Window Safety Devices in Strata Must Be Installed by 13 March

People living in, owning or managing a townhouse or unit block have until 13 March 2018 to install window safety devices to prevent children from falling from windows. This law covers all openable windows where the interior floor is over 2 metres above the surface outside and within a child’s reach (below 1.7 m above the inside floor).

The devices must be fixed to a window frame or tough bars (provided the opening can be curbed at less than 12.5 cm and can endure 250 newtons of force). They are also required to be installed on applicable windows in stair landings and other common areas.

Owners corporations will incur a fine if they fail to comply with the 12 March 2018 deadline. Owners corporations do not need to supervise or implement the use of window safety devices but they must make sure they are installed by the set deadline.

Once window safety devices are installed, the windows can be fully opened. However, residents are strongly advised to engage the devices every time there are children, to prevent falls.

Contact your property manager, owner or strata manager as soon as possible if yours have not been installed or have not been informed of an installation date.  Alternatively, you can always contact Annette Pinkerton at One Agency Pinkerton Properties for more information and advice.


Ask These Important Questions When Picking a Real Estate Agent

Choosing An Agent

Choosing a real estate agent is an important decision to make. They will guide you through the process of selling your property from start to finish. They are the people you have to trust to negotiate on your behalf for the best possible price, to advise you on when to proceed with a deal or when to walk away and to deal with the many logistical details of your property transaction including the marketing campaign (probably the most important aspect).

Since a significant part of the success of your real estate endeavour will depend on the skill and experience of your real estate agent, you must talk to several agents before choosing the one who would accompany you on your real estate journey.

When interviewing candidates, here are five important questions to ask to help you choose the right person for the job.

  1. What is the type of property that you specialise in?

Just as there are many types of property, there are different kinds of real estate agents.  Not all agents are the same.  An agent’s excellent track record in selling commercial properties may not have have any bearing on their ability to find a good deal on a single-family home near the city centre.

Ask your prospective real estate agent what they specialise in as you want to choose someone who focuses on the type of property you planning to sell in the market that you’re selling in.

  1. How many clients are you working for currently?

An agent representing too many clients will likely have less time to dedicate to you. There is no fast rule on how many clients or listings are too many, but ask your agent about their workload and if they can still take on new clients. You may prefer an agent who you think would do a good job for you, but if they already have too many client you may not get the attention that you deserve.  And don’t be fooled by the agent who tells you that there are multiple agents in their office to help sell your property.  The fact is that it will be one agent and one agent only who will do the work on selling your home!

  1. Are you a full-time or part-time real estate agent?

Just like the reasons for the question above, you’ll want to stay away from a real estate agent who is doing it as just a part-time job. The main reason for asking this question is to find out how accessible they are and remember you can always test them by calling or sending a text or email and see how long it takes to get a response.  

4.  Can you give me the contact details of a few recent clients to act as reference?

Ask your agent if you can contact a few of their former clients. This way you can find out from other sellers who have worked previously with the agent what it might be like to work with them, and what their strengths or weaknesses may be. It can be easy to be taken in by an agent’s sale pitch and hire them before being able to get feedback from people they’ve worked with in the past.  Be wary of choosing the agent who constantly rings you to see if you are ready to pick them.  You may think this agent has persistence and will treat your buyers the same way but in reality these agents are doing the same thing to other prospective sellers after you’ve signed with them and not calling and chasing your buyers!

  1. Why should I choose you instead of another real estate agent?

You have plenty of options because there are many real estate agents out there. During your interview with your agent, ask them what sets them apart from other agents. What are the things that they do for their clients that is different to their competition? How would their experience work for you during the selling process? You want to hire the best, so try to get the information that puts them in the “best category”. 

Remember, when hiring a real estate agent, your choice should not be about the agent who provides you with the highest appraisal and lowest fees.  It should be the agent with the best marketing experience and best negotiation skills.  Even though you technically may pay this agent more than the cheaper agent, you could in fact get them for ‘free’ because they have the skills to get you more than the cheap agent which ultimately pays their fees and gives you more money in the bank.

To discuss further and explore how much your property may be worth in today’s market, call Annette Pinkerton on 0418447856 today for your obligation free appraisal.


Why You Need Indoor Plants and What are the Best Ones are for Health Benefits

The number of Australians living in high-rise apartments has continued to rise since 1991. People prefer to live in the city now over larger homes in the suburbs. But as land for building homes in the city becomes scarce, people are getting farther and farther away from nature. The effect of living in an urban setting has various health problems.

Children used to play outside and were exposed to large amount of bacteria. However, being exposed to various environmental conditions can change the diversity of bacteria. Living in high-rise buildings far away from nature is one of these conditions. Studies show that being close to nature brings good mental health – and people living in urban areas have more difficulty in handling stress. This can partly be due to increased contact with air pollution and heat stress, and decline in fitness because of the absence of a nearby park or garden.

The role of plants

  Like plants, people carry trillions of both good and bad bacteria. The number of families of bacteria present in our body determines the diversity of microbiota. Plant growth is influenced by the diverse plant microbiome, and eating plant foods benefit humans. An important research question to ask is: do humans gain more benefits by just being in contact with plants?

Plants eliminate ozone, carbon dioxide and other volatile compounds from the air. By turning carbon dioxide to oxygen, plants drastically improve air quality. Larger amounts of oxygen in a small apartment mean the health of its occupants may improve. Aside from being pleasing to the eye, watching plants minimises stress levels.

Shinrin-yoku, or nature therapy, first developed in Japan, has shown to benefit health by reducing people’s blood pressure and improving mental health. Going on a mindful walk in a forest does the trick.

Plants have also proven to bring positive changes in the brain’s electrical activity, muscle tension and heart activity.

Plants that are beneficial to the home

Peace lily: Place this plant in the hallway to reduce toxins such as ammonia and ethyl and will stop toxins from reaching other areas in the apartment.

Aloe vera and Mother-in-law’s tongue: When placed in the bedroom will release oxygen, which boost the quality of sleep.

Gerbera daisy: Place these flowers in the laundry room to eliminate formaldehyde and benzene from the air, which are usually found in household detergents.

Devil’s lily (Golden Pothos): Place in low light and cool temperatures like an air-conditioned office or an outside garage to eliminate ozone, which is present in car exhaust fumes.

Plants outside apartment buildings

Outdoor trees and plants provide shade to buildings and streets, lowering the temperatures in concrete jungles. They also help prevent floods and nutrient dispersal. Towns with larger canopy cover are said to have higher quality of living and draw in higher property values.

Compared to indoor environments, outdoor plants and soil house more ecological communities, more diversity in microbes, and hence raises the quantity of insects, birds and fauna. Having large parks and green areas improve the mental and physical health of individuals residing in urban cities.


Important Things To Do Before Selling Your Home

Selling your home is not an easy task as it involves more than sticking a “for sale” sign and waiting for buyers to contact you. There are steps you need to follow before you can sell your property.

Here are the 11 steps involved in selling a house:

1. Make a decision to sell. Study the latest trends in the general market and determine the best course for your particular circumstance. In addition, resolve if it would be more advantageous to purchase a new home before or after you sell you present home.

2. Selecting an agent. Choose wisely as your agent will handle marketing, showing and negotiations while selling your house. And believe that not all agents are the same or will do the same job!

3. Choosing which method to sell. You and your agent will work together to come up with a plan for listing, marketing and selling your house. There are different types of sale that you can consider.  Generally, they are Private Treaty (normal sale), Auction and Tender!

4. Finalising your selling price and property inclusions/exclusions.  Especially if the market has changed between when your appraisal was first done to when you actually get to the market.  The market may have changed!

5. Signing an agreement with your agent. The agreement you will sign is legally binding and will specify any commissions, the appraised price range, duration of the agreement, marketing expenses, process, and more.

6. Preparing the Vendor’s Statement for your property and Contract of Sale by your solicitor or conveyancer. This will specify all the information potential buyers will need.

7. Marketing and opening your house for viewing. This is probably the most important step because if your home is not marketed correctly then it won’t matter how well you’ve presented it.  No potential buyers = no sale.  The more buyers your marketing attracts the better chance you have of selling for a premium price.

8. Putting it on the market. Potential buyers will get in touch with your agent and schedule times to inspect your house or show up at open homes.

9. Sale and negotiation. It is your agent who will conduct the auction for your house or negotiate with the buyers on your behalf to reach a mutually agreed upon price. A deposit will then be paid by the buyer.

10. Signing the contract. The lawyers and the banks for both the seller and the buyer will set up the particulars of the sale to make sure all legal and financial conditions have been met by the two parties.

11. Settlement day. When all things go according to plan, you’ll surrender the keys and legal rights to your house and your buyer or their bank will give the balance of the payment.

After this last step, your property is considered officially sold!

If you’d like more details of each step or an appraisal on your home call Annette Pinkerton on 0418447856 today.

Common Misconceptions about Property Auctions

Buyers hold several misconceptions about property auctions. Many stay away because they think properties will always sell for a high price because of other bidders. Others go equipped with a plan of attack, hold off from making a bid at the last minute or when the property is opened to bidding.

1. The reserve price is not the amount vendors are happy to sell their property for.
Sellers and buyers alike mistake the role of reserve price.  Sellers believe that it should be the amount that should warrant a celebration, and buyers think it is what vendors want. Actually, the reserve price is often the least possible amount the vendors are willing to accept for their property.

2. The full 10% deposit must be paid on auction day.
Buyers should ask the agent or seller prior to the auction if they’re unable to pay the whole deposit amount on auction day.  You may be allowed to pay a smaller portion on auction day and pay the balance over the weekend or Monday to complete the 10%.

Alternatively, you may call the seller’s bank and arrange for large transfer online if you win the bidding on auction but don’t assume this can happen automatically.  You need to ask first!

3. Don’t expect to buy on the scheduled auction date.
Sellers can accept an offer prior to auction day, and a number of satisfactory offers could initiate a boardroom auction a week or two prior to the day of the auction.  Things may change depending on the purpose of the vendor to sell and the purpose of the buyer in wanting to acquire the property.

4. Resisting from bidding doesn’t ensure you will purchase for a lower price.
Some buyers hold off from bidding at the last moment thinking the price will move higher if there are many people bidding early on. But this is not the case because many people wait until it is declared on the market, while others don’t.  I believe you can win against competitors with a good, strong bid.

5. Buyers will always pay a premium price at auction.
Purchasing property through a private sale doesn’t mean you have no competition.  You may make an offer through your agent and there may still be several offers in a private sale situation. But you will not be able to know who the other buyers are, and therefore may not get a feel of the situation yourself.

Some buyers may pay more than they planned in the end, but being the highest bidder also allows you to negotiate at the seller’s reserve.  Some people mistakenly believe that there are dummy bidders during auction. This is simply not true.