Thursday, October 27, 2016

Real estate’s night of nights. Thank you SA for all of your support!

This year, the Real Estate Institute of South Australia's Excellence Awards was held on our state's first ever 'I Choose SA' Day. As a local family business of over 31 years, we couldn't think of a better way to celebrate this fantastic initiative than with our team on real estate's night of nights. Last Saturday, we put ourselves forward across every category that we could, because as a business we believe it is important to constantly test yourself and your ideas. It is what makes you grow, not only as people but also as a team, and helps drive you to continually improve for your clients. 

The Real Estate Excellence Awards night was such an amazing night for our family, and we couldn't be more proud of all of our team finalists. It was exciting to see Jared Campbell take out the Gold in Property Management Achievement of the Year, Sally Cameron win Silver in the Residential Sales Person of the Year - Eastern, and Bronte Manuel recognised as the South Australian Auctioneer of the Year!

As a team overall, we were recognised as the winners of the five largest corporate accolades on the night: Marketing & Communications, Innovation, Employer of the Year, Large Property Management Agency of the Year, and overall winner... Large Residential Agency of the Year!

These awards were very special to us, as each of these categories are integral in delivering an exceptional real estate experience, service and results to our clients and the community.

Property marketing and communicating with buyers are fundamental skills for real estate agents and key to achieving a premium sale price for a home. The way an agent represents a property and how they create emotional connections through marketing is so important in creating competition amongst buyers.

Innovative thinking leads to innovative ideas, and ultimately to innovative products. These become the tools an agent can use to differentiate themselves and the properties they represent in the market. Innovation enables us to achieve exceptional results through products and services that are unique to Team Toop. This year we won the Innovation award for our ToopVault - an innovative product that is one-of-a-kind and that is providing exceptional value and results to both buyers and sellers.

Just like in any business, underpinning everything is your team. Your team are the ultimate keys to success. For both Suzannah and I, being recognised within our industry as Employer of the Year was our biggest highlight of the night. In an industry where collaborating and sharing information is extremely rare, we feel so grateful to have a culture and environment that embraces teamwork and who love collaboration. To have a team who travel from all over the state every Tuesday morning to present their 
client's homes to each other and help one another sell all Toop&Toop properties is so unique, and a perfect example of teamwork coming to life in our business.

Last Saturday night truly was humbling on so many different levels. We are so thankful to our clients and the entire South Australian community for all of your support. It has been a huge year of change, innovation, succession, results and achievements for our team and to have our community's support means so much to us as a family business. 

We are excited to now go on to represent South Australia in the Real Estate Institute of Australia's National Excellence Awards in these five categories in Canberra early next year. We hope we can make our state proud!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

With pets or without?… That is the question!

The pet industry is booming! Collectively Australians spend over $8 billion* on their pets or 'fur babies' every year, and with new products and services becoming available almost daily, it's no wonder this is such a growing industry. With organic health foods for dogs, doggy day care and pet retreats becoming the norm, the days of pets spending the day in the backyard kennel are long gone. There are even seatbelts for when pets travel!

With over 63% of Australian households 
owning pets, this trend has me thinking, what impact will this have on property investors 
and lease agreements?

Traditionally we've seen 'no pets' as a standard term as pet horror stories made their way around the investment circles. Nation-wide this has been a strict approach taken by many investors to ensure their asset is protected.

With 'pet bonds' now not possible under current legislation, it's a tricky situation for many landlords, and they are left asking the question, "Do I advertise with pets, or without?'

In many metropolitan cities, pets are increasingly blending into the way people live their lives, from being in attendance at brunch on the weekends, to dog parks popping up on every corner... perhaps the traditional view of 'no pets' is quickly becoming outdated.

So the question we're asking around our office is how limiting will the 'no pets' condition be in the future? Will the property applicant pool halve if this trend continues? Or even quarter? 

For those investors who may consider broadening their view on pets (after reading an article on wine tours for pets, I'm now one of them) we can be comfortable with the knowledge that there are options available to us. Many landlord insurance providers do cover pet damage, but as always, check the fine print. This offering provides investors with a level of comfort should damage be caused by animals during a tenancy. 

Another common phrase Toop&Toop use when advertising a property is 'pets negotiable'. This ensures that we can appeal to both groups, ensuring our investors are capturing all interested parties before deciding which way to proceed.

Of course, every property is different and some have more limitations than others. Some properties simply might not be appropriately set up for pets now, or in the future, while others might be restricted by their body corporate preventing occupants from having pets. 

However, we do suggest putting this firmly on your radar next time your lease agreement comes up for renewal, and discussing it with your property manager. The pet trend is growing at a rapid rate, and we feel it is important to be aware of this changing consumer behaviour, especially if it means keeping a wide pool of applicants interested in your property.

For more information, or to chat anything investment, give our team a call today!

*January 2016, Australian pet ownership statistics

Suzannah Toop

Thursday, October 13, 2016

We are experiencing a strong seller’s market this spring!

This weekend marks the middle of spring already, and the marketplace couldn't be in a better position for people wanting to sell their home! The overwhelming feedback that we are hearing from buyers this week is that they are frustrated with not only the lack of stock on the market, but also the fact that they keep missing out on the properties they love. Buyers are hoping that with the long weekend and AFL and NRL Grand Finals now behind us, new properties will flood onto 
the market over the next few weeks resulting in 
a later spring rush than usual. 

The effects of lower stock levels over the last few months combined with the attraction of our Adelaide market from the eastern states, and on top of that the lowest interest rates we have ever seen, means we are experiencing a significant build-up of people wanting to purchase Adelaide property... that's even before the mass of spring buyers came into the mix.

For Team Toop, the realities of our market conditions really hit home this week. A member of our team shared a story about their client who came into our office to sign the contracts on their new home. As a new family with a young baby, they were overjoyed about finally purchasing their dream home. They explained that this was an extra special moment and a long time in the making as they originally started the search for their family home when they found out they were expecting. So for our Sales Partner to see their child, now six months old, was quite a surreal experience and really proved how long it is taking buyers to secure a property in the current marketplace. 

With 10 weekends until Christmas, buyers desperately want to secure a home before 
this mental deadline. As an agent, this is such 
a powerful window of opportunity to harness for sellers, and with the right sale strategies 
and marketing tools, incredible results can 
be achieved.

Our Team is experiencing the current strong seller's market first-hand, with every single one
of our auctions scheduled last Saturday selling prior, all with exceptional results! Over the last week alone, we have sold 24 properties including three sales to registered ToopVault members before the properties were even released to the public.

Our team is encouraging anyone who is considering selling their property to make 
the most of this opportunity and Adelaide's 
hot buyers. We have been discussing with clients who were planning to sell in the new year, to perhaps re-visit this thinking in order 
to take advantage of the current conditions 
and make the most of this 10-week window.

If you would like to find out more about how you could leverage this marketplace momentum, or to find out what one of our agents will be able to achieve for your property in this current market, please feel free to give either myself or one of our team a call this weekend. We would love to help you! 

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Health check… What’s the pulse of your investment portfolio?

In the world of medicine, they say prevention is the key. We all know it's important to see a doctor or dentist for regular check-ups, and while sometimes these visits occur less frequently than recommended, it is certainly on our radar to be as proactive as possible. This is particularly necessary to ensure we can ask the important questions of our health care professionals, we are aware of what is going on with our wellbeing, and also to ensure a plan can be put together should further action be required. 

When it comes to property investing, we believe the same principals apply. At Toop&Toop we think every investor should be asking the important questions of their agency to ensure their property portfolio remains healthy.

So what are the important questions we believe you should be asking? The big five areas are:

1. Property Condition.
What steps are being taken to monitor the condition of my property during a tenancy? Am I receiving property reports and photographs after each routine inspection?

2. Maintenance.
What is the plan to reduce my costs? Are there any preventative maintenance packages available to me? How do I ensure maintenance is being reported promptly?

3. Rental Income.
What are rents doing in my suburb? What can I expect from my rental income at lease renewal time?

4. Tenant Selection.
What processes are in place to ensure the right checks and balances are completed in the property application stage?

5. Legislation.
How well versed is my Property Manager with the relevant legislation? Am I being adequately advised of my rights under the Act?

Whilst many landlords adopt an 'out of sight, out of mind' approach to their investment properties and managing agent, this will only work if your health check comes back positive. 

Where this often falls down, is when there is a complacent agent involved. Suddenly the 'out of sight, out of mind' approach can create big issues, from not only a rental return point of view, but also the overall upkeep of your property.

We feel a health check of your portfolio is crucial to ensure optimal returns are being achieved. Being aware of what is going on with all the essential components of your management is imperative.

With winter now behind us, and before the typical busy period hits, we suggest that this is the time to chat with your agent and ask the important questions.

At Toop&Toop our role is to ensure everything is heading in the right direction with your portfolio's health and to help ensure you have peace of mind. If you want to check the pulse of your investment portfolio, give our team a call today!

Suzannah Toop