Wednesday, 21 October 2015

7 Critical questions to ask your Property Manager before signing on the dotted line

You wouldn’t award someone a job without asking them if they have relevant skills and experience… so why would you appoint a Property Manager without checking them out?

To ensure your assets are placed in the right hands, here are 7 critical questions to ask your Property Manager:

  1. How long have you been in Property Management (with the same office?)

You wouldn’t be confident in a medical intern carrying out your heart operation, so why would you risk trusting the management of your investment portfolio with a rookie?

A Property Manager equipped with confident experience in handling an array of tenancy situations and nurtured by their agency with opportunities for continuous training, a tried and tested system supporting them and motivating financial incentives is the right person to manage your assets. With some portfolios worth in excess of $40 million per property manager (and that’s a low estimate!), this is a serious investment, vital to your financial future, which requires a top notch professional approach.

  1. What happens when you are out of office?
One of the greatest failures of Real Estate Agencies is poor communication.

Whilst you should expect your Property Manager to call you first with any status change to your property, my advice is to find a Property Management service that can provide you with 24/7 access to information about your property. This can take the form of mobile phone access, online landlord portals, inspection videos, and qualified support teams who can answer your questions with expertise....after all, it is your money on the line, and the best staff still take holidays and have lunch!

  1. How do you intend to market my property so I get the best tenant at the best rental?

Evidence and relevant statistics are the key.

Your Property Manager should price your property with the intent of keeping your property occupied whilst achieving the best rent possible. An agency working in your best interests (to achieve the ‘best’ rent) will provide high-quality photography and extensive online advertising.

A dedicated Property Manager will be motivated to organise showings of your property at least 5-6 days out of the week, will carefully record tenant feedback and will provide this feedback hand-in-hand with their advice.Phrases like ‘it feels like your property is too expensive’ from your property manager during marketing is not a good enough response! Expect evidence and qualified advice based on the most important information: feedback from prospective tenants and market.  

  1. Do you have a tenancy database that you can use to quickly lease my property?

Agents can say anything  so ask for evidence.

Very few agents actually keep a database of active prospective tenants. Ask to view theirs, perhaps on a tablet or online. A vacant property is an unprofitable asset…and no it is not normal for your investment property to be vacant for months on end ‘because of the market’. Experienced real estate agencies will be able to provide you with an abundant pool of potential tenants. Prudential Real Estate alone has a database of 900-1200 tenants actively seeking a rental right now!

  1. How thoroughly and frequently do you perform inspections and what material do you use to support them?

Don’t just take anyone’s word for it when it comes to updates on your property.

To ensure that your property has been thoroughly inspected between 2 and 4 times annually, ask what processes and materials are used to document the feedback from the inspection. What you should expect from a high-quality Property Management service is expert photos, inspection videos, written and electronically filed reports and an invitation to the inspection!

  1. Are you prepared to provide a written, contractual guarantee as to the quality of your service?

In asking this question you are aiming to ascertain who will take responsibility for every piece of advice they provide when it comes to the management of your investment. If the Property Manager is not willing to guarantee their quality of service and ‘put their money where their mouth is’ do not invest your money in their services. Simple.

  1. Can you provide a list of references from current landlords?

Don’t be afraid to ask your prospective Property Manager for evidence of their service quality, managing their current portfolio. If the Property Manager is serious about winning the management of your assets they should have evidence from current landlords and tenants including; written testimonials, testimonial videos and online reviews e.g. Facebook & Google+.

These 7 critical questions are all vital to assess the skill and systems of the agents available to you. Knowledge is power, so the more informed you are about a Property Management service, the more comfortable you will be with your sign-up decision. All in all, high value assets deserve an excellent standard of property management and determine this don't be afraid to ask, it's your money after all!

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Gone in (less than) 60 minutes!

Fed up with waiting for an outcome on your tenancy application? Sick of being stuck in limbo for days on end?

Well, never fear, Prudential is here!

Blazing the way for technological innovation in our Property Management processes, Prudential Real Estate has developed a system from the ground-up that minimises application processing time to a mere 60 minutes or less. Imagine submitting your tenancy application online to Prudential Real Estate during your lunch break and receiving an outcome within the hour!

We understand that when looking for a property to rent, you may lodge many applications to secure a tenancy. With an internal employee solely focused on processing your tenancy application in 60 minutes or less, our quick and simple application process ensures that you receive a prompt answer regarding your application to either move in or move on to the next property.

Hand-in-hand with our fast application process is our use of the TRA system which only requires a single registration with Prudential Real Estate to be considered for tenancy.

At Prudential Real Estate, we take our customers and clients feedback seriously, in assisting us to improve the customer experience. We hope this game-changing Property Management system better serves the needs of our tenants and reduces the headache caused when trying to find the perfect rental.

For more information about our 60 minute or less tenancy application process click here.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

First Impressions Count

You wouldn’t go to a job interview in your pyjamas, so why would you put your house on the market looking untidy?

In the last month or so we have experienced an increase in supply of  properties on the local Macarthur market. This means that the number of buyers attending open homes is now further spread and therefore less than the usual stampede.

Prudential Real Estate wants to ensure that our client’s property stands head and shoulders above the here is our advice to vendors looking to stand-out this selling season.

First Impressions Count

From the curbside to your front door should be impeccable. Allocate a weekend to tidy up and repair the external appearance of the property and walk around your property as if you are a buyer critiquing your home and take note of areas that require improvement.

Some ideas about what you should focus on sharpening: cut back hedges and overhanging tree branches, clean out gutters, repair and paint awning, wash down windows and doors, fix fences and paths and fertilise and water plants. Note: remove all garden ornaments...if you collect gnomes or pink flamingos in your garden that’s fantastic, but not to everyone’s taste.


Indoor- outdoor living is all the rage

Invite the indoors out by decluttering pergolas, BBQ areas and styling these areas with welcoming outdoor furniture and inexpensive outdoor accessories including lanterns, candles, table settings and cushions.


Cleanliness is next to godliness

Clean down indoor and outdoor areas and make the whole house sparkle!
Doing a major Spring clean a few weeks ahead of the first open home will allow you to undertake minimal maintenance with a brief touch-up here while your home is on the market. Make a feature of key rooms such as the pool/spa, bathroom and kitchen by making them gleam!

Create interest and a sense of ‘home’

Polish and dress furnishings to the best of your ability and maximise countertop space. This will leave you with space that can afford personalised touches such as matching hand towels in the bathroom and hand moisturiser. Staging plays an important role in helping potential buyers picture themselves calling your property, ‘home’.

Heart is where the home is….and the kitchen.

No matter how many groups of buyers pass through your home, the only thing on the mind of the home cook is the state, presentation and practicality of the kitchen.

Our advice is to declutter, emphasise negative space on countertops, polish appliances and hide outdated appliances (if possible). We recommend that you also stage the kitchen with homely accents like a a bunch of fresh flowers or a decorative bowl of fresh fruit to win over the whole family.

For more handy hints about how you can add thousands to your property's sale price please email Shelby at for your free copy of 'How To Sell Your Home For Thousands More'.

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Blink and you’ll miss out!

Phew!...What a crazy quarter it has been so far.
With the RBA’s decision yesterday to keep the interest rates on hold again, at a record 2.0% and with only slightly shifted buyer confidence, we have seen houses flying off the local market.

This is no surprise to us though, as CoreLogic RP Data states that the Sydney property market is the most hyperactive in the country. Our results can atest to this, with an impressive 80% of listed properties selling in less than 21 days as experienced in Currans Hill where on average, houses are spending 19 days on the market before being snapped up.

The journey to sold is even shorter for well-positioned properties in the local Macarthur market, with 20% of our properties listed in the last 60 days selling in under 7 days. We have been blown away with the speed in which we are selling homes, notably a property recently listed in Ingleburn sold within the first day of being on the market...unbelievable!

Moving into the Spring selling season, although we have seen a slight curb in buyer attendance to open homes, we are still receiving plenty of interest. Now is not the time to panic, but to cash-in while the market is still feeling the heat. If you are a vendor looking to sell your home, here is our advice to you- call Prudential Real Estate.

Finding the right agent and getting your home or investment ready for sale this Spring should be at the top of your priority list. As we move into September, buyers are still out in the local Macarthur and ready to invest in your call us today and get Spring cleaning!

Friday, 28 August 2015

Honey…I housed the kids

With the boom in the Sydney property market sending housing affordability skyrocketing over the last 12 months, granny flats also known as secondary dwellings have become increasingly popular investments. The great Australian dream of homeownership for Gen-Yers is becoming a major feat which has seen some parents generously invest in a granny flat.

Catching wind of the increasing demand for secondary dwellings with the interest rates at a historically-low 2.0%, we can thank the NSW state government for simplifying the approval process. Offering investors a bypass of council approval through ‘complying developments’, the Department of Planning and Environment can now offer approval with a proposed 10-day turnaround. How exciting! no more council applications….

There are a few condition though which can be found here, so make sure to get all the facts before drawing out boundaries on Mum & Dad's back lawn.

We have increasingly seen the impacts of the Affordable Rental Housing- State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) in the local Macarthur property market, with traditionally larger size blocks being snapped up. Director Graeme Paddock confirms that “more than 50% of local properties sold within the past few months have boasted granny flat potential”.

Encouraged by the record-low interest rates and attractive rent potential, buyers are getting more bang for their buck than ever before- investment yield that cannot be surpassed. Graeme’s advice to buyers in increasing the value of their investment is to preferably “invest in either a corner block or a block with vehicle side access, this will offer you the opportunity to construct a carport and the convenience of a separate frontage, improving the property’s market value in the long run."

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

WOW...was it cold?!

Last Friday night a team of volunteers from Prudential Real Estate braved the cold to raise awareness about hidden homelessness in Macarthur.

Attending the Macarthur Homelessness Steering Committee’s annual Sleep Out event at Campbelltown Athletics Centre, we kept warm by playing soccer, tennis and even running around the track in our onesies!

Director, Michael O’Sullivan even sported a pink hippo onesie to pay up on his bet with Paul Meehan of Meehans Solicitors to achieve another $500 donation towards the cause.

With temperatures dropping from a balmy 10 degrees to 0.9 degrees overnight, our sleep out in cardboard boxes was definitely chilly, but the fantastic live entertainment, a delicious sausage sizzle held by the Lions Rotary Club and fun and games including a raffle and bingo gave us more than enough distraction from the cold.

As the night wrapped up our team had managed to keep our spirits up with a few hot chocolates, hot wedges, cheese and biscuits and a tonne of Director, Nick Gauci a sugar high and an inability to sleep that night (not anything to do with a certain neighbour’s snoring)...

Prudential Real Estate is very proud to have participated in the ‘Night Out in the Cold for a Cause’ event as gold sponsors, raising over $1500 for the Macarthur Homelessness Steering Committee. We would like to thank the team of volunteers who attended, our supporters and importantly the Social Committee for organising our sponsorship and participation in this event.

All in all we had a blast raising awareness for the homeless in Macarthur, but returning to our warm houses the following day, we know sleeping out in the elements is a harsh reality for many people in the community. We appreciate the struggles faced each day by the homeless and we are happy to return next year to support this worthy, local cause. We look forward to seeing you all there!

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Will the banks cause the end of the boom?

The slow-down in the Sydney property market is inevitable like all good things - the boom must come to an end at some stage. There has been much speculation about when and if the property market bubble will burst which has been dismissed, but with greater talk about APRA’s recent pressure on the banks to increase their measures in reducing capital investment percentages under the 10% target… we are paying attention.

So we thought it was the right time to explain the imminent shift in the property market in layman's terms for our readers.

Let’s break it down, What is APRA proposing the banks introduce to avoid penalties?
  • Increase the minimum deposit rate on loans
  • Increase linear expenses to reduce the amount people can borrow
  • Increase interest rates for new and existing customers


APRA is trying to regulate the high influx of investment in the market which is leaving the banks with limited cash holdings and placing the banks in risky territory. As the cash rate interest rate is at an all time record low of 2.0%, loans are looking more and more attractive to those looking to enter the property market and to investors looking to improve their portfolios.

The demand for finance stimulated by the low interest rate can be explained through the example of our all-time favourite childhood treat, the Cadbury’s Freddo Frog. Back in my day as a millennial, the humble ‘Freddo’ was double in quantity and a margin of the price, making it one of the most popular school fundraiser chocolates. Nowadays we are faced with paying an extra .50c to a $1 more for a thinner ‘Freddo’....neutralising demand. This is the reality we face for loan finance as well as APRA continued pressure on the banks to limit their amounts loaned and for a higher interest rate.

What will this mean for investors and homeowners?

Essentially the pressure on the banks will see investors faced with higher loan interest rates and more stringent borrowing limits- less for more! This shift in economic measures will shake up investor interest in the Sydney property market by making that much harder to grow your portfolio.

Homeowners will also be left with a bad taste in their mouths, with these stringency measures meaning high interest rates could be passed onto existing loan holders. The news doesn't look so good for first home buyers either... increased minimum deposits will mean high barriers to entry into the property game and ultimately more time renting or living at home.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

The quarter that was...

This quarter has seen continued strength in the local property market, although we have experienced a slight shift in buyer interest, Fuelling the ongoing  fire that is the Sydney property market, the Reserve Bank's decision to hold interest rates at a record-low 2.0%, has caused the banks to take coool-off measures into their own hands. A move which over the next quarter, will continue to lock-out first home buyer an gradually deflate investor interest.

Heading into a new quarter APRA's pressure on the big four banks to reduce capital investment below the 10% and increase mortgage capital levels has seen Westpac's recent announcement of an increase to its minimum deposit to 20% to curb investor growth. This is a disheartening move for first-home buyers with a study by comparative website Mozo supporting that an average of 10 years will be needed by first-home buyers to save for a 20% looks like the 'kids' will be living at home for a while.

Globally, the Greek debt crisis and Chinese stock market crash are also factors driving down the gradual relaxation of investor interest with the ASX 200 falling by 0.6% to recover, in the roll over to the new financial year.

The changing economics of the property market has seen and influx of properties to the market in the lead up to the end of the financial year, with investors taking advantage of the capital gains tax delay. The increase of supply will soften proces slightly which is a positive sign for buyers, however with the increasing desirability of the Macarthur area spiralling buyer interest into a frenzy, vendors should not be deterred from cashing in on their property while the market is red-hot.

Named within the top 10 growth regions of Sydney by, Macarthur is a major growth hub. The area offers not only rail corridor access, but also connection to the Sydney Motorways and airports with plans for Badgerys Creek airport a welcomed convenience to the south-west. Encourage by ongoing planned infrastructure in the Macarthur region and upgrades to Narellan Road, people are flocking to the area.

Thanks for joining us for our quarterly snapshot of what has been and the exciting quarter to come!

We look forward to seeing you at our open homes this weekend.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

No more jumping joeys on the lounge...

Kids will be kids whether they are drawing on the walls, putting their tiny fingers near electricals or jumping on the lounge dancing along to the Wiggles. Affectionately nicknamed the Mercurochrome kid, my parents definitely knew the struggles of keeping my childhood home safe.

With the home being the most common place for childhood injuries to occur, here are 7 important questions you should consider when assessing your home this winter:

  1. What can my child climb around the house, balcony or backyard?

Whatever a child can climb...they will climb...remove temptation by:

  • Removing all climbable and liftable objects from balcony edges and near pool fences.
  • Clear the pool area and around the pool fence of toys, furniture and objects.
  • Fit barrier gates at the bottom and top of stairwells- make sure the gates are fitted securely to prevent mishaps
  • Always supervise children when near balconies, stairs or pools.

  1. How many sharp edges in our home can be identified?

  • Assess furniture for sharp edges and avoid purchasing fragile furniture or ornaments made of glass or metals.
  • Load dishwasher with all sharp objects including utensils sharp end down

  1. What can my child fit in his or her mouth that would harm them?

  • Remove all small fridge magnets  as they can be a choking hazard for small children
  • Buy age appropriate toys for your child/children and check toys for broken pieces to remove choking hazards.
  • Ensure all surfaces in your house are hygienic, especially toys.

  1. Are chemicals and dangerous substances locked away?

Ensure that all poisons, chemicals, cleaning products, medicines, cosmetics, lighters and matches are stored up high or locked away. Out of sight-out of mind is the best policy when it comes to eliminating the risk of children accessing chemicals.

It is also mindful to keep indoor and outdoor potted plants out of reach of small children due to fertilisers and poisons that may be present such as snail bait pellets.

  1. How regularly is the smoke alarm test and/or replaced?

Install smoke alarms. Check and replace smoke alarm batteries every six months. Replace smoke alarms every ten years to ensure your family is protected. For more information please visit this site.

  1. What areas of the home can be identified as slip, trip or fall hazards?

  • Tack down loose edges on carpets and floor rugs
  • Avoid over polishing floor surfaces and clean up all spills
  • Secure open windows and ensure fly screens are well-fitted and secure.

  1. What hot / electrical surfaces can my child access?

  • Keep a fire extinguisher and fire blanket in the kitchen
  • Install guards around heaters, open fires, oven doors and stove tops.
  • Fit thermostatic valves to bathroom taps
  • Fit tap guards to kitchen taps to restrict use
  • Supervise children at all times when near heated devices, heaters or open flames.
  • Keep kettle cords out of reach of children
  • Keep pan handles turned away from the edge of the kitchen workspace
For a complete Home Safety Audit Checklist please follow this link.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Avoid disaster with this easy 10-step process to choose the best agent

Why would you trust your most valuable asset with an inexperienced, barely qualified rogue real estate agent?...
...Simply put, you wouldn’t! If you knew all the fact before signing on the dotted line.
Here are some helpful points to consider when selecting your agent;
1) What you get in your bank account is what counts.Understand the end-game here is what is important. Many people select an agent who offers them the lowest fee. Often this shows an inability to negotiate strongly to protect the fee that a good agent deserves which in turn reflects an inability to negotiate the best sales price for your home. Part of this topic is to understand how the maths works.  
Let’s say an agent charges a fee of 2.5% of the sale price of the property. On a $600,000 sale the agents fee is $15,000. If the sale price is $610,000 the fee is $15,250. An average agent may “do the deal at $600,000 to be assured of getting paid, but a good agent will work the transaction to the $610,000 maximum sale price. Each extra $10,000 they get on the sales price they get $250 fee. But you get $9,750. You need an agent who will work hard to get the best total price –not just get a deal together.  
2) Track record is important and it covers many aspects of the history of an agent. The pitfall is to go for an agent who promotes themselves as selling the most properties. This may show experience but you are only selling one house, and you want as much effort put into your home as possible.
3) Another aspect of an agents track record to investigate is their success in terms of the Price suggested vs the price achieved. An agent who is good in this respect will share their results with you in terms of the value they first put on a property and put it on the market at, and the price they ultimately achieved for the owner. Promising a high result to entice the vendor to sign an agency agreement and then “conditioning“ an owner to take a lower price on the basis that the lower figure is all “the market” is prepared to pay is not a way for an agent to build a long term reputation. So look for an agent that consistently achieves sales within a few % of the Market Appraisal or First market price of a property.  (Always keep in mind that pricing property is a complex issue that is subject to many forces so even the most experienced agents don’t always get exact results all the time).
4) A good network often helps a sale. An agent who is well connected through their contacts or office infrastructure is something to look out for.
5) An agent who is backed by a strong local brand has a distinct advantage. They will have access to more buyers who are looking to purchase in the area who may be looking at other properties. A trusted brand is an assurance to you that the company will not condone or tolerate any activities that could jeopardise their reputation. Great brands also have strong followings so promotion of your property is likely to a wider population than a small or obscure brand.
6) Good support staff and systems make a huge difference to the efficiency of a Real Estate Agent and consequently how well they can do their job and the results they can deliver.
7) A well-developed “process”.Selling a home is a transaction with a surprisingly large number of steps that must executed flawlessly to achieve the best result. An agent who is well organised and who can explain to you succinctly each step of the selling process that they and their office use will be efficient in the delivery of a sale and also in extracting the best possible offers for your home. Disorganisation is a dead giveaway of an overworked or incompetent agent who may not be able to give your sale the attention or diligence that it deserves.
8) Look for the carefully structured question session with you so the agent knows what to put in the ad and what to tell potential purchasers who may not live in the area.
9) This will also lead to discussion of the best Strategy for selling your home. These complex transactions get better results when carefully thought through and then executed. Not all sales are a simple repetition of the last 5 times the agent sold a home.
10) A defined level of communication with you so you are kept informed with the progress and developments towards the sale is important to enable you to make the best decisions. Obviously agents will have to talk with you, but asked if they have a plan developed for this where you can formulate with them the way you want to be kept up to date with what is happening with your property.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Bring warmth into your home this winter with Interior Stylist, Melody O’Sullivan

We sat down with our guest Interior Stylist, Melody O’Sullivan to get the low-down on this season’s latest trends...

Q. When it comes to winter styling, 2015, what interior style ideas are we seeing this season?

A.The Scandinavian look is still strong with its light timbers and clean lines. Mixing materials is also trending this winter. Combining raw woods, concrete, marble finishes and copper accents from homewares and light fittings creates textures and takes influences from the industrial style, which continues to trend. We are still seeing geometric patterns but in softer tones and soft grey is a trending colour this season.

Q. What style essential should homeowners be reviving this winter?

A. Indoor plants have made a real comeback. People love having plants inside their homes as it can be calming and also cleans the air. Indoor plants are an easy and inexpensive way to bring colour and texture into your home. Look for cheap and easy care indoor plants such as Snake plants, Fiddle-Leaf Fig or succulents which come in a range of shapes, colours and sizes.

Q. How can our readers add a sense of warmth to their home this winter?

A. Layering and texture is key to create a cosy winter home. You can create this by combining different materials such as wood, concrete finishes, faux furs, leathers and wool. Chunky knit throws, sleek copper homewares and warm timber help to create texture and work within a warm or cool colour pallet. Rugs are always a very effective way to draw a space together and make it feel warm and cosy.

Q. What is your advice to homeowners when introducing a new colour scheme?

A. It’s important to determine whether your room is cool or warm toned. Look at the big pieces in your room such as flooring, wall colour and lounge to determine this- Do they have a rich or golden, red undertones or do they feature cool tones of blue and green.
Warm colours can make a large space cosy, whilst cool colours can open up a space, making it feel light and airy.

Once you have determined your home's’ tone you can select a colour pallet that will compliment.
The best way to introduce a new colour is through homewares. Adding a rug will instantly change the look of a room and you can always have existing furniture reupholstered to match the new scheme. Look at introducing different textures and patterns to further explore the new scheme. Block colours and flat surfaces can make a space look boring.

Q. When it comes to style on a budget, what three tips do you have for our readers who are considering putting their home on the market?

A.You want potential buyers to project themselves and their style into your home. Although you may love your own style- some buyers may not and this could create a distraction from the property itself. These 3 tips will cost next to nothing and will leave you with a space that is desirable to buyers;

  1. Clear and clean- Remove extra junk from rooms and store it. Put kids toys in storage tubs, de-clutter surfaces (even if it means putting away your favourite ornaments) and open curtains or blinds so your home is lit with natural light. Burning a fragrant candle or oil will also make your home smell clean and inviting.

  1. Always have your home furnished- This actually makes the space look bigger and helps the new buyer mentally plan where their furniture will go. You may look to seek the service of an interior decorator who can hire furniture or work with existing pieces to style the space.

  1. It’s all about Neutrals- Neutrals done well is never boring. Neutral colours are never offensive and will help make a space look modern, clean and bigger than what it is. Neutral colours also help the potential buyer to look through the decoration and imagine their own.

Melody.jpgAbout Melody…
Q. Where do you draw your design inspiration from?

A. I draw my inspiration from many places, such as; social media, magazines, restaurants, shopping centres and public spaces. There is so much great design around- you don’t have to go very far to see it. I always look thoroughly at the space I am in to see how the lighting, layout, textures and colour scheme make me feel.

Q.Why are you passionate about interior styling?

A. I enjoy being indoors and relaxing in a space that is calm, cosy and inviting, so naturally I am passionate about interior styling. I love how an interior space can affect your mood so much and how changing it now and then can make your home feel like a new space. I love being able to create a comfortable and functional space that my clients are able to enjoy.

Q. How can we find out more about your interior styling tips for this season?

A. I offer a range of services including full interior styling, colour consulting, personal shopping, product sourcing and commercial property styling. If readers would like assistance with interior styling for their property, they can contact me at: