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.

The Positives of Renting

Many of us feel that we need to own the property we are living in.

For some, it may be that it is a status symbol to own it. For many, it does seem to suggest that there is more security in owning. For others, it means they can put their pictures up on the wall and rearrange, reconstruct and restore when and as they wish.

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If you want to own a property because you think you will be better off financially then think again. Recent figures suggest that unless you intend to hold property for a full 30 years, you may not be any better off than if you simply rented it.

Property values have levelled off in many cities and it has been suggested that the expected growth over the next ten years will slow as more and more of us find it harder to break into the market.

Subsequently less of us will be in a position to buy.

The Many Bonuses of Renting

For a start, if you have a leaking tap you simply pick up the phone and contact your professional property management team and let them take care of the details.

The same applies for any maintenance issue or repair that may arise whilst you are committed to a rental arrangement. Shattered windows or shower glass, broken down dishwashers, faulty hot water systems, leaking rooves or guttering, ageing fencing – no matter what it is, you just pick up the phone and call us. We take care of everything.

You never spend your money on the property – unlike property owners who live in their property, there will always be a project that they want or desire to achieve. This takes time and money. With your time and extra cash freed up you can do as you wish. Go away for the weekend, have a holiday, get a new car or stereo system.

Provided you pay your rent on time and keep the property in the condition it was when you moved in you are free to do as you wish.

The biggest kick you will get out of renting is that you can more than likely afford to pay the rent on a property that you could never afford to buy! How could it get any better than that?

So when you are ready to let go of responsibility and stress, give us a call at Ray White Property Management Bunbury.

House Sharing Harmony

If your living arrangements involve or are going to involve sharing a rental through our office at Ray White Property Management Bunbury, then you will benefit from reading some advice about sharing with others.

While there may be the best of intentions for not stepping on each other’s toes, living with other people can be hard work at times. Even the best of friends can fall out when it comes to sharing a home.

There will never be a living situation where an argument doesn’t occur, but there are ways to reduce issues, and when an upset does occur then all parties need to come back to each other once calm has returned and discuss to reach a resolution.

Our team at Ray White Property Management Bunbury want all of our clients to live peacefully in their chosen rentals so here are a few pointers on making a shared house more peaceful.

Do the right thing

If your name is on the rental agreement then you are equally responsible for the goings on in the property. Maintenance, rent and bond are all part of the agreement, so abide by these at all times, as agreed when you signed the lease.

You don’t live with your parents any more

If you make a mess, you clean it up. Chances are when you lived at home this was the rule too, but somehow you may have gotten away with it, but not anymore. When it comes to regular chores such as cleaning the bathroom or the fridge then you are all responsible.

Don’t rule out negotiating terms, for instance, you may offer to always clean the bathroom if someone else is happy to always clean the fridge. But when you all agree on the terms of cleaning duty, stick to them.

Feeding the masses, or yourself

Establish the boundaries about food from the beginning. If you are sharing food or basic staples then discuss what happens if your housemate has a friend visit for dinner or a few days. If you are not sharing then discuss what happens if someone needs to use someone else’s food items as an emergency, amongst others.

Be respectful

If you have gone out for the night or have friends over and your housemate has retired to bed early or is studying in their room, respect that. Don’t be loud and rowdy and be mindful of how well sound travels in your rental.

Communicate

Communication is vital in any relationship in any agreement, such as a shared rental. If someone is bothering you then say so before you bottle it up and it becomes a bigger issue than it really is.

On the other hand, don’t get over upset about everything. Put things into perspective and ask yourself if what you are bothered by is really worth the argument.

Social etiquette not social media

With Facebook being such a popular forum for discussing events and feelings many of us have been guilty of posting things we shouldn’t, and it always makes the problem worse. If you do have an issue with a housemate then talk to them face to face, not on Facebook.

If there are any real issues such as unpaid rent by a housemate, for instance, and you need to take the matter further then you can talk to our team at Ray White Property Management Bunbury; we will put you on the right track.

Beware! The Rental Inspector is Coming

For some, the thought of a rental property inspection is one that is likely to create a bit of stress and anxiety.

As professional property managers we have seen some pretty interesting things and spoken with some very wound up people when we conduct our quarterly inspection of the property they are renting.

The truth is that this is not as bad as it would appear and today we want to shed a little light on what Ray White Property Management Bunbury expect when carrying out this routine inspection.

Adequate Notification

By law, we are required to offer a minimum of 24 hours’ notice to enter a rental property.

Generally, we will give a minimum of three days’ notice but try to give as much as a week’s notice or more to give you time to get our house in order so to speak.

You know the stuff we mean – pick up your dirty clothes, do the dishes, make sure the shower screens are clean and clear and that you have swept out the patio or deck.

Fix It First and Fast

This is also your opportunity to do any minor repairs that you may be responsible for.

Whilst it is a landlord’s responsibility to attend to leaking taps and faulty electrical wiring, if you dented a wall, spilt red wine on the carpet or have some blown light bulbs you need to get them sorted prior to the inspection.

Lock Up Your Pets or Take Them Away

Some say that a property inspection is a stressful experience for a pet. This may be true if the pet is unfamiliar with strangers turning up.

The truth is that if you have ever been on the receiving end of a dog defending its turf you will understand when we say we do not want to be subjected to a barking dog or worse, a dog that may bail an inspector up whilst they are trying to conduct their business.

Gardens and Lawns

This is an area that a tenant is required by law to maintain.

The lawns will require regular maintenance and they can be checked during any drive by without notification.

Likewise, if the garden beds are overgrown with weeds and were mulched when you moved in, you must attend to this.

Maintenance Requests

If you have any issues with the maintenance of the house this is the time to bring it to our attention as we will be on the spot to observe any issues that have arisen since the last inspection.

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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