Weekly Property News for Investors August 3 – August 7

This edition of our Weekly Property News centres on investors and is brought to you by Jason Mudford, General Manager of OBrien Real Estate.

The good news this week is the demand for rental property still remains strong and in fact, you’ll see in this graph volumes are up 14% YEAR ON YEAR, although being down a little from the highs in late May. You’ll also see the drop in volumes in the first lockdown and then how quickly the volumes came back.

Real estate rental data July 2020

With the first month of the new financial year already behind us, it’s still not too late to check with a professional quantity surveyor to what you can claim on wear and tear to the building and its fixtures and fittings.

Here are my top 2 mistakes I see property investors making.

Mistake Number 1 – Getting the depreciation category wrong.
There are two types of depreciation categories, capital works and plant and equipment. One example of a mistake investors make is with the floating timber floors. Many assume they are permanently fixed to the building and therefore a capital works deduction when it’s actually removable, making it a plant and equipment deduction. The difference can be between $250 and $1300 in your first-year deductions.

Mistake Number 2 – Is assuming depreciation on older properties can’t be claimed.
Legislation introduced in late 2017 means that depreciation of second-hand plant and equipment assets can no longer be claimed. Yet capital works deductions remain unaffected and make up the bulk of a depreciation claim on investment property, regardless of whether it is new or second hand.

That’s all for this week, I’m Jason Mudford and remember always use a professional quantity surveyor. The information provided today is of a general nature you should always seek independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice in relation to your unique circumstances.

Weekly Property News August 3 – August 7

Dean O'Brien Director of OBrien Real Estate

Hi Guys, it’s Dean OBrien from OBrien Real Estate with another edition of the Property News for 2020 where real estate information is on the house.
The good news is we are all in the same boat and if we all row together in the same direction we should be able to stay afloat and come to shore in 6 weeks time, ready to take on the world again. Another nautical saying “Steady As She Goes” is in reference to a ship sailing steadily and that saying can still be applied to how the property market is fairing.

Australian housing values July 2020


CoreLogic Data

Data released from CoreLogic reveals Melbourne’s houses prices have declined for a third consecutive month in July, dropping 1.2% over the month. However, annually Melbourne prices are still 8.7% up on prices from 12 months ago. And something to also note is that Adelaide has surpassed Perth in house prices.

This next graph shows that although there has been some recent softening of search online the volumes still remain 36.3% higher than a year earlier. This shows just how much more interest there is in Australian property. You will also see the drop in our first lockdown and then how quickly the volumes came back and surpassed the trendline.
Real estate online property searches

In the news for the week, the Reserve Bank has decided to keep interest rates on hold for August. Loans.com.au is the first to offer a 1.99% variable interest rate mortgage, however that is a honeymoon rate, so be sure to check the fine print. The Consumer Price Index – the main measure of inflation in Australia – fell by 1.9% in the June quarter, the biggest fall in prices in 89 years, this puts better spending power back in our pockets. The annual rate of headline inflation eased has eased from 2.2% to -0.3%.

Council approval data was released with new homes approvals falling 4.9% in June to an 8-year low. To date, approvals are down 15.8% from a year ago. However, the value of approvals for alterations and additions climbed 11.4% – the most in 2½ years. And lastly, for the month of July across OBrien Real Estate we finished off with 342 new listings and 311 Sales with the highest price achieved is $2.47M.
OBrien Real Estate property news August 3 2020
That’s all for this week, I’m Dean OBrien and remember the information provided is of a general nature you should always seek independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice in relation to your unique circumstances.

What Types Of Home Insurance Cover Are There

Home insurance cover Australia

Home Insurance Cover and Optional Extras

Home insurance or bricks and mortar cover is an insurance policy for general household cover. Home insurance generally protects your four walls and roof but it doesn’t cover any related outbuildings, or separate constructions like sheds, garages or patios. See Building Insurance below.

Generally speaking, there are two common types of home insurance in Australia: total replacement cover and the more common sum insured cover.

Total replacement cover is essentially an insurance cover that restores your home to its original condition prior to an "insured event" for which you are covered.  So what is an insured event? “Insured event”?  This could be fire, lightning, trees falling or flooding. There are a number of events that could destroy your home. If any of these events occur then an insurance inspector will be called upon to assess the damage.

Adding extras to your home insurance policy

Strictly speaking, the following policy extras are not always referred to as ‘home insurance’ –  yet they are still important elements you need to take into consideration when buying home insurance. You might find one or several individual policies apply to your circumstances.

We’ve listed some of the most common home insurance extras below:

  • Landlord insurance. This type of insurance will cover landlords risks in relation to tenants. This includes any loss of rental income, loss or damage by tenants to your building and contents. It can also cover theft or burglary, damage or vandalism, loss of rent if the tenant breaks their lease and the legal costs you may incur if you have to evict a tenant.
  • Accidental damage. Sometimes accidents happen inside and outside your home. Investigate how much accidental cover you have or you are eligible for. Compare this cover and costs with other insurance companies.
  • Fire insurance. As we know Australia is fire-prone. However, not all suburbs have the same amount of risk as other suburbs. When creating a home insurance policy make sure you are covered by fire as not all fires are started by natural disasters. Fire insurance should be included in your cover.
  • Motor burnout insurance. This optional extra seems a bit confusing to some homeowners. But look around your home and you will quickly identify appliances that actually have a motor. These include indoor appliances such as washing machines, dryers, freezers and air conditioners. And then there can be outdoor motors such as pool pumps and heating and cooling units.  ‘
  • Flood insurance. Survey your local area and identify if there are any water risks such as creeks, rivers, lakes or man-made waterways. Ask the local council if you are in a flood risk area. Make sure you understand what type of damage your "flood risk" covers you for.
  • Storm damage. As the climate changes so do storm seasons. The falling of trees due to strong winds can totally destroy a home. Also, lightning and stormwater can cause a significant amount of damage.
  • Building Insurance. Building insurance (also known as homeowners insurance) provides cover for your home from events such as fire, storm damage and floods. It covers the cost of repairing or rebuilding your home and other buildings on your property such as garages and sheds. Building insurance covers both the main structure as well as permanent fixtures such as kitchen cabinets, plumbing and built-in wardrobes. Depending on the policy, it may also cover any legal liability caused to someone injured visiting your property. If you live in a strata title apartment (and the majority of apartments in Australia are strata title – you can generally check with the executive committee of your building or managing agent to confirm), the building will be covered by residential strata insurance (also known as body corporate cover). This type of cover is mandatory in every state and territory in Australia and the cost is shared between all owners.
  • Contents insurance. Whereas building insurance protects the structure of your home, contents insurance covers the repair or replacement of your possessions inside your home. Some policies will also provide cover for your contents when you take them outside of your home (usually for an additional premium).
  • Combined Home and Contents Insurance - Often you will see home and contents insurance combined as if they were one product. They are however two separate policies. Having the policies combined in the one agreement means having to pay only one premium, and depending on the insurer, may also mean that you are entitled to a discounted rate.
  • Renters Insurance - If you rent or share a place with flatmates, you may want to consider renters' contents insurance for your personal possessions.  As with contents insurance for homeowners, you could select a policy that provides cover for your possessions when you take them outside of your home. Contents insurance policies vary, so find a level of cover that is right for you.

Real Estate Auction Tips For Vendors

Bidding strategy at an auction

Preparing Your Home For Auction Day

Typically when a home is being prepared for auction the selling agent would have done all the usual marketing. The normal type of promotion will be done via online real estate portals and social media platforms. Your agent will access their database of potential buyers and alert them to the coming auction. This can be done via an email, text or personal contact. Most good agents will know your area and property values. They should also have a shortlist of buyers that have been active or are looking to buy. The agent should also have a good idea of what buyers are prepared to pay. Having all this information should determine your reserve price.


Be prepared. Set your reserve price on what you are willing to accept. Talk to the auctioneer and get a rundown of the auction proceedings.

  1. Set your reserve price
  2. Ask the auctioneer how many bidders are expected
  3. Speak to the agent and ask if potential buyers have indicated what they will pay
  4. When should you talk to the auctioneer during the auction
  5. Know the value of properties in your immediate area
  6. What happens if your reserve price is not met


When it comes to selling everyone hopes that there will be a bidding war that will drive the price of your property up.

  1. Don’t have overinflated expectations
  2. Keep your reserve price to yourself
  3. Don’t be clever and get your friends to bid on the property
  4. On auction day stay calm

The Auction Day Has Arrived

Remember that not all properties sell at an auction. The clearance rate is generally between 60% – 70%. So, there is a chance your property may not sell. However, this can be seen as stage 1 of the process. In a lot of instances, the property is finally sold to the top bidder within a week. It is good to stay positive but on the day of the auction, you should also prepare yourself if the property does not sell.

What Happens If The Property Does Not Sell?

Don’t be discouraged if the bidding fails to meet your reserve price. Bidders may be bidding on a number of properties at the same time. You may have your reserve but bidders will also have a ceiling on what they prepared to pay. Naturally, potential buyers want to buy the property as cheaply as possible. But if the reserve price you have set is comparable to other properties sold in your area then there is a good chance the sale will go through eventually.


How to Flip a Home | 5 Basic Principles

Flipping a house Australia

What is house flipping?

Flipping is a term used primarily in the United States. It generally relates to the purchase of real estate then renovating that property quickly for a profit.

5 Ideas on how to flip a house

1. Calculate the costs

Identify all the costs that are associated with the purchase from the initial cost to the sale. By doing this you should have an understanding of how much you can spend when purchasing the property. Do your research on the median sale price of homes in the suburb. Have a profit forecast set and identify suburbs that can realise your investment. Stick to your plan.

Here is an example.

  • Final Sale Price - $650,000
  • Renovation Costs - $50,000
  • Stamp Duty and Legal Fees - $20,000
  • Selling Costs (marketing, agency fees) - $10,000
  • Interest Fees - $5000

Expected Profit - $50,000

The maximum price you should pay for the house you want to flip - $515,000

2. What type of property do you want to buy?

You may want to flip a house or unit. If you are buying a unit then understand the body corporate laws. There may be restrictions on what you can and cannot do. Understand all the laws of the local council before you do anything. Importantly, make sure the home is not heritage listed. There were a number of homes developed by the Housing Commission of Victoria in the '50s and '60s that are now heritage listed.

Is the property legal and safe?

Make sure all the properties right of sale ticks all the boxes. Seek legal advice and don't take the owners word for it. Hire a professional to do an inspection. You don't want to be renovating a house that is infested with termites. A thorough property inspection will reveal any issues the home has. This will go along way to determining if this is the home you want to flip

3. Research the Profiles of Suburbs

There are a number of portals that can provide information on suburbs profile data. This information covers both houses and units. Generally, you will see the number of sales, capital growth over a quarter, year and lifetime of that area. Is there a high demand for property in a particular suburb compared to other suburbs. This will help in determining where you want to buy. For example, you can click here to see the suburb profile of Cranbourne. Make sure you visit the streets that are in and surrounding the property. Is the home already the best looking house in the street?

4. Negotiate

There is a saying that something is only worth what someone is prepared to pay. The less money you invest in a house, the more money you can earn during the flip. If you have identified 5 potential properties then you are in a position to negotiate. There are many factors for people selling their home. We are not advocating that you take advantages of hardship but if your offer is accepted then everyone is happy.

5. Seek out a mentor

Before you dive into house flipping speak to "flippers" who have experience. If you know a successful house flipper, ask if they’d be willing to mentor you. You might even want to consider offering this person an incentive to be your mentor.

For example, ask if they’ll mentor you in exchange for a small percentage of your first successful flip. This way the mentor is motivated to tutor you, and you’ll be sure to get a high-quality education. Offering a financial incentive also enables you to approach experts you don’t know personally since being compensated for their efforts will make them more receptive.


Weekly Property News – Week Ending June 5, 2020

Dean O'Brien Director of OBrien Real Estate

Dean OBrien from OBrien Real Estate with another edition of the Property News for the week ending June 5, 2020, where real estate information is on the house.

The big news out this week is the release of the CoreLogic Home Price Report for May which saw National dwelling values post their first month-on-month decline since June last year. Sales activity bounced back by 18.5% in May after a drop of 33% in April. Melbourne’s housing market over the month was down 0.9% in May, following a 0.3% reduction in April with the median house price in Melbourne at $686,798 down only $8,398 from April.

Reviewing the numbers across OBrien Real Estate in Melbourne
OBrien Real Estate weekly property news June 3 2020

The Numbers For The Week.

Moving onto the numbers and auction wise we again saw a healthy clearance rate for the third straight week in the 70’s clocking in at 71.88% further signalling a rise in consumer confidence. The jump in auction results captured went to 192, with 45 selling before, 87 selling under the hammer, 6 after and 41 passing in. Private sales also jumped for the week with 948 selling.

Moving onto reviewing the numbers across OBrien Real Estate.

Obrien Real Estate numbers June 3 2020

Over the week OBrien Real Estate saw the biggest lift in listing numbers since February with 80 new listings launching to the market, we had 61 properties placed under offer across our network, with 58 confirmed sales, and our highest sale price across the network was $1.61. million.

There are no surprises with the reserve bank taking a sit and wait for approach with interest rates in the Tuesday meeting, keeping them on hold for another month.

The Federal Government announces a $688m scheme to kickstart the construction industry. The package is designed to protect tradies jobs in the wake of the weak construction and building activity. Homeowners will be offered grants of up to $25,000 to build new homes and complete substantial renovations. The grants will be means-tested and the package is available to owner-occupiers who sign a contract to start building or commence renovations to their property after June 4. The money can’t be used on investment properties or to build things outside the house like swimming pools, tennis courts, outdoor spas and saunas, sheds or garages. The grant will be made available through state governments.

First-home buyers eager to get a toehold in the market snapped up all 10,000 places offered by the federal government Home Loan Deposit scheme. Its envisaged the federal will announce an extension of the scheme which is to apply from 1 July. And lastly, the weekly ANZ-Roy Morgan consumer confidence report has had long run with 9 straight weeks of growth, the best numbers we have seen since the 1990s.

That’s a wrap for this week. I’m Dean OBrien from OBrien Real Estate.
Thank you for taking the time to review the week that was, and remember OBrien Real Estate is not a financial adviser, you should consider seeking independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice in relation to your unique circumstances.

Sell Your Home with Beautiful Photos

Professional Photography Increases Buyer Interest

Generally, it is the first impression that lasts the longest. This is no different when a buyer sees a property for the first time. A buyer’s initial research into buying a home is usually via a real estate portal on the internet. So it would be wise to present the property for sale with a series of listing photographs that are professionally taken. Not only will these photos attract the attention of buyers but will increase the competition for your sale. As a result, photographs are one of the most important steps you should take when selling your home. It can mean the difference between a potential buyer looking at your home or not.

Real estate photography

Home Staging Prior to Photography

Remove all references to your family. This includes photos and personal belongings. Let the buyer imagine what the home would look like if they were the occupants. If you want to appeal to the broader audience then accept that everyone else’s tastes may not be the same as yours.


This is where a professional photographer comes into their own. Their experience will make use of light and even create their own light to produce awesome photos. Take a photo of the exterior of your home and compare it to a professional photo and you will see the difference.

Exterior Interior and Drone Photos

A professional property photographer has all the necessary equipment to create beautiful photos. These include the exterior from back to front. The interior and all its rooms from every angle. And elevated and aerial photos using a drone. Once the photo sets are complete the photographer can edit the photos and create consistency.

The advantages of using a professional real estate photographer

  • Experience in what works and what doesn’t
  • Staging your home correctly
  • Aerial and drone pictures
  • Photo editing software

Benefits to Selling Your Home After Christmas

Selling your home after Christmas

Sometimes for whatever reasons homeowners may have to sell their home after the Xmas period. Or, maybe there are some advantages to sell your property after the Christmas break and into the new year.

There can be a few obstacles if you are trying to sell your home during this time. The number one reason is that most real estate agencies close their doors to sales and take a holiday. And, the majority of people like to wind down and enjoy this time with family and friends and not think about things too much.

On the flip side, there can some good reasons to sell over this time.

What you need to do is play to the positives.

Sell your home after Christmas

Potential Buyers have more free time

The Christmas period means there are more people having a break. This means they are more in control of how they spend their time off. Plus their attitude is generally more positive as they are free for the pressures of the work environment.

When people are relaxed and feel good about life they are usually more open to negotiation. This means the transaction can be much smoother. The buyer may well want to start the new year with everything in order.

Spring is Over

There will be a lot of potential buyers who missed out on purchasing a property during the spring period. They could be motivated to finding a new home rather than renting. Also, there will be buyers who have just sold their home and are looking for a new property.

Not as much competition

As we all know there is no shortage of buyers competing for the same piece of land during autumn and spring. In the mindset of most buyers, Christmas and New Year is seen as a time when the real estate industry winds down. This doesn’t mean buyers aren’t still out there. It means that their choice of available properties has been significantly reduced. This can be positive because if you have potential buyers during this time as it could mean they are motivated.

Auction or Private Treaty

Generally, there are not many auctions over Christmas and into the new year. An auction can be an intimidating and stressful event. It could be said that when buyers are on their break they want to negotiate on their time. They want to set up the meeting and inspection time and don’t want to feel rushed.

The Christmas appeal

A typical family will have their home decorated with all the Christmas trappings. There is always a good feeling when you enter a home and see the Christmas lights and presents at the foot of the tree. You can’t help but feel good about this environment.


A lot of renters will be looking at their lease and its expiry during this time. They will be deciding whether to extend their lease or move on. Presenting a house sale to them is another option open to sellers.

Just remember the buyers are there. All they need is inventory to look at.

Vegetable Container Garden

Wicker plant box

Growing vegies in pots and containers

Do you want to grow vegetables but your property lacks space? One way of adding life to a backyard, balcony, patio or rooftop is to grow vegetables in pots or containers. Container gardening is not as difficult as you might imagine.

Containers give you the freedom to control the environment in which your plants are growing.


Vegetable container gardening

Start with pots. The bigger the pot the better

  • Larger pots will need a little space and will have room for the roots to grow. Also, the advantage of a large pot over a smaller pot is that they will hold water better. And with a bigger container, you can grow more varieties.
  • If you can use barrels, tubs, buckets, boxes and other tubs and troughs then this is the preferred method. Make sure you have holes in the bottom so the water can runoff.

Maintenance Tips for Container Gardening with Vegetables

  • While clay pots may look more attractive than plastic pots, plastic pots retain moisture better. And they won’t dry out as fast as unglazed terra-cotta ones. If you are determined to use clay pots then why not put a plastic pot inside.
  • Black pots are a good idea as they attract and absorb heat from the sun.
  • The majority of plants will need watering two times a day. During summer insert the smaller pot into a larger pot and fill in space with moss or newspaper. When you water the plant include the space between the pots.
  • Hanging baskets make an effective decoration and are great space savers. You can grow herbs, cherry tomatoes and strawberries at eye level.
  • To improve draining add about 25mm of gravel at the base of the pot.
  • Every fortnight give the plants some liquid fertilizer.
  • Apply some compost to add trace elements to container soil.
  • Putting plants where they will receive the best sunlight is ideal. Also, make sure the area has good ventilation. Keep an eye out for insects that can cause harm to your plant.
  • Prepare yourself a calendar and circle the dates for routine tasks.


Window boxes are great for growing edible flowers. If you choose a window box fill it with a soilless mix. Don’t take soil from your garden as it is likely to contain unwanted insects and the soil is very heavy. You can grow marigolds and other related edible flowers. Most vegetables and plants need 6 to 8 hours of sunlight.

Keep up the moisture and add organic ingredients like fish emulsion or manure. Even liquid seaweed is a good option.


If you are growing vegetables that climb then adding supports is a must. Climbing plants can have a variety of supports such as stakes, netting, trellis or cages.

Insert your supports at the same time as you plant.

Plan your vegetable layout first. Plants that climb are ideal for plants that grow low. The climbers can climb up a trellis, whilst the low growers spread at the base. This is a good arrangement as you will reduce the space for weeds to grow.

Mix quick-maturing plants, such as lettuce or radishes, with longer-growing ones, like tomatoes or broccoli.

Group plants with similar needs for sun and water, such as pole beans, radishes, and lettuce; cucumber, bush beans, and beets, tomatoes, basil, and onions, and peas and carrots.

Here is a list of 10 herbs to grow together in a container.


Below is a shortlist of vegetables that are container friendly and which container types are most suitable for each vegie.

Beans, snap
Container: 20-litre window box
Varieties: Bush Blue Lake, Bush Romano, Tender Crop

Container: 1 plant =20-litre pot, 3 plants = 60-litre tub
Varieties: DeCicco, Green Comet

Container: 20-litre window box at least 30cm deep
Varieties: Danvers Half Long, Short ‘n Sweet, Tiny Sweet

Container: 1 plant = 4-litre pot
Varieties: ‘Patio Pik’, ‘Pot Luck’, ‘Spacemaster’

Container: 20-litre pot
Varieties: Black Beauty, Ichiban, Slim Jim

Container: 20-litre window box
Varieties: Ruby, Salad Bowl

Container: 20-litre window box
Varieties: ‘White Sweet Spanish’, ‘Yellow Sweet Spanish’

Container: 1 plant = 7-litre pot, 5 plants = 60-litre tub
Varieties: Cayenne, Long Red, Sweet Banana, Wonder, Yolo

Container: 20-litre window box
Varieties: Cherry Belle, Icicle

Container: Bushel basket
Varieties: Early Girl, Patio, Small Fry, Sweet 100, Tiny Tim


Is your vegetable garden prepared for summer

Michelle Stephen’s one of Australia’s best.

The Real Estate Business (REB) last week unveiled it’s top agents of Australia, and OBrien Real Estate’s own Michelle Stephens was awarded with a number of acknowledgements from the list of Australia’s best agents according to REB:

  • 4th within Australia for the number of listing and sales made.
  • 1st within Victoria for the number of listing made.

Michelle is a multiple award winning agent, last year Michelle also won the coveted 2019 Residential Sales Agent Of The Year for the Real Estate Institute Of Victoria (REIV).

Michelle works from our the Carrum Downs office at 4/121 Hall Rd, Carrum Downs VIC 3201.  Michelle can be contacted on 0417 352 644 or michelle.stephens@obre.com.au.

To view Michelle’s latest listings and results please click here