Are you building a new house with an intention to lease it out? Or updating or renovating. Here are a few suggestions for you to consider.

Window coverings

Our opinion is to avoid vertical blinds due to maintenance issues; they flap and eventually break. Often ones used 20 years ago they don’t make parts for now-days so repairs are not possible instead requiring 

If using roller blinds just use them on say a kitchen or bathroom not every window.

Curtains are the best choice however avoid rubber backed. The rubber backing rubs against often dusty screens marking the backing and due to exposure to sunlight the rubber hardens. These too cant be washed and if stored they stick together.

Curtains
Two choices are eyelet (cheapest) or pinch pleat. Both should be machine washable; triple weave (most preferred) or room darkening. Traditional sizes come in drops of 2130 (most common) , 2300 or 2500. 2500’s can only be installed with 2700 ceilings.  

2130 drop curtains can have their tracks installed on the architrave on the window (usually has a 2130 drop to floor), however if its more than a 2130 drop to floor then we recommend a 2300 drop with tracks installed on the wall above the door/ window.

Eyelet curtains come in a choice of 13 colours with non-steel rods (no rusting).

More expensive curtain (pinch pleat)  and tracks on runners but better looking and is really serviceable and wont break until such time as the runners may need replacing.

Recommend are hand drawn; not cord or wand drawn

We can recommend places to purchase

Fans

Fans or air con a must in every home. Every property should have fans or air con. No fans or no air con will impact rental price as summers here are quite hot. No heating required in cooler months. Previously there have been many types of fans. Around 20years ago there were metal fans and also stainless steel fans. The problem is that the leading edge is compromised by it continually cutting into the air when on exposing the metal underneath. Over time and use, condensation will settle on the fan (being so close to the beach- there is lots of condensation in the air) and when the fan is switched on moisture droplets (mixed with the rust from the metal blade) will be flicked off the fan onto anything close by including surrounding walls, curtains, artwork windows and tenants furniture. Many tenants or owners may think that bugs are marking the walls however the cause is the fan. Over a long period walls will have to be repainted. There is only really one alternative these days and that is to install the new generation of energy efficient fans and these ones typically have polycarbonate blades that everyone is putting in and they are highly recommended. Because the blades are plastic or a material that won’t rust they won’t have this problem. They will still flick moisture on the walls however it won’t be rusted droplets, instead droplets of water that can be wiped off. These fans usually have a 5 year guarantee, are quiet, are energy efficient, move a noticeable amount of air and the ones that need a light and if they operate with a remote control we very rarely have a problem with them. Fans are now days becoming a statement piece (for living rooms) like the one we have in our office reception .Local stockist with a good range is the lighting superstore at Tweed Heads South https://www.lightingsuperstore.com.au/. Depending on the cost of the fan these cost around $120 above the cost of the fan to have them installed  and if you don’t buy one with a light and have to add one on its another $25. Typical brands are spyda, spitfire, cabo and harmony to name a few.

 

Lighting

Incandescent lights are old fashioned- go for anything LED. Flush mounted ceiling LEDs are so cheap at around $9ea and are always used in new homes and renovations

Most popular led colour is “cool white”. Warm white looks like the older incandescent lights. Look for lights either cool white or some have combinations they can be switched to other look. If you have warm white in current lights it may be a simple task to switch these over to cool white by a switch on the back of the light.

TV Booster/Amplifiers

As we are 100km from closest TV stations (both Lismore and Brisbane) we are one of the few areas in Australia that has the benefit of both NSW stations (in dst times) and Qld TV stations, so if watching NSW free to air its an hour earlier. To receive both qld and nsw stations 2 aerials are needed (one mast on the roof is fine; however one aerial will point toward Brisbane; and the other Lismore)

Due to the mountain ranges between Kingscliff and Lismore and Banota Point/Terranora Hill and Brisbane we also need a booster and amplifier (and amplifier is on the mast or in ceiling) and a booster is in the ceiling or plugged into the wall. If you are having a booster installed then see if the aerial plug in can be plugged into the back of  the socket that way these are not removed by removalists when tenants move.

Appliances

Cooktops

Most widely used cooktops are ceramic (glass top cooktops). Caution with induction cooktops- some tenants may not have pans to suit. Remember there is no local gas line company on the Tweed Coast so if there is a gas cooktop the property will have bottle gas.

Dishwashers – If a dishwasher breaks down, not under warranty.  Is it worth repairing? Remember most parts usually cost around $320-$390 plus the initial service call to quote and troubleshoot of around $130-$140. Don’t forget if you have a permanent tenant the dishwasher will most probably not able to be used for the time delay in ordering parts,; usually 4-8 weeks dependent on brand and you don’t want a tenant to be unhappy for having a non working dishwasher.

Dishwasher replacement. Of all the brands in our opinion they all wash well it’s the drying that sets them apart. We recommend buying dishwashers where the door opens slightly at the end of a cycle to assists in drying. There are many dishwasher brands that do this most are over $1000 however there may be one on special worth considering. European brands - bosch, smeg, asko, or miele. Australian made brands – look for dishwashers that have a drying component. Westinghouse for instance have an “active dry” for around $800. A quick cycle is an important function too.

 

With both cooktops, ovens and dishwasher I wouldn’t recommend teknika, haaier or any of the cheaper non aussie brands like bellini or omega for we find they have to be replaced often and parts can be an issue in soucing

 

White or stainless steel? Depends what other coloured products are in your kitchen. Eg if you are buying a dishwasher and there is a white oven then go a white dishwasher. Downside in buying stainless (for both ovens and dishwashers) is that the dial numbers you will find will rub off with continual use over 15years; maybe less.

 

Smoke alarms. Currently there is no requirement for smoke alarms to be hardwired or interconnected currently in NSW with residential (permanent letting) properties unlike Queensland. Please note there are different requirements for Holiday Properties.  The only requirement is that they have to be under 10 years old and either the battery replaced annually or a 10 year lithium battery installed. To prevent any logistical  with Permanent Rentals ALL PROPERTIES have lithium batteries installed. When we take on a new property on the rear of the alarm we write the address of the property, the location of the alarm and the expiry date of the alarm. On the battery we write the date of the installation and take a photo of the alarm and document this. Some smoke alarms have built in batteries (not recommended) because when we test them on routine inspections and if the smoke alarm doesn’t test whether at the fault of the alarm or battery then you will have to pay for not only the alarm but the battery as well. If however battery not working, then just the battery can be replaced and not the whole alarm. This can be a considerable cost if an electrician has to be called to replace a hardwired alarm with a built in battery.

Keys. If a new management try to have all keys labelled and at least 3 sets of every key or alternatively (preferred) Try to have all locks keyed alike. Remember we must have a key for every lock for the property for every person on the lease over 18. It may be more cost efficient to call a locksmith for all barrels to be changed to 1 or 2 keys.

Hot water systems

Heat pumps. Whilst many consumers that live in the country or inland love these hot water systems however they don’t seem to last in our coastal environment. We find the components rust and will often break down. If you have a heat pump and its broken down you will need a specialist repairer. In this instance we may suggest replacing it with a standard hot water system

Solar: Great systems; cost more however expect to get over 20 years out of a solahart system and low power bills.

Flooring
If looking at replacing carpets look into vinyl plank floors, especially now that tenants dont necessarily have to clean carpets when they vacate. Easy care and should last for years. Go a light colour, either very lght brown or grey (beachy) not the traditional darker colour (more formal). Many owners these days fully vinyl plank more traditional areas that used to be carpeted (lounge and dining rooms).

Water usage

To charge tenants for water there must be an INDIVIDUAL COUNCIL WATER METER to the property with a TWEED SHIRE COUNCIL water bill. We canot charge tenants for manually calculater water accounts. If charging for water there must be water saving shower heads installed and dual flush toilets (by 2025). Rather than just installing water restrictors (tenants often remove)  I usually recommend Methven shower heads that although their minimum water usage (7.5-9 litres per minute) they are quality shower heads with a long warranty for both hoses and heads. They come in a rail shower type or adjustable arm for around $100 from Bunnings plus installation. They are water saving however very difficult to remove water restrictors a lifetime guarantee. Not only does installing a quality water saver shower make sense however it often tenants running out of hot water in winter as they use more hot water in winter than over the summer months

Security

Screens a must on windows; security screens on doors. Caution with crim-safe type doors as they traditionally corrode faster that the traditional diamond grill. Ask our opinion for the best brand in our coastal area.If diamond grill go a colour to match the window/door frame and a black mesh (modern look)

Apartments and units under strata laws- For 1st floor units and above if there are window restrictors on windows tenants will hate having a window open just 10cm in summer. Consider for the little initial cost replacing these with security screen/s

Keyed operated front door deadlocks on the inside of units is against fire regulations and is illegal.

 

Other

Laundries- consider making provision for a top loader washer not just a front loader. Too many new homes/ renovated properties have only front load washers and if a prospective tenant has a top loader they may opt to take another property if they cant use their washer.

Front doors – most tenants like privacy so if glass door insert in door ensure it is frosted

Gas if a gas bottle we would rather that we let the property empty rather than full. Gas bottles should be all 45kg not 9kg.

Garage doors should be automated (dependant on rental income of course)

Door stops should be magnetic or older cushion stop ones where they can be held back. Doors slamming continually will result in doors that fall apart

If looking into door hardware remember we live in a coastal environment and things do rust!

 

 

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