As rental demand outstrips supply and low vacancy rates show little sign of improving, now is the right time to get investment property spring-ready, according to The Agency national director of property management Maria Carlino. These are her six steps to securing long-term leases at the best prices:
1. Plan ahead
Ms Carlino suggests requesting an extended lease term that expires in spring or late summer.
“These are busiest times of year for relocating and leasing,” she says.
“This way you are less likely to experience unnecessary vacancy periods.”
2. Spring clean
As the saying goes, "first impressions last," says Ms Carlino. So, a pre-spring clean is non-negotiable. Make sure windows are clean.
“Outside the home, trim gardens, mow lawns and clean gutters. Use a high-pressured hose on terraces, balconies and driveways.
“Internally, touch up paint and consider re-grouting tiles in the bathroom and kitchen.
“Bring new life to your appliances and have them professionally cleaned. Your property manager can organise these services for you.”
3. Professional photos make a difference
She emphasizes using a professional photographer to ensure the property is shown in its best light.
“If you or your agent are currently using old photos that need a refresh, get the property re-photographed,” Ms Carlino says.
She also recommends finding a photographer with a keen eye for interiors and effective lighting.
“Equally, accessing a stylist can go a very long way, and remember, once you have beautiful photos these can be re-used down the track and the cost is tax deductible.”
4. Make your online advertising attractive
Ms Carlino says your website advertising needs to be inviting, with all of the important property features highlighted.
“This is where updated and professional photos really help,” she adds.
“It is worth paying for the best possible position on the online portals; you will attract more tenants.”
5. Choose an agent with an extensive tenant register
An experienced, well-regarded agency will have an extensive register of ‘hot’ tenants looking for their new home, says Ms Carlino.
“When managed correctly, finding and marrying a new tenant to an available rental property provides better results sooner.
“When choosing an agent, have a ‘check list’ of questions that are important to you and relevant to your property. Property management service offerings can be and should be tailored to your needs.”
6. Don’t get caught up on agent fees
The cheapest agent may save you money in the short term but not in the long run.
“Many owners opt for cheaper agents with cheaper fees, only to be faced with unexpected headaches,” Ms Carlino says.
“These include things like poorly matched tenants, low rental prices and poor management of repairs and maintenance, which, over time, add substantial expense to the owner.”