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Resolving Common Rental dilemmas

hiWEB Abel McGrath Claremont Office (17)While renting can offer tenants a certain degree of flexibility and freedom that home ownership does not in some ways, it doesn’t come without its accompanying downside.

Although in the vast majority of cases, tenants and landlords – and the property managers who manage the relationship between the two – things go smoothly on both sides of the equation, there are times when disputes arise, says Abel McGrath Property Manager, Kate Jones.

She said one of the key elements of a good Property Manager’s role is managing disputes and potential disputes before they escalate and ensuring they are resolved swiftly and to the satisfaction of both parties where possible.

Ms Jones said by far the most common cause of disputes was when it came time for the bond to be returned (or not) and often focused on issues regarding property maintenance and care and the condition in which the property was left.

She said with the current market tending to favour the tenants, with lower competition for rental properties across most Perth suburbs, complaints were on the rise with both parties.

“The downturn in the market has certainly added pressure to lessors when tenants request that maintenance be done,” she said.

“However, at times the lessors feel that the returns they are getting on their investment are not consistent with the rental income.”

Ms Jones said it is often when disputes arise between the parties that both sides realise the value of having a good property manager.

“The advantage of having a good property manager is that they will ensure all of the documentation relating to the tenancy and the property is completed in an orderly fashion to avoid conjecture.

“An effective property manager will also be able to negotiate between the two parties and mitigate any potential disputes without acting on responses irrationally or in an emotional manner so that it doesn’t need to escalate any further.”

She said a good property manager needed firstly to have the ability to listen.

“This will help them negotiate a fair solution, mediate a reasonable ground and uphold professional business standards throughout the dispute,” Ms Jones added.

She said tenants always have the option to seek further advice from the Department of Commerce as does the lessor, should they feel that an agent or property manager was acting unfairly or not in line with the Residential Tenancy Agreement.

“Having a recommended Property Manager should give the client some confidence that the recommendation is based on the experience and the rapport they had with that Property Manager or with the agency,” Ms Jones said.

“This should also be consistent with having proper office procedures to ensure that we as Property Managers are acting in line with the Real Estate Business Act.”

She said acting on problems in a timely manner was also important as it ensured accuracy of administrative records and processes.

“It’s also recommended that tenants and lessors alike understand the terms of the Lease Agreement including any special conditions that will reduce the likelihood of conflict arising and of the potential for misunderstanding.”

 

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Can a great garden really boost the sale price of your home?

Everyone knows the importance of first impressions, especially when it comes to real estate.

It has often been said that a garden makes a house a home, so never underestimate the importance of outdoor areas when it comes to selling.

Make a bad one and you’ve lost a buyer immediately, however a positive first look can pave the way for a quick and easy sale and potentially add thousands to the price of your home.

You don’t necessarily need a garden worthy of the Chelsea Flower Show, according to Abel McGrath Property Consultant Genevieve Carrier, however landscaping is the first thing that potential buyers see, so it’s well worth investing in ‘greening up’ your outdoors if you’re thinking of heading to sale.

Ms Carrier says it may sound obvious but street appeal is still extremely important so getting your garden in order should be a top priority.

“Research has shown that lifestyle changes and work commitments have meant the allure of a large garden may not be what it once was,

“While buyers like having plenty of outdoor space, they don’t always relish a garden that requires a lot of maintenance,” Ms Carrier says.

“Prospective home owners might gaze admiringly at your borders, lawns and trimmed hedges, but they’ll also be mentally toting up the man-hours.

“It’s safe to assume that for most buyers, a house with a garden is more attractive than one without, as long as it comes with an equally attractive reticulation system.”
She says although a good looking garden is important, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on expensive landscaping – it can be as simple as pruning, weeding and putting some top-up mulch on your garden beds and mowing the lawn.

Ms Carrier says the importance placed on gardens and outdoor areas can also be swayed by location.

“If you’re close to parklands or minutes to then each, then the outdoor areas and gardens become less of a necessity,” she adds.

“However, if you are a significant distance from attractive parklands or nature reserves then the outdoor areas and gardens will become of prime importance.”

Here are some expert tips on preparing gardens and outdoor areas for sale:

  • You don’t have to spend a fortune – it’s advisable to improve on an established garden rather than putting in a brand new one.
  • If you need to add to the garden, choose plants that complement the style of your home.
  • Plant some potted bloomers for instant cheer and choose some plants with a bit of fragrance particularly at the entrance.
  • Fix any broken or rusted garden lights or fixtures in the garden
  • Mend fences, make sure gates are fixed and in working order so the home doesn’t appear neglected – prying open a garden gate in front of buyers does not look good and these are important things that buyers look at.
  • Ensure that any uneven brick paving is fixed and driveways and paved areas are cleaned with a high pressure hose
  • Invest in some good outdoor lighting so the yard looks as good at night as it does during the day and consider spot or strip lighting or illuminated water features.

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