Read how Ann and Peter had the idea to rent out their home and how it funded a 3-month holiday
Bangalow couple Ann and Peter have just returned from more than three months travelling across three states to Western Australia’s spectacular Broome.
In the past nearly-two crazy coronavirus years, that’s not terribly unusual.
But what is out of the ordinary is that they funded it almost entirely from the $1600 a week they made renting out their four-bedroom, central-Bangalow home. Their tenants ended up being a Sydney family – with two young boys who for the time went to local schools – that was escaping both the lockdown and renovations.
Read more: You can read Ann and Peter’s travel story here.
Here’s the couple’s on-the-ground tips and techniques so you could do the same.
1. How to maximise your rent
Ann and Peter did not want the hassle or headaches of renting to short-term holiday makers. So, first, they engaged a local real estate agent to give them an appraisal.
And their experience means they’d recommend the same.
“Definitely do the rental through a real estate agent and not holiday let. People coming and going – it’s not fair on neighbours and just the worry about who you’ve got in there,” Ann advises.
The cost was 8.8 per cent (with GST) of the rent.
“They also take the first week’s rent as an initial fee, which seems a lot when you are getting that amount but I think it’s worth it,” Ann says.
“We paid a bit up-front for advertising and photos too, but not a lot.”
The property was advertised online in the usual places, including Domain and realestate.com.
Ann and Peter’s next tip? Prepare for preparation.
2. What you need to do to get rental ready
“Look, it’s a lot of work beforehand because you have to sort things and put things away and clean out the cupboards. All your personal things have to be removed,” Ann says.
Ann and Peter were able to stack up and lock up their fourth bedroom for all their personal possessions.
“The estate agent came and did an inventory that took two people maybe half a day. They counted every single cup and spoon, and took photos of everything. They did a very complete job.”
As part of the rental process, they were able to comprehensively vet the tenants too.
“There was a rental inspection half-way through the tenancy and then an exit inspection. You wouldn’t get that with somebody like Airbnb,” Ann says.
They also hired a gardener, once a month, because they felt that would be a burden on tenants and a deterrent to renting the property.
“There’s a reasonable amount to think about before you rent out a house. Renting out an apartment would be a lot easier,” Ann says.
“[But] it’s worth it. We wanted somebody in the house.”
So how did they manage the money on the other side? To make their $1600-a-month rent carry them across to Western Australia and back?
3. How to minimise your spend
Ann explains: “I’m a travel agent. I look at the distances between places. We had planned it out and used the MTA travel app (Mobile Travel Agents), putting our itineraries into it.
But various COVID flares, naturally, meant they had to be pretty flexible.
“I’d done that, but it went pear-shaped when we got to the WA border.”
“We could have gone across the border sooner but we would have had to quarantine for 14 days when we got there and would have missed our boat departure date,” Ann explains.
The boat departure was a luxury special-birthday cruise from the Kimberley, for which they did dip into savings.
“So, we just stayed for 12 nights in Timber Creek in the Northern Territory,” she says.
“We stayed there waiting for the border to re-open without restrictions – there are two road houses, a pub, a police station and Aboriginal community. It’s a cute little place.”
For camp sites themselves, the price was variable.
In insanely popular Broome, for example, Ann and Peter had to shell out a higher-than-budgeted $50 to $55 a night.
But in Northern Queensland, it was more like $30 to $35 a night.
Besides Timber Creek, the longest Ann and Peter stayed in any one place was 10 nights in Darwin.
So, how did they cut what they spent ‘living’ along the way?
They established a rhythm to cook for two nights and go out the third.
And it sure helped that when Ann was in range of the internet, she’d do an hour or two of work overlooking some beautiful scenery.
“It’s all possible!” enthused Peter to Yahoo Finance.