Purchases Prefer Internet

Marketing is one of the main costs of selling any property and it’s important to know that it is money well spent. The best way to be sure of this is to ask your agent if they have conducted local research to know where their purchasers come from. The following recent research conducted Australasia-wide may help you in assessing the advertising market in your own area. Just three sources generate, on average, 89.5% of purchaser enquiry.

The same research also shows that the Internet is increasingly being utilised as the primary contact point with property for sale by purchasers looking for a residential property – currently a massive 72% of enquiry.

The two other main sources are newspaper display advertising (11%) and For Sale boards (6.5%).

Your area may vary from this average, but knowing the facts will make you a more informed property seller. Make sure your agent has conducted local research and knows the source of prospective purchasers so that you get the maximum enquiry from your marketing dollar.

Read more at Local Property News

First two weeks set the scene

As a vendor, it’s worth remembering that the relationship between vendor and agent works best if there is an open line of communication. If the relationship breaks down, the sale outcome is usually affected and at this stage vendors often blame agents for a host of small things that could have been remedied early in the relationship.

Professional agents will encourage vendors to be frank from the outset, as the first two weeks of marketing can set the scene for a positive relationship – or its opposite. The problem is that many of the issues that arise seem at the time too small to mention – the signboard is in the wrong spot or is crooked, the agent keeps bringing purchasers in through the side balcony door instead of the front door, or perhaps s/he turns up with a purchaser with only sixty minutes’ notice instead of several hours.

These issues may seem too small to worry about at the time but often add up to lack of confidence in the agent, especially if the market is quiet and there aren’t many inspections. Many people prefer to grumble amongst themselves rather than confront the agent with so small a misdemeanor, but professional agents will want to get it right and will appreciate your input. They understand that although they sell houses every day, most of their clients will do it only a few times in a lifetime and that they find it very stressful.

Many people find it hard to be critical until something happens that is serious enough to make them lose their temper – and by then the relationship is hard to salvage. While it’s up to the agent to check whether the vendor is happy with the way the inspections are progressing, vendors can help by mentioning the little things and giving the agent a chance to get it right in the long term interests of a successful sale.

Read more at Local Property News.

Things to consider when showing your property

Purchasers coming and going from a property for sale can be stressful for the home seller, especially if the agent wants to bring purchasers through at awkward times or when the property isn’t at its most neat and clean. How can home sellers strike a reasonable balance between privacy and access?

Everyday life – work, driving kids to school, care of infirm or elderly relatives and other responsibilities don’t go on hold just because vendors have undertaken to market their home. Professional agents understand that vendors are busy and that inspection times need to be negotiated according to vendors’ timetables. But buyers, too, are busy. Many can only inspect when work is finished for the day. Some are on shift work or live out of town. Sellers need to be as flexible as they can manage within the requirements of their lifestyle or risk losing buyers to other more accessible properties. In fact, experience has shown that the most impatient property seekers are often the most impetuous buyers – i.e buyers who buy on a rush of emotion. Some walk through the office door expecting to look at a property NOW and walk out again just as quickly if they can’t – and often they don’t come back at the seller’s convenience, especially if they find something they like soon after.

Some restrictions seem logical and obvious – what’s the point, for example, of a first visit at night when the location, outlook and orientation to natural light will be unable to be assessed? On the other hand, a purchaser coming for a second or third inspection may well want to see if the interior and exterior lighting are adequate, particularly if they have special requirements in that area.

Restricting access to sunny days or moments of serendipitous weather and natural light conditions may seem to sellers to be desirable and may, in fact, be worthwhile in some cases, but the futility of insisting on perfect viewing conditions often becomes apparent when prospective purchasers want to inspect at different times of the day before making a final decision.

No reasonable agent will expect round the clock access to a property listed on their books for sale. Most will be sympathetic and attentive to the needs of their client while bearing in mind that their number one need is to sell the property and that a quick sale is the smallest disruption of all. Vendors with special access requirements should make sure they clarify their needs with their agent, and ask advice on what is a reasonable level of restriction that won’t alienate potential buyers and cost sales.

Read more at Local Property News.

Now is a good time to trade up

Many homeowners are holding off from putting their property on the market as the media continue to report a market downtown and uncertain financial times. But the ‘best time to sell’ is often not what it seems.

Some people sell to retire and buy something smaller. This article does not refer to them. But the majority of sellers at any given time is trading up to a bigger property to house their growing family or reflect their increasing wealth. These home owners - who will pay more for their next home than they will get for the one they are selling – actually do better when the market is on the decline. The fact that they are spending more money second time round gives them an opportunity to make money on the transaction.

If the reason they think it’s ‘not a good time to sell’ is because they ‘will not get a good enough price’ for their home, then the logical next step is to realise that if the market prevents them from getting the price they want, it will also affect the sellers of the property they are trading up to – with a net gain to the person who is trading up. If you get $603,000 for your home which has been valued at $670,000, you may feel you are ‘losing’ $67,000 or around 10% of the value of your asset, but if you buy another home valued at $850,000 in the same market, the owners of that home will also ‘lose’ 10%, as you will naturally not be paying more than the current declining market value. In paying 10% less you will pay $765,000, 'saving' $85,000 - thereby 'making’ $18,000 on the transaction; in other words you ‘saved’ on the next transaction more than you ‘lost’ on the sale of your current home, so you are ahead by $18,000.

In fact, there are other advantages to trading up in a buyers’ market. Because prices are stable and properties often take longer to sell, once vendors have sold their original property there is no rush to buy. They can take their time choosing and negotiating their next purchase without having to watch the gap between the price they got for their original property and the price they have to pay for their next one increasing at an alarming rate.

Read more at Local Property News.

F - M Of Need-To-Know Jargon For Home Buyers (cont)

Here's the next installment of the list of terms you should know before delving into the world of home buying.

Fixtures: Items that are fixed or part of the property, for example, carpets, down lights and built in robes. Sometimes sellers specify fixtures they may wish to keep (say, an antique light fitting that belonged to their grandparents). To avoid confusion about what stays and what goes, fixtures can be identified as a special condition in the offer and acceptance document.

Foreclosure: The process by which a lender sells a property given as security for a mortgage, usually as a result of the borrower’s failure to repay the loan.

General Conditions: These deal with important contractual obligations for both buyer and seller including such matters as the paying and holding of a deposit, settlement, adjustment of any outgoings and any other payment responsibilities. It is possible to vary the contractual obligations. You can for instance, delete or amend existing contractual obligations that form the General Conditions, but the seller would have to agree with the changes if the contract is to be binding.

Home Equity Loan: A home equity account gives you a revolving line of credit secured by the value of your house. This allows you to use the funds for other purposes such as the purchase of a second property, shares or other investments. The interest rate is generally higher than a standard variable rate, and these loans should be treated with caution.

Honeymoon Rates: “Honeymoon” or introductory rates are offered to entice borrowers with a low advertised rate for the first six to twelve months of the loan. After this the loan automatically reverts to the Standard Variable Rate offered by that lender. Use the ‘Comparison Rate’ to better understand the costs associated with such loans.

Joint Form of General Conditions for the Sale of Land: (the General Conditions) are a standard part of any contract to sell a property and deal with many issues that arise between a buyer and seller entering into a contract. When an offer is made, a printed set of General Conditions is presented to both the buyer and seller.

Joint Tenancy: The ownership of property by two or more persons where there is a right of survivorship, that is, where on the death of one joint owner, the share of the interest of the deceased goes to the surviving owner(s).

Low Doc Loans: ‘Low-Doc’ or Low Documentation Loans are designed for the self-employed who don’t have the documentation required to get traditional home loans. The interest rate is higher than the Standard Variable Rate and Low-Doc loans usually require mortgage insurance, adding to their cost.

LVR stands for ‘Loan to Value Ratio’: LVR refers to the maximum amount you can borrow against the value of the property used as security for your home loan. For example a lender may approve a loan for 85% of the property value, while you will be expected to provide the remaining 15% plus costs and insurance.

Mortgagee: The lender in a mortgage agreement.

Mortgage Offset Account: Offset accounts can help reduce your tax by offsetting taxable income from deposit accounts against interest paid in after tax dollars on mortgage repayments.

Mortgagor: The borrower in a mortgage agreement.

Read more at Local Property News.

Holiday Security Checklist

Is yours one of the few houses in the street with an alarm, dog or well-secured doors and windows or where the occupants come and go at irregular times? Then give yourself a big tick for offering the least opportunity i.e greatest opposition or risk to aspiring thieves. But if you were going away this Christmas you might want to make your home even less attractive to opportunistic thieves by using this holiday security checklist.

Firstly, try to think the way the thieves do. Does your home look neglected, abandoned, unused? Make it look occupied by carrying out the following activities:

  • Leave a light on inside if you intend returning home after dark. The light should be visible from the street and give the impressions that the house is occupied. Consider using an automatic lighting timer.
  • Never leave notes on your door. Thieves can read too.
  • Keep blinds and curtains partly open to give the house a “lived in” appearance if you are gong away for some length of time.
  • Cancel all regular deliveries, e.g. milk, newspapers so the stockpile doesn’t give the game away.
  • Ask a friend or neighbour to keep an eye on your home and collect any other deliveries which may be made during your absence.
  • Ask the Post Office to hold your mail.
  • Ask a friend or neighbour to park a car in your driveway from time to time.

And remember to make things tough for anyone who has the temerity to have a go.

  • Lock away all portable garden equipment, tools, ladders or anything that could be used to break into your house.
  • Securely lock your garage; most breaking-in implements are found there.
  • Lock all doors and windows.
  • Take your keys or leave them with a friend. Do not hide them.
  • Remove all money and valuables to a safe place such as your bank.
  • Notify your local Police of your absence.
Read more at Local Property News.

Have a great Christmas holiday!

Minimise Rental Advertising

If you are a landlord with a vacant property, you want to know that your advertising dollar is being spent where tenants are likely to be searching for accommodation. Research conducted Australasia-wide shows that 91% of enquiry comes from two sources.

The Australasian research results show that on average, 71% of enquiry comes from the internet and 20% from walk-in enquiry and rental lists. Most prospective tenants live within 5 to 8 kilometres of the properties they are looking to rent, so it is important that agents do their own research to find out what advertising vehicles this prospective market are utilising. Your area (which is likely to be an area of around 10,000 dwellings or 30,000 inhabitants) may conform to the Australasian statistics or there might be different forms of advertising that attract tenant enquiry.

Whatever the case, no landlord wants to waste money on advertising that doesn’t bring results. To minimise untargeted and superfluous advertising, landlords should ask if their agent is conducting research to find out which advertising vehicles are most utilised in their area.

Before agreeing to allocated money for advertising, make sure your Property Manager can provide you with researched data as to where your local tenants look to find accommodation.

Read more at Local Property News.

When Should You Sell Before Auction?

The strategy behind selling a property by Public Auction is to put several people who all want the same thing in the same place and make them compete for it – or miss out.

It’s not uncommon for purchasers to want to make an offer before the auction and certainly many hope to buy for a better price by getting rid of the competition. So surely it’s not worth listening to a purchaser wanting to cut out the competition by avoiding the Auction marketplace?

Selling before Auction is not common but it is sometimes the way to get the highest price, especially if it appears - as the marketing programme unfolds - that the market isn't strong enough to deliver sufficient buyers to create competition on the day.

Sometimes a buyer who sees the property during the auction marketing period is unable or unwilling to go to the auction. This buyer – lets call her Mrs B - may be prepared to pay serious money just to secure the property before auction, yet might insist she will not go to the auction on the day, let alone make a bid. Perhaps Mrs B is simply going to be unavailable at the time of the auction and does not want to let someone else bid on her behalf; perhaps she is auction-phobic.

In these circumstances, if the agent’s feedback tells them that there is no other buyer serious enough to match Mrs B's offer at the auction itself, the agent may suggest that selling to Mrs B before auction is the best way to get the highest price. In these circumstances, the agent should insist on exchanged contracts (just as binding as on the auction day itself) as the only justification for the extreme measure of calling off the auction; selling before auction may look like a private treaty sale on the surface, but a vendor needs a legally binding arrangement to justify going with one purchaser and putting any other bidders out of the running.

Read more at Local Property News

Using Light to Sell Your Home

Good natural light is one of a property’s main assets. But those home owners who don’t have windows facing the ideal aspect or whose living area is overshadowed by another building need not despair. Where there are challenges, there are solutions.

Colour is one of the obvious ways of lightening up. White or off-white are safe, but yellow is cheerful – it is after all the colour of sunshine! If you have dark painted walls and you don’t want to have to use two or three layers of colour-blocking primer over the dark wall to make way for the light colour, you can always just paint the wall a lighter version of the old colour – sky blue instead of dark, pink instead of burgundy.

Other things to think about:

  • What about a brighter light globe? Or diffused lighting? If you have a dark corner, use multiple lights pointed towards the ceiling and walls. This reflected light provides a soft, overhead glow which minimises harsh shadows.
  • Are windows more covered than they need to be? Could you cut plants back to let in more light? Could you open the curtains more?
  • Use bright textiles – curtains, cushions, throws.
  • Make sure your furniture is light in colour. Timber should be blond, not dark. Dark colours will absorb any light coming into the room and make it dark.
  • Are your windows clean? Remember cleaner windows let in more light.
  • Mirrors placed where they will reflect light from windows will make a room look bigger and lighter.
  • Look for finishes and surfaces which glow or have a dull sheen. Use semi-gloss finishes on trims and a satin finish on walls as these will reflect light and make the room seem brighter.
  • Use metal frames for paintings, mirrors, furniture and accessories.
  • Paint the ceiling even lighter than the walls. Either use the same colour as the trim (in matte finish, not semi-gloss!) or go one or two shades lighter than the colour on the walls. This makes the room look bigger too.
  • When you use light, use floor lamps that will shine the light up to the ceiling and will not only reflect off the pale colour, but will draw the eye up and give more impressions of vastness.
  • Carpet is cosy but doesn’t reflect light and brighten a home. Consider replacing it with wood or laminate in a honey colour.
Read more at Local Property News.

A - E Of Need-To-Know Jargon For Home Buyers

Below is a neat little list of terms you're likely to hear as a home buyer, and more importantly, what they mean! It's A to E this month, F to M next month and the rest following shortly after - so stay tuned.

Adjustable Mortgage: Where the interest rate is adjusted periodically by the lender. Some people prefer a fixed rate as the maximum amount payable can be budgeted for. Also known as a variable mortgage.

Amortisation: Where the loan is paid off in equal periodic payments, calculated to pay off the debt (principal and interest as well) at the end of a pre-determined period.

Body Corporate: The legal entity which represents the apartment owners when dealing with matters of the common areas of the apartment block in which they own apartments. The Body Corporate funds costs associated with the common areas through a quarterly levy on the apartment owners.

Buyers’ Agent: An agent who is paid a fee by a would-be purchaser to act exclusively for that buyer in their property search and subsequent purchase. Very few buyers utilise the services of a Buyers’ agent but it’s worth remembering that the selling agent represents the seller of the property rather than the buyer.

Certificate of Title: A page of the Register book specifying the ownership of a defined land parcel, and the lodged or registered interests or claims (encumbrances) against that ownership.

Chattels: Items that can be moved and are not considered to be part of the structure of the dwelling, for example: dishwasher, clothes dryer, microwave, mats and pot plants. If there is any confusion between the buyer and the seller about what stays and what goes, these can be identified as a special condition in the offer and acceptance document.

Cooling off period: In some places cooling off period doesn’t exist. But where it does exist, it refers to a designated period – usually a few days – after the contract has been signed, where buyers have time to reconsider their choice and change their mind without penalty.

Depreciation: The decline in value of a property due to either wear and tear on the property itself or changes in the value of the area (e.g a block of units being built and overshadowing a house or street widening that increases traffic noise).

Discharge fee: The discharge fee is a one-time payment charged on the final payout of a loan.

Encroachment: The physical intrusion by a structure on the property of another person.

Encumbrance: An encumbrance is a lodged or registered interest in land by a person who is not the registered owner.

Encumbrances – Caveat: ‘Caveat’ means ‘beware’. This term is a warning to prospective buyers that another party has registered some form of right or interest in the property. Details of a caveat are written on a property’s Certificate of Title (such as money is owing on a property that is for sale).

Encumbrances – Easement: Gives a person or a company ‘rights of use or engagement’ over land owned by another. Usual easements are rights of way, easements for the flow of water over and through another’s land and easements of support (for example, Water Corporation, Western Power, Main Roads WA, telecommunication companies).

Encumbrances – Restrictive covenant: This places some type of restriction on the use of the land. For example, to build a certain height or the land must be landscaped or buildings to be constructed only of brick. For the covenant to be lifted, consent must be obtained from the party named in the covenant or by a court order.

Encumbrances – Right of way: This means a section or strip of the property is for use either by the general public, or a restricted section of the community. It may be created by subdivision, specific transfer, or continued use over a period of years.

Establishment Fee: This fee covers the basic costs in setting up loan from initial interview to loan drawdown.

Exit Fee: This fee is imposed by some lenders when the borrower refinances with another lender in the first few years of the loan. Some exit fees can be high, so make sure to research whether there is an exit fee for your chosen home loan.

F - M coming soon!

Read more at Local Property News

Market Strategy - Don't Wait Too Long!

When media reports start talking about static or falling home prices, many homebuyers think that it’s a good idea to watch the market and wait for it to reach the bottom. They feel that if they postpone their purchase long enough, they are likely to see prices fall further and snap up a ‘real bargain’.

While bargains do exist, of course, for people who are in the right place at the right time, there are often more people who miss out by using this strategy than gain. Most homebuyers buy their family home and live in it for, on average, seven to ten years. And when we’re looking at averages, the property market continues, in the big picture, to rise. Based on historical property cycles, property may undergo periods of static growth and periods of galloping growth, but on average, well-located, well-selected residential property doubles in value every ten years or so.

Certainly, if we could always pick the lowest time to buy and the highest time to sell we would do very well indeed, but the only buyers who need worry about the immediate state of the market are the real estate speculators who wish to buy then sell again straight away, or those who are too highly geared or who have entered into unrealistic amounts of debt. For everyone else, the chances of strong long-term capital gain are virtually assured, provided they buy well-selected property in well-selected locations.

It’s famously difficult to pick the ‘bottom’ of the market. Often buyers who wait find themselves having little to choose from as listings get scarce – and a sudden flurry of competition for the few desirable properties actually on the market for sale often causes them to sell for higher prices than expected, even in a market described as a difficult one for sellers. Buyers end up paying more than they bargained for if they keep on watching and waiting; because the ‘flurries’ they waited out were signalling an upturn in the market or the end of the halcyon days for buyers.

Purchasers who wait too long for a ‘bargain’ or the ‘lowest point of the market’ often only realise that the lowest point has already been reached once they can look back on it with the 20/20 vision of hindsight.

Read more at Local Property News.

Understanding the Negotiation Process

Negotiating the selling price of a property is a tricky process and emotions often run high. Vendors sometimes think that moving from their original asking price means they are “losing money”, while purchasers are afraid of “going too high” in the heat of the moment. It’s a wonder properties ever get sold, when the price a purchaser is prepared to pay is often so much less than a vendor is prepared to sell it for!

Whether you are buying or selling, it helps to remember that market value for any property can never be scientifically established or arbitrarily insisted on. A property’s price depends on purchaser demand at the time of selling; when there is little buyer interest in a property, the price tends to be lower. If there are lots of buyers competing for a property, the price tends to be higher. Neither the vendor’s “I won’t take any less than…” or the purchaser’s “This is my final offer” actuallly determine the price. The price only becomes a reality when two parties agree to it and exchange contracts at law. In the course of negotiation, the vendor’s desire to get the highest price is offset against the purchaser’s desire not to pay too much. Neither wants to miss out – vendor on sales, purchasers on properties they have set their heart on. The point or price that is neither too little nor too much depending on where you are standing is arrived at by small (usually!) adjustments until the two parties evolve to a position they find mutually satisfactory.

Many vendors and purchasers think they can deliver a price ultimatum. If this is done before the market value is arrived at, it will usually bring negotiations to an end. The Oxford Dictionary (1993) says "It is not a negotiation when one party says 'this is what I want.'" It is easy to forget that market forces dictate prices and vendors who say: “We need $x to buy what we want” and purchasers who say: “This is my one and only offer, take it or leave it” need to ask themselves whether they have based their figures on analysis of past selling prices for similar houses, and not on their own wishful thinking. Whether you’re a purchaser or a vendor, leaving a window open for negotiation usually means you won’t get the door closed on the sale.

Where the balance of power lies in negotiations depends on the market. In a sellers’ market, vendors can and do make ultimatums and hold out for dream prices, while in a buyers’ market it is the buyers who have the upper hand in any negotiations.

Read more at Local Property News


Property owners ask the wrong questions when looking at tenant applications, potentially turning away suitable tenants because they focus on the wrong information.

Asking for too much personal information or looking for tenants with a certain lifestyle is not only intrusive but could lead landlords to turn away potentially good tenants. It doesn’t matter if they have green hair or go to church or vote X, Y or Z – but it does matter that they have a good track record for paying rent on time!

Agents picking up the pieces after the event report that many people also don’t know how to analyse and interpret the information they end up with. Investors managing property for themselves often get too involved to be impartial. They know that maximising investment income is entirely dependent upon keeping arrears, vacancies and repairs and maintenance to a minimum and yield and capital appreciation at a maximum, but find it difficult to do in practice.

Evaluating the two most important background checks – previous rental history and employment record – is difficult when you are inexperienced or emotionally involved with the property.*

For example, tenants might pay their rent up to date upon vacating but might have been a problem during the tenancy. Or someone might be in full time employment for many years and still not be a good tenant. One or two factors are insufficient to build up a profile of the prospective tenant. On the other hand, inexperienced do-it-yourselfers tend to ask for too much information, which means they end up with a longer vacancy because they are never satisfied.

Many investors are unaware that personal references are not a valid indicator of tenant reliability. Most agents report that, in all their years of managing property, they have never seen a bad personal reference. Friends and relatives don’t write negative things about those close to them and even if they do, prospective tenants are not going to offer bad references to landlords or agents.

* Those asking for tenant references should remember to comply with all governing legislation and regulations that apply in the location of the property being rented. Read more at Local Property News

Get Involved with Advertising your Home

It takes a certain expertise to write a good property advertisement, but as a home owner, you know your house better than anyone else. So give some thought to the benefits of living in your particular corner of the world. Some of the attributes that could help sell your home might actually surprise even you.

Your agents (or their ad writers) might be able to write a better ad than you, the home owner, but they can’t write an ad that speaks to the hearts of potential buyers without the benefit of your intimate connection with the property.

What sort of things might the agent want to know?

If you are in an inner city home unit you might mention the bus at the door that has lots of great cafe stops on its route, or the sun in the bedroom on a winter morning, or the fact that there is a laundry on every floor shared by only 4 units, many of whom have built laundries in their own bathrooms.

If you are in a suburban house it might be a back gate leading to a track to the local park where your kids can play without having to walk there by the road, or the number of bird attracting plants in your garden.

These are things your agent can’t be expected to know – so make sure you jot down these benefits as they occur to you and let the agent use it as a basis for writing the best ad. Don’t expect the agent to use all the material you give them – let them be the judge of which benefits will best appeal to local buyers, and when too much information is counter-productive.

Read more at Local Property News

How to Suss out a 'Good' Location

What do most experienced investors say about where to buy? Are a ‘good’ suburb and a ‘good’ location interchangeable terms?

Real estate investors need to distinguish between ‘good’ in terms of ‘classy, expensive, elite’ and ‘good’ as in ‘llikely to go up in value’. While ‘good’ suburbs in the classy sense are also ‘good’ in the sense that they are likely to go up in value, there are many not-so-classy suburbs where the prices are more accessible for starting investors that will experience capital growth (on a percentage basis) just as fast as their more elegant cousins.

So what exactly do estate agents, investors and experienced home buyers mean when they agree that a location is a ‘good’ one for capital gain?

Experienced investors usually look for proximity to services or potential services such as transport, schools and other amenities, as well as areas of employment.

Those who want even more support for their choice often analyse demographic trends so they can pinpoint areas of future housing need. For example it is possible to work out how many people in any given year are reaching what statisticians call the formation age. Those born twenty five years ago are now statistically ready to enter the housing market, either to rent or to buy - obviously creating demand. Investors should look at the history of the cycle of supply and demand for their chosen area and understand how this pattern relates to housing cycles generally.

Experienced investors who understand the housing supply and demand cycle buy when the market is low. Yet this is the very time when many novice investors decide to sell their one and only property and invest somewhere else. Successful investors not only hold on to their property long term thereby maximising gain and income/cost ratio, they buy more properties whenever their accountant or financial adviser gives them the go-ahead.

Another location investment indicator is rental vacancy rates. Areas where vacancies are low are not only likely to provide secure rental income but should also deliver good capital gain; prices increase because of demand from investors attracted to the rents and renters who are motivated to buy.

In fact, no single indicator tells the whole story. As in any other field of human endeavour the luck factor can be minimised if people know that there are several indicators to consider. It also pays to seek advice from a wide range of sources: accountants, real estate agents, financial planners and other investors.

Read more at Local Property news

Putting your advertising dollar to work

In the US, eight out of ten people (in Australia and New Zealand seven out of ten) make their initial foray into the market via the Internet. After all, the net is convenient, inexpensive and wide-ranging and it allows purchasers to be anonymous until they are ready to buy. What do the Internet and other technologies mean for the more traditional advertising vehicles and how does a vendor work out how to get the best value for advertising dollar with so much out there to choose from?

Should vendors spend their advertising dollars by concentrating on saturation advertising in a few advertising vehicles or should they spread it more thinly over a wider range? Traditional advertising vehicles (window display, local paper, signboard) are still popular, but the Internet is not the only recent advance in real estate marketing. In the United States and in some parts of Australia and New Zealand, the use of Mobile or SMS marketing is also an option as well as social networking sites.

Most professional agents conduct bona fide local research to establish what media work best in their area. Informed vendors would do well to ask if agents have done that research and what the results show, rather than making the assumption that the more widely (thinly!) they spread their advertising dollar, the more successful it is likely to be. While the successful media vary from location to location throughout Australia and New Zealand, the number of media that generate 80% of enquiry is usually no more than four. The main three are usually Internet, newspapers and For Sale boards.

Confusion arises because some less professional agents recommend a wide range of advertising vehicles that sound good to the lay consumer even though the statistics about where the purchasers come from don’t actually support them. It is easier for some agents to offer to advertise in a large number of media rather than do the research that isolates where the vendor’s dollar is best spent.

Read more at Local Property News.

Look Closely at Touch-Ups

When inspecting a home to buy it is always nice to walk into a property that is well-presented, with new paint finishes and everything spick and span. But sometimes it’s all too good to be true.

While most repairs and new paint represent the efforts of proud home owners paying attention to detail to maximise buyer interest, homebuyers should remember that recent renovations in properties for sale aren’t always what they seem.

Over time most houses will show evidence of the lifestyle of the people who have been living in them. Stains appear after friends have dropped in with a bottle of red, or under the debris left by teenagers cooking themselves dinner. Most of these stains are normal wear and tear.

But some stains represent functional problems; a carpet stain might mean a leaky toilet or shower cubicle on the floor above or adjacent, or it might mean a crack in the foundations through which water is seeping; stains on paint or wallpaper near a window can indicate moisture problems caused by loose glass or fittings; stains in the middle of walls can indicate a (costly-to-repair) leaking internal pipe.

Home buyers should pay special attention to improvements that appear isolated or surfaces that seem touched up. New paintwork, especially where small areas such as one wall or one corner of a room, or back-to-back walls appear to have been done rather than the whole room should be carefully assessed to see if it hides mould or temporarily conceals cracks. Be suspicious when some areas are slick with new paint while other rooms seemingly in need have been bypassed. Even new latticework may be less than innocent; it can be used to hide termite or other infestations.

Prospective purchasers should inspect any recent workmanship carefully. Most work will be just as it seems: conscientious home sellers getting ready for the big event. Still, training yourself to look carefully during inspections so that you spot the repairs that are little more than bandaids for larger problems is likely to cost less time, money and stress in the long run.

Read more at Local Property News

Does YOUR Home Have Hidden Qualities?

Many home sellers forget that their home is more than meets the purchaser’s eye. They no longer remember that behind the smart décor there is attention to detail and quality workmanship. But these features often cost a lot even though they aren’t immediately apparent to purchasers. Could they add value to a home?

Most purchasers like to take their time to compare properties for sale before making a decision, so making sure your agent has access to information about even the improvements that aren’t obvious and visible may not only add dollars to the price of your home, but also determine a purchaser’s choice in favour of your property over the one round the corner. There are very few purchasers who don’t gravitate to good workmanship or attention to detail in maintenance. It’s true that in a very active market, purchasers often make their decisions based only on a quick analysis of the major features of the home; they don’t have the time to pay attention to detail because they will lose the property to a buyer who is prepared to move faster. When the market slows down, however, they have a lot more time to be fussy about even the smallest details in the effort to ensure they are making a good buy.

Hidden improvements can include things like insulation, sound-proofing, plumbing and electrical work, soil improvement and so on. Purchasers often use this kind of information simply to help them to confirm their soundness of their choice; the quality of the maintenance and attention to detail makes them feel comfortable and secure in the knowledge that their choice is a sound one.

Most agents will prompt vendors to tell them about the improvements they have made over the years, but it is a good idea to have a list ready for the agent’s very first visit, in case you forget something. It also helps the agent to accurately appraise the value of the property in the first place.

Read more at Local Property News

67 Hints for Smart Property Buyers

Posted: 30th August 2011

Buying a new home? See below for a checklist that will help you remember all the things you need to assess to be sure you are making a good buy.


  • Does the area have, or will it have, all amenities you might need (eg. shops, schools and transport)?
  • Is it zoned residential?
  • Is the electricity connected?
  • Is the sewer connected?
  • Is it free from road widening proposals?


  • Is it free from filling, loose boulders, excess seepage of water, steep grading or are there dense trees? If you are considering extensions, an engineer's report may be necessary to assess the block.
  • Is it free from landslip? Check with your local council and if necessary obtain a geo-technical engineer's report.


  • Is the paintwork in good condition?
  • Is the building free from damp?
  • Signs of damp, especially rising damp, are usually found around window sills, chimney breasts, on ceilings and under floor coverings.
  • Are the walls free from cracks, both inside and outside?
  • Are the roofing, guttering and downpipes in good condition?
  • Is the floor level and in sound condition? Are timber floors free from springs? Are concrete floors free from cracks?
  • Is the plaster in good condition?
  • Check behind furniture.
  • Is the size and type of hot water service suitable? Will it be large enough for future needs?
  • Is the house insulated, both ceilings and walls?
  • Does the house have good natural lighting and ventilation in all rooms?
  • Do the windows and doors open and close properly?
  • Are there any flyscreens?
  • Turn on all taps to check for water pressure and water hammer.
  • Does water in sinks and basins drain away quickly?
  • Check the number of power points. Are they suitably located?
  • Are air-conditioning or heating appliances included in the price? Are they in good condition? Are they paid for?
  • Is the telephone connected?
  • Will the house be expensive to maintain?
  • Are paths and fences in good condition?
  • If there is a pool, does the fencing comply with safety standard regulations?
  • Is there a garage or carport?
  • Are there storage facilities?
  • Is it possible to extend the house for future needs?
  • Has the house already been added to?
  • Were these extensions approved by council?
  • What exactly is included in the price? Floor coverings, blinds, washing machine, light fittings? Are they fully paid for and what is their condition?
  • Will your furniture fit in the house? Are doorways and passageways wide enough to move furniture through? Is access easy?


  • Will the bedrooms be affected by noise and light factors? eg. nearness to an intersection may cause problems with traffic lights, headlights from passing cars, screeching brakes. If the house is on a hill, trucks changing gears can create noise.
  • Are the bedrooms located so that they are reasonably free from living area noise?
  • Is there sufficient ventilation? Will the bedrooms be cool in summer?
  • Will your furniture fit?
  • Are wardrobes included in the price?


  • Is there sufficient ventilation?
  • Is there a fan to extract steam?
  • Is the shower recess free from leaks? Test to see if water leaks through or under the screen.
  • Is there a power point?
  • Is hot water connected?
  • Are there mirrors, cupboards, towel rails?
  • Is the toilet in good condition?


  • Are there sufficient cupboards for storage, and bench space for preparing and serving food?
  • Do the cupboard open and shut properly? Is there room for additional cupboards?
  • Condition of the stove. Is it large enough? Is there an exhaust fan? Do they work properly? Test.
  • Is there adequate lighting, both natural and artificial?
  • Will the refrigerator fit? Is there room for a dishwasher and microwave?
  • Is there sufficient ventilation?


  • Will your furniture fit? Is there room for an extended dining table?
  • Is the kitchen close enough to serve food easily?
  • Are there power points?
  • Is the lighting adequate?
  • Is there heating? Is it gas, electric or oil? Will it be expensive to run? Is it paid for?


  • Will my furniture fit? eg. Stereo, lounge, TV, chairs, table, piano?
  • Is there a TV antenna outlet?
  • Is there a heater or air conditioner included in the price? Is it gas, electric or oil? Will it be expensive to run? Is it paid for?


  • Is the hot water connected?
  • Can your automatic washing machine be installed without any problems?
  • Are there any power points?
  • Is there room for a clothes dryer?
  • Are there ironing facilities?
  • Is there a floor waste (drain) or is the floor sufficiently graded so that any overflow water can escape without causing damage?
Read more at Local Property News.

Tips for Selecting an Agent

How do home owners who want to sell soon decide which agent to choose? Some may be lucky enough to have an ongoing relationship with the agent they bought their current house from or the one who sold their previous house, but if not, the following suggestions, based on current research into what vendors look for in a selling agent isolates three essential criteria you can use to base your choice on. It is a good idea not to go by one criterion alone but assess all three together.

  1. Most vendors say that the agent with a prominent brand and local profile, the one who appears to have the strongest market presence (signboards) is the one who is selling the most property. In the city local presence is defined as within 5 kilometres of the agent's office; in the country thirty kilometres.
  2. The second thing experienced vendors are looking for is local reputation and history of getting results. To find this out, it pays to talk to people who have just sold in your area and ask them how they found their selling experience with the agent they used.
  3. The third criterion is the agency’s website. This is easy to assess for yourself if you take a few weeks to keep an eye on it. Analyse their currently presented listings – if you were a buyer, would you find them attractively presented with all the information you need – and quick and easy to access?

Of course, when you are talking to agents prior to listing, your gut feeling is often an important guide. Feeling as if you are likely to have a rapport with your agent is a likely sign of a successful ongoing relationship and a good sales outcome. Read more at Local Property News

Are you Investing or Speculating?

Many unsuspecting would-be investors fall foul of high risk speculative schemes every day. Investing means putting money where there is a high probability of getting a good return and improving on the original amount invested and a low probability of losing your initial invested sum. The word ‘probability’ sums up the amount of risk involved. It is worth noting that risk can almost never be eliminated entirely.

People take risks every day. When driving on our roads, most drivers abide by speed limits and road rules so that there is a low probability of having an accident or infringement (We'll call these drivers investor drivers). But risk of accident or infringement can't be totally eliminated. There are many people who drive fast and recklessly, more bent on saving time than being sure of arriving in one piece and without a speeding or red light camera infringement. These drivers have a much higher probability of having an accident or an infringement fine of some sort – but of course it is always possible that they will get through a year without having either. We’ll call these drivers the speculator drivers. If the speculator drivers get through the year without an accident or a fine, they are better off than the investor drivers who take more time getting to where they are going. But it’s hard not to think of that famous Clint Eastwood line ‘Do You Feel Lucky, Punk?’ Speculator drivers have a high risk of losing life and money with their driving strategy.

So it is with speculating in investment terms. Speculating means putting money where the likelihood of good returns is not so probable! Many people are tempted by speculative ventures because they usually offer a very good return – a factor that causes many people to overlook the fact that the risk is so high that not only could they end up with no return, they could even lose their original investment.

In general it pays to beware of new ventures, especially where you get a phone call or an email from someone you don’t know pushing a venture that sounds too good to be true, or offering great profits to ‘a few select clients.’ If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

Anyone intending to embark on investing money should take advice from a reputable and experienced financial adviser to be sure they are reading the signs correctly and avoid the heartache and financial loss that comes when investments turn out to be at best speculation and at worst, cons!

Read more at Local Property News.

Purchasers Up Their Inspection Rate

A interesting article by Local Property News about buyers doing inspections on houses they may not be interested in, to help them research for their own purchase.

Many intending purchasers turn down the opportunity of inspecting properties in their price range simply because “it doesn’t sound like me” or “I don’t want to live in that street”. They think this will save them wasting time on houses they are convinced they will never buy. But is there sometimes a valid reason to look at a property, even if you will never buy it?

Getting yourself ready or ‘qualified’ to make an offer with confidence depends on doing thorough research, so what if there isn’t much to look at in your price range and almost nothing that ‘sounds like you’?

Even properties that don’t appeal are relevant for what they add to a purchaser’s knowledge of prices and market trends. The more properties they see in their price range in a short space of time, the sooner they will be ready to buy.

Most professional agents will provide information about recent sales; many make it available on their websites. Conscientious purchasers take a notebook with them on inspections and jot down their comments for later comparison. When they see a signboard with a sold sticker on it, they ring the agent and find out what the property sold for. They also follow up all the houses they have inspected to find out whether they sold quickly and for what price.

An added benefit for purchasers who inspect every property they can is that they are less likely to miss out on their dream home just because they’re not knowledgeable enough about the market to make an offer. The buyer remorse that comes from realising too late that a property was the right one is second only to that of the buyer who jumps in before they know the market and realises in hindsight that they have paid too much.

Read more on our Facebook page.

Market Report - 25/07/11

Posted: 26th July 2011

As always, local market data must be considered in conjunction with the overriding domestic and global conditions, due to their significant impact on buyer sentiment.

According to the latest finalised auction results from RP Data, Sydney’s clearance rate rose slightly to 55%, Melbourne and Adelaide remained stable at 50% and 42% respectively and Brisbane fell to 20%. Volumes in other capital cities were too low to yield meaningful averages.

Early last week, Westpac broke ranks with other financial institutions to announce they now believe a raft of interest rate cuts totalling 1% will begin in December. Chief economist Bill Evans said on U-Tube that he believes the catalyst for the fall will be global turmoil, centred in Europe. Warren Hogan from ANZ told the ABC rates are likely to remain steady and not rise or fall. An article in the Herald Sun said CommSec, JP Morgan and TD Securities are both tipping a .25% rate rise in November. Most economists agreed, saying rate rises will be needed to check inflation caused by the mining boom. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the conflicting forecasts have resulted in a historically rare event; the interest rate for 3 year fixed mortgages have now become almost level with the variable rate of around 7.36%.

Meanwhile, the Sydney Morning Herald reported New South Wales has been named equal last with flood-ravaged Queensland on the latest CommSec economic table. Chief economist Craig James says while Queensland’s position is understandable due to a series of natural disasters, NSW has problems that go much deeper. The article said the treasurer Wayne Swan has acknowledged parts of Australia’s economy are weak.

An article in the Australian said job cuts in the retail and banking sectors are looming. Gerry Harvey, of Harvey Norman, told the Herald that there is no light on the horizon, with consumers already behaving as though unemployment has dramatically accelerated.

In overseas news, at a crisis meeting between European nations in Brussels late last week, the crippling debt problems faced by Greece were eased with a proposed $A50 billion rescue package. While the news came as a relief to concerned global markets, the arrangement could still result in a selective default which may well trigger solvency problems throughout the EU.

With uncertainty still dominating the outlook, we encourage you to carefully consider the activity around your property this week.


Matt rogers
Sales Manager

Why Vendors Choose VIP Open Homes

Local Property News looks into why vendors choose VIP open homes before public auction for early sales.

Are you a vendor or a potential vendor who is looking to gain more control over the time-frame in which your property sells - without necessarily wanting to sell your property by Public Auction? What if there was a way to find a buyer really early in the piece - and at the same time save money?

While there is no such thing as a technique that will work for everyone everywhere, there are certainly steps that can be taken by savvy vendors to increase the probability of an early sale.

Before even listing your property for sale, make sure you choose an agent who can demonstrate a data base of qualified purchasers looking for a property similar to yours. After all, people that have already looked at several properties and not found the right one yet are usually the most motivated. Perhaps they have already missed out on a property they really wanted and are determined to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Without doubt, these purchasers have done enough research to be ready and able to make the decision to buy straight away. If your agent doesn’t suggest it to you, ask about the possibility of conducting a VIP Open Home - one which only those qualified purchasers already on the agent’s data base are invited to attend. Organise a suitable day with your agent and ask them to invite the appropriate people to your home.

VIP Open Homes should be attended on an invitation-only basis and conducted before the first publicly advertised Open for Inspection so that the most ready-to-buy purchasers see the home and have a chance to make an offer before anyone else does.

In this fashion, many vendors have attracted buyers from amongst the motivated purchasers who have been unsuccessful up to that point in finding the right property. Vendors who sell at this stage should be able to save money on advertising costs, as well as having the peace of mind that comes with a quick sale.

How have VIP open homes worked for you? Tell us!

The 7 Things Buyers See First

Great tips from Local Property News on the things that buyers often see first, that you may not even think of!

Many people concentrate on interiors when putting their house up for sale. For good reason - the inside is where purchasers will be living and sleeping. But overlooking the exterior of the house can undo some of the good work home sellers have done inside when they de-clutter, paint and generally pay attention to maintenance.

Purchasers start making judgements from the minute they step out of the car - and a bad first impression can stay with them when they go inside. Untidy or damaged gutters, cobwebs or overgrown gardens brimming with weeds, might just make purchasers decide you don’t care about your home - and make them wonder how good your attention to detail is in the areas they can’t see like plumbing and wiring. Cleanliness is important - even people who don’t mind their own dirt and clutter usually notice other people’s. Before putting the house on the market, stand at the curb and have a critical look. This is the first view your purchasers will see. Does it measure up? Here are six things that are easy to do and will make a difference to the exterior of your house.

  1. Sweep paths and decks.
  2. Clean gutters, window frames and eaves.
  3. Don’t forget to wash outdoor or deck furniture if you have it - in winter it is easy to overlook if you’re not using it like you do in summer. If it is grungy and decrepit, borrow or buy something that suits your home. It’s not expensive in the scheme of things.
  4. Clear away odds and ends - even those that are lurking in the less visited parts of the garden. Remember purchasers will see EVERYTHING. Old plant pots and broken toys or tool, even the half-finished projects or building materials that look like works in progress to you - all these spoil the look of your house.
  5. Organise for high pressure hoses to clean mould or moss from brick work or stone.
  6. Invest in a bit of mulching - it makes garden beds look tidy and the property look nurtured and loved.
  7. Put in some colour where you know people will notice it. You can use pots if that is easier. Just make sure they are kept watered as drooping plants are worse than no plants at all.

The Pros and Cons of different auction venues

A great artcle in Local Property News highlighting the pros and cons between auction venues.

There are usually two choices when it comes to the auction venue for your property – in the agent’s rooms or at the property. (There is a third option – at a public venue such as a club function room which is where agents hold their auctions if they have so many that their rooms will not be adequate.) There are advantages and disadvantages of both in-room and on-site auctions.


  1. Buyers put themselves out to go to an agent’s office or public venue so you know that people who attend are serious – no curious neighbours or people out for a jog. In some ways it’s easier to achieve a higher price as everyone is facing the front and it’s harder (but not impossible!) for two bidders to make eye contact and agree to pull out of a bidding race, especially as there is less chance that they will be seated near each other when there are lots of people.
  2. If there is a tenant, it is often simply not practicable to hold the auction on-site.
  3. The agent’s rooms are often more comfortable and less cramped than inside the property (not always of course!) – but at least the weather doesn’t make much difference to attendance and atmosphere.

  4. You are unlikely to have neighbours invading your privacy just for their own amusement - and maybe making inappropriate comments and putting people off.
  5. On the downside, if there are lots of properties for sale and yours is not early in the Order of Sale, purchasers can get fatigued as the night wears on. As each sale is processed, more and more people leave, so if your property is last, there may seem to be little interest in it.


  1. The atmosphere can be more emotionally charged, especially if the property is unusual or highly sought after. This can sometimes make buyers feel more desire for the property and they may offer more money in order not to miss out. It is often harder for them to stick to their limit when the property they desire is right there (unless of course they are limited by loan limitations as many are).
  2. Passersby add to the atmosphere, especially if they are complimentary about the house for sale within earshot of interested purchasers.
  3. Buyer attention is focused on one property so your property isn’t overwhelmed by the sheer number of other properties being auctioned.

In the end, your choice of auction venue may depend on practical considerations or the usual practice of the agent, but knowing the advantages and disadvantages of each venue means you can influence the decision according to your own informed choice.

If you choose in-rooms, ask your agent to guarantee you a spot near the top of the order of sale. If you have time before your property goes on the market, attend several auctions of each kind and assess them for yourself before making the final decision.

We'd love to hear which site you prefer?

Market Report - 27/06/11

Posted: 27th June 2011

In terms of the overall property market, the latest finalised auction results from RP Data revealed the clearance rates in the country’s major auction capitals of Melbourne and Sydney have slipped to just 48%. Brisbane and Adelaide were up slightly, with clearance rates of 24% and 39% respectively. Volumes in other capital cities were too low to yield meaningful averages.

The Real Estate Institute of Victoria reported that in 2010, the clearance rate during the equivalent period was a healthy 65%, compared to 2009 at the peak of the market when 87% of properties sold under the hammer. An article in the Sydney Morning Herald said properties are now sitting on the market for an average of 87 days, a full 25 days longer than in June last year.

A News Ltd article said the Australian market is being flooded with home units that were originally purchased off the plan. Buyers unable to get finance or unwilling to settle at prices above current market value are apparently walking away from their deposits. The report said although most capital cities have pockets of oversupply, in places like the Gold and Sunshine Coasts the effect has been devastating.

The debate over interest rates continued, with an AAP article saying the minutes of the Reserve Bank’s (RBA) last meeting indicate a rate hike will be necessary at some point. Another AAP article said the minutes showed rates will remain on hold for some time, until at least September. Yet another AAP article reported that the outlook for the Australian economy is weak for the next three to nine months, as the economy continues to feel the after-effects of natural disasters. Westpac senior economist Matthew Hassan said he doesn’t expect an interest rate rise until November. Meanwhile, a Herald Sun article said some traders are now betting interest rates could actually drop. Continuing uncertainty over interest rates and the state of the economy in general is leading to declining buyer urgency. It will be critical to carefully review any activity around your property this week.


Matt Rogers
Sales Manager

When buyers act tough

Posted: 27th June 2011

Some great tips from Local Property News for buyers/sellers who are negotating a property sale.

Most purchasers have to undertake some form of negotiation when they buy a property. How much or how little they can afford to negotiate depends on the market; negotiating too hard in a sellers’ market is never worth it as there will be many other buyers keen to pay more just to secure a property. It is worth considering the strategy of negotiating from the asking price to an acceptable selling price – and realising that there are many things that inexperienced buyers say in the stress of the moment that might make them miss out.

Many so-called experts say that buyers should hide their interest in a property. While it is foolish to tell a selling agent that you are so keen that you will do whatever it takes to secure the home, it is equally foolish to denigrate the home to try and hide your growing attachment to it. Most agents can tell stories of vendors who have chosen to take less for a property in order to sell to someone they think will love it and look after it, and will turn down purchasers who appear not to be ‘suitable’ – especially if they have two sets of purchasers willing to pay the same price. After all, if you have lived in your home for ten years, planted the garden and painstakingly renovated the house yourself, who would you rather sell to? A nice young married couple who have admired your garden layout and want somewhere for their toddler to play and have made a realistic offer, or a brash investor who has come up with a list of faults in order to justify a low offer?

Furthermore, comments such as "I’ve seen other properties that are better than yours and cheaper" rarely work. Sellers are human too and some will even cut off their nose to spite their face if they are riled by comments made by purchasers they think a mercenary or insensitive. Business is business, but it is carried out by human beings who are often motivated as much by their emotions as by logic – and if there are more buyers that houses for sale, vendors can afford to indulge their spleen and not lose any sales dollars over it.

Ultimatums also rarely work. A buyer who says: “That’s my final offer." will very rarely get a vendor to reduce the price while a buyer who nibbles away, going up a little at a time will often bring a vendor down lower than they initially planned to go.

Tell us your negotation stories

Market Report 17/06/11

Posted: 17th June 2011

In terms of the overall property market, the latest auction clearance rates from RP Data showed a 4% increase in the Sydney clearance rate to 54%, while Melbourne dropped slightly to 53%. The declines were greater in Brisbane and Adelaide, with clearance rates of 22% and 35% respectively. Volumes in other capital cities were too low to yield meaningful volumes.

Figures released last week by SQM Research revealed that residential listings for May 2011 declined modestly, falling 1149 to 369,489 nationally - a decrease of 0.3% since April 2011. More importantly, there has still been a 29.7% increase in stock levels when compared to the same month (May) in 2010. (See table below)

City May 2010 Houses May 2010 Units Apr 2011 Houses Apr 2011 Units May 2011 Houses May 2011 Units YOY% Change MOM% Change
National 231575 53249 300456 70182 300044 69445 29.7% -0.3%
Adelaide 10124 1710 14244 2355 14385 2469 42.4% 1.5%
Brisbane 18877 4374 24944 5761 24520 5791 30.4% -1.3%
Canberra 959 323 1313 541 1306 548 44.6% 0.0%
Darwin 707 418 1070 659 1128 664 59.3% 3.6%
Hobart 2364 340 3032 514 3140 530 35.7% 3.5%
Melbourne 20831 8324 32572 10979 32753 10867 49.6% 0.2%
Perth 12783 3081 17586 4292 17521 4226 37.1% -0.6%
Sydney 15495 10172 20393 12985 19705 12498 25.5% -3.5%

After weeks of conflicting reports, home owners were spared a rate rise after the Reserve Bank’s June meeting last week amid warnings that as inflation risks mount, rates will rise. A news.com.au article reported that economists are now predicting the official cash rate will increase by a full one percent over the coming 12 months. HSBC chief economist Paul Bloxham said the next increase is likely to be as soon as July or August.

Critical job numbers were released during the week, with employment rising by much less than economists expected. Australia’s unemployment rate stayed at a two year low of 4.9% in May for the third month in a row, with full time employment dropping by 22,000.

The most recent Rismark/RP Data House Price Index has revealed a further decline of .3% in capital city prices during April, with a cumulative drop of 1.5% recorded over the previous 12 months. The upper end suffered the worst effects with the top 20% of properties down 5.4%, compared with price declines of .5% for the least expensive 20%. Chief economist of AMP Dr Shane Oliver told the Sydney Morning Herald that estimate prices are still running at about 25% above their long term trend. The OECD took a dimmer view, saying Australian house prices compared to income are 34% above their long term average.

Chapman Property are still experiencing strong sales numbers, but with continuing buyer uncertainty around interest rates and economic conditions unlikely to improve in the short to medium term, we encourage you to carefully review all activity around your property, including your marketing strategy.


Matt Rogers
Sales Manager

Rennovations should be seamless

Posted: 16th June 2011

Another great article from Local Property News, this time, on things to consider to help you with the renovation process.

If you are thinking of renovating to sell, there are some rules to help you make, rather than waste, money.

The main general principle to consider is whether the house will look harmonious. Many people renovate the worst thing in the house (e.g the kitchen) only to find that the rest of the house looks much dingier now that the kitchen is fixed. The kitchen may now be worth more, but possibly the rest of the house is worth less as to buyers it’s all relative. So the money you make on one may be reduced on the other.

Seen as harmonious whole, a house where all rooms are of a similar standard and style seems in better condition than if one area is renovated, creating an island of contrast that shows up the rest of the property. Kitchens and bathrooms add value to a home, but they may add less than you expect if the rest of the house will now look shabby. Better to leave it for the next person, particularly as you will be trying to recoup the cost and the higher price tag restricts you to buyers in a higher price range, narrowing the pool of buyer possibilities. Many people who don’t have money now but expect to have it in a few years buy unrenovated houses and simply put up with them they way the are until they can afford to fix them.

Conversely, if the rest of the house is renovated, it would be unwise to stop short at the kitchen and bathroom even if you have to borrow money to do it. If the house presents as a seamless harmonious whole, the wow factor is reflected in sales dollars. Don’t extend to sell - this makes the propertry more expensive and narrows the market to a higher price range and those who like your taste, as long as you take the advice of the experts (e.g. choose neutral colours that appeal to a wider market)

We'd love to hear your renovation stories on our new Facebook page

Market Report - 10/06/11

Posted: 10th June 2011

In terms of the overall property market, the latest finalised auction results from RP Data show Melbourne’s clearance rate remaining consistent at 54% while Sydney slipped 6% from the previous week to 50%. Brisbane continued its recent steady climb with 52% of properties selling and Adelaide spiked to 41%. Volumes in other capital cities were too low to yield meaningful averages.

During the week, a News Ltd article reported that residential property values have fallen across the country and declines will escalate as the year goes on. With 70% more properties on the market than this time last year, experts predicted Australia is heading for a property price “correction” of up to 10% across the board and a ”crash” of more than 20% in selected regions.

A Sydney Morning Herald article reported that the number of home loans in arrears is now at its highest level for 15 years. Loans written in 2008 and 2009 are particularly affected, coinciding with the release of the Government’s stimulus package affecting the First Home Owner’s Grant and Stamp Duty concessions. During that time, the official cash rate had also dropped from 7.25% to just 3%, creating a flurry of activity in the property market and pushing up prices. The article concluded home loans of this “vintage” are particularly vulnerable to increased arrears rates in the event of further interest rate rises. Any increase in forced sales will only weaken the property market further.

Figures released last week show the Australian economy contracted in the March quarter for the first time since December 2008, the height of the GFC. The Australian reported the contraction is the worst since the recession of 1991, but say regardless, the Reserve Bank is still likely to raise interest rates in the next few months.

The recent weak economic data teamed with a bleak outlook overall are not good news for property sellers. We urge you to carefully consider any activity around your property this week in light of the current conditions.


Matt Rogers
Sales Manager

5 Tips for renters who want to stay

Posted: 9th June 2011

Another great article by Local Property News giving some great tips for renters who want to stay where they are.

One of the drawbacks of renting is that the landlords may want you to move out at some stage. This could be for reasons that you can’t help such as their needing to sell the property or wanting a family member to live in it, but sometimes even the decision to sell could have been influenced by the tenants themselves. What can you do to minimise the risk of this happening?

  1. Many tenants make the mistake of thinking that landlords are ‘wealthy’. But many of them are young people - themselves living in shared houses to be able to afford to pay off a loan, or young couples with children making economies on holidays in order to prepare for their retirement. For such landlords, the fact that the rent is paid on time is very important to their cash flow, and tenants who think it ‘doesn’t matter’ if they get a bit behind in the rent may be setting themselves up for trouble in the long run.
  2. Some tenants complain all the time and require even the smallest maintenance jobs to be done by the landlord. On the other hand, there are those who don’t bother making the call even for something serious that may cost the owner more money the longer the repair remains undone.
  3. Think of the impact you have on neighbours. If neighbours complain about noise or rubbish left lying around to the agent landlord or worse police, it goes without saying that you won’t get to stay once the lease expires.
  4. You may not be too fussy about dust or soap scum yourself but if you know it’s inspection time - get cleaning. If the place looks well cared for, agents and landlords won’t be looking for other things.
  5. Ask before making any changes to the property - even putting nails in the walls to hang pictures.

Tell us what reasons you've been given to leave.

Buying a property with a friend

Posted: 3rd June 2011

A great article in Local Property News this month on buying a property where more than one owner is involved and the differences between the two types of contracts.

The two kinds of property ownership contracts are: 'joint tenancy' and 'tenants in common'. Determining which is most suitable in your case will differ if you are buying with a friend or business partner or if you are buying with a spouse.

Usually when more than one person buys a property, they do so with a spouse. But with the price of real estate these days in most major cities, more and more people are opting to buy with a friend or business partner, either to live in together or to rent out as an investment.

The two types of contract available are Joint Tenancy and Tenancy in Common. Both types of contract allow for the owners to sell their share of the property to someone else, but they are different in other ways.

As a joint tenant you are entitled to possession of the entire property, but if you die, your joint tenant automatically owns the property no matter what your will says. Therefore this type of contract is normally only used by people in a close relationship.

If the contract specifies that you and your co-owner are Tenants in Common, it means that you can leave your share to a friend, child or other person in your will. This form of ownership is suitable for people making a business venture, or for friends who are using shared ownership as a means of getting into the market at a lower figure than if they were to buy a whole property by themselves. The arrangement can be 50/50 or any other ratio that works for you.

Note: Always obtain your own individual legal advice as it relates to your specific circumstances.

We're eager to hear if our readers knew the difference between the two, or even that they existed at all?

Market Report - 31/05/11

Posted: 31th May 2011

In terms of the overall property market, the latest finalised auction results from RP Data show the Sydney and Melbourne markets have remained reasonably consistent over recent weeks, with clearance rates of 56.5% and 53.9% respectively. Brisbane was up slightly at 29.7% while Adelaide dropped to 25.3%. Volumes in other capital cities were too low to yield meaningful results.

Economists remain divided on forecasts of the Reserve Bank’s interest rates decision next week. An AAP article said weaker-than-expected construction data for the March quarter now makes a June rate hike unlikely. Meanwhile, a Daily Telegraph article quoted Westpac economists as saying the outlook for economic growth is stabilising, negating the need for any interest rate rise at all for the next 12 months.

Outside of any possible official increases in the cash rate, a Herald Sun article said it’s now possible the banks may increase rates of their own accord if ratings agency Standard and Poor go ahead with a downgrade of Australian lenders. Regardless of when or how interest rates actually do move, uncertainty around rates has a clear dampening effect on buyer confidence.

In other news, SQM director Louis Christopher wrote in an article published on Domain that property prices are falling in nearly every region across the country, some faster than others. A Herald Sun article led with the headline “It’s a Bargain Hunter’s Market as House Sales Plummet” and reported that Melbourne’s auction clearance rate is at its lowest level since the GFC. The article quoted Cameron Cusher from RP Data saying “buyers now hold the power and can really begin to negotiate and pick up a property at a good price”.

There’s little to indicate any improvement in the property market is likely in the short to medium term, while there’s every suggestion that conditions for sellers could well become even more challenging.

Are prices lifting or falling in your suburb? Let us know


Matt Rogers
Sales Manager

10 Things to do in a week to attact a better price

Posted: 24th May 2011

A great article in Local Property News this week on the 10 things you can do that are more likely to improve your chances of attracting a better price.

Most home sellers like to improve the presentation of their homes for sale. But sometimes it is hard to look objectively at the home that has become so familiar over many years and see what needs to be done to make strangers feel at home. The following ten tips aren’t very difficult or costly to undertake - but will pay off in sales dollars.

  1. Clear clutter, room by room. Take out personal photos - you want buyers to imagine themselves there.
  2. Get a professional clean, especially windows.
  3. Tidy up the garden - make it look neat and easy to look after.
  4. Check the outside of the house for neglect - cobwebs and old toys, tools lying around etc. aren’t appealing.
  5. Get rid of any signs of neglect or poor maintenance in the house itself. Replace dead light bulbs, fix squeaky doors, broken blinds, dripping taps etc.
  6. Unless it’s a child’s bedroom, or bedrooms really are too small, put in a double or queen bed or a buyer will assume a bigger one won’t fit.
  7. Put the best quality sheets you can afford on the beds. Make sure you iron them.
  8. Call in a few favours and borrow good furniture to replace any old saggy or stained sofas etc. and get rid of anything you can possibly do without.
  9. Board your pets with a friend and clear away pet clutter.
  10. Make liberal use of fresh flowers.

Anything we’ve missed? Tell us your tips on our new Facebook page

Market Report - 19/05/11

Posted: 19th May 2011

In terms of the overall property market, the latest finalised auction results from RP Data reveal improved clearance rates in both Sydney and Melbourne at 53% and 57% respectively. Brisbane experienced a drop, clearing just 11.8% of auctioned properties, while Adelaide was stable at 31%. Other capital city volumes were too low to yield meaningful averages.

After the release of the Federal Budget on Tuesday, an article in the Daily Telegraph reported that a double whammy is set to the hit the pockets of struggling homeowners. Deeming the budget “penny pinching”, the article said economists now agree an interest rise in June is a virtual certainty due to runaway inflation.

An AAP article quoted Commonwealth chief executive Ralph Norris as saying he expects one or two official interest rate rises in the next six months, which will likely be passed on to borrowers. Norris said the CBA has experienced a “modest uptick” in home loan arrears rates during the March quarter, echoing similar rises in arrears from Westpac and ANZ. In a Herald Sun article, ANZ boss Mike Smith said he has a growing concern that rising interest rates are affecting the ability of some consumers to repay their credit card loans.

SQM Research released stock on market figures for April last week which showed the number of listings on the market have grown by 3.9% last month and more than 68% over the past year. SQM managing director, Louis Christopher, told Smart Money there could be a correction of between 5-10% in capital city prices if the trend continues. He believes some metropolitan areas are at risk of oversupply, with the highest increase in listings over the past twelve months in Melbourne at 105%, Canberra 82%, Perth 74% and Sydney 54%.

With an interest rate rise seemingly imminent and competition between vendors for buyers growing, we encourage you to review carefully any activity around your property this week.

Have you noticed more property on the market in your area? If so, let us know on our new Facebook page


Matt Rogers
Sales Manager

Market Report - 09/05/11

Posted: 9th May 2011

In terms of the overall property market, the latest finalised auction data from RP Data showed clearance rates marginally higher in the major auction centres, with Sydney at 48%, Melbourne at 49% and Brisbane at 23%. Volumes in other capital cities were too low to yield meaningful results.

The Reserve Bank (RBA) left the official cash rate on hold at 4.75% at its May meeting last week, with economists now divided on when, but not if, the next rate increase will come. Official retail figures released shortly after the rates decision showed retail turnover dropped .5% in March, instead of a forecasted .5% rise. The news led a Herald Sun article to conclude interest rates will likely stay on hold until August. In other positive news for borrowers, a Sydney Morning Herald article reported any further “out-of-cycle” rate rises by the banks are now being ruled out, after the big banks have bridged the funding gap over higher priced credit.

The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) house price index showed capital city prices fell by 1.7% in the March quarter, with Brisbane and Melbourne posting the biggest falls. An AAP article reported that the drop was much higher than an expected .5% fall. ANZ chief Mike Smith told the Herald Sun he welcomed the result, saying the fall in house prices is “not a bad thing”.

Another Herald Sun article reported that Westpac’s mortgage default rates are now at higher levels than they were at the peak of the Global Financial Crisis in late 2008. Chief Gail Kelly said the lift in delinquencies were “within our expectations” and were likely to increase further as consumers struggle with climbing prices.

With the prospect of interest rate rises firmly on the horizon, the outlook going forward is uncertain. We urge you to review all activity around your property this week in light of the economic data currently available.

Let us know what you think on our new Facebook page


Matt Rogers
Sales Manager

Property Market Update

Posted: 24th October 2012

We at Chapman Property would like to provide you with an update on the state of the Newcastle property market since the discontinuation of the $7000 first home buyers grant at the start of this month.

There was some concern from industry professionals that after the $7K grant for existing homes wound up at the end of September we would see a decrease in buyer activity and competition in the marketplace with the rapid exit of first home purchasers from the scene. It was thought that this could result in a softening of property prices in the lead up to Christmas. September itself proved to be a very busy month, with my office securing its highest number of sales for our clients in the past 12 month period. The vast majority of which were made to first home purchasers rushing to utilise the grant.

What we have seen so far in October, is not a decrease in buyer activity as some expected, but actually a small increase in activity.. We have found that there were many buyers out there who opted not to compete with the frenzy of first home buyers out there in September, but actually chose to wait and re-enter the market in October. The small decrease in interest rates at the start of the month has also contributed to increased buyer sentiment. We have seen a great increase in the number of families flooding back into the market who are hoping to have their property purchase secured and settlement completed prior to the Christmas break. We have also noticed an increase in serious investors coming through our open homes in recent weeks. The price range in which we have noticed the largest increase in buyer activity has been in the range of $400k - $600k.

There was some concern that the discontinuation of the 7K grant may have a negative bearing on the marketing campaign of our current property listings. However, the result has been the opposite, and we have been very pleasantly surprised with the buyer activity on our current listings in particular one of our current listings having over 160 internet inspections and 13 buyer inspections in the first week of the campaign alone.

We will continue to keep you posted with changes in the market. Should you have any further queries, please feel free to contact us on 4926 1400

Kind regards,

Managing Director

Property Consultant

Property Consultant

Spring Has Arrived!

Posted: 24th October 2012

Over the past few weeks our buyer enquiry has exploded and we have more buyers than properties as we come into the peak spring selling season.

Over the past 2 weeks we have sold 80% of our current available properties and need to find more properties for the current strong buyer demand we have.
We have found from previous years that our buyer enquiries go through the roof as the warmer months of the year approach.

So, if you have been thinking of making the move then I would be more than happy to speak with you and give you some free recommendations and advice that may help you add value to your property for when it does come time to sell.
Call me on 02 4926 1400 to find out what a buyer is willing to pay for your property today.

Kind regards,

Sam Kolatchew
Sales Consultant

A first timers guide to moving out on your own

Moving out for the first time is a very exciting time but can be quite stressful. Here are some great tips to help for a smooth transition.

Newcastle's inner city apartments show strong growth potential

Posted 13th February 2014

Savvy investors are cashing in on Newcastle's promising inner city apartment boom. Chapman Property's Sam Kolatchew explains how you can get in on the deal.

The NSW state government's injection of $340 million to revitalise central Newcastle has made plenty of headlines of late, and the local property market is responding in kind.

The sale of the Port of Newcastle for an expected $700 million-plus has put considerable power behind the revitalisation plan and property investors are already seeing large profit potential in its wake.

House and unit prices in Newcastle have been trending up since 2009, but inner city apartments have seen a steep capital growth incline with a 10.4 per cent median price jump for single-bedroom apartments in the Newcastle CBD and inner city up to 2012, plus a further 2.3 per cent increase last year.

The local property market is attracting strong interest from out-of-town investors, but they're not the only ones who are set to profit. With low interest rates reducing the cost of finance, a growing number of Newcastle residents are getting in on the trend and purchasing inner city apartments as a mid-term investment.

So the question remains, why all the investor interest?

The simple answer is that local infrastructure investment and the low cost of finance has created a perfect storm of sorts.

Government investment in the region is driving a new phase of revitalisation in the city, which flows on to create new opportunities in the employment market, and in turn increases the value of property - particularly in sought-after inner city suburbs where apartments are already showing high capital growth rates.

For current property owners in Newcastle, that could add up to a surprising amount of equity built up in the family home or investment property that you may be unaware of and able to unlock to fund new acquisitions and build your property portfolio under favourable market conditions.

Savvy owners use annual market appraisals to track the value of their property in changing market conditions even when they're not intending to sell.

Get up to speed on the current value of your property and call Sam on 0423 074 065 for a free market appraisal. It's easier than you think.

Kind regards,

Sam Kolatchew
Sales Consultant

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