Simple Solutions to the Rising Cost of Energy

As the cost of energy continues to climb, and the market moves towards sustainable energy options such as solar and wind generated power, there is a feeling in some circles that tenants are the losers. Many rental properties do not have solar power, so where does this leave those people who, for various reasons, rent rather than buy their own properties? How can tenants reduce their energy costs?

At Ray White Bunbury we manage all types of rental properties from large, free standing family homes to apartments, townhouses and small units. The best service we can provide to our property owners is to source and keep good tenants. One way we can do that is to offer a few simple techniques they can implement themselves to save on energy costs.

Try These Tips all Year Round

Some of these suggestions will apply all year round, while others are specific to different seasons. For example, we recommend turning off all power points at the wall unless they are being used. Doing this consistently can save as much as $150 a year.

Only wash when there is a full load, use cold water, and use the dishwasher only a few times a week to pocket an extra $90 a year. Take advantage of the sun and afternoon sea breezes to dry clothes naturally and save $95 a year.

Some Solutions for Summer

In summer, fans are more cost effective than air-conditioners and should provide enough relief, especially in open-plan areas. Close blinds and curtains in the early morning before the sun heats up the interior, then open up the house in late afternoon to take advantage of the evening breezes. If using an air conditioner, set it on 24 degrees as just a couple of degrees lower has a surprising impact on energy costs.

Warm Up in Winter Without Fearing the Energy Bill

When the first winter winds blow, close up the house, put on warm clothing and only use a heater if it is absolutely necessary. When using a heater set the thermostat to between 18 and 20 degrees. An extra degree or two might feel cosy now, but it will increase the size of the energy bill.

Close curtains and blinds at night to keep the warm air inside, and block any cracks that are letting in those winter winds. A lot of cold air comes in under the doors, and just plugging those spaces can reduce heating costs.

None of this information is new, but unfortunately, it is often ignored. For tenants who need to reduce their living expenses, our team at Ray White Bunbury think this is the perfect solution.

Smooth Moving With Children

Moving house can be stressful at the best of times. There is much to be organised with packing, changing address details, organising utilities and more. But when you throw children into this mix it can get even trickier.

Youngsters are creatures of habit so when you go changing their environment you might be looking at a few hiccups. But this doesn’t need to be the case; our office at Ray White Bunbury would like to offer some tips to create a more harmonious move with your children.

While we don’t guarantee your move will be ‘pain-free’ we do think you will find these ideas quite handy.

Participation

It can be hard to let a young family become involved in big jobs sometimes. When there is a timeframe involved and you just want to get things done it might seem easier to keep the little ones out of the process. However, if you can manage, it’s a good idea to let them join in.

Moving can make children feel ‘powerless’ about the move and they can become overwhelmed. Allowing them to take part in some of the particulars can give them a sense that they are involved in this new life change.

For example, you can let them have some boxes to decorate and also pack their belongings in for the move. If you are to own the home you are moving to then maybe they would like to have some input into the decoration of their new rooms.

Strategic unpacking

Make your new environment more comfortable for your children and less stress for you by strategically unpacking. Firstly, their rooms; this will give them a sanctuary that is theirs to chill out in and settle into the new place.

The next room you want to unpack if you are having one is the playroom. This way, they will have plenty to keep them occupied while you unpack the rest of your home. The kitchen should be your next point of call. Everyone has to eat, especially young children. The sooner your fridge, cupboards and kitchen, in general, are ready to provide food the better.

School preparation

If you are moving in the school holidays then make your life easier by having all school required items easily on hand and ready to go. This way, if you are a little behind in organisation everywhere else then your children are still set to go for school.

Also, if there is a change of school remember this could be tough on your youngsters. Be ready to offer support, love and cupcakes.

If there is anything more our office at Ray White Bunbury can assist with for your upcoming move then please contact us.

Consider Your Pets at Inspection Time

If you are renting and you have pets then it is very likely that they are just like another family member to you. With this in mind, you want the very best for them and that includes not being stressed or scared.

If you are renting then it is also a guarantee that at some stage your property will be inspected, as per your rental agreement. Combining pets and property inspections can be tricky for some especially if they have timid or nervous pets.

On the other side of the coin, not everyone is crazy about pets, especially if the pet is a massive dog with a great eye for strangers and a strong willingness to protect the property.

Our team at Ray White Bunbury would like your inspections to go as smoothly as possible. So whether or not the protection is for your pets or our staff entering your property, here are some tips and things to consider.

Has permission been granted?

First and foremost we would like to draw your attention to the fact that if you do have a pet on the premises, you need permission for this. If you don’t have permission to have a pet then inspection time is definitely going to be an issue for you.

You might think you can hide it but there is always some obvious tell-tale signs there are animals being kept on the premises. If you are keeping a pet without permission please contact our office ASAP.

Large intimidating animals

We know we have permission to enter your home and so do you, but your big burly dog doesn’t. If you have a pet that might get a little feisty at our presence then consider these options. You can make sure you are present for the inspection to assure your pet does not get agitated and threatening to our staff.

If this is not possible, you can also ask a friend to watch your pet for the duration of the inspection or ensure that your pet is locked in an area where it can do no harm.

Small timid animals

Cats and smaller dogs can sometimes be edgy and intimidated by strangers in their home. If this is your pet you can again opt to be present but this is not always possible. In the case of timid animals we believe it is ideal that they are kept safely in a quiet space or failing that, with a friend for the day.

Whichever kind of animal you have, if you think there will be an issue with your pet present while you are not at home, it is important to let us know. Contact our Ray White Bunbury office today to discuss your inspection and any pets you have on your premises.

Tasks To Include When Moving

Moving house can be very exciting. A fresh start, an opportunity to throw out any old junk you don’t use or need. But moving house can also be very daunting. It’s a big job after all and unless you have personal assistants following you around all day, most of it will be done by you and those good enough to help. The best thing you can do is make a list of what needs to be done. This way, you can reduce anything being left out and you will have a checklist to mark off items as you go.

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First things first

Decide on a plan of attack. Moving can cost money. It is purely up to you if this adventure will have a tight budget or not but if you have the money and are will to spend it, moving can be a little easier. If you wish to use a removalist then you will need to find the best priced one. Your property manager may even have a few removalists they can recommend, it certainly won’t hurt to ask. You will also need to decide if you will pack your home up yourself or if you will pay the extra money to have this done for you, which usually can be done by the same company who will move you. If you won’t be using the expertise of a moving company then you will need to plan your time well to ensure you have everything packed and ready to go by the time the moving date arrives. If you don’t have a vehicle big enough to move your items or a friend who can loan one, then you will possibly be looking at hiring one. Factoring this into your budget will also be required as well as making sure there will be a vehicle available on the date you require it. Organising these very important factors first means the move is organised to go ahead and so now you can focus on the other important parts of moving.

Staying tuned in and turned on

The obvious part of a move is contacting your utility providers and organising disconnection at the address you will be leaving and connection at your new address. This includes electricity, phone, gas and any other items such as pay tv and mail. It is always particularly important to change your address with your banking institution so you know no one else is getting your statements. Another good idea before you move is backing up your hard drive on your computer. Accidents can sometimes happen during moves and a computer is normally one spot that very important documents are held.

Talk to your real estate agency about your move, they may have some great advice that could save you time and money.

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What You Need to Know When Ending a Tenancy

Terminating a tenancy is no simple task. There are many implications and possible penalties that a tenant may pay if some important details are ignored. For instance, if you decide to leave the premises because you can’t afford the rent anymore, you cannot simply leave and stop paying rent. This can be more troublesome as it would be a clear violation of the contract and you may be liable to pay compensation to the landlord for lost rent. As always, it is best that the tenant read through the details of the tenancy agreement to make sure that all requirements are met before leaving the premises.

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Details of Ending a Tenancy

Either landlord or tenant can end a tenancy agreement, and in case one has a good reason to terminate the lease, then a written notice will be required. In some cases, the tenant and the landlord may agree to end the lease contract even before the end of the lease term. Agreements to end a tenancy in any rental properties must be put into writing for proper documentation as required by law. Remember to abide by this to avoid future confusion or liabilities.

At the end of the tenancy, make sure to pay any outstanding rent as well as any separately metered utility bills. It would also be wise to keep a copy of the Condition Report, just in case there happens to be a dispute in the future. It would also help to take photos of the premises after leaving to support that report. In cases where there was a bond paid, discuss with the landlord how this would be returned to you.

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Creating A Sense of Community With Your Neighbours

The list goes on and on regarding the tensions that can arise between neighbours and we have seen and heard them all.

The constantly barking dog when its owners are out is a particularly irritating one but can be overtaken by the sounds of unhappy children, loud noise created by the workshop in your neighbour’s shed or a loud stereo.

Frustrations can build if you often find a car blocking your driveway or you notice for the third time this week, the leaves falling into your pristine pool from the branch overhanging your dividing boundary.

So how can you maintain the status quo with the variety of people you call your neighbours?

Ray White Property Management Bunbury have put together some tips and pointers for both owner occupiers and renters to help them manoeuvre through what can sometimes be stressful waters.

Acknowledge We All Deserve Respect and that we are All Different

The great big melting pot we call Australia is positively teaming with variety and choice. We truly are the lucky country and this is one of the reasons why.

The trick is to acknowledge that we are all different with different dreams, likes, and dislikes and that is OK. We all deserve the right to pursue life to its fullest, provide for our families, and let off some steam once in a while.

Don’t Assume Your Neighbours Know they are Aggravating You

Many of us live in our own little bubbles, drifting from sleep to work to play to home without a thought that our habits or behaviour may actually be impacting on anybody else.

If you have an irritating situation such as the ones we mentioned above you will often be surprised at the response you will get from your neighbour if you can just pluck up the courage to go over and have a chat about it.

If you feel that the direct approach is too daunting why not try putting your thoughts down in writing?

You have surely heard the term “you get more flies with honey” so whichever way you go, try to keep the tone light and courteous.

A Little Joy Goes a Long Way

Keeping in the good books with your neighbours by doing little things to help them without being asked will create a sense of solidarity and respect. Paying it forward will always bring you good results or at least set you up to have that awkward conversation you may have dreaded otherwise; so give it a go!

Important Tips for Moving Out

When it is time to move out of an apartment or rented property, tenants need to fulfill some important things first before they surrender the premises to the landlord. These requirements are part of the responsibilities of the tenant and are usually indicated in the tenancy agreement. Fulfilling these responsibilities would make the moving out process smoother for both the tenant and the landlord.

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Turning Over Back

The landlord would typically want their rented property to be turned over back to them in the same or even better condition than they were provided to the tenant. This is why there are provisions in the lease agreement on how the real estate property is to be surrendered to the landlord. It is important to read these provisions carefully to avoid unwanted disputes.

Moving Out Requirements

One of the top requirements before moving out is cleaning the premises. Create a checklist for the areas that need to be cleaned in the kitchen, bathroom and all other rooms in the property. Make sure to clean all parts of the room and any appliances, such as the dishwasher and oven, that were provided along with the rented property. The garden or yard, if any, should also be cleaned, from the lawn to the garage. One of the best ways to tackle the cleaning aspect of moving out would be to hire a professional cleaner to thoroughly clean the premises, although you have to check all the rooms after the cleaning is done to ensure that every nook has been covered. If stated in the tenancy agreement, the tenant should have carpet cleaning and pest control carried out on the property before moving out.

Exit Condition Report

Once the premises have been thoroughly cleaned, it is time to make a comparison of the premises from the time you have moved in. After removing furniture and other belongings from the property, the tenant needs to fill out an exit condition report, which will then be compared against the entry condition report. It is best to take photos of rental properties in Bunbury as proof of the condition of the premises at the time of moving in and the time of moving out. When all these requirements have been fulfilled, the tenant would then be ready to return the keys to the landlord.

Moving out can be a daunting task, so it is important for the tenant to know the requirements that need to be done before leaving rental property. Fulfilling such requirements is key to avoiding issues and misunderstandings with the landlord and will make the moving out process a breeze.

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Things to Do Before Moving Out of a Rental Property

Before moving out of a rental property, it is important to fulfil some responsibilities expected of the tenant before they can claim the bond paid at the beginning of the tenancy. The tenancy agreement between the landlord and the tenant would typically include terms and conditions relating to the termination of the lease and the release of the bond. Generally, the tenant will need to leave the property in the condition that they have received it from the landlord at the beginning of the tenancy.

Make a Checklist

Before moving out of Bunbury rentals, it is best for tenants to make a checklist of the areas in the premises that need to be cleaned. These areas would include all the rooms in the premises as well as the fixtures and inclusions that have been provided by the landlord. The tenant should also thoroughly clean the surrounding garden or backyard if there are any, and remove any garbage or cobwebs and trim the grass.

Pest Control

The tenant is also typically required to perform pest control and carpet cleaning in the premises to remove any pest infestation that may have happened during the tenancy. If the tenant is not suited for cleaning, it is advisable to get the help of professional cleaning and pest control services. However, the tenant should still ensure that the hired services have gone through all nooks of the premises.

Entry Condition Report

The tenant needs to surrender the premises to the landlord in good condition with fair wear and tear. This means the reasonable wear that would happen to the rental properties Bunbury during normal usage and as a result of the ageing of the property. It is best if the tenant had completed an entry condition report at the beginning of the term to note all the deterioration and existing damages. This report would then be compared with the exit condition report that details the condition of the property at the end of the term. The best way to complement these reports is by taking photographs of the premises at the beginning and at the end of the term. This would clear any disputes that may prevent the prompt release of the bond.

Moving out of a rental property should be simple enough if the tenant has prepared a list of all the responsibilities that need to be fulfilled before surrendering the premises back to the landlord. It is always best to perform due diligence in proving that the property is in good condition so as to avoid conflicts and disagreements between the landlord and the tenant that could hinder the release of the bond.

Helpful Tips When Starting a Tenancy

So you have found that perfect place to rent. Before rushing to move in, make sure to check and accomplish all necessary documents and steps that will make your tenancy trouble-free and enjoyable.

Importance of The Tenancy Agreement

First and most important step after finding that ideal property is to carefully read the tenancy agreement drafted by the landlord. This is a legal document that will serve as the by-laws of your stay, so it must be fully understood, including the fine prints. The tenancy agreement puts in detail, not only the rent, payment method and frequency, but also the rules that the tenant and landlord will follow. Property Managers Bunbury can help tenants who are feeling their way at the start of a tenancy, explaining to them the importance and meaning of some clauses and terminologies in the tenancy contract.

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Contract Signing and The Necessary Contacts

After having fully grasped the tenancy agreement and seeing that everything is in order, it should then be good to sign the contract. The landlord is required to furnish the tenant with a copy of the contract within a period of 14 days after the tenant’s signing. Remember to get the contact details of the landlord or the agent handling the deal between the landlord and tenant. The tenant has to be given contact details of the landlord or agent managing rental property, and if they change their contact details, they have to inform the tenant within 7 days or they will be fined.

The landlord or property manager should also provide contact details of persons to call in cases of urgent repairs. The most important aspect to be mindful about is the payment, how much advanced rent the landlord can ask the tenant. For instance, for rent set to be paid weekly, the landlord is not allowed to ask for more than 14 days’ rent in advance. If the agreed upon weekly rent is $500 or less, tenant cannot be asked to pay more than one month’s rent in advance.

The Tenancy Bond

In most cases, the landlord will ask the tenant to pay a bond, which will act as security for the landlord in case the tenant causes damage to the property. This bond should not be more than one month’s rent if the weekly rent is set at $500 or less. The landlord should give the tenant a Bond Lodgement form to sign, after which the tenant and landlord will get a receipt from the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority when the payment has been made. You should receive a Conditional Report from the landlord, detailing the current condition of the property. This document is important in case there happens to be a dispute on who should be responsible for a particular repair or replacement.

It is important to know your rights as provided by the law. However, there could be clauses in the tenancy agreement that if not understood fully, may cause eviction from the premises. Sound property management can help in this area to mediate between the needs and rights of the tenant and the policies of the landlord.

Sometimes, a peaceful and easy tenancy is determined by proper handling at the start. Understanding your rights and responsibilities can make the tenancy easier during the lifetime of the contract.

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Coping with the Challenges of Change

We are all human. Whilst some would say that we should expect to experience challenges and struggles we prefer to use the word accept instead.

Nobody wants or needs to expect that moving to a new house or suburb should be a struggle.

It can be a joyful experience if you simply address any concerns or issues that come up as practically as possible without dwelling on them or creating more angst than is necessary.

This is the art of looking at what is, not what you think or want.

This skill is especially important if you are moving with children. We have all heard the term “kids are like sponges”. This has never been truer than when it comes to children sensing and reacting to the emotions emitted by the adults around them.

If you are stressed, confused or angry, a child will pick up on it. They will not necessarily act stressed, confused, or angry, however, but will certainly put on a turn as they struggle to process what they are picking up.

Ray White Property Management Bunbury staff have seen many new people move to our fabulous part of the world and we offer these tips to help you transition smoothly.

Look at What Is

By keeping it real, you are looking at what is. Yes, you and your family are more than likely going to experience a variety of feelings.

Know that this is OK and all part of the transition. Don’t judge yourselves badly because you may feel anxiety or fear.

Don’t let it Control You, Your Decisions, or Reactions

If there was a time you needed to count to 10 before engaging, moving to a new community has got to be it.

Allow yourself the space to let it flow without reacting. High emotions can cause people to act in ways that even surprise themselves.

Be in Allowance

It can take some time for the family to assimilate to a new home and surroundings.

If the move also includes new schools or jobs it is important to not necessarily make allowances but to be in allowance that everyone will process what is going on in their own way.

Where you might find that going for a long walk or introducing yourself to the neighbours is good therapy, another may wish to just be alone and read a book or play with the dog until the equilibrium returns.