Tuesday, 4 March 2014


You could potentially increase your rental return just by making a few changes.

Regularly review the rent
If you are not regularly reviewing the rental market, you could possibly be charging too little rent without even realising it. It is important that you compare your rent with other similar properties on the market on a regular basis. If you find that your rent is below the market average, you may be able to raise the price.

Refresh the property
Making improvements around the property could help improve its value and as a result, could enable you to raise the rent. Some examples of low-cost DIY improvements include:
•    Coat of paint: A fresh coat of paint can add an instant improvement to the property. Stick to neutral colours in order to appeal to a larger group of potential tenants.
•    Tidy the garden: This could instantly improve the first impression appeal for your property. However, remember that a low maintenance garden may be more attractive to tenants as they will be able to keep the outside tidy without having to put in a lot of effort.

Make the property pet-friendly
This is one income booster that may not require any upfront costs (unless you decide to put in a doggy door etc). As not all landlords offer pet friendly homes, they are in high demand. This means that your vacancy rates may decrease and as you are offering something extra, you may be able to increase your rent.

But remember, if you are worried about pets causing damage, implement provisions that the tenant must agree to. For example, the tenant must pay a higher bond to cover and damage fees or they are required to have the carpets cleaned regularly.

Review your property management
Whether you are a DIY landlord or engage a property manager, you should review the management process and outcomes regularly. Some agents are now offering an all-inclusive fee that eliminates all the fluffy costs like leasing fees, property condition report fees and routine inspection fees.  Look closely at these costs and compare what you are paying against an all-inclusive fee.

There are several questions you should ask yourself about your property manager’s performance. Do they fulfil their responsibilities? Do they keep in regular contact with you? Are your tenants happy with the way your property manager handles requests and concerns? Also take a look at the performance of the property. If there has been a significant amount of vacancy periods or the property has not been maintained, it could be a sign that the property manager is not doing their job. The licensee of the real estate agency may be a mature person but is the day-to-day handling of your investment property handled by a similar mature property manager with experience in handling and ascertaining the right tenant for you?

How big is the backyard?
The rules governing granny flats in Western Australia have recently been relaxed so that ancillary accommodation built in a back garden no longer has to be rented out to a family member. This change to the Design Codes has proved to be great news for investors, heralding a whole new era of opportunity as homeowners realise they can unlock the investment potential in their own backyard. Literally.

Granny flats, provide investors with an affordable and easily managed rental property right on their doorstep. And because they’re no longer just for granny – or any other family member – the back garden can now be turned into a block for a second dwelling.

As I see them, here are the key benefits of investing in a granny flat:

* You don’t have to subdivide your block. This saves you both time and money.
* Renting out a granny flat creates an extra source of income.
* The extra living space will help your property appreciate in value.
* There are long-term rental gains to be had by using land that you already own.
* Your property becomes a more functional and flexible proposition to potential buyers, contributing to re-sale value.