Home' Domain South Coast Register : January 12th 2011 Contents 4 - Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Domain.com.au supplement to the SOUTH COAST REGISTER
. Our committee issues complaints through the
strata manager to individual owner s with wording
such as, "It has come to our notice ...", or "A number
of complaints have been received ..."The alleged
complaints are always anonymous and some owner s
believe the committee chairman initiates them to
harass and intimidate owner s.There is no
documentation to suppor t the "complaints" and the
chairman and the committee won't discuss the
matter with the owner. In essence, charges are laid
without any evidence and the owner can't mount a
defence and definitely can't rectify a situation if it
really exists. Have you any thoughts about the
advisability of an executive committee enter taining
anonymous and undocumented complaints?
. There's complete anonymity on Flat Chat but
there's no such thing as private correspondence
within a strata plan. As an owner you are entitled to
see anything written to or by the executive
committee. If an owner or resident has written to
your committee, you can inspect the
correspondence. If the strata manager or chairman
says it was a phone call, you are entitled to ask who
the phone call was from and what the response was.
Executive committee office-bearers can't issue
notices to comply without the EC holding a meeting
to discuss the complaint. Many would argue that the
secretar y is the only per son who can issue a warning.
If the complaints haven't been minuted, they
effectively don't exist and I would respond to that
effect. Strata managers with the power s of the EC
have to show the "paper trail" of complaints,
especially if they are challenged in cour t or at the
CTTT. A power-mad chairman consistently using
anonymous complaints against owners is nothing
shor t of a form of bullying.
. I'm 55, married and have two grown children. My
home loan balance is $80,000 and my repayments
are $1000 a for tnight. Can I withdraw my super of
$94,000 to pay off my home loan to avoid fur ther
interest? Now that I've reached the preser vation age,
is it tax free? Once I pay off the loan, I plan to put my
$1000 a for tnight to my super account through
salary sacrifice. Is it a good option?
. You may have reached your preser vation age but
you cannot withdraw your super at age 55 unless
you sign a statement that you have permanently
retired. If you did adopt that strategy, the first
$160,000 withdrawn from super would be tax free.
Of cour se, having done this you could have a change
of hear t in the future and take up paid employment
again. Another way of accessing your super is to star t
a transition-to-retirement pension.You could do this
while continuing in your present job.
. Is there a hierarchy in terms of inspection times?
And, if so, how do I make sure I get that popular
. High-maintenance vendor s -- as we are
affectionately known -- often request open times in
the prime hour s between 11am and 1pm. Savvy
agents are known to push for the earlier or later
times on the grounds that it might present your
home in a better light or to avoid the lack of parking
that happens after lunch with the local football
match.Then there's the demographic allowances:
homes suited to a young family are said to do well
later in the day given that it takes parents hours just
to get out the door, and the DINKS and downsizer s
apparently like to get their inspections over early to
leave the afternoon for more free time .
My favourite is the first-in, best-timed policy agents
use as a metaphorical set of steak knives to get you
to sign the agency agreement.
"I have an 11am open time available now but it could
be gone by my next appointment so if you'd just like
to scrawl your name here ..."
WHEN it comes to a holiday let, the
bare bones of the proper ty -- its
layout and number of bedrooms -- as
well as its proximity to the beach and
shopping strip, all play an impor tant
role in determining how much it can
fetch in rental returns.
But there are also ways to spr uce it
up to ensure it generates the
If owner s intend to rent out a
proper ty, exper ts say there's no need
to spend a for tune on an expensive
renovation. But presentation and
comfor t do matter.
"Even some basic cute three-
bedroom beach shacks can come up
nicely with a white-out inside and
nice beachy furniture with a splash of
colour and a coastal feel," says Troy
Daly, principal of J.P. Dixon in Por tsea
This can be as simple as applying a
fresh coat of paint and cleaning or
replacing carpets or, for an easily
maintained option, pulling them up
and polishing the floorboards.
Rather than replace a tired kitchen, it
can be more cost-effective to update
key features -- new benchtops, new
door handles and a stylish rangehood,
for example. In the bathroom, re-
grouting tiles or repainting the bath
can give it new life .
And it's impor tant to remember that
neutral colour s and themes are often
more in keeping with coastal
The number of people a proper ty
sleeps is impor tant when it comes to
income potential, Mr Daly says.
Installing two queen-size beds and
two sets of bunks with tr undle beds
in a three-bedroom house, for
example, means as many as 10
people could stay there.
"Two families can then come down
and share the cost of the rent," Mr
One of the most impor tant factors in
selling a coastal proper ty is timing.
Proper ty exper ts say the summer
holiday period -- from just before
Christmas to the early weeks of
Febr uary -- is usually the best time to
market a proper ty.
Maximise returns on your beach house
BEACH DAZE: Zac M haj ov c, Annabe a and Brod e Leone, Marc a and Dav d A son w th baby Be a Leone from Bond and Camden
rent a ho day house on the water at Ca a a Beach for about $3500 per week.
ARE pest and building repor ts really
NSW MP Matt Brown has
recommended in a discussion paper
released today that vendor s should be
required to provide a building and pest
repor t when they sell their house .
The rationale, especially in the auction
market, is that buyer s sometimes
spend thousands of dollar s on pest
and building repor ts on proper ties
they never had a realistic shot at
anyway. But will buyer s really be better
off under this scheme?
Auctions at the hear t of the issue
Of course too often, the bidding star ts
and a buyer's budget is quickly
exceeded, and thoughts of money
already spent/wasted on pest and
building repor ts and solicitor's advices
leads to ver y unhappy camper s.
Some of whom will complain to the
depar tment of fair trading and create
a lot of unwelcome noise for agents
and politicians alike .This lies at the
hear t of the issue.
It is unclear which problem the NSW
state government is trying to address.
Are they tackling the issue of buyers
wasting money, not doing enough due
diligence or (as I suspect ver y
strongly) are they tr ying to take the
heat out of the underquoting issue?
Sure! Making repor ts compulsor y
might save some buyer s money on
buying too many repor ts but it will still
provide extra cost to buyers who
wouldn't normally bother -- for
instance because they know a builder.
It definitely won't stop the fr ustration
and anger when buyer s waste money
on legal fees, time and energy on
proper ties that were always going to
sell over their limit.
Some agents will continually be in
danger of under-quoting regardless of
compulsor y repor ts because that is
simply the nature of the beast.
They know that a buyer's interest
intensifies at the sniff of a bargain.They
know that quoting low can allow
agents to provide conser vative
feedback through to the vendor in
order to keep them "realistic" on price.
The rationale of many agents is that a
figure achieved which is a bit lower
than their original forecast but higher
than the figure quoted to buyer s will
be a good outcome.
Well-trained, modern agents pride
themselves on getting that best
outcome without being misleading
and deceptive, but even they leave
behind their fair share of disgruntled
buyers in the cut and thrust of an
Only the delusional would dream that
compulsory pest and building repor ts
is going to change that.
With compulsor y pest and building
inspections guess who the inspector is
working for? You guessed it - the
vendor and, by extension, the agent.
Apar t from undue influence placed
upon inspectors I can't see how the
government will stop vendor s and
agents shopping around for the best
(most benign) repor t.
There's an obvious conflict between
the agent's needs and those of buyer s.
Aren't we fighting against nature
expecting agents and vendor s to get
their own yet "independent" repor ts
for the benefit of buyer s?
It is natural that some agents will try
to influence the tone and content of
repor ts if they can.
After all, agents and vendors spend
enormous amounts of money in
order to present the proper ty in the
best light - compulsor y repor ts will
find it hard to find and retain some
independence space in all of this.
Inevitably, NSW agents will choose
the providers that consistently furnish
them with the vaguest, most merciful
and non-descript repor ts possible.
The value of these repor ts will be as
questionable in NSW as they
currently are in the ACT leaving
buyer s even fur ther in the dark.
Buyer still has recourse right?
But if an inspector fails to disclose
something won't they be sued by the
Not so fast. "Friendly" inspectors will
just say that there was no access to
the sub-floor where the termites are
most likely to be.Therefore they
haven't technically missed anything.
This is already happening in the ACT
where compulsory repor ts have been
a requirement for a few years.
There are also a lot of uninsured
inspector s in Canberra even though
the ACT system requires inspector s
to be so.
There is no enforcement in the
bureaucracy heaven of Canberra so
imagine how effective enforcement
will be in NSW?
The NSW government know all of
this but still propose to give buyer s
the false belief that the compulsory
repor t will be as good as the
independent ones they get now.
Like in the ACT, many buyers will
continue to pay for their own
inspector regardless of the availability
of a compulsor y repor t but will also
now have to pay for the vendor's
inspection if they are the last bidder
standing when the hammer falls.
In their own discussion paper for the
recent review, the NSW state
government acknowledged that the
only real benefit of compulsory repor ts
is a reduction in costs to buyer s.
All this assumes that the compulsory
repor ts will have the same intrinsic
value to buyer s as the ones they
would have ordered themselves.Will
this save people money?
Can repor ts commissioned by the
vendor/agent be relied upon? Will this
scheme ameliorate the fr ustration
that arises from under-quoting?
Talking property with domain.com.au
Compulsory building repor ts: solution or bandaid?
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