30 May 2017
By portermathewsblog


The Western Australian State Cabinet decision to move forward with the strata title reform process has been commended by the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia, Strata Community Association WA, Property Council of Australia and Urban Development Institute of Australia WA.

Announced this morning, the Honorable Rita Saffioti MLA said strata title reform was important to the future housing needs of WA and the McGowan Government would be progressing with this legislation as quickly as possible.

The proposed reforms to the Strata Act, which were drafted by Landgate, cover off seven key areas:

  1. Community title schemes
  2. Leasehold strata
  3. More flexible staged strata development
  4. Improved management
  5. Simplified dispute resolution
  6. Better buyer information
  7. Safeguards for the termination of schemes

REIWA President Hayden Groves said reform to the Strata Titles Act was long overdue and he was pleased the new State Cabinet would be implementing these reforms.

REIWA is committed to the strata title reform process, and we are particularly supportive of more buyer information being disclosed and making sure buyers know what they are getting into,” Mr Groves said.

Strata Community Association President Scott Bellerby said the drafted reforms are desperately needed and would help provide more flexible and sustainable housing options.

“The current reforms are a good first step to helping define the role of the strata manager and will provide improved management of schemes, however, further regulation and licensing is still needed.

The Minister should commit to the formation of a working group after the current reforms are passed, to deliver a licensing platform for the State Government to adopt early next year,” Mr Bellerby said.

Property Council Executive Director Lino Iacomella said the introduction of community titles in particular will make a real difference by encouraging more mixed use development in and around activity centres and retirement villages, offering greater amenity to residents and more sustainable local economies.

“These reforms will also provide better outcomes for communities, improving housing choice and affordability for all West Australians,” Mr Iacomella said.

UDIA WA CEO Allison Hailes said The Urban Development Institute of Australia strongly supports the proposed reforms to the Stata Title’s Act, particularly the introduction of community title schemes, leasehold strata and staged strata development.

“The reforms will bring Western Australia’s strata titles legislation in to line with other Australian jurisdictions and result in more affordable and diverse housing being delivered. UDIA encourages all decision makers to support the passage of the new legislation through Parliament as a matter of priority,” Ms Hailles said.

The property industry congratulates Landgate and the McGowan Government for taking a leadership position on such a vital component of the future of WA property.

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30 May 2017
By portermathewsblog

Modiefied via

Embrace the new season by making your home a cosy and comforting retreat you won’t want to leave.

There are plenty of things to love about winter – soft, woolly blankets, hearty vegie soup and cosy, candlelit nights in, just to name a few. Consider these simple ways to prepare your home for the cooler months ahead and you will love it even more.
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25 May 2017
By portermathewsblog


The bathroom is one of the most expensive rooms to remodel. So if you’re on a budget, a bathroom renovation might be out of reach. The good news is you don’t have to live with the ugly – all you need is a little DIY elbow grease.

Try these easy projects to give your bathroom an upgrade, and the best part is, you can do any of these in one weekend.

Update the vanity

Transform the vanity with new paint and hardware.Transform the vanity with new paint and hardware. Photo: Jason Frank Rothenberg / Domino

Painting the vanity is one of the cheapest ways to upgrade your bathroom and still make a big impact. Sand your existing vanity, and patch any imperfections with wood putty. Then, start with a good oil-based bonding primer before applying the final coats of paint. Finish the look with new hardware

Upgrade the toilet lever

Open homes:

Photo: The Makerista

Something as small as the flusher handle can make a big difference. Upgrade the white plastic version for something in shiny chrome. Don’t be intimidated by the plumbing aspect of this project; it’s actually super easy.

Replace the towel bar with hooks

Open homes:

Photo: House Tweaking

Using hooks in place of a towel bar is not only more stylish but also easier to use. You don’t have to worry about perfectly folded towels hung evenly on a bar.

Add a bold accent wall

Open homes:

Photo: Jessica Antola for Domino

Another way to add a wow factor to your bathroom is to go bold with paint. Choose one wall and go wild with a colour you might be scared to use anywhere else.

Paint your own wallpaper

Open homes:

Photo: May Richer Fuller Be

Wallpaper can be pricey, so why not paint your own pattern? You don’t have to be an artist to get beautiful results. Use a stencil, or go freehand like this project from May Richer Fuller Be. She created a stunning basket-weave pattern with simple brushstrokes.

Change the light fixture

Photo: A Beautiful MessPhoto: A Beautiful Mess

Changing the light fixture in your bathroom can actually be easier and more affordable than you think. Use an inexpensive LED light, then amp up the style by using a decorative ceiling medallion.

Line the medicine cabinet with decorative paper

Open homes:

Photo: Sarah Hearts

The medicine cabinet can be a neglected space, full of dusty shelves and expired products. Sprucing it up is the perfect weekend project. Get it organised, and then add a bit of flair with decorative contact paper. It’s a nice little surprise every time you reach for the toothpaste.

Add art work with a photo collage

Open homes:

Photo: Little Green Notebook

Every room needs art work, and the bathroom is no exception. Make a collage with your favourite photos by mounting them on fabric-covered cardboard and plopping it in a frame.


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24 May 2017
By portermathewsblog


State Treasurer Ben Wyatt today announced the $15,000 First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) for newly built homes will be cut back to $10,000 on 1 July 2017.

Mr Wyatt said the previous Liberal Government’s decision to increase the FHOG by $5,000 in December last year was not an effective mechanism for stimulating additional construction of homes.
“Given the disastrous state of the finances which we have inherited, we need to remove any ineffective spending.

“Ceasing the boost early will allow the State Government to fund higher priority areas while ensuring Western Australian first home buyers continue to be eligible for generous Government assistance,” Mr Wyatt said.

REIWA analysis shows that the introduction of the grant in January 2017 did little to stimulate activity levels in the new-build market.

At the time of the grant increase, REIWA President Hayden Groves said the Institute was concerned the $5,000 boost would widen the gap between established and newly built properties for first home buyers.

REIWA Councillor Suzanne Brown said now that the FHOG is returning to $10,000, REIWA hopes this will help to even out the playing field, albeit marginally, between the established and newly-built market.

“However, there is still work to be done to help first home buyers purchase an established property as the gap remains significant,” Ms Brown said.

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18 May 2017
By portermathewsblog

Author: Rachel Preston-Bidwell via

Renting out your property for a reasonable price and turning it into a successful investment can be challenging, especially in the current market. We share some tips on how to make improvements to your home to get a tenant in as quickly as possible and obtain a rent price that works for both parties.

1. Make some home improvements

If your investment property is a little older, it may benefit from some low-cost cosmetic renovations, including:

  • A coat of paint
  • New blinds or curtains
  • Fresh carpets
  • Updated/modern light fittings

Freshening up your rental property and repairing any damages can make a big difference to a prospective tenant.

You may also wish to consider installing features such as air conditioning, security screens or an alarm. These types of items can potentially add value to your property and also be an attractive incentive to a tenant.

Read more about the features tenants want in a rental.

2. Consider tenants with pets

Many landlords won’t allow tenants with pets, so those who are willing to be pet friendly are at a particular advantage and can potentially attract a higher rent return.

If you are concerned about a pet damaging the house, talk to your property manager about a pet bond, in addition to your main bond, to cover fumigation costs if required at the end of the tenancy.

3. Speak to a property manager

Property managers have a good understanding of the rental market, including the types of properties in demand in a particular area and the going rent prices.

Speak to a local property manager for recommendations on rent and even about what improvements you could make to your investment property. They can also help ensure you don’t overcapitalise on your rental, by recommending what improvements are sought after by tenants and what to avoid.

If you’re looking to rent out your property, speak to us on (08) 9475 9622 or email

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18 May 2017
By portermathewsblog

Laura Barry via

With its rich, velvety, jewel-toned look, the new-traditional style trend arrives just in time for the cooler weather

The new-traditional look is a bold one. Characterised by the use of velvet, jewel tones, and rounded, tufted furniture, it goes a long way towards cosying up our homes for autumn and the onset of winter. But truth be told, it can be a difficult one to incorporate into an existing interior scheme. Here, we give you some tried and tested tips for adding these little luxurious touches to your home… without going to the length of redesigning your decor.

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17 May 2017
By portermathewsblog

Maggie Winterfeldt via

You’ve put heart, soul and a lot of bucks into turning your house into a home. The last thing you want is for someone to break in and rob you. A home intruder is scary to even think about, but spending a few minutes of time recognising and fixing ways your home is vulnerable can pay off big down the road.

Here are nine ways you may be inadvertently making your home more attractive to thieves:

Rundown front door

Are you inadvertently making your home more attractive to thieves?Are you inadvertently making your home more attractive to thieves? Photo: Sean Locke

Your front door is the first place burglars will look, and a dilapidated front door signals that your home is an easy target. A clean, painted front door gives the impression that the entire home is well-cared for and harder to breach.

Single lock

Burglars look to see what kind of locks they’ll have to navigate to enter, and when they see only the standard cylinder lock they’re more likely to have a go than if there’s also a padlock visible. In short: doubling up on locks makes your door physically more difficult to break into and your home less appealing to burglars.

Enticing trash

The discarded boxes and bags from all your big-ticket purchases are like advertisements to burglars of the valuables inside your home. Prevent thieves from getting as excited over your new flat screen TV box as you are with your new TV by keeping this type of garbage inside until trash pickup day.

Dark exteriors

Burglars don’t like to risk being seen, so when you create a barrier of light around your home using motion sensor activated and basic exterior lights, you’re creating a barrier around your home through which they’re not likely to penetrate. Pay special attention to vulnerable areas like front and back doors and walkways.

Welcoming landscaping

When planted beneath windows, bushes and shrubs are not only pretty, but they’re an obstacle to climbing into windows. Burglars are especially deterred by the kind of greenery that has thorns or makes loud snapping noises. For trees reaching up to second story windows, be sure to clean up lower branches so they can’t function as a ladder.

Overflowing mailbox

Piles of mail are a sign that you’re out of town and primed for a robbery. If you’re going away for a while, use the Request Hold Mail service to stop delivery while you’re gone. For shorter periods, a neighbour will likely be glad to pick up your deliveries.

Visible interiors

You don’t want burglars to get a peek at all the goodies you have inside your home, so shut the curtains, pull the shades, put a giant house plant in front of a street-facing window – do whatever you have to do to keep unwanted eyes out. Be especially mindful at night when the dark sky and lit interior combine to create a fishbowl effect in your home.

Empty house

Encountering the resident is way more than most burglars are bargaining for. If they think you’re in the house, they’re staying out of it, so make it look like someone’s home by turning on a light or two and even leaving on a TV or radio to make some noise. For prolonged periods away, you can use electronic timers to turn them on and off automatically.

Non-existent alarm system

They take a bit of financial investment, but a quality alarm system is a huge burglar deterrent, and a necessary one if you live in a high-crime neighbourhood. Do your research and pick a reputable alarm company – thieves know the bad and bogus alarm system signs – and consider high-tech options, such as alarms with a camera that allow you to monitor your home from anywhere.

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11 May 2017
By portermathewsblog

Author: Jen Dalley via

Photo: Kanner Architects

The next time you hear the rhythm of rain as it drums overhead, grab your boots and venture outside to follow the rainwater’s journey. After it hits your roof, where does it go to next?

If your home is like most, the water probably travels down gutters, through downspouts and onto an asphalt driveway, picking up traces of pollutants such as petroleum and pesticides along the way. Down a street gutter it goes, eventually finding its way into a storm drain. This may be as far as you can visibly follow the journey, but it certainly doesn’t stop there. Much stormwater runoff finds its way into nearby rivers and lakes.

Photo by Kettelkamp & Kettelkamp - Discover farmhouse exterior home design ideas
Photo by Kettelkamp & Kettelkamp 

Redirecting stormwater into the ground is a much greener option. Microorganisms in the soil are able to digest the pollutants, purifying the water on its path back into the aquifer. Allowing the water to seep into the ground also helps prevent the erosion of nearby waterways caused by runoff.

By replacing your impervious asphalt or concrete driveway with a permeable surface, you’ll be supporting groundwater recharge while also visually softening your property.

The first step in installing a permeable driveway (sometimes referred to as a sustainable drainage system, or SuDS) is deciding which design will work best for you.

Open-cell pavers are simply concrete pavers with holes that can be filled with a pervious material. Filling the cells with vegetation can soften the entire look and add a bit of green to your site.

The open-cell pavers shown here provide the minimum surface area a car would need to navigate the path.

What’s underneath the pavers is what really counts. A solid base is key to minimizing heaving and cracking. You will need a 15cm subbase of 3.8cm clean rock topped with a 10.1cm base of 1.9cm clean rock, to make the driveway stable enough for cars to pass over it. The paver system goes on top of that. A polyurethane liner should be used near any foundation walls or concrete that needs to be protected from water flow-back.

Photo by Shouldice Media - Search contemporary exterior home pictures
Photo by Shouldice Media

Pervious pavers commonly have joints filled with aggregate to allow water to penetrate between the pavers. Tabs are formed into each paver, providing the correct joint width and making installation easier. As with open-cell pavers, a sturdy base is required.

Some ceramic pavers are actually porous themselves, allowing the water to pass through the surface directly, instead of through the gaps between. This means the gap can be narrower and doesn’t have to be refilled with aggregate as often — a common chore with other pervious paver systems.

Due to the small size of the pavers, cracking or heaving is not an issue in cold climates.

Gravel is another surface to consider.  It will also need a base underlayment to maximise its pervious nature. Usually this is a plastic mat made up of circular or honeycomb cells structured to provide load-bearing support. These cells are filled with gravel and help keep rainwater in the soil and out of sewers.

By Jen Dalley |||||||||||||| Salt Lake City - See more Home Design Photos
By Jen Dalley | Salt Lake City

A combination of systems can be used, too. Pavers and concrete strips together give this driveway visual interest.

When you have decided on a system and are ready to install it, look to redirect as much of the water as possible from your patio, roofline and downspouts to the new permeable area, so you’re capturing as much runoff water as possible.

Systems like this open cell with vegetation allow water to pass through as much as 40 per cent of the surface area.

Most jurisdictions enforce land-use codes that limit the buildable area on a lot. Many also include a maximum amount of impervious surface area allowed on a parcel. The driveway is a great place to include more permeable area, especially if the lot is small.

Photo by PLACE architect ltd. - Browse contemporary exterior home ideas
Photo by PLACE architect ltd. – Browse for a landscape designer

Interested in adding a permeable driveway? Here’s more info:

Who to hire: You’ll need an excavator to dig a trench for the system and a landscape crew to put in the paver system — especially if you use concrete and don’t want to mix and place the concrete yourself.

Considerations: Find out what type of soil you have. It could range from sand (fast drainage time) to clay (longer drainage time).

Permit: Check with your local council.

Best time to do this project: Late spring or summer, when the weather will cooperate. Construction during winter in colder climates is not recommended due to frost-depth issues.

Project length: One to two weeks.

Cost: Many permeable pavers within Australia allow you to request a sample size of the paver before purchasing, although the final cost will be affected by the type of paver, your location, the size of the project and the amount of site work required.

By installing a permeable driveway, you’ll be directly protecting the integrity of our natural resources, supporting groundwater recharge and adding green space to help balance carbon dioxide levels.

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10 May 2017
By portermathewsblog


Perth’s property market continues to encourage first home buyers, with the latest preliminary data for the March quarter 2017 revealing the bulk of transactions occurred within the $400,000 to $450,000 price range.

REIWA President Hayden Groves said market conditions in the March quarter highlighted that housing affordability remains an east coast issue.

“While the dream of home ownership is becoming increasingly difficult in some parts of Australia, particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, this isn’t the case in Perth.

“First home buyers remain active and continue to take advantage of improved affordability and choice in the market to secure a property that meets their needs. These factors, combined with record low interest rates, makes for positive buying conditions for those looking for a first home,” Mr Groves said.

Median house and unit price

Perth’s median house price slipped back over the quarter, with the preliminary median coming in at $505,000 for the three months to March 2017.

“This softening in median price is due to the ongoing trend of comparatively more transactions occurring in the lower end of the market, with fewer sales of properties in the $700,000 to $1.5 million price range. However, once all transactions have been accounted for, it’s likely the median will lift to around $517,000, just shy of December’s quarterly median,” Mr Groves said.

Perth’s preliminary median unit price held up reasonably well over the quarter, coming in at $411,750 for the three months to March 2017.

“In the unit market, although there were more transactions occurring in the $350,000 to $450,000 price range, early indications suggest there was also a boost in volumes between $600,000 and $1 million, which has kept the unit median strong over the quarter,” Mr Groves said.

Sales activity

The preliminary total dwelling sales figure for WA came in at 6,496 for the three months to March 2017.

Mr Groves said this figure was below the revised December quarter 2016 sales figure, which wasn’t unusual.

“Although preliminary total WA dwelling sales figures are down compared to the December quarter, once all transactions for the March quarter have been recorded, we expect this figure to lift to approximately 8,500, putting this quarter’s activity levels on par with the December 2016 quarterly figures.

“Additionally, early indicators suggest a rebound in house sales in the Perth metro area for the March quarter, with transactions expected to lift to around 6,500. This would put house sales volumes in the Perth metro region for the March quarter up significantly higher than the December quarter 2016 and marginally above the same time last year.

“These stable, moderately improving market conditions provide for equitable buying and selling conditions for both buyers and sellers,” Mr Groves said.

Listings for sale

Listings for sale in Perth increased over the quarter, sitting at 14,845 at the end of March 2017.

“It’s common for listings to rebound in the March quarter following the seasonal dip in listings over the festive period. This quarter’s listings figure is similar to levels experienced in the latter half of last year.

“Stock levels have been well controlled with total listings having declined by 2.7 per cent compared to the March quarter 2016,” Mr Groves said.

Average selling days and discounting

On average, it took vendors 70 days to sell their property in the March quarter.

Mr Groves said the proportion of vendors needing to discount their asking price held steady over the quarter at 55 per cent.

“We’ve also seen an improvement in the amount vendors are having to discount by, with figures revealing the average discount had fallen to 6.4 per cent in the March quarter, from seven per cent in the December quarter 2016,” Mr Groves said.

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04 May 2017
By portermathewsblog

With an increasing number of lifestyle movements like hygge advocating the joys of a cosier, more laid-back way of life, we’re spending more and more time in the comfort of our homes. Staying in is made all the sweeter however, when you’ve got creature comforts to indulge in, one of which is a reading nook.

Every bibliophile knows there’s no greater joy than a calm, quiet space where they can fully escape with a book in hand. And the good news is, you don’t need to have oodles of in-house space to make it a reading nook a reality. We spoke to Chris Carroll, editor and interior stylist of The Life Creative, to get the (very easy) how-to.

1. Make the Most of Your Living Room
Picture 1


Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Maria del Rio

You don’t always need to have a dedicated corner in the house or home office to make a reading nook work. According to Chris, the living room is a growing increasingly popular as the space of choice. “Especially if you’ve got one of those L-shaped sofas, putting an armchair diagonally across from that L-shape will make the room feel quite resolved,” he says. “A living room like that is a really good example where it’ll not only function well because you can sit and get cosy, but visually, it makes the room make more sense because it’s quite balanced in terms of the furniture in the space.”

2. Grab a Chair (a Very Comfy Chair)
Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Maria del Rio

For reading nooks, the best kinds of chairs are literally, the kind you would never want to leave. Ones with nice upholstery work best, and avoid hard woods or leathers. “Look for chairs that have a high back — a wing back is a really good example of a particular type of armchair you’d want to cosy up in,” says Chris. “There are a lot chairs on the market that don’t have arms on them, I’d avoid those — you want something that’s going to hug and hold onto you, and that you can sink into as well.”

3. Opt For a Small Side Table
Picture3Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Maria del Rio

“I always recommend going for a round side table — something to put a drink on, or your books or glasses. If you have it on tripod legs or similar , it gives the illusion of more legs and air flows through, so it makes it feel a little bit fresher,” says Chris.

4. Pick the Right Lighting

Picture4Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Maria del Rio

Nothing’s worse than getting to the end of a thrilling chapter and realising you’ve been squinting your through it, so having the right lighting is key. “To nicely light up the space, I’d gravitate towards floor lamps that have a directional head of them you can point toward you.,” says Chris. “Avoid things like lamp shades because they don’t actually cast enough light down onto the nook itself.”

5. Layer, Layer, Layer!
Picture5.jpgImage Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Maria del Rio

This is all about amping up the cosiness factor. “Putting on some throws, chunky knits, faux furs — adding some different textures and softness to the armchair,” Chris says.


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03 May 2017
By portermathewsblog

Christina Zhou via

  • Worst house on the best street taking up the best spot
  • Buying the best or worst house on a block
  • Off-the-plan buyers seeing losses and lacklustre growth

Buying the worst house on the best street is a classic real estate adage, but it could be among the worst investment advice for those who don’t do their due diligence.

Crumbling houses being marketed as a “renovator’s delight” or a “blank canvas” may appear to be a bargain or an entry in to the area, but it might also require a buyer with deep pockets to do a thorough update.

Wakelin Property Advisory Richard Wakelin said buyers who purchase the worst house on the best street might need to spend a lot of money on rewiring, restumping, re-roofing or re-plumbling. The property might have “hidden costs” and also unfixable issues such as backing onto apartments or light industrial-type property, he said.

Tax depreciation and stamp duty concessions should not be the main considerations for buying an investment.Tax depreciation and stamp duty concessions should not be the main considerations for buying an investment. Photo: Jessica Shapiro

“It definitely falls into the lure of a renovator’s delight, and most people get badly caught out by what they have to do to get the foundations of the actual building right,” Mr Wakelin said.

Some property advisers point to seemingly attractive tax advantages and stamp duty concessions that come with buying off-the-plan, but buyers who overlook other fundamentals could find themselves stumbling into an investment pit hole.

Investor Neda Tesic, 32, was encourage by her ex-partner and a former financial advisor to buy an off-the-plan two-bedroom apartment in Maidstone, about eight kilometres west of Melbourne’s CBD.

High rental yields could mask the property's scarcity value.High rental yields could mask the property’s scarcity value. Photo: Peter Riches

She sold the property in 2015 for less than what she bought it for in 2008, during which house prices in the suburb took off.

“[They] talked about depreciation and I just took it for what it was, not realising the full story; in terms of how inflated it would be,” said Ms Tesic, who works in sales for an accounting software company. “It was so hard to get tenants in there as well because there were so many other apartments in the area.

“It was a very expensive lesson,” Ms Tesic said, adding that she would now take more time to research and look at comparable sales in the area.

Experts say time in the market is key.Experts say time in the market is key. Photo: Simon Bosch

Mr Wakelin said many poorly performing properties were marketed with tax advantages as their main selling point.

Tax attractions such as gearing strategies, depreciation allowances and stamp duty savings might assist the financing of an investment in early years, he added, but they should not be the primary reason to invest, because too often they mask the property’s scarcity value and propensity for capital growth.

While some investors try to time the market, many property experts argue it is better to buy when you can afford it.

“Time in the market” rather than “market timing” was the key, but investors needed to do their research very thoroughly, Mr Wakelin said. “Procrastination is the greatest thief of time.”

An investment offering high rental yields could also raise a red flag.

Allen Wargent Property Buyers principal Pete Wargent said the worst investments over the past decade in Australia had been those where people had focused on the rental yields to the exclusion of almost everything else.

Though mining towns offered rental yields of 15 per cent or more during the mining boom until 2012, it reflected the risk in the asset, he said.

“A lot of people have been badly hurt, particularly since 2012, and I think some of the high-profile locations that have been hit have been small mining towns, but even in some larger areas like Gladstone have had some severe corrections.

“That’s probably been the worst advice in Australia over the last 10 years.”

Sydney buyers’ agent Victor Kumar, director of Right Property Group, said one of his bad investments was a serviced apartment he bought in 2009, with the intention of hosting friends and family and using it as a holiday pad.

Though the gross rent could look really attractive, a lot it goes into the letting fee and running costs, Mr Kumar said, adding that serviced apartments were also very seasonal.

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