Monday, 14 November 2011

A new system for resolving building complaints in Western Australia

The most significant reform to building legislation in Western Australia in over 50 years has recently taken place. The new Act came into operation on the 29th August, 2011.

We now have a new two stage system , involving the newly established Building Commissioner and the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT).

Under the new system the following types of complaints may be made to the Building Commissioner:

• By any person regarding a ‘regulated building service’ not being carried out in a ‘proper and proficient person and home building work. Any person adversely affected by the work may make a complaint, for example neighbours or subcontractors, as well as owners.

• An owner or builder about a breach of a home building work contract (provided that the contract is not a cost plus contract and the contract sum is between $7,500 and $500,000).

The time limit for making a complaint remains unchanged, with a complaint required to be commenced within 6 years of completion of the work.

The SAT replaces the former Building Disputes Tribunal for the formal hearing of building complaints and may either dismiss a complaint or make a Building Remedy Order or Home Building Contracts Order.

The Building Commissioner or, if the matter is referred, the SAT, may make a Building Remedy Order requiring a person to:
• Remedy the works within a reasonable time;
• Pay the costs of someone else remedying the works; or
• Pay compensation.

The amount of compensation or value of the work that can be awarded by the Building Commissioner is limited to $100,000. If a higher amount is considered appropriate the matter must be referred to the SAT. If a complaint is made against an unregistered person the SAT cannot order payment or work to be done in excess of $500,000. However, there is no such limit on the amount of an order that the SAT may make against a registered service provider, such as a registered builder.

This information was gleaned from the Property Council of Australia and Vicki Philipoff Settlements is proud to be a member.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

FESA bushfire memos for renters and owners

The recent Keelty Report into bushfires in the Perth hills identified that tenants living in bushfire prone zones were at higher risk than owner occupiers.

As the bushfire season in Western Australia is now upon us, it is time for those at risk to understand the risk so that decisions can be made now about what actions will be taken if a bushfire starts.

REIWA has liaised with FESA to produce two brochures targeted at people at higher levels of risk.

FESA and REIWA request that tenants living in bushfire prone zones be given the brochure 'Renting and bushfires, are you prepared?'.

The second brochure, 'How prepared is your rental property for bushfire?' is targeted at landlords who own an investment property in a bushfire zone.

This third document highlights a 'list of suburbs' that are deemed to be bushfire prone.

FESA will be mailing these brochures to agents with offices located in these zones.

This information has been supplied by REIWA and may help to prevent a bushfire and hopefully to save lives.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Social Media success in your Business: The Facebook basics. By Kieran McErlean

So why social media? This is a must see video into how social media is taking over the world. Did you know that 40% of Australians have a Facebook account?
If you’re setting up a Facebook page for your business you need to look into the reasons behind having it. Start of by asking yourself the questions that make sense:

Why would people visit your page?

What demographic are you targeting?

Why would people return to your page?

Why would people become a fan of your page?

How and why would people go from fans to customers?

Give your Fan what they want! The best way to market your business is to put yourself in the shoes of the consumer, why would YOU visit a business Facebook page? Offer discounts on your products/services to Facebook fans. At Vicki Philipoff Settlements we have a monthly Facebook prize give away. The competition is a low cost strategy (around $50 a month) and it’s very easy to enter which becomes an incentive for the user. Update status to tell your Fans why you’re the company to choose over your competitors.

At VPS we use a “Tag to win” styled competition, why? When you have been tagged in a photo, all the friends in your network can see that tagged photo of you. By getting our fans to tag themselves in our photos, their networked friends will see this too. This is going to have a marketing mushroom effect on the Facebook community between friends. Even when the competition is over people usually will remain tagged in the photos; this is good free marketing for your business. (Remember to place your logo in your tagged picture to increase brand awareness, it makes it easier than reading the description under the picture.)

Why would fans come back to our page? We have new competition and therefore a new prize to win each month. Check out our August competition:!/media/set/?set=a.268911923123447.85575.204311766250130&type=1

You’ve established a fan page but it’s not going anywhere, or you feel like you’re talking to no one? Make sure you have staff/office photos up on your Facebook, for people that aren’t familiar with your business this creates more trust. Show your business isn’t just some made up internet scam. Showing faces gives your business personality – ask any successful Real-Estate Agent how important that is.

Picking your time to post on the news feed is important. If your fan is a fan of other pages, it’s not going to stay on their feed for long! So you want to pick a time to reach your fan, just think when people use Facebook the most 9-11am isn’t usually going to be the most effective in the typical 9-5pm work day. Try posts at 12-2pm during lunch breaks or 6-9pm when people log-in at home.

On your page relevant clear contact information is vital. You don’t want your viewers having to search for a way to contact your business; this is an easy way to make sure you never hear from them!

But how is my business going to get out there? Post your competition on free competition pages like the following:!/perthcompsonfb

Also post on other pages with large fan bases E.g. “I love Perth”, or “Perth real-estate” any page that has a potential fan for you. With Facebook it is so easy to locate your target market fans, so make the most of this. Just don’t bombard/spam though, the consumer can see through this too e.g. Posting your real estate page everywhere possible just to get your name out may not to do much good, rather it can annoy people.

Construct a welcome screen – you can do this with a number of free Facebook applications – Remember you want to tell people why they want to like your page:!/vickiphilipoffsettlements?sk=app_201143516562748

Make effort to use good quality images, not blurry pixelated ones – this looks lazy and unprofessional. Make sure your display picture is clear; this is going to be your first impression to your future fans/customers. We all know the saying about first impressions..

You’re going to get good feedback and eventually you’re going to get bad feedback. Bad feedback doesn’t mean you press the delete button as soon as you see it. Instead Step back relax and try and rectify the situation with a reply, write a comment that is going to help the fan; make their negative experience more positive. People viewing your page will appreciate your effort into fixing the problem; this is customer service at its best.

Remember to be patient you’re not creating a Facebook page with 1000+ fans because you are expecting 1000+ customer, you want people to become fond of your brand, you want a relationship with your Facebook user so that when they come to the day of selecting a product/service your company will already be in the back of their head.

Who is your competition and what are they doing? Don’t be scared to have a look around Facebook at other pages, whether it’s other success story pages, or your direct competitor. Remember to have fun and be creative!

If you want any additional information/an electronic copy with links, have any questions or feedback please email me on

Kieran McErlean

Vicki Philipoff’s Marketing Manager.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Advertising with barcodes!?

Seen these funny looking things around the place lately? This is a 2D Barcode used for marketing and advertising. If you have a smartphone e.g. iPhone, try it out:

1. Download a free barcode scanner app from the app store
2. Wave your camera over the barcode
3. You will automatically be taken straight to the VPS website!

VPS is planning on using this technology in some of our future advertising. It’s pretty cool what our phones can do these days! You can link a consumer to whatever URL/Social media source you like. If anyone wants any information about how to make one for their business or anything else, just ask us - it’s free.

The free online generator is easy to use, and you can produce as many as you need:

Kieran McErlean - Vicki's Marketing Manager.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

NEW! Building Disclosure for Commercial property with an area over 2,000 square meters.

Under the commercial building disclosure requirements, from 1st November 2010, fully effective 1st November 2011 (there is a transitional period), all commercial properties with an area over 2,000 square meters are required to have a full building energy efficiency certificate and for this to be disclosed to the new buyer.

When acting for a Seller or Buyer on commercial properties over 2,000 square meters……the Australian Institute of Conveyancers W.A. recommend their members check that the Seller or their Real Estate Agent have provided this disclosure to the Buyer.

For more information, on the Commercial building Disclosure visit

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

New Residential Current Device (RCD) regulations benefits buyers!

Previously: If an owner of a residential premises effected a transfer without two RCD’s being installed, the owner committed an offence, and there was no provision for the new owner to recover the costs of installation of those RCD’s if the old owner failed to do so.

But Now: The new owners are obliged to install a residual currency device within two months of settlement date and have the right to recover the costs

from the previous owner. (Penalty for not installing the RCD’s could be up to $15,000.00 for individuals and in the case of a body corporate up to $100,000.00) And furthermore: If the new owner has given notice to the seller of intended demolition of the house - but has in fact not commenced demolition within six months of settlement date, then the new owner must ensure, before the end of the six month period, they have installed two RCD’s in the premises.

The new legislation came into effect on the 10th May, 2011. In essence, the buyer now has the benefit they can recover the cost of the installation of the RCD’s themselves if the seller had not arranged the installation prior to settlement.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011


Hello and welcome to the Vicki Philipoff Settlements Blogger!
My name is Kieran McErlean, I am the Marketing Manager for VPS! This blog will be used to post relevant settlement industry news and information for your benefit, whether you’re actually in the settlement industry, real estate industry or buying and selling property yourself. Here at Vicki Philipoff Settlements we want you to settle with ease. In the past there has been some confusion about the FHOG, so here some frequently asked questions we have received:

How do I apply for First Home Owners Grant (FHOG)?
Your financier will do it for you as part of your loan, however if you are paying cash you need to arrange lodgement with OSR direct. For cash clients the relevant forms & guides can be downloaded from the OSR website and must be lodged before settlement. FHOG subsidised rate of duty will apply however please note your grant will not issue until post settlement.

Can you lodge our FHOG?
No, we are not authorised Agents for FHOG, but we can assist you in preparing and lodging the documentation.

What if I get transferred?
Applicants must occupy the home as their principal place of residence for a continuous period of 6 months, commencing within 12 months of settlement in the case of established properties, or within 12 months of completion in the case of a home being built.

Who do I need to contact to connect the utilities?
Vicki Philipoff Settlements will advise the council and the water corporation, and arrange to have the meter read by the Water Corp. It is you responsibility to contact the relevant agencies for the connection of gas, electricity, telephone & internet.

My parents are gifting me the money to buy the property; can I still get the Grant and Stamp Duty reductions?
Yes you can, but be aware that the FHOG is not paid until after settlement (when the title has gone into your name at Landgate) You can get the reduced rate of stamp duty at settlement.

We are first home buyers, what do we need to put when we don’t have to pay stamp duty?
We advise you to put “N/A – we are first home buyers”

Who lodges my application for the FHOG?
If you are obtaining finance your will bank will lodge the application on your behalf.
If you are paying cash for your property you will need to lodge the application yourself, however the first home owner stamp duty form will be available so stamp duty won’t be payable. The $7000 grant won’t be processed until the tile shows your name and you will need to provide a copy to the State Revenue Dept.

If you have any further questions, or seek advice please don’t hesitate to contact us,
Phone: (08) 6311 4888

Kieran McErlean

Monday, 6 June 2011

Offsett YourSett

Vicki Philipoff Settlements has established a relationship with ‘Carbon Neutral’ a Western Australian based company committed to reducing carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere, and winner of the State’s WA Environment Awards in 2007.

We are pleased to offer this environmentally conscious option to our clients:
Once your contract is received in our office, rather than receiving a conventional settlement pack via Australia Post, you can elect to support your environment by receiving an online settlement pack via email.

Should you nominate the latter option, Vicki Philipoff Settlements will reward the environment with a $3 donation to Carbon Neutral who will plant a native tree on your behalf.

Having achieved SAI’s international Quality Accreditation in 2005, we hope to achieve the 5 green ticks of Environmental Accreditation this coming year.
We are delighted to be associated with both carbon Neutral and SAI Global; through utilising modern technology and the implementation of good systems we can move toward energy efficient business procedures.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Yes - Carrying stamp duty still needed!

Vicki Philipoff Settlements offer an innovative stamp duty service. We can pay for your stamp duty up to 7 days before settlement for you and we’ll wait for settlement to be completed before we are repaid! This is a very convenient and much needed service that makes us stand out from the rest in the industry.
Although Vicki Philipoff Settlements is a registered on line user at the Office of State Revenue – we were informed at a recent seminar that our service of carrying stamp duty is very much needed.

We can assist with carrying stamp duty in the following instances:

• Any Transfer under Agency Relationship – or Substituted Purchasers - where it is NOT already disclosed on the Offer & Acceptance

• Deceased Estate Transactions, Transfers pursuant to Wills

• Family Law and Court Order Agreements

• Related Parties Transactions

• Any Commercial Property with a building on it (even if the building is vacant)

• Any Farming Property

• Aggregated Transactions – where 2 or more transactions form substantially

• Simultaneous Put and Call Options

• Any Contract which has a Contingent Consideration – i.e. Where the purchase price is adjustable depending upon certain criteria

• Transfers under Deed of Family Arrangement

Put simply, Vicki Philipoff Settlements takes the risk out of a client being caught short of funds before their settlement.

For more information about our carrying stamp duty service – please contact us