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Your loan has settled and you are officially the proud owner of an investment property. Well done!

No doubt you want the rent to start flowing in so you can pay off your mortgage, and to have a smooth and stress free time as ‘landlord’. If that’s the case, it’s time to start looking for good tenants!

Did you know that better landlords attract better tenants? It’s pretty simple really. When you consider your rental property is a business, then your tenants are your customers. You’re providing a service, and they are paying for that service. Wouldn’t you want to keep your best customers for as long as possible?

The first thing you need to decide is if you want to be a “do-it-yourself” landlord, or go down the path of hiring a property management company. There are benefits to both options, but if you are a new “do-it-yourself” landlord, here are a few tips on how to be a great landlord, and in turn, keep your renters happy, for longer!

Welcome them in style

As the saying goes, first impressions last. As your new tenants move in, it’s a great idea to make the process easy and seamless for them from the start. Why not write them a welcome letter? Leaving your tenant a brief note, as well as echoing how happy you are to have them, will set the tone the relationship. Remember to include your contact details!

You could also consider stocking the bathrooms or kitchen. This could be as simple as buying some soap or tooth paste for the bathroom, or some dish washing detergent for the kitchen. Such a small investment can really make a difference to those first few days in a new place.

Ensure both parties understand the lease

To build a harmonious lease/lessor relationship, it’s important that you are both on the same page from day one. To ensure this is the case, it’s always a good idea to walk your renters through the lease. By walking your tenant through the lease it provides the opportunity to answer any questions they may have about any of the clauses in it. This helps to build trust, and importantly, makes it easy for both parties to follow the lease guidelines.

Whilst it is important to have a collaborative relationship with your tenant, at the end of the day, it is a business relationship. If a problem is to arise, it’s vital to follow the guidelines outlined in your lease – as that’s what everyone signed! This way, should they have any objections, you can make it clear that you are within your rights, or vise verser.

It’s also advisable to keep electronic copies of everything – receipts, invoices, bills. You never know when you may need to refer to them down the track.

Be professional and available

It might sound like common sense, but dressing neatly, presenting yourself well and responding promptly can go a long way to keeping your tenants happy!

Ultimately, if your tenants need to talk to you, then you need to be reachable. Tenants should always be provided with multiple means to contact you. Plus, if there was a leaky pipe, you would want to know about it before real damage was done.

Whenever a tenant calls or emails you, be sure to respond as soon as possible. Remember any interaction with your tenant is like a business interaction, so it’s important to think of what you would expect from a business – efficiency, accessibility, approachability. If you know you are going to be away, tell the tenant that you may not be able to respond as quickly.

Be a human

We need to remember that tenants are people too. Good landlords exhibit all the traits that form a good working relationship – open and honest, transparent, good communication. Showing empathy, exercising compassion and making sure you listen to your tenant’s concerns can really go a long way.

If you want to be a good landlord that attracts tenants who stick around, it’s also vital that you are respectful of their privacy.

A good landlord is consistent. A lot of frustration and miscommunication can occur when rules and decisions are changed on a whim, or without reasoning. It pays to be reliable, helping to build trust and understanding.

By following these easy tips, you are on your way to being the best landlord your tenants have ever had! If this all sounds like too much hard work, get in touch with us and we can refer you to a property management company.

With interest rates so low, if you are thinking about purchasing an investment property now is a good time to talk to us about it. It’s also a great time to look at any existing investment loans you have, to determine whether they are still the most suitable for your investment needs. Why not give us a call?

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Christmas is just a matter of days away and for many Australians, they’re likely to be the most expensive days of the year.

According to the Australian Retailers Association and Roy Morgan Research, we’re expected to spend over $48 billion in the lead up to Christmas 2016, so the Christmas shopping frenzy is bound to put a dent in a few credit cards!

Nobody wants to be a scrooge at this time of year, but it doesn’t pay to throw all caution to the wind. Here’s five great tips that can help you apply some damage control to your Christmas spending spree without giving up the simple joy of giving.

1. Make a list and check it twice.

Impulse purchasing is one of the worst spending traps during the Christmas shopping season. And it can be a particular problem if you’re one of those shoppers who just can’t resist buying a present for yourself every time you buy one for someone else. Making a list is a great way to stay focused on buying only what you need. It can also help you avoid the temptation to shower yourself with gifts when you should be waiting to see what Santa brings you first.

Take a sensible approach by making a list of everyone you need to buy a present for and putting a budget for the gift next to each person. It may be a good idea to download a budgeting app like TrackMySpend from ASIC’s MoneySmart website or Christmas Gift List from Google Play. These apps will help you keep track of the gifts you’ve bought, how much you’ve spent and how much you have left in your budget for further purchases.

2. Online shopping is not naughty, but nice.

With your carefully prepared list in hand, it’s time to hit the shops, right? Not necessarily. Visiting the stores makes it much more difficult to resist the temptation of buying things you don’t really need. And a trip to the shops can often be an expensive exercise in itself – you’ll probably need to pay for car parking, festive season snacks, not to mention plenty of energy drinks to keep you going. Shopping online can be an excellent way to save!

In order to maximise your savings, try doing a web search for discounts or coupons that you can use for the specific gifts you want to purchase. If you Google the item itself, you can often find several vendors and choose the least expensive – but make sure you include shipping costs when you are comparing prices and check the delivery period.

Social media is also a good way to grab a bargain, as retailers will often offer exclusive discounts to loyal followers. Simply look up the social media sites for your favourite brands and see what they have on offer.

3. Collaborate with family and friends.

If you ask most people, they’ll tell you they prefer quality over quantity when it comes to receiving gifts. If you can’t afford to buy an expensive item, then why not consider pooling your resources with some other family members? This could potentially save you a lot of money and at the same time, ensure you give great gifts that are genuinely appreciated.

Many larger families choose to take the Secret Santa option to reduce costs at Christmas. Rather than spend a lot of money buying an inexpensive (and probably useless) gift for each and every family member, consider putting everyone’s name in a hat and drawing one each. This will allow you to spend your budget on one decent gift, rather than risk overspending by trying to get a little something for everyone.

4. Buy your gifts wholesale or in bulk.

Everyone wine connoisseur knows that buying one excellent bottle of wine from the local bottle shop can be a bit expensive, but a whole case of the same wine can bring the price down considerably, particularly if you go direct to the supplier. Great wine can make the perfect gift for some people, but of course if you have many people to buy for and would rather not give alcohol, there are many kinds of gifts you can buy wholesale direct from the supplier or discounted in bulk.

Some ideas could include scented candles, body lotions and bath oils, t-shirts and caps, diaries and stationery sets, jewellery, exotic tea or coffee beans, glasses and tableware, artwork and ornaments, chocolates and sweets, lipsticks and make-up, perfume and aftershave – the list is literally endless! Simply go online and search for bulk suppliers of the kind of items that will make great gifts for your particular friends and family members.

5. Save on interest for bigger gifts.

If you plan to use credit to purchase your Christmas gifts this year, take a close look at your credit card statement and check how much interest you’ll be paying on your purchases. If your credit card interest is high, consider looking for an alternative card that offers a lower interest rate. You may even be able to find a card that offers you an interest-free period on a balance transfer from your existing card, so you could end up saving yourself some money there too.

If your Christmas Shopping List includes some big ticket items this year – perhaps it’s a new jet ski, family boat, a new car or even an overseas holiday – then talk to us about the most cost-effective way to finance your purchases. There are many options that could end up costing you much less in interest than a credit card, with flexible repayment terms that could help to make your purchase more affordable. Our job is to help you find the most suitable option available considering your personal financial circumstances and goals, so give us a call today.

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Success in the property investment game relies on your ability to locate and purchase exactly the right property for your budget and buying strategy.

If you live and work in one of Australia’s major capital cities, you are probably finding this task increasingly difficult in your local market as both prices and competition continue to increase.

The answer may be to look further afield. Australia is made up of many different property markets which work together to provide property investors with a full range of investment choices. And diversifying your assets across interstate markets could help you to minimise your risks and maximise your capital gain and income potential. Here are eight tips for making successful interstate property investments to help you build wealth for your future.

1. Do your research.

Whether you’re investing interstate or locally, thorough research is vitally important. You need to become fully familiar with the market you buy into to be confident about your purchasing decisions and avoid expensive mistakes. Your research should cover four basic steps:

Step 1: If you are considering investing interstate, start by researching all the markets across Australia to find which of them provide areas with properties that generally meet your budget and buying strategy, then compare these with each other until you have just a few that you find attractive.

Step 2: Once you have located an interstate market that may be suitable for your investment, research it carefully to identify a general location within that market that meets both your affordability level, rental yield and capital growth objectives.

Step 3: Research the streets and properties within the area you have identified to pinpoint an opportunity to make your property purchase. If you need help formulating a buying strategy, call us for a chat.

Step 4: Research the individual property you select very carefully before you put down a deposit or go to auction. Get building and pest inspection reports together with a comprehensive condition report so you can make an accurate projection of your costs of ownership, including maintenance planning and potential depreciation tax deductions.

2. Buy with your head and not your heart.

Don’t dismiss an interstate location simply because you wouldn’t want to live there yourself. Some investors also make the mistake of choosing a property investment location because it is their favourite holiday destination or somewhere they’d potentially like to retire one day. Always remember that choosing an investment property is a business decision and you should base your decision on potential investment returns, not on personal preferences. To choose a profitable location for your property investment, always focus on the numbers and research data.

3. Visit the location.

Travelling interstate to view investment opportunities may be inconvenient, but no matter what you may hear from other investors, buying a property sight unseen could be risky. Take the time and effort to at least visit the location. You may be able to claim the travel costs as a tax deduction (but talk to your accountant first). If you can’t stay there long enough to locate, inspect and buy a property yourself, then consider interviewing a local buyer’s agent while you are on your initial visit. This will allow you to quickly engage a trustworthy representative to help you in case you can’t get back there yourself when you find the right opportunity.

4. Partner with a good property manager.

Whilst you are visiting the interstate location, it is also a good idea to identify a good property manager in the area and engage their services as well. Managing a property from interstate is not easy and may cost more than you anticipate in travel and expenses. Property management costs are usually tax deductible for most property investors, so ask your accountant if the numbers stack up to allow for a property management company to be included in your budget for the interstate property you are interested in purchasing.

5. Line up a local conveyancer.

Whilst it is possible to use your regular conveyancer or solicitor to help you purchase a property interstate, the costs may be higher than using a conveyancer that is located near to the interstate property you wish to purchase as their expenses to complete the process may be greater. Conveyancing rules, regulations and practices also differ from state to state and your usual conveyancer may be unfamiliar with these differences. Ask us if you need assistance locating an interstate conveyancer.

6. Note the different legal requirements.

Each state has different legal requirements for the purchase and transfer of properties. If you are buying interstate you should talk with a qualified conveyancer or solicitor to make yourself aware of differences in:

  • Property titles and transfer requirements.
  • Local and national planning controls.
  • Rules regarding the purchase of property for foreign investors (if you are from overseas and not a permanent resident).
  • Terms and conditions required for sales contracts.
  • Terms and conditions imposed on auctions.
  • Cooling off periods.
  • Permitted uses, zoning certificates and heritage overlays.
  • Body corporate rules and constraints.
  • Rental and tenancy rules and agreements.
  • Rules and regulations when buying off the plan.

7. Research the costs.

Stamp duties, land taxes and other government costs like transfer fees vary from state to state. Council rates can also be widely different from one location to another and you may be surprised by how much. When purchasing interstate, it pays to research these costs well ahead of time so that you can factor them into your budget and avoid funding or cash flow difficulties.

8. Talk with your mortgage broker early.

Good credit advice when investing in property is critical to your success as an investor. Getting pre-approval on a loan for a purchase in a specific location is not only a good idea for budgeting purposes, it will make you aware of any postcode or location restrictions imposed by the lender on the area you are considering. Some lenders impose these restrictions on hundreds of locations around the country to minimise their risk of loss. Where you buy can have a significant effect on how much money a lender is prepared to let you borrow, so it pays to talk to us early about your purchasing plans.

We’re here to help you get things organised if you’re planning to invest in property interstate. Just pick up the phone and give us a call to discuss your plans, we’ll be happy to help you get the ball rolling.

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Summer is approaching fast and everyone is looking on AirB&B or Stayz.com for the perfect house to spend the holidays.

As you scroll through the listings and your eye wanders across all the gorgeous homes in Australia’s most idyllic holiday spots, you’ll also notice the breathtaking prices they command during the peak season. If you’re a property investor, you may find those high price tags make it very hard to resist the idea of investing in a luxury holiday rental property yourself. But is it really going to be a good money spinner?

Three things make a profitable holiday rental property. The right location, the right property and a luxurious fit out that brings your guests back time and time again. So what do you need to do to get set up for a high-yield holiday rental investment?

Choose the right location.

Yes, it is easy to make big dollars from a property by the sea in the height of summer, but you need to look at the total potential rental return across the entire year. Making a decent profit from a holiday rental investment requires a location that will attract holidaymakers all year round, not just in summer.

Ask yourself: what does the location have going for it as a holiday destination year round? Try and choose a location that offers people something special. Australians love the great outdoors and if your investment property is in a location of great natural beauty, it’s likely to be a winner.

A destination that is under three hour’s drive from the nearest capital city and international airport will not only attract local guests, it will attract people from interstate and maybe even overseas. If there is also a regional airport nearby, then all the better.

Choose the right property.

When choosing a property for a holiday rental investment, the first thing you need to take into consideration is the property’s accessibility to the local attractions and tourist hot spots. For example, if you’re investing in a property at a beachside location and want a maximum rental return on your investment, make sure it’s actually close to the beach and not on the other side of town near the highway entrance and the take-away food drive-thru.

Be careful to choose a property that offers a resort-style atmosphere. Avoid anything that is too suburban or ordinary in favour of a property that offers something different, like good views and wide open spaces.

Consider a property that offers plenty of room inside, with at least one sitting room separate from the kitchen living area. It should also have a separate laundry and wet area and of course, plenty of bedrooms. For a luxury holiday rental, a decent outdoor area is a must and a swimming pool will be a major attraction if you can manage it.

Set your property up to attract high paying guests.

Setting up your holiday rental property so that is practical and hard wearing is a good idea, but the trick is to do it in a way that looks luxurious, stylish and expensive so you can attract the highest paying guests. If you want to make the most profit from your investment, you need to make your place look absolutely fantastic in your online advertising photos and make sure it excites and delights your guests when they walk through the door.

Holidaymakers paying top dollar expect better levels of comfort and luxury in a holiday house rental than they do from their own homes. They will expect to find a good dishwasher, a great cooker and a large fridge in the kitchen at the very least. A modern flat screen TV and Wi-Fi is a must.

Your guests will also expect a king-or queen sized bed in the master bedroom and at least one other room with a double bed. Flexible sleeping options that will help them reduce costs by sharing with more people or another family are also a good idea.

Keep the decor simple, stylish and eye-catching – ask a local decorator for advice if necessary and try to create a look that compliments the location. Don’t be tempted to use your holiday rental property as a depository for all the old furniture the family doesn’t want. Red flags are outdated TVs, daggy curtains, garish duvet covers, cabinets with trinkets, clunky second-hand lounge suites, too many ornaments, ugly brown wood shelves, nanna-style light fittings, and horror of horrors, industrial or pub style wall-to-wall carpet.

Combining tourism and hospitality with your property investment can be a great idea if you do it right. If you’re considering buying an investment property in a holiday hot spot, let us know and we’ll help you crunch the numbers to see if it will be a good investment for you. Getting your finance right can make a big difference to your bottom line when investing in any kind property, so call us today to discuss your plans.

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We hope you picked a winner on Melbourne Cup Day last week! We’ve now moved into the busiest time of year in our property markets, so we hope you’re ready to handle the pace this spring.

At its 2016 Melbourne Cup Day meeting, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) decided to keep the official cash rate on hold at 1.5 per cent for November. The decision was widely expected by analysts and forward predictions are for no further RBA cash rate cuts in 2016.

The RBA may not have cut rates this month, but you can. Many lenders have indicated that interest rate changes do not only depend on RBA changes to the cash rate, but also on other market factors and their actual costs. So if you’re a home owner and looking to refinance to save interest, call us regularly to check the latest home loan interest rate that is available for you.

The RBA last cut rates in August and May this year, which brought the official cash rate to its lowest level in history. As a result, home loan interest rates are very competitive and the good news for home buyers and property investors is that it looks as though they will remain low for quite a while.

That means buying conditions are great this spring. Property market activity is heating up, particularly in Melbourne and Sydney, with plenty of housing stock for buyers and investors to choose from. For the week ending October 30, Victoria held 727 auctions and achieved a clearance rate of 76%, whilst Sydney held a whopping 1309 auctions and achieved a clearance rate of 77%.

Activity in other markets indicated that buyers are possibly being a bit more discerning about prices. Queensland held 417 auctions for the same period, which is quite high, however they only achieved a low clearance rate of 39%. South Australia held 179 auctions with a clearance rate of 69%, ACT had 93 auctions with a clearance rate of 70%, Western Australia – which is not a big auction market – held 75 auctions with a clearance rate of just 37%. Northern Territory only held 6 auctions with a clearance rate of just 17% and Tasmania 10 auctions with a clearance rate of 33%.

Rises in home values appear to have slowed across all markets during October. In Sydney, home values only rose by 0.62% and in Melbourne, they rose by just 0.78% despite strong activity from buyers in both of these markets. Brisbane/Gold Coast showed an increase of 1.10%, Perth 0.78%, Darwin 2.20%, and Canberra 0.40%. Adelaide showed a decrease of 2.39% as did Hobart, which showed a decrease in home values of 2.05% for the month.

Opportunities are plentiful for first home buyers, next home buyers, refinancers and property investors right now. We’re here to help you make the most of low interest rates and the excellent spring property buying conditions, so please give us a call to chat about your plans. We’ll help you get the right home loan for your needs, with the most competitive interest rate available for you from Australia’s leading lenders. Christmas is also approaching fast and if you’re looking to buy a big ticket item for yourself or your family, we’ll be happy to help you with your finance needs for that too, so please give us a call today.

We recommend that you seek independent financial and taxation advice before acting on any information in this newsletter. It contains general information only and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. We recommend that you consider whether it is appropriate for your circumstances. Your full financial situation will need to be reviewed prior to acceptance of any offer or product. Interest rates are subject to change without notice. Lenders terms, conditions, fees & charges apply. Information sources: Auction results: www.realestate.com.au. Home values: www.corelogic.com.au


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