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


Maintenance Tips to Reduce Vacancy

How do you make your investment property POP? Discover our 4 cost-effective tips.

Depending on your area, the Sydney rental market is competitive for landlords at the moment. This is primarily due to the impact of border restrictions on short-term rental properties as many of them have converted into long-term rentals.

But landlords can buck the trend. Discover our 4 top tips to improve and enhance the appeal of your investment property.

Tip 1:  Regular maintenance keeps outgoings low and reduces vacancies

Areas that commonly need attention are:

  • Leaking taps – both indoors and outdoors (in gardens and balconies).
  • Weeds and gardens in poor condition – rip out weeds and dead plants because pleasant outdoor living spaces provide great appeal.
  • Flaking or old paint – nothing refreshes a property like fresh paintwork as long as you choose neutral colours.
  • Signs of mould or mildew – they often signal bigger problems so invest in a proper examination of the cause. It could save you money in the long run.

Tip 2:  Can you add more storage?

People love storage and tenants want to know there will be room for all of their possessions. Shelves in the laundry, spacious wardrobes, a place to store linen and roomy pantries are often inexpensive to install while dramatically increasing the desirability of your rental property.

Tip 3:  How old are your appliances?

Air conditioners, ovens and dishwashers usually have a lifespan of 8-10 years. If the appliances in your rental property are around this age or older, they need to be replaced with modern ones and potential tenants will love it.

Tip 4:  Evaluate the condition of the kitchen and bathroom/s

In any home, the kitchen and bathroom will have the biggest impact but that doesn’t mean you need to replace them. There are simple improvements you can make that will increase appeal in a cost effective way. Examples include:

  • Replacing taps and door handles to provide instant impact.
  • In the kitchen, if the door and drawer fronts are starting to show their age, investigate your options to paint over them. There are also companies who replace just the door and drawer fronts.
  • In the bathroom, assess the condition of the:
  • Vanity
  • Mirror
  • Shower rose and taps
  • Shower curtain (if appropriate)

Updating any or all of these items will give the bathroom an immediate refresh without the huge expense of a complete bathroom renovation.

Where do you start?

If your tenant is about to leave or your investment property is currently vacant, now is a great time to obtain an independent assessment of any maintenance issues or improvements required to enhance the appeal of your property.

If you are not sure where to start, contact Brigitte from Stills Properties. She knows how to attract great tenants in even the toughest markets because she’s been managing properties for over 35 years. Not only that, she has developed close relationships with high quality tradies who understand things need to be done promptly.

If you are ready to make your rental property work harder for you, contact Brigitte on 1300 091 638 or email propertymanager@stillsproperties.com.au for a free, independent assessment.


How to Choose a Property Manager

6 Questions you should ask before choosing a property manager

When you purchase an investment property it’s tempting to ask the selling agent’s company to manage it for you. But are their property managers the right fit for you?

You may not be aware but the property sales team usually operates independently from the property management team – even if they share the same office space. So just because you had a good experience with a sales agent, doesn’t mean their property management team will be your best option.

When it comes to property management, it’s important to select your manager with care. After all, buying an investment property is a medium to long-term investment. You’ve probably spent a great deal of time and effort finding the right property. So shouldn’t you invest a bit more time finding the right property manager?

Here are the top 6 questions we think you should ask when choosing your property manager.

1. How long have you been a property manager?

While it’s great to give people a chance, your investment property is a very valuable asset and it’s important it’s managed by a knowledgeable and experienced property manager. It’s even more essential at times like this when the rental market is a little uncertain.

2. How long have you been working with this agency?

It’s an unfortunate trend that property managers tend to stay with an agency for a couple of years at most. While large agencies will have other staff to fill the void, the reality for you is, with regular staff turnover, there’s no-one who knows your property or understands your tenant. That includes your tenant’s history and the condition of your property at the commencement of the lease. That’s not a good way to manage such an important asset.

3. How many properties do you look after?

In property management circles, there is an optimum number of properties that an individual should manage. When a property manager has too many properties in their care, they simply can’t attend to tenant complaints or maintenance problems promptly. They may also struggle to identify late rental payments as quickly as you need.

When evaluating property managers, ask yourself, do you want your investment property to be managed with care or be placed in a queue before issues are dealt with?

4. How do you vet potential tenants?

Tenant selection is critically important. You want someone who will treat your investment property with care and who plans to live there for a few years. You also want tenants who can afford the rent, won’t sub-lease to others and will pay their rent on time.

It takes time to investigate and screen potential tenants. So before selecting a property manager, ask them about their tenant vetting process to ensure they do a thorough job.

5. Do you have happy landlords?

Good property managers have happy landlords. It’s that simple. Once you have refined your potential property manager options to just one or two candidates, ask to see testimonials from their landlords.

6. Do you have happy tenants?

Good property managers also look after tenants. They are responsive to tenant enquiries and they work with them to ensure they are happy because content tenants stay longer in your rental property. Happy tenants are also more likely to renew their lease and take care of your investment. When you have refined your property manager search to just one or two candidates, ask them if they have any testimonials from happy tenants.

An obvious choice

Brigitte from Stills Properties has been looking after landlords and their tenants for over 35 years. With that much experience, you can feel confident she must be doing something exceptional – and she is.

Brigitte knows every property, every landlord and every tenant. She personally conducts each property inspection and understands the complexities of NSW tenancy laws. If you would like your investment property managed by someone who really cares, contact Brigitte from Stills Properties on 1300 091 638 or email propertymanager@stillsproperties.com.au


It’s competitive out there! How do you make your investment property shine?

Like all markets, the rental property market has it’s ups and downs. The ups come about when there are more tenants than properties for rent. The downs happen because there is an abundance of properties available for rent.

With over 35 years’ experience, we’ve seen it all. There are no surprises but there are some invaluable tips we’ve picked up along the way. Here are 3 to help you lease your investment property faster.

Tip 1:  Market your property like it’s toothpaste!

In the current market, tenants can afford to be discerning. They will go from one property to another looking for the biggest bang for their buck and the property that best fits their needs. That means you need to be savvy with how you market your property – by understanding what type of tenant will be attracted to its qualities and promoting it accordingly. It also means the advertising and presentation needs to fit what they’re looking for.

Tip 2:  Inspect your investment property regularly!

Over time, wear and tear happens to every property. It’s likely you’ve experienced it in your own home and it’s the same with your rental property. If you haven’t visited your investment for 12 months or more, ask to inspect it now. You may be surprised by what you find and importantly, you’ll see how potential tenants will view it. Then visit a similar property in your area and ask yourself, how do they compare. That’s what your potential tenants are doing.

Tip 3:  Listen to your managing agent and get another opinion if it doesn’t sound right

If you trust your property manager, listen to their advice. Why? Because your property manager should be an expert in leasing properties. If he or she recommends you do some upgrades, maintenance or repairs before going to market, then you probably should. Alternatively, if you don’t trust your property manager, get another opinion and see if you receive the same advice.

Keep your eye of the prize

No-one wants an empty investment property – not you or your managing agent. So you need to ensure your property is appealing to high quality, potential tenants. That means having a well presented and maintained property that’s cleverly marketed.

At Stills Properties, we’re experts in finding the right tenant for our landlords’ investment properties. If you are currently DIYing the management of your investment property or, you’re not sure your current property manager is looking after you, get in touch by emailing propertymanager@stillsproperties.com.au or call Brigitte on 1300 091 638.


With a tenant in place, could you manage your own investment property?

When budgets are tight, it’s important to look at ways to trim expenses. For people with investment properties, it may be tempting to look at whether you really need a property manager – especially if you already have a tenant in place. But be careful. Recently, we met a landlord who is self-managing her investment property and now she’s found it’s cheaper to engage a property manager.

Here’s her story.

I wanted to trim our family expenses so I thought I would take over managing our investment property. After all, we had a tenant in place and he’d been there for a while without any problems.

A few weeks later, our tenant asked for a rental discount – not because he was in financial distress, but because he said ‘everyone else is’. The last thing we wanted was a vacant property so we agreed to his request even though it was a significant strain on our family budget.

The following week, the tenant requested changes to the conditions in the current rental agreement. We’re only part way through the lease!

I didn’t know what to do so I began searching online, trying to understand tenancy laws and how they applied in my situation. I spent hours and hours trying to figure it out. I couldn’t find an answer and meanwhile the tenant kept bugging me for changes.

I thought managing our investment property myself would help our family budget. But now I’m losing sleep, time with my kids and money.

If this happened to one of our landlords, this is what we would do:

  1. When the tenant asked for a rent reduction, we would investigate his claims. If he wasn’t experiencing financial distress, we would explain the rules around financial hardship eligibility and why he didn’t qualify.
  2. Before a lease is signed, there is some room to negotiate. Once the lease commences, both landlord and tenant are legally bound to the conditions in that lease (taking into consideration the changes implemented due to COVID-19). At Stills Properties, we take the time to educate each tenant on their rights and obligations under the tenancy agreement. Then, if a tenant asked for conditions to be changed mid-way through the lease, we would explain why that isn’t possible.

Our philosophy

Tenancy law is complicated, constantly evolving and now has some temporary changes due to COVID-19. As property managers, it’s our job to keep up with these changes so we can advise our landlords and tenants accordingly. Not only that, property management fees are usually tax deductible which means there are financial advantages in asking a professional to manage your investment property.

The rental market is challenging at the moment so now more than ever, landlords need the help and advice of their property manager.

If you are currently self-managing your investment property or simply looking for an experienced property manager, talk to Brigitte from Stills Properties on 1300 091 638 or email propertymanager@stillsproperties.com.au