What to avoid when choosing your Real Estate Agent


Most of you will need a real estate agent when it’s time to sell your home.

There is definitely no problem in finding a real estate agent near you as their signs are everywhere. However, identifying which real estate agent is the right one is not quite easy. You have to ask yourself: Will this person be successful in selling my property for the best possible price, in the fastest time possible, and the least amount of hassle for you?

For most of us, dealing with real estate matters is not a normal occurrence. Hence, deciding which real estate agent to choose is not quite a straightforward process.

If you choose the wrong real estate agent, you are in for some financial and emotional woes.  So, when choosing a real estate agent, remember to avoid making these mistakes:


1. Hiring an agent with the lowest commission rate

Many agents will try to win over their competition by offering the lowest possible commission.  You’re probably thinking “I am saving. Why is that a bad thing?” Well, here are some other ways of looking at it.

Bargain commissions means the agent is skimping in other areas.  They simply are not offering  a full service.

If the listing agents decides to heavily discount the commission rate, buyer agents are likely to be turned off by how small a commission they would be getting. Therefore, it would be in the buyer agent’s best interest to take his client elsewhere and get the standard commission rate.

You have to question how come the agent is willing to cut his commission to get your business? If he can easily give up a huge portion of his commission thereby hurting him financially, you have to doubt his ability to negotiate a good price on your behalf!

Before choosing a real estate agent who is offering lowest commission, read the reasons above again. Try to compare his listing presentation with what other agents are offering to market your property.


2. Hiring an agent who gives you the highest listing price

When you have decided to put your property up for sale (and it’s carrying a hefty price tag), chances are that in the end you will sell at a price below the market average.

It is again important to reiterate to begin your marketing process with the right asking price. The first three weeks of marketing are critical and if your home has a high asking price, prospective buyers could simply skip over the property. Why? Because it’s a waste of their time to look at a property that is out of their price range.

Even worse, many real estate agents might use your overpriced home to steer their educated home buyers towards correctly priced properties.

What will happen is that your property will sit on the market for a long time and you will eventually be forced to sell at a much lower price than you would have received had you put the correct price on your home from the start.


3. Picking the real estate agent with the highest number of properties sold

You might be tempted to use the total of homes sold by an agent as the No.1 criteria when choosing a real estate agent.

While the agent who was only able to sell two properties in a month may not be your immediate pick, the agent selling three times as many properties in a given year should not be your first pick either.

Why?  Because of this thing called “sales-to-listing ratio.”

Picture this: the real estate agent who gives the highest listing price is likely to secure more listings. However, those overpriced properties will probably remain unsold for quite some time adding to the ‘days on market’. This means the number of homes that agent finally sells compared with the properties that remain on his books will be quite low.

Who is the better agent now?  The one who sells 10 out of 12 listings (80%) or the one who sells 30 out of 60 listings (50%)?  Remembering too that the length of time that your home is on the market for will also likely reduce the sale price as well…!!!

Instead of looking at agents who sold the most number of properties, look at how well the agent priced the home, what were the number of days on market, what the contents are of his marketing presentation, what his reactions were when you tried to cut his commission (to test his bargaining skills), how his general presentation and communication report went and if the final sale price was within or above the original appraisal price.

You will find these skills very helpful when it comes to negotiation time.


4. Interviewing only one real estate agent

It is recommended that you interview real estate agents from various agencies, as each agency offers unique strengths in marketing and servicing. The individual agents will have their own tools and talents to offer when presenting their marketing strategy for your property. If you interview only one agent, you will miss the chance of finding out what others have to offer.

Just like in other business, the 80/20 rule is also applicable in real estate. (Truth be told, the numbers is close to 90/10 in certain real estate markets.)

This means the rest of the 80-90% of agents will do what is necessary to secure those quite a few remaining listings, even going to the lengths of inflating “a little bit” the listing price. This is not uncommon in real estate.

So, if you’re only interviewing one listing agent, you should remember that there is an 80-90% chance that you will get one of the latter ones.

Do you want to hire an agent who will tell you whatever you want to hear in order to get your business?


5. Not checking references

Many people will spend more time reading the latest reviews on the internet before making a purchase than researching the background of a real estate agent before hiring him.  This, despite the fact, that the financial impact is 100 times bigger and will affect you for the next 20 years.

When choosing a real estate agent, spend time not only on looking at his listings, but also researching his information and looking him up on social media like LinkedIn or Facebook.

And you should expect each real estate agent you interview to provide you with references. However, bypass the references that were handpicked and put on the list, for obvious reasons.  Instead, ask for information on the current listings on his book and ask for permission to email or call a few of his current clients.  These latest clients can tell you how the agent rates in terms of professionalism and services during the home selling process.


For more tips on how to choose your next real estate agent in Newcastle, call Annette Pinkerton directly on 0418447856.

House Prices in Newcastle Increase for the First Time in 12 Months

Property prices in Newcastle have begun to recover following a year-long decline cut 10% off from the prices of an average home.

Data from CoreLogic reveal the house or unit median price throughout Newcastle and Lake Macquarie local government areas rose 0.3% in June 2019.

It is the first monthly price growth since last year and reflected a 0.1% increase in the Sydney property market and a 0.2% rebound in Melbourne. A CoreLogic analyst predicted a slow and rough upturn.

Since it is only a month’s worth of data, analysts are not getting too thrilled, but undoubtedly the pattern has been the pace of decline has been slowing, and these patterns are also on display in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie regions.

With Newcastle and Lake Macquarie having followed Sydney’s decline, it is logical to assume that it will follow the turnaround. The analyst expressed surprise that the numbers were more solid this month than Sydney, but remain in wait on what the next two months will bring.

Sydney’s monthly result was its first increase since July 2017, and the Melbourne market peaked in November 2017.

Newcastle values began declining much later, at the beginning of 2018, but have began to recover at the same period.

According to CoreLogic’s monthly report in June 2019, Newcastle and Lake Macquarie council area median house price is presently at $539,000 while the median unit price is $463,000.

Another CoreLogic analyst said that reduced interest rates, high population growth, the conclusion of the federal election, and the resolution to the doubts concerning Labor’s negative gearing and capital gains tax proposals, had boosted housing demand.

The tide may have turned for the housing market but the pace of recovery is not expected to be fast.

Supported by the housing decline, a recovery in housing affordability has also been observed, though housing prices are still high in relation to household incomes in Sydney and Melbourne.

Stricter lending requirements are now customary in banks and this would continue to stifle market activity.

Banks are increasingly becoming less dependent on average household expense standards, and potential borrowers should anticipate certain an investigation of their financial situation during the loan application process.

Securing a loan may be more difficult for those who are applying for debt that is higher than six times their income.

Another issue affecting demand would be “increased supply” of high-rise apartments in Sydney, Melbourne and Newcastle.

These areas are going through the peak in a record number of off-the-plan unit sales, several of which are getting valuations at settlement day that are lower than the contract value.



What’s Trending in Bathrooms This Year?

From simple materials like wood and concrete to luxurious materials and high-quality finishes, there are many ways to make your bathroom look fabulous this year.

Here are the top bathroom trends for this year if you are considering updating this important area in your home:

  1. Timber vanities and wood finishes

Timber vanity are a hot trend this year. Timber vanities fits well with neutral tile shades to create a statement.

Genuine wood vanities has gorgeous natural patterns, but consider melamine wood finishes if you are looking for a less expensive option. Melamine wood finishes are tough and sold in various tones and textures that look similar to your favourite wood finish.

Experts also advise using different types of timber in the bathroom, combining different types and grains together. Pick a feature wood and combine it with an accent.

  1. Freestanding baths

Freestanding baths will always be on trend.

It lets people luxuriate in an immersive bathing experience. You can choose from a broad variety of styles, sizes and colours, making it easy for you to find the bath that is suitable for your taste and needs.

  1. Matte finish baths and basins

2019 is the year of freestanding baths with matte finishes.

The common material for most matte basins and baths is stone with a satin matte finish. Matte finishes gives a bathroom a luxurious feel and resort-like vibe, and when the matte finish is coated, the material becomes non-porous and resistant to stain.

  1. Forest green

The most popular colour for the home and bathroom this year is forest green.

As homemakers become less averse to trying out things outside the box, they are ready to experiment with colours and search for statement, striking pieces for their bathroom.

  1. Terrazzo tiles

The Terrazzo tiles will continue to reign supreme in 2019 and into the future – if it is appropriately used. It can look very heavy when used to cover the entire bathroom.

A great way to use terrazzo tiles is to combine it with other tiles or natural materials like timber. You can also combine these materials together in other ways like adding wood panelling to disrupt tiling in fascinating angles either on the floor or wall.

  1. Brushed nickel and stainless steel taps

The perfect partner for terrazzo tiles is brushed nickel and stainless steel taps. This the raw metal look that designers are raving about. This colour tapware is being used to replace chrome and black taps and to create a more luxurious vibe.

  1. Bold wallpaper

Wallpaper has made a triumphant return! The hottest trend right now is bold patterns, loud colours and textured wallpapers, which trigger people’s inner wild child and let them have fun.

Wallpaper is a less expensive and simple way to freshen up an outdated space.

Instead of a tile splashback, use wallpaper to update the space around your vanity.

For an even adventurous look, install a feature wall or line the top third of the bathroom with a striking wallpaper. With the perfect splash-proof material, you can achieve the appearance you like without the effort of relining two times a year.

  1. Luxurious materials and high-end finishes

If you have the budget, purchase one or two pricey items to boost the luxurious feel of the general design.

Some examples of items that will significantly boost the value of your bathroom are higher quality flooring materials like genuine stone and tapware.

  1. Shaker-style cabinetry

Shaker-style cabinetry is another trend that has returned in 2019.

The elaborate style of the cabinet doors looks good on Hamptons, farmhouse or heritage-style bathrooms. An added benefit of this style of cabinetry is that it brings a contemporary spin to an outdated look.

  1. Concrete

Concrete continues to be the most popular urban industrial material out there, as you will see it widely used in floors and walls and even entire basins.

Concrete is also the perfect material for built-in shelves and hollowed-out nooks to keep towels and other accessories.

Etiquette in Open House for Sellers

It is important to remember that buyers have to build an emotional connection with a property to truly consider purchasing it. So sellers should exert all efforts to make the process hassle-free as much as possible.

Some of the things you can do are clean, remove your pets temporarily, and keep personal belongings away. You should also avoid doing certain behaviours.

Check out below for a few open house etiquette for sellers:

Before an open inspection:

Focus on the “three Ps” before the date of the open inspection – price, presentation and attracting the right people.

There are, however, a different set of rules on the day of the open inspection.

      1. Remove animals

There shouldn’t be pets or animals present during an open inspection. Banish them and clean up their mess.

Some people don’t like cats and dogs, and it can turn off those who might have an allergy, enter the house, take a whiff of a dog or cat, and begin sneezing non-stop immediately.

  1. Get rid of your personality in your property

Prospective buyers need to be able to see themselves living in the home for sale, and too much personal belongings can make this difficult.

Experts recommend “de-personalising” the property by doing things such as removing family photos off the mantle and taking down any polarising artwork.

  1. Bring in plants

Many sellers fail to realise the influence of greenery in bringing in warmth and appeal to a home. Experts recommend using floral arrangements, large chic plants, newly planted garden beds to create a fresh and inviting atmosphere to a home.

  1. Keep up appearances

On open inspection, the property should look exactly as advertised in marketing materials. When you’re residing in the home while it is for sale, don’t forget that it must look the way that you would expect a hotel room to look like after the cleaning staff has been through it. The most effective way to attain this look is to hire a cleaning service between open homes.


Things you shouldn’t do at an open home

Here are a few things that sellers should not do during an open house:

  1. Linger in the home or send dispatch spies

Sellers loitering around during an open house or sending in people to spy on prospective buyers is not okay. Agents don’t want sellers when they are showing the property simply because they want buyers to feel like they are in the home on their own terms.

The situation is similar to a retail store assistant following wherever a customer goes. A seller following a buyer around could be a lot worse.

  1. Bother the agent

Sellers should let their agent do their job for the duration of the open house. A huge part of an agent’s job these days is to facilitate open houses to get as many prospective buyers to attend as possible, and sellers should maximise that.

  1. Let junior staff take the lead

Sellers should assert that the lead agent be there during open houses, not the junior staff. There are agencies that let junior agents man the front door, take names and numbers with the tablet. But they are often clueless on the important details, like the land size, the date when the owners purchased the property, or the reasons they are selling.

Conservations of that nature with prospective buyers could make or break a deal, so the lead agent should be present for that.

It may seem like a no-brainer, but if car parking is available, leave the slot for would-be buyers when holding an open house.

A buyer’s open inspection experience in general should comprise of minor things like having parking available and the manner they step inside the home, so it is common sense to simplify all things, to make the experience as pleasant and optimistic as possible.



Tips About Property Settlement for Homebuyers

Looking online and going to inspection can definitely be enjoyable, but can you find a buyer who can honestly say that they dislike the long-drawn-out and chaotic back-and-forths.

Property settlement is the culmination of home-buying process. It is when you officially become the owner of the home you have always wanted. And what’s more, the tough work is over for you.

Here are some helpful tips to make the property settlement process simpler and easier for you:

     Know about property settlement

The first thing you need to know that is property settlement is a legal process that hands over the ownership of a property from the owner to another. It is the day of paying the rest of the sale price, and it typically performed by the buyer’s legal and financial representatives and those of the vendors.

The vendor assigns the settlement date in the contract of sale, with most stated between 28 and 42 days after the sale is agreed upon.

     Schedule the last inspection

The property must be transferred by the seller to the new owner in the same state as when it was sold. You can see if the seller is on track to fulfil this duty by inspecting the home at one point during the settlement period.

In NSW a buyer’s right to a pre-settlement inspection is usually set down for the afternoon before or the morning of your settlement date.

During the inspection, buyers should make sure all fixtures and fittings in the agreement are present.

    Take out building and contents insurance

It is normal for your bank to advise you to organise building and contents insurance in effect beginning on the date the vendor signs the agreement. Doing this should protect the interest of both you and the seller.

     Allocate expenses

For the duration of the property settlement, both the seller’s and your representatives will have to figure out the portion of rates and other fees that each of you have to pay.

The vendor must pay for fees up to and including the settlement date, and you must pay for fees from the day following the settlement date.

The correct amount you have to pay will be stipulated in a document called a settlement adjustment statement.

This document will also specify the amount of land transfer duty, or stamp duty, you must pay on the sale. Depending on the state where the home is located, you have between 28 days and three months following settlement to pay this duty. However, remember that the title cannot be given to you until you have paid for it.

     Understand the things that happen on settlement day

Your bank and settlement agent (which could be your lawyer or solicitor) are in charge on settlement day – in fact, you don’t even need to be there.

Your representatives and the vendor’s representatives will meet to sign and exchange the final documents of sale, with each of the party responsible for a specific list of tasks unless using PEXA which means that settlement will happen electronically.

Your bank will sign on a mortgage against the title of your new home and give the funds to buy your new home, and your lawyer or conveyancer will have to make sure that all rights of third parties have been stripped off, that the current mortgage on the seller’s title has been executed, that all provisions on the sales agreement have been met, and that the home and mortgage transfer is filed with the right titles office.

After all these tasks are completed, your bank will deduct from your loan account the amount they paid at settlement and then you must pay the stamp duty.

Finally, you’re all good to get the keys and move into your new home.