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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.

HOT TIP – Applying For Rentals / With No Rental History

So you want to start renting, but the only problem is you don’t have any rental history. It’s like when you apply for a job, and they ask for job experience, yet you cant get job experience without a job? Now we arn’t saying these next tips will help you secure that job you’ve been wanting, but here at Chidiac Realty, we believe that they will certainly give your rental application some credibility.

Here are our hot tips on securing a rental lease if you’ve never had one before.

1. Prepare your papers

The first step is getting yourself, and your flat mates, organised. Organise all of your paperwork in advance, as the rental process moves fast! Payslips, identification, payslips and a list of references is a must.

 

 

2. Round up your references

Now as its your first time renting, you wont have a referral from another landlord or agent – but not to worry. Agents understand that everyone has to take that first step at some point. Ask a current or previous employer for a reference, or even ask a friend or family member to go guarantor. This means they will be responsible for paying the rent if you miss your payments.

 

3. Heard of “First impressions always count”?

Either you, or one of your future housemates, should attend the property inspection. It is important to be on time, and dressed presentably. This is the first impression the real estate agent will have of you.

 

4. Show your income and regular repayments

Include as much information as possible about where your get your income from and how often you get paid. This is crucial information for a landlord or agent – the more consistant your payments are, the better you stand out from the crowd.

Perhaps you have you have paid off an item on a payment plan? If so, this is great proof or regular repayments.

Note: Offering to set up a direct debit shows willingness and commitment to pay rent on time – this is a plus!

 

5. Follow up with a phone call

If you haven’t heard anything back for a couple of days, follow up your application with a friendly phone call.  Without being pushy, let your agent know that your really interested in the property and see if they would like any more information from you.

HOT TIP – Selling Your Property / Property Presentation

Are you selling your property? Here at Chidiac Realty we believe an appealing presentation plays a major role in selling your property. From the moment it goes onto the market your property should looks its best – here are  6 of our top tips !

 

1.Lighten up your space: Make your space look and feel bigger by taking advantage of  light. Bright lights, open doors and windows, and mirrors help increase a sense of space.

2. De-clutter: Another way to make a room look larger? – Less clutter.  On another note, the less clutter you have, the more your prospective buyer is able to imagine their own belongings in the property, making the property more appealing.

3. First Impressions: Make sure the front / entrance of your property looks inviting  – after all this is the first area buyers will see. Tidy up your garden, and try some blooming flowers or nice pot plants to spruce up the scene.

4. Make It Cosy:  Make your house feel like a home by creating warmth. If your home suits the temperature of the day, then prospective buyers are more likely to connect with your space. If it’s a hot day turn on your aircon and open some windows, and if its cold outside, light some candles and turn on a heater. You may also want to hire furniture or accessories to create a desired look.

5. Pets: Clean up after your pets. If possible, try to remove your pet from the property during the times of inspection.

6. Clean The Air : Speaking of pets, sometimes their scent can linger around the house. Get rid of bad smells like smoke and pet odours buying opening up the windows, and airing the house out for a hour before the inspection. Fresh flowers and burning candles may also help freshen the air.

 

HOT TIP – Ending Your Lease

Are you getting ready to vacate your property? Here at Chidiac Realty we know that moving house means you have a lot on your plate. Its our job to remind you about the little things that sometimes get overlooked. Check out these three tips to help ensure your move goes as smoothly as possible.

1. Mail Redirection – head down to your local post office to ensure that all of you mail is re-directed to your new address. Australia Post offers a quick-to-fill form that can assist you with this.

 

2. Utilities – Phone, electricity, wifi etc. Calling your providers and letting them know about your move, ensures all accounts are cancelled accordingly – saving you stress (sometimes) urgent connection/disconnection fees at the time of your move.

 

3. Keys – Its more then likely that you were handed a bunch of keys before to your rental. House kets, garage door keys, keys you never use but have siting a drawer? Save yourself time and hassle by organising all of these keys onto one keychain before you move. Loss of keys always require a replacement fee!