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10 Ways to Improve Your Home’s Street Appeal

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

09 August 2018

As real estate sales professionals we can vouch for the popular saying that first impressions count. It really is true that if you haven’t got a buyer’s interest from the roadside, you’ve all but lost them. Many buyers do a drive-by before they will express interest in an inspection or come to the Open Home.

Not only is roadside appeal important for grabbing the attention of buyers, it can also increase your property’s value, sometimes substantially.

Here are 10 ways to improve your home’s street appeal.

1. A coat of paint

A freshly painted facade will give your home an instant lift. If you have a brick home, you could consider painting the brick for a fresh, modern update (if the style lends itself to that look).

2. Consider the view through your front windows

Unless your front garden is filled with established shrubs that block the view to your front windows, ensure that the view on the inside is just as neat and tidy as the view of the exterior of your home. Matching quality window treatments on front windows create instant appeal and a sense of cohesiveness from the street.

3. Update your letterbox and ensure your house number is clearly visible

Many people overlook the small details. A new or freshly painted letterbox also adds to the roadside appeal. And making sure your house number is clear is crucial. After all, you need people to be able to find your home when they drive by!

4. Your front garden

There’s no point sprucing up the front of your home if the front garden looks neglected. Weed the gardens, mow the lawn and consider planting some new plants (perhaps flowering shrubs now that spring is nearly here) for a fresh inviting look.

5. Give your front fence some love (if you have one)

Like the mailbox, the front fence is another often overlooked feature. Take an objective look at your front fence and decide if it needs a fresh coat of paint or if it needs to be removed or replaced. Ensure the fence matches the theme of the rest of your home.

6. The front door

Don’t underestimate the power of a beautiful front door. It can really add instant WOW factor to a home. Consider painting your front door in a shade that matches the theme of the home, replacing the door hardware or framing your front door with attractive pots and some greenery.

7. Attend to the roof

The roof is often overlooked, as we tend not to notice it from up close. Walk across the street and take a look at your roof from there. Consider getting it pressure cleaned and ensure the gutters are in good repair and clear of leaves and branches etc. You may even decide to have an old tiled roof re-painted.

8. Wash the windows

Sparkling clean windows are an instant indication that a home is well looked after.

9. Remove or hide eyesores around the home

From garbage bins and trailers to gardening equipment and bikes, ensure practical items you may normally have lying around the home are hidden out of sight when your home is on the market for sale.

10. Light it up

Potential buyers don’t only drive by a property of interest during the day. They will commonly do so after work when it may be dark or approaching darkness. Ensure existing exterior lights are in good working order. If you don’t have any lights outside look at options like solar-powered lights or a sensor light. A well-lit property will create an inviting ambience and a feeling of safety. It will also allow potential buyers to see your property, no matter what time they drive by.


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Renovating the bathroom? Here are 3 things to consider

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

02 August 2018

Bathrooms are without a doubt one of the biggest sellers of a property. After all, who doesn’t love a luxurious, well-appointed bathroom? But it can also be one of the most expensive rooms in the house to renovate.

When starting any renovation project, whether it be in preparation to sell your home or just for yourself, planning is essential.

Here are 3 things to consider before embarking on your bathroom renovation project.

1. Your budget for the project

This may seem obvious but it’s amazing how many people dive into a project without first considering their budget and knowing where their limit is. Start by working out the maximum amount you have to spend and then create a clear plan of what you wish to achieve. It is a good idea to write down 2 lists – one for your ‘must haves’ and another for ‘wants’.

When calculating the costs, start with the ‘must have’ list. These are the essential renovation components, such as a new toilet, practical storage and vanity, tiling, tapware and a new shower. Perhaps your existing bath is fine but it would be great to have a nice new fancy one. So that would be added to your ‘wants’ list. You may also desire underfloor heating but realise that practical storage is far more important. So you would also add underfloor heating to your wish list.

Once you have added up the costs of your ‘must have’ items, you may find there is room in the budget to add a couple of desirable elements. If there’s no room in the budget however, be firm and stick to the plan.

2. The original layout of your bathroom

If you want to save money, think about your bathroom’s original design and aim to keep the layout of your new bathroom similar. Repositioning a shower, bath or toilet will cost you far more than replacing the existing shower, bath and toilet with new ones but leaving them in the same position. This is because there is a lot of labour involved to relocate plumbing to accommodate a new layout.

Of course if you have the funds to change the design because a different layout would create more space and light etc. then go for it. But if money is tight, you can save yourself a lot by keeping your plumbing in place and simply replacing the old with the new.

3. Hire a professional

Unless you are a plumber or builder, renovating the bathroom is not a DIY project. Leave it to a professional. Obtain two to three quotes, but don’t just look for the cheapest price, as tempting as it may be. When assessing each quote consider the professional’s:

• Skills
• Workmanship
• Availability
• Commitment to the job

Have a look at their website or social media pages to read the reviews/testimonials they have received from others. If possible speak to a couple of former clients about their experience.

Happy renovating!


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Which rooms sell a house?

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

27 July 2018

A common question asked of real estate agents is, ‘Which rooms sell the house?’ In other words, is it worth spending money on one room over another to appeal to more buyers and hopefully achieve a higher sale price?

Kitchens and living rooms are always high on the list but outdoor living, master suites and bathrooms are also up there.

So how do you know where you should spend your time and resources when preparing your home to sell?

Consider your home’s market appeal

Who are your target buyers?

Are they a young family, a professional couple, empty nesters or investors?

Once you have determined the target market consider their needs/wants in a home and tailor your efforts to suit them.

For example, if your target market is young families, focus on the kitchen/living zone and the alfresco space. If it’s professional couples or empty nesters, consider how to make your home as low maintenance as possible, inside and out.

If you are unsure whether or not to make any changes to your home before you sell, adhere to the 3 simple rules below:

1. Don’t over-spend. Only spend time and money on the things that will make a difference to the resale value (as professional agents, we will advise you on this).

2. Less is more. Potential buyers want to be able to imagine themselves living in the home – don’t impose your personal style on them. Less is more when selling.

3. Ensure the home is structurally sound – great interior design won’t sell your home if it is falling apart. Attend to those broken gutters, window frame gaps and cracked tiles etc.

Speak to us about further ideas and solutions that will help you maximise your home’s sale potential and price.


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Home staging tips when selling in winter

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

21 July 2018

So you’ve decided to sell your home in winter. Contrary to what some may think, winter can be a great time to sell. For starters there’s generally less competition. There are also some great ways to make your home look warm, inviting and welcoming in winter.

Below is a list of simple inexpensive suggestions to make your home stand out and appeal to more buyers when selling in winter (many of these tips apply all year-round).

Preparing to sell

• Have your heating systems (e.g. air conditioners, gas heaters) serviced and the fireplace and chimney cleaned (if you have one)
• Check windows for any gaps and seal them with gap filler if necessary to prevent any chilly draughts flowing through the house
• Add cushions, throws, rugs and candles to create warmth
• If you have timber floors, tiles or polished concrete flooring, one or two well-placed rugs will add warmth and cosiness to a room
• Clean out gutters, unblock drains and tidy the garden
• Repaint or repair your front fence (if you have one and if required) as first impressions are everything when selling
• Steam clean curtains and wipe over blinds to remove dust and dirt and freshen your home

The day before the first Home Open

• Vacuum and mop floors
• Clear any clutter from table tops
• Open windows to air out your home (especially important in winter when windows tend to be kept shut most of the time to keep the warmth in)
• Remember to close the windows again before inspection day
• Ensure garbage bins are out of sight
• If you have pets, ask a friend or neighbour to check your home for any pet smells (as you may not notice them yourself) and attend to those if necessary

Show Time (the Home Open)

• Walk around the outside and inside of your property to ensure it all presents beautifully
• Ensure heating systems and/or the fireplace are turned on to create a warm, inviting ambience (but don’t make it too warm and stifling)
• Open all blinds and curtains to allow as much natural light as possible to flood in
• Place candles in the living areas and bathrooms
• Place a bunch of fresh flowers on the dining table
• Turn on all lighting, including mood lighting and outdoor lights.
• Ensure pets are secured (better still, take them with you while the Open Home is in progress)
• If it’s raining, place an umbrella stand at the front door and ensure there is a sturdy welcome mat for people to wipe their shoes on before entering your home (place a mat at the rear entrance as well)

Attention to detail is the key. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and think about the details that would draw you in. Home is meant to be a haven for anyone, so whatever makes your home more welcoming, appealing and comfortable in winter is what you should focus on.


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Snooze, you lose!

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

15 July 2018

We are seeing all the signs that the market is changing. As a result, buyers who wait to make offers because they think they have time on their side, like they did when the market was slower, are ultimately missing out on the property they love.

The past three properties we have sold have illustrated this point, so we thought we would share those three scenarios to ensure you don’t make the same mistakes.

Scenario 1
This property had been on the market for many months last year but failed to sell. A family had inspected it several times over a number of weeks. They talked about making an offer but were taking their time.

Finally they called Agent #1 and said they would like to put in an offer. In the meantime,

Agent #2 took a Buyer to view the property.

Agent #2 was aware there was an offer coming in, so they prompted their Buyer not to delay if they liked the property. As a result, their Buyer made an offer then and there.

Both offers were presented to the Seller and, in the end, the second buyer was successful in buying the property, as his offer was higher.

If the first Buyer had submitted their offer sooner, without competition, it probably would have been accepted.

Scenario 2
This property had been on the market for a few months but hadn’t sold yet. A family (Buyer #1) had inspected the property several times over a number of weeks, talked about making an offer but wanted to consider their options and look around some more.

In the meantime, a couple (Buyer #2) inspected the property twice and made an offer immediately following the Home Open. They realised there was strong interest from Buyer #1, so they offered full price. The Seller accepted their offer.

Buyer #1 missed out and is still searching for a property.

Scenario 3
This property had been on the market for a few months but hadn’t sold yet. A family had been considering it for a few weeks. Finally they made an offer and the Seller made a counter offer of $5,000 higher.

The Buyers didn’t respond for a couple of days.

In the meantime, another couple (Buyer #2) made an offer higher than the first offer.

Buyer #1 was given the opportunity to increase their offer, which they did, meeting the Seller’s original counter offer.

Had they just accepted the counter offer when the Seller made it, they would have been the successful Buyers. However the Seller knew there was an opportunity to get more from Buyer #2. As a result, the Seller accepted the second offer and Buyer #1 (the family) missed out.

The key lesson in all this is: if you think the market isn’t moving and you wait and wait to see if the price comes down on a property before you make an offer, you could miss out altogether!

SNOOZE, YOU LOSE!


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Australian Architecture 101 – a brief history

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

05 July 2018

They say what goes around comes around. The saying is true in personal fashion (think of the popular vintage and retro trends), interior design (old trends are constantly being revived and reinvented), motor vehicles, and architecture (there’s nothing like the character and warmth of an old, beautifully restored home).

A property we have listed (and is now under offer) made the local papers – and it wasn’t an advertisement. 35 Regent Avenue, Mount Pleasant was built in 1963 to a design created by leading local architect at the time, Peter Overman. It’s a great example of Mid-century Modernism and people are drawn to that.

The interest generated in this classic example of mid 1900’s architecture prompted us to pay attention when an article was posted on realestate.com.au recently about the history of Australian architecture. So we thought we would share it with you.

One of the most overused terms in the marketing of older homes is ‘period features’, a term commonly (but often incorrectly) listed among the home’s selling features. The term is basically an all-inclusive reference to one of the numerous architecture movements that have defined Australian suburban design over the past 200 + years.

So what are those architectural movements and what distinguishes one from the other?

Click here for a brief overview of the history of Australian Architecture.

Know your Colonial from your Victorian and your Federation/Edwardian from your Inter-War architecture once and for all.


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One mistake that can cost you a home loan

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

29 June 2018

When applying for a home loan to buy your first home it is both an exciting and nerve-wracking time. Many first timers have a secret fear that their credit rating may not be completely up to scratch, especially if they recall the days when maxing out their credit card and paying their rent a few days late.

But did you know there could be a much more innocent mistake you could be making that lenders don’t approve of?

That mistake is applying for too many home loans in a short space of time.

Why do multiple applications concern lenders?

While lenders can access information that shows them how many loans you have applied for, they don’s have access to information that tells them why the applications did not progress to an approval.

That means that if you are shopping around for the best loan from various lending institutions in order to decide on the best loan for you, it can appear as though you have been declined on numerous occasions.

The key is to do your research and make home loan comparisons before you apply for a loan. This is especially true if you are a first homebuyer borrowing more than 80% of your property’s value and are therefore relying on Lenders Mortgage Insurance (LMI).

Why?

Mortgage insurers conduct their credit score calculations to assess the risk of their customers defaulting on a loan in the same way as lenders do. If a mortgage insurer declines your request for LMI, it won’t matter how favourably your chosen lender looks toward your application; it won’t be approved. This means you could have to wait at least six months before applying again. Alternatively, you may have to accept a loan product with much higher interest and charges.

What about pre-approvals?

Unfortunately on many credit files, there is no differentiation between pre-approved and approved credit. Although it may seem unfair, that means a pre-approval is regarded as a credit enquiry even if it hasn’t yet converted to a full application.

How do you shop for the best loan then?

The best way to avoid this issue is to go through a mortgage broker who will do the shopping around for you.

Last but not least …

A new record is added to your file every time you apply for credit. And every credit enquiry you make remains on your file for 5 years from the lodgement date.

 


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The great home loan hack

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

22 June 2018

Too many people we speak to simply set and forget their home loan repayments.

They don’t realise that one of the most effective ways to pay off their home loan more quickly and save money on interest is to make additional payments, even if it’s only a minimal amount.

Regularly paying a little bit extra or making lump sum payments will have a significant impact on lowering your loan.

Here are two great examples:

John and Sally have been paying off their $300,000 mortgage for 5 years.

They have been comfortably managing their repayments of $1,430 a month.

After working out their budget, Sally suggests they could afford to pay an extra $250 a month if they both pack their lunch most days rather than buy take away while at work.

This will shave five years and eight months off their loan term and save them $39,562 in interest. Not bad for an extra $60 a week!

You can also save on interest and reduce your loan term by making a lump sum payment.

Lets say John receives a work bonus and a decent tax refund totally $20,000 and decides to put that money on the mortgage.

This will save John and Sally $31,000 in interest and reduce their loan term by three years.

Inspired to put some extra cash on your home loan now?

 


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Investment special – how to minimise Capital Gains Tax

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

19 June 2018

It’s almost tax time. If you own an investment property and are thinking about selling, you will no doubt want to know the best ways to avoid or at least minimise Capital Gains Tax.

Leading property investment expert, Michael Yardney spoke with tax expert, Ken Raiss who shared a few strategies to consider.

Before we discuss how to avoid or minimise your Capital Gains Tax (CGT), let’s take a step back and outline how CGT is calculated.

If you own an investment property and decide to sell it, Capital Gains Tax is calculated based on the net sale price of the property minus your expenses. This gain is added to your income for the financial year (as well as the income of any other title holder) and the final figure is used to calculate the applicable tax.

What expenses can you include as deductions?

The list of allowable expenses is long. They include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Incidental costs like stamp duty, legal fees, some bank fees, buyers agent fees, advertising and marketing fees, and some travel expenses
  • Ownership costs like property searches and inspection fees
  • Improvement costs, including kitchen and bathroom renovations, flooring or essentially any improvements you have made on the property
  • Title costs – legal fees

When selling, the costs associated with the sale, such as agent’s fees, styling, repainting etc. are used to reduce the gross selling price.

If you have owned the investment property for over 12 months, the capital gain can be reduced by 50%. However you would have to add back the benefit of any depreciation claimed during the ownership period.

You only pay Capital Gains Tax if you have made a profit

At the end of the day, if you have to pay CGT it means you have made a profit on the sale of your investment property, which is the goal of owning the property in the first place.

Some investors make a capital loss and therefore pay no CGT, but this is not something you would aspire to. If you do make a capital loss, the good news is that you can carry the loss forward to offset any future capital gains you make.

Click here to watch a five and a half minute video interview between Michael Yardney and Ken Raiss as they discuss this important topic in more depth. A must watch if you own an investment property or are thinking about investing.

It is important to note that this information is general in nature and intended for educational purposes only. Always seek independent advice before making any financial decisions about your own investments and taxes.


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What will homebuyers want in 5 years?

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

11 June 2018

If you are planning to build or renovate your home, it pays to understand what homebuyers of the future will be looking for. Why? Because, while you build and renovate for lifestyle factors today, the astute homeowner knows that you should also consider future resale potential, especially when you consider that most people today move every few years.

So how can you make sure your home still has the same appeal for whoever buys it in around five years time when you’re ready to move on?

Here are the some of the things you might want to consider in order to future-proof your build or renovation project:

1. Give your home a lift (literally) if you build over multiple levels. The reason behind this thinking is that experts believe we need to take Australia’s aging population into consideration. For properties spanning two or more levels, you should consider installing a lift, or you’ll automatically alienate ‘downsizers’ from your potential future market.

2. Focus on quality. If you follow the residential property market, you may have noticed that some apartments that sold off the plan a few years ago are now selling for less than they did brand new. In many cases, this is not just related to a downturn in the property market. Rather, it is due to the fact that many were not built to a high quality standard and therefore suffer the strains of wear and tear more quickly than quality built projects do. When looking for a builder, do your research and speak to former clients of theirs if you can.

3. Automation and connectivity. It’s only a matter of time before most homes will feature some form of electronic automation. Many buyers will, at a minimum, expect automated security and a number will want all security features to be connected wirelessly. If you can factor things like this into your new build or renovation now, it will save you doing so down the track.

4. Go for a timeless classic look. If you go for the latest trends in your design and an ultra modern look, you run the risk of it dating quickly. The best advice is to keep things classically modern and timeless without going over the top and running the risk that future buyers will either love it or hate it.

5. Focus on alfresco living. More and more, buyers are telling builders and real estate agents that an alfresco area is a must. Pay close attention to this important ‘room’ in the house.


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