Armstrong Creek to get primary school and special school in $32 million funding boost

A PRIMARY school and a special school will be built side by side in Armstong Creek as the State Government prepares for boom times in the burgeoning suburb.

Premier Denis Napthine visited the site at the Warralily Estate yesterday to announce the guaranteed $32 million investment with South Barwon MP Andrew Katos.

Moments earlier the Premier was at nearby Grovedale College, where he announced a $6.4 million election promise to help the school upgrade its facilities and prepare for the population influx from Armstrong Creek.

The Education Department has purchased 13ha of land at Warralily for the two schools, leaving it with enough room to also build a secondary school in the future.

The primary school will hold up to 500 students and the special school as many as 150 five-18 year olds.

They will be built with money from this year’s state budget as part of public/private partnership, with construction expected to start next year before an opening date in 2017 or 2018.

Building is expected to start next year before an opening date in 2017 or 2018.

Dr Napthine said the new schools were about planning for the future.

“This is an area that really will boom in the next few years. It will be the home of somewhere between 55,000 and 65,000 people,” he said.

“We, as a Government, have a responsibility to build the infrastructure as the community grows so the children will have great local schools.”

Warralily general manager of development Mark Whinfield said the estate was selling faster than any other area in Victoria, and confirmation of the schools would add further to its appeal.

“We are experiencing rapid growth with a current population of 2000 and 20 new families moving in every month,” Mr Whinfield said.

“Providing schools in walking distance from homes is an important part of our ­vision to create a vibrant, connected and sustainable ­community.”

Building companies will vie to construct the two schools and the 11 other new schools across the state.

Other schools include a Tor­quay North primary school, a special development school in Hamlyn Heights and a primary school in Bannockburn.

Expressions to design and build all 13 schools will open this month, with the tenderer given a 25-year contract to maintain the property.

Mr Katos — who, with his family, moved into a new home at Warralily last week — said the Government was preparing for population growth.

“I can see we need to do this. We don’t want examples … where the kids are here but there’s nowhere for them to go to school and they’re being bussed all over the place,” he said.

“We want people to be educated and have services available within their own local communities.”


Does your property manager have real life experience?

exchangeFor many, purchasing an investment property is a big financial commitment. Despite what many think, a large percentage of property investors are “Mum and Dad” investors, looking for a way to get ahead or establish a retirement fund. It is therefore critical that the property manager they choose to look after their property is fully engaged in ensuring that the property is expertly and carefully managed.

Whenever you are considering a property manager to look after an asset as valuable as your investment property, there are 3 key questions you should be asking:

1. Do you or have you ever owned your own property?

If your property manager has never owned their own property, can they really be aware of just how important that asset is to you? Often I hear from people complaining about how their property manager just doesn’t seem to care or understand the landlord’s point of view. Of course if they have never owned their own home, how can they be expected to understand what it means to a home owner?

2. Have you ever owned an investment property?

Wouldn’t you prefer a property manager that understands exactly where you are coming from. Only a property manager who has been a landlord as well could possibly understand each situation from the landlord’s perspective. The real life experience of being a landlord is invaluable in providing understanding and empathy for all the various high and lows of being a landlord. As I said earlier, a majority of investors are simply small-time “Mums and Dads” who cannot afford for their investment to be poorly managed.

3, What role do you have in your company?

Again, many of the complaints I hear from landlords are that their property manager just doesn’t seem to care. Many property managers are employees, who are concerned first and foremost with simply doing the minimum required to keep their job and get paid each week. Only a property manager who is an owner or director or their own company is truly invested in ensuring 100% customer satisfaction at all times. So who would you rather have managing your valuable investment; an employee concerned with covering their own hide first, or a business owner who is actively engaged in protecting his company’s professional reputation at all times?

So, when you are interviewing your next property manager put these questions at the top of your list. This way you will be certain to engage the property manager who has the best real life experience to make your property investing experience a successful one, and who has the most to gain by ensuring you are 100% happy with the service they provide.

Scott Hunt is the founding director of the Aspiron Real Estate Group and principal of Aspiron Real Estate Geelong.


Property Strategy Goal 3: Buying or building to keep as an investment and purchase another property in two to five years

In our last blog we talked about one of the goals you may have within your Property Strategy ‘Goal 2: Buying or building to sell in the next two to five years’ and we highlighted some important things to consider when buying a property that you want to resell in a short period of time.

But what if you don’t want to sell and you want to use this property as a stepping stone in building an investment portfolio? Again this strategy gives you some options in regards to the type of build, which may include a traditional family home, a townhouse, or a block of one or more units, but with an investment property it’s all about the Return on Investment (ROI).

One of the first things to consider when looking at purchasing a property to rent out in the future is any ongoing costs such as property management fees, strata payments and council rates. Will these costs take too much away from your ROI? Can you foresee any considerable increases?

Factor in any upkeep and repairs that may be required on the property. Keep in mind that you’ll be living in the property first so you can to do any repairs yourself before you rent the property out.

Building or buying a house and land package may be a good option here in order to minimise maintenance costs and maximise taxation minimisation strategies. Discuss these with your accountant.

Location is always key for an investment property, so do your research and go where the vacancy rates are consistently low, considering the proximity of the property to essential services like public transport and schools.

Often a large backyard is not a consideration for renters. If your home will become an investment property in the future then a large backyard only adds to maintenance costs and is unlikely to add to the rental return. But consider an outdoor living or alfresco area are they are very popular these days.

It’s also important to consider whether the property will be negatively or positively geared. Do you have the extra funds required to negatively gear your investment?

Living in a property, and then moving into another and renting your first buy can be a great way to start your investment portfolio and will be a stepping stone on the path to a bigger property strategy. So make sure you’ve considered how all of your decisions will impact on your ability to rent your home in a few years. Some sacrifices may need to be made in the short term in order to maximise your return and fulfil your property strategy. 

Property Strategy Goal 2: Buying or building to sell in the next two to five years

In our last blog we talked about one of the goals you may have within your Property Strategy ‘Goal 1: Buying or building to live in the home for five years or more’ and we highlighted some important things to consider around your longer term preferred lifestyle.

Your Property Strategy is your plan for current and future property goals. So what if your goal is to turn your property over quickly to fit with your career strategy, your growing family or value you’ve added to the property?

If you are buying or building a property with the intentions to sell within a few years, consider what type of home you should purchase. You have a number of options which may include a traditional family home, a townhouse, or a block of one or more units.

As this purchase is a stepping stone within your Property Strategy you should consider how your decisions will impact on your ability to sell in a relatively quick timeframe. Some sacrifices may need to be made in the short term in order to maximise your return.

If you choose to buy or build a traditional home, in most instances 4 bedrooms will provide a better sale return than a 3 bedroom home. This may mean sacrificing a 2nd living space if your budget does not allow for both. There are ways to maximise your investment and still meet your lifestyle requirements. If you only require 3 bedrooms and prefer two living areas, consider converting the 4th bedroom into a rumpus room or lounge with bi-fold doors, then it can still be used as a 4th bedroom as required.

Alfresco areas are very popular these days as Australians love the outdoor lifestyle. This can be a design element that can add good balance between lifestyle choice and investment decision.

Consider whether any upgrades are “nice to haves” or “have to haves”. Items such as 900mm ovens and cooktops, stone benchtops, wool carpets, high ceilings etc are nice to have and add to the quality of your lifestyle but the costs of these upgrades can quickly add up and are likely to reduce your profit margin when it is time to sell.

Townhouses or units generally offer a good return if they are modern, low maintenance and in the right location. Make sure you do your research and talk to agents about what’s selling and where.

You can keep focused on your goal of selling your property quickly and enjoy living there. Don’t forget it’s a stepping stone and every property gives you insight into what you want in your next home.

Our next blog will outline tips for growing your investment property portfolio:

Goal 3: Buying or building to keep as an investment and purchase another property in two to five years 

Property Strategy Goal 1: Buying or building to live in the home for five years or more

In our last blog ‘The Importance of having a Property Strategy’ we talked about how it’s crucial to plan for your current and future property goals.

If your goal is to live in the home you are buying or building for at least five years, there are some important things to consider around your longer term preferred lifestyle prior to beginning the buying or building process.

It can seem overwhelming to choose where to start, so make a list of what you need (what you can’t live without) and what you want (the nice to haves) and make sure you consider:

  • How close the property is to amenities like schools, transport, shops, parks or bike tracks? Remember advice like ‘buy the worst house in the best street’
  • Checking with local council to research development plans scheduled for the area (e.g. new roads, railway stations)? Will they add to your property value or against it?
  • Is this a property that has scope for improvement, renovation or extensions to cater for a growing family? Is the back yard big enough? Is there room for a pool?
  • Is the area experiencing growth? A boom in apartments, cafes or shopping outlets?
  • Ensuring you know how much you can spend and do your budget before starting to search to avoid disappointment. We all want the harbour view, beach cottage or mountain hideaway but what can you really afford and how much can you borrow? Talk to your finance broker.

If you are building or considering renovations in the future, it’s important to ensure you do not over capitalise on the property for the area in which you are building. In most instances the real estate market will only bear a certain level of sale price for a certain area. Do your research first and be careful that you don’t spend more on a property than houses in the local market are selling for. Speak to a real estate agent, research the internet to see what properties are listing and selling for, and make sure that the figures add up. Ideally whatever you are investing into the property should provide a return when you do go to sell.

But as this is going to be your long term home, it’s important to remember your lifestyle should take precedence over considerations such as resale value and rentability, as these will be offset by the value a better lifestyle provides.

Look out for our next two blogs outlining tips for:
Goal 2: Buying or building to sell in the next two to five years
Goal 3: Buying or building to keep as an investment and purchase another property in two to five years

The importance of having a ‘Property Strategy’

Man using tablet pc on couch at homeAll too often we see people so excited about buying or building their first home, they forget about the big picture. Even if you only plan on owning the home you are living in (and are not considering owning an investment property) a Property Strategy is an important tool that you should develop.

A Property Strategy helps you to build an approach that outlines your current and future plans. It can include information on how long you envisage living in your current home and how you will create capacity in your property for an expanding family. Your strategy may also consider factors of your retirement or future travel plans.

If you are looking at building an investment portfolio a Property Strategy will assist you in planning what type of properties to purchase, provide best value for money, and minimise costs. It will also assist you in ascertaining when to rationalise and release capital which may then be reinvested in the portfolio.

Your Property Strategy should outline your goals for:

Buying property – identifying what properties meet your current and future needs so that the right purchase decisions are made at the right time

Investing in property – capturing the benefits of investment property

Releasing property – making informed choices about when and why to dispose of property

It should also include information about the makeup of your family and your lifestyle (now and your plans for the future). And it’s important to remember for something to be classified as a property it must have value, but this may not only be a dollar value. The property may be valuable for sentimental reasons or for the lifestyle it enables the family to have. All of these factors should be considered as part of your strategy.

So think about how your home and/or investment properties meet your current and future needs. Your strategy should include where you want to be, and how you want your property portfolio to look in the next one, three and five years. You can also have some longer term goals, but ideally your strategy should be reviewed and updated at least every five years.

In any situation a strategy will assist you with sourcing the right property at the right time, for the right price.

So whether you’re looking to have one property or ten, a Property Strategy will ensure you are forward looking, and continually assessing how property can meet your existing and future needs for building your wealth through property.

Look out for our next three blogs, which will give you some ideas on what to consider if your strategy includes any of these three goals:

Goal 1: Buying or building to live in the home for five years or more

Goal 2: Buying or building to sell in the next two to five years

Goal 3: Buying or building to keep as an investment and purchase another property in two to five years

Should I renovate before I sell?

Renovations imageShould I renovate before I sell?  It’s a question a lot of people ask themselves when deciding to put their home on the property market.

Ultimately as a vendor your strategy is to get the best price, so the last thing you want is your renovation costing more than you get in return. So how do you determine how much, if any, renovating you should do? Continue reading

Are you emotionally ready to sell?

Business couple workingWhen someone decides to sell a property there is usually a good reason. It may be something positive like adding to the family and outgrowing your current home or getting a promotion and moving to another town, state or country, or just becoming more financial and wanting something bigger or better.

Yet unfortunately it’s sometimes the complete opposite. It may be due to the death of a loved one and feeling it’s time to downsize, or being forced to sell due to financial difficulties, or maybe you and your partner have decided to go your separate ways and you are selling up to divide the assets and move on. For whatever reason, selling your property – your home, is an emotional journey.  That’s why it’s important that you have a real estate agent who can help you through the process, not only in finding a new owner for your home but also enabling you to move on.

Generally, deciding to list your property isn’t an easy decision, especially if it’s been the family home for a considerable number of years.  It is the role of the real estate agent to advise vendors in the process of selling. The agent needs to show empathy, research the reasoning behind the sale, listen to the vendor and their concerns, and talk them through the process so there are no surprises.

If you’ve spent years making your house a home, raised your children in it and have fond family memories attached to the property, there needs to be a process of saying goodbye and letting go. These are the first things your agent should discuss with you when you approach them about selling. These discussions help determine the best way to proceed and your agent shouldn’t put too much pressure on you to forgo this process for the sake of a quick sale.

I’ve often been asked whether I think it’s harder for a vendor emotionally when it’s a quick sale or a drawn out process. For all sorts of reasons people react differently to the sale process, and no two vendors are the same. The most emotional time for vendors is the time leading up to making the decision to sell. Once they have made that decision and are emotionally ready a quick sale is often better. Quick sales are also a lot less disruptive when you think about how unsettling it can be when selling your home and constantly keeping the property looking its best (especially when you have children).

Your emotional state also plays a big part in securing a competitive price for your home. Just because you think the fireplace is a fabulous feature and the heart of the home, doesn’t mean potential buyers will see it in the same light. Sometimes they may just see it instead as something that is hard to keep clean and maintain. Vendors often expect that their emotional attachment to the house will transfer to the buyer and therefore they will receive more than the market indicates the home is worth. In some cases this may be true, but it largely depends on the target market, if the target market is investors then there is rarely any emotion involved in the buying decision. I’ve also had experiences where vendors have held out for a price that the market will not bear because they are not ready to let go and that is their way of hanging on.

If you’re finding it difficult to take those final steps to sell your property, talk to your real estate agent. The right agent will encourage you to let go, assist you through the sale process and ensure the experience is positive and fulfilling.

Real Estate – what if it’s not all about the money?

elderly couple and advisor imageWhen people talk real estate, the first thing that comes to mind is the money – getting the highest price when selling, negotiating the lowest price when buying, and looking for the cheapest agency commission.

But it’s important to note that the money aspect is not the only measure of a successful real estate agency. At Aspiron Real Estate we consider these five things fundamental to our success: Continue reading