1) Look for a good investment
So what is a good real estate investment? A good real estate investment is any real estate property that increases your net worth through a fair rate of return on your equity.

2) Buy cash flow-positive properties
When looking for an investment property, you need to calculate the estimated cash returns on the property for that area to make sure you’ll be getting a good deal.

3) Buy a property that you love
Real estate ownership takes a lot of time and effort. It’s a lot easier to part with time and money on a property you’re fond of.

4) Go from personal residence to rental
A great way to get your feet wet with real estate investments is to put your personal property up for rent. If you plan to live in a house for a few years before turning it into an investment property, you’ll be better equipped to handle repairs on the house. Living in a property and making changes along the way is a cost-effective, long-term solution for getting started in real estate. You’ll also get better interest rates on the property if it’s your primary residence when you buy it.

5) Don’t buy fixer uppers
Fixer uppers are tempting to purchase as a real estate investment because of their lower price point on the market. When looking for a rental property, though, unless you plan to live in the fixer upper first, it’s much more cost-effective simply to buy a solid, reliable home that needs little to no repairs.

6) Overestimate your costs
Things perpetually break down and need repairs in properties, and the home repairs inevitably cost more than you think they will. If you’re looking into real estate investing, make sure you have a fairly sizable cash reserve to cover the expected and unexpected costs of property management and repair.

7) Buy in working class areas
Look for properties in working class areas where rental properties don’t last long on the market. For example, if you live in the city, look for a property that would appeal to young graduate students or young workers.

You’re more likely to have your property sit vacant, costing you thousands of dollars if you buy in a neighborhood typically occupied by homeowners. It’s not impossible to rent homes out in nicer neighborhoods, but it’s easier to fill a property with tenants where rental properties have a higher turnaround rate.

8) Pick moderately priced properties
Keep in mind that expensive homes in sought after areas like the ocean front usually have low cash flow returns. You’d be better off investing in a more moderately priced property with a higher cash return.

9) Know the neighborhood
Don’t buy a property in an area you’re not familiar with. Know the history of the neighborhood, and do your research. Find out how the schools rank, what the crime statistics are, and if there is any noise or air pollution that could affect your ability to rent out the property.

10) Buy local
Unless you plan on hiring a property manager, take the travel distance into consideration when looking for a real estate investment property. Sometimes you can go months without having to make repairs or visit the property, but other times you’ll be at the property every day that week. It’s a lot easier to manage a property that is close to home.

11) Buy a one bedroom apartment
There will always be people looking for a one bedroom apartment. College students, bachelors, widows, and single working class people all usually look for a one bedroom unit, since it’s the most affordable housing option. People don’t like to pay for more house than they need.

12) Learn from the experts
If you’re looking at getting started with real estate investing, reach out to the experts in your community. Join a real estate investing club and reach out to experts online. Invite a local broker to lunch and pick their brain for ideas on your tab. If you want to be successful with real estate investing, surround yourself with successful real estate investors.

Also, constantly read new real estate books, blogs, and eBooks about smart real estate investing strategies.

13) Hope for the best, plan for the worst
When you own a property, it’s essential that you hope for the best but plan for the worst. Between expensive repairs and downturns in the market, you need to have a backup plan and money in savings to help cover life’s unexpected financial difficulties.

14) Plan on long-term investments
The longer you own the property, the greater your return will be. Don’t hop in and out of property ownership. A little bit of patience goes a long way to increasing your returns.

15) Don’t quit your day job just yet
It seems like common sense, but too many real estate investors have gone belly-up with their finances because they relied too heavily on turn around profit or rental streams of income, and then the market took a downturn, leaving them with not enough cash flow to cover their income needs. Until and unless you have enough diversity in your real estate investments to cover downturns in the market or tenants who don’t pay their rent, you’ll need to keep working your day job.

Stay on top of your investments
Real estate investing can be a rewarding and profitable business endeavor, but it can years for your property or properties to become reliable income streams. Make sure you’re getting a good deal on your investment property and that the property is increasing your net worth.

Do the research, know the area, and ask for help from those in your community that have had success. Once you do make a decision on a property, prepare for when things go wrong, and have cash saved to cover the high cost of repairs or expenses. Stay on top of the market, and educate yourself so that you’ll feel more confident with your investment strategy.


As you search for a home, watch for the trends below. You’ll find today’s new homes deliver on the features that buyers like you want most. And when you’ve found your new dream home, keep these ideas in mind as you feather your new nest.

  1. Open Concept Home – New homes offer spacious, flowing floor plans and high ceilings that older houses don’t provide.
  2. Smaller Homes — McMansions are expensive to heat, cool and maintain. The wide array of new homes make it easy to find the size just right for you.
  3. Outdoor Living Spaces — So True that in Australia and even more so in the many temperate areas of the NSW, 31.4 percent of move-up buyers (people moving to a larger home) said they either must have or really want an outdoor fireplace.
  4. Neutral Decor — Probably best for selling a home. However, as a new home buyer, don’t be afraid to display your true colors. As we’ve reported in our blog, whether it’s hip designer Jonathan Adler bringing bold colors back to the kitchen with his line of vibrant sinks for Kohler or furniture and bedding in the current Color of the Year (tangerine) more and more homeowners are bravely adopting brighter hues.
  5. Modern Kitchens — The heart of every home. This is where new homes shine with the latest and greatest design, cabinets, countertops and lighting — to say nothing of state-of-the-art appliances.
  6. Smart Growth — Many of today’s master planned new home communities offer community clubhouses and pools, protected nature areas, hiking trails, playgrounds and more. Larger new home communities often contain carefully planned retail options and even schools inside the community. It’s also not uncommon to find master-planned communities that water common areas with reclaimed water .
  7. Going Green — Hands down, new homes win here, too. The Home Energy Rating System an industry standard that rates the energy efficiency of homes. The lower the score, the more energy efficient the home
  8. Linen Closets & Smart Storage Options — New homes take the win in this category, too. Simply compare the much larger walk-in closets of today’s new homes with the cramped closest of old homes.
  9. Energy-Efficient Fixtures & Appliances — Our new vs. resale home comparison is turning into a rout. Today’s new homes feature enormous energy efficiency in appliances, HVAC (heating, ventilation and cooling equipment) and throughout the house. As we saw, a typical new home of today is 30 percent more energy efficient than one built just five years ago. Compare a typical new home built today to a 10-20 year old home?
  10. Double Car Garage with Organized Work/Storage Space — You’d be hard-pressed to find a new home that doesn’t score a “10” on criteria number 10. Many builders also offer three-car garages (or larger) that offer enough storage space to make the man of the house grow weak in the knees.

Why Use  a Real Estate Agent? 

One of the primary decisions to make when you’re ready to get tenants into your rental property is whether or not to use a real estate agent (or property manager).

A property manager can cost approximately 7-10% of your total rental income each week, which is a factor that causes some people to question this option. However, the services that a good property manager provides can be worth far more than this fee. Renting a property requires a lot of work and a high level of commitment, which many property owners don’t have the time or the inclination to put in. A good property manager will handle all the headaches and downsides of renting for you, making life potentially much easier.

(If you want to compare commission fees and other information between property managers in your area, you can click here to use our free agent comparison service. Fee and commission information can’t be found anywhere else online.)

You’ll want to make sure that you find someone who will work hard to protect your investment. Compare agent qualifications, and make sure you find someone who specialises in property management.

Duties of a property manager

One of the first reasons to consider hiring a real estate agent that specialises in property management is that they help provide a buffer between you and your tenant. If there are any problems with late payments or damaged property, the agent deals with these issues so that you can avoid any unpleasant confrontations.

Today’s top property managers are fully licensed real estate agents. They know all the ins and outs of your state’s laws that relate to rental properties, and can advise you about your landlord rights. A good real estate agent does far more than just rent your home and collect your money for you. They also facilitate mediation in the event of late payments (providing a debt-collection service if necessary), organise emergency repairs, organise maintenance and even handle the payment of various bills. The property manager helps provide a complete management service, to help you avoid wasting your own time and money.

Some of the duties that you can expect from a good property manager include:

Advertising and marketing your property
Sourcing and screening potential tenants
Managing your financial accounts
Completing inspections on a consistent basis
Organising and sourcing tradespeople for repairs and maintenance
If you prefer to take care of some of these tasks yourself, you can write this into your contract. A property manager will give you as much or as little involvement with the daily management of your rental property as you like. They are specialists at multi-tasking and are highly qualified to prioritise and perform any or all of these duties. You can expect your real estate agent to help you with matters of communication, negotiation and conflict resolution.

Working with tenants in your rental property

When you are first thinking about renting out your property, you may not have a full picture of the amount of work that can go into this. A real estate agent can help you find suitable renters to help you avoid periods of vacancy and income loss. They will be able to employ all the necessary marketing methods to ensure that your property is highly visible to potential tenants. The agent can then show the home to prospective tenants with open inspections that showcase the property in the best possible light.

In addition to showing your property to prospective tenants, real estate agents can be involved with the professional screening of these tenants to make sure you choose reliable ones and have access to tenancy databases. They make regular inspections, to ensure that the tenants are keeping your property in proper working order. One of the major roles of a good property manager is acting as the liaison between the landlord and the tenant. If any calls need to be made for repairs or if the tenant has any complaints, these can be handled by the property manager to make your life easier. They help make sure that both parties are able to relate appropriately to one another, clearing up misunderstandings and resolving issues.

Consider taking out landlord insurance to protect your investment and help shoulder unexpected costs.

Managing paperwork and responsibility

There’s a remarkable amount of paperwork that can be involved with managing a rental property including property rules and regulations, lease agreements and contracts for repairs and maintenance, and more. Real estate agents are able to keep these files well organised, ensuring that nothing slips through the cracks. Experienced property managers will also keep tabs on the latest zoning regulations, federal and state laws, property values, and landlord rights. They will watch rental prices for your region closely, staying up-to-date on the current market conditions in order to best advise you when it comes to your investment. With this attention to detail, they will help you decide if it’s time to raise the rent or make key repairs.

The qualities of a good property manager

To excel at all of these tasks, a good property manager will be proactive and trustworthy. They will be willing to go the extra mile to ensure that both the tenant and the landlord are satisfied with their rental situation. Property managers will check in using various means, including phone interviews, regular inspections, and surveys. They are usually sociable, friendly, and cooperative people. This helps them diffuse tense situations and handle uncomfortable situations with ease. They will be the go-to person for both parties, resolving conflict positively.

There are many benefits in choosing a local real estate agent with a strong working knowledge of your area. With knowledge of the local market, your agent will be able to inform potential tenants of all of the relevant information they need regarding the house and the surrounding neighbourhood.

There is a great deal of work that goes into managing a rental property. If you don’t have the time or the inclination to deal with repairs, problem tenants and marketing a vacant property, you’ll probably want to hire a property manager. The percentage of your rental income that pays for a property manager will pay off because you can sit back and relax. The alternative is to risk lost income if your property sits vacant or if you have trouble with your tenants.

Use a Good Property Manager – To ensure your asset is managed properly, you need to make sure you find a good property manager. Good property managers are very hard to find but they should be licensed, come recommended from other investors, have been in the industry for a number of years, have local knowledge of the area and the types of tenants your property is likely to attract and stay in touch with you on a regular basis.
Increase the Rent – This seems like an obvious choice but it is amazing the number of landlords who have not increased their rent for years. Find out what the market rent is and the next time you are able to increase your rent, do it.
Decrease the rent – This seems contradictory to the point above but if your advertised rent is too high and your property is vacant for a month, consider the rent you have missed out on. The best rent to ask for is market rent. However, you may consider asking for a little below market rent, if you wish to find a tenant quickly. You can always increase the rent upon renewal of the lease.
Claim all tax deductions – Contact a quantity surveyor and ask for a depreciation schedule. This will list all the items in and on the property that can be depreciated which in turn can result in a larger tax refund. Most quantity surveyors will not conduct and charge you for a schedule if their professional fee is more than the tax benefit you are entitled to.
Update the property – A new coat of paint, new floor coverings and resurfacing of the bathroom should increase rent by 10%. If you decide to put in a new kitchen, this alone should increase the rent by a further 10%. Updating rental properties not only increases your rental yield but it also helps to attract a better quality tenant.
Allow pets – Many people own pets; tenants are no different. There are relatively few rental properties that are suitable/allow pets. If you can make your property pet friendly, you will often find that tenants will pay you a premium for this.
Charge for utilities  – Charge your tenants water usage if your property is separately metered.

The Worst Way to Increase Your Rental Return

Cut back on maintenance – If you can’t increase your income, you could consider cutting back on expenses. Don’t! There are a number of reasons you shouldn’t do this. Firstly, a property that is poorly maintained aggravates the tenant and will create headaches for you (and your property manger). Secondly, a poorly maintained property doesn’t attract good quality tenants. Finally, you don’t want to be contravening any residential tenancies rules or regulations by having sub-standard accommodation.


Selling a home can be a process, even in a hot seller’s market. By prepping your home a few months in advance, you can reduce your stress and increase the odds of finding a buyer quickly after listing. Take a look at this handy checklist I’ve created to ensure you know all the important steps that go into selling your home.

If at any time, you’d like to discuss the home selling process, don’t hesitate to reach out! My specialty is getting homeowners the best possible price for their home.

Clean and Declutter
Cramped rooms are a buyers’s turnoff, so make sure you open up and brighten each room. Start with the furniture: remove the oversized pieces, or those that don’t fit the room’s main purpose. For example, get rid of one of your living room end tables, and remove the desk from your family room. Buyers should see there is enough space in the house for their needs. Next, look at your countertops, shelves, and in cabinets. Keep the knick-knacks to a minimum, and the decor neutral so buyers can easily picture bringing their lives into your home.

Make Necessary Repairs
There are two kinds of repairs you should consider before selling your home. The first are cosmetic repairs. These are the “nice to haves” for buyers, and the associated costs should be relatively low. Repaint rooms to be less bold, and replace outdated light fixtures or hardware. The overall goal is that your home should feel fresh and modern. Second, you should get a presale home inspection to determine any fixes that could affect your home’s ability to sell. You know if you have an aging roof or radiator, but an inspection will tell you if they’ll need to be replaced in order to get the sale approved.

Get Curb Appeal
Picture yourself as a buyer pulling up to your home for the first time. The lawn is well cared for, the landscaping is impeccable, and the front door has a fresh coat of paint. These natural observations set the tone for the entire walk through, so don’t underestimate the importance of curb appeal. In addition to the details noted above, make sure your house is well lit at night, and easy to find. Buy new, larger house numbers so buyers don‚’t drive past it on accident. Brush off any walkways so buyers have an easy time getting to the front step.

Offer Up Your Home’s History
There is a lot of public record data out there, but wouldn’t you rather buyers hear it directly from you? Create a simple binder showcasing the price you paid, past owners and price history, and any upgrades you’ve made to the property. Include a page with recently sold data of similar homes nearby, so buyers know that the neighborhood is in high demand!

Hire an Agent, Set a Price
Last year, sellers using real estate agents to sell their homes netted $26,300 more on average than those who chose not to hire an agent. $26,000! Agents understand the local market and the marketing practices necessary to sell your home.

Get Ready For Showings And Open Houses
When a buyer is coming to look at your property, it’s important that you leave your home for the duration of the visit. Make sure your home looks and smells clean, and then get out of dodge until they’ve left.


1. Consider a mortgage broker. A mortgage broker is there to help you find the right home loan for your situation. Since this is your first home loan, a mortage broker can show you the ropes and explain all the features available.

2. Plan your budget. There is nothing more important when contemplating buying your first home than planning a workable budget and sticking to it, as well as continuing with a revised edition once you have successfully pocketed the keys. It will be through sticking to a budget that you’ll get a clear picture of the home loan you can afford.

3. Know your limitations. Whatever you do, do not buy what you can’t afford. It’s easy to convince yourself that you’ll only have to struggle for a couple of years and that everything will be alright once that big promotion comes along. What if something were to happen in the meantime, or the promotion never came? You could stand to lose everything, and you will not have the benefit of the First Home Owner Grant or any other first home buyer incentives the second time around.
4. Save the biggest deposit that you can put together. Saving a deposit will help you in two ways. First, it will show your potential lender that you can exercise financial discipline over a period of time. Secondly, the bigger the deposit the larger the equity you have in your property right from the start. This means you will pay less interest. One of the best ways to save your deposit may be to take out a high interest savings account.
5. Apply for the First Home Owner Grant early. The most appropriate time to apply for the First Home Owner Grant is at the same time you apply for your home loan. You can lodge your grant application through most lenders, if they are an authorised agent and able to receive it. If you do this it will be processed faster than if you send it directly to your relevant State or Territory Revenue Office, the government authority that administers it. In most cases the grant will be processed by the time of settlement or, if you are building, by the time your lender will be paying over the first scheduled construction loan payment. If you miss out, you will still have 12 months from settlement, or from the completion of the building, to apply. Even then, in special circumstances, the commissioner can further extend this time limit.
6. Rid yourself of excess debt. Do not make the mistake of applying for your first home loan while you are carrying excessive debt. Do away with any credit cards you don’t really need, finish off your car payments and pay down any personal loans. Make your home loan your top priority.
7. Be a cynical buyer. Do not necessarily believe all you are told. Make sure you carry out thorough building and pest inspections and find out what prices similar houses are selling for in the same locality. If you do your research properly you should be pretty right.
8. Make certain you receive all that you are eligible to receive. The various state and territory governments also offer their own incentives to first home buyers in the way of grants. Most states also give generous concessions off the costs of stamp duty imposts. Make sure you know what is available in the locality you are buying your first home.


Finding the right agent takes balancing credentials and chemistry. You want to choose someone you like—after all, you might spend the next six months working together. But your agent also needs to be able to safeguard your financial interests.

“You want somebody trustworthy who you can rely on. A good agent will listen carefully to your priorities and won’t waste time on properties that don’t fit the bill.

Don’t just call the first agent whose lawn sign you see. Ask friends and family members for references (and check them!). Interview at least three agents to find the one with the experience, skill and personality that matches your needs.

Most experts recommend five or more years experience—which is not to say that someone with less can’t do a good job. Sometimes less experience means a smaller client base, which translates into more attention for you. Make sure the agent is licensed by the state and does the job full-time.

Real estate is a local game, and to win you need someone who plays in the areas where you’re looking to buy. Not only will they be up on market trends, they’ll know about local schools, commute times, and under-the-radar red flags, like the solid-waste transfer station that’s been proposed for the neighborhood.

Inquire about what’s currently on the market in your price range; they should be able to rattle off a few properties. And ask for a list of houses they’ve handled in your target neighborhood that includes not just what the house sold for, but also the price at which it was originally listed.

If you need any services such as renting, leasing or selling you can contact First Priority Realty Chipping Norton, we are the landlords agent and we are here to listen to you and your needs!


Mold. The very word is enough to make a person cringe.

Yes, mold can be good — it’s essential in making brie and penicillin, for example, and necessary for the decomposition of organic matter in nature — but it can also be very, very bad, especially when it grows undetected in your home.

Mold spores spread easily and cannot be completely eradicated.

Mold can grow anywhere: on carpet, clothing, food, paper, and even in places you can’t see, such as the backside of drywall, areas inside walls around leaking or condensing pipes, and above ceiling tiles.

Not only is a mold problem difficult and costly to fix, but mold can also produce allergens and irritants (and, rarely, toxins) that may compromise your health.

So what can you do if you’re concerned about mold growing in your home?

The best approach is preventing mold before it becomes a problem. The key to mold prevention is simple: moisture control.

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