Investment Property taking longer than expected to lease?

You’ve carried out some minor alterations or renovations, and you’re now wondering how long you can expect to be waiting for the right tenant?  But, in today’s market conditions, there are other, more important questions you should be asking yourself first:

  • When did you last upgrade your appliances?
  • Do you know the current vacancy rate in your location?
  • What comments, positive and negative, are viewers making about your rental property?
  • What is the feedback and advice from your managing agent?
  • Is the rental fee you’re asking for competitive with similar properties in the area?
  • Have you reviewed your advertising to ensure best possible presentation of your property?
  • How pro-active is your agent in marketing the property and finding tenants?

Answering these questions will help you understand the current state of the rental market in your specific area.

Right now we’re in a very unusual 2-speed rental property market.  House rents have quickly bounced back and are again reaching record high fees.  Unit rents, having fallen sharply, remain depressed in comparison to the returns previously enjoyed.

There are two glaringly obvious reasons for the disparity – covid and over-supply.  Around the same time that covid struck in early 2020, the unit rental market was already starting to feel the negative effects of a glut of new developments becoming available.  The combined effect of pandemic and rapid development has dramatically changed the scope of the rental market, not just in Sydney, but across Australia.

I’ve been in property management for many years and haven’t encountered a market like this since 2001 when, shortly after the Sydney Olympics, close to 20,000 properties were suddenly available for lease in the metropolitan area.

Owning a rental property can be tough, yet Stills Properties continues to successfully find good quality tenants to lease our properties.  For us it comes down to understanding the market, our clients and what your competitors are doing to lease their properties – and that’s where our years of experience pays off for you.

We bring a tried and tested professional set of tools to the rental process, combined with a lot of hard work and plenty of determination.  Finding your ideal tenant requires good exposure and marketing – things you and your managing agent need to be thinking about.

If you want your investment property rented quickly, contact Brigitte Stills at Stills Properties on 0419 426 038 – don’t waste another week waiting and wondering, call today.


Ready to be a landlord? Answer these 6 questions to find out

It can be hard to be unemotional about your investment property – especially if you have decorated it with care or worked hard to buy it.

At Stills Properties, we love well renovated properties with beautiful fixtures and fittings. In fact we always emphasis these features in our professionally taken advertising photography because it helps to secure high quality tenants.

But the bottom line is, your rental property is an investment so your primary concern should be the financial returns you receive.

To check if you are ready to be a landlord, ask yourself these 6 questions:

  1. Do you have an emotional connection to your investment property?
  2. Are you giving your agent instructions on what your tenant can or can’t do?
  3. Did you leave any personal items in the property which the tenant will use?
  4. Do you feel you need to check on the tenant to see how things are going?
  5. Have you asked your neighbours to “keep an eye” on the tenant?
  6. Have you renovated the property with your personal choices?

When seeking the perfect tenant, we look for a tenant who is suited to your investment property in every way, including:

  • Can they pay their rent?
  • Do they have good employment?
  • Do they have any financial backing or savings?
  • Do they have references and what do these references say about them?
  • Is the tenant looking for longevity or do they tend to relocate often?
  • Checking all potential tenants’ rental histories through the TICA database

What happens after we find the right tenant for your property?

Once we have selected the right tenant for your property and obtained your approval, you need to leave the rest to us. Our founder, Brigitte Stills has been managing Sydney properties for over 35 years so she knows what she’s doing.

Importantly, we don’t just hand over the keys to the tenant and let them loose on your investment property. We have very firm expectations on how we expect our tenants to maintain a property. This is explained to them in detail before handing over the keys.

We also follow up with an inspection 3 months after the tenant moves in, just to check everything is OK with them and to double check they know what’s expected.

After that, we conduct regular, routine property inspections. After each one, we provide you, the landlord, with a report. This report outlines the presentation and cleanliness of the property as well as the ongoing suitability of the tenant. So even if you are a nervous, first time landlord, you should be able to feel at ease. In addition, we recommend all landlords inspect their rental property at least once a year.

Property management you can trust

Our landlords tend to stay with us for a long time because they know we are looking out for their properties and will work hard to ensure they receive a good return on their investment.

They also appreciate that at Stills Properties, Brigitte personally inspects every property so she can identify and remedy any problems with the way the tenant is caring for your investment. Our landlords also accept that their rental property is their tenant’s home so there will be some wear and tear on the fixtures and fittings – just like in their own home.

For a property manager who will genuinely care for your investment, call 1300 091 638 or email propertymanager@stillsproperties.com.au


Property Upgrades

Preparing your home for rent or sale? We can help.

Sometimes people become landlords because they are moving interstate or to a regional area. Others become landlords on behalf of their aging parents who might be moving to supported care. In either case, it can be difficult to know where to start – especially if you suspect the property may need some updates to maximise rental returns.

But that’s actually one of the ways Stills Properties can help. In fact our founder, Brigitte Stills, became a property manager when she couldn’t find a conscientious person to manage her own home while her husband was posted overseas.

That was over 30 years ago and since then, Brigitte has dedicated her career to advising landlords on ways to reduce vacancy rates and increase rental income.

So what do you do as a first-time landlord?

 1. Acknowledge the imperfections of your home

Most properties need refreshing before they go to market. In older homes, it’s common for kitchens and bathrooms to need some improvements. You also need to consider whether painting, a garden makeover, new window furnishings and/or new flooring are required.

2. Get expert advice

Renovating a home doesn’t necessarily mean you need to demolish entire rooms and spend a fortune. Frequently, there are less expensive options and superficial changes that can greatly improve the appeal of your property. That’s where experience really counts.

At Stills Properties, we offer an advisory service to guide landlords on what needs to be done now and what may need to be done in the medium term. We’ll assist you in selecting fixtures and fittings that provide the greatest appeal for a cost effective investment. We can also give you a list of trusted and highly experienced trades who will assist you in a timely manner.

3. Is your property compliant?

Along with your property’s aesthetics, you need to ensure it’s compliant. This includes checking safety switches and smoke detectors are working as well as having an Electrical Safety Certificate. Again, we can provide you with contact details of qualified and efficient electricians, if required.

Comprehensive Project & Property Management

Some landlords find the thought of supervising the renovation of their property quite overwhelming but that’s something we do to assist our landlords. It means we can match all upgrades and renovations to the most appropriate tenant profile for your property. It also means there’s no money wasted on unnecessary improvements. Instead, you can be sure you are investing in the right areas to increase rental returns and minimise vacancy times.

So if you are a first-time landlord who’s seeking advice and a conscientious property manager, ask Brigitte for a rental appraisal of your property. Call 1300 091 638 or email propertymanager@stillsproperties.com.au


Advertising your property

Selling or renting – It’s how you advertise your property that counts!

Regardless of whether you’re a tenant or a landlord, you’re probably aware there is stiff competition to secure a good tenant. With so many apartments and units for lease, landlords need to present their property in the most positive light to stand out from the crowd – and it begins with your online advertising.

First impressions begin online!

No-one wants to waste time looking at properties that won’t fit their needs. As a result, potential tenants do a lot of online pre-screening of rental properties. This means you need to ensure your property is marketed in the best possible light.

After searching for criteria such as location, off-street parking and numbers of bedrooms and bathrooms, tenants look for things like:

  • How will my furniture fit in this property?
  • How big are the rooms?
  • Is there sufficient storage for my needs?
  • Will it be a good fit for myself and my family?

That’s why the team at Stills Properties often suggest landlords invest in professional preparation of a floorplan for their property. In a competitive market, providing this level of detail will help your property hit the top of a potential tenant’s inspection list.

In addition, property styling has now become important as it helps potential tenants visualise where their furniture will go and the lifestyle they will enjoy while living in your property. For vacant properties, Stills Properties recommends investing in “virtual styling”. This is where furniture is added to the advertising photos using specialist software tools.

Photos that sell don’t come from a phone!

Many property managers still use their smart phone to take photos of investment properties. While it may save landlords money in the short-term, it will damage their income stream in the medium-term.

Image is everything when it comes to potential tenants choosing to attend an open of your property. The more people who attend, the faster you will lease it. Therefore, having great photography is essential. In fact it’s been proven to reduce vacancy times over and over again. In turn, this increases the revenue you’ll receive from your investment property.

5 Questions you should ask your property manager

When marketing your investment property, potential tenants are attracted to ads with flair – that showcase a property in the best light. Great tenants will also evaluate whether the property suits their design style, furniture and lifestyle. These things go beyond simple search criteria so when choosing your property manager, ask them:

  1. What’s your strategy for marketing my rental property?
  2. Which advertising platforms will you use?
  3. Why do you prefer these platforms?
  4. How will you make my investment property stand out from others in my area?
  5. Who will take the photos?

Professional from start to finish

Great tenants want their rental experience to be easy. It starts with finding the right property for them and continues with the experience they have with their property manager. That’s why it’s so important to choose your property manager carefully.

At Stills Properties, we have over 35 years’ property management experience and we have always ensured our landlord clients have the shortest possibly vacancy rates. To learn more about how we would market your rental property to minimise any vacancy time, call Brigitte on 1300 091 638 or email propertymanager@stillsproperties.com.au


Selling vs Renting

Keep your eyes on your goals … The Sydney property market is improving!

Investing in property should be considered a medium to long-term investment. The market will go up and down over the years, but a well-positioned and maintained investment property should appreciate in value while your tenants help to repay your mortgage.

However, when the rental market is tough for landlords, it can be tempting to consider selling your investment property. But don’t lose sight of your goals by focusing on short-term fears.

Here are some factors to consider:

  • According to the latest figures from CoreLogic, Sydney property prices are on the rise so if you sell your rental property now, you may have trouble re-entering the market later.
  • While rents have decreased, properties located in highly sort after areas have been minimally impacted.

Quality returns require quality properties

Carefully selecting an investment property is the key to weathering the ups and downs of the property market. Already, high quality rental properties are seeing an upturn in their overall value and are attracting good quality tenants. That’s why at Stills Properties, we offer complementary, pre-purchase investment inspections to help our landlords make wise rental property investments.

“Average” investment properties may see a slight reduction in overall value and lower rents for a little longer. As a landlord, it’s important to see this in context because it’s still better to have a good tenant paying less rent. The alternative is having an empty property and searching for a new tenant who is unlikely to pay any more than the existing one.

Here’s the good news. The Sydney vacancy rate is changing and some commentators expect the market to improve within the next 12 months. So if your investment property is vacant at the moment, consider investing in upgrades. It will make your property more attractive to good quality tenants.

The secret to success … Appreciate your tenants

Everyone likes to feel appreciated and heard. It’s the same with tenants. Successful landlords attract long term tenants by:

  • Acting promptly when maintenance issues arise
  • Engaging attentive property managers who speak with tenants and listen to their concerns
  • Ensuring repairs and upgrades to the property occur on a regular basis because they increase the value and desirability of their rental property

Brigitte from Stills Properties has been a property manager for over 35 years. In that time she’s seen Sydney’s rental market go up and down. But the one constant that never changes is the care and attention she gives both landlords and tenants. That’s why she’s been in the industry for so long.

If you would like to retain or attract high quality, long-term tenants, contact Brigitte. She’s an expert in her field. Call 1300 091 638 or email propertymanager@stillsproperties.com.au