Negotiate Your Property Contract

Understanding and negotiating suitable terms of contract is an important step in the purchase process when buying property.

Buyers should be aware of all inclusions, any easements or covenants effecting the property and proposed settlement or completion dates. Ensuring that the contract accurately reflects the purchaser, seller and defines the correct property is of vital importance and will eliminate the need for costly changes to the agreement at a later date.
It may sound silly but entering a contract that contains a simple error such us incorrect spelling of name – where it doesn’t match other identification documents such as driver’s licenses or birth certificates, can in fact create undue stress and issues down the track.
Similarly, where a contract doesn’t specify a complete list of inclusions problems can occur upon settlement when items that the purchaser assumed were included are in fact no longer with the property.
Your solicitor or conveyancer should undertake thorough searches on your proposed purchase and make sure that you can “perform” within the terms of the contract.

negotiate your contract

Your legal representative should ensure the following:
 Any land tax adjustments
 That completion dates are suitable to the purchaser, particularly if they are selling another property in order to buy
 Inclusions match the buyer’s expectations
 Any release of deposit clauses are accurate and workable
 Any development consents where the building has undertaken recent additions
 Drainage and sewerage diagrams
 A survey of the building ensuring that it does not encroach an adjoining allotment
 Confirmation of vacant possession if required.

Your legal representative will be well versed with the contract and will understand all the clauses that affect your purchase. You need to liaise with them in terms of the inclusions, your expectations and suitable settlement time.  The team at R&W Seaforth/Balgowlah are here to help.  If you have any property related questions we are happy to guide you through them & compile relevant information that will help you make the best decision for your situation. Just give us a call on 9948 7080.

Record Keeping for Savvy Property Investors

The importance of accurate record keeping cannot be overestimated when dealing with investment property. Due to the complexity of taxation laws in relation to property investment it is advisable to update records regularly. A successful investor is an informed one and ongoing education is invaluable.

Property investors should create a habit of analysing their investment at least quarterly. That would include reviewing their records of income, expense and repairs or improvements.
The ATO have the power to ask questions in relation to your investment property and your income. It is wise to ensure that all documentation is accurate and available – after all, who really wants an audit?

First time property investors need to know the types of documentation that need to be maintained. The very first thing that an investor should acquire is a depreciation schedule from a quantity surveyor. This is a document that justifies claims in relation to depreciation and improvements to the property.

Records that savvy property investors maintain include:
1. Depreciation schedule
2. Loan documents and statements detailing interest payments
3. Records of solicitor and accountant fees and statements
4. Monthly rental statements from agent
5. Copies of receipts for expenses such as rates, cleaning, agent’s fees
6. Bank statements
7. Records in relation to any costs of improvements
8. Records in relation to any expenses

How Should I Keep Track of My Records?

You should keep a digital copy (computer) and a hard copy (paper) of all of your records.

You will want to use a spreadsheet to keep track of your income and expenses. You should do this as soon as the income comes in or the expense occurs. You will want to include as much detailed information as possible: the date, time, who it was paid to or who paid you, nature of the income or expense, and the amount.

Separate records for each property, for each type of expense, and for separate types of income. The point is to record as much information as you can at the time of the transaction, so that you can easily create financial reports in the future.

You should always back them up on cd, on an external hard drive and even with a paper copy. They should be printed out at the end of every month and/or the end of the year.

Maintaining accurate records and filing them correctly can save you a lot of grief at a later point in time.  The team at R&W Seaforth/Balgowlah have helped so many clients get into the investment property market & guide them through the process of building a successful property portfolio. If you are considering purchasing an investment property contact our winning team on 9948 7080.

Why Invest in Property?

Investors who take a long-term view to property investment can achieve strong returns regardless of property market cycles. Wise investors should always take a long-term strategy in order to minimise risk and enhance their investment strategy.
Whilst bricks and mortar has been struggling to offer the best returns over the last few years, there are still very good reasons as to why now is a good time to buy.
Property investment should be a medium to long-term strategy. Historically, there have been few dips in housing values and over the long haul, prices have always tracked higher.
When we enter periods of slower growth, opportunities for investors do increase.
Leveraging plays an important part in property investment. There are few opportunities where a financier will permit borrowings of 80%, and the investor providing the 20% reaps 100% of the gains.
As a result, property wealth gains over the long-term outstrip share investments and with lower risks.
One of the most appealing facts about property investment is that it provides the opportunity to create an income producing asset that also appreciates in value. Property is also rare as you & your property advisors can directly enhance its value.

investing graph

Why invest in Property?

Consistent capital growth, it is the most forgiving investment asset over time

You can buy it with someone else’s money

Security, You are in control of decisions & rental returns

An income that grows, You can add value.

Tax benefits

Anyone can do it, More millionaires have been created through property than any other form of investment.

If you are considering property as an investment strategy please give the team at R&W Seaforth/Balgowlah a call on 9948 7080 & we will formulate a winning strategy for you too.

Slowing Down Can Often Mean The Best Price For Your Home

Many people make the decision to sell their home, then suddenly realise the magnitude of putting their home on the market. By slowing the process down and ensuring that their home & mindset are ready for the market place, a seller can fetch a substantially greater price for their property. At R&W Seaforth/Balgowlah, we work with clients to formulate a strategy that’s right for them.  We’ve been working with some of our clients for months to prepare them for the right time to come to the market early next year.  Others have wanted the sale before Christmas, the thing they all have in common is they’ve sort expert advice & a plan has been made.

slow down

Tips for getting the best price for your home:
 Presentation – make sure your home is presented, ready to sell. Make sure you’re well aware of what the market is looking for & highlight those most desirable features.
 Remove clutter & give the feeling of open spaces.
 Make repairs and complete those D.Y.I. projects. This is going to be of enormous advantage when it comes to negotiations.
 Lawns and gardens neat, trimmed and fresh.
 Use natural light to enhance the size of your rooms. The correct placement of furniture can transform the feel & use of an area.
 Take your time and plan your move. This means, allowing time to get all the “odd jobs” completed before you place your home on the market.
 Minimise children’s toys and clutter.
 Minimise furnishings. You may love your old lazy-boy chair, yet prospective buyers mightn’t.
 Remove oil and grease from drive ways and paths.
 No dripping taps or shower heads.
 No unpleasant odours.
 Clean the oven, grill and cook top.
 Remove seldom used kitchen appliances.

Selling your property can be very competitive. In effect it is your home competing against other properties on the market. That being the case, you should ensure that your home is at its peak presentation at all times. The team at R&W Seaforth/Balgowlah make these preparations easy with our team of consultants, stylists & handymen all at the ready to be of service to you.
For the right advice on what’s happening in the local real estate market & the confidence to move forward with a plan that is designed for you, give the team at R&W Seaforth/Balgowlah a call on 9948 7080


Quality Exposure Will Lead to Your Homes Dream Price

Selling your property can be a nerve wracking time. The team at R&W Seaforth/Balgowlah have strategies to make this transition as smooth as possible. This article outlines the importance of quality advertising, promotion & exposure to the correctly targeted market, This is just one of the components in achieving your dream result.

Everybody is after their “dream price” and there are a number of important factors in need of consideration in order to achieve your dream price. Aside from selecting your agent, the decision on what marketing campaign will obtain the best result is one of the most important decisions a seller undertakes prior to placing their property on the market.
It makes sense that the more people that see your property advertised should lead to more viewings and hopefully more interested parties therefore creating competition and the best price. So, how do we choose a marketing campaign that is appropriate & effective for our home?

A combination of basic research, common sense & the right guidance can assist sellers in selecting a marketing plan. It’s all about getting the right buyers to interact with your property & stimulating their senses.

The internet has become one of the leading sources for buyer enquiry since its coming of age.
Ask your prospective agent what websites your property will be advertised on and also what style of package on each website. For example, some sites offer premium packages whereby your property will appear towards the top of the search, obviously these packages generate more hits. Does your property need to be advertised internationally or targeted towards specific countries who’s buyers have tastes that will complement your property?
Also enquire as to the number of hits generated on the agent’s personal website on a monthly basis. The more people that see your property on the internet, the greater the opportunity of creating competition between buyers. That’s great if an agent has a lot of hits, but are they qualified hits? If your agent specialises in units they’ll have plenty of buyers, but not the right buyer who is looking for a prestige family home.

A quality sign board will also be a source of quality enquiry. It makes sense that enquiries generated from the sign board already are familiar with the location, neighbourhood and are interested in the property judging from outside appearances. Sign boards are an important part of real estate marketing. Enquiries generated by sign boards are generally of a higher quality than many other forms of advertising. Even if you live in a quiet street, we recommend a signboard as it makes sense that those buyers wanting to live in quiet streets are looking in them for their future home.

Newspaper Display Adverts
Whilst newspaper display advertising can be expensive at times, when you compare your outlay to your hopeful returns it is soon warranted. For example, display advertising “hits the masses.” It can attract more interested parties, more competition and if your property is being auctioned, more bidders. Often an extra 1 or 2 bids can add many thousands of dollars to your sale price. For further information about our contacts at Domain, Real, The Manly Daily, News Local etc. please give the team a call.

Quality Brochures & Window Displays
If your agent is preparing a brochure for your property ensure that is of quality. Professional photography, quality copywriting and clear details are all important factors. The team at R&W Seaforth/Balgowlah offer a range of options for this to suit all budgets.
Whilst brochures don’t always attract more inspections, they do assist interested parties remember your property and prepare them for their level of interest and can assist in determining the size of their offer or bid.

The Extras

There are many more promotions that we offer. If you want to know more about what the right mix of advertising is for your property & how we go about achieving the dream price for so many of our vendors, give the team at R&W Seaforth/Balgowlah a call on 9948 7080.


What’s Happening With The Seaforth TAFE site?

THE former Seaforth TAFE building is poised to become a 76-bed aged care facility after healthcare provider Bupa and Manly Council confirmed they were close to an agreement.

Seaforth Plaza

The council has redeveloped what it calls Seaforth Creative and Community Hub, after it purchased the disused site from the State Government for $4.46 million last year.

Bupa Care Services is likely to be the anchor tenant, and finance director David Warren confirmed the discussions.

“Bupa Care Services is excited about the opportunity to partner with Manly Council on the redevelopment of the old Seaforth TAFE site,” he said.

“The proposed 76-bed care home in Seaforth will be state-of-the-art and one of the first in Australia to have its own GP dedicated to the care of our residents.

“Bupa proposes to include community health services, complementing the community facilities Manly Council is planning for other parts of the site.”

Manly Council general manager Henry Wong said the council would provide a community hub and meeting spaces, including a reading room. There will also be a collaborative workspace for technology innovation.

The building has been unoccupied since 1999.

This article was published in the Manly Daily by Steven Deare on the 15th of November 2013.  For further information on what is happening in the community of Seaforth, Clontarf & the Balgowlah Areas give the team at R&W Seaforth/Balgowlah a call on 9948 7080.


Buying & Selling A Home Before Christmas

The team at R&W Seaforth/Balgowlah have helped Christmas come early for many of our vendors & this year has been no exception.
With Christmas around the corner many property hunters decide to wait until the New Year. Of course the only problem with that theory is that so too does every other prospective purchaser.
Buying before Christmas can be advantageous. The market has less competition as even the buyers are winding down & on “holidays”. This can provide you with additional negotiating power if you position yourself correctly.
Each Christmas period we experience a lot of people procrastinating their purchasing decisions however, most agents experience a buyer or two that choose to proceed prior to the festive season and generally negotiate themselves a great buy.

Christmas home buyers

Why is Christmas so attractive?

  • People are in good moods, celebrating, opening presents, enjoying family.
  • People are more inclined to be generous, even if it means coming down on the price, or making a better offer. “Hey, it’s Christmas,  just sign it.”
  • Few buyers are out looking at homes during Christmas week, so the chance of multiple offers or any competition whatsoever is very low.
  • If a person has their home on the market over Christmas, that person is definitely serious about negotiating and selling that home. You can bet on it. Better yet, why not write an offer?

It’s a numbers game, the more people you get in the door, the better chance of selling your home. And it only takes one buyer. As far as a seller, the inventory is lower right now and people are getting nervous and either renting their homes or just taking them off the market.

Some of the buyers we see:

Families often come back to where they grew up during the holiday season and if they’re thinking of making a move back, now is the time they will be looking.

Business executives finishing their contracts are being transferred to the next job location & will need to set up there.

Those whop want to start the year fresh with a new perspective & new house.

Of course, there are disadvantages with having your property on the market.  That’s why you need expert property advise to help you formulate the right strategy for your property & situation. If you’re thinking of buying or selling before Christmas call the team on 9948 7080.  Otherwise we are happy to help you with a different strategy for buying & selling in the new year.


How To Fetch The Dream Price For Your Home

Obtaining a good price for your home is everybody’s goal when selling. However, obtaining your dream price is even more appealing. The question is: Is your home ready to fetch your dream price?
Preparing your home for sale is so important when seeking your dream price. AT R&W Seaforth/Balgowlah, we work with clients to help prepare their home so it appeals to the largest possible market & when we speak with buyers, we have them imagine what it would be like to live in your home.

Tips for preparing your home for a dream price include:

1. Finish all DIY projects. Before placing your home on the market make sure all your handyman projects are complete.
2. Lawns and gardens. Make sure your lawns and gardens present well. Trim overgrown shrubs and plants, repair any worn lawns, keep your garden hoses stored out of sight.
3. Driveway and entrance. First impressions count, ensure your driveway and paths are clean (free of oil stains, etc).
4. Furnish to sell. Minimise your furnishings and consider hiring appropriate furnishings from a specialist company.
5. De-clutter. Remove any clutter, unused toys, kitchen appliances, clothing, etc.
6. Bright and breezy. Open your home up. Lots of natural light enhances the emotional appeal of your home.

fetch your dream price

Tips on Understanding Your Room Space

Do you want to design your own room but you don’t know your ‘asymmetrical’ from your ‘equilibrium’? It’s O.K, design is simpler than you think! Designing your room is just a matter of understanding relationships in space between objects, colours and light.

1. Scale and proportion. Scale is the size of an object compared to everything else like, for instance, YOU. The scale of a chair may be perfect for you, but totally wrong for your child and vice-versa. Proportion is the relationship of one piece in your room to another based on its size. Massive leather furniture, for instance, is out of proportion to a petite French occasional chair.

2. Line. Line defines the physical space of your room. There are different types of line and each gives a different feel when emphasized.

Vertical. Vertical lines in a room give a formal, strong and dignified feeling. Think of the feeling of columns!

Horizontal. Horizontal lines give a room a feeling of relaxation or casualness. Think of beds and sofas!

Diagonal. Diagonal lines give a feeling of motion, change or transition. Think rocker!

Curved. Curved lines bring a softness and sensuality to a room. Think cabriole legs and carved French furniture!

3. Balance. Balance in a room is equal weight between objects on either side of the room. There are two types of balance:

Symmetrical. Symmetrical designs mirror one side on the opposite side. This can be a very formal design style.

Asymmetrical. Asymmetrical design is more informal. In this design style visual weight is important. For instance, a large object on one side is balanced by several small objects on the other. It is not a mirror image, but it “feels” like balance.

4. Rhythm. Rhythm in room design is the repetition of patterns, colour, or line – just like rhythm in music.

Now you understand the relationship between objects and spaces in your room. So go forth, design & add value! Conversely you can contact the team at R&W Seaforth/Balgowlah, we have a huge amount of experience in helping clients fetch their dream price for their home, also we  have an abundant supply of interior designers & stylists, display furniture experts & trades people. So give us a call on 9948 7080. We are here to help you achieve your property goals.


How To Avoid Property Investment Mistakes

Whether you are considering purchasing an investment property or already have your portfolio underway it is wise to avoid common mistakes.

The team at R&W Seaforth/Balgowlah have many years experience helping clients avoid these pitfalls by educating them on what to look out for, so they too can grow their wealth through property. Property is a great long-term investment. It is reasonably safe, easy to manage and tangible, all these factors contribute to Australians’ love of property.

success v failure

Top 10 common mistakes to avoid are:

1. Making Purchasing Decisions Emotionally – purchasing for investment purposes is logical. Often, purchasers make emotional decisions rather than logical ones. Rental returns, maintenance, taxation advantages are all factors with greater importance than the colour of the kitchen bench-top when it comes to property investment.
2. Paying Too Much For a Property – it is important to research and know your market place. Purchasing at the right price is the key. Obtain an independent valuation & spend plenty of time knowing what values are like in the area you’re looking.
3. Not Thinking Long-Term – property is a long-term investment. Don’t enter into this marketplace hoping for a large gain in a short time – it rarely occurs. Think of your investment as a 7- 10 years project.
4. Failure To Employ Quality Advisors – investors should employ a solicitor or conveyance as well as an accountant. When selecting your advisor be sure that they have a thorough understanding of property investment and taxation law. Also, be aware that many financial advisors and/or accountants can have an interest in advising on certain products. Your accountant should be making you aware of taxation implications, not pushing you towards other property funds or investments.
5. Don’t Chase Hot Spots – today’s “hot spot” generally will turn cold. By the time you hear of it the hot spot is either already cold or on its way. Property in Australia is safe. Purchase in an area you feel comfortable with and look long-term.
6. Failure To Review – your investment should be reviewed quarterly. Take time to ascertain your property’s value, rental returns, mortgage status, equity levels, insurances and taxation ramifications. Treat it as a business.
7. Obtaining The Wrong Finance – make sure that you have finance suitable for your situation. Generally interest only loans work well with most property investors particularly if there is an existing mortgage on the family home. Also, be aware that “great deals” can come your way however, you must be ready to act. Ensure you have your financing options available.
8. Failure To Adequately Insure – insure your property adequately. Factor in tenancy insurance as well as building insurance. You can obtain packs that will cover carpets, fixtures and fittings………….. Shop around.
9. Ignore Research – make sure you research your market place, variations in taxation law and finance options. You must do your homework on every transaction so you can make the right choice.
10. Poor Cash Management – make sure that you budget for a vacancy factor, maintenance and repairs, insurances and the like.

The team at R&W Seaforth/Balgowlah are here to help you grow your wealth through property. This is a long-term investment that if done properly, can help you obtain an early, wealthy retirement.  If you are considering an investment property, contact the team at Richardson & Wrench who will guide you through the steps of making the best decision on the right property for your situation.


Property Investment: The Difference Between Repairs, Maintenance & Improvements

Many property investors are unclear on what constitutes a repair to their investment what maintains it & what is classed as an improvement.

This is important to know if you’re going to invest in property because it affects your tax deductions, your cash flow, as well as the potential for appreciation of your property. Each is treated in a totally different manner for taxation purposes and can have long term ramifications should you get it wrong.

So what’s the difference?

A repair usually restores something to its original state. If the work you are undertaking involves fixing up damage caused by wear and tear, the expense is likely to be a repair and is tax deductible.

Maintenance is work that prevents deterioration or fixes current deterioration eg. painting your property.

You must document every item.

Repairs and maintenance must relate directly to wear and tear or damage that occurred due to renting out your property. The ATO provides the following examples of repairs and maintenance for which you can claim an immediate deduction in the same year.

  • Gardening and lawn mowing
  • Cleaning
  • Pest control
  • Servicing a water heater
  • Replacing guttering damaged in a storm
  • Replacing part of a fence due to a fallen tree

So, what’s an improvement?

An improvement makes something better than it originally was & is now more desirable. They should improve the property’s income production or expected life. (representing a depreciable asset)

The ATO provides the following examples of improvements.

  • Adding an addition
  • New kitchen cupboards
  • Building a garage or carport
  • Removing or adding an internal wall

The differing tax benefits between a repair, maintenance and improvements 

You can claim an immediate deduction for repairs & maintenance in the same financial year, as long as your property is being rented out

You can claim a capital works deduction or a deduction for decline in value (depreciation) over a number of years for improvements

The ATO provides the following examples as to which improvements should be depreciated and which ones attract a capital works deduction. 

Capital works deduction examples

  • Fixed floor coverings, such as tiles and vinyl
  • Ducts, pipes, vents
  • Hand rails
  • Shutters
  • Wardrobes

Depreciation deductions examples

  • Carpet (10 years)
  • Floating timber floors (15 years)
  • Hot water system (12 years)
  • Window curtains (6 years)
  • Dishwasher (10 years)
  • Air conditioner (20 years)

When you buy an investment property, there are often items that need repairing before you can lease the property out. The ATO calls this ‘initial repairs’. They are not deductible. Instead, they are considered part of the acquisition costs of the property  and may be included in the capital gains tax cost base.

If you haven’t been monitoring your repairs, maintenance and improvement expenses, you could be missing out on thousands of dollars in tax benefits!

repairs, maintenace & improvements
Improvements vs. Repairs, Which is Better?

The ideal situation will vary depending on your needs. Some landlords need to maximize all immediate write-offs because their livelihood is dependent on their yearly rental income. In this scenario, being able to classify an expense as a repair would be beneficial because it would maximize the landlord’s after-tax dollars for the given year. However, if the landlord does not need additional deductions for the given year, extending the life of the depreciation for several years, by classifying the expense as an improvement, could be beneficial.

The team at R&W Seaforth/Balgowlah are happy to speak with you & tailor an approach that is unique to your situation. The information described above is general & should be used as a guide only.  It is advisable to seek professional accounting advice when undertaking such projects particularly when there are significant expenses to the project. These can often trigger the eye of the ATO. Get a quantity surveyor to take stock of all the items in your property that are depreciable.

For further information on how you can grow your wealth through property give the team at R&W Seaforth/Balgowlah a call on 9948 7080