Characteristics of a Great Real Estate Agent

It is difficult to a find a good quality real estate agent if you don’t know the characteristics to watch out for.

Here is what industry experts have to say when asked what characteristics make up a perfect agent.

1. Good communication skills
It can be stressful trying to selling a house if the agent you’re dealing with lacks communication skills. Because the real estate market is time sensitive, your agent must let you know as soon as possible what buyers they are working with and submit any offer as soon as it comes in.  Sometimes when agents take time in communicating offers and lack asking vital questions to qualify buyers, sellers can make uneducated decisions that can affect the best result.  The lack of communication from their agent is one of the major frustrations for sellers.

2. Being proactive
Being proactive in marketing your property, attracting and qualifying prospective buyers, conducting impressive open homes and private viewings, calling buyers back, staying in contact with existing customers and continuously hunting for new leads are qualities of a good agent. The critical aspect of being proactive is ensuring that the marketing of your property is well monitored, changed where needed and keeping the seller well informed.  A sign that your agent is not proactive is when you are the one who is constantly calling them.

3. Knows how to listen
Stay away from agents who talk too much.  It is problematic when you can’t get a word in when talking to your agent. As the client, you should be doing most of the talking to ensure your agent understands your particular needs and requirements. Your agent should be asking the questions and you should be doing the talking, not the other way around. This is a clear tell tale sign of how they will work with your buyers too.

4. Put their client’s interest first
It is important for an agent to be client motivated because if the customer gets a good result, then the agent gets a good result too.  It is important that the client, whether they are the seller or buyer, feels supported and is happy because the process of buying and selling can be stressful. A good agent will make sure that the client is their top priority.

5. Ability to adapt to client’s needs
The ability to “read” their client is also an important quality in an agent.  Some customers prefer communicating via email, some like text messaging, and others would rather get a phone call to be updated with what’s happening in the sale.  A good agent will try to find out their client’s preferred way of communicating so that they don’t feel overlooked by silence or stressed by too much communication.

6. Know the client’s time frame
A strong foundation of client-agent relationship is timing awareness.  An agent should know if the seller is in a hurry to sell and if there is a need to settle by a particular deadline. When an agent discovers the client’s time frame is short they can write the advertisements to suit the situation with a sense or urgency giving the buyers the impression to act immediately or miss out.  Not knowing a time frame and having the wrong marketing could achieve a poor result.

7. Know what process the agent uses to sell property
A good agent understands marketing and has a system in implementing a successful campaign.  They understand both on-line and off-line marketing, they know how to monitor the campaign and act quickly to make changes effectively when the process becomes slow or unresponsive.

8. Willing to provide you with any previous client/s as a reference
An effective way to get the best agent is to read their former customers testimonials.  When choosing a new agent simply ask them if you can speak with some of their previous sellers.  Not the ones they suggest but any that you choose to speak to.  A quality agent should have a favourable reference from any of their former customers.

9. Willingness and ability to demonstrate their negotiation skills
And finally, put the agent to the test.  Act like a buyer and play role with the agent to see how they would sell your home to achieve the highest agreed purchase price.  Don’t be afraid to be tough on them, if they are a good agent, they’ll be used to it and will demonstrate their skills to satisfy you.

Housing Shortage Forcing Agents to Market Buyers to Homeowners

Selling agents are resorting to marketing buyers rather than properties in an effort to persuade more people into listing their homes due to a record shortage of homes for sale in Newcastle.

Usually, real estate agents represent sellers, not buyers, and work to attract willing buyers to the homes they have for sale. But now agents are forced to deviate from the usual sales dynamic because it has become more difficult finding willing sellers than it is serious buyers.

Throughout Australia, the existing number of homes for sale declined to a 25-year low earlier in 2017, based on research by CoreLogic and Morgan Stanley. Much of this decline was the result of a Sydney listings drop which is also typical in Newcastle.

Compared to Melbourne, Harbour City presently has 42% less homes for sale. It has the same number of listings to Brisbane, a city that has about half the number of homes.

The present situation in Newcastle is very similar and agents are now finding themselves with big networks of prospective people ready to purchase, but not enough homes for sale to match them with.

Homeowners are unwilling to sell because of the difficulty of buying back into the market and steep stamp duty fees.

Fewer houses listed for sale in Newcastle has seen many ‘off the market’ sales and if the home does make it to the market there are so many as 90 groups viewing the properties.

Some properties are selling prior to the first open home even being conducted and many buyers from Sydney who can’t get to Newcastle before the weekend are now resorting to signing up with buyers agents who act on their behalf so they don’t miss the opportunity to inspect.  The last two homes I’ve sold have been to Sydney buyers using a buyers agent and more house hunters are choosing the same approach, driven by frustration.

There are even some buyers who are offering on properties without inspecting the home in the belief that they will have a better chance of securing the purchase.  Yes, they often pay a premium, but buyers are opting to do it because they feel that the market is getting the better of them.

Decorate your Home Using Basic Design Principles

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The talent for decorating or design is inborn for some people. But for others, it is either a skill they learn and apply successfully or simply have no idea whatsoever! To get your ‘flair on’ for decorating, follow these few simple design techniques.  They can help you a lot.

Stick to the Rule of Odd Numbers
The basic idea of the Rule of Odd Numbers is that details and objects are grouped in odd numbers. Compared to even-number groupings, it is more memorable and more visually interesting.

Arrange the items in different heights, shapes and textures. But also make sure that the objects have something in common. This seems contradictory, but the idea is, the objects must have something in common but also have something slightly different in each of them.

This is simply a basic rule, and it may not apply to all situations. If you feel that this grouping doesn’t look right, then follow your instinct. What you need to achieve is that everything is not uniform, and a result, boring.

Identify a Room’s Focal Point
The most emphasised feature in a room is its focal point. This is the feature that instantly draws your eyes as soon as you enter the room. And all items around this feature complement it.

When you have no idea how to decorate a room, it is a good idea to start with the focal point. Many spaces have a built-in focal point, for example, a fireplace or big windows. If your room doesn’t have any of these, create one using these tips:

  • Use a different colour to paint one wall, then use artworks or shelves to accessorise.
  • Decide on the function of the room, then make a focal point around that. For example, if you wish for the space to be a reading room, then make a bookshelf or a comfortable chair the focal point.
  • Use a large piece of furniture as a focal point.
  • A large piece of artwork can also be used as a focal point. The same goes with a large mirror.

When you identify the focal point, accessorise around. Utilise its primary colour in items around the room.

Learn Basic Measurement Rules
When arranging furniture or hanging curtains, most people simply estimate where it should go. But a room can look better when you use specific measurements for decorating. There are specific measurements curtains, TV, and more. Find out more here: 

Factor in your Negative Space
Negative space is the part in a room that is without any subject. This is often the white area on your walls. It is tempting to fill the space with objects, but sometimes less is more.

Here are tips to make decorating with negative space a bit easier:

  • Avoid clutter. A bunch of your items may fit your table, but they don’t necessarily need to be there.
  • Identify the purpose of the negative space. You can leave a space bare to draw the eye to a decorated space nearby. Or the negative space itself brings out an appealing design.
  • Two different shapes can create an interesting negative space. For example, a circular coffee table can temper the severe profiles formed by angular sofas and chairs in a square space. Note this only works in larger rooms.

Layer your Lighting
Here are things to consider if you don’t know anything much about layering lighting. The first step is know the 3 basic types of lighting: ambient, or general lighting; task, or which means light a specific task; and accent, which are designed to highlight a particular object.

You can create dimension in a room by adding different types of lighting. Begin by adding an ambient lighting in every room, then move to identifying a means to add task and accent lighting.

These guidelines are intended to help people get started, but always remember decorate based on your own tastes and preferences. Don’t be scared to break the rules discussed here. Go with your gut feel if it tells you that you’re on the right course.

Tips to Maximise your Home’s Sale Price

If you are preparing your home for sale, you may be thinking whether you should do something about the property or leave it as is.

But before you make any changes, remember that you are basically selling a product – and that product will attract specific types of buyers. Contingent on where your house is located, these buyers might include young couples, families with young kids, families with older kids, one-parent families, retirees, students, investors, renovators and others.

Identify your target market
The first thing that a good agent will discuss with you is the matter of identifying a property’s target market. Renovating your property to maximise your sale price is not just about making it pretty – there’s more to it than that.

It is also important to make sure that your property meets the ‘functionality’ requirements of your buyers. You can make a few minor and low-cost changes that will attract the people you are targeting, and thus lure in more interested purchasers.

By doing this, potential buyers can imagine themselves moving in and residing there without being required to make modifications prior to doing so – and this is especially sought after by families, executive couples and retirees.

The first thing you do is identify who your target audience is. You may know this already or you may need to do a little research. For example, if your location is near or home to two primary schools and you have a four bedroom home with two living areas, then your target market would likely be families with young kids. If you still don’t know who your target audience is, look up the profile of your suburb on the internet or talk to a trusted real estate agents who understands the area and marketing.

Making improvements with your targeted market in mind
Contingent on how much renovation you are planning to do to make your property beautiful, you can make it just a little bit more appealing using a number of ways. Here are some renovation options available to you:  

Families with young kids:
Playroom or space that can be seen from the lounge
Easily accessible bath
Secure property (side or front fences to secure yard)
Low maintenance yard

Families with older kids:
Separate TV or rumpus area
Additional off-street parking
Storage area for scooters, bikes, etc.
Fans, heating, air con and other climate control systems

Young couples:
Modern appliances
Low maintenance yard
Study/office area
Outdoor entertaining area

You may not be able to meet all items in the ‘wants and needs’ list of your target audience, but you can change your property in minor ways to fulfil some of their requirements making your property a lot more in demand and maximising the selling price.

What is gentrification and how does it change property values?

A beautiful apartment with direct views to the city is up for sale in Redfern, if you’re interested. It is close to everything in reach, the Sydney CBD, Au Tech Park, Redfern & Central Station. The price, according to realestate.com.au is a cool $1.133 million.

It’s not just one of those properties, considering that it’s a rather high price tag for an area that was once home to low density industrial sites and was known as a beacon to a lot of people. It was subject to gentrification in the recent years, with the state government having extensive redevelopment plans.

This is commonly what happens in large cities: less well-known areas predictably get transformed when neighbouring hot spots peak. New infrastructures are built, cafes appear and suddenly, a shabby two-bedder is selling for an amazing price.

Meanwhile in another Australian city
This scene has also played out in Pascoe Vale in Melbourne. It started unassumingly in farming, housed dairies and afterwards quarries, largely dig up in neighbouring Coburg and Brunswick. These areas are far from being candidates for Better Homes and Gardens.

However, a few years ago, gentrification began in Pascoe Vale and compact cottages on tiny land rapidly became sought-after. According to realestate.com.au, the average house price surged from $460,000 in 2008 to $760,000 by the end of 2016, an impressive annual growth of 8%.

Of course, the fact that Pascoe Vale is near Essendon is very significant. People like Essendon because of its Edwardian, Federation and California bungalow houses and tastefully lined leafy streets. Because of this, buyers have been keeping track of its neighbouring suburbs, seeking investment opportunities.

Sydney has long been a property hot spot, but now investors are turning their attention to a harbour city just two hours away from the city.

So what’s happening in Newcastle?
Newcastle, which has a median house price of $980,000, is already drawing attention from investors and homebuyers alike.

Figures from the Domain Regional House Price Report show that Newcastle is strong growth is already taking place. House values rose 9.3% in the year to September and 4.2% over the quarter. These numbers are already higher than the latest house price results for Sydney and Melbourne, an increase of 2.1% and 9.1% over the year, respectively.

Many infrastructure developments are happening in the area. These developments include a new light rail, revitalisation of the central business district, a $6.5 billion investment from the NSW government, and substantial strips of rezoning throughout the city.

Sydney-based investors are flocking to Newcastle because of the affordability factor and the prospect of adding value with granny flats and subdivisions.

Our harbour side city, once deeply rooted in coal and steel, is definitely on its way to a major transformation.