New Year, New Home

New House!January signifies the start of a new year whereby many of us make new promises to ourselves, create new year resolutions, add new adventures to our bucket list, update our wardrobe with new pieces, commit to buying a new car; and if you are a tenant in January, you will quickly realise that January is also the month that a massive number of people madly rush to settle in to their new rental home, resulting in what can feel like chaos for many tenants.

Landlords love this time of year as demand is at its peak and their investments lease easily. For Leasing Agents, January is bitter sweet – it’s by far the busiest month of the year, creating all sorts of stress, but on the other hand, it’s a month for kicking goals and delivering amazing results to clients. For tenants on the other hand, this time of year can be quite stressful and chaotic to navigate. So here are a few tips from our Leasing Manager, Yvette, on how to get through this transition a little easier as a tenant.

  1. Start looking in advance – do not, I repeat, do not start looking for your new home last minute in the first quarter of any year, especially January. Demand is high which mean you have far more competition than you would at any other time of the year. Start looking 4-6 weeks out from when you want to move in, so you are well prepared.
  2. Book private inspections – a proactive and committed leasing agent will jump at the opportunity to take you through a home privately. If you can, schedule this viewing before the weekend open home – this gives you a competitive advantage over other prospective tenants. At Eastside, if you were to apply, are approved, pay your deposit and send your lease back before the open home, the house is secured to you and you have effectively beat your competitors (woo-hoo!)
  3. Only send complete application forms – the faster we can process your application and send it to the owner, the faster we can get a decision back to you. Sending an agent an incomplete application forms dramatically slows down the process as we must follow you up and chase phone numbers and email forapplication form employers, agencies and references. Always include 100 points of ID, payslips, pet applications and the email and phone number for your current agent, employer and referees when applying. Doing this may just be the reason your application lands on our owner’s lap before others!
  4. Apply before viewing – some agencies do not allow this, so it is best to check before you do. Here at Eastside we strongly encourage tenants to apply before their scheduled inspection. This allows us to process it before we meet at the property and if everything checks out and the owner is happy with what they see, we can often give approval once you have inspected the home. This again speeds up the process for you and shows our agency and our owners that you are seriously considering the home.
  5. Only apply for homes you love – a part of our application processing includes checking tenants on TICA which is a tenancy database. This database shows our agency how many times you have been searched by other agencies who are also processing an application for you. If you are appearing on this database 10000 times, it doesn’t fill any agent with confidence. Think from an agent’s perspective, if you have applied for 15 properties and are approved for 5+, you are going to be declining a lot. This wastes a lot of time for an agent. Only apply for those you actually love and can see you and your family living in. We want to place the best fitting tenant in our properties as much as you want to be approved for your favourite home!
  6. Check your email and phone regularly – we will regularly need to contact you via phone and email once processing of your application begins. Make sure you always have your phone on you and reply to all messages and calls promptly to avoid missing out on a property. If you take too long to respond to a successful application email/phone call, the owner may instruct us to move on to the next if you are unable to confirm you receipt/get your lease and deposit back in time.
  7. Work with an agent – again, a proactive agent should want to help you find a home as it means their investments are rented quicker. Work with an agent that is keen to help you find a suitable property on their books. Provide your contact details and a summary of what you are after, that way they can notify you when a home is available or becoming available.

Finding a new home to rent can, but shouldn’t be, exhausting. We hope the tips Yvette has provided will help you find your next dream home. If you are currently looking and would like assistance with the process, call Yvette and her team – 33905000 or email

10 Reasons to Invest in Real Estate

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The property market has had its ups and downs in the last decade, but it’s still one of the most robust and safe investment classes, especially in the long term. In this blog post we will cover the reasons why.

  1. Safety: Research shows, Australian property has increased in value at a rate comparable to that of the share market since the mid 1920’s, at an average of 11.4% per annum. Of course, this is despite a succession of wars, natural disasters, recessions and crises. It has done so without the volatility of the share market, making it an all round safer investment.

    “Shares have a marginally higher capital growth, but the difference in risk is huge. The risk is measured in variation in returns and capital growth (or loss) on shares can range from +40% in a year to -40% in a week! You don’t get that sort of variation in property. Hence why it is considered to be a safer investment.” [Investor, university lecturer and author – Peter Koulizos]

  2. It’s Easy: Real estate doesn’t require specialist knowledge to start an investment. Most Australian property investors don’t start off intending to invest in property, instead, buying a property to live in. Only after seeing how the value of their property increases, do they realise how much wealth can be generated from property.

    Not only is it easier to begin investing in real estate, but it is also much easier to research than stocks or shares. Investing in the stock market requires a lot of specific education. You need to understand the workings of the system, the complex world of trading, as well as research brokers and fund managers. Once you’ve done this, then you have got to come to terms with the companies on the market. This involves trawling the financial press, annual reports, other company releases and so on.

    Real estate however, is much simpler, at its most basic you can quite simply go online and start looking at properties. Admittedly, there’s more to getting property investment right, and being successful, than just picking a property. A significant amount of research can be done online, or by visiting suburbs, open homes, and auctions.

  3. Finance: Sometimes it can feel to be to the contrary, but lenders like property. Home loans are a major part of any bank’s business model. This means that lenders are much more likely to lend on residential property than any other asset class.

    Leverage is also a very big determining factor when lenders are deciding whether or not to approve your finance. “You can borrow more when using property as security compared to using a share portfolio,” explains Peter Koulizos.

    Lenders will usually lend up to 95% of the value of the property, whereas they may only lend up to 50 or 60% of the value of a share portfolio. This greater borrowing power allows you to benefit from the capital growth of a larger asset.

  4. Different Approaches: Real estate is a remarkable flexible investment. No matter what your financial arms are, you should be able to find a strategy that suits you. Common real estate investment strategies include:
    1. Long-term Capital Growth – Looking for to build a retirement nest egg? Long- term increase in value is the most effective way to do this.
    2. Positive cash flow – Need more money in your pocket now? Find a property where rent outweighs holding and maintenance costs.
    3. Adding Value – have you found a run down property with potential? You can renovate, subdivide, or develop and create value out of thin air. Even a simple paint job can score you a welcome profit.
  5. Control: When you invest in the share market, typically you need to hire a broker to handle your trades for you, and the value of any shareholding is reliant on market conditions, and the actions of the people running that company – introducing an element of uncertainty. This is much the opposite story in property; once you have settled, you directly own the asset and you have complete control over it. That’s a hugely powerful thing, because it means that you can influence both asset worth (by potentially adding value) and cash flow (raising the rent is a good example) directly – both of which are nigh on impossible to do so in shares.
  6. Negotiation: Purchase price in property is usually flexible to some degree. If you buy a share, you buy it at the market price at that time; there’s no scope to negotiate. In the property market, it is exactly opposite; buying and selling is all about negotiation (whether it be between yourself and a buyer, or agents, etc.). There’s also a huge scope to find undervalued properties, particularly deceased estates or mortgagee sales, or sales due to divorce.
  7. Tax:
    1. Negative Gearing – One of the most important benefits for investors is the fact that the tax office allows you to write off investment expenses against tax, therefore lowering your income and your tax bill and offsetting any shortfall between income and holding costs, either partially or completely.
    2. Depreciation – Investors also benefit from from depreciation. Depending on the age of the property and whether it has been renovated, this can run into thousands of dollars ever year, and can be the difference between being negatively gearing or paying for itself. Investors dismiss depreciation at their peril.
    3. Capital Gains Tax – If you sell your own home, you don’t pay any tax on the profit, meanwhile if you sell an investment property that you have owned for more than 12 months, you only pay capital gains tax (CGT) on half of the profit.

      All three of these tax benefits mean that Australia has a uniquely favourable taxation environment for investing in property.

  8. It’s a usable asset: Whether your property is an investment or not, it is still just that – a property. This means, that if events should take a turn and you need to move into that property, you can (pending rental agreements obviously), and then if circumstances change again, you can move back out, returning the property to an investment. This is quite a difficult thing to do with a share certificate or a bar of gold!
  9. Demand/Supply: Due to the growth of the Australian population, the demand for homes heavily outweighs the supply, both rental properties and properties to buy. This demand provides another floor under the market which makes it less likely that prices will crash. Although the demand for properties is higher than the supply amount, you want to be careful where you are looking to invest, as some areas do suffer from oversupply.
  10. You can Pass it on: When thinking long-term for your investment, you don’t just have to think of your own lifetime, you can also consider your children too. Depending on the legal structure in which you own your properties, you can pass your investment properties onto your children, either before or after you pass away. Obviously, you can do this with shares as well, but how many top companies 30 years ago are still at the stop of the stock market today? Whereas a well-positioned property should continue to grow in value over the long term.

Are you waiting to buy real estate? You should buy real estate and wait! Hopefully these ten reasons have provided you with some information to help you make the decision to purchase a property for yourself or as an investment. If you need any further assistance, whether it be suburb knowledge, or how to take the next step; please don’t hesitate to contact any of the team at Eastside Property Centre for assistance!

Kitchen Renovations

Most people already know that ‘the kitchen sells the house’, but not a lot of people know the positive effect a remodelled kitchen can have on your health and lifestyle. In this blog, we will discuss a survey that was undertaken by recent kitchen renovators, as well as go through what should go into a kitchen renovation, in order to; have an updated space that suits you, be appealing to a large market when time comes to sell, and allow for prospective buyers to be able to inject their own style. Without tooting my own horn, but as an ex-kitchen designer, interior designer and now real estate salesperson, hopefully I can offer some knowledge to help with this topic.piechart

Lifestyle Change – A study has shown that 92% of people who have renovated their kitchens cooked at home at least 5 days a week. The obvious upside to this statistic is that most people were opting for less fast food or takeout after their renovation was completed.Family-In-Kitchen

61% of the people in the study also found themselves spending a lot more time as a family in the kitchen, whether it be discussing the ups and downs of the day while the grownups prepare dinner, or even eating at a brand new breakfast bar. In a world of social media and smart phones, spending more time with the ones you care about the most, has never been more important.

bakingIt’s fair to say, the aroma of cookies or a cake baking in the oven, is probably one of the best things on earth. The statistic of 52% of newly renovated kitchen owners found themselves baking much more often, in my mind, is enough of a reason to fork out for a new kitchen! Obviously, I am not promoting a lifestyle of eating cake and biscuits all day every day, healthy alternatives are a good idea.

Another key habit that a lot of kitchen renovators find themselves falling into (and this one wasn’t in the study) is cleaning! If you’re cooking in a dilapidated, tired, out of date, or unsuitable kitchen, you probably find yourself lacking motivation. Finding the energy to cook in a kitchen that you can’t stand, let alone cleaning and caring for the space, can often be very difficult. But keeping your kitchen clean is probably one of the most important health habits you need to be stuck in, because your kitchen houses some of the most dangerous bacteria. Whether that means renovating all or some of your kitchen, or even buying a new set of dinnerware or decorator items, do what needs to be done to motivate yourself!

How to Style – This is arguably the most stressful topic when it comes to kitchen renovation. What design style do you choose? How to correctly plan the kitchen? Do I need to hire a professional tradesperson?

There are many questions that can cloud our mind, and even make us put off the idea of renovations. But whether you want to turn your house into your home, make your property more appealing for resale, or a clever combination of the two, simplifying the process is the best thing you can do for your own sanity. We will cover a few of the common questions that come up in the renovation planning process, and in particular a kitchen reno.

What design style is best? – This question can be difficult to answer sometimes. Simply put, the best kitchen should suit your house.  If you are planning to live in your home forever, or live in a particularly trendy suburb you may be able to get away with selling a property with an ultra-contemporary and polished kitchen in a traditional home. But generally speaking, a well suited and practical kitchen is what most buyers look for in a home.

So what finishes are proving most popular nowadays? Benchtops have gone past granite, and most people are now opting for a composite or “Quartz” stone. Mainly for its price point, durability and longevity, ease of maintenance, and aesthetic. But due to a surge of natural finishes becoming more popular, we are seeing a trend of timber and marble benchtops. As a budget friendly option, laminate benchtops in a timber or marble effect are also peaking the charts in popularity. Flooring is remaining more or less the same, polished timber floors or a simple polished tile seems to be the go.island benchA recent spike has also shown that the focal point of kitchens has shifted from a trendy splashback subway tile to an island bench with lots of presence. Where possible, allow room for an island with a breakfast bar that the family can sit, while you prepare food. Boosting family togetherness and number of home cooked meals.

How to plan a kitchen? – When we say “plan a kitchen”, we are referring to the layout. What is the best layout for a kitchen? Quite simply put, it is the best possible layout that Kitchen-Triangleallows you to comfortably walk between the three main focus points of the kitchen, or ‘work triangle’. Walking a short distance between the preparation area/sink, storage (fridge or pantry), and cooking area (stove or oven), is what makes for an effective kitchen. However, you don’t need to spend thousands re-plumbing the whole space to move the sink to the left by 2 metres, by using your kitchen for about a week you will automatically realise why the kitchen isn’t working for you. It may not even be the layout that’s the problem, it may be a lack of storage or preparation space.

It is crucial that you get the layout right, even if it means laying out a pretend kitchen on the floor and walking between the focus points. A perspective buyer may not like the finishes you have chosen as much as you, but it is much easier to change a cabinet door style, or benchtop than it is to completely change the layout of the kitchen.

Do I need to hire a pro? – If you have the knowledge, motivation, and time to undertake a renovation process such as a kitchen, I would recommend doing what you can yourself. Not only to save labour costs, but also for the self-satisfaction. If you aren’t an experienced tradesperson, it is ideal that you have a plumber and electrician undertake those jobs, as the repercussions of a faulty job can be catastrophic. As far as hiring an architect or interior designer, I would only recommend doing so if you were undertaking very extensive renovations or structural changes. If you are simply changing some finishes and the style of the kitchen, doing some research online, or even talking to someone with design experience is enough to be able to achieve a designer look.

How much to spend? – This question is purely subjective. If you want a super salubrious kitchen with trims, panelling, solid marble, polished brass, bespoke cabinetry, and all the bells and whistles, you need to pay what it costs. Chances are you will see a good return on it too, but if you are trying to make your home a much more appealing space for yourself or buyers, you can get away with a sub-ten thousand dollar job. Changing the benchtop, fixtures and some paint can be all a kitchen needs to be more appealing. It depends what condition jwest7your kitchen is in currently. Don’t be afraid to spend some money on your kitchen, as I mentioned earlier, a beautiful kitchen will more or less sell your house.

In summary, if you are contemplating renovating your kitchen for profit or comfort, if you’ve got the means to do so, I say go for it! It can change your health and lifestyle, and most likely enhance the return on your property. I am in the office most days, or am happy to answer any questions over email (, if you want some advice from someone who’s been in the industry.