Property Management and Leasing

43681090[1]I was recently made aware of a scam which occurred to a tenant in Craigie just before Christmas. It is the first time I have come across this scam so please share this information in order to stamp it out as quickly  as possible. Read More→

bigstock-modern-living-room-with-design-18426827HOMEBUYERS and renters value a good neighbourhood above any other property feature, a new survey has found.

Nearly 70 per cent of respondents made this selection in a recent Aussie Home Loans questionnaire.

The results were generally in line with what professional valuers consider to be the property features which add most value to a home.

A modern kitchen was the third most sought-after feature, appealing to 63.4 per cent of respondents.

This was pipped by that man haven and all-round storage space, the garage (63.7 per cent).

More than half said they were on the lookout for big bedrooms, air-conditioning and a modern bathroom.

Lifestyle features such as a swimming pool (11.3 per cent) or a home cinema (3.9 per cent) were a long way down the wish list.

The main factors that deterred buyers were tobacco odour (67 per cent), a busy street location (65.8 per cent), a dirty interior (61.6 per cent) and noisy neighbours (60 per cent).

Herron Todd White Perth managing director Brendon Ptolomey said location was the biggest factor in determining a property's value.

For example, a 4x2 in Peppermint Grove was not going to be the same value as a 4x2 in a new estate.

After location, valuers would rank modern kitchens, modern bathrooms, parking spaces, alfresco areas and extra bedrooms as the biggest value add-ons for a home, Mr Ptolomey said.

"There is a massive emphasis on kitchens from the market place," he said.

"People are much more aware of what's in there, and they're aware of features like the size of the oven or finishes like stone bench-tops."

Extra features added to a kitchen's value, but storage was a bigger factor.

Valuers would rank a garage further down the list, but in newer suburbs an enclosed garage could add between $20,000 and $30,000 to a property, Mr Ptolomey said.

The number of bathrooms also added value. He said valuers were seeing more homeowners put in a third bathroom.

"It could be a powder room with a shower, or a laundry with a shower," he said.

"People tend to want to shove teenagers down the end of the house."

A second bathroom added more value than a third, however.

"A second bathroom is almost essential in today's market," Mr Ptolomey said.

 

Parking space could also increase the value of a property.

"The closer you get to the city and the more difficult it is to park, then it can add anything from $20,000 to $50,000,'' Mr Ptolomey said.

"We certainly see a difference in value between one and two-bay apartments in the city."

A patio upgrade could virtually be relied on to lift the value, provided the job was well done.

"There are not too many homes without an alfresco it's pretty important to the market," Mr Ptolomey said.

"It can be a massive selling point."

Valuers said it was difficult to judge the dollar benefit of an extra bedroom.

"There's no perfect formula - you can't say a fourth bedroom will add $10,000 to a property," Mr Ptolomey said.

"But they always get used as a bedroom or a study, or most often as the junk room."

But he said living area was vital and the space taken up by a fourth bedroom might be at the expense of a lounge room.

Curtin University property studies professor Andrea Constable said bedrooms were also subject to the "law of diminishing returns'' - a fourth bedroom would be likely to add value but a ninth bedroom probably would not.

REIWA president David Airey said storage was an underrated influence on value.

"We are living in smaller households but accumulating more possessions," Mr Airey said.

"Homes with plenty of storage space are likely to be more valued."

But extra features, such as swimming pools or outdoor kitchens, were likely to be an over capitalisation.

Mr Ptolomey said a swimming pool could cost $30,000 to put in and add only $15,000 to the property's value.

Top 5 killer features

1) Kitchen 
"A well-designed, functional and spacious kitchen with quality draws and cupboards, bench-tops and appliances is an increasing priority for home buyers.'' - David Airey

2) Bathrooms 
"The market values a second bathroom and toilet or ensuites very highly due to the convenience and privacy they offer.'' - David Airey

3) Parking
"The closer you get to the city and the more difficult it is to park then it can add anything from $20,000 to $50,000.'' - Brendon Ptolomey

4) Undercover al fresco area
"We see everything from a BBQ shoved under a patio to an extensive outdoor kitchen, under patios with high ceiling fans. It can be a massive selling point.'' - Brendon Ptolomey

5) Bedrooms 
"Many homes today are occupied only by one or two people. Regardless of this shrinking household size the desire for larger homes remains strong and the market tends to put higher values on four-bedroom houses and three-bedroom apartments. Extra bedrooms offer flexible lifestyle options such as a home office or guest room.'' - David Airey

(source: Perthnow)

Spare room for extra cash

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

THERE is nothing new in using a spare room for a bit of extra cash.bigstock--Room-for-Rent-sign-45888079

However, in these days of legal over-complication, it is important you know your rights and obligations.It can be tempting to be very casual about renting out a room: you meet someone, somehow, and you all agree to terms, they move in, pay cash and everything is beautiful.  Now while this may have been the norm back in the 1970s, this is 2013 and you need to get serious.

Back then, tenants were more conditioned to do the right thing and your extra income could be, let's say, ``discreetly'' earned. It is nothing like this today.  Sourcing tenants today is actually much easier than ever before, contact nearby universities or large employment bases such as hospitals.  Consider putting a print ad in the right section of the paper, or go online.

The major difference with tenant selection compared to when leasing a whole property is you will have this person in your home, this means you will share some facilities, will you cope with bumping into them in the morning? You will need to interview them thoroughly and I suggest building a trial period into your agreement.  You can access a standard tenancy agreement or lease, depending on your state, online.  As much as there may be a temptation to avoid the formal tenancy agreements, I strongly advise you treat this very seriously, get advice, get the right agreement and ensure all is executed correctly, and consider adding conditions to your agreement, these may state how the bills for things such as electricity, internet or pay TV are divided and when the tenant needs to pay.  Define access and the use of other areas of your home - even where they may park their car, not smoking, or playing loud music late at night, are reasonable conditions, for example, but you need to accept they will have a right to live there; asking them to stay in their room at all times and only using the shower on alternate nights after 11pm is not really reasonable.  This is effectively a sharing scenario so, unless the rental space is totally independent, you must give this a great deal of thought.

Successful tenancies tend to be the ones with clear boundaries from the start,  insurance must not be ignored, accidents do happen, contact your insurer before the tenant moves in to make sure your policy conditions cover you, and if the rental allows sole access to a bathroom or more ``self-contained'' space such as a kitchenette or living area, or individual access, expect more rent, but be aware that if all goes well and you want to start renting out other rooms in the house, check with the relevant authorities because different rules can apply the more rooms you let out.

Now the bad news: you are about to generate extra income for yourself, so your accountant and the taxman will want to know how much you made, worse still if you don't tell them and they find out subsequently, ouch! However, letting them know in advance will allow you to discover what, if any, additional expenses can be claimed to reduce your tax liability, if you have the tenancy agreement in place, the right conditions, interview thoroughly and secure the right tenant, plus sort out insurance and the taxman, you are on your way!

(source: Perthnow - by Andrew Winter - host of Selling Houses Australia)

Group of pets together in front of white backgroundBEING a pet owner on the hunt for rental accommodation in Australia can be tough. Every year many renters find themselves left to choose between their ideal home and their furry friends in a market place where rental vacancies are at their lowest in recent memory.

Now a study to find out why landlords systematically say no to animals is being conducted by Dr Emma Power from the University of Western Sydney's School of Social Sciences and Psychology. It involves several welfare organisations and the real estate industry.

Dr Power has interviewed almost 700 pet owners for the study, Renting With Pets In Sydney, and has discovered that for the pet-loving population, renting is tough.

"We know that about 60 per cent of Australians have pets and that about a third of households rent,'' Dr
Power said.

"So something I'd like to get to the bottom of with our study is; why wouldn't agents and landlords want to be pet-friendly when it can really be a competitive advantage for your property?''

"I come at this from the angle of households. It has been proven in many studies that pets do actually increase the health and wellbeing of individuals. And with the rise of single-person households in Australian cities, pet ownership is becoming more popular.

"One of the big things to come out of the study so far has been that 64 per cent of those surveyed said that looking for a rental property while owning a pet was significantly more difficult than before they had an animal.''

Susannah Anderson of Di Jones Real Estate said "pet bonds'' and "pet resumes'' are becoming more common in Sydney as pet-lovers do what they can to find appropriate accommodation.

"We try to explain to our landlords that they want a top tenant who will pay good money and take care of their investment and just like tenants need to put on an application form how many people will be moving in, they should include animals too,'' she said.

Ms Anderson said the pet-lover's problem even extends beyond tenants, because buyers purchasing in apartment buildings that are not ear-marked as pet-friendly are also struggling.

"What I've found is that buyers want to be absolutely sure that they can take their pets with them and will do what they have to do prior to purchasing. It's like finance, you wouldn't buy a place unless your finance had been approved. They want to know that no body corporate will go back on the pet-friendly status,'' she said.

But buyers and renters should be aware that pet bans can be overturned.

Troy Gunasekera, from the Property Club investor group said the answer for tenants and buyers was to be prepared.

"Tenants and buyers need to be aware that bodies corporate cannot absolutely prohibit the keeping of any animal in any circumstances,'' he said.

"It's true that not everyone likes pets, but `no pet' policies are not hard and fast. We are starting to see more of independent adjudicators ruling against bodies corporate.''

CHAMPIONING THE CAUSE FOR TENANTS WITH PAWS
* Know your local council restrictions: A standard rule is for a property of less than 600sq m, the maximum number of dogs that can be kept is two, regardless of size.
* Seek permission first: An applicant must have body corporate approval before bringing a pet into a scheme.
* The body corporate must be fair and reasonable: A refusal to grant permission for a pet should be based on consideration of the wellbeing of the animal, not the owner (eg refusing approval to house a miniature pony in a three-storey walk-up is reasonable).
* Check your lease agreement: Clauses could already be available in your lease for you to challenge the body corporate or landlord.
* Check with the owner: Before you go to the body corporate, you must first have the agreement of the landlord.
Source: The Property Club

VETS ARE BEHIND RENTING WITH PETS
Vet and director of Vetico, Ben Willcocks said pet references and pet bonds could help people convince landlords to be more pet friendly.

"I'm surprised the idea of a pet bond hasn't gone through to the courts,'' he said. ``In a way it could be considered a form of discrimination because everyone has the right to enjoy home life as they want to whether they're renters or not.''

TIPS ON HAVING A RENTAL-FRIENDLY PET
Breed choice: Choose your breed carefully. You want to choose a breed which is suitable for most living arrangements. Criteria may include small to medium size, non-shedding, responsiveness to obedience training and so on. As a rule, any of the ``oodles'' are generally rental-friendly pets.

Obedience training: Take your pup through puppy pre-school and advanced obedience training, to ensure they are well behaved, house-trained pets.

General pet care: Ensure you maintain regular visits to your pup's veterinarian, groomer, hydrobath, and so on. Keep the documentation, so you can show your potential landlord that you look after your pet, just as you will look after their apartment.

Preventable health: Keep your pet on regular worming, flea and tick prevention, and make sure you keep the documentation to show to your potential landlord if necessary.

(source: Kirsten Craze - The Daily Telegraph)

bigstock-Loving-couple-looking-at-their-33303005PERTH people of all ages and incomes are still in love with the dream of a separate house, a new study has found.

The independent report comes as the city and metropolis are about to explode in unit and apartment development over the next few years.

The study, The Housing We'd Choose: A Study for Perth and Peel, surveyed more than 1000 people over six months about what matters most for them in terms of housing and found 79 per cent still want the "white picket fence'' option.
Jointly commissioned by the Departments of Housing and Planning to determine if there is a difference between housing preferences (demand) and what is being built or planned (supply), the report shows the free-standing brick house is still the big favourite.

Department of Housing director-general Grahame Searle said that while most respondents still favoured owning a separate house, they were prepared to make significant trade-offs in location, house type and size to realise their dreams of owning a home.

And in one mismatch between supply and demand, it also found that while 35 per cent of people would choose semi-detached housing as an option, just 12 per cent of Perth's current housing stock is semi-detached.

"This report reveals the enduring aspirations of many Western Australians to own a home, and their willingness to make concessions in order to afford it,'' Mr Searle said.

Affordability is still the biggest determinant in the property scenario, the study shows, underlining the importance of government assistance.

However when it comes to location, Department of Planning director general Eric Lumsden said a key finding showed a strong preference for people to live in the inner regions with easy access to work.

"The study is an important snapshot, which shows that the combination of affordability pressures and desire to live in well-connected locations is driving an evolution in housing,'' Mr Lumsden said.

"We expect to see these evolve further in coming years, as the ageing population and other demographic shifts drive housing demand in the Perth-Peel region.''

The outcomes from the survey support findings from a similar study of Melbourne and Sydney residents performed in 2011 by policy think tank, the Grattan Institute.

The Perth report outlines challenges and opportunities for government, industry sectors, and the local community moving forward to supply the type of housing that people want and can afford.

KEY FINDINGS:

* Affordability plays a major role in shaping peoples housing choices, often requiring them to make trade-offs between the house they would prefer and the one they eventually choose.

* 98 per cent of people surveyed prefer owner occupation rather than renting.

* 88 per cent of people said building materials were important to them when choosing a home. Of these, more than 50 per cent of these people wanted double brick, however over 25 per cent wanted homes made of alternative materials, suggesting that there may be growing demand for different construction types, if they can be delivered at an affordable price.

* Easy access to (not necessarily close proximity to) work was regarded as very important to most people. People were happier to have smaller properties if it meant that they could live in their preferred location.

* There was a strong preference to live in the inner and coastal regions, with two-thirds of people preferring these locations. However only half of respondents were able to choose these locations when constrained by household budget.

* 44 per cent of people indicated that a three bedroom house is the smallest property that they were prepared to purchase, which increased to 46 per cent when affordability and location were taken into consideration.

* When constrained by affordability, only 15 per cent of people said a four-bedroom dwelling was their minimum requirement and only 8 per cent chose a five bedroom house.

* People were more willing to trade-off house type than the number of bedrooms. This suggests that there is likely to be demand for smaller dwellings (eg townhouses, semi-detached homes or apartments) that can be delivered with the right number of bedrooms, in the right locations.

* Majority of people preferred to live in a separate house (79 per cent) if there were no location or affordability constraints. When constrained by location and affordability, this number dropped to 56 per cent.

* Apartments were the least popular housing option (chosen by fewer than 10 per cent of those surveyed), although many of the concerns raised relate to apartment design such as noise transmission. However, people were far more prepared to rent an apartment rather than being long term owner occupiers.

* The findings of the report indicated that 35 per cent of people would choose semi-detached housing when considering location and affordability factors. Just 12 per cent of Perth's current housing stock is semi-detached, suggesting that there is considerable unmet demand for this type of housing.

 

(source: Perthnow.com.au)

 

IS IT BETTER TO BUY THAN RENT?

Friday, April 26th, 2013

bigstock-Family-Of-Four-In-Dream-House-2328792REIWA has reported recently that housing affordability has improved over the last year and that median rents have climbed by 12 per cent.

So, for many people renting a question they are asking themselves is, “Would we be better off to buy?”

Current data show the median purchase price for first home buyers is around $420,000 while metropolitan rents are around $470 per week.

Not everyone is in a position to borrow and meet loan repayments, but for those singles and couples who can afford around $580 a week at current variable interest rates, a mortgage of $373,000 will buy a very suitable unit, villa or house with its own land.

(In this example I am assuming a deposit of $20,000 and eligibility for the $7,000 First Home Owners Grant, so the purchase price would be $400,000. However, there are many cheaper properties throughout WA including the metropolitan area. Some house and land packages are accessible at $300,000 or less and fixed rates can be more affordable than variable rates).

In other words, by paying around $100 more each week on a mortgage as opposed to paying rent, many tenants could transition to home ownership if that suited them and banks approved the loan.

Naturally, the bigger the deposit the smaller the loan and it’s important to keep in mind that renters don’t pay council rates, annual utility charges, building insurance and maintenance which home owners do. Buyers need to factor in about $50 per week to cover this.

The real cost of renting is not the fortnightly payments, but the loss in savings compared to accumulating equity in a home.

There are also good financial reasons to support ownership, but two key factors illustrate its benefit.

First, home ownership can be a stepping stone to increased wealth and long term financial security. Property is highly regarded by financial institutions as security for borrowing to fund a property investment, a business venture or a holiday.

It’s more difficult to borrow against other assets.

Second, home ownership opens up lifestyle opportunities. With your own place you can design and mature the garden, paint and decorate as you wish, have pets (with some strata exceptions), and generally create a home with the liberty and security that can bring.

Households which experience financial difficulty in retirement years are more likely to be living in rental properties, so investing in a home can be a better way to secure your retirement circumstances.

The early decisions you make around real estate can affect your long term outlook, but it’s strongly advisable that you discuss your plans with competent financial advisers, banks and lenders before making a decision and then approaching an agent.
(source: REIWA)

Perth Rents Up Again

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

House Rental Overpriced Monitor Showing Expensive Housing CostsThe median rent for homes in Perth has risen once again according to new data from the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia.

Fresh figures from REIWA show that in the three months to February metropolitan rents increased by 4.4 per cent, lifting the overall median from $450 to $470 per week, and representing a rise of $60 on the same time last year.

Since January houses have risen by $10 to a median of $480 per week, while units, apartments and villas jumped by $30 to a median of $450 per week.

REIWA President David Airey said the sharp rises through January and February were surprising because rental demand during the March quarter had been more subdued when compared with the March quarters for the previous five years.

“The vacancy rate has actually eased off a little, lifting from 1.9 per cent in December to 2 per cent currently, so it’s unusual to see rents going up at the same time as supply has improved,” Mr Airey said.

Mr Airey said that while the vacancy rate had increased it was still around one third below Perth’s long term equilibrium of 3 per cent.

“What the data might be indicating is that while there is a bit more stock around to choose from and demand from tenants has slowed, they are none the less choosing to pay a premium for those homes that are of better quality and in more preferred locations,” Mr Airey said.
Throughout January and February the number of listings for rentals dropped noticeably in the western suburbs, the western parts of the City of Stirling and in Bassendean/Bayswater region. In contrast, listings rose more strongly in the Cities of Belmont, Wanneroo, Perth and Canning.
(source: REIWA)

Pet Bond Tenancy Act

Navigating the complex residential tenancy act can be difficult with the wrong advice. With constant changes to regulations occurring we want to help you learn about them. The most recent change is with pet bonds.

The regulations made pursuant to the residential tenancies Act will be amended on June 1st 2011 so that the maximum pet bond is $260.

Owners with an existing tenancy cannot automatically increase the pet bond from $100 to $260.

Owners entering into a new tenancy agreement commencing on or after the 1st June 2011 can request the pet bond component of the security to be $260.

The pet bond forms part of the total security bond that the tenant can be required to pay under section 29.

For existing tenancies the pet bond cannot be increased unless there is an increase in rent. Further, at least 60 days notice of the increased rent must be given and there must be a 12 month period between consecutive bond increases.

For further details please contact your property manager.