If you missed Saturdays Auction, we recorded it for you.
You may have noticed, we’ve recently had a huge push with video marketing and the results have been outstanding.
Human beings are made to feel things. We cry, we laugh, we love, we respect people who look us straight in the eye and we respond to movement.
When video is used effectively, it triggers emotion. People buy homes they fall in love with. Our job is to make them fall in love with yours and according to a recent report by Domain.com.au, property with a video is receiving 440% more page views and 472% more enquiry than property without.
With video now becoming such a major part in generating enquiry for property, we felt there was a need to now start getting our properties recorded. The immediate results have been outstanding. We have been overwhelmed by the amount of positive feedback and the increase in enquiry we have received.
As you will see if you watch this video of Saturday’s Auction, the video that we used to advertise the home helped us generate 12 registered bidders and the home sold under the hammer for a fantastic price.
Budget, the talk of the town - on 14th May 2013 the Federal Government handed down one of the most keenly anticipated budgets for years.
In the lead-up to the 2013/14 Federal Budget was all about surpluses and schools, deficits and disability care.
Some of the numbers are eye-catching. With $14.3 billion for Disability Care and $9.8 billion for school funding, there are some big sums on the table.
But back at the kitchen table, what does all this mean for your hip pocket?
When it comes to accessing healthcare, education and aged care, not to mention paying the bills and saving for retirement, how will the budget change the way you live, work and pay for services on a practical day-to-day level?
Thanks to the team at Invision Wealth, HERE is a brief round-up of what the budget means for your family finances.
But don’t forget, the proposals may change as the legislation passes through parliament.
The tail end of 2012 and the first quarter of 2013 have displayed some positive and encouraging indicators. There is a clear return of optimism within the residential property market.
We have seen an increase in activity on websites, more buyers at our open homes, multiple offers and more bidder registrations at our auctions. Many of these indicators suggest that the market is on the rebound. This is underpinned by low interest rates, lack of supply, realistic seller expectations and improved consumer confidence.
The early signs suggest that 2013 may also see a strong return of investors. With the share market proving inconsistent, interest rates providing nominal returns and the residential property market displaying positive signs, combined with strong demand for rentals, investor confidence is also gaining momentum.
Just this morning I meet with the head valuer for CBRE (one of Queensland’s largest valuation firms) and he made the comment that he is seeing a lot more activity at his end.
He also made a very valid point, he said that one of the biggest misconceptions he is seeing is that people believe that prices are on the rise. He said that is simply not the case. Although we are seeing positive signs in the market place, Sellers who are prepared to be reasonable are achieving a great result within a relatively short timeframe. However, Sellers who are motivated by achieving a utopia price are seeing their property sit on the market week in, week out.
If you are considering selling your family home, you must base your decision around your own individual situation and desire to make a move. Be very careful not to fall into the trap that an increase in buyer confidence translates into a significant price increase.
If you are considering selling, please give me a call and I will provide you with a confidential and honest appraisal of your home. Something that will help you with making your next big decision (no unrealistic ‘utopia’ prices, I promise).
As an Estate Agent, I’m often asked how to add value to a property and improve the saleability of the home. One of the best ways is to look at the landscaping as this is the first impression the Buyer will get of your home. Here are a few landscape design secrets that are very effective and simple to implement. They will help to ensure your garden looks a million dollars come sale time.
The number one tip to an effective and profitable garden design is to ensure that you create a garden that is low maintenance and well presented. Most people don’t want to be mowing a huge lawn or pruning a hedge on the weekend.
Buyers want to visualise themselves enjoying their garden space. The key to a great result with your outside space is the same as inside; tick the emotional boxes.
A well designed garden not only adds value to the property, but also makes the property more saleable. Everyone wants to enjoy their outdoor space. Creating an appealing garden makes buyers imagine living in that garden space, it adds to the emotional pull.
As with any renovation, you need to start with the end in mind. That involves working out who your target market is. Your target market and your property value will most likely determine your budget, what elements you add to your garden and how much you spend on each element.
Dave Limburg from Online Garden Design has put together an awesome list of some effective value-adding elements for landscaping on a budget, this will help you.
1. Paving – An outside seating area is a necessity for a garden in Australia. People love to use the outdoor space as much as possible including dinning and entertaining. Recycled pavers are a cheap and effective way of creating an appealing outdoor seating area without overspending. Your paved area only needs to be large enough for a table and chairs – 4m x 4m should do. Pavers for this size area can be purchased for under $300.
2. Turf – Turf is relatively inexpensive. Couch grass roll can be purchased for about $6 per m2 from most landscaping yards. A small lawn area is almost a necessity for kids, it is certainly a garden element that families will be looking for when assessing a property to purchase – 30sqm would be plenty of lawn to roll around on, set up some outdoor games, or have a splash under a sprinkler.
3. Screening plants around the perimeter of the garden are a great way of softening an outdoor space and making the garden look bigger. The following plants will grow well in most Australian conditions, require minimal care and pruning, grow to roughly fence height and look great all year round; Orange Jessamine, Lilly Pilly and Sweet Viburnum. These plants can be purchased from your local nursery for approximately $20 each in 200mm pots, this pot size should be approximately one and half metre high plants.
4. Garden plants to fill the garden beds should be selected to look great, hardy and of course low maintenance. The following achieve all of these requirements; Flax, Star Jasmine, Giant Mondo Grass, Varigated Liriopes and Cordyline varieties.
5. Mulch – Garden beds always look a lot tidier and more presentable with a layer of mulch on top.
If you are thinking about selling soon, consider going to your nursery and selecting some shrubs that are flowering and looking good now. Something that is flowering with scented flowers is a little touch that can help boost the overall look of the garden and add to the appeal.
So for a little effort and some creative sourcing of materials you can add plenty of value to your property and increase the saleability without breaking the bank. You can design and build a garden that is both aesthetically pleasing and low maintenance.
If you need any further help, don’t hesitate to contact me.
This Saturday at Superior Fruit and Three Girls Skipping Graceville
Meet Ella McKenzie, she is the 12 year old daughter of one of our clients and she's shaving her hair off as part of the World’s Greatest Shave.
Ella’s hair comes off at 10am on Saturday 16th March and we want to help her raise as much as possible for the Leukaemia Foundation.
In conjunction with Three Girls Skipping, we will be providing free coffee, home-made lemonade and cupcakes to anyone that makes a donation to Ella's cause.
Superior Fruit will be putting on a sausage sizzle and there's going to be a few others getting shaved as well (We think Tass may have his hand up for the cause and there’s even a rumour that even Chris may lose his locks for the cause).
We will be there from 9am on Saturday so come along, help Ella out, grab a free coffee and stick around for the 10am hair cut.
Click HERE to head to Ella’s page on the World’s Greatest Shave website and donate to her cause.
If you’re hoping to sell your home quickly and for as much money as possible, try to avoid bare rooms in your house.
We have just sold a home in Chelmer that was completely empty. Although we have always promoted the benefit of furnishing a home, we respect that sometimes this can’t happen. This sale has highlighted the main reasons why furniture is a good idea, so here they are - The 4 reasons why it’s harder to sell a bare house.
1. People don’t buy houses, they buy homes.
When you sell a house, you aren’t selling a commodity, you are selling a home. A place where a family will raise their children, invite friends over for dinner parties, have loads of good memories. Even if you’re selling a unit, you’re selling it to someone who will bring their hopes and dreams into this new space.
Walking through empty rooms, or an empty house, is usually pretty depressing. It makes it very hard for us as agents to build an emotional connection between the buyer and the home.
2. It’s hard to gauge how big a room is when there’s nothing in it as a reference point.
Humans can’t tell the difference between a 3x4m room and a 4x5m room if it’s empty. It looks about the same even though one is 40% bigger.
When you’re dealing with an unfurnished space, a potential buyer has no idea what they can fit in it. They might think it’s just big enough for a couch, 2 chairs and a coffee table, yet there’s room for so much more.
3. When a room is empty prospective buyers focus on the negative details.
Rather than falling in love with the overall space and looking at the flow of the room, buyers get bogged down in details like:
This room looks dirty
There’s only 1 power plug in this room
The walls aren’t smooth
There are bumps in the carpet
That’s an odd place to have a light switch
That moulding doesn’t fit perfectly
4. An empty house (or even empty rooms) creates unwanted questions.
Instead of focusing on whether this is the home for them, they may be busy wondering ‘Is this a divorce?’ or ‘Have they left town?’ or ‘Are they selling because they have money problems?’
This train of thought may take them where you, as a Seller, don’t want them to go! They might start thinking, ‘maybe I can put in a low offer since the Seller is desperate’.
An empty house, or even a few empty rooms is not the ideal situation to get the best result for your home. For a relatively minimal investment in home staging, you are able to make a big difference to both the saleability and the price.
Don’t hesitate to drop me a line if you want more info about the pros and cons of trying to sell an empty home.
So you’ve decided to buy your first home, congratulations, that’s awesome. The idea of this blog is to give you a few tips to help you through the process and save you time and money.
If this is your first home, chances are that you may be a little overwhelmed by all the information that is out there. Hopefully you’ll find this list easy to follow.
1. Secure pre-approval
One of the first things you should do once you decide you're going to buy your first home is to get pre-qualified for a loan, so you’ll know in advance how much you can afford and what the lender will loan to you. You'll also be ready to act once you spot your dream home.
Make sure the pre-approval from your lender is put in writing, giving you the confidence and means to make an offer on a home or bid at auction.
I recommend seeing a finance broker for that. Your bank may give you the best that they can offer but a finance broker will look at what all the banks offer. They will then find you the loan that suits your needs the best. This can save you thousands and generally their service is free, they get paid by the banks directly.
2. Do your research
Failing to understand the market and exactly what properties are worth could be your downfall in securing a property at the right price. There are lots of places where you can research property prices. Look at auction results in newspapers or on the Internet, speak to local real estate agents regarding recent sales, purchase a professional sales report for the suburb you are interested in. Such reports give a detailed analysis of sales on a street-by-street basis.
3. Being familiar with the sales process
Before you start your search, be aware of the practicalities of buying a home. Read up on how auctions work (HERE is a great blog on buying at auction), the best way to go about making an offer, what to look for when buying property. Speak to friends and family about their experiences.
I hear a lot of people saying “it's best not to let your emotions get in the way”. Personally, I think this is rubbish. This is your first home, you should love it. This is where you are going to live, come home to every day, you could be there for the next 5, 10, 15, 20 years. Don’t settle for something you don’t love just because someone told you “don’t let your emotions get in the way”.
5. Looking at all aspects of the property
When searching for your dream first home, it's not just about inspecting the rooms and outdoors areas, you need to take many other issues into consideration, such as neighbours, noise levels, parking availability, and any developments planned nearby.
6. Choosing the right area
The suburb you move into will become a big part of your life so it's important you make the right decision. When compiling your list of suitable areas, you might consider transport facilities, whether you'll have to commute, and what the surrounding area has to offer.
7. Act quickly
Once you see your ideal home, you may have to move quickly. Whether it's the first house/apartment or the 100th one you see, if it feels right and it's within your budget (and you've looked at all the aspects above), don't leave it too late before making an offer. Someone might just beat you to it. That said, don't be talked into buying any property you're not sure about.
8. Put your offer in Writing
Just because you've made an offer and it's been verbally accepted, don't be fooled into believing the property is yours. Until you and the owner sign a legally binding contract nothing is set in stone. My advice is to always make your offer in writing, yes it may take a little more time than simply giving a verbal offer but the advantages of making your offer correctly outweigh the disadvantages.
9. Saving money on Stamp Duty
Here in Queensland, if you are a first home buyer and you pay $500,000 or less for your first home, you don’t have to pay any stamp duty. Between $500,001 - $550,000 there is a sliding scale between discounted and full stamp duty. If your first home is between $500,000 - $550,000, a $50 discount on your contract price can save you $877 on stamp duty.
What I mean by that is if your contract price is $505,000 your stamp duty is $1050, however, if your contract price is $504,950, your stamp duty is $173 saving you $877. That works all the way up to $550,000 where your stamp duty would be $10,600 however if your contract price is $549,950 your stamp duty would be $9723 saving you the $877. Keep this in mind when negotiating your purchase price.
10. Your budget
Despite step 4, about emotions, as a first home buyer (or in fact anyone buying property), you should never go above your budget and financial means. This goes back to the very first step in this list and secure your pre approval. Work out how much you can afford, don’t bite off more than you can chew.
11. Get a building and pest inspection
We've all heard horror stories about those who've purchased a new home only to find it riddled with termites. While you might think this will never happen to you, just remember that buying a property will be one of the biggest financial commitments you'll ever make. And it could prove an even more costly one if you don't get an independent pest and building inspection done prior to purchase.
12. Setting up your payments
Make fortnightly payments, not monthly, thereby saving thousands on the mortgage.
13. What’s included
If you are looking at buying a new home, carry out due diligence and confirm what is included in the total price.
Presentation is such an important element to get right if you are going to sell your home. It could mean the difference between achieving a premium price, an OK price or selling yourself short.
In this week’s blog, I’ve given you a few things to consider if you are looking to sell your home in 2013.
Buyers want to buy your house, not your ‘to do list’
The first point is that buyers want to buy a house, not your ‘to do list’. In most cases, when they see broken or unloved items around your house they overestimate both the time it will take to mend this themselves and the cost of the repairs. When you leave any part of the work undone you leave the price open for discussion and negotiation resulting in lost equity. You wouldn’t want to buy a house that required repairs (unless you were looking for a bargain) so bear this in mind when preparing your own house to sell.
A good place to start is to call your local building and pest inspector. Having a building and pest inspection done on the home will ensure you are fully informed on the current state of the home and reduce the chance of any surprises down the track. It also gives you an opportunity to fix any little issues before a buyer finds out about them.
Most of us live in houses that need a bit of TLC and we’re probably not even aware of all the repairs required. Now is the time to be objective, ask friends to help. Go around the home, both inside and out with a notebook and pen. Write down everything that needs attention. Be specific. Also write down exactly how you are going to solve the problem eg: re-caulk around sink with white caulk.
Once you have your list, gather together everything you need and make 1 trip to the hardware store to buy additional items. (not 2 or 3 trips like my Dad, he seems to love his trips to Bunnings) Set aside time to make all the repairs, ticking them off as you go.
If you don’t have the time, inclination or skills, call a handyman and give them the complete job list. It’s easier and more efficient if they are given all the jobs in one go.
Checklist of potential repairs:
Bathrooms: replace broken toilet seats or toilets, shower screens or curtains and cabinets including handles, replace taps if required. Re-caulk and re-grout the tiles
Walls and trim: Touch up flaking paint, paint untreated or primed wood. Repair cracks or picture hanging holes
Countertops, cabinets and cupboards: Replace damaged counter tops, repair cabinets, replace handles if required (gives a more modern look for a small cost)
Floors: Replace or repair any flooring that is loose, broken or has a piece missing.
Light fixtures: Replace if old fashioned, make sure every light bulb works and is a high voltage, replace electric sockets if broken.
Windows and window panes: Make sure they operate properly. Repair or replace as required.
Doorbells, doors and door hardware: Oil anything that squeaks. Repaint doors, especially front door if required. Make sure your doorbell works. Replace any tired hardware for the all important first impression. Replace any torn or ripped flyscreens.
Appliances: If you are selling an appliance with the house make sure that it works. Repair or replace if not
Stairs: If any stair treads are worn, damaged or creaking, get them repaired
Driveway and garage: Clean up any oil spills and give a good wash
External: A complete house wash, fix any broken gutters and missing downpipes.
All of this will help remove any barriers that buyers put up with relation to your home and of course will help to sell your home for the most amount of money in the least amount of time.
If you would like some personalised advice, please drop me a line. I'm here to help you achieve the best possible result with the sale of your home.
Welcome to my first blog of 2013. I hope that you were able to enjoy some R&R over the holiday season, you’ve managed to re-charge the batteries and that 2013 has started off really well for you.
In this blog, I'm going to have a look into my crystal ball and see what the 2013 property market could end up looking like. Please keep in mind that my crystal ball is no better than yours, I simply have a little more insider information. Any statistician will tell you that only a fool bases future expectations on past statistics. But just for fun, let's look at what’s been happening recently in the residential property market.
Before we get started, here is a funny quote I always keep in mind when writing these kinds of blogs “An economist is an expert who will know tomorrow why the things they predicted yesterday didn't happen today.”
Now that all the disclaimers are out the way, strap yourself in and let’s jump on this thrilling roller coaster ride we call ‘real estate’.
Most of the real estate agents in Brisbane agree, we had a really good end to 2012 with enquiry picking up along with the auction clearance rates. 2013 has started out the same way. We have noticed a sizeable increase in website traffic and email enquiry. Although it is too early to tell about numbers through open homes and sales, the early indicators are looking good.
I feel that part of this is due to the Reserve Bank’s decision to cut official interest rates last year, bringing them down to their current levels. It seems to have boosted the confidence of property buyers that have been concerned with cost of living pressures.
There seems to have been a real shift in confidence within the property market. Less people are talking ‘doom and gloom’ and more people (along with the media) seem to be a lot more positive.
I read an article by John McGrath, head of McGrath Real Estate and he is also feeling positive about the real estate market in 2013. He made the comment “I'm expecting a more buoyant market in both Sydney and Brisbane in 2013”.
Mark Kelly, a prominent estate agent from Brisbane’s Bayside made an awesome comment in his regular market update when discussing if the market has bottomed out. He said “the only way you ever really know that prices have bottomed out is when they have started to rise again. By then of course, it’s too late”.
If we look at some stats, the latest RP Data-Rismark survey shows property values in Brisbane are up 0.8% for September-November. Year-on-year, they’re up 0.3%.
These are small gains but they represent a change in the market. On a national level, capital city prices are still -5.6% off their historical peak in November 2010 but they’re up 2% from their historical low in May last year – indicating we’ve left the bottom of this particular property cycle.
Michael Matusik wrote a fun report with his expectations for this year and in typical Matusik style, pointed out that since the beginning of the GFC, Australians have been “hoarding money like it’s the end of the world”.
He also pointed out that once Australians get their mojo back, some of the $1 trillion in term and other deposits will find itself into the property market, as will a proportion of the $1.5 trillion locked up in super funds.
He mentioned that new dwelling starts have been slow in Queensland and he put that down to weaker population growth. However he was quick to point out that population growth has improved, and with it the potential for a supply v. demand imbalance.
He believes that 2013 is going to be a good year for more full-time job creation as the forecasts for economic growth is good for Queensland this year and next.
So in summary, after reading all these different reports and listening to what the buyers I’m meeting in the market place are saying, I'm starting 2013 with a forecast of optimism, after all, it's more fun to be happy and optimistic then the opposite and that's a good enough reason for me to predict that 2013 is going to be a good year.
Christmas seems to be the perfect opportunity for those not so nice members of the community to turn your festive holiday into a complete nightmare.
If you are going away over the Christmas break, here are some tips to ensure your house is safe and remains in the same condition it was when you left.
• Check all your windows and doors are locked
• Lock all interior doors of the house and take the keys with you to reduce opportunities for an intruder
• Don’t leave keys concealed outside
• Disconnect the electrical supply on radio-controlled or electronic garage doors
• Secure your vehicle if leaving it at home, this means lock it even if it is in the garage
• Have your wheelie bin locked away from windows
• Lock away tools, ladders and anything else that could be used to get inside
• If you have a monitored electronic alarm system, let the base station know when you're going away, give them contact details for key holders in case the alarm does goes off
• Lock your power box with an electricity authority lock so any alarm systems can't be cut off from the power supply
Make your home look ‘lived in’
• Cancel milk, paper and other deliveries
• Have your mail collected by a friend or neighbour, or have it held or redirected by the Post Office
• Arrange for someone to remove junk mail
• Leave a light or two on that are visible at night, consider using automatic timers
• Install self activating external lights
• Have a radio switched to a talk back station so your house sounds like someone is inside. Again you might consider using a timer for this
• Turn down your phone’s volume so it can’t be heard ringing
• Ask a friend or neighbour to mow your lawn and water your plants
• Leave a key with a trusted neighbour or friend that lives locally, ask them to rearrange blinds etc to make your house look ‘lived in’ also ask them to park their car in your driveway occasionally
Tell neighbours, family and friends
• Ask your neighbours to watch for visitors ensure they don’t tell visitors you are away
• Leave a few inexpensive laundry items (e.g. towels or old clothes) on the line
• Inform police, neighbourhood watch and or a trusted neighbour of your absence and leave a contact name and phone number with them
• Ask neighbours to contact the police if they notice anything suspicious
It is also a good idea to use the most secure room in your home to store valuables.
If you have a trusted friend or relative that can house sit for you, then that could save you becoming the next Christmas burglary statistic.
Wishing you all a safe and very pleasant holiday season!