Keeping up Appearances on Your Investment Property

Keep a Professional Relationship with your Tenants

Once you buy a home for investment and find suitable tenants, it’s tempting to kick back and just let the rent roll in, seldom checking up on the house or the market. However, if you’re managing the property yourself it is important to conduct the following ongoing maintenance, for both peace of mind and your home’s health.

Now, this doesn’t mean go out for coffee every other week, discussing any work that needs to be done with the tenants. It does mean keeping an open line of contact with them, however. Make sure to have up-to-date contact details for your tenants so you can get a hold of them if you have any concerns, and vice versa.

Checking in every month or two through email could be an option, as it opens a channel for any issues to be dealt with effectively. Tenants can often be nervous about making a phone call if a repair needs to be made, and email provides a professional contact point that they may be more comfortable using – especially Gen Y renters

Visit the Market

While that clear contact with tenants is vital, always remember that you are running a business. Your investment property brings you income and that should be your priority – as a landlord, you should be ready to adjust rent if appropriate when renewing a lease. If rental prices in your area are skyrocketing, consider adjusting yours to take advantage – but not by too much, or you may scare off the current tenants.

Small, reasonable increases should be met favourably as long as you continue providing an excellent place to live. Try checking out similar rental properties in the area for comparison on what they provide, and how much they cost. Stay on top of market trends – residential property prices jumped more than 3 per cent in Sydney, almost 2 per cent in Brisbane and 1.3 per cent in Melbourne just over the June 2014 quarter, according to the Housing Industry Association. Will these higher values impact how much your charge tenants?

Inspect Regularly

Not every tenant is going to be up-front about any work that needs doing, and you need to take care of your property. Make sure to run an inspection of the property every few months to check up on the condition of your home. Make sure to have taken photographs of the house before people moved in, both as a template and evidence if need be.

Owning these properties is an ongoing job, but keeping your investment in top condition means you will be able to reap larger rental yields for longer – which is absolutely worth the extra effort for now.

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3 Things Tenants Forget To Ask

Who Has to Sign On?

Moving into a new rental property is exciting, especially if you’ve found a dream apartment or house with friends. However, make sure you don’t get caught up in the glow of a home and forget to ask the most important questions about the place! Here’s some common queries that people should remember when they prepare to sign a lease.

You need to clarify with your landlord exactly who is going to be on the lease, and what the process is when people move out or have others move in. Does the landlord want everyone under the roof to be on the lease? Or will one or two tenants suffice? Also keep your bond payments clear – document who has put how much into bond, and how much each person is entitled to when you leave the home. You don’t want a tangle of people claiming they are owed bond money and no proof of anything when a lease ends

What Are You Responsible For?

Get an inventory organised before you move in – that furniture might look fantastic, but it could be an heirloom belonging to the owner of the home, and any damages could become a costly problem. If you wish to furnish a home yourself, discuss this with the landlord and work out how to change these items over. If the place is unfurnished, as is often the case, remember to organise buying appliances like fridges or washing machines, or at least getting a rental.

How Connected Will You Be?

The house might have the perfect bathroom and sunny bedrooms for all, but if you’re someone who needs to stay connected to the internet constantly, then you should absolutely inquire about this before putting your name on the lease. When will the home be connected to the National Broadband Network? Is there a gas line or is the heating electric? Make sure you know all the details about how your power and communications are wired and that it suits your needs before signing on.

It’s important to keep a cool head when you are renting a home – once you sign a lease, you take on many responsibilities to the landlord and the home. Don’t allow yourself to be blinded by one or two great features until you’ve seen every aspect of the property and make sure you know exactly what you’re getting.

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