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Stage 4 Restrictions Update

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Due to Stage 4 restrictions in Melbourne, the HomeGround Real Estate team will be working from home.

Although our doors are closed we are still very much open for business, and you can contact us via phone or email.

As always, the broader community is our main focus and now is the time to stay inside to keep everyone safe. We look forward to coming together again soon.

Thriving Real Estate Despite Lockdown

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It’s a well-known fact that the day you’re going on annual leave is your most productive day of the year. Similarly when COVID-19 first hit I experienced a substantial increase in productivity levels. Everything we’d been discussing and wanting to implement at HomeGround Real Estate was put into action…and quickly. What we had discussed for months as a “Wouldn’t it be good if….” Became a “We need this now!”.

To be able to work remotely we accelerated our use of Trello and Slack, allowing us to continue to work and communicate effectively as a close-knit team. We set up Zoom so we could conduct routine inspections without physically inspecting the property, and arranged for all documents to be sent and signed electronically. We reviewed our marketing strategy and introduced interactive floor plans and 360 tours which have kept our vacancy rates to a minimum and have given prospective tenants as much information as possible from the safety of their own home.

These difficult times have tested us but have also motivated us to be better, stronger, and more agile than before. We have educated ourselves to make these changes which we will continue to use and assess in the future.

Change can be daunting but the reward far outweighs the risks. Now is the time to come together as a community to grow and learn, even if it’s from our own living room.

Protecting your Rental Income During COVID-19

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Over the past few months, the world as we know it has completely changed, and how COVID-19 has affected the real estate market is a hot topic.  Some experts are reporting that property values are stable, others that there has been a decline while others are anticipating a 20% decrease in the coming year.  So what about rentals?  The Melbourne City Council has reported that the CBD and surrounding areas have the highest vacancy rate in a decade rising from 1.9% to 5.4% in April 2020 compared with the same time last year.

What can landlords do to protect their rental income now and in the near future?

Negotiate with your tenants.  If your tenant is experiencing financial hardship find a solution that suits you both, it may not be ideal but it is necessary.  A tenant paying reduced rent is better than a vacant property generating no rent.

Be flexible.  Whether your property is vacant or tenanted the price you ask for rent may differ from what you were receiving 6 months ago.  Consider what other properties in the area are asking for rent as this is what you are competing with.  Rent values are generally determined using historic data – what has leased similar in recent months.  Now is the time to look at how many similar properties are available, how long they have been available for, and which property is the best value for money. 

Make it attractive. If possible, do the odd job, install the dishwasher or split system and get your property to a standard that is attractive for tenants to stay there or for tenants to want to move there. 

Invest in advertising.  Make your property stand out with professional photos, virtual tours, and floor plans to give as much information online as possible.  This small investment to minimise your vacancy can save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

It’s not all doom and gloom.  Properties are still leasing, we just need to change our approach and our expectations to match the market and with the easing of restrictions and as life returns to a new normal we can expect that the real estate market will adjust to a new normal too.

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