What to look for when buying an investment property

Purchasing an investment property, like purchasing your own home, is a huge financial decision. The considerations, however, are not the same as when it comes to purchasing your own home. When you purchase an investment property it is important to try and be more rational and logical about the decision. Here are some tips to help you make a good investment:

  1. Know what your long term plans are. Typically, people are investing in property for long term growth. This means that you really need to do your homework when it comes to both the type of house and the location. You need to know what areas have shown good growth and are predicted to perform well. You also need to consider if a house versus a unit is going to give you a better long term return.
  2. Know the numbers. It is vital that you understand all of the costs associated with owning an investment property. Rent is the source of income you will use to cover any costs but what if the property is vacant? You need to consider quite a few costs including the mortgage, property management fees, water and council rates, any strata fees, landlord and building insurance as well as any ongoing costs for maintenance and repairs.
  3. Find a good property manager: Many people consider managing a property themselves but in reality, this can be much harder than you think. Having a third party that is trained to manage your property has many benefits. They will ensure all rents are collected and will manage all aspects of your property on your behalf. They are trained to handle late rental payments, vacating inspections and other complex matters that may arise.
  4. Understand the area and what will appear to prospective tenants. Some important things to consider are distance to local schools, access to public transport and local shops. Also consider who your property will appeal to. If it is a small property then you might have a single person or couple whereas larger properties may appeal to families. Remember, you may need to think about whether or not you will allow pets and children.
  5. Speak to your accountant first. A good accountant will be able to advise you on negative gearing and how this all works. They will help you understand everything that you are allowed to deduct. If the property is new, they can also instruct you on depreciation. It is critical that you seek their advice up front.
  6. Make the property attractive to tenants. If the home needs a freshen up, don’t be afraid to paint. Also start putting some money aside for ongoing maintenance as over time, things will need attending to, just like your own home.

I hope you have found these tips useful. Owning an investment property can afford you the opportunity to reduce your tax and provide you with a long term investment that may provide you with an income in years to come but be sure you enter in to it with your eyes open. Get advice and understand what your costs will be. Being clear on these things will assist you in making an informed decision.

Strata Properties

A strata property is a term that refers a property where the properties in the group are in some way adjoining, typically townhouses or apartments. They may share common areas such as roofs, lifts, carparks, swimming pool, fences and gates, driveways and gardens. These common areas must be maintained by all unit owners collectively and any expenses incurred will be shared. Part of owning a property in a strata complex is paying a levy that will cover ongoing expenses associated with maintaining the common areas.

There are some benefits to owning a property in a strata complex. These include:

  • Increased security if your complex has security features built in to it.
  • Lifestyle benefits as you are not responsible for property maintenance.
  • As the costs are shared, they can be lower for individuals than if they had to personally incur the full cost, especially with items such as swimming pools.
  • Living in a strata complex can be more social.

If you are considering buying a property that is in a strata complex, you need to do your homework to ensure you fully understand the cost implications. Typically, the real estate agent selling the property will provide you with a schedule of strata fees. This schedule would include the details of the strata management company, if one is being used. We recommend liaising with the real estate agent to request some further information. You should be aware that a strata management company is unlikely to supply any information directly to you as you are not a registered owner.


Most strata groups meet regularly, typically every quarter and detailed minutes are kept from these meetings. When speaking to the strata management company, request a copy of the minutes from these meetings for the last 12 months. These minutes will provide you with a very clear picture of what is going on in the complex, what ongoing costs there are and what costs the group is considering undertaking in the near future.

With a little bit of homework, you can make a sound decision about purchasing a strata property. Remember, if you are not sure, we are always happy to offer you advice and guidance.

The process of settling a property when separating

We meet lots of couples who are going through a separation or divorce and this can be a difficult time for all parties.  Prior to transferring ownership or selling a property that is in both parties names, it is a good idea to get legal advice. A family lawyer can assist you as they will provide independent advice that will protect your interests. Even when the separation is amicable, it is a good idea to get advice.

When you are transferring ownership and removing one party from the title of a property, as your settlement agent, we will need a court order that has been made by consent under the Family Law Act 1975. 

Prior to commencing any transfer of ownership, all of the parties involved need to have come to a clear understanding of the division to take place. It is important that all parties both know and understand this prior to any transfer of ownership taking place. Further, the parties need to agree to this before you start any transfer of ownership. This will ensure that the transfer happens smoothly and without any delays.

With this in mind, it is prudent to have a financial agreement that clearly sets out all of the financial transactions that will occur when a couple is separating. Again, a family lawyer is best placed to assist you with the preparation of one of these documents.

As your settlement agent, we can assist you with the transfer of ownership on your property. Part of our role is to act as your liaison and we can act on your behalf to minimise the contact you need to have with your partner. We will act in your best interest and be available for any guidance or advice related to the settlement or transfer of ownership process.

How to stage your home for maximum appeal when selling

When your home is on the market, ensuring it’s marketed properly, priced well and beautifully presented will give you an edge over the competition.

Presentation is often the make or break aspect of a sale; buyers will see a significantly higher value in a perfectly presented version of your home than exactly the same home without some polish.

Staging is all about presentation of the property to highlight the home’s best attributes.

It also works to create an emotional connection with the home – because your buyer isn’t just looking for a place to inhabit, they are looking for a property to realise their dreams or improve their way of life.

Home Staging can also help buyers visualise their own life inside the walls of your home. For this reason, a substantial part of the process is the removal of anything that looks like it needs work when they move in – including too much furniture or a room badly in need of paint.

There are professionals that will stage a home for you in preparation for sale, and they’re extremely good at their work.

However, if you want to give staging a go yourself, here are two things to keep in mind:


Take a long, hard look at what you have and decide what could reasonably be housed elsewhere for the time your home is on the market. Aim for at least a 30% decrease of “stuff” in your home. Organise décor into boxes and neatly stack in the garage, unless you can store offsite. Extra furniture should be housed offsite.

Think Creatively

Staging doesn’t have to be expensive. Think neutral when you’re updating and keep the “less is more” motto in mind. Clean out your closets to show off your storage space. Storage usually ranks high on buyers’ priority lists. Have your bathroom professionally cleaned including any tiling throughout the home. Keep decorations, but stick to only three of anything on any surface to give a polished look keeping a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere.

A little creativity goes a long way in making your house look fantastic and still keep costs down.


How to Sell in an Australian Summer

Selling a house in the heat of an Australian summer can be just a little bit trickier than selling during other times of the year. With the most recommended seasons being spring or autumn, summer doesn’t really lend itself to a home open. This is not only because of the weather, but also because summer in Australia is full of holidays and families winding down for the year.

However, if you are really keen to sell, there are some steps you can take to give the project a better chance of success.

There are a few upsides to selling in summer also. There is less competition in the market when you don’t sell in spring or autumn. In the “peak” season, you are going to need to work extra hard to ensure your home stands out from the crowd, in terms of both looks and the all-important price tag.

In addition, there are homes that are perfect for summer sales – holiday houses, homes by the water, houses on high elevations with a beautiful afternoon breeze.

Summer is also the perfect time to “summer clean” your house from top to bottom. Get the kids involved and declutter. A clean, clutter free, spacious and airy home will make a big impact in the eyes of the potential buyer. Add a few cool blues and greens to your décor to bring some relief from the outdoors.

Our hot seasons in Perth are particularly challenging for gardening, but with some water wise plants, a bit of TLC on the lawn and some low maintenance options for your home new prospective owner, your summer friendly garden may just be the icing on the cake.

The season is the perfect one for a fresh coat of paint and a lick of oil on your deck to freshen up your external areas. While we’re on the subject, make the most of your outdoor, summer entertaining areas.

Finally, schedule inspections early in the morning or just before dusk when the sun has a little less bite. Turn the air conditioner or fans on at least an hour before a potential buyer arrives and think cool.

No Hidden Fee Guarantee

We find one of the biggest mistakes buyers and sellers make is basing their choice of Settlement Agent only on price.  With many of our competitors offering ridiculously low rates for your settlement we are finding that many of our clients talk about the hidden fees that are then added on top of this rate once the settlement contract is signed.

You’re Secure When You’re Supported By Our No Hidden Fee Settlements Gurantee

At Dynasty Conveyancing we are focused on service and quality.  Our small dedicated team No hidden fee settlements guarantee | Cockburn Central Settlement Agentoffer over 50 years of conveyancing experience and we put you, our clients, first, every time with our “No Hidden Fee Settlements Guarantee”.  When you choose to let us manage your settlement you know upfront all of the fees involved meaning that ultimately you can confidently progress with settlement knowing you have all the facts.  It is quite likely that you’ll end up saving in the long term.  We are completely transparent and committed to keeping you informed and feeling confident at what can be one of the most stressful times in life, buying or selling property.

In a recent survey we conducted, 94% of respondents stated that the things that concerned them the most were not understanding the settlement process and getting caught with hidden fees.  If you are buying or selling a new home, an investment property, a commercial property or looking to become investors or small time developers in the southern suburbs of Perth then you want to secure an experienced, service focused Settlement Agent who puts you first.  Dynasty Conveyancing is your answer.

We offer a no obligation free quote and you can get started right away by completing our online form here.  Remember, our quote may look more expensive than others you might receive but it is complete and backed by our No Hidden Fee Guarantee every time.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us direct.  We’re always happy to help and look forward to successfully managing the settlement process for your next property purchase or sale in Perth’s southern surrounds,

Michelle and the Dynasty Team

Keeping your home secure during a home open

Home Opens are the natural way to sell your home but unfortunately they can give opportunistic thieves the perfect setting to case your home or steal a few items quickly and easily. Here are a few things you can do to minimise the risk of theft during and after a home open:

1. Speak to your real estate agent – stress the importance of ensuring all doors and windows are locked before they leave after a home open.
2. Put things out of sight – do not leave valuables, especially those that are easily picked up such as jewellery, electronic devices and expensive perfumes.
3. Take photos of your home – we get used to looking at our home and the items in it and may not immediately realise that something has gone missing. To prevent this we need to put a little planning in place. It is a good idea to take some photos of each room and list items that are on display
4. Lock cupboards – if you have expensive items put away, do not presume that they are safe. Many people feel free to open cupboards and drawers so if you want something kept safe, the best place is a safe or behind a lock and key.
5. Dangerous items – if you have prescription medication, this is best kept locked away not only from theft but from small children’s reach. If you own a gun or dangerous weapon, this should not only be locked away but you should keep this out of sight.
6. Don’t forget sheds and outdoors – many people store expensive items in their sheds and forget to secure these – items left outside are more vulnerable as people do not need to gain access to your home to get them.
7. Check your insurance policy – many people find out too late that they are underinsured or do not have adequate insurance on particular items.
8. Don’t stay away too long – home opens tend to run to very tight schedules so there is no need to stay out the entire day. Coming home soon after the home open means that you can double check that your home has been properly locked up. If you are planning on staying out all day, ask a friend or neighbour to look in on your home.

Getting prepared

Getting your family and your home ready for an emergency or disaster makes good sense but few of us take the time to implement even the most basic of plans and preparations.
The Department of Fire and Emergency Services has extensive resources on their website that will enable you to be better prepared. Ideally, you need to set aside a few hours to get your family and home ready.

The advice on their website is that you need to create an emergency plan that covers:
• What to do to before an emergency to be prepared.
• What you plan to do during an emergency to keep safe.
• What you plan to do after an emergency to help recover.

Many of us will not have even considered any of these tasks. Try not to think you need to do everything all at once as you will feel overwhelmed. If you would like to start actioning your own emergency plan, visit the DFES website: http://www.dfes.wa.gov.au/safetyinformation/pages/survivalplans.aspx

A good place to start your preparations is to put together an emergency kit. The internet is full of lots of useful suggestions as to what to include in your emergency kit. These kits can seem extremely comprehensive and ultimately a little cost prohibitive to put together. We suggest you start with a very basic backpack and add the most basic of necessities to get you started. This would include water and non perishable food. The recommendation is that you have enough food for all members of your household to last 3-4 days. Once you have put these items in your backpack, other essentials will include a torch and spare batteries, clothing and items to keep warm and some basic first aid items.

If you are considering your emergency kit, this is a comprehensive list that ensure you have a well prepared emergency kit: http://www.dfes.wa.gov.au/safetyinformation/Pages/emergencykits.aspx
Remember, most of us fail to do any planning when it comes to emergency and disaster readiness but with just a little planning, you can ensure your family is not left completely unprepared.

Keeping your home safe and secure

According to police, a large number of break-ins occur over the any holiday period. Thieves know that many people are away on holidays and they target homes that can look “less lived in”. So what does this mean and how can you minimise your chances of becoming simply another statistic whilst you are away enjoying yourself.

1. Ensure that you have quality locks on all doors and windows. If any doors can be deadlocked then be sure to do this as well. This means that if thieves are able to gain entry to your home, getting out may prove difficult and this can limit how much they are able to steal.
2. Never ever leave a spare key lying around your home. Many people still have one under a pot plant or stashed in the garden. Thieves know this and if they have the time, can simply scour your home and then let themselves in with your spare key.
3. Ask a trusted neighbour or friend to look in on your home. Get them to come regularly and perform some tasks that can show you are home. Overflowing letterboxes, newspapers left on the lawn and every single blind down and curtain closed all the time are sure indications that no-one is home.
4. Install a timer light. These can give your home the appearance that someone is home. Put it in a room that someone cannot easily look in to and thereby ascertain that no-one is home.
5. Inform your neighbours (that you know) that you will be on holidays so that they can be alert to any unusual or suspicious activity around your property.
6. Install DIY cameras. These are much easier than you imagine to put in and act as a real deterrent to would-be burglars.
7. Install a back to base alarm. This gives you peace of mind knowing that your home is secure and that if the alarm is triggered someone will attend your property to check it out.
8. Tidy up your front garden – an overgrown lawn or garden can be signs that no-one is home.

Now that your home is looking lived in and nice and secure, be sure to enjoy your holiday!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

In this blog, I thought I would share with you what an average day looks like for me as a settlement agent. I often get asked what it is that we do and how we spend our time, so I thought I would share with you some of the questions I get asked most frequently when it comes to my services as a settlement agent.

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

 You are often out of the office and in the city – what are you doing?

We go into the city to attend settlements, stamp documents at the State Revenue Department, lodge documents at Landgate and also collect title deeds and have clients original Death Certificates and Marriage Certificates sighted by a Landgate officer.  We do our trust banking plus client banking after settlement.  We sometimes meet clients in the city to collect documents from them and also to save time we will get them to sign our documents and also the transfer of land document, which is a very important document that we must have if we are to settle.  We meet up with other outside clerks to hand or collect documents from them. A trip to the city is often jam packed with lots of quick but important meetings being held.

 Who do you speak to at the exact time of settlement?

We speak to the other settlement agent representing the other side of the transaction, the sellers mortgagee (handing over discharge of mortgage document, title and registration fees), the buyers mortgagee (has the banks mortgage document in their possession and they are the ones who check all documents.  If they are happy they then disburse the funds).  Sometimes other settlement agents are present to collect funds from the seller’s sale which they take with them for a purchase settlement.  Other documents can be registered on a title i.e. Caveat and a separate party will be at settlement handing over a Withdrawal of Caveat in exchange for $$. During the exact time of settlement we are often in communication with more than one person meaning we have more than one phone call going which is fun to watch

Who chooses the booking time for a settlement?

The buyer’s settlement agent chooses the time for settlement. They will choose a time that is suitable to them in consultation with the other parties involved

Why do clients come to meet you face to face?

They come to our office and meet us face to face because we can go through their documents with them and explain the settlement process.  It saves time in the documents go back and forth via the post and documents do go astray which means we have to redo everything.  We need to do Verification of Identity for sellers and if they come to our office we can perform that with them at no charge.  They can go to Australia Post and will pay a $39.00 per person for Australia Post to conduct the Verification of Identity.  We give our clients the option.  Also clients prefer to bring their title deed in to us and we give them a receipt.  Safer than posting by registered post.

Do you still use a fax machine?

Whilst most of our communication is done via email we still rely heavily on our fax machine and the telephone