Resolving Common Rental dilemmas

by abelmcgrathsophie In Property Management, Rental

12 July 2017

hiWEB Abel McGrath Claremont Office (17)While renting can offer tenants a certain degree of flexibility and freedom that home ownership does not in some ways, it doesn’t come without its accompanying downside.

Although in the vast majority of cases, tenants and landlords – and the property managers who manage the relationship between the two – things go smoothly on both sides of the equation, there are times when disputes arise, says Abel McGrath Property Manager, Kate Jones.

She said one of the key elements of a good Property Manager’s role is managing disputes and potential disputes before they escalate and ensuring they are resolved swiftly and to the satisfaction of both parties where possible.

Ms Jones said by far the most common cause of disputes was when it came time for the bond to be returned (or not) and often focused on issues regarding property maintenance and care and the condition in which the property was left.

She said with the current market tending to favour the tenants, with lower competition for rental properties across most Perth suburbs, complaints were on the rise with both parties.

“The downturn in the market has certainly added pressure to lessors when tenants request that maintenance be done,” she said.

“However, at times the lessors feel that the returns they are getting on their investment are not consistent with the rental income.”

Ms Jones said it is often when disputes arise between the parties that both sides realise the value of having a good property manager.

“The advantage of having a good property manager is that they will ensure all of the documentation relating to the tenancy and the property is completed in an orderly fashion to avoid conjecture.

“An effective property manager will also be able to negotiate between the two parties and mitigate any potential disputes without acting on responses irrationally or in an emotional manner so that it doesn’t need to escalate any further.”

She said a good property manager needed firstly to have the ability to listen.

“This will help them negotiate a fair solution, mediate a reasonable ground and uphold professional business standards throughout the dispute,” Ms Jones added.

She said tenants always have the option to seek further advice from the Department of Commerce as does the lessor, should they feel that an agent or property manager was acting unfairly or not in line with the Residential Tenancy Agreement.

“Having a recommended Property Manager should give the client some confidence that the recommendation is based on the experience and the rapport they had with that Property Manager or with the agency,” Ms Jones said.

“This should also be consistent with having proper office procedures to ensure that we as Property Managers are acting in line with the Real Estate Business Act.”

She said acting on problems in a timely manner was also important as it ensured accuracy of administrative records and processes.

“It’s also recommended that tenants and lessors alike understand the terms of the Lease Agreement including any special conditions that will reduce the likelihood of conflict arising and of the potential for misunderstanding.”




Tags: Claremont, landlords, property, propertymanagement, Rental, satisfaction, success, tenants

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Can a great garden really boost the sale price of your home?

by abelmcgrathsophie In Gardens, Homes, Selling

29 June 2017

Everyone knows the importance of first impressions, especially when it comes to real estate.

It has often been said that a garden makes a house a home, so never underestimate the importance of outdoor areas when it comes to selling.

Make a bad one and you’ve lost a buyer immediately, however a positive first look can pave the way for a quick and easy sale and potentially add thousands to the price of your home.

You don’t necessarily need a garden worthy of the Chelsea Flower Show, according to Abel McGrath Property Consultant Genevieve Carrier, however landscaping is the first thing that potential buyers see, so it’s well worth investing in ‘greening up’ your outdoors if you’re thinking of heading to sale.

Ms Carrier says it may sound obvious but street appeal is still extremely important so getting your garden in order should be a top priority.

“Research has shown that lifestyle changes and work commitments have meant the allure of a large garden may not be what it once was,

“While buyers like having plenty of outdoor space, they don’t always relish a garden that requires a lot of maintenance,” Ms Carrier says.

“Prospective home owners might gaze admiringly at your borders, lawns and trimmed hedges, but they’ll also be mentally toting up the man-hours.

“It’s safe to assume that for most buyers, a house with a garden is more attractive than one without, as long as it comes with an equally attractive reticulation system.”
She says although a good looking garden is important, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on expensive landscaping – it can be as simple as pruning, weeding and putting some top-up mulch on your garden beds and mowing the lawn.

Ms Carrier says the importance placed on gardens and outdoor areas can also be swayed by location.

“If you’re close to parklands or minutes to then each, then the outdoor areas and gardens become less of a necessity,” she adds.

“However, if you are a significant distance from attractive parklands or nature reserves then the outdoor areas and gardens will become of prime importance.”

Here are some expert tips on preparing gardens and outdoor areas for sale:

  • You don’t have to spend a fortune – it’s advisable to improve on an established garden rather than putting in a brand new one.
  • If you need to add to the garden, choose plants that complement the style of your home.
  • Plant some potted bloomers for instant cheer and choose some plants with a bit of fragrance particularly at the entrance.
  • Fix any broken or rusted garden lights or fixtures in the garden
  • Mend fences, make sure gates are fixed and in working order so the home doesn’t appear neglected – prying open a garden gate in front of buyers does not look good and these are important things that buyers look at.
  • Ensure that any uneven brick paving is fixed and driveways and paved areas are cleaned with a high pressure hose
  • Invest in some good outdoor lighting so the yard looks as good at night as it does during the day and consider spot or strip lighting or illuminated water features.


Tags: advice, Claremont, Garden, realestate, Selling, Vendor

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Why it’s important to listen to what the market tells you

by abelmcgrathblog In Property Management, Rental

20 June 2017

It’s no secret that the West Coast property market is experiencing one of its most challenging periods in recent years.

While markets in Sydney and Melbourne have continued to experience record growth and seemingly continued unmet spiralling demand, the market here has softened considerably in the wake of the resources slow down.

This has impacted not just sellers, but landlords also, who have been forced to readjust their expectations around expected return on their investment.

While at the height of the boom, landlords might have had the luxury of choosing between a plethora of competitive offers, these days, tenants have a lot more bargaining power.

Abel McGrath Property Manager, Samantha Withnell, says although the market is definitely tough in many respects, there are still ways landlords can ensure they get the best out of their investment property.

“Being realistic and listening to good advice is really the key to achieving a decent rental return in a quieter market,” Ms Withnell says.

She says landlords are in general more realistic and are also willing to listen to good quality advice.

“If we educate our landlords on the amount of rent they may lose by keeping their property advertised at the wrong price, they can usually see that the potential long term gain outweighs any short term loss,” Ms Withnell says.

She says although a reasonable rental rate is always imperative for landlords, it is equally important to secure the right tenant.

“Therefore we do find that our landlords are often open to renegotiating to ensure they hang on to or attract a quality tenant.”She says there are a number of ways landlords or investors can ensure a rental property stands out in a softer market.

“Having professional photographs taken for advertising purposes is essential in a competitive market.

“Ensuring the property is clean and tidy and the garden is well maintained, even if a property is vacant, is also extremely important.”

She says it’s also a good idea to look at the rental rate on comparable properties in the same area to give you a guide as to what to expect.

“However the rental rate should stay in line with the current market and it shouldn’t be necessary to reduce the rent below this.”

Ms Withnell says some landlords currently offer extras such as a week’s free rent or gift vouchers to entice good quality tenants and ensure their property stands out from the crowd.

“Enticements such as including pool or garden maintenance, or being a bit more flexible around the issue of pets, can all help to put your property ahead of its competitors.”

She says the Perth market appears to have stabilised at this point with minimal movement up or down expected in the next 12 months.

“And while we understand that in challenging economic times everyone is trying to save money where they can, ensuring you have a good property manager on your side will be far more beneficial in the long run”.

Tags: advice, Claremont, currentmarket, landlords, propertymanagement, realestate, rentals, success, tenants

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Expert tips for a knockout home open

by abelmcgrathblog In Homes, Property Management, Rental, Selling, Uncategorized

30 March 2017

PRINT 6 Monash Ave Nedlands 13

Often those contemplating selling or putting their property up for lease find the whole process particularly daunting.

 Aside from the financial implications and the seemingly endless paperwork and conditions that must be met, there’s the practical side of actually ensuring you’re home puts its best face forward to achieve the highest possible price.

Despite advancing technology and the increasing reliance on the internet, home opens remain an important part of the leasing and selling process.

 It may seem daunting preparing for your first home open, however it doesn’t have to be, according to Abel McGrath Property Manager, Jessica Bertocchi.

 “It’s an important part of both the leasing and selling process and there are a few key steps you can take to make the whole process that much easier and ensure you’re showing your property in the best possible light,” she says.

 Ms Bertocchi says, in today’s more subdued rental market, home opens are even more important than they were when the market was booming.

 She says advancing technology has also had an impact on how properties are marketed.

 “The internet means that prospective tenants have access to home open dates, times and locations in the palm of their hand without even having to ring the agent to find out the details,” she says.

 She says first impressions remain vital as they give a prospective tenant an insight into what the interior of the home might look like.

 “Having lawns mowed and green with no weeds in garden beds is going to give people a better feel about the home and could essentially mean the difference between applying for the property or not.”

 “Fixing broken items, getting a thorough clean done and adding a lick of paint, will all help your property to stick out from the crowd.

 “It’s not necessary to spend a lot of money on renovations but you should present a home in the condition you would expect or like to live in,” Ms Bertocchi adds.

She says staging for some high end properties can really assist prospective buyers or tenants to visualise how a property could look and decluttering is always an essential to avoid a home looking cluttered and messy.

 “Personal items should be stored away or removed prior to marketing and it’s a good idea to remove pets from properties to give those looking the opportunity to look around without being restricted,” Ms Bertocchi says.

In terms of timing, she says close to the close of business works for many of those looking for new properties who may be working full time and whose time is limited especially those in the market for a rental property.

 “And remember to listen to any feedback from the agent or property manager about your property.

 “This is very important so that the owner is aware of what people are looking for in properties and can modify or make changes accordingly.



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When is the right time to downsize and what do I really need to consider?

by abelmcgrathblog In Homes, Selling, Uncategorized

27 October 2016

Eventually, those of us who are getting on in years will all need to downsize in some capacity.

Whether it’s the camaraderie of a ‘lifestyle’ village you’re after or just a small townhouse on the coast, at some stage in life the demands of a large family home seem to get the better of most of us.

Abel McGrath Property Consultant, Genevieve Carrier, says there are certain signs the time may have come to downsize and differing levels of expectation of those who choose to do so.

“With good advice the transition can be fairly simple,” she says.

“It’s all about mapping out what your future needs are.”

The key to successful downsizing, says Ms Carrier, is advance planning and an honest assessment of your needs and goals.

“Some of the signs that you’re ready to downsize maybe that your adult children have already flown the coup and you are faced with a home with unused rooms and continual maintenance and cleaning that may become an overwhelming burden.

“The desire to travel and move on can also be key factors in most people’s decision to downsize their responsibilities.”

When downsizing your principal place of residence, the thought of what to do and how to do it in today’s property market can often be daunting.

She says it’s important to thoroughly understand your reasons for selling and take into account some important considerations.

“Realistically considering what your home is worth in today’s market and looking at what the real costs of downsizing might be are a good place to start.”

Ms Carrier says one of the biggest hurdles downsizers need to overcome is letting go of once treasured and prized belongings.

“This process can be a difficult and particularly emotional task for those who are faced with downsizing the things they may have lived with for decades,” she says.

Her advice is to start culling early – well before the ink is dry on your new compact home, villa or townhouse.

“Take stock of what’s really important to you and what you really could live without.

“Ask yourself when was the last time you actually used it and what purpose does it serve,” she adds.

As far as downsizing options go, Ms Carrier says it’s important to consider options such as access to transport, leisure facilities and the public amenities close by.

She says it’s wise to choose an area that allows you to spend more time in community spaces with friends and family and to make sure that there are restaurants and cafes nearby that will add rather than detract from your lifestyle.

Above all, Ms Carrier says, the key is to do your homework first.

“It is a big decision that needs to consider a number of factors however with the right plan in place and the right team helping you through the process you can make the transition smoothly and successfully.”


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What makes a good property manager stand out from the crowd?

by abelmcgrathblog In Uncategorized

02 September 2016


For every great property manager diligently looking after their clients’ valuable investments and ensuring good tenants are well looked after, there are unfortunately stories out there of those who are failing to do their job.

A great property manager who understands the industry and what the job actually entails can make the difference between a good investment and a bad one, and help property owners make the most of their return on investment.

It’s a job that requires plenty of interpersonal skills and a sound knowledge of the industry in which they operate according to Abel McGrath Head of Property Management, Kate Jones.

“It’s often what investors don’t see going on behind the scenes that separates really good property managers from the rest of the crowd,” explains Ms Jones.

“Outstanding communication skills, attention to detail, honesty and knowledge of the relevant legislation and local area are among the most important traits to look for in a good property manager.”

She says when seeking out a good property manager to look after your investment, talking to friends and family is a great place to start.

“Back this up with some online research about listings and the agency itself and then meet with a short list of contenders to find the best agency to meet your needs,” Ms Jones says.

“Use it as an opportunity to ask lots of questions and select an agency that is innovative and planning for the future in terms of your property and the industry’s needs.”

A good property manager will also need to multitask while remaining focused on attention to detail.

Ms Jones says although the industry tends to be dominated by women who tend to bring that detail oriented approach and a certain level of care to the role, both men and women bring equally valuable skills to the table.

She says regardless of gender, one of the most fundamental qualities a good property manager should possess is the ability to communicate clearly and concisely.

“Equally important is the ability to listen to the requirements of your clients and to remain solutions focused,” Ms Jones adds.

Ms Jones says although property managers are employed to work in the best interests of property owners, it’s important to set a good relationship base with all parties in the first instance.

“This will help in times where you may need to negotiate or come up with solutions that best facilitate a resolution.”

She says it’s also important to keep pace with legislative changes and industry movements.

“If a property manager isn’t constantly up to speed with this, it con open up the landlord and the agency to the potential of fines and litigation.”

Ms Jones says good conflict resolution skills are vital for property managers dealing with a variety of clients and stakeholders.

“It’s important to be able to listen and to acknowledge people’s feelings and emotions regardless of whether they are a landlord or tenant.”

Bond inspections, she says, can often be a point where potential conflict may arise.

“Sometimes it can take someone slightly removed from the situation to state the facts as they are and to arrive at a reasonable conclusion,” Ms Jones adds.

“Being open and honest in terms of communication is therefore key, as is an ability to diffuse potentially volatile situations and reduce stress for all involved.”

Kate Jones


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The biggest mistakes vendors can make when selling their home

by abelmcgrathblog In Homes, Selling, Uncategorized

18 August 2016


Selling potentially your most valuable asset can often be a complex process.

Notwithstanding the emotional stress and pressure the sale of a house can involve, there are legal issues to wade through, fees, settlement agents and legislation to navigate during the course of an average sale.

And whether you’re a seasoned property flipper or it’s your first time at the helm, there are pitfalls that can arise along the way.

However there are a number of simple and fairly straightforward ways to ensure you don’t end up making common and costly mistakes according to Abel McGrath Property Consultant, Janet Barron.

Choose the right agent for you
Ms Barron says choosing the most appropriate agent can be one of the most difficult hurdles when selling your home.

“It’s not always easy or straightforward and everyone has, sadly, heard tales of dissatisfaction in this respect,” Ms Barron says.

“What you should look for are trust and competency and that means selecting someone who is both transparent and respectful in their dealings and who has good market knowledge and effective communication and negotiation skills.”

Pricing is key
Pricing your home too high or too low can also be one of a seller’s biggest mistakes when heading to market. It’s just as important not to over-price as it is to under-price.

“Pitching your property at a level that is going to attract maximum buyer interest and that is realistic in terms of the prevailing market is crucial to a successful and timely sales campaign,” Ms Barron explains.

“Under-pricing puts vendors at risk of losing huge sums of money especially if your agent doesn’t have the requisite negotiating skills. Over-pricing can be a major deterrent to potential buyers and is equally as dangerous”.

Go in prepared
Lack of preparation heading into a marketing campaign is another common problem for buyers gearing up to sell.

“Although price is obviously key, preparation and presentation for a successful sale are really important factors. Over 90% of buyers utilise digital media when seeking a home to purchase”.

“The time taken and effort expended to make your property stand out amongst a multitude of competing properties on the market, therefore, cannot be underestimated.”

Don’t cut costs in a tightening market
Ms Barron says there is definitely a temptation for some buyers to scrimp on costs in a tightening market.

“It’s been a long time since Perth has seen a property market such as the one that exists now,” she says.

“The quality of your advertising and marketing campaign is critical in attracting maximal buyer enquiry although this need not necessarily be an expensive exercise.”
“A competent and caring agent can be invaluable in providing astute advice and guidance in this area.”

Don’t wait for the perfect time
Another common mistake vendors make is to wait around for perfect market conditions.

“None of us has a crystal ball in relation to the market. To put it simply, the very best time to sell your home is when it is right for your individual circumstances.”

Early offers can sometimes be the best
“On balance it’s widely accepted that early and first offers are often the best. The interest level in your home will never be higher than in those first few weeks of going to market.”

“Vendors should think very carefully before holding out for a higher offer in these circumstances.”

Janet Barron


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Why investing in advertising and marketing is crucial in todays market

by abelmcgrathblog In Uncategorized

04 August 2016


hiWEB 302 a Flamborough Street Doubleview 37

The Perth market has softened considerably since its mining boom highs when it achieved record growth and was regularly outpacing markets across the country.

Complacency may have crept in on the part of some homeowners and agents alike who could virtually hammer in a sign and wait for the offers to come.

However the story today is a very different one.

With signs of a solid recovery still a while off, vendors and homebuyers have both had to alter their expectations to meet the current market.

In a tighter market, where higher prices are not as easily achieved, some vendors fall into the trap of saving on costs by pulling back on their spend on advertising and marketing.

However, Abel McGrath property consultant, Richard Clucas, it should be quite the opposite.

“Marketing and advertising should be seen as a personal investment into the sale of what is quite possibly is their largest asset,” Mr Clucas advises.

He says each campaign should be customized to suit the needs of the property and the selling party.

“The number of people who know about the home is directly proportionate to the number of people who have been through it,” he says.

“Unfortunately, secrets can’t be sold!”

Mr Clucas says it’s not necessarily all about the amount of money you spend, but more so about how it is spent in order to get the best result.

He says some of the key aspects to invest in are home styling – especially if a home is vacant – professional photos, a floor plan, prominent signboard and priority status on each of the major real estate websites.

“We know, as agents, that there are specific groups of people we need to target to get the best results.

“The key items listed may not reach out to each and every one of these groups but it is a bare minimum in terms of investment in advertising and marketing.”

Mr Clucas says that knowing the demographics of the area in which you are selling is key to justify your choice of particular marketing tools.

“The guidance and advice of the agent should be taken into account as they have the knowledge and experience

“However at the end of the day it is up to the seller as to how much they are willing to invest,” he says.

He says when looking at different methods of advertising, such as online versus newspaper, it boils down to the readership of the paper and its reach and also the demographic of the target audience you are trying to reach.

“Certainly online advertising is the primary browsing platform for many people these days,” he explains.

“But certainly other marketing methods play a pivotal role also in achieving a home’s maximum potential by attracting not just active buyers but passive buyers and other groups also.”

Richard Clucas

Tags: Claremont

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Styling and Presentation – tips to sell faster

by abelmcgrathblog In Uncategorized

21 July 2016


You’ve finally made the all-important decision to put your home on the market and you’d like to sell it for the best possible price.

If you’re not willing – or able – to invest thousands of dollars in renovations to ensure it is in the best possible shape to head to market, styling and presentation are your best tools to add some zeroes to your sale price.

Your property is generally one in a long list of homes that prospective buyers will see therefore it is crucial that they see your home in the best possible light.
The old adage that ‘first impressions last’ may not be a new one but nothing could be truer when it comes to the sale of your home.

Abel McGrath property consultant, Jason Goncalves, says there are plenty of relatively low cost ways of ensuring your home puts its best face forward.
“Styling can play a major part in the overall success of a selling campaign,” Mr Goncalves says.

“Making the decision easy for buyers to fall in love with your home is one of the most effective strategies to get your property sold.”

He says styling your home in a visually enticing manner provides those who may not perhaps be as design savvy with an insight into how they might best utilise the space in ways they may not have imagined.

“It provides them with inspiration and gives them answers as to how best to maximise the home’s different spaces.”

Mr Goncalves says employing a professional stylist can be an expensive exercise depending on the size of the home and the client’s particular financial situation versus the anticipated sale price.

He says for those who can’t afford to go that extra mile there are a multitude of online resources, blogs and articles out there that will help them hone their skills and give their home a modern, contemporary feel.

“There are also many inexpensive stores out there stocking a vast range of contemporary décor items which are both cost effective and on trend.” Decluttering, he says, will help a vendor showcase the maximum size and potential of a home and will help a potential purchaser better envision themselves living there.

“Personal photos should also be removed prior to photography and home opens to protect the privacy of the seller,” he adds.

He says vendors should never under estimate the importance of ‘street appeal’ and making a great first impression, day or night.

“Life is so busy for most of us these days, most serious buyers will do a drive by first to ascertain if they wish to commit to attending a home open.

“It’s absolutely crucial that the property is ‘ready to go’ in terms of presentation when it becomes live on the online portals. Appealing exterior lighting showcasing the home at night will also assist in attracting those driving by, well before the first scheduled home open.”

Neat gardens and freshly mowed lawns are also a must, inviting prospective buyers in and welcoming them up to the front door.

“Extra little things like planting colourful annuals and freshly mulching the gardens can also add to the overall appeal of the home.”

He also cites styling your home both inside and out so that potential buyers can envision a lifestyle there, as important in terms of drawing them in and making a positive impression.

“A well-presented, high quality finished property with artistic furnishings combined with a creative marketing strategy that fits the home in question is a great recipe for creating an enticing ‘lifestyle statement’.”

Jason 2.0

Tags: Claremont

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How to overcome the challenges of renting your investment property in a tough market

by abelmcgrathblog In Uncategorized

07 July 2016


With the downturn from the mining sector now firmly cemented in the Western Australian economic psyche, industries, individuals and organisations have all had to rethink strategies for success as market dynamics change.

The property market has been no exception and indeed has been a clear indication for the broader population of the contraction in the local economy now that the height of the boom is well behind us.

Successful agents and property managers who are able to adapt to changing market conditions, read the nuances of the local market successfully and alter their approach accordingly, have remained on top of the game.

However, it’s a much altered landscape, especially for those who may have purchased properties in the heady days of the boom with high expectations for their return on investment.

Abel McGrath Property Manager, Amber Palfreyman, says sound advice and in-depth market knowledge, coupled with realistic expectations, is what is required to ensure your property doesn’t sit idle for months on end.

She says in today’s market, her clients need to really make sure their properties stand out from the crowd.

“Advertisements really need to catch the eye of potential tenants, professional photos are a must and presentation is of paramount importance,” she says.

Ms Palfreyman says landlords need to make sure that their presentation is spot on and that now may include installing air conditioning and investing in updating kitchens and bathrooms.

“Clients looking to leaser larger, executive-style homes are now faced with the reality that there just aren’t the potential tenants there who have moved to Perth for work in the mining industry.

“This means they just won’t be able to secure those top level rents that they might once have been able to.”

She says, in general, clients have reacted well to the down turn in the market although communication is crucial on a regular basis to ensure they are aware of where the market is at and what conditions it is dictating.

Ms Palfreyman says the majority of clients really listen to feedback on their properties and are willing to adjust their expectations accordingly.

“Some have had a continual tenant for five or more years and it can make it harder for them to understand where the current market is at.

“The market has been softening for a couple of years now and i think lessors realise that and are happy to meet the market in order to hang on to excellent tenants,” she says.
She says the down turn in the market has been felt across the board, with most suburbs feeling the pinch in terms of reduced rental rates.

“As property managers, we are here to ensure our clients get the best possible return on their investment minimise income loss, and this can only be achieved by listening to the market.”

She says it is vital to ensure research is done to ensure the pricing is right to keep vacancy times are kept at a minimum however she says landlords need to be realistic about the market and where it stands.

Accepting shorter term leases and being more open to negotiation over issues such as pets are just some examples of the how landlords are adapting to current market conditions.
“Offering incentives such as one or two weeks free rent, including white goods, gardening and lawn moving or free cleaning are all now part of the package to ensure you attract good long term tenants.

Ms Palfreyman says she expects that the current market will remain competitive for some time to come, but says it still remains one of the best times to buy an investment property.
“Now is the time to secure an investment property at an amazing price.

“You are not going to get the inflated returns that you once were, but if you do your research and purchase in the right area, with advice from a reputable agent, it really is a great time to buy.”

Amber Palfreyman


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