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.

Are you financially ready to buy a home?

We see it a lot. Enthusiastic families and individuals coming to open for inspections, sussing out the market and daydreaming about having their own little piece of the Great Australian Dream.

There’s just one thing: They aren’t quite sure if they can afford it.

So how do you know if you are ready to take the leap or not? This handy checklist is a great place to start.

  • Contact a Broker or financial Institution.

A good broker is a ‘go-between’ for you and the lenders (banks). A broker can act on your behalf to help determine how much you borrow. A financial institution can offer a similar type of service however they are unlikely to shop around for the best deal for you.

  • Get pre-approval first

A good thing to do before you start shopping for your dream home. In short, pre-approval gets your loan sorted so you know how much you can spend.

  • Savings history

‘Genuine savings’ is a term used by lenders to define funds that a home loan applicant has saved themselves over time. Australian lenders have required borrowers to save at least 5% of the purchase price of a property in a bank account in their name.

  • Loan repayments

Many people will tell you that covering your loan repayments is just the same as rent. But If you don’t factor changes to interest rates as well as your capacity to cover these expenses over time then you might be in trouble over time.

  • Mortgage Insurance

Lender’s Mortgage Insurance is a condition of home loan borrowing where your mortgage lender may require you to make a one-off payment to protect them (the lender) against the event where you (the borrower) might fail to make your home loan repayments. This insurance protects the lender and in many cases where the deposit is less than 20%, the borrower will need to pay it.

  • Stamp duty

Stamp duty is a tax charged by the government on the sale of property. It 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. The percentage rates on stamp duty in Victoria vary based on dutiable value of the property.

  • 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 (“vendor”), after your offer has been accepted. If you buy at auction, you will sign the contract and pay a deposit (usually 10%) on the spot.

  • Other costs to be considered

It is important to factor in the following variable costs when you buy a home as often people come undone when they need to find another $1000 here or there.

  • Conveyancer/Solicitor fees.
  • Building and pest inspection
  • Disbursements at settlement
  • Home and contents insurance
  • Removalist costs
  • Waste disposal costs
  • Cross-over payments from last place of residence to new

The best way to keep costs in check is to plan in advance, be aware of what is ahead of you and get advice from a respected agent.

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

 

 

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.

Should you sell your home over the summer holidays?

With the New Year comes a new optimism from both buyers and sellers wanting to take a punt on a fresh start, eager to get their resolutions met earlier.

Traditionally, real estate lore said not put your home on the market over the holiday season. But with the 24/7 connected nature of the internet, busy jobs and modern lifestyles, homebuyers can now pick and choose when and where they see your home, at least online.

Here are three good reasons why you should consider selling your home in the new year.

  1. There are buyers out there

It’s a competitive house market out there for buyers and people don’t slow down anymore just because it’s the summer holidays. In our busy modern lives, mobile technology connects potential home buyers to their potential new home whenever they want. Prospective buyers have the ways and means to look for it and they’re not willing to miss that chance just because the rest of life seems hectic, even over Christmas. Make sure you’re out there for them.

  1. There are fewer homes on offer

There are fewer homes available for purchase over the Christmas season. Since traditional advice has always been to not try and sell over the holidays, many people stop listing. Here’s your chance to take advantage of the sudden absence of sellers and have your house stand out in a much smaller crowd. Be there when no one else is
!

  1. People are serious

Those looking over the summer period are usually serious buyers. Many want to seal the deal quickly and be able to move in soon, sometimes, even more, the New Year. You could be closer to your own new year dreams if you take the time to consider the buyers who are still out and about at this busy time of the year.

New Years is a time for people to start realizing their goals and the clever ones make that happen sooner rather than later.

For more on how you can get your home sold in January, head to Jenniferpearce.com.au

 

 

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

 

The benefits to selling your property over Christmas

* This article was first published in the December Midland Express

Are you trying to sell your home just as everyone else is putting their Christmas tree up? Don’t fret! There are some known advantages to selling through Christmas and New Year.

There are some challenges to selling your property through the Christmas holidays. Many agents shut shop and have a break, buyers are distracted with the silly season and many of us are just plain tired!

But if you are selling your property over the Christmas holidays, don’t stress! It actually might be a good thing.

With the spring selling season slowing down, there are buyers still on the lookout for their next property. Christmas time is less competitive and house hunters who missed out on a spring sale are still actively looking.

After Christmas, people’s schedules slow down which means more time for them to scout and view properties. The motivation to start the year off with a new home purchase is not something sellers should discount.

Consider also that there is less competition. Selling at the height of spring means you’ll house needs to stand out from the pack. With fewer properties listed during christmas and New Year, buyers have less prospects to choose from.

At the end of the year, people are reflective and inventive. Buying a house is often on people’s mind as one of their new years goals and doing that sooner sets the momentum for the year to come.

In a hot market like Kyneton, listing over Christmas might be a strategic move in securing a sale with just a special few houses on the market.

For more on how to you maximise a Christmas sale, head to jenniferpearce.com.au

 

Home for the holidays? 3 tips for Buying or Selling at Christmas

It is a such a busy time of year! And Christmas can be stressful as it is let alone if you are buying or selling a home during this period. Then it can be downright overwhelming.

So to help you with the overwhelm, we’ve collected a few pointers to assist with your property sales thisChristmas.

  1. Identify Christmas Shutdown Clauses

When you buy a property, you need to exchange contracts before settlement is to occur.

A contract exchanged on 5 December might settle on 4 January, however keep in mind many offices close for the Christmas shutdown period.

In order to ensure that you are not in breach of your contract, your solicitor or conveyancer may need to include a Christmas Shutdown Clause, which states that your settlement will occur immediately after the Christmas Shutdown Period.

  1. Plan your holiday absence

Many people take a trip out of town over the Christmas period. If you’re buying or selling a house, your contract may require you to complete a transaction while you’re not home.

If you are going away, you must notify your conveyancer or solicitor know. Before you take off, ensure that you have signed all documents so that the exchange or settlement can occur even in your absence. Alternatively, you might want to nominate a power of attorney.

  1. Be realistic about approvals

It is important that you are realistic about time frames for loan approval processes. If you have submitted your request in late November, you may not get approval until the new year given the process time frames. Ensuring you are prepared and realistic will help keep the stress lower.

Whatever you choose to do, knowing that buying or selling your house over the Christmas period might be the best gift you ever receive.