Tag Archives: rental property

Finding new tenants before the new year

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It’s already the end of November, how this year has flown by! Are you thinking about your new year’s resolutions for 2017? Landlords often find that new years equal new beginnings and tenants will be moving out during the summer holidays so they can get settled in their new area before the kids go back to school.

If you’re organised, you can get your next tenant lined up and ready to move in before the previous one has left. This will depend if you have maintenance issues to sort out first, but the quicker you can get a new tenant to move in the better on your bottom line.

Have you thought about holding an open home to show prospective tenants around all at once and you won’t have to be on call to show people around individually?

How can you make sure your open home is a success?

Be prepared. Be confident with your property and the open home will go a lot smoother.

Make sure you arrive at least 30 mins early. You can guarantee that people will show up early if the property is in the right location and ticks lots of boxes. So be there before everyone else. Maybe even get there an hour before, just to be safe.

Telling prospective tenants to ‘go online and download the forms’ may put them off. Have all of your application forms on hand, and more than you think you may need. It’s always better to have too many than not enough.

First impressions matter so walk around the property and see things with fresh eyes. People will be put off if the carpet is rolled up along the wall and paint cans lying around. It doesn’t matter if you promise that the carpet will be in and the place repainted before they move in. Complete all of your tasks before you hold the open home.

Is the garden tidy and the lawns mowed? Is everything working inside? Does it need new carpet put down? If your previous tenants have moved out already, now’s the time to do all of your repairs.

You can employ a property manager to take care of all these things for you. It is wise to be still involved in this process, but a property manager can take the brunt of all of these tasks. Remember that investing in property doesn’t mean that you set it and walk away.

Vacant rental? It’s time to get to work!

Vacant rental? It's time to get to work!

Finding your dream tenant is very much like finding your dream client in business. The more you can do up front, will save you a lot of time and headaches down the track. When tenants move out, there is always some wear and tear so spending time getting your rental up to scratch before renting it out again is always worth it.

A well looked after property gives the impression that they will have a landlord or property manager who will look after them. New tenants will feel like they will be able to reach out if they have problems or maintenance issues which need to be dealt with quickly.

Here are some tips to make sure your rental property is rented again as soon as possible.

Update your rental

Take advantage of the vacancy to refresh the property. Whether you just need to do something simple like building a deck, re-painting or replacing the kitchen or bathroom, it much easier to get it done before you rent the property out again. Use the downtime between tenants to your advantage and get any planned upgrades completed during this time when the work will not disturb your tenants.

With your property well maintained, clean, and fresh, you’ll be ready and make a good impression on your next client. A little extra care applied to these simple things will help you start off your next landlord-tenant relationship on the right foot.

Sort out any maintenance issues

Some tenants will report every minor problem during their tenancy while others will let things slide. See what needs some attention and before your next tenant moves in, make sure any required repairs are taken care of.

Walk through the entire property with a checklist and fix anything that needs it.

  • Check that the smoke detector is working and has new batteries
  • Check for dripping taps and fix any that are.
  • Make sure every door has the proper knob or handle.
  • Check for cracked window panes and replace.
  • Check all screens (doors and windows) to ensure they open and close and have strong locks on them.
  • Look at the paint on the walls and ceilings. It depends on when it was painted last; you may get away with just wiping them clean.

Sometimes you’ll get lucky and have great tenants who leave the place in better shape than when they got it, but even with great tenants, there are always a few things to clean up upon move-out.

  • Air conditioner filters – these need to be done on a monthly basis so make sure your new tenant knows how to do this, moving forward.
  • Exhaust vents and fans. These get very dirty, so they also may need a thorough clean if the previous tenants haven’t kept up with it – especially the kitchen range hood.

What other things do you do to get your rental ready for the next tenant?

How can a property management company help you?

 

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If you own a rental property, someone has to manage it. Yes, you can do it yourself, but let’s be realistic here, do you really have time to do it? This is where hiring a professional management company can save you time and energy.

What is property management?

It’s the managing, or handling, of real estate property by someone other than the owner. Most often, it is handled by a management firm that might handle more than one client’s real estate properties.

It goes without saying that quality is a big issue with this service. A sound management firm will act as a go-between for the property owner and the tenants, handling any questions and complaints that the tenants might have so that the owner does not need to deal with them. This kind of service can include collecting rent to hiring gardeners and maintenance contractors. They can keep an eye on repairs that need to be done, and suggest improvements on the property to the real estate owner.

Property managers can also be essential in keeping an eye on your property – making sure that no one is vandalising your investment, and taking care of problem tenants as well. The actions that manager may have to take can include eviction, as well as involving the authorities, tasks that a real estate investor may not want to do. They can also be used as arbitrators between tenants, when disputes arise that are not severe enough to involve the police or other authorities.

When done well, property management is the answer to a lot of issues that real estate investors might face. The management team can do the hands on work while the investors reap the profits.

Visit us for more information on how a Property Management company can assist you with your rental property.

What do tenants actually want in a rental?

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The thing about being successful in business is giving your customers what they want.

Being a landlord is no different.

Every city and suburb are different, so tenants will be looking for various things.

Warm areas want A/C and cold areas want a fireplace or sufficient heating in winter.

Backyard entertaining area

We all love the outdoors and having a great entertaining area in the garden will delight tenants.

This will be more important from now on with summer on the way.

If you are looking for new tenants now, spend some time making the garden gorgeous for summer.

Sufficient storage space

Storage is always going to be a problem for everyone. We all have way too many belongings, and there is never enough room to put our things so it’s no surprise that having sufficient storage space what tenants are looking for.

If your rental has no built-in wardrobes and you only have one cupboard to store everything, you’ll need to get some extra storage space added. This will be vital to attracting the right tenants.

What are tenants looking for?

Tenants are like house buyers, they are looking for the similar things in a property. They want a safe, well-maintained property in a good area that is close to amenities. Different demographics will want different things. A family will need enough bedrooms and decent size living area while a young professional will need a secure building with parking close to the CBD. When you are looking at purchasing an investment property, how do the features compare to other rentals in the area?

Would you live there?

Look at the property from your tenant’s perspective, would you live there? You don’t have to love the style of the house, but would you live there as a person renting? Is there a good heating/cooling unit? Is there a place to enjoy a beverage outside on a balmy evening? Is there a place to park your car? What about storing camping gear, bikes and other equipment? Is there are sensible layout? Do you have to walk through a bedroom to get to the only toilet in the house?

What other features have you heard tenants say are non-negotiable?

Tenants giving you headaches? It might be time to evict them

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As a landlord, you will have the best tenants who pay their rent on time and respect you and your property most of the time.

Every now and  then, you may have genuine reasons for ending your contract, such as you have sold the property and the new owners plan to live there themselves.

But what is not acceptable, are those tenants who don’t pay their rent, trash the property, are disrespectful to you and their neighbours.

What can you do in this case?

If you have tried every other avenue, it may be time to evict them.

The sooner you start the process, the better it will be for everyone. In some situations, you may want to be mindful of timing, but that is entirely up to you, as long as you follow the rules. In general, if there is an issue with your tenants, rather than sitting on the problem, it’s better to deal with it straight away rather than let the problem fester.

Regardless of whether they are right or wrong, they won’t be happy to leave, so your tenants will most likely be upset and emotional which means you need to take caution. Follow the eviction process set out by Consumer Affairs Victoria accurately. If you don’t, you could get a fine.

What do you need to do first?

First of all, you need to send your tenants a notice to vacate. Make sure it meets all the necessary criteria. Allow enough time for it to be delivered, make sure you fill all the information out correctly. Use the proper form. Get the form from the website HERE.

What are your next steps?

Once the notice to vacate has been served, the next step is to apply for a possession order. You have 30 days from the date specified in the notice to vacate to apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal in which they will tell you the hearing date.

What can you do with their belongings?

If the tenant doesn’t show up to the hearing, you can apply for a warrant of possession. The Principal Registrar of VCAT will send a letter to the Police outlining the possession order. This letter gives them permission to take possession of the property however they can.

The police can remove people from the property, but they can’t remove belongings. The tenant must take their things with them. Otherwise, there is an another process you must follow to remove the belongings. You can remove items if they are of no value, perishable or dangerous. You must store what’s left for at least 28 days and inform your tenant on how they can get them back.

Having to evict a tenant is when having a Property Manager can take the stress out of this issue for you. They know the system and know how to handle it correctly. Contact us at True Property Management for help with your eviction process.

3 tips to being successful at a property auction

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When you want to purchase an investment property, whether it is your first time or if you are a seasoned expert, it is always a good idea to check out local auctions to try to snag a great deal. Here are three tips to being successful at an auction.

Have you done your research?

Always research the market you want to buy in and talk to Agents and other experts to make sure you go into the auction fully informed and the property and the neighbourhood. Research online as well if you haven’t already done so. You can check out other auctions to see how they operate if you’ve never been to one before. Always get independent advice on legal, finance and building matters before sale day.

The more research you do ahead of time, the more prepared and calm you will feel on auction day. You’ll know if the property is something you want to buy and you’ll feel confident knowing you are going to get a great deal.

Do you know the rules of an auction?

Get there early and familiarise yourself with the rules of the auction. In Victoria, the auction rules must be displayed at least 30 mins before the start. The auctioneer will officially let everyone know that he will run the auction according to the rules of the state and bidders mustn’t make false bids or cause a disruption. You can get a large penalty if you are caught doing this.

What’s your upper limit?

Auction are very exciting, and it can be easy to get caught up in the moment. Know what your upper bound is before you start and stick to it. The auctioneer wants to get the best price possible, so they encourage bidders to compete. Know what the property is worth and what your budget is.

What do you think about auctions? Let us know in the comments if you’ve purchased an investment property at an auction, or if you plan to in the future.

Do you have different leases for different tenants?

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Tenants moving out is always stressful. Landlords worry about how the rental will be left, and tenants just want to get their bond back.

Your lease agreement states that the tenant should leave the property how it was when they moved in, except for ‘normal wear and tear.’

But what does that mean?

Tenants think that landlords charge for every little scratch and owners believe that tenants aren’t careful enough and should pay for the damage they have caused.

The problem is there is no precise definition of ‘normal wear and tear.’

The easiest way is to hire a Property Manager who has experience with all aspects of working with tenants, and they will be able to give you clear guidelines on what to expect.

But if you do not have a property manager, there are some things you can do to protect yourself as a landlord and as a tenant.

Put it in your lease

The best way to avoid issues is to document it in writing. Make sure you have this clause in your rental agreement and write in detail what is considered normal.

For example, worn carpets, paint chips and nail holes from hanging pictures are considered normal.

But provide some examples of what you would expect tenants to pay for, such as; stains on the carpets, gouges out of the wall (where hanging pictures went wrong), chunks out of the wooden floors, broken windows – or broken anything.

If you have a range of options, then the tenants can see what to expect. If there will be pets, make sure you clarify how you want the rental left when they move out. Are scratches on the floor or walls acceptable?

Take lots of photos

When new tenants are moving into the property, take lots of photos or video of the property to minimise any disputes when they move out. Walk through the house together and point out any areas that you are aware of. Encourage the tenant to add to the list.

At True Property Management, we do regular inspections of all of our rentals, and we take lots of photos of every room in the house. We then send it to the landlord in a report.

Repair as soon as possible

Tell your tenant to call you if anything breaks. Small things can quickly add up. If repairs aren’t urgent, the tenant should document it and take photos, so you have a record of it.

Have various agreements for different situations

Something that most landlords don’t take into consideration when writing their contracts is who will be living in the property.

This can drastically affect what condition the property will be in when they move out. What is ‘normal wear and tear’ for a single professional will be radically different to what is ‘normal wear and tear’ for a family of 5 with a cat and a dog.

You mightn’t expect the walls to be painted, but you will probably get a few more dents on the wall and maybe some stains on the carpet. It’s worth the extra effort have an agreement that covers different situations.

Normal wear and tear

So in the end, normal wear and tear it comes down to someone’s word against another. Repainting, cleaning the carpet and a few nail holes and marks are normal, but if it’s more than that, it could be a problem. So take precautions, write it clearly in the contract, or ask for it to be written out, taking pictures, even ask questions about what to expect, then write it down and sign it.

Contact True Property Management to take care of all of your inspections, find great tenants and determine what is ‘normal wear and tear’ when they move out.