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How to move from renter to owner

There’s a general progression that people on the real estate journey, one that most of us follow at some point in our lives. On the day we move out on our own, we are following generations of people before us, and while not everybody’s path is identical, there are nonetheless well-trodden sections to move through.

Despite the increasingly tough property market conditions, the great Australian dream of buying a first home is alive and well, with the proportion of housing finance commitments coming from first home buyers sitting at over 15% according the the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Before accruing all of the finances they need to make that leap into home ownership, the vast majority of Australian first home buyers would have spent time renting. So how can you join the party, and transition from home renter to homeowner?

How Much Will it Cost?

It’s easy to read the frequent news reports about skyrocketing house prices and historic low housing affordability and be intimidated. However, should you know where to look, and how to temper your own expectations, finding affordable housing for purchase is not as difficult as you might think.

In fact, as reported in the Courier Mail in some 111 suburbs in the city of Brisbane, rent is actually higher than the ABS’ figures on weekly housing costs for people with a mortgage. The median $453 weekly spend for mortgagees equates to approximately 18 per cent of income spent on housing costs, while renters were finding themselves spending 20 per cent.

As you can see, perhaps breaking out of the cycle of renting is not as out-of-reach as you might think.

How Can you Get There?

One of the greatest hurdles to buying a home can be saving the required deposit. Bankwest First Time Buyer Report shows that for most couples, saving 20% for a home deposit will take on average 4.9 years for a house and 3.6 years for a unit. In some of the larger cities such as Sydney and melbourne where property values are higher, however, that median stretches to as much as 8.2 years. Sell your home in Fort Collins

Having to grind out savings for over eight years is, for many people, simply an unreasonable ask. There’s a silver lining though – you shouldn’t have to do it on your own. Each state and territory in Australia offers its own first home buyer incentives, including grants (up to $15,000 in Queensland) that can help you on your way to building your deposit. No-one is saying it’s easy, but thousands of Australians every year make the jump, and you can too. Click here to find out about the grant in your state or territory along with all the first home owner information you need.

From Tenant to Landlord

Perhaps you’re interested in real estate ownership as an income stream, as well as or in place of just owning a home for yourself to live in. Owning investment property is a great way to build your assets, so if you don’t necessarily want to move to the place you’re buying, that doesn’t mean you should disregard the opportunity to buy altogether.

A recent Reserve Bank of Australia discussion paper revealed that if a first home buyer bought an investment property and rented / lived somewhere else, they may come out in a better financial position than if they bought their own home straight away.

According to the ABS approximately 27% of Gen Y’s have the luxury of being able to live at home during much of their 20’s and whilst many are contributing to the costs of the family home by way of rent to their parents, it is often less than what they would pay if they lived out of home.

Property investment summer checklist

If you own one rental property or many, it’s important to keep them in good condition, firstly so you attract and retain good tenants and also to ensure your investment is looked after. That means doing some specific maintenance when summer rolls around in order to keep your investments in tip-top shape. Here are some jobs to do over the summer months.

Security Check

Summer time is when many of us travel to see family and friends which may mean your property could be vacant for a few weeks over the Christmas / New Year period and become a potential target for thieves.

Find out if your property is going to be vacant and if it is check the security of your investment. Make sure the locks are functioning well on all windows and doors, check the window latches and security lights and if there are security cameras, as there often are in apartments, that these are working?

Organize repairs and maintenance

Summer is a great time to organize any repairs, maintenance and refurbishments. If your tenants are going to be away, ask them to pack away their personal items so you can take care of any jobs that need to be done such as painting, re-sanding the floor, fixing any issues in the bathroom or kitchen that may have arisen. You will need to get the tenants permission to enter the property so it’s a good idea to organise this in advance. We buy houses in Frisco

Also think about what may need to be done outside – is the decking ok, does that garden need some attention, are the tiles in good condition? Make sure you talk to your Property Manager if you end up fully renovating a bathroom or kitchen during this time as you may be able to increase the rent if your lease is up for renewal.

Make sure you organize your tradies in advance as they too are often on holidays.

Clean out the Gutters

With Summer so too comes the fire season…so if your investment is in a fire risk clear out your gutters before the heat arrives.

If there’s a build-up of leaves, sticks or other debris in gutters, this can be a fire hazard. That’s not to mention the potential to block up the structure itself, which can make it difficult for water to drain through.

This can lead to bigger problems later on, such as gutters that sag, along with mildew accumulating in the area. It can also cause water damage, which could potentially affect the home itself.

Planning for the next year

Given the fluctuations in students and people’s employment many tenancy agreements finish either at the end of the year or the beginning of the next given fluctuations in student living situations and employment. If you are happy with your tenants and want them to resign it is now a good time to talk to your property manager to see how you can get your tenants to resign.

Summer garden maintenance

After winter you might find your garden needs a bit of TLC. Refresh the mulch, weed the garden beds and consider adding some flowering plants for a splash of colour. If you have a watering system, adjust the timer to day light saving time (if that applies to your state), clean the exterior lighting and windows and check if the entertaining deck needs any repairs and that the BBQ is set up safely to be enjoyed throughout summer.

Insulation

While insulating your rental property is a cost for you, you might find that you can secure a better weekly rent from tenants, given they won’t have to spend as much on their electricity bills and less likely to switch on the air conditioner bills.

If you get the opportunity to insulate the property thoroughly, this could pay off in the long run. How you do this will depend on the kind of dwelling you’ve invested in, but have a chat with your property manager if you’re not sure of the right approach.

Check the property isn’t being sub-leased

Many investment properties are rented to students and over the Summer holiday period they all head home. It is worth finding out if they are looking to sub-lease your property while they are away. Unless it is in the lease, they will need to get written approval from you to sub-lease to someone else. Whilst you are not allowed to withhold this permission without a good reason, it is important to understand who is living in your investment.