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.

A swift spring sale and how to get it.

So you want a quick sale post winter but have not done anything to prepare for it?

 

Here are few things you can do within a month to get your property sold.

 

Week 1: Find a Great Agent.

Your choice of real estate agent can make tens of thousands dollars difference to your sale. When you’re trying to sell your home quickly, it’s important to consider these questions when finding the right agent:

  • Do they have strong local networks?
  • Do they have a strong buyer network?
  • Have they got a positive sales record?
  • Are they organised, remember appointments and follow up?
  • Are they an strong communicator?
  • Do they respond to your questions quickly and confidently?

Chat to some agents to gauge a response to these questions. You will gather a good sense of their authenticity and willingness to provide a great service very quickly.

 

Week 2: Do a faux “renovation.

Little tweaks and maintenance jobs can make a big difference in the overall feel of a home. Is the kitchen a little outdated? Replacing the fixtures, tap fittings and hinges can refresh a space in an instant. Is the family room furniture beaten up? Throw some slipcovers over it.

Whatever you choose, make sure that each room has a purpose.  That spare room you’ve been using as an office / guest room /dumping ground won’t help sell your home unless you show buyers how they can use it themselves. So pick a use (office, guest room, crafts room) and clearly stage the space to showcase that purpose.

 

Week 3: Hit the garden – hard!

 Post winter, your garden will no doubt look a little sad. It is time for you to freshen up the outside of your home as this will make a huge difference to your sale.

Mow the lawns, weed the garden and cut back any overgrown plants. Plant some mature plants in areas that need sprucing and ensure that any damage caused by pets is repaired.

 

Week 4: Prepare yourself for inspections

You’ll need to be very organised for your inspections. A good agent will help you choose the best time of day to host them, and provide guidance on staging your home to make a good first impression.

Consider these ideas for your inspection day:

  • Open up the house and let the fresh air in
  • Clean your house from top to bottom.
  • Clear all bench tops, removing any items that aren’t in use
  • Give every room a purpose – even odd shaped nooks
  • Place fresh flowers on the kitchen bench and coffee table
  • Put anything not in use that clogs the space in storage

While there is no guarantee on selling a house within a period, it is entirely possible to sell in a short period if you are organised and ready to work hard within that timeframe.

 

To kick start your sale, contact me and we can get your home ready for market.

Victoria abolishing stamp duty is a win-win

*First published in the Midland Express, July 2017.

We know that buying your first home is difficult. With upfront costs, stamp duty and fees, many people trying to enter the market feel that the cost to entry is like climbing Everest. It might take years and you still might not make it to the top.

A young family who is seeking to buy their first home in Kyneton told me “It would feel like we won the lottery to finally own a house!” The barriers for this family are huge, particularly when competing with keen investors and the costs outside of the overall purchase price.

As from the 1st July 2017, Victoria will see first home owners no longer paying stamp duty on homes both new and existing valued under $600,000. First home buyers purchasing a property between $600,000 and $750,000 will also receive a tapered discount.

Aimed at putting first home-owners on equal playing field, these tax concessions are a boosted incentive for those struggling to enter the market. This can only be a good thing.

For sellers, it is an opportunity to secure a sale from those who were previously reluctant to take the leap because a large proportion of their deposit would have gone on to stamp duty.

Opportunities like this can open up sales opportunities to an emerging group of buyers. So consider this a possible win-win for both first home buyers and those that were worried their house might sit unsold.

For many who have been waiting in the wings, the doors are finally about to open!

Victoria Drops Stamp Duty For First Home Buyers

In an effort to battle the issue of housing affordability, the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced reforms aimed at helping first home buyers. From 1st July 2017, the Victorian government will abolish stamp duty for first-home owners.

What exactly is stamp duty?

Stamp duty is a tax paid on written documents and several types of transactions including motor vehicle registration, insurance policies, and transfers of property (including real estate). This tax operates at the State and Territory level, meaning that home-buyers in different parts of the country will pay varying amounts of stamp duty on similarly priced property transactions.

What does it mean for first home buyers?

This is one of the most significant changes made in the recent discussions on housing affordability.

Online stamp duty calculators estimate that a first home-buyer in Victoria would pay $17,145 in stamp duty for a property worth $600,000. Removing this tax for first home-buyers is a significant change.

What does it mean for Kyneton?

As someone who has been in the real estate game for many years, I understand that many first home-buyers are not seeking a mansion. Many of them are looking for the first step into an elusive market. They want a roof over their heads and an opportunity to have a future for themselves.

One of the issues raised when the reforms were announced was that the reduction in stamp duty could drive up the housing costs. What we might see is more owner-occupiers having the opportunity to buy their own home and less investors purchasing. The issue of limited supply in some areas might impact on the rental market but the initiative favours who it is intended to – first home-buyers and those that sell their homes.

With a number of new developments in Kyneton in the works, it looks like this incentive will only benefit the community and the people who want to live in it.

Why buy in Kyneton?

Years ago, if you asked anyone who didn’t live on the Calder line where Kyneton was you would probably get a blank expression.

These days, Kyneton has become an emerging hotspot for creative and professional tree-changers as well as well as those seeking a quieter lifestyle.

One of the biggest draw cards is Kyneton’s proximity to the Melbourne CBD as well as the airport. With access to Melbourne and the inner north only an hour away by road and rail, savvy commuters have found it a bonus instead of spending equal time travelling from suburban areas.

The housing marketing remains steady in Kyneton, with a combination of character filled period homes as well as newer stock keeping both buyers and sellers happy. With owner occupiers as well as investors finding it increasingly difficult to enter the Melbourne market,

Real Estate Institute of Victoria data also supports homebuyers choosing places like Kyneton with median house prices increasing approxametly 39% over the last five years.

One of my tree-changing buyers recently said “It is the 5 minute lifestyle that did it for us.” And she is right! With fast trains, sophisticated hospital and healthcare facilities, progressive schools and access to childcare as well as Kyneton’s renown epicurean scene and natural attractions, I do not foresee the interest in Kyneton as home buying hotspot slowing down any time soon.

For more on why buyers can’t seem to resist Kyneton, head on over to jenniferpearce.com.au and I’ll share my insights.

Why people love to live in Kyneton

It’s true! Kyneton has become the epicenter of cool in regional Victoria.

A once booming piece of the supply chain for the Central Goldfields is now the hotspot for savvy property investors. In 2016, Money magazine named Kyneton as one of their top 50 places to be.

So what exactly is it about Kyneton that attracts buyers?

Proximity to the city and the airport

With a fast train and a great run on the Calder Hwy, Kyneton is smack bang in between Bendigo and Melbourne, making this an excellent choice for the professional commuter.

Better still, the airport is only 35 minutes away which is about the same time it would take someone from Brunswick to travel to the airport.

Epicurean Spoils

Piper Street has become a renown food hub for those seeking local produce made with attention and care. With a concentration of quality operators who value seasonality and good old fashioned hospitality, the spoils of Piper Street are just another reason people want to stay.

Arts and Culture

 With the influx of urban tree-changers came a wave of creative and dynamic professionals enhancing the cultural identify of the town. With an annual calendar bursting with events to suit everyone, the arts and culture scene in Kyneton is one of envy for other communities. The Lost Trade’s Fair, the Kyneton Music Festival, classes at the Stockroom amongst others is a considerable draw card for those wanting to immerse in a cultural life.

Facilities and amenities

When a town has a hospital, people stay. When a town has excellent schools, libraries, thriving retailers and service, more people will come. Kyneton has become a town that people do not have to leave if they need a service or facility. And with a population of older people as well as younger families, this appeal should not be discounted.

 

Its beautiful!

Let us not forget what makes Kyneton truly wonderful. It is beautiful. Historic streets with bluestone beneath your feet. Giant oaks that rain colour upon you every autumn and the mighty Campaspe River flowing as the main artery of the town. Kyneton remains a country town at heart and its community is proud of all that it is.

Should I Spend Money on My Property Before Selling

A common question I am asked when people are considering selling their property is whether investing in additional renovations will produce a more profitable sale. In short, should I spend some money on my home now to make more money when I sell.

The first thing to keep in mind is that every property is different. Some homeowners might need to spend money on their property to make a sale, and others won’t.

And the factors at play are variable. It not only depends on the property’s current condition, but on the state of the local real estate market as well. A high supply of quality stock in your local area might mean you need to spend a little on raising the standard of your home to meet buyer expectations.

There are many different ways that can be used to smarten up a property before putting it on the market. These could range from a basic clean-up job to a full renovation.

The critical factor should be the return on your investment. You must consider whether the cost to improving the look of your home before putting it on the market will result in a sale price that is higher than your renovation investment. There is no science to this and can be somewhat tricky to measure.

A good real estate agent who knows the local market intimately will be able to help you understand the value of the different levels of renovation investment and its effectiveness at sale time. Your agent should be able to answer questions about the state of the market in general as well intimate knowledge of the local competition and what features drive up a sale price. Whether you consider engaging a professional or conducting some DIY renovations, your agent will know what will work the best for you and whether these modifications are necessary in the first place.

It is not a bad idea for you to conduct your own due diligence by visiting comparable homes in your area that are on the market. This will assist you in gauging whether that pergola you are thinking of building will drive up the sale price or whether it will leave you out of pocket.

If you are going to spend money on your home, it’s vital to ensure that this money is going to be put to good use and result in a higher profit at the point of sale.

For details on what renovations in your home could help drive up the sale price, head to my website at www.jenniferpearce.com.au

Guide To Renovating To Sell

 

Almost daily I am asked “Should I renovate the bathroom/kitchen/build a decking to increase my final sale price?

And the reality is that when you’re renovating to sell, it’s difficult to know what to spend time your time and money on. Because if you get it right, you could increase your profits considerably. Get it wrong and you’ll potentially lose thousands of dollars with no return.

So now we know this, what areas are worth spending time and money on and what areas aren’t? Here are a few tips to help maximise profit while minimising spending.

Where to spend 
Clean up the whole house. It really needs to be spotless, so clean the windows, mould and mildew, clean marks on walls and ceilings and remove any cobwebs. Then head outside and do the same, particularly the entry the home. The cost of a professional cleaner before open-for-inspection day is a minimal cost and can ensure your home is ready.
Patch any cracks or gaps on the walls and fill with appropriate filler. Remove excess pictures and picture hooks and leave space for prospective buyers to imagine their own life in the house.

This is a very small cost that can make a big impact.

Repaint walls in neutral shades. This is not the opportunity to express your creativity and flare for colour. As mentioned earlier, you want potential buyers to visualise their own colour themes, paintings and furnishings in the space.

Polish floorboards for a cleaner look. Worn carpet can dates a house and can sometimes devalue a property. If you are game, lift a corner of the carpet and see what’s underneath. If the timber floor looks good, pull up the carpet. It is relatively cost effective to sand and polish boards yourself using an oil-based stain. If there are no boards, or they’re in poor condition, you can either invest in professional carpet cleaning or try floating timber or laminate floor substitutes.

In the bin with any clutter. Remove knick-knacks, children’s artwork, sporting trophies, toys, pet food bowls, fridge magnets and piles of laundry. A lightly furnished home suggests an tasteful living style. Also, rooms appear larger with less furniture and personal effects.

Step out of the house and consider adding a feature like a pergola or a paved area. These look fantastic, particularly when scaped with lush plants. It can create an outdoor living space and provide a harmonious link between indoor and outdoor spaces.

Put up a fence around the property but make sure it fits in with the style of the home. Picket fences enhance a Kyneton period-style home, but are less appropriate for a modern house. If palings are broken – fix them.

 

Where not to spend 

Expensive fittings such as claw foot baths or glamorous pendant lights cost a lot of money but don’t often add real value to the house. Remember that style and taste varies, and your goal is to keep buyers interested. Aim to keep the decoration neutral.

Extensions that don’t harmonise with the other parts of the house appear fragmented. If you plan to extend the house and want to capitalise on it at sale time, engage an architect to give you the best look and affordable option.
Replacing kitchens and bathrooms can often be a waste of money. One of the first projects a new homeowner does is rip out the existing kitchen and bathroom and put in one themselves. Consider putting your energy into making the kitchen and bathroom clean, watertight and functional.

A good ceiling fan however is a great investment.

Elaborate country garden landscaping may be your cup of tea, but could send potential purchasers running for the city.

 Major landscaping is often a huge investment in time and money, and one that may not bring a return.

 

3 Final rules of renovating for sale 

Make a distinction

Spend your time and money on the areas that make a difference to the resale value.

Think about who your potential buyer is

Potential buyers look at the structure of the house – and care very little about your personal style.

Appeal to a wide market

You might think you have great interior design skills, but if the house is falling apart no one will notice your eye for style. Think clean, sound and neutral to draw the biggest appeal possible.

My top 5 tips for selling your house in autumn

So we’ve already talked about how autumn is one of the best times to sell your house. So now what?

Here are my top sure-fire tips to help you sell your house this autumn.

1. Make sure your garden is looking its best.
Rake the leaves a few times a week to ensure that the garden looks its best for inspection days. If you can, buy some mature autumn flowering shrubs to plant near entryways to greet potential buyers. Pay attention to your outdoor living space just as you would the interiors. Autumn is the perfect time to showcase the exterior of your home because we all know that first impressions go a long way.

2. Commence the de-clutter
This may seem like an obvious one but you’ll be surprised at how many people still don’t understand the value in getting rid of the junk. Mail stacks on the bench, shoes in the hallway, kids paintings on the fridge – it’s time to tidy the house and keep it like that until the home is sold. And while you are at it, try depersonalising the house as much as you can. Buyers want to imagine living in the house however seeing photographs of you on every wall and hard surface might stop them from doing that.

3. Little fixer-uppers count
You may not have the budget to completely renovate the bathroom before you put the house on the market, but the little fix-it jobs around the house can make all the difference. Tighten loose door handles, remove excess hooks from walls and patch them, repair the leaking tap, put new cushion covers on the couch. All of these small things can amount to a large impression.

4. Ditch the bulk – if you can!
Your furniture should fit the scale of the room. That bulky desk that used to belong to grandma might have sentimental value, but its size might de-value the sale price of your house. Put the bulky furniture in storage for the selling period and give your home spacious flow.

4. Let there be light!
Before the gloom of winter hits, make the most of the autumn light. Open all of the windows and let the natural light stream in. If there are dim areas in your home, place a floor or table lamp in those areas to brighten up the space. Inviting people in to a well light home helps them feel at ease and welcome.

So if you are planning on selling your home, take advantage of the magical autumn months. This could be your season.