Thursday, September 21, 2017

Landlord ‘blacklists’ – could this be a thing?

We live in an interesting time where online 
peer-to-peer rating systems are becoming the norm - from cafes to taxi rides, no industry appears to be immune, even ours.

Tenants across the globe who are living in 
sub-standard conditions are using digital means to find a voice... and they are being heard.

Websites are popping up where tenants warn fellow renters about certain landlords, and some aggrieved tenants are questioning why there are not landlord databases or 'blacklists' for them to draw upon.

It seems that with the surge of property prices, many landlords have stretched themselves to enter the market - often without a contingency plan or sinking fund. Particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, rents have not kept up with the growth of house prices... and tenants are on 
the receiving end of things.

We've recently heard stories of tenants 
putting up with mould growing on the carpet, ceilings collapsing and living without hot 
water - unfortunately these stories are not 
too uncommon in the industry.

So as a landlord, how can you get ahead of this emerging trend so that your rental property stands out for tenants?

Having a good understanding of the tenancy legislation is key. For example in South Australia, it is a requirement for a rental property to be in a 'reasonable state of repair' and there are also strict requirements for the tenants to be given at least 48 hours notice to enter the property. If not followed, hefty fines can apply, even if you are 
self-managing.

And if you have an agent, it is their role to know the legislation inside and out and do the legwork for you. At Toop&Toop we are looking at new ways to support our landlords, and provide a greater level of service to our tenants. ToopFIX, our national award winning maintenance app is one example of how we're looking to tackle this industry problem.

With one third of the Australian population renting, tenants are looking for quality of service. We feel our role is to provide this to both landlords and tenants, whilst navigating through the legal framework. Creating an environment where quality tenants want to stay in your home for longer, and look after it, will be a win-win for all parties.

If you would like more information or advice, please feel free to give our Property Management team a call. We'd love to chat with you! 



Thursday, September 14, 2017

Stand out this spring!

Spring is now here so if you're planning on selling your property during this busy time of year, here are some simple planning tips on how to better prepare your home for sale, and ultimately maximise your result! 

Presentation of your property is a critical factor in achieving the highest possible price. Even the most astute buyer will be encouraged by a well-presented property. People are emotional beings and will be stimulated by what they see, feel and hear. You don't need to renovate or invest a fortune, just simply make the most of what you already have.

1. Make the property feel inviting.

Buyers like to imagine that they'd enjoy living in a property, so make it easy for them to feel good about your home. Gentle music, a fragrant candle and a few scattered cushions can make 
all the difference on inspection day. The power 
of emotion is amazing!

2. Less is more. 
Clear the clutter. It will make it easier to keep the property tidy for inspections and rooms will feel more spacious to buyers.

3. Let the sun in.

Everyone loves sunshine when they are looking to buy, so open up blinds and curtains for inspections - and make sure windows are clean both inside and out. 

4. Fix outstanding repairs. 
Especially visible ones. Even the smallest of problems can make buyers wary about other less obvious issues. So it's best to fix what buyers will see and make the property appear well cared for.

5. Clean up lawns, gardens and rubbish.
This may seem self explanatory, yet it's often the garden that is last on the list of things to do. If you've spent time and money with your property's presentation, a small investment in finishing off gardens can be extremely worthwhile.

6. The kitchen.

A good kitchen can help sell a property. Not only is it an essential part of the house, it can be the most expensive and inconvenient room to refurbish, so its condition will influence the value of your property. If your kitchen is a little dated, you don't need to replace it, simply:

 
- Change cupboard handles to something 
more contemporary

 
- Put appliances out of sight and keep bench space clean and clear

 
- Pay special attention to the cleanliness of sinks, stoves and ovens

 - 
Wipe marks from cupboard doors and 
splash backs.

7. Kid's bedrooms.

Make it easier on the kids by packing up some of their toys and worldly possessions before you offer the property for sale. It will clear the space and help them to keep their room a little tidier during the sale. And if your children are distinctive in their decorating style, you may need to neutralise a little to appeal to a broader market.

8. Master bedroom. 
The master bedroom is another very important room for purchasers. Make it as inviting and relaxing as possible with candles, beautiful bed linen, cushions and throw rugs. And if the room is large enough, include a comfy chair, coffee table and a few magazines or books.

9. Pets and smells.

Many buyers do not appreciate pets and by not considering these purchasers, you can unnecessarily limit your market. Here are a few simple steps to consider if you're a pet owner:

 - 
Take your pets to visit family or friends 
during inspections

 - 
Move bowls, toys and bedding outside the house and make sure they are clean

 - 
Air the property before inspections and pick up any 'surprises' in the garden. 

It's an exciting time for real estate, so if you'd like to find out more about selling in spring, give Team Toop a call today. We'd love to chat to you! 


Thursday, September 07, 2017

New Royal Adelaide Hospital (nRAH)… What’s the Prognosis?

The new Royal Adelaide Hospital (nRAH as they call it) has officially opened! Years in the making, it's been a very exciting week and one that will go down in the history books.

The impact of the move has been hotly anticipated for some time. Not only does it mean that 7,000 hospital staff and volunteers will be migrating to 
the north west end of the city, but there is also now an immediate demand for resources to sustain the hospital's 24/7 eco-system.

Hospital staff will be looking for cafes, restaurants and retail stores, all within walking distance from the hospital... and at all hours of the day, seven days a week.

However the impact is likely to be more broadly felt than just the restaurant and retail industries. History tells us that the property market will also be coming along for the ride. The Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast recorded market growth between 6.6% and 7.3% in response to the development of the new Gold Coast University Hospital, and Sunshine Coast University Hospital.

The proximity of nRAH to the CBD and amenities puts the inner western suburbs at the top of a buyer's shopping list. Sellers have experienced a surge in activity in the past 18 months, and new records have been set. With the median house price in Thebarton and Mile End growing by a staggering 26% and 24% respectively in the past two years, both areas have cemented themselves as million dollar suburbs in our state.

For landlords, there is even more positive news for the inner western suburbs. Looking to other capital cities and the role hospitals have played, it's interesting to see the correlation between these facilities and rents in the surrounding suburbs. Amid Perth's falling rental market in April 2016, Murddoch (home to the recently upgraded Fiona Stanley Hospital) was one of the only two postcodes to record significant rental growth over the 12-month period. Research shows that health infrastructure is a key driver of where Australians choose to live, ahead of employment as the most essential consideration. 

The new RAH is here, and the prognosis is good. 

With the injection of foot traffic, and cafe and 
restaurants being added to the area, we anticipate 
the north west end of the CBD to be a hot spot for some time. It's an exciting time to be investing in Adelaide.



Thursday, August 31, 2017

Finals fever is here… for footy and for real estate!

Last week as the AFL teams secured their 
place in the finals, the Real Estate Institute 
of South Australia (REISA) also announced 
their finalists for the industry's Annual Awards 
for Excellence.

Looking through the list in last week's paper, you can see that there is an interesting mix of competition. A blend of new players, franchises, small and large agencies, but one thing is clear - real estate, like football, has come a long way in the last 32 years.

In the 70s and 80s, according to Dad's 'old days' stories, real estate could be likened to his childhood days in Orroroo and country football. Players would have a beer at quarter time, and then get back out on the field to play the rest of the game! Real estate was relaxed, simple and casual. Sales agents carried star droppers, a hammer and small property signs - their real estate technology!

There was minimal consumer protection, no photographs, no marketing brochures, and rarely even open inspections! Internet and digital strategies didn't exist and the fax machine had just arrived. If you wanted to see a property, you were taken there in the agent's car. Yes, you met at the office or were picked up from your home and chauffeur driven!

By the end of the 90s and early 2000s, there was a big shift. Auctions, floor plans and the internet started to get underway. South Australian real estate was becoming serious and standards were on the move. In footy terms, this was the equivalent of the 'SANFL' era.

We saw new legislation, increased competition and the outlaw of dummy bidding. Agents were sharpening up and 'cowboys' of the industry were under pressure.

Then there was the arrival of custom signboards, professional photography, glossy brochures, property magazines, the influence of the internet, open inspections were the norm and finally tablets and smart phones came in and transformed the space yet again.

In 2017, looking through the finalists list, you can see this space is once again changing. We are now playing 'AFL' competition in real estate... but not all agencies are going to make the league.

This era is one where the consumer has taken a quantum shift. Technology has changed more than we could have ever imagined and new capabilities have been reached that were never dreamt possible, even just a year ago.

These 'AFL' real estate agencies are taking on convention and challenging 'SANFL' standards; taking services and standards to a level never before contemplated.

Like in the AFL competition, those with professional managers who are highly trained with specialised skills are replacing generalist player based skills in each activity.

Companies wanting to remain competitive and enter the new 'AFL' world will need to pre-empt emerging customer needs, innovate fast and embrace new technology.

We are extremely proud that our team made the 'finals' in an unprecedented 11 categories this year; we've earned our place in the new AFL real estate competition.

With our high-energy team, we will continue to challenge the industry. You can see that competition drives innovation - it helps lift the industry to new levels, and the customer becomes the ultimate winner.

At Toop&Toop, we take real estate very seriously so if you are ready to sell or rent your property, talk to our team today. 
Enjoy finals fever!


Thursday, August 24, 2017

Adelaide bats above average, as rental demand surges!


Demand for property in Adelaide has hit a new peak. The latest housing reports show the demand for houses has risen 8.8% over the past 12 months and 6.2% since June 2017.

For investors there is even more good news. With rental demand surging 34.5% year-on-year, Adelaide is well above the national average of 19.2%. Our city is cementing itself as a steady and consistent performer... and there are no signs of this slowing down. In just the past month alone, rental demand has grown by 11.1% (compared to the national average of 9%).

So what's put Adelaide out in front?
Adelaide rents have remained steady over the past few years and the growth on the eastern seaboard has pulled right back. Adelaide continues to be the most affordable mainland capital city in Australia, and is viewed as 'good value for money'. The lifestyle and ease of living is very attractive and is not readily available in other capital cities at the same price point. 

Our team are seeing that properties in sought after locations are leasing after one week, or above the advertised rental price. This week Toop&Toop's vacancy rate was at 0.45% compared to the industry average of 1.8%.

Rents in metropolitan Adelaide have remained buoyant throughout winter as there has been a shortage of properties available. This, coupled with a high number of tenants looking for property, has allowed Adelaide to outperform.

Where are the Adelaide hot spots?
The most searched suburbs on realestate.com are Unley, Dulwich, Millswood, Unley Park and Clarence Gardens, closely followed by Crafers, Colonel Light Gardens, Glenunga, Hawthorndene and Hyde Park.

At Toop&Toop, we are seeing that suburbs close to hubs of activity, such as the CBD, beaches, shopping centres or entertainment precincts are performing the best. These areas are seen as 'low risk' options for investors as tenants are drawn to 'buzzing' areas.

Adelaide is attracting interest from investors across the nation! It really is an exciting time to be investing in our state.​



Thursday, August 17, 2017

There's a new feeling in the air, the cold chill is beginning to ease and the days seem to be getting longer. Spring is just around the corner... now only two weeks away! 

In our industry, even though statistics show that winter is a great time to sell, we know that homes look beautiful in spring and many vendors feel more comfortable waiting until the winter months have passed to put their home on the market. 

Why does winter work so well for sellers compared to spring? Stock levels are tight and buyer demand is high. Then, while awaiting settlement, sellers can cherry pick the best buys from the seasonal flood of newly listed properties that traditionally launch in the first few weeks of spring.

Still have your heart set on spring? We have some tips to help make sure you don't get caught in the rush! 

1. 

Put your home on the market early! This ensures that you get a head start on competing properties and capture the attention of buyers that have been waiting 
for stock levels to increase. 

2. 

Ensure you have a selling strategy you are comfortable with. Launching in peak times does have great advantages, however it is likely that you will be competing with more properties. Ensure you take the time to choose the right agency and that your salesperson has a strategic approach to the campaign - one that you feel will get you the very best result. 

3. 

Beware of 'campaigns' or 'promotions'. Agency competitions have started. They are offering people all sorts of 'prizes' such as holidays or vouchers, to ramp up the quantity of business for their agents leading into spring. It is important to tread carefully with promotions like these, as choosing the right agent with the resources to handle the sale campaign is integral to its success.

4. 

Curiosity is imperative! Ask questions of your salesperson, ask to see more information, or even ask for a tour of the agent's office. Find
out what goes on behind the scenes to support the promises they are making. 

Spring is almost here and we're excited! At Toop&Toop we pride ourselves on delivering our promise of exceptional customer service
and results. With our collaborative buyer Intel, we can provide you with an accurate number of how many people we have looking for a property 
like yours, in real time.

If you would like to find out more on how Team Toop can leverage buyer demand and make sure your home stands out this spring with our new ToopCreate property marketing tools, speak to one of our team today!


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Investors, get ready. Spring is just around the corner!

Spring is less than four weeks away and for many of us, we are counting down the days! Not just because the weather starts to warm up but for the property enthusiasts it is typically the busiest period in the real estate industry.

It is when homes start to look their best and we begin to see an increase in activity in the market. Historically spring means there are more properties available to buy and rent, and purchasers and tenants finally start to experience some relief, following the lower stock levels seen over the winter months.

So investors, with less than four weeks to go, now is the time prepare and get yourself ready 
to buy. And here's why...

Greater choice.

As we head into spring there is generally more choice in the market. Not only in terms of the number of properties available in your price range and chosen area, but also the property type that you might be interested in (for example houses or units). This gives you a greater ability to compare the rental returns of the different types of properties on the market and make an informed decision when buying.

Capitalise on the busy period.

Purchasing a property in spring provides the right amount of time to prepare your new investment to hit the rental market. With typical settlement periods of 30, 60 or 90 days on your property purchase, you are in the prime position to make the most of the December/January peak rental period. This includes planning a marketing strategy to ensure you can make the most of the 'new year rush'. This is the time of year where the number of tenants looking to secure a new home peaks. You can also capitalise on the relocation activity that occurs.

Interest rates.

With the Reserve Bank of Australia keeping the official cash rate on hold again this month, at 1.5% it remains at historical lows. With investor rates starting from 4.5%, funding remains affordable for landlords.

So if you're thinking about entering the property investment market, now is the ideal time to get yourself ready. Start looking at your budget, how much you can borrow as well as suburbs that have been flagged for growth potential.

Our property management team are here to share our market knowledge and ensure you 
are ready to take advantage of the current climate when spring hits!



Thursday, August 03, 2017

Tech-savvy buyers are out and about!

Australians are some of the most tech savvy people in the world and as a nation we love buying property and living 'The Great Australian Dream'. With half of the world's population online, digital connectivity is helping to improve people's lives, and in real estate we are seeing that buyers are savvier than ever. New digital tools are making the process of buying and selling property faster, simpler, more engaging and accessible than ever before.

Buyer's expectations are also much greater than they used to be... they want information, quickly and easily, and it needs to be up to date and available, whenever and wherever. A study conducted last year by realestate.com.au found that 78 per cent of consumers were accessing property listings and information online - rather than through traditional methods alone
- using smart phones, laptops and tablets.

New technologies are giving buyers the power to shape their property-seeking journey rather than passively absorb what they are being given. They are using their mobile devices to interact with properties more than ever before and prefer digital platforms like virtual inspections and live-streamed auctions.  

Since launching ToopCreate, a new suite of property marketing tools for our Toop&Toop clients, we have seen our digital feature ToopDesign generate a buzz in the
marketplace. ToopDesign shows off the full potential of a home, and allows buyers to imagine renovating and redecorating. Buyers are able to digitally customise the interior of a home by selecting exciting new colours and textures for walls, flooring, countertops and cabinets. Buyers are also able to customise the exterior of your home including paint colour, window frame colour and other options. This design tool is transforming buyers' experience and sellers' results.

What buyers love.

The ability to digitally alter the kitchen and the exterior facade of a potential property to purchase, giving them the opportunity to visualise how the home would best work for them and their style. Buyers also love that they can do this from their iPad, giving them flexibility to design their dream home and show their family and friends wherever they are in the world. 

What sellers love.

Seeing the way buyers can interact with their home and give them an insight into what the property would look like if they added their own touches. They also love how it makes their property standout from the other listings on the market!

Since launching ToopDesign just one month ago, our clients' properties have had 10,000 more unique page views than our usual monthly average (an extra 322 views a day!) and time spent on our clients' webpages has dramatically increased!

If you would like to know more about ToopCreate, including products such asToopDesign, and how they can help you achieve the best result for your home, our team would love to hear from you. 


Thursday, July 27, 2017

New build… 
or established home?

Adelaide is continuing to perform well in the current property market. The June quarter results are in, and Adelaide house prices have now increased over 11 consecutive quarters, with annual prices rising solidly by 6.6 percent. This is the highest annual rate since the June quarter in 2010... seven years ago!

So, if you are a property investor wanting to take advantage of the market, or a first time investment purchaser, you might ask, what are the common views on new builds versus established homes?

Here's what our team are finding:

New build

The positives: The property will be brand new. This is very attractive to tenants, particularly as all fittings and fixtures work well, and if not, the defect period will ensure that any faulty items are rectified in a timely manner. New homes, or those that are newly renovated, will present well to tenants. Modern kitchens, bathrooms and appliances are favourable. Plus, if you purchase a house and land package off the plan, you will only be required to pay stamp duty on the land portion only, which is a big bonus!

The concerns: Time to market will depend on when the building is complete. It is also difficult to get tenants through the property prior to completion, and landlords are usually only provided with floor plans or design booklets, making it difficult to start advertising the property early. Any unexpected delays will create additional downtime to the property, affecting your cash flow and returns. If you are one of many, especially in a unit complex or apartment building, where there are a high number of investors purchasing off the plan, making sure you have a strategy to map out the timing of your property to market is important. 

Established home

The positives: Speed to market. Typically the property will be in a condition to go straight to market, and therefore minimising downtime and earning you income right away. Character homes are especially popular with tenants.

The concerns: The age of the property will determine its maintenance profile. It is important to find out how old the services are to the property, for example, air conditioning systems or hot water units. Keep in mind; if the current owner has been living in the property, 
the chances are that regular maintenance has been completed, as opposed to the property being rented out for many years. 

There is a saying that 'a confused mind stalls', so if you want to make the most of Adelaide's current market conditions, our Property Management team is here to help. Our team can share with you what they are finding in the field, and give you inside knowledge on what homes are the most popular, and in what suburbs.



Thursday, July 20, 2017

What’s trending in our market this winter?

How's the market tracking? This is one of the most common questions our team is asked out on the ground each week. Real estate is a hot topic and people are eager to know what's happening in the market, what their property might be worth and how house prices in their suburb or city are performing. Staying up to date on property market trends is key to knowing when it's your time to make a move. 

Team Toop has just released our latest Quarterly Property Report and we cannot believe how quickly the first half of 2017 has passed us by. Traditionally throughout the cooler months we see stock levels in the market sit lower than usual, but we've seen first-hand that this hasn't impacted buyer demand for properties, which continues to surge.  

Looking to the national market... the CoreLogic Home Value Index recorded a recovery from the 1.1% fall in May, now sitting at a 1.8% rise in capital city dwelling values over the month of June. It was also recorded in CoreLogic's latest Pain & Gain Report that 90.2% of properties nationally sold at or above their previous purchase price. Both stats trending higher than last year, indicating a strong market.

Back home... Adelaide remains the most affordable mainland capital city in Australia. With our stable returns and consistent growth it's clear that we are a highly attractive market for investors. Our local market continued to be extremely competitive in the second quarter of the year. For suburbs in sought after locations with relatively low stock available, we saw transactions occurring at a rapid pace. These suburbs included Norwood, St Peters, Leabrook, Malvern, Millswood, Aldgate, Mile End and Henley Beach. 

What stood out to us the most during the quarter was that Adelaide's auction clearance rate sat in the top tier of the nation at 71.8%, showing the confidence from buyers in our market. Sydney and Melbourne recorded 72.4% and 71.8% respectively. CoreLogic RP Data statistics state that not only does an auction help achieve premium results, but in South Australia properties sell on average in under half the time than properties listed for private sale. Serious buyers also benefit from this process as they can utilise their financial position on auction day to have an advantage over conditional buyers in the market.

The auction method in South Australia is certainly gaining traction, however, we are still behind our eastern state rivals who on average take over four to seven times the amount of properties to auction. Its popularity has maintained power throughout winter with auction activity increasing across the majority of our capital cities.

At Toop&Toop we have always been strong advocates for the auction process and this passion shone through at the Real Estate Institute of South Australia (REISA) Auctioneering Championships last week, with our team taking out top honours in the finals. Subject to a panel of interstate judges and incredibly tough mock auction conditions, Team Toop's Bronte Manuel made history by taking out South Australia's Auctioneer of the Year for the third year in a row! He will now go on to represent South Australia on the world stage at the Australasian Auctioneering Championships in September, held in Adelaide. Team Toop's Kirk Fernandez also took out the 2017 Novice Auctioneer of the Year!

From the entire team, a big congratulations 
to you both, we are so proud. Go get 'em 
in September Bronte!