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Choosing a real estate agent

Being a good real estate agent (sales) boils down to a few simple things.

The most important things is COMMUNICATION

If a real estate agent is hard to get a hold of or does not return calls, this is a red flag. Good real estate agents answer their phone no matter what they are doing. The agent must be ready to receive enquiries from potential buyers and negotiate the prices. If they are hard to reach then this process will be much more difficult.

They NEVER switch-off

Agents who don’t answer their work phone after 5pm do not deserve your business. Good agents must be contactable (at a reasonable hour) outside of work hours.

They are empathetic to your situation

A good agent should be able to put themselves in the shoes of the vendor and sympathise with their reason for selling and take initiative to achieve the outcomes and expectations that the vendor has.

They keep you well informed

A high quality real estate agent will call you….a lot. They should have you updated every step of the way.

When selecting an agent ensure they are proactive, energetic and receptive.

If you’re looking to sell or would like a sales appraisal please call us at Prestige Property on 9 357 4086

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Would you buy a $10 million shell?

This remarkable 2-level penthouse apartment currently sits high above the Coca Cola sign in the Zenith building in Potts Point.

The penthouse has over 600 sqm in combined outdoor and indoor living. It presents an amazing opportunity for a buyer with imagination who can use this blank canvas to design and build their wildest dreams.

The apartment has 360 degree views of the city, a number of balconies and floor to ceiling glass.

If you have a spare $10 million grab yourself a bargain today.

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The tenant/s have just vacated your investment property. The property manager has a copy of the original condition report (the only legal evidence that can be taken into consideration to release the bond) and attends the property to undertake the final inspection.

The property manager enters the property and observes:

The griller is dirty, there is a chip on a kitchen tile, marks on the lounge room wall, walk-way wear marks down the hallway, slight mould on the bathroom tiles, a soap holder has been broken off, there is a crack in the toilet seat, a dent behind the bedroom door from a missing door stopper, dust in the window tracks, small tears in several fly screens, a wardrobe rail has broken off, there is a bleach stain on the bedroom carpet and weeds in the garden. It seems like a long list of things that require attention.

Who is responsible… is it cleaning, repairs or fair wear & tear?

Whenever there is a dispute, it is always good business practice to try and mediate the situation between all parties to come to a win/win situation or a compromise. If an outcome cannot be reached between the parties, the matter will have to be determined by a hearing at the tribunal/courts, which will vary depending on the circumstances. The tribunal/courts will take into consideration:

  • How old the property is?
  • How old the fixtures and fittings are that require repairs, taking into consideration depreciation (the diminishing value)?
  • How long did the tenants reside in the property?
  • How many tenants resided in the property?

If the property is six-months old, has almost brand-new fixtures and fittings and there were two tenants residing in the property for six-months, this could be considered cleaning and repairs that the tenant needs to action. However, if the property is 18-years old, with the original fixtures and fittings (that have depreciated over time in value), had a family of six reside there for five-years, then this could be considered fair wear and tear and an owner/landlord expense.

We upload all inspection reports, including photos to the owner’s login portal. You can access these at anytime with your login details.

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Rental yield is a measure of how much cash (or rental income) your property generates each year, as a percentage of the property value.

The property investor dream is to secure a high rental yield property, in a location that delivers large capital gains, combined with low management and maintenance costs.

This means, rental yields are not the only consideration when purchasing an investment property, but still a very important one.


Rental yield is calculated as a gross percentage and generally calculated before expenses are deducted. Gross rental yield is commonly used.

It is simple to calculate and allows you to easily compare properties with different values and rental returns to assist when considering different investment options.

Gross rental yield = Annual rental income (weekly rental income x 52) / property value* x 100

For example:

The property purchase price = $400,000 and weekly rent = $350

(350 x 52) / 400,000 x 100 = 4.55%

While the gross rental yield is a simple calculation, it’s important to note that it doesn’t take expenses into account. A property may have a high rental yield, but may also have high expenses, making the rental return low when these are taken into consideration.

If you do want a more precise calculation, you will need to know (or estimate) the total expenses for the property, including both purchase and transaction costs (property purchase price, stamp duty, legal fees, pest and building inspections, any startup loan fees, etc.) and annual costs such as vacancy costs (lost rent and advertising), repairs and maintenance, managing real estate agent fees, home and contents insurance, strata levies (if applicable), rates and charges etc.

Net rental yield = (Annual rental income – Annual expenses) / (Total property costs) x 100

A high yield means good cashflow for investors, which helps to improve your return on investment.

* Either purchase price or current market value

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An alarming 80 per cent of property owners are underinsured according to data from the Insurance Council of Australia.

While some may underinsure their property on purpose, believing that an event may never happen to save on costs; there are many home owners and investors that are unaware that they may be underinsured.

It is important to regularly review your insurance policies to ensure that you are adequately covered, and the policy terms are still the same.

When reviewing your cover consider the following:

Building cover

  • Do not include the land value in the insured amount.
  • Have you made any renovations, alterations or additions to the property? These should be factored into the sum insured.
  • What is the current replacement building cost? This is not market value, but the current cost of building the same premises again. This value needs to reflect the costs involved in restoring the property to its existing condition, considering current building standards and codes, and factoring in rising costs due to inflation, labour, etc. To get an accurate estimate of replacement costs, we recommend that you speak with a quantity surveyor or builder or there are online building replacement calculators.

Contents cover

  • Have you added to your possessions, fixtures and fittings?

Landlord cover

  • Has the way you rent out the property changed? For example: changed from short-term to fixed-term, or vice versa.
  • If the type of lease has changed, it is imperative that the type of insurance policy is changed too, as different policies suit different situations and landlords may find themselves inadequately insured for their needs.
  • Has the rent increased? If the weekly rent has increased significantly (for example, exceeds $1,500 per week), you may need to contact your insurer and discuss if this affects your policy in any way?

If disaster strikes, landlords can find themselves in financial trouble if they have failed to update their insurances. Take the time now to review your insurance cover.

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You may have heard about the new planning regulations coming into effect for short term and holiday rentals (STHR) in NSW. The latest update is that the proposed legislation has been passed by parliament but has not yet been enacted.


At this time there is still not a great deal of detail available with regards to the legislation itself.


The information that is available to us right now indicates the following:


  • The NSW government will establish a single definition for what constitutes Short term or holiday rental accommodation.
  • When the host is present on-site overnight, STHL will be allowed as ‘exempt development’ all year. This means anyone renting a room in their house or part of their property, such as a granny flat on a short term basis will be allowed to continue to do so without a cap.
  • When the host is not present on-site overnight, STHL will be allowed as ‘exempt development’ with a limit of 180 days for hosts in Greater Sydney and 365 days in all other areas of NSW. This will mean that full time short term rental properties will have a 180 night cap imposed. We are currently working to find out if there is any kind of application or DA process that will allow for our owners to be exempt from this cap. If there is not, then we will be recommending to our owners that we utilize a combination of short and long term rentals throughout the year, which many of our owners already do.
  • Councils outside Greater Sydney will be able to decrease, through their local environmental plans, the 365 day threshold to no lower than 180 days per year and
  • Certain planning rules will apply to properties on bushfire prone land.
  • There will be changes made to the Strata Schemes Management Act that will give strata committees the power to decide if short term rentals will be permitted or not. We encourage all of our owners to keep an eye on their strata notifications and attend strata meetings to stay up to date and ensure that you have your say on any updates to your strata by laws.
  • The NSW government will introduce a code of conduct for STHR that hosts, agents, platforms and guests must adhere to. They will also establish a register and online database that will record any problem guests and hosts that are banned from using accommodation platforms. We think this is a great initiative that will give us an extra tool to help us ensure that we continue to get the highest quality tenants and guests for our owners.


For further information on what we have outlined here please visit Fair Trading Website and Planning NSW website.


This new policy has not yet been implemented. We will be keeping you updated as and when more information becomes available to us. Feel free to send us an email if you have any questions on how these changes will affect your property.


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Whether you are thinking about listing your property on the market or simply looking to add value to an existing investment property, renovating can be an effective way to create instant equity.

Property owners eager to lift the value of their homes often ask the question, how can I ensure maximum value from a simple renovation?

Before jumping straight into a renovation, it is essential to carefully plan and budget for any upgrades you are considering. The key is to make sure you know what adds value, without over-capitalising.

Here are a few recommendations:

  1. It is always important to consider your renovations with rental yields in mind. As with investment property selection and purchase, a renovation is all about attracting the best rental yields or bottom-line profits. It is important to keep the prospective tenant’s needs at the forefront of any renovation. For example, consider what upgrades would appeal to a tenant. A simple re-carpeting job can cost as little as $3000 while adding as much as $10,000-$20,000 to a property’s value, and undertaking a complete refurbishment for $50,000 may add $100,000 to its value.
  2. Know how to add value with little outlay. If you are looking to sell your home or investment property, but do not have the budget for a large-scale renovation, there are several small-scale improvements you can do yourself to instantly lift it’s value. A fresh coat of paint can make a world of difference to worn-out interiors, and it is impressive how much a decent scrub and clean can increase the appeal of a home. Backyard gardens can be improved with a selection of new plants, bark and the grass areas fertilised. Re-grouting of wet area tiles, replacement of old appliances and fresh window coverings can transform the appeal of a property.
  3. Light it up. One of the things that buyers subconsciously notice is light within a property. Despite whatever amazing features the property might have, if it is not naturally well-lit, it can impact the feel of a property. If your property is dimly lit, consider replacing old light fittings, switches and sockets with more efficient ones.

If you are in a house, semi or townhouse, a skylight could also uplift living areas, kitchens or bathrooms with poor natural light. Removing clutter and opening blinds/curtains are other easy ways to enhance your property’s appeal and demonstrate an abundance of natural light.

  1. Hire an independent property valuer. Many inexperienced buyers risk over-capitalising or making upgrades that don’t impact the value of the property. Even before beginning the simplest of renovations, it’s worth hiring an independent property valuer, as they can advise you on how much value a renovation has the potential to add. A valuer can guide you if spending $30,000 on a kitchen renovation will add more than $30,000 to your home’s overall value, for instance. They will also be aware of circumstantial factors, such as the average value threshold of properties in your street.
  2. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Don’t worry if not everything about the property is pristine. A place that is liveable to rent out straight away is often the most realistic and affordable option for investors. If you have an eye for improvements, investing in a place that needs a simple renovation presents a real opportunity for equity. However, if you are purchasing a property to ‘flip’, beginners should start off with small improvements rather than a complete renovation. That way, not only can you take your time saving and planning for a complete renovation, but seeing the difference between the property’s actual worth and what you can make it worth enables you envision its’ full potential.

Regardless of whether you are considering minor upgrades or large-scale renovations, renovating a property has the potential to significantly increase your home’s overall value, even in a flat market. To receive maximum return from renovations, always remember to consult the experts and stick to your budget.

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More than one million Australians claim deductions on rental properties each year. There are many possible expenses that property investors can potentially claim against income generated from leasing out the property. It is important to remember that deductions can only be claimed for times when the property is rented or genuinely available for rent (otherwise expenses may need to be apportioned).

Expenses you may be entitled to claim as an immediate deduction:
 Advertising for tenants
 Body corporate fees and charges
 Council rates
 Water charges
 Land tax
 Cleaning
 Gardening and lawn mowing
 Pest control
 Insurance (building, contents, public liability)
 Interest expenses
 Property agent’s fees and commission
 Repairs and maintenance
 Some legal expenses
 Travel to inspect the property, to collect the rent or for maintenance

Borrowing expenses you may be entitled to over time:
 Depreciation
 Capital works expenditure
 Stamp duty charged on the mortgage
 Loan establishment fees
 Title search fees charged by your lender
 Costs (incl. solicitors’ fees) for preparing/filing mortgage documents
 Mortgage broker fees
 Fees for a valuation required for loan approval
 Lender’s mortgage insurance

Get prepared now to make sure that you have all your invoices and paperwork ready for tax time. We always recommend that you speak with your accountant to ensure that you are maximising your tax return.

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Assessing whether a property is better than another requires a big picture point of view, expert assistance and clarity around indicators for growth that will help build your portfolio. When purchasing your next investment property consider the following 10 top tips:

1. The investment property is suitable for the local demographic

Know the demographics of the area and purchase a property that will be in high demand. If the area predominately has families and you purchase a 2-bedroom unit, you may experience an extended vacancy period.

2. The investment property has ‘several’ standout features

The more features your investment property has, the more attractive it will be to potential tenants and therefore, likely to command a higher rent. Look for features such as: newly renovated, parking, security, lawn & pool maintenance included, NBN, additional appliances, ready to move in with minimal maintenance required, across the road from a school, around the corner from a shopping centre or a railway station.

3. Seek out a property on a manageable block size

When you purchase a standalone house, ensure that the block size is not too large for a tenant to care for, otherwise you may find it harder to rent. Most tenants don’t like to look after yards, so make the choice easy and find a land size that’s small enough for them to manage.

4. Choose a location where government spending is happening

It can be risky to invest in areas with an intended growth forecast as governments can change their minds. Instead, look towards areas where millions (or sometimes billions) are already being spent, which is an indicator for capital growth. This includes construction of airports, schools, railway stations, hospitals, health hubs and major arterial road upgrades, which can lead to thousands of jobs and future population growth.

5. Strong capital growth potential

It is not always easy to predict this without expert help and research, but ‘capital growth potential’ increases property values, providing you with greater equity to purchase future investment properties.

6. Select an area where employment opportunities are high

Most people like to live close to where they work, so consider buying an investment property close to an employment hub to maximise the chances of a strong on-going tenancy.

7. Future development opportunities

When purchasing an investment, consider how its’ future development can strengthen your portfolio. E.g. Through subdivision or adding a duplex.

8. The investment property is in a good condition

It is a must that you carry out a building and pest report to identify any costly issues that cannot be seen by the eye.

9. Avoid areas with an oversupply of rental properties

Research the area to find out if there are new developments or housing estates that may cause an oversupply of rental properties in the future. Tenants generally prefer to rent new properties. If you buy an older property in an area affected by new developments or an oversupply, you may have to drop your rent significantly to secure a tenancy.

10. Buy a low-maintenance investment property

Look at the long-term requirements for maintenance and how old the property is. A low-maintenance property will save you money and ensure a happy relationship with the tenants.

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Tax time is fast approaching and claiming depreciation expenses can put a lot of money back in your pocket.

Investment property tax depreciation allows you to claim a tax deduction for the wear and tear of the structural elements (the actual building) and the plant and equipment (fixtures and fittings) of an investment property.

By claiming depreciation as a tax deduction, you can lower your taxable income. This in turn reduces the amount of income tax you need to pay, leaving more cash in your pocket each year. You can use this increased cash flow to pay down debt, create new investments or simply enjoy more disposable income.

You can maximise investment property tax deductions by considering the following:

Engage a registered Quantity Surveyor

To maximise investment property tax deductions, you need a detailed tax depreciation schedule. A tax depreciation schedule summarises the tax deductions you can claim on your investment property each year for up to 40 years. ATO rules insist that a tax depreciation schedule be compiled by a registered Quantity Surveyor, who will inspect your property and ensure that every depreciable item is identified and evaluated.

Claim small items immediately

To offset the usually higher cost of an investment property in the early years, claim small items as soon as possible. Items under $301 dollars can be written off immediately.

Furnish your investment property

Furnishing a property can often help achieve a higher rental return. Furniture in an investment property is depreciable and you can claim a large rebate back in the first year. This option will depend on the demand for furnished properties and the potential of an increased rental return.

Claim scrapping value when upgrading or renovating

Scrapping, or residual value, is a depreciable element that many property investors overlook. You can claim a tax deduction for fixtures and fittings that are replaced during an upgrade or renovation. Have a Quantity Surveyor review your renovation plans and estimate what you will ‘lose’ when throwing out old carpets, kitchen cabinets or other fittings. This ‘scrapping’ amount can be claimed as a tax deduction.