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Contemporary kitchen living room

The spring selling season is fast approaching and experience shows that vendors who invest in going that “extra mile” with presentation, especially in a tougher market, usually achieve a quicker sale and sometimes, a higher price. Property styling is one way to improve a home’s prospects for selling as fast as possible for the highest price. It also allows the vendor to create a ‘wow’ factor in the home that will leave a lasting impression upon buyers.

Property stylists are flexible when it comes to the sellers needs. They can simply take a look at a property and incorporate furniture and artwork that blends well with the abode. Alternatively, a full end-to-end property styling make-over can be undertaken.

Here is a list of some of the tasks property stylists can advise on:

  1. Home and Garden Maintenance – including weeding and rubbish removal
  2. Handyman services – re-hanging a door, replacing a window frame etc
  3. Styling – declutter, reposition, supply rental furniture and matching accessories
  4. General Ideas – offer those final special touches

A good indication of the average price for property styling is somewhere between $2000 – $4000. And any good stylist should be happy to work within a set budget.

A property makeover is not for everyone however. Time and finances may be limiting. DIY weekends can be just as successful. For example, try to have all minor repairs done. Sticking doors and windows, loose door-knobs, faulty plumbing, peeling paint may affect a sale. Gates should open easily too and welcome prospective buyers. Clear the gutters, clean windows, screens, doors and awnings. Spread gravel on unsealed driveways and lay pine bark on unsightly surfaces. Sweep driveways and patios. Remove clothes from the line. These small improvements can go a long way to assisting in the timely sale of a home and achieving the best price.

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solar panels with sun and perfect sky

A few years ago, the push to install solar panels on the roof of our homes began. The initial set up costs were considerable but the environmental and financial benefits over the long term were promised to be significant. So how has the drive for us to switch to solar power faired?

Well, according to the Origin Australia website, over 1 million homes around the country now have solar systems incorporated into their at-home power mix. And that number continues to grow. It seems we have enthusiastically embraced the concept and many Aussies are very pleased about the positive benefits of their decision.

Says one family, “We were looking at the whole solar thing for quite a while. We thought let’s just start with eight panels on the roof, and we were really pleasantly surprised about the big difference those eight panels have made to our bills.”

Studies carried out in 2014 show that the number of appliances used in our homes has doubled since the year 2000. In fact, the average home has almost 70 items that can be plugged in. That’s a lot of energy, which of course, has a flow on effect to a family’s energy bill.

If you are considering purchasing solar panels, the very approximate costs are here:

3kW : $4,000 – $6,000
5kW : $5,000 – $8,500
10kW: $12,000 – $16,000

Currently, households that install solar are eligible to receive up to $4,800 off the up-front price of the system in the form of a government rebate. This is subject to change and the rebate varies depending on the size of the solar system you install. For more information regarding solar panels go online, there is a wealth of information to be found. And if you think solar power at you place is a good idea, it’s wise to obtain several professional quotes before deciding on which company to proceed with.

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RBA

At its meeting yesterday, the Board decided to leave the cash rate unchanged at 1.50 per cent.

Wage growth remains subdued in most countries, as does core inflation. Headline inflation rates have declined recently, largely reflecting the earlier decline in oil prices. In the United States, the Federal Reserve expects to increase interest rates further and there is no longer an expectation of additional monetary easing in other major economies. Financial markets have been functioning effectively and volatility remains low.

Conditions in the housing market vary considerably around the country. Housing prices have been rising briskly in some markets, although there are some signs that these conditions are starting to ease. In some other markets, prices are declining. In the eastern capital cities, a considerable additional supply of apartments is scheduled to come on stream over the next couple of years. Rent increases remain low in most cities. Investors in residential property are facing higher interest rates. There has also been some tightening of credit conditions following recent supervisory measures to address the risks associated with high and rising levels of household indebtedness. Growth in housing debt has been outpacing the slow growth in household incomes.

The low level of interest rates is continuing to support the Australian economy. Taking account of the available information, the Board judged that holding the stance of monetary policy unchanged at this meeting would be consistent with sustainable growth in the economy and achieving the inflation target over time.

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Time to Mulch

As the cooler weather sets in, it’s easy to forget about the garden and stay indoors where it’s warm and cosy. To get the most out of your garden come spring time though, there are several jobs that can be completed over winter.

Firstly, if you have a lawn area, now is an opportune time to spray any weeds that may be growing through. Many grasses are actually dormant during winter eg Buffalo, Cooch and Kikuyu, so weeds have a tendency to take over if left to their own devices (don’t we all know it!) And if ignored until spring, the task of restoring your lawn to its former glory can often be too overwhelming!

Secondly, perennials, roses and hydrangeas should be cut back or pruned. There’s no better way to stimulate growth for spring so this really is a must if you want healthy, colourful flowers in your garden later this year. Larger deciduous trees that need a trim are also easier to prune over winter as you see the branches you want to cut far easier than during the other seasons when they are full with leaves. Be sure to ask for help if you need to climb a tall ladder or use larger gardening equipment.

Lastly, mulch, mulch, mulch! Every garden space no matter how big or small will benefit from a new layer of compost or mulch. If you have a spacious garden this work can be done far more effectively in winter when the sun is not beating down on your back. The benefits of mulching are many – it keeps weeds at bay, helps conserve water, increases soil health and looks great.

So, keep active and give you garden a little TLC this winter! You’ll see the huge difference it makes once spring arrives.

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Sweet home

The cold weather hasn’t dampened Melbourne’s property market with the citywide median house price increasing for the fifth consecutive quarter.

New REIV data shows the metropolitan Melbourne median house price rose 2.9 per cent in the three months to June 30, to $822,000.   

The city’s middle and outer suburbs were the main growth drivers in the June quarter with both regions up by more than three per cent.

Top performing suburbs were widespread across Melbourne and at both ends of the market – from Broadmeadows and Roxburgh Park in the north to Malvern East and Toorak in the south-east.

Croydon in the outer east experienced the city’s largest quarterly increase, up more than 20 per cent to a median of $810,000. 

REIV Acting President Richard Simpson said Melbourne’s property market continues to perform strongly, boosted by a buoyant auction market.

“It has been an exceptional year for the property sector with numerous auction records falling in the first half of 2017,” he said.

“More than 10,300 homes have gone under the hammer in the June quarter – a record for this time of year.

“Price growth is being supported by a number of key factors, including unprecedented population increases, record low interest rates and strong buyer demand.

“It’s certainly a sellers’ market at present with strong competition for homes across the city, particularly in Melbourne’s more affordable areas.

“Half of the suburbs making the top growth list this quarter are priced below the citywide median, suggesting buyers continue to seek value further from the city.”

Mr Simpson added that the city’s apartment sector had also performed strongly in the June quarter with the metropolitan Melbourne median increasing 4.3 per cent to $606,500.

“Contrary to popular opinion, Melbourne’s apartment market has been growing steadily for the past year with strong price growth in inner city areas.”

House prices in regional Victoria rose strongly for the second consecutive quarter, up two per cent in June to a record high $385,000.

Information courtesy of the REIV

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Graduate Diploma

 

Australian vendors selling a property for more than $750,000 must prove they are not a foreign resident by obtaining a clearance certificate through the ATO from July 1.

Here’s why:

Several years ago, the Federal Government introduced measures to curb overseas investment in Australian residential property. The goal was to deter these investors from making large profits on their local investments and then taking the windfall out of Australia.

Buyers of properties over $2 million were required to deduct 10% from the purchase price and pay that amount to the ATO as a foreign resident capital gains tax, unless they received a clearance certificate from the vendor. Vendors could obtain the certificate from the ATO if they could prove they were not a foreign resident.

From 1 July, the $2 million price tag drops to $750,000. This new rule will affect far more people that it did previously – more than 50% of all houses sold based on Melbourne’s current median house price – despite being clearly aimed at overseas investors. The ATO believes the new measure will help catch local hidden black market property sellers.

A clearance certificate application form is available online through the ATO website. Vendors may complete and lodge the form themselves. They may also have it completed and lodged on their behalf by a third party, for example a solicitor or an accountant. And whilst the majority of applications can be obtained within hours, the ATO says that buyers could face a penalty if they did not withhold funds when they should.

For more information regarding clearance certificates head to the ATO website.

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RBA Leaves Rates On Hold

RBA

At its meeting today, the Board decided to leave the cash rate unchanged at 1.50 per cent.

Headline inflation rates, having moved higher over the past year, have declined recently in response to lower oil prices. Wage growth remains subdued in most countries, as does core inflation. Further increases in US interest rates are expected and there is no longer an expectation of additional monetary easing in other major economies. Financial markets have been functioning effectively and volatility has been low.

Indicators of the labour market remain mixed. Employment growth has been stronger over recent months. The various forward-looking indicators point to continued growth in employment over the period ahead. Wage growth remains low, however, and this is likely to continue for a while yet. Inflation is expected to increase gradually as the economy strengthens.

The outlook continues to be supported by the low level of interest rates. The depreciation of the exchange rate since 2013 has also assisted the economy in its transition following the mining investment boom. An appreciating exchange rate would complicate this adjustment.

Conditions in the housing market vary considerably around the country. Housing prices have been rising briskly in some markets, although there are some signs that these conditions are starting to ease. In some other markets, prices are declining. In the eastern capital cities, a considerable additional supply of apartments is scheduled to come on stream over the next couple of years. Rent increases are the slowest for two decades. Growth in housing debt has outpaced the slow growth in household incomes. The recent supervisory measures should help address the risks associated with high and rising levels of household indebtedness. Lenders have also announced increases in mortgage rates for investor and interest-only loans.

Taking account of the available information, the Board judged that holding the stance of monetary policy unchanged at this meeting would be consistent with sustainable growth in the economy and achieving the inflation target over time.

Story Source: http://rba.gov.au/media-releases/2017/mr-17-13.html

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time for taxes

In the 2017-2018 Federal Budget handed down by Treasurer Scott Morrison on the 9th of May 2017, the Government proposed changes to the Taxation Laws. From 1 July this year, all travel deduction relating to inspecting, maintaining or collecting rent for a rental property – previously allowable – will be disallowed. This is relevant for all investors’ tax returns next financial year.

And as a reminder, here is a list of other expenses property investors are unable to claim according to the ATO website:

  • expenses not actually paid by you, such as water or electricity charges paid by your tenants
  • acquisition and disposal costs, including the purchase cost, conveyancing and advertising costs and stamp duty on the title transfer – instead, these are usually included in the property’s cost base, which would reduce any capital gains tax when you sell the property
  • GST credits for anything you purchase to lease the premises – GST doesn’t apply to residential rental properties. However, when claiming the expense as a deduction, you claim the total amount you’ve paid (inclusive of GST, if applicable).

If you are unsure about what you can and cannot claim, we strongly suggest engaging the services of a professional tax accountant who can guide you through the process and ensue your return is correct. You can also read more from the ATO website.

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Budget for year 2017

Even before the 2017 state budget was handed down by Tim Pallas, the Victorian real estate fraternity was twitching with anticipation. Where would the government give and take?

Well, it’s all out in the open now, and it seems property investors are the hardest hit by the latest budgetary measures in the government’s attempt to free up housing for would-be renters that is otherwise sitting vacant. The new vacancy tax is expected to gross the Victorian state government about $80 million in revenue over the next four years and will come into effect on January 1, 2018, for properties left vacant this year.

Here’s a summary of the main changes:

First home buyers

· Superannuation changes – First home buyers will be able to voluntarily contribute up to $15,000 per annum and $30,000 in total to their superannuation accounts via concessional contributions which may later be withdrawn to assist with buying their first home

· The abolishment of stamp duty for first home buyers on properties up to $600,000 and cuts to properties up to $750,000

· The doubling of the First Home Owner Grant to $20,000 in regional Victoria

· The introduction of HomesVic assistance pilot, a co-purchasing program for up to 400 first home buyers who qualify for housing loans but do not have enough deposit to buy.

Investors and homeowners

· Downsizing incentive – If you are 65 or over you can make additional non-concessional contributions to your superannuation from the proceeds of the sale of your home

· Introduction of a Vacant Residential Property Tax – investor owners of properties left vacant for six months or more with pay 1% of a property’s capital improved value

· Abolishment of stamp-duty spouse transfer loophole

· Landlords and tenants will be able to negotiate long-term leases for those wanting to commit to rental arrangements for more than five year.

View more information about how the 2017 budget will affect the real estate industry here.

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Big is not always best!

Marble bedroom with poster, front, toned

Two-bedroom houses are outperforming the typical family home in Melbourne’s inner and outer rings as buyers look to enter the market below the suburb’s median house price.

New REIV data shows the median price for two-bedroom homes in Melbourne’s inner ring rose 14.7 per cent over the year to March to $1,015,000 – a $130,000 increase.

By comparison, the median price for three-bedroom homes rose 12 per cent over the year to $1,310,000 while four-bedroom homes within 10km of the CBD increased 8.5 per cent to $1.9 million.

REIV President Joseph Walton said two-bedroom homes offer buyers an entry point to some of Melbourne’s most expensive suburbs.

“Smaller, single-fronted homes deliver value for money, particular at the top end of the market where the median house price is currently just over $1.5 million,” he said.

“Given space is at a premium across the city, two-bedroom homes are ideal for couples and downsizers who want the backyard but don’t necessarily need the three-bedrooms.”

Mr Walton added that buyers were also seeking value at the affordable end of the market with two-bedroom homes in outer Melbourne performing better than any other property type in outer Melbourne.

“While larger family homes are typically the norm in outer Melbourne, the strongest price growth has actually been in the two-bedroom market where the median has increased almost 12 per cent over the year to $460,000.

“A two-bedroom home allows buyers on a budget to enter the market well below the suburb’s median house price without needing to consider an apartment.”

“A backyard is still a priority for many buyers and this factor is really driving growth for smaller homes across the city.”

Information courtesy of the REIV

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