Thursday, November 24, 2016

Buyers and renters are searching for that endless summer!

With the weather warming up, cricket season upon us and just days out from the official start of our 2016/17 summer, we have started to see the shift from spring to summer buying behaviours at our recent opens. With the first hot weekend behind us, our team has noticed that the shift in questions and features buyers and tenants have as top of mind, has begun.

In summer, buyers tune into features such as air-conditioning, pools or spas, outdoor entertaining and open plan areas, and really focus on the social features of the home.

Don't get me wrong, having somewhere to entertain friends and family has always been high on the wish lists for homes. However, as the weather warms up these features become even more important to buyers, as they start 
to imagine what summer nights would be like 
if this was their new home. 

During these warmer months, our team notice that buyers will wander through the home, eager to reach the rear of the house to see what the outdoor area is like. Over the last few years, we have seen that a home's outdoor space 
has become almost as crucial as the kitchen 
or master bedroom to buyers.  

With the increase of home renovation shows, new (and very clever!) ways of using this space are continually showcased 
to the public. It is becoming even more popular to transform this space to be a prominent feature of the home.

For townhouses and inner city living, we are seeing outdoor spaces being completely converted into an extension of the main living quarters. With features such as bi-fold doors, decking and bar stools being added, we are seeing outdoor living taken to a whole new level. Some home owners are going all out equipping outdoor living areas with inbuilt kitchens (with range hoods) and surround sound systems... just to name a few.

One thing is certain - Adelaide home-owners are embracing the outdoor living environment like never before, and when the weather heats up, this trend becomes even more popular.

So what about tenants? Do they feel the same? 

Our Leasing Team are finding that properties with an outdoor entertaining or 'funky' outdoor space are attracting 200% more enquiry than the homes that don't offer this feature. We are not talking about anything lavish - just a few small touches that allow tenants to utilise the space when friends visit. Tenants love having the option of creating their own outdoor space - a veggie/herb patch or vertical garden is all the rage! And they will pay for it.

We are finding rental properties attract anecdotally five to ten percent higher rents, lease easily and create a distinct competitive edge for our investors. For example, typically an additional $20 to $40 per week is achieved in the $400 to $600 range if a property has an interesting outdoor living feature! 

Australians love an endless summer. Outdoor entertaining that can be used year round has most definitely become top of the wish list, and this is something buyers and tenants are looking out for, and are willing to pay more for this type of lifestyle.

If you would like to find out more information 
on how we can help you use these summer trends and maximise the sale price of your home, please feel free to give either myself, 
or one of our team a call. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

When the unpredictable hits, we look at what we can control.

This spring we have experienced some extremely wild and unpredictable weather. Most recently a freak hail storm, and of course, the intense storm that hit in late September. Having heard stories of homes flooding, roofs being ripped off and windows breaking, it's no wonder maintenance is front of mind for many investors across Adelaide. 

This can often be worrying for landlords, in regard to the upkeep of their property however, we believe this does not need to 
be the case. 

For us this type of wild weather has demonstrated how important it is to look at what you can control. As agents, we see that a robust after-hours support system is essential 
to your tenant, and in particular your property. 

We are on the front foot and have created a dedicated 24/7 After-Hours Emergency Hotline for our tenants, with an 'on-call' support team including plumbing and electrical services. 

Last week when the hail storm hit we were ready to act and sort things out right away, despite our 'on-call' team receiving 83% more calls from tenants then usual. 

We received various queries from tenants, ranging from a leaking ceiling to electricity going out in the home. We know that in these situations, tenants need our help and guidance, well before Monday morning comes around.

Another focus for our team has been proactively providing our tenants with hints and tips on how to prepare for these extreme weather conditions. Through our national award-winning maintenance program, we are able to communicate directly with our tenants on these crucial occasions. For example, before the severe storm in September, we sent communications to all tenants with tips on how 
to best prepare for the wild weather ahead.

These tips included ensuring items such as their side gate was secure so family pets were safe, to charging mobile phones and electronic devices in preparation for a black-out. Should we be enduring a heat wave and a tenant's air-conditioner fails, we are able to promptly notify them of accurate turn-around times for repairs during peak periods. 

In our role as property managers, proactive communication is so important. Our team have received some fantastic feedback over the past few months, which only demonstrates to me how vital our role is in helping tenants when risky weather hits. 

At Toop&Toop we believe it is important to always be on the front foot. We are here to help and support our clients, inside and outside of usual business hours. When unpredictable weather hits, it's important to be proactive and look at what you can control.

Suzannah Toop

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Adelaide is hot property! 26% of Toop&Toop properties sell before they’re even public!

There is no doubt that the residential property market is still strong across Australia. Market conditions for buyers right now are excellent, with the latest statistics from CoreLogic RP Data stating that 70% of Australians think now is a good time to be buying a dwelling. With this incredible buyer demand, the limitation this spring is actually coming from the national shortage of properties to be able to provide these buyers with.

The media hype and general buzz around our Adelaide property market is hard to ignore. Investors from Melbourne and Sydney are looking to our city, local investors and developers are well and truly back in the market and people who already own property are using their current equity to upsize. These are just some of the factors leading to an increase in competition and making it harder for the first home buyers.

In the months of September and October, 26% of our Toop&Toop sales were properties that sold in our ToopVault. These properties were not seen by the public, snapped up by our Vault members who were tired of missing out. These buyers put their best offers forward to secure homes before they become 'public knowledge'. 

There is no doubt that this is a great market 
to buy in, but what about those wanting to sell? 
In the past week, we have found many clients and potential sellers at our open inspections are asking us if it's too late to do something before Christmas.

The great news is - for those wanting or needing to sell - now is the perfect time! There are still three weeks left before Christmas to put your property on the market and six more selling weeks of the year.

So how long will the buyer demand last? It's always hard to judge. We are starting to hear some stories surface around uncertainty in the New Year. The CoreLogic-TEG Rewards housing market sentiment survey, published last week, mentions that 67% of respondents thought the Australian housing market was vulnerable to a significant correction in dwelling values. Consumer sentiment is a big influencer in the residential real estate industry, so these factors could have the potential to impact the property market in the New Year.

One thing is for sure... you can never predict the future. Right now the property market is in full swing, there is a strong demand for property, we are achieving some exceptional sale results including suburb record prices, and finance conditions for buyers are the best we have seen. The momentum in the market is here right now and if you want to sell in 2016, it's certainly not too late.

Give our team a call today and we can put 
the backing of Toop&Toop behind you to 
take advantage of this market and help you achieve a premium price for your property before Christmas!

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Setting up your property from the outset… It just makes cents.

Recently I have re-embarked on the journey of becoming a landlord again, deciding to rent out my home in Norwood. Even though I am involved in property investment all day every day and am exposed to what we do as agents, 
I still have questions.

This got me thinking about the role we play as agents, and how important the upfront discussions and planning with a landlord truly are. Every property is different, and no matter how many times you have been there, receiving answers to your questions is so important.

So what are some of the burning questions every landlord is (or should be) asking their agent? What vital areas should be addressed that you might not have thought of?

1. Inclusions and Exclusions.
Are there any areas of the house that you want to exclude from the tenancy agreement? This might include areas such as the cellar or back shed. Also, think about alarms... if there is an alarm system at the property, will you be providing this as part of the property? If not, be sure to exclude it so there is no confusion. 

2. Description of your property.
It is essential to ensure your property is advertised correctly on all marketing and advertising channels. For example, is the air-conditioning evaporative or ducted reverse cycle? Be sure to double check and let your property manager know before the advertising commences. If you own a property 
with a body corporate, we recommend confirming necessary details such as the number of parks allocated to your property. These by-laws can change over time, and it will ensure that you don't end up in a dispute with your past neighbours 
or tenant.

3. Compliance and Preventative Maintenance.
This is a biggie! Compliance in particular is gaining a lot of attention across the country. For something as important as regular smoke alarm and gas heater checks to ensure the risk of an accident is minimised... this is a no-brainer, so be sure to arrange regular checks at your property.

4. Appliance manuals.
New reforms introduced in 2014 provide landlords with some relief with regards to the accountability of operating appliances in the home. Quite simply, if you have provided a manufacturers manual (even 
hand-written instructions) for an item in the home and this is listed on the lease agreement, you are able to claim compensation for unintentional damage to the item under the Act. Be sure to make the most of this by collating the relevant information before the tenancy starts.

5. Fly screens.
Do all of the open windows have fly screens installed? This can catch out many landlords, particularly as the Tribunal does not look favourably on this topic. Ensure you have a quick look around the property and see whether these are all intact.

6. Keys.
This one can be time-consuming and 
a bit of a nuisance, but remember to think of all the places that could require keys... including the letter box! 
If you are considering purchasing an investment property or adding to your portfolio, be sure to chat to your agent about these areas. 

At Toop&Toop, we are here to help ensure nothing is forgotten and you are comfortable with the management process from the outset. Setting your property up correctly from the beginning will save you a lot of time and cents.

Suzannah Toop