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.

 

 

 

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.

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