Tuesday, 30 October 2018

PART 2 OF 5: PREPARING YOUR HOME FOR SALE......

In our 5-part series, find out our top tips for getting your home sold quickly and for top dollar through perfect presentation! Whether it’s your first time or the fifteenth, selling a property is a highly stressful time. Here, we will provide you with the top five presentation tips based on our extensive years of experience in selling residential property.

Tip 2: Painting

The interior of your home should be painted around every 5 to 7 years and the exterior can go as long as up to 15 years depending on your location (for example beach side suburbs may need more frequent updates on the outside).

It is important to consider painting prior to listing your home for sale for the following reasons:
  • a fresh paint job lifts and brightens the appearance of any room making it feel crisp and clean
  • it’s an opportunity to update any too bright, too dark or too dated feature walls
  • a paint job can eliminate odours that may have accumulated over the years from strong food flavours, cigarette smoke or pets’ smells.
It’s important to remember when you are getting your home ready for sale, that you want to appeal to the greatest number of buyers out in the market. While you may LOVE your bright green feature wall or think that retro wallpaper suits the style of your home, it will alienate some buyers.

When it comes to the walls and floors of a property, buyers are just looking for a neutral blank canvas that doesn’t require any work on their part. If they walk in to a property and see they have to paint every wall in the house, they’re already deducting $10,000 from their potential offer and that’s only if everything else in the property meets their requirements.

Regardless of the style of your home, you can’t go wrong with neutral wall colours. If you are worried about picking the wrong colour, you should ask advice from the store you are buying your paint from or if you are employing a professional, then certainly take their advice. Neutral shade fashions do change from time to time (for example from creamy beige shades to light grey shades), so it is best to seek advice on what’s current.

If you are looking to do the work yourself, be prepared for exactly how labour intensive and time consuming it can be. If you’ve never done it before or it’s been a long time, start small, say with one bedroom, and see how you go. After this you may want to investigate your options with hiring a professional. Having a whole house painted by the professionals will generally cost upwards of $5,000 so you may want to just do the high traffic areas like hallways, living rooms and kitchen. If all your walls are already quite neutral in colour, you may even get away with just a quick patch-up as long as the colour is perfectly matched.

Make no mistake, painting your home is no small task, but it will help with getting a quick sale for the best price.

“A blank canvas… has unlimited possibilities.” ~Stephanie Perkins~

If you would like to see all our tips, please email info@spartners.com.au to request a copy of our Preparing Your Home For Sale booklet.

Friday, 7 September 2018

PART 1 OF 5: PREPARING YOUR HOME FOR SALE......

In our 5-part series, find out our top tips for getting your home sold quickly and for top dollar through perfect presentation! Whether it’s your first time or the fifteenth, selling a property is a highly stressful time. Here, we will provide you with the top five presentation tips based on our extensive years of experience in selling residential property.

Tip 1: Maintenance

The rule of thumb is - if something needs repair - fix it! There may be several things in your house that you have simply become accustomed to over time - things that you have been promising yourself to attend to. Well NOW is the time!

It’s important to attend to maintenance prior to listing your home for sale because:
-      Appearances are everything - you might be saying to yourself “these repairs aren’t a big deal,” but the buyer is thinking, “if the owner didn’t take care of these little items, then what about the roof of plumbing or air conditioner?”
-      It may cost you more in the long run - Buyers will mentally add up their perceived costs of repairing all those minor flaws and end up with an amount that is generally much higher than your actual costs will be.
-      Major things will be discovered anyway – 90% of buyers will get a building inspection done. If you’re at the stage where a building inspection is being done and issues are found, you will either lose your buyer or have to re-negotiate your price to allow for the perceived cost of repair for the buyer.

So, where do you start? Indoors, a few things to check include:
·         peeling or chipped paint or loose wallpaper
·         leaky taps and toilet cisterns
·         cracked tiles, lifting floor boards, stretched or worn carpet
·         scratched kitchen benches or stove tops

Outdoors, consider the following:
  • retaining wall integrity and stability
  • rusted gutters and downpipes
  • swimming pool appearance
Large repairs:
In today’s climate of open disclosure and vigilant home inspections the “Golden Rule” applies. Treat the buyer as you would treat yourself. Repair any problems with major systems. If you don’t, it will only be found later during the building inspection and you’ll risk either losing the buyer or having to lower your sale price to allow the purchaser to pay for the repairs.

“At first glance it may appear too hard. Look again. Always look again.” ~Mary Anne Rodmacher~

If you would like to see all our tips, please email info@spartners.com.au to request a copy of our Preparing Your Home For Sale booklet.

Friday, 11 May 2018

PROTECT YOUR INVESTMENT.....

HOW TO:

Having an investment property and being a landlord is a huge undertaking. We could write pages and pages on just the very basics that you need to know to successfully handle in investment property, but in this piece we’ll focus on just a few key financial things you should take care of.

HAVE EXPENDIBLE INCOME

As a general rule, you should never expect to make a profit based on your rental income. Depending on where you invest, it’s definitely a possibility, but in some cases, your rental income won’t even cover your mortgage repayments. For example:

you have a $300,000 mortgage on your investment property

at a rate of 5% you’ll be paying appox. $375 per week on your mortgage

for that price, you might be able to get a reasonable 3-bedroom, 1 bathroom place in Golden Grove
depending on the presentation, you could rent it out for between $340 and $375 per week*

As you can see, you’d only just be covering your mortgage in the best-case scenario and that’s only if nothing ever goes wrong at the property! Financially, you need to be prepared for that and you need to be able to afford the mortgage on your investment, as well as the mortgage or rent for wherever you are currently living as well as daily living costs. At tax time, you may get a nice refund as the expenses related to owning an investment property will offset against your taxable income. This is what is known as negative gearing. If you can afford to do so, it might be prudent to keep that refund aside for emergency repairs to your investment property.**

BE INSURED

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE get proper landlord’s insurance! There are several companies who specialise in landlord’s insurance policies. They are generally less than $300 per year and their policies are much more comprehensive and cover scenario’s that you’ve probably never even thought of! Even though your tenant will pay a bond, the process of evicting a tenant means that the bond will almost never cover all your losses should something go wrong, so landlord’s insurance is definitely necessary.

CHOOSE WISELY

Have you ever thought to yourself about all the “bad tenant” stories out there and wondered, “where do they end up living?” Well, a lot of them actually prey on landlord’s who are self-managing their property and advertising in Gumtree and similar publications. The reason that they do that, is they know that a landlord who is managing the property themselves, is probably not going to do the required checks (or not do them properly)… Let’s say for example:

you have all the applicants fill in application forms

the applicant that you liked says that they rented from another self-managing landlord and has listed them as a reference

you do the right thing and call that other landlord to ask what this applicant was like as a tenant

How do you know who you’re talking to? Your applicant could be one of those nightmare tenants who has a friend posing as their landlord!

USE A TRUSTED PROPERTY MANAGER

You really need to consider using a trusted Property Manager to help you find and manage your tenant. I can feel all of you rolling your eyes at this and thinking it’s just a plug for our Agency, but it really isn’t. In the above scenario, a good Property Manager:

would use the systems available to them to check National Tenancy Databases to see if the applicant been reported previously

would use the systems available to check the “self-managing landlord” on the application is actually the owner of the house that the applicant is claiming to have rented from them

if the applicant stated that they rented from an Agency previously, we would easily be able to call the Agency to get an honest review of what the tenant was like

And these are just a few of the checks that a good Property Manager would complete when looking for a tenant. Of course, things can still go wrong if you use a Property Manager, and tenants who used to be amazing can turn bad due to loss of job or various personal problems that can arise.

But, at least you can rest assured that when you need to go to Tribunal to evict a problem tenant, that all of the correct records have been kept, and at the push of a button, everything can be sent or printed out as evidence to get the outcome that you want. That’s if you select a trusted Property Manager. As for how to do that, well that’s another whole entry!

*example is for illustration purposes only

**Smith Partners Real Estate is not a financial adviser. You should seek independent legal, financial, taxation or other advice to check how this information relates to your unique circumstances

For more information:
Ph: (08) 8251 3249
Or come and see us at:

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

PICK THE BEST TIME OF YEAR TO SELL.....


HOW TO:
It’s long been a myth in the real estate industry that the best time to try and sell your property is in the spring. The truth is, that although there’s not really a “best time of year” to sell your property, there could be features of your home that, if timed right, will lead to a quicker, easier sale. For example, if your home has a stunning swimming pool - it will still sell in winter, but it will sell more easily in the summer (especially if you happen to do your opens during a 40-degree heatwave!)
You should also keep in mind that having a large number of properties all coming on the market at the same time will lead to buyers having too many options. If you own a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom home and you come on the market in spring just like everyone else who has a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom home then it’ll be more difficult to make your home stand out and to get that quick sale for top dollar.

So, a few things you might want to consider that may affect when you choose to begin marketing your property for sale:

  • Do you have an open fire or combustion heater? Best to sell in WINTER - the ambience created by an open fire on a cold day is very appealing to a buyer
  • Do you have a fantastic air-conditioner? Best to sell in SUMMER - there’s nothing better than walking into a house on a summers day to find it’s absolutely perfect inside! (If you’re a/c isn’t the greatest, you might want to consider getting a better air-conditioner or at least a service…)
  • Do you have a swimming pool? Best to sell in SUMMER - people love picturing themselves diving in on a hot day
  • Do you have a beautiful garden? Best to sell in SPRING - lovely blossoms set the scene, just make sure it’s a low maintenance garden though.
  • Do you have no garden? Best to sell in AUTUMN/WINTER - there’s nothing wrong with a concrete jungle, except when the summer heat is radiating off into the faces of your potential buyers.
Essentially, you just want to show your property in the best possible light and if that’s in winter with a roaring fire and fresh pot of coffee, then why wait for spring?

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

DECIDE WHETHER OR NOT TO GET A SWIMMING POOL.....


HOW TO:
People often ask us if a swimming pool will add value to their property. The short answer is generally no, but there are some exceptions.

If you have a big family home on a big block and you expect top dollar when you sell - then the answer to “should we get a pool?” is probably yes. Families looking for that next level prestige home, generally want it all - 4+ bedrooms, 2+ bathrooms, 2+car spaces, lawn for the kids to play and the luxurious swimming pool. The exception to this rule is, if you have the big family home, but the pool is going to take up your entire backyard leaving you with no lawn area, then we would NOT recommend putting in a pool. Even though we all know that kids would rather sit on an iPad or gaming console than play on the lawn - whenever we try to sell a family home with no backyard, the feedback is always “love the house, but the kids need a backyard”.

Your average group of buyers is split pretty much down the middle - half of them really want a pool, the other half don’t want to have to maintain it.

The other thing you need to consider these days with getting a pool is that it has to be compliant when it comes time to sell – this means:

Fencing must be constructed in such a way to make sure that:
  • the fence is an effective barrier to young children
  • it is permanent
  • young children can't crawl under or climb over it by using foot and hand holds
  • it is at least 1.2 metres high
  • any boundary fences used as part of the child-safety barrier are at least 1.8 metres high on the side that faces the pool, with a 900 millimetres non-climbable zone at the top inside of the fence, a boundary barrier may be climbable on the neighbour's side.
Gates or doors leading to the pool area must:
  • swing outward from the pool area
  • be self-closing from any position
  • be fitted with a latching device, out of reach of small children, at least 1.5 metres above ground level.
Putting in a swimming pool is an expensive exercise, but spending $50,000 on one, won’t necessarily increase the value of your home by that same amount. As a general rule, putting in a pool is something you should do just because you want to enjoy it for yourself, not something you should do to increase the value of your home.

For more tips on adding value to your property:

Ph: (08) 8251 3249
Or come and see us at:

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

MAXIMISE RETURNS ON A RENOVATION......

HOW TO:
A lot of home owners think that they shouldn’t do any renovations prior to putting their home up for sale just in case it’s not to the taste of the buyers. “Let them choose how they want it to look”, they think. Buyer’s these days are usually lacking the funds, time and often the skills required to do a renovation themselves. The days of buying a “fixer-upper” are gone, unless it’s so run-down that people will actually be looking to knock it down! If you stick to neutral tones and take advice from the experts around you, whatever you select is going to be better than the dated décor in your home now.
All homes need to be updated from time-to-time - about every 10 years is a good benchmark. Not only do styles and fashions change all the time, but selling a home that hasn’t been updated for 20 years is no easy feat and will severely impact your final selling price.

KITCHENS AND BATHROOMS
Every real estate agent has probably said similar words in their career that “kitchens and bathrooms sell houses.” It is so very true and the reason is that they’re the most expensive rooms to update! Buyers do not want to and spend $400,000 on a home only to have to spend another $50,000 to update the kitchen and bathrooms. The good news is, that there are options to refresh these areas without breaking the bank:
  • Kitchen cupboards can be re-sprayed or re-painted with laminate paint – put on new doorhandles and it’ll look like you have a new kitchen!
  • Tiled kitchen splashbacks can be painted too – ask an expert for help and all the right tools.
  • Benchtops can be re-sprayed by a professional to look like stone benchtops or even just a more modern coloured laminate. Or you could look into covering with a thin layer of granite – again look to a professional to do this for you.
  • Bathroom tiles and also bathtubs can be painted with Tub & Tile paint
  • Update tapware and other accessories like towel rails, toilet roll holders, etc.
  • Replace the old vanity and toilet if necessary.
  • Plan ahead with all your plumbing jobs (like vanity, toilet, tapware) and have everything ready to go all at once so you only have to pay one call-out fee.

FLOORING & PAINTING
Don’t worry too much about tiles vs. floorboards in your main traffic and living areas. Those things seem to be quite subjective with many different buyers having different opinions. Only look to update if the colouring is not neutral or if there is a lot of damage to the existing flooring like scratches, chips or cracks.
Carpeting is a different story – carpets need to be updated regularly, not just because of staining, but just from wear. Again, just keep it neutral and listen to advice from the experts at your chosen flooring store.
A freshly painted house does wonders when trying to sell. Cover over any bold feature walls – even if you love it, buyers probably won’t. Even if you don’t have anything bold to cover up, a fresh coat of paint will cover up any scuffs, nicks and marks that may catch the eye of your potential buyers which could give the impression that there’s too much work to do.
The home will feel cleaner and fresher with a coat of neutral toned paint throughout.

STORAGE
Storage is so important to buyers these days. If you don’t have a lot of it, put a storage and/or linen cupboard in the laundry - even if it’s just a free-standing melamine cupboard that you intend to leave at the property after you sell.
If your budget allows, get built-in robes for the bedrooms and at worst, at least get one for the master bedroom. A lot of homes have built-in robes these days, so people don’t want to move from a house with them to one without and then have to bear that extra expense themselves.

OUTDOORS
Make sure the front yard is welcoming and appealing. Do some planting if you need to, otherwise just tidy up existing plants and stay on top of the weeding.
In the backyard, an outdoor entertaining area is very important to most buyers. If you don’t have a pergola or veranda, look to put in some high quality, waterproof shade sails - they’re not cheap, but less expensive than a new pergola or veranda.

Looking at these few key areas will make your home look and feel like a welcoming and modern home. Yes, it will cost money, but if you don’t spend it upfront, then it’ll end up coming off your sale price. If you do it right, you should come out in front and make more selling your home than you’d hoped!

For more tips on preparing your home for sale:


Ph: (08) 8251 3249
Or come and see us at:

Friday, 5 January 2018

SELECT AN AGENT....

HOW TO:
There are many factors to consider when you are selecting an Agent to sell one of your greatest assets. You need to feel comfortable with your Agent and be able to trust them (as much as you can in a society that traditionally dislikes and distrusts real estate agents 😊). In the end it will usually come down to your gut feel about the individual, but we’ve put together a few tips for you to help you make your decision:

MYSTERY SHOP THEM!
We cannot stress enough, it is so important to mystery shop a few of your local agents BEFORE calling any of them in to appraise your home. Things you want to look for:
  • Were they prepared with a brochure?
  • Did they take your name and number?
  • Were they friendly and respectful of you (maybe dress in your daggiest outfit to see if that changes how they treat you)?
  • How was the open run? Was there a good atmosphere?
  • Could they answer questions about the property?
  • After the open, did they follow you up to see if you were interested or had feedback?
  • Did you never hear from them again or did they harass you for weeks on end?
All of these things should come into consideration when you are choosing an Agent to sell your home. We actually have clients who have told us that there are certain agents that they would never buy a house from because of previous interactions with those agents at open inspections. Do you really want to cut your pool of buyers because they don’t like your Agent?

PRICING BASED ON FACT
Any agent who gives you an appraisal on the value of your home should have evidence to back up what they are saying. All real estate agents should have access to some form of reporting statistics on the recent sales in your area. They should be able to show you the research they have completed to be able to give you an appraisal value of your home. If they can’t show you any recent sales reports, then how did they come up with the value of your home? It needs to be based in fact – and the facts need to be correct. For example, if your home is a three bedroom, one bathroom, single carport home, then showing you that the four bedroom, two bathroom, double garage home next door sold three years ago for $550,000 is not relevant to you at all. But, the house on the other side of the street with three bedrooms, one bathroom and single carport that sold six months ago for $350,000 IS very important information when it comes to pricing your home.

CHECK OUT THEIR MARKETING
A lot of people think that their home will speak for itself in terms of selling. The problem is, you need people to come to the open inspection first – and preferably A LOT of them. The more people you have at every open, the more competition and the more competition, the better sale price you’ll achieve. The advertising of your home needs to be of the very highest standard to get as many buyers through the door as possible. Things to look at when you are checking out all the local agents in the area are:
  • What are their signboards like? Is it advertising your home or just the Agent?
  • What are their brochures like? Are they detailed or just one page printed at the office with a few words and a couple of photos?
  • What is their internet advertising like?
  • Are they pushing using the newspaper? If so, are they doing that for you or for their own profile?
  • Do they advertise at their office? Where is it located? On a busy main road where people never walk past or in a popular shopping centre?
  • Do they have a property magazine distributed in the area? How often is it published? Does it cost extra to have your property advertised in there or is it part of a standard package?
  • What’s their property photography like? Professional or do it themselves?
  • What do their floorplans look like? Hand-drawn/black and white/colour?
  • Do they provide a complimentary home stylist visit?
Selecting an Agent is a huge decision, and the wrong choice can cost you, but hopefully following these few tips and asking a few key questions will go a long way to helping you make the right choice.

Ph: (08) 8251 3249
Or come and see us at:

PART 2 OF 5: PREPARING YOUR HOME FOR SALE......

In our 5-part series, find out our top tips for getting your home sold quickly and for top dollar through perfect presentation! Whether it’s...