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

 

TIPS FOR DECIDING TO SELL OR RENT YOUR PROPERTY

* This article originally published in the February 2018 Midland Express

It’s fair to say the property market can feel like an obstacle course at times.

Everyone has their own bit of advice on real estate, but what is right for your situation may not suit the next person at all. Some key things to consider when tackling the decision of what to do with your existing property when the time comes to move on – should you sell it or rent it out.

Let’s not get emotional

Although difficult, it is critical to making smart and informed financial decisions. Be objective and try to understand why you are considering the options.

Downsizers whose family have left the home might want to keep the family home as it still hold great emotional attachments. Basing decisions about such a large asset can be dangerous territory and can lead to poor financial decisions.

Don’t rush it. Without prudent advice and a thorough understanding your individual financial situation, trying to sell quickly this may not be the right decision either.

Your Cash Flow

Holding on to an investment property could give your finances an injection in the future and present tax incentive, but consider your cashflow in meantime? If your investment is dependent on the projected rental income from the property, consider things like maintenance costs and upkeep, body corporate costs and council rates depending on the property or what if the property is vacant for a period of time for whatever reason. All these things could impact the viability and manageability of your investment.

Investment

Remind yourself why you purchased the home in the first place. Was it a home to live in long term or a financial decision based on market opportunities? If you have strong, reliable information to support the investment, the benefit of turning your home into a rental may outweigh the associated risks.

Are you more confused then ever? Here are our top considerations when deciding whether to rent or sell your existing property.

 

For more on real estate in Kyneton and surrounds, head to jenniferpearce.com.au

 

New Year resolutions for sellers who haven’t sold yet

*This article originally appeared in the January 2018 Midland Express

A lot of people have resolved to sell your home this year.  With people recovering from Christmas and ready to start forging ahead with their New Year’s goals, it is a great time to take the plunge and get your house on the market.

But what happens if you house has been on the market for a while and hasn’t sold? The Kyneton market is certainly hot but there could be a small reason why your home hasn’t shifted. If you’re really dedicated to selling your house this year, you need to take decisive action.

A couple of things to think about:

  1. Reinvent your listing

Let’s be honest, if you’ve been trying to sell for quite a while without little interest, it might be time to shake things up.  Often a price adjustment can make a listing sell much swifter. Sometimes just a refresh of your marketing is enough to target new buyers ready to launch into 2018.This could include changing the copy about the property, a new heading about the property or using different hero images can make a huge difference.

  1. Stage your home

The internet is full of incredible ideas on how you can scale back on the personal but increase the potential of staging and styling your home. If necessary, commission a home stager or a trusted friend who has great personal style to help you get to market.

  1. Ask for help

If all else fails, why not give me a call?  Ten minutes on the phone can help you to understand the issues, and whether or not you can do something to improve the situation. If your New Year’s Resolution is to sell your home, let’s make it a priority to get it done right and with maximum profit for you.

For more on how I can help you sell your home, head to jenniferpearce.com.au

 

The benefits to selling your property over Christmas

* This article was first published in the December Midland Express

Are you trying to sell your home just as everyone else is putting their Christmas tree up? Don’t fret! There are some known advantages to selling through Christmas and New Year.

There are some challenges to selling your property through the Christmas holidays. Many agents shut shop and have a break, buyers are distracted with the silly season and many of us are just plain tired!

But if you are selling your property over the Christmas holidays, don’t stress! It actually might be a good thing.

With the spring selling season slowing down, there are buyers still on the lookout for their next property. Christmas time is less competitive and house hunters who missed out on a spring sale are still actively looking.

After Christmas, people’s schedules slow down which means more time for them to scout and view properties. The motivation to start the year off with a new home purchase is not something sellers should discount.

Consider also that there is less competition. Selling at the height of spring means you’ll house needs to stand out from the pack. With fewer properties listed during christmas and New Year, buyers have less prospects to choose from.

At the end of the year, people are reflective and inventive. Buying a house is often on people’s mind as one of their new years goals and doing that sooner sets the momentum for the year to come.

In a hot market like Kyneton, listing over Christmas might be a strategic move in securing a sale with just a special few houses on the market.

For more on how to you maximise a Christmas sale, head to jenniferpearce.com.au

 

Home for the holidays? 3 tips for Buying or Selling at Christmas

It is a such a busy time of year! And Christmas can be stressful as it is let alone if you are buying or selling a home during this period. Then it can be downright overwhelming.

So to help you with the overwhelm, we’ve collected a few pointers to assist with your property sales thisChristmas.

  1. Identify Christmas Shutdown Clauses

When you buy a property, you need to exchange contracts before settlement is to occur.

A contract exchanged on 5 December might settle on 4 January, however keep in mind many offices close for the Christmas shutdown period.

In order to ensure that you are not in breach of your contract, your solicitor or conveyancer may need to include a Christmas Shutdown Clause, which states that your settlement will occur immediately after the Christmas Shutdown Period.

  1. Plan your holiday absence

Many people take a trip out of town over the Christmas period. If you’re buying or selling a house, your contract may require you to complete a transaction while you’re not home.

If you are going away, you must notify your conveyancer or solicitor know. Before you take off, ensure that you have signed all documents so that the exchange or settlement can occur even in your absence. Alternatively, you might want to nominate a power of attorney.

  1. Be realistic about approvals

It is important that you are realistic about time frames for loan approval processes. If you have submitted your request in late November, you may not get approval until the new year given the process time frames. Ensuring you are prepared and realistic will help keep the stress lower.

Whatever you choose to do, knowing that buying or selling your house over the Christmas period might be the best gift you ever receive.

Mistakes you need to avoid when putting your house on the market

*this article first appeared in the October edition of the Midland Express 

When selling, a few simple mistakes may leave your home flailing on the market. Fortunately these are easy to avoid and can be managed with some prudent changes.

Don’t ask for too much money. Your house is only worth what the market will pay for it so ensure that you are prepared to list your house at or just around that mark. Pricing your home too high will discourage interested parties from making an offer, and your property could sit for months, which isn’t your goal.

Pick the right agent. Sure, a big brand and nice logo might appeal to you as a seller but when it comes to selecting the right agent, looks might not translate into the best person for the job. Can the agent support you during the stress, help you focus on what matters most and be clear in meeting your needs? If not, find someone who can. Immediately.

Don’t skip the marketing. Everyone wants to cut costs and save some money for other things in life. However cutting costs on marketing is like stopping a clock to save time. You’ll always have to make up for the deficient somewhere else. Marketing is an investment on the bigger return of a house sale. So don’t get your nephew with the good camera to take the photos of your property, pay for the professional who can showcase your home in the best light possible.

Fix the broken. It’s common sense, really. If it’s broke – fix it. Prospective buyers want to envisage themselves moving in and settling immediately, not spending their time fixing damaged and broken fixtures and fittings.

For more on how to get the right sale for your house, head to jenniferpearce.com.au

New Federal Budget Changes: Unfair on residential investors or evening out the field?

*This article first appeared in the Midland Express in September 2017

The 2017 Federal Budget announced changes to how depreciation can be claimed on residential properties which could potentially cost some investors tens of thousands of dollars. Some experts claim that these changes while potentially having a negative effect on housing affordability despite these changes being designed to do the opposite.

The measures, announced on budget night, read as follows:

From July 1, 2017, the Government will limit plant and equipment depreciation deductions to outlays actually incurred by investors in residential real estate properties. Plant and equipment items are usually mechanical fixtures or those which can be ‘easily’ removed from a property such as dishwashers and ceiling fans.”

The government expects the changes will save Australia $260 million.

What this means is that the investor can only claim on things that they purchased themselves such as dishwashers, fans or other fixtures, a deduction only possible if they presumably purchased the property new.

But Is this such a big deal?

Investment experts suggest that the impacts to the market might have broader implications then just hitting the pocket of the investor. With investors needing to recoup their costs somehow, the price to recover their expenses will inevitably be passed on to the tenant, all which continues to impact on affordability.

We might see investors now holding onto a property for longer, because they know they won’t get depreciation on their next property.

It is yet to be seen whether these tax changes act as a deterrent for investors but the bigger question for government is what is being done about the supply issue.

For more on real estate and property, visit jenniferpearce.com.au