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Why Real Estate Won’t Return To Normal Once Lockdowns Lift

Many real estate agents and principals are working in lockdown right now, and even though we are still able to list and sell property (under constrained circumstances), we are finding that the majority of sellers are saying they prefer to wait for restrictions to end and consider listing their properties when real estate returns to normal.

The problem is, when restrictions end, real estate won’t return to normal. In fact, if we take into account what happened last year when Melbourne agents were in an extended lockdown period, it was just the opposite.

The main lesson I learnt from One Agency’s in Victoria last year was that as soon as restrictions lifted and sellers rushed to the market, it lead to high demand for associated service providers like stagers, photographers, pest & building inspectors and conveyancers, causing major waitlists and a huge slowing in the process.

So, the immediate post-lockdown environment will actually be far from normal.  That’s why it’s so important to take steps right now to set yourself up for a successful post-lockdown sale.

 

How to set yourself up for a post-lockdown sale of your property

Styling and staging experienced big bottlenecks in Victoria last year. There are only so many styling professionals and their staging furniture to go around, which means there’s likely to be a big queue for this service when lockdown lifts.

One way to get around this problem is to consider selling right now. This can be a great option, because while there are less properties on the market, buyer numbers are still very strong, which means you are facing less competition than usual and certainly far less than when everyone decides to come to the market post-lockdown.

If you still prefer to wait until lockdown ends, you should try to book styling and staging appointments right now. If appropriate, consider offering to pay a deposit. That way, you can get to the front of what’s likely to be a long queue.

The same logic applies with contracts for sale and pest and building inspections. Demand for conveyancers and inspectors will skyrocket once lockdown ends, but supply of these services remain unchanged. Now might be a good time to go to market, because if you wait until lockdown is over, it might become harder for you to sell your property.  It may take longer and everyone knows that the longer a property is on the market, there’s a higher chance you’ll have to drop your original asking price.

Of course, if you want to wait, that’s your choice. In that case, speak to your favourite conveyancer right now and ask them to draft a contract of sale in readiness so you can get to the front of the long post-lockdown queue.  Remember to book your stylist and contact your agent so they can book your photographer.

These are conversations you need to be having right now because your competition is already doing it!

 

 

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!

 

 

Tips for Home Sellers Amid the Covid-19 Pandemic

The current COVID-19 crisis can be compared, in some aspects, to past economic crises, like the Global Financial Crisis in 2007. However, what we are experiencing now is very much a first.

For the real estate market, what is important is how to overcome the uncertainty some people are experiencing due to COVID-19. 

There have been many changes that agents have had to work with including the ban on all real estate auctions and open for inspections. This was part of the Federal Government’s continuing clampdown on social gatherings.  Thankfully this has now been granted back to agents with physical distancing and the practice of good hygiene including alcohol-based hand sanitiser with at least 60% ethanol or 70% isopropanol.

What’s interesting is that during this time many agents, including myself, reported a flurry of qualified buyers ready to purchase immediately and with many sellers deciding to hold off launching their properties to the market, buyers were competing for limited stock which resulted in the majority of listings selling quickly and above the asking price.

Now more than ever, it is important to give buyers the information they are seeking.

What are some of the things that your agent should be doing differently? Let’s take a look.

Provide the whole address – Buyers like to be able to conduct a drive by and if there is no address they are likely to pass over the property altogether.

Add a sale price to your listing – Research conducted by realestate.com.au says that seeing listings without a sale price is a common complaint among prospective buyers.

Add complete floor plans – Include room dimensions and as much information as possible. Buyers like to know if their furniture will fit.

Use video tours – This will let buyers see the location and dimensions of features like windows, soft closing cabinetry, etc., which may not be on display in photos and floor plans.

Describe topography – Provide photos of the gardens and lawn, and displaying the topography specified in the video tour.

Include details about nearby amenities – Prospective buyers are interested in information about what is close by and how it will effect their lifestyle. 

Tips for home sellers amid COVID-19

Your agent will be a big help in getting your property sold fast and for the best price, but there are things that you, as a seller, can do to make sure the process moves without a hitch.

Consider having a building/pest inspection and independent valuation – This is another way to make the buying experience pleasant for prospective buyers. It can also increase transparency for the transaction and help to speed the process up.

Present the property in the best possible light.  Remember that once you launch your property to the market, you are in the market in competition and not isolation.  You are not the only one!

Amid the COVID-19 crisis, agents and sellers really have to think ‘outside the box’ about how to best showcase a property.  Work together!

 

 

 

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”!!!

Can You Sell Your House Before You Have Finished Paying Your Mortgage?

The answer is: “Yes, you can.” This is probably expected, due to the fact that roughly one-third of Australians presently reside in a mortgaged house.

People sell their home before paying off their mortgage for various reasons: for downsizing, moving to a new area; or needing a bigger space for a growing family, or just wanting a larger kitchen.

What are the important things you need to know?

Determine how much your existing home is worth

Do the numbers before putting your home on the market.  The first step is to calculate the value of your current home because you absolutely don’t want to sell for less than you owe, or less than you required to fund your new home.

You also have to check the gap between the cost of your new home and the return on the home you are offloading. If you have to take out a loan for the new property, you will need to evaluate your new loan costs, because you don’t want to face difficulties in making your loan repayments after you sell.

Determine your costs

Several costs are associated with selling and buying properties, which could seriously affect the money you have to play with. Begin by looking at your mortgage papers. If are paying a fixed-rate mortgage, there may be fines for paying out early.

You also need to consider the agent’s commission, marketing and advertising fees, and any banking and government expenses, like stamp duty, registration fees, and title transfer costs. These will cut into the money you get at settlement.

While it may take some effort on your part, it is important to know the costs involved before you move forward.

What else do you need to check?

Whether you sell your home and buy a new home simultaneously, or whether you sell now and buy later, will influence a lot of things.

If you sell first, then buy later, you’ll know exactly how much money you’re working with. But you’ll also have to find a temporary home, which you will have to rent. However, you could probably continue living in your old home by renting it back in the interim from the new owner.

Though, if you purchase first, you have to be prepared to pay two mortgages at the same time.

What is the process?

When you have signed the contract of sale for your existing home, you’ll have to get in touch with the bank or financial institution that owns your mortgage. They will prepare the “discharge of mortgage” documents, which they file at the same time the ownership of your property is transferred to the new owner. This has accompanying fees, so you have to know beforehand what fees you’re required to pay,

After releasing your mortgage, your lender will deduct the amount of money needed to pay out the mortgage and hand over the balance to you.

Final advice

It is crucial to keep a calm head in the flurry of finding a new home. Selling a house get can emotional and you can sometimes can get caught up in the negotiation process and end up selling for a price that is lower than you aimed for. Note, that for each dollar you subtract from the sale price is a dollar that you can’t spend.

Prior to starting, set a price range that you can be happy with. This will significantly help with a possible counter-off on your initial price.

My final advice is to ask help from an expert. Each mortgage is different, so it is crucial to fully know what you’re signing up for, instead of pretending it is business as usual.

By working with a mortgage broker, you can make sure you don’t overlook some important terms. And an adviser will be doing most of the legwork, allowing you to just be excited about moving to a new home.

Important Things to Know About the Psychology of Purchasing a House

The decision to purchase a home is obviously an important one but it might surprise you to know that many buyers are swayed by considerations other than price, resale value and location. From the house number to the colour of the paint, it seems home buyers decide based on emotion and aesthetic instead of logic.

Here are seven psychological factors potential buyers take into account when buying a new home:

  1. Emotion
    Whether it is a house or an apartment buyers are purchasing a home. It is where they will make memories and for many, there is a heavy feeling of emotional connection. It is not a shock to learn that home-purchasing decision involves plenty of emotions. A 2013 Commonwealth Bank survey of Australian buyers showed that 44% paid a higher sales price as they “really liked it.”Here is how to tap into buyers emotions. Prior to your first open for inspection, ask yourself – Where is the best room or space?  Where do you love to live and spend most of your time and why? By doing this, you can potentially heighten the emotions of your buyers by enhancing and focusing on that room, deck or space in the garden.  Buyer will purchase with emotion and justify with logic.  This often take the buyer outside of their budget because they really like your home.  It makes them pay more for your property due to its “feel good” factor.  Try to find out the emotion driving your feelings and enhance them for your buyers.
  1. Cultural superstitions
    What is the issue with numbers that some home buyers are influenced by them? For the superstitious, they believe that the numbers of a home can reveal whether a property is suitable. In certain cultures, certain numbers are thought to be more auspicious than others. The number 13 is normally believed to be unlucky but in some Asian cultures, the number 4 is believed to bring bad luck as how it’s pronounced sounds like “shi” which means “death” in Mandarin.
  1. Perceived value
    It may have cost you $100 – $200 and a few hours of your time to give your house a fresh coat of paint, but to a potential buyer a freshly painted home is seen as added value. Similarly, a room painted with an ugly colour can make people less likely to buy – even though it wouldn’t cost much to fix such problem.
  1. First impressions
    First impression counts, always! A first look at a property will leave the buyer either impressed or not. According to a study of 63 un-staged homes, the average selling time of a house dropped significantly after undergoing a complete “facelift.”A good first impression begins on the approach to the home so a good idea is to get in your car, drive towards your home and see what your buyers will see.
  1. A Home with a Story to Tell
    A powerful medium in sales and rockstar marketing is storytelling. The rational part of a buyer’s brain tend to look at numbers, technical specs history, possible resale value, etc. but their emotional side react to idealized account of the past owner.Not all stories will impact buyers and more than likely a home will have many stories. Be sure to share the history of your home, gather a few stories for reference so you can tailor your story to different prospective buyers.
  1. Social proof
    Social proof is important in a business founded on relationships and trusts. Social proof is the secret to shape most purchasing decisions, and purchasing a home is no exception.To create social proof, share your home on as many platforms as possible but in particular the more local, the better.
  1. The ideal lifestyle
    Home buyers are not purchasing a home, they are also buying a lifestyle. If they are looking at properties in Merewether, they are likely to be into an active lifestyle with decent cafes. It could also be about morning walks along the beach before going to work, surfing in the afternoon or Saturday brunch at their favourite café with friends.It’s important to sell a lifestyle not just a home, gain an understanding outside of the technical aspects of a home. Buyers like to find out about the history of a suburb, its local restaurants and schools, etc. Is there a highly-rated bakery near the home? Is the home close to the topnotch walks like the Fernleigh Track? These little details are important when people are buying into a lifestyle and why using a video is very important.

Getting an insight into the psychology of a home buyer can help your agent find the right future owner for your property.

The first step towards selling your home for more, is finding an agent who understands the psychology of purchasers.  An agent who understands how to help you present your home and market to your targeted buyers using psychology.  An agent who can entice the buyer to view your home and then negotiate using these same techniques.

To find out more abut how buyers will perceive your home and how to add value, call Annette Pinkerton directly on 0418447856.

What Will Improve How Your Facade Looks?

A strong focal point – this is the one thing that would make your façade look better.

Normally, that will be the front entry and door. However, if it cannot be seen from the road, then the focal point might be the garage door, front fence or pedestrian gate areas.

They may have been times when you’ve seen too many focal points in a house, but don’t know why you dislike it. The reason is that multiple features on a home’s facade can cause the viewer’s focus to stray and make them feel uncomfortable. A design is deemed good if it is easy on the eye, unpretentious but chic and well organised.

It is a common mistake for renovators to give each element of their home’s façade the “wow” factor. Meanwhile, there are many homes without any feature or focal point and too visually boring.

So what can you do to liven up your home’s façade?

Install a beautiful front door. This is a simple change that you’d easily afford. To add layer, put in a few other design features. This will greatly jazz up your home’s façade.

Adding a feature wall panelling, screen or a deck at the front entry is also another option. But take note these features will depend on the home’s style and suitability.

A small roof is another feature that can make a huge difference in your front entry. Make it more inviting with big pots planted with lush plants.

However, make sure that the features you are adding fit with the existing style of your home. Designers and architects are experts at combining old with contemporary styles, but it is hard to find a balance.

It is absolutely fine to modernise your home by making changes, but be sure they are properly integrated.

You can also use contrasting materials and colours to create a powerful focal point.

It is also important to consider lighting. Often an afterthought, lighting is an effective way to create visual contrast to your home, especially at night.

Soften the general appearance of your home with stylish landscaping in the front yard. To add to the focal point, plant a green area close to the front entry to your home. Think about planting in layers, with the tall plants at the back and the small ones at the front. Planting a tree at the centre of the yard is a good idea too, but it shouldn’t obstruct the focal point.

Regardless of what style your home is, you can create a strong focal point. That is the advantage of good design – it can complement anything even if you think it won’t.

Tips for First-time Property Sellers

It can be emotionally draining selling your home, particularly if it is your first time doing it. Perhaps you bought it with the intention of re-selling it sometime in the future, or perhaps the home you thought you’d grow old in just doesn’t fit you anymore. Regardless of the reason, it may be bittersweet for first-time home sellers particularly if you have invested a lot of time, energy and money into making it special.

Below are three great tips to help you through the experience of  selling your first home:

The Different Methods of Selling a Home

 

You have more than one way to sell a property – and you may have a specific manner by which to accomplish it. Below are the most common methods of selling a property:

Auction
A popular method of buying and selling property is through auction. A reserve price, the minimum price you are willing to sell your property, is set by you and your agent. The auction is conducted by the agent or auctioneer on a specified date. Conducting an auction is covered by laws, so allow a professional to do it. If your reserve price is not met, you may negotiate with the highest bidder through your agent.

The sense of urgency and competition amongst buyers in an auction can result in a higher price for your property. However, buyers can also be put off by the prospect of an auction. It is better to talk to your agent to see if auction suits you best.

Tender

Before advertising and showing the property, you and your agent set a price range but it is not advertised. Prospective buyers are invited by the agent to formally submit their best offer along with their terms and conditions on special tender documents, which must be submitted by a particular date and time. When the set date has passed, the tenders will be delivered by the agent and presented to you for opening. You can opt to take the highest tender, open negotiations or re-list your home if the price you wanted was not met. This method is similar to an auction but without the stress.

Asking Price / Private Sale
Buyers find listings with an asking price most appealing because this method is less daunting and simpler to figure out. As buyers will normally attempt to negotiate for a lower price, better talk to your agent about your expectations. Private sales can take a longer time because there is no sense of urgency like an Auction or Tender Sale.

For more information about any of these methods and to find out what will suit you best call me directly on 0418447856.

Annette Pinkerton – the Newcastle Real Estate Agent who enables you to turn the key to where you want to be!