Archive for Articles

HOT TIP – Landlords / Questions To Ask Potential Tenants

Are you looking at renting out your property? In order to do so, you need to find the right tenant. Last week we covered some tips to help you along the way. This week, we have put together some simple questions that you will want to ask potential tenants, before you take the time to check up on references.  These question will give you an opportunity to  identify potential issues before they arise.

 

1. What’s your reason for moving? 

A very normal, and straight forward question. If your tenant is being evicted or is leaving on a negative note, then this is a red flag! Look for ordinary reasons such as needing to upsize/downsize, new children on the way, or moving closer to work.

 

Speaking of eviction..

2. Have you ever been evicted?

Another potential red flag is a previous eviction. If they answer yes, make sure you follow up the reasons why by asking previous landlords or agents their side of the story. Also take into consideration how long ago this issue occurred, and if they have had any issues since.

 

3. What’s your employment situation and how much do you earn?

In order to pay rent, once must have an income. Finding out your prospective tenants source of income and how much they earn gives you a solid idea if they are going to be able to afford the rent. Always take into consideration the combined figure if there is more than one person tenant. And on that note..

 

4. How many people will be living in the property?

This lets you know about their living situation and how many people your property will play host to. Generally speaking, two people per bedroom is the most you should consider, but this is ultimately your decision. More people will create more wear and tear too, as well as increased chance of damage.

 

5. Can you provide references from your employer and previous landlord?

References are a great way to determine whether or not your potential tenant is a safe bet. Make sure you call a range of references, so that you don’t get a biased reflection of the individual.

 

 

 

6. Do YOU have any questions?

Give them a chance to ask any questions they may have. You may have decided they’re right for you, but does the other shoe fit? They might need some questions answered before they’re willing to move.

 

 

Remember to always trust your instinct, like we said last week –  if something doesn’t feel right, then move on to the next candidate. If prospective tenants are unwilling to answer your questions, or only offer only vague answers, then they may not be suitable.

We hope that these questions can help you in the process of evaluating a tenant and finding a suitable fit for your property, however if you have any question, please give one of our friendly team members a call today!

 

 

HOT TIP – Landlords / How To Pick The Right Tenant

Whilst the majority or tenants are great, we cant promise that this is always going to be the case. Many landlords and investors have at some point, experienced the tenant from hell, so we have put together a few simple tips, to help avoid this problem.

1. Attract The Right Crowd

You don’t need to provided a 5-Star property, in a 5-start location, in order to attract 5-start tenants – but taking care of your property is important. If you provide a decent, well kept property, then you it should attract suitable tenants.

 

2. Pay Attention At Inspection

When you have your inspections, make sure that you pay attention to who is who, and write down anyone who stands out (for positive or negative reasons.)

zYou will want to look for applicants who are:

  • Organised – did they have their application ready to go?
  • Interested – what type of questions are they asking, and do they seem like they really like your home?
  • Tenants who are not hesitant to answer any questions you may have in return

3. Read Between The Lines

It may be a strenuous task, but its well worth the time. Read each application very carefully and use the information they provide to pick the best tenants. Try to narrow it down to three applications first. When going through applications, make sure you read between the lines. By this we mean, try to notice anything strange.For example, someone may seem organise, and provided the right documentation, however their rental history says they have rented 3 properties in the last 12 months – this is considered strange, as rental agreements tend to last 6 – 12 months each.

Contacting previous landlords or agents is always a good idea, as they provide a non bias opinion on tenants, and usually have documentation to them up.

 

4. Trust Your Gut

It may seem black and white, but if an applicant gave you an off feeling – move on to the next. A bad tenant is worse then no tenant at all, so trust your instinct and don’t settle until you are comfortable with who is moving into your property.

 

Next Monday we will provide a list of important questions to ask your tenants, to help further ease this process.

 

For any questions regarding managing your rental property, give one of our friendly staff a call.

For more helpful tips on buying, renting, selling and investing, visit our blog.

HOT TIP – Selling / Why You Should Use An Agent

Deciding to sell your property without an agent?
Recent studies have shown that across the country the average charge is around 2% to 2.5% of the sale price of your home, with agents therefore averaging a commission around $12, 000.  Now that might seem like a large sum of money, but it is worth looking into the advantages of having an agent on board. We have come up with a few key advantages of utilising an agent, in order to sell your home.

1. Experience Is Key

Do we need say more?

Buy paying for an agent, you are paying for expertise and intimate knowledge of your local property market. Why else is this a plus? Because they know property values. A lot of home owners who decide to sell on their own, don’t know the true value of their property – leaving them short of pocket in the long run.

Yes, they may save $10,000 in agent commission fees, however  they end up loosing five times that amount in the process.

 

2. They Take Away The Hassle

They say time equals money right? – So what exactly is your time worth?

Just remember that in order to selling a home you will need to invest your time in the following:

  • Marketing campaigns
  • Research
  • Holding open inspections
  • Make time to meet buyers, then following up on those buyers

– And this is all before you even go through with the whole  process of actually selling the home.

Buyers want to look through your place, at times that suit them – but not always you. Your lack of availability is likely to turn some buyers off, meaning you’ll have less people through the property than if you let an agent handle it. This is an agents job. Not only will an agent save you time, but they will be available an convenient hours, and have the process done as efficiently as possible, as they are experts in the matter.

3. They Know The Deal

An agent does this work day in and day out, meaning they know exactly how to deal with buyers. They know who are genuine buyers and who are time wasters – again saving time and money!

 

 

4. The Power Of Marketing

Agents have a large network of buyers at their fingertips, and access to great marketing platforms. A well presented and promoted property has a great chance of  being noticed and seen buy more potential buyers. Don’t underestimate the power of marketing in real estate.

If you are looking to sell, then take away some of the stress buy hiring an agent – they wont let you down!

 

 

If you have any questions or would like to speak to our agents, give us a call today!

For more great articles on buying, renting and selling , visit our blog page.

HOT TIP – Selling / Declutter Before The Rush

If you are looking to sell in the near future, its a good idea to start to declutter your life. Throughout our life we accumulate a numerous amount of belongings – some have a purpose, some are useful and some.. not so much.

Here at Chidiac Realty, we have learnt from experience just how much of a turn off clutter and chaos is to buyers, so we have come up with our top 4 tips to help you declutter your home and get it ready for the market.

 

1. Start Small

Lets be real, we all have rooms full of stuff we don’t need, perhaps even stuff we haven’t seen in years – and what does it become? CLUTTER. Clutter can hide in places we cant even see, such as under the bed, in corners of the room and tucked away in cupboards. Our first word of advice? Start small. Take it one room or area and get started – from here you can take it one room at a time. At least its a start!

 

2. Sort it out

Try to break down your belongings into categories. We believe the most obvious three are:

  1. Things you want to keep/ take with you
  2. Things you would consider donating or selling – think if people would actually get some use out of this item, or it it needs a toss.
  3. Things you want to throw away

 

3. Save Your Boxes

Start to store any boxes you can until you are ready to sell. Believe it or not, buying boxes to move can be expensive especially when you have a lot of belongings. Bought something online and it came in a decent box? Keep  it !

This way you can start to pack away bits and pieces that you know you don’t need until you arrive in your new place. We believe that packing away personal items such as family photos and memoirs is a good start, leaving only neutral decorative items. If you leave some nice decor for last, then you could save money when it comes to staging your home for auction / inspection !

4. Create SPACE

Just because you shove your belongings from under the bed into a cupboard, doesn’t mean that you’re de-cluttering. Buyers like to look though cupboards, and hidden spaces to get an idea of how much space they  would have if they lived there. Clear up surfaces ! Let buyers see benches, cupboard spaces and floors. It’s also worth noting that buyers like to picture their own things insides wardrobes and cupboards, so try not to empty them out completely – find a practical medium, that allows you to still carry out your day to day routines  until you move.

 

When you move into your new place, you will have shed one layer of clutter from your life, and will be ready to start all over again 🙂

For more great articles on buying, selling and renting, visit our blog page.

 

 

 

HOT TIP – Renting / How To Rent With Pets

Here at Chidiac Realty, we understand that a pet is part of the family. Renting and owning a pet however, isn’t always the best match.

Been there? – Here are some tips to help you find a pet friendly property.

 

1. It Can’t Hurt To Ask 

First things first – to ask! So many people look at a listed property, and if it doesn’t say ” Pet’s allowed”, then they move on with their search.   Start by asking the question, and respect the answer, even if it doesn’t return in your favour. (Sometimes the landlord does’nt mind, but strata / laws restrict animals in a property.)

2. Try To Compromise 

There is a few of ways you could go about this:

  • Offer More Rent – By offering more rent to cover your pet, your landlord/ property manager may be more willing to compromise. Make it clear that you don’t mind paying a little bit more, if it means you get to keep your little room mate. This also gives financial peace of mind that any damage that the pet could potentially cause, is covered.
  • Suggest A Trial Period – See if they are willing to allow you a trial period of a few months, this way they can see if their are any problems, and you can make adjustments to the lease as required. (Be sure to document this in writing)
  • Commit To Clean – Although you are already obligated to clean up your property once your lease has ended, if may help to provide commitments to deep cleaning carpets and deodorising at the end of your agreement.

If you agree any of the above,  then get the agreed terms in writing with your property manager. By having everything in writing, you can refer to these documents later down the track if any confusion or dispute arises. Ask your property manager to draw up a separate Pet Agreement that outlines all terms and responsibilities from both parties.

3. Keep A Record

Make sure that you keep important documents such as, vaccination certificates, vet receipts and other pet paperwork, so that you can easily produce them if required. If you share these with your property manager, it shows that you are efficient and also a caring pet owner.

Note that sometimes, landlord want to know as much about each tenant as possible – including your pet. It is a good idea to keep a pet profile handy: this can include photos, breed, personality traits and important pet paperwork.

 

 

Our tip above all ?  Think Of Your Furry Friend

Make sure you take into consideration the space around you, and they type of pet you are looking to get/currently have. Do you have a backyard? Are you close to any parks? If there enough space in this home for a pet to live comfortably?

Your property search should not only be for you, but  for your pet too.

 

 

If you have any questions about renting with your pet, please give one of our friendly staff at Chidiac Realty, a call – we would love to help !

 

HOT TIP – Renting / How to negotiate for a long-term rental

In Australia, it is most common to enter a rental agreement for 6 or 12 months. Long term leases are not as common, but this does not mean they are hard to come by. At Chidiac we believe that long term leases are a great idea for renting in general. Longer leases are often a win-win for both the landlord and the tenants, as they offer more security for both parties.
Benefits for tenant:
  1.  Security of a place to live in – 6 – 12 months can pass in the blink of an eye. You finally settle in to a place, and before you know it, its time to move again. By getting a long term lease, tenants can get into a stable routine, and lifestyle, without having the thought of moving hanging over their head.

Benefits for landlord:

  1. Financial Security – These are financial investment for the landlord, so knowing that they have a tenant secured for a long period of time is a plus!
  2. Less Wear & Tear – With less tenants moving in and out, the property is less likely to injure a great amount of damage.

At the end of the day, getting a longer lease comes down to the tenants record. What does the landlord/ property agent want to see? – A good rental history, evidence of on-time payments and great references! If you have that down pat, then your next step is to ask.

 

How to ask?

How you approach the matter, also counts. Its a good idea to outline why you are a good tenant, in writing – and don’t be too demanding.

Applying for a long-term lease may be easier for tenants who have already rented in the same home for 6-12 months, as by this stage both parties are okay with the current arrangement.

If you are applying for a new rental, it is usual for it to be a 12-month lease to start,  just to see that everything’s is alright on both sides. After this the tenant can ask for a longer lease.

 

 

If you have any questions, or would like to know more about long-term leasing, then give one of our friendly team members a call.

 

HOT TIP – Renting / What Happens When You Need To Break Your Lease Early

When you sign up to lease a home, you are signing up to do so for a definite period of time. We know that life throws us curveballs and in some cases, you may have to break your lease and move somewhere else.
Unfortunately breaking a lease can have quite costly consequences, but we hope these following tips help minimise the expenses and stress. 

Give Notice

Make sure you always give written notice of your intent to leave. Out line your reasons for needing to break the lease and when you plan to move out.

 

What Are The Penalties?

Tenants who break a lease need to be aware of the costs involved and be prepared to pay them. Usually you are required to keep paying rent until a new tenant is found. This can sometimes include other owners expenses like, advertising fees and lease preparation fees.

 

Exceptional Circumstances

The rules for ending a lease very from state to state, but most residential tribunals allow for exceptional circumstances.  Exception circumstances can include death of a co-tenant, sickness, breach of contract and financial hardship.

A tribunal can decide in favour of the tenant, and in this case, the reletting fees may be waived.

Click the link below to read the details for  ending a tenancy in NSW –

 

If you have any question, feel free to give a call to discuss !

HOT TIP – Renting / How Do Bonds Work?

Whether you are looking for a home to rent, or looking for someone to rent out your home, it is important to understand the basics of a “bond”.

What Is A Bond?

A rental bond is form of security money, which is paid by the tenant before they move in, in case they breach their tenancy agreement. All bonds have to be lodged with Fair Trading.

Majority of the time,  tenants do the right thing and get their bond money back at the end of their tenancy. However, sometimes things get broken, or not taken care of – the bond money usually covers this.  There is cases though, where the bond does not cover the damage and rent owed by a tenant.

Landlords: If this risk concerns you, then consider taking out landlord insurance.

 

How Much Is the Bond?

The following excerpt is taken from the NSW fair trading website, as they have perfectly broken it down :

” While not compulsory, taking a rental bond is highly recommended unless there is a good reason not to.

Be aware that a rental bond:

  • cannot be an amount more than 4 weeks’ rent. This is paid at the start of the tenancy and applies to all NSW rental properties, whether furnished or unfurnished. Higher bonds cannot be charged for tenants with pets, children or for any other reason. Also, you cannot request or receive additional bond payments (‘top-ups’) during the tenancy.
  • must be in money, not in a form such as personal goods or a written guarantee from the tenant’s friends or relatives. The only exception is for Tenancy Guarantees issued by Housing NSW. These guarantees (of up to $1,000 over and above any bond paid) help those with a limited or poor rental history to rent a place in the private rental market.
  • does not need to be paid before signing the tenancy agreement. This includes applicants for the tenancy and those who have paid a holding fee. The tenant may decide to transfer the bond into a bank account before signing the tenancy agreement but they are not obliged to do so.
    • However, this does not prevent a landlord or real estate agent from requiring the tenant to provide evidence that the rental bond has been deposited with Fair Trading before the tenancy agreement is signed.
    • If the tenant is using Rental Bonds Online, they must lodge the bond with Fair Trading prior to the agreement being finalised.
  • is for the whole tenancy: if there is more than one tenant, you cannot take a separate bond from each of them.
  • can be paid in instalments if you as the landlord allow this. Learn more in the ‘Bond instalments’ section below. “

 

 

What Is ‘Rent In Advance’?

Rent in advance is different to a bond. At the beginning of the tenancy agreement, the tenant can be required to pay the first 2 weeks rent. This just means that the tenant is paying their rent in advance, and wont have to start paying their rent until two weeks have passed (since tenancy start date).

 

 

If your a tenant, your landlord or agent is meant to give you a bond form at the end of your tenancy. Alternatively, you can find it here:

http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/biz_res/ftweb/pdfs/About_us/Forms/claim_refund_bond.pdf

HOT TIP – Looking To Buy / How To Get Approved For A Home Loan

Here at Chidiac Realty we understand that planning or applying for a home loan can be pretty daunting stuff. Here are three solid tips to get you started on securing a home loan.

 

1.Have a strong saving plan

Most banks will require minimum (depending on the bank)  deposit in order to secure a home loan. Construct a budget that suits your life style which will enable you to begin saving for your home loan.

 

2. Proof of income

Collecting all of your financials upfront, will help demonstrate to lenders on wether you are a safe bet for a home loan. This can include, for example:

-Payslips

-Employment details

-Recent tax returns

 

3. Set a limit

Try to decide upon an amount which is financially viable and realistic for you within your budget.

 

Have anymore questions? Feel free to contact us for advice.

 

HOT TIP – Investment Properties / How To Get Started

1. Work Out Your Budget

Before investing in property it’s extremely important to have a thorough understanding of your finances. Start by listing out all of your assets and incomes, then work out your expenses.This will give you an idea of how much money you will be able to invest.

Next, head to your bank and ask them for a pre-approval of your investment loan – this way, you will know how much money you can barrow before you start hunting for properties.

(LOOK OUT:  When you budget, make sure you account for insurance fees, rates, and general repairs. )

 

2. Set Your Goal

What are you wanting to achieve? Are you looking for fast capital growth or are you wanting a property that you can hold long term? During boom periods, it’s much easier to renovate properties and turn them over for a quick profit. In slower economic times, it may take many years to achieve the same growth.

For you to achieve your goals, you must first work out what exactly those goals are, and set yourself a deadline in which you want to achieve said goals by.

Take the time to create a plan – break the plan up into 10 years, 5 years and one year and work from there !

 

3. Know Your Stuff

Use the tools available to you to make an informed decision.Talk to your local realestate agents, utilise the internet and ask family and friends who have already stepped into the investment property market.  Knowing the market can be key to making the right choice.

 

 

4. Buy In A Growing Area

Try to choose an investment property in an area that has growth. Choosing a place that has a strong demand for rental accommodation is key – think of places close to uni’s, shopping centres, schools and transportation.

 

5 . Buy With Your Head

Look for liveable – not luxury.  Always remember that a rental property only has to be clean, safe and functional.

Be sure you weigh up the pros and cons, as its easy to get caught up in feelings when hunting for a home. Try to see the bigger picture!

 

 

 

If you have any questions about investment properties, feel free to give one of our friendly team members a call!

HOT TIP – Selling Your Property / How To Find The Right Agent

When it comes to selling your home, finding and choosing the right real estate agent is a really big decision but it doesn’t have to be a difficult one. Here are our top 4 tips on how to choose the right agent for you.

1. Look & You Shall Find

Research is always your first step. Make sure you educate yourself on the roles of a good agent, and the different ways they can help you. Start looking at a few agents to see how they work – these days you can search the internet, ask friends or family who have sold properties before, and even drop in to your local agencies to research potential agents. There are many different real estate agencies to choose from but here at Chidiac Realty, we believe that your best off choosing agents in your local area. Why? Because the agent you choose is going to end up representing you and your property, so ’s important that the agent knows the area you’re selling in, knows what other properties for sale in the area, and what properties have recently sold.

2. See For Yourself

One of the best ways to see how your prospective agent preforms, is to go out and see them in action. Make time to go see how your agent prepares other open homes in your area – this can also be a good time to say hey!At these inspections you can take note of the way the agent interacts with potential buyers, their knowledge of the property and the way they present themselves. Is their style and approach to selling the property one you are comfortable with? Is their communication style one that you’re comfortable with?

 

3. Check The Results

Look at properties the agent has recently sold and compare results on sale prices, time on market etc. Taking note of which agents have sold properties will give you a better indication of which agents are doing well within your local area.

Visit popular listing sites to see what has sold in your area in the last six months and who’s what agents have been managing the properties.

It is also important to note that you should not just be choosing an agent based only on their commission rate. Take into consideration the agent’s experience, knowledge of the local area and the quality of their proposals.  Take the time to understand the different options available to you  – An agent who charges a commission to sell your property, and an agent that charges a fixed success fee, will both have different approaches to selling your property.

 

4. Ask Questions

Make sure that you are comfortable with the selling process before you go ahead  – if you are unsure, or don’t know, ask !

Likewise, once you have chosen your agent, do not hesitate to ask for feedback. Your agent should keep you updated throughout your sales process.

HOT TIP – Renting / Who Is Responsible For Repairs?

When you agree to rent a property, you agree to take on the responsibility of maintaining that property. Before you move in your landlord should ensure that your new rental is well repaired and suitable for you to live in.

 

Whilst you are living on the premises, you are responsible for maintaining it to a reasonable state. Naturally, everyday issues do arise, but you need to make sure you take action to keep the property clean and tidy. For example: Cleaning up spills as scuffs  soon as they happen, attending to mould (especially in older homes) and maintaining your outdoor garden so that pests arnt attracted.

During the tenancy most landlords are responsible for maintaining the rented premises to a reasonable state of repair. At all times tenants must take reasonable action to prevent any potential maintenance issues arising by keeping the premises clean and hygienic, for example: attending to spills immediately to prevent floor rot and to not invite pests or vermin, and often keeping the garden clean and tidy so pests aren’t attracted.

In most cases the landlord is responsible for all repairs to the building structure, including doors, windows, ceilings, roof, etc, however everything is clearly stated in your contract of lease (Tenancy Agreement).

 

Is it an ‘Emergency’?

Emergency repairs normally include the following:

  • Gas Leaks
  • Blocked Drains / Toilets
  • Leaking roofs
  • Burst Water Pipes
  • Flooding
  • Breakdown Of Essential Appliances (for hot water / cooking / heating)
  • Dangerous Electrical Faults
  • Serious Damage Causes By Natural Disasters ( storms, floods, hail)

If your situation is not listed above then is more than likely considered a routine repair. The Tenancy Agreement should include information about what to do in an emergency listed above and the details for your contact in an emergency situation. A good landlord/agent will have a an emergency contact list already prepared for you at the start of lease.

Do I Have To Pay?

If you are required at the time to pay for the emergency repairs, it’s often normal practice for the landlord or agent to pay you back. or pay the bill within seven days. Be sure to read your Tenancy Agreement when you move in  to make sure what is and isn’t clearly stated, and get clarification where needed. You must normally provide a copy of the invoice or receipt.

What If Its Not An Emergency?

This is considered to be a ‘routine repair’.

Any request for a repair should be in writing, so that both parties can reference if needed.  These requests are usually given a time period in which they will be completed.

If nothing develops, you as the tenant can then seek advice from the tribunal. The tribunal will make a decision based on your circumstances.

No matter what the circumstances, you are still legally bound to pay your rent. Failure to do so is a breach of your agreement.

 

But Most Importantly…

READ YOUR CONTRACT.

Although these may be the most common practices, not all contracts are the same. Make sure you read your agreement thoroughly and speak to your agent if you have any questions.