Category Archives: Renting

What happens when your landlord decides to sell?

What happens when your landlord decides to sellWhen the owner of your rental property decides to sell, communication between you and you property manager becomes paramount.

The first and most important piece of advice is don’t panic.

The sale of a landlord’s investment property doesn’t necessarily mean you will have to move.

In fact, well-presented properties with a tenant and lease in place are usually more appealing to investors than homebuyers, so the chances are high that a new investor will buy the property and nothing will change from your perspective.

The first and most important thing is to cooperate with your property manager about access arrangements concerning inspections and photography.

Next, you might even like to talk to your property manager about advice on how you could buy the property. Many landlords jump at the opportunity to discuss a sale to a tenant.

Signing a new lease also improves investor appeal so you can ask about that too.

First time renting? Here’s what you should know

First-time-renting-Heres-what-you-should-knowIf you’ve never rented before, it can seem like there’s a big learning curve. However, it’s important to keep on top of things – once you sign a lease, you take on many responsibilities to the landlord and the home. Whether you’re renting a house or apartment there’s lots of room for mistakes, but understanding the basic rules of renting can make your first time a positive learning experience for the future.

Know your stuff

Being aware of your rights and responsibilities as a tenant is one of the most important things when you’re renting. You don’t want to find yourself in any sticky situations further along the track, so understanding all the obligations contained in the tenancy agreement is crucial. If the lease says no pets, you’ll need to remember that when you have an urge later on to adopt a kitten.

That being said, there is often room for negotiation on certain issues so don’t be afraid to ask for advice if there is anything in the lease agreement you don’t understand – showing initiative and speaking up will help you learn and show the landlord or property manager that you are a responsible tenant.

Keep it together

One way to keep the relationship between you and the landlord as pleasant as possible is to make sure you stay on top of those day-to-day chores around the property. Basic duties like changing light bulbs and housekeeping are more than likely to fall on you, but these things vary from lease to lease. Double check the tenancy agreement, and always err on the side of caution and ask the agent or landlord if you’re unsure.

Before you move in, make sure the property is in a reasonable condition – you don’t want to be blamed for any damage that was already there! Photos are a great way to keep track. Keep these in case the landlord objects to returning your bond at the end of your tenancy. As well, make sure you keep important documents safe, and write down everything that happens between you and the landlord.

Be on time

Lastly, planning for deadlines and payment dates will avoid any unnecessary conflict with your landlord, real estate agent, or housemates. Never stop paying rent, even if the landlord doesn’t seem to be holding up his or her end – the consequences could be disastrous for you.

How to make yourself an ideal tenant

How-to-make-yourself-an-ideal-tenantIn today’s highly competitive property market, renting remains a popular option for many people. As a result, you’ll need to show your prospective landlord that you’re the type of tenant they are after.

Whether you’re renting for the first time or looking to move from an existing property, making the right first impression is essential.

Here are some top tips for moving yourself to the top of the list, which should help you secure the rental property of your dreams.

Be professional

If you ever get the opportunity to meet your prospective landlord, it pays to be professional. After all, they will want to know their investment is in safe hands.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t show any personality – strike the perfect balance, make the right impression and you can’t go far wrong.

Offer references

Many landlords will request references for their tenants, so it’s a good idea to get yours in order before you make a tenancy application.

This shows that you’re well-prepared and trustworthy – two traits that will stand you in good stead for getting the property you have your eye on.

Ask questions

Most people will have a whole host of questions they want to ask when they view a rental property for the first time, so make sure you’re not afraid to put yours forward.

This will show that you’re generally interested in the apartment, unit or house and that it’s not simply another one to tick off your list – even if in reality it is!

Be prepared

Would-be landlords could ask you any range of questions, which is why you’ll need to make sure you’re prepared to answer them.

Common queries include your employment history, where you’ve lived in the past and other data-specific information. Having all the details stored to memory can simplify the rental process.

Cook up a dream kitchen for your tenants

x_0_0_0_14100906_300If you’ve got a rental property, you’ll no doubt consider ways you can maximise your return on investment.

While it’s not a smart move to complete outlandish renovations that you’re unlikely to get your money back from, some changes to a kitchen that’s dull or lacking in storage could be a wise move.

Remember – it’s essential to consider what potential or existing tenants want. Put your personal preferences aside and ponder some of these practical tweaks for your rental property’s kitchen.

Lighten up

There’s nothing more frustrating than hunting in a dark pantry for canned goods or trying to cook a meal in the dark. Tenants will want a bright kitchen that’s easy to work in – you can easily address this by switching up the lighting options.

A large, hanging lamp at the centre of the kitchen will liven up the space, while smaller halogen lights above the stove will ensure anything being boiled, simmered or stewed is in plain view! You don’t need to spend a lot to brighten up the space, but consider installing energy efficient bulbs – this will mean lower power bills for your tenants, which is sure to be a plus.

Add storage

There are two reasons to update storage in your rental home or unit – for one thing, extra space is always a bonus. Plus, if the current cabinetry is looking dated, a fresh look can transform the entire kitchen space.

Consider installing floating shelves, additional built-in storage and even hooks for tenants to hang pots and pans. New cupboard fronts in cream or white and stainless steel handles can add some aesthetic charm, too.

Include a fridge and oven

Sure, buying whiteware or an oven is going to be an expense you’ll need to carefully consider.

However, if you’re appealing to tenants who have little in the way of household assets, the inclusion of a fridge and oven in the chattels list could be a big bonus, making your property more desirable.

You can even reduce your taxable income by claiming on depreciating assets, such as whiteware, according to the Australian Taxation Office.

3 reasons to ditch the rental for your own home

x_0_0_0_14100690_300Being a tenant is a reality for most Australians at some point or another in their lives. From the early days of picking flatmates to settling down and finding the perfect apartment or home to rent, you may be a tenant for some time.

However, the time often comes when you wonder whether home ownership is a better option. Sure, you’ll need to take responsibility for regular maintenance and repairs, plus you’ll need to keep on top of your mortgage repayments. That said, the freedom that comes with owning your own home and building up equity in this significant asset can be rewarding.

Buying a home is not a decision to make lightly, so consider all your options carefully and be sure to take a careful analysis of your finances. Here are three reasons why it might be time to ditch the rental.

Use the First Home Owner Grant

Australia’s First Home Owner Grant scheme helps individuals purchase their first property.

It’s a financial incentive that helps mitigate the impact of GST on home ownership, by providing a one-off grant to those who meet the eligibility criteria, explains the federal government.

The amount provided varies from state to state, so have a chat with your local real estate agent or lender about the options available to you.

Benefit from capital growth

You might adore your current suburb, but there’s no harm in investigating nearby suburbs if you’re thinking about buying.

That’s because capital growth projections vary from suburb to suburb, city to city and state to state.

If an area has large-scale infrastructure projects in the pipeline and has experienced favourable capital growth in recent months, it could be a good idea to buy. You could benefit from future capital growth, allowing you to tap into your equity in future years to renovate, upgrade or even buy an investment property. If you’re a tenant, you don’t reap the benefits of capital growth.

Create your ideal home

Sure, you can decorate a rental property with furniture, rugs and colourful vases.

However, painting the walls, renovating the kitchen and sometimes even hanging artwork is a no-no if you’re a tenant rather than a homeowner.

If you’ve got a particular idea about the design aesthetic for your home or are a keen on a spot of DIY, you’ll have a lot more freedom to decorate your own house as you please, compared to living in a rental.

Tackling maintenance as a tenant

x_0_0_0_14101028_300Whether it’s a brand new home or an apartment that has seen plenty of renters in the past, property requires maintenance.

Paint jobs, floor cleanings, lighting fixture repairs – all this and more comes as part of the deal for property buyers. However, if you’re renting a home, you may wonder where you fit in.

One of the perks of renting is knowing that your landlord can take care of maintenance, as opposed to you paying out of pocket if something malfunctions or requires attention.

However, it’s important to follow proper protocol to protect yourself from being on the line for maintenance costs.

Start smart

Your first course of action when moving into a new place should be to do a thorough walkthrough of the property with your landlord. This way  you can both record the condition of the property. This will protect you from the landlord suddenly blaming you for a crack in the wall that was there all along.

If there are problems, you and the landlord should both agree to what needs to be done and when.

It’s also a good idea to ask your landlord to provide written instructions regarding anything in or around the property that requires special care or use.

Act quickly

If a maintenance issue does develop, it’s important to report it to the landlord as quickly as possible. If you fail to tell the landlord or property manager in a reasonable timeframe, you could be held responsible for any damage.

Handling this in writing is a good idea, as it will give you record of when an issue was reported. However, if it’s an urgent matter, you should probably call your landlord or property manager directly.

These may seem like obvious steps to take, but all too often, tenants fail to protect themselves and are held liable for maintenance expenses. Don’t count yourself among them.

Make the right impression at a rental inspection

Top-tips-for-presenting-yourself-at-a-rental-inspectionRental properties are in high demand at the moment, which is why it’s so important to ensure you make a good impression when you attend an inspection.

After all, a landlord will want to make sure they can trust you to keep their investment in good condition and make your payments on time.

Here are some top tips to get you started and hopefully help you secure the rental property you’ve got your eye on.

Presentation

How you present yourself to your would-be landlord is important, so think carefully about how neatly you’re turned out.

It might not be a good idea to attend in a sweaty gym kit or your dirty work clothes – but then again you don’t have to go to the other extreme of being suited and booted. Just make sure you look presentable!

Be yourself

It’s essential to be yourself when you attend an inspection. This will help the landlord or property manager make the right decision based on their requirements.

Avoid making up stories and anecdotes to make yourself appear more likeable. If you’re not chosen then don’t take it personally – your dream rental could be just around the corner.

Show respect

A landlord is likely to have put a large amount of money into their property investment, so it’s essential to show it some respect.

Just small gestures like wiping your feet when you enter the front door can all help make a positive impression.

Show an interest

If you’re seriously considering renting a property, make sure you show an interest in it. Your landlord might not be good at reading subliminal signals, so be vocal about your enthusiasm.

Asking questions will show you’re genuinely interested and also give you the opportunity to learn more about the property you could potentially be living in.

3 tips to become a perfect tenant

3-tips-to-become-a-perfect-tenantLooking for rental properties can be extremely competitive, so it pays to stand out from the crowd somehow. Whether you have a proven track record of always paying your rent on time or being the perfect neighbour, these can all help you to be the best tenant to select. Here are three tips to help you become a great tenant.

Keep it clean

As a renter, the house you’re living in isn’t actually your own – it’s the landlord’s. Therefore, it makes sense to keep it clean and tidy to ensure it stays in a good condition for the duration of your tenancy. If maintenance of lawns and gardens is your responsibility, then make sure the backyard doesn’t turn into an overgrown jungle.

Report maintenance issues

If a problem pops up at your rental then you should report it to your landlord or property manager as soon as you can. Leaving maintenance issues to hang over your head can potentially lead to problems worsening over time. And if it’s something like the dishwasher or the oven, then it’s likely you’ll want to get it fixed ASAP so you can use it again!

Communicate

Everyone knows that communication is key to a great relationship – this also extends to the one between you and your landlord. If there are any issues that arise from the home, such as noisy neighbours or a problem with your next rent payment, let them know – you can always come to a solution together. By creating a harmonious relationship with your landlord or property manager, you can increase your chances of getting a positive reference – an extremely handy thing to have when you look for a new home!

How can I avoid rental home fraud?

First-National-Rental-FraudThe last thing you want to deal with when planning a relaxing holiday is falling victim to rental home fraud.

Not only can it end up costing you a significant amount of money, it also ruins what was supposed to be a time for fun and leisure.

Fortunately, there are ways to protect yourself and spot fraud before falling prey to it.

See it to believe it

The best way to ensure you’re not being scammed when it comes to renting a holiday home is to set your own two eyes on it. A photograph on the internet may be nice to look at, but for all you know, that picture could have been taken in another country entirely.

The owner or agent representing the property should be willing to give you a tour of the property, both inside and out. Someone who goes out of their way to keep you from actually setting sight on the property likely isn’t being forthcoming.

Keep your money close

Always get everything in writing! You should receive a written contract that you’re happy with before sending any money.

Also be wary of disproportionately high security deposits, and make sure the terms for getting your deposit back are clear.

As for sending money, avoid wire transfers, as these can be untraceable, making it much harder to find the person or your money if you fall victim to fraud.

Take international precautions

If your proposed rental home is overseas, it can be much more difficult to see it in person or avoid using wire transfers. In these instances, a little detective work is necessary.

Look up as much information as you can about the person posting the rental home, as well as any reviews from people who have used the home or done business with the person in the past.

Also ensure the home is where it’s supposed to be by using map tools online.

If you’re using a special rental booking site, find out its policies on refunds for fraud, as well as how long the home you’re renting has been listed on the site. Properties that have been listed for a long time have a better chance of not being fly by night operations.

Do you need insurance when you rent?

Renting_InsuranceIf you want your possessions protected, insurance should be a priority, even if you rent.

While most homeowners know they need to obtain their own insurance policies, many renters may be under the mistaken impression that their landlords have coverage protecting them.

Unfortunately, the insurance your landlord has is intended to protect their property – namely, the home you’re living in. As for your stuff? Without the proper coverage, it’s open to all sorts of damage you’ll be forced to pay for out of pocket.

What does renters’ insurance cover?

A renter’s insurance policy will keep your property protected from a combination of natural and man-made disasters. Fire, flooding, theft and vandalism are typically covered, and you can feel free to tailor your policy to meet your specific needs.

For instance, you can also take out insurance coverage to protect against damage to your domicile that may be caused by you or your guests with a personal liability policy. Another option is a renters insurance policy that will pay for temporary accommodation in case you’re unable to live in your house or apartment for a period of time due to damage.

When obtaining a renters insurance policy to protect the contents of your home, you’ll most likely get to choose between actual cash value or replacement coverage.

Cash value means your insurance carrier will reimburse you for the current market value of your possessions. While this policy is typically more affordable, keep in mind that current value may be far below what you actually paid for your possessions.

On the other hand, while replacement coverage is typically more expensive, it will actually pay for the cost of replacing a possession with a new version. This can be much more preferable when it comes to high-end items.