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Mar 3, 2023

The To-Do List

Thinking about taking your property to market? The best time to start is 3-6 months before you're ready to list. If you want to maximise your property's potential sale price, there are a few simple steps that can have a significant effect on the value of your home. Watch the video below and download our checklist to help you prepare your home for market. 1/ Clean and declutter the property Unnecessary furniture Create a tidy space 2/ Enhance curb appeal First impressions Landscaping Painting fences Fixing damage 3/ Assure compliant with state regulations Smokes alarms Water efficiency standards Making houses future proof 4/ Make it feel like a home De-personalise Make it feel liveable Remove unsightly furniture 5/ Make necessary repairs Loose cupboard door hinges Ripped carpet Paint damage Buyers will assume there's more they can't see Read Video Transcript: Today we're going to talk about the five best things we can do to improve your property to get the best possible price. Here's a to-do list. Clean the clutter Step one of our to-do list is clean and declutter. It could just be a few simple things like removing a few extra chairs from the lounge room. For example with cleaning, bathrooms are a big thing. Just make sure that the mould has been removed from the showers; the shower screens are nice and clean. Decluttering. Just remove all you can from your kitchen benches. We don't want to see school notes, we don't want to see phone bills, we just want to see a nice, clean area. They’re just a couple of simple things that you can do to make your property really shine. ‍Homely but not personal Second on our to do list, is make it homely but not personal. So, for example, definitely throw those cushions on the couch and put that throw on there as well, but also maybe just strip it back a little bit by removing a few of the family portraits and, you know, grandma's rocking chair that you’re very attached to. Maybe just remove that as well. And then people can see that it is still homely, but they can also add their personal touch to it. ‍Repairs Third on our to do list is making necessary repairs. This could be anything from a leaking tap that needs a new washer, a light bulb that needs to be replaced or even outside - the deck needs to be sanded and re-varnished. All these things will make such a difference when it comes to selling your property. And for us to get that best price for you. ‍First looks from the curb Fourth on our to do list is curb appeal. Curb appeal is a major thing that we need to focus on because it is the first thing that everybody sees. We need to mow those lawns, we need to weed those gardens, and we need to trim those hedges. We need to remember, first impressions really matter. ‍Codes & Regulations Lastly, on our to do list is making sure that our property is up to state regulations. One of the biggest things we have is the smoke alarms. They need to all be integrated and they need to be put in by a licensed electrician. If the property has a pool, it needs to be certified and there needs to be a certificate given when the contract is done. ‍ At the end of the day, these small things will help you get the best possible price. So, there's your to-do list.

Dec 15, 2022

What Do I Need To Know About The Changes To Tenancy Laws In 2022

Ensure you understand your landlord & tenant obligations post the October 2022 changes. As of the 1st of October 2022 new tenancy laws have come into effect, here's what you need to know as either a landlord or a tenant. Landlords:  Ending a tenancy agreement As of the 1st of October 2022 managing parties (landlords and their representatives) have more reasons available to specify for ending a tenancy, and they are no longer able to end a tenancy without providing a specific reason. For a fixed term tenancy, this reason might be the completion of the fixed term agreement, however for periodic tenancy agreements a specific reason under the act must be given. You can read more about managed parties ending a tenancy agreement in this RTA Factsheet.  Tenants with pets As of the 1st of October 2022 the legislation in relation to tenants and their pets have changed with new legislation specifically related to reasons in which landlords are able to refuse pets at a property. You can access more information with regard to the process to be followed when a tenant requests to have a pet on the premises via this RTA fact sheet. Repair orders As of the 1st of October 2022 the legislation in relation to repair orders has been amended. Tenants now have the right to apply for a repair order via the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) in order to ensure that the managing party takes action to address required repairs. This RTA fact sheet contains the information you’ll need in relation to repair orders. Tenants:  Ending a tenancy agreement As of the 1st of October 2022 tenants have more reasons available to specify for ending a tenancy agreement. This RTA fact sheet offers a valuable resource for tenants with regard to understanding the reasons available to end a tenancy agreement and the necessary forms/process required. Tenants with pets As of the 1st of October 2022 the legislation in relation to tenants and their pets have changed with new legislation specifically related to reasons in which landlords are able to refuse pets at a property. As a tenant you must seek approval to keep a pet on the property, failure to do so is a significant breach, however reasons why a landlord can decline your request have now been made more fair - you can access more information with regard to the process to be followed when requesting to have a pet on the premises via this RTA fact sheet. Repair orders As of the 1st of October 2022 the legislation in relation to repair orders has been amended. Tenants now have the right to apply for a repair order via the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT) in order to ensure that the managing party takes action to address required repairs. This RTA fact sheet contains the information you’ll need in relation to repair orders. For a full breakdown of all changes and resources related to the changes that took effect as of the 1st of October 2022, the RTA is your best resource, alternatively you can reach out directly to the Property Management Team at Southern Downs Realty to discuss your specific queries.

Dec 8, 2022

What To Look For In A Real Estate Agent To Sell Your Home

Selling your home can be an emotional & exhausting process, learn what you need to look for to choose the right agent & alleviate some of that stress. Your home is likely the most expensive asset you own, and it is completely understandable that you feel a little anxious at the prospect of selling it. Not only do you have all the emotions associated with saying goodbye (our homes are an integral part of some of our biggest life events), but you want to ensure that you get the very best price for your home in order to set you up for your next adventure, whether that be purchasing another home, investing in a business, starting a family or travelling the world. We think that it is vitally important that you feel comfortable that the sale of your home is in good hands, and to help you find the very best agent for you, we have prepared the following guide, with step-by-step instructions for finding the right real estate agent to sell your property. 1. Research potential agents It’s really hard to make a choice between agents if you don’t know who there is to pick from. So the first step is to identify potential agents in your area and gain an understanding as to how they work. A great way of doing this is to spend a couple of weeks attending open homes and observing the real estate agents who are selling the homes. Pay attention to: Was the agent on time and organised for the open home? Did the agent communicate and interact well with potential buyers? Their overall behaviour at the open Did they wait at the door and welcome everybody? Did they highlight the unique features of the property? Were they able to easily answer questions you or other prospective buyers had about the property? Did they have great marketing materials available for the property? By putting yourself in the position of the potential buyers of your property, you will be able to understand how well each agent is able to communicate with potential buyers, and gather a good understanding as to whether you would be confident and comfortable with them selling your home. ‍2. Narrow it down to specialists for your region Real estate agents often have a niche in which they specialise, whether that be a region (a particular town or suburb) or a property type (units vs houses vs rural properties) or a combination thereof. Agents who are regularly dealing with similar properties are likely to be able to offer you benefits that an agent who is less familiar with your property type or region are. The benefits might include: An understanding as to what buyers of properties like yours want (and the ability to speak in a way that is relevant to them) A better understanding of the market and realistic sales price for your property Access to a list of buyers who are already actively looking for properties like yours ‍3. Which agents are getting the results?  The aim of this whole process is to sell your home, so looking at the success rate of agents you are considering is a great way to figure out whether they are likely to be able to achieve this for you, and in what time frame (remembering the longer a property stays on the market, the less likely you are to achieve the asking price). ‍4. Of all of the agents that you have considered, who has made you feel most comfortable? Selling your home can be an emotional, and exhausting process. Ensuring that the agent that you choose to sell your property is someone you can be open and honest with, and that you feel comfortable with will make the whole process far less taxing on your emotions.

Nov 7, 2022

Preparing Your Property For Rent

A property that has been well prepared for renting has a good chance at fetching a higher rent and better quality tenants without being too much more work from the beginning. So what steps do you need to take prior to renting out your property? 1) If it is currently broken, fix it. While as the owner of a property you might choose to live in a home that needs repairs while you save to undertake a renovation. Tenants who are paying for the privilege of living in your property, rightfully expect that everything should be in a state of good repair. Make sure that you check that none of the taps or toilets leak, ensure that all of the doors close and lock as they should. Make sure that kitchen appliances are in good working order and that all electrical outlets are safe and functioning properly. 2) If it’s dirty, clean it. A tenant has the responsibility of ensuring that the property is maintained in the state in which they found it, but they are not responsible for improving the condition of your property. By ensuring that your property is clean by checking that bathroom & kitchen grout and silicon is not mouldy, curtains & blinds, fans, walls, ceilings nd the oven are all washed and wiped as required, you will not only be ensuring that you have a happy tenant, but you will also be setting the standard for the state of cleanliness your property is left in when your tenant vacates. Going the extra mile your carpets have been professionally cleaned is also a great idea. 3) Consider the state of your current appliances and upgrade if required Features like dishwashers are often sought after, however, a dishwasher that is nearing the end of its life and functions poorly is likely to cause tenant frustration and expense for you! If you don’t currently have a dishwasher, but there is space, perhaps consider investing in one. If there is currently a dishwasher/oven/cooktop, but it is in poor condition, consider replacing it now, to prevent leaving your tenant without later. 4) Ensure that there are no pests Having your home checked for termites and treated to ensure there are no creepy crawlies is a great idea prior to renting it. As per the RTA QLD, provided that there are no pests prior to your tenant moving in, they are responsible for ensuring that this maintenance is done throughout their tenancy and when they vacate. 5) Ensure that your property meets required standards You need to ensure that your property meets the required standards for water efficiency & fire safety - with the right kind of smoke detectors, that any pools or spas are fenced according to current legislation and that balconies and veranda railing meet safety standards. It’s a great idea to speak with your property manager to confirm, specific to your property, what may need to be upgraded. The RTA QLD website outlines the requirements of rental properties in Queensland. 6) Update your insurance Once you are no longer living in the property, you will need to ensure that you let your insurance company know. Furthermore, it is a great idea to consider landlord insurance which covers you for unforeseen circumstances relating to your tenants, such as if they damage or destroy your property, and in some circumstances, helping to cover you if they leave without paying all the rent you’re owed.

Nov 1, 2022

How To Increase The Curb Appeal Of Your Home

Tips to help sell your property quickly We’ve all heard the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” but the truth is, humans are conditioned to do exactly that, and it is no different with your home. Just like before attending a job interview you pop on your best outfit and tidy your hair, prior to sale, the front of your home will likely also need a little bit of TLC, spit and polish! Below we have listed some of the quick, and simple fixes that can add a whole lot of curb appeal to your home, which will help you to draw more potential buyers through the door. 1) Tidy up your garden A well maintained lawn, weeded and freshly mulched gardens will give the front of your home a happy and welcoming feel. If you don’t have existing garden beds, you don’t need to commit to a full landscaping task, a few well placed pots can add the illusion of a healthy garden. 2) Give your front door a refresh The humble front door is the entrance to your home, and truth be told, it often gets quite the workout from the weather. If your front door is looking tired and weather-beaten, a lick of paint or sand & stain will make it look brand new and extra welcoming in no time. 3) Refresh or replace your mailbox & house numbers While your home is on the market, people will be trying to find it, and generally, this means that your mailbox will be on full display (it’s what tells everyone they are definitely at #52!). Ensure that your mailbox is looking its best. If it is dirty, power wash it. If it is all rusty, replace it. Is your house number still legible? If not, your local hardware store will have a variety of options for little cost. 4) Clean & tidy paths & driveways Ensure that your front path/driveway invites potential buyers in by making sure they are clean and well maintained. If you have concrete or brick paths/driveways - a pressure cleaner is a great way to remove any moss, mildew and stains. If your concrete has seen better days, it might be a great idea to give it a lick of concrete paint. If you have a gravel path/drive, ensure that it is weed free. Ensure there are no potholes, and if necessary, perhaps refresh the gravel. 5) Clean, tidy & repair your fence & gates Oftentimes, you get used to the tricks required to open your gate, and you become blind to that paling that has been hanging off the fence for the last 2 years. But potential buyers won’t be. Ensure that all of your gates, latches and fences are in good order. Pressure clean, repair and paint them as required. 6) Add some lighting Lighting at the front of your home ensures that it is welcoming at any time - day or night. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to engage the services of an electrician, there are many solar powered garden lights available from hardware stores that will look great and provide sufficient lighting. 7) Clean your eaves & gutters Spiders, mildew and mould all love to congregate on your eaves, but they really don’t do much for the street appeal of your home. Make sure that your eaves are clean and fresh with a pressure clean and, if required, a lick of paint, ensure your gutters aren’t overflowing with leaves - which might make a potential buyer think twice about the maintenance required on your property. 8) Clean your front windows The first glimpse that buyers are likely to have inside your home will be through the front windows - make sure that your windows are clean. It will help more light into the house, and give a great first impression. 9) Remove the pile of shoes from your doorway & keep leaves at bay The last tip for ensuring your property maintains its street appeal throughout the period it is for sale is to ensure that you don’t leave shoes by the door and invest in an outdoor broom or blower to keep leaves and dust off paths, verandas and patios.

Oct 17, 2022

What Time Of Year Is The Best Time To Sell?

The best time to sell in Warwick We regularly have local homeowners reach out and ask us 'When is the best time of the year to sell our property?' Is it Spring, when everything looks prettier and people are all about new beginnings? Is it over the Christmas season, when most big relocations occur? Seasonality definitely does affect property sales, and depending on your property, the season in which you sell may significantly affect your properties salability. Spring Spring offers the opportunity to showcase a beautiful garden and exceptional outdoor entertainment area, to sell a property that is uncomfortably cold in winter or hot in summer, and with lots of natural light about, it can be a great time to sell a property that is notoriously dark and gloomy. Summer Summer is the season to sell if you have a swimming pool and great entertaining area. Like spring, it’s also a great time for those darker, colder, gloomier houses as it will be as bright as it gets. Other considerations in Summer are that historically, properties flood the market over spring, and by the end of January, many of those houses have been snapped up, however often there are still many buyers left, but far less houses - which means your property is more likely to get the attention it deserves and to potentially have multiple interested parties. For properties that are very hot and uncomfortable, it may be best to try and avoid selling in Summer, or potentially to investigate installing cooling that can be leveraged at open homes, as the investment in cooling may be offset by the increase in sales price and speed with which your home sells. Autumn Autumn offers great weather and, much like spring, it’s a great time to showcase a beautiful garden. Historically there are less properties on the market in autumn, but still reasonable buyer demand. Winter Winter generally has the lowest stock of all the seasons, so if a buyer really wants to buy, their options can be limited, if multiple buyers are interested in one property it is common that the price will be driven up. Winter is also a fabulous time to sell if you have a particularly cosy house, a feature fireplace or luxuries like underfloor heating. With a little bit of extra staging; some cookies in the oven, the fire going/central air at a comfy temperature and a late morning or early afternoon showing (when there is still plenty of sunlight) you are able to make your home look exceptionally livable in the most difficult season in which to make any home inviting! There is no one “good time” to sell your property, instead, you need to consider your individual circumstances, what sort of property you are trying to sell, and what your local property market is doing. The first step to determining if now is the right time to sell, is to determine whether you actually have the option to wait. If you are selling because: You are committed to buying another property elsewhere and can not afford to keep both or you need to liquidate funds, but don’t have the time to wait for the best return or for any other reason that means that you really need to sell now. Then the real question that you should be asking is “How can I get the best price for my property in the current market?”. If this is you, give our sales team a call on 07 4661 8403 and arrange for one of our skilled sales agents to pop out and provide you with an obligation free appraisal and their recommendations with regard to how to get the best sale price now. If you are simply investigating your options: And trying to determine when the best time to sell your house would be, the first step is to gather a clear picture of the local property market as it currently stands and to investigate historical trends in your local area. The best way to do that is to speak with the Southern Downs Realty sales team, 07 4661 8403,  to discuss what local prices are doing, how many properties are currently on the market and how many buyers are currently in the market to buy a property like yours. One of our team members will be able to provide you with an appraisal of your current property value, details of recent, similar sales in the region and give you an idea of the current buyer demand for properties like yours within the region (they may already be in talks with the perfect buyer!). They will also be able to discuss historical trends of the region. For example: Are there consistent peaks and troughs in sales prices throughout the year for houses like yours (it’s never guaranteed that these won’t change this year, but they can also be a good guide). Once you have all the information that you need with regard to the current market, and market projections, you can make a decision as to when you would like to list your property. At this time, get back in touch with your agent (you’ll find all their details on the appraisal they carried out) and they will be able to help ensure that your property is staged and marketed in order to deliver the best price possible.

Oct 6, 2022

How To Choose The Right Investment Property

Property investment opportunities in the Warwick region. Location Choosing a great location for your investment property is really important. Not only do you want this property to experience growth in its long term value, you want to ensure that it is easy to keep tenanted with tenants you want living in your house. So what are the best ways to identify a suitable location? Look for growth areas: Areas that are currently undergoing gentrification can offer great opportunities for investment. Traditionally these areas have had less than desirable reputations, however, owner occupiers are now moving in and the suburb is changing. Look out for the ripple effect. Perhaps you have noticed a suburb that has recently experienced significant growth, so significant, you can no longer afford to buy there. The chances are that neighbouring suburbs are still playing catch up, if this is the case, you may be in with the opportunity to buy in a neighbouring suburb just before it experiences its own growth. Investigate supply & demand. If the suburb that you are interested in buying in has strong demand, but no further opportunity for new properties to be built (high demand / limited supply) then this could be a good opportunity to purchase a property where you’ll see strong growth in value due to high demand. Are there any large infrastructure projects currently underway? Oftentimes when significant infrastructure is underway this drives demand for housing from workers involved in the project. INVEST WHERE YOU KNOW Oftentimes you are already familiar with the good and not-so-good suburbs near to you. You know where the good school catchments are, you know where there are new bougie bakeries and cafes. You know where there is growth and opportunity. Don’t underestimate your own insider knowledge! LOW VACANCY RATES Do some research on suburbs that have low vacancy rates. Where is there currently a high demand for rentals and why? Which particular properties are most in demand? Answering these questions can help you to identify a region with great potential, and can help you to identify… The right property You’ve done your research as to which suburbs and regions offer the most potential for growth. And which suburbs have low vacancy rates. You also have a pretty good idea as to who is looking for rental properties in this area. So how do you identify the right property? PROPERTY TYPE First and foremost you need to identify the right type of property for the demographic who are driving the demand in the suburb you have identified. In order to do that, you need to identify the demographic driving demand. Is it retirees who have liquidated their assets and are looking to live in luxury, closer to town before they have to move into aged care? Is it families who need to live within the suburb in order to access a particular school or to leverage great local amenities for children? Once you know exactly who it is that you will want to rent your home, you can start to think about the sorts of things they would want from a home. Retirees might want fewer steps, and less maintenance (small or no garden) and perhaps less bedrooms. Families will likely want a dedicated master with ensuite, at least 3 bedrooms and perhaps a second living area that can be leveraged as a playroom/kids lounge. IDENTIFYING OPPORTUNITY What small improvements can you offer to help entice your ideal tenant (security/dishwasher etc)? If there are small and inexpensive additions or changes that you can make to a property to add value and desirability, this makes the property more desirable, but also offers the potential to drive up the value of the property when the additions are more substantial. Is this property still going to be desirable in 10 or 20 years time? If the property you are considering has long term appeal, it is likely to be a better investment. Period properties, or properties with larger blocks than standard properties in the area are great examples of properties that will maintain their appeal into the future. OTHER CONSIDERATIONS Choose a low-maintenance property. Tenants will rarely care for your home like you would. Huge gardens requiring lots of upkeep will often quickly fall into disrepair. A home with a large timber deck with no roof will regularly need refinishing, natural stone floors will need regular sealing, carpets will need regular replacing, all things which will drive up your expenses and eat into your profits. Fast turnaround from purchase to rental is important. The longer that you are paying a mortgage with no tenants in place, the deeper into negative return you fall. Ensuring that you can quickly undertake any necessary repairs and renovations once settlement occurs so you can get tenants in place as soon as possible is of vital importance. Be strategic Buy a property that would appeal to owner occupiers (their desire to purchase similar property will drive up the value of your property). Don’t buy an investment property for an inflated price - ensure that market factors aren’t causing a temporarily inflated value. Consider the land to asset ratio of the property. Increasing land values are what are most likely to drive up long term property value. So if the land accounts for a larger portion of the value of a property it is likely to see greater long term growth in value. Buying in an area that historically has strong capital growth, will mean it is more likely to continue to have strong capital growth. Ensure that you don’t buy an investment property when past growth has been industry dependent (oil, gas, mining, fisheries, railways) all have a limited lifespan, so buying an investment long term that is dependent on an industry that you have no control over is risky. Look for a property where you are able to accelerate growth in value via renovation. Work with the right team to help you succeed. Find a trusted real estate agent to help you identify the properties within your chosen region with the greatest potential, leverage a great mortgage broker and ensure that your loan setup will work for you, and most importantly, ensure that you have a trusted property manager who will look after your property as if it were their own. Is Warwick a good place to purchase an investment property?  The short answer is yes. HOMES IN WARWICK According to propertyvalue.com.au the median property value in Warwick increased by in excess of 20% in the last 12 months (almost 5 times the national average). However, despite this increase the median property price is $160k (33%) less than the national average. When we look at rental returns, the median rent in Warwick is $340 per week, which is only 14% less than the national average. Demonstrating strong rental returns on competitively priced properties. [caption id="attachment_9860120" align="aligncenter" width="981"] https://www.propertyvalue.com.au/suburb/warwick-4370-qld Accessed: 3.12pm 05/10/2022[/caption] UNITS IN WARWICK When compared to the National average, units in Warwick don’t look like a great investment, as a matter of fact, if we look at the median price change, we can see that in the last 12 months the median has slightly decreased - as prices have remained steady. However, with a median sale price of $250k, units in Warwick are an affordable investment, and with Warwick units delivering a median gross yield (the annualised median rent, divided by the median sale price for the suburb (last 12 months) displayed as a percentage) of 5.2% which is over .5 of a percent higher than the national average, these units are offering a strong return on initial investment. [caption id="attachment_9860119" align="aligncenter" width="974"] https://www.propertyvalue.com.au/suburb/warwick-4370-qld Accessed: 3.12pm 05/10/2022[/caption] If you are looking to buy an investment property in Warwick or the Southern Downs, the team from Southern Downs Realty would be more than happy to assist you with the whole process. Our sales team can help you identify the best available property for you, and we can ensure that our property management team gets your investment off to a wonderful start, with their diligent attention to detail, and superior managerial skills.

May 1, 2022

April Market Update

April market update