A guest post by Sachin
Your investment property is a valuable source of income – read on for contacts who will ensure it always brings in the big bucks.
This year my partner and I bought our first home. Six months later, we were transferred overseas for his job, meaning our brand new home quickly became an investment property, and the home of someone else – namely our tenants. To say we were ill-prepared is an understatement. We had a vague idea about what we had to do and basically figured ‘we’ve rented, how hard can it be to be on the other side of the fence!’. Well, if you’re not ready, and you don’t know what you’re doing the answer is a simple one. Hard. While we’ve been through the ringer trying to get our head around our home, our tenants and all the legalities surrounding our obligations, theirs and all that comes in between, we have learnt one important thing. Above and beyond everything else, the single most important thing is to have a little black book. No, I don’t mean we had to call in someone to knee cap them. I mean, there are at least five contacts you should very carefully put together, people you should trust, understand and who understand you, and you should keep their details close at hand at all times. These are those people:
When you live in your own home, little things come up, you fix them, or you deal with them. A light switch cracks, you replace it, a high light bulb blows you change it. With tenants, you have to call someone in for this every time, and you want someone you trust. There are so many electricians in Sydney it can be hard to know where to start, but find one before you hand over the keys, talk to them so they know your expectations, and you all understand the common costs involved. Know you can trust them so when they’re called, you feel comfortable with them attending to your investment.
The other most important tradie you can have is a plumber. If your house is rented for an extended period, inevitably a washer will break, a tap will leak, or worst case scenario, something will bust and go swoosh in the night. Like the electrical services, you need to know your plumber will not cheat you and will charge what the job is worth, completing it properly.
3. Real Estate Agent
This one goes without saying. Get someone who has the same thoughts on cleanliness, spending and replacing as you do. You want good rates, but also important is a good relationship. You are trusting this person with your home, and a part of your income.
Your solicitor is not only your link between all the legal mumbo jumbo in contracts, leases and other documentation, but is also the primary protector of your rights, should anything go wrong. If something does go wrong, it’s too late to find someone and hope they will understand you and your case. Meet with and develop a relationship with a lawyer before you start, so you have someone to call on if needed.
Finally, a good accountant can mean the difference between a tax return that makes you smile, and one that makes you leave for a non-extraditing country in the middle of the night. Your accountant is the best person to give you advice on what is an investment write-off, where to and not to spend and how to make the most money out of your rental house.