Wednesday, 23 November 2016

How to be a GREAT tenant

Image result for child getting a gold starThe rental market is very competitive right now. This has been caused in part by rising local house prices which have forced some tenants out of the market; tenants who would otherwise buy a home. This means there are a stack of fantastic, long-term tenants out there looking to rent a property and they are competing with you. How do you beat them to the best rental properties?
Here are my 5 tips (as a first-time renter myself) on how to be a great tenant:

Pay your rent on time

It may seem like a no-brainer but this is one of the biggest grievances with Property Managers and landlords. Prioritising the payment of your rent each week will allow you to avoid eviction and to keep you out of tribunal and your agency’s bad books when it comes to arrears. Get your weekly budget sorted and rent will never be a problem!

Take pride in your property

As a tenant you are required by law to appropriately maintain the property. From mowing lawns and weeding gardens to ensuring the home is clean and tidy, a little bit of effort goes a long way.

Impress your Property Manager by investing in the ongoing maintenance of your rental property and you will have no problems extending your lease.

Make nice with the neighbours

Although the neighbour’s dog may bark at your bedroom window at 3am every night (insert internal scream) it is best to get along with your neighbours as much as possible.

Introduce yourself to your surrounding neighbours and say ‘hello’ when you see them out and about. The less disturbance you make the less complaints your neighbours will have about you during your tenancy.

Tell your Property Manager immediately about any required repairs

Be upfront. If a repair is required lodge a repair request with your Property Manager to ensure it is fixed before your routine inspection rolls around.

Instead of living uncomfortably with a broken tap for example, it is best to tell your Property Manager and save you the worry (regardless of the cost).

Understand your lease and the costs involved with leasing the property

Ask as many questions about the property as possible before signing the lease. A few examples include;

  • Does the property run on electricity or gas bottles?
  • Is the internet coverage good? Do the current tenants have any issues with getting ADSL or NBN broadband connections?
  • How are utility bills processed? Are the utility bills split with another property or group of properties?
  • Can I keep a pet at the property? If so what type of pet?

By asking your Property Manager about such issues you will better understand the ongoing costs you face entering the lease.

It is important to read over your lease agreement and keep a copy on hand so you understand the full extent of your rights as a tenant and the rights of the agency on the landlord’s behalf.

Leave the property in a better condition than when you moved in

Ensure that you leave the property clean, in full working order and with all rubbish removed. This will not only save you money being taken out of your bond for cleaning and rubbish removal, it will also ensure you have a smooth transition from one property to the next.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

What can I claim as a reduction when renovating my investment property?

Image result for tax time

Looking to revamp or renovate your investment property? We break down the difference between a ‘repair’ and ‘maintenance’ to simplify tax time.

As an investor it is crucial to understand the difference between repairs, maintenance and improvements because the Australian Tax Office pays particular attention to these types of deductions on your annual tax return.

To help you understand the difference here is how to define the difference between a repair, maintenance and capital improvement;

  • Repairs are considered work undertaken to fix damage or deterioration of a property, for example replacing a broken fence panel or broken front porch light fitting.

  • Maintenance is considered any work completed to prevent deterioration. For example oiling a deck, sealing a driveway etc. Any costs incurred to repair or maintain a rental property can be claimed as an immediate 100 percent deduction in the year of the expense!

  • A capital improvement is classified as work completed to enhance the condition or value of an item beyond its original condition at the time of purchase. This type of work must then be classed as either a capital works deduction  and depreciated over time or as plant or equipment depreciation. An example of a capital works deduction could be replacing the taps in the bathroom sink to chrome fixtures or updating the kitchen cupboards and door handles. On the other hand, an example of a capital improvement is when an item is removed or replaced for example an old in-wall air conditioning unit and replaced with a split-system unit.

If you would like further advice on what renovations you should undertake at your property to get the best return on investment, contact Nick Giles today on (02) 4628 0033. He would love to help you!

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

High auction clearance rates spell a strong property market this Spring!

The Sydney property market ‘boom’ wrapped up earlier this year leaving buyers and sellers alike wondering what was in store for their local marketplace. 12 months on from the peak of the boom, the market remains strong and competitive as shown through the 80% auction clearance rate achieved in Sydney over the weekend.

Smashing the clearance rate from this time last year by 6.9%, the auction clearance rate has jumped to it’s highest in 14 months. Driven by low borrowing costs and a low level of properties available on the market, this is great news for owners looking to sell.

With a competitive spring market expected, now is the perfect time to consider selling your property. As the weather warms up we have seen greater numbers of quality buyers at open homes, cashed up with finance aided by the historically-low 1.5% interest rate and ready to purchase your home!

There is no indication the growth in auction clearance rates across Sydney will stall with the RBA now looking to APRA for regulator controls on investor finance to manage the growth.

If you would like obligation-free advice on the local market place and the value of your home please contact our office today. We’d love to help you!

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Should I spend money on my property before I sell?

Stop! Put down the brochure for a brand-new kitchen installation and read this article.

Over the years we have run into many property sellers who have literally spent fortunes adding to and improving their property.

When it comes time to sell their property, these same owners make the mistake of adding up all the money they have spent on improvements over the years and expect their agent to achieve a sale price that reflects a return on their investment. This is not always the case.

Such large scale improvements can simply “over-capitalise” a property. For example installing marble tiles in a typical home in Campbelltown with a cost in excess of $10,000 would not be a smart investment. In reality buyers would not be prepared to pay extra for this improvement when a similar home in the same area offers similar tiles for much less.

It is important to remember that all potential buyers are looking to secure a bargain. As such your aging property could net you a greater sale price from a buyer looking to renovate, than investing in the renovation of your property before putting the property on the market. Why? Well you have to remember that a renovator’s dream will appeal to renovators, a booming trend with the popularity of such TV programmes as ‘The Block’ and ‘House Rules’. Also to some buyers, freshly renovated properties can be a real turn-off because they will feel that the seller is presenting the property in search of maximum profits.

Our advice is to stick to small investment, large impact projects such as new carpet, repainting and updating fittings. This will give your property a fresh appearance whilst not hurting your back pocket when it comes to your return on investment.

Before you pick up a paint brush contact us offices today to speak with one of our sales agents. We can provide you with advice on what projects to invest in and whether to invest in a professional tradesman to complete such work. Remember, that although DIY can save you money up-front if you don’t have the know-how to complete the renovation with a great finish, it can cost you thousands extra for a professional to fix it.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

How to secure the best tenant to take care of your investment property?

Making the decision to purchase an investment property is a sizable one. Faced with the up-front costs of a mortgage, taxes, insurances, property management service fees and repairs, it is important to attract the best tenants to lease your home and keep it in a great condition.

So how do you ensure a great tenant leases your property?

Other than employing the services of an experienced local real estate agency to manage your property, a clean, tidy and well-maintained property priced at a reasonable rent will appeal to great quality tenants.

As a general standard here at Prudential Real Estate we advise our landlords to present their property in the best manner possible to attract the right tenant. Poorly presented properties run the risk of failing to attract good tenants, leaving only less qualified tenants to apply.

Here is a quick checklist to help you present your property at it’s best:

  • Spruce up all around the home. Keep lawns and shrubbery trimmed and free of clutter. Keep the garden beds weeded and mulched.
  • Fill potholes in your driveway and tidy up walkways
  • Clean off your outdoor entertaining areas
  • Clear everything out of the garage (and we mean everything!)
  • Straighten gutters, the mailbox, the fence and other things that sag
  • Fix doorbells, tighten loose doorknobs, and oil squeaking hinges
  • Repair broken/cracked windows and shutters
  • Clean everything in and out of sight. Shampoo carpets and rugs and wax floors. Wash or brush walls.Wash windows and clean blinds/draperies. Remember the ‘white glove’ test.
  • Bathrooms are very important. These should be in sparkling condition including walls, floors, sinks etc. Check the shower recess is free of soap scum and have a look at your vanity; repair doors, knobs and water damaged sections.
  • In the kitchen clean up your countertops and cupboards, fix doors, handles and knobs, scrub out the “under sink” area and inside drawers.
  • Completely degrease the oven. Let the kitchen smell fresh and fragrant
  • Remove debris (dust, flies, moths etc.) from all light fixtures
  • Get rid of all stains and install new washers and dripping taps  
  • Repaint where needed. Freshly painted properties rent faster and to better tenants for more money.
  • Fill any ‘holes’ in your gardens with new plants
  • Check every light switch and bulb to ensure they all work correctly

The cleaner and better presented you make the property, the more likely you are to find a great tenant who will maintain the condition of the home.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Should I allow tenants to keep a pet?

Obedience training, vet bills, countless ‘mistakes’ and unconditional love. That’s pet ownership a feature of more Australian households than ever before. The Australian Veterinary Association conducted a study in 2013 to estimate that there were 25 million pets in Australia and that 5 million of the 7.6 million household had a pet.
Yikes! That’s 65% of all household in Australia that have a pet (and maybe more than one). In fact, you may have a pooch, friendly feline or feathered friend in your household. This also means that 65% of all tenants have pets.

So as a landlord, should you allow pets? Every landlord is faced with this very important question as they wonder if a tenant with a pet may damage their property more than a tenant without a pet. After almost three decades of managing properties in the south-west of Sydney we can say there is no evidence this assumption is based on fact.

Certainly we have occasionally seen properties infested with fleas after a tenant with a pet vacates. Equally, we have seen properties left dirty and damaged by tenants without a pet. Luckily such circumstances are rare.

Importantly, however, this simple fact should be considered; if you elect not to allow tenants to have a pet you eliminate two-thirds of all available tenants in the marketplace, any one of whom may be your perfect tenant. When you turn your back on two-thirds of the market place you also extend the time it will take to find a tenant, perhaps by as much as two weeks. Two weeks rent, at $450.00 per week, is $900.00. A substantial loss for the sake of finding a tenant (who may still not be perfect) without a pet.

In all circumstances be assured Prudential Real Estate staff will always abide by your instructions. If you say you would like a tenant without a pet we will diligently pursue your goal until we find the best tenant for your property. Our primary aim is the success of your investment and for that reason we would be concerned about a decision that may cause you to lose two weeks rent.

More pet facts from the Australian Veterinary Association website ...
  • In 2013 there were estimated to be more than 25 million pets in Australia, with nearly 5 million of Australia's 7.6 million households home to pets. At 63%, Australia has one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world.
  • Dogs are the most common pet, with 39% of households owning a dog. There are estimated to be 4.2 million pet dogs in Australia; 19 dogs for every 100 people.
  • Cats are the second most common pet, with 29% of households owning a cat. There are estimated to be 3.3 million pet cats in Australia; 15 cats for every 100 people.
  • Fish are the most numerous pet type, with a total population of 10.7 million. The number of birds is estimated to be 4.8 million, with a further 2.2 million other pets including small mammals and reptiles.

Monday, 18 July 2016

The trials and tribulations of repainting your home: how to make the process quicker and easier!

Recently our family decide to take on the arduous task of repainting our entire house ready for sale. Although we won’t be looking to sell until we find my parent’s dream acreage, now seemed like the perfect time of year to get this project out of the way.

At this stage we have agreed upon a colour, which took a fair few samples to agree upon.
As yet we need to make the next most families with full-time work and other responsibilities it’s seems like this task has been left in the ‘too-hard’ basket until now. So to help my your family and mine get a plan into action, I did some research and here are some tips I have for tackling the task of repainting your home:

1. Keep your paint tray clean

To make the clean up that much easier line your paint tray with a plastic bag or aluminium foil. When the job’s done, simply wrap up the dry paint and dispose of the bag. Replace the bag with a clean plastic bag and keep painting. Simple and tidy!

2. Combine paint and primer

If you are painting onto bare walls, you can reduce the number of coats required by using a paint- and- primer. Not only will this save you time and give you better coverage in one coat, but most brands are now fade and stain resistant and easy to clean. You’ll find that most paint brands have paint and primer combinations available at your local hardware store.

3. Buy the right paint

This may seem like a no-brainer however there is a lot to consider when choosing paint- undercoats, overcoats, primer, interiors, exteriors etc. To help you get it right Masters has come up with this handy paint guide.

4. Cut in carefully
Cutting in is the delicate process of painting along the edges of trim, skirting boards and mouldings, when the area you are painting is too cramped or odd-shaped for a roller. To cut in like a pro, use a small container of paint to avoid overloading your paint brush, hold your brush head like a pencil to give extra control, and invest in a high quality, stiff angled brush. Take you time and don’t rush for a premium result!

5. Roll like a pro

For a professional result it is important to take the time to de-fluff your roller before evenly coating the roller in paint. When rolling start off in a ‘W’ motion then move the paint up and down the wall to ensure an even distribution of paint. Avoid overloading your roller to avoid messy drips and an amateur finish.

6. Use an extension pole

Using an extension pole will give you greater control and ease-of-use when painting to reach ceilings and higher walls without the need for a ladder and unnecessary back pain!

7. Know your paint colours

This tip also seems quite obvious but it can often be overlooked in the excitement of painting your house. It is important to make a record of the paint colours you use in each room in case you need to repaint. Create a ‘general home maintenance ‘ folder in your filing system to store this kind of information.

8. Sand woodwork for a smoother finish

If your painting project involves painting over woodwork including cladding, stair bannisters or timber- lined walls- lightly sand in between each coat of paint to achieve a super-smooth finish. Make sure that any dust from sanding is wiped away before applying your next coat of paint.

9. Use a bowl of vinegar

Put down the panadol packet and get out the white vinegar. To get rid of the nauseous smell of paint fumes known to induce migraines once you’ve finished painting for the day, leave a bowl of vinegar in your newly painted room to soak up the smell.

10. Cover rollers when you take a break

If it’s time for a well deserved coffee break make sure to cover your rollers in glad wrap and put them in the fridge before you boil the kettle. This will ensure that your rollers don’t dry out- less cleaning and less mess!

For a comprehensive booklet of tips that will help you prepare your home ready for sale contact Shelby via for your free copy of the booklet ‘73 Quick & Easy Fix Ups’.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

10 Simple Steps that will help you approve your granny flat in 10 days!

With the traditional living arrangements of the Australian family shifting due to the ageing population, kids flying the coop later in life and families looking to invest in an additional income stream, the construction of granny flats has become a cheaper alternative for Australian families looking to invest in a flexible living space.

Although some commentators argue that granny flats don’t add value, create backyard eyesores and attract capital gains tax, with almost 5,000 granny flats built in NSW each year it seems granny flats are here to stay!

In recent times we have seen that a granny flat boom is taking over the Sydney property market particularly in the inner western suburbs. Astoundingly between 2009 and 2014 Sydney experienced a 260% increase in the construction of granny flats due to the legislative change allowing 10-day approval.

To ensure that your granny flat is well-designed and easily approved we have a free 10 step checklist to give away. The ‘10 Steps To Approve Your Granny Flat In 10-Days’ checklist is available by simply sending your name, preferred email and contact number to

Acknowledgements: Duncan Hughes, Ingrid Fuary- Wagner & Hannah Hempenstall.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Places! Places everyone!

Lights, camera….is this mic on?!

Selling your home for a great sale price is all about putting on a great show. It doesn’t have to be a huge money pit to make an excellent stage production though. Investing a little time, money and energy into home staging can add thousands more the perceived value of your home. Here are a few simple tips on how to stage your home to sell;


Hold a garage sale, jump on Gumtree or eBay or even organise a council clean up before you decide to place your property on the market. As by getting rid of old junk, furniture and kids toys for example you not only maximise the space in your home, this will reduce the amount you stuff you move into your next property - moving day made easy!

Alternatively you can store extra furniture or goods you would like to keep off-site in a storage unit, until the property is sold.


Simply, buyers want to be able to see themselves living in your property.

So, that bright purple feature wall in the lounge could be a major distraction to buyers away from the space and style of the home. To ensure that prospective buyers ‘feel at home’ invest in repainting and restyling your home with neutral colours...especially that feature wall.

Another handy tip is to remove all personal touches such as wedding and baby photos, posters hanging in your teenagers room or the signed footy jersey in the man buyers may have other ideas on how they would use this space.


There is a lot to said for the power of paint. Repaint or restain aging cupboard doors in the kitchen and  replace loose doorknobs and handles with modern and sleek fixtures for example to ensure your home appears updated and fresh. Buyers are essentially looking for a home they can move into with little work, so by investing in these smaller details you could add thousands to your end sale price.

Set the stage on a budget

Set a budget and stick to it!

For all of your staging needs discount stores and even Kmart are great places to pick up deals on vases, cushions, lamps etc. Such interior decorations can be used as accent pieces to make your home feel ‘lived in’, for example a great cookbook on the kitchen bench or a geometric vase of artificial flowers on the coffee table in the lounge.

These little details will help buyers picture themselves living in your property.

If you would like any further advice on staging your home ready for sale contact us today on (02) 4628 0033 for your free copy of the critical report: How To Sell Your Home For Thousands More.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

How to beat investors to the right property

Have you ever found the perfect dress?

You know, the last one in your size? And then you have hidden it at the back of the rack in the hope that it will still be there when your return the next day - only for it to be sold!?!

Yuk! Property buyers feel the same when a savvy investor beats them to their dream home. As real estate agents, we see this every week.

But what can you do to make sure you get the home you are after. Here’s three quick tips that will ensure your success next time you are in a battle with another buyer.

Do your research!

To draw on an old adage ‘ the early bird gets the worm’. Creating a plan of action will allow you to narrow down your search to specific suburbs and properties. This will help you make an offer without hesitation.

Research different areas, suburbs, local amenities, scan through current listing on REA and Domain and conclude the average market price of what you are looking for whether it be a townhouse, unit, duplex or traditional starter home.By collecting this information it will help you to create a plan of action as to what type and size of property you are looking for in what areas and for what price.

Call local real estate agents

Contact local real estate agents to let them know you are looking for example a 3 bedroom townhouse in Ruse, Raby or Campbelltown. This will help you to form a relationship with local selling agents who will contact you when new listings suiting your needs become available.

Know your budget

Ensure you are pre-approved and aware of all hidden costs including stamp duty, legal and conveyancing costs, building and pest reports etc. By understanding the amount you can afford to offer you will be better prepared to handle price negotiations and beat other offers.

Shop for your new home with a game plan for a less stressful journey to sale. By being an informed buying armed with the knowledge of what, where and for how much you would like to purchase a property for you will have the upper hand when the right property is for sale.

To find out how we can help you secure your dream property, contact us today on (02) 4628 0033.