Renovation Rescue – Day 17

Before writing today’s post I’ve been sitting at the desk making a list of all of the things that still need doing and I came up with about 35 things that I still need to do. If this was a week ago a lot of them would be large time consuming tasks but fortunately they are mostly small things that should not take long…I hope. I have one full day left before heading back to work and I’m aiming to get at least 25 of these tasks written off tomorrow. The remaining 10 I will class as ‘like to do’ jobs but not essential, such as pressure cleaning the outside concrete, it’s fun do do but won’t send a tenant running away if I don’t get to it. Enough about what hasn’t happened yet though, let’s talk about today.

After what seemed like a life or death decision of white vs. coloured grout, I picked up my box of ‘Havana’ coloured grout this morning, purchased a new bucket and got to work. Handy hint if you need to mix grout, get a mixing attachment that goes on to the end of your electric drill. I didn’t and it took ages to mix by hand to make sure it was well mixed through. That done though I got on to grouting the tiles. This was hands-down the messiest job I’ve had to do for the entire reno. Working across the back of the kitchen it went on easily and I got around the kitchen, bathroom and laundry tiles in just over a hour. Looking back after it though there was grout absolutely everywhere so it needed a quick clean up in the areas where it wasn’t meant to be. After waiting for it to start to set I then had to go back over it with a sponge to get the bulk of what was over the tiles washed off. In the entire process this took the longest (probably about 2 hours) as it involved constant rinsing of the sponge. Needless to say I’m sick of looking at the colour ‘Havana’ now. I left them until the end of the day to give the tiles a good clean over and they have come up well. I’ll do it again in the morning before using matching sealant in the gaps. So far the tiling project has gone without a hitch. I finished off some more painting after this and now the only painting left is in the smallest room in the house 😉

Today’s interesting event was that I made an early call to a local agent (the one that sold me the property in the first place) to get him to come in and do a valuation. Thinking it would be some time until he could make it I was surprised when he showed up at 4pm. We’d spoken a lot over the phone during the purchase but this was the first face-to-face meeting. He was impressed with the renovation and after giving him the grand tour (all 5 minutes of it) he did a few internal calculations and gave me a number. Whilst I was pleased (and somewhat skeptical) with the number he gave me, I’m keeping it under my hat for now until I get a few additional valuations and I can present my numbers to you all. I have a feeling that there may be a range come through so I’m excited to see what they are.

Now I don’t want to jinx myself but I’m taking a leap and declaring tomorrow to be the penultimate day for renovation rescue 2014.

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The cutthroat world of property management 

MonicaYou wouldn’t be wrong if you said that property investment and the subsequent property management that goes along with it can be a competitive business. It can take a good amount of research and experience to decide on what your criteria is that makes the ideal property manager for your requirements. Whilst my property manager Jamie and his team always do a great job, it’s also interesting to see some different approaches that property managers may take. Coral Sea Property Management in Townsville, Queensland, have certainly gone down a different path with their recent advertising of properties to rent and it’s caused a bit of a stir in the community. Whilst it’s given me a good laugh I’m not too sure if I’d want Monica out the front of one of my rental properties, what do you think?


TwerkClick here to view their complete range of rental posters, full marks for creativity!


Festive Finances!

ChristmasClubbagfullofmoneyThe article below appeared today in the real estate section and is a timely reminder of the financial drain that some people can find themselves in over the Christmas period. When it comes to weighing up between the many costs of surviving Christmas or paying rent on time the landlord can often be the loser ending up with a nasty new year surprise! The key lesson mentioned in the article and one that I fully support is to ensure that you utilise the services of a professional property manager, they are are worth every cent when something goes wrong and they know exactly what to do about it, after all, that’s their specialty. Read on below or click here to go to the original article

THE festive season is a danger period for property investors, and real estate experts are warning landlords to make sure they don’t suffer a financial hit from tardy tenants. 

The general manager of Harris Property Management, Suzie Hamilton-Flanagan, says rental arrears can jump by more than 20 per cent over Christmas as tenants find other areas to spend money. ‘Sometimes rent is the last thing on their list,” she says. ‘Landlords managing their own properties need to make sure they are on top of this from the start, or they risk paying for their tenant’s good cheer.” Some landlord insurance policies provide cover for tenants who fail to pay, but Hamilton-Flanagan says if a landlord fails to go through the correct processes when dealing with late-paying tenants, ‘an insurance payout for a late rental claim can be impacted”. She says one suggestion during December may be to send the tenants a card, perhaps with a small gift, gently reminding them of payment dates during the busy Christmas season. ‘Create a relationship with the tenant and treat people as you would want to be treated. The mentality of a tenant is they are paying you this money and they want bang for their buck – they want the property maintained, repaired and the landlord to be respectful.” The first step in preventing late payment is to select the right tenant from the start, Hamilton-Flanagan says, which involves checking a tenant’s payment history by contacting previous agents and landlords.

Carolyn Majda, executive manager at landlord insurer Terri Scheer Insurance, says one of the best ways to protect yourself is to use a professional property manager. ‘That way you have someone who is looking after the rent religiously,” she says. Majda says a lot of property managers send out pre-Christmas newsletters with rental payment dates included. ‘It’s nice to send a Christmas card – we all lose track of dates around this time of the year.” She says investors who manage a property themselves need to be on top of any late payments immediately. ‘Don’t let it start accruing. The longer time goes, the bigger the problem for both landlord and tenant,” Majda says.’Even if it is a day late, be on top of it.’It’s also really important that you take out insurance at the start of a tenancy, before you have people in there, because if they are behind in their rent it can create some issues – it’s almost like having a car accident and then insuring your car.”

The original version of this article appears here