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How to Make Your Investment Property More Attractive to Quality Tenants

Make Your Property More Attractive to qualityTenant

With the demand for rental properties in the Stafford, Everton Park region continuing to increase, we are finding more people buying for investment purposes.  After all it is a wonderful part of Brisbane to live, and the rents that can be charged fully reflect this situation..

So if you are considering getting into property investing here are a few tips to help ensure that you can attract high quality tenants.  We know that finding reliable tenants is half the battle in property ownership. A reliable tenant will be able to pay you rent on time, will likely stay with you for a long time, and has a low likelihood of causing damage to your property. A good tenant, therefore, makes your rental property more profitable—all while causing less stress for you over the long term.

Tenant screening is the usual process landlords and property managers like the team at Madeleine Hicks Real Estate, use to recruit the best tenants for their units, and through it, filter out candidates with a questionable rental history, bad credit scores, or other red flags that make them liable to cause issues. But tenant screening only works for taking your existing applicants and finding the best candidates among them.

So, what can you do to make your property more attractive to high-quality applicants in the first place?

Pick a Good NeighbourhoodMake Your investment Property More Attractive to Reliable Tenant

This one may not be helpful if you already have a property, but if you’re just getting started or if you’re trying to add a new property to your holdings, it’s a good one to keep in mind. Invest in a property that’s in an area with low crime rates, good property values, good school systems, and access to amenities like restaurants and stores. If you can, get to know the neighbours and see if the average tenant would get along with them. These properties may cost you a bit more up front, but they’re likely to appreciate in value over time, and are far more likely to attract professional, reliable tenants.  The inner north west clearly ticks all these boxes.

Set the Right Rent 

Setting a rental price is rarely straightforward, but it’s an important variable to consider if you want to attract the right tenants for your property. One of the easiest ways to set rental prices is to see what other landlords in the area are charging and mimic them (adding or subtracting to compensate for the differences your property offers).

However, you can set your prices lower; this will increase the number of applications you get and could fill your property faster. The downside is that these tenants may have less income or less reliable income, and because you’ll be getting more applications, you may (not all low income tenants are bad)be dealing  with more low-quality tenants.

Instead, it may be wise to increase your rent prices, even slightly—it may take you longer to fill your vacancy, but you’ll attract better candidates. Psychologically, people place more value on more expensive things, so you might even end up with more satisfied tenants.

The experienced Property Managers at Madeleine Hicks Real Estate can help you setting the right price.  We can do this via thorough research and provision of a detailed report of the current market.

Offer Extra Perks

You may not be able to completely remodel, but you can offer some extra perks for your tenants that “sweeten the pot.” For example, you could install air conditioners and dishwashers to make it more convenient for your tenants to live here, or you could offer free internet to the property as an added luxury. Perks serve as good tiebreakers between competing properties, so they could make the difference in the types of tenants you receive applications from.  Other options could be included garden maintenance or water charges. If they have solar, pass the rebates onto the tenants etc.

Be Nice

This is a simple and obvious step, but an important one. As a landlord, you’ll be communicating with your new applicants, and their impressions of you could affect whether or not they want to move forward with the rental. If you seem brash or difficult to work with, tenants with an intention of a long-term stay may prefer to find someone friendlier or more communicative. You don’t need to be your tenants’ best friend, but you should be able to offer easy communication, flexible understanding, and a smile when meeting in person.  Or just use the professional team at Madeleine Hicks Property Management.

Work on the Kitchen and BathroomHow to Make Your investment Property More Attractive to Reliable Tenant

The kitchen and the bathroom are two of the most important rooms for your property, so if you can afford to make upgrades, make them here. The difference between an old and new bathtub, or between old and new countertops, can make a significant difference in the eyes of a stable, choosy tenant. Plus, you’ll be able to charge more for rent, and you’ll increase the value of your property at the same time. Kitchen and bathroom remodels can get expensive, but they’ll be able to provide you a positive ROI in the span of just a few years.  A great kitchen and bathroom will still not be enough if the rest of the house is poor quality, so ensure that the whole property and inclusions are in good, clean, safe working order.

Focus on the Curb Appeal

You’ll also want to improve the curb appeal as much as possible. “Curb appeal” updates don’t necessarily make the property more structurally sound or more comfortable, but will make a better first impression with your potential tenants, attracting a better crowd. You can improve the curb appeal of your property by investing in gardening and lawn care, fixing anything that appears to be broken or dirty on the outside, adding a fresh coat of paint, and making the inside of the house as tidy and presentable as possible.

Advertise Thoughtfully

If you know you want to appeal to a certain audience, target your marketing and advertising toward them. For example, if you’re seeking young families, you can emphasise the proximity of schools, or if you’re trying to attract professionals, you can mention how easy it is to get into the city on weekdays from your property. You’ll also want to take lots of images and videos of your property to include in your advertising—and get them professionally done, if you can. Attractive, accurate imagery will entice better and more interested tenants.

These strategies should cumulatively allow you to attract better tenant applications, giving you more high-quality tenants to choose from and easing the stress on your tenant screening process. However, it’s still important that you screen your tenants regularly if you want to ensure the profitability and consistency of your property.

If you need help finding and keeping the best tenants for your property, consider using property management services. Contact Madeleine Hick Property Management for more information on how we can help your property become more profitable.

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“Don’t renovate before selling” warns leading local agent

Madeleine Hicks Says Renovation properties available in Stafford and Everton Park

THE demand for fixer-uppers in Brisbane is so strong, property experts are warning homeowners about the risk of renovating before they list.

Madeleine Hicks from Madeleine Hicks Real Estate at Everton Park said, "we are seeing buyers looking for homes that they can do up.  Especially the older style timber properties that we have in abundance in Stafford and Everton Park."

"Buyers are loving the larger blocks that we have as well as the great city views" Hicks said.

SQM Research managing director Louis Christopher said too often people splash too much cash jazzing up their homes for a big sale.

“In a downturn, buyers will not value the renovations as much as the homeowner,” Mr Christopher said.

“We know the market will penalise over-capitalisation.”

Andrew Winter and Neale Whitaker.

Andrew Winter and Neale Whitaker. Picture: Mike Batterham

Star of Foxtel’s new show Love It or List It and design guru Neale Whitaker agrees, adding the decision to sell or renovate a property demanded thought and research.

“Be careful about overcapitalising,” Whitaker said.

“Have a look at similar properties that are unrenovated like yours in your area and see what they’re going for – and the type yours would be like after a renovation and what they’re going for.

“(Then) work out whether it’s worth doing because, let’s face it, even the most basic renovation is costly.

Even the most basic renovations are costly.

Even the most basic renovations are costly.

“But if you are torn, look at the potential resale value of the house as opposed to the property you would be thinking of buying and whether that’s a realistic transaction – and also the value that could be potentially added to your home.”

Whitaker said the majority of homeowners who decide to stay and renovate want to create more space.

“If they’ve been living somewhere for a long time, they stop realising the potential under their nose but with careful planning they can create the space they need,” he said.

“On the show we came across rooms that were completely redundant – one room was completely occupied by a cat – people get used to living a certain way.”

Renovations are booming in Brisbane’s inner-ring including Albion, Stafford, Alderley and Everton Park, with building renovations and carpentry the most popular, according to Australia’s largest network of trades professionals, hipages.com.au.

The data also showed bathroom and kitchen upgrades were a high priority with homeowners.

 

Mr Christopher said homeowners could renovate their property on a budget, sell it and upgrade to a better property for themselves.

“There are more buyers and freestanding houses in the marketplace,” he said.

“I don’t think we are in a market that is going to value one’s renovations all too well.”

Mr Christopher said Brisbane’s property market had improved however added “the pendulum is in the middle”.

“We are seeing more interstate migrations to Brisbane because of the price difference,” he said.

Love It Or List co-host Andrew Winter advised buyers to have realistic expectations when selling their property.

“Don’t expect to sell easily,” Winter said. “Never believe that your house will sell for more than market value, it can happen but generally it won’t.”

He said to avoid seller’s remorse it was important to hang on to your property if your financial situation allowed.

If you are thinking about making a move in property talk to the team at Madeleine Hicks Real Estate first.  They know the North West because it is their backyard.

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Impress and add value with paint

Adding a neImpress and add value with paintw coat of paint can improve the value of a property. That is the view of property expert and television presenter Phil Spencer.

Adding a new coat of paint can improve the value of a property. That is the view of property expert and television presenter Phil Spencer. For more than 15 years, he and Kirstie Allsopp have been finding and buying houses in the full glare of national television, as presenters first of Location, Location and later Relocation, Relocation in the UK. He eve brought an Australian version of Relocation, Relocation to these shores.

"If you are selling, you have to get buyers through the front door, which means you need to have the outside as spick and span as possible - cost $200-$2000, but could add $10,000". he said.

Impress and add value with paint

"If nothing else, your house should at least look better than your neighbours. Clean those dirty windows, clear the driveway, unblock the gutters."

The skillful use of colour can create illusions - pale hues reflect light and make small rooms seem larger, while dark colours can make large unwelcoming spaces feel cosier. A light colour on the ceiling - white is probably the best option - makes it seem higher, hallways or passages seem wider.

Cool colours such as blue, turquoise and blue greens are most effective in warm rooms that receive a great deal of sun. Warmer colours include the full range of reds shading into pink, orange and yellow. These colours also tend to be mentally stimulating and energising, making them best for rooms such as studies where creative work takes place.

Impress and add value with paint

When it comes to contracting a painter, Master Painters Association Queensland recommends people write out a list of what they want and hand it to each contractor to ensure everybody has the same starting point.

It is important to ensure each quote has a full scope of work as well as exclusions, what pre-painting, cleaning will be done and how, and the number of coats being applied along with the type of paint. The maximum amount of deposit for the work is set by law and a contract is important as it offers clear instructions and protects all parties in the event of a dispute.

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How much should your agent tell you when selling your property?

How much should your agent tell you when selling your property

 Communication is important in any relationship, no more so than with your real estate agent.

Why?

Because the more effectively you communicate with them, the more successful your whole  experience is likely to be. But if you haven’t sold property or dealt with an agent before it is difficult to know how often you will hear from them once your sale gets underway.

Besides helping you get the best possible price for your property your agent has a pretty crucial role in the sale process, which includes:

  • Liaising with you to set the best price to ensure a timely sale, based on property sales in the area over recent times.
  • Informing interested parties about your property details
  • Showing potential buyers your property via open houses or inspections
  • Relaying offers to you from potential buyers

The key to a happy and productive relationship with your agent is to make sure they know what you want from the relationship. You should look to:

Establish your expectations from the start

Often a lack of feedback from your agent can translate into a perceived lack of agent activity, but this often isn’t actually the case. That’s why setting expectations from day one is so important. Your agent should be fully briefed on your personal circumstances, time-frame for selling, how you want to be contacted and how often. After your property is listed a large part of your agent’s role is to keep you up to speed on developments as they happen.  And the best agents always put your interests first, and make you feel informed and supported throughout the sale process. Expect to be contacted with offers more often in a ‘hot’ market and vice versa in a slow one. They also need to know when to make the call if your property is not selling, and to let you know why and what needs to be done.

How much should your agent tell you when selling your property

The best agents always put your interests first, and make you feel informed and supported throughout the sale process

 

An agent should understand your time-frame and work to it

Your agent should be across the time frame you wish to sell in, and any personal circumstances which are relevant to this. If you are in a rush to sell and need to settle asap they can then adjust their marketing strategy with this in mind. If there is no particular urgency your agent knows that you are willing to hold out for a better price.

 

A good agent will liaise with you using your preferred mode of communication

How much should your agent tell you when selling your property

The more efficiently you communicate the more successful the relationship with your agent will be. To avoid any misunderstanding by setting this up from day one and clarify exactly how and when your agent communicates with you. Do you want them to call, message or email you? You also might like to meet them face-to-face for a chat. Clearly set out how often you want updates and when you want to meet.

The more efficiently you communicate the more successful the relationship with your agent will be

Your agent should get back to your queries within a reasonable time-frame

How much should your agent tell you when selling your property

Do bear in mind that your agent could be very busy and that you are unlikely to be their only client. They are likely to have multiple listings but should still be able to give you a typical timeframe for getting back to you. Agents should also let you know where you stand with any interested buyers and offers as they receive them.

Do estate agents have a code of conduct?

How much should your agent tell you when selling your property

Besides having a list of desirable traits, all agents must have a working knowledge of the relevant regulations and legislation pertaining to their profession. They learn this as part of their training to be real estate agents.

In addition agent associations like the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) have a code of conduct, which encourages members to, ‘exercise skill, care, and diligence in the conduct of the profession”, and to, ‘complete all work on behalf of the client as soon as is reasonably possible.’ They are also obliged to act in the best interest of their clients.

 

We have an important guide for you,

"The 11 Critical Questions Every Seller Needs To Ask When Hiring A Real Estate Agent"

Download it here.

 

With thanks to open agent

 

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9 great things about granny flats

5 great things about granny flats

They might not seem like the most glamorous of property extensions, but granny flats are becoming increasingly popular among renters, homeowners and investors.

Here are five reasons why you might want to consider investing in one!

Read more

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January Real Estate Market Round Up

roundup-min

(Click to play the video)

Hello, I'm Mary Di Marco from Madeleine Hicks Real Estate, and it's my pleasure to present to you recent sale statistics for our local area. The market at the moment has been exciting since the beginning of the year coupled with the few number of properties that are coming on the market. Owners that are presenting their property properly are receiving good offers in very speedy times and sometimes more than one offer to choose from.

The evidence of this is for the last month, we had 17 properties available of we had sold 12. The average time on market for McDowall is 47 days. This is incredible as probably for the last 6 months before the beginning of this year it was taking sometimes up to 60 days before the properties go to contract.

Another area that I'd like to look at is Stafford Heights. Stafford Heights is highly desirable. It has great infrastructure. A lot of this area has been established. It got schools, hospital, shops and these areas are now being regentrified and regenerated. A lot of the older residence are moving out, either into age care or into other properties that have no maintenance. This homes are highly desirable to the young couples that are coming in. These couples want to have a house that's been built for a family. They like the idea of being close to the schools, and the other thing that they like is that they got good transport routes and they close to CBD.

In January, the number of properties that were available for purchase in Stafford Heights were 21 of which were 12 sold. Now of these 12 that sold they are only staying up on the market on the maximum of 39 days. This is incredible again. The highly desirable area is to be on North side of Brisbane within 10 km of the CBD.

The other hidden jewel on the Northside properties in the post code 4053 is Stafford. Stafford and Everton Park area has opened up due to the tunnelling put in by Campbell Newman a couple of years ago. The joy of this area is that you have access to the city within 10 minutes, once you hit the tunnels and it's only 15 minutes to the airport. For properties and the majority don't have the inconvenient that the build up of traffic has cause, but do have the benefit of the tunnels and the easy access either to the airport or to the city.

Properties that are selling very well are in the more established areas and some of these sales were at Blyth St. This was on the 809 m2 block and it was sold for $710,000 which is a phenomenal result for that area. Blyth St. is also close to the railway line and it has large playground areas and also parks in the area.
It was also close to the creek and is also close to Everton Park High School which is highly regarded now. It is now independent high school. And Stafford State School which is even further of the road is also close to The Queen of the Apostles Catholic Primary School which has a high reputation in the area for parents. All of these schools, all of the primary schools do provide after school and preschool care. The other good sales in that area was 99 Kidgell St, which I sold. This property went to contract within a couple of weeks of hitting in the market. We had five offers, due to the falling under contract during the Christmas and New Year period the owner asked if we could continue to show it during that period, and on the Tuesday after Christmas, we had 11 groups inspect that property 2 of whom were keen to put in offers. This is further evidence that this north side area of Brisbane is highly desirable for people that are thinking about putting their property in the market they will achieve great prices as buyers are almost queuing up, in seller's market to give sellers the price they are looking for. Which enable them to look forward with their plans.

I love Everton Park. I've lived in Everton Park for 30 years. What I liked about it is it has got huge infrastructure. It got the hospital in Flockton St. It has got the Northside Christian College which is a huge drawcard. For people who want to move into the area or have students that live in the area, and the shopping centres there is a swimming complex, down in Flockton St, and a day care centre. As well as you've got day care centre in Halle St, fabulous kindergarten at Fallon St, and you have also got easy access to Mt. Maria, Hillbrook and the primary schools at Everton Park which again is highly regarded by parents that wants to send their children to the school.

The other area that I really like about Everton Park is Trouts estate, I have lived in the area, in Trouts estate for 30 years. I cannot get enough properties in that area for Owners to sell. Buyers are queuing up and giving me a list of the streets that they want to move into.

So if you are thinking of selling, please contact our office, we do have a list of qualified buyers who are looking to purchase properties in Everton Park areas. Everton Park will always achieve good results. It's well-established. It has good shopping complex and as well as you've got good transport routes and you can walk to the train stations if you are a little bit more flexible and a bit energetic.

Thank you for you time, it's been lovely to give you the market update. If you are thinking of putting your house on the market or if you just want to know what properties in the area are selling for and what buyers are looking for and how to prepare you home for sale. There are four things that sell a property. It's the presentation, the way that it is promoted, where the property is located and the final thing is the price. You control the first three. You control the way you present it, you control the way it's promoted, hand in hand with your agent. The price is dependant on those other 3 being in place, buyers will give you the top price.

MCDOWALL RECENT SALES

 

Highest Sale Price: - $1,080,700Lowest Sale Price: - $364,000
Properties Sold: -  12Properties on the Market: - 17
AddressBedBathCarLand SizeSale Price
11 Harlow Place63 2963$1,080,700
4 Kingfisher Cl522778$835,000
20 Tranquil Pl322400$655,000
34 Brynner St322604$575,000
70 Sinatra Cr422560$522,000

STAFFORD RECENT SALES

Highest Sale Price: - $710,000Lowest Sale Price: - $499,000
Properties Sold: -  7Properties on the Market: - 43
AddressBedBathCarLand SizeSale Price
27 Blyth St522809$710,000
22 Canonbar St212597$597,000
99 Kidgell St311630$558,000
16 Barellan St312663$545,000
87 Harold St312410$532,000

STAFFORD HEIGHTS RECENT SALES

Highest Sale Price: - $580,000Lowest Sale Price: - $385,000
Properties Sold:- 12Properties on the Market:-  21
AddressBedBathCarLand SizeSale Price
33 Flockton St422782$580,000
8 Sloan St422607$531,000
236 Appleby Rd311693$525,000
374 Webster Rd313812$518,500
62 Niven St325567$516,000

EVERTON PARK RECENT SALES

Highest Sale Price: - $680,000Lowest Sale Price:- $340,000
Properties Sold:-  10Properties on the Market:- 83
AddressBedBathCarLand SizeSale Price
719 South Pine Rd314787$680,000
18 Pullen Rd421417$620,000
9 McAdam St323751$598,000
1 Greenhill St311597$570,000
57 Fallon St311607$515,000

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How much does landscaping and gardening cost?

real estate everton park village buzz

 

Landscaping and gardening can be two of the most cost-effective ways to add value to your home. How much do they cost, though?

Landscaping and gardening are two different subjects. Landscaping involves a full plan, including softscaping (soil and plants) and hardscaping (pavers, a driveway, a retaining wall and other built structures). Gardening can be simply tidying up your existing garden or improving it.

In between the two is landscape gardening, which can involve improving your existing garden beyond basic improvements.

“According to real estate agents and landscaping experts, landscaping can add 6 to 7 percent to the value of your home.”

How much does landscaping cost?

Landscaping can be done by a landscape designer who can manage all aspects of your landscape design. A garden designer can create a design for you and may be able to manage gardeners, but usually won’t be qualified to oversee construction.

As a general rule, average landscaping costs are between 5 and 10 percent of the value of your home. If your home is valued at $600,000, that can add up to $30,000 to $60,000. That seems like a lot, but remember, landscaping includes driveways, patios, decking and other hardscaping. You may spend more or less on your landscaping, but in general, 5 percent should cover your gardens, your driveway and your patio or decking.

You may also need a retaining wall or want to install a pergola or swimming pool. A swimming pool is part of your landscaping, but isn’t included in general landscaping costs.

landscaped pool area

Where does your money go when you engage the services of a landscaper?

It starts with planning your landscape. Just as you need a house plan to build your house, you need a plan for your landscaping:

  • A garden designer can draw a plan for around $850
  • A full garden design complete with 3D renderings can cost between $3000 and $6000

How much you choose to spend will depend on your budget and the scale of your job.

After you have your plan, you can start your landscaping project. You may be able to do it alone, but a landscaper can supervise the project for you and you may get better results. In general, an experienced landscaper will charge between $55 and $70 per hour for their service.

That can be money well-spent, because they know how to organise trades and can help you finish the landscaping faster and without paying more for the various trades involved in the project.

 

How much does gardening cost?

If you have an existing garden and want to prepare your home for sale, you shouldn’t have to pay for a full landscaping job. You may only need to hire a garden maintenance service to tidy up your garden. Garden maintenance services can charge between $40 and $60 per hour.

The cost of gardening will depend on several factors. In general, simple jobs like lawn mowing will cost less, but it may depend on the size of your lawn. Garden maintenance services factor travel and set-up time into their cost. A small lawn can cost more per hour than a large lawn.

To get the best price for tidying up your garden, choose a service that can do everything that needs to be done for you and ask them to do the whole job. That way, you won’t be paying more for “bits and pieces” of work over an extended period.

Some essential jobs you may need to do include:

  • Weeding your lawn and garden
  • Pruning
  • Adding plants to empty spots in your garden
  • Adding flowering plants to your garden

Flower Garden Suburban Neighborhood

You might also want to add garden edging to tidy up the areas between your lawn and garden.

If you feel you need to make an even better impression on buyers, consider doing more landscape gardening. This might involve some excavation work to create levels or “zones” in your garden. Keep your budget in mind when you do this.

Landscaping and gardening can add at least $15,000 to the value of your home. In many cases, it can add much greater value, especially if you have engaged in landscaping rather than a garden tidy and cleanup.

According to real estate agents and landscaping experts, landscaping can add 6 to 7 percent to the value of your home. On the flip side, if you neglect your garden, it can lower the value of your home between 5 and 15 percent.

Think of your landscaping as both softscaping and hardscaping. Both may need work to boost the value of your home. You may also need to refresh your decking or clean your patio pavers and perhaps add some decorative elements to your garden.

“Your fences may need repairs or painting and if you have brickwork, think about having your bricks cleaned or you may even want to have them rendered to improve their appeal.”

Pot plants aren’t expensive and can help lift the appearance of your garden. Your fences may need repairs or painting and if you have brickwork, think about having your bricks cleaned or you may even want to have them rendered to improve their appeal.

An experienced real estate agent can help you decide how much to spend on landscaping. They can also help you budget for other costs that can improve your streetscape. For example, if you have an old cement driveway, it can spoil the appearance of your home and landscape. You don’t necessarily have to replace your driveway. You can have it repaired and painted or resurfaced.

“One thing you don’t want to do is neglect your landscaping in favour of renovations that buyers won’t notice.”

One thing you don’t want to do is neglect your landscaping in favour of renovations that buyers won’t notice. Yes, you need to make necessary repairs, but buyers are generally most impressed by the appearance of a property. They will notice good landscaping. It will tell them you take pride in your property and they will be willing to pay more to move into a home they can take pride in, too.

Thanks to the team at openagent

Tips for Gen Y to get into the housing Market in 2017

Tips for Gen Y to get into the housing Market in 2017

So you've fallen into the generation where housing is unaffordable, education is not free and health cover costs more than you really want to think about.

And you can't even eat a slice of smashed avocado on toast without some Baby Boomer telling you that's why you're locked out of the housing market.

But it shouldn't be all doom and gloom.

Here are just some of the ways those in Gen Y (and any other generations for that matter) can help move their finances in a better direction, and maybe even buy a home.

Have a plan

It might be for 12 months, five, or even 10 years.

The only thing that is certain is not having a goal can pretty much guarantee you'll be in the same place you started.

Ways to save for your deposit

  • Renting a two bedroom place by yourself? Rent out the spare room
  • Take your lunch to work
  • Cut out unnecessary expenses
  • Sell things you no longer need or use
  • Catch public transport
  • Have "spend free" days where you use what is in your cupboards and walk to work
  • Re-negotiate your health, car and contents insurance
  • Set up automatic debits to an out of reach savings account

"You've got to have a plan," said Neil Bradford, a Smartline Mortgage Brisbane's north west.

"What I might do is sit down with the person or the couple and say this is … where you need to be in 12 months or 18 months.

"You've got to have a savings target."

Become an expert

Read up, see how weekly auctions and sales go and watch the markets.

Some are predicting the property market will slump, and Brisbane will see a 15 per cent drop in value in the apartment market, so watch accordingly.

It means when you are ready to buy, you will know a lot of the property traps and potential wins.

Keep reading the Village Buzz for more great ideas as well.

Go through your spending and debt with a fine-tooth comb

We're not for one minute suggesting you should give up your delicious avocado on toast. But have a really good look at where your hard-earned money is going.

Are you paying for a gym membership you don't need?

Could you get a more competitive price on your car insurance?

Taj Singh, co-founder and director of First Home Buyers Australia, said there were plenty of ways you could save money.

"Some of the stuff includes taking your lunch to work … and also using public transport where you can rather than driving, especially where there are tolls ... it can prove to be quite expensive," Mr Singh explained.

"Also other stuff like paying off your debt if you've got credit card debt or personal loans, that should be your number one focus.

"These debts comes with double-digit interest rates."

Replace spending in free fall with being frugal

Once you've seen how much you actually spend each week, it can be a little daunting.

One coffee a day can add up to more than $1,000 per year.

But it isn't about being completely boring.

There are plenty of blogs and websites for inspiration including one by a US couple called The Frugalwoods and another called the Simple Dollar which deals with creating better financial habits.

The idea is to stop spending money on the things that don't bring your life any joy.

Tips for Gen Y to get into the housing Market in 2017

Increase your earnings

Times are tough, and for some young Australians a lack of work and lack of full-time work is a big point of frustration.

While this does depend on the city you live in, there are still ways you can earn a little extra cash.

Apps like Uber, Airbnb and Airtasker all allow you add extra money to your pocket.

Have a spare room? Take on a flatmate.

Got a flat full of clothes you don't wear? Sell them.

Automated savings

Unless you really are living week to week, and there are plenty of young Australians that do, you should be able to automatically save at least some of your wage.

Put this into an account that you can't touch, and as your earnings go up, increase your contributions.

Tips for Gen Y to get into the housing Market in 2017

Ask for help (if you can)

If your parents are in the position to, ask for a loan or for them to go guarantor.

If that seems too daunting for your parents, Mr Bradford said banks now structured loans with only a portion being from a guarantor, meaning less risk for your parents.

"Some of these involve a family pledge where [the] parents make a pledge for a certain amount of money for the deposit," he said.

"That is one thing that can help first home buyers save on mortgage protection insurance."

If they can't help you in that department, but they live in the same city, ask to move back in for a while.

It doesn't work for everyone, but if you have a plan, outline a timeline and what you can contribute financially and around the house.

Take advantage of grants and schemes

Mr Bradford lamented that there were a lot less concessions for home buyers nowadays, but we've found a couple that still exist.

In Queensland you can get a $15,000-$20,000 grant for new homes, depending on the date of the contract.

Lower your expectations

Mr Bradford said another issue was that some young investors, who make up about 15 per cent of his clients, want to buy large houses for their first home.

"Where Gen Y have not been good, and are learning the hard way, is the art of compromise," he said.

"I used to see lot of people wanting to buy their mum and dad's house on day one.

"You've got to accept you've got to do it in at least two to three stages."

This might also mean looking further afield or even interstate for your first purchase.

MrBradford said he had even warned people against buying homes and over-extending themselves, all because people have the belief that any housing investment was a good investment.

He said just because the bank was willing to lend you a certain amount, it was not always the rational thing to do.

"Maybe go and buy ... a $300,000 investment property and keep renting where you are."

Push for better housing policy

It might seem pie in the sky, but Mr Bradford said it was important for young people to share their views on the policies that matter to them.

"We conducted a survey and more first home buyers said the biggest issue was [saving] a deposit," he said.

"That's because property prices are rising much faster than their income … and with youth unemployment being abnormally high at the moment … that's definitely an issue."

He said he wanted to see the Federal Government reintroduce the first home saver account, a tax-free account for people to put their deposit money.

He also wants state governments to abolish stamp duty for first home buyers.

And remember, if you don't buy a house it's not the end of the world

Don't beat yourself up too much.

It's a heck of a lot harder to get into the market than it was 20 and even 10 years ago.

But having a plan, watching your spending and putting away for your future will serve you well even if you don't end up making a purchase.

*Please note, not all of these tips will suit every individual and you should always get professional advice before making any big financial decisions.

Thanks to Jessica Haynes from ABC News

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The top 9 things that devalue a property

The top 9 things that devalue a property

There are a whole range of factors that play a part in determining the value of your home. Things like the size of the block your home is on, its location in relation to shops and its proximity to great local schools are things that you can’t really change, but there are plenty of elements impacting price that are under your control.

If you’re looking to sell, here are 9 things that can devalue your property and drive down your sale price.

1 DIY renovations

When you’re about to put your home on the market, suddenly that DIY painting or tiling job from last summer doesn’t seem like such a great idea after all. When agents do a valuation and when buyers step into your home, they take note of the details, and unfortunately bad paint jobs, dodgy tiling and shonky handy-work won’t go unnoticed.

While some jobs can be done with a little bit of elbow grease and perseverance, make sure you always hire a qualified and licensed tradesman for any gas, electrical, plumbing or heating.

The top 9 things that devalue a property

2 Illegal home improvements

It goes without saying, if you want to undertake any home improvements that require permission from your local council, then you should definitely be getting that approval.

In the event that you haven’t sought out approval for work done to your home, this could cause issues when you try to sell it. For example, if you’re looking to sell a four bedroom house but only two of those rooms were council approved, once a buyer finds out, they’ll be able to renegotiate the price based on this, or even pull out of the contract all together.

If an agent finds out, they will not be able to market your property as four bedrooms, instead, it may be marketed as a two bedroom home with a study and a teenager’s retreat.

Building without planning approval can therefore render your home untouchable for buyers, so do your due diligence and make sure any work to your home goes through the right planning and approvals.

The top 9 things that devalue a property

3 General state of disrepair

Dirty grout, peeling paint, crumbling garden sheds, sliding doors that don’t work, cracked concrete, and carpet so old it’s wearing away; believe it or not, even if your property is in a blue chip suburb, these things can drive the value of your home down.

There’s a reason why real estate advertisements mention that a home is newly painted or ready to move into  – it’s because it’s been freshened up and those little things have likely been taken care of.

Before you list, or even before you engage an agent, put some effort into sprucing your home up for the market. It’s well worth the effort.

The top 9 things that devalue a property

4 Odours

According to the RSPCA, Australia has one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world. Around 63% of Australian households own pets, with dogs being the most common. There’s an estimated 4.2 million pet dogs in the country and 3.3 million pet cats.

While the Australian adoration towards our fluffy friends is undeniable, the associated odours that can come with this responsibility is not. It’s important to ensure your home doesn’t smell of cat or dog – it’s also easy to become accustomed to the smell, so bring in an impartial friend who will tell you the truth. If one thing is for sure, hitting potential buyers with pet pong as soon as they enter your home is an easy way to turn them off.

Be mindful that other odours can make for an unpleasant environment as well – look out for leaking drainage, damp and slow drips from cisterns. And don’t decide to fertilise your garden with compost, manure or blood and bone when your home is about to go to market.

The top 9 things that devalue a property

5 Poor presentation and too much clutter

We accumulate a lot of stuff as we journey through life; a lot of things are probably sentimental and don’t have much use, and some are likely to be way past their prime.

Think cheap rugs purchased in 1992; oversized sofas that don’t quite fit into a room; the bulky fruit juicer that aunt Penny bought you for Christmas 5 years ago; tacky picture frames and dusty ornamental flowers. If there was a good time to spring clean to maintain a little bit of harmony, then there’s no time like the present.

Get rid of unsightly mess, yes, even in your cupboards, as buyers like to have a nose around to see how much storage you have. It’s also a good idea to consider a home stager or stylist; you’d be amazed at how much more you can sell your home for with the help of a trained eye.

The top 9 things that devalue a property

6 Loud colours and quirky decor

It’s important to keep things simple, and by this we mean:

  • Embracing neutral colour schemes
  • Using furniture that fits
  • Removing overly quirky decor

We often think we have great taste, and while a bright blue and green striped feature wall might express your personality, it’s not going to appeal to every buyer. Take the safer approach and increase your chances of selling by using colours and decor that are more universally appealing.

7 Outdated kitchens and bathrooms

It’s a long held belief that kitchens sell a house. And like any gross generalisation, maybe there’s an element of truth. So if you’re looking to maximise your sale price, consider freshening up your kitchen (and your bathroom too, for good measure).

There are three elements of a kitchen that are important to home buyers; benchtops, appliances and cabinetry. If you can’t afford a complete overhaul, there are plenty of cheaper alternatives. And if your rangehood and kitchen walls are greasier than the local fish and chip shop, be sure to give them a very thorough clean.

When it comes to your bathroom, ensure all plumbing is in working order, repair any cracked tiles, clean or replace discoloured grout and make sure any vanities or cabinetry look fresh and as modern as possible. If you have an older bathroom, making sure it’s spick and span and putting the effort into staging can make a world of difference.

The top 9 things that devalue a property

8  Your home’s curb appeal

Get this wrong and potential buyers won’t even make it through the front door. You can help to ensure that buyers want to come into your house by spending a bit of time working on your home’s exterior.

A few tips and ideas:

  • Add a lick of paint to front doors, tired looking fencing and window frames
  • Buy some shiny new house numbers, door knobs or knockers
  • Hose down and clean away any spiderwebs and be sure to clean your gutters
  • Get rid of junk and debris
  • Upgrade your outdoor lighting
  • Tidy your garden and add shrubs and plants if it is a bit sparse

The top 9 things that devalue a property

9 Choosing the wrong agent

The most important point of the lot. Choosing any old agent can definitely be detrimental to your sale price; we can’t emphasise enough that comparing agents and choosing wisely is very important.

A good agent has your interests at heart and will give you constructive advice throughout the process to give you the best results.

 

Originally Published: http://www.openagent.com.au/