Friday, February 22, 2013

Property Management the star of Toop.TV!

On this week's Toop.TV - Toop&Toop's weekly live property update - Kerrie Akkermans, General Manager of Property Management took centre stage and stepped in as host.

Her guests were Toop&Toop Senior Property Manager Debbie Copley and Leasing Partner Sue Belleli.

Toop&Toop's Sue Belleli, Debbie Copley and Kerrie Akkermans

Below are segments of the episode which we think are very valuable for Landlords and Tenants.

Have a look and let us know what you think!

The first segments is all about the proposed changes to the Residential Tenancies Act (this relates to selling a tenanted property, changes to your bond and breaking your lease). To view this segment, follow this link:

The second segment is about possibly increasing rent prices, the pet bond and when you apply for a rental property treat it like a job interview where you dress nicely and have all of your references in order. This segment is accessible via this link:

And the third segment is a market update which goes through the vacancy rates:

Happy viewing property people!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Top tips for dealing with trades people

Deciding on getting building, renovating or repair work done on your rental property is the easy part...selecting who to do it is a different matter.
The cheapest quote isn't necessarily the best, and inferior materials and workmanship can see you paying out far more in the long run.
To find the right trades people is trial and error, but when you find a good one, it is best to stay with them as you build up a relationship on how you both like to work. Build your own list and always have another two to cross compare or call on if your time frames are short and your regular supplier can’t do the work.

1. Check credentials, including registrations and endorsements
It is important to check that the trades person has the right credentials – just because they say they are a builder doesn't mean they are licensed.

Ask whether they have any quality endorsements i.e. ISO9000 or  Master Builders Association certifications.
Enquire if there are any registrations they must have i.e. if your trades person is installing any gas appliances, they must be Gas Safe registered.
Request them to identify any sub contractors they use, as they must comply with the same requirements as the contractor who is the lead on the job that you have the arrangement with.
2. Check they have insurance
Insurance is critical and often forgotten, especially to ask for yearly confirmation. Ensure that the cover is adequate for public liability.
3. Check referencesMake sure you get references. And ask to see previous work – iPhones have it easy to obtain photos and if you can personally inspect their work.
4. Ask for a detailed quoteYou need to be specific in what you want quoted and ask if the type of materials used changes the price and if so, make sure you know what materials are being quoted on.
The labor and parts should be separated out and any contingencies should be stated i.e., if it is a painting job and there is wall paper to remove, make sure it is quoted for if any difficulties arise in removing it.
5. Payment PlanRegardless of what invoicing timing the trades person gives you, ask for staged payments, so you can monitor the work as it is being competed. You can keep them coming back and they have to finish before the last payment is made.
6. Job versus a day rate
If you pay on a day rate then there is no incentive to get the job done in a timely manner, so you are better off getting a fixed rate for a job.
If you are not able to fix prices beforehand, ask the trades person to let you know of any cost over runs before going ahead with the job.
7. Get a written quote
For jobs that run into the hundreds of dollars and above, you should have a written contract with any clauses on pricing differentiation, timings and use of specific materials written in.
8. After the job check the quality
The job should be checked to ensure that the work has been competed to the required skill level and that suitable materials were used. Any supplied goods must be in working order.
If the work is faulty then the trades person needs to fix it before the final payment is made.
9. Payment
Confirm payment has been received and keep a copy of any invoices and receipts for work.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Is buy-to-let still a good strategy?

Buy-to-let has always been an appealing investment option, even more so with the current low rates and the stock market still in an unpredictable state.

The criteria of course is to have a sufficient deposit, so if interest rates move you can still earn a reasonable return on the property as capital value is not increasing to the degree it used to.

Many investors who bought at the top of the boom and with high interest rates are struggling with negatively geared properties. Rental priorities are subject to unexpected costs at any time. If a tenant leaves with unpaid rent or damage that a bond won’t cover the investor is left having to pay out of their own pocket.
However the lower house prices and improving mortgage deals are luring investors once again.

With the flood of sale properties on the market this has meant greater choice for tenants and rental rates have stabilised and in some cases have gone down.
Of course there is no one hundred percent guaranteed return investments for those who prefer property to the stock market then bricks and mortar is still a good option.

That is, as long as you follow some tried and tested rules...

1. Research the market
Make sure buy-to-let is the investment you want. Consult a financial planner to determine where your money will perform best for your situation.

2. Choose an area that has wide appeal for tenants
Wide appeal does not mean most expensive or cheapest. It means a place where people would like to live and this can be for a variety of reasons. 

Is it close to public transport, schools, and lifestyle facilities? Asking yourself the question from the perspective of the potential tenant, not where you would live. But they are probably the most important aspect of a successful buy-to-let investment.

3. Do your sums
It isn't just about "can you afford to pay the mortgage with the rent?" or "can you get the loan?" You need at least three months rent up your sleeve and have sufficient insurance to cover bad tenants or periods without tenants.

Then there are maintenance and upkeep costs. A hot water service will set you back at $1,800 - $2,000, so you need to have sufficient funds to cover it as tenants are entitled to basic services.

A buy-to-let is still a good strategy, just remember to research, find the right property and do your sums.