Coronavirus: How COVID-19 will impact Real Estate

From the start of my real estate career, I believed that this business should move in the direction that negates the need for a shop front or an office for agents to work out of, especially as agents spend most of their day in someone’s home either discussing coming to the market or with buyers selling it.

So when I started my own real estate business in 2013 it was created and still operates remotely without the need for a shop front!  And, because of this, I have not had to worry about implementing remote work procedures in response to the current Covid-19 pandemic other than implementing work practices to ensure the health safety of all involved.   These include increased sanitation, maintaining social distancing, cancelling all open homes and auctions and limiting the number of people allowed at an inspection at any given time.

Since One Agency Pinkerton Properties is a full-service real estate company, and that I have been operating remotely from day one, my business is one of the better-placed agencies to respond to the current crisis.

My business already provides a video on every property that is marketed for sale and has always offered private inspections.  Worth noting, is that I have successful sold to interstate buyers who have never seen the home in person until after settlement and likewise to interstate tenants who are unable to view personally.

Working from a remote workspace has other hidden benefits too – the biggest one being productivity.  A boost in efficiency has been credited with not having to attend numerous meetings that consume around 7-8 hours in any given week.

Despite widespread closures and restrictions now severely impacting the way businesses can be run, I’m not fazed, as I can literally do virtual inspections,  appraisals and negotiations over the phone.  The exchange of contracts and documents via online programs like PEXA means you can buy or sell a home without having to visit a  ‘bricks & mortar’ office.

And so with the majority of real estate services able to be accessed and carried out online, I believe that Covid-19 might just be the one thing that wakes up traditional agencies and gets them thinking about how they are positioned to respond in a way that won’t impact upon the services they provide for their clients!

But it can’t happen over night for these larger agencies.  It will require training and changing some facets of work culture “to efficiently carry out change industry-wide”.

A reminder that “bigger is not always better”!!!

4 Important Lighting Tips to Use During Covid-19

 

Looking for some lighting inspiration while working from home during Covid-19 isolation? Use these tips as a guide when redesigning your home’s lighting.

  1. Use layers

Three layers of light is essential in all rooms.  Minimise wattage and size to maximise space and don’t overlook the accent layer, which helps to draw attention to the added details you’ve used to complete your spaces.

  1. Scale is essential

Lighting should not overwhelm a space and it also should not get lost in a space. Consider both the length and the width of the space.

  1. Focal point matters, too

Not all fixtures – lamps, sconces, chandeliers – should be of similar size because the eyes look for optical clarity. What lighting can be used as a focal point? It could be a chandelier in a big space, or a unique floor lamp or  vintage-looking sconces flanking a wall art for smaller spaces.

  1. Dimmers

Install in all rooms and with as many fixtures as you can add.  Dimmers change the mood and offset artificial light with natural light.

 

 

 

Tips to Control your Emotions When Selling

It is completely normal to have an emotional connection with your home. However, you can’t afford to let feelings hold you back when you are selling your home.

It doesn’t matter if you are a baby boomer downsizing, an owner-occupier upgrading or an investor aiming to profit. You must keep your feelings in check in order to sell your home quickly and for the highest possible price.

Most people feel that their home is not just an asset. It is a space they associate with family, security, happiness and comfort. This is the reason a mounting body of research states that selling a home can be one of the most stress-inducing experiences of a person’s lifetime.

Depending on your situation, there are various reasons for your attachment but the following are the most common:

It is the place of your childhood memories

Our home is the setting of our lives. It is where we grew up, spending many blissful moments with family and friends. These memories are an important part of your identity and give us the feeling of connection to the place where the memories happened.

It links you to family history

In certain situations, a home has been handed down through generations, or has played a major role in family connections. Thus, some people find it difficult to let go and can feel like they are losing a family member.

It is the place where you celebrated milestones

Celebrations at home are a huge part of life including birthdays, barbeques, engagement parties and even the occupational backyard wedding. We frequently reminisce about these special times with our home starring prominently in the memory.

You made your home your own

It is seldom that people move into a house and not make any changes. Whether it is getting new furniture, applying a fresh coat of paint, or adding a new deck, you may have done something in your property. This brings out a feeling of pride and a powerful connection that can be hard to ignore when it is time to move on.

Use your emotions or ignore them?

Though it seems counterproductive, there are some instances when sellers can channel their love of their home towards helping in finding a new owner by thinking like a buyer.

If you feel pride in your home, you are more likely to pay more attention to it and make sure it is ready before putting it on the market.

Homeowners who are emotionally involved are more likely to choose a real estate agent who cares and will make an effort to highlight all the major features when leading prospective buyers on open inspections.

These are constructive ways to utilise your emotions to get better results, but many sellers will let their emotions get in the way. This could lead to rush decisions that may cost massive amounts of money.

Emotional reasons for selling your home

Death, a serious injury and other major life events in the family are typical reasons for selling a home, often creating more emotional burden for the sellers.

In other instances, family relatives are so advanced in age that they can no longer care for themselves and their home.

Certainly, divorce is one of the hardest situations that can trigger strong emotions. Selling can be made complicated when one or both parties don’t want to move or agree on the price.

However, the emotional toll is not only felt by owner/occupiers. Investors can also feel a roller coaster of emotions when selling an investment property. This is particularly true when there is a deadline they must meet, a tight budget, or the need to offload in a declining market.

Tips to prepare yourself emotionally

The best way for sellers to move forward is through detachment. Say goodbye to your home and begin viewing it as a “product” at the early stage of the process. It is also vital to do market research and to keep an open mind.

Tips to keep your emotions in check when selling:

  1. View your house not as a sentimental asset but as a product
  2. Conduct research to make sure you price it correctly and be familiar with market trends
  3. Bid your house farewell as you prepare it for sale and ensure you are pleased with what you are putting on the market
  4. Use impersonal items for staging your home, so it starts to feel less like your home and more like someone else’s home
  5. Ensure you hire an agent to list and sell the property – it will be far more emotional if you try listing the property yourself
  6. Place yourself in the shoes of the buyer, think about how glad the next family will be in the home you helped build
  7. Be familiar with what the market is doing and be sensible about its time on the market
  8. Make sure not to be around when prospective buyers visit. If it upsets you to hear feedback from prospective buyers, request for your agent to keep details at a minimum
  9. Keep your attention on your new home. Think about the positives and visualise living in the new home.

Home Buying Tips for First-Home Buyers During Covid-19

2020 was shaping to be a bumper year for property buyers due to historically low interest rates, easier-to-access credit and more properties to become available in the market.  However, with Covid-19 and isolation in full swing, we now notice fewer properties coming to the market.

During this Covid-19 period, first home buyers have found that most of their competition from investors and down-sizers have all but gone but so has the choice of property to buy.  As a result, first home buyers are still experiencing challenges when having to compete for the property of their choice!

Finance can be the biggest challenge. While financing has been made easier for people with low credit risk, anyone with a slight tarnish on their credit history or with a unique way of earning money may experience difficulty in getting approved.

Banks are requiring less paperwork now, but open credit reporting has become available on the web, banks can access 24 months of a person’s history rather than the six months they did in the past. 

This means people have to keep their credit history clean for two years and must save now if they want to purchase in the future.

It is important for first home buyers not to worry about missing out. Real estate should be regarded as a long-term investment. Rather than choosing to purchase in a location that is cool and possibly paying a higher price, buyers should look at areas where there is more supply.  A little further away from the beach, bars and the city.

Suburbs like Kotara, Charlestown, Cardiff and Warrabrook.  Homes near infrastructure, on a train line and shopping centres are good buys. Reasonably-priced small homes or townhouses like 3/8 Jill Parade Charlestown are good purchases.

For apartments, purchase in the inner west like this ‘off market’ home at 1003/11 Charles St Wickham and if on a tight budget choose something smaller or older.

First home buyers are also advised not to panic because more stocks are coming into the market, which will re-balance demand and supply. It means they could rent for another year until prices become affordable.

First home buyers should also consider “rentvesting” as a strategy. Rentvesting means investing in reasonably-priced markets and renting in a suburb they prefer.

The new First Home Loan Deposit Scheme, which lets buyers get a loan with a deposit of only 5%, can help buyers and invigorate the lower spectrum of the property market.

People should seriously address any difficulty they may have regarding raising finances. Banks are known to examine the personal spending much more closely thoroughly for first-time homebuyers.

Use Covid-19 to help get a loan approval by preparing food at home instead of getting take-in.  Now that you’re not going out to coffee shops, cafe’s and bars, you won’t even need new clothing or shoes either.  Banks would look at you more favourably if you are cutting back on your expenses.

Lastly, it is important for you to get pre-approval before you start inspecting new homes. You need this to be in a favourable position when competing for the home you really want and you need to be able to action your intention to buy.