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.

Landlords, it’s time to get ready for tax time.

Tax time is imminent and the reality is that many property investors in Australia are simply not ready.

There are a number of things that a landlord must be aware of so that they don’t come under the heavy scrutiny of the ATO when lodging tax returns and making accurate claims.

You should always seek advice from a tax specialist or accountant to minimise any risk to the legitimacy of your claims and also to maximise your return.

Here are a number of things to think about before you head into tax time.

Negative Gearing
The net loss generated by negative gearing can be offset against other income to reduce the tax payable. Landlords may be unaware that interest can only be claimed when the property is available for rent. So if your investment property is only rented out for 6 months of the year, you can’t claim the full 12 months interest.

Insurance
Usually, landlords can claim their landlord insurance premium as a tax deduction. Before tax time, it is well worthwhile that you check your insurance coverage. A standard home and contents insurance policy won’t cover landlords for the specific risks associated with property investing.

Depreciation
If you have not already done so, engage a quantity surveyor to assess your property for depreciation. A thorough assessment of your property features and appliances will give you more tax benefits from your depreciation over the next 30 years.

Expenses
Apartment or unit owners may be able to claim body corporate fees on or community title properties. Landlords who let a fully-furnished property, such as a holiday home, may be eligible to claim some of their rental income as a tax deduction.

Other expenses such as council rates, land taxes, water and sewerage charges might also be legitimate and claimable expenses.

Management Expenses
If you’re a self-managed landlord, you may be able to claim some of the costs of your home office.

If you engage the services of a property manager, their costs can be a deductible expense for landlords. They can also help reduce the burden at tax time by supporting relevant paperwork relating to your property.

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

 

Seasonal Maintenance – Autumn Selling

Seasonal maintenance might not be on the top of your list most weekends but if you are considering selling in the coming months, there are a few small things you can do now to maximize on your investment and capitalize on profits.

  • Check chimneys for obstructions such as nests. If you have fireplace or wood stove, get your chimney cleaned and serviced. If you plan on selling during the cooler months, having optimal heating will increase the possibilities of a sale.
  • Ensure windows and skylights close tightly; repair or replace the weather stripping as needed. Drafty houses are harder to keep warm which not only mean higher electricity prices but an undesirable environment for prospective buyers.
  • Clean leaves and debris from guttering and the roof, and test spouting to ensure proper drainage. Overflow and puddles is not a great sign for people seeking a warm, dry home. Also, spending a little time cleaning out guttering can help you avoid autumn water issues.
  • If you are on septic and not town sewerage, make sure that it is checked and if required, emptied. The smell from some septic tanks can be off-putting to those considering living in your home.
  •  Winterise your landscaping. Protect your outdoor furniture by putting it into storage, prepare gardens and, if necessary, protect young trees or bushes for winter so that they survive the colder months. Also, the leaf litter from your gutters makes a great garden mulch.
  •  Check for cracks. Has your house shifted in the dryer summer months? Some houses in the Macedon Ranges develop plaster cracks as the house adjusts to the lower water supply. Patch, repair and paint to ensure that the house is fresh ready for you to put the house on the market.

In all cases of selling your home, it is important to plan ahead. Think ahead and imagine what the experience will be like for buyers when they come to buy in the cooler months.

 

 

 

Kyneton: It’s a sellers market

*this article was previously published in the March 2018 Midland Express Newspaper

Continued growth in Melbourne has added to the attraction for home buyers to seek out more affordable accommodation in regional locations.

The allure of Kyneton as a viable destination for property investors is evident, not just due to the incredible array of resources and services on offer, but by the limited supply of properties currently available on market.

Ask any agent in the area and they will all tell you the same thing: the demand is high and the stock levels are low.

The latest CoreLogic Property Data price data, as of 19 February 2018, shows that the median house price in Kyneton has increased to $507,000, a more than solid home price growth for the region.

Data from realestate.com.au shows that Kyneton is a high demand market with around 686 unique visits per property listing per month on their website, compared to the Victorian average of 894 per property listing.

This interest in Kyneton has supported the increase in property prices and it doesn’t look to be cooling. Melbournians chasing value for money are driving property price growth in the state’s commuter towns, with the Macedon Ranges seeing an increase in growth of around 20% in the last decade.

Greater infrastructure and investment commitments for regional Victoria have enhanced the desirability of these areas for buyers, particularly the improved road and rail services.

Homeowners are thriving in this seller’s market. Properties are selling quickly and at record prices. Competition to buy in Kyneton means that listings are moving at record rates.

For sellers wanting to downsize, they are in a great position to sell their homes at a profit and free up funds for their retirement or boost their cash reserves.

Predictions for the property market are that it might cool in 2018 so it’s a great idea to take advantage of pent-up demand while you can.

For more property insights, head to jenniferpearce.com.au

 

 

So what exactly IS the Kyneton style?

When you think about Kyneton, what images spring to mind?

Is it the bluestone architecture or the home overlooking the rambling Campaspe River? Or perhaps it is the rich agricultural pastures or the cosy village vibe?

Whatever image you conjure, it is true that Kyneton has its own distinctive style.

Here is a little of what you might find in and around Kyneton.

The Definitive Weatherboard

      

A mainstay of classic Australian architecture, the weatherboard is particularly prominent within the Kyneton township. And grey is the colour of the moment. Exterior palates in grey tones across Kyneton bring forth an understated elegance.

1960-80s Brick Veneer

This era of homes is dotted throughout town with delightful gardens populating the brick veneer surrounds. Introduced shering in a conservative and plain brick veneer style suited to the working class roots of Kyneton and surrounds.

The Classic Victorian Style

Dotted throughout the region are classic Victorian homes that are still as stylish as ever. Once owned by prominent commercial and community leaders, a classic Victorian residence is possibly attainable if they appear on the market.

 

Architectural Designs

From the unique to the fabulous pre-fab, Kyneton is dotted with some award-winning and highly desired architectural designed residence. Contemporary meets country is a perfect abode for this thriving community.

Modern Australian Family Home      

Modern Australian families find themselves in modern Australian homes that are affordable and exemplify good design. Kyneton is a growing community so it is not uncommon to find pockets of houses ready for the modern Aussie family.

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

 

The Checklist for Evaluating a Home

When house hunting, it can be fun to look through homes that you could potentially call your own. But keep in mind that you are not doing this just for fun. Try not be distracted by decorative tricks that might otherwise hide a structural anomaly.

My recommendation for prospective buyers is to use an Evaluation Checklist to keep track of the most important aspects of the homes you see.

Use the Evaluation Checklist (Link here: The-Checklist-for-Evaluating-a-Home-Feb-2018-2.pdf) when you become seriously interested in a house. It will support you from seeing the property from a less emotional position and make a better and more informed decision.

Do not use this list as a substitute for hiring a Building and Pest Inspector to check out the house thoroughly.  Engaging your own building and pest inspector should be part of your own due diligence before committing to a sale.