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Success Story 515

5 Bed / 2 bath / 2 car

When you decide to buy an investment property in Brisbane, you choose a strategy with potential for good return on investment and low upkeep. Buying land and building a new home comes with a seven-year warranty and insurance companies are happy to give premium insurance cover. Then it’s just down to location and amenities – out west is a good place for a family home investment under $500,000. This owner bought a house and land package from a developer and waited 12 months for the build to finish.

Now that they had a new investment it was time to find a tenant. Be careful who you pick as your property management company, we cannot stress this enough. All nightmare stories start with choosing an inexperienced team of ‘professionals’.

When Rental Invest called Rachel it had a very upset homeowner who only had their investment for nine months. Rental Invest had taken over management rights of this investment property and quickly enacted an eviction notice under the Residential Tenancies Act due to five months of unpaid rent. The bond was used for rent arrears and as damage was tenant-inflicted, the seven-year builder’s warranty didn’t apply. The only option left was for the homeowner to make an insurance claim on their new home.

Had the letting agent done its due diligence on the tenants, it would have quickly found none were working or had intentions of working. As this was their first rental, they didn’t know the responsibilities of paying rent, bills and buying food. In cases of first-time renters it is always a good idea to have a guarantor to ensure rent is paid on time.

Had the letting agent also done the initial inspection one month after move-in, it would have discovered damage had already begun. It could have then started the eviction process and it would have been a lot quicker to remove them, with potentially less damage. However, with little experience in the rental market, this agency didn’t know what to do, so it was put in the too-hard basket and forgotten about.

One great choice this owner made was to get the investment property insured with landlord insurance specialist Terri Scheer. It specialises in rental investments so is familiar with bad tenants damaging homes and because this is all it insures, it has added extras in its policies and the process is quick and easy. In this case it was a ‘do’ and charge to the sum of $9,000.

As you can see from the before pictures, the tenants left what they didn’t want. They broke every door in the home, punched holes in walls and poured fizzy drink all over the kitchen benchtop. We also discovered all fly screens needed replacing and their pets did their business wherever. The cat, in particular, used the walk-in robe in the master bedroom as its bathroom, no litter tray required.

Home staging and the finer details is one thing when you think sell my house or selling a house, but this was simply about returning the investment property to a liveable and presentable state.

Luckily, as well as knowing how to sell your house, we know how to get one of these homes rentable in seven days, so after the before pictures were taken, we rolled up our sleeves and set to work.

Rubbish Removal

Two skip bins were used to get rid of the rubbish the tenants discarded. Our concern was the neighbours might start using the bins, so we arranged for the bins to be dropped off first thing in the morning and swapped over bins at midday, with the second bin collected before 5:00pm. All went well with the first bin but each time we put something in the second bin, and left it unattended, it disappeared across the street and into one of the neighbours’ homes. Someone else’s rubbish is another’s treasure!


Handyman Craig worked on the home for four days patching walls, replacing doors, door stoppers, fly screens, door handles, painting walls, repairing broken fixtures etc.


While Craig was there, the smoke alarms were tested, after the power was turned on of course. Luckily Rachel is a sweet talker when she needs to be, as the smoke alarm testers turned up while Craig was at Bunnings and she was able to reschedule them for that afternoon. At Swift, our team members are used to working around each other, so while Craig was repairing items, we were able to empty the home of rubbish and start on the gardens and cleaning.

Once all the rubbish was gone, we discovered the ‘cat litter box’, so carpet in the main bedroom had to be replaced. The experts came in, matched it up and ordered new carpet


We had to remove all the small plastic bits of rubbish and animal droppings, mow the lawns and tidy up the garden beds. Luckily it was a small garden and it didn’t take too long to get it done.

External house wash

After nine months, it needed the external brick and eaves cleaned. We also had to spray an odour neutraliser to remove the smell of dog urine from the pebbled walkways. The home, fences, driveway and wheelie bins were all treated and cleaned.

Internal Clean

The team spent three days cleaning this five-bedroom, two-bathroom home. After we chemically treated the kitchen to remove the mess on the benchtop, we discovered ants had moved in. The kitchen had to be cleaned with a heavy-duty commercial kitchen degreaser after killing the ant nest. Then we had to reclean it with white vinegar to neutralise the degreaser – this had to be done from top to bottom. Bathrooms received a deep clean as well, as it looked like no-one living there knew how to clean a bathroom. We think the home came up quite nicely afterwards.

Air conditioner sanitation.

Because we found mould in the air conditioner, and it was a new property, we called the experts in and had them clean the whole air conditioner, not just the pull-out filters, thus giving the next tenants clean air.

Carpet Steam Clean

All carpets had a deep steam clean, even the master bedroom. We did try our best to get rid of the ‘kitty litter box’ walk-in robe smell first but it was too far gone, and the carpet had to be replaced.

Pest Control

We did a heavy-duty ant treatment on the house due to the ant nest in the kitchen, so the home had an internal and external pest control double dose to ensure there were no bugs left.

Once all the work was done, we took photos and handed the keys back to Rental Invest so it could find a new tenant who would look after the property.

We are always happy to work with Terri Scheer clients to get their homes restored to liveable conditions again. This isn’t the first home, nor the last, we will see like this. We are just happy to help where we can to get homes to low-maintenance conditions, even if that means we need to work on an investment property. One point of call for all repairs required.

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