How to Choose the Right Listing Agent to Sell Your Home

Home sellers commit the biggest mistake in choosing their listing agent when they base their decision on just two criteria: the highest list price for the home and the lowest commission.

On the surface, those two are good criteria because any home seller would want to aim for those things. However, they have very little to do with hiring a listing agent and is irrelevant in many ways. Here’s why:

 

The Highest Recommended Selling Price

The truth is agents can’t tell you the amount your home will sell for. They can provide you with data on comparable sales, pending sales and active sales. However you decide on  the sales price and whether it’s the right price is up to the buyer. An agent can give a suggested listing price, among other things,  that will attract buyers. How it moves forward is up to the buyer and how well your agent negotiates with them.

Choosing a listing price may sound frightening but it is possible for you to choose the right listing price. You have to do your research and work with a reliable listing agent.

Here are some things you may consider when looking for a listing agent:

  • Agents don’t have crystal balls but can provide you with a realistic price where your home may sell.  Beware of the agent who suggests the highest listing price …. Ask the agent to provide you with data supporting the recommended listing price – they must provide you with evidence. If they can’t or if the home sales are in a different suburb you probably should be aware.
  • You can trust a listing agent that provides you with a range of prices. This range cannot be greater than 10%. This number is determined by several factors, including location, the features of the property, the temperature of the market, the condition of the property and upgrades in the property.
  • There is an art to pricing. A home that is priced right will get multiple offers if the buyers are active in the market. If the price is a little high then the offers that come in may be lower than your expectations. If the price is too high, then you run the risk of no one showing up to inspect and you’ll then be forced to lower the price, leaving buyers thinking what flaws your house may be hiding.

Choosing a Listing Agent Based on Commission

Despite what you may think, each real estate agent is unique. Each has their own marketing and advertising methods. By hiring a listing agent and selecting an advertising budget your home will be seen by a large number of buyers. This is good, because the greater the number of potential buyers reached, the higher the chances of your house getting a better offer.

There is always a reason why a listing agent would work for a cheap fee. It might be they’re desperate for business, they may be inexperienced, lacking confidence or they may be pressured from their employer so they can hit their KPI’s keep their job. Find out why they are willing to be cheap before committing to hire an agent.

 

Why is Marketing Important?

The property marketing of a home is the most important thing to consider when selling your home.  If you don’t get the buyers there then in the first place, then it won’t matter how good or experienced your agent is when it’s time to negotiate.  Make a request to take a look at the agent’s marketing strategy. Make a point to ask what the agent’s strategy is for selling your home.

Here are a few marketing techniques you should expect:

  • Professional signage – including the agent’s contact number
  • Digital targeted marketing
  • Ads in local magazine
  • Multiple listing service
  • High definition video presentation (not slides to music)
  • Distribution to major websites
  • Full-colour brochures
  • Floor plans with dimensions
  • As many open homes as needed (not limited to two)
  • Directional signs for open homes
  • Direct mail to nearby suburbs & out-of-area buyers
  • Feedback phone call to sellers on every buyer inspection
  • Follow-up reports on buyers inspections detailing feedback in writing
  • Email feeds of new listings that compete
  • Updates on neighbourhood facts, trends and recent sales
  • Note that no single marketing technique works; it’s a combination of these techniques that sells properties.

Good Listing Agent Characteristics

It’s important to have a good working relationship with your listing agent. Here are some of the qualities you should look for in an agent:

  • Relevant education – Are they a Licensed Agent or an Assistant Real Estate Agent (who hold a certificate of registration only)?
  • Experience in marketing homes – Having a diploma in marketing is a huge advantage
  • Excellent negotiating skills
  • Results – What is the average days on market?
  • Results – What is the average percentage over the asking price obtained?
  • Transparency
  • Wide network; contacts with other agents
  • Excellent communication skills

Lastly, request for a personal guarantee. Look elsewhere if the agent refuses to provide a guarantee of performance letter.

 

The Outlook for Australia’s Property Market for 2021 and Beyond

One of the frequently asked questions we receive about the market is: “What is to be expected of the property market for the rest of 2021 and in the next year or two?”

In February, Westpac was one of the banks who boldly predicted a 20% increase in house prices over 2021 and 2022. Since then, all other big banks have come to agree with economists’ prediction of up to 30% increase in values over this cycle.

Now, Westpac says a higher than expected increase over the first half of 2021 is now forecast to bring values up another 18% in the last quarter 2021.

According to Westpac, regulators will take action to slow down the market. Signs of an 18% increase in Sydney, and a 7% gain in housing credit, will allow for a sensible policy tightening in the first half of 2022.

 

Likewise, ANZ Bank expects housing prices, nationally, to increase by a solid 17% through 2021, before declining to 6% in 2022.

In Sydney, house prices are expected to increase by up to 19% by the end of 2021.

This a turnaround from all the negative predictions all the banks made in mid-2020.

Strong Growth for 2023

A significant property price increase is expected through to the end of 2023, as well as similar gains in real residential investment.

Applying the Reserve Bank of Australia’s model of the housing market, analysts expect house values to increase by 8% over the remainder of 2021, then a further 9% in 2022, before a final gain of 8% in 2023.

This translated to a cumulative increase through to the end of 2023 of up to 25%.

Capital city house prices were up 2.2% over the month of May, and up 10.6% over the current year. But, evidently, there are several housing markets in the country.

Australia’s House Prices Over the Last Year

The moderate covid-19-induced housing correction ended in mid-Oct 2020, and the housing market had become active again since then.

Is A Second Australian Recession Happening?

Australia has undergone the “V-shaped” economic turnaround that no one has predicted, with current GDP higher than it was at the start of the pandemic.

But to have NSW, Australia’s biggest state, on lockdown is a major strike against our economy. There are now speculations as to whether the prolonged lockdowns around the country could lead us to a double-dip recession.

Every week that Sydney is in lockdown, $2 billion is lost in gross domestic product (GDP). And if the lockdown extends to 12 weeks, that is a loss of $24 billion worth of GDP.

It looks like there is a big possibility that the economy will contract in the September quarter, but luckily, most analysts believe there will be a major recovery in December, as more Australians are vaccinated.

The Housing Market Has Picked Up Considerably

 

What do we have to expect for our property market and the economy?

Here are the 7 property trends that we should expect to see in the remainder of 2021:

  1. Housing demand from home buyers will continue to be strong.
  2. Demand from first home buyers will weaken due to increasing competition as investors return to the market and property values increase.
  3. Dwelling values will continue to rise, driven by consumer confidence, low-interest rates, economic growth and a positive supply and demand ratio.
  4. People will pay a high price to buy in the right neighbourhood.
  5. The high end of the market, which includes dwellings valued at roughly $960,000 or higher, will lead the growth in property prices.
  6. 2021 will see homeowners upgrading their lifestyle and their accommodations to bigger homes.
  7. We will not fall off the fiscal cliff even with the end of JobKeeper and the mortgage deferral system.

House Prices Forecast

In the medium term, dwelling prices will depend on how much our economic recovery will impact factors such as income, employment, borrowing capacity and credit availability.

However, underlying long-term fundamentals will buoy our property markets in the medium and long term. These fundamentals – population growth, declining housing supply, low interest rates, trend towards smaller households, rising number of renters, and return of first home buyers – are robust.

In addition, the country’s banking system is stable and strong.

Sydney House Price Forecast

 

Sydney house values are expected to enjoy a double-digit increase over the next 12 months, thanks to very strong demand for houses in the city’s inner and middle-ring suburbs. Indeed, housing values increased 8.2% in the second quarter of 2021.

Family-friendly apartments in the inner suburbs are expected to perform solidly, owing to strong demand from owner-occupiers and investors, while apartments in high-rise buildings are expected to weaken.

Apartments suitable for families are considered as a reasonably-priced alternative to houses and units in trendy locations like Sydney’s eastern suburbs and Northern Beaches. Meanwhile, apartments in high supply locations pose a major risk to investors.

This already happened before the pandemic when certain areas in the city face significant unit oversupply.

Sydney’s bigger regional areas, particularly lifestyle areas like Byron Bay, Central Coast, Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Hunter Valley, Wollongong, NSW south coast, are expected to perform solidly for the remainder of this year with beachside and lakeside suburbs likely to perform well compared to the entire market, in general.

Rising interest from buyers and sellers in Sydney’s property market resulted in auction clearance rates continuously reaching the 70-80% range, indicating that there are more buyers than sellers and this always results in higher dwelling values.

More investors are entering the Sydney market, seeing that there are no more bargains and that in 12 months the houses they bought now will be considered a bargain.

To find out how your suburb is performing, call Annette Pinkerton today for a confidential discussion.

Investors From Sydney Ordered to Stay Out of Newcastle

The introduction of the new regional permit system means that for the duration of the Greater Sydney lockdown, investors are not permitted to inspect property in Newcastle and regional NSW as of tomorrow 21 August.

Property investors have been ordered to stay out of our regions and wait –  they will not be able to exit the Greater Sydney region and enter regional NSW to inspect a property.

Residential Sydneysiders who genuinely need to find a new home to live in are allowed to travel to our region to inspect property and will be required to carry a new permit allowing them to leave the Greater Sydney lockdown region.  Those who breach the new rules risk a $3,000 on-the-spot fine.

The increased fines and police presence are to ensure people who exploit the rules are caught and punished.

There is however an exception for Central Coast buyers who are now excluded from the Greater Sydney region.   Another exception is for property investors from the Great Sydney region who need to travel to a second home located in regional NSW, but only to use it as work accommodation or if the home requires urgent maintenance and repairs.  They are allowed to apply for a permit but even then, only one person is allowed to make the trip.

 

 

7 Ideas to Add a Touch of Luxury to Every Room in Your Home

There are so many things that remind us of the finer things in life, and those things include experiencing luxury at a five-star hotel and falling asleep between lavish sheets at a top-tier holiday rental.

But we don’t need to wait to have that lavish feeling for a special occasion. You can add luxurious touches that are easy and can change your life in a big way.

Here are simple ways to add a hint of five-star decadence to your home:

  1. A plush bed

One of the few things that can guarantee a good night’s sleep is a stylish and lush bed. Arrange it as a main point of your bedroom, starting with a supportive mattress and then layered it with touches of comfort such as plump down pillows, a woollen underlay between Egyptian cotton sheets and your mattress and
a weather-fitting doona.

  1. Elegant lighting

All high-star hotels or luxury homes have one thing in common: well-lit rooms with lavish chandeliers, wall sconces, art lights, floor lamps and mood lighting.

You can do a simple lighting makeover by replacing your overhead lights with modern fixtures, and consider installing a dimmer for mood lighting.

  1. Fresh flowers

A lot of people think that flowers are only for special occasions, but there is no reason not to have beautiful and sweet-smelling flowers in your home all the time. Flowers give your home colour, life, perfume and texture, and can transform a worn-out looking space into a much-loved home.

Bloom shouldn’t necessarily be expensive; garden-picked flowers serve the same purpose and more!

  1. Art pieces

People feel like they’ve had it made if they can buy art. If you want to hang art in your home, choose an artist that you love or a piece that you’ve purchased during one of your travels.

Art triggers memories and feelings, so it is a very personal investment. Begin with small art pieces and only choose what you love.

  1. Tasteful mirrors

Mirrors add elegance in a space, with their ability to reflect natural light and transform a room just by changing its depth of field. Interior designer experts say, “the bigger the mirror, the better!”

  1. Experiment with soothing scents and soft tunes

Luxury should be a complete sensory experience. When you walk into your home, your mind and senses should feel invigorated. You can create your own sanctuary by adding touches of sensory sparks in every space in your home with things such as relaxing music, a diffuser with the scent you love, as well as tactile furnishings and crisp towels.

  1. Coordinating cutlery

Store your old cutlery or give them away. A cutlery drawer full of old, mismatched cutlery broadcasts “student pad.” It’s time to separate yourself from your old cutlery and invest in new silverware that will elevate your daily home dining experience, not just to be used during your annual dinner parties.

Important Things To Consider When You Sell a Vacant House

Selling a vacant house can be a challenge. Because it is empty, it feels empty. This makes it hard for potential buyers to envision themselves living there. Furniture provides a sense of perspective, while fittings like curtains, picture frames or art can divert people’s attention from marks on the walls. Buyers may not like your taste in couches, but they at least can get a sense of how it fits in the room.

Here are a few important things to consider if you end up selling your house while it is empty.

  1. Keep in touch with your real estate agent. This is important, especially if you’re selling long distance, as you will depend on them more than if you still lived in the house. Keep yourself informed on the number of people viewing your house and find out what feedback your agent is receiving.
  2. If you can, leave some pieces of furniture in your house. A furnished house is more appealing and looks larger than an empty one. Plus, people purchase homes, not houses. They want to be able to see themselves living there. If this is not possible, consider using rented furniture for this purpose, or hire a stylist to do this for you.  
  3. Don’t ignore your home’s street appeal. This could mean you will have to pay someone to make your front yard look good by mowing the lawn, raking the leaves or trimming the bushes or trees.
  4. Prior to moving out, tidy up the landscaping. You can do this in various ways such as planting new shrubs, freshening up the ground cover, or making it appear more cheerful with colourful annuals. Just make sure there is someone who waters the plant regularly to keep them alive and thriving.
  5. Once you empty your house, look it over to see if any part needs a fresh coat of paint. There could be scratches from moving furniture that prospective buyers can easily notice.
  6. You might also consider freshening up your house with a neutral shade. The walls stand out in an empty house. Bold tones, particularly in an empty house, can turn buyers off, so consider using a neutral shade.
  7. Hire professionals to clean the carpets. Without anything in the house, all prospective buyers have to look at are the floors and walls.
  8. Make sure your vacant house does not attract burglars. Install exterior sensor lights that automatically turn on when night falls and off during the day.
  9. Before you move, cancel all regular deliveries and redirect mail to your new address. An overflowing mailbox is a tell-tale sign to would-be burglars that no one is there.
  10. Use your security alarm, if you have it, and leave the entrance code with your real estate agent.
  11. Go over your home insurance. Find out if your insurance has a limit on how long it will cover your home while it stays vacant.

I strongly recommend staging your property when selling.  Generally speaking, for every dollar spend you are likely to get ten times the return on investment.  For example, spend $2,500 and you could be getting an extra $25,000.  Sometimes it is way more!

 

 

Tough Competition for First-Home Buyers as Investors Make a Comeback

Investors who have returned to inspections are squeezing out first-home buyers in the property market.  A rising number of investors are securing property by offering higher, causing prices to increase. Some are trying to purchase a property rather than keep their money in the bank, where it is only earning low interest.

It comes following the property boom that has been triggered by owner-occupiers, determined to capitalize on cheap mortgages to move into bigger homes with space to work remotely. Investors usually come back to the market when prices increase and they see the probability of capital growth.

According to the latest Australia Bureau of Statistics data, investor loans throughout Australia grew 2.1% in April, hitting a record four-year high of $8.05 billion. In the same month, first-home buyer loans dropped by 1.9%.

 

 

 

In NSW, investor loans saw a 2.5% increase. While investor activity had improved in the past month, investors are coming back to purchase duplexes, villas and smaller homes. Though it is anticipated that they would drive growth in the unit market specifically in the coming months.

Investors will start feeling the pinch as they try to keep their eligibility for lower-priced stamp duty and government grants by paying less than the appropriate price limits.

The competition against investors will be difficult, and that could surely push prices over those limits.  We saw this the last time investors dominated the property market in Newcastle.  Many of those are cash buyers, which is noteworthy. The likely reason may be that keeping money in the bank doesn’t make sense given the low-interest rates and rising inflation.

With regards to rising prices, it will begin to trickle down, and with regards to driving competition up, this has been happening for the past month.

Another contributing factor are the rent-venters, comprising of first-home buyers priced out of their preferred location who rent where they want to live and purchase in another area.

Many have set their sights on purchasing investment properties in more reasonably priced states, including Queensland where prices have been increasing more modestly. Investor loans in the state rose 7.1% in April.

In Victoria, loans to investors increased 2.2%. Investors picked houses over units as they continue to feel the impact of the pandemic.

Numerous investors in Melbourne were searching beyond in country Victoria. People are buying property out of Melbourne with an eye to moving there in four or five years. This strategy offers good growth and good yield. It is practical for these lifestyle destinations.

However, investors were suffering FOMO like owner-occupiers, squeezing out first-home buyers as they are impacted first by affordability issues.

Investors who are returning are focusing more on the traditional property market than the apartment market. This indicates that what’s involved is likely Boomer money. Many of these investors were small, self-managed funds that were aiming to invest their cash on properties instead of keeping it in the bank.

These people are heavy hitters joining the same auctions. It means they can afford to pay more than the reserve and are more likely to be emotionally entangled in a bidding war.

In April, Melbourne posted a 69.9% clearance rate, according to Domain figures, and a 1.8% increase in housing prices to $750,562, according to CoreLogic data.