Landscaping for Landlords – Increase Value by Improving Outdoors

Renting out your Property

Some of Brisbane’s most sought-after houses sit on large, family-friendly blocks that make excellent investment properties. But whether your rental property boasts oodles of outdoor space or snuggles up to a more modest back yard, if you’re renting out your property an investment in outdoor improvements is likely to pay off.

Studies have shown that green and growing spaces around your home can increase the value of your property by 5.4% while good landscaping on your property improves the perceived value by up to 11% more. If it takes yet another statistic to convince you, then how about the 109% return on investment for every dollar you spend on landscaping? Outdoor space, it seems, certainly sells.

What are the best landscaping options if you rent out your house?

Renting out your property to tenants means you must take a different approach to landscaping. You are now dealing with the property as a business so costs are important as well as time it takes to maintain. Some of the important considerations when you have tenants include:

  • Street appeal: If you wish to attract tenants to your rental property then a good looking garden is a fantastic attraction but you’ll have to think further than lush, lovely and green. It helps to Invest in low-maintenance planting and well-mulched beds to keep out the weeds.
  • Privacy: Consider plants that give the feeling of isolation from overseeing eyes.
  • Maintenance: While the tenant is responsible for general upkeep of the garden, any specialist jobs are not their problem unless they specifically agree. High maintenance planting could see you looking after a garden you don’t get to enjoy.
  • Water: Most times, your tenant will be expected to pay for metered water, so planting a thirsty garden is likely to push up their costs as well as asking them to do extra work. Choose drought-resistant plants to keep your tenants on your side.
  • Safety: While you may enjoy a pool or pond in your garden, it’s not a good idea if you’re renting out your house. The risk to tenants will send your insurance through the roof so avoid obvious hazards to keep down your costs.

Planting for pleasure – create a garden your tenants will enjoy

The ideal situation when renting out your property is to have a home that keeps good tenants for years. Long-term, happy tenants save you the hassle and stress of having an empty property and avoid the trouble of finding new people who want to move in. Landscaping helps here; a great garden goes a long way towards creating a happy home.

In addition to attractive planting, consider how tenants can enjoy their outdoor space. Many people enjoy an indoor-outdoor lifestyle, treating their garden as an extension of their house, so create a space where they can relax and spend time with their friends. You don’t need to go over the top – a simple deck or a shady courtyard can tempt new tenants to rent out your house. This may feel like an expensive option, but it’s an investment that will boost your property’s value.

Shade is another important consideration, protecting your tenants from the glare of the sun. Choose a gazebo or a feature tree to create a shady corner your tenants will love.

Who cares for the garden when your tenants are in?

When you’re renting out your property, it’s important that nothing is taken for granted, and that includes garden care. Maintenance responsibilities, as well as the starting condition of features and plants, should be clearly laid out in the tenancy agreement to avoid future disputes.

Your tenants will be expected to carry out basic maintenance and return your property – inside and out – in the condition it was in at the start of the tenancy (allowing for reasonable wear and tear). But if you create a stunning space that requires specialist care, you may find yourself lumbered with extra work or expense.

We can help

If you’re ready to rent out your property but would like the maximum return on your investment, then investing in landscaping is the right way to go.

At Position One Property, we never forget that your rental property is your business just as much as it is your tenants’ new home. When preparing your property for rental, we’ll be happy to offer expert advice on cost-effective landscaping ideas that will attract and keep the kind of tenants you need.

 

[Source of Statistics : www.domain.com.au]

Learn About Landlord Insurance

If you’re new to the world of property investment then you might still be learning the ropes about what you should and shouldn’t do in terms of renting. The first thing you should do when you are ready to rent is to enlist the services of a reputable agent. At Position One we can guarantee we are that agent.

We will expertly guide you through what you need to do to ensure your investment is lucrative and well taken care of. One of the first pieces advice we would like to share is about landlord insurance. While we understand that many people don’t like to spend money on insurance in general, landlord insurance is one type of insurance that you shouldn’t ignore.

Why should you have landlord insurance?

We all know what insurance is for; it is to cover you for any unforseen losses and damage. When it comes to renting your investment you don’t want to skimp on being covered. We do our best to screen all tenants to avoid anything going wrong. However, the sad truth is that sometimes it does.

There are many different covers available from all insurance providers. Generally, what is covered is fire, fixtures, fittings, rent unpaid and more. As each provider may be slightly different you will need to check thoroughly what you are covered for.

Landlord insurance ensures that if something goes wrong and you are covered that you won’t be out of pocket except where excess is concerned. What might have cost you thousands could end up costing hundreds thanks to landlord insurance.

Choosing an insurer

It is important that you shop around when it comes to choosing your insurer. Some will provide cover for more items than others and you always need to check fine print. For example, if you wish to be covered for floods you will need to choose a provider that covers this if your property is in a flood zone.

Being clear on exactly what items are covered and under what terms and conditions is vitally important. Reading terms and conditions can get quite confusing at times and you should always ask the insurer if you have any questions before signing up for anything.

Our team at Position One are ready to assist you in any way they can when it comes to your investment. Contact us for advice on landlord insurers and our screening process for tenants to give you peace of mind that everything will be okay.

Move In Clutter Free

Rental Property BrisbaneOne of the traps many of us fall into in our homes is hanging on to clutter. There are many reasons why we end up with items we don’t need or use. Some we become attached to, not wanting to get rid of a box of old cards we were given at our 5th birthday. Some we believe we may use again and so keep them stored away, ‘just in case’.

The truth of the matter is clutter is not good for our mental health or the state of our homes. The more we hold on to and collect the less space we have. We can start to feel closed in and surrounded by junk. It’s an ugly trap to get into and often when we move house we find it’s a great way to escape the junk and start afresh.

Benefits of Cleaning Out

If you have found your next perfect home with our Position One office then you may well be planning on a de-cluttering. The benefits to having a huge clean out before you move are many. Let’s take a look.

Some benefits to having a garage sale before moving:

  • Get rid of clutter;
  • Less to pack and less to unpack;
  • Less to move;
  • More space in your new home;
  • Extra cash from the garage sale; and
  • Gain peace of mind and clarity over letting unwanted items go.

Tips on Starting a Garage Sale

So how should you go about having a successful garage sale before you move out and then into your new home? Here are some great tips to get you started:

  • Firstly, decide where you will have the garage sale. If you don’t have enough space, maybe you have friends who wish to combine a garage sale with yours. This way you can also advertise a larger amount of items for sale in the local paper and possibly draw a bigger crowd.
  • Next, plan what exactly you wish to sell at the garage sale, as well as your asking price is. Always be prepared to negotiate when it comes to garage sales as people are after a bargain. Be ruthless, if you haven’t used an item in a few months perhaps it’s time to get rid of it. Go through each room and make a list.
  • Best selling items at garage sales are appliances, baby items, books, bikes and other sporting equipment, games, fishing equipment, garden tools and homeware.

After that, you need to advertise and prepare for the day. Keep a realistic mind about sales and be positive. When the day is over you can start preparing for collecting the keys from our Position One office and moving into your new place, clutter free.

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Don’t Make The Common Home Buyer Mistakes

You would have heard the term ‘fools rush in’ many times in your life and hopefully would have avoided experiencing the term yourself first hand. There are many times when it comes to decision making that you need to tread carefully and with plenty of forethought first.

Home buying is one of these decisions where you need to have thoroughly considered your choice before going ahead, as buying a home is a huge commitment. Our Position One property team is a team of professionals with longevity and experience in the industry. They will help you to make the right decision when it comes to buying property.

We will listen to your needs, requests and preferences and not try to force a square peg into a round hole so you end up with a home that is not suitable at all. If you want to avoid making some of the more common mistakes of home buying then come and talk to us and also take heed of the following advice.

Prepare and research

If you have chosen a suburb in which you think you want to buy then research it first. You might find the perfect home but you also need it in the right location to suit your needs and the needs of your family.

Things to consider, depending on your situation, are schools, public transport, shopping and any upcoming construction. The same is also true about researching for the right mortgage with the right lender.

Budget

You need to have your budget sorted before you buy. Get pre-approval if possible from your bank and have a clear plan on how you are going to afford a mortgage for your new home. Never go outside your means and always have a plan in place if the worst occurs, such as a loss of job loss, amongst others.

Market influence

It can be easy to think about waiting for the right time according to the market but this is not always the best way to buy. Buying at the time that suits you financially is best. The market will ebb and flow and you may be tempted to be led by what the media suggests but always go with what is right for you—not the current market.

Emotional decisions

It is very easy to fall in love with a home, possibly the first one or two you see, and want to buy, but don’t do that. Always take the time to think about the decision, view other homes and don’t overstep your budget due to the love for a home.

Contact our office at Position One Property today to set yourself on the right path to making the best decision.

Carpet Spills and Stains In Rentals

When you rent a property through our office at Position One Property you need to take precautions when it comes to taking care of and cleaning the property. These are in place to not only protect items in the home but to also save you from extra costs in paying for repairs of damaged items.

Carpeting, for example, needs to be treated with care. Where carpet is present it is a good idea to take care as much as possible. With carpeting you want to avoid spills and stains. Not wearing shoes in carpeted areas is a great idea, also not letting small children use felt pens, for example, on carpets is a great way to prevent marks.

Taking care with food and drinks on carpets can also save you the hassle of spills but in reality, spills and stains do happen. Spills need to be taken care of as soon as possible to avoid staining, and the action needs to be the correct one to prevent further damage.

Carpet spills and stains

The first thing you need to know about treating spills is not to use hot water. This is because the hot water opens the fibres of the carpet, allowing the liquid to soak further in and stain. In most spills the best treatment is first to blot with paper and then sponge with a warm soapy solution of detergent and water.

There are some spills though, that need more specific care. Blood should always be cleaned with cold water, never use hot or warm as this will coagulate and set the blood. Red wine needs to be first blotted and then covered with salt to absorb the liquid. Once the salt is dry vacuum this up.

We highly recommend that you first look up how to treat the spill that has occurred before taking action. This will ensure that you don’t do the wrong thing and make the issue worse.

Professional carpet cleaning

If stains remain then it is recommended these be taken care of by a professional. Taking matters into your own hands with carpet stains can be risky because you may not know exactly what the carpet is made from, for example.

Damage to carpets such as stains is the responsibility of the tenant to take care of and to pay any costs that are incurred. If you have any queries or need more information regarding this, please don’t hesitate to contact our Position One Property today.

 

What To Expect From Inspections

Rental inspections are important for both the owner and the tenant. They are carried out so that our Position One Property management team can ascertain whether there are any problems with the property and also to keep owners informed of the goings on in their investment.

Inspections are also beneficial for tenants as it gives them the opportunity to raise any issues with the property or to ask any questions that they may have. If tenants are unable to be present then they are able to fill out paperwork provided with any information or questions.

Once someone from our team has carried out the inspection we will provide owners with a thorough report. This report will bring to light any problems that may be occurring, repairs that may need to be carried out and possible future repairs.

We believe it is important to notify owners of possible upcoming repairs so that they may budget for these and thus making sure that the investment continues to run successfully. Whether you are the tenant or the owner of the property you should be aware of what we are looking at during inspections.

We understand that your home won’t look perfect at all times; if you are a tenant and have been informed of an inspection we suggest you ensure the following are seen to beforehand. Unless we think there is an issue and need entry sooner you will be given seven days notice before entry.

Outside the home

When we inspect the outside of the premises we will be looking at the condition of any gardens, lawns and sheds if present. Lawns and gardens should be kept mowed and tidy. We will inspect the entire outside area to ensure that there is no damage to sheds, garages and the outside walls of the home.

Inside the home

There is a lot to cover inside the home. Each room needs to be inspected for damage and any repairs required. Walls, carpeting, cupboards, light fittings, et cetera, will be checked as will appliances in the kitchen and bathroom fittings.

As we are not always able to tell if there is an issue with something such as the hot water system filling up, it is up to the tenant to advise us of issues such as this. As outlined in the RTA act we allow for fair wear and tear in homes.

If you have any questions regarding inspections as the owner or the tenant we are only too happy to assist. Contact us as Position One for more information on rental inspections as well as what to expect.

 

The Ideal Housemate Questionnaire

 

Sharing a rental can make life a lot easier on the hip pocket as well as when it comes to the chores. If you are planning on sharing a rental from our office at Position One Property then it’s important to remember that you are entering a legal agreement.

It is likely that all names will appear on the tenancy agreement and so the choice of whom you live with needs to be made wisely. With this in mind, we have a few suggestions that you might like to ask your potential house mate/s to help you make a more informed decision.

Rental history

History has a way of revealing a lot about a person. The first thing to ask a potential house mate is what their rental history has been over the past five or so years. This will give a good indication of how reliable they are.

For example, someone who has lived in the same place for three or more years is a very good candidate to share with given their answers to the rest of the questions are suitable too. If you are looking at someone who has not had a permanent address in some time and can’t show a history of reliable rent paying, be wary.

There can be perfectly valid reasons for a lack of permanent address, such as travelling, but the reason needs to be valid. You don’t want to add someone to the lease who is unreliable and flaky at staying in one place too long.

Employment

The importance of employment history is right at the top of the list with rental history for generally the same reasons. You want to share with someone who can remain gainfully employed with a steady income.

This means they can and will pay their share of the rent and other expenses and not asking for a loan on a regular occasion. It again also shows reliability.

When you ask about the history of renting and employment this is a good time to ask if they have any references.

A day in the life of…

When choosing a housemate you want someone whose schedule is fairly similar to yours. For instance if you are a night shift worker then another night shift worker is likely to be the most ideal. 9 to 5 workers are better off with the same.

People who like to go out and drink until all hours on the weekend and come home noisily in the AM, are not going to share a space well with a gym instructor who doesn’t drink at all and likes a good night’s rest. Match your habits, working and social preferences well.

Single or attached?

This might not seem like a big issue. But, it can be if your flat mate has a partner who will be there most nights a week; you might not be happy about that scenario. It will also be wise to ask if they have a partner whether they plan to live together any time soon.

For single people the question may seem invasive but you should ask if they date a lot or bring ‘randoms’ home after a night out. You need to ask yourself if either of these situations will make you feel uncomfortable.

If you would like any advice on how to go about setting up a shared rental lease, contact our professional Position One Property team today.

The Ideal Housemate Questionnaire

Finding The Perfect Property

Regardless of whether you are looking for a property to rent or buy, there will inevitably be a list of wants and must haves. It is important, especially if you are buying the property to live in, that you generate a list before you start looking.

In reality, you will end up needing to compromise on some of the items on your list; you should also decide ahead of time what you are willing to ‘let go’ of. A chat with our knowledgeable team at Position One Property will help you put some of these items in perspective.

Here are some great tips to help you find the place that fits everyone sooner rather than later.

Perfect is a relative term

Holding out to find the ‘perfect’ place could take forever. As mentioned, there will be some items on your list you will need to be prepared to give up, especially if you are looking with other buyers or renters.

If you are looking with others then communication and compromise is key here. With these two things in place, your dream home will come along a lot quicker. What you might think is perfect your partner or friend may not; it’s all relative.

Discussing first what you want in a home will help you reach an agreement quicker when you are house hunting.

Get your name on the door

Registering your details with us is like having your name on the VIP list at the door. When properties that we think are suitable for you are listed, we will contact you ASAP. This can save you some of the leg work involved with house hunting.

Consider the location

If you are not finding the perfect place at the perfect price in the suburb of your choice, look further afield. The very next suburb or next few suburbs are still close by to all of the pros you are looking for in the suburb of your choice.

Compromising on the location might mean you have a better chance of finding a home with more of what’s on your list and at a cheaper price. Don’t rule it out.

Do you need an outdoors area?

To choose land or not to choose land, that is the question. Families are usually the ones who need the yard space but there are also some singles or couples who want space outdoors to use, too. Always consider who will carry out the jobs for a yard such as mowing, and if a small courtyard might be better for your needs.

For more advice on finding the perfect place, talk to our team at Position One Property today.

 

Renting a Shared House – What You Need to Know

If you have read John Birmingham’s ‘He Died with a Felafel in His Hand’ you are probably well versed in what not to look for in a shared house, and all the worst case scenarios. These are the scenarios that make property rental companies such as Position One Property cringe, so it’s best to avoid them if you want a good rental history behind you. For those who want to enter into a healthy shared house opportunity but have never done it before, here is some helpful information to get you started.

What Do You Want?

The first thing you need to do is work out what you are looking for in a shared house. You could either rent one yourself and populate it with awesome people, or join an existing one. Do you want to live in an apartment, or in shared student accommodation? How much rent are you willing to pay? Once you have worked out what you are looking for you will have an idea about where to go from there.

Moving In

When moving into a shared house (whether starting one up or going into an already established one), you will need a bit of money behind you to cover the initial start-up costs. These may include bond (4 weeks’ rent), 2 weeks’ rent in advance and a share in electricity, gas and internet. Depending on how much furniture you can muster up, you may need to buy some, or arrange for it to be moved to your new place.

Day-to-day

As with any other relationship, the opportunity to live in a shared house with other humans brings you a variety of experiences to learn and grow from. When choosing the right share house for you, you might want to visit the place to get an idea about how the current tenants like to live. For example, if you are a non-muso moving into a musician’s shared house, be prepared for lots of music to be played day and night. If you are living with students, be prepared that there will be certain times of year when everyone is a bit stressed, such as exam time. It is important to communicate about what you need and maintain an open, honest relationship with your housemates through the changing times of life.

Legalities

When moving into the house you may want to become a co-tenant, which means that your name will be on the lease, or a sub-tenant which will require you to get a written statement of your status from the lease-holding tenant. Initially, when you move into a shared house everything is usually fun and rainbows, and you may not anticipate what could go wrong, so it is important to be sure that you know your legal standing and that you are happy with it. One of the downsides of going on a lease in a shared house is that you may be responsible if the property is damaged by a non-lease-holding tenant.

Moving Out

When choosing to move out of a rental property there are legal boundaries to protect all parties, so making sure that you know where you stand is an important preparation during the ‘moving in phase’. Position One Property has seen both sides of the fence in terms of tenants who have prepared for a smooth exit, and those who have not, and they urge you to know your rights and prepare for anything that may come along.

Improving Rentals For Greater Appeal Is Not Difficult Or Expensive

With over 30% of Australia’s adult population living in rental accommodation, and almost half of those in the 18 to 34 year old demographic, owners of rental properties can do much to attract the most desirable of these house hunters. A recent survey of renters has given some indication of the influencing factors that determine what they want in suitable rental accommodation.

What Do Good Tenants Want in a Rental?

On top of the list was location, with proximity to services such as shopping, medical facilities, schools and transport also a high priority. For a prospective investor yet to purchase their first property, this is excellent information that, should they act on it, will add considerable value to their investment.

Those who already own rental properties should not despair, however, because other influencing factors revealed in the survey can be easily incorporated into their existing properties. Here at Position One Property we were not surprised to see that car accommodation was up there with the other desirable attributes.

Tenants Want Their Cars Secured and Under Cover

Those of our tenants who commute to work via public transport still have a vehicle they use after hours or at weekends. This is a considerable investment for them, and they want to park it off the street, preferably under cover. If your rental property does not have car accommodation, a free standing car port will satisfy most tenants, especially when hail storms appear on the horizon.

The number of bedrooms in a rental was also high on the list of factors influencing renters’ choices. We find that extra bedrooms attract a wider range of renters, and such properties command higher rents. If your current property has a verandah or home office that can be converted into a bedroom, it will be easier to rent and give you a better return on investment.

Use Storage Space and Built-ins to Attract Good Tenants

Storage space was another factor influencing renters. Most people these days have a lot of possessions and they would rather find a property where they can have them at hand than pay to put them in storage. We recommend to our rental owners that they install cupboards wherever they are practical, and even place a small shed in the back yard for tools, mowers and other possession that don’t need to be in the house.

Renters also love properties with built-in wardrobes, as most of them don’t want the inconvenience of transporting their own when they move. Floor to ceiling wardrobes are the most efficient as they not only provide more storage space, but there are no spaces at the top to collect dust. Mirrored doors also reflect light, which makes the rooms look bigger and lighter. If the bedrooms in your rental property are dark and pokey, this is a perfect way to solve two problems with one outlay.

We work hard to attract good tenants for our owners so for them to meet us halfway by spending a little to upgrade their property is a good outcome for them and for Position One Property.