How to find a property development site

New land release off Exford Road, Melton South @ wealthruproperty.com

 

Here are some key issues when searching for a development site to build your house:

 

1. Research

It is important to determine and decide in the first instance whether your intended development is to be your principal place of residence or as an investment to either hold for the long term, on-sell upon completion or at a later date. Developing a property with the intention of owner occupier as opposed to it being an investment property has obvious tax implications.

As a general guide, I tend to look for development sites which have the following criteria:

 

i) Located in high-growth areas where there is a history of strong capital growth and is expected to continue. Areas where there is a growing population will also support demand for housing in the future.

ii) Good availability of public amenities such as convenient transport into the CBD, schools, hospitals, schools, colleges, universities and shopping.

The local council of the area you are researching will often have strategic plans and information about its future growth plans, housing requirements, infrastructure building and projections on population growth and so on. The first point of research is often the website of these councils to get a general feel and determine the economic fundamentals.

In many cases, the key is to try and identify potential within a particular site which may not be obvious at first glance. If other investors have overlooked or is not able to identify the potential, you may be able to purchase the site at a discount or in some cases, find a real bargain which will ultimately reduce your investment risk due to lower costs. Money is often made in the buying process rather than trying to achieve a high sale price at the end.

 

2. Development costs and net profit margin

Once you have identified the potential areas for your development site, you need to ensure the you do not over-capitalise on the investment cost. There are no hard and fast rules but as a general guide, the cost of the development site should be no more than 40% of the eventual market or sale value of the development. That is, if the development site costs $400,000, you need to be confident the final completed property can be sold in the open market for at least $1,000,000. This margin is to cover all other costs, the major item being the building costs, fees to council, project consultants, selling and holding costs.

The net profit margin that any proposed development should aim to achieve is approximately 15%. This 15% margin is to ensure the rewards commensurate with the risks of development because the cycle and timing of the property market determines the eventual sale price or market value of the finished product. In the event there is a downturn in the property market during the process of development, this 15% margin will act as a buffer to cushion soft prices. It is to ensure you make a decent profit in good times and at least break even or come out with a smaller profit in bad times. In this particular case above, the total development costs which include building costs, fees, selling commission and interest charges should not exceed $870,000 in order to return a net profit of approximately $130,000.

 

3. Site inspection and feasibility

A site inspection and feasibility study by an experienced town planner, land surveyor or architect can help you to minimise costly mistakes and to eliminate certain risks altogether. Often, these professionals understand the intricacies of a development site and most importantly from their experience, they are able to advise an investor about what can or can’t be reasonably done within the development site and the likelihood of your plans being approved by council.

How to subdivide land – Top strategies for success

Subdivision of land @ wealthruproperty.com

Vacant land - corner Conquest Drive & Blossom Lane, Werribee, Melbourne

Subdividing property is like buying a whole cake for $30 and then cutting the cake into 8 equal slices and selling off each slice for $5. The sum of each individual slice is greater than the whole cake.

To ensure you maximise your profits from a subdivision and/or subsequent development, you will need to calculate the projected total cost base of the newly subdivided parcel of land, its estimated sale proceeds minus capital gains tax and selling costs to determine the profit. You will also need to estimate the value of the first and original parcel of land which is now smaller as a result of the subdivision. While land appreciates and buildings depreciate, you can subdivide land in most cases without significantly affecting the resale value of the existing building which subsequently resides on a smaller parcel of land after the subdivision.

Once the land is subdivided, you will be presented with new options an example of which is as follows:

Option 1: Sell subdivided land and use proceeds to substantially reduce mortgage.

Option 2: Develop and build new dwelling/s on newly subdivided land to either rent or sell

Option 3: Renovate house on original smaller land to either enhance rental rate or perceived value when selling

Option 4: Demolish original house to build new dwelling/s

There are many permutations within each option and the challenge is to find the best option. It should be noted the option with the highest profit may not necessarily be the best if the option requires a longer time frame and involve substantially more risk.

You need to take special note and be aware of the following issues in a subdivision:

1. Restrictions, covenants and overlays

The first point of contact should be to make enquiries with your local council to ascertain if there are restrictions and covenants such as minimum size of land and overlays imposed by councils to retain the character of the landscape. You need to be aware that not every property can be subdivided.

2. Setbacks

A setback is the area between a main road and the dwelling which cannot be built upon. Depending on the streetscape, different councils will have different restrictions and requirements on the area of setback. You also need to take into consideration as to whether existing trees are allowed by council to be removed to make way for development. In many cases, council may not permit trees which have exceeded a certain size or age to be removed.

3. Crossovers

Subdivision of land will invariably require you to provide street access and this may involve the construction of a new crossover / driveway. You need to be certain the new crossover do not interfere with existing drains, trees, electrical poles / cables or cause likely objection from neighbours.

4. Easements

An easement is an area set aside for the use and benefit of a third party. Most easements are created for purposes of access to sewerage, stormwater and power and are generally constructed along side or back boundaries of a piece of land. You are generally restricted from building over an easement although discussions with council and utilities may sometimes enable you to relocate existing easements to accommodate more effective development.

5. New title and approval

It should be noted you don’t require a new title to be issued in order to sell a subdivided piece of land or house. A contract can be conditional upon the new title being issued by a certain date.

Other related posts:

How to inspect property – Top tips when buying a house

Apart from the important aspect of location, these are my top 10 things relating to the physical aspects when buying a house, new or otherwise:

  1. Termites / pests – always obtain a pest inspection report from a licensed builder and pest inspector to ensure the house is free from termites and other pests which may fester behind walls, wardrobes, floor and roof. These pests cannot be visually detected during routine inspections.
  2. Rising damp – a building report will also reveal possible rising damp which may damage walls, floorboards and the long term structural integrity of the building.
  3. Roof and building structure – Certain houses in Australia which are built before the 1980s may contain asbestos materials which can be harmful to human health. Some houses from earlier periods are also built on concrete stumps underground without adjustment joints and should there be extreme changes in temperature due to climate conditions, may cause cracking to brick or concrete walls.
  4. Concrete cancer – this is a serious problem which is caused by rusted reinforcing from within the steel. Rusting causes the steel within the concrete to expand and allows water to seep into cracks and joints. Over time, this causes concrete spalling and will affect the structural integrity of the building.
  5. Land subsidence – this is caused by a number of factors which include, poor water drainage, the type of soil and by water movements underground.
  6. Aircraft, train or traffic noise – houses which are on flight paths, close to train tracks and main roads will experience noise and will affect its saleability.
  7. Neighbouring developments – always check neighbouring houses to ascertain the type of residential dwellings such as proposed apartment blocks commercial development which may positively or negatively affect future values.
  8. Zoning of land use – check and understand the type of land use which the house is built upon. Some residential zonings may also include industrial use and this may positively or negatively affect future values.
  9. Streetscape – walk around the streets within the neighbourhood at different times of the day, talk to locals and find out how they feel about living on the particular street, whether there are any adverse aspects of living in within the local surrounds.
  10. Feng shui – this is a more personal issue and depends upon individual tastes, beliefs and values. To me, the basic principles of feng shui attempts to apply common sense to living in harmony with our environment.  If applying such principles does not cause unnecessary costs or inconvenience, I am a firm believer of adopting good feng shui to achieve harmony and balance between yin and yang.

How to get finance for your property

Australian currency

A few years back, banks and non-bank lenders were keen to finance homeowners who can demonstrate a steady income each month to repay their home loans. Since the global financial crisis, financial institutions are a lot more vigilant these days and have tighten their lending criteria.

Based on my own experience, the following areas were key to getting a home loan approved for your home or investment property:

1. Develop a relationship with your chosen bank / lender / mortgage broker.

In the course of shopping for a home loan, try to talk to a few banks / financial institutions to get a feel for competitive mortgage rates and other pertinent terms and conditions of the loan. If you decide to use a mortgage broker, he will be able to advise you on the most appropriate package for your needs.

Finding a mortgage broker is a lot easier these days with the internet and healthy competition in the home loan market. I have found that developing a relationship with my bank manager or an agent which acts exclusively for a particular bank to be a useful partnership.

Over time and a few home loans, the manager / agent understands your needs, your financial background and your ability to service your home loans. By earning commission for the life of your home loan, the manager / agent is incentivised to take care of your needs so that you don’t go to a competitor.

2. Understand your financial capablities.

Be upfront and honest with the bank with regards to your financial capabilities. You obviously do not need to tell the bank “everything” but the point here is to make the bank feel comfortable that you are able to repay the home loan in a timely and consistent manner.

Therefore, it pays to do some initial homework, number-crunching and work out a reasonable monthly budget for your family which takes into account the home loan BEFORE seeing the bank.

I always think “help yourself by helping the bank”. You can do this by working out your monthly living expenses, existing debts eg. credit card and personal loans after deducting all your superannuation and tax to get a good feel for your disposable income.

This will provide a lot of clarity to both you and the bank as to the level of your affordability. Mortgage calculators will help you work out how much you can borrow according to your earning capabilities and existing financial obligations.

3. Prepare and organise all your documentation.

The documents required to process a home loan will vary according to different financiers. As a general guide, you will need documents to verify your identity such as birth certificate, driver’s license, passport, Medicare card and credit cards. Your financier would like to see your pay slips, tax returns, bank statements, letter from employer confirming salary, statements of asset & liabilities, title deeds, records of savings etc in order to process your loan.

Organising these documents effectively provides confidence to the bank manager that you have a good understanding and are in control of your own personal finances.

Good luck and happy loan hunting!

How to find a good property manager

Good property manager

Apart from charging a reasonable rate for managing your investment properties, I value the following criteria which makes a great property manager:

1. Service and responsiveness

The time when you need your property manager most and the acid test to his capability is in finding you quality tenants. A good property manager will not accept the first or any tenant that comes along but will diligently check references to ensure your tenant is of good repute, will pay rent in full and on time and will take good care of your property over the course of the tenancy. Responsiveness in putting up advertisements, conducting inspections with tenants and having good knowledge and information about your properties is key to being able to effectively market your properties to the desired tenants. Good property managers will have intimate knowledge of rental and vacancy rates in your suburb, understand local trends and attractions and be able to advice you on your obligations as a landlord to attract and secure quality tenants.

A good property manager will also never hand out keys to tenants for them to do inspections unattended. Yes, believe me that some property managers do just that and if and when that occurs, it’s time to look for a new manager.

Property managers are usually a part of a real estate agency whose core business is in buying and selling properties for their clients and earning good commission from that process. Therefore, the property management aspect of a real estate agency is usually a support function or a secondary priority business and can sometimes be viewed as being “less glamorous” by certain agencies.  One way to ascertain good property managers is whether there is a separate function within the real estate agency with staff specifically dedicated to taking care of rental properties and maintenance.

Good property managers also have their preferred listing of plumbers, electricians, locksmiths and other important tradesmen with proven and tested quality workmanship to call upon in the event your properties are in need of repair or maintenance. This will ensure repair and maintenance work on your properties will be carried out effectively and at competitive prices.

2. Attention to detail and documentation

Keeping proper records such as repair bills, utilities, providing detailed monthly statements, yearly summaries for tax purposes are all part of a good property manger’s traits in keeping a client informed and having your properties under good care.

Periodic inspections with updated photos  on the state of repair of your investment properties are part of the service accorded by some of the better property managers.

3.  Website

A good indication of a good property manager is the quality of his website. Needless to say that you should not even bother with property managers who do not have a website. Check  your property manager’s website to ascertain if he has an objective or mission for customer / landlord care, staff who are dedicated to property management, the number and type of properties for lease, testimonials etc.

4. Tenant care

A good property manager not only has your interest as the landlord at heart but will also attempt to understand and appreciate your tenant’s reasonable needs and requirements. As a landlord, you should also appreciate that any reasonable request by a tenant should be considered because a happy tenant as opposed to a disgruntled one will also have your property at heart. This will ultimately develop into a win-win situation for both landlord and tenant over the long run and minimise tenant turnover which costs more time and money than keeping a good tenant happy.

Overall, a good property manager will ensure your properties are always tenanted, rent monies paid on time by the tenants and deposited into your bank account in a timely manner, repairs and maintenance carried out effectively and most importantly, keep good records on your behalf and keep your tenants happy for a mutually beneficial relationship.

How to buy an apartment ~ 5 Success Principles

Melbourne skyline and Yarra river

In my experience of buying properties, I believe in the following 5 most important principles:

1. Location

I am cautious of the cliché “Location, location, location”. Sure, it is to emphasise the importance of location for a particular property. However, location means different things to different people and it depends on whether someone is buying the property as an investment or as an owner-occupier. Some prefer the hustle-bustle of city living and can put up with increased human traffic and noise, yet others may prefer a more leafy surrounding whilst sacrificing distance to the CBD. In general terms, I believe a strategic location should cover the following aspects as far as possible:

a) Close proximity to public transport and CBD ~ public transport adds appeal as it gives the owner or tenant an alternative to private transport.

b) Close proximity to good schools / learning institutions. For most students and families, this is a big attraction due to convenience and prestige.

c) Local attractions such as shopping malls, parks, cafes & restaurants, beaches and other significant local amenities add to the lifestyle and allure of the location.

d) Minimal traffic noise ~ it is generally better to avoid being located on major streets and highways, toll-roads, train lines and flight paths to minimise traffic noise but close enough for easy access by car and public transport. Remember, real estate agents like to use words like “whisper quiet street”, “cul-de-sac” to promote a location which is peaceful and quiet and this is a legitimate appeal to most buyers.

e) General surrounds ~  a leafy, tree-lined street and lower population density location is generally better than one which is over-crowded with apartment blocks, commercial and industrial facilities although in some cases, the latter may also have good investment outcomes in the long term.

Obviously the above may be less applicable for investments such as a holiday lodge by the ski fields, an ocean-front property or other higher end properties and apartments.

2. Floor plan

The most important aspects of floor plan should include the following:

a) Floor plan design should promote privacy for bedrooms, efficient use of floor space and modern open plan living for family living and entertaining.

b) Courtyards, patios and balconies should be of good size and configuration for outdoor living and entertaining.

c) Good storage facilities such as wardrobes, bathroom vanities, kitchen cabinets, laundry and utilities.

d) Aspect, views and outlook ~ In Australia and the southern hemisphere, one of the most favoured aspect of a property is the north and north-east aspect as it provides ample natural light. This is important as it gives the apartment its distinctive “feel”. Bright and sunny aspects, district, water and uninterrupted views are preferred. Be sure that existing views will not be built over and blocked by future development as this is a sure factor which will decrease the value of your investment.

e) One important factor which buyers often overlook is ceiling height. The minimum ceiling height required for apartments in New South Wales is 2.45m. An apartment with good ceiling height should be approximately 2.7m although ceiling heights may vary from different living areas such as balconies, kitchen and bathrooms. High ceiling and lofts give a sense of space and openness.

Note: In New South Wales, a bedroom must have at least a window to be deemed as such.

3. Finishes and inclusions

These items refer to the quality of kitchen appliances, gas cooking and heating facilities, quality shelving and cabinets, tapware and bathroom fittings, quality carpets, paintwork, door panels, handles and skirtings, glass doors, powder-coated panelling, switches, modern lighting, reverse-cycle air-conditioning, bathroom and kitchen wall and floor tiles, wall panelling.

4. Body corporate / maintenance

The effectiveness of the Body corporate of an apartment development will determine the strata levies, both the sinking fund and the administration levy that you will be liable to pay. Personal preference will dictate whether you will be willing to pay for conveniences such as swimming pool, gymnasium, spa and sauna, concierge, on-site security guards and other facilities. Building with poor management and maintenance will deteriorate more rapidly, thus limiting your investment up-side.

It is also good to know the ratio of owner-occupiers and investors in a particular apartment block. Owners tend take better care of their properties and a high level of owner-occupiers is generally better than a building which is majority occupied by tenants.

The profile of occupants is also an important factor, ie whether they are professionals, retirees, students or migrants will have an impact on the marketability and appeal of your apartment.

5. Research

This is one of the most important pieces of homework that you need to do. Before you dive into the buying process, do look at as many houses and/or apartments in as many locations as possible. One of my starting point for research is to obviously look at what is on the current property market. In Australia, domain.com.au and realestate.com.au will give you a national account of properties for sale or rent.

Other useful information includes property reports, property investment magazines such as Your Investment Property which provide commentary, advice and analysis on property investment.

Another tool which I find useful is to participate in property forums and attend property seminars. Always keep an open mind about the information you have gathered as there may be no right or wrong answers for a host of issues as your investment goals and criteria may be different from other people.

Talk to friends, experts, real estate agents and people who live in the neighbourhood that you are considering and gather as much information as possible. This way, you are able to compare and contrast between the good, bad, acceptable and the down-right avoid at all cost.

Good luck and happy hunting!

How to buy off-the-plan – 5 top strategies

IMG_0066

Penthouse apartment, Rhodes, Sydney

Buying a home can be an emotional experience for some. However, the first thing I tell most people (especially my wife!) when buying a property, regardless of whether as an owner-occupier or an investor, is to leave the emotions out of the process. Lets face the facts, whether you buy to live-in or to invest, it is ultimately an investment which is the single biggest commitment for most people, and if not done properly, it may cost them their livelihoods.

Mirvac's Aldina at Rhodes amidst impending thunderstorm

Mirvac's Aldina at Rhodes, Sydney

Buying property off the plan means you are buying a property before it has been built. Most large apartment developments are being sold in this manner today. One of the most attractive advantages of buying off the plan is that you are buying a property in the future at today’s prices. In a strong and bullish property market, this may result in large capital gains before you even move in.

I bought 2 properties off-the-plan in April and June 2009 here in Sydney Australia. One is due for completion before Christmas of 2009 and the other is due July 2010. Despite a soft property market here in Sydney until recently, I am happy to note that prices in these 2 developments which I bought into has increased by about 10% – 15% since I went in. I estimate that I have made a paper profit of approximately A$60,000 since exchanging contracts on these 2 properties just a few months ago. Although I do not plan to live in these 2 properties, I believe the following 5 strategies are key when buying off-the-plan:

1. Reputation of developer ~ This is one of the first things to be cautious and look out for. There are many “fly-by-night” developers who will disappear with your hard-earned deposit, never to be seen again! Do your research and go with those who have a track record of building quality developments. Some of Australia’s best developers are listed on the Australian Stock Exchange and this is credibility plus! Of course, they may also be charging a premium based on their reputation so you need to do your homework and make sure you are not overpaying. Check out their previous developments, finishings used and their locations. You can usually read about them and find out if previous customers are happy with their purchases.

2. Research your chosen suburb or location ~ Ask yourself why you would want to live in this location or what you prospective tenant will see as an attraction. Some typical attractions will include convenience to shopping and public transport and amenities, school and hospitals and local attractions such as beaches and parks. Always compare the price of similar apartments with quality finishes and understand what is the average suburb price to ensure you are not paying a premium or over-capitalising on your investment.

3. Research on the development and your particular apartment ~ Ask yourself what are the most attractive features of your chosen apartment and why would your prospective tenant want to rent your unit? Some typical attractions will include quality finishings and appliances, good layout and style, water views or great aspects for entertaining, access to facilities such as pool, sauna, gym, security, visitors’ parking and conveniences. However, you need to be cautious that these facilities come with added charges such as your strata levies and administrative expenses. These are usually estimates during the purchasing stage and may also vary depending on the final outcome of the development.
4. Negotiate and bargain ~ The old adage “if you don’t ask, you don’t get” is all but very true here. The developer is usually keen to increase sales in order to secure bridging finance from their bankers to fund the development. Once you have decided to take the plunge, get in early so that you have a greater choice of apartments with good floor plans, views, interior style and the like. Thereafter, don’t be shy to negotiate and bargain for “extras” such as appliances, finishings and delayed settlement. As an example, I managed to negotiate only a A$10,000 deposit for one of my properties with delayed settlement, additional air-conditioning etc. With another, I managed to get an extra car space at a substantially reduced price which enhances the property should I decide to sell in future. This is in addition to huge savings in stamp duty and taxes. Some developments also come with rental guarantees and one of my investments have benefited from this for the last 2 years where you save the trouble from looking for a tenant. Be sure this condition is not compensated by a premium on the selling price though.
5. Get a good lawyer / conveyancer ~ Here, I mean a “good lawyer” and not “a friend who happens to be a lawyer”. A good lawyer who is experienced in similar contracts will help you to go through the “fine print” to ensure you are protected and have recourse in the event of default by the developer. A good lawyer will also be able to assist in the negotiation process, explain the implication of by-laws and regulations and how that may affect your investment and occupation of the apartment.

How to buy a good property ~ 5 Success Principles

Gold Coast, Australia

In buying properties, particularly apartments, I believe the decision making process will be balanced and sound if 5 important principles are covered:

1. Location

I hate the cliché “Location, location, location”. Sure, it is to emphasise the importance of location for a particular property. However, location means different things to different people and it depends on whether someone is buying the property as an investment or as an owner-occupier. Some prefer the hustle-bustle of city living and can put up with increased human traffic and noise, yet others may prefer a more leafy surrounding whilst sacrificing distance to the CBD. In general terms, I believe a strategic location should cover the following aspects as far as possible:

a) Close proximity to public transport and CBD ~ public transport adds appeal as it gives the owner or tenant an alternative to private transport.

b) Close proximity to good schools / learning institutions. For most students and families, this is a big attraction due to convenience and prestige.

c) Local attractions such as shopping malls, parks, cafes & restaurants, beaches and other significant local amenities add to the lifestyle and allure of the location.

d) Minimal traffic noise ~ it is generally better to avoid being located on major streets and highways, toll-roads, train lines and flight paths to minimise traffic noise but close enough for easy access by car and public transport. Remember, real estate agents like to use words like “whisper quiet street”, “cul-de-sac” to promote a location which is peaceful and quiet and this is a legitimate appeal to most buyers.

e) General surrounds ~  a leafy, tree-lined street and lower population density location is generally better than one which is over-crowded with apartment blocks, commercial and industrial facilities although in some cases, the latter may also have good investment outcomes in the long term.

Obviously the above may be less applicable for investments such as a holiday lodge by the ski fields, an ocean-front property or other higher end properties and apartments.

2. Floor plan

The most important aspects of floor plan should include the following:

a) Floor plan design should promote privacy for bedrooms, efficient use of floor space and modern open plan living for family living and entertaining.

b) Courtyards, patios and balconies should be of good size and configuration for outdoor living and entertaining.

c) Good storage facilities such as wardrobes, bathroom vanities, kitchen cabinets, laundry and utilities.

d) Aspect, views and outlook ~ In Australia and the southern hemisphere, one of the most favoured aspect of a property is the north and north-east aspect as it provides ample natural light. This is important as it gives the apartment its distinctive “feel”. Bright and sunny aspects, district, water and uninterrupted views are preferred. Be sure that existing views will not be built over and blocked by future development as this is a sure factor which will decrease the value of your investment.

e) One important factor which buyers often overlook is ceiling height. The minimum ceiling height required for apartments in New South Wales is 2.45m. An apartment with good ceiling height should be approximately 2.7m although ceiling heights may vary from different living areas such as balconies, kitchen and bathrooms. High ceiling and lofts give a sense of space and openness.

Note: In New South Wales, a bedroom must have at least a window to be deemed as such.

3. Finishes and inclusions

These items refer to the quality of kitchen appliances, gas cooking and heating facilities, quality shelving and cabinets, tapware and bathroom fittings, quality carpets, paintwork, door panels, handles and skirtings, glass doors, powder-coated panelling, switches, modern lighting, reverse-cycle air-conditioning, bathroom and kitchen wall and floor tiles, wall panelling.

4. Body corporate / maintenance

The effectiveness of the Body corporate of an apartment development will determine the strata levies, both the sinking fund and the administration levy that you will be liable to pay. Personal preference will dictate whether you will be willing to pay for conveniences such as swimming pool, gymnasium, spa and sauna, concierge, on-site security guards and other facilities. Building with poor management and maintenance will deteriorate more rapidly, thus limiting your investment up-side.

It is also good to know the ratio of owner-occupiers and investors in a particular apartment block. Owners tend take better care of their properties and a high level of owner-occupiers is generally better than a building which is majority occupied by tenants.

The profile of occupants is also an important factor, ie whether they are professionals, retirees, students or migrants will have an impact on the marketability and appeal of your apartment.

5. Research

This is one of the most important piece of homework that you need to do. Before you dive into the buying process, do look at as many houses and/or apartments in as many locations as possible. Talk to friends, experts and people who live in the neighbourhood that you are considering and gather as much information as possible. This way, you are able to compare and contrast between the good, bad, acceptable, tolerable to the down-right unacceptable. A good comparative measure is price and price per square metre, which is obviously determined by location and quality.

How to justify rent increase – simple tips


One of many simple ways to justify charging higher rent is Kitchen mixer tap replacing dual hot-cold tapsto identify small improvements which will make a big difference to your tenant’s comfort. Recently, I decided to upgrade the tapware, toilets, cooktop, rangehood and dishwasher in my lower North shore apartment which were the originals from 25 years ago.

The tapware consists of the older dual hot-cold system and were dated and leaky. The toilets had plastic cisterns which were not functioning properly while the kitchen equipment were less than effective having endured its fair share of battering through the years. Bathroom mixer tap replacing dual hot-cold tapsThe apartment was tenanted within a day of advertising and the new tenants were more than happy to pay a small premium for the brand new upgrades.

These simple upgrades which were due anyway significantly improved the comfort of my tenants and now all parties are happy.Brand new ceramic toilet & cisternNew RangehoodNew cooktop and dishwasher


How to maintain happy tenants



One of my favourite properties in my portfolio is a 1 bedroom courtyard unit in Rhodes. It has a total area of 85sqm which includes a good size, north facing courtyard of 20sqm. The compelling strengths of this property are as follows:

Guiding Principle

Compelling strengths:

1 bedroom apartment at Sienna by the bay, 2 – 8 Marquet street, Rhodes

New or near new Building completed in February 2008.
Tenant’s amenitiesIMG_0017 The apartment is set within a security compound with a large 20sqm, north-facing courtyard which extends onto the immaculately maintained garden and common grounds, giving an added sense of space and serenity.
Access to public transport 150m to Rhodes train station, buses to CBD.
Local attraction and lifestyleRhodes shopping centre by night Walking distance to Rhodes shopping centre, Rhodes business park, walking and cycling track along the water foreshore to Bicentennial Park, Homebush Bay and Olympic centre.Cycling path, Rhodes water foreshore

Within walking distance to the Rhodes business park which now includes large organisations like Unysis, Australand, Hewlett Packard, Lion Nathan, Alcatel-Lucent, Nestle.

Attractive floor plan Fairly large with a total of 85sqm of living space.

The toilet is a separate powder room with its own basin. This is the only 1 bedroom unit in the Sienna development of over 300 units with this distinguishing feature where the toilet is separate from the bathroom.

Common grounds, Sienna by the Bay

This unit has been tenanted since day 1 and is currently rented for $450 per week.

Rental rates have increased for Rhodes apartments over the last couple of years. 1 and 2 bedroom units are asking around $400 – $475 per week and $520 – $600 per week respectively. This could be fuelled by having the convenience of the Rhodes shopping centre and train station within such close proximity.

Over the past 18 months, new developments have come on-stream and these include the following:

1. Tandara development – 1, 2 and 3 bedders by Mirvac.

2. VQ development – 256 units of 1,2 and 3 bedders developed by BilBerger with an average price of approximately $580k.

3. Peninsula development – 1, 2 and 3 bedders by Meriton

For investors who are keen to consider apartments in Rhodes, I have conducted some research on this suburb for your benefit. Please feel free to give me your feedback and comments!

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