One Agency Annette Pinkerton

Future lies with individuals, not brands!

One Agency Annette Pinkerton

Competition among franchises for top agents is fierce and it seems they will promise the world and then under deliver!

Now more than ever franchises and independent agencies are becoming more and more irrelevant.  Especially the ones where you see two agents advertised on the one property.  In this scenario, one agent will generally be the listing agent and the other will be the buyers agent.

The real problem here for franchises is that they are forgetting that “People don’t list with companies; they list with individuals.”

“People don’t list with brands; it’s the individual agent that is important.”  In the above scenario, sellers list with an agent they like then hardly get to work with them as the buyers agent often is the one working on the listing while the listing agent, the one they like, is out looking for another listing!

This doesn’t happen when an agent is the brand!

Times have changed, especially with Covid-19 in our lives and the traditional model of being part of a brand and in an office to capture buyers and sellers is now a thing of the past.

The internet transformed the way buyers and sellers engage with agents over 20 years ago.  Now, more than ever, if a buyer wants to buy in an area they just get online. They look through the listings, they contact the agent, and they go and meet that agent at the property.

Sellers no longer need to list with a local agency, either. Sellers can now list with the agent of their choice.  So the question we should be asking is, What’s the actual point of the local office now and what is the effect?

The fact is, there is no point to having a local office.  And while agents and properties managers are now working form home, I hope that our industry embraces the remote model I’ve been working since 2013. Let’s face it, it cost money to run an office and the reality is that someone has to pay for it.  Since buyers don’t pay for agents, it’s the sellers who are footing the bill for the expenses relating to the local office.  I’ve personally only had 2 buyers and no sellers come into my office since I started my career 11 years ago, and both were to register for an auction which could be done on line or in a coffee shop if we chose to.

Let’s face it, franchises and independent real estate offices are struggling to pay expenses in today’s competitive and costly world.  While branding is essential the only brand that’s really imperative is the agent’s own brand!  The smart sellers of this next decade will come to realise that the franchises and independent brands that work from an office are aggressively trying to increase their turnover to cover expenses.  They will do best to choose an agent who works on a lower turnover giving the agent more time to get the best result.

 

 

 

 

Property Valuation: What is it and how do you calculate it?

In a practical sense, the value of a property is what someone is willing to pay for it. But there are times when people need a ballpark figure before beginning negotiations.

A property valuation, according to the International Valuation Standards Council, is the estimated sale price “between a willing buyer and a willing seller in an arm’s length transaction, after proper marketing and where parties had each acted knowledgeably, prudently and without compulsion.”

As the definition suggests, the final sale price is normally different from the valuation stated in the report, as it’s almost impossible to guess how people’s feelings, market knowledge, and other motivations may influence negotiations.

When would you need a property valuation?

Both the buyer and seller benefit from a property valuation. By offering a clear indication of a home’s market value, it minimises a buyer’ risk of paying more than what is necessary for the property, and by providing a comprehensive evaluation of a property’s flaws, it can help a vendor decide which improvements need to be done to boost the property’s market value.

With that said, the most common reason why a property valuation is important is because the mort-gage lender (commonly a bank) makes it a requirement. Banks use the property valuation as a “risk report” to guarantee that the security value of the property covers the loan, in case the owner defaults on the mortgage.

Property valuation is also often requested for financial reporting, for taxation compliance, for family law mediation, and for calculating how much should be given to land owners for easements or land acquisition.

How to calculate property valuation?

The foundation of most home valuations is the direct comparison with recent comparison sales. Valuers will also consider these following attributes:

  • The size of the home
  • The number and type of rooms
  • The fixtures and fittings
  • The structure and condition of the building
  • The standard of the fit-out and the home’s architectural style
  • Ease of access to the home
  • Planning restrictions and local council zoning
  • The home’s location and level of amenity
  • The size of the land
  • The aspect, topography and layout of the block

First, valuers will come up with a ballpark figure for the home using a few recent comparable sales. Then, adjust the figure based on any major differences found between the characteristics of the home.

The valuer will also go see the home in question to evaluate its condition and list down any structural damages and nuances that might change its market value. Most valuers will give the clients a standard three-page report of their findings within two days of seeing the property.

If you are considering selling your home but are not yet keen on hiring a property valuer, you can get myself to view your property and provide a Current Market Appraisal or contact us for your monthly Post Code Report, to provide you a better understanding of the estimated value of your property.

 

 

The Hottest Indoor Plant Trends in 2020

A new year accompanies a whole wave of new trends. Together with design and fashion, the growing popularity of plants means green thumbs have gained themselves a trend guide for 2020.

To come up with the first of such report in Australia, nine experts, 20 nursery owners and 1500 Australians were consulted by Plant Life Balance.

The report, which integrated 50 years of research about plants and human well-being from the University of Melbourne and RMIT, identifies six forecasted trends that offer awareness on the plant decisions of tomorrow for plant lovers throughout Australia.

One of those trends is longing for nature, attributed to combining the natural world into homes.

According to the report, interior designers are noticing plants making their way into the home in the form of colours like minty green and soft sage. Stylists are seeing plants as well as natural colours are a key feature of their work. Homeowners want plants everywhere – in the living room, kids’ bedrooms, etc.  Want some inspiration?  Have a look at this Indoor Plant Decor Pinterest board.

Another trend the report found is horticulture for health. It found that one in four people were driven to purchase plants for mindfulness – and in 2020, the use of gardening for mindfulness will become increasingly popular.

Furthermore, the report says that both active and passive types of gardening can play a big role in mental and physical health. The act of witnessing something grow can inspire optimism and creativity, and the tangible act of gardening can be very relaxing.  I know for myself this is very much the fact and I place high importance in making time to get into my own garden after working long hours.

In addition to interior design and well-being, here are the other four plant predictions for 2020:

  1. Low maintenance statements

Over the last 12 months, two in five Australians purchased a low-maintenance plant. The report says that 80% of nursery retailers enjoyed a rise in inquiries about easy maintenance plants, but disappointingly, Australians have succeeded in killing at least 70 million plants in the last year.  Perhaps a bromeliad is for you!

  1. An abode among the gum trees

One in four Australians are preferring native plants, evidence that the 1970s is making a return in the plant world. Retail nurseries have reported two times the number of enquiries in the last 12 months, while enquiries on hardy plants rose 70%.

  1. Truth and trust

In the last 12 months, the largest growth in spending seen by nursery retailers surveyed has been from 18 to 35 year olds, and this is believed to be mostly caused by social media. The popularity of the “plantfluencer” is very noticeable.  Check out my Pinterest ‘The Garden’ board  as well as Succulents.

  1. The hybrid store

Experts believe we will be hearing more of this sentence in 2020: “Would you like a plant with that?” 

What Happens Once You Accept an Offer?

You had been patient as your home went through open inspections, faced a hard bargaining, and finally determined which furniture you want to keep and what to donate. But what really happens once you have accepted an offer?

There are three main processes you need to undergo to complete the sale of your home:

  • Exchange contracts and get the deposit
  • Survive the cooling-off period.
  • Settlement

So what happens at each stage?

  1. Exchanging of contracts

Through this process, you acquire a legally-binding document that verifies the price and conditions of the sale.

The buyer will sign the Contract of Sale document. The document includes the price, the deposit amount, the amount owing at settlement, property details, the settlement period, and other terms of the sale, such as the property being covered by finance.

Other items included in the documents are the buyer’s and seller’s names, and information on each of the party’s legal representatives.

During this period, the buyer transfers the deposit, which is usually 10% of the purchase price but can be as little as 0.25% deposit if opting to exchange contracts with a cooling off period.

This deposit should never be paid directly to the seller; it should be given to their agent to be entrusted in a trust account until settlement.

  1. The cooling-off period

Like what the name signifies, the cooling-off period is the time given to the buyer in case they reconsider their decision and terminate the sale.

The buyer should inform the seller or their lawyer in writing if they have a change of heart during this time. Afterwards, the deposit will be returned to the buyer, less the applicable penalty.

The rules around the cooling-off period differ in each state and territory, including those related to its duration, the penalties that might apply, the property types that it applies to. For example, in NSW, the cooling-off period is 5 days.

Regardless of the location of the property, the cooling-off period doesn’t apply to properties purchased at auction.

Here are the different rules relating to cooling-off throughout Australia:

State Cooling-off period Penalty
Victoria 3 business days $100 or 0.2% of the purchase price , whichever is higher.
New South Wales 5 business days Buyer forfeits 0.25% of the purchase price to the seller.
Queensland 5 business days Seller may keep 0.25% of the purchase price from the deposit paid by the buyer.
South Australia 2 business days Any deposit paid that was over $100 will be refunded in full, but the buyer forfeits any holding deposit.
Northern Territory 4 business days Both purchase deposit and holding deposit will be refunded to the buyer.
Western Australia No cooling-off period applies unless contract specifies a cooling-off period No cooling off period applies unless contract specifies a cooling-off period
Tasmania No cooling-off period applies to any sale of property in Tasmania No cooling-off period applies to any sale of property in Tasmania
Australian Capital Territory 5 business days Buyer forfeits 0.25% of the purchase price to the seller.

 

  1. Settlement period

When the cooling-off period expires, the sale begins the settlement phase.

Usually between 28 to 42 days in NSW, this period lets buyer arrange their finances, and lets both parties double check that all aspects of the Contract Sale are fulfilled.

Settlement can be delayed by a range of issues, from the buyer not able to complete their loan documents to the vendor failing to provide vacant possession. To ensure a smooth settlement period, both parties should work closely with their lawyers from start to finish.

On settlement day, the buyer’s lawyer will ensure the money to be used to purchase the property is available, before assisting the buyer in getting the title or freehold to the property.

When the final signature has been affixed and the last cent has exchanged hands, it is finally time to pop the champagne!

 

 

Why Buy and Invest in Australian Homes?

The property market in Australia continues on its upward trend today especially in the Sydney and Melbourne markets as well as our own in Newcastle.

In Brisbane and other cities, the situation has stabilised.  Evidence shows the housing turnover is increasing.

Based on these conditions, is it safe to say it is the right time to invest in Australia?

Here are six reasons to invest in Australia’s housing market:

  1. Tax advantage

This ensures that homeowners will not lose as much money on an investment. This type of tax break in Australia is called negative gearing. The term implies that your expenses and interest payments are higher than your return. It indicates that even if the home value increases annually and you have positive cash flow, it still could be losing money.

The loss from negative gearing covers the computation of many factors, including property income, property expenses and depreciation.

You will need to compute the amount you can subtract from depreciation, or ask your accountant can do that for you. The expenses consist of capital items, revenue deductions, building allowances, etc.

If you have a loss, you can avail of a tax break on all your income. This is done by offsetting the net rental loss from your other income. The outcome is that, for tax purposes, your income is less. This means you pay reduced taxes at the end of the financial year.

This tax benefit is one of the biggest appeals to property investors.

  1. Stability

Australia managed to stay afloat when the US real estate market crashed in 2008. Other countries like Spain and Ireland felt the crash, but the federal government successfully stopped home prices from declining.

One of the daring moves it made was to increase the amount of grants to first-time home buyers. From $7,000, the grants were raised to $14,000 for established homes and $21,0000 for new-builds.

The massive increase was opposed by many. But it turned out to be one of the main factors why housing prices in Australian remained on an uptrend at the same time home prices in the U.S. declined.

  1. Robust property market

If you are purchasing a home for investment, the market conditions are on your side right now. The property market is flourishing again following a brief slowdown. It is enjoying a strong uptrend at present. It was 2017 when the Australian market last enjoyed a strong performance. A significant number of Australians are intent on purchasing a home today.

  1. Beautiful vista from Australian homes

If you want to invest in property with some of the best views in the world, then buy in Australia.

The various regions offer an assortment of views, from our Sydney Harbour to the Blue Mountains, golden beaches, tropical hinterland or vast open plains – Australia has it. 

  1. Accessible for foreigners

There are strong laws about foreigners buying properties in Australia. The Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) is the regulatory body for investments by foreigners, both for property and business.

You need to undertake certain processes to be qualified to purchase. You have to also follow certain rules. For example, you’re not allowed to purchase a house if you don’t intend to live in it full time. However, you can purchase a newly constructed property if you plan to live in it intermittently. You can also purchase new-builds for investment.

You need to seek approval from FIRB for both these options. But there is one option that doesn’t require approval – purchasing a new plan or apartments directly from the developer.

  1. Standard of living

Australia ranks high in many areas of human well-being. It performs well in income, education, environment, health, life satisfaction, etc. In general, Australia is a good place to seriously consider if you want to live or invest in an area that guarantees a high standard of living.

Many cities in Australia also measure well in terms of public transportation. It is easy to move around using buses, trains, trams and taxis.

If you want to travel to other regions, flying domestic is cheap. Fares are even cheaper for buses and interstate trains. 

Contact us today at One Agency Pinkerton Properties for more information and we will get you in contact with professionals who can help.