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Investing? Here is what you need to consider!

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Whilst it’s great to listen to the advice of others, and we certainly recommend you do (from the right people – we’ll delve into this a little further on), it’s also really important to remember that no two experiences are ever the same. You may have a friend who had an absolutely woeful experience, for any number of reasons, and, on the opposite end of the spectrum, you may have a friend who says investing in property was the best thing they ever did.

In order to set your expectations and avoid disappointment, we say it’s best to assess the prospect of investing with a clear, open mind and make your decision from a more factual perspective.

Rule #1  – Finance

Before considering purchasing an investment property, it’s important to make sure you’re financially in a position to do so. If it turns out that you’re not quite there yet, have a clear and achievable plan in place to get you there. Many people underestimate the value of a good broker, similarly, many people don’t realise that the structure of a loan can vary vastly depending on circumstances so it’s important to do your research and find yourself a broker who is well versed in investment loans, construction loans and debt consolidation.

Rule #2 – Research, research, research

If you’re not tech savvy – start learning or align yourself with someone who is! It is ridiculously easy to monitor the market with no more than the click of a button. It’s also really important to align yourself with a Real Estate professional, someone who is experienced and transparent who will be able to point out the pro’s and con’s of a particular suburb or property. If you’re looking at building or purchasing off the plan, a depreciation schedule never goes astray.

Rule #3 – There is no such thing as the “perfect time”

In an ideal world, we would all own our first home at a young age and be on to our second soon after. Whether you’re barely of legal drinking age in the USA or you’re a little more mature (like a fine wine), we all have to start somewhere and it’s never too late. Don’t let age or the residual pain from prior choices which may have been less than advantageous stop you from investing if your finances stack up and you’ve done your research.

Rule #4 – Be Prepared!

It’s easy to underestimate the level of time and attention which goes into having a property portfolio. Even if you have one investment property and you’ve engaged a phenomenal Property Manager, you need to be clear on the following:

  1. Have a firm understanding of the potential expenses you as the landlord could incur and be held responsible for
  2. Be prepared for an economic down turn – if you were no longer able to achieve X amount in rent, could you afford the repayments at a lower rate and hang in there until things pick up?
  3. Whilst your Property Manager (if they’re doing their job properly) will qualify prospective tenants before discussing applications with you, at the end of the day it is your decision when it comes to who will be living in your home and you need to be armed with the right information to make the right decision
  4. If you’re not already doing so, be prepared to roll up your sleeves and become active in your financial health. Keep up to date with interest rates and policy changes for investment loans
  5. Be prepared to constantly monitor the market, not just overall, but keep your finger on the pulse in the suburb in which your investment property is located. The last thing you would want to do is miss out on a prime time to liquidate an asset in your own suburb because the media tells you the market is performing poorly in general. A good example is a suburb located in Perth’s North Eastern corridor which will be on the receiving end a train line – it’ll be great for the suburb overall but how easy to sell is it going to be for the properties which will directly back on to said train line once it’s up and running? Knowing when to call it quits while you’re ahead is just as important as being patient enough to play the long game!

Rule #5 – Protect Yourself

An investment property is just that – an investment! It’s also one of the biggest assets you will ever own. It is for this reason that it is imperative to protect not only your asset, but yourself. The first step is engaging a Property Manager to not only effectively manage your asset on a day to day basis, but also, to adequately market the property to ensure you receive the best possible rent return and a high quality, qualified tenant. The second step is taking out a Landlord Insurance policy, you wouldn’t purchase a car without taking out insurance and Landlord Insurance is no different, it’s all about mitigating your losses in the event that things don’t go according to plan.

Rule #6 – No Risk, No Reward

Unless you win the lottery, you won’t get to where you want to be until you jump in and start making moves. Doing your research and aligning yourself with trusted professionals is key but none of this matters or means anything until you just do it. Every great financial reward or game of monopoly involves an element of risk!

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Expert tips for a knockout home open

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Often those contemplating selling or putting their property up for lease find the whole process particularly daunting.

 Aside from the financial implications and the seemingly endless paperwork and conditions that must be met, there’s the practical side of actually ensuring you’re home puts its best face forward to achieve the highest possible price.

Despite advancing technology and the increasing reliance on the internet, home opens remain an important part of the leasing and selling process.

 It may seem daunting preparing for your first home open, however it doesn’t have to be, according to Abel McGrath Property Manager, Jessica Bertocchi.

 “It’s an important part of both the leasing and selling process and there are a few key steps you can take to make the whole process that much easier and ensure you’re showing your property in the best possible light,” she says.

 Ms Bertocchi says, in today’s more subdued rental market, home opens are even more important than they were when the market was booming.

 She says advancing technology has also had an impact on how properties are marketed.

 “The internet means that prospective tenants have access to home open dates, times and locations in the palm of their hand without even having to ring the agent to find out the details,” she says.

 She says first impressions remain vital as they give a prospective tenant an insight into what the interior of the home might look like.

 “Having lawns mowed and green with no weeds in garden beds is going to give people a better feel about the home and could essentially mean the difference between applying for the property or not.”

 “Fixing broken items, getting a thorough clean done and adding a lick of paint, will all help your property to stick out from the crowd.

 “It’s not necessary to spend a lot of money on renovations but you should present a home in the condition you would expect or like to live in,” Ms Bertocchi adds.

She says staging for some high end properties can really assist prospective buyers or tenants to visualise how a property could look and decluttering is always an essential to avoid a home looking cluttered and messy.

 “Personal items should be stored away or removed prior to marketing and it’s a good idea to remove pets from properties to give those looking the opportunity to look around without being restricted,” Ms Bertocchi says.

In terms of timing, she says close to the close of business works for many of those looking for new properties who may be working full time and whose time is limited especially those in the market for a rental property.

 “And remember to listen to any feedback from the agent or property manager about your property.

 “This is very important so that the owner is aware of what people are looking for in properties and can modify or make changes accordingly.

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When is the right time to downsize and what do I really need to consider?

Eventually, those of us who are getting on in years will all need to downsize in some capacity.

Whether it’s the camaraderie of a ‘lifestyle’ village you’re after or just a small townhouse on the coast, at some stage in life the demands of a large family home seem to get the better of most of us.

Abel McGrath Property Consultant, Genevieve Carrier, says there are certain signs the time may have come to downsize and differing levels of expectation of those who choose to do so.

“With good advice the transition can be fairly simple,” she says.

“It’s all about mapping out what your future needs are.”

The key to successful downsizing, says Ms Carrier, is advance planning and an honest assessment of your needs and goals.

“Some of the signs that you’re ready to downsize maybe that your adult children have already flown the coup and you are faced with a home with unused rooms and continual maintenance and cleaning that may become an overwhelming burden.

“The desire to travel and move on can also be key factors in most people’s decision to downsize their responsibilities.”

When downsizing your principal place of residence, the thought of what to do and how to do it in today’s property market can often be daunting.

She says it’s important to thoroughly understand your reasons for selling and take into account some important considerations.

“Realistically considering what your home is worth in today’s market and looking at what the real costs of downsizing might be are a good place to start.”

Ms Carrier says one of the biggest hurdles downsizers need to overcome is letting go of once treasured and prized belongings.

“This process can be a difficult and particularly emotional task for those who are faced with downsizing the things they may have lived with for decades,” she says.

Her advice is to start culling early – well before the ink is dry on your new compact home, villa or townhouse.

“Take stock of what’s really important to you and what you really could live without.

“Ask yourself when was the last time you actually used it and what purpose does it serve,” she adds.

As far as downsizing options go, Ms Carrier says it’s important to consider options such as access to transport, leisure facilities and the public amenities close by.

She says it’s wise to choose an area that allows you to spend more time in community spaces with friends and family and to make sure that there are restaurants and cafes nearby that will add rather than detract from your lifestyle.

Above all, Ms Carrier says, the key is to do your homework first.

“It is a big decision that needs to consider a number of factors however with the right plan in place and the right team helping you through the process you can make the transition smoothly and successfully.”

What makes a good property manager stand out from the crowd?

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For every great property manager diligently looking after their clients’ valuable investments and ensuring good tenants are well looked after, there are unfortunately stories out there of those who are failing to do their job.

A great property manager who understands the industry and what the job actually entails can make the difference between a good investment and a bad one, and help property owners make the most of their return on investment.

It’s a job that requires plenty of interpersonal skills and a sound knowledge of the industry in which they operate according to Abel McGrath Head of Property Management, Kate Jones.

“It’s often what investors don’t see going on behind the scenes that separates really good property managers from the rest of the crowd,” explains Ms Jones.

“Outstanding communication skills, attention to detail, honesty and knowledge of the relevant legislation and local area are among the most important traits to look for in a good property manager.”

She says when seeking out a good property manager to look after your investment, talking to friends and family is a great place to start.

“Back this up with some online research about listings and the agency itself and then meet with a short list of contenders to find the best agency to meet your needs,” Ms Jones says.

“Use it as an opportunity to ask lots of questions and select an agency that is innovative and planning for the future in terms of your property and the industry’s needs.”

A good property manager will also need to multitask while remaining focused on attention to detail.

Ms Jones says although the industry tends to be dominated by women who tend to bring that detail oriented approach and a certain level of care to the role, both men and women bring equally valuable skills to the table.

She says regardless of gender, one of the most fundamental qualities a good property manager should possess is the ability to communicate clearly and concisely.

“Equally important is the ability to listen to the requirements of your clients and to remain solutions focused,” Ms Jones adds.

Ms Jones says although property managers are employed to work in the best interests of property owners, it’s important to set a good relationship base with all parties in the first instance.

“This will help in times where you may need to negotiate or come up with solutions that best facilitate a resolution.”

She says it’s also important to keep pace with legislative changes and industry movements.

“If a property manager isn’t constantly up to speed with this, it con open up the landlord and the agency to the potential of fines and litigation.”

Ms Jones says good conflict resolution skills are vital for property managers dealing with a variety of clients and stakeholders.

“It’s important to be able to listen and to acknowledge people’s feelings and emotions regardless of whether they are a landlord or tenant.”

Bond inspections, she says, can often be a point where potential conflict may arise.

“Sometimes it can take someone slightly removed from the situation to state the facts as they are and to arrive at a reasonable conclusion,” Ms Jones adds.

“Being open and honest in terms of communication is therefore key, as is an ability to diffuse potentially volatile situations and reduce stress for all involved.”

Kate Jones

The biggest mistakes vendors can make when selling their home

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Selling potentially your most valuable asset can often be a complex process.

Notwithstanding the emotional stress and pressure the sale of a house can involve, there are legal issues to wade through, fees, settlement agents and legislation to navigate during the course of an average sale.

And whether you’re a seasoned property flipper or it’s your first time at the helm, there are pitfalls that can arise along the way.

However there are a number of simple and fairly straightforward ways to ensure you don’t end up making common and costly mistakes according to Abel McGrath Property Consultant, Janet Barron.

Choose the right agent for you
Ms Barron says choosing the most appropriate agent can be one of the most difficult hurdles when selling your home.

“It’s not always easy or straightforward and everyone has, sadly, heard tales of dissatisfaction in this respect,” Ms Barron says.

“What you should look for are trust and competency and that means selecting someone who is both transparent and respectful in their dealings and who has good market knowledge and effective communication and negotiation skills.”

Pricing is key
Pricing your home too high or too low can also be one of a seller’s biggest mistakes when heading to market. It’s just as important not to over-price as it is to under-price.

“Pitching your property at a level that is going to attract maximum buyer interest and that is realistic in terms of the prevailing market is crucial to a successful and timely sales campaign,” Ms Barron explains.

“Under-pricing puts vendors at risk of losing huge sums of money especially if your agent doesn’t have the requisite negotiating skills. Over-pricing can be a major deterrent to potential buyers and is equally as dangerous”.

Go in prepared
Lack of preparation heading into a marketing campaign is another common problem for buyers gearing up to sell.

“Although price is obviously key, preparation and presentation for a successful sale are really important factors. Over 90% of buyers utilise digital media when seeking a home to purchase”.

“The time taken and effort expended to make your property stand out amongst a multitude of competing properties on the market, therefore, cannot be underestimated.”

Don’t cut costs in a tightening market
Ms Barron says there is definitely a temptation for some buyers to scrimp on costs in a tightening market.

“It’s been a long time since Perth has seen a property market such as the one that exists now,” she says.

“The quality of your advertising and marketing campaign is critical in attracting maximal buyer enquiry although this need not necessarily be an expensive exercise.”
“A competent and caring agent can be invaluable in providing astute advice and guidance in this area.”

Don’t wait for the perfect time
Another common mistake vendors make is to wait around for perfect market conditions.

“None of us has a crystal ball in relation to the market. To put it simply, the very best time to sell your home is when it is right for your individual circumstances.”

Early offers can sometimes be the best
“On balance it’s widely accepted that early and first offers are often the best. The interest level in your home will never be higher than in those first few weeks of going to market.”

“Vendors should think very carefully before holding out for a higher offer in these circumstances.”

Janet Barron

Why investing in advertising and marketing is crucial in todays market

 

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The Perth market has softened considerably since its mining boom highs when it achieved record growth and was regularly outpacing markets across the country.

Complacency may have crept in on the part of some homeowners and agents alike who could virtually hammer in a sign and wait for the offers to come.

However the story today is a very different one.

With signs of a solid recovery still a while off, vendors and homebuyers have both had to alter their expectations to meet the current market.

In a tighter market, where higher prices are not as easily achieved, some vendors fall into the trap of saving on costs by pulling back on their spend on advertising and marketing.

However, Abel McGrath property consultant, Richard Clucas, it should be quite the opposite.

“Marketing and advertising should be seen as a personal investment into the sale of what is quite possibly is their largest asset,” Mr Clucas advises.

He says each campaign should be customized to suit the needs of the property and the selling party.

“The number of people who know about the home is directly proportionate to the number of people who have been through it,” he says.

“Unfortunately, secrets can’t be sold!”

Mr Clucas says it’s not necessarily all about the amount of money you spend, but more so about how it is spent in order to get the best result.

He says some of the key aspects to invest in are home styling – especially if a home is vacant – professional photos, a floor plan, prominent signboard and priority status on each of the major real estate websites.

“We know, as agents, that there are specific groups of people we need to target to get the best results.

“The key items listed may not reach out to each and every one of these groups but it is a bare minimum in terms of investment in advertising and marketing.”

Mr Clucas says that knowing the demographics of the area in which you are selling is key to justify your choice of particular marketing tools.

“The guidance and advice of the agent should be taken into account as they have the knowledge and experience

“However at the end of the day it is up to the seller as to how much they are willing to invest,” he says.

He says when looking at different methods of advertising, such as online versus newspaper, it boils down to the readership of the paper and its reach and also the demographic of the target audience you are trying to reach.

“Certainly online advertising is the primary browsing platform for many people these days,” he explains.

“But certainly other marketing methods play a pivotal role also in achieving a home’s maximum potential by attracting not just active buyers but passive buyers and other groups also.”

Richard Clucas

Styling and Presentation – tips to sell faster

 

You’ve finally made the all-important decision to put your home on the market and you’d like to sell it for the best possible price.

If you’re not willing – or able – to invest thousands of dollars in renovations to ensure it is in the best possible shape to head to market, styling and presentation are your best tools to add some zeroes to your sale price.

Your property is generally one in a long list of homes that prospective buyers will see therefore it is crucial that they see your home in the best possible light.
The old adage that ‘first impressions last’ may not be a new one but nothing could be truer when it comes to the sale of your home.

Abel McGrath property consultant, Jason Goncalves, says there are plenty of relatively low cost ways of ensuring your home puts its best face forward.
“Styling can play a major part in the overall success of a selling campaign,” Mr Goncalves says.

“Making the decision easy for buyers to fall in love with your home is one of the most effective strategies to get your property sold.”

He says styling your home in a visually enticing manner provides those who may not perhaps be as design savvy with an insight into how they might best utilise the space in ways they may not have imagined.

“It provides them with inspiration and gives them answers as to how best to maximise the home’s different spaces.”

Mr Goncalves says employing a professional stylist can be an expensive exercise depending on the size of the home and the client’s particular financial situation versus the anticipated sale price.

He says for those who can’t afford to go that extra mile there are a multitude of online resources, blogs and articles out there that will help them hone their skills and give their home a modern, contemporary feel.

“There are also many inexpensive stores out there stocking a vast range of contemporary décor items which are both cost effective and on trend.” Decluttering, he says, will help a vendor showcase the maximum size and potential of a home and will help a potential purchaser better envision themselves living there.

“Personal photos should also be removed prior to photography and home opens to protect the privacy of the seller,” he adds.

He says vendors should never under estimate the importance of ‘street appeal’ and making a great first impression, day or night.

“Life is so busy for most of us these days, most serious buyers will do a drive by first to ascertain if they wish to commit to attending a home open.

“It’s absolutely crucial that the property is ‘ready to go’ in terms of presentation when it becomes live on the online portals. Appealing exterior lighting showcasing the home at night will also assist in attracting those driving by, well before the first scheduled home open.”

Neat gardens and freshly mowed lawns are also a must, inviting prospective buyers in and welcoming them up to the front door.

“Extra little things like planting colourful annuals and freshly mulching the gardens can also add to the overall appeal of the home.”

He also cites styling your home both inside and out so that potential buyers can envision a lifestyle there, as important in terms of drawing them in and making a positive impression.

“A well-presented, high quality finished property with artistic furnishings combined with a creative marketing strategy that fits the home in question is a great recipe for creating an enticing ‘lifestyle statement’.”

Jason 2.0