Author Archives: Terry Hansen


4 easy ways to make your rental property more appealing

Looking to achieve maximum rental return on your investment property and not sure where to begin?

There are quite a few things you can do to help make a rental more appealing and you don’t need to spend a fortune. Try focusing on some key elements that renters are looking for to help get your rental noticed.

  1. Make it clean and modern – You don’t need a brand new property, but if the property is well presented and features a few modern day luxuries then it’s likely to appeal to a broad range of tenants. A few things you could do include improving landscaping, repainting, changing flooring and adding features such as air-conditioning.
  1. Include garden maintenance – A lot of renters are looking for fuss-free living, so don’t want to spend their weekends tending to gardens. Having garden maintenance included in rent can take that stress away for them, plus it ensures that grounds remain looking their best.
  2. Let in pets – A lot of people have pets, so by discounting them you may be excluding a large chunk of your rental market. Whether or not a tenant has a pet has little to do with how well they will treat the property so it is a good idea to review any pets on a rental application before you think about discounting them altogether.
  1. Highlight privacy and security– Everybody wants to feel safe and secure in their home, and tenants are no exception. Make sure that all windows and doors can close and lock properly. Also check that gates and doors are up to scratch. If you want to make improvements to the security at the property consider investing in things like security doors, alarms or new fencing depending on the particular property’s needs.

What’s it really like living in Blacktown?

What do you think about all of the growth and change going on in the Blacktown LGA? Is the city transforming into a place you’ll want to live in the future?

The Blacktown City Council is currently inviting residents to have their say on what it’s like living in the area as part of their Social Profile 2020 survey.

They want to hear what the community likes (or dislikes) about the city and what changes or improvements could be made.

The feedback provided will help the council identify major social issues facing Blacktown and key strategies for improvement, as well as informing future planning.

Blacktown in the future

The Blacktown region, much like most of western Sydney, is undergoing an unprecedented period of transformation.

Alongside major projects like the Western Sydney Airport and Aerotropolis, new transport infrastructure and the Sydney Science Park, local projects like the ICTE at the Blacktown International Sportspark, and the Warrick Lane Precinct project in the Blacktown CBD will make the city a magnet for investment and growth.

How to have your say 

Those wanting to take part in the survey can do so on the Blacktown City Council website –

Submissions close on 28 June 2019 at 5pm.

For further details about the survey contact Blacktown Council’s Social Planning Team on 9839 6420 or

real estate

Should you sell via auction in a cooling market?

Deciding whether to sell by auction or private treaty is a common conundrum for home sellers, particularly when the property market is softening.

Auctions are often a no-brainer during boom times, when strong buyer competition and the fear of missing out helps ramp up buyer’s bids, however they can prove to be an effective method of selling in a cooling market too.

So is an auction for you? 


Good way to determine property price

One of the great things about auctions is that they tend to be fairly accurate at revealing the true market value of a property, which can be useful if the price of a property is hard to determine.

Sell quicker

Auctions provide a deadline for buyers, forcing them to act quickly to secure the property. Even if a property is passed in, buyers and sellers tend to come to an agreed price much faster than they would in a private treaty situation.

Brings out buyers

An auction will help a property get noticed! Buyers that are keen on a property up for auction will be focused and determined to “win” and will make sure they are ready to purchase on auction day.


Not suited to every property

Different sales methods work best on different types of properties. It’s best to get advice from your real estate agent about the types of sales happening in your area and what sales methods are drawing out the best prices.

Not for every seller

Some sellers find the auction process stressful, or are just private people and don’t want such a public sales campaign. Whatever the reason, it’s up to each individual seller to weigh up the pros and cons for themselves and choose a method of sale that they feel confident in.


How to know if you should knockdown and rebuild your home

Looking to bring an older home into the future but aren’t sure whether to remodel or knock the whole place down and start again?

It might seem a shame to knock down an older building, particularly if it holds memories or is still in decent condition, however sometimes it makes more sense to rebuild a property rather than remodel.

The neighbourhood has changed

Building a brand new property is generally going to be more costly than renovating, however in a upmarket neighbourhood a brand new property may be more valuable than an older one.

If knock down rebuilds have become popular in the area then these may have more buyer appeal than a property that has just had a few renovations.

Conversely, if you build a brand new home in an area renowned for heritage or character properties you could be doing more harm than good, so always consider the area and what buyers are looking for before making a huge investment.

You want to subdivide

If housing density is increasing in an area then it might be time for an old cottage to go so more homes can fit on the block. This could mean rebuilding two new homes, or potentially even a townhouse or unit development.

If you have land with the potential to subdivide it’s always worth looking into your options, as you may be able to sell part of your block and use any profits to fund a new build.

The existing property doesn’t have good bones

Renovating an old home to suit modern day living can be tricky, and sometimes you’ll need to make compromises on your plans to fit in with existing structures and/or materials.

A renovation can have drawbacks and may not be able to get the exact property you envision.

You just want to start fresh

Sometimes you just want something new. Building a new property can be costly and stressful, but if you have the funds then it provides you with a way to create the property you’ve always dreamed of.

If you’re unsure if knocking down and rebuilding is the right move for you it may help to have a chat with a draftsperson or architect to help you realise your vision.

sydney science park

What will we see in Western Sydney’s ‘smart city’?

Autonomous vehicle technology may still sound like something that is decades away, but developers are looking at building it into the design of the upcoming Sydney Science Park in Luddenham, which is set to become Australia’s first smart city.

Delivering the project will be Sydney developer Celestino, who has met with the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) as well as transport and infrastructure experts to discuss how autonomous vehicle solutions could be built into the development, with an expression of interest process currently underway.

This is one of many exciting innovations planned for the $5 billion project, with the 280-hectare rural site to become a centre for scientific research and development in the fields of food, energy and health, and all conveniently located along the proposed South West Rail Link route.

Construction on the project began in August last year, with the first residents expected to move in by mid-2021.

The first phase of the project will include a mix of commercial, residential, education and a park.

This will include 3400 homes, a 30,000-square-metre retail centre, 340,000sq m of commercial space and 100,000sq m dedicated to education.

Up to 30,000 people are expected to call the smart city their home within the next 10 years.

Celestino chief executive John Vassallo said there was overwhelming interest in the project from some of the leading autonomous transport innovators in the country, with companies such as Bosch, Hyundai and Westfield involved in discussions.

“Our intention is that SSP will become an internationally recognised epicentre for autonomous vehicles research and development and commercialisation, where the greatest minds in innovative transport can meet and use SSP as a testing ground for the systems and technologies that will become a fundamental part of our future everyday life,” he said.



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flipping property

Fear of auctions is causing buyers to miss out

Property affordability is improving across the nation, however some buyers may be missing out on some great deals because they don’t want to bid at auctions.

New research from Westpac’s Home Ownership Report has revealed that over half (56%) of home owners looking for their next property purchase admit they are too scared to buy at an auction, with 46 per cent saying they aren’t confident they know what to do.

Westpac’s data shows that auction numbers have declined over the last year against a softening market, however there has been a recent uplift in the number of homes taken to auction.

CoreLogic Quarterly Auction Market Review report for the first quarter of 2019 shows a clearance rate across Australia’s capital cities of 49.9 per cent out of 14,647 residential auctions, this is an increase of 6.6 per cent over the December 2018 quarter.

With auctions remaining a popular way to sell throughout the country it’s worth a buyer’s time to educate themself about the auction process.

“Auctions can be daunting, but again, by doing their homework and being well-prepared, home buyers can feel confident to make the most of current opportunities,” Westpac’s general manager of home ownership, Will Ranken, said.

“To ensure the best chance of success, home hunters should observe several auctions before they bid; thoroughly research the property they’re interested in; and ask the selling agent for comparable sales.”

For information or advice about auctions in the outer western Sydney area contact Professionals Outer Western Sydney.



winter garden

5 ways to get your garden ready for winter

Dreaming of a beautiful garden to escape to in winter?

Spending time in the garden doesn’t need to be reserved for just summer and spring. In Australia we are blessed with relatively warm winter climates that mean we can enjoy a garden in winter that not just survives, but thrives as well.

Even if your garden is looking a little rough around the edges there are just a few simple adjustments you might need to make.

  1. Remove plants that won’t make it

Plants that are already starting to rot or show signs of disease aren’t going to make it through the cold months so it’s best to remove them now, even if just to improve your garden’s appearance.

Remove weeds at the same time so you’re starting with a nice clean slate for growing new plants.

  1. Give the lawn some love

Make an effort to look after your lawn now to help it stay in good condition throughout winter. Provide it with slow-release fertiliser to feed on and keep it well hydrated.

Remember to rake leaves away regularly too so they don’t kill off the grass underneath.

  1. Select the right plants

There are plenty of plant varieties that do well in the cooler weather, however you need to ensure you pick the right ones. It’s always a good idea to ask for advice from your local garden centre to ensure you pick the right plants to suit your garden and the climate you’ll be growing it in.

If you have pot plants in your garden it’s also a good time to assess their sun needs and whether or not they will need to be moved for the winter months.

  1. Fix drainage issues

Garden areas are more prone to staying damp in the cooler weather. To prevent water build-up and possible fungal problems in plants, make sure that plant beds have adequate drainage.

Keep in mind too that plants may not need as much watering in winter as they don’t get as much of a chance to dry out as they do in summer.

  1. Make it warm and cosy

If you want to hang outside in your garden on a cold winter’s night then it could be worth investing in some kind of heat source. Mobile heaters are popular options, or you could look at installing a backyard fire pit if you have a bit more garden space.


Find out about Penrith’s grant programs

Penrith Council will be holding a Grant Information Session next Friday 10 May, ahead of this year’s release of grant funding.

The session will be held at 10am-11am at the Civic Centre and will provide information to help people learn more about how they can be supported in investing in community projects.

Council grant programs include Magnetic Places, Community Assistance Program and the Heritage Assistance Fund.

Through the Magnetic Places initiative, grants between $1,000 – 10,000 are available for neighbourhood projects that bring residents and creatives together to transform local public spaces through creative and social activity.

The Community Assistance Program offers grants of up to $1,200 for local non-profit community groups to use toward projects that work with residents and other community groups to strengthen the community, address community needs and improve opportunities for participation in the Penrith LGA.

And the Heritage Assistance Fund provides funding ranging from $1,000, to $5,000 on a dollar to dollar basis to help owners, renters and not-for-profit organisations repair and maintain heritage listed properties, homes and locations across the city.

The Grant Information Session will help community members in better understanding whether or not they are eligible for funding and what they can do to apply.

The information session details are as below:

– Friday 10 May at 10am-11am at the Civic Centre

– Register your interest by contacting Penrith City Council on 4732 8608 or by 5pm Thursday 9 May.

Further information about Penrith Council Grants can be found on their website.


Do voters want negative gearing to change?

Everybody has been given the chance to find out where they sit on the political spectrum thanks to the popular ABC Vote Compass survey, which has provided some useful insights about how Australian voters view particular policies.

One of the highly contentious policy debates of this year’s election is undoubtedly negative gearing, with the Labor Party planning to limit negative gearing to new housing from January 1 next year.

So what do voters really think about this strategy – are they for or against it?

Vote Compass data suggests that almost half of voters agree there should be fewer tax breaks on investment properties, with 29 per cent disagreeing and 20 per cent neutral on the issue.

Unsurprisingly however, views on negative gearing are largely split between parties.

Amongst Coalition voters, almost half (49 per cent) are against winding back taxes on investment properties, while a large proportion of Labor (68 per cent) and Greens (59 per cent) voters would like to see fewer tax concessions.

One Nation supporters seem to be somewhere in the middle on negative gearing, with 36 per cent in agreement with changes and 38 per cent against. Twenty four per cent of One Nation voters are neutral on the issue.

Negative gearing is an important issue in this year’s election and it could be the one that makes it or breaks it for the Labor party.

While it has its merits, such as the promise of improving affordability for new home buyers, it has a number of potential drawbacks too. Many are concerned that scrapping negative gearing could lead to issues such as higher taxes and a fall in local economies as well as the economy as a whole.

There are a number of other issues that are worth considering in the lead up to the May 18 Federal Election. If you’re curious to see what parties you agree with then you may want to take the Vote Compass survey for yourself at




Aussie borrowers are confused about basic mortgage concepts

Despite property being one of the biggest financial investments that many will make in their lifetime, new research has found that almost half of property seekers don’t understand some common mortgage terms.

Westpac’s Westpac’s latest Home Ownership Report, which surveyed over 1,000 Australian home owners looking to purchase their next property, found that almost half didn’t understand some key home financial concepts, such as ‘equity’ (49%), an ‘offset account’ (48%) or exactly what refinancing is (41%).

These are some scary findings considering that using an offset account, or having the ability to refinance can help borrowers greatly reduce their financial commitments.

Borrowers are turning to the pros

It’s not all bad news for borrowers though, with the research also finding that while they may not understand mortgage terminology, they are turning to people that do.

It was found that 84 per cent of those surveyed were taking steps to better educate themselves on home financing, with 73 per cent turning to professionals, and 40 per cent leveraging digital resources to better understand what is involved with buying or financing a home.

“It’s encouraging to see the majority of home buyers are already making the most of available resources to get up to scratch on key home loan concepts,” Westpac’s general manager of home ownership, Will Ranken, said.

“However, more can be done to ensure Australians are fully equipped to achieve their home ownership goals.

“With the right help and guidance, the process of buying a home can be incredibly rewarding. It all starts with an open and frank conversation with a professional to identify any knowledge gaps.”

Mr Ranken also encouraged home owners to do their due diligence and to look at the loan services that might be available to them, such as a bridging loan or portability loan.
“A portability loan can be a great time-saver, particularly when already dealing with the emotional stress that can come with moving home. A bridging loan could also be an option if they want to stay in their current property while they build a new home.”

Glossary of key mortgage terms:
Bridging loan
A short-term loan that allows you to finance the purchase of a new home while your current property sells.


Equity is your financial interest in the property, which is essentially its market value minus the amount owing on its mortgage.

Offset account
A savings account that is linked to your mortgage account. The balance in the account acts as if it were in your mortgage account, reducing the amount of your loan on which interest is calculated.


A home loan feature that allows you to ‘take your home loan with you’ when you move to another property, saving you the cost and inconvenience of having to establish a new loan, or refinancing, if you decide to move.

The process of taking out a new mortgage to repay an existing loan. A borrower may want to do this because there has been a change in their personal or financial situation, or because they have found a better deal.