Thursday, 25 June 2015

Avoid disaster with this easy 10-step process to choose the best agent

Why would you trust your most valuable asset with an inexperienced, barely qualified rogue real estate agent?...
...Simply put, you wouldn’t! If you knew all the fact before signing on the dotted line.
Here are some helpful points to consider when selecting your agent;
1) What you get in your bank account is what counts.Understand the end-game here is what is important. Many people select an agent who offers them the lowest fee. Often this shows an inability to negotiate strongly to protect the fee that a good agent deserves which in turn reflects an inability to negotiate the best sales price for your home. Part of this topic is to understand how the maths works.  
Let’s say an agent charges a fee of 2.5% of the sale price of the property. On a $600,000 sale the agents fee is $15,000. If the sale price is $610,000 the fee is $15,250. An average agent may “do the deal at $600,000 to be assured of getting paid, but a good agent will work the transaction to the $610,000 maximum sale price. Each extra $10,000 they get on the sales price they get $250 fee. But you get $9,750. You need an agent who will work hard to get the best total price –not just get a deal together.  
2) Track record is important and it covers many aspects of the history of an agent. The pitfall is to go for an agent who promotes themselves as selling the most properties. This may show experience but you are only selling one house, and you want as much effort put into your home as possible.
3) Another aspect of an agents track record to investigate is their success in terms of the Price suggested vs the price achieved. An agent who is good in this respect will share their results with you in terms of the value they first put on a property and put it on the market at, and the price they ultimately achieved for the owner. Promising a high result to entice the vendor to sign an agency agreement and then “conditioning“ an owner to take a lower price on the basis that the lower figure is all “the market” is prepared to pay is not a way for an agent to build a long term reputation. So look for an agent that consistently achieves sales within a few % of the Market Appraisal or First market price of a property.  (Always keep in mind that pricing property is a complex issue that is subject to many forces so even the most experienced agents don’t always get exact results all the time).
4) A good network often helps a sale. An agent who is well connected through their contacts or office infrastructure is something to look out for.
5) An agent who is backed by a strong local brand has a distinct advantage. They will have access to more buyers who are looking to purchase in the area who may be looking at other properties. A trusted brand is an assurance to you that the company will not condone or tolerate any activities that could jeopardise their reputation. Great brands also have strong followings so promotion of your property is likely to a wider population than a small or obscure brand.
6) Good support staff and systems make a huge difference to the efficiency of a Real Estate Agent and consequently how well they can do their job and the results they can deliver.
7) A well-developed “process”.Selling a home is a transaction with a surprisingly large number of steps that must executed flawlessly to achieve the best result. An agent who is well organised and who can explain to you succinctly each step of the selling process that they and their office use will be efficient in the delivery of a sale and also in extracting the best possible offers for your home. Disorganisation is a dead giveaway of an overworked or incompetent agent who may not be able to give your sale the attention or diligence that it deserves.
8) Look for the carefully structured question session with you so the agent knows what to put in the ad and what to tell potential purchasers who may not live in the area.
9) This will also lead to discussion of the best Strategy for selling your home. These complex transactions get better results when carefully thought through and then executed. Not all sales are a simple repetition of the last 5 times the agent sold a home.
10) A defined level of communication with you so you are kept informed with the progress and developments towards the sale is important to enable you to make the best decisions. Obviously agents will have to talk with you, but asked if they have a plan developed for this where you can formulate with them the way you want to be kept up to date with what is happening with your property.

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Bring warmth into your home this winter with Interior Stylist, Melody O’Sullivan

We sat down with our guest Interior Stylist, Melody O’Sullivan to get the low-down on this season’s latest trends...

Q. When it comes to winter styling, 2015, what interior style ideas are we seeing this season?

A.The Scandinavian look is still strong with its light timbers and clean lines. Mixing materials is also trending this winter. Combining raw woods, concrete, marble finishes and copper accents from homewares and light fittings creates textures and takes influences from the industrial style, which continues to trend. We are still seeing geometric patterns but in softer tones and soft grey is a trending colour this season.

Q. What style essential should homeowners be reviving this winter?

A. Indoor plants have made a real comeback. People love having plants inside their homes as it can be calming and also cleans the air. Indoor plants are an easy and inexpensive way to bring colour and texture into your home. Look for cheap and easy care indoor plants such as Snake plants, Fiddle-Leaf Fig or succulents which come in a range of shapes, colours and sizes.

Q. How can our readers add a sense of warmth to their home this winter?

A. Layering and texture is key to create a cosy winter home. You can create this by combining different materials such as wood, concrete finishes, faux furs, leathers and wool. Chunky knit throws, sleek copper homewares and warm timber help to create texture and work within a warm or cool colour pallet. Rugs are always a very effective way to draw a space together and make it feel warm and cosy.

Q. What is your advice to homeowners when introducing a new colour scheme?

A. It’s important to determine whether your room is cool or warm toned. Look at the big pieces in your room such as flooring, wall colour and lounge to determine this- Do they have a rich or golden, red undertones or do they feature cool tones of blue and green.
Warm colours can make a large space cosy, whilst cool colours can open up a space, making it feel light and airy.

Once you have determined your home's’ tone you can select a colour pallet that will compliment.
The best way to introduce a new colour is through homewares. Adding a rug will instantly change the look of a room and you can always have existing furniture reupholstered to match the new scheme. Look at introducing different textures and patterns to further explore the new scheme. Block colours and flat surfaces can make a space look boring.

Q. When it comes to style on a budget, what three tips do you have for our readers who are considering putting their home on the market?

A.You want potential buyers to project themselves and their style into your home. Although you may love your own style- some buyers may not and this could create a distraction from the property itself. These 3 tips will cost next to nothing and will leave you with a space that is desirable to buyers;

  1. Clear and clean- Remove extra junk from rooms and store it. Put kids toys in storage tubs, de-clutter surfaces (even if it means putting away your favourite ornaments) and open curtains or blinds so your home is lit with natural light. Burning a fragrant candle or oil will also make your home smell clean and inviting.

  1. Always have your home furnished- This actually makes the space look bigger and helps the new buyer mentally plan where their furniture will go. You may look to seek the service of an interior decorator who can hire furniture or work with existing pieces to style the space.

  1. It’s all about Neutrals- Neutrals done well is never boring. Neutral colours are never offensive and will help make a space look modern, clean and bigger than what it is. Neutral colours also help the potential buyer to look through the decoration and imagine their own.

Melody.jpgAbout Melody…
Q. Where do you draw your design inspiration from?

A. I draw my inspiration from many places, such as; social media, magazines, restaurants, shopping centres and public spaces. There is so much great design around- you don’t have to go very far to see it. I always look thoroughly at the space I am in to see how the lighting, layout, textures and colour scheme make me feel.

Q.Why are you passionate about interior styling?

A. I enjoy being indoors and relaxing in a space that is calm, cosy and inviting, so naturally I am passionate about interior styling. I love how an interior space can affect your mood so much and how changing it now and then can make your home feel like a new space. I love being able to create a comfortable and functional space that my clients are able to enjoy.

Q. How can we find out more about your interior styling tips for this season?

A. I offer a range of services including full interior styling, colour consulting, personal shopping, product sourcing and commercial property styling. If readers would like assistance with interior styling for their property, they can contact me at:

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

It's the quick or the dead out there?

Just the other day, Nick Gauci, Director at Prudential Real Estate Narellan, alerted me to the fact that on average 7 out of 10 people attending our open homes of late, are avid investors. With stating in a recent blog that Campbelltown ranked 7th for the top ten most searched suburbs in New South Wales and Liverpool rounding out the top 10 NSW Investor Hot Spots, no wonder investors are flocking to local open inspections.

This is an encouraging sign for homeowners, as the high market demand in Sydney continues to push sales prices upward.

Fuelled by continuous cuts to interest rates, investors are in better financial positions than ever to invest. But why are we seeing growing investor interest in Sydney’s South-West?

Well… In the last 12 months we have seen increased redevelopment and investment in both the Liverpool and Campbelltown local government areas. Transforming into a redeveloped vertical jungle with re-envisioned town plans, Liverpool is fast-becoming urban hub of culture, spurring on an active market for apartment/unit investment in the region.

Located at the heart of the Macarthur region, Campbelltown has also experienced redevelopment in such areas as Minto Heights and Macarthur Heights. Welcoming ongoing investment in public transport and roads, most notably the Narellan Road upgrade, it is evident that the NSW state government is supporting the ‘growing pains’ of Macarthur and attracting investors in the process.

Surrounded by developing land estates including Gregory Hills, Macarthur Heights, Spring Farm, Oran Park and The Hermitage, it is no surprise that us that Campbelltown is attracting investors by the bounds!

Witnessing an increase in investor interest in our open homes, we have seen a trend in investors seeking properties with scope to build a second dwelling - yes, a granny flat!

Macarthur is known for its generous lot sizes compared with most Sydney suburbs making it easier to invest in a granny flat. Investors have the opportunity to add between 20-30% of the cost price to their investment property and double their rent fees - sounds fantastic, but true. Call Graeme Paddock for more info on 4628 0033.

If you’re an investor hoping to snare a property in this ultra competitive market here’s our best advice;

  1. Come to each open home with a plan - know the limits of your financial position;
  2. Be prepared to make a decision as well-positioned properties are generally selling fast; and
  3. Be ready to strike when the property feels right! We are seeing familiar faces each weekend at our inspections assuring us that when they find something they like they will act.

So this weekend come with a prepared game plan to snap up your next investment gem in the heartlands of Sydney’s South-West suburbs. We look forward to seeing you at our open houses this weekend. Happy Investing!