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.

How Kyneton has changed in 5 years.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released their findings from the 2016 Census which demonstrates some fascinating insights into our community.

Not surprisingly is the increase of property prices in Kyneton. Since 2011, the median house price has increased by 21% whilst the population has increased by 5%.

Other key data includes the .1% increase of families now settling in Kyneton and the increase of 65+ year olds has increased by 18.9%. The demographic age of Kyneton weighs heavily towards the 35 + years.

These statistics allow property analysts to make some data-driven decisions about investments, developments and growth predications.

My take? More younger families seeking affordable homes in Kyneton as the 65+ year olds consider downsizing to more suitable domestic offerings.

The proof is in the data.

 

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.

Winter selling tips

As we approach winter, we know that this season is traditionally considered not the ideal time to sell.

But we also know that many buyers are active throughout the year which means that savvy vendors, along with the assistance of a knowledgeable agent, can make this work to their advantage

So if you are about to put your home on the market, here are something to keep in mind.

Conjure a cosy atmosphere
Spring may be popular because of a blooming garden and warmer weather however winter can bring other appealing aspects often overlooks. Presenting a property as warm and inviting is especially important when the sky is grey and the weather cold. If you aim to make your home an escape from the winter cold by ensuring it is well lit with warm, glowing light. Take advantage of daytime inspections maximum sunlight and turn the heating up. Make sure the temperature throughout the house is comfortable during inspections. The right decor is also important. Consider warm colours and textures or small touches like a throw rug on the couch create the right atmosphere. And if you have a working fireplace, light it up!

Stand out from the crowd
The biggest benefit to selling in winter that many people don’t recognise is that there’s less competition for both sellers and buyers. For sellers, there are fewer properties on the market to compete with. While the buyers who are looking in a smaller pool are generally serious contenders. With the continued growth of Kyneton and supply vs. demand market means that many buyers who have missed out elsewhere are still out hunting for a home. Here is your chance to take advantage of this with the help of a savvy agent and a faultless presentation.

A little more advice on presentation
The little things matter. Do pay attention to the frontage of your home. Rain shows up dirt on windows, wind makes a mess of your garden and pathways and soggy puddles equals mud. Before each inspection, give the windows a clean, clear the path or front step of any debris and rake up any dead leaves before each inspection. Even though it is winter, these things really can make the difference between a sale or not.

For perceptive vendors who play their cards right, winter can be a fantastic time to sell property.

 

The hidden benefits of selling in winter

*Article first published in Midland Express, 6 June 2017

The traditional wisdom is that the warmer months are the perfect time to sell your home. And it is true; the seasons do impact on buying and selling. However in recent times this has changed due to the continued supply versus demand position across most of Australia

On the whole, real estate does tend to “slow down” during winter. And this slow down means less competition from other properties, so the seller gets more of the buyers to themselves.

This can also provide an opportunity for those that have struggled to sell their home in a competitive market place. In towns like Kyneton and its surrounds where the demand for properties is consistent, winter could be the right time for those ready to sell.

Winter can also reveal so much about a property. Spring and summer are generally forgiving months but come wintertime it is a fantastic opportunity to showcase an open fireplace or sophisticated heating system to potential buyers. Making your house an escape from the chill is rewarding for buyers who can see beyond the potted plant façade out front and understand what living in the home would be like in the colder months.

Some buyers are also in hibernation period over winter, which allows those discerning shoppers to jump ahead of the pack before spring returns. Treating these buyers just as you would a buyer during the warmer months is a savvy way for vendors to sell their homes during winter months.

 

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.