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.

Don’t Let Your Unoccupied Property Drain Your Finances

If you have one or more investment properties, it is vital that you keep the vacancy rates as low as possible, given the locations and local market conditions. An unoccupied property is a drain on the financial resources of the owner, is more likely to be vandalised and becomes an insurance issue after a specified period.

Getting a Property Leased Quickly Needs Several Approaches

Finding quality tenants quickly in any kind of market is not something that can be achieved with only one strategy. It takes a concerted effort using several different approaches that, when combined, gives the owner the best possible chance of securing a long-term lease.

When we manage a property on behalf of a client, this is the approach we take. At Bunbury Real Estate we use current rental data to keep in touch with the local market and the latest marketing techniques to advertise our properties. We also keep our property owners up to date so their rental price expectations match the market conditions.

Use Accurate Data and Set Firm Targets

This means rental appraisals must be accurate. Data that is months old is not a true reflection of what is happening now. If, for example, the market is slowing down, we need to be advising our clients on current data, or they will be expecting a rental price that was achievable six months ago, but not now.

Getting a property occupied quickly also means setting targets and acting on them. The number of enquiries within the first couple of days the property is advertised is a reliable indicator of how much work will be required to get it leased. If there is little or no interest and we know the property is overpriced, we request a rent reduction from the owner. This usually brings in enough tenants for us to reference check and recommend.

Advertise Any Changes

This brings us to the next important change. There is little advantage in reducing the rent if we don’t advertise it. People who are watching the property but have not enquired may respond to this drop, so featuring it in our major advertising is critical.

Long Gaps Between Leases is a Cost

Our most important strategy is the relationship we have with the property owner. This includes giving good advice and finding reputable tenants. When an owner is reluctant to reduce the rental price, we remind them that every day the property is vacant is a cost to them. An extra $10 or $20 a week will be eaten up in costs if the property is not quickly leased.

If you are self-managing your investment property and losing money between leases, give us a call. We will use our knowledge to get your property leased quickly for the best price in any kind of market.

Clean Up Your Property For The Best Sale Price

Every property owner wants the best price possible when they list their home for sale. The properties that sell the quickest for the best price usually have something about them that makes them stand out. A great position, extra space, special features, proximity to transport and employment, and a property that is immediately liveable are the attributes most sought after by buyers.

It is the last attribute that seems to escape the notice of some sellers. As property agents ourselves, we are constantly amazed at the state of some properties we are asked to list for sale. While we understand that everyone has the right to live in their home the way they want to, there are some things that should be done before they ask our staff at Bunbury Real Estate to present it for inspection.

Easy Changes Have the Most Impact

Often the changes needed to get the best price are the easiest to do, so we offer some suggestions for sellers who need a bit of guidance. The first thing to do is increase the street appeal. Mow the yard, weed the gardens, clean the paths and driveways with a pressure hose, trim trees and shrubs that overhang or obstruct the front of the house.

A Clean Exterior and Some Minor Repairs Work Wonders

Now that the house can be seen clearly from the road, does it need cleaning? Wash the walls and windows, clear out the gutters, do minor repairs such as replacing damaged insect screens, broken steps or unstable hand rails. If it still looks shabby, a coat of paint in a modern colour scheme will have buyers stopping at the front gate to look further instead of just driving by.

The “Wow” Factor for the Interior

Now to create a “wow” factor once they get through the front door. This means starting with clean floors, walls and windows. Again, paint is the cheapest way to improve the interior of a dwelling. It covers the stains that won’t wash off, and by using the latest light reflecting colours, any rooms that need extra light will immediately get a lift.

Replace Anything Worn, Torn or Shabby

If the floor coverings are stained or ripped, replace them. Dirty, shabby or faded curtains should be taken down and disposed of. Replace them with the latest blinds. There are so many different styles now available that even the humble roller blind will be an improvement on old curtains.

Kitchen and Bathroom – A Quick Respray

Kitchens and bathrooms are more expensive to rework, but replacing old kitchen appliances with new stainless steel ones has an immediate impact. If money is an issue, respraying the cabinets, bench tops, tiles and bathroom fixtures, and installing new tap wear may be enough to finish off the upgrade.

Neat, clean, tidy, no pests or unpleasant smells, no rubbish in the yard – that is all it takes to get the best price.

Tenants – Accidental Damage And How To Deal With It

All of us through life at one time or another are going to break or cause something to break. It is not intentional. There are certainly going to be times in a tenanted property’s life when it is going to suffer a few bumps and bruises.

The important thing, just like any damage such as storm damage, is to deal with it quickly.

Bunbury Real Estate adhere to the guidelines set down by the Residential Tenancies Authority, commonly known as the RTA.

Who Is Responsible for Arranging Repairs

We, as the agent in our managed tenancies, are responsible for the arrangement of any repairs being carried out. Only with our written permission should a tenant attempt to carry out or arrange any repairs themselves.

If the damage exceeds a certain value it may be possible to claim the repair bill on insurance. This will obviously still incur some sort of excess which will need to be paid. Whoever is deemed responsible for a given event must carry out these repairs within a reasonable time.

If either party deems this time has lapsed they may issue a Notice to Remedy Breach (Form 11)__ _which allows 7 days for the work to be completed. If the matter is still not resolved, it is advisable for both parties to come together to discuss the issue. If the issue remains unresolved, you may apply for a _Dispute Resolution.

Obviously, this last paragraph relates to extreme cases only and it is not considered a normal or regular situation within our ranks. During this time we honour and respect the Rules of Entry_ _although in extreme cases a tenant is more than happy to allow our repairers to be admitted.

What is Accidental Damage?

To make things crystal clear, we offer some examples of who is responsible for what. If a tenant is playing cricket in the backyard and hits the ball through the window – this is the tenant’s responsibility.

If a tree branch goes through the same window in a storm, even if the putty loosens up and the window falls out – this is the landlord’s responsibility. Having said that, often accidental broken glass, including shower glass, is covered under insurance.

If a tenant goes on a rampage and kicks holes in walls and doors, this is called malicious damage. Some insurance companies do not cover damage caused in this way.

We will address malicious damage in following posts.

Handling Damage to Rentals

As a lessor of a property, you want your tenant to take good care of the premises during the entire tenancy period. But there is no guarantee that there will be no damage to the property at the end of the lease agreement. Even if you have made sure that the tenant is responsible and of good reputation, there are accidental damages that could happen to the premises.

Differentiate Types of Damages

As a lessor, you should know that damages to rental properties are not all the same. It can be accidental such as when the tenant accidentally spills wine on the carpet or upholstery, or when a window gets accidentally broken. There is also malicious damage, where the tenant acted irresponsibly, leading to the damage. One good example is a tenant kicking the door to force it open. If the tenant acted with ill will, then you can consider this as malicious.

Another type of damage is regular wear-and-tear, which the tenant can do little to prevent. This can include paint colour fading and diminishing quality of floor surfaces and other furniture in the premises.

Make Clear Lease Provisions

To help ensure that the tenant will take good care of the property during the term of the tenancy, it is important to make clear provisions in the lease agreement. Sit down with the tenant to discuss their responsibilities under the agreement.

Be as specific as possible with the provisions that you provide in the lease. For instance, if you do not want tenants to punch holes into the walls, state so in the lease. You should also let the tenant know the repercussions of breaking the provisions involving alterations and damage to the property. Typically, the security deposit is kept to cover for any damage that the tenant caused. If the tenant knows this, then they will be more careful not to damage any part of the rental.

If you are not up to explaining or sitting down with the tenant, our property manager at Bunbury Real Estate can handle the discussion with the tenant.

Conduct Regular Inspections

It will help to conduct regular inspections to see if the tenant is in fact taking care of the rental property. At Bunbury Real Estate, we can help you with all aspects of the management of your investment property, including inspection of the premises. You can leave it to us to set up a schedule with your tenant for the regular inspection.

Inspections will give you a better insight on how the tenant is treating the property. In addition, the inspection will also let you know if there are parts of the premises that will need repair or preventive maintenance.