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Top ten tips for applying for rental properties

These days, it’s getting more and more difficult to find your dream rental property, and if you do, it’s as if everyone else has their eyes set on the same one. With minimal vacancy, it seems that properties are leasing just as quickly as they are coming on. So how do you give yourself that competitive edge? Here are my ten top tips to help you get ahead of the game!

1. Be prepared

Many agencies now take a 1form application. In fact, most agencies now prefer it. You can complete the 1form application ahead of time and when you are ready to apply for a property it’s already done and good to go!
If you are super keen on a property and don’t know if they take this method of application, a simple call to the agency will let you know. If they don’t use 1form, the call gives you a good opportunity to request an application form that they do use.

2. Ensure your details are up to date and correct

As a property manager, it can be tough contacting references because of the number of phone numbers that are outdated or incorrect. Check and then double check; especially if you’re using 1form. People use their old applications to apply for properties because it’s the quick option but they forget to update their details and the details of their references.

Also ensure you apply with your legal name. Don’t list your nickname or even the ‘English version’ of your name. We require your legal name for all documents.

3. Notify your references

Property managers will conduct checks on the information provided on your application form by contacting your listed references. A lot of people forget to notify their references that they are applying for properties and this can delay the process significantly. Unaware references won’t answer their phone or call back if they don’t know who we are. Also, due to the privacy of the applicant, they may be reluctant or unable to provide details regarding your employment or previous rental history without your authority, and this delays the process all the more.

4. Ensure you supply adequate proof of identity

As part of leasing the property, we need to be sure that you are who you say you are. This is for background checks and for document preparation amongst other things.

5. Register yourself for inspections

A lot of agencies now use third party programs (such as InspectRealEstate) or have an in-house process to assist with registering details so you can be notified of inspections. Try to get your details registered wherever possible so you can be kept up to date with information about when the property is available to inspect, when there’s updates to inspection times (changes, cancellations, etc.) and if the property is leased.

6. Check the internet daily

New properties are published online every day, even multiple times a day. Look regularly! Sometimes properties will come on but by the time you spot them an inspection has already been conducted and you have missed out.

7. Attend inspections

To try and get applicants through the properties as quickly as possible, agents will list properties as ‘open for inspection’ during the current tenancy. However, this means that the agents are limited to times set by the current tenants and their availability. Agents cannot always provide a private inspection in these cases.

Whilst the times may not always be convenient for you, it’s important to try your best to attend inspections. It will give you the chance to see the property in person but you’ll also be able to meet the property manager and familiarise yourself with them and the agency.

You might not get the property the first time, but gives you the chance to chat to the property manager about similar properties. That way, you’re in the forefront of their mind and they can refer you to similar properties that become available.

8. Only apply for what you really want

All too often I get multiple applications from people who are just applying for anything and everything without inspecting or even really wanting the property! This means the property manager will spend a significant amount of time scouring through applications to find the applicants that genuinely want the properties.

A rule of thumb is to inspect the property first, then apply. If you are unable to attend the inspection, contact the agent and explain the situation. Some agencies will process based on-sight unseen provided they know you are genuinely interested; that is, they’ll process your application on the basis that you are happy to lease the property without having seen its condition.

9. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

Whilst you shouldn’t apply for anything and everything, don’t limit yourself to just one property. Go to a few property inspections and apply for those you genuinely are interested in – and don’t leave it too long to apply!

You may not get the first property you apply for but that doesn’t mean your application isn’t any good. It can be a tough decision for owners and they can only choose one applicant.

But, if you are successful in securing a property, make sure you notify the other agencies of your cancellation on any other applications.

10. Be available to reach!

Property managers will sometimes have questions regarding your application or require further information. The easier you are to reach, the easier your application is to process. And if you’ve been approved, the easier it is to pass on good news!

Are you looking for your dream rental property? Now you’ve got the tips, it’s time to apply! Check out our current listings or contact out property management team today!

Say no to boring and pocket draining work lunches

Have you ever ended up buying your lunch at work because you didn’t prepare yourself to bring it in?

Let’s face it – buying a take-out  lunch every day can be quite the money pit. So I’m here with a money saving tip that’ll take you back to primary school.

It’s time to start packing your lunch.

But packed lunches are boring…

If your packed lunch is boring – you’re probably doing it wrong.

Don’t fall into that trap. Don’t you want to be different? Don’t you deserve better? Of course you do!

Make yourself something that you will look forward to eating; sometimes I look forward to my lunch so much that I struggle to wait until lunch time to eat it!

But what if I get hungry later in the day because in all my excitement I ate my lunch early?

Pro tip: add a soft boiled egg to your meal!

I boil my egg at home the night before – six minutes and 40 seconds in boiling water then I take out and run it under cool water to stop the cooking process. Once it’s cooled, I’ll pop it in the fridge overnight. The next day I’ll place the whole egg (shell and all) into a cup of hot water to warm up, after a few minutes, peel it, and you’ve got yourself a delicious, warm soft boiled egg!

Packing a snack like a soft boiled egg will ensure you are getting the nutrients you need to sate your hunger, that’ll stop you from ducking out for an afternoon pick-me-up.

How do you get inspiration for your packed lunches? I don’t want to get stuck in a rut.

First of all, learn to love your leftovers. Cooking dinner tonight? Make double so you can have some at work tomorrow. I’ll occasionally whip up a bone broth on a Sunday – it’ll last you most of the week, serve as a great base for lots of meals and it can be satisfying snack alternative to cure that 3:30’itis. 

Other than leftovers, Pinterest is my main go to for meal ideas. Sometimes, it can be difficult to find the time to research meal ideas that are going to be healthy, nutritious and delicious – but a quick search on Pinterest will generate endless results with just a click of a button!

The best thing about using Pinterest for your ideas is that other people have already done the hard work for you; just try typing “meal prep” or “interesting work lunches” in the search bar.

Do you have any other go to recipes?

I make ramen noodle soup around once a week, it’s quick to whip up, it’s cheap and it’s delicious!

Image source: Fork Knife Swoon

Mason jar salads are so easy to prepare the night before. The tip is to make your salad upside down. Dressing first and layer your ingredients from the bottom up, putting the veggies most vulnerable to wilting and bruising at the top. When you’re ready to tuck in, give the jar a shake and enjoy!

Image source: Comfortably Domestic

Zucchini noodles (zoodles) are a great alternative to pasta as you won’t feel so full and sleepy after eating them. Pair your zoodles with Bolognese and it’ll keep you full and give you the energy your body and brain need to get you through a busy work day.

Image source: Eat Yourself Skinny

Let’s count the pennies – how much am I actually saving by making my own lunch?

When you add it all up, the cost of going out for lunch is astounding. Say you spend $15 per working day buying your lunch, that’s $75 per week. Across the year that will cost you a whopping  $3,900.

Packing your lunch on the other hand? That’s an average of $3 per day, $15 per working week and $780 across an entire year. That’s a saving of $3,120!

All of a sudden you’re a whole lot closer to achieving your savings goals!

Whether you’re trying to save for a home deposit, your children’s education, or that designer bag you’ve had your eye on – every little bit of savings count.

These goals are what keep you motivated, so make sure you’re always keeping them front of mind. Keeping your goals in focus will make your packed lunches all that more delicious.

Looking for more inspiration or need help keeping your financial goals in focus? Need a budgeting and cash flow coach? Contact The Hopkins Group today.


Get schooled on self-education deductions

Is it finally time to buckle down and take on that diploma, master’s degree or other qualification that will take your career to the next level? Planning to up your professional development this year? Or just nostalgic for those good old uni days? Well, what’re you waiting for? Education may provide new knowledge, skills, opportunities, and maybe a step closer to world domination…but most excitingly, the cost of your education expenses may also reduce your tax bill.

Self-education expenses

If you have incurred education expenses and they have a relevant connection to your current employment or income producing activities, the expense may be deductible in your tax return. Short courses, seminars and training undertaken for work may be included as an ordinary work related deduction. Costs you incur to undertake a course of study at a school, college, university or other recognised place of education may also be deductible as ‘expenses of self-education’.

When are self-education expenses deductible?

Self-education expenses are deductible when the study you undertake has a sufficient connection to your current employment and maintains or improves the specific skills or knowledge you require in your current employment, or is likely to result in an increase in your income from your current employment.

You cannot claim a deduction for self-education expenses for a course that is too general or doesn’t have sufficient connection to your current employment such as general self-improvement. Also, the cost of study that will lead to future employment or allow you to start a new income producing activity via new employment or business is not deductible.

For example, Richie is a solicitor undertaking a Master of Law degree part-time. As the degree will improve the knowledge required for his current employment, Richie is entitled to claim a deduction for relevant expenses relating to the degree.

Richie’s mate Bruce is also a solicitor and is undertaking a Master of Journalism part time. Bruce is not entitled to a deduction for the related expenses as the degree does not maintain or improve specific skills or knowledge he requires in his current employment.

What expenses can you claim?

The types of deductible expenses which relate to self-education may include the following:

  • Course or tuition fees incurred, including fees payable under FEE HELP
  • Textbooks, stationary, and professional or trade journals
  • Airfares for study tours, sabbaticals, work conferences, seminars, or attending an educational institution
  • Meals and accommodation for study tours, sabbaticals, work conferences, seminars, or attending an educational institution where you are required to be away from home overnight
  • Interest paid on loans setup to fund relevant self-education costs

If an expense is partly for your self-education and partly for private purposes only the amount that relates to your self-education can be claimed as deduction unless the private portion is merely incidental.

What’s next?

Get out there and expand your minds, people! The world is your oyster; go and learn everything you can (well, at least everything that relates to your work) and keep a record of your expenses! If you are using Xero Cashbook to track your expenses, try attaching your invoices to the relevant transactions as you go so they don’t go missing! Your accountant will be thrilled to help add in the extra deductions when it is tax return time.

We are here for you.

Please do not hesitate to contact one of our friendly team members at The Hopkins Group here to discuss what you can be included in your tax return this year, what your tax obligations are and how you can best keep track of your expenses.

General advice warning: The information contained herein is of a general nature only and does not constitute personal advice. You should not act on any recommendation without considering your personal needs, circumstances and objectives. We recommend you obtain professional financial advice specific to your circumstances.

How to find the right property investment

There are a myriad of reasons people choose to invest in property and most have a specific criteria they wish to satisfy.

It may be because someone said you should, or you’ve decided it’s the best way to diversify your portfolio, reduce tax, create wealth, subsidise your superannuation or set up your children’s future. Or maybe it’s one of many other potential reasons.

Whatever your reason to invest in the Australian property market, you’ve probably asked the same question:
“With so many options available, which option is right for me?”

Let’s assume you’re a first timer looking to invest in a residential property (the safest option if you’re new to property investment).

There are key factors you need to consider when investing in property. These include, but are certainly not limited to:

• affordability
• style• location
• quality
• vacancy rates
• yield
• growth
• proximity to services and employment hubs

Once clear on these basics, you then need to decide where to invest.

Choosing where to invest

Choosing where to invest in property can seem a daunting, confusing and difficult task to do on your own. Luckily you don’t have to; with the help of an industry expert you’ll be able to invest with ease and work toward achieving your long term financial strategy.

A diversified portfolio is a good portfolio, and this rings especially true with property. If you live in Sydney it would be wise to invest in Brisbane or Melbourne, and vice versa.

I often tell my clients that we’re incredibly lucky in Australia to have three eastern seaboard capital cities that are all very different. They each look and feel unique, because they fundamentally are – so which capital is the best to invest in?

Without being too biased, here are some important characteristics in each city to think about.


Sydney has undergone an unparalleled period of growth over recent years.

If you bought a property in Double Bay in 2012, you’d have doubled your money today. That’s right; Double Bay experienced 98% growth over the last five years!

There are plenty of other examples of this happening in Sydney, but this doesn’t mean that it’s a great place to invest right now.

I do not see any value there at the moment; it’s likely the city will see very moderate to zero levels of growth in the next few years.

However, this will change and we will revisit when evidence of this change becomes apparent… but for now I’m staying away from recommending Sydney as an option for my clients.


Brisbane has had a strong and stable property market in recent years and that means there’s a lot to be excited about.

Large infrastructure projects are currently underway (second parallel runway, Queens Wharf precinct, Kuripla Precinct, Springfield tech hub, to name just a few) and they will change the Brisbane’s landscape in the years ahead. The city has even been named Australia’s lifestyle capital, with seven of its suburbs making REA’s list of Australia’s top ten most liveable suburbs.

This city is becoming more sophisticated, as food and service perform well, and is set to transform further in the next five to ten years. This transformation will reflect favourably on property values and I believe that clients that choose to invest in (the right areas) of Brisbane’s market will enjoy strong gains over time with secured rental income.


The Melbourne market has long been considered a stable and solid area for investing in property. It mirrors Sydney in terms of growth and performance but offers better value per square metre than its northern cousin.Melbourne flourishes when it comes to food and service, and has a strong rental market of professionals who gravitate towards high quality housing on CBD fringe locations.

Long referred to as Australia’s most liveable city (until REA passed the torch to Brisbane – sorry Melburnians), and more recently the world’s, I strongly believe in the Melbourne property market for investment and will continue to support it off the back of its underlying fundamentals.

Why only eastern seaboard?

You might notice that I’ve only mention eastern seaboard capital cities. This is due to the fact that they are the only capital cities in Australia that we, at The Hopkins Group, consider to be major metropolises.

A major metropolis is determined by population growth, international and interstate migration, and the ability to stand strong should there be a correction in more than one industry.

For example, unlike Perth, Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne will not be adversely affected by a drop in the price of iron ore. Nor will they experience a drop in property values, employment or income levels, should tourism numbers decline – a situation that would most certainly affect Surfers Paradise and the Gold Coast’s property market.

I tend to stick to what we call “inner urban areas of a major metropolis”. Essentially, this means the fringe locations (usually within 10 kilometres) of a major, independent CBD.

Our due diligence checklist and market research procedures have remained the same for 40 years because they work. We stick to proven fundamentals in an attempt to de-risk the process as much as possible for our valued clients.

Need more help in finding a property that’s right for you? Our team are on hand to answer any questions you might have. Contact a property investment adviser today.


It’s time to supercharge your super

Over the past few weeks, I have had some startling conversations with some of my friends regarding their super.

They’re all in their early 20s, and half of them do not know who their super fund is or have no idea how to log in to their super. The other half are aware of how to do this but have not bothered to check up on their super because, “I’m not even 25, I won’t be touching that money any time soon so what’s the point in worrying about it?”

Granted, your early 20s may be a bit soon to begin salary sacrificing – though, that is a fantastic idea if you can afford it. It is very important to consider the impact that a couple of decisions early in your life can have on your super balance come retirement.

The easiest thing to do is to login to your super and check out what investment option you’ve been allocated to. Why? Because for most super funds the default investment option is a ‘balanced’ allocation. Generally this means that 60-70% of your funds will be allocated to shares and property while the rest will be in fixed interest and cash.

While you should ensure that your super is invested in line with a level of risk that you are comfortable with, as someone in their early 20s who won’t be seeing their super funds for at least 40 years, I am a ‘growth’ investor. A growth allocation typically invests 70-80% of your funds into shares and property.

To illustrate why this difference can be so important to your super balance come retirement, I have used the superannuation calculator on ASIC’s Moneysmart website (a fantastic resource for financial guidance).

Below you’ll find a comparison of super balances invested in balanced verses growth allocations. I’ve used the average Australian salary ($61,932) as a basis, set the age at 25 years old, and set the super balance at $15,000 relying solely upon Super Guarantee Contributions.

As you can see, there is a $21,646 difference between the balanced and high growth option. This is because over the 40 year time frame, the risk associated with the larger allocation of risky assets (shares) in the high growth option, is slightly higher and has therefore generated a higher return on investment as a result. This ASIC calculator uses a 4.8% p.a growth on investment under the ‘balanced’ allocation, and a 5.2% p.a growth on investment under the ‘high growth’ allocation to reflect the difference in risk levels.

Obviously these figures are only a guide but the point is it pays to give your super the attention it deserves. Your future self with thank you for it!

If you’re ready to get serious about your super, why not speak to an expert? The team here at The Hopkins Group are across all things finance and are here not only to help you understand all things super, but also help you on the way to achieving some of your other life goals as well. Remember that things take time, so the longer you have your super working for you, the greater the potential result.

General Advice Warning: This blog may not be suitable to you because it contains general advice that has not been tailored to your personal circumstances. It is important that you consider your own situation before acting on any information contained in this blog. Please seek personal financial advice prior to acting on this information.
Disclaimer: Josh Keplac authored this blog with guidance from Michelle Kelada. Michelle Kelada is an Authorised Representative and John Hopkins Financial Services Pty Ltd is a Corporate Representative of WealthSure Financial Services Pty Ltd Level 1 190 Stirling Street PERTH WA 6000 ACN:130 288 578 AFSL: 326450.

Deep dive into the Federal Budget with The Hopkins Group

We dipped our toes in the water of the Federal Budget last night, but now that the seas have settled, we’re ready to deep dive into the proposals and translate what it means for you.

Whether you’re at the start of your financial journey as a Gen Y, are a little older in the wealth building stage of your career, or are considering retirement (or have already hung up your boots), we have filtered the prawns from the plankton to make sure you have the most relevant and specific information at your fingertips.

Watch our videos below and download our fact sheets to get a better grasp of what impact Budget 2018/19 will have on you and your financial situation.


Superannuation changes, taxes and reforms. It’s all about as exciting as a trip to the dentist, right?

Well, slip into your wetsuit and grab your snorkel for this short video featuring Senior Financial Adviser Michael Williams who chats with three of his Gen Y colleagues to explain how this year’s budget will affect Gen Ys.

Watch video and download fact sheet now


As someone who is at the wealth building stage of your life, you may monitor the proposals put forward by the Treasurer in the Federal Budget each year with great interest – one change here and one change there can really affect the nest egg you’re growing.

This year, we’ve locked down our Head of Advice, Shane Light, and Managing Director and Senior Financial Adviser, Michael Williams, to review the 2018/19 Budget and put it into context for wealth builders.

In this short video, they discuss the key proposals, consider how they might affect you and get you thinking about what you could do now to help chipping away at those savings goals.

Watch video and download fact sheet now


It’s going to be a year for the pre and post retirees with the Treasurer announcing a number of proposals that directly affect our clients around the Baby Boomer age.

In this short video, Head of Advice Shane Light and Financial Adviser James Weir talk about what action pre-retirees, or those who have already hung up their boots, can take to make sure everything is in place to enjoy a comfortable life of financial independence after work.

Watch video and download fact sheet now


So what next?

There’s nothing like personalised, tailored advice, so to get a better grip on what impact the Budget could have on your financial situation, make a time to chat to an adviser using the link below or call us on 1300 726 082.

Book a meeting




General Advice Warning: This blog may not be suitable to you because it contains general advice that has not been tailored to your personal circumstances. It is important that you consider your own situation before acting on any information contained in this blog. Please seek personal financial advice prior to acting on this information.

Disclaimer: John Hopkins Financial Services Pty Ltd is a Corporate Representative of WealthSure Financial Services Pty Ltd Level 1 190 Stirling Street PERTH WA 6000 ACN:130 288 578 AFSL: 326450.

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