One Agency For Rent

7 Ways to Make Your Rental Property More Appealing

Securing a good tenant as fast as possible is the goal if you decide to rent out your house. But even with so many competing tenants out there, achieving this goal may not be simple.

Especially when rents are high and tenant are expecting a lot for their money.  Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to help increase the appeal of your rental property and ensure you find the right tenant.

The first step is to determine your target tenants. For young professionals, convenience and neutral tones are highly preferred. If you think, fly-in fly-out (FIFO) or shift workers would be attracted to your home, pay attention on security, privacy and sun-blocking window treatments.

Keeping these tenants in mind, here are seven tips for increasing rental returns and enticing the right tenants.

  1. Spotless Appliances

You can save a lot of money in the long term with minor repairs that are done upfront. Check your house to make sure all your appliances are spotless and in good working condition – repair and replace if necessary. From stove tops to dishwashers, give them a thorough cleaning so they are germ-free and ready for use by tenants.

  1. New Blinds and Curtains

Your house can get an instant facelift with new window furnishings. Additionally, these items will allow you to target your ideal tenant. If your house is close to the airport, block out blinds are recommended as they appeal to FIFO or shift workers. Choose stylish custom roman blinds if you have an apartment in a trendy suburb. If you have a beachside holiday home, choose wooden shutters for a coastal feel.

If your existing curtains or blinds are still good, clean them thoroughly to remove mould and grime.

  1. Clean Walls

A house with dirty walls looks unkempt, so clean up all marks and then fill in holes or cracks. A freshly painted house can never go wrong, as not only the right hue makes a space look larger, new paint will make an older home look neat and tidy.

Pick light neutrals, but don’t paint the whole house white because it can make the house look harsh and unwelcoming.

  1. Renovated Kitchen

There is no doubt that kitchens and bathrooms sell homes, but they also get renters. Before undertaking any renovation, ask your real estate agent about the costs, as there may be a few DIY jobs that will suffice. Consider painting the walls and cupboards, then change the door handles to fit the new colour. You can also renovate the countertops and put in a new sink.

  1. Bathroom Update

If your bathroom is old and grubby, there’s a likelihood that prospective tenants would be turned off. Inexpensive items to pay attention to include repairing leaking taps, replacing light fittings and getting a new shower head. A major turn-off in bathrooms is mould, so having the grout professionally taken care of is worth considering.

  1. Well-Ordered Fixtures

Further boost your chances of success by making sure your tenant won’t have anything to complain about regarding damaged fittings or fixtures. Make sure all your fixtures, from the letterbox to the light switches and all taps, doorknobs, fly screens and locks, function properly and are in good condition.

  1. Have Dirt-Free Carpets

Grubby carpets don’t look and smell good. They can also have dust and dirt. If the carpets are professionally cleaned at the beginning of their lease, then you can ask them to do the same at the end of their lease.  If your carpets are beyond saving, replace them because nice-looking carpets will make a house feel homey and well-maintained.

Think like a tenant, repair any nagging issues and add a few personal touches according to who will be living in your home. These things will let you set expectations, appeal to better tenants and increase your returns.

 

 

Maintenance Tips to Help Extend the Life of your Deck

Timber decking is exposed to the elements throughout the year – heavy downpour, scorching sun, and high and low temperatures. This makes the wood expand and contract, which can cause it to deteriorate.

To help extend the life of a deck, regular maintenance is important as it helps the timber handle extreme conditions while revitalising its appearance.

It is fast and easy to make an old deck look brand new, starting with a nice finish. There are several finishes you can choose from to achieve the look you’re looking for.

Whichever finish you choose, regular maintenance is important to make your deck look great and last for a long time.

The Best Timber for Decks

There are many types of timber available. Selecting the same type of timber for both floor and decking can make the feel and look of indoor and outdoor spaces harmonious while giving a visual connection to the surrounding vistas and grabbing the attention of people who love nature.

One of the popular choices is lighter-blind timbers, like blackbutt, tallowwood or white mahogany offer a clean, neutral backdrop for outdoor design plans and landscaping. To make small spaces look big, choose lighter-coloured timber boards.

Some types, including blackbutt and spotted gum, are more ideal for locations that are susceptible to bushfires. Also, blackbutt is also resistant to termites, which is the right quality for Australian conditions.

No-Maintenance Decking Boards

Composite decking is suitable for you if you will not be able to keep up with regular maintenance. This type combines 95 per cent recycled timber and plastic, needs no upkeep except for random washing with soap and water, and is available in various colours and textures.

Because it is termite-resistant, composite decking won’t decay, warp or break. It is also resistant to fading, stain, scratch and mould, making it suitable for high foot traffic and uninterrupted summer of entertaining.

Signs That Your Deck Needs Refinishing

Dripping some water directly onto the boards is the fastest way to determine whether your deck needs work. If the timber absorbs the water, then it’s time to re-coat it. If the beads of water remain on t

he board, then no work is required yet.

Tips for Refinishing Decking Boards

Preparation is key to a great result from refinishing your deck.

If you have a new deck or your deck has been stained or oiled previously, use a stiff scrubbing brush to apply deck cleaner to get rid of tannins and oils from the timber. These products are good alternatives for algae or moss for eliminating dirt.

Because some cleaners can be detrimental to plants, protect the surrounding shrubs and trees by using plastic to protect the soil around them.

Let the deck cleaner be absorbed by the timber for 15 minutes before hosing it off and let the timber dry for a minimum of one hour before applying the finish.

If you use oil, mix it thoroughly before applying two or three coats with a lambswool applicator. To avoid a blotchy finish, apply the finish in long strokes the entire length of the board. The ends of the board should also be coated because they also need to be protected from the elements.

Read the manufacturer’s recommendations to learn the different varying times and techniques of applications of the stain, oil, paint or varnish you’re using.

Finish: Water-Based Vs Oil-Based

The choice between water or oil-based finishes often depends on the ease of use and longevity.

With water-based decking oils, you can re-coat your deck faster, and they normally last longer than the usual oil-based decking oils. The tools you’ve used can simply be washed off with water.

Oil-based decking oils usually take longer to dry than water-based coatings. You will also smell a strong odour while it dries. To clean your equipment, you need to use mineral turpentine.

Sanding a Worn or Painted Deck

For splintered, previously painted or severely damaged decks, sand the surface back to raw timber to revive its look. Make sure all nails and screws are countersunk to prevent the sandpaper from tearing while you work the deck.

Use a belt sander and coarse-grade belt to sand the surface, making sure that you move in the direction of the grain of the timber. To have a smooth finish, continue sanding with finer-grade belts.

For the hard-to-reach areas and edges, a finishing sander can do the job, but start with coarse-grade sandpaper and then a finer grade.

When you’re done with sanding the surface, then you can begin applying the finish.

How to Maintain Your Deck

To prolong the life of your deck finish, sweeping it or hosing it regularly avoids build-up of dirt and other moisture-retaining residue on the timber.

If your deck has potted plants, place a saucer underneath them to catch any excess water and prevent water from sitting under the pot as this can result in rot.

 

How to save thousands and stop the banks getting the upper hand!

As a landlord and property investor there seems to be so many things that are out of your control.  Floods, storms, bad tenants, market booms, market busts and interest rates.

Many investors look at their property portfolio as a retirement plan that they “hope” will eventuate into a pot of gold by the time they want to retire.  Unfortunately, this is rarely the case and many investors “retirement” portfolios end up costing them more in the long run.

Insurance that doesn’t quite cover the roof damage, not putting the rent up because you don’t want to upset the tenant, not having a depreciation schedule, buying in the same suburb you live and staying with the same bank too long are all ways that your golden nest egg turns into a money pit.

But here is the KEY  –  Change the way you think about your investment properties.

You are not just a property investor you are actually a business owner. The Tax office allows you to make deductions as if you are running a business, so you need to have that mind set.

As a business owner, you must ensure your business is running at its optimal capacity. That means pulling certain levers to maximise your profits. Depreciation schedules, finding a great property manager, ensuring your insurances are in place and increasing rents with the market are all ways you can fine tune your business efficiency.  And the number one lever you can pull to maximise your profits is ensuring your home loan is market competitive.  This lever alone will save you thousands a year and take years off your loan.

Banks are fully aware that people get complacent. They know that after you set your home loan up and if the service is ok you will forget about your home loan and maybe occasionally glance at your interest rate.

This complacency will KILL your property/business profits and turn a cash flow positive property or portfolio into a negatively geared one.

I see this every day, so don’t let yourself fall into the same trap. After two years banks will NOT give you the lowest interest rates that they give “New Lending” (New Customers).

As they say you need to “vote with your feet”. Take your business elsewhere and SAVE.  I regularly see savings of $2,000 a year just by switching to a new lender with a better interest rate. If you carry out an optimisation check every 12-24 months on your home loan you can
potentially save $60,000 over the life of your loan and pay out your loan 4-5 years early.

So, now is the time to look at your portfolio in a different way. Pull the biggest lever you have at your disposal to supercharge your profits. Optimise your business so it is performing at maximum capacity to give yourself every chance to enjoy that golden nest egg.

 

Written by:
Jason Hare
Mortgage Broker & Finance Consultant
Co-Founder and Lending Specialist
CEO | Lending Specialist
0400 805 206
jason@opfinance.com.au

How to Save More When Selling Your Property

When selling your property, you need to know there is a sliding scale between how much value you can add and how much you can spend.

Taking into consideration the conveyance fees, capital gains tax, and improvements, sellers may have a hard time finding additional funds to spend on property styling. But styling your property definitely pays off, I estimate it boosts the value of your home by roughly 2.5% to 3% and can help sell your home much faster. 

Here are 9 tips to help you raise the value of your home and get the highest possible price from the sale – without leaving you penniless.

  1. Apply a fresh coat of paint

One of the simplest and most effective ways to give your home a new lease on life is a new coat of paint. With paint, a room brightens up instantly and any wear and tear in the house is erased. If you do it yourself, all you need to buy is paint, brushes and rollers.

Stick to neutral colours such as white, off-white, or cream to attract as many buyers as possible. If your home is done in strong colours or you want to add some character or mood, you have the option to make a feature wall.  Just avoid any clashes, keep the rest of the surfaces simple.

  1. Potted colour

First impression is important, and having a beautiful front garden screams “sanctuary.” If your garden is needing a few more greenery and flowers, plant some more or put some colourful potted plants in to instantly help people feel comfortable. Plants can also make up for harsher frontages, like exposed bricks, by softening the severe edges.

Make your home feel fresh and modern and revitalise the most worn out-looking rooms with indoor plants and flowers. Place small succulents or potted plants on benches and tabletops to create a lived-in vibe in your home, and a larger potted cacti, an orchid or palm fronds in the entrance or hallway.

  1. Boost your street appeal

An overwhelming majority of Australians want a home with a yard for their family and pets, and having a beautiful outdoor area can attract prospective buyers. Landscaping can cost thousands, but there are simple things you can do to make your yards shine.

Plant hedges and trees that are cut and shaped so they look neat, mow and weed the lawns to make them look neat and fresh. Other extras you can invest in to make your outdoor spaces more charming include creating outdoor archways or DIY stepping stone pathways.

And always consider the sate of your letter box!

  1. Open up the space

This involves removing something rather than adding to a room. A space that feels big and open appeals to everyone. It has been shown time and again that removing some pieces of furniture or exchanging them with smaller pieces gives off a sense of space.

Natural light also appeals to buyers, so invest in a window treatment that offers privacy and protection from the direct sun without obstructing too much light.

If there is no natural light, a good alternative is maximising the use of artificial lights. A light fixture with multiple bulbs is effective in brightening a room, and you can create an elegant feature to update the look of the room, even when it’s dark.

  1. Hang mirrors

To make a room appear bigger, use mirrors. They are inexpensive and immediately bring a sense of space in a room. Place a large mirror behind a sofa or shelf in the living area, or behind the headboard in a bedroom. If your hallway is narrow and dark, use mirrors to add space and open up the walkway.

Mirrors can even be used effectively in your garden and outdoor areas too!  Get a little creative!

  1. Instant fixes

Kitchen renovations can be expensive, but they are also the space that can sell a property. If your kitchen is outdated and worn out, one of the best ways to freshen it up without costing you thousands of dollars to give a new coat of paint to the cabinets. You can do this project yourself, and then install new knobs or handles to complete the new look.

A great addition to your living room is rugs. They revitalise the space and transform its look and feel. To make a big impact, use large rugs, but choose ones that match your colour scheme. For example, tribal or graphic prints updates your home and complement most existing furniture.

For bedrooms, make them feel inviting and cosy with new linens. Similar with paints, use neutral bedding linens with minimalist designs, and choose simple patterns, rather than bright colours or clashing prints. To add more character, a bed runner can add style without being pretentious.

  1. Tidy up and remove clutter

Decluttering is one of the simplest styling tricks out there.

In property styling with the aim to sell, the main thing is to design the home like a blank canvas so buyers can visualise themselves living there. If it’s cluttered, your home can overwhelm buyers during inspections. Take away all the personal items and kitchen appliances you have collected over the years, and open all curtains and windows to let in natural light.

Giving your home a deep cleaning, including professional carpet cleaning, is worth every penny. This eliminates odours that may have been lingering in your home and leaves your home looking and smelling fresh and clean.

  1. Ensure your home smells nice

Odour is a big factor when preparing your home for inspection. A house that smells of pets, damp or stale could turn off prospective buyers, so get rid of bad odours by opening the windows or burning essential oils.  Please, please , please….  do not use air fresheners, so many people are sensitive to these kinds of fragrances and they could turn your buyers off. 

  1. Know the value of your home

Put your faith in your agent, but also find out for yourself how much your property is worth. Request the correct appraisals, study the market, check out similar listings and look up the sales history for your location. By knowing the value of your home, you will get a better idea of the sale price you may be offered.

 

How to Find the Right Investment Property for First-Time Investors?

Finding the right investment property can be an overwhelming process, especially if you have no clue what you’re looking for or where to begin.

For first-time investors, choosing a property is not about visualising yourself living in it. It’s all about the numbers going in your favour and your self-assurance that the property is going to meet your requirements to help you accomplish your investment goals.

What are these requirements and how can you be sure that the property you’re choosing is going to fit you?

Here are the following factors you need to consider when looking for the right property investment:

  1. Identify your strategy

Every person will approach property investing using a different strategy. Some will want to just grow their portfolio and acquire as many properties as possible, while others may want to attempt renovations and sell the property for a higher price. Knowing what your investment strategy is before you begin to search for properties will help you narrow down significantly what you’re looking for.

  1. Determine your budget

If you know how much money you have to invest, you can quickly remove areas and properties that you cannot afford. Don’t forget that numbers will play an important role when you’re purchasing an investment property. If the numbers don’t add up, it means the property is not for you.

  1. Know your property type

Identify what type of property you want to invest in – whether a house on land, a unit, a townhouse, or another type of property. Settling on a property type and only looking at these properties will prevent you from feeling confused because you are comparing the same type of properties.

Each property type also has varying requirements that you need to look at and evaluate. Focusing on just one property type will also help prevent you from making mistakes when doing your due diligence.

  1. The location

There are plenty of locations where you can buy a property, and choosing a location can derail investors from taking the first step.

Start by choosing a state, then a region, then a suburb, and finally the best area within that suburb. Being unfamiliar with the areas you’re considering can muddle the process and your experience. Check out suburb reviews to find out the comments and ratings of different locations.

In addition to the above, there are questions you need answers to.

  • What infrastructure can be found in that area?
  • What is the demographic?
  • Are there jobs available there?
  • Is it easy to access services?

You also need to know where the location is in the property cycle. Is it in a bullish market where properties are selling fast or a slowing market where you have your choice of property? Is demand for rentals strong?

If you’re finding it hard to choose a location, then the smart thing for you to do is start on the areas that you’re familiar with.

When you have figured out all these four factors, then you can begin to narrow down on your property requirements in terms of size, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, garaging, etc.

But until you have done your research and have identified your property requirements, your search for a property investment is nothing more than guesswork.