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Question: We are looking to build a home but will be using it as an investment. What can we do to get the most out of our investment? 

Answer: By Carolyn Parrella, Executive Manager, Terri Scheer Insurance 

When building an investment property, think with your head not your heart. Have the needs of your future tenants in mind. 

Building a new home can be a wise strategy as they’re often the most appealing to tenants and can have fewer maintenance issues. 

There are a number of factors to consider to ensure you get the most of your investment property. 

• Design the property for your tenant

Build the property that will appeal most to your tenants, not what you want. Consider the type of tenant you want to attract and choose a home design that will accommodate their needs. 

Families may require multiple bedrooms and large living areas. Couples may want a smaller home. Also consider the configuration of the home, such as the proximity of the bedrooms to the living areas and the size of the spaces too. 

• Build a low maintenance property

A rental property should require as little maintenance as possible. This will make life easier for both tenants and landlords and will minimise the effort and cost involved in the upkeep of the home. For example, hard floors like tiles are often easier to clean than carpet. 

• Landscape the garden

Don’t focus all your efforts on the home and neglect the outdoor spaces. Concrete or paved walkways and entertaining areas are less maintenance than grass. Likewise, avoid planting trees that will drop leaves and if planting greenery, select plants that require minimal watering or fertilising. 

Make sure by the time the tenant moves in, all rubble, debris and building materials have been removed from the yard. If left behind, this can cause a safety and legal liability hazard. 

• Appoint a property manager

If you have built a brand new home, the best way to ensure it’s well cared for by tenants is to appoint a property manager. They will conduct regular property inspections, help service maintenance requirements and address potential liabilities. 

They will also help find a good tenant and check their rental history. 

• Choose an appropriate landlord insurance policy

Landlord insurance provides peace of mind and a “financial safety net” for your new property. Look for a policy that covers you against damage, both accidental and malicious, loss of rental income and a landlords legal liability too. 

From as a little as the cost of a cup of coffee per week, you can safeguard your rental income. 

It can be confusing to know whether to get a variable rate or fixed rate mortgage, and what features are important. That's why it's important to not only check the right rates, but make sure that you're getting the right features in your home loan. Get help choosing the right home loan

Carolyn Parrella

Carolyn Parrella joined Australia's leading landlord insurance specialists, Terri Scheer Insurance, in 2004 and was appointed Executive Manager in 2009.
Carolyn oversees all operations within business, which aims to protect landlords against the risks associated with owning a rental property. These include malicious damage by tenants, accidental damage, legal liability for occurrences on the property that cause death or bodily injury, and loss of rental income as a result of damage to a property or a tenant absconding.
As a South-Australian based national insurance firm, Terri Scheer Insurance is the only company in Australia to specialise solely in landlord insurance.
Carolyn also owns two investment properties.

For further information, visit www.terrischeer.com.au or call 1800 804 016. 

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