Maximising the rental return of your investment properties is easy with these 10 industry tips;

1.Refresh the Property

Whether it’s a coat of paint, fresh curtains or updating the light fixtures there are many inexpensive ways to refresh a rental property without blowing your budget. Furthermore if considering bigger renovations such as carpet or flooring opt for an option such as interlocking carpet squares so that you can save money in the future by swapping single damaged or worn tiles out for spares.

Cosmetic touches will lift both rent and equity and are best timed to coincide with your property being advertised so that it looks fresh for prospective tenants, you get a pristine entry condition report and you can adjust the rent accordingly. Don’t forget to keep all of your receipts to claim the depreciation.


2. Include Garden and Pool Maintenance in the Rent

By including garden and pool care in the rent you are ensuring that both are maintained to a high standard and reducing the likelihood that small maintenance issues will become bigger issues. Tenants are busy people too and most find that having these tasks outsourced is not only convenient but also attractive in a rental property. As a bonus you can claim the costs back as a tax-deductible expense.


3. Consider Pets

There are many great tenants out there who struggle to find pet friendly accommodation or are unsure whether to come to your open home because its not specified. Generally these tenants are willing to pay 10-15% more to keep their four legged family member and will stay longer in their leases for fear of not being able to find similar accommodation.

56% of Australians have pets and 25% are considering getting one in the future – do you really want to exclude that many people? Don’t forget to specify on your advertising if you’re willing to consider pets as it will definitely generate more interest in your property.


4. Advertise

Spend the money to get professional photos of your property done when it is vacant and you should be able to get at least a few uses out of the same set. Advertising your property in its best possible light on one of the dominant property portals will attract more prospective tenants to the open home, upgrading to a feature ad is also a proven way to attract more attention and is best done at the beginning when your property first goes online.

It is also important to schedule open home times at different hours of the day so not to exclude workers. Good times to schedule inspections are at 3:30pm to catch the tenants picking up school children, 5:45pm to get the office and retail workers and 10am to get the shift workers.


5. Set The Rent At 95% Market Value

It sounds counter intuitive but it means you will have much better enquiry and therefore a larger range of tenants to choose from. If your property demonstrates value compared to the other listed properties you will be able to choose a tenant that has better references and is likely to stay longer.

If you have only one application did you pick the tenant or did the tenant pick you?


6. Longer leases

Its important to trial all first time tenants on a 6 month lease to ensure that you are happy with how they are maintain the property and there are no problems. However if everything is fine after 6 months you should be offering them a 12-month lease renewal, this will eliminate the costs of multiple letting fees and advertising costs and vacancies throughout the year.


7. Modernise

Things like a dishwasher, air conditioning, built in robes, remote garage access, plenty of storage, security features, outdoor entertaining area like balconies or courtyards, fully fenced properties, two separate living spaces (adults and children’s) and off street parking are all very attractive to prospective tenants and if you can include them they will increase your rental return. It is a good idea to give new tenants a copy of manuals for appliances to reduce them being misused and increase their working life.


8. A Good Tenant

If you have a good tenant in your property then half the battle is already won, simple things like replying promptly to maintenance requests and not increasing the rent too often will keep them happy and in the property for longer. It is important to have incremental rent increases but it is always better for your cash flow to have a steady, respectful long-term tenant than a revolving door of 6-month leases.


9. Be Proactive at Routine Inspections

Be proactive whenever you are at the property, look for signs of dampness or mould that could indicate a water leak, wobbly railings on the deck or loose floorboards must be inspected immediately, cracked tiles and incorrect drainage are all issues that become massive headaches if they are not dealt with promptly. Don’t forget a stitch in time saves nine.

Have a clear procedural path for your tenants to submit maintenance requests and ask that they keep an eye out in the periods between routine inspections.


10. Do’s and Don’ts


·Furnish your property– this is a very niche market which attracts transient tenants more vacancy and more maintenance;

·Short term lease’s – more vacancy, more costs;

·Rental guaranteed properties– the cost is priced in and you pay for it;

·Pricing the rent to what you need to pay your mortgage– the market decides the appropriate rental – not you;

·Don’t let yourleases expire at quiet times of the yearlike around Christmas time.


·Self-manage your properties to save agency fees. A good place to start is using an automated property management tool like realrenta.com which can manage a whole property portfolio online with features such as logging communications, generating rental ledgers and maintenance requests, automating entry notices and rent payment reminders. Your time is money so it makes sense to use a communication platform to make things easier. Also this option will save you a lot of money on traditional property management fees allowing you to maximise your rental return.

Jason Gwerder
Thursday, 21 January 2016

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