Don’t wait until the New Year to sell your home.

*This article first appeared in the December 2018 Midland Express

With the race towards the end of the year and the squeezing of every second as we move closer and closer to Christmas, selling your house is probably the last thing on your mind.

One thing I have learned in my many years as a real estate agent is that some of the best sales and most clever sellers happen at Christmas time.

So why would anyone rush to the market while having to struggle with Christmas parties, gift shopping and preparation for when the relatives coming to stay?

There are two main reasons to consider:

  1. There are considerably less sellers in the market in December and January. Less sellers in the market means less competition for you in attracting and finding the right buyer for your property.
  2. Buyers looking to get the jump ahead of the new year will want to secure their new home before Christmas. It’s amazing the impact the unofficial calendar year makes on the human psyche.

Another factor that come into play is understanding who might be buying during this period. Consider the people who are relocating to where you live. Chances are they want to move in ASAP, settle in before the school year starts and the timing of a pre-Christmas purchase is the optimum time to do that

December really can be one of the top selling months of the year within the property industry. If a seller is ready and aware of this opportunity, they generally sell at a premium and in a much shorter time frame.

If selling your home is on your Christmas Wish List, then consider December the perfect time to list your home. Perhaps maybe the big man in the red suit will fill your Christmas stocking with a signed contract before the month is out!

 

Buyer beware: It’s better to inspect than to be sorry

*this article was previously published in the November Midland Express

Buying a home or investment property is likely to be one of the biggest investments most of us will ever make.

We all want to know as much as we can about the condition of the property before we buy, right? We want to avoid problems and extra costs down the track, ensuring that the home or investment is fit for purpose and of sound value.

So why is it that many people agree to purchase without getting a pre-purchase property inspection report?

Building and pest inspections can help safeguard property buyers against investing in fault-ridden properties, as the reports reveal any hidden problems a property may have.

A pre-purchase property inspection building report is a written account of the condition of a property. It will tell you about any significant building defects or problems such as rising damp, movement in the walls (cracking), safety hazards or a faulty roof to name a few. It is usually carried out before you exchange sale contracts so you can identify any problems.

While a building inspection report should identify any visual damage that may have been caused by termites, it usually won’t include the existence of termites or other timber destroying pests. It is advisable to get a separate pest inspection report to ensure you are not buying something riddled with pests.

Here are a two key reasons to get a Build and Pest report before you buy:

  1. so you will know in advance what the problems are
  2. so you can get specialist advice about any major problems and how they will affect the property over time.

Of course, the building inspection report will be one of many things you will need to consider before buying a property. It is a small cost for a lot of peace of mind.

 

 

 

Want to reduce your mortgage quicker? It might not be as hard as it seems

*this article first appeared in the October 2018 Midland Express

 

The uncertainty of interest rates, as well as job instability, means that many people are wondering if they can shrink their mortgage quicker and buy themselves some financial freedom.

 

There are some really simple ways to quickly cut down on how much you owe on your mortgage beyond just making extra repayments. Many home loans already have features that can assist you but if they don’t, refinancing might be something to consider if drilling down on the debt is a goal.

 

A common approach to speeding up the decrease of a home loan is to increase payment frequency. A fortnightly or ‘bi-monthly’ payment can save tens of thousands of dollars in interest charges and reduce your loan term. The standard monthly repayments not only assist in the reduction of interest charges but the fortnightly payments mean you are making 26 fortnightly payments as opposed to 12 monthly payments, meaning you are sneaking in a few payments per annum. Smart!

 

Also understanding how interest works is another benefit when reducing your mortgage quicker. The interest on your mortgage is calculated on the outstanding balance every day. This means you can reduce the amount of interest you pay overall by increasing how often you make a payment on your mortgage.

 

It is important to understand the features of your mortgage as well. An offset account is an incredible way to not only save some cash for home expenses or holidays, but that savings will also be working for you. For every dollar you leave in your offset account, it actively reduces the amount of interest you pay on your mortgage. For example, if your mortgage is $300,000 and you have $10,000 in your offset account you’ll only pay interest on $290,000.

 

The best way to do all of this is some simple number crunching and to understand what a few extra payments can do to give you the freedom you desire.

 

For more real estate insights, head to jenniferpearce.com.au

The Kyneton property scene is just getting better

Around 10 years ago, not many people knew about Kyneton. Maybe the Kyneton sign was spotted in a driver’s periphery on a drive to Bendigo from Melbourne but other than that, Kyneton was an unknown town to most of Australia.

In 2018, things look a lot different.

With the influx of young professionals with fresh business ideas moving to town, a vibrant food and wine scene, as well as surroundings that are brimming with natural attractions, Kyneton has become quite the hot spot.

While the demographic of people moving are professionals with young families, another group finding their way to Kyneton are retirees who wanted to set up their life close to Melbourne without the trappings (and costs!) of city living.

Domain Group data shows Kyneton’s median house price rose 27 per cent over the past five years. And it doesn’t seem to be slowing, either.

The one-hour proximity to Melbourne remains a massive drawcard for people moving to Kyneton. But the five minute lifestyle where access to high quality hospitals and healthcare, education and sporting facilities, as well as easy shopping seals the deal for many people seeking the convenient and relaxed lifestyle Kyneton offers.

On weekends, the town is alive and pumping with weekenders and day-trippers helping the restaurant and retail sector thrive. Galleries, festivals and art activations are common in Kyneton, bringing crowds both local and beyond.

But locals agree the strong sense of community remains unchanged despite a wave of new people moving into the area.

Many things have changed in Kyneton while some of the most important things remain the same. Community and lifestyle remain the prime reason people choose to live in Kyneton.

 

Are you financially ready to buy a home?

*This article first appeared in the August 2018 Midland Express.

 

Are you ready to own a little piece of the Great Australian Dream without getting stuck? This handy checklist should help.

  • Contact a Broker or financial Institution.

A broker acts on your behalf to help determine how much you can borrow. A financial institution offers similar services but are unlikely to shop around for the best deal.

  • Get pre-approval first

In short, pre-approval gets your loan sorted so you know how much you can spend.

  • Savings history

‘Genuine savings’ defines the funds that a home loan applicant has saved themselves over time. Australian lenders require borrowers to save at least 5% – 20% of the purchase price in an account in their name.

  • Loan repayments

A loan repayment isn’t just the same as rent. If you don’t factor changes to interest rates and your capacity to cover them over time then you might be in trouble.

  • Mortgage Insurance

Lender’s Mortgage Insurance is a condition of home loan borrowing which you may have to pay to make to protect them (the lender) in the event where the borrower might fails to make repayments.

  • Stamp duty

Stamp duty is a tax charged by the government on the sale of property and is designed to cover the cost of the legal documents for the transaction. The main document is the ownership title of the property and a search to ensure you are buying the property from the right person.

  • 10% deposit on signing?

In a standard property sale, the home deposit has to be paid when you exchange the signed copies of the sale contract with the seller If you buy at auction, you will sign the contract and pay a deposit (usually 10%) on the spot.

 

Planning is paramount. Try to be aware of what is ahead of you and get advice from a respected agent.

 

Styling for a sale – Small changes can make a big difference

*This article was first published in the July 2018 Midland Express.

Every vendor wants to have their home looking in its best shape possible when selling.

So when they say that style is a matter of taste, consider that your personal style might not be everyone’s cup of tea, especially when putting your house on the market.

It can often be tricky knowing how to stage your furniture, style living rooms, bedrooms and wet spaces to maximise on buyer interest and meet your sale potential. Is your personal style something that your potential buyers baulk at?

It is important to remember that styling your home for sale isn’t necessarily styling for living.

Selling your home isn’t about creating a space that’s cosy–it is about decluttering, brightening and making rooms look larger. It is about depersonalisation and letting a prospective buyer envisage themselves living and loving the space.

In urban areas, many vendors invest in professional stylists to support their sale. Vendors and agents that spend money on styling are known to get back five times the return of the styling investment in the sale price. It is 100 per cent worth doing.

Home stagers can improve the selling chances of any home – from luxury to budget. Staging is no longer reserved for the high-end market either. Any real estate agent worth their mustard should have a pro stylist details in their phone and willing to give it to you to help achieve a higher sales price.

The art of property styling lies in showing potential buyers how they can live comfortably in any particular home. The difficulty lies in whether you can detach your own views on good and bad taste and transform it into someone else’s dream.

Putting The Squeeze on Agents could leave your short in the end

*This article first appeared in the June Midland Express

We often hear about buyer beware but when did you last get warnings for the seller to beware?

Choosing between real estate agents can be a complex task. In any given area, there could be dozens of agents from a broad standard of real estate agencies. It is important to identify that not all agents are the same.

With that type of competition amongst real estate agents, prospective sellers have the clear advantage to sift through and find the right agent for their sale. Agents are put under increasing pressure (and rightly so!) to ensure that the vendor gets the absolute best deal possible.

With margins being pushed across the board, some agents will reduce their fees drastically to secure the sale. The allure of more money in the vendors pocket appears from the surface to be one to be enthusiastic about. However, like everything in life, when you cut one expense to save yourself a few dollars, something else will be in deficit along the way.

So how do people manage the sale of their homes with the best possible sale price and lowest commission, and ensure that their marriage or sanity are still intact at the end?

When deciding on a commission, it is important to weigh up what is a fair fee for the agent while garnering the best outcome at sale. It is also important to recognise the value in paying a fair percentage for the agent because you want the agent to work for you.

A responsive agent who picks up the phone after hours, manages offers in a professional way, one who is thorough, kind to your children and pets and manages every single stressful aspect of the sale on your behalf is worth the extra small margin you feel you might gain.

Crunching an agent too much might cost you so much more in the end.

Are you financially ready to buy a home?

We see it a lot. Enthusiastic families and individuals coming to open for inspections, sussing out the market and daydreaming about having their own little piece of the Great Australian Dream.

There’s just one thing: They aren’t quite sure if they can afford it.

So how do you know if you are ready to take the leap or not? This handy checklist is a great place to start.

  • Contact a Broker or financial Institution.

A good broker is a ‘go-between’ for you and the lenders (banks). A broker can act on your behalf to help determine how much you borrow. A financial institution can offer a similar type of service however they are unlikely to shop around for the best deal for you.

  • Get pre-approval first

A good thing to do before you start shopping for your dream home. In short, pre-approval gets your loan sorted so you know how much you can spend.

  • Savings history

‘Genuine savings’ is a term used by lenders to define funds that a home loan applicant has saved themselves over time. Australian lenders have required borrowers to save at least 5% of the purchase price of a property in a bank account in their name.

  • Loan repayments

Many people will tell you that covering your loan repayments is just the same as rent. But If you don’t factor changes to interest rates as well as your capacity to cover these expenses over time then you might be in trouble over time.

  • Mortgage Insurance

Lender’s Mortgage Insurance is a condition of home loan borrowing where your mortgage lender may require you to make a one-off payment to protect them (the lender) against the event where you (the borrower) might fail to make your home loan repayments. This insurance protects the lender and in many cases where the deposit is less than 20%, the borrower will need to pay it.

  • Stamp duty

Stamp duty is a tax charged by the government on the sale of property. It is designed to cover the cost of the legal documents for the transaction. The main document is the ownership title of the property and a search to ensure you are buying the property from the right person. The percentage rates on stamp duty in Victoria vary based on dutiable value of the property.

  • 10% deposit on signing?

In a standard property sale, the home deposit has to be paid when you exchange the signed copies of the sale contract with the seller (“vendor”), after your offer has been accepted. If you buy at auction, you will sign the contract and pay a deposit (usually 10%) on the spot.

  • Other costs to be considered

It is important to factor in the following variable costs when you buy a home as often people come undone when they need to find another $1000 here or there.

  • Conveyancer/Solicitor fees.
  • Building and pest inspection
  • Disbursements at settlement
  • Home and contents insurance
  • Removalist costs
  • Waste disposal costs
  • Cross-over payments from last place of residence to new

The best way to keep costs in check is to plan in advance, be aware of what is ahead of you and get advice from a respected agent.

When was the last time your property was valued?

*This article first appeared in the May 2018 Midland Express

 

Things have changed in the Kyneton real estate market. A lot, actually.

 

You may have bought your home 30 years ago or even 18 months ago, and the chances are that the valuation on your home is quite different to what you paid for it.

 

So what exactly is an valuation? A valuation is a calculated figure that includes an assessment of the land value and the improvements, taking into account the depreciation of the property since construction. It also includes sales comparison, and a breakdown of living areas, outdoor areas and car areas.

 

In short, it a valuation can also impact on important decisions such as refinancing, future borrowing and your current insurance position.

 

Let’s look at insurance for a moment. If you have a valuation of your property that is relevant to the time that you purchased the property, it is unlikely that your insurance covers that estimated actual cost to rebuild the building.

 

If you are an owner of a residential property including strata developments, or an owner or landlord, it is important that you obtain a valuation of your property to ensure at that you are covered for its actual cost to replace. Many people also forget that the cost of demolition needs to be factored into this.

 

If you are looking at re-financing your home mortgage to borrow for renovations of consolidation of other expenses or debts, it is equally as important that you get an accurate and current evaluation of your home in the current market place. If the value of your property has increased, the chances are the bank (particularly in this current climate of financial scrutiny) will finance you where you need to be.

 

If you’d like your property valued so you can ensure your insurance and borrowing capacity is relevant, head to jenniferpearce.com.au

Autumn sales records prove it’s a great time to sell

*this article was previously published in the April 2018 Midland Express

Kyneton’s property market has continued to bust its own benchmarks with the latest Real Estate Institute of Victoria’s (REIV) data showing a swift increase in median sale prices. The median midpoint sale price of residential properties sold in Kyneton and surrounds hit $495,000 for the last quarter of 2017, compared to other regional Victorian towns which peaked at $397,000.

If you thought Spring was the most popular season to buy and sell a property, you might need to think again.

What is most surprising from this new data is the spike in sales during autumn months. The solid demand and restricted supply has seen the post-holiday period of April and May surge from 2016 – 2017.

And why is that? Autumn proves to be an active time for buyers who get a boost from New Year’s resolutions and the settling back into reality.

A combination of stable low-interest rates across the years and the push from metropolitan to regional towns has seen buyers keen to beat out the demand.

The ambient temperatures and transitioning colours of the autumn fall provide a unique opportunity to create for buyers to showcase their beautiful garden or property which can add considerable appeal to your property during a sale (and otherwise, too).

The reality is that buyers are remaining active year round to get ahead of the pack. Matters such as Easter, daylight savings and the commencement of the football season are no longer impediments for sales. And the REIV data shows just that.

Looking to sell your home this autumn? For more on how you can prepare your home for sale, head to jenniferpearce.com.au