Good Investment Properties Deserve Good Management

Over the past decade property management has emerged from the shadows of the real estate industry and is now a professional industry on its own. It is relied upon heavily by investors to maximise the income from their rental properties and equally by renters looking for the ideal place to call home.

Unfortunately, many investors take no care at all in selecting a manager to look after their investment. They hand over what is effectively a major, income producing asset to agencies without enquiring about the skills of their management staff, the types of systems they use to select tenants and a dozen other questions. The result for them is an under-performing asset that is potentially losing thousands of dollars.

Our Eight Key Factors to Exceptional Service

We offer exceptional property management service to our investor clients and we back up our claims with our service guarantee. What we promise is what we deliver, and if we fail that standard of service, we give our investors their next three months management free. How can we do that? We have systems in place to effectively manage what we consider to be the eight key factors to successful real estate investment.

We select tenants very carefully and then negotiate their leases using experience and skill to get the best return for our clients. Timely, proactive communication with all parties keeps any potential issues under control and our effective marketing strategies showcase vacant properties and attract good quality tenants.

Our rent arrears management system gives us timely alerts to problems so we can deal with them before they get out of hand, and our cash flow management is always under scrutiny. Inspections and maintenance are carried out regularly and we provide comprehensive financial reporting to clients in formats acceptable to their accountants.

Dedicated Real Estate Management Sharpens Attention

We know we deliver a quality service at Focus Property Management because this is our core business. All our attention is directed to looking after client real estate and sourcing awesome tenants who will look after their rentals like they were their own. Our owners receive regular rental market updates and free suburb rental reports so they can compare the performance of their assets against others in the same area.

Our property managers are more like asset managers in the way they manager their rental portfolios. They advise on how to maximise rental returns so the client owners can use the equity in their existing real estate to expand their portfolios. If your current rental manager is not providing this level of service you will be missing opportunities to increase your returns. You can change that by giving us your rental.

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Important Information for First Time Property Investors

Have you just bought your first investment property and are about to lease it out, or perhaps you have been transferred interstate for work, and want to rent out your home while you are away. Whatever the reason, you are about to become part of a growing demographic in Australia – a property investor. To make this whole experience a pleasant and profitable one, there are a few things you need to know. Before the property is advertised, set a rental figure that reflects the type of property, its location and that meets the market price for the area. First-time lessors often have inflated expectations of the rental value of their properties. While you don’t want to short-change yourself, you also don’t want the property to languish for months without earning any income. Written Tenancy Agreements a Must Make sure you have a written tenancy agreement in place setting out monthly rent arrangements, the timing of rent increases, dates of occupancy, deposit and bond arrangements, insurance details, frequency of inspections and damage reporting. If pets are allowed, these details should also be in the agreement. It must be signed by both parties and the bond lodged with the relevant state authority. Tenants have the right to live in a safe environment, so it is up to you to ensure that your property has smoke detectors, secure locks on doors and windows, and sufficient keys for all signatories to the lease. The dwelling must meet all Australian building standards. It must also be maintained to these standards and any repairs needed must be done promptly to keep the integrity of your insurance policy. Tenant Reference Checks Vital to Avoid Poor Choices You should also conduct thorough reference and background checks on any prospective tenants and only deal with those who have a history of paying rent on time, and who treat the property and their neighbours with respect. Neglect any of these issues and you may find yourself on a current affairs program, trying to get the “tenants from hell” evicted. Does this all seem too hard? It takes a lot of time, work and specialised knowledge of tenancy laws to manage your own rental property. Most rental owners have found that engaging a property management agency to look after their investments is by far the most cost effective way of keeping them tenanted. Rental Property Management Needs Specialist Skills At Focus Property Management this is our core business. Managing rental properties is not something we do as an aside to selling real estate. We are specialist property managers with trained and experienced people who know the legislation governing residential tenancies. We can perform reference and background checks on tenants, prepare tenancy documents, arrange and attend inspections, provide inspection reports, manage rental receipts, arrange repairs and market your property to thousands of prospective tenants. The staff at Focus Property Management will look after every detail on your behalf. All you need to do is check your monthly statement and leave the rest up to us.

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Breaking it Gently: Tips for Early Termination of a Rental Agreement

There are many reasons you might need to terminate a rental property agreement early. Your right to do this is protected by law, and if you follow some simple rules, the process can be stress-free.

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Breaking it Gently: Tips for Early Termination of a Rental Agreement

Despite your best intentions when signing a rental property agreement, circumstances change, and there’s sometimes a need to break the agreement early. Your right to do this is part of the Residential Tenancies Act. The experts at Focus Property Management believe you can make this a simple and relatively painless process by understanding the requirements and communicating clearly with your landlord or agent.

Know Your Rights

As a tenant, you have a right to terminate your rental agreement if your landlord or agent has not met his/her obligations as set out in the agreement. An example of this might be that the property is not habitable (for reasons beyond your control).

There are also provisions for you to request termination of your rental agreement if you are suffering ‘undue hardship’; for example, you might have lost your job and can no longer afford the rent. You are also able to terminate an agreement for ‘extraordinary’ reasons, such as needing to move away due to a domestic violence problem.

Simple Steps to Successful Termination

Whatever the reason for needing to break your rental agreement, you should follow the prescribed process carefully. That way, you will experience a minimum of stress in what might already be a stressful situation, when dealing with the Best Sydney Property Management real estate agency.

The first step is always to notify your landlord or his agent in writing. To do this, you must complete a termination notice in writing. This form may not be emailed, so you should either send via fax, post or hand-deliver it to the landlord or agent. You should give as much notice as possible, and there are minimum notice periods specified, depending on the reasons for your termination.

If the landlord or agent agrees, they will do this in writing, and you should agree a date to move out, and return your keys. If they do not agree, you still have the right to end your tenancy by moving out and returning your keys. You should stop paying rent on the day you leave.

Know Your Responsibilities

Unless the property has been damaged by fire, flood or similar event, you should leave it in the best possible condition, and invite the landlord or agent to inspect it. There should be a signed final condition report and you should obtain a copy of this. This is important evidence that you have left the property in good condition.

There may be a ‘break fee’, either specified in the original agreement, or imposed when you give notice. You can try to negotiate a lower amount if this will incur undue hardship. As with all these matters, the better your communication with your landlord or agent, the better your chance of settling this amicably. There is a tribunal where disputes are settled, but you should attempt to settle without this final step.

Remember that you may be liable to pay rent on the property until the end of the agreement term. Therefore, it is important that you follow processes carefully and work cooperatively with the landlord or agent as far as possible. Then, if you have to take the next step of enlisting help from the Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service, you will be able to prove that you have worked as far as possible within the rules. For more information on successfully terminating a rental agreement, click here.

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Apartments and Studios Desirable Options for Rental Investments

Property investors are joining the current trend by owning apartments and studios rather than single dwelling house properties. With a capable property management Sydney agency managing the rental properties for them, the owners find that there is little hassle and maintenance with an apartment.

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Apartments and Studios Desirable Options for Rental Investments

Starting a property portfolio with one well-performing rental property is still a very viable method of building wealth, despite the rather uneven and sluggish state of the current property market. Many people with property assets apart from their place of residence started small, and gradually increased their holdings as they built equity in their existing properties. Many of these investors were not particularly well educated or knowledgeable about other forms of investment, such as shares, but they understood property. They also tended to buy in close proximity to where they lived, because they knew the market, the influences and the demographics of the area.

The market is a lot more sophisticated than it was in the boom years. The internet has made information about property around the country readily available, so the time has never been better to think about buying the next rental property. With plenty of properties on offer, the choice is not limited to traditional housing, but now also includes apartments, studios and commercial premises.

Apartments Emerge as Attractive Rental Investments

Apartments and studios are an interesting proposition for investors provided they are located in the right area. They are low maintenance and attractive to the young professional market. Investors interested in adding one or two apartments to their property portfolio should look for a new building or a well-maintained or refurbished older building.

The Right Location is Vital to Attract Good Tenants

The location is very important and should be close to public transport or work opportunities, with a vibrant market and café scene in the vicinity. This should attract quality tenants with incomes able to meet rental payments and still have funds to enjoy the lifestyle this type of area and property can provide.

If the investor looks for a good quality apartment it can be put onto the rental market immediately after settlement. There should be little to do other than a general clean before the investment generates an income. Having a property management Sydney agency organised in advance to manage the rental property gets the ball rolling even faster.

Since most apartments in large complexes are owned by the individual lot owners as strata title arrangements, the Owners Corporation (formerly body corporate) fees are known in advance. This assists the investor with managing costs. Once the Owners Corporation sets the budget for the year, it is highly unlikely there will be any additional charges levied for that year.

Apartment/studio living is rapidly gaining in popularity in Australia, and this trend is showing no signs of slowing down. The changing demographics of work, study, home life and cost of ownership is driving the move away from the traditional single dwelling on a large piece of land. With a capable property manager looking after the apartment, even an absentee owner can feel confident that their investment is being protected. Be sure to contact a specialist property management agency about their rental services.

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Mortgage Stress: the Lurking Demon in your Property Dream

Over-optimism about the ability to pay back a large mortgage can lead to mortgage stress, which can destroy a person’s property dream. Mortgage stress is part of the property cycle that leads to higher rental demand and more forced sales of property.

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Mortgage Stress: the Lurking Demon in your Property Dream

Most people talk glibly about the property boom and bust cycle without considering the implications for their own lives and businesses. Australia’s property boom has driven property values to levels amongst the highest in the world. On the back of a strong economy, low unemployment, a resources boom, generous first home owners’ grants and low mortgage rates, Martin North of Digital Finance Analytics says people have been tempted to “mortgage to the hilt”.

It’s very tempting to extending oneself during a property boom to take out the largest mortgage possible, on the understanding that the value of the property will continue to rise, increasing equity in the property and thus overall wealth. But small changes in circumstances can lead to devastating consequences for over-extended mortgagees. The term for this is ‘severe mortgage stress’: it means the borrower cannot meet the required monthly payments, is obliged to search for refinancing and may even be under pressure to sell. Finding refinancing under these circumstances is often very difficult, and an urgent or forced sale rarely achieves the best return on a property investment.

Mortgage stress can be further increased by the offer of generous mortgages, which require smaller deposits (called higher LVR loans in the industry – higher Loan-to-Value Ratio). While the obvious result is that a mortgagee’s repayments increase, the other danger is that a relatively small decline in property prices may mean the mortgagee now has negative equity in the property; that is, the property is now worth less than the value of the mortgage.

Mortgage lenders, under pressure to increase their number of home loan customers, are finding more ways to appeal to borrowers, whether first-time or refinancing customers. Customers should be warned that attractive terms for setting up or transferring a loan do not necessarily translate to ongoing attractive terms for the duration of the mortgage.

The size of a mortgagee’s loan should not be determined by the amount the financial institution is prepared to lend. Prospective mortgagees Property Management Surry Hills should be realistic about their income and ongoing cost of living, as well as having a strong plan for how a change in circumstances (loss of job, sickness, reduction in earning capacity or family crisis) might affect their ability to maintain mortgage repayments. As general living costs increase, experts predict that more people will experience mortgage stress.

For some mortgagees, the stress of too high a mortgage will result in the sale of their home and a return to the rental market. This is a natural cycle in the property market and represents an opportunity for owners of rental properties as demand for rental properties increases. It also represents an opportunity for astute investors, for whom property ‘bargains’ may become available as mortgagees and lenders move to sell quickly.

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Place Your Investment Property in the Best of Hands

Focus Property Management was established in 2005 to focus exclusively on Sydney property management, and offers premium services to their owners and tenants. Visit their website for contact information and services.

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Place Your Investment Property in the Best of Hands

Do you have an investment property or two that have been underperforming and are costing you money? Perhaps you are new to the property market and looking for the best way to manage rentals, tenants, inspections, maintenance and everything else that goes with owning a residential investment property. Do you want to change property managers but don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings? If you don’t want to manage all this hassle yourself, you need Focus Property Management.

For the uninitiated, property management is all about handing the day-to-day operational responsibilities to people trained, not only in how to market your property and select the best tenants but to ensure that all legislative documentation has been completed correctly, and bonds lodged with the appropriate agencies. It is often at the outset that an investor with their first rental property deciding to self-manage makes basic errors. When it comes to legal documents like tenancy agreements, inspection reports etc. a lack of knowledge at the start of the tenancy can cost thousands of dollars in litigation at the end.

As a specialist property management agency, Focus is staffed by experts with a proven track record in doing their best for the property owner to maximize return on investment. Their superior accounting and management systems enable prompt notice of a property vacancy, and their database of pre-qualified tenants can quickly yield suitable prospects. This is an area where Focus Property Management lives up to their motto – “We Do What We Say”. They make a commitment to their owners to keep the properties rented, and these sophisticated systems are the foundation of that commitment.

Another area where Focus Property Management excels is in their level of service to both the property owner and the tenant. Property owners receive regular updates on their properties, and prompt payment of the rental income. An excellent tenant is the best insurance a property owner can have that their investment will be looked after, and providing that tenant with top service is the best way to keep them. Focus understands this completely, treats their tenants with respect and responds to their requests as quickly as possible.

To check for yourself if Focus Property Management has the goods to look after your valuable investment property, you need go no further than their own website. Drawing on their years of experience, they have put together a “Checklist for Choosing a Property Manager” that spells out in detail the questions you need to ask yourself about your current management arrangements. They have thought about the fine details of Sydney property management such as checking that contractors engaged to work on a rental property are properly licensed and insured. They also ask if there is a process for reviewing and negotiating the rent, something that many agencies do in an ad hoc manner, hoping for the best. How does your property manager stack up so far?

Only an agency that has total confidence in their ability to match every item on that checklist would even contemplate putting it in such a public place as a website. Focus Property Management has thrown down the gauntlet by setting out their quality standards for everyone to see, knowing that they would be used by others to assess their performance. This is the action of a business that knows just how good they are. To date, Focus Property Management has not been found wanting.

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