Viewing by month: June 2017

Understanding Landlord Rights and Responsibilities | Century 21

When you buy an investment property to rent out you don’t become just a property owner, but a landlord. That brings with it a whole new set of responsibilities you need to know about. If you are planning to manage the property yourself, this is vital or you could find yourself in legal hot water and facing a hefty fine if you do the wrong thing. Even if you engage an expert Century 21 property manager, who is fully up to date with all the legal issues pertaining to landlord rights and landlord responsibilities, it’s still best to be aware of both your rights and responsibilities and the rights and responsibilities of your tenants. 

Your best source of detailed information is the Office of Fair Trading website for your state, however here are some of the basics:

Dealing with the bond

As a landlord, you should insist on a bond from your tenants as a security deposit in case of damage, theft or neglect of the property, or failure to pay rent. If the tenants keep the property in good condition, they receive the bond back when they move out. 

If, on final inspection, you or your property manager observe that the property has not been sufficiently cleaned or there is damage, some or all of the bond can be withheld. Before doing this, however, it’s important to check the legal details of tenants’ responsibilities on leaving the property. If the bond is withheld for insufficient reasons you may be hauled up in front of a tribunal. 

Visiting the property

Once you have a tenant in the property you can’t just pop in and check the place whenever you like. You need to give the tenant notice. Check your local legislation for details of how much notice you need to give, whether the tenant must agree to your visit and whether you need to give the notice in writing. 

Handling repairs

If you receive a request from your tenant for an urgent repair then you must deal with it without delay. If you don’t attend to it immediately, your tenant can arrange for the repairs to be done at your expense up to a certain value. Check with your property manager or consumer affairs office in your state to find out the definition of an urgent repair.

If the repairs are non-urgent there are still restrictions on the time you have to deal with them. In Victoria, for example, non-urgent repairs must be dealt with within 14 days. 

Increasing the rent

You can’t increase the rent whenever you want. There are laws governing how often you can increase the rent and by how much. You must also give the tenant at least 60 days’ notice prior to any rent increase.  This means you should discuss any rental increase with your Century 21 property manager well ahead of time. 

Ending a tenancy

At some stage, you may wish to end a tenancy to sell the property, move into it yourself or some other reason. If the tenant is on a fixed term lease you can’t just tell them they have to move out. 

If this situation occurs, you will need to check the reasons allowed for giving notice that you wish to end the tenancy, how the notice must be given and how much notice is required. 

Be aware of discrimination laws

As a landlord, you are able to choose the tenant you feel to be most suitable from those who apply, however, you need to be aware of the equal opportunity legislation in your own state. If you are seen to be discriminatory in your choice of tenant you could be made to pay damages or receive a fine. 

While you can legally manage a rental property yourself, the headaches can be of migraine proportions. Securing the services of a professional Century 21 property manager saves you a great deal of time and hassle and you will know your investment property is in safe hands at all times. Managing a rental property is a complicated business fraught with legal pitfalls for the unwary. Best to leave it to the experts who know landlord rights and responsibilities and tenant rights and obligations backwards. 


0 comments | Posted by Administrator on 28/06/2017 at 3:57 PM | Categories:

9 Home Improvements That Decrease Your Property's Value | Century 21

If you’re investing in renovations or home improvements, it makes sense to think about the impact these could have on your property value, for better or worse, even if you are not planning to sell anytime soon. If you are planning on selling in the near future, then it’s even more vital that any home repairs or renovations add value rather than detract from it. 

For most Australians, their home is their largest investment, and any money poured into the home should be carefully considered in order to get the highest possible return when it comes time to sell. 

Here are some typical mistakes to avoid that could decrease your property’s value: 

1. Spending too much on renovations

It’s all too easy to over-spend on home improvements – it’s called overcapitalising. Depending on your neighbourhood, and the value of surrounding homes, spending big on major renovations could be money down the drain when it comes time to sell. To avoid overcapitalising, look at how much your planned renovations would cost, then look at what houses in your local area that have had similar improvements are selling for. Do the costs outweigh any added property value? You may find you are better off selling your home as is and moving to an already renovated property.

2. Unsympathetic additions

Any additions to the original house need to be in sympathy with the design and materials of the original house to avoid a disjointed appearance. Modern additions to older homes can work beautifully, however, if handled by a skilled architect or building designer.

3. Illegal building work

Going ahead with any building work without getting council approval is a big no-no. Prospective buyers will find out the work is illegal during pre-purchase inspections and almost certainly be put off entirely or make a much lower offer on your home. 

4. Cutting out light

Any additions or renovations that create dark rooms or cut out natural light from existing living spaces will devalue a home. Maximising the flow of natural light is vital to a successful renovation, especially in the living areas. 

5. DIY work

If you are not a DIY expert, call in the real experts when making any home improvements. Doing it yourself might save money in the short-term but shoddy tiling, carpentry or paintwork will not appeal to buyers when it comes time to sell. Never undertake any electrical or plumbing work yourself as it’s illegal and may be picked up during a pre-purchase building inspection. 

6. Ignoring structural problems

Always check that subfloor structures are sound before undertaking bathroom or kitchen renovations in particular. A new kitchen could last less than four or five years if there is floor subsidence. 

7. Lack of emphasis on outdoor living

A good flow between indoor and outdoor living is a big plus for home buyers these days. A rear addition with no views out to the garden or easy access to outdoor living areas will add little or no value to your property.

8. Poor choice of flooring

Flooring is expensive to replace so needs careful consideration. Tiled floors throughout, for example, can be appealing in a warm, beachside location but turn off buyers in cooler climates. Covering polished hardwood floors with carpet could also be a mistake. Before spending money on flooring make sure you find out what the most popular option is with buyers in your local area. 

9. Eccentric touches

It’s your home and it should suit your tastes and lifestyle but consider carefully before painting the interiors electric blue and royal purple and doing out the kitchen in wild geometric tiling and floral laminates. If you can readily tone things down before you sell, however, then go right ahead!

If you are buying a home that will require renovations, or planning home improvements before you sell, it’s a great idea to consult with your local Century 21 real estate team before going ahead. They’ll be in the know about which improvements will most appeal to local buyers and add that all-important value to your home, and which improvements could be a waste of your money, or worse still, detract from your property’s value.


0 comments | Posted by Administrator on 21/06/2017 at 3:15 PM | Categories:

8 Things You Should Know Before Buying An Apartment | Century 21

Apartment living may not be for everyone but does have lots of appeal in terms of convenience and minimal maintenance.  Unless you are looking at a luxury penthouse, buying an apartment can also be more affordable than buying a house. 

There are big differences between buying a house and buying an apartment however. For one thing, the neighbours will be much closer and they also own the building. When you buy an apartment, you effectively buy the airspace inside it plus a part ownership of the building as a whole.  So here are a few things you need to know before you go apartment hunting:

1. Check the by-laws

When buying a strata title property, such an apartment or townhouse, make sure you are fully up-to-date with all the by-laws applicable, both the state-based by-laws and those imposed by the building’s body corporate. If you have a beloved pet, for example, you will need to check that the building is pet-friendly before you go ahead with any purchase. 

2. Get a Strata Inspection Report

Just as you would get building and pest reports done if you were buying a house, if you are buying and apartment it’s recommended you get a Strata Inspection Report to ensure that the wiring, building structure etc are in good order. 

3. Check the strata fees

As a member of the body corporate you will be required to pay ongoing fees for garden upkeep, building maintenance etc. Strata fees can vary from quite reasonable to stratospheric and it’s these ongoing costs that could make an apartment that appears to be within your budget suddenly out of the question. 

4. Check the body corporate records

Ask to see the body corporate records to see if you are likely to fit in with everyone else in the building. A lot of disputes recorded will likely be a red flag, while a friendly communication style could signal a more harmonious community.

5. Check how well the property is maintained

A well-maintained property is indicative of a pro-active body corporate, a neglected property could mean serious problems or costs down the track.

6. Is the complex mixed-use?

Check if the apartment complex includes holiday lettings or Airbnb style short-term accommodation if all the to-ing and fro-ing could be a problem for you. 

7. Weigh up the additional perks

When comparing apartments to weigh up which is the best value for you, consider factors such as the thickness of internal walls for sound suppression, size and aspect of balconies, built-in storage, car parking and security facilities, any additional storage area included and shared amenities such as a swimming pool, gym or barbecue facilities. 

8. Find out what changes you can make

Older apartments can be great value as they tend to be more soundproof, with bigger rooms and higher ceilings than new apartments. However, an older apartment may be a little tired and in need of a fresh coat of paint and kitchen and bathroom upgrades. If you are considering buying an apartment that needs a refresh, check with the body corporate first to make sure you will be able to complete the work you want done and find out what the process is to get permission to go ahead. 

If you are looking to buy an apartment, check in first with the Century 21 real estate team in the area you are looking in. They’ll know the local apartment buildings well and will be able to advise you on which are the best maintained, have the least disputes, the best facilities or the lowest strata fees. You’ll find their inside knowledge and advice invaluable. 


0 comments | Posted by Administrator on 14/06/2017 at 3:49 PM | Categories:

How Will The 2017 Federal Budget Affect The Housing Market? | Century 21

May’s Federal Budget announcement for 2017 saw the upcoming introduction of a number of measures that will affect the Australian housing market. As expected, these measures are largely aimed at addressing the issue of supplying more affordable housing by encouraging an increase in housing stock and moderating affordability pressures. 

Here’s a brief rundown of the changes outlined in the Federal Budget that could affect you and your property buying or selling plans in the near to long-term future. 

First Home Buyers

First home buyers will be able to salary sacrifice into their superannuation fund to help save a deposit on a home. The amount is limited to $15,000 per year, and $30,000 in total per person. Potentially, a couple could save $60,000 for a deposit over two years at a tax rate of 15%.

Downsizers

Many retired seniors hate to sell their family home for emotional reasons, and also due to fearing losing retirement benefits if they move to a smaller property and have a large balance left in cash. A new measure in the Federal Budget is designed to encourage these seniors to downsize and free up more large homes for younger families. 

Under the measure, persons 65 and over can make an additional non-concessional contribution into their super fund of up to $300,000 from the proceeds of selling their principal place of residence. They must have owned the property for 10 years or more and both members of a couple can take advantage of this measure, allowing up to $600,000 from the sale to go into superannuation.  

If you are 65 or over and have been putting off selling the family home and moving to more suitable housing for your lifestyle, now could be a good time to speak with your local Century 21 real estate agent to get an appraisal on your home. 

Affordable housing measures to increase supply

New measures introduced will help provide cheaper and longer-term finance to community housing providers. Investors who choose to invest in these affordable housing developments will enjoy an increased capital gains tax discount. Investors must hold the property for at least 10 years, however, before becoming eligible for the discount. 

Property investors

Property investors whose property is negatively geared will no longer be able to claim travel expenses to inspect the property. There are also new limits on the depreciation expenses that can be claimed as tax deductions. 

Foreign investors

Effective immediately, developers can sell a maximum of 50 per cent of any new development to foreign buyers, while the remainder must be sold to local buyers. Additionally, foreign investors will be required to pay a $5000 annual levy on properties they fail to occupy or lease out for at least six months within a year.  It’s hoped that this measure will encourage foreign investors who buy and hold residential properties vacant to instead put them on the rental market. 

National Housing Infrastructure Facility

The Federal Budget includes a commitment of around $75 billion to infrastructure projects over the next 10 years designed to make outer-ring suburbs of major cities and new housing areas more accessible and to boost local employment in these areas. The Budget also proposes the establishment of a $1 billion National Housing Infrastructure Facility to provide financial assistance to local governments for infrastructure projects that will support new housing developments. 

Taken individually, no single measure outlined in the Federal Budget is likely to have a major impact on the housing market, however taken together, in the long term they will hopefully lead to a steady increase in housing supply and affordability.


0 comments | Posted by Administrator on 07/06/2017 at 3:40 PM | Categories: