Home' Domain South Coast Register : January 4th 2012 Contents 4 - Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Domain.com.au supplement to the SOUTH COAST REGISTER
Q Are we allowed to ask to check out the
names of ever yone who inspected our house?
We don't mind who comes, we're just curious.
A This is new. Of the handful of agents I asked
about this, only one has ever heard of it and
no one had any issue with handing over the
list for a vendor's perusal.
Questions were raised as to what purpose
this ser ves, except that it is your home and
you'd like to know who has been traipsing
Curiosity for its own sake is something I get.
Who doesn't want to know who's been
checking out their Facebook page?
Although, just as a lack of privacy online might
make face-snooping less tempting, so too
might some of us think twice about a
gratuitous round of Saturday inspections.
Q We live next to vacant land and when it
rains our place floods.We need some
drainage attended to.
Does the property above us (owned by the
Water Board) share responsibility to fix the
drainage on their land as well?
Our quote is $16,000 to do work that no one
will see (always boring) but maybe they
should either contribute or fix their plumbing
A Atypical weather conditions aside, this all
comes down to whether the topography of
that vacant block next door has been changed
In general, if the land is as it has always been,
and water is r unning off it to your s, then that is
as nature intended it.
Where things could get interesting is if your
neighbour has toyed with the land, which has
diver ted more water on to your block.
That's not to say they are then responsible for
any water damage that results from that but it
might make it wor th writing to ask if any
investigations were ever carried out to see
how their excavation work might affect the
free flow of water.
If anyone is going to be at all sensitive to the
potential for water damage, I'd say the Water
Board is it.
Q I am 86, vir tually living off my assets.With
the seniors tax offset I am vir tually paying no
tax. If I sell a home unit, par tly mor tgaged, at
what rate do I pay CGT?
A Take your selling price and subtract from
this all costs such as agent's fees, legal fees and
so for th.
Then subtract your purchase price, including
all your buying costs such as stamp duty,
valuation fees, and mor tgage establishment
This is your total capital gain, which can
fur ther be reduced by any capital costs you
have encountered for such things as
renovations that you have not previously
claimed against income.
If the proper ty has been an investment
proper ty for the whole time you have owned
it - that is, you have never lived in it as your
principal residence and you have owned it for
longer than 12 months -- then take 50 per
cent of the capital gain and add it to your
Be sure to use an accountant to maximise all
If you're planning a renovation, there are 10 sure-fire
ways to devalue it, according to building advisor y
ser vice Archicentre.
These range from poor planning to going over the
top on things such as taps and ovens. Archicentre's
Angus Kell says the most impor tant step to ensuring
value from a renovation is good planning.
If you are renovating in stages, you need a master
plan so you don't waste money.
Just how much does it cost to renovate a proper ty?
The average renovation project in NSW is valued
between $75,000 and $150,000. If you want to add
an 80-square-metre ground-floor extension with
inclusions, you'll be looking at $164,526 to
Less than half of the expense will go towards
materials. Labour will cost about 33 per cent of the
overall amount, while fees, levies, permits, taxes and
GST will eat up 21 per cent.
If you are keeping the resale value of the proper ty in
mind, it pays to consider key trends in renovating
that are likely to appeal to buyer s down the track.
Kell says the top renovation trends in NSW include:
Using bi-fold doors to open up the house at the
Installing bigger windows to take advantage of views.
Creating open-plan living areas by taking out interior
Revamping the kitchen with more compact, modern
appliances, space-efficient storage and windows to
Opening up bathrooms to outside areas with large
windows to capture views of gardens.
Establishing separate toilets while making bathrooms
more spacious, with expensive tiles and designer
showers and basins.
Building a parents' retreat adjacent to main
bedrooms and including private balconies and
cour tyards for relaxing outdoors.
Creating a home office either as a nook in a hallway
or in a larger room. Usually the office equipment
and storage are hidden in cupboards and benches.
These nooks can be linked to an outside area with a
view or deck to create a pleasant working
Freshening the look of homes by rendering and
painting the facade.
Top 10 renovation mistakes
renovat on can add va ue to your home
By Carolyn Boyd
Why exactly would you camp out at an investment
proper ty when it has no furniture , not even a kettle?
Why indeed I wondered as I bunked down on the
floor with a roll mat, sleeping bag and my four-year-old
for "camping out" company.
For my little one it was a chance to go indoor
camping, complete with strawberries and chocolate
milk. No roasted marshmallows unfor tunately. For me,
I wanted to get inside the head space of my next
After five years of leasing out this proper ty (which I
used to live in, and spent long weekends renovating)
to the same family, I wanted to be a tenant for a night,
and see exactly what the tenant sees.What opens,
shuts, sticks? Where is the paint peeling? Does the
exhaust fan work?
Camping out might sound bit drastic -- and probably
not something ever y landlord would opt for -- but I
reckon if you keep proper ties in the best condition
you can, they repay you -- both with lower
maintenance costs overall as things aren't allowed to
deteriorate, and in good tenants who appreciate that
you go the extra mile, and who then feel more eager
to pay their rent on time, and also tend to want to stick
around because they are being looked after.
Which is probably why I found myself, at 2am,
regrouting the tiles.
I'm not sure about other landlords, but I always feel a
bit funny on those fleeting housing inspections. Like a
complete intruder who doesn't want to open the
drawer lest you are faced with an embarrassing
situation like the tenant's undies tumbling out.
Inhibited by this, inspections don't really give you a
chance to truly see what is right -- and wrong -- with
the proper ty, beyond the ver y surface, or what the
tenant has aler ted you to. And although I'm sure many
tenants will dispute this, they don't always tell you
everything that goes wrong, maybe because they
simply don't notice things that creep up over time, like
the damp seeping through the back corner or the
carpet slowly fraying.
One thing never ceases to amaze me though. Even
though I work in the proper ty space day-in day-out,
it's still pretty easy to be shocked about the state that
some rental proper ties are let out in. Mouldy ceilings,
ragged cur tains, gardens unkempt. I always worr y too
when you can only see an outside photo of the
proper ty on an ad -- what lies beneath, I wonder. But
with rental markets remaining very tight around the
countr y perhaps many landlords feel they don't have
to do much to bring in the next tenant and keep
More than that, it feels like there's a whole industr y
out there pushing the view that "it's only a rental".
When I called one company to inquire about
retractable flyscreens for a couple of tricky windows, I
mentioned it was a rental proper ty.The response:
"oh, that's a bit much for a rental isn't it?". A silly
attitude really. It might be a rental but it's still
someone's home, and it's not uncommon for people
to live in the same rental accommodation for years.
Regardless, maintenance and improvements are all
tax-deductible in one way or another, and usually add
some value to the home as well. So assuming
landlords have the cash flow to fund reasonable
improvements, they really are a no-brainer.
Still, I was gobsmacked when I saw the state of the
proper ty next to our s. Five years ago it was owned by
a young couple with a child who always kept it in
immaculate condition. Now though, it is rented, and
has deteriorated to a state that it looks barely lived in.
It's quite sad, really.
So was camping
out useful? Yes
because it gave
me time to
ever ything, high
and low, inside and
out. It's amazing
what you notice
at 2am with your
Talking property with domain.com.au
Should landlords camp out?
Ten ways to devalue your proper ty
Worry about the Joneses -- loss $40,000
A renovation that gives you the best house in the street could leave you out
of pocket.The streetscape and neighbours' houses influence resale value and
sensible renovations should take this into consideration.
2 Ugly little brother -- loss $28,000
Don't add an extension without thinking carefully about the exterior.
Renovations should be sympathetic to the original building.
3 Spending too much -- loss $25,000
Going over the top on expensive fittings such as impor ted cooktops, taps,
door handles and tiles can burn a hole in your pocket. Purchaser s often don't
like the previous owner's choices and won't be prepared to pay extra for
4 No playground, no barbecue -- loss $18,000
The trend is for outdoor living, so try to create a usable outside space.
5 Suburban deser t -- loss $20,000
Removing trees can cause more damage to a proper ty than if you left them
in place. A large, attractive tree can add $10,000 to $15,000 to the value in
6 Illegal building -- loss $30,000
In some suburbs, one-quar ter of all houses have an illegal extension. It can
cost $30,000 or more to make it comply with regulations.
7 Faulty structure -- loss $25,000
When installing new kitchens and bathrooms, check that the subfloor
structure is sound. Some new kitchens are destroyed in the fir st four years by
8 Do it your self -- loss $18,000
Installing your own wiring and plumbing is illegal and can be dangerous.
9 Expensive rip-offs -- $8000
Archicentre warns that underpinning to remedy brick cracking may not be
the best option. In many cases, low-cost watering systems and tree pruning
do the job and underpinning will cause more cracks in other par ts of the
0 The house that Jerry built -- $12,000
Joining the renovation on to the existing building in an unsatisfactory way can
result in major cracks appearing because of incompatible structural systems.
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