Posts

A Guide to Estimating your Home’s Value

If you’re thinking of selling your home, you’ll likely ask yourself, “What is the market value of my home?”  Not only will detailed property research help you to determine whether or not it is the ideal to sell, but you can meet and negotiate with real estate agents with confidence when you’ve done your homework.

Here is a how-to on estimating your home’s value:

Check out recently sold identical homes in your area

Because location and access to amenities all impact a property’s value, it’s important for you to check out homes that are comparable to yours and have been sold recently (within the past six months or so). Check sold listings on sites such as Realestate.com.au and Domain.com.au and create a list of similar homes and their selling prices.

Compare and rank features

It’s not likely for you to find examples of properties that are similar to yours. But you can rate your home versus identical properties using certain features. Do this by checking properties with the same:

  • Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Building style (for examples, new build or heritage)
  • Land size and size of the home
  • Condition and state of repair – does it require renovation? Are the fittings and appliances up to date?
  • Outdoor features like a garage or off-road parking, swimming pool and gardens

For instance, picture that your property has a Victorian terrace identical to another that sold across the road, however, that property has a larger backyard and back lane access. What this means is that your home might have a lower market value. In contrast, if that property requires renovations and yours has recently been upgraded, your home could sell for a higher price. But regardless, valuation at this period should be considered an estimate.

Monitor the property market

It will always be a case-to-case basis when you compare one property with another. This is why it’s important to know the market in your location and what buyers are looking for property in your area. You have to track the time it takes different types of properties to sell, as well as auctions in your neighbourhood.

Aside from regularly reading property news, you can also utilise tools such as the CoreLogic Home Value Index, which monitors monthly changes throughout Australia. A rise in average home prices in your location will normally follow a rise in the market value of your property as well.

What elements affect property value?

Several factors impact a property’s value, which is why it is a job that is best done by experts. However, consider the following if you want to get a general idea of how much your property could be worth:

General factors:

  • Whether the time is a buyer’s market or a seller’s market
  • Present interest rates and home loan restrictions
  • The general economic outlook
  • The present situation of the property market and average property prices
  • Expected population growth in your location

Property features:

  • The size of the land and property
  • The state of the property and potential for renovation
  • Location, street and curb appeal
  • How many bedrooms and bathrooms the property has
  • Energy efficiency
  • Parking
  • Outdoor elements such as landscaping and swimming pool

What are the usual property valuation mistakes?

  • Comparing different properties, properties purchased too long ago
  • Not being current with market trends
  • Using emotion to value a property
  • Using properties currently on the market for comparison. Don’t forget that the only good indicator of value is the market value, not price guides of properties that are still on the market
  • Using untrustworthy sources of information, rather than reliable industry publications

What is the value of my property?

Volatile best describes the property market. It is the fact that the only way you can know for sure how much your property is worth is when it is purchased by someone. But getting the opinion of a property specialist is a great way to know the present value of your home and help you decide on the right time to sell.

A property agent can also explain finer data details, like the number of days a property was on the market before it was sold, the medium house price in your location and where the property is located, and the auction clearance rates, which can indicate the level of demand for property in your area.

Generally, there are two ways to determine the value of your property without cost to you:

Get a free online property estimate. There are plenty of online tools that give you an estimated value of your property instantly. You just have to type in your address. These free reports give you an in-depth knowledge of your property and the market with detailed information including property value estimate, comparable sales and past suburb performances.

Sign up for a free property appraisal. Find a real estate agent that will visit your property without obligation, and recommend a possible selling price using recent market activity. The agent should also walk you through the selling process and what is included in their service.

One Agency For Rent

Planning to Sell a Rental Property with Tenants? Here Is What You Need to Know

One Agency For Rent

If you are a landlord selling your rental property, it could be made complicated if it is presently occupied by tenants. Having people living in the house while conducting open inspections doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker, but there are a few important things you have to be cautious of so as to avoid problems.

Here are some helpful tips when selling a house with tenants.

Can I sell a rental property that is occupied?

Yes. However, you have to consider a few things to ensure you are being mindful of your tenants’ rights during the process and increasing your chances of a stress-free sale.

Your tenants’ rights when selling a property 

While many landlords choose to have their tenants remain in the property and pay rent as long as possible, others like to sell an empty house. Tenants’ rights are different from state to state, so it’s essential to get property advice from an agent who can guide you on all the requirements to ensure you are following the right laws. In general, however:

  • You have no right to evict a tenant if they have signed a fixed term lease
  • You have to send 14 days’ notice to leave at the conclusion of the fixed term lease
  • If terminating a tenancy that has extended from the initial term agreed, there will be a lengthier notice period but differs significantly by state, so be sure to be up to date.

Inspections when selling a house with tenants

In terms of advertising the property to prospective buyers, you need to give your tenants fair notice to vacate the house and to clean up. This means giving your tenants 24-48 hours’ notice, depending on the state where you’re located. Consider doing the following things:

  • Send more notice than is required where possible to keep your good relationship
  • Use a real estate agent with excellent organisation and communication skills
  • Offer inspections at scheduled times so as not to disrupt your tenants’ lives.

Can a landlord sell a house with an ongoing lease?

Yes, even a property with a fixed term lease. However, you must notify your tenants in writing of your intention to sell.  

As stated above, you have to give tenants a 24-48 hours’ notice prior to an inspection, depending on what state you’re located. If you have provided the required notice, you and your property agent can enter the house for an inspection no matter if the tenant has agreed or not, and without a tenant in attendance.

Advantages and disadvantages of selling a tenanted house

Consider the pros and cons when selling a property with tenants.

Pros

  • You will continue to get rental income while the selling process is ongoing
  • Potential buyers could be interested in a house that already has tenants
  • Having a property occupied gives investors the assurance that it has good potential
  • A furnished property always looks better and helps prospective buyers with determining the size of space

Cons

  • You’ll be required to send the tenant sufficient notice prior to inspections
  • Tenants may not show the house properly, which could harm the sale price
  • Tenants could be regarded as a nuisance by buyers who want to move into the house on settlement

How to maintain a good relationship with tenants when selling

Many tenants consider their lack of control over their living situation frustrating. As the landlord, it would benefit you not to alienate your tenants so that the process will go without a hitch and you can be assured that the house is generating income during the sale price. Here are some ideas on how you can do this:

  • Cut the rent to make up for the disruption caused by the open inspections
  • Tell them of your plan to sell as soon as you have decided
  • Give them adequate notice before inspections
  • Be open to inspection time changes whenever possible
  • Let them know about how the process is going so they can make plans

What if the tenant wants to leave when you sell the property?

In several states including NSW, if you fail to notify your tenants at the time of the signing of the lease that you plan to sell prior to the termination of their lease, they have the right to vacate when you notify them that you plan to sell the property.

Depending on your approach and financial circumstances, you might like to sell a house without a tenant. However, as stated previously, it is a good idea to make sure you are generating income for as long as possible. There is no specific time frame when you will find a buyer and settle, so an unoccupied house can be a major worry. Additionally, selling an already occupied investment property to another investor can be a significant motivation for buyers.

So if you want your tenant to stay put, take the initiative and be ready to offer incentives for them to stay like reduced rent.

Having an experienced guide is important if you plan to sell your rental property. Talk to a professional real estate agent to familiarise you on your responsibilities and your tenants’ rights on the issue of selling a rented investment property.

 

 

What to Expect in Open House Inspections?

An open house is an exciting event whether you are a seller or a buyer. If you are selling, an open house is the chance for you to showcase your property to prospective buyers, and hopefully close a sale. If you’re a buyer, you are searching for a property that you can inspect, with the aim of finding a home that you can call your own.

While it seems like all you have to do is open your house and someone will buy, the fact is you need to have a little preparation if you want to ensure the best deal.

Here are tips to help you prepare before setting an open house inspection – from the perspectives of both the buyer and the seller.

How to prepare for open home inspections as a buyer

When you attend an open inspection, it’s easy to make yourself believe that the first home you inspect will be perfect or if not, you’d just go with your gut feeling. But if you are going to open homes with the aim of purchasing, you have to research the property so you have all the information you need before deciding to make an offer.

Here are three things you should consider when attending open homes:

Research the surroundings – Find out what services are close by. Knowing the neighbourhood and the properties proximity to schools, shops, cafes, parks, beaches, hospitals, sporting fields and complexes along with major shopping centres and even off the lead dog parks can add value to the property you’re looking at.  Not knowing this while your competition does may result in loosing out to another buyer.

Ask questions about the property  – finding out the history of the building can help you make your decision.  As they say, knowledge is power and being informed about any repairs or renovations the property may have been subjected to could either highlight some negatives or help you to discover some positives like not having to spend any more money on the home for the next 10 years.  Finding out if the pipes, roof, electrical systems, plumbing, pool equipment or windows have been replaced recently could mean that you make a higher offer and secure the property. 

Do some research to find out when the home hit the market – If the property has only been open for inspection for a short period of time, it could mean that many buyers are competing and you may need to make an attractive offer to advance in further negotiations.

How to prepare for open home inspections as a seller

What is an open house for sellers? This is your moment to put your property on display. On inspection day, your home needs to stun potential buyers and make them eager about the possibility of living in your home.

You want to give buyers all the reasons to buy and no reason not to. This means you have to get your home ready to sell fast – and for the highest possible price.

If you are preparing for open inspections, here are some things to include in your home inspection checklist:

Use space efficiently – The most important step in preparing your home for open inspection is decluttering. A tidy, uncluttered house appears larger, which creates a major difference when selling your house. Generally, you should remove at least half of your furniture (keep it somewhere else.)

Fix any maintenance issues – People are turned off by properties that look like it has been neglected. Additionally, if buyers think your property needs major repairs, they might request that you shoulder the expense. Repair leaky faucets, cracked tiles or damaged windows, and replace all the old light fixtures and or broken switches. You should also consider applying a fresh coat of paint as it makes your property look new and well-cared for.

Allow natural light – Buyers are turned off by a dark home, so ensure your home is taking advantage of the available natural light. Get rid or pull back superfluous window blinds, drapes or curtains. You can also install warm tone light bulbs and spot lamps to brighten a space.

Open Inspection in the Time of Covid-19

For us property managers and real estate agents, the health and safety of our clients are of utmost importance. In line with this, we have modified and updated our approach to meet the criteria of a safe place as defined by health authorities.

The process of open inspections during Covid-19 now includes:

Property managers and real estate agents are now working from home, and only attend home appraisal appointments, or to meet the clients, and oversee open homes or auctions. Buyers and sellers now have the option to communicate virtually with their agents or property managers over electronic devices for any property services they may need.

  • Most agents are now offering virtual open houses to vendors. These virtual walk-through technologies are secure and help agents generate offers as buyers are required to sign into the virtual open home in the manner that is the same for a physical one.
  • Clients who feel sick, or have gone to any high-risk areas are requested not to attend open homes for 14 days and instead call their agents for any enquiries they many have.
  • Clients will also be asked if they have travelled overseas in the past two weeks if they are going to homes for appraisals, or managing open home inspections.
Staging with One Agency Pinkerton Properties

Simple Staging Ideas to Help Sell your House Fast

You might have decorated your home according to your taste, but the design you chose for your wallpaper might not suit other people. View your home through a buyer’s eyes, and make small changes to present it in the best light. 

Let’s take a look at these simple, cost-effective fixes that will improve your home.

  1. Create a welcoming front door. Prospective buyers drive by the property they are interested in before deciding to see its interior, so make sure the front door looks inviting.
  2. Get rid of clutter. Don’t display personal photos, knickknacks, boxes and other items that will steal the buyer’s focus on your house. People will not purchase a house if they can’t see the square footage, so declutter and clean it.

People assume there is not enough storage in the house if it’s cluttered. A general rule of thumb on how to determine whether something is clutter or not is “if you can’t sit on it, it’s not decoration, and you can’t eat it, it’s clutter.”

  1. Do a thorough cleaning of your house. Make the bathroom shine, wipe the windows down, and clean the kitchen appliances. Also clean under the sinks!
  2. Refresh your rooms. With a little paint, you can sell your home fast. Tip: use neutral colours for commonly used rooms. This will make them look clean and fresh.
  3. Set up your furniture to show off your home. Extra, unwanted furniture should be removed, and the rest of the pieces should be arranged in a manner that can help showcase a space and creates a major impact on buyers who are viewing it. To make a space look larger, push the furniture away from the wall as this will let people see the perimeter of the space and creates the illusion of a bigger space.

       6.  Minimise odours. People will recall smells upon entering the door. Make an effort to eliminate odours that are caused by pets, smoking and cooking. 

  1. Do the needed repairs. Check around your home using a buyer’s perspective to decide if you need to oil the door and windows hinges, repair loose handrails, etc.

Postponing maintenance – for instance, big cracks in your sidewalks along the way to your door – are considered red flags to buyers. It is less expensive to repair it than buyers demanding to deduct the cost from their asking price. Do your calculations and carry out the repairs. 

  1. Replace old light fixtures. The single, outdated overhead fixtures in your home can be replaced by wall sconces, recessed lighting or pendant lights to give your home a more modern look.
  2. Carpets should look fresh and clean. If your carpet is not completely worn, you can avoid replacing it before you sell. Buyers usually prefer to install their own new carpet or choose hardwood floors.

 

 

 

 

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.
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.

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

5 Home Features that Seldom Add Value When You Sell

A rule of thumb that you should aim to achieve when renovating is to add three dollars back from every dollar you spend.

This three-dollar-for-one rule instantly manifests if the money and time you had invested was worth it. So if you want to add dollars to your home’s final sale price, you need to know which items not to spend your money on.

So, what are the home features that add little or no value to most properties. Here is the answer according to avid investors and renovators.

  1. Swimming pools

You have probably heard this before but it is worth repeating: a swimming pool is a major investment, and it will not give you the return you are hoping for.

You may like this feature, but others may see it as a hassle, danger, or expensive to maintain. If you are in a suburb teeming with young families, you may see them reject perfectly nice homes because of a swimming pool, so if your home already doesn’t have one, don’t build one in hopes of making a good sale.

Swimming pools may look like a good idea, but it is an expensive addition. If you are selling, it can turn off a prospective group of buyers, like families, the elderly, and potentially property investors. A pool will not attract these types of tenants because of maintenance, public liability, insurance and local government regulations relating to fencing and safety barriers.

  1. Excessive fittings and fixtures

With so many renovation shows on TV showing contestants being provided with ridiculous amounts of money for renovations, high-end products of all sorts have been introduced to try to win points.

But while the latest stove may be what your heart desires, with a customised backsplash made of cow hide and gold trims, this may not fit the taste of your buyers. Unless your target buyers belong to the rich, the fixtures and fittings, no matter how expensive and extravagant they are, will not give you a high return on investment.

  1. Things you cannot see

Something you can’t see is not likely to increase your return. This comprises wall and ceiling insulation, double glazing, new air-con systems and stumps.

These things are good to add to your long-term home. But don’t put them in as a selling feature because most people assume they are already installed and are in good working condition. However, it is fine too if they are not there.

Air-conditioners don’t add value to a home for sale. In Australia’s sub-tropical regions, air-conditioning is a must. But, installing a nifty split-system priced at say, $1,000, does not boost the price of your home by $5,000 as many home sellers think. This type of features only boosts a home’s marketability, not the value.

  1. Lavish landscaping or no landscaping

You have to find a balance when it comes to your garden.  A lack of a garden is a major turn off, much like a very fancy garden.

Experts advise a basic makeover is definitely the way to get a return on your outdoors expenses. Some lawn and a simple, easy to maintain garden design should suffice. Don’t go crazy with water features, cladding, secret gardens, paving, etc.

And your rare and/or edible botanicals will not boost your sale price either. You may be able to make delicious marmalade from your fruit trees, but you don’t automatically get money for the jam.

Some sellers believe that trees will be a big seller and add significant value to their property. But unless your property is a working orchard, the average buyer will be lukewarm to a guided tour of fruit trees as they’d rather hear and see the benefits and amenities the property actually offers.

  1. Sub-par DIY work

It’s not so hard to get a false sense of what an average person with a hammer and paint can do. What person wouldn’t get excited at the thought of saving lots of money? But this doesn’t mean homeowners can’t DIY minor cosmetic improvements and do a good job of it.

But it can cost you a lot to do a below-than-average job. Defective tiling and painting is easy to see at open homes. The value of a house decrease with half-finished jobs.

Even if you don’t hire a professional in order to save money, if you don’t have the confidence in doing the job it can end up taking you longer to achieve the desired results. That delay will mean a delay in getting your property to market.

Electricity and plumbing will also require the sign-off sheets from tradespeople for the works completed, so before you start determine what jobs you can do competently.

Things That Turn Off Buyers

There is no right way to sell a house, but there are wrong ways to do it.

All agents have their own way, and each buyer will react uniquely to their sales pitch. But those varied responses don’t give agents a free rein.

Though prospective buyers will all be different, they will be influenced by human nature. This means there is still some type of rulebook when it comes to selling a property.

Buyers will be turned off by dirt, bad odours or clutter. So you have to make an effort to help them visualize themselves living in your home.

Having said that, here are nine things that could possible turn off prospective buyers. Ignore them at your own risk.

  1. Clingy vendors

It cannot be easy letting go of a home where you have spent years making memories. But when you have decided to sell, you need to commit to see the process through.

Allow your agent to do their job, and provide prospective buyers the space they need to get attached. Sellers who hang around during an open home, or entertain prospective buyers with family stories, normally turns off buyers instead of attract them.

Even if you are quite entertaining, don’t forget that selling a home is a business deal. You have to remain as detached and neutral as possible, and let the buyer imagine themselves moving in and living in your home.

  1. Dirt

A property that is not well presented can often break a deal. Buyers will leave if they see dust, dirt and other mess. So get the services of a professional cleaner, a home stager, or both to put your property in order.

Clean the whole house from top to bottom, including those spaces that are not often seen, with special attention on the living areas, backyards, bathrooms and toilets. 

Moreover, do something about evidence of wear and tear. Small maintenance problems might not be a big deal, but buyers may see them as a sign of much bigger, underlying problems.

  1. Smells

There are different opinions about which smells help sell a home. However, most property experts say that the easiest way to a buyer’s heart is a reliable supply of fresh air. That is because buyers have different smell preferences and because there are those who assume sellers are trying to hide a bad smell when they use air freshener heavily.

So instead of trying to look for the right incense or candle, work on getting rid of bad smells instead. Open a lot of windows hours before the open inspection, and avoid cooking as well.

  1. Clutter

There is no reason for a house to be cluttered on open inspection, so you have to do more than a cursory cleaning before you put your home up for sale. Think strategically and systematically when de-cluttering. Begin in areas that will be used by the buyers the most. You may be able to excuse an untidy garage, but you will not find it easy to explain a messy living room.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, hiring a professional organiser is worth considering. A professional will view your mess in an objective manner, launch quick, decisive measures to eliminate your excess, and stow away the rest out of your sight.

  1. Temperature

It is what we call the Goldilocks effect: If a home is too warm or freezing, your buyers will not be happy.

It may not break the deal completely, but buyers will not be pleased if they don’t experience your home at its optimal comfort levels, and will ask pointed questions regarding the heating and cooling system. So, be ready with an air conditioner and heating when needed.

Preferably, you want the temperature at your home between 22 degrees and 26 degrees. Doing this may increase your monthly energy bill slightly, but the amount that you will pay to achieve the optimal temperature for your property will be nothing compared to the amount that you will receive from the purchase price.

  1. No price

Your listing is typically the first time potential buyers will look at your home, so it should contain as many important information as possible to catch their attention.

First, your listing should state the asking price. If they don’t see it, buyers will quickly dismiss your property, and jump to the next one that fulfils their requirements.

Buyers have budget in mind all the time. Pining down a specific dollar figure is not always possible, but not putting at least a price range in your listing will most likely turn off buyers, who may presume the home is beyond their budget (even if the truth is the opposite).

Keep your property in contention by allowing buyers to determine whether they can afford it or not.

  1. No photos

Are you willing to purchase a product without seeing it first?

Photos are the most effective way to encourage a prospective buyer to make an enquiry or take a look at a property. People either have to envision themselves living in your home, or they have to gain a realistic impression of how it will fare as an investment.

Ask your agent for help in creating a series of photos that will showcase your property in the best light. Failing to do this will narrow down your target market significantly.

  1. Personal photographs

Never forget that you are not the person purchasing your home.

The things you like may not be the same for buyers, so you must try to create an empty canvas for prospective buyers to let them envision living in your home. Remove provocative pieces of artwork, paint your home in neutral colours, and store any personal photographs. Moreover, hide any evidence of you and your family’s occupation of the property.

Your property should still look and feel homey, but all notes, documents or certificates that show your identity should be stored away, as they can hinder a buyer’s efforts to connect emotionally to your property.

  1. Your agent

Your agent can make or break a sale by being sloppy or underwhelming with the advertisement description of your home. Make sure to choose an agent who has experience in marketing properties across a wide range of platforms by asking questions and doing a little research.

Compare marketing campaigns of agents in your short list, and find one with a comprehensive knowledge of marketing. Focus your questions on their experience and how they will go about promoting and selling your home. View and study how they promote other listed properties and show up at their open inspections in order to observe how they engage with buyers.

Your chosen agent should be able to design and recommend a good marketing strategy to attract targeted buyers, and should possess the skills needed to turn a promising lead into a sure sale. 

Even the best negotiator is never going to be able to sell your home if they can’t market it and get the buyers to turn up!  

Tips for Buying and Selling at the Same Time

In an ideal world, you should have no problem in selling and buying property simultaneously and you finalise all the paperwork on the same day. However, this doesn’t happen a lot.

What actually happens is that people have to purchase first and sell second, which comes with the risk of paying two mortgages, or sell first and purchase second, which can force the homeowner to sell very quickly, move out just as quick, and accumulate thousands in rent.

However, selling and paying at the same time does and can happen. The key is you have to be proactive to achieve this goal. And you also need to ask Lady Luck to smile upon you.

Here are some tips on how you can buy and sell simultaneously:

1. Evaluate the market

The market situation will not change your objective of buying and selling at the same time, but it will impact how you go about achieving it.

The general recommendation when the market is strong is that buy first and sell second. This will allow you to buy at a lower price and sell at a higher one. During this time, there is also less chances of you failing to sell your property because it is a strong market.

When you purchase first, you can have the time to decide what property you want to purchase. However, if you are unable to sell your home before you can buy a new one, you will be paying two mortgages every month. And if you sell at a lower price, you can end up seriously out of pocket. This is the reason why some agents suggest floating your property off-market first, to assess how much it would sell on a much later date.

But in a downturn, the general recommendation is to sell first and buy second. This eliminates the risk of you paying two mortgages and also minimises the pressure of you accepting a bad offer, and gives you a set budget for your new home. However, you might have to rent while you search for your new home, or hurry your purchase to prevent this from happening.

2.  Lengthen the settlement period

The best way to boost your chances of settling at the same time is by extending the settlement periods. However, this will depend on the other party’s flexibility.

To further explain this, selling first would require you to persuade the buyer to acquiesce to an extended settlement as a condition of the sale. Three or four months should be adequate, as six to eight weeks should be enough time for you to find a new home and six to eight weeks to sign contracts and settle.

However, if you purchase first, your offer would need to be subjected to an extended settlement period, which may not benefit the seller, particularly if they had already purchased a home and have to sell fast.

3. Add “subject to completion of sale” to your offer

If you like to take a little risk, or simply unable to settle the sale and purchase of a property at the same time, add a condition of “subject to completion of sale” to your offer.

This condition in your contract means your offer will only become binding when you have sold your home. Simply put, you are not required to settle on the home you agreed to purchase until you have settled the sale of your new home.

Remember that this needs quite a bit of negotiations to arrange, as it can hinder the seller from purchasing another property.

4. Secure bridging finance

If you purchase first and have difficulty selling your home, you probably need to obtain a bridging loan. Usually interest-only, this is another loan that you obtain in addition to your existing home loan to allow you to pay for two mortgages at the same time.

To qualify for the loan, you usually would require a fair amount of equity in your present home. Because of this, you have to talk to your lender whether you qualify before purchasing a new home.

Compared to regular loans, bridging loans typically have higher interest rates, but you can save this way because the total expense of two moving days and a few months’ rent for your temporary home is often higher than the additional interest you would pay for two home loans.