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.

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.

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.

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.

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

 

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

Why looks can be deceiving when it comes to real estate agents

Whether you are selling your lifetime home or an investment property, finding and choosing a real estate agent is a big decision.

I often hear of people having less than pleasant experiences with real estate agents. As part of my role as an agent, I like to work with clients to help them make an informed decision so they can maximise on their property sale.

Here are 4 tips to help choose the right agent for you.

1. Research

Research potential agents just like you would if you were investing in any other big purchase. There are many different real estate agencies to choose from but ensure you read reviews or ask local residence about who they would recommen

2. Ease , Trust & Comfort

Do you feel comfortable with the agent? Given that you need to be very honest with an agent throughout the process, you need to make sure you are comfortable with the agent and can have open and honest communications.

3. Market Knowledge

The agent should be able to give you a thorough snapshot of the market in your area and surrounding areas. They should know about schools, transport, demographics and the sorts of buyers looking for homes in the area.

4. Audition them

One of the best ways to research your agents is to attend open house inspections. Here is your chance not pop into one and see your agent in action.

At the inspection watch and interact with the agent, and consider the following things:

  • How does the agent communicate and interact with potential buyers. Is their communication style something that would work for you?
  • What is their behavior at the open house inspection? Are they standing at the door and welcome everyone? Did they identify the features of the property for sale and answer all the questions about the property?
  • Did they follow up with you after your attendance at the open house inspection to see if you wanted more information about the property
  • Were they punctual?
  • What do you think of the marketing/advertising for the properties the agent has listed?

These are just a few of the things for you to consider when selecting an agent – so happy selling and buying.