Posted on 14/07/2021
When it comes to property management, leasing and market activity are hot topics! Whether you’re looking in from the side-lines or in the thick of it as a tenant or landlord, we all have a vested interested in what’s going on around us.
Covid has no doubt created mass panic, uncertainty, angst and caused loved neighbours, friends and family to pack up and leave towns where they have resided for many years as our demographic shuffle continues. There’s also the other side of the coin, where Covid has brought life changing opportunities to investors and vendors. Keep in mind that when an investor purchases a property with an average price tag of $1M+, they will naturally be seeking to ensure the return on their investment is viable. Keep a watch on sales!
So, will the market go backwards? Pre Covid, and, during Covid the market continues to naturally fluctuate up and down throughout the year, only due to Covid the fluctuations aren’t as far between anymore. At present it’s almost on a monthly basis. This is why engaging in a leasing specialist is so crucial. It can be risky formulating a leasing plan based on hype alone or being an ‘outsider’ looking in. Without relevant insights into market behaviour, experience in leasing and awareness of these natural fluctuations, your property could be sitting vacant costing you thousands in potential income.
Although record high rents were achieved over the summer period, summer traditionally performs well regardless. Does this mean we price properties at summer rates all year round? No, we don’t. This is risky. You need to know the market in each town well as they all perform differently and attract varying types of demographic. For many years now, Kingscliff has been known to attract entrepreneurs and business owners working from home – it’s not surprising Covid has boosted their presence. During Covid the natural fluctuations in rents are more frequent – month to month. When I’m appraising a property right now, it’s valid for 30 x days then we re-assess. The property is priced to generate the number of applications required that will achieve the type of tenants a landlord is seeking. A high performing leasing specialist not only watches listing prices online to achieve this (www.realestate.com.au), they will look at behind the scenes analytics and tools that give insight into what’s really happening. Remember, an over-inflated appraisal sounds great on paper, however, this will cost you in the long run! Will it generate enough applications to secure your ‘perfect tenant', or, leave you with one application to choose from that statistically won’t be the high quality of tenant you’re looking for?
Assumptions in property management can also lead to costing you thousands of dollars. Unless you know what deals have been had behind closed doors (if any), it’s wise not to assume that the advertised price of a property was what the agent achieved when it was removed from advertising. The agent could have achieved higher than the asking price or considerably lower. Ask agents what they are achieving and if this secured a quality tenant - don’t leave it for assumptions.
Another crucial factor that an experienced leasing specialist will advise as part of your leasing strategy is to take into account the variables that will result in you achieving the ‘perfect tenant’. If your property is not pet friendly, you are excluding an average 25% of the market who has a pet – how will this impact you to lease the property and by reducing the demand will you achieve the highest price? If you have a particular type of tenant you’re seeking, does this demographic exist or will you need to price the property accordingly reflecting the narrowing of the demographic you’re targeting? How quickly do you want to lease the property whilst waiting for the ‘perfect tenant’? Are your concerns or assumptions that a particular tenant may do $1000 in damage worth the property sitting vacant @ $1000p/w for weeks on end? An experienced professional property manager can address these concerns. If your property sits vacant for 4 x weeks @ $1000p/w because the applicants are ticking 9 out of 10 check boxes from your list of preferences and not 10 out of 10 then is this worth the $4000 loss waiting? Speak to a leasing specialist about your concerns - their experience is invaluable.
Going back to the start of Covid, properties are still performing better than they had pre Covid, and, due to our demographic shuffle, future development and planned infrastructure - I believe this won’t change. If you’re unsure whether to take the plunge to upgrade, downsize or relocate from another state – now could not be a better time! If you're looking for a property management specialist, contact KC now.
LET'S CHAT MOULD
LET'S CHAT MOULD
Posted on 10/04/2021
After all the rain we've had, you may notice mould around the home. For me personally, it's shown up on; external garden pavers, rocks in the gardens, spots to gutters and external timbers. As soon as the sun comes out I'll be getting the Gerni out to ensure these areas are clean and safe. I don't have any mould inside, however, every property and area is different and used differently.
There are many causes around the home that are conducive to mould. You may find; specks of black mould behind your curtains (particularly sheer fabric), yellow mould behind timber doors or to the lower area of walls like built-ins where there's poor or no ventilation, ceilings in bathrooms where a high level of moisture is present, grout between shower tiles or patches of black mould to your internal ceilings that may indicate a water leak. What’s most important is that you report any concerns to your Property Manager so that they can assist yourself and/or the landlord to resolve any issues that can escalate quickly, cause damage or present a risk to your health.
There are two fact sheets we find very useful when assisting tenants or landlords dealing with mould issues. They cover; cleaning, understanding the cause of mould, what you can do to prevent it, health concerns, your responsibilities as a tenant and what the landlord is responsible for. They’re an informative read for any tenant, landlord or owner occupier.
Office of Fair Trading -
NSW Health -
So what sort of things can you do to assist in the prevention of mould? There is an extensive range of cleaning products from Bunnings - https://bit.ly/3uDlIMV and Woolworths - https://bit.ly/3wGWTBJ including products that prevent water sitting on your shower glass and tiles - https://bit.ly/3tb146A or The Good Guys - https://bit.ly/3uEDEXu If you would prefer not to clean general mould (where it is your responsibility), you may like to pay a professional cleaner to attend to this for you.
Most of all, enjoy the sunshine today.
SURVIVING A HOT MARKET
SURVIVING A HOT MARKET
Posted on 14/01/2021
Not only is the rental market hot right now, it's savvy as well though no more savvy than it's been the past 7yrs or more. The intensity right now is driven by the back-log of the market being held up last year due to Covid, compacted by the traditional summer demand and with the additional sea-changers having the opportunity to now work from home.
Pre-Covid, the existence of tenants working from home filling our coastal towns has always been noticeably evident, particularly more so now that businesses have experienced that employees can work from home successfully. Businesses have had to remodel their operations to suit our new way of working life and where some may have been years from reaching this milestone, they have triumphantly fast-tracked to the new corporate world on the cloud as we know it today. I myself had switched over to a paperless, cloud based, electronic delivery of Property Management service many years prior to Covid. Even with an office as a base, working remotely from home was more productive. I believe we will sustain this way of life and it will continue to play a major impact into what will be the greatest 'shuffle around' of the market we have ever seen.
So how can you stand out from the crowd? The following may assist you, or, give you a little insight to secure your piece of paradise –
• Check www.realestate.com.au morning and night – I find sometimes the REA alerts I sign up for are slow to hit my inbox.
• Log into 1Form the online application portal and ensure your applications and associated documents are up to date as prospective tenants are offering to submit applications prior to inspections. As eagerly as you are to lease the property, agents and landlords are just as eager to process the first applications received which are 100% completed.
• If an agent invites you to lodge an application prior to inspection – take that opportunity! If someone has taken the time to apply, the landlord or agent may take the time to put them in front of your general enquiry to "inspect the property".
• Contact every agent in the area you are searching in to enquire about their application process so that you are prepared to act quickly.
• Be aware that applicants sometimes offer rent in advance or rent higher than the advertised price. They are allowed to freely offer – however, agents are not permitted to ask.
• Rather than ticking a box on www.realestate.com.au to “inspect the property”, why not add a little about yourself in the comments box as well? Agents see this! It helps to screen through what the landlord is seeking.
• When you submit an application, make contact within 24hrs to check this is received by the Property Manager. I’ve had applicants wondering why they haven’t heard anything however their application wasn’t lodged properly therefore not received.
• When you see a property you’re interested in, always lodge an online enquiry straight away. When I’m going through enquiries, I will go through them in the order that they’re received whilst screening for what the landlord is seeking.
• If you have a long list of preferences and are on a deadline, you may need to accept that the perfect property ticking every item on your list won't manifest within your timeframe. Instead, alternative opportunities that present themselves could be seen as stepping stones to where you want to be long term particularly if you are relocating from overseas or interstate.
• If you’re having difficulty securing a property due to having a dog, perhaps include dated close up photos of the lawns and gardens from the last property you resided in and attach these with your application.
Try to stay positive.
CHOOSING YOUR TRADES
CHOOSING YOUR TRADES
Posted on 28 July, 2020 at 23:05
In the last 20yrs, from Pottsville to Kingscliff, we have seen considerable growth in both the residential and commercial sectors of the market. Development, population and tourism have all boomed. I’ve seen full cycles of the market over the course of living and working in the area. With this substantial growth comes a high demand for quality tradespeople, and, a flood of new tradespeople to the coast with a range of specialist skills. This is where a knowledgeable, experienced Property Manager can take the stress out of your property projects to ensure you are meeting your goals on budget and on time. There’s a catch though, the tradespeople a Property Manager chooses might meet their standards, however, will they meet yours? These are often worlds apart particularly if you have the time to invest in projects and maintenance for your investment property, but they don’t.
Recommendations sourced from the internet or social media for tradespeople can be very helpful, however, a recommendation will only ever be as good as the expectations of the person suggesting the trade. How do you know that your expectations of quality and workmanship, cost and timeline match the level of expectation to that of a stranger referring to the trade? There are key questions to ask your trade that an experienced Property Manager can assist you with to avoid disappointment.
For many years good quality, skilled and reasonably priced tradespeople in the area can 'pick and choose' who they work for as a result of the demand. They are so incredibly busy that not even the current pandemic has slowed down their workloads. Having a solid rapport with your tradespeople is important – they are just as an integral part of your property management team as the employees working within a real estate agency. After all, the tradespeople willing to work on your investment properties have a major impact on your bottom line. Choosing a professional Property Manager with high standards and an in-depth knowledge of repairs and maintenance will complement the trades to match. It’s a win win for the long-term preservation of your investment property along with the quality of tenants your property will attract as a result of these choices.
KC engages in trades who are; highly skilled, reasonably priced, responsive, communicate well with tenants and local where possible. I’ve used the same; garage door company, blind cleaning company, Electrician, Handyman, Communications Specialist, pool company and carpet cleaner for the last 13yrs +.
Property Managers and tradespeople are very similar. Sometimes you’ll find the perfect trade who is a sole trader with a relatively small boutique customer base, or, they will form part of a larger company where you are borderline just another ‘number’. When you do find that one good person that ticks every box for your investment property - stick with them.
SWITCHING TO A NEW AGENT
SWITCHING TO A NEW AGENT
Posted on 28 July, 2020 at 20:45
For many years now, where a landlord is dissatisfied with their managing agent, there is usually a clause in their agreement that provides for them to cease management. The grounds of which notice can be given will also be found in the Managing Agency Agreement. It will outline typically 30 or 60 days notice where the agent can give the landlord notice to cease management, or, the landlord can give the managing agent notice to cease management. This can be carried out anytime during the management regardless of whether there is a fixed term or periodical tenancy in place, or, if the property is vacant.
The managing agent of whom notice has been given to is not entitled to know where or who a landlord decides to switch their business to including if they wish to manage it themselves. In some cases however, this can be beneficial.
During the notice period to cease management, this is the perfect time to discuss your property management goals and expectations with your new managing agent in the preparation of handover.
The change in management of your investment property is a simple process. The Residential Tenancy Agreement remains intact - a new agreement is not required. This is a legally binding agreement between a landlord and a tenant - the agent merely facilitates this agreement including advising the tenant of the change-over. The new agent receives a copy of the tenant file including Entry Condition Report, photos, keys to the property and any other pertinent information that belongs with the tenancy to continue managing the property. The bond is transferred to the new agent via NSW Rental Bonds. This is triggered by the landlord having given notice to cease management, and, the old agent signing off on the release. The new managing agent can then register the bond to be held in their name on behalf of the landlord.
You see making the switch is easy, the question is, are you willing to make that one phone call to start the balling rolling so that you can then kick back and relax?
CHOOSING A HIGH PERFORMING PROPERTY MANAGER
CHOOSING A HIGH PERFORMING PROPERTY MANAGER
Posted on 20 July, 2020 at 2:30
According to the latest statistics, Kingscliff has taken center stage during the month of May 2020 with 12,621 rent searches and 182,725 buy searches online. This isn't surprising considering that in the 12 months prior to Covid19, rent had increased by approximately 20% due to demand in comparison to the previous year.
These latest statistics, along with restrictions during Covid19, support what's been evident for many years - that we are an online society in a thriving market where not having an office is seen as a disadvantage particularly for leasing. In fact, there are many aspects of property management that are improved when you engage in an agent who delivers a 'mobile' service. Meeting tenants at the property for hand over when they commence tenancy is one of them.
Leasing can be a complex task. It's not as easy as taking a few cheap photos, throwing any price on then wait to see what happens. There are many key components of planning to take into consideration. This all comes from having experience in what works and what doesn't with a variety of demographics. I have lived and worked from Pottsville to Kingscliff since 2005. Over the years, I've become familiar with my point of difference in comparison to other agents. I'm aware of this because prospective tenants are happy to compliment me on this difference. With this in mind, choosing a high performing Property Manager isn't just about leasing - when the price is right and the market is there then that's the easy part of property management.
So, if the market is there, the price is right and a high quality tenant is secured quickly then what next? That takes care of about 60% of setting yourself and your property up to succeed but what about the rest? Are you engaging in a Property Manager who will continue to perform throughout the tenancy? Will the tenant and yourself be serviced in a way that promotes property preservation and growth? Take your ambitions a step further than leasing your property at a great price. Embrace the non-traditional ways of property management that facilitate those subtle differences positively impacting on your bottom line. Leasing is just the start of having a successful high performing investment property.
Happy leasing! KC
Source: REA Group Pty Ltd
TOP 4 LANDLORD MIS-CONCEPTIONS
TOP 4 LANDLORD MIS-CONCEPTIONS
Posted on 24 October, 2019 at 23:00
1. Ever heard the saying “no news is good news?" That’s not always the case in Property Management! There’s a multitude of reasons why you may not hear from your Property Manager, such as -
• Ceased employment, (yes it’s a high turnover industry sadly!).
• They've reached a point where they’re so overloaded they just haven’t had the time to let you know the hot water system has been leaking.
• Tenant requests have been disappearing into a ‘black hole’.
• Lack of care to proactively work with your tenant to keep up to date with what’s happening at your property.
Unless you trust your Property Manager 100%, no news is not always good news.
2. It’s very common in the real estate industry for an unhappy Vendor or Landlord to give notice to cease management, or, to enter into an open listing to sell. For Property Management, you’re never ‘stuck’ with your agent. Management Agency Agreements provide a clause where you can give notice to cease management – this is usually 30 x days. Whether you have an existing fixed term Residential Tenancy Agreement in place has no impact on your right to cease management.
The Residential Tenancy Agreement is a legally binding agreement between the tenant and landlord, not the tenant and agency, therefore it can be transferred to new management easily.
3. I’ve leased properties to a wide demographic of both low-socioeconomic, and, high end of the market tenants. In my experience, there are good quality tenants in every demographic and price range. Having an experienced Property Manager with stringent application processes in place, and a high level of service to offer, will dictate the quality of tenant. The quality of tenant is never dictated by your asking price.
4. When making service comparisons between agencies on the regularity of the routine inspections of your property, ensure you base your decision on the experience of the Property Manager carrying out these inspections. Ask yourself -
• If the maximum of four inspections being offered per year is simply a marketing plan to secure your business?
• Will the Property Manager appointed to do these be highly qualified, and, genuinely concerned your property is being cared for?
The regularity of routine inspections are best customised to suit; location of the property, tenant in residence and the age of the property in relation to repairs and maintenance.
SURVIVING A HIGH DEMAND RENTAL MARKET
SURVIVING A HIGH DEMAND RENTAL MARKET
Posted on 19 September, 2019 at 23:10
The process of securing a rental property in a high demand market is no different to securing a job. We’ve all been there at least once in our lives and gone through the process. On average, you could be one of 100 other people applying for the position. Each applicant as enthusiastic and well suited for the position as you are. Each employer with their own process of how they go about employing the ‘right’ applicant for the company who will be the best fit for the position. Not all employers will acknowledge you in the way you deserve or expect to be. Not all employers will respond to you - regardless of the time you have invested into attempting to secure the position. If you are unsuccessful - the employer may not give a reason why you were unsuccessful nor are they obliged to provide constructive feedback to the level you desire.
Top 5 strategies to stand out from the crowd -
1. Just like applying for a job, read the advertisement carefully. When a property manager is receiving 40-80 enquiries on each property advertised, they may prioritise their responses firstly to prospective tenants asking questions that the advertising doesn’t already cover. Information typically covered in the advertising is usually; term of the lease, pet preferences, when the property is available and how to inspect.
2. Lodge your enquiry online where the advertising states online enquiries only. It’s not that the property manager doesn’t want to speak with you, it’s just an effective way for them to manage the sheer volume of enquiries. I’ve been saying for years I’d love a job where I just get paid to purely sit around and talk to people all day. Unfortunately, the daily workload an agent needs to plough through prevents them from having this luxury. Online enquiries also equip the agent to have a valuable reference of information to pass onto the landlord. When I’m in leasing mode, I work 24/7 however this is online only whilst outside of business hours. I’ve advertised properties in the past on a Friday and by the following Monday I’ve; closed off enquiries, organised the first group to inspect and taken online applications to commence processing for owner approval. Perhaps if you intend on calling, allow the agent a reasonable timeframe to respond to your online enquiry first then hopefully a chat will soon follow at your convenience.
3. Stand out from the crowd. When submitting your online enquiry, rather than just ticking the standard boxes, (inspect, length of the lease, date available) include a short summary of yourself. For example, family of four with a small outside dog moving up from Melbourne requiring a property within the next month. Look at the comments section as an opportunity for your enquiry to stand out from the crowd and capture the attention of the agent reading it.
4. When applying for the property ensure you submit all the necessary supporting documents required. If an agent is processing a substantial number of applications on various properties with a line-up of applicants and landlords eagerly waiting for responses, they may not chase you for missing information. Give yourself the best chance of your application being successful by filling out and submitting all the necessary information required. KC uses 1Form which is an online application you can pre-fill and upload your supporting documents into. All that’s then left to do is link the advertised property to it that you wish to apply for on receiving an inspection code from KC.
5. Why not raise the bar and mention a few qualities about yourself beyond the standard expectations of a landlord. I often hear prospective tenants advise they are excellent tenants because they pay their rent on time and look after the properties they have rented. This is a very lucrative trait for a landlord, however, this is also standard expectation of what’s required of a tenant within their Residential Tenancy Agreement. There are also many other prospective applicants with the same qualities. Patience, flexibility, understanding and the ability to effectively communicate during tenancy are also highly sought after qualities that are desirable to a landlord. Hopefully the agent you choose will show you the same qualities in return.
On a final note, we’re all in the same boat. Agents and prospective tenants are both; time poor, dealing with a multitude of people, attempting to remember each parties situation along with attending numerous property inspections. Aside from the process of vacating, it can be one of the most stressful aspects of property management for all involved. It is also the most rewarding when you finally secure that quality tenant, or, for you the property. I look forward to reaching this outcome with you.
TOP 5 PROPERTY TENANT MISCONCEPTIONS
TOP 5 PROPERTY TENANT MISCONCEPTIONS
Posted on 21 August, 2019 at 22:10
The landlord is responsible for pest control during the tenancy - false.
• As a general guide, if pests are present on your arrival; i.e cockroaches, spiders and fleas then it is a landlord’s responsibility.
• During tenancy it is generally a tenant’s responsibility.
• Don’t forget, certain cockroaches (i.e. German Cockroaches) love to wreak havoc on the fine electrical components of dishwashers. They normally start in the kitchen so keep an eye out for any damage they might do.
I didn’t return my Entry Condition Report therefore I haven’t agreed or disagreed to anything - false.
• As an Additional Term, where the landlord in compliance with the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 provides the tenant with a signed Entry Condition Report, and, the tenant has not returned it within 7 x days of receipt then the tenant will be deemed to have accepted the condition report.
• Don’t get caught out on vacating – have your say at the start so there are no surprises in the end.
I don’t have a lease anymore, it expired - false.
• Unless either party gives adequate notice, (in accordance with the Residential Tenancies Act 2010) in the lead up to the lease expiring then the lease automatically falls into a periodic agreement.
• All the same conditions apply until the agreement is terminated, or, a new agreement is entered into.
My dog only lived outside and didn’t have fleas therefore I don’t need a flea treatment on vacating - false.
• Residential Tenancy Agreements will provide a clause stating that the tenant agrees to have carpets professionally cleaned and property fumigated where animals have been kept on the residential premises regardless.
• Ensuring the property is sufficiently fumigated, along with proof of receipt, gives the landlord and the next tenant peace of mind.
If anything is missed in preparation for my exit inspection I am automatically entitled to go back - false.
• Never assume you will be automatically entitled to access a property once possession is given.
• During the exit inspection “If the agent or landlord raises something that is minor, you may be able to deal with it on the spot” Source: NSW Fair Trading.
• Speak with your agent prior to your exit inspection about any queries on fair wear and tear or damage you’re not sure about.
• Good, open communication between all parties prior to your exit inspection will pave the way for a speedy bond refund.
Sources; NSW Fair Trading, Residential Tenancies Act 2010, Residential Tenancies Regulation 2010.
Happy renting :)
CHOOSING THE AGENT WHO IS RIGHT FOR YOU
CHOOSING THE AGENT WHO IS RIGHT FOR YOU
Posted on 6 July, 2019 at 13:00
Choosing the right agent to manage your investment property can be one of the most nerve-wracking decisions you will make in real estate. Will the agent you choose share the same level of care you have toward your property? How will your property look in 5yrs time under their management?
You may decide to base your decision from an emotional perspective allowing the selling agent to manage your property as your purchasing experience was a positive one. Or, you base your decision on the performance of the managing agent. Basing your decision on the performance of the managing agent is a good start. But how do you siphon through the number of agents battling for your business? We're here to assist by arming you with some questions that will form a solid comparison of service.
Let's start with the most common question prospective clients ask - commission. The old saying you get what you pay for truly applies here. A high performing, hard working and diligent agent is worth spending the extra 1-2% commission on. After all, it will be the experience and quality of service delivery from that agent who will save you money and heartache throughout the management. Property management involves a great deal of logic, common sense and interpretation of the law. You don't want to be dealing with an agent who can't execute this (for your own sanity if anything else!).
In larger offices, you may have a BDM (Business Development Manager) whose sole purpose is to secure your business. Ensure you meet or have the opportunity to speak with the person who will directly be liaising with you on a day-to-day basis. Ultimately, the success of your property will rely on the individual agent who is appointed as the main person in charge. This is the person you should speak with.
Never assume agents holding certain positions within an agency have the appropriate qualifications, experience or registrations. Ask your agent how long they've been practicing property management for. Are they suitably qualified with the appropriate registrations required? Give them a couple of hypothetical complex situations and ask how they would handle those situations. I've seen new people enter the industry and on their first day they're suddenly a "Specialist". Your agent could be someone who has never done a day of property management in their life. They could have been a cleaner prior to the job who thought property management would be a glamorous position. They could have been a tenant with also no experience, rising out of the woodwork claiming they'll 'give it a go'. In my experience, the average portfolio a property manager is responsible for, predominately on their own, is around 50 - 100 properties minimum. Allowing someone to manage a large portfolio with no experience or adequate training is like asking a plumber to carry out the work of a builder. Why settle for the plumber when you can have the builder!
Agencies manage their portfolio in different ways. How the portfolio is managed will have a direct impact on you, your investment and your bottom line. It is a good idea to ask if the portfolio is a POD structure - where various people are working together toward a common goal, you! You might deal with one person for maintenance, or, another for rent, or, another for lease renewals. Property management requires precision in communication. This is where a POD structure can either be a well oiled machine delivering excellence in customer service, or, a ticking time bomb. My experience has been managing all aspects of the portfolio. Having one property manager dealing with all aspects of the portfolio in my opinion works best. Providing that the appropriate support systems are in place for that person.
If you are dealing with an experienced property manager, they won't mind discussing their triumphs with you. Hopefully, you will share these triumphs if this is the agent you decide to sign up with. Personally, I find leasing and resolving disputes the most rewarding (in the end!). Ask your agent what was one of the most rewarding triumphs they've had recently and what impact did that have on the client.
I've worked with and know some of the best property managers in the industry, (if you're reading this you know who you are!). I've also seen the worst. Don't be fooled by a shop front, job titles or buzz words in advertising that are just meaninglessness 'fluff' without any substance.
Choose wisely, you deserve the best.