After remaining vacant for more than six months, our agent finally found some new tenants to move into our rental property. The timing is rather fortunate, as DW and I were considering lower the rent even further, thinking that some rent is better than none at all. As it is, the new tenants didn't haggle about the rent, and want to sign a one-year lease, so we will have some certainty during 2013.
Although the house has also been listed for sale for the past three month, there have been very few interested buyers (just a couple of 'low ball' offers, which the agent didn't even ask us to consider), so I'd be surprised if we sell it before next Spring.
I've spent several evenings and weekends (and more than $500 in material) fixing up the balcony of the rental property, and DW has been doing a lot of work keeping the garden under control, so it will be good to have the tenants mowing the lawn fom now on! There are still a couple of minor repairs that need to be completed, as the handyman we used to patch and repaint some of the interior walls had missed a couple of the other repairs on our list, and he is now away on holiday.
I was a bit surprised at how long the property remained un-let this time, as we have previously had little trouble finding new tenants because the property is one of the few 'cheap' (around $540/wk) 3-bedroom houses available for rent in an otherwise rather expensive suburb (lots of houses rent for well over $1000 per week). Our property originally rented for about the bottom quartile average weekly rent, but we have had trouble raising the rent to keep pace with the market without putting off tenants that are looking for 'cheap' accomodation in this area. Some of our previous tenants have remained for many years, so, hopefully, the new tenants will stay until we either sell the property or decide to demolish and rebuild as a new home for ourselves. We regularly revisit the idea of building a new house there (that was our original plan when we bought the property in 2000), but we can't really afford the $650K+ the sort of house we have in mind would cost. Also, as we get older it seems less attractive to move house again, as our current home is quite comfortable, and in a nice suburb close to shops, schools and transport. It also doesn't seem worth the effort as we may move to the farm property near Forster once I retire in 15 years or so, and the kids may move out of town when they go to uni (DS1 will finish high school in another 5 years, and DS2 12 years) so spending a huge amount on a Sydney house seems rather pointless.
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