Friday, 11 May 2018

PROTECT YOUR INVESTMENT.....

HOW TO:

Having an investment property and being a landlord is a huge undertaking. We could write pages and pages on just the very basics that you need to know to successfully handle in investment property, but in this piece we’ll focus on just a few key financial things you should take care of.

HAVE EXPENDIBLE INCOME

As a general rule, you should never expect to make a profit based on your rental income. Depending on where you invest, it’s definitely a possibility, but in some cases, your rental income won’t even cover your mortgage repayments. For example:

you have a $300,000 mortgage on your investment property

at a rate of 5% you’ll be paying appox. $375 per week on your mortgage

for that price, you might be able to get a reasonable 3-bedroom, 1 bathroom place in Golden Grove
depending on the presentation, you could rent it out for between $340 and $375 per week*

As you can see, you’d only just be covering your mortgage in the best-case scenario and that’s only if nothing ever goes wrong at the property! Financially, you need to be prepared for that and you need to be able to afford the mortgage on your investment, as well as the mortgage or rent for wherever you are currently living as well as daily living costs. At tax time, you may get a nice refund as the expenses related to owning an investment property will offset against your taxable income. This is what is known as negative gearing. If you can afford to do so, it might be prudent to keep that refund aside for emergency repairs to your investment property.**

BE INSURED

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE get proper landlord’s insurance! There are several companies who specialise in landlord’s insurance policies. They are generally less than $300 per year and their policies are much more comprehensive and cover scenario’s that you’ve probably never even thought of! Even though your tenant will pay a bond, the process of evicting a tenant means that the bond will almost never cover all your losses should something go wrong, so landlord’s insurance is definitely necessary.

CHOOSE WISELY

Have you ever thought to yourself about all the “bad tenant” stories out there and wondered, “where do they end up living?” Well, a lot of them actually prey on landlord’s who are self-managing their property and advertising in Gumtree and similar publications. The reason that they do that, is they know that a landlord who is managing the property themselves, is probably not going to do the required checks (or not do them properly)… Let’s say for example:

you have all the applicants fill in application forms

the applicant that you liked says that they rented from another self-managing landlord and has listed them as a reference

you do the right thing and call that other landlord to ask what this applicant was like as a tenant

How do you know who you’re talking to? Your applicant could be one of those nightmare tenants who has a friend posing as their landlord!

USE A TRUSTED PROPERTY MANAGER

You really need to consider using a trusted Property Manager to help you find and manage your tenant. I can feel all of you rolling your eyes at this and thinking it’s just a plug for our Agency, but it really isn’t. In the above scenario, a good Property Manager:

would use the systems available to them to check National Tenancy Databases to see if the applicant been reported previously

would use the systems available to check the “self-managing landlord” on the application is actually the owner of the house that the applicant is claiming to have rented from them

if the applicant stated that they rented from an Agency previously, we would easily be able to call the Agency to get an honest review of what the tenant was like

And these are just a few of the checks that a good Property Manager would complete when looking for a tenant. Of course, things can still go wrong if you use a Property Manager, and tenants who used to be amazing can turn bad due to loss of job or various personal problems that can arise.

But, at least you can rest assured that when you need to go to Tribunal to evict a problem tenant, that all of the correct records have been kept, and at the push of a button, everything can be sent or printed out as evidence to get the outcome that you want. That’s if you select a trusted Property Manager. As for how to do that, well that’s another whole entry!

*example is for illustration purposes only

**Smith Partners Real Estate is not a financial adviser. You should seek independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice to check how this information relates to your unique circumstances

For more information:
Ph: (08) 8251 3249
Or come and see us at:

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

PICK THE BEST TIME OF YEAR TO SELL.....


HOW TO:
It’s long been a myth in the real estate industry that the best time to try and sell your property is in the spring. The truth is, that although there’s not really a “best time of year” to sell your property, there could be features of your home that, if timed right, will lead to a quicker, easier sale. For example, if your home has a stunning swimming pool - it will still sell in winter, but it will sell more easily in the summer (especially if you happen to do your opens during a 40-degree heatwave!)
You should also keep in mind that having a large number of properties all coming on the market at the same time will lead to buyers having too many options. If you own a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom home and you come on the market in spring just like everyone else who has a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom home then it’ll be more difficult to make your home stand out and to get that quick sale for top dollar.

So, a few things you might want to consider that may affect when you choose to begin marketing your property for sale:

  • Do you have an open fire or combustion heater? Best to sell in WINTER - the ambience created by an open fire on a cold day is very appealing to a buyer
  • Do you have a fantastic air-conditioner? Best to sell in SUMMER - there’s nothing better than walking into a house on a summers day to find it’s absolutely perfect inside! (If you’re a/c isn’t the greatest, you might want to consider getting a better air-conditioner or at least a service…)
  • Do you have a swimming pool? Best to sell in SUMMER - people love picturing themselves diving in on a hot day
  • Do you have a beautiful garden? Best to sell in SPRING - lovely blossoms set the scene, just make sure it’s a low maintenance garden though.
  • Do you have no garden? Best to sell in AUTUMN/WINTER - there’s nothing wrong with a concrete jungle, except when the summer heat is radiating off into the faces of your potential buyers.
Essentially, you just want to show your property in the best possible light and if that’s in winter with a roaring fire and fresh pot of coffee, then why wait for spring?

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

DECIDE WHETHER OR NOT TO GET A SWIMMING POOL.....


HOW TO:
People often ask us if a swimming pool will add value to their property. The short answer is generally no, but there are some exceptions.

If you have a big family home on a big block and you expect top dollar when you sell - then the answer to “should we get a pool?” is probably yes. Families looking for that next level prestige home, generally want it all - 4+ bedrooms, 2+ bathrooms, 2+car spaces, lawn for the kids to play and the luxurious swimming pool. The exception to this rule is, if you have the big family home, but the pool is going to take up your entire backyard leaving you with no lawn area, then we would NOT recommend putting in a pool. Even though we all know that kids would rather sit on an iPad or gaming console than play on the lawn - whenever we try to sell a family home with no backyard, the feedback is always “love the house, but the kids need a backyard”.

Your average group of buyers is split pretty much down the middle - half of them really want a pool, the other half don’t want to have to maintain it.

The other thing you need to consider these days with getting a pool is that it has to be compliant when it comes time to sell – this means:

Fencing must be constructed in such a way to make sure that:
  • the fence is an effective barrier to young children
  • it is permanent
  • young children can't crawl under or climb over it by using foot and hand holds
  • it is at least 1.2 metres high
  • any boundary fences used as part of the child-safety barrier are at least 1.8 metres high on the side that faces the pool, with a 900 millimetres non-climbable zone at the top inside of the fence, a boundary barrier may be climbable on the neighbour's side.
Gates or doors leading to the pool area must:
  • swing outward from the pool area
  • be self-closing from any position
  • be fitted with a latching device, out of reach of small children, at least 1.5 metres above ground level.
Putting in a swimming pool is an expensive exercise, but spending $50,000 on one, won’t necessarily increase the value of your home by that same amount. As a general rule, putting in a pool is something you should do just because you want to enjoy it for yourself, not something you should do to increase the value of your home.

For more tips on adding value to your property:

Ph: (08) 8251 3249
Or come and see us at:

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

MAXIMISE RETURNS ON A RENOVATION......

HOW TO:
A lot of home owners think that they shouldn’t do any renovations prior to putting their home up for sale just in case it’s not to the taste of the buyers. “Let them choose how they want it to look”, they think. Buyer’s these days are usually lacking the funds, time and often the skills required to do a renovation themselves. The days of buying a “fixer-upper” are gone, unless it’s so run-down that people will actually be looking to knock it down! If you stick to neutral tones and take advice from the experts around you, whatever you select is going to be better than the dated décor in your home now.
All homes need to be updated from time-to-time - about every 10 years is a good benchmark. Not only do styles and fashions change all the time, but selling a home that hasn’t been updated for 20 years is no easy feat and will severely impact your final selling price.

KITCHENS AND BATHROOMS
Every real estate agent has probably said similar words in their career that “kitchens and bathrooms sell houses.” It is so very true and the reason is that they’re the most expensive rooms to update! Buyers do not want to and spend $400,000 on a home only to have to spend another $50,000 to update the kitchen and bathrooms. The good news is, that there are options to refresh these areas without breaking the bank:
  • Kitchen cupboards can be re-sprayed or re-painted with laminate paint – put on new doorhandles and it’ll look like you have a new kitchen!
  • Tiled kitchen splashbacks can be painted too – ask an expert for help and all the right tools.
  • Benchtops can be re-sprayed by a professional to look like stone benchtops or even just a more modern coloured laminate. Or you could look into covering with a thin layer of granite – again look to a professional to do this for you.
  • Bathroom tiles and also bathtubs can be painted with Tub & Tile paint
  • Update tapware and other accessories like towel rails, toilet roll holders, etc.
  • Replace the old vanity and toilet if necessary.
  • Plan ahead with all your plumbing jobs (like vanity, toilet, tapware) and have everything ready to go all at once so you only have to pay one call-out fee.

FLOORING & PAINTING
Don’t worry too much about tiles vs. floorboards in your main traffic and living areas. Those things seem to be quite subjective with many different buyers having different opinions. Only look to update if the colouring is not neutral or if there is a lot of damage to the existing flooring like scratches, chips or cracks.
Carpeting is a different story – carpets need to be updated regularly, not just because of staining, but just from wear. Again, just keep it neutral and listen to advice from the experts at your chosen flooring store.
A freshly painted house does wonders when trying to sell. Cover over any bold feature walls – even if you love it, buyers probably won’t. Even if you don’t have anything bold to cover up, a fresh coat of paint will cover up any scuffs, nicks and marks that may catch the eye of your potential buyers which could give the impression that there’s too much work to do.
The home will feel cleaner and fresher with a coat of neutral toned paint throughout.

STORAGE
Storage is so important to buyers these days. If you don’t have a lot of it, put a storage and/or linen cupboard in the laundry - even if it’s just a free-standing melamine cupboard that you intend to leave at the property after you sell.
If your budget allows, get built-in robes for the bedrooms and at worst, at least get one for the master bedroom. A lot of homes have built-in robes these days, so people don’t want to move from a house with them to one without and then have to bear that extra expense themselves.

OUTDOORS
Make sure the front yard is welcoming and appealing. Do some planting if you need to, otherwise just tidy up existing plants and stay on top of the weeding.
In the backyard, an outdoor entertaining area is very important to most buyers. If you don’t have a pergola or veranda, look to put in some high quality, waterproof shade sails - they’re not cheap, but less expensive than a new pergola or veranda.

Looking at these few key areas will make your home look and feel like a welcoming and modern home. Yes, it will cost money, but if you don’t spend it upfront, then it’ll end up coming off your sale price. If you do it right, you should come out in front and make more selling your home than you’d hoped!

For more tips on preparing your home for sale:


Ph: (08) 8251 3249
Or come and see us at:

Friday, 5 January 2018

SELECT AN AGENT....

HOW TO:
There are many factors to consider when you are selecting an Agent to sell one of your greatest assets. You need to feel comfortable with your Agent and be able to trust them (as much as you can in a society that traditionally dislikes and distrusts real estate agents 😊). In the end it will usually come down to your gut feel about the individual, but we’ve put together a few tips for you to help you make your decision:

MYSTERY SHOP THEM!
We cannot stress enough, it is so important to mystery shop a few of your local agents BEFORE calling any of them in to appraise your home. Things you want to look for:
  • Were they prepared with a brochure?
  • Did they take your name and number?
  • Were they friendly and respectful of you (maybe dress in your daggiest outfit to see if that changes how they treat you)?
  • How was the open run? Was there a good atmosphere?
  • Could they answer questions about the property?
  • After the open, did they follow you up to see if you were interested or had feedback?
  • Did you never hear from them again or did they harass you for weeks on end?
All of these things should come into consideration when you are choosing an Agent to sell your home. We actually have clients who have told us that there are certain agents that they would never buy a house from because of previous interactions with those agents at open inspections. Do you really want to cut your pool of buyers because they don’t like your Agent?

PRICING BASED ON FACT
Any agent who gives you an appraisal on the value of your home should have evidence to back up what they are saying. All real estate agents should have access to some form of reporting statistics on the recent sales in your area. They should be able to show you the research they have completed to be able to give you an appraisal value of your home. If they can’t show you any recent sales reports, then how did they come up with the value of your home? It needs to be based in fact – and the facts need to be correct. For example, if your home is a three bedroom, one bathroom, single carport home, then showing you that the four bedroom, two bathroom, double garage home next door sold three years ago for $550,000 is not relevant to you at all. But, the house on the other side of the street with three bedrooms, one bathroom and single carport that sold six months ago for $350,000 IS very important information when it comes to pricing your home.

CHECK OUT THEIR MARKETING
A lot of people think that their home will speak for itself in terms of selling. The problem is, you need people to come to the open inspection first – and preferably A LOT of them. The more people you have at every open, the more competition and the more competition, the better sale price you’ll achieve. The advertising of your home needs to be of the very highest standard to get as many buyers through the door as possible. Things to look at when you are checking out all the local agents in the area are:
  • What are their signboards like? Is it advertising your home or just the Agent?
  • What are their brochures like? Are they detailed or just one page printed at the office with a few words and a couple of photos?
  • What is their internet advertising like?
  • Are they pushing using the newspaper? If so, are they doing that for you or for their own profile?
  • Do they advertise at their office? Where is it located? On a busy main road where people never walk past or in a popular shopping centre?
  • Do they have a property magazine distributed in the area? How often is it published? Does it cost extra to have your property advertised in there or is it part of a standard package?
  • What’s their property photography like? Professional or do it themselves?
  • What do their floorplans look like? Hand-drawn/black and white/colour?
  • Do they provide a complimentary home stylist visit?
Selecting an Agent is a huge decision, and the wrong choice can cost you, but hopefully following these few tips and asking a few key questions will go a long way to helping you make the right choice.

Ph: (08) 8251 3249
Or come and see us at:

Thursday, 2 November 2017

GET YOUR PROPERTY READY FOR SALE......

HOW TO: 

Getting a property ready for sale is no small task! We have created a complete guide that we’ve titled “101 Tips” which goes through all the jobs you need to consider when getting your property ready to sell. We won’t go through all 101 tips now, but here are a few key items to consider.

MAINTENANCE
The rule of thumb is – if something needs repair – fix it! There may be several things in your house that you have simply become accustomed to over time - things that you have been promising yourself to attend to. Well NOW is the time! Buyers will mentally add up their perceived costs of repairing all those minor flaws and end up with an amount that is generally much higher than your actual costs will be. You might be saying to yourself “these repairs aren’t any big deal,” but the buyer is thinking, “if the owner didn’t take care of these little items, then what about the roof or plumbing or air conditioner?” Necessary, non-critical minor repairs and perceived owner neglect will either lower the price or lengthen the time to sell.
The large, expensive repairs need to be done too – 95% of buyers get a building inspection done, so it’s going to get picked up – you can’t hope to hide anything.

NEUTRALISE
Your objective is to make your house appeal to the largest possible buying segment. Ask yourself, “how many of the available buyers would feel able to move into your house with their own furniture and not want to replace the carpet or repaint the walls?” Position your house on the market to be as liveable as possible to as many people as possible. Select a neutral colour scheme that will make it easy for the buyer to mentally picture the house as theirs.
SORRY - but you will have to put your personal taste on hold. The market is always driven by buyer demand. The average buyer will have a hard time looking beyond the blue carpeting and bold wallpapers. Consider replacing unusual or bold colours with neutral tones. Two coats of off-white paint may be one of the best investments you will ever make.

SPACE MANAGEMENT (CREATING THE ILLUSION OF MORE SPACE)
Declutter! Declutter! Declutter! Pack up your collectibles - both to protect them and to give the room a more spacious feel. Leave out just enough accessories to give the house a personal touch.
Arrange furniture to give the rooms a spacious feeling. Consider removing some furniture from any room that may seem over crowded. If necessary, put large items in storage or hide in a shed or garage.
Empty cupboards of un-used items and wardrobes of off-season clothing and pack them away for the move. Organise cupboards to demonstrate the most efficient use of space. Cupboards should look as though there is room to put more. Leave as few items as possible on floors and shelves.

EXTERIOR & FRONTAGE
Don’t forget the outside! Make it look welcoming and visually appealing – add some potted colour where you can as a simple spruce up.
The front yard is so important – this is the first thing people will see when they do the “drive-by” to check out your location. One thing we recommend is taking a photo of your house (just on your phone is fine) from the road in front of your house. Can you see the front door and windows or are they blocked by bushes and trees? People put in plants for privacy and shade, but it makes for an awful photo when all you can see is a driveway and some bushes. Consider cutting back or even removing some of the larger plants in the front yard. Again, use some potted colour to brighten up the front of the house too.
In the backyard, an outdoor entertaining area is very important to most buyers. If you don’t have one and can’t afford the expense of putting up a pergola or veranda, look to put in some high quality, waterproof shade sails. They’re not cheap, but less expensive than a pergola or veranda – and it should make a difference to your end sale price.

CLEANING & ATMOSPHERE
Just prior to your open inspections (and any private inspections you may have) you need to clean your house thoroughly from top to bottom – include all windows, all flooring (consider professional cleaning of carpets, tile grout, etc), light fixtures, ceiling fans, exhaust fans, basically all those things you wouldn’t normally do too often.
Create a welcoming atmosphere in your home by considering some of the 5 senses:
• See - use lighting, open up all the windows for maximum sunlight and ensure you’ve decluttered and cleaned everything you can
• Smell - don’t forget we get used to the smell of our own home. Try to think from a buyers’ point of view (or get an honest friend or family member to help you!). Eliminate animal smells, cigarette smells, cooking smells and infuse each room with good smells using scented candles, air fresheners or fresh flowers
• Hear - make sure the neighbours aren’t having a party, doing major construction or have a noisy dog (politely ask them to keep the dog inside or take it for a walk for half an hour if they do). Have some gentle music playing in the background (although the Smith Partners Sales Team will bring their own music).
• Touch - make sure buyers feel comfortable. On a hot day (or even just a really warm day), turn the air-conditioning on, have the heater on if it’s a cooler day and if you have a wood-burning fire, combustion heater or gas log fire definitely have it burning, it creates a lovely atmosphere.


There are plenty of other jobs to do, but this will get you started. If you would like a copy of our 101 Tips booklet, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Ph: (08) 8251 3249
Or come and see us at:

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

GET THAT RENTAL PROPERTY....

HOW TO GUIDE:

At some stage in life, you may be looking for a rental property - whether moving out of home for the first time, going through a change in personal circumstances or you may have just made the decision not to be a home owner. Whatever your situation, if you are looking to rent a property, it’s good to know what Property Managers and Landlords are looking for and how to stand out from the crowd if the home is in demand. Below are a few tips and things you should know.

WHO MAKES THE DECISIONS?
If the property is being rented through an Agency, the Property Manager will assess the applications received and then present them to the Landlord. The Property Manager can make recommendations, but ultimately it is the Landlord’s decision. Here at Smith Partners we have had some great candidates rejected by Landlords for various reasons, so please don’t take it personally if you are not successful for a rental.

THE OPEN INSPECTION
Most Property Managers will insist on having you attend an inspection of the property prior to accepting your application. This is to ensure the prospective tenant/s are actually happy with the property and also so that they can meet you and see if they can get a feel about who you are and what you may be like. Having said that, it’s important to be well presented, polite and friendly with the Property Manager and provide your name and number if you are asked for it. All applications are processed based on their own merits i.e. rental/home ownership history, income etc., and therefore personal back stories cannot be taken into consideration when approving or declining applications.
Make sure the property meets all your requirements before submitting an application.

YOUR APPLICATION
Ensure that your application is as complete as possible. You must:
  • Provide proof of regular income
  • Provide photo ID to prove you are who you say you are
  • have a rental history or someone who will speak on your behalf (if you’ve recently sold a property, ask the Agent who sold it for you if they will be a reference. If you are moving out of home for the first time, ask your parents to be your reference – but be honest!)
  • Be truthful about pets to occupy the home - If you are a long-term renter and considering getting a pet, we recommend looking into small, low maintenance pets that are unlikely to cause damage. Have dogs attend “puppy pre-school” or similar. You can also have your current Property Manager or Landlord provide a written reference to vouch for the pets. Unfortunately a lot of Landlords have had bad experiences with tenants who have pets so even if you have the perfect pet, you need to do all that you can to put a potential new Landlord’s mind at ease.
THE GAME CHANGER!
On rare occasions, some people will offer more money per week or rent in advance. A Property Manager cannot ask you to do that nor suggest it, but if this is really the property that you want and you can afford to do so, then it is worth considering. It still does not guarantee that you will get the property, but it will make your applications stand out when it’s presented to the Landlord.

Ph: (08) 8251 3249
Email: info@spartners.com.au
Or come and see us at:
Shop 34, Golden Grove Village Shopping Centre Cnr The Golden Way & The Grove Way GOLDEN GROVE

PROTECT YOUR INVESTMENT.....

HOW TO: Having an investment property and being a landlord is a huge undertaking. We could write pages and pages on just the very basic...