1. It pays to be organised before tax time
What’s that old saying? You don’t know what you don’t know. Well before tax time comes around, it is important to be aware of the deductions you are entitled to as a property investor. Speak with your accountant or check out the Australian Tax Office website to get familiar with what you will need to provide and what you can claim come tax season. Have a trusted accountant who can help you to understand your specific circumstances and keep you well advised on everything you need to know including negative and positively geared property, as well as capital gains tax.
2. Help your tenants help you
If you are renting out a property, especially one you have lived in chances are there are some quirks that took you some time to figure out. Having a cheat sheet for the property to give to the tenants and property manager saves the tenant frustration and you unwanted phone calls. It also ensures the tenant feels valued when they first move in and
helps set the tone of the tenancy. If the property has a garden, any useful information you have about certain plants and how to care for them can be really helpful for tenants that may not have the greenest of thumbs.
3. Review the rent
You might be hesitant to increase the rent if you are unsure of how the rental market is performing at the time but if a rent increase is justified your property manager should discuss this with you. It is only fair that you do not undervalue your investment. It is far better to keep up with smaller incremental increases where possible than to try and make a jump to a higher rent, years down the track. If you take this approach you will find that you can’t always make up for years of missed reviews in one year.
4. Make sure you are insured.
Your building insurance will not cover you in the unfortunate event that your tenant defaults in rental payments or causes damage to your property with a cost exceeding the bond. While it is not a legal requirement that you take out a Landlord Insurance Policy, it is strongly recommended that you do so as soon as possible. If your investment property is in a unit complex, don’t assume that the body corporate insurance will cover everything either. Seek professional advice to ensure there are no gaps in your cover.
5. Expect the unexpected
As property managers, we minimise risk to our clients but unfortunately, we can’t predict what will happen during a tenancy. A marriage breakdown, loss of job, illness or loss of a loved one, can see a model tenant change into a default tenant. A property which has never so much as had visit from a handyman will need several repairs in a short space of time. It is always best to be prepared for unexpected costs and unexpected scenarios to deal with.
6. First impressions count
Before having prospective tenants view the home and decide if they will apply, it doesn’t have to be ready to move in to tomorrow but make sure the property is at the standard which you expect the tenants to maintain. If the property hasn’t been cleaned or the gardens are looking worse for wear you are going to attract the wrong type of tenant that may not be as house proud as you had hoped. By having the property presented in the best light, you can maximise your price and find a high-quality tenant looking for a well-maintained property to call home.
7. Maintain the property, maintain good tenants and prevent unnecessary costs
We work hard to find good tenants for our clients that will take care of the property they are renting as a home. To hang on to these tenants and prevent costs of vacancy, readvertising etc keep the property in good condition. This doesn’t mean replacing an entire kitchen or bathroom but just making sure that anything that needs attention is dealt with properly and efficiently. Nothing annoys a quality tenant more than knowing they are maintaining their end of the bargain but feel the landlord has an ”out of sight, out of mind mentality”.
8. Prevention is better than cure
You can prevent problems and callout fees by carrying out preventative maintenance. If your tenant reports a plumbing issue such as worn out tap, why not have the drains cleared and checked in the same callout fee while the plumber is already there or ask the tenant if they can check for any other leaks or issues.
Some other preventative maintenance steps we recommend include servicing any ducted heating and/or cooling systems regularly to ensure there is no added stress on these motors from old filters etc and extend the lifetime of these expensive appliances.
Ensure the gutters are cleared regularly and the roof is checked for cracked tiles. This can prevent roof leaks from occurring during heavy rain saving you from having to replace insulation or repaint a ceiling.
Check hoses under sinks and pay attention to any rust marks around fittings. This can be a key indication that a leak has already started, and the hose should be replaced before it gives up and causes further damage.
Don’t let mould take hold. Regularly replace the silicone behind areas such as bathroom vanities and inside showers and regrout any areas that are worn to prevent mould getting into weakened areas and spreading. This makes it easier to keep clean and prevents damage from occurring.
9. Get the most out of your property manager
If you are new to being a landlord you will no doubt have lots of questions about the process. Even as a seasoned investor there will be new scenarios arising and changes to legislation from time to time. Your property manager is there to provide you with the right advice and there is no such thing as a silly question or too many questions. When you employ a property manager you are paying for this advice so don’t hesitate to call or email whenever you have something on your mind about your rental property.
10. Don’t put up with bad service from your property manager
We all know bad tenants can cost you money, but a bad property manager could cost you a good tenant or even more. You shouldn’t have to manage your property manager or chase them for information. If you aren’t happy with the service level of your current agent, you should know that it is easy to change firms and have a completely different experience for you and your tenant.