Archive for Property management tips

Archive for Property management tips

How to Choose a Rental Agent for Your Sydney Property?

Choosing a rental agent for your investment property is a bit like getting married: you need to do your research and get it right, because otherwise it will cost you dearly in the long run!

But how do you know if a property agent is a ‘keeper’ or a potential nightmare?

Like most industries, it takes some ‘inside knowledge’ to properly assess the claims and performance of rental agents.  If you don’t know where to start, you might find this post useful – we’ve created an ‘Insider’s Guide’ on how to choose a rental agent for your Sydney property.


Verify that the rental agent has professional qualifications and membership.

If you want a rental agent to manage your property, you have to make sure that the rental agent you are hiring is properly licensed with NSW Department of Fair Trading. Property managers should have a license or certificate of registration and work under the supervision of a licensed agent. If any case you are having doubts whether your rental agent is licensed or not, you can have a license check here. They should also be a member of the Real Estate Institute of NSW

Make sure that the rental agent has a good reputation and reliable network of contacts.

Having peace of mind is hugely important for you as a property investor. Your rental agent should be able to eliminate stress, and should certainly not become an addition to any issues or worries associated with the property. Your agent should be capable, and armed with a good reputation and a reliable network of contacts. This is important especially if something goes wrong or if the property needs maintenance or repairs. He or she must have quick access to the right people for help, and be responsive to tenant’s requests.

Confirm that the rental agent is knowledgeable of the area of your property.

When it comes to managing your property, one must be knowledgeable of the existing laws in the area to fully carry out your tasks and responsibilities as a property investor. An excellent knowledge of your rental’s local market will also play an important role in negotiating with tenants or buyers who are interested in your property.

Check the company’s current listing on the website.

One of the easiest ways to determine whether a company is really focused on property management or not is to check their website listing and see how many rental homes they presently have for lease. If there are only a few under their management, it might be just a ‘part time’ service for them. You should seek a specialist where ever possible. A property management company that is actively pursuing new clients and maintaining significant lease inventories is a sign of good and dedicated property management skills.

Compare and check if the rental agent charges acceptable fees.

Although fees can vary from area to area, rental agents usually charge a small percentage of your monthly rent, which ranges from eight to fifteen per cent. You will be able to tell if something is not right if the agent charges too low or too high from what is standard.

Check and review the agreement.

The agreement between you and your rental agent is what will bind you legally during the term of the agreement. This will serve as a protection for you as a landlord and you must review carefully the important points of the agreement such as the fees. Watch out for any hidden fees or cancellation fees. A reputable company will have a clear and easy to understand agreement that won’t confuse or deceive clients.



Do not choose solely because of the fees.

While fees play an important role in your every transaction as a property investor, it is unwise to decide based on fees alone. It is ironic that people always want the highest rent yield from their rental property, but also want the cheapest management fees. Do not fall for discounted or cheap management fees. Either they are not worth your money or they may charge you more through additional and hidden services. It pays to remember the old saying “you get what you pay for”.

Do not choose based on the rental agent’s location.

A rental agent does not need to be just minutes away from your investment property in order to manage your rental well. As long as they have staff ‘on the ground’ in the same city, you should be OK. If you choose your rental agent based on location alone, chances are you will miss out on other specialist rental agents who may offer a better service than ‘the local real estate agent’. We are living in a world now where technology is creating exciting possibilities for agents and landlords.

Do not rely on years of experience alone.

Do not be deceived by the number years of experience a rental agent presents to you. There are more and more real estate agents today who are jumping into the property management business, but who don’t have any actual experience in managing a rental property. Or worse, they get into it as just a supplemental source of income to their ‘sales’ real estate business.

Do not choose a one man band management company.

While it is nice to have someone do everything for you, managing an investment property usually involves a lot of functions. It is impossible for your rental agent to do everything in an efficient and timely manner. If one person does the accounting, collection, and customer service division of the company, beware! There’s a greater chance that he or she will fail you when you need him or her to handle an issue at a specific time.

Do not bother to hire if you intend to manage the property yourself.

Lastly, what’s the point of hiring a rental agent if you intend to manage the property yourself? You should allow any rental agent you hire to do his job. Getting involved in negotiations with tenants will likely end in conflict and miscommunications between parties. Allow your rental agent to do her job efficiently and resist the temptation to meddle with the management of the property.

Regards, George

Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions for Property Investors

Property investing in Sydney has its own ups and downs, but if you’ve started investing a few years ago, you may be feeling great now about your decision. The Australian property market has been increasing, but as property investors, you must be vigilant and watch out for potential drawbacks that may come along the way.

Even if you have a property manager, there are some things a property manager can’t do for you and if you start early, you will reap rewards in the future. Here are the top 10 New Year’s resolutions for property investors:

1. I will get real about my budget.

With an extended period of low interest rates, people tend to be comfortable and think that they will always have extra money on hand. The truth is, no one can be certain about the future so it’s always better to have savings. Track your spending and make a reasonable monthly budget. By recording your expenses, you will see your spending habits and spot any wasteful purchases. Sticking to a budget will help you build up savings for the future.

2. I will watch my portfolio.

If you are a long-term investor, you might be surprised how far your investment has come along and how much is it is now worth. A clear understanding and analysis of your portfolio can help you decide whether you are ready to make another investment or not.

3. I will take my insurance policies seriously.

Many investors fail to read and understand their insurance policies until they need to make a claim. Insurance policies are not all the same. Some policies don’t cover accidental damage, properties leased month-to-month or arson by the tenant. Make sure that your property is properly covered and not under-insured.

4. I will make sure that my interest rate is competitive.

Currently, interest rates are low. A negotiation with your bank will give you some interest discounts, especially if you compare it with a competitor’s offerings.

5. I will regularly check my rent rate against comparable markets.

By doing this, you can find out whether you are charging too little and need to raise your rent. Researching comparable homes in your area will also give you an idea on what needs to be improved in your property. Maybe you need a new air conditioning unit or bathroom renovation.

6. I will ask for a depreciation report.

There are many property investors who are not aware of the advantages of having a depreciation report and keeping it up to date. Depreciation of your property can be claimed against your taxable income every year. This can also relatively improve your cash flow.

7. I will keep track of the performance of my assets and cut losses if needed.

Sometimes, it’s hard to admit that we made the wrong decision. We get attached to our property and find it difficult to let go and sell. We hope that market conditions will fall in our favour in the short term and things will change. Hanging on to a poor investment will rob you of the chance to invest more favourably elsewhere. It is always wise to examine the performance of your investment and cut your losses immediately if needed.

8. I will never stop learning.

There are many great resources out there for property investors and most of them are free! Take advantage of the different property sites on the internet along with their free newsletters, forums and blogs.

9. I will take advantage of low interest rates.

Historically speaking, low interest rates won’t be there for long. Although the Reserve Bank of Australia hasn’t given any clues yet on an upcoming rise on rates, it is better to take advantage of the current situation now than be sorry later.

10. I will be ready and enjoy what 2016 has on offer.

Your mental preparedness and ability to strive even under pressure will keep you going no matter what the market holds in store. Focus on your goals, stay positive, and have a wonderful year ahead!


7 Signs Your Sydney Rental Needs A Property Manager

One of the biggest decisions you will make as landlord over the summer is to hire a property manager or not. While some landlords prefer to ‘self-manage’ their properties, researching what different property management companies have to offer can be an eye-opening exercise for these investors. A competent property manager can add a lot of ‘untapped value’ to investments and can remove virtually all the hassle and stress involved.

If you are still unconvinced you need a property manager, we hope that this post will help you. Below are 7 signs your Sydney rental needs a  property manager:

  1. Poor tenant selection

While it is absolutely possible to kick a bad tenant out of your property, it’s a real hassle. Life is much easier if you can avoid accepting bad tenants in the first place. Poor tenant selection will give you many headaches, and worse – especially if they damage your property. A property manager can help you avoid these problems by giving you access to higher quality tenants. Property managers usually employ a screening process that leads to more reliable tenants who pay on time, take care of your property, and may rent longer.

An experienced property manager is able to spot a good tenant and knows how to uncover information and facts about your candidates. If your property manager has seen thousands of applications already during his career, he or she is more likely to be an expert in spotting warning signs among possible problematic tenants. As a Sydney landlord, having good tenants is an important factor in the success of your local property investment.

  1. High maintenance cost

If high maintenance and repair bills are hurting your cash flow, a good property manager may be able to lower maintenance costs. Good quality maintenance will keep tenants happy and thus lead to longer tenant retention. A property manager will give you access to contractors who have been proven to give good pricing and quality work. This could give you substantial savings when you compare it to hiring a handyman yourself. A property manager is also familiar with different maintenance issues and can intelligently supervise the work for more efficient results.

  1. Late payment

If you are experiencing problems with rent collection, a property manager may save the day for you. A property manager is experienced in implementing tighter rent collection process and chasing down tenants who don’t pay on time. Rent should be paid consistently and on time if you want steady cash flow. Your success or failure as a landlord highly depends on this. If you are not that good with following up or don’t have time to remind your tenants to strictly follow the conditions of the lease, they will walk all over you  – possibly every month.

You can hire a property manager to be the ‘bad guy’ who will implement stricter rules and take care of chasing tenants and eviction if needed. Tenants are often more likely to respond to property manager’s prodding, particularly if they have become too ‘friendly’ or familiar with the landlord.

  1. Frequent vacancies

As a landlord, your primary goals are to get tenants and increase the rental income from your property. If it usually takes longer to fill your vacancies, maybe you need professional to help you market your property. A property manager can perform critical tasks which can help you minimise your vacancy periods and maximise your revenue. He or she can do the following to help you shorten your vacancy cycles:

  • Prepare the property for rent – In order to attract future tenants, your property should be in pristine condition for visits and viewing. A property manager can suggest improvements or renovation if needed.
  • Set the best rent rate – Setting the rent too high will leave you waiting for tenants for a longer period, while setting it too low will make you lose money for the duration of the lease. A property manager can help you determine the optimal rent rate based on market conditions.
  • Market your property – To get the best exposure for your property, a property manager market it through different media channels and negotiate for cheaper advertising rates available online and offline.
  1. Irregular inspections

Irregular inspections can cost you – big time. Repairs and maintenance issues can grow into more costly problems if not spotted early on. The value of your property largely depends on the way your property is being taken care of and regular inspection is the key to a well-maintained property. If you or your staff don’t have time to do all the necessary periodic inspections, you might miss out on things that need attention, upgrades, or modification. These things can affect your rental return, and even your re-ale value.

A property manager can implement scheduled visits and inspections. He or she can also suggest and give feedback on your property’s current condition. 

  1. Stress and lack of time

 Self-managing a rental property yourself as the landlord can often be overwhelming and demand much of your time. If you find yourself struggling to perform your landlord responsibilities, and it’s affecting your relationship with tenants, maybe it’s time to consider hiring a property manager. If the stress related in dealing with problematic tenants, complaints, and maintenance issues is already taking the life out of you, it is better to hand over the matters to a professional so you can relax and take care of other things you need to accomplish. Life’s too short!

Property managers are skilled in dealing with conflict and are knowledgeable of existing laws that protect you as a landlord. Tenants may also react more professionally if they know that they are dealing with a professional as well.

  1. Not enough rent increases

Insufficient or irregular rent increases will not only hurt your cash flow, but may also affect the overall value of your property. As a landlord, you can increase rent if your tenancy agreement allows this and in accordance with certain market conditions. You can also increase rent if you have made improvements in the property and these increase the value and benefits to the tenants. Failure to increase the rent when it’s deemed necessary may result to substantial losses on your part. If part of your problem is talking it through with your tenant, you can hire a property manager to make a schedule of rent increases, along with proper notice to the tenant. Tenants are more likely to react well to increases if they are informed properly and they can see the added value in the property.

If you are currently experiencing some of the above signs, a specialist property management company based in Sydney could be the answer. Request a FREE property appraisal to day and see what Property Navigators could do for you.

Regards, George


NSW Residential Tenancy Agreement: 10 Essential Landlord Tips

As a Sydney landlord under the NSW Residential Tenancy Agreement, one of your main obligations is to meet the needs of your tenants and abide by the legislation (as enforced by the Department of Fair Trading). But oftentimes, the relationship between landlord and tenant can be difficult.

Tenants are essential for your real-estate investments. Without tenants there’s no one to pay the rent, and without rent, your investment will make a loss. Smart property investors know this & always treat tenants with respect & dignity.

But there are times when tenants can really drive you crazy: they can delay paying rent, trash your property, and they may even make unreasonable demands of items or services not included in the residential tenancy agreement NSW.

These issues are not uncommon. Just take a look at this poor landlord who had to bear $30K worth of damages when his tenants trashed his home.

Of course not all tenants are reckless. Most are decent people who take care of the property they are renting. But ideally tenants should be well-oriented to abide by your rules within the scope of their rights. Experienced landlords know how to use a lease agreement to protect their real estate investment and maximise rental return – without compromising the image of their property as a safe and comfortable place to live. Our post, NSW Residential Tenancy Agreement: 10 Essential Landlord Tips will help you achieve this too.

  1. Be Aware of All Relevant Information about Property Management

Your task as a private landlord will be much easier if you are knowledgeable in your field. First, it is highly recommended that you study the following laws about tenancy in NSW:

  • Residential Tenancies Act 2010
  • Residential Tenancies Regulation 2010
  • Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2013 No. 2

You should read and understand this key legislation to ensure that you know your legal obligations as well as your rights as the landlord. These will also help you in drafting a lease with a residential tenancy agreement NSW.

In addition, you should also expand your knowledge by reading property management books, enroll in training courses, and find mentors who can help you improve your abilities. If you don’t have the time for this, engage a specialist property manager who can do it for you.

  1. Set Your Own Policies

You are potentially exposing yourself to future troubles if you operate your property without written policies. Avoid making rules ‘on the hop’ and create a policy document before you rent the property – but be sure you don’t go against the key legislation or basic Tenants Rights. You may include guidelines around pets, parties, and noise which will make your job a lot easier when an issue arises and you want to enforce your rights as a landlord. Tenants will less likely to question policies as they are more credible compared to verbal rules. And once the policy has been created – be sure to stick to it.

  1. Discount for Early Rent Payment

Consider giving discounts to tenants who pay their rent early or in advance. This will encourage your tenants to prioritise paying rent, and can reduce your costs in the collection of rent money. By extending this form of goodwill you can also quickly build a positive relationship with your tenants.

  1. Ensure that your Rental Property is A Comfortable Place to Live

In general, the quality of your tenants will depend on the quality of the accommodation that you are providing. While it’s not necessary to upgrade your kitchen counters with granite finishing, in our experience furnishing a rental home with above average features will attract tenants who are more likely to be responsible. As a property manager, your product is not just the physical accommodation itself. Your tenant service is also part of the product, and the way you operate the property will also affect how your tenant views your property. For example, responding to repair requests as prompt as you can will project care and professionalism.

  1. Don’t Rent to Family and Friends

Accepting family and friends as tenants for your NSW Residential Tenancy Agreement is one of the most common – yet serious – errors that private landlords make! When you rent out to your family and close friends there will inevitably come a time when you will be faced with a dilemma: lose business or lose the relationship. To avoid this no-win situation, include in your policy to not accept family and friends as tenants. You will save yourself numerous headaches by following this simple tip.

  1. Establish Office Hours

Are you okay with your phone ringing while you are enjoying your dinner? How about fixing the toilet at 2 am? Remember, you are the boss, so set your own business hours. Be sure that your tenants know that you are only available at certain hours at certain days (eg; 9 am to 3 pm on weekdays). Sure you have your mobile phone where you can be reached anytime, but tenants don’t have to abuse your availability. If you receive a call outside of your business hours – allow the call to be directed to your voicemail. If it is an emergency, they will leave a message. If not, there’s a high chance that it is not important. An exception to this rule is when you are entertaining a potential tenant. You can choose to be available beyond business hours – but that is completely up to you.

  1. Be Organised

Organisation can make your life as a landlord & investor much easier. Be sure that all rental procedures are written down and available for easy reference (repairs, vacancies, termination, etc.). Keep all rental forms in a filing cabinet so you don’t need to find a clean form and reproduce when you need a copy. Write down the contact numbers of your tenants, maintenance personnel, suppliers, and other key people so you can easily retrieve the info when you need them. Make certain that you are updated with your accounting. Organise your office. These organisation tips may seem easy to do, but they can help you in efficiently managing your property rental business.

  1. Outsource Maintenance Repairs

Some repairs can be easily fixed, but most require professional care. If you are a natural handyperson and you only have one property to maintain and manage, you might implement the needed repairs yourself. But if you are managing several rental properties with numerous tenants this is not recommended. Just because you are capable of doing something doesn’t mean you should do it. Instead of wasting time, outsource the job to professionals. The time you spend fixing a leaky tap could be devoted to more important tasks such as updating your accounting records.

  1. Delegate Yourself as ‘the Property Manager’

Don’t refer to yourself with tenants as ‘the landlord’ or ‘the owner’. Instead, call yourself the ‘property manager’. Landlords face a lot of awkward discussions and hard decisions. If you are always ‘the owner’ – you need to bear the blame, so there’s a chance that you will make decisions based on compromise and not common sense.

Instead of being the owner, positioning yourself as ‘the property manager’ (even though the tenant may know full well you are the owner), provides some professional distance which can be useful in managing expectations.

  1. Ask for Help

Being a landlord who self-manages rental property is a tough job. From running your investment to managing tenants, it can really take a toll on your time and energy. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Reach out to professional Sydney property managers and ask for advice. There are also online forums where you can join and post questions about your problems and concerns in property management.

Meanwhile, Property Navigators can help you in selecting potential tenants, negotiating rental rates in your behalf, marketing your property in Sydney and much more.

These are just few tips that can help you successfully manage your rights and obligations as a landlord under the NSW Residential Tenancy Agreement. Do you have any tips to add? Post your comments below.

Regards, George

PS: the content of this post does not constitute legal advice but is of a general informational nature only.

Ashfield Suburb Profile – Inner West Property

Suburb Overview

As a suburb in the Inner West of Sydney, Ashfield can be found 9 kilometres south-west of the Sydney central business district. Ashfield’s residents are highly multicultural and came from different parts of the world. This is evident in the eclectic mix of shops, cafes, and restaurants in the area.

Did you know that?

Ashfield has a rich cultural heritage. Its traces can be seen in several numbers of Victorian buildings present in the suburb. In 1820s, the Ashfield that we know today was divided into two larges estates, the Ashfield Park (the northern part) and Canterbury Estate (the area near the south of Liverpool Road). Ashfield Park got its name from Robert Campbell, whose family was the laird of Ashfield in Scotland.

Who lives here?

As of 2011, Ashfield has a recorded population of 22,189 residents. Only 41% of the population are Australian born residents. Other residents hale from China (15%) and India (6%).

Types of houses

Around 46% of households in Ashfield are renting, 24% own their houses, and 26% are under mortgage. Out of the 8,215 private dwellings that were counted, 63% were flats, 9% were semi-detached or attached houses, while 27% were detached houses.

How to get to Ashfield?

The most common form of transportation when getting around Ashfield is by car and by train. Around 46% of population use cars and 41% use train. The other 10% of the Ashfield residents use buses, while 6% walk, and only 1% use bike.

Ashfield railway station is located on the Airport, Innerwest and South Line of the Sydney Trains Network. Ashfield is the terminal for three bus services in Sydney, namely 462, 464 and 466. Along with these, there are also nine bus routes that pass through Ashfield: 406, 418, 413, 461, 490, 492, 491, 480, and 483.

What to do here?

Every year, Ashfield celebrates Carnival of Cultures, which is a festival of the suburb’s multiculturalism. This is held at Ashfield Park and there are variety of performances, entertainment, and food stalls. There are also programs dedicated for arts and sports all year round in Ashfield. If you’re a foodie, there are plenty of restaurants and cafes to choose from in Ashfield.

What makes Ashfield special?

Ashfield is perfect for students, professionals, and young families. There are seven schools in Ashfield, namely Ashfield Boys High School, Ashfield Primary School, St. Vincents School, Bethlehem College, Trinity Grammar Senior, De La Salle College, and Junior Campuses. There are parks like Ashfield Park, Pratten Park, Hammond Park, and Yeo Park where families can spend time and enjoy nature together. Ashfield is a safe, clean, and friendly suburb to live in.

Regards, George

Inner West Property Investing: Abbotsford

Suburb Overview

Situated in the Inner West of Sydney, Abbotsford can be found 10 kilometres west of Sydney central business district. It is between Abbotsford Bay and Hen and Chicken Bay, and is a great spot for inner west property investing.

Did you know that?

Abbotsford got its name from the Abbotsford House, which is owned by Arthur Renwick. But this is not the first Abbotsford House. Apparently, Arthur only got this name from the Abbotsford House in UK, which was then residence of Walter Scott, a historical novelist and poet.

Who lives here?

Based on 2013 data from Australian Bureau of Statistics, there were 6,482 residents in Abbotsford. 3,320 of them were male, and 3,162 were female. The place is popular with professionals, retirees, families with kids, and young couples.

Types of houses

Since majority of residents of Abbotsford are young families, 51% of dwellings are apartment type, 31.9% are separate houses, and 16.5% are semi/terrace.

How to get to Abbotsford?

People used to ride electric trams in Abbotsford. It is only in 1954 that trams were replaced by buses. Today, you can get to Abbotsford through Sydney buses en route to Abbotsford and through ferry wharf from the Parramatta River ferry services.

What to do here?

Since Abbotsford sits near Parramatta River, Abbotsford has its own rowing and sailing club, namely Abbotsford Sailing Club and Sydney Rowing Club. The Sydney High School, MLC School, and Newington College also house their rowing sheds in Abbotsford. Abbotsford also has great parks for recreation and fantastic cafes for dining.

What makes Abbotsford special?

Aside from the number of awesome restaurants and cafes like Alvaro’s Tapas, Orchard Thai Cuisine, and Café Pavillon of Sydney Rowing Club, Abbotsford is a quiet, peaceful, and friendly suburb with a great water view. It is accessible through buses and ferry and has a local school, the Abbotsford Primary School.

Suburb Highlights:

Abbotsford Cove is one of Australia’s finest waterfront lifestyle residences.


Abbotsford Presbyterian Church, located at 443 Great N Road, Abbotsford.

Vintage Victorian houses used as day care centre.

Abbotsford Primary School

Watergrill Resturant, Abbotsford


Property Navigators launches agency for real estate investors

It’s with great pleasure that today we finally announce the launch of Property Navigators.

Our aim is to become the property manager of choice for Sydney investors and landlords. I’m super confident we’ll achieve this because we are different to most other rental agents out there in one fundamental way: we offer ‘property management for investors, by investors’. Let me explain what this means…

Over the last decade I’ve personally brought and sold dozens of properties in and around Sydney, and in the process I’ve built a substantial property portfolio. Along the way, I learnt a few things:

  • good property management is actually the difference between success & failure for investors
  • most rental agents don’t get it – they don’t ‘think like an investor’
  • too many landlords are suffering with poor rental management – and missing out on easy financial gains

After a while this bugged me so much I decided to do something about it. So with our Seniors Associate Peter Kitas I’ve launched Property Navigators to shake things up and give Sydney landlords a better deal. We focus on specialist property management in the Inner West, St George and Canterbury areas, but we also offer the following essential property services:

  • buyer’s agent
  • rental renovations
  • home loans & mortgage broking

Whether you’re an existing landlord, or you’re thinking about investing and building a property portfolio – we can help you. I wish you all the best on your journey, and look forward to helping where ever we can.

Regards, George