If you have an investment property, you would like to have good tenants for obvious reasons.
Good tenants will take care of your property, keep you up to date with any maintenance issues and provide a reliable source of income. Bad tenants can disrupt your cash flow, prematurely age your property and will end up costing you more in property management fees.
Don’t underestimate the value of tenant retention. Each time you lose a tenant, you’re losing valuable cash while your property sits vacant.
Try these five tips for attracting and retaining good tenants.
- DON’T SET RENTS TOO HIGH
While slugging tenants with the highest possible rental rates might seem like the best way to squeeze cash from your investment, the practice may actually harm your tenant retention rate, costing you more money in the long run.
If tenants are too pressed for cash or see something more affordable pop up on the market, they may move on, leaving your property empty while you search for new renters. Just because one tenant can afford to pay extra for now, that doesn’t mean that others will do the same once that renter moves on.
To attract and retain a good tenant, it may be a good idea to keep rents slightly below the market rate.
For example:if your rent is set at $590 per week rather than $600, it will cost you (and save your tenant) $520 a year – this is less than one week on the market will cost you, if they decide to vacate.
Setting your rents too high will also scare off good tenants. Beware of prospective renters that are willing to pay well above and beyond market prices – they may be desperate because they have poor rental histories.
- DON’T SET RENTS TOO LOW
Setting rents too low may leave you vulnerable when you decide it’s time make an increase, with a big jump in the rent likely to scare away your tenants. Gradual adjustments to market value over a long period of time are more likely to go down well with your tenants than a leap at the six month mark. Be cautious about setting your rent too low to attract tenants. If your tenant is living in your property only because it is affordable, rather than desirable, they may not take good care of the property.
Remember, you probably won’t hold your investment property forever. When it comes time to sell, buyers will enquire about your rental yield – and will be turned off if it is well below market value.
- KEEP UP WITH MAINTENANCE
Although rental markets in certain capital cities are tight, don’t underestimate your tenants’ need for quality housing.
As a landlord, it is your responsibility to provide safe, clean and well maintained housing to your tenant. Don’t be fooled into thinking you hold on the cards because you are the property’s owner – they are paying you money in exchange for the provision of a service. If you want to maintain a good relationship with your tenants and your source of income, maintain your property. Don’t dodge calls from your property manager, don’t be stingy when it comes to required repairs and if you’re choosing to maintain the property yourself, make sure you show up on time.
Properties all see inevitable wear and tear, regardless of the tenant. But when renters see that you are on top of the necessary repairs, they will be more likely to take good care of your property.
- HAVE A GOOD RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR PROPERTY MANAGER
Property managers are there for every step of the tenancy process, from sourcing good tenants to keeping them happy and finally guiding them out of the home when the time comes.
Your property manager should be on good terms with your tenants and work hard to keep them happy. They should be on top of any necessary maintenance issues and quick to let you know if any issues arise. Don’t have unrealistic expectations of your property manager, but do make sure that you are in regular contact.
Unfortunately, not all property managers were created equal. Some will be easier to get into contact with than others, who never seem to be within answering distance of a phone. Make sure you choose a good property manager when you purchase your investment property, and don’t be afraid to change property managers if you need to.
- LET THE BAD ONES GO
Don’t think that you have to put up with bad tenants. If your tenant is failing to pay rent or causes damage to your property, you are able to take action.
Depending on the state, you may be able to immediately evict a tenant if they are causing malicious damage to your property or after two weeks if they are late on rental payments. You may also be able to evict a tenant before the end of their lease if they are using your property for illegal activities, putting their neighbours in danger or keeping other tenants in the property without your knowledge.
Being a good landlord isn’t just the right thing to do, but will end up making you more money in the long run. If you are a reliable landlord who takes care of your property, you can retain reliable tenants who do the same.
Original article published on www.propertyobserver.com.au by Jessie Richardson 20/5/ 2014
Experts warn of ‘debt bomb’ as housing downturn worsens
That’s according to the sobering 60 Minutes segment Bricks and Slaughter which aired last night, revealing the country’s property downturn was just the tip of the iceberg.
According to reporter Tom Steinfort, the current slump is actually “more like falling off a cliff”, with a number of real estate and finance experts claiming houses could plummet in value by up to 40 per cent in the next 12 months.
If that happens, it would also cause an economic “catastrophe”.
Mr Steinfort spoke with data scientist Martin North from Digital Finance Analytics, who said Australia was uniquely vulnerable when it came to an economic crash tied to a property downturn.
“At the worst end of the spectrum, if everything turns against us we could see property prices 40-45 per cent down from their peaks, which is a huge deal,” he said.
“That’s higher than any other country in the Western world by a long way.
“There’s probably no country in the world more susceptible to the ramifications of a housing crash than Australia. We are uniquely exposed at the moment.”
Mr North said Australia was now in the same position as the US was back in 2006 and 2007 — a position which triggered an economic collapse.
“As a society, and as a government, and as a regulatory system, we’re all banking on the home price engine that just goes on giving and giving and giving. It’s not going to,” he said.
“We’ve got a debt bomb, we’ve got a debt crisis and at some point it’s going to explode in our face.”
He said foreclosures had also risen by 600 per cent in the region.
“The mortgage stress is definitely being felt especially in this area,” he said.
60 Minutes also spoke with several Aussie homeowners who gave harrowing details of the stress they faced trying to pay off their mortgages, including having their power turned off and being “hounded’ by their banks.
What does a million dollars buy in Aussie capital cities?
Market analyst Louis Christopher of SQM Research said the market had been “clearly overvalued”, labelling the downturn as the “correction we had to have” — at least in Sydney and Melbourne.
“On our numbers, Sydney was effectively over 40 per cent overvalued. And Melbourne was overvalued by about the same amount,” he said.
But property investor Bushy Martin said the blame lay squarely at the feet of buyers who “mortgaged themselves up to their eyeballs” in a bid to snap up dream homes before being able to afford them.
However, the segment has also sparked backlash online, with some claiming the situation had been exaggerated.
One Reddit user branded the report as an example of “alarmist journalism and scare tactics”, while another said it was “dramatic and cringe-worthy”.
Others also criticised the segment for making it seem like all homeowners would be affected, when the downturn was actually mainly focused in the NSW and Victorian capitals.
And some said it was unfair to blame the banks for the situation, and that homeowners needed to take responsibility for their own decisions.
That was in response to comments made by one homeowner on the program, who said the bank had “suddenly switched the mortgage to interest and principal”, raising his repayments by 57 per cent.
“The interest only part annoyed me the most. The bank didn’t ‘suddenly change’ your repayment from (interest only) to (Principal and interest) your IO term expired. You a) knew this would happen and b) assumed the bank would renew it when it expired. I hope this speculator gets burnt first,” one Reddit user said.
Related article: Experts warn of ‘debt bomb’ as housing downturn worsens
Queensland is the next property hotspot, experts say
As New South Wales and Victoria continue to experience weakness. Queensland is expected to take the lead, a National Australia Bank (NAB) poll of property professionals revealed.
According to the survey, industry experts project house prices in Queensland to increase by 0.7% next year and 1.3% in two years.
Some areas seen to perform strongly over the next year include Brisbane, Cairns, the Gold Coast, and the Sunshine Coast. Out of the suburbs, Coomera and New Farm are expected to realize robust gains.
Meanwhile, Queensland’s rental market is also poised to enjoy an upward boost, growing by 1.3% next year and 1.9% in two years. This is despite the stricter rules on housing investment.
The respondents of the survey also expect Queensland to retain foreign buyer interest. In fact, the share of foreign sales hit a four-year high of 22.8% over the previous quarter.
The results of the survey go against NAB’s own projection of the market. For instance, the bank expects house prices to remain flat in Brisbane over the next three years. Unit prices, on the other hand, is seen to fall by 4.5% over the next year.
NAB chief economist Alan Oster said Brisbane’s housing market seemed to be going sideways and its unit market still creates concern.
“It hasn’t peaked yet, so that’s good. We’re seeing quite strong economic activity in Queensland, so that always helps,” Oster said, as quoted by The Courier-Mail.
Gold Coast house values record the biggest growth in Queensland
The Gold Coast has recorded the strongest growth in house prices in Queensland over the past 12 months.
GOLD Coast house prices are leading the way in Queensland, up six per cent in the past 12 months to an average $620,000.
The latest figures by the Real Estate Institute of Queensland show homes on the Glitter Strip are $35,000 more on the same time last year.
Unit prices are up 1.9 per cent to $428,000.
REIQ data reveals houses on the Glitter Strip are worth $35,000 on the same time last year.
REIQ’s Queensland Market Monitor for March said the strong population growth came on the back of infrastructure projects such as the $550 million Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct and M1 upgrades.
“The property market has been one of the big winners from the sporting event as the $1.5 billion infrastructure investment has boosted confidence and demand for housing in the region,” the report stated.
“We expect house prices will show an upward path in 2018. However, this growth will most likely be more moderate.”
A quiet real estate period leading up to, and during, the Commonwealth Games likely contributed to a slight drop (-0.3 per cent) in the March quarterly median sales price, the report reveals.
Andrew Henderson says a growing population and employment opportunities were contributing to a strong property market. Picture: Jerad Williams
REIQ Gold Coast zone chairman Andrew Henderson said he expected interstate migration to continue to benefit the city.
“I expect the market to remain strong,” he said.
“There is a heavy amount of interstate buyers moving here.
“I was at an auction recently where the winning bidder was from Sydney and the underbidder was from Melbourne.”
Mr Henderson said growing employment opportunities were also attracting homebuyers to the city.
The Gold Coast property market is expected to remain strong.
“We have some of the best health facilities in the country and our universities are world recognised.
“Those two things alone complement the tourism industry and the lifestyle aspects that the Coast offers.”
The report found the fastest-selling suburbs on the Coast included Worongary, Merrimac, Highland Park, Mudgeeraba and Carrara.
It also revealed the rental vacancy held tight throughout the first quarter of the year at 1.1 per cent.
Andrew Bell says the Coast had evolved from a tourist town into a vibrant city with an expanding economy. Picture Mike Batterham
Ray White Surfers Paradise Group CEO Andrew Bell said the Games heralded the next chapter for the Coast, as it evolved from a tourist town into a vibrant city with an expanding economy.
“The city’s property market is riding the irreversible momentum that has now come to the Gold Coast in terms of economic diversity and with more employment options we will need more housing options for people,” Mr Bell said.
“We are no longer going to be subject to tourism upsides and downsides as we were in the past because our economy has well and truly diversified beyond just tourism.”