hockingstuart - Getting the most out of your investment property

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Getting the most out of your investment property How to appeal to more renters, maximise returns and minimise vacancy.

Contents 04 Introduction 07 Property presentation basics 08 Enhancing your property’s appeal 11

Property safety & security


Why being pet-friendly pays off


How a property manager can help

All information provided in this guidebook is offered as a guide only and is subject to relevant state and territory legislation.



Introduction Whether you’re buying your first investment property, renting out your family home, or growing your portfolio, it’s important to continuously look at ways to optimise the performance of your investment. Like when selling, making the effort to present a rental property at its best is a wise investment of time and energy which pays off in the long run. In this guide you’ll find valuable information on preparing your property for rent plus tips to make your home more appealing that could help you rent it sooner and for more money. All of which when done right can help you maximise your property’s potential, minimise any vacant periods and ensure you are meeting your obligations as an investor.




Property presentation basics Having your investment property present as a desirable home is the first step in attracting a renter and ensuring a great return. A wellpresented and well-maintained property also increases the likelihood of it being returned in the same condition at the end of a tenancy. Inside

Stop and smell the odours

- Deep clean throughout (or enlist a professional to do so), paying attention to kitchen and bathroom/s cupboards, drawers, appliances, fittings and fixtures.

- It’s easy to grow used to how a property smells, particularly if you have been living in it. Get a friend to do a ‘sniff test’ as lingering odours from pets, cooking or smoking can be dealbreakers for renters. Thoroughly clean and air out the offending areas but if stubborn odours remain, particularly in fabrics or carpets, invest in some deep cleaning or replacements.

- Clean all built-in storage, lights, windows, flyscreens and curtains/blinds. Wipe down skirting boards, walls and doors, mop all floors and steam clean carpets. - Check all lights are working. - Ensure appliances are clean and functional. - Make sure all common areas are clean and tidy for strata properties.

Window treatments - Whether your property has shutters, curtains or blinds, these should be clean and in good condition. If they can also block out light and/or insulate against temperature extremes this will also help reduce energy costs for your renter.. - Fly screens are fitted on all windows and external doors where possible.

Outside - Clean and tidy all outdoor areas including the garage, deck and patio—sweeping and washing paths and driveways, cleaning paintwork, window frames and clearing out gutters. - A tidy, low-maintenance garden is appealing for renters, so mow the lawn, weed and trim overgrown plants and trees. - Ensure any fences or gates are safe and intact, and if you have a pool, that it is sparklingly clean and free of garden debris.


Enhancing your property’s appeal If your budget permits, making improvements to your property can help boost its rental potential while appealing to reliable renters looking for a well-appointed and comfortable home.

A lick of paint Dated colours or peeling paint is a turn-off for many renters. Never underestimate the impact of a fresh coat of paint, particularly on an older property. Stick to neutral colours to allow renters to imprint their own style with their furniture and belongings.

Don’t forget about the floors If your flooring is badly worn or outdated consider replacing it with something more aesthetically pleasing. Opt for a floor treatment that is hard-wearing and easy to clean such as tiles or wooden flooring, ensuring bathroom and kitchen floorcoverings are suitably water resistant.

Refresh the kitchen New kitchens are expensive so instead of a full overhaul try replacing benchtops or painting cupboards and replacing handles to give it a fresh look for a fraction of the cost. Again, go for neutral colours to appeal to the majority of renters. Dishwashers are deemed an essential kitchen appliance these days so it pays to install one in your rental if you want to appeal to the maximum numbers of renters. If any appliances are on their last legs remember that a stitch in time saves nine, and replacing them sooner than later reduces the likelihood of an emergency if they break down later.

Update the bathroom If your bathroom is tired but you’re not in a position to replace it yet, consider smaller alterations like replacing the toilet, vanity, basin or taps, shower heads which can help breathe new life into something old-fashioned. If storage is limited mounting a new bathroom cabinet can be a cost-effective solution.

Consider installing aircon When it comes to heating and cooling, while heaters can be easily purchased and relocated by renters, air conditioning units are a big financial investment which are bulky to move. As such, a property with air conditioning installed will always have added appeal to renters.




Property safety & security While your property doesn’t need to be in totally perfect condition, as an investor you need to ensure it is in good repair and fit to live in, while complying with all safety regulations and laws for rental properties.

Complying with regulations You will need to ensure your property meets regulations and guidelines covering energy efficiency, smoke alarms, ventilation, presence of mould or pests, swimming pools, window safety and overall security. As well as current obligations for an investor relating to stairs, decks, balconies, railings, blinds, water efficiency and electrical/ gas safety. Security is another important aspect with functioning door and window locks a must (where window locks are fitted they must be working and keys provided).

Keep on top of repairs Take advantage of periods when your property is empty to attend to any repairs – either DIY or call in a licensed tradesperson. Don’t overlook things that seem trivial or which you’ve grown accustomed to, like mouldy bathroom grout, dripping taps, broken tiles or chipped paint. This avoids small problems growing or requiring costly emergency repairs down the track.

Pools and spas If your property has a pool and/or spa make sure these are thoroughly clean and sparkling, and compliant with any applicable safety laws. In most states pools need to be registered and inspected for compliance, with appropriate fencing required for both pools and spas. During a lease we recommend owners engage a professional pool maintenance contractor, while the renter covers the cost of chemicals. This ensures the pool functions optimally, reducing costs and allowing you to anticipate any maintenance issues.

How we can help Our property managers can advise on the safety and security regulations which apply to rental properties in your state, and can recommend reliable tradespeople and pool professionals before and during a tenancy.


Why being pet-friendly pays off With pet ownership increasing, an effective way to attract more renters is by making your property pet-friendly. Properties that accept pets are often in short supply, in turn attracting many applications and renting out quickly. They may also achieve a higher rent compared to properties that don’t allow animals. In addition, animal owners often seek longer-term leases and maintain their rentals to a high standard, reducing your leasing and vacancy costs. Making your property pet-friendly While major alterations aren’t required to make a property pet-friendly, bear in mind petowners usually require any outdoor areas to be fully fenced. A cat flap or doggy door is also useful but owners are not obliged to install one. It’s also worth investigating different types of flooring to minimise any damage from pets. Tiled floors are highly durable, scratch-resistant and easy to clean; floorboards can become scratched, while if a property is carpeted it is a good idea to ensure the renter organises and pays for steam-cleaning and pest treatments at the end of the lease.

Protecting your property - Pet clauses If you’re concerned about property damage you may be able to include a ‘pet clause’ in your tenancy agreement. This usually stipulates the renter pays for any damage caused by the pet, regularly removes droppings and organises professional cleaning and pest treatments upon vacating the property.

- Pet resumes Before accepting any fur renter you can request to first see the animal’s ‘pet resume’. This gives an overview of the pet including its photo, breed, age, size, temperament, vaccination and microchip details plus a reference from a previous rental provider and/or vet.

- Update your insurance Check your investor’s insurance policy to ensure you are appropriately covered for any damage caused by a pet living in the property, and if any exclusions or limitations apply.



How a property manager can help The process of renting property can seem daunting, so as well as conducting your own research it is worth enlisting the help of a professional property manager. In addition to explaining your responsibilities as a property investor, a property manager can advise on everything ranging from renter selection and management, marketing, presentation and ongoing maintenance all the way through to purchasing your next investment property. Our property managers are skilled in understanding the complexities of property management, while taking the time to ensure owners and renters are comfortable with each process, which promotes relationships built on trust and mutual respect. All of this leads to a smooth tenancy with less chance of issues arising, while in turn optimizing the return on your investment. Visit Hockingstuart.com today to find your local property management team and discover more about putting your property up for rent.



Contact your local Hockingstuart office today for advice and support you can trust.


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