Thursday, 28 March 2019

SMOKE ALARM LEGISLATION


We regularly hear the reminders to change the batteries in our smoke alarms, but how many of us really know the laws around it? As a home owner (or multiple home owner if you’re an investor), you need to be aware that legislation is in place to make domestic smoke alarms compulsory for all residential buildings.

Smoke Alarm Types

The type of smoke alarm you require depends on when you purchased your home or the age of your home;

  • For homes or residential rental properties that are purchased before 1 February 1998 you are required to fit a replaceable battery powered smoke alarm.
  • For homes or residential rental properties purchased on or after 1 February 1998, regulation 76B requires a smoke alarm (or smoke alarms) to be fitted within six months from the day on which the title is transferred and be either a 240 volt, mains-powered smoke alarm or a 10-year life, non-replaceable, non-removable, permanently connected battery powered smoke alarm.
  • For homes or residential rental properties built on or after 1 January 1995 the Building Code of Australia requires a 240 volt, mains powered smoke alarm.
  • Smoke alarm maintenance is governed by both State and Federal legislation and any person who does not comply with the relevant legislation is guilty of an offence.
  • Landlords who fail to take every practical step to ensure the safety of their tenants can face a multitude of unpleasant and unwanted consequences that, with the right guidance, can be easily avoided.
South Australian State Legislation

The Development Act 1993 requires smoke alarms must be installed on every storey, they must be located between each part of the dwelling containing bedrooms and the remainder of the dwelling. Smoke alarms must also be installed in any hallway leading to the bedrooms.

Landlords must comply with smoke alarm legislation in all residential rental properties including detached houses, villa units, sole occupancy units, guest houses and hostels.

Federal Legislation

Landlords must ensure that their rental property is properly fitted with the required number of working smoke alarms, complying with the Australian Standard (3786:2015), and that they are installed as outlined in the Building Code of Australia (BCA) part 3.7.2.3. This legislation is applicable to all states of Australia.

When selling a home, you will be asked as a part of the legal documentation if you have a compliant smoke alarm, so it pays to understand what that is.

At Smith Partners Real Estate, we ask that a hard-wired alarm be fitted to all rental properties; due to the high chance of a tenant tampering with a removable battery powered alarm (9-volt battery powered alarms). In the case where a hard-wired smoke alarm cannot be fitted, then it is recommended that a 10-year lithium battery operated alarm be installed. This type of alarm is easily fitted, like a 9-volt type alarm, but the 10-year lithium alarm has a battery sealed inside that cannot be removed.

We regularly offer to all our Landlord’s to have a professional service check the smoke alarms and install new ones as required.

If anything you’ve read is of concern to you, or to learn more, call Smith Partners Real Estate on (08) 8251 3249 to have a chat with one of our friendly staff.

Thursday, 28 February 2019

PART 5 OF 5: PREPARING YOUR HOME FOR SALE......


Tip 5: Styling & Presentation

Although it might not always be to your taste, a property with modern styling, will sell quickly and usually for top dollar.

Things to consider on the styling and presentation of your home:
-              a styled home creates excitement and an emotional attachment for buyers
-              the photography will look incredible and draw in more buyers
-              more buyers mean the odds of selling quickly and for top dollar are greatly increased

We recommend using the services of a professional home stylist, but for those who are a little creative and want to have a go, we have some tips from Interior Designer James Treble to help you get the perfect designer look for all your interior spaces. Source: https://www.homestolove.com.au/5-simple-home-styling-tips-to-remember-1772

1. SIZE DOES MATTER - When it comes to art, oversized pieces will always make a big statement. I suggest investing in one piece that you really love and placing it in a key position, like above the lounge or in a foyer, to set the stage for your home styling. A big piece of art means you don't need lots of other clutter in the room, as it remains the star of the space. Alternatively, a large piece of amazing fabric, framed or on a canvas, can work just as well.

2. POWER IN NUMBERS - Make a statement by grouping similar objects like vases, bottles or bowls together, so that they become a stronger design element as a whole than they would be individually. One of my tricks is to place three or five candlesticks (always odd numbers) of differing heights in one place. When lit, they become one large light feature, creating great ambience.

3. PRINTS AND PATTERNS - There are patterns everywhere in nature, like the bark of trees, or stones in a river. Natural patterns create interest, so why not use them inside as well? They don't have to be over the top either. A great way to add pattern is with cushions, throws and rugs, which can work together or independently to help you create the mood you want in your home.

4. GO GREEN - One of my favourite and most cost-effective ways to accessorise any room is to add some greenery; I love indoor plants and have one in nearly every room in my house. A great thing about indoor plants is that they help to blur the line between inside and out, making rooms feel larger and fresher at the same time. And you can easily enhance mood with an interesting basket or pot, chosen to work with the existing style of your interior.

5. LESS IS MORE - The term "less is more" means that having less of something makes a stronger – and more enjoyable – statement than overwhelming the senses with too much all at once. Strong colours or patterns, though amazing, create a better impact when used sparingly in interior design, than when lots of both are crammed together in one space. The same rule applies for mixing styles of furniture. Using mostly clean lines and neutral tones lets you add one outstanding piece. It can then sit comfortably, without competing with other pieces.

“Some people look for a beautiful place, others make a place beautiful” ~Hazrat Inayat Khan~

If you would like personalised advice on how to present your home for sale, simply click this link or email us

Friday, 1 February 2019

PART 4 OF 5: PREPARING YOUR HOME FOR SALE......


Tip 4: Furniture & Decluttering

When you are trying to sell your property, you want the home to look as spacious as possible. This means assessing how your furniture, collections and d├ęcor fit in to the space that you have.

Important things to take in to consideration when looking at each room:

-  is my furniture too big for this space?

-  do I have too many personal items on display?

-  should I just move everything out?

People often make the mistake of falling in love with a lounge or bed because of comfort or the way it looks, and when it’s actually in the property, we realise that it’s actually just a little too big for the space. Some of our tips:

Bedrooms - Things like large beds and bedside tables in small bedrooms makes the room look even smaller. Our suggestion is, get some small bedside tables (often this will be without drawers which is completely impractical for living, but necessary for sizing). If you can, in your master bedroom, we recommend putting your normal King or Queen bed into storage and hire or borrow a double bed which will create the impression of space. You can apply the same tips for the kids rooms if they have double beds, go back to single beds temporarily.

Lounge rooms – Oversized comfy sofa’s are great for the family lounging together, but when you’re looking to sell, if you have two lounge suites consider moving one of them into storage or if you have a couple of chairs in your set, put one or both of them in storage. Also, consider your coffee and/or side tables. Again, although it’s not practical for living, just for sale, either swap them for smaller one’s or remove altogether and place in storage.

Collections and personal items – You want your house to look like a home, so don’t remove all your personal items and collectibles, but perhaps halve them. It will make dusting before open inspections easier and the space will feel more open and cleaner with less items on each surface. We recommend that personal photos and valuables should be put away for open inspections.

Even if you have another house to move to, we don’t recommend just moving all your items out. Selling an empty house is not an easy task due to the following:

  The marketing photography of a house full of empty rooms does not create any excitement in buyers looking for a new home. Think of the last time you looked at an empty property online. How quickly did you flick through the photos and how often did you ask, “what’s that room?”

  When the buyers come to the open, they have a hard time determining how their furniture will fit in the space. The need to have some furniture there already as a point of reference and will often assume the worst eg. “this room’s definitely too small for our lounge suite”.

  As with not removing too many of your personal/decorator items, you still want the house to feel like a home. An empty property feels abandoned and unloved, like the previous owner couldn’t wait to get out of there!

“Clearing clutter directs you towards paced progress…” ~Chayan Jain~

If you would like to see all our tips, please email info@spartners.com.au to request a copy of our Preparing Your Home For Sale booklet.

Thursday, 31 January 2019

PART 3 OF 5: PREPARING YOUR HOME FOR SALE......

Tip 3: Flooring

A typical lifespan for modern carpeting is 5 to 15 years, depending upon the quality and the amount of foot traffic it receives. Other types of flooring generally need replacing based on fashion or general wear-and-tear.

It is important to consider a flooring update prior to listing your home for sale for the following reasons:
-   worn, tired or stained carpet gives the appearance of being dirty (even if it’s not)
-   slate and tiled floors can seem dated, depending on the colour and style. Appealing to the majority of buyers means you want your home to look fresh and modern
-   if you have damage, cracks, scuffs or chips in your slate, tiles or floorboards, this will devalue the property in a buyer’s mind

Carpeting and floating floorboards, as a general rule, can be a relatively inexpensive way to update flooring. Depending on specials and promotions from carpeting stores you could carpet three bedrooms from around $1,200. Floating floorboards can be purchased from as little as $25/m2 and if you’re handy you can even lay them yourself!

Like paint and wall colours, flooring should be neutral shades, so it will go with anything. If you’re worried about picking the wrong colour, you should ask advice from the store you are buying from. Neutral shade fashions do change from time to time (for example from cream and beige shades to charcoal grey shades), so it is best to seek advice on what’s current.

Carpet - as a general rule, buyers like to have plush carpeting in bedrooms and lounge rooms. Other areas, we recommend more durable, easy clean flooring.

Polished floor boards - if you have an older home with quality floorboards, we highly recommend that you stain and/or polish them up as real polished floorboards are a great selling point.

Floating floor boards – floating floorboards are an inexpensive way to modernise the high traffic and living areas of a property. Beware of high gloss options as they look amazing but scratch and wear easily. Perhaps use these if your property has either a couple living there or no occupants at all! If you have a family and/or indoor pets, steer clear of the high gloss.

Tiles – if you can afford to tile or re-tile your property, go for large square neutral toned tiles. If you can’t afford to re-tile and your existing tiles are dated, you can look into having the grout professionally cleaned or you can even have the tiles professionally painted. You can paint tiles yourself, but we do not recommend it – leave that one to the experts.

Slate – slate is a little old fashioned these days but if you can’t afford to replace the slate in your property, you can at least freshen it up by sealing the flooring.

“The adventure of every new day begins the moment your feet touch the floor.” ~Susan Gale~

If you would like to see all our tips, please email info@spartners.com.au to request a copy of our Preparing Your Home For Sale booklet.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

PART 2 OF 5: PREPARING YOUR HOME FOR SALE......

In our 5-part series, find out our top tips for getting your home sold quickly and for top dollar through perfect presentation! Whether it’s your first time or the fifteenth, selling a property is a highly stressful time. Here, we will provide you with the top five presentation tips based on our extensive years of experience in selling residential property.

Tip 2: Painting

The interior of your home should be painted around every 5 to 7 years and the exterior can go as long as up to 15 years depending on your location (for example beach side suburbs may need more frequent updates on the outside).

It is important to consider painting prior to listing your home for sale for the following reasons:
  • a fresh paint job lifts and brightens the appearance of any room making it feel crisp and clean
  • it’s an opportunity to update any too bright, too dark or too dated feature walls
  • a paint job can eliminate odours that may have accumulated over the years from strong food flavours, cigarette smoke or pets’ smells.
It’s important to remember when you are getting your home ready for sale, that you want to appeal to the greatest number of buyers out in the market. While you may LOVE your bright green feature wall or think that retro wallpaper suits the style of your home, it will alienate some buyers.

When it comes to the walls and floors of a property, buyers are just looking for a neutral blank canvas that doesn’t require any work on their part. If they walk in to a property and see they have to paint every wall in the house, they’re already deducting $10,000 from their potential offer and that’s only if everything else in the property meets their requirements.

Regardless of the style of your home, you can’t go wrong with neutral wall colours. If you are worried about picking the wrong colour, you should ask advice from the store you are buying your paint from or if you are employing a professional, then certainly take their advice. Neutral shade fashions do change from time to time (for example from creamy beige shades to light grey shades), so it is best to seek advice on what’s current.

If you are looking to do the work yourself, be prepared for exactly how labour intensive and time consuming it can be. If you’ve never done it before or it’s been a long time, start small, say with one bedroom, and see how you go. After this you may want to investigate your options with hiring a professional. Having a whole house painted by the professionals will generally cost upwards of $5,000 so you may want to just do the high traffic areas like hallways, living rooms and kitchen. If all your walls are already quite neutral in colour, you may even get away with just a quick patch-up as long as the colour is perfectly matched.

Make no mistake, painting your home is no small task, but it will help with getting a quick sale for the best price.

“A blank canvas… has unlimited possibilities.” ~Stephanie Perkins~

If you would like to see all our tips, please email info@spartners.com.au to request a copy of our Preparing Your Home For Sale booklet.

Friday, 7 September 2018

PART 1 OF 5: PREPARING YOUR HOME FOR SALE......

In our 5-part series, find out our top tips for getting your home sold quickly and for top dollar through perfect presentation! Whether it’s your first time or the fifteenth, selling a property is a highly stressful time. Here, we will provide you with the top five presentation tips based on our extensive years of experience in selling residential property.

Tip 1: 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!

It’s important to attend to maintenance prior to listing your home for sale because:
-      Appearances are everything - you might be saying to yourself “these repairs aren’t a big deal,” but the buyer is thinking, “if the owner didn’t take care of these little items, then what about the roof of plumbing or air conditioner?”
-      It may cost you more in the long run - 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.
-      Major things will be discovered anyway – 90% of buyers will get a building inspection done. If you’re at the stage where a building inspection is being done and issues are found, you will either lose your buyer or have to re-negotiate your price to allow for the perceived cost of repair for the buyer.

So, where do you start? Indoors, a few things to check include:
·         peeling or chipped paint or loose wallpaper
·         leaky taps and toilet cisterns
·         cracked tiles, lifting floor boards, stretched or worn carpet
·         scratched kitchen benches or stove tops

Outdoors, consider the following:
  • retaining wall integrity and stability
  • rusted gutters and downpipes
  • swimming pool appearance
Large repairs:
In today’s climate of open disclosure and vigilant home inspections the “Golden Rule” applies. Treat the buyer as you would treat yourself. Repair any problems with major systems. If you don’t, it will only be found later during the building inspection and you’ll risk either losing the buyer or having to lower your sale price to allow the purchaser to pay for the repairs.

“At first glance it may appear too hard. Look again. Always look again.” ~Mary Anne Rodmacher~

If you would like to see all our tips, please email info@spartners.com.au to request a copy of our Preparing Your Home For Sale booklet.

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:

SMOKE ALARM LEGISLATION

We regularly hear the reminders to change the batteries in our smoke alarms, but how many of us really know the laws around it? As a home ...