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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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Fighting the good fight against tooth decay

villagebuzz, Dental Pearls

Karuna Khatri, dental camp co-ordinator Bishnu Shrestha and Pascale Pocock at their hotel in Kathmandu before setting out on their trip.

Here at Village  Buzz we've been reporting on our community for a long time but are still constantly amazed at the interesting and valuable things that our people find to get up to.

We came across a case recently when we heard that Winsor local Pascale Pocock, a dental assistant, had just returned from Nepal. She and her employer Dr. Karuna Khatri had been on a trip to remote areas in the country to provide urgently-needed dental treatment to the villagers there.

Karuna, the owner of the Dental Pearls dental practice in Brisbane, has been traveling to underprivileged areas for the last 10 or 11 years to provide dental services to people who would otherwise have to live with the pain of a toothache.

villagebuzz

Karuna Khatri and Pascale Pocock hard at work on a Nepalese patient.

She initially worked in India but for the last three years has spent two weeks in Nepal every year. She was accompanied by her assistant Pascale for the first time last year and the intrepid pair repeated went again in September this year.

The trips are organized by the Rotary World Community Service in Sydney and are facilitated by a Nepalese NGO which provides transport, equipment, and a local dentist to accompany them. The NGO prepares the ground by visiting the area and negotiating with village heads to obtain permission to hold clinics in local schools or sheds.

Karuna and Pascale flew into Kathmandu on their recent trip where they were teamed up with Nepalese dentist Biplop Adhikari and set out for their first clinic at a remote village. Nepal is a mountainous country and Karuna, in a masterpiece of understatement, described the roads they encountered as 'interesting'.

village buzz

Pascale Pocock gives village school children dental hygiene hints.

On arrival at a scheduled stop, the dentists set up their portable equipment and began treating patients – some of whom had walked for two days from their home villages to attend the clinic. The two dentists routinely treated up to 80 patients a day and many of these would have a number of teeth needing filling or extraction.

A Western diet and sugary drinks, in particular, have done the Nepalese no favours, said Karuna, which means their teeth are often in an appalling condition exacerbated by the fact that many have never brushed their teeth.

For this reason, education on dental hygiene is very important with patients in the queue waiting for treatment being shown videos on how to care for their teeth. Some toothbrushes were handed out along the way but Karuna and Pascale were severely limited by the amount of equipment and other gear they could carry with them.

village buzz

A village school teacher assists Pascale Pocock in providing dental hygiene hints to the children.

Karuna reflects that she has been very fortunate in her own life and that her voluntary trips over the last 11 years were a way for her to pay back and assist people less fortunate. The satisfaction of going out and helping people to live pain-free lives is huge for her and enhanced by the welcoming people and the beautiful scenery of the country.

The trips are such an overwhelmingly positive experience that one tends to get hooked, she says, so there seems to be little doubt that she and Pascale will be back in Nepal next year fighting the good fight against tooth decay.

villagebuzz

Karuna Khatri hands over a curing light for fillings to be used by other dentists in the region.

Donations to Rotary to support the work in Nepal can be claimed as tax deductions and made at:https://donations.rawcs.com.au/Default.aspx?ProjectID=214

Thanks to Allan Jackson for another great story!

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Are you sitting on a Splitter Gold Mine?

Splitter blocks brisbane

Splitter blocks are once again becoming popular as investors try to get the most bang out of their buck or you may be already sitting on a goldmine if your existing property can be split.

 

The term splitter block applies to properties where: there are two or more lots on one title.

A recent example was a Fallon Street, property at Everton Park.  It was a 1225 square-metre block, already on two titles but with the option to reconfigure to three titles, it created a frenzy when it was listed.

The listing agent said, "It went nuts. I can’t give you an exact sale price as it’s not unconditional yet, but I can tell you it went for over $1 million,” he says.

The inner city Brisbane suburbs such as Newmarket, Wavell Heights, Nundah, Virginia, Bald Hills, Deagon, Sandgate, Banyo, Boondall, Northgate, Mitchelton, Enoggera have been popular spitter block locations over the last decade.

These inner city suburbs in Brisbane typically are lots of 10m by 40m or 405sqm so if your property is 809 or higher you may find it is already split into two lots and you don’t have to worry about spending money on subdivision approvals or waiting for the approvals to be processed.

There is a downside like the need to demolish or move an existing house and in some cases the house may be heritage listed or in a demolition controlled zone.

As soon the lot has been split into the two titles the site is cleared and two new houses can start construction.

Splitters are where investors take advantage of old town planning methods. In the 60?s and 70?s around Australia, most residential blocks were subdivided at a ¼ acre or 1000m2. Today Local, State and Federal  Governments all know the value of a more dense population. Governments save billions of dollars in infrastructure by encouraging the community to live closer together. They even encourage the development of smaller blocks of land today that are in some cases less than 250m2.

When developing splitter blocks in Brisbane there is a lot of things you need to consider:

Below is the process we go through to determine if the project is viable when splitting a block for development.

To determine the costings of a splitter block you need to look at:

  • Cost of the site
  • Demolition approval
  • Demolition costs
  • Services (Server and water)
  • Location of services on the block
  • Other associated development costs
  • Transfer and legal costs
  • Subdivision costs (e.g. civil design, town planning, public notices, council fees and any council contributions).
  • Building construction costs
  • Associated site costs (Leveling and retaining)
  • Marketing on finished products

If all the figures add up to a profitable project….an educated decision can be made.

After identifying the block could be suitable as a splitter block, we check:

  • The demolition control Precinct (DCP) if the house is built pre 1946
  • if the block is on the flood map or any overland flow issues.
  • Dimensions of the block and if it is suitable for sub division into a splitter block

and then run through the costing of the project.

Do you have any questions about splitter blocks and or sub division in Brisbane or surrounding areas? Don't hesitate to call our the team at Madeleine Hicks Real Estate who know all about the best areas to acquire splitter blocks in our area.

Ending a Tenancy Agreement

Lease, tenancy, agreement

With a fixed term tenancy agreement, either party can either choose to renew or to not renew. So eight to ten weeks out from the end of that fixed term agreement, we'd be in touch with both parties to see what their intentions are around that. If the tenants does not wish to sign a new tenancy agreement, they must give at least 14 days notice. On the other hand, if a landlord does not wish to sign a new tenancy agreement, they must give 60 days notice to the tenant to give them ample time to plan out their move. If neither party gives notice and there's no new lease agreement signed, and the tenant remains at the property past the end of that fixed term agreement, the agreement becomes what's called a periodical agreement. A periodical agreement continues with the same terms and conditions as the previous agreement but has no end date. To end a periodical agreement at any time, parties must give notice appropriately as I've outlined.

 

Our Recommendation

 

We recommend maintaining fixed term agreements between our landlords and tenants, as quite often, the landlord's insurance policy will not cover periodical agreements, or will only cover certain things on that policy. It's also better for planning your financial situation, as a periodical agreement can be ended by a tenant at any time with 14 days notice. If you have any further questions about handling lease expiries or anything else to do with property management services, please give us a call. I'm David Watt from Madeleine Hicks Real Estate.

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Farmers of the urban footpath – design guidelines for street verge gardens

verge-gardens brisbane

FARMING THE FOOTPATH—it's been going on for some time in our cities but the last few years have brought an upsurge of interest.  It's one of those ideas that is now capturing the public imagination and we are starting to see more and more street verge gardens, many of them growing food.

Most verge plantings have so far been created by gardeners who know what they are doing, but the recent burst of popularity suggests that a little thought before acting might be a good thing. There is concern in local government, which is responsible for public footpaths, that street verge gardens might be planted to inappropriate species and could interfere with underground services such as water, gas and sewage pipes or block easy access to and from the street. There are design solutions to these reservations.verge-gardens brisbane

An established practice

Street verge gardening is the practice of growing ornamental, native or edible plants on the footpath. The rise in popularity of edible gardens has brought the planting of fruits, herbs and vegetables, sometimes mixed with flowers and native plants, to our street verges. The practice is another means of returning food production to our cities and is attracting attention and support in professional design circles.

Edible verge gardening in Australian cities can be traced back to the days of mass immigration in the 1950s, especially to immigrants from Mediterranean countries.  Take a walk around the suburbs where the immigrants of that time made their homes and you find the olive trees they planted on the footpaths are now fully grown and laden with fruit in season. In older parts of Sydney, the loquat with its bight yellow fruit is occasionally found on footpaths, but more commonly in gardens, however this is not so good a choice as it attracts fruit fly. This is another consideration in selecting fruits for the street verge.verge-gardens brisbane

So what is the Brisbane City Council's approach

Brisbane City Council has developed Verge Garden Guidelines to help residents who are interested in establishing a verge garden to self-assess their compliance with Council requirements. The guidelines support Council’s vision of a clean, green city that protects and supports our subtropical environment by sustainably managing and caring for our natural environment and resources.

You need to make sure that your footpath gardening project is respectful of the needs of others. It must be well-maintained and safe, and must keep the footpath accessible for everyone without negatively impacting the environment and surrounding infrastructure.

Verge garden guidelines

To make sure your garden meets Brisbane City Council’s requirements, residents are encouraged to review the guidelines and complete the checklist before you start your project. It will also help you to ensure your verge garden does not impact on the safety of your local community, environment or surrounding infrastructure.

Responsibility

The householder is responsible for the verge gardens adjacent to their property. While verge gardens are planted in public spaces, priority must always be given to maintenance and access for utilities services such as pedestrian movement, water and sewerage, power, gas, telephones, optic fibre cables. If adequate access is not provided, householders may be asked to remove or make changes to their garden.

Recommended plants

Residents are encouraged to use native or water-wise plants where possible. Council has established a recommended planting list to help residents when selecting species.

Gardens that don't comply

If you would like to report a verge garden that doesn't comply with the above guidelines, phone Council on 07 3403 8888.

If you receive a compliance notice for a verge garden that does not comply, the notice will outline what alterations need to be made to your verge garden. You can phone Council on 07 3403 8888 to discuss your notice in greater detail.

More information

For any questions about establishing or maintaining verge gardens, contact Council.

To add trees to your verge garden, you can request Council to plant a street tree on your footpath, or you can tell us where you think Brisbane needs more street trees. Find out more.

Verge gardens in brisbane

Verge Garden Guidelines

Brisbane City Council has developed the Verge Gardens Guidelines to help residents who are interested in establishing a verge garden. The guidelines will also help ensure the safety of pedestrians and road users by minimising trip hazards and ensuring community safety and access on this public space is maintained.

These guidelines support Brisbane’s vision of a clean, green city that protects and supports our environment by sustainably managing and caring for our natural environment and resources.

What is a street verge?

A street verge is the area of public land located between a property boundary and the adjacent road kerb. The verge provides access from the street to private and public properties. It also accommodates above and below-ground public service utilities such as postal service, lighting, power, water, sewerage, gas, telephone and optic fibre cables.

Do I need permission to plant a verge garden?

Council is not issuing permits for verge gardens but has developed a checklist (included in this guideline) to ensure it will not impact on the safety of the community, the environment and surrounding infrastructure. If your proposed verge garden meets the requirements of this checklist, then you may proceed to plant.

Please note that if you are not able to comply with the requirements of these guidelines, you will not be able to establish a verge garden.

Who is responsible for the verge garden?

The householder is responsible for any verge garden adjacent to their property. While verge gardens are planted in public spaces, priority must always be given to maintenance and access for pedestrian movement, postal and utility services, water and sewerage, power, gas, telephones and optic fibre cables. If adequate access is not provided, householders may be asked to remove or make changes to their garden.

Council is not responsible for reinstating any landscaping or any damage to verge gardens or their contents, caused by animals, persons or weather events. Utility services (e.g. electricity, water or telecommunications) may need to upgrade or service their infrastructure, and where this is necessary, advance notice will be given to the householder if the verge garden is to be disturbed. Please note, utility service providers will not reinstate verge gardens after work.

Council is responsible for planting, removing and maintaining all street trees on the street verge. Council reserves the right at any time to remove any verge garden and landscaping:

  • to perform works that are required to manage any service or infrastructure
  • that does not comply with this guideline.

In the event that you move into a home with an established verge garden, it is your responsibility to ensure that the verge garden complies with Council’s current guidelines. You may choose to:

  • retain the garden
  • remove the garden and reinstate the verge to the standard of the surrounding surface.

Where do these guidelines apply?

These guidelines apply to verge gardens at properties that are identified as a ’Residential zone’ within Brisbane City Plan 2014 and are between the property boundary and the road kerb (allowing a minimum width of 1.2 metres for pedestrian access). You cannot plant on your neigbouring property without their permission.

To find out whether your property is within a Residential zone, visit Council’s website at www.brisbane.qld.gov.au and search ‘Zoning maps’ or call Council’s 24-hour Contact Centre on (07) 3403 8888.

How do I ensure safe gardening?

Health and safety precautions are the responsibility of the resident establishing the garden. If you are interested in verge gardening, please consider basic safety precautions such as appropriate clothing, appropriate and safe use of tools and sun protection.

To ensure the protection of any underground public utility services such as water and electricity, you should call ‘Dial Before You Dig’ on 1100 (during business hours) or visit their website at www.1100.com.au prior to gardening. In the event that damage is caused to public utility services due to gardening activities, this must be reported to the appropriate authority as soon as possible and repaired at the property owner’s expense.

Before I start a verge garden who should I consult with?

If you follow these guidelines and can tick the checklist, there is no requirement to contact Council. It would be a good idea to first consult with your neighbours and see if a shared ‘community garden’ is achievable. It’s important to remember that the verge is a public space. If you plan on growing any edible plants, pedestrians passing-by may harvest from your verge garden.

If your verge is currently asphalted, please contact Council to see what options may be possible.

 

Do I need to provide space for pedestrian access?

Yes. It is important that pedestrians can use the public footpath without being obstructed by verge gardens. To ensure this, you must provide a pedestrian way with a minimum width of 1.2 metres as per Council’s current accessibility standards.

In choosing plant and garden bed location, consideration should also be given to:

  • visibility of motorists using the road, and those entering or exiting a residential driveway
  • maintaining adequate distance from above-ground utilities such as electricity pillars, street lights, and telecommunication cables
  • access to post boxes (mailboxes) allowing space between your verge garden and the edge of the footpath (if established) for footpath maintenance
  • adequate distance must be maintained between the kerb and the edge of the verge garden at all times to allow access from vehicles to an established footpath or an unestablished pedestrian path.

 

What materials can I use?

Organic mulching is permitted and should be flush with the footpath or grass area. The use of non-organic materials such as loose gravel, crushed brick or other stone aggregate is not permitted. The use of any hard landscaping materials or irrigation systems is also not permitted

The use of garden structures such as wood planter boxes is not supported by Council. Should residents use such materials, Council will ask for their removal.

What type of plant species can I use?

Trees or tall shrubs must not be planted in verge gardens. Any plants chosen for use in verge gardens must be groundcovers or low growing species.

Residents are encouraged to use native or water-wise plants where possible. Council has a number of resources to help you select the right plant species and create a sustainable, water-wise garden. Please visit Council’s website, www.brisbane.qld.gov.au and search the following options to find out more:

  • Green Gardening Guide
  • Native plant species for residents.

 

When planting species, height of the mature plant or plants must be taken into account to ensure there is no obstruction with the visibility of motorists using the road or exiting a residential driveway, and there is no potential for the species to grow into the power lines. It is also necessary to ensure the species will not create overhanging branches that might be a hazard for pedestrians.

Many attractive garden plants have a secret life as weeds in our bushland. There are more than 200 backyard beauties that become bushland bullies when they jump the garden fence. Once there, they smother and kill native plants, removing food and shelter for our wildlife. Residents can use Council’s weed identification tool and Brisbane Invasive Species Management Plan for assistance. Both of these are available via Council’s website.

Residents are reminded that planting is at their own risk and you must consider the impacts of allergies, thorns and poisonous plants to residents, animals and surroundings.

 verge-gardens brisbane