Tag Archives: Claremont

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.”




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.


Why it’s important to listen to what the market tells you

It’s no secret that the West Coast property market is experiencing one of its most challenging periods in recent years.

While markets in Sydney and Melbourne have continued to experience record growth and seemingly continued unmet spiralling demand, the market here has softened considerably in the wake of the resources slow down.

This has impacted not just sellers, but landlords also, who have been forced to readjust their expectations around expected return on their investment.

While at the height of the boom, landlords might have had the luxury of choosing between a plethora of competitive offers, these days, tenants have a lot more bargaining power.

Abel McGrath Property Manager, Samantha Withnell, says although the market is definitely tough in many respects, there are still ways landlords can ensure they get the best out of their investment property.

“Being realistic and listening to good advice is really the key to achieving a decent rental return in a quieter market,” Ms Withnell says.

She says landlords are in general more realistic and are also willing to listen to good quality advice.

“If we educate our landlords on the amount of rent they may lose by keeping their property advertised at the wrong price, they can usually see that the potential long term gain outweighs any short term loss,” Ms Withnell says.

She says although a reasonable rental rate is always imperative for landlords, it is equally important to secure the right tenant.

“Therefore we do find that our landlords are often open to renegotiating to ensure they hang on to or attract a quality tenant.”She says there are a number of ways landlords or investors can ensure a rental property stands out in a softer market.

“Having professional photographs taken for advertising purposes is essential in a competitive market.

“Ensuring the property is clean and tidy and the garden is well maintained, even if a property is vacant, is also extremely important.”

She says it’s also a good idea to look at the rental rate on comparable properties in the same area to give you a guide as to what to expect.

“However the rental rate should stay in line with the current market and it shouldn’t be necessary to reduce the rent below this.”

Ms Withnell says some landlords currently offer extras such as a week’s free rent or gift vouchers to entice good quality tenants and ensure their property stands out from the crowd.

“Enticements such as including pool or garden maintenance, or being a bit more flexible around the issue of pets, can all help to put your property ahead of its competitors.”

She says the Perth market appears to have stabilised at this point with minimal movement up or down expected in the next 12 months.

“And while we understand that in challenging economic times everyone is trying to save money where they can, ensuring you have a good property manager on your side will be far more beneficial in the long run”.

Why investing in advertising and marketing is crucial in todays market


hiWEB 302 a Flamborough Street Doubleview 37

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

Thinking of downsizing?


If you’re sick of weekends spent on the back end of a wheel barrow, yearning to sample the inner city lifestyle or you’ve finally watched your youngest child pack up for good, then chances are you have been debating the pros and cons of downsizing your living situation.

Moving from the family home into a smaller house or apartment means also downsizing your ‘stuff’ and for many this can be the hardest obstacle to overcome when changing your lifestyle.

Although it can seem daunting for many, downsizing your home and your belongings can be a liberating experience.

Abel McGrath property consultant, Kerry Shanahan, says aside from the physical task of downsizing furniture and belongings, there is also the mental drain that comes from cutting emotional ties to the family home.

“Every room is generally full of happy memories and even some of the most basic possessions are valued treasures to the potential downsizer because of the memories attached,” he says.

Mr Shanahan says the first task for those considering downsizing is to decide what sort of property will best suit their needs.

He says often potential buyers are not mentally ready to make a radical move from a sprawling family home to a lock up and leave apartment and should sometimes opt for a medium term move in the interim.

“On a number of occasions I’ve talked people out of apartments that I’ve been selling because I genuinely didn’t think they were ready to make such a radical move,” he says.

“The potential buyers agreed and instead opted for a townhouse with a small outdoor area as a better move in the downsizing process.

He says most downsizers have a suburb or general location they have in mind when they make the decision to downsize.

“Because in most instances they are deciding to move to a property of lesser value, they are looking at attributes such as proximity to family and friends, lifestyle, access to medical and shopping facilities and also public transport.”

Mr Shanahan says most downsizers are doing so because their dependents have left home, they are looking to free up capital, they have medical issues or because they want to move to a more easily manageable single level home.

“When moving from a larger family home to a more compact property, the most important elements you should consider are the size you would like, functionality and location.

“Unfortunately for Western Suburbs residents who want to remain in the area they have raised their families, there are a limited number of options available,” he says.

Council resistance to higher density in established areas and the prohibitively high cost of land in the Western Suburbs has only exacerbated the lack of supply of smaller houses and townhouses.

Mr Shanahan says with an ageing population a reality across Australia, demand is increasing for small blocks to accommodate smaller homes and townhouses for the downsizing population.

The recent success of the release of smaller blocks in suburbs like Mount Claremont, he says, is evidence of the growing demand.

“Once potential downsizers get over the emotional aspect of letting go of long held possessions and family heirlooms, most downsizers are more than happy once they have made the move,” he said.

Kerry Shanahan


The value of using your local agent?


There’s no denying the internet is a powerful tool when harnessed correctly.

In the quest for information, however, it can lead to the gathering of inaccurate information which can be potentially misleading.

It’s a great way to start when it comes to searching for the next home of your dreams, however it’s no replacement for a local agent with years of accumulated local know how.
Abel McGrath Property Consultant, Janet Barron, says that apart from the inaccuracy of some online photographs, written descriptions of properties online can be both highly subjective and clinical in nature.

“They can also lack the context which is often necessary to accurately portray the innate lifestyle features pertinent to a particular property,” she says.
According to recent statistics, more than 90 per cent of buyers use the Internet to search for their next home.

Many just use it as a research tool before hitting the road and attending home opens.
However, an increasing number of buyers, whether located offshore,
interstate, in remote areas or those who are simply time poor, rely on the internet as their sole research tool when looking to purchase property.

It may seem like an easy way to cut out the middle man, however, as many will attest, what you see online doesn’t always correlate with what you see for yourself first hand.

Ms Barron says that using a local agent to sell your home offers a multitude of benefits.

“Using a local agent who has invaluable local perspective and knowledge can lead to much greater success in terms of effectively marketing your property to real buyers who are looking for the attributes your property and the area offers,” she says.
Ms Barron states further that a local agent can quickly and effectively respond to queries regarding local services and amenities, including schools and intake boundaries and provide buyers with vital information necessary for them to make an
informed decision.

“A local agent with other listings in the area will also have a valuable data base of prospective buyers wishing to purchase locally and who can be contacted swiftly and easily,” she says.

“This can often be done prior to a home reaching the market which can result in an expedited sale with minimal associated marketing costs.”

She says that an out of area agent, with less local knowledge and experience, is only as informative as the generic information that he or she can glean from the sources of information available to the ordinary man in the street.

“They will not have the in-depth knowledge, perspective and
experience gained from living and/or working in the area that buyers depend on and deserve from their agent.

“Ms Barron says that she always explains to buyers and sellers alike, the value of obtaining and verifying important market information and local determinants for themselves and advises them to do their own research.

“Not only is this a worthwhile exercise, it encourages them to think outside the square and consider options previously either unknown or unconsidered by them.”

“I also urge them to view as many properties in the area as possible to gain their own points of reference. A good local agent will help them understand and appreciate the variability that exists in that particular market place.”

Ms Barron says that word of mouth and personal recommendations are often the best way of finding the right agent for you. She advises speaking to a number of local agents to discuss your needs, obtain market information and to properly consider your property options.

“In doing this, clients will not only obtain answers to many of their questions but determine which agent they would prefer to entrust with potentially their most valuable asset.”

Ms Barron says that it’s also important to check that your agent is a registered Real Estate Institute of Western Australia (REIWA) member which can be verified easily by phoning REIWA at any time or asking to see a current certificate of registration.

If you are looking to buy or sell, Janet would love to assist you with your real estate needs. Click below to discover her listings and how she can be of service to you:

Janet Barron