Monthly Archives: February 2015

How a property manager can save you money

5 Ways A Property Manager Could Save You Money

If you’re both an investor and a landlord, chances are you have a good working knowledge of managing your own property. So, why would you consider taking on a property manager to look after your investment property for you? Well, apart from saving you a heap of time, a property manager can actually save you cash in these five ways…

1. They can save you money on general maintenance and repairs

Property managers generally have a range of connections in the home repair and maintenance business who are willing to offer their services at a reduced price for continued business. That means you would benefit from the existing relationships your property manager already has.

Discounted products and services could include anything from plumbing, electrical work, air conditioning installation, gardening and even help moving house

2. They can handle rent and debt collection

Rental properties should make money, not work! As an owner-landlord, keeping track of rent paid on your investment properties can be a strenuous task, not to mention cost you valuable time and money chasing arrears.

A property manager can handle rent collection for you, ensuring rent is paid on time and in full, before being deposited straight into your account. They can also handle the arrears process if rent is late, ensuring you don’t miss out on the income your rental property is supposed to generate, and it means you don’t have to engage an external debt collection agency.

3. They can minimise the risk you’ll lose money through bad tenants

It’s always the risk you run when renting out your property, the possibility of having ‘bad tenants’. But bad tenants aren’t just a nuisance, they’re also a drain on cash. Tenants can potentially cause damage to your property that their bond amount won’t entirely cover, and if you need to take them to court over damages, unpaid rent or other disputes, this itself can be a very costly process.

That’s why it pays to have a property manager who has a thorough vetting and screening process for any potential tenants, weeding out any trouble makers before they ever become bad tenants.

Property managers know what to look for:

  • Good employment history
  • Good rental history
  • Finances in good working order
  • No complaints from previous landlords or property managers

They also have the time to thoroughly investigate a tenant’s situation, call current and past employers, and former landlords and property managers, ensuring you end up with tenants who’ve past the test.

4. They can make sure you don’t get caught out with legislation

Property managers must know property legislation inside and out, which takes the risk out of owning an investment property for you. As part of their role, property managers need to know what makes a property legally habitable, down to all the necessary repairs to the structure and exterior of a property.

If a tenant were to be injured as a result of your property not being up-to-scratch, you could be in for a potentially very costly lawsuit.

Property managers are accredited, meaning they are required to continually improve their knowledge on insurance requirements, legislative changes, landlord-tenant law and industry market trends to ensure all clients and their properties are well protected.

5. They can help you with wealth creation

As a busy owner-landlord, there is a lot to consider when it comes to maximising the return on your property portfolio. How should you optimise the return on your investment? What strategies are there to minimise vacancies? How can you negotiate the best rental rate for your property?

Property managers are constantly monitoring the market, they’re familiar with the areas they work in and all types of dwellings. They know what other tenants are paying and what others are likely to pay. They also have the skills to negotiate an optimum rental rate as well as having the expertise to assist in further enhancing your investment.

 

A property manager’s whole job is managing rent, tenants, researching the market, and keeping up with legislation. They also have the tools, systems, processes and training to ensure they’re doing it in the best way possible.

At the end of the day, a property manager could save you a huge amount of time, stress and cash!

 


Our team would be glad to tell you more about our property management services in your area.

 

Tell me more, contact me

 


Where are the affordable properties hiding in Auckland and Sydney

Where are the affordable properties hiding in Auckland and Sydney?

In January, major cities in both New Zealand and Australia were listed as some of the world’s most unaffordable, with both Sydney and Auckland appearing in the world’s top 10 most unaffordable cities according to the 11th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey.

It’s not exactly great news if you’re looking to buy, invest, or live in these markets, however, despite Sydney being listed as the third least affordable city in the world, and Auckland as the ninth least affordable, there are still reasonably priced pockets in both property markets.

Where are the affordable properties in Sydney?

Blacktown in Sydney’s west remains an affordable and family-friendly suburb, with the area becoming a major commercial hub, close to schools, and transportation, and still only 35 minutes to the CBD.

Blacktown had an average list price $535,500 over the month of December 2014, but two bedroom homes in the area averaged even less, at just under $500,000. Two and three bedroom units offer even more affordability, with the average two bedroom apartment listed for $360,000.

Other Sydney fringe suburbs with comparatively affordable average prices include:

Rouse Hill – Average house price: $811,000

Campbelltown – Average house price: $423,750

Dee Why – *Average unit price: $591,000

*Whilst Dee Why house prices are relatively high, units still present an affordable option.

Many of these areas are considered growth areas, with Rouse Hill one of the new North-Western Rail Link subdivisions.

The satellite city of Campbelltown in South-West Sydney is only 50 kilometres from the Sydney central business district and is home to the Campbelltown campus of the University of Western Sydney.

Most of these areas are family-friendly, growth areas, but coastal suburbs like Dee Why present a unique opportunity to invest or buy a unit in a real lifestyle area.

Sydney properties have also proven to be a sound investment over 2014, increasing in value by 2.3%, one of the largest increases of any capital city in Australia.

Where are the affordable properties in Auckland?

According to news website, stuff.co.nz, some of the most affordable houses in Auckland are in the city’s southern suburbs.

According to the website, Core Logic’s Residential Price Index for December listed Central Manukau, Papakura and Franklin as the three Auckland suburbs with an average house price of less than $500,000.

Central Manukau is home to the Manukau Institute of Technology, and is easy to travel to with Manukau Station, a central transport hub for both buses and trains established in 2012.

As of December 2014, the average list price for South Auckland properties was:

Central Manukau – Average property price: $479,063

Papakura – Average property price: $463,342

Franklin – Average property price: $483,529

These areas are all ones to watch for potential growth, not just because of affordability, but because of their relatively close proximity to the Auckland CBD and amenities.

Papakura is home to several sporting facilities, including an international-quality athletics track. Franklin is known for its quiet, country lifestyle and is popular with tourists, with antique stores and fresh produce making it a real lifestyle destination.

As with any outer suburb, commuting costs need to be factored into a move, with the suburbs listed above around 20 to 30kms from the Auckland CBD.

The bottom line? When it comes to entering the seemingly unaffordable Sydney and Auckland housing markets in 2015, it pays to look at growing outer suburbs for your next property.

 

 


Mining Area

Property Investment: Where To Invest In Australia In 2015

If adding to your investment portfolio or purchasing your first investment property is one of your New Year’s resolutions then you may be wondering where to invest in 2015. It makes sense to diversify if adding to your existing portfolio, meaning you may wish to consider a different property type in a new location. If investing for the first time, there are a myriad of considerations, and location is chief among them.

Here we look at some of the key areas to invest in 2015 and the pros and cons of investing in these areas.

MINING COMMUNITIES

Mining communities have been popular investment hotspots for the last few years, with traditionally quiet rural areas being turned into high population and high income areas seemingly overnight, thus increasing property values and rental yields. So does that mean they’re still a sound investment? The short answer is, it depends on which type of investor you are. A ‘buy and hold’ investor or a ‘speculative’ investor. According to online industry blog Property Observer, a buy and hold investor, that is an investor who plans to purchase a property and hold it in the medium to long term until the value of the property increases, would do well to steer clear of mining areas. The reason being, a lot of buy and hold investors buy properties in these communities before a price increase and tend to hold the property for too long. When there’s a downturn in exportation of resources, as we’ve seen recently in Western Australia, properties in these areas can take massive hits in value, and leave many investors with huge losses. On the other hand, speculative investors who buy at the right time, take advantage of good rental yields and accurately predict a downturn in the industry, selling up and moving on quickly, could be making a sound, if not high-risk investment.
Go or no go? If you’re a speculative investor, with a diverse portfolio, a high-risk appetite and plenty of experience, then go. All other potential investors, no go.

 

seaside-property

SEASIDE TOWNS

When it comes to investing in a seaside town, it really comes down to the town in question and the type of investment property it will be. Is it a seaside town that attracts a flood of tourists seasonally throughout the year? Then you may be considering renting it out as holiday accommodation for a higher rental price at peak times during the year. This decision will require a bit of research, and you’ll need to ensure your numbers stack up. If you’re planning on using the home as a holiday home when it’s vacant, work out if it would actually be more economical to simply rent the property for personal use each year than to buy it. Another factor to consider is whether or not you plan on eventually retiring to the property, making the investment worthwhile. Alternatively, it might be a growing beachside community that is still within commuting distance to a central business district. In this case, you may be looking at a more traditional investment, buying a unit or house to rent out, looking for long-term growth and high rental yields. Like any up-and-coming area, look at the facts. What is likely to drive continued property value growth? Investment in infrastructure, major development in transport, urban sprawl, the addition of schools and shopping districts etc.
Go or no go? This one requires research into the area and will depend on the type of investment you’re making. Holiday accommodation is a different kettle of fish to a traditional investment property that happens to be in a beachside community.

Rural or farming area

RURAL TOWNS

Traditionally we’re told to steer clear of the rural areas in the far corners of Australia, with generally low populations, and slow population growth. However, with Australia’s population rising, and more being drawn to the more affordable regional areas of the country, are rural towns such a no go zone? There are indicators that a rural or regional area may experience population growth quite quickly, and signal a potential increase in property prices, according to Your Investment Property Magazine. Some of these are large infrastructure projects, major developments like airports, new businesses starting up in the area, and amenities like a new hospital. Not only do these developments signal an existing growing population, but can further add to a growing population by offering new employment opportunities.
Go or no go? If you’re looking into a rural town that’s recently given the green light to new major developments, it could be a signal of population growth and may be a worthwhile investment. It’s important to note though, that rural towns generally experience very slow population growth, and property prices can remain stagnate for years.

University and student areas

STUDENT ACCOMMODATION

Student accommodation can be very attractive, particularly to first-time investors due to the usually low capital requirement. Some purpose-built student apartments are sold for well below the market price of other apartments in the area, and can command good rental yields. The flipside being they can’t be owner-occupied and when it comes time to sell you’ll be targeting fellow investors only. The alternative is to look at buying properties within university areas that will attract students, but are not necessarily purpose-built as student accommodation. This gives you the opportunity to rent room by room, and more freedom when it comes to occupying the property and opens up the potential buyers when it comes time to sell. There’s some reliability when it comes to student accommodation, as university campuses are traditionally fixed locations. Your investment may not attract long-term tenants, but there will be no shortage of potential tenants to replace them. Some drawbacks include having periods of vacancy during the December to February period when students traditionally return home over the holiday season, and the property will probably be located in an area known to be popular with students, which might be off-putting to other potential renters or future buyers.
Go or no go? There’s definitely merit to investing in student accommodation, with potentially high rental yields, low capital requirements and low vacancy rates. However student accommodation can be limiting if you’re ever looking to sell the property and wish to open up the potential market.

Apartment or city suburbs

INNER CITY UNITS

Inner-city units tend to fetch a pretty high premium, but there are still capital cities in Australia with reasonably affordable inner city unit prices for those looking to invest. Brisbane’s median inner-city unit price was $500,000 as of January 2015, and as low as $350,000 for a one bedroom unit. The average weekly rent of an inner-city unit in Brisbane was listed as $565 per week, representing a healthy rental yield of 5.87%. When it comes to the market of potential tenants, inner-city units tend to attract students and young professionals, with as many as over half of our capital cities’ populations being listed as independent youth according to realestate.com.au. One of the main risks associated with investing in inner-city units at the moment is the risk of over-supply. Almost all of our capital cities, with the exception of Sydney, have been the topic of conversation when it comes to over-supply of late. Too many inner-city units in the rental market at one time will obviously lead to lower rents, and potentially lower resale prices, so it’s something to consider in your local market.
Go or no go? Inner-city apartments still attract good rental yields, and are potentially a lot lower risk than some of the other options we’ve mentioned. However, over-supply is one of the major risks to be on the look-out for in a few Australian capital cities at the moment.


The Personality of a Franchise

Choosing a Franchise: Why A Franchise’s Personality Should Suit Your Own

If you’ve been considering branching out on your own and starting your own real estate business, then you may have considered doing so under an established brand. There are lots of considerations to take into account when thinking about partnering with a real estate franchise, and there’s lots of information out there on what to look for in a company.

But what’s seldom discussed when choosing a franchise, is how important it is to find a brand whose values, culture and vision truly aligns with your own.

There are lots of reasons you might initially be attracted to a brand, but with the life-cycle of a franchisee/franchisor relationship usually lasting more than five years, it’s important you also engage with the personality of a franchise and its people, as it’s a long ride home if 12 months in, you’re looking for the door.

So what are some of the key things to look at when determining a brand’s personality?

A franchises focus

While most brands will offer the key elements of a real estate franchise, the majority of franchisees only use a portion of the complete franchise offering for their business.

A brand usually has a focus area or a section of their business that they feel they excel at in comparison to other brands, and this usually is driven from the top, down.

This franchise will place a large amount of resources, passion, development and time into driving this focus area.

These focus areas usually fall under:

  • Training
  • Brand awareness
  • Marketing/campaigns
  • Awards/recognition
  • Technology
  • Market share

It’s a good idea to identify the key strength or focus area of the brand you’re considering based on what you will feel is important for your new/existing business.

Perception is key!

Every brand seems to have a perceived market direction by the general public and real estate community alike. Some are perceived as ‘everyday’, prestige, or are more of a budget brand. Find one that suits your target market and direction.

The Three Vs

This stands for the franchises values, vision and ventures. In other words, how do they define themselves? How do they see their future? And finally, who are they looking to do business with? Make sure these align with you before moving forward.

Do they see the perfection in imperfection?

No one is perfect and neither is a franchise. All are going to have both their strengths and weaknesses, so don’t shy away from asking your franchisor what they are developing over the coming year to improve their support, tools, resources and value offering to their franchisees.

How do they have fun?

It’s still an important part of any business culture, how does a company reward it’s people and celebrate success. Look into how a franchise rewards, recognises, incentivises, develops, supports and encourages its people.

There are plenty of things to consider when looking into a particular franchise, but we don’t always stop to think of whether or not they’ll align with our personality and direction. Try asking about these areas of a brand’s personality before embarking on what is hopefully a beautiful franchise friendship!


Email Chris Booth  if you’re interested in exploring franchise opportunities with Harcourts!


 

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When is the best time to sell your property?

When Is The Best Time To Sell Property?

As we head into the first half of the year, we have long weekends and school holidays on the horizon, plenty of spare time for potential buyers to start looking through open homes, or attending auctions.  With this in mind you might be wondering, when is the best time to sell property?

There are a few factors that play a part when it comes to listing your property that won’t have much to do with the time of the year. Things like personal circumstances and market conditions are obviously going to play the biggest role in choosing when to market your property. However, if the market is right and it is time for you to sell, then it makes sense to opt for the time of year best suited to attracting buyers. Here, we take a look at the benefits of listing your property at different times of the year.

SELLING IN WARMER MONTHS

Traditionally, spring has long been considered the best time of year to sell a property. Your garden and outdoor area will probably look their best in spring, and temperatures mean more people will be out and about and likely to look into an open home. This being said, in Australasia, we see a lot of properties enter the market heading into autumn, with March, April and May usually attracting a large number of new listings and auctions.  Whilst this means there’s also a lot of buyer activity, if you’re wanting to set your property apart from the crowd you might consider listing your property earlier in the year.

Listing a property around February means you’ll get the jump on listings that tend to come onto the market from March onwards, and it also means you’ll start to attract buyers after a long holiday period. Targeting buyers who have had time off over the Christmas and New Year period who have had time to reflect on their next big move for the coming year, including buying a new property.

SELLING IN COOLER MONTHS

Whilst not the traditional time of year most agents will tell you to list your property, winter could still be the right time of year to list your home for sale. One advantage to listing your home during the cooler months is the relative lack of competition, with other sellers holding off until the spring period. With fewer homes on the market, your property has a much better chance of standing out.

The location of your home also plays a part. If your property is within an area which snows, or is nestled at the foot of a mountain range that looks particularly beautiful in winter, you can use the season to capitalise on views and winter activities. It’s also an opportunity to show how warm, comfortable and inviting your home can be in winter. Make the most of features like fire places and wood stoves, light candles, and use plush cushions and warm throws throughout living areas.

SELLING OVER THE SCHOOL HOLIDAYS

There’s lots of commentary on whether or not listing your property for sale during a school holiday is a good idea. One school of thought is that this is a great time of year, with people able to view open homes and even attend auctions held mid-week. Another suggests this isn’t the best time of year, with people often travelling away from home, or switching off during their downtime.

According to the latest auction data from Harcourts Queensland, there were 78 auctions with 114 registered bidders over December 2014 in Queensland, compared with 95 auctions, 147 registered bidders in October and 99 auctions and 189 bidders in November. So there is slightly less activity over a traditional long school holiday period. However, when you break down the numbers into a percentage of clearance rates, December actually achieved more sales through auction than October and only slightly less than November, with 55.89% of properties selling before or at auction in December 2014, compared with 53.41% and 56.35% respectively. These figures would suggest that buyers are no less active, at least at auctions, during school holidays.

 

There are merits to listing your home at several different times of the year. Ask your local Harcourts agent which time of year they would recommend for your home and location as they’ll be able to draw on their market insights and knowledge.