Ready, Set, Spring Sale Planning, Go!

*This article first appeared in the September 2019 Midland Express.

Are you looking to sell your home, but waiting until Spring?

Spring is one of the most popular times to buy and sell properties in Kyneton and across Australia.

While we are about a month away, there are a few things you can do now to prepare your home before putting your property on the market this spring.

Every sale needs to start with a plan. Here are some of my key planning tips for you to consider.

Make your repairs

Buyers love a house that is well-maintained and repaired. Why? Because it’s less they have to do after they buy! Even better, they’re willing to pay more for it too.

Repairs take time so it’s smart to get these things rolling now so your home is in great shape by spring.

Declutter now!

Cleaning and decluttering are paramount for first impressions. Declutter by donating or disposing of any items you no longer need – paperwork, kids’ toys, unused furniture. Consider whether you need to replace older furniture or if you transform pieces by using throw rugs or cushions to give your home an affordable “makeover”.

Think garden!

While Spring is the growing season, establishing a good foundation prior can help with the overall presentation at sale time. Plan out your garden now, buy some nice plants and pots, do the manure fertilisation now (better now before buyers arrive!) and you’ll have a garden that springs to life over the coming weeks.

Talk to an agent

Approach local real estate agents and ask them for an appraisal. It is important to get a good idea of where your home is sitting in the market and the prices you should be looking at. An agent can also advise on any changes required that might support the sale.

Selling a home can be a stressful time for many, but early preparation your home will be in tip top shape ready for the sale. For more on real estate, visit jenniferpearce.com.au

Tips to keep your energy bills down this winter

*This article first appeared in the July 2019 Midland Express.

Living in Central Victoria, compared to metropolitan areas it is a few degrees cooler in temperature during the winter months. This can take some adjustment for residents– both physically and financially.

So other than sitting on the heater sipping hot drinks with multiple woolly jumpers on, there are a number of things you can do without scarifying comfort or spiking your energy bill.

Curtains and Blinds

Decorate your windows in your home with good quality curtains and blinds. Using curtains that are lined helps keep the heat in and the cold out by reducing the heat loss through your windows.

Save on appliance use, particularly the clothes dryer

One of the most expensive appliances to run in your house is a clothes dryer. Place an indoor clothes-drying rack in a room that you are heating (such as a living room). The heater is then warming you as well as drying your clothes. To avoid fire risk, never place clothes too close to any heater.

Harness natural heat

Taking simple measures to harness existing free sources of heating in your home by using the heat of the sun to warm up your house. During the day open up all your south and west facing curtains to allow the sun’s rays to stream in the windows and heat up your home. As soon as the sun begins to set, conserve the heat by closing all your curtains and blinds to insulate against heat loss.

Consider an energy audit

Engaging an experienced electrician to conduct an audit will help you measure how much energy each appliance is using, identify which appliances are wasting power due to age or maintenance issues and what you can do to make the move to a more energy efficient home.

Asking for monthly energy bills from your retailer is a great way to measure the impacts of any changes you make. Whatever you choose to do, preparing your house year-round can support the reduction of energy bills.

A Fence is not just a fence

Recently, I listed a gorgeous Victorian home in Kyneton. It is the kind of house that would generally sell very quickly in the current market but this one took a bit longer.

Why? Because the house was hidden behind a green colourbond that did not suit the home and its character appeal.

The owner soon replaced it with a white picket fence which immediately lifted the street appeal to potential buyers. The house was soon sold with a happy vendor and new owner in possession of a true Kyneton home of distinction.

Replacing or repairing boundary fences is often a simple thing to do to lift the charm of a home, support swifter selling and approving the overall amenity. If you want to replace your fence and you share a boundary, as many people do, you should reach out to your neighbour and discuss your intentions. Whether it is a replacement or a repair, generally your neighbours will need to agree to share the cost.

A good place to start is familiarising yourself with the Victorian Fences Act. The Fences Act contains rules about who pays for a dividing fence, the type of fence to be built, notices that neighbours need to give one another and how to resolve disputes that come up when discussing fencing works with your neighbour.

Secondly you should familiarise yourself with the Macedon Ranges Shire Council fence height restrictions and covenants. It is important to do this as if your fence is in breach of restrictions, you may need to remove it altogether or modify it until it complies.

In rare cases, where neighbours don’t wish to proceed with a new fence and refuse to pay, mediation may need to occur to bring the parties together in order to resolve the matters.

Whether it’s for privacy, keeping pets and kids inside or as a decorative feature, fencing adds safety, security and style to your home. Making sure you have happy neighbours or thinking long term about sales opportunities is something you might want to consider along the way.

The good news for Kyneton with the falling property prices

*this article first appeared in the Midland Express in February 2019

If you have been anywhere near print news or digital media lately, you are sure to have been exposed to stories about the falling house prices in Australia, with Victoria forecast to be the hardest hit.

We are told that house prices are falling, and mortgage interest rates are rising, so anyone doing anything with property are likely scratching their heads and wondering what it means for them.

The good news is that it seems that Kyneton and the Macedon Ranges are one of the few regions in Victoria that is and will continue to experience buoyancy and growth.

Property data firm CoreLogic’s latest Pain & Gain report showed that every house or unit sold in the September quarter of 2018 within the Macedon Ranges made a profit, bucking a state-wide trend of tumbling prices.

So what makes Kyneton and the Macedon Ranges in particular seemingly bulletproof from a nationwide plummet in house prices?

Regional country areas like Kyneton, Bendigo, Ballarat and Geelong are still experiencing considerable growth, in part to still affordable stock and access to metropolitan areas. The outperforming of the Melbourne market is also due to the value for money buyers get in regional areas – larger homes, larger plots of land and more cost-effective living.

As a regional town, Kyneton offers a sophisticated culture unlike any other. Events like the Lost Trades Fair and The Kyneton Music Festival not only attract tourists and day-trippers but appeal to individuals buying in the area who seek out a like-minded community of creatives and culture makers.

Growing communities also mean a fresh opportunity. With the relative affordability of housing compared to metro areas, low crime and access to infrastructure means the demand for stock will increase. The potential in this region is continuing to reveal itself, particularly for those in the market to buy or sell.

In short, don’t worry about the market downturn if you are thinking of selling in Kyneton

 

 

Want to reduce your mortgage quicker? It might not be as hard as it seems

*this article first appeared in the October 2018 Midland Express

 

The uncertainty of interest rates, as well as job instability, means that many people are wondering if they can shrink their mortgage quicker and buy themselves some financial freedom.

 

There are some really simple ways to quickly cut down on how much you owe on your mortgage beyond just making extra repayments. Many home loans already have features that can assist you but if they don’t, refinancing might be something to consider if drilling down on the debt is a goal.

 

A common approach to speeding up the decrease of a home loan is to increase payment frequency. A fortnightly or ‘bi-monthly’ payment can save tens of thousands of dollars in interest charges and reduce your loan term. The standard monthly repayments not only assist in the reduction of interest charges but the fortnightly payments mean you are making 26 fortnightly payments as opposed to 12 monthly payments, meaning you are sneaking in a few payments per annum. Smart!

 

Also understanding how interest works is another benefit when reducing your mortgage quicker. The interest on your mortgage is calculated on the outstanding balance every day. This means you can reduce the amount of interest you pay overall by increasing how often you make a payment on your mortgage.

 

It is important to understand the features of your mortgage as well. An offset account is an incredible way to not only save some cash for home expenses or holidays, but that savings will also be working for you. For every dollar you leave in your offset account, it actively reduces the amount of interest you pay on your mortgage. For example, if your mortgage is $300,000 and you have $10,000 in your offset account you’ll only pay interest on $290,000.

 

The best way to do all of this is some simple number crunching and to understand what a few extra payments can do to give you the freedom you desire.

 

For more real estate insights, head to jenniferpearce.com.au