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CT Real Estate
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Calculating The Costs Of Renting Out Your Property


Like most investments, owning a rental unit comes with some ongoing costs. And before you start making money on your property, you will need to spend some. A prudent home owner will have to carefully consider what to spend on and how much.

This is important because the higher your expenses, the more money you will need to make to get the return you are aiming for. So for a good estimate of how long it will take you to start seeing your desired returns, you need a clear handle on your total expenses. 

Things like insurance, maintenance and council rates can come as a surprise to new landlords so be prepared. Some of these costs are fixed with no way around it, but for others you may choose to opt out. Let’s go through a few of them together. 

Landlord insurance

While it isn’t mandatory by law that you purchase landlord insurance, it is highly recommended and for good reason. Landlord insurance covers you for things like damage to your property, theft or burglary and loss of rent among others. 

As much as you may trust your tenant, there are events beyond your control- ie. loss of employment could lead to an inability to pay rent. Having insurance is a safeguard against the things you cannot predict will happen and provides peace of mind if they do. 

Insurance can cost from as little as $1 a day. But cheap doesn’t always mean best. Look for a plan which gives you the most value and coverage for a reasonable price. Bear in mind that because it is an investment related expense, it is tax deductible so do keep your receipts. 

Property management

While a minority manage their own property, about 75% of landlords opt to go with a professional property manager. They cost anywhere from 6%-10% of your rental income and charge about a week’s rent whenever you get a new tenant.

The reason most landlords hire a property manager is because they have the expertise to set you up for success, protect your assets and help you make more in the long run. Their responsibilities include everything from advertising, to screening tenants, to collecting rent and maintenance. 

While it may be tempting to do this on your own, it is very time consuming and stressful when you don’t have the same knowledge and connections. Once again, in most cases, agent’s fees are tax deductible. 

Strata fees, council rates, water

There are a few fees that landlords have to absorb. The first is council rates. This is a mandatory sum paid to your local council for their services that’s usually paid quarterly. These rates do vary so it’s best to check what they are for your area. 

If your property is a townhouse or a unit in an apartment block, you will have to factor in strata fees, also known as body corporate fees. This is used to help maintain the shared spaces including pools, gyms, parking and gardens. 

When it comes to water, there isn’t a hard and fast rule. Prior to this, landlords used to cover water rates but that is changing. It depends on your agreement with the tenant and how this affects their rent. 

Maintenance

Maintenance will vary depending on the age and make of your property. It’s understood that as the landlord you will have to ensure that your place is in livable condition. This includes fixing broken heaters, leaking roofs or even just giving the place a new coat of paint. 

Some people set aside a percentage of their rent for maintenance (about 5%-10%). But honestly, you can’t always predict what will need repairing and maintenance costs are often determined by what needs attention that year. 

Tax

Like other streams of incomes, rental is taxable. If you have positive cash flow- your income is higher than your expenses, it’s likely you will be taxed. However in the case where you are negatively geared- expenses are higher than your income, you will likely be entitled to a tax refund.

This depends on the condition of your house and the duration of ownership. Often, initially your total depreciation will be high, but as time goes by, your rental will increase more than the rate of depreciation. You will be making a profit and will be paying tax on it. 

Nevertheless, do be aware to keep records of all tax-deductible expenses. This includes maintenance, management, borrowing and depreciation- all to work in your favour during tax time. 

Now that you have a better idea of your expenses you can make more confident decisions about your property. 

If you do have questions regarding your property, do speak to one of our specialists today. We’re here to help. 

Multiple Tenants and Sub-letting

While many landlords prefer to deal with just one tenant, in some cases having multiple tenants or co-tenants can be financially advantageous. There’s also the case of tenants requesting to sublet and the rules around that.

As a landlord, it’s important that you understand how these arrangements work and what to consider so that you make informed decisions about your property. 

Let’s explore the idea of co-tenancy first. 

Co-tenancy

A co-tenancy is when there are two or more tenants listed on the original tenancy agreement with the landlord. In effect, all parties are equally liable in that agreement. Often this arrangement means the property is divided up between the tenants and you can expect the total rent to be higher. 

So how many co-tenants can you have? While there aren’t clear cut rules around the number of people you can have in a property, here are some guidelines. 

1. One couple per room

The general idea is that there should be no more than one couple per room. That is to say that in a house of 3 rooms, there shouldn’t be more than 6 people on the tenancy agreement. The rationale for this is to avoid overcrowding and to ensure that everyone has a safe and comfortable amount of living space.There is an exception when it comes to children as often, more of them can fit into the one room. 

Also, take into consideration the type of property it is ie. apartments have a restriction on the number of people due to it being a hazard in a fire or emergency. 

2. More people, more work

The more people you have using your property, the higher the risk of wear and tear. Fixed items like your carpets, flooring, stoves will be getting more use for sure. So while it may be tempting to accommodate a higher number of tenants to fetch better rent, you will need to factor in the maintenance issues that will be incurred as a result.

It’s also true that the more people on the agreement, the more work you will have to do. There will be more people to manage when it comes to rental, bills and general upkeep of the home. 

3. Chances of disputes

In a co-tenancy agreement, each tenant is equally responsible for the property. This includes ensuring that rent is paid up on time and that the unit is well looked after. While it all looks fine on paper, there is a chance of disputes between the tenants. In some cases, this could result in late rent, unruly behaviour and neglect of the property. 


Sub-letting

There’s also the case of sub-letting. What is the difference and what are the rules around this arrangement?

Sub-letting happens when the main tenant on the tenancy agreement rents out part of the property to one or more persons. This is different from a co-tenancy or a multiple tenancy agreement as the newer occupant will not have their name on the original agreement. This means that the main tenant continues to take full legal responsibility. 

Here are some terms around sub-letting in Victoria. 

1. Requires landlord’s permission

While the head tenant may have found someone to take over part or all of their lease, they are still required to get permission from the landlord. Landlords should not withhold consent if the request is reasonable. However, there may be some cases in which it may be wise to refuse consent. This includes for reasons such as overcrowding, or if the new tenant has a bad rental history.

Be advised that your tenant may still be able to apply to your state civil and administrative tribunal for an order to approve the sub-letting arrangement. Also, should tenants sublet without permission, landlords may give a 14 day Notice to Vacate and apply to have the tenants evicted. 

2. Record of agreement

It’s also worthwhile requiring that the head and sub-tenants draft out an agreement in black and white. Do include their share of the rent, duties and responsibilities. Having some rules in place will ensure clarity and help prevent disputes. 

3. Lodge Bond

Once the landlord has approved, the bond needs to be lodged reflecting the new arrangement. In Victoria, the head tenant is responsible and will need to notify Residential Tenancy Bond Authority (RTBA) of the changes. 

These are some general guidelines when it comes to understanding how co-tenancy and subletting works. As mentioned, it’s essential for landlords to know the benefits, risks, rights and responsibilities involved so that they can make the right decision for their property. 

However, if you’d like to know more, especially with regards to your specific situation, do speak to one of our agents today. 

What Property Managers Do

 

A landlord’s goal is to get the highest return on their investment. For some- about 25%, this includes cutting back on agent fees and braving the process independently.

But for the majority, having an agent is absolutely essential. Why is this and how do you decide?

It starts by looking at all the things agents do and asking yourself if you have the expertise and time to manage them.This includes preparing your place for rent, sorting out legalities and finally, managing your property. 

Keep in mind that an experienced agent will have the professional experience and insight that the average person will not have. 

That said, let’s run through some of these specific responsibilities in detail. 

1. Advertising 

Agents help with marketing the property for you. While you can do this yourself, an experienced agent will be able to assess the best way to advertise a particular property for your target audience saving you both time and effort. This includes employing the latest methods like 3D tours, professional photography, using social media and producing quality copy. 

2. Inspections and screening tenants

Another thing they do is run inspections for potential tenants. This includes assisting you in the process of setting up the rental to be its best before conducting the actual viewings. For one, you won’t have to give up your weekends to do this and it is helpful to have them weigh in on the different applicants in the screening process. 

Screening is an important part of the rental process and an insightful property manager will point out things you may have missed. They will also run reference checks and have access to the National Tenancy Database to screen for red flags. All this to ensure you have all the information you need as you decide on your ideal tenant. 

3. Property inspections and maintenance

We often think that once a property is rented out, the hard work is done. That’s not completely true. To ensure that your asset is protected and preserved in good condition, your property manager will run timely inspections. At CT Real Estate, our agents are trained to go through the rental with a keen eye to assess if anything needs attention. Your asset is our priority and we believe in taking preventative measures before things get bad. 

4. Maintenance

We have heard of scenarios where landlords get calls day and night regarding a plumbing issue that needs fixing. It can be very stressful having to organize maintenance and repair for your unit when you have a busy job and no time to spare. 

With an agent, you won’t have to deal with any of this. Tenants will go straight to your agent who has the best contacts for the job anyway and who will then ensure that the job is completed well. 

5. Rent collection and tax

Timely rent collection is every landlord’s hope. A conscientious agent will see to it that tenants are paying their rent on time. In the case where rent isn’t forthcoming, your agent will have the strategies to handle the situation including enforcing lease policies if necessary. 

But that’s not all. CT Real Estate agents go the extra mile by providing the documents you will need to help when tax time comes. This includes consolidating bills, rental statements, yearly invoices- all for your convenience. 

6. Legal matters

When it comes to renting out your property, you want to be clear of the legal terms. A dedicated property manager will carefully explain policies specific to your situation including aspects like subletting and rental rates to empower you to make strong choices regarding your investment.They will also pay careful attention to details like ensuring that the tenancy agreement is completed accurately. 

7. Advice

Experienced agents who know their work well will be able to advise you throughout the process. Honestly, some sound advice at critical periods can really affect the outcomes of your investment and your overall rental experience. 

From how to price your rental, to choosing your tenants and what kind of repairs to make, an exceptional property manager will have the expertise to help you make better decisions. In the long run, this is reflected in increased financial gain and overall satisfaction.  

It’s evident that for many, the benefits of having an agent far outweigh the costs. The gains aren’t just financial- they include having more time for yourself and overall peace of mind. 

If you would like to find out more about the services property managers offer, speak to one of our experienced agents at CT Real Estate today. We’d love to help. 

Renting Your Property: A Guide for Landlords by CT Real Estate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Melbourne has always been known for its great rental returns. But what can you do to ensure that you are getting the best value on your property?
To start, get a good understanding of the leasing process and the different options available. This will prepare you for what is to come. With that in mind, our dedicated team at CT Real Estate has compiled everything you need to know to help you make confident decisions regarding your property. 

In this guide, we cover the topics that are most pertinent to you as a landlord. These include: 

  • The leasing process from start to finish
  • Property management responsibilities
  • Being strategic in post-covid times
  • Tips to ensure the best return on your investment
  • The costs involved
  • Mistakes to avoid

Choosing the right tenants

 

When it comes to choosing tenants, landlords have the final say. It’s an important decision as there’s nothing worse than dealing with difficult tenants.

Daily calls, unpaid rent or damaged furnishings can lead to frustration and kill your dream of being a carefree landlord.

Conversely, choose the right tenants and the process will be smooth; possibly enjoyable. 

So is there a formula to selecting your tenant or it is just a mean gamble? We like to think that while you cannot control how things play out in the future, you can set yourself up for success. Here’s what we suggest. 

Define your rental target audience

Before you do anything else, take some time to envision your ideal tenant and how you would attract them. 

Consider your location and property features and to whom it would most appeal- individuals, families, students etc. Think also about surrounding amenities like universities, hospitals, office building and how that may attract a certain demographic. Then consider who from that pool would make a great tenant. The answer you come up with is your rental target audience. 

Now that you have your target audience in mind, market your home accordingly. Put yourself in their shoes and think of ways to make your unit attractive to them. This includes furnishing the home with the right appliances and presenting it in its best light through pictures and good copy on your advertisement. 

Finally, first impressions are crucial so ensure that your place is spotless, well-maintained and inviting. It’s true that like-attracts-like and a home that is cared for and respected will attract someone who will expect to do the same. 

Number of residents and pets

Another factor to consider is the number of people who will reside in your property. Generally speaking, more residents would mean higher risk of wear and tear to furnishings and the house. As a rule, there should be a maximum of 2 people per room to avoid overcrowding.

When it comes to dogs and cats, pets shouldn’t be an immediate deal breaker but having them could also mean more damage. Nevertheless, allowing pets may enable you to charge higher rent and a longer tenancy term. It can also be said that responsible pet owners often make responsible tenants.

In the end, weigh up the risks and benefits and go with what makes sense to you. 

Pay attention at inspections

During inspections, pay attention to potential tenants and make mental or physical notes of your observations. Remember the well-prepared couple or the organized university students and be aware when someone reeks of cigarette smoke when they’ve marked themselves as non-smokers on their application. 

If you do strike up conversations, casually ask them about what they do or what their plans are. This will give you some insight into their lives and the type of renters they will be. 

After the inspections, consult your agent and discuss some of your observations. A good agent will be experienced enough to point out things you may have missed or confirm some of your thoughts. 

Screening and research

Screening cannot be emphasized enough. When looking through applications, go through them carefully and read between the lines. This includes scrutinizing employment records and rental history.

Even when the application looks flawless, remember that it’s better to be prudent and carry out due diligence. This includes conducting reference checks and speaking to past landlords or employers to see if things add up. 

Your property agent will have access to the National Tenancy Database. Ensure that they run the necessary checks and screen for red flags like past disputes with landlords, court orders and even bankruptcy. 

Of course, don’t forget to verify identity documents. 

Go with your gut and be prepared

Now that you have done all you can to ensure the best match, make your decision. Sometimes it may not be as obvious and if deciding between strong candidates, go with your gut. 

You have done your best and it will likely be a stress-free experience. Yet, sometimes things don’t go according to plan- no matter how hard you try. 

Accidents happen, carpets get stained, employment circumstances may change. 

For times like these, it’s comforting to know that you have the best help from a property manager you can trust- someone who will run timely inspections with a keen eye, deal with maintenance issues, follow up on unpaid rent and provide invaluable advice every step of the way. 

You cannot guarantee that things will go smoothly, but you have the help you need if they don’t. To find out more, speak to one of our friendly staff at CT Real Estate today. 

Getting the most out of your property

 


Property is a popular investment option as rental provides steady and passive income for the owner. But are you doing all you can to maximise returns on your investment? 

A few tweaks here and there can help you add value to your property and boost profits. Here’s what we suggest. 

Price your property right

Always begin the process by researching the area. Get a ballpark estimate by comparing listed properties with similar features- rooms, furnishings, area online. 

To get a more accurate figure, get a property assessment from a real estate company. CT Real Estate is offering no obligation assessments to interested homeowners.
Click here to connect with them. 

Another tip is to start pricing on the higher end of the range to test the market. For example, for a range like $350-$400pw, aim for above the median but slightly below the top at $395. The general rule is that you can always lower the price later on if there are no biters. But don’t price it unreasonably high, as this may cause it to remain on the market for longer and hence, less rent over time. Which leads us to the next point. 

Shortened length of vacancy period

Investors want their properties rented out as soon as possible. This is because time is money and the more time a property spends on the market, the less time it spends collecting rent for you. So the goal is to have a relatively short vacancy period. 

To achieve this, your unit needs to be properly advertised to the right tenants. It’s hard when you don’t have enough local knowledge or connections to your target market.

This is where an experienced property manager can help. CT Real Estate agents have specific knowledge of local suburbs and also connections to databases of potential tenants. They are professionals at setting up the best match, enabling you to start seeing returns on your investment sooner rather than later. 

Hire an experienced property manager

Trying to navigate the rental market on your own can be both scary and risky. Instead, a majority of landlords- around 75%, choose to hire a property manager. While there is a fee involved, the benefits far outweigh the cost.

An experienced agent will have expert knowledge to guide you through the leasing process. They will be more in touch with the market (including rates and prices), have special access to rental databases and be able to factor in your personal situation as you strategically put your place up for rent. 

But they do so much more that just list your property. 

In fact once your property is listed, they cover areas like property maintenance, collecting rent and conducting regular inspections. All of this serves to make the process a smoother and hassle free one for you- the landlord. 

It would be a nightmare for most landlords to deal with middle of the night repairs, tenant disputes and unpaid rent without the guidance and expertise of a trusted property manager. A good agent will take it all in their stride and ensure that your interests are protected. 

So while there is a fee involved, hiring an experienced property manager leads to less stress, higher savings and better returns. It’s the safest way to go for most investors.  

Tax deductions 

Maximise returns by being on top of tax matters when it comes to your rental. First, learn about the deductions you can claim and keep records of property related expenses. 

Many investors don’t claim all the deductions they are entitled to- depreciation of home furnishings, real estate agent commissions and advertising cost amongst others. 

Tax time can be stressful but agencies like CT Real Estate do everything they can to help by providing rental statements, invoices, consolidating bills and preparing yearly statements thus simplifying the process for you. Contact them to find out more about their services. 

Furnish the unit

Furnished units get higher rent. Tenants looking for convenience- ie new families from overseas, students who have left home and other individuals who may not have much furniture will be willing to pay more for a place that they can move into immediately. 

But that’s not all. Furnishing a place means that you can depreciate it as well. There’s an advantage for a tax concession come tax time. Remember to note down the values of your furnishings and get your accountant to factor those in. 

So think about the essentials your tenants will require. Things like beds, fridge, dishwasher, washing machine, television, sofa and dining table make the home livable and may increase your rent by up to 10%- 20% depending on your area and demand. 

Add another room or rent out room by room 

These next strategies have to do with rooms. The first is to consider adding a room to your property if you have the space, time and money for it. Properties with more rooms fetch higher rent than the exact same property with less. 

Think about that extra lounge that you can repurpose into another room or if there’s space for an extension. It takes some time and effort, but will definitely increase your rental potential. 

Another thing you could do is to rent out room by room. Depending on your locality and the facilities around you, this could work in your favour. 

This arrangement is especially popular among students and young working adults in or close to the city. It does require more work coordinating- as always, an experienced agent will take care of most of it for you, but it will allow you to charge more on the lease.