When you love what you do and you do what you love is it ever really working?

When Justin and Stevie arrived from Townsville in 2011 they decided to do what they normally did by exercising every morning before work in their local park. Before too long they had others exercising with them and training on a daily basis. Spurred by an off the cuff remark by one of their gang, a seed was planted and by 2014 Sweatmonkey was in swing full time.

The unique name of Sweatmonkey came from the fourth or fifth glass of wine. Justin and Stevie wanted a name which reflected them by showing that they didn’t take themselves too seriously. And of course, after a few wines, they found their name to match their calling. Sweat being something that happens to get fit and strong and monkey from all the monkeying around and the cool things they do within their community.

Justin and Stevie see it as their mission to make people fit and strong whilst finding their adventurous spirit and sharing amazing adventures throughout South East Queensland, Australia, and the World. Their training philosophy is that strength is a skill like any other which is improved with practice. They are proud members of the StrongFirst community and their workout programming reflects this ethos. Their belief is that by using our strength and fitness to create experiences is the reason that we should all work out because it’s experiences, not things that enrich our lives. They don’t believe in shortcuts and more than a little each day trumps lots every now and then. Sensible training, having a plan and measuring your progress is what will get you losing weight, gaining muscle and feeling fantastic, the sooner you will get off the up and down merry go round of health and fitness. They believe that where you work out and go for training, it will be the community that you stay for. The Sweatmonkey community is people just like you who have embraced the process of practicing strength, love having a laugh whilst working out and especially love putting their fitness to good use by having amazing adventures. They eat cake on birthdays and genuinely have fun.

They love having fun with their fitness and hiking and sea kayaking is what they love to do. Regular hikes are held in our own backyard of Bunya State Forest, the D’Aguilar National Park, and Enoggera Reservoir area. They hold frequent bush walks in the local area for everyone, not only Sweatmonkey members. They also love the further afield longer hikes and do a two-day hike on the Great Cooloola Walk or the entire Cooloola walk, the Larapinta trail or The Overland Track in Tasmania. The cherry on the top of their hiking adventures are the bucket list hikes like Africa’s highest peak, Mt Kilimanjaro or Machu Picchu in Peru. Trips are planned for Peru in September this year and Tasmania early next year. They also love sea kayaking adventures to the world’s best destinations, which are in our backyard as well, along with our amazing Queensland Coast, the islands of Stradbroke, Moreton, Bribie and Fraser and they tell me that they do put on a great adventure experience.

Sweatmonkey is a place where fitness is for life and adventure and that there’s no point in training like an Olympic athlete unless you are one. They believe that life is about experiences and not things and that happiness comes from our experiences.

Justin and Stevie love Sweatmonkey being a local northside business as we have such amazing areas to walk and kayak right on our doorstep and the community of local people who love getting out and about to experience our magnificent countryside. They also enjoy the strong small business ethos and the support locals give to all small businesses in the area.

Sweatmonkey support and sponsor local charity events. The most recent was Fresh Start which is a dog rescue organisation. They often have teams participating in events such as the Kokoda Challenge and raise funds for those organisations by putting on BBQs and training events.

Their vision for the future is to be a place where people go to get strong and fit, to be a one-stop shop for fitness and adventure. Their childhood wish is to kayak in the Antarctic and see the incredible wildlife and spectacular scenery on offer.

Sweatmonkey Fitness and Adventure Centre is located at 4/39 Queens Road, Everton Hills and is open from 5.15am-11am and 4pm-7.30pm daily except for Tuesday which is only open from 4pm-7.30pm. They also train outdoors at the Pine Hills Hockey Club.

 

Written by Robyn Baker, Busy Connecting

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Don’t Sell Your Home in 2018 (UNTIL You Read This!)

Don't Sell Your Home in 2018 (UNTIL You Read This!)

Don't Sell Your Home in 2018

2018 is here! For anyone who is considering selling their home in 2018, we are going to dive into a great list of tips that will help your home sell fast and for the highest price possible.

One of the first things you should do is discuss in detail your options with whoever is involved in the selling of the home. Look at the homes for sale in your neighbourhood to give you a rough idea of the anticipated sales price. A lot of locals are shocked at the value of their home in Everton Park and surrounding suburbs thanks to the high level of demand and low stock levels.

Don't Sell Your Home in 2018 (UNTIL You Read This!)

10 Steps to Selling Your Home in 2018

Make Sure You're Ready to Sell

Many people begin to consider selling long in advance of actually putting a for sale sign in their yard. If you're considering selling, it doesn't hurt to start familiarizing yourself with the process by doing research. That being said, don’t put your home on the market until you are 100% ready and committed to selling. Take your time to get prepared!

The listing price for your home is going to determine if it sells. The correct amount is one that the market decides, not one that the seller decides themselves. Your Madeleine Hicks Real Estate agent will review the comparable sales and together you will determine an appropriate selling price for your property!

Knowing you are 100% ready to sell is one of the most important parts of selling your home. If you're considering selling it doesn't hurt to start growing familiar with the process. Many people begin to consider selling long in advance of actually putting a for sale sign in their yard.

Many people don't have a choice. Selling their home is a necessity commonly because they've already purchased another home, are being relocated to work in a new area and sometimes dramatic life-changing events.

Sometimes selling your home isn't so black and white. Sometimes you sell as a part of a growing family or an investment opportunity. Maybe you want to liquidate your assets and move your investments around. Either way, you don't want to sell your home without making sure you are ready and have discussed the options.

Interview Local Real Estate Agents to Help Prepare

Preparation is key to getting your home sold in 2018.

Maintaining a spotless and presentation-ready home for any last minute showings is crucial because it could be the deciding factor in a purchase. A buyer that walks into a home that is messy will walk right back out without having a second thought. Buyers are driven by their ability to picture themselves living in the home that they are being shown. If your house isn’t prepared or appealing, they won’t feel the comfort that is required for them to purchase. Real Estate agents with experience can do a tremendous job of assisting you preparing your home for a sale. They will make many recommendations and offer advice on how you can keep your home clean and charming.

It starts with curb appeal. Before potential buyers even step inside the house, they will have a front view of the property as they are pulling into the driveway. In this moment, the buyer begins to judge whether or not they are interested in looking inside. As soon as they get out of their car, you want their first thought to be, “Wow this home is beautiful.” In order to get them excited to see the home, you need to maintain an appealing yard. Be sure to have healthy mown grass in the summer, and tidy well kept bushes in the winter.

Next, make sure that the inside is swept, vacuumed, dusted, mopped, etc. When your home is sparkling and spotless, the potential buyers are more likely to leave with positive thoughts. If you can maintain a clean home throughout the selling process, you will have a much higher chance of selling.

Once you've discussed the idea of selling your home in greater detail and everyone involved is in agreement, you'll likely want to begin interviewing local Real Estate Agents. We pride ourselves on having some of the best real estate agents in Everton Park and surrounds! This will help you understand some things you can do before you list your home that may help increase your return on the sale. There are a lot of great Listing Agents out there and some that are not so good as well, so you will want to find one that you can work well with.

One of the best things you can do as a Seller is put yourself in the buyer's shoes. What made you want to buy the home? Would you buy your own home?

Your Real Estate agent will be able to see your home through the eyes of a potential buyer. Most sellers have grown emotionally attached to their home and they may have a differing opinion as to how valuable their home is compared to potential buyers... Sometimes it's worth more, sometimes it's worth, less. The only way to truly determine is to let the market decide!

Improve the Home

Selling your home in 2018 is going to give you a great opportunity to make a great return on your investment.

When it comes to selling your home, you want to get the most profit back possible. Repairing or upgrading different details of your home is very beneficial for your return on investment. If your home is worn down, it would be wise to pay for improvements because the home would be placed at a much higher value with these renovations. To start, check the landscaping around your home. Does your house have a positive curb appeal and look beautiful from out front? If not, it might be time to plant some fresh grass seeds or have a professional landscaper come by to make improvements.

You may also want to remodel the bathroom or the kitchen. These two rooms are very important because many people search for a beautiful kitchen and a gorgeous master bathroom when determining which home to buy. Find out what designs would look best in your setting and make the improvements! For the bathroom, this could be new flooring tiles, polishing the bathtub/shower, and remodeling the sink. For the kitchen, you could start by upgrading the countertops to a finish that is more modern, such as granite or marble.

There are other rooms you should also look at and see if they need any improvements as well. Whether it is a room inside or even adding a patio or deck, you will want to choose renovations that will be well worth the investment. Getting a good listing agent can help you find any red flags and help prepare your home for when it is time to hit the market. All of these additions and improvements will make your house stand out and be more likely to sell when competing against other homes. In addition to this, these renovations will tremendously increase the value of your home, giving you a more profitable return on investment.

Determine the RIGHT Listing Price

Determining the best listing price for your home can be a stressful part of the selling process. Since we tend to grow emotional attachments, everyone believes that the home they have lived in is worth more than it really is. However, any good real estate agent will tell you that it is not the seller who determines the price of the home, it is the market. To get a better idea of what your home would be valued at, research what price homes in your surrounding neighborhood have been sold for.

If you list your property in the spring and summer months, you will experience more buyers searching for a home. Since the demand to purchase would be high, you would have the option to test the market for a few prices. If your first listing price doesn’t draw in buyers, you can decrease the amount and repeat this process until you have a sale! If you’re selling during the winter month, usually you would have less leverage to test the market since there are fewer buyers during these months. At this time, you should list your property at a value that similar homes are selling for so that your home isn’t overlooked by buyers for being overpriced.

Real estate agents assist in determining the best pricing point. Their expertise will guide you through the process and they will find other homes that you can compare yours to. After analyzing a few comparisons, the value of your home should be more clear. As long as you don’t let your emotional attachment get in the way of deciding a price, you will be all set and ready to sell your home!

Professional Real Estate Marketingtips to sell in brisbane

Getting your home out on the market for everyone to see will attract a much larger crowd. Since professional real estate agents have access to a greater network than non-agents, they can get your home sold faster than if you were to sell it yourself (for sale by owner).  Listing your home on the MLS will increase your chances of getting potential buyers to see that your home is active. Your real estate agent will also do marketing on their own to make more buyers aware of your listing. For example, they may use billboards, their own website, open houses, flyers, direct mail marketing, and their network with other real estate agent to promote your home. When you have a listing agent, they are extremely determined to help you sell.

Using pictures is another effective way to draw interest in your home. We love to show off your property with images and videos. After capturing all of the rooms, we put the media online and potential buyers can take their own virtual tour of your house. This way, your home is being exposed to numerous people not only who are checking out homes on MLS, but also people who are on the edge of buying in general. This can motivate them to buy and set up a showing for your house if they like what they see.

Have the RIGHT Selling Strategy

There are plenty of different strategies that work for selling homes. For example,  depersonalizing your home, decluttering it to make it look bigger, and letting in more light by opening up blinds and shades are all effective selling strategies. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes, what is it that they want to get out of taking their time to see your home? They want to walk into a clean home and need to be able to envision themselves living in it one day. Depersonalizing your home is a nuisance but it will help your chances of selling. You can do this by taking out family pictures and replacing them with neutral pieces of artwork. This makes it easier for the buyers to imagine putting up their own family pictures if they purchase the home.

Another selling strategy is removing any pets for showings. Whether you have a dog, cat, bird, hamster or something more exotic, take them out of the home for the day since not every potential buyer will be an animal lover. Be sure to clean up any water bowls, toys, litter boxes, hamster wheels and fur because buyers don’t want to walk out covered in hair. By removing the animals, you also create a safer environment for cleaning supplies and air fresheners to make your home even more appealing.

Let your home shine! Getting as much natural light in through the windows is a smart move to show just how ‘alive’ your home looks. A buyer that walks into a dark home in the middle of the day can leave unsatisfied, without a desire to purchase that property. Natural light makes a home look much nicer and more pleasant. When you have time, walk around the house and determine what is causing light to be blocked from entering the windows. If bushes are causing the unwanted darkness,  cut them down.

Negotiate Professionally, NOT Emotionally

Negotiating can get tricky at times because you have to be careful when it comes to receiving offers from buyers. It is important to not let your emotions take control when you are looking for an offer or if you are making a counteroffer. Remember to always stay professional when you are negotiating, as this would give you the upper hand. Your Madeleine Hicks Real Estate agent will help make sure that you aren’t letting your emotions get the better of you. At the end of the day, you, the buyers and the agents involved are all working toward the same goal:  To sell your house!

When you receive an offer, do not respond right away. Instead, take your time looking it over and review your options. If you are in a multiple offer situation, you will be less stressed out since you have fallback options. When there is only one offeror, that’s when things tend to get hectic. As the seller, you may begin to get unmotivated and worry that you aren’t going to get the best deal. Take a deep breath and take your time looking for the offer to think over your options. Before sending an offer, be sure to debate the pros and cons of making that deal to make sure that it is a smart move.

Let the Buyers Feel As Though They Won

If a potential buyer isn’t constantly showing excitement for the purchase, they may back out at any time. By ensuring that your buyers feel that they are getting a deal of a lifetime, they will remain interested throughout the whole process. As the seller, show that you are excited for them to take this new step!

When it comes to negotiating, it is always important that you make the buyers feel as if they won. When they think that they have received the best deal, they will accept it and the both of you will be heading for a settlement. Similar to negotiating professionally and not emotionally, it is also important that you negotiate strategically. Let the buyers gain as much ground as you think they will need in order to feel like they are getting the better end of the deal. When they are satisfied with the deal in front of them, they will accept it and you both will finally close!

Prepare for your Move-out

Now that you are settling,  all of the stressful steps of selling your home are over and you can let the transactions run their course. Keep in mind that after all of the signing and initiating, you still need to move your belongings out of the house before you are completely finished. Anything that you do not convey with the title will have to go. This may include the refrigerator, the washer and dryer, and anything you specifically jotted down and disclosed to the buyer that would be coming to you after you sold.

Sellers who have already relocated usually have their home completely move-in ready for the buyers throughout the process. This is when a house is entirely empty and vacant when potential buyers are walking through it. If you are a seller that still lives in the home and have not yet relocated, be sure to get pre-approved to purchase a new home ASAP.  You don’t want to be left out in the cold because you don’t qualify for the home you were planning on purchasing. Make sure that you are financially ready to move out so buyers can move in.

Any garbage that is left in the house while moving out must be removed and thrown. Don’t be those sellers who make your buyers clean up your messes for you. Gather your belongings to pack them so that you are ready to move to your new home. If you have many items that you don’t want to keep, two helpful options can be a garage-sale or selling on Gumtree or eBay. By doing this, you are cleaning out the house and making, even more, money at the same time.

Whether you still live in the home or you have already relocated, always remember to leave the utilities on until after the home is settled!

Close and Congrats!

You’ve made it! You have followed all of the steps listed above and you’re finally ready for the last one! The offers are on the table and you have accepted the most appealing one! Congratulations, you now get to move on to closing!  If the buyer’s lawyer and agent approve all paperwork and the bank approves the transactions, there’s nothing much more to worry about. It is a long process for most, and even more, a stressful one. But you did it! Congratulations on officially selling a home!

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A Long Time on the Market is not helpful to Selling (here’s why)

Mistakes Sellers make

LONG periods on the market are counter- productive to an optimum result, according to Madeleine Hicks from Madeleine Hicks Real Estate.

“Ideally, you don’t want to have your property on the market beyond the optimised 30-day market period,” she said.

“This is the time when the property attracts the greatest interest.”

Mistakes Sellers makeIn the Brisbane Real Estate market, Mrs Hicks said sellers needed to engage an agent that truly understood how to provide the effective combination of five key selling essentials; sales method, marketing, pricing strategy, presentation and buyer feedback reporting.

These may seem fairly straightforward, but Mrs Hicks said presentation in particular was often misunderstood.

It was not just about mowing the lawn, cleaning the kitchen and dusting the skirting boards.

“The fundamental part of presenting your home is to make it your buyer’s home, not yours,” she said.

“A blank canvas is what you’re aiming for; it opens up the home to more potential buyers.

“The bottom line is, the more potential buyers, the more engagement, the better your offers; you need potential buyers to become emotionally engaged with your home so they want to make it their next home.”

Mrs Hicks recommended taking down family photos, de-cluttering everything and leaving the bare essentials.

“You’re aiming for display home with lived-in warmth,” she said.

“You want people to dream, dream of living in this space, of creating their home and all the potential that stretches out in front of them.

“You don’t want them walking into your life and judging whether that’s their lifestyle or not because then you’ll be narrowing your potential buyers down to people who are only in the same walk of life as you.”

Mrs Hicks said depending on how much you have accumulated and your style of living, you might want to hire a storage unit or fill up the garage.

“Certainly look at modern interior design photos and see what a beautiful blank slate looks like,” she said.

“If all else fails, hire a stylist who will get straight to the point and are able to bring in hire furniture to create a modern dream.” 

You can Download a copy of our guide "7 Mistakes Sellers Make & How to Avoid Them" Here

First Home Owners Grant Extended

Qld first home owners grant extended

GOOD NEWS FOR FIRST HOME BUYERS: The $20,000 first home owners grant has been extended until June 30, 2018.

Unlock your new home sooner

The Queensland First Home Owners' Grant is a state government initiative to help first home owners to get their new first home sooner. Depending on the date of your contract, you’ll get $15,000 or $20,000 towards buying or building your new house, unit or townhouse (valued at less than $750,000). You can even buy off the plan or choose to build yourself. It’s a great opportunity to buy or build a new home in our great state.

How a Queensland First Home Owners' Grant can help you

  •  If you're thinking of buying or building a new home, this could be what gets you started.
  •  It could get you something more than you were expecting.
  •  It can get you into your first home sooner.

Note:
The closing date for the $20,000 Queensland First Home Owners' Grant has been extended to 30 June 2018. If your contract to purchase or build is signed between 1 July 2016 and 30 June 2018, you may be eligible to apply for the $20,000 grant.

To be eligible for the grant:

  •  You must be an Australian citizen or permanent resident (or applying with someone who is).
  •  You or your spouse must not have previously owned property in Australia.
  •  You must be at least 18 years of age.
  •  You must be buying or building a brand new home, valued under $750,000.

Test your eligibility. 

 More Information can be found here https://firsthomeowners.initiatives.qld.gov.au/

If you know someone that could take advantage of this grant please share with them.

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Simple ways to cut your energy bill and save money

Simple ways to cut your energy bill

A Newspoll survey conducted late last year showed many Australians plan to keep rising energy prices in check by closing curtains, washing clothes in cold water and taking shorter showers – but how much does any of that actually affect the average power bill? Apparently, quite a bit.

By matching the five most popular energy-saving strategies with some ballpark dollar savings based on the National Australian-Built Environment Rating System (NABERS), it was found the average three-person household can save hundreds of dollars a year.

Put simply – simple changes can lead to big savings on your power bill.

Of course, all of this varies depending on which state you live in, how you use power, and exactly how you implement each strategy in your home. But whichever way you look at it, there are plenty of opportunities to reduce your utility bill with just a few behavioural changes.

1. Closing curtains/blinds: $55 p.a.

Windows are a home’s biggest sources of heat in summer (and cold in winter) so the 89 per cent of Newspoll respondents who plan to close blinds and curtains can expect to save around $55 this year according to the NSW Government’s Save Power website.

Effective window insulation includes:

- Shading windows and skylights during the day as much as possible

- Lined curtains and close-fitting Holland and/or Roman blinds instead of vertical blinds, conventional or timber Venetians

- External blinds or awnings on north, east and west windows

- Keeping doors and windows closed during the day as much as possible

- When the temperature drops at night, opening doors and windows up.

With window glazing, you can save even more. If the cost of double-glazing looks a bit steep, consider secondary glazing (fitting a membrane to the window) instead.

Heating or cooling the whole house can be expensive. Where possible, shut doors to areas you are not using and only heat or cool the rooms you spend the most time in.

Make sure your curtains or blinds seal your windows properly, and keep your curtains closed at night, and during the day when there is a heat-wave. Block draughts around doors and windows to stop air leaking out, or in.

Of course, it helps if you’ve got effective house insulation. Energy retailer AGL estimates efficient insulation can bring the temperature down by up to 7 degrees in summer, and increase it by 10 degrees in winter, slicing more than $100 off your power bill every year.

Simple ways to cut your energy bill

2. Washing clothes in cold water, drying on line/rack: $380 p.a.

Washing your clothes in cold water can save $115 per year

AGL says that cold water has been ‘scientifically proven’ to be just as effective as hot water when it comes to washing clothes, and Save Power calculates the cost saving at $30 or more per year.

You can save another $30 per year if your machine is a front-loader with a 5-star energy rating.

But the real savings kick in when you cut back on clothes dryers. These energy thieves can use more power over the course of a year than a reasonably energy-efficient fridge, and cutting them out can save a whopping $350. Dry outside or on a rack instead – apart from being budget-friendly, it’s a whole lot kinder to your clothes too.

If you do need to use the dryer, AGL recommends setting it to warm rather than hot – it takes a little longer but uses less energy.

Bear in mind the cold water rule doesn’t apply to dishwashers – hot water is more efficient when it comes to dishes.

3. Being quick in and out of the fridge: $25 p.a.

Running your fridge efficiently can save about $25 per year. That means making sure it’s set to the right temperature (fridge at 4°C, freezer at -18°C), has decent sealing and is kept closed as much as possible.

Fridges use more power when they’re empty than when they’re full so if you’ve got a second fridge, turn it off and leave the door ajar when you don’t need it. Giving it a rest for six months of the year could take another $130 off your bill.

And if it’s time to upgrade, you’ll find an energy-efficient model pays itself off before long by reducing power bills by about $145 per year.

Your fridge is always on, making it one of your most expensive appliances. Make sure the door seal is tight and free from gaps so cold air can't escape. An ideal fridge temperature is 4 or 5 degrees and an ideal freezer temperature is minus 15 to minus 18 degrees Celsius. If you have a second fridge or freezer, only turn it on when you need it.

4. Taking shorter showers: $105 p.a.

Shaving three minutes off shower times can save a three-person household about $105 a year – or much more if your house is still running an electric water heater.

“Electric water heaters account for around 25 per cent of a household’s energy use,” says Stephen Cranch from Solahart, an Australian solar water heater manufacturer.

“Switching to a solar water heater will reduce water heating energy consumption by 50-90 per cent,” he says – he says, and according to Save Power, reduce your annual power bill by about $150.

Plus, the Federal Government is planning to phase out electric water heaters from 2012, so rebates are also available for households needing to upgrade.

5. Switching appliances off at the power socket: $125 p.a.

Up to 10% of your electricity use could be from gadgets on standby

It’s estimated that standby power contributes about 10 per cent of every power bill, so switching things off at the wall can save $125 or more a year.

And it’s not just computers and appliances. Even chargers use power when they’re not connected to our phones, iPads, razors and toothbrushes, and the digital clock on our microwaves can cost more to run than the cooking function itself.

 

6. Set your Air Con

Every degree above 20 degrees can add 10% to your heating bill

In summer cooling can account for over 30% of your bill. Set your air conditioner between 24 and 27 degrees. Every degree above 24 can add 10% to your cooling bill. In winter, set your air conditioner to 21 degrees or above.

7. Turn heaters and coolers off when you don't need them

Turn off when you leave the room, or go to bed. With some ducted heating systems you can turn off the heating in the rooms that are unoccupied. Make sure all your heating or cooling is turned off when you leave the house.

8. Insulate your roof

An insulated ceiling makes a big difference to your energy bills. If you already have insulation installed, check that it is properly installed and has the right rating (measured in 'R-value'). In Victoria, insulation rated R3.5 or higher should be used for ceilings.

9. Save energy in the kitchen

Thaw frozen food in your fridge to reduce cooking time. When you are cooking, use the microwave when you can – it uses much less energy than an electric oven. If you use the stove, keep lids on your pots to reduce cooking time. Use the economy cycle on your dishwasher and only run it when it's full.

10. Use energy-efficient light globes

Replace old incandescent and halogen light globes with energy-efficient globes. Energy-efficient globes save power and last longer. Light globes can sometimes be replaced for free or at reduced cost.

But awareness goes a long way. All up, you can reduce your bills by close to $700 without sacrificing comfort or refitting your home.
Source: www.smh.com.au, www.yonderr.com.au

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Top 10 tips for Property Investors

Property Investors

Looking for a quick and easy way to get rich?

Aren’t we all!

But while the late-night infomercials may paint a tempting picture of earning money while you sleep –the reality is that with most investments –success is the result of hard work, or making a series of calculated decisions.

Tips for Property Investors

One of the best ways to grow your wealth, aside from falling into a large and unexpected sum of money, is by investing in property for income and growth.

True, Property Investment isn’t a silver bullet that will quickly and dramatically make you prosperous overnight –but it’s a great way to grow your wealth nonetheless. Think of it as a secure and steady way to increase your reserves; allowing you to build wealth at a relatively predictable pace –thanks to the potential to earn cash flow, and benefit from appreciation and equity as the mortgage is paid off and as the property, ideally, increases in value!

If you’re interested in owning rental properties –but not sure where to begin, no worries! The great thing about property Investment is that it’s something that almost anyone can get started with, regardless of whether they have any experience with investing. With the right approach –and plenty of hard work, you too can find success with rental properties.

In this article, we’ll uncover everything you need to do to set yourself up for success with property investment –and begin building your own rental property empire!

Set Clear Goals

First, you’ll want to sit down and establish some clear goals for your real estate investments. What are your financial objectives? Do they center on cash flow –to earn, say $5,000 a month? Or, are they more long-term –such as owning ten investment properties in areas where homes are expected to appreciate? Once you know what you want from real estate –you’ll be able to create a plan to make it happen and determine how you will use real estate to reach your objectives. Maybe you’ll want to buy one property every year until you reached your goals –or, maybe you’ll want to look into financing options to determine what you need to do to get yourself into a position to invest. Once you’ve established your long-term goals, you’ll have a clearer sense of direction –and will be able to work backward, so to speak –taking steps to reach your goals.

Tips for Property Investors

Treat Investing Like a Business

Before you begin, you’ll want to ensure that you have the right mindset. If you go into real estate investing treating it like a part-time hobby, you probably won’t have much success. The only real way to make money from real estate – is by treating your venture like the money-producing enterprise that it should be! It’s important to treat investing like a business–this means setting clear objectives, being organized, and building systems that allow you to work efficiently. Additionally –as time goes on, and you begin to scale your investments, you’ll be thankful that you established a solid framework for your business from the start.

Educate Yourself

Knowledge is power! Before you begin your journey, you’ll want to educate yourself on rental property to ensure that you’re well-informed on real estate and rental property investing. Scour the net looking for informative articles from reputable websites, and get yourself a few good books on rental property investing. Many new investors make the mistake of diving in without spending any time familiarizing themselves with how property and the real estate market work. While you can learn as you go, brushing up on some basic real estate knowledge ahead of time will save you from making potentially costly mistakes along the way.

Find Your Niche

Next, you’ll want to decide what type of properties you’re going to focus on. Single-family homes, or maybe units? Duplexes and triplexes? Are you going to invest locally –or long-distance? You’ll also want to determine what type of returns that you’re hoping to get from each of your properties. Being specific will help you to be more strategic with your investments; allowing you to choose only the best properties –ones that are going to produce a rate of return that’s in line with your financial goals.

Tips for Property Investors

Start Small

Don’t worry! You don’t have to rush out and buy a 30-unit complex when you’re first starting out! Most investors start out smaller –with a single-family home or duplex. In fact, your first investment could even be your own home. Starting small will give you a chance to lay a solid foundation, allowing you to learn the ropes before jumping into the bigger investments, where there’s usually a lot more financially at stake.

Assemble Your Team

While first-time investors often feel that they have to go it alone –don’t overlook the benefits of having a network of experienced professionals by your side. Before you start, it’s a good idea to assemble a team –people that you can call on for property-related help and advice. If you’re purchasing real estate –especially if it’s out of town, it’s important to find an investor-friendly real estate agent in the local area that you can work with. You may also want to secure an accountant –to find out how investing in property will affect you from a tax perspective. Finally, if you plan to invest in rental properties –do yourself a favor and connect with a reputable and experienced property manager. Establishing connections with professionals will save you from a tremendous amount of hassle –and a world of frustration.

Plan for the Unexpected

Don’t forget to plan for unexpected expenses along the way. Vacancies, issues with tenants, and costly repairs can all take a significant bite out of your income, and it’s important to have some funds set aside in case of emergencies. If you’re planning to purchase a property that’s in need of repairs –be smart. Make sure you have enough saved to make the necessary upgrades in a timely manner –to prevent your property from sitting empty while you have to cover the expenses! If you’re buying a renovation project you may look at obtaining the right type of loan that will release funds as required. This would allow you to incorporate the cost of the repairs into the loan –a good way to make buying a fixer-upper a feasible option. Just remember that repairs often end up costing more than expected –so be sure to plan for some additional expenses along the way.

Run the Numbers

Now, it’s time to crunch the numbers! Once you’ve found a property that you’re interested in, run the numbers to ensure that it’s a good investment. A classic rule of real estate says that a rental should yield at least be dollar for dollar, that. This means if you have a property that costs $600,000, you should be able to try to get $600 per week in rent. Of course –it’s important to never make your investments based on speculation alone. Don’t assume that you’ll be able to get dollar for dollar. Instead, you’ll want to make sure you base your calculations on facts and solid figures. Check to see what similar properties in the area are renting for on Domain and Realestate.com.au –and connect with a local property manager or real estate agent to get their thoughts on the viability of a potential investment. Finally, you’ll want to add up your projected expenses –including the mortgage, taxes, insurance, utilities, maintenance, repairs, and unexpected vacancies –and subtract this from your income to find your cash flow. Then, take things a step farther and calculate your cash on cash returns –make sure your yield is in line with what you’re hoping to generate from your income properties.

Hire an Inspector

We can’t emphasize this one enough! It’s important to hire an independent home inspector to check the property before you buy, to ensure there’s no costly and extensive hidden damage –and to fill you in on the exact condition of the home. If time is of the essence and you need to make an offer quickly –make sure there is an inspection contingency included in your contract –this way, should the inspector finds any major problems, you’ll be able to back out.

Don’t Quit Your Day Job

Real estate investing can be an exciting time –but don’t hand in your resignation notice at work just yet! Many experts advise against quitting –especially early on. Keeping your job will save you from having to spend all of your rental income on living expenses when you’re first starting out and will allow you to instead reinvest your profits back into your investments in order to maximise your returns. Once you have a few properties under your belt –and your cash flow begins to surpass what you’re making at work, you’ll be able to think about leaving.

While Property Investing isn’t a get rich quick scheme; it certainly can be an excellent long-term investment opportunity. With careful planning –and the right approach, you’ll be able to grow your wealth and save for the future –the smart way!

Do you own Rental Properties? What advice would you give to someone who’s just starting out? Share your thoughts with us!

Thanks to renterswarehouse.com

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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.