Tuesday, July 22, 2014

How to choose a Property Manager

These days the market for property management and sales is very competitive on fees, we see numerous agencies struggling to compete with well established companies, the only leverage is to drop the fees, to reel you in!

Investors who have been in the market for some time have the heads up, they know quantity  is no comparison to quality, unfortunately most likely having had to fork out a small fortune to rectify the damage caused by employing an agent who promises you the world for next to nothing in management fees. We have seen this scenario all to often.

So how to you choose an agent?

Firstly you need to know what your expectations, are, make a list and make these clear to your chosen agent. You are paying for a service, it's that simple.

If you are new to the market, find out as much information as you can about what's expected of you as an owner, many issues are resolved quite simply by understanding what your responsibilities are. A good agent will know what these are.

Experience is the number one asset an agency can offer you.

All good agents are up to date with legislation, this is a very important factor, the agent must hold a current licence, don't be shy about asking to see the licence and other relevant documents.

Put everything in writing, these days with technology and smart phones, it's so simple  to send a quick email.

Has your agent ever owned or currently own a property of their own? This is not essential, however it does give you a little faith knowing that you have someone who understands how it feels to pay a mortgage or can recognize maintenance issues in the early stages.
Does the agent live local? Agents who live 50 miles away or have never lived in the area can tend to overlook inspections or bond Inspections, or forgetting to follow up.  

Who will take care of your property if your property manager is on holiday?You want to ensure that there are procedures in place, you don't want your property forgotten about.

All good agencies provide you with dated photos for routine inspections, you are paying for this service, make sure that the inspection is actually conducted, if you are local perhaps attend every now and again.

Is your property safe? Is there anything that you are aware of that is a possible hazard- Yes? Then FIX IT, turning a blind eye could very well land you in trouble, if your agent also turns a blind eye then that's Double trouble.

We are strong believers in the old saying, "what you sow is what you reap", always do the right thing, there are no guarantees with any type of investment, but if you get the have the right agent you are on the right track.

So how do you choose which agent to sign up with?

One who ticks all the boxes, Century 21 Boardwalk Rockingham, living local with over 100 years combined experience 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Credit card Scams


How credit card scams work

Scammers can get your credit card details by:
  • Tricking you into telling them your credit card number and/or your security code (the three-digit code on the back of your card) by pretending to be your bank or another company
  • Installing spyware on your computers so they can see the files you use, websites you visit and information you store - spyware can be installed remotely
  • Stealing your credit card - you may lose your wallet or have your bag stolen
  • Using card skimming devices on ATMs
  • Accessing information on unsecured websites
  • Accessing details from your online shopping activities
Once the scammers have your credit card number and security code, they can make purchases over the internet or by phone. If they know your PIN, they can get cash advances from an ATM using a 'cloned' credit card (where your details have been copied onto the magnetic strip of another card).

Warning signs

Your credit card details may have been taken by a scammer if:
  • There are purchases on your credit card statement that you didn't make
  • You have accidently given your credit card details (on the phone or internet) to someone you later realise is not to be trusted
  • You have lost or had your credit card stolen

Protecting yourself

There are simple things you can do to protect yourself from credit card scams:
  • Regularly check your bank account statements and if there are any purchases you cannot account for, report them to your bank
  • Do not give your personal, credit card or online account details to a caller on the phone unless you made the call, or to anyone in an email (even if the caller seems legitimate and has given you most of your account and address details)
  • Use the phone book to independently check the contact details of the company calling you before you give them any of your details
  • Do not give your PIN to anyone and choose passwords that would be difficult for others to work out
  • Never use computers in libraries or internet cafes for your online banking
  • Have up-to-date anti-virus software installed on your computer
  • Be wary when installing applications onto your phone. Scammers may send you applications designed to download malicious software and steal bank account details. See the ACCC's SCAMwatch webpage onmobile phone scams.
For more information on online scam protection, see the Australian Goverment publication Protecting yourself online.

What to do if you have been scammed

  1. Call your bank to report the scam and ask them to help you get your money back
  2. File a police report at your local police station
  3. Get a copy of your credit report from one of these reporting agencies: MyCreditFile.com.au (Veda), CheckYourCredit.com.au (Dun and Bradstreet) and Tasmanian Collection Service (see credit reports and credit repair). This allows you to check that no-one is using your name to borrow money or run up debts.
  4. Warn your family and friends

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Facts about indoor mould

Some Facts About Indoor Mould

What Is Mould?

Here are some facts about indoor mould:

It is a common term used to refer to some types of fungi. Fungi also include mushrooms (or toadstools) and yeast.

Fungi are found both indoors and outdoors. They used to be classified together with plants.

Moulds can be differentiated to some extent by their colours such as green, blue, black and white. However, this is not a very reliable way of identifying the type of mould since there are several types of that are similar in colour.

Mould may appear furry, slimy or powdery. Some have musty, stale or earthy odours. Odours are indicators of microbial growth and hence moisture problems in the building.

For it to grow, mould needs water, oxygen and food. It can grow almost anywhere there is water, high humidity or damp conditions. Some require more water than others. The types that require more water are generally used as indicators of moisture damage.

Some people are sensitive to moulds. The most common symptoms of mould exposure are cough, congestion, runny nose or trouble breathing. It can also worsen asthma symptoms or other allergies.

Black and White Mould

Bleach and other and chemicals may kill mould but it may still cause allergic reactions to sensitive individuals. Bleach is also not recommended since if not properly used it can be dangerous to the health of occupants.

The major route of indoor mould expore is through inhalation of airborne spores, fungal fragments and mycotoxins. Moulds release tiny spores and fragments which travel through the air.  Often attached to these are mycotoxins and allergens which are the main ways that mould affects humans.

Painting over mould is not recommended since it will not kill or seal it up.

Not all mould is visible. Therefore, just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean that you don’t have it.

The best way to control mould growth is to remove the water and moisture sources.

Before you consider mould clean-up you should detect and repair the moisture source first. Otherwise it will return.

In nature moulds break down organic material and recycle nutrients in the environment.  However, moulds digest organic material and gradually destroy whatever they grow on even your furniture, walls and floor if they get wet.

Visible mould on surfaces can easily be recognized by various discolorations such as green, grey, brown, or black, even white and other colours.

How are you exposed to mould spores?

We are all exposed to some levels of spores on a daily basis, both indoors and outdoors without harm. It is common to find spores in the air inside homes and offices mostly from outdoor sources. In summer outdoor spore counts are several times higher than those of indoor environment. Spores usually enter into the indoor environment through open doors and windows.

Mould spores primarily cause health problems when they are present in large numbers and people inhale so many of them. This occurs primarily when there is active mould growth within the home, office, workplaces or school where people live or work.

People can also be exposed to mould by touching contaminated materials, pets and by eating contaminated foods. If touching contaminated materials, always wear gloves.

How To Clean-up Mould

Small amounts of mould can easily be cleaned up by use of household detergent and water. It is important to ensure that the cleaned surface is dried completely after clean-up. No special training would be required to clean small amounts of mould (10 square feet or less). However, for large amounts (more than 10 square feet), seeking professional help is advised. Even when cleaning small amounts, it is important to an appropriate mask and gloves for personal protection.