Moving To A New House? Be Prepared For Extra Costs

Whether you are planning to move from your existing dwelling into your own home or another rental, your head is probably already filled with dozens of things you need to do. There are all kinds of details to remember before the moving van arrives and forgetting any of them could mean that your move becomes a logistical disaster.

Establish a House Moving Budget

Chief among them is the cost, and unless this is known beforehand, and money set aside to cover it, your first experience in your new home could be the shock of an unexpected bill. To those of us who don’t manage money well, budgeting is boring, but when moving house, it is just as essential as advising everyone of your change of address.

As a real estate agency specialising in both sales and rentals, we have seen quite a few clients financially overstretched because they didn’t cost everything in advance. At Bunbury Real Estate, we are expert at helping people find properties that suit their life styles but we can only advise that moving can be expensive, and suggest they stick to a budget.

Sell Things you Don’t Want

The most effective way to get the most out of your moving dollar is to be aware of the hidden costs of moving and plan some strategies to avoid them. For example, don’t take things with you that you don’t want. Donate them, sell them online or have a garage sale. You will get some extra cash in hand, and you won’t be paying for the extra space to transport them, only to throw them out when unpacking.

Don’t Waste Money

Don’t buy anything new now but wait until you have moved in and lived in the property for a while. A bargain piece of furniture now may be a waste of money if it doesn’t fit when you move into your new abode. Also, if you have subscriptions such as pay TV, cancel them now and put the savings towards your moving expenses.

Do Your Own Cleaning

Most rental agreements require that you get carpets professionally cleaned before you leave. However, doing all the other cleaning yourself, including mowing the lawn and tidying the garden, will save you hundreds of dollars. Use this to offset the cost of professional movers, who are experts at packing and protecting your important pieces.

Move Outside of Peak Hour

Another suggestion is to plan the move outside of peak hour. If your removalists or truck rental company charge by the hour, sitting idly in a traffic gridlock is a waste of money. Also, make sure all your possessions are insured while in transit, especially if you are moving yourself. Traffic accidents are a fact of life, so make sure you are covered.

Confused About What Is Important When Inspecting Property?

If you are getting serious about buying property, you will be checking the internet for something in your price range, and considering the locations that best suit your needs. You may even have attended a few open homes and with many of them now staged to sell by professionals, you have come away confused about what is more important, the styling or the structure itself.

Don’t Be Fooled by Clever Styling

While styling will show a prospective buyer how to place their own furniture and accessories for maximum impact, it will not alert you to some of the more important and expensive issues you could overlook. A clever stylist knows how to draw the eye away from the least attractive parts of the property, so it is important to be aware of some of the potential pitfalls.

ID May Be Needed to Access an Open Home

Be prepared when attending an open home to provide identification. This is a security measure and many of our sellers ask us to do this. When we advertise open home inspections, we have a responsibility to the owners to take care of their property and possessions. At Bunbury Real Estate we take this seriously.

Be Practical – Look for Faults

If the property’s street appeal, overall size, number of rooms, amenities and car accommodation are what you are looking for, now is the time to be practical and look for obvious faults. Water leaks, for example, can be hard to spot, so check the cabinets in the wet areas for the smell of damp, or any signs of mould.

Unexpected Repairs Spoil the Enjoyment of the New Property

Bathroom and bedroom walls are another area where mould can build up, and often this just looks like a smudge on the paint work. Excessive mould should be cleaned professionally and the original cause investigated. It could be something that will need expensive repairs you were not expecting.

Check for sloping or bouncy floors that may mean stumps need replacing, and blisters or bubbles on paintwork that could indicate the presence of termites. Cracked walls may be evidence of subsidence. Building and pest inspections by experts will usually reveal the full extent of any rectification needed.

We sometimes have circumstances where a buyer is still keen on the property, and the seller is willing to adjust the price down to take account of repair costs.

Check the Location for Flood or Fire Risk

Be aware that even though the property and the location may look perfect now, it could be in a major flood area or even be a bushfire risk in the right climatic conditions. Buying property is a major financial commitment, so it is worth taking the time to check everything before deciding.

How to Get the Best Value From Your First Rental Property

Are you thinking seriously about buying your first investment property, or have you just purchased one and you are in that first flush of excitement? Residential property is still one of the most popular methods of building wealth in Australia. However, there are a few things you should be aware of to avoid making the most common landlord mistakes.

An Investment Property is not a Hobby

At first, many investors think of their property as a hobby or a side-bet against possible future insecurity. From day one, you must look at this property as a business. Take it seriously and access the right resources to support the large sum of money you have committed if you want the property to achieve its full potential.

Keep it Maintained

The next mistake, and a frequent one, is to skimp on repairs and maintenance. New landlords often try to build early cash flow by not replacing things like worn floor or window coverings, leaking taps or shabby bathrooms. Good tenants will pay a higher rental for a comfortable living environment, and maintenance increases the value of the asset.

Personal Relationships with Tenants

This can be a tricky one, especially if you intend letting to a relative or friend. If your relationship is a close one, your tenant may take advantage of it by falling into arrears with their rent, or objecting to a legitimate rent increase. Remember the earlier advice that an investment property is just like a business and you need to treat it as such.

Delegate Property Management to Professionals

There is a way to keep the tenants you know personally at arm’s length and that is to engage a property management agency. Looking after an investment property requires knowledge of tenancy laws and the ability to select quality tenants. Do-it-yourself landlords have high vacancy rates because they don’t have the professional systems in place to manage their properties effectively.
This is something we see first-hand all the time. Bunbury Real Estate employs experienced property managers who understand the tenancy legislation and know the local rental market. We have systems in place to reference check prospective tenants, advertise our rental properties to the widest possible market and do regular inspections. Our management fees are also tax deductible.

If You Don’t Have an Accountant, Get One!

Now that we have mentioned tax, you will get the best value out of your investment if you get a good accountant, preferably one who knows property. Accountants know the legitimate tax deductions applicable to investment properties, as well as the intricacies of negative gearing and depreciation.
Follow these few guidelines and you will enjoy owning an investment property so much that you will soon be buying another one.

Housing Market Recovery Attracts Buyers

As we are now halfway through 2017, the real estate picture in Western Australia is becoming much clearer. The experts are touting this as a transition year for the state, with most of the past reductions in housing prices now behind us. From an overall point of view, investors priced out of the market in the eastern states are looking here for opportunities. At the same time, local buyers are returning as confidence in the general economy also returns.

Low Prices Will Not Be Around Forever

If you have been sitting back looking at the market and wondering if you should step in or stay out, those who know the market well are advising to buy now, as prices will not stay at these levels for much longer. Whether you are a looking for a home to live in or for an investment property, the advice is to look for areas close to schools, transport, shopping and employment to get the best value for money.

Take Advantage of Incentives – They Won’t Be Around Forever

Prices are still low so housing is more affordable and interest rates remain at record lows. The First Home Owners Grant has been increased until the end of the year, and the income threshold for low deposit home loans has also increased, making it easier for first time buyers to enter the market.

Our Advice for First Home Buyers

This is all good news from our point of view as real estate agents. Here at Bunbury Real Estate we have done our best to assist our clients during the difficult times, and we are looking forward to doing the same in what we hope is a long-running, rising market. However, we do have some words of advice for new players, especially those looking for their first home to occupy.

While you are right to study the market in order to understand how it works, it is not the only thing you should be considering. If you were priced out of buying your dream home, but now it is within reach, there will be a certain amount of emotion involved in this search.

Be Clear About Why You Are Buying

Buying a home and buying an investment property are two different types of decisions. The investment property is a considered, calculated move to build wealth, while buying a home is putting down roots, establishing yourself in stable employment and perhaps preparing to start a family. It has a permanence about it that will most likely influence the type of property you are looking for.

Most people in the real estate industry believe that this is the right time to buy. With this opinion supported by market data, you should be asking, not about the market, but why are you buying? Once this is clear to you, we can help you find the right property for your needs.

Do Your Research to Get the Right Property

If you are a potential new investor who is looking at property as part of your emerging investment portfolio, you are in good company, especially if residential property is your target. This type of investment has never lost its appeal, continuing to prosper through recessions, growth periods and changes of government.

The worst mistake you could make at this point is to think of buying property as a short-term prospect. Building wealth through property is a medium- to longer-term prospect and, if done wisely, it is usually successful.

PO box Rental Return or Capital Gain?

As a new investor, you need to make an informed decision, and the best way to do this is to ask yourself several key questions. “Am I looking for rental return or capital gain?” This should be your first question, as the answer will determine the type of property you purchase.

High rental return will help you meet the mortgage payments, but may not give you capital gain. Capital gain will give you the equity to buy your second property, but if the property has a low rental return, you will need to contribute to the mortgage payments from your own income. Get a rental appraisal for  an accurate picture of the property’s potential.

PO box How is the Local Market Performing?

This is a question we are often asked by people looking to buy in our area. At Bunbury Real Estate, we pride ourselves at having up to date information about developments that will have an impact on local housing prices. We know how unemployment in the area, for example, will affect tenants’ ability to pay their rent. We know if there are any major projects being considered for areas that will bring growth and job opportunities. These are the type of issues that people look at when thinking about investing in any area, and we can help by being on top of housing prices at our location.

PO box Is There Much Competition?

This is another question we can help to answer for the new investor. An area that is saturated with investment properties, either family homes or apartment dwellings, reduces the likelihood of good rental returns. A first-timer may do better in an area where there is high demand for rentals and a shortage of suitable housing. A local agency like ours can pinpoint this much more accurately than one that is operating, for example, from interstate.

PO box The More Questions, the Better the Outcome

There are many other questions that a first-time investor should be asking of their accountant and mortgage broker, but those about the properties themselves are best asked to the local real estate agency. We always have time to answer any questions so when we sell a property, the buyer is happy with the outcome.

Thinking of Buying Property? Make Sure You Have Your Reasons Clear

Buying property is such a big financial commitment that most buyers think long and hard about the reasons for taking such a step. This is important because these reasons determine the borrowing strategy, the type of property they choose, and the location in which they purchase.

First-Home Buyer Trends

First-home buyers, for example, are usually on a limited budget and they are looking for a home or unit to occupy. If they are single and busy with work and social commitments, they are more likely to purchase a unit than a free-standing home. Usually they are not interested in spending their spare time tending gardens and doing maintenance.

Young Families Need Space

First-home buyers with a young family need more space and are more likely than the singles to opt for a three or four-bedroom home on a small block where children and pets have room to play. Of course, not every buyer is looking for their first home, so there are several other reasons for the ongoing popularity of real estate.

At Bunbury Real Estate, we see all kinds of people who are looking to buy property here for all kinds of reasons. Our professional sales team listens to their clients and are skilled at assessing their needs. We will not waste their time taking them to inspect properties that have none of the features they are looking for.

Second and Third Homes – Space Chasers, Carers, Down-sizers

In the non-first-home buyer category, we deal with people with a range of needs. Clients may want to owner-occupy their second or third house as their family grows. They may need space for an elderly family member who needs care, or for someone with a disability. We are seeing more older clients than ever who are down-sizing from the family home into a comfortable unit or apartment as they increase their social activities and retreat from the upkeep of a large property.

The Small Investor

We have not forgotten the investor in this review. Our region has many investment opportunities for sole investors, investment groups and SMSFs (self-managed superannuation funds). The residential property market is attractive to investors because of government tax incentives such as negative gearing, but it is not the only type of property to pique their interest.

The Tycoon

Experienced investors look at commercial and industrial properties that are showing a regular income from long-term tenants. They are usually more interested in steady cash flow over a longer timeframe than holding their investments for a short-term capital gain. Developers look for large parcels of land for subdivision, usually for housing, in long-term projects.

All Enquiries Welcome

The area at Bunbury serviced by our office has many opportunities for all types of purchasers and we welcome all enquiries and inspections.

Serious Buyers Are Like Gold – Make Their Decision An Easy One

Deciding to sell your property is always difficult, but if you are serious about attracting buyers, you must do several things to keep them interested in what you are offering. A serious seller must view everything from a buyer’s point of view and identify what is most likely to put them off a property and go elsewhere. This requires sellers to treat the event as a business transaction and keep their emotions in check.

We Know What Will Turn Buyers off an Inspection

Fortunately, we can help with this. After years of experience in handling property transactions, our staff members at Bunbury Real Estate have seen and heard almost everything to do with buying and selling real estate. We can spot what buyers will not like almost immediately, so we offer a few suggestions for sellers who are having trouble with the process.

Exterior Appearance Must be Attractive

The first thing that will keep buyers away is the overall appearance of the property. Everything must be clean and tidy, so make sure the lawns and gardens are well maintained. Wash the outside of the dwelling and paint anything that looks shabby. Remove any rubbish and clean out garages and sheds.

Clean and Tidy Inside with Everything Working

The inside must also be clean and tidy, and everything should be in working order. That means that air-conditioning units, ceiling fans, heaters, kitchen fixtures such as cooktops, ovens, range hoods, dishwashers, et cetera, must work if a curious buyer turns them on. There must be no leaking taps, toilets that don’t flush properly or other annoyances a seller may ignore that a buyer will not accept.

Get Rid of Those Awful Smells

Are there any unpleasant smells inside the dwelling? A seller who is also the occupant may not notice pet smells in the carpets or cigarette smoke in the curtains, but buyers will. Get them professionally cleaned, and make sure your pets are not present during an inspection.

Buyers Dislike Clutter – Clean it Out

It’s alright to be untidy and clutter up a dwelling when you are living there, but buyers want to see how much space is available and this is impossible to show if rooms are filled with your stuff. De-clutter down to the essentials, and if you don’t know how to do this, find someone to help you. It will be worth the effort.

Buyers Have a Budget – Don’t Annoy Them by Keeping the Price a Secret

Finally, listen to the advice of your agent about pricing the property. It is our job to know the market in the area, and we will recommend either a fixed price or a range to attract the right buyer. Properties that are listed on line without a price will be quickly scrolled through to get to the next desirable property.

Our role is to get you the best possible price for your property in the current market. Help us to help you by following these few simple instructions.

Finding Your Piece Of Paradise

We all have our own ideas about what constitutes the perfect living environment and what suits one person may be the last place in which someone else might want to live. With such a wide variety of real estate options available it would only be the most difficult buyer who could not find a place to call their own. Whether it be beachside, riverside, acreage, town or city living, high in the hills, in suburbia or off the beaten track, there is a property to suit everyone.

Variety is the Spice of Real Estate

It is this variety and the opportunity to meet and assist people from all walks of life that makes real estate such an exciting industry to work in. At Bunbury Real Estate our people are experienced in identifying the most desirable areas in which to live. While there will always be that unique person who wants something totally different from everyone else, there are a few attributes that most buyers want when they go house hunting.

The Modern Dream Now Peace and Quiet?

This is for a place to retreat from the responsibilities of work, to recharge the batteries and to seek out privacy from being switched on 24/7. Doing this in a peaceful environment while still having all the modern facilities is the dream.
We think there is no better place to fulfil this dream than Bunbury, but to find out for yourself, we have some suggestions for finding the right place for you. First, make a list of the things that are important to you in your daily life. For instance, do you want to live close to water, to have views from your home, to have facilities close by or are you prepared to forego convenience for privacy and a natural environment?

Ask Yourself the Hard Questions

Are you prepared to drive a reasonable distance to get to work? Do you want neighbours close at hand, or would like to put some space between your property and the one next door? Do you want to spend your leisure time at a frenetic pace, or are you ready to chill out and wind down?

Don’t Settle for Less

No one can answer these questions for you. You must make your own decisions about what you want. If you allow yourself to be pressurise into buying a property in an area that does not meet your most important criteria, you will not be happy there, and the very things you were seeking will escape you.
There is something for everyone in Bunbury and if you want to spend time with us to find your ideal property, we will find a suburb or location that ticks your most important boxes.

Looking To Buy An Apartment? Here’s Some Good Advice

Buying property is a major financial commitment, so it is surprising that many people start the search for their ideal home without having made some important decisions beforehand. How it will be financed, the size of the deposit, the location, desired features, whether it will be a free standing property or an apartment are all decisions that should be driving the search process.

What is a Strata Title?

If the choice is made to buy an apartment, buyers unfamiliar with the concept of strata title should seek out knowledge about this type of ownership. The best decisions are informed ones so people looking at just the advantages of group living should also consider any disadvantages, to ensure that they are happy with the final choice.

Know What You Want Before You Start Looking

Apartment living suits many people for a range of reasons, but before rushing off to buy the first one you see, take some advice from our experienced sales people at Bunbury Real Estate. Make a list of the things you absolutely must have in an apartment, the things that would be nice but are not essential, and most important, what you definitely don’t want.

This helps everyone involved to focus on the target and reduces the frustration buyers feel when inexperienced selling agents take them to properties that are never going to be suitable. Having said that, also consider the possibility that the perfect apartment may not be available right where you want to live.

Can you Compromise to Get What You Want?

To prepare yourself for this eventuality there are a couple of strategies to consider. Realise that you may have to compromise. Look through your list of absolute musts to see if there are a couple of things you could live without. At the same time, go through the things you don’t want and imagine what it would be like if you had to live with one of them. It might not be so bad, and could give you the keys to everything else you desire.

Great Apartment – Poor Management. Is this a Problem?

Ask questions about the strata management of the building. This is important but is often overlooked by over-eager buyers. The apartment might look perfect and have everything you want, but if the complex itself is poorly managed, there could be problems maintaining and using the common areas, or financial issues with the Council.

Inspect the common areas as well as the apartment itself, because once you have purchased, you are also a part owner of these. Is the pool clean, are the parking areas marked, does the fencing need attention, have the lawns and gardens been maintained, are the stairwells and lifts clean?

Be Informed and Enjoy the Chase

We can help you find your perfect apartment, but if you are well informed and clear about what you want, you will enjoy the searching process just as much as finally moving in.

Buying? Selling? Or Both?

There are many reasons for making the decision to move home.

Growing families, empty nesters, different job or a transfer, fresh start, desiring a sea or bush change, or wanting a challenge are all good reasons for making a move like this.

Whatever your reasons, you may be in a position where you need to sell your old home first before you can buy elsewhere. But if you sell your home before you find somewhere else, what do you do in the interim? So many questions and not any hard and fast answers.

Bunbury Real Estate know exactly how you might feel in this situation. We have put together some thoughts and tips that may help you decide what is best for you.

Do Your Homework

When you get serious about making the move it is important to scope out what is happening in the area where you currently live and the area you want to live in.

What are homes selling for in these areas? What can you get for your home? How much can you afford to spend on your new home? Should you consider renting your home for a while or will the bank loan you money for two mortgages if it comes to that? Can you arrange a simultaneous settlement? What are the markets like in these areas?

Buyer’s Market

If the area you are living in now is experiencing what they call a buyer’s market then it is important to have your home market ready. This will mean catching up on all those maintenance jobs you have, cleaning up the yard and maybe adding that coat of paint you have been planning.

This is an ideal time to pack away your collection of AFL memorabilia, to tidy up your crafting area and to get rid of all those toys the children don’t play with anymore. In fact, sell or give away anything you don’t want and pack away all your worldly possessions as prospective buyers prefer to see a home free of clutter.

Seller’s Market

A seller’s market usually means that as soon as your property is on the market it will be snapped up straight away.

This does not mean you should not do what you would do in a buyer’s market though, as you really want to get top dollar for your property as you may have to buy in a seller’s market yourself.