Whether you’re preparing an investment property for sale and want the best possible result, or you’ve just bought into an area you can afford and are hoping to give your home a budget-friendly make-over– this guide shares ideas of what you can do in the garden to help your property look its best. Hiring landscaping specialists to improve your outdoor areas can cost a lot but with some clever planning a greener thumb, there are low-maintenance ways to add beauty to your garden, without spending a fortune.

To transform your garden, a green thumb can be handy but some simple tips are easily managed by even the novice gardener.


1. Manage weed growth

It might be big, it might be small – weeds can be a problem in any type of garden.

Getting rid of them is about more than mere good looks. The fact is, weeds can cause damage to your garden because of the pests and diseases that often come with them.

And the easiest way to keep weeds at bay? Getting them under control at the start of the growing season. So, while spring might be a time to celebrate those new shoots of flowers and vegetables popping up from the soil in your garden, it is also a prime time for weeds to flourish – and that means it’s a great time to deal with them. Get advice from your garden shop and bring in some samples of the offending weeds so they can advise you on the best method of control. If you’re anti-chemicals, it will take hard work but it can be done with some good old-fashioned digging.


2. Get rid of dead vegetation

Rotting vegetation does turn into great compost over time but in the short-term it’s a haven for pests. If you’re prettying up your property in a hurry, remove all dead vegetation by clipping dead-heads from bushes, pruning off dead branches and raking and shovelling up any surplus dead leaves and twigs.

If it doesn’t fit in your existing ‘green’ bin, hire a rubbish removal company to get rid of it for you.


3. Disinfect your garden tools

Not cleaning your garden tools between uses? It matters. Dirty and infected tools can spread diseases through your garden. To keep your plants in prime condition, disinfect your tools regularly.

The best way to avoid this is by disinfecting your tools on a regular basis.


4. Gardens like Keeping Cool

As the warmer weather hits, it’s important to make sure your garden is well-protected. For plants that don’t enjoy direct sun, investing in a little shade-cloth can help them look their best, as well as create a nice look to your garden space. Investing in a self-watering system can save you lots of time that you could be spending doing better things and, if you are selling the property, it can be another added bonus for potential buyers.


5. Mulch

Spreading a layer of mulch serves a couple of purposes. Number one? It deprives weeds and seeds of light, which prevents growth. From a water-conservation perspective, mulch also helps soil retain moisture. Mulch is best applied twice a year – once at the start of autumn and once in early spring. If you’re selling, a fresh bed of mulch adds a neat, orderly look to your garden and helps hide some of its inadequacies.

When it comes to fixing up a house you’ve just bought to make it feel like home, or if you’re planning to put your property on the market to get the best possible sales results, little details can make a big difference. If you’re not sure what you’re doing, a relationship with a helpful expert at your local garden centre can be a great source of free advice. And then there’s the internet – really, what did we ever do without it?

If you need advice for a personal loanhome loan, business or commercial loan, self-managed super fund loan, or an investment home loan, speak to a broker at Lending Specialists. We have a wealth of experience under our belt and a robust network to connect you to the right industry professional for the loan you need.

If you’re buying a house and researching home loans for the first time, it can seem overwhelming. First, there are the sales negotiations to get through, then all the financial approvals and finally, it gets closer to settlement. But what exactly happens at settlement?

Celebrating your success is one thing but then there is the serious stuff – dealing with insurance issues, removalists, conveyancers, real estate agents and a seemingly endless list of real estate-related professionals.

Then, suddenly, it’s settlement day – and ‘settled’ is probably the last thing you’re feeling.

Instead of letting settlement day stress ruin your good mood, get your head around what needs to be done and focus on the fun part – enjoying your new property.


What is settlement?

Put simply, settlement is the official process that happens between the financial and legal representatives of both the seller and yourself as the buyer.


Settlement Day

The time and place is agreed upon by the parties involved – a date and time when your conveyance or lawyer meets the representatives for the vendor. With the important documents signed by both parties, they are sent off to the titles office and you are registered as the new owner.

In the lead-up to the big day, it is the responsibility of your conveyancer to liaise with your mortgage broker or financial institution to ensure the funds are available at the right day and time. If there is a shortfall that you need to provide, your conveyancer will discuss this with plenty of time to ensure the funds are transferred from your nominated bank account.


Preparing For Settlement

Incoming property owners do have the opportunity to do a final inspection of the property before settlement day. Not sure what you’re looking for? If it puts your mind at ease, you can hire a professional to do it for you. This is where working with a buyer/vendor advocate can be a definite bonus because they become the experienced middle point between you and the real estate agent and may give you more confidence that you are receiving impartial advice.

The point of this important final inspection is so you can confirm the house you just bought is in the same condition it was when you made the decision to buy it.


Potential Settlement Problems

Luckily, problems on settlement day are rare – so no need for a sleepless night.

If things do crop up – such as a piece of documentation going missing for example – the worst that will happen is that settlement might be pushed back to allow extra time. If this is the fault of the vendor’s team, and if this contingency was covered in your contract of sale, you may receive financial compensation for each day the settlement is late.

After settlement your lender draws down your loan – and debits the amount they’ve paid your vendor at settlement from your loan account. That is the start of your mortgage.

What’s next? Enjoy your life as a property owner – and always pay your mortgage on time.

And, in a couple of years, after a solid track record of meeting your repayments, consider talking to your mortgage broker again to see if it is worth you trying for an even better deal.

For more information on what happens at a property settlement, you can contact Lending Specialist on (03) 8805-1800 or email barry@lendingspecialists.com.au

If you’re a property investor, getting the best rental return from your property is a smart way to make your life as a landlord a financial success.

From decisions about choosing the right managing agent, to how to streamline your ongoing maintenance costs, to advice around tax implications and what you can claim as a landlord – your life as a landlord doesn’t need to be stressful with the right advice and planning.

With so many Australians keen to invest in property, a growing number of us are becoming landlords without really understanding the role and its responsibilities.

While property investment is definitely a smart way to create a positive financial future, the fact is that being a good landlord is about more than just collecting rent each month.

Here are some top tips to help you make the most from your rental property by being a great landlord.

6 Tips for How to Be a Better Landlord

1. Find a professional property manager

You can go it alone as a landlord but with so many rules and regulations, the peace of mind you gain by hiring an experienced property manager will save you a lot of stress.

Yes, they charge you a percentage of your rent but they also act as the middleman to help handle any potential disputes – as well as take care of organising ongoing maintenance and other things that come up. By letting them handle all the paperwork and inspections, your time is better spent doing other things in your own job, business, or family life. Ask property investor friends you may know about who they use to manage their properties. Word-of-mouth is a powerful thing and can help you track down a professional property manager who suits your needs.

2. Understand your legal responsibilities

Even with an experienced property manager looking after the regular needs of your property, it is sensible to familiarise yourself with your rights and responsibilities under current Australian law.

The relationship between landlord and tenant is governed by the Residential Tenancy Act of each state and territory. Make sure you look up the laws for your area.

One thing that is common across all parts of Australia is the fact that landlords must guarantee the safety of any rented property – including its fixed appliances and contents. This includes maintenance and health. Making a decision to skimp on safety could see you end up in court with hefty fines.

3. Put It in Writing

Make sure all tenancy agreements are documented in writing as a professional lease agreement to ensure that all parties understand their rights and responsibilities.

4. Manage the bond

Bonds – to be used as protection against potential damage – cannot be held by landlords. Bonds must be lodged with the residential tenancies bond authority in each state or territory.

The bond can be held against any damage to the property, but this does not include “fair wear and tear”.

5. Be kind to your tenants

Your ideal tenant? One who treats it like their own home.

To help you attract a great calibre of tenant, present your property in a professional and clean way and, once you have secured a quality tenant, make sure you deal with any maintenance issues promptly and efficiently to help them stay happy in your house.

Going back a step, reference checks are critical. If they have rented before, your property management team should be talking to previous property managers to make sure they paid their rent on time and left the property in good condition.

6. Get landlord insurance

Yes, the bond can cover basic things but the added protection of landlord insurance can protect you against rental arrears and other damage. Shop around for a policy to suit and make sure you understand all the clauses to ensure you are actually covered for al the important things.

7. Boost your earnings

Smart landlords have great accountants who help them maximise their rental income and claim all possible expenses.

Make sure your accountant understands issues around property investment to ensure you are claiming everything you are entitled to claim to help boost your rental return.

Of course, being a great landlord begins with finding a good property that people want to rent. For advice about solidly performing areas for property investment, talk to your trusted mortgage broker or real estate specialist and make sure you do your own research to buy wisely.

If you need advice for a personal loanhome loan, business or commercial loan, self-managed super fund loan, or an investment home loan, speak to a broker at Lending Specialists. We have a wealth of experience under our belt and a robust network to connect you to the right industry professional for the loan you need.



Some simple interior design tricks can help you attract buyers to your property – and make the difference between an average sale price and an impressive one.


While professional stylists can come in with rental furniture and artworks to help transform your home into designer living space, there are still things you can do yourself to make a big difference to the presentation of your property at inspection time.

1. Street appeal matters

Before potential buyers even make an inspection time, they drive past your house. By doing what you can to maximise its street appeal, you’re doing yourself a huge favour. It doesn’t have to cost the earth either. While some professional garden maintenance, such as pruning and removal of any potentially dangerous trees, makes a big difference, little things such as lining up the rubbish bins and tucking them down the side of the house, sweeping up old leaves, straightening that wonky letterbox and cleaning up the driveway oil spill will make things look much better.


2. Make people feel welcome

Your front porch might only be small but make sure it is clean. If there is an outdoor light, make sure it has a fresh globe, and that cobwebs are swept away. Hose down the floor area and consider placing some attractive potted plants – just make sure you don’t crowd the entrance.

A clean new doormat can make a big difference, as well as a fresh coat of paint on that weathered front door.


3. Clean it until it shines

Bench-tops, floors, bathroom basins and windows should gleam at inspection time to help convince potential buyers that this home is the one for them. Dusting, vacuuming, mopping and polishing are critical and if you don’t think you have the time or energy, invest in a professional to help make an extra special impact.


4. De-clutter

Serious sellers should realise that it is all about creating space that helps potential buyers feel like there is room to move.

While you might treasure that collection of old teddy bears on your bed, or those cuckoo clocks fastened to every available wall, they will be a definite turn-off to would-be property investors and home-owners.

If your style is particularly unique, consider toning it down a little to help create the ‘every person’ feel that will help buyers imagine their own lives in your space.


5. Style your kitchen

They say it’s the heart of a home, so making it appear fresh, inviting and friendly is an important thing.

A bowl of fresh green apples on the clean counter, the smell of baking biscuits wafting from the oven and a neatly aligned clean tea-towel that matches those apples, perhaps, can lift your kitchen from average to appealing. And it doesn’t need to blow your budget.


6. Move your furniture.

Symmetrical placement of furniture helps add the illusion of more space. Make sure furniture is not pushed right up against the walls and pare back cluttery items, such as foot stools, beanbags and side tables to help add more room to move around the room easily at inspection time.


If it all seems too much to add to you ‘to do’ list, shop around for a professional stylist who can sweep in and do it all for you. If the property you are selling is empty, it is a good opportunity to make a small investment in hiring quality designer furniture in a couple of key rooms. The lounge/dining/kitchen and the main bedroom are the most impactful areas to focus on if your budget does not stretch to the whole property.

If you need advice for a personal loanhome loan, business or commercial loan, self-managed super fund loan, or an investment home loan, speak to a broker at Lending Specialists. We have a wealth of experience under our belt and a robust network to connect you to the right industry professional for the loan you need.