Owning a rental property is one of the most popular investments in Australia, and while Melbourne’s rental market remains healthy, there are a few ways to make sure your valuable asset attracts, and more importantly keeps high-quality, reliable tenants, while bringing you the best possible returns.

Research before you buy

Whether you’re buying your first residential investment property or your tenth, it’s always important to get an idea of the immediate rental market in the area. A stunning apartment in a less-popular area might return less than a dated property in a location with high demand. Even homes that have seen better days can still attract a top-quality tenant on a low budget – especially if you’re happy to give the walls a fresh coat of paint and recarpet or re-polish the floors. And remember, while new properties tend to look after themselves, brand new buildings can still encounter a few teething problems.
It can be handy to attend open inspections for rental properties in the area and category of investments you’re looking at to get a feel for the level of interest, the questions being asked and the homes being offered.
When it comes time to buy, ask the selling agent about current tenants if any – with luck your new purchase might incidentally include the perfect, ready-made tenancy.

Engage a well-respected, experienced property manager

Using a rental professional means you don’t need to worry about the marketing, vetting, reference checking, follow-ups, day-to-day management or dispute resolution. However matters that involve some financial outlay will need to ultimately be dealt with by the owner, but in most cases, a good rental manager will be able to give you good advice and even provide cheaper trade quotes for maintenance issues.

Be responsive but respectful

Good tenants – namely ones who feel respected – are generally less likely to complain or make unnecessary maintenance demands and are more likely to stay for a longer term.
If an issue does arise, tenants who feel appreciated will be more inclined to use their own initiative (within reason) or be totally cooperative when something needs to be done.

Use a vacancy to make money

Appearance is always paramount – especially first impressions. If your property becomes vacant, consider using those empty weeks to make a few upgrades – even cosmetic ones – to attract quality tenants at a higher rental. Whether it’s simply new carpets, paintwork and light fittings or a refurbished kitchen or bathroom, well-researched renovations should not only allow you to push your rental price up, but also the long term value of your property. You may even be able to make valuable deductions come tax time.

Maximise your investment

Like any income-returning asset, there are ways to make sure your costs (or losses) are minimised by keeping on top of allowable deductions and claims. An expert financial advisor will be able to suggest ways to get the most out of tax deductions, depreciation and scrapping, off-sets, negative-gearing, refinancing etc.

Across Victoria, RT Edgar offers high-quality, reliable property management and holiday lettings services. Before leasing out your next property, contact your nearest RT Edgar office and see how our rental experts can take the stress out of leasing out your new investment.