. In case you hold up your end of the deal, the landlord is obliged to give you your deposit back.

a pink piggy bank

When it comes to your duties and obligations in relation to the deposit, this is where it gets tricky. You need to ensure that the property rental agreement covers all the reasons that allow your landlord to withhold the deposit or a part of it. As of late, landlords are required to secure their tenants’ deposits in government-backed deposit schemes. For your protection, make sure that these terms and conditions are met. That will make it safe for you to vacate the rental property down the line without having to lose the deposit.

Check who is responsible for paying the bills when signing the property rental agreement

Obviously, you will be the one that will have to foot the bill for the property for the time that you are occupying it. However, sometimes, the price of the bills will already be calculated and included in the rental price. In other situations, you will be responsible for paying all the utilities you are using and even setting them up. Finally, you could stumble upon a combination of both. So in order to prevent any confusion, check to see who exactly is responsible for paying the bills, and when.

Also bear in mind that you might be obliged to set up some extra commodities. If that’s the case, never forget that you will also be the one responsible for canceling them before closing the deal with movers and vacating the property. Being a tenant is never easy as there are simply too many scenarios to worry about.

Get to the bottom of the maintenance issue

No matter how well you take care of the property, things are bound to get broken sooner or later. And for a lot of tenants, problems begin when things stop working. To prevent those problems from affecting your life, all you have to do is get it in writing whose responsibility the repairs and maintenance are. Naturally, it should be your landlord’s obligation to pay for repairs and to get them resolved quickly on top of that. However, we will leave that up to you to clear up.

a man working with tools

But before putting your signature on the dotted line, make sure you include all the repairs your landlord is responsible for. Pay special importance to structural damage that would impair your safety and the water heater which breaks down frequently.

Your responsibilities also play an important role

In order for a landlord-tenant relationship to be successful, both parties need to know what their end of the deal is. In other words, both the responsibilities and rights need to be clearly stated. But these rules aren’t an individual thing as much as they are already stated by law. In essence, the tenant is responsible for: 

  • Taking good care of the property and everything on/in it
  • Paying the rent and bills on time
  • Repairing or paying for the damage which was caused due to your negligence

The only way to do right is by knowing what is expected of you. So don’t make a mistake due to being misinformed and check your rights and responsibilities before signing the property rental agreement.

The do’s and don’ts of living on the property 

As a tenant, you are only renting the property. That means that it’s in someone else’s possession. That being said, the landlord has every right to set his/her own rules of what is permitted and what is not. As a tenant, it is your duty to abide by them. For that reason, you have to ensure that no rule is too much for you.

a puppy laying on a pillow

For example, what would happen if you had a pet but your landlord had a strict no-pets policy? Or if you were a smoker but your landlord won’t allow smoking on his property? So as not to get yourself in a sticky situation, it is strongly advisable to check the ‘smaller agreements.’ Of course, they will ultimately turn out to be of huge importance. And that’s why they need to be included in the property rental agreement. It will spare you a lot of trouble and it will only take a few minutes out of your day. So be careful and have an honest conversation with your landlord before signing anything.

 

 

Key changes include:

  • landlords must ensure that their rental property meets 7 minimum standards to be ‘fit for habitation’
  • new and improved disclosure obligations on landlords and agents as well as new remedies for tenants when these obligations aren’t met
  • landlords must ensure that smoke alarms are in working order
  • making it easier for tenants to install fixtures or make alterations, additions or renovations that are minor
  • mandatory set fees when a tenant breaks their lease will apply to all new fixed-term leases that are 3 years or less
  • limiting rent increases to once every 12 months for periodic (continuing) leases
  • new powers for Fair Trading to resolve disputes between tenants and landlords. This includes powers to investigate and issue rectification orders to require landlords to carry out repairs and maintenance, or tenants to fix damage.

If you decide to invest your hard-earned money into a property, realistically speaking – you’re probably making a good long-term investment. However, if you definitely want your property to bring you the highest possible returns with minimal fuss, you’ll need to choose a property manager that can do the job right. And sure, you could always manage the property on your own – but this would take away a lot of your time that could be better spent elsewhere. Plus, if you’re not a professional property manager, there are bound to be many things that a true pro could do better. With that in mind – here are a couple of tips for choosing the best person for the job!

Think Local

So, you want to choose a property manager who will be able to make your property more valuable by making the maintenance of the property as efficient as possible. That’s a worthy goal to aspire to, but keep this in mind – the most important aspect of the property manager’s job will be to manage the rental aspect of the property.

A suburban home at sundown.
Find someone who knows your neighbourhood well, in terms of real estate!

And considering that you definitely don’t want to pick someone who doesn’t have the required local knowledge. You want someone who will be adept at attracting the right kind of tenants – and someone who knows how to set the rent just perfectly. That’s why we recommend finding a property manager who’s a local and has all the right connections; coupled with extensive knowledge of the local market.

Doing Research

But now that you know you want to choose a property manager who knows his way around the town; how do you find one? Luckily for you, this is the Digital Age! Meaning that anyone with a couple of hours to spare and a proper Internet connection can find more than enough info regarding property management services in their own city or town. While doing this, make sure to gather different opinions from as many online reviews as possible. After all, when it comes to professional property managers, you’ll want to hear what experiences the rest of the investors have had with them.

Word Of Mouth

Certainly, learning from other people’s experiences is important while embarking on the quest to choose a property manager worth their salt. But while taking advantage of the Internet is important; there’s also something to be said for word of mouth.

Two men shaking hands in front of a suburban home.
Even today, word of mouth is essential to finding good property management services!

At the end of the day, you really won’t need any reference more reliable than those you’ve heard in direct conversation. It’s definitely a trustworthy form of feedback, as you can immediately tell if a person is looking at the situation subjectively or not; independent of any paid advertising that you may be running into online. This way, you’ll truly find someone who will be able to handle everything from repairs and maintenance to tenant management.

Asking The Right Questions

Speaking of advertising; watch out for companies that sound much better on paper than they really are. These days, you’ll find companies who’ve made a big one-time investment into a snazzy website; but are not true professionals in reality. That’s why you want to ask your potential property manager as many questions as you can, in order to ascertain whether they’re up for the job. Don’t worry, we’ll give you a rundown of some of the things you should ask below.

Consider The Cost

Naturally, any kind of additional expense you plan to add to your investment should come only after heavy scrutiny. You don’t want to be spending your money left and right, after all. And that’s definitely true when you’re about to choose a property manager as well. That’s just one of the ways you’re going to invest in your property to make it more valuable in the long-term. Still, make sure you consider all of the expenses thoroughly.

What To Ask A Property Manager

So, what are some of the above-mentioned questions that you’ll use to see if your candidates are up to snuff? Here’s a couple of things you should know while you are trying to choose a property manager. First of all, you want to know about their qualifications. After all, you need to be certain of the experience your property manager brings to the table; there’s a difference between a manager who has a certification of registration and one who is a licensed manager.

An open door with a key in the lock.
Ask all the right questions to be secure in your selection of a property manager!

Secondly, ask them how many properties they manage. This is important, as it will give you an idea of how big a property management agency is; which in turn tells you about their service levels and experience. Though, on the other hand, think about whether a huge agency will give your property the individual attention it needs.

Thirdly, talk about how big their commitment to best practice is. See if you can get them to provide you with an overview of their business model; that way you’ll know just how good they are at running things. Also, ask them how they differ from other competing agencies in terms of services. You want to know what kind of edge this property management agency provides.

Most importantly, though – you’ll need to learn about their tenant management strategies. Firstly, just how do they attract potential tenants? What kind of marketing strategies will this agency employ? And once they’ve got a couple of candidates for the property, what is their selection process like? After that, you’ll want to hear how they work on keeping a good tenant once they’re in the property.