Thursday, December 1, 2016

Preparation for buying a property

Preparation for buying a property

Buying a home is likely to be the biggest investment you will ever make.  For first time buyers this process can be especially daunting. It is therefore essential to ensure that the right steps are taken to prepare for the purchase – this will make buying property just that little bit easier.
Here are some of our tips on how to be well prepared when buying a property:

Understand what you can and cannot afford
Before you begin your property search it's important to work out exactly how much you can afford to spend on your new home. Many homebuyers do this by calculating if they can afford to pay the monthly mortgage repayments. However, there are a multitude of additional costs to consider with the home ownership process. These include legal fees, stamp duty as well as ongoing costs incurred as a property owner such as repairs, rates, insurance, body corporate etc. By taking all of these additional costs into account you will end up with a much more accurate picture of what you can truly afford.

Do your research and understand the market
Before buying into a specific market, a sound understanding of the market as a whole is crucial. In addition to this, being well informed about the key trends and conditions of your local area, can help you to make a more informed purchase decision and potentially eliminate buyer’s remorse down the track.  The internet is a fantastic resource if you know where to look!

Here are a few resources we recommend:

Property portals:  All of the leading Australian property portals provide current listings as well as sold directories so you can view the latest sales results in your local area. These can be used to develop a clear picture of market conditions and help shape expectations. In addition to this, they are a great source of advice in the form of blogs and articles. Examples of property portals include and

Data sites: If you want to take it one step further and really engage with the data then property data sites will be an invaluable resource.  Sites like, Residex and others provide access to market trends, as well as historical sales results, median prices and a range of other information (some of which is free and other resources which incur small fees).

Agent & buyer advocate websites: These can also be a great source of information, with many individuals and companies blogging about recent local market activity.

Understand the in’s and out’s of buying
Once you’ve found a home that fits your needs and your budget, the next step is buying the property – this process will differ depending on the method of sale.  It is important to familiarise yourself with the various buying methods to understand your rights/obligations when purchasing via this method.  Understanding this upfront may help you to avoid making a costly mistake down the track.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Meet The Team: Caitlin See

Get to know our talented Owners Corporation Manager, Caitlin See. 

What is your role/position at DK?
Owners Corporation Manager 

Where would we find you on your day off?
Sitting at the bar at my partner’s restaurant – Copper Pot Seddon (shameless plug) 

Best thing about working at DK
The lovely people and team environment. 

What are you watching on Netflix?
Arrested Development (I’m behind the times)

Personal mantra?
To see the positive in everything

Dream travel destination?

Advice for landlords?
Treat your property as you would a business – the more you invest into it, the more you will get out of it 

Advice for tenants?
Be considerate of your neighbours and treat the property as you would your own home.   

Three things you’d choose to take with you if you were stranded on a desert island?
Surfboard, cocktails, music player 

What would people say is the most surprising thing about you?
I’m not as young as I look and I’ve been in the property industry 10 years (and counting!)

Any favourite quotes or sayings that help keep you motivated?
Mind over matter – those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind! – Dr Seuss
If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. -  Maya Angelou

Favourite travel destination?
New York – I was there over Christmas/New Years and it was magical! 

Most used emoji?
The nerdy one with glasses 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Meet The Team: Daniel Bryan

This week we introduce to you to Daniel Bryan, our Business Development Manager in the residential property management team. We sat down for a chat with Dan and found out a little more about the man in the suit.

What is your role/position at DK?
I work in the Residential Department at Dixon Kestles and am responsible for business development.

Where would we find you on your day off?
I’ve got a bit of a sweet tooth so you’ll probably find me at Brunetti’s in Carlton

Best thing about working at DK
I love the culture and being a part of a well-established team. The staff knowledge base is unprecedented!

What are you watching on Netflix?
Pablo Escobar: El Patron del Mal! Highly recommend.

Personal mantra?
Be better today than you were yesterday

Dream travel destination?
My favourite place to visit is Sienna, Italy but I’ve always wanted to go to Monaco

Advice for landlords?
Talk to us. Our knowledge makes you money instead of costing you money.

Advice for tenants?
Open, clear communication with your landlord or rental agent will greatly improve your tenancy.

Three things you’d choose to take with you if you were stranded on a desert island?
I can’t live without coffee so I would have to say my coffee machine.

Any favourite quotes or sayings that help keep you motivated?
If not now, when?

Most used emoji?
Ha ha, I’m not a big emoji user but I guess I’d have to say the smiley face. A smile goes a long way.

Monday, November 14, 2016

How to Profit From a Renovation

It’s important to set your ultimate goal in the early stages of the renovation process. We are going to focus on the case of an investor increasing their return.

There are many ways to profit through property renovation but it all starts with buying well. The question then becomes how to tell the difference between an endless pit of trouble and a diamond in the rough. Our theory is that the structure must be sound and the floor plan should not need altering in order to work. Also, never see a property alone; two sets of eyes are always better than one.

Location, Location, Location…

Know the area that you are buying in. Anyone can buy a property, but it is important to ensure that you understand the prospective demographic of the area. For Example, South Yarra’s apartment demographic is mostly comprised of young professional couples or young share houses whereas Glen Iris’s demographic is more family oriented. Know your target audience and ensure that you understand the style of the suburb in order to maximise your return/minimise vacancies.

Select one to three suburbs bordering onto to one another and study the market in order to recognise when something is priced well. Some properties may just need a general tidy up. This could include a re-paint, re-carpet and new roller blinds (more tenant friendly). This can easily be done for less than $10,000 on an average 2 bedroom apartment.

Don’t Let Your Creativity Break The Bank…

Budgeting can often be a weak spot. It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of a project but how can we stop ourselves from over capitalising? A general rule for investors is to spend only 2% of a property’s value on a renovation. For example, using this formula, a property worth $500,000 should have no more than $10,000 spent on its renovation.

A cosmetic renovation is a much safer bet than a structural renovation. Updating a kitchen and bathroom can sound like an expensive exercise but there are some simple ways to ensure you keep costs down. We truly believe that paint can be the best money spent because it is such an easy way to breathe new life into a space. A bathroom can be cosmetically changed by swapping a daggy shower curtain for a panel of glass, re-grouting tiles if the tiles are neutrally coloured and in good order, getting a painter to re-spray the bath tub and add a lick of paint (opt for an anti-mould paint, especially for tenants in a bitter Melbourne winter). The kitchen can be cosmetically updated with a paint job, a change of cabinetry handles and the addition of a fresh laminate counter top.

Any other glaringly obvious problems will need to be addressed too. Do not underestimate Bunnings or Masters for handles or light fittings. They have surprisingly fashionable decor items, which won’t break the bank.