Friday, January 25, 2013

Home stage your property for maximum rental return

These low cost tips will help you, the Landlord, present your property in its best light. This is critical because if you want to get the most rental return for the property, you need potential tenants to feel that it’s a “not to be missed property”.

Consider the street appeal
Landscaping is nice, but not in everyone's budget. At minimum, lawns should be freshly mowed, and leaves raked. Consider a hanging or potted plant for the entrance. Sweep the porch, deck and all walk ways and ensure that garbage and recycling are tucked neatly away from the front of the house.
Make sure gutters have been cleaned.

Scrub your front door, porch, outside railings and steps. This is cheaper than repainting and makes a world of difference! Once the outside entrance is clean, decide if the paint really needs a touch up.

Get rid of clutter!
If the property is furnished get rid of the clutter.

Office with LOTS of clutter...
...the same office after being de-cluttered - what an improvement!
Turn excess inventory into cash.
If you have a collection of items for projects you never got around to, return them. This also applies to the two-year supply of light bulbs, canned goods or paper products sitting in your basement. You can also put any larger items on Gumtree or eBay.

Watch where the eye goes
There are speedy and low cost solutions to many of the little problems that together make a home seem shabbier than it needs to. Walk along each corridor and into every room and check where your eye is drawn (better yet, ask a critical friend or family member). If the eye is drawn to the chipped white paint on the door frame, take some "white out" and fill it in. If it's those old nail holes in the wall, see if you can hang a picture to cover them.

Find a fix-it person
Ensure cupboards open and shut and that no taps are dripping. Look in all rooms for things you never got around to fixing and decide which ones might be distracting to potential tenants. No, it's not OK for door handles to fall off, even if you have learned to ignore it!

Clean, clean and clean again!
Most mortals can't live in a spotless environment all the time — but it's worth the effort to rent your home for top dollar in this competitive market. You can hire a professional service to come in and deep clean everything.

Untidy hallway...

...the same hallway after being cleaned! See the difference?!

Appliances should sparkle even if you're not including them with the house. After all, you might throw them in later as a negotiating tool. Counter tops, taps, sinks and bathtubs should be shiny and free of water spots.

Dust shelves and vacuum or "Swiffer" the floors. Remember clean windows let in more light and look newer. Hire a service if you have to— it's worth the investment.

If all this attention to detail seems over the top, remember that a very clean home leaves the impression that the house is well cared for. This helps put renters at ease.

Let in some air
Open some windows to air the property. There is nothing worse than walking into a stuffy house or one that smells of smoke and pet odors!

Let in some light
Dimly lit rooms tend to look small and dingy— especially during the day. If you have a particularly dark room, consider investing in better lighting.

With the flood of beautifully staged properties from the sales side flooding the rental market, your property needs to be able to stand out amongst them. Put these tips in place and you should see your property rented quickly let at the rent you want.

Add to your portfolio with this smart investment!

9/34 Byron Road, Black Forest - $255,000

If you're looking for a low-maintenance, single-story unit that looks beautiful on the inside and outside, don't miss the opportunity to check out this charming character unit in popular Black Forest.

This sandstone-fronted unit is perfect for first-home buyers looking for a "home" or investors looking for an attractive, easy-maintenance rental property.

The spacious living/dining area exudes a warm and inviting ambiance and features polished floorboards, high ceilings, skylight, picture rails and a decorative fireplace. It also has a r/c split system and ceiling fan. 

The living/dining area leads into a bright and appealing galley kitchen which has tiled slate floors, ample bench space and is equipped with fridge and washing machine (optional inclusions).

The cosy bedroom is at the heart of the unit with an exposed brick feature wall, ceiling fan and louvered windows.

The bathroom is crisp and appealing with white and soft grey colour tones, a good-sized shower area, pedestal basin, heat lamp, mirrored bathroom cabinet and w.c.

Currently presented as a quiet study area, the alcove is a versatile space. It could be used as a pantry, wardrobe or additional storage space, depending on your requirements.

Another unique feature of this unit is the storage room located off of the main living/dining area. This room could be used for storing a variety of items, such as suitcases, bikes, ladders, etc.

There is also carport which is located to the rear of the property and provides easy access to the unit.

Situated on a wide, tree-lined street, this unique unit is perfectly positioned minutes from shops, local IGA and bakery, playground, bus stop, tram plus train. Travelling by car, it's only 10 minutes from the city. 

This is a delightful offering and definitely worthy of your inspection... 

For more details, please visit, or call Debi Zecevich on 0412 170 014 or email her on

Friday, January 18, 2013

A tenant's tale of the landlord from hell

David M. Green is a 25-year-old comedian, freelance writer, voice-actor and presenter - originally from Adelaide, now based in Melbourne.

Here is an excerpt from a recent ABC show ‘The Drum’ that scarily has some foundation of truth…
Who hasn't had to deal with a bad landlord at some point? From sparking heaters to pen-operated doors, David M Green shares his own experiences with a less-than ideal landlord.

Being a landlord is like being a parent. No qualifications are necessary. Anyone can become one, no matter what your level of complete incompetence.

And unfortunately if you're the tenant, you're the child in this relationship. If your landlord says you can't dig in the backyard or hang that poster of your favourite band on the wall, those are the rules.

When we think of landlords, it conjures images of Victorian era dandy fops with stovepipe hats, grumbling about the price of coal. But the modern reality is landlords are just regular people. Regular people who own property.

What attracts someone to the wondrous world of landlordism? It's surely the envisioned simplicity of the arrangement - You buy a house or an apartment. Someone else lives in it. They pay it off for you. And you don't have to do anything. Besides watching the rent money roll in, of course.

And even better - after a few years of doing absolutely nothing, your property is worth even more! Sure beats working for a living.

We usually hear horror stories about the Tenants from hell, but I don't think I know a single person who hasn't had to deal with a bad landlord at some point.

Maybe landlords should have to go through the same scrutiny that tenants have to go through before they can enter the rental market?

Bad landlords come in a number of forms. Category one is the "Extreme Lord". Extreme landlords are all over you. They're constantly round at the house, checking things, asking invasive questions, sticking their nose in your business and nitpicking every out-of-place carpet fibre at your all-too-frequent inspections.
One of the worst living arrangements has to be living right next door to your landlord. You're effectively under constant supervision. They know when you're sleeping. They know when you're awake. They know when you're practicing the drums. And if you live next door to your "Extreme" landlord, God help you.
The opposite to the Extreme Lord is the "Shadow Lord". You can never get in contact with the Shadow Lord. They may as well not exist.

If you've got the unfortunate combination of living in a self-managed property under a Shadow Lord, you have my sympathy. There's no real estate agent to help you either. Unless it's to remind you, "You'll have to call the landlord about that." Good luck.

Then there's the "Tight Lord". If they're not avoiding repairs, they're DIY-ing it themselves to save money, or deducting it out of your bond.

I reckon when it comes to tight landlords, my landlord is tighter than a vice made from Chinese finger traps.
When my built-in electric heater started sparking, I immediately called my landlord. His reaction: "Oh, no, you shouldn't be using that. Didn't anyone tell ya?" He then reassured me by promising to "put a sign on it" next time he come round.

No need to replace the heater. Just put a sign on it. I can only assume the sign will say "out of order", though "I need to fix this" would also be acceptable. Eight months later, I'm still waiting for a sign.

When the handle on my screen door broke, effectively locking the door, I was locked outside. Fortunately I had a pen with me, which I used to jimmy open the door. But then I was locked Inside. I immediately called the landlord. He reassured me with some sound advice: "Just keep that pen on ya. And keep a screwdriver in your car."

No need to replace the screen door that could potentially seal me inside my apartment in the event of a fire. Just keep a screwdriver in my car. I used the screwdriver to remove the screen door.

But by far the most entertaining encounter with my landlord came when I finally met him. I'd been living there for 10 months - no inspection, no sign on the heater - when I saw some more sparks. This time they were coming from my circa 1968 fuse box, which proposed a serious fire hazard.

I immediately called the landlord. I suggested a qualified electrician take a look at it. My unqualified landlord insisted he look instead. He came over and literally almost electrocuted himself when he attempted to install a fuse while the main power was still switched on. An electrician was organised within the hour.

So from my ordeal, I can only conclude the way to turn your bad landlord into a good one is through a mild electric shock or near death experience.

Our advice – it’s a funny story just make sure that this isn't you as a landlord.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Tenants turn the tables

Vacancy rates hit an all time high pre Christmas. In previous market conditions landlords have been able to have their pick of tenants, increase rent regularly and were rarely impacted by lease breaks.

This has all changed with the flood of sale properties that have turned to the rental market as their property has not achieved the value the vendors need.

So where have all the tenants gone?
First home buyers are turning away from renting and are becoming home owners, attracted by the lower interest rates and home grants. Compounding this is the increase in unemployment in the highest rental demographic - the 18 to 30 age bracket - as they go back home to live with Mum and Dad. Tenants are now in the box seat when it comes to choice of properties and are offering rents way below the previous market rental returns.

And it's not just in South Australia, many prime rental areas in Melbourne also have homes sitting empty. Landlords have been forced to slash rents as the availability of properties outstrips demand. Diminishing returns has meant landlords are reluctant, and in some cases refuse to maintain properties leading to an increasing number of tribunal disputes.

Residential Tenancies time frames have subsequently blown out and the tenants are commonly favoured when it comes to claims for water or damage.

So who will pay investors mortgages now, as highly geared properties lay vacant and bank fees mount up?
It is important that investors are fully armed with the right information and have access to funding that will withstand market conditions we may have for some time to come. Last year, Toop&Toop partnered with Commonwealth Bank to hold a series of Investment Property  Seminars. The next one is at our Victor Harbor office next Friday, 18 January 2013, 5.30pm – 7pm.

Managing Director of Toop&Toop Real Estate says that the Fleurieu is an ideal location to invest in, and that purchasing in 2013 could prove to be very fruitful.

“We have an aging population who increasingly need to be close to medical facilities, people who are looking for a laid-back lifestyle and activities that are not too expensive. As we age, we also want a quality environment, pretty scenery, to be close to major transport and cultural centres, have all government facilities and support systems readily available... and given that our incomes may be affected, we also need to live cheaply,” Mr Toop said.

“Think about what ticks all those boxes... what is close to Adelaide and has very affordable housing, yet is high class? A place where there are endless activities such as fishing, skiing, sailing, surfing, wineries, tourist destinations, restaurants, golf, bird watching, whale watching, great weather and great scenery? I believe buying here in 2013 will prove very smart indeed.”

Genevieve Toop, General Manager of Sales & Marketing says the event will not only provide valuable information for investors, but that the evening will also be the official grand opening of Toop & Toop’s newest initiative – the Fleurieu Real Estate Gallery.

“We will officially be opening our new ‘Fleurieu Real Estate Gallery’ on the night – a place which will visually showcase what the Fleurieu has to offer in terms of holiday letting, long-term rentals and what is available for sale,” Ms Toop said.

“So if you are in the area, or are heading down to the beach for the weekend, be sure to drop in and find out how you can take advantage of the current market conditions.”

You CAN reserve your place at the seminar online at

For further details, please contact Genevieve Toop on 8366 0811 or 0418 824 178.