More Canberra “mums and dads” are taking the leap into property investment, but it’s no longer just a case of buying a property, sitting back and watching the bank balance grow.
While the high demand for rental properties may seem like a golden opportunity to rake in extra income, new landlords need to consider many factors.
Lisa Konig says there’s been an increase in challenges and expectations for landlords and tenants during her 10 years in property management at McIntyre Property.
“There is more information out there online so both sides have a better understanding of their rights and responsibilities. It keeps everyone on their toes,” Lisa says.
Landlords who choose to manage a property themselves have to keep up with constant changes in legislation and stay on top of paperwork, maintenance and inspections. Plus, they need to find suitable tenants.
One of the biggest headaches for D.I.Y. investors can be liaising with tenants.
Whether it’s requesting a rent increase or dealing with maintenance problems, Lisa says having an experienced property manager to do the hard work “makes sense” in the ever-changing world of real estate.
“They offer guidance and support, and ensure that landlords are doing everything within the law.”
She says property management is more than coordinating tenancies and rental payments — it’s about helping investors achieve their financial goals. And having a property manager you know and trust can make a huge difference.
“It is very common to hear from other landlords and tenants that they have so many changes with their previous agency, they lose track of who is actually managing their investment,” Lisa says.
The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the value of professional property managers, with inspections and viewings carried out virtually during lockdowns. Some interstate landlords were also locked out of the Territory.
Recent interest rates rises have also caused headaches for some investors, leaving them with no choice but to increase their rent.
Lisa says proposing a rent increase can be a difficult conversation for a landlord, especially when other living costs such as electricity, groceries and fuel are going through the roof.
“Owners have had to consider raising rents, which for some is really hard because they appreciate their tenants and do not want to put added pressure on them. But they are really left with no choice,” she says.
“It is a difficult time for tenants right now, but also challenging for owners.
“This is a time where a good property manager with exceptional communication skills can make a world of difference. I do my best to make sure both are taken care of as best as possible.”
Landlords also need to be prepared for all sorts of added costs, such as property maintenance and repairs.
“Having a contingency fund in place for unexpected maintenance, such as a burst hot water system, or rent shortages is a must,” Lisa says.
“Sometimes the costs are simply not covered by the rent alone, so squirrelling away some money for a rainy day is always a good idea.”
Lisa says while her job can be challenging at times, she finds it extremely rewarding.
“It’s great to be in a position to help landlords take care of their investment, and to help great tenants find a place to call home.
“It’s fantastic when owners recognise the hard work it takes to look after things, especially when the job is tough at times.
“And I think it’s great when you bring so much relief or joy to an applicant and they cry when you tell them they have been approved for a property.”
Demand for rental properties in Canberra has dropped slightly over winter, but remains at an all-time high.
Lisa says the Territory will always be a great place for mums and dads to invest.
“The public service brings people in. Then I believe people see how great it is here, so they stay.
“We have great schools, fresh air, the Brindabellas at your doorstep, and traffic jams that don’t last for hours on end – Canberra really is a great place to live!”
New and existing investors can reach out to Lisa and the local team at McIntyre Property for assistance and advice about managing properties in the Canberra region.