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Licensed Real Estate Agents Shelley and Mark are renowned for their exceptional customer service, strong local knowledge and high ethical standards. 

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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!


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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).


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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6 things to consider when buying a home in your twenty’s

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

01 June 2018

Are you in your twenty’s? If so, home ownership may either be the furthest thing from your mind (perhaps because of a perception that it is unattainable) or it may be a goal on which you are intensely focused.

Perhaps you are a parent with adult children living at home and wondering how an earth your kids will ever be able to afford the ‘Great Australian Dream’ the way you could at their age.

Is there a ‘right time’ to buy your first home? The answer is no. In fact owning a home during this early stage of life can be a burden if you’re not ready.

Here are 6 things to consider if you’re thinking about buying a home in your twenty’s.

  1. Get comfortable with making sacrifices– Saving for a deposit or paying off a mortgage takes sacrifices. These sacrifices may include things like swapping a bought lunch during the working week to BYO lunch from home, getting creative with your wardrobe and entertaining friends at home rather than going out.
  2. Don’t be afraid of having a debt– Given that the median price of a house in Perth currently stands at around $517,000 ($410,000 for a unit) most young people need a substantial mortgage for their first home. Remember, no lending institution will approve a loan for you if they feel you can’t afford to pay it off. That said, the number can still look daunting when you are not used to having a debt any higher than perhaps a loan to pay off a car. Remember, you have around 30 years to pay it off. Keep reminding yourself of the long-term benefits of owning property.
  3. Welcome DIY projects– You will find that owning your own home will make you want to improve the space you’re in. Given most won’t be able to afford to have refurbishments done for them by a professional, it’s time to roll up the sleeves, get out the paint charts and get ready to do it yourself. The rewards of your efforts will be worth it.
  4. Stay on top of what the market is doing– Sign up to newsletters and blogs written by professionals (like the one you’re reading right now), research the market, say yes to receiving market updates. The more you know, the better the decisions you will be able to make in relation to building your wealth through property.
  5. Stay on top of bill payments– If you live independently before you buy your first home, you will be familiar with bills rolling in. But for those who buy their first home after living with mum and dad, receiving bills will be unfamiliar territory. Get used to it! And stay on top of your bill payments. One way to do this is to set yourself up for electronic payments.
  6. Regularly remind yourself of the massive achievement you have made– It can be hard to stay mentally focused and enthusiastic when your friends are still partying and you’ve got bills and a mortgage to pay. Keep reminding yourself of the incredible achievement you have made in owning your own home and take it day by day. Don’t be overwhelmed by the idea of a thirty-year commitment.


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5 tips to lighten the load before moving

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

03 May 2018

Moving house is known to be one of life’s most stressful events. Just the thought of packing up the mountain of ‘stuff’ you and your family have accumulated over many years can be so overwhelming you have no idea where to start.

The good news is it doesn’t have to be that way. With a little strategic planning and organisation in advance, you can lighten the load both literally and figuratively.

Start by visualising how you want your new place to look and feel and then imagine how your current things will fit in that space.

Here are 5 tips to get you started:

  1. Focus on one area at a time– this could be a room, a cupboard or even just a drawer. It is best to start in an area you use the least. For instance, you may decide to eat all meals in the family room in the lead-up to the move and focus on the dining room to begin with.
  2. Clear and sort– as you go through each drawer, cupboard and room (one by one) look for items that you no longer use or like. If you’re like most of us, chances are you have already hidden away items like this. Pull them out and get started. Have two piles – a sort pile and a clear pile for items you will either give away or discard.
  3. De-clutter– moving is the ideal opportunity to start afresh. Start deciding what will come with you and what won’t well before the moving date. Remember, you will be paying people to move your things (if you go with a removalist company).
  4. Create a keepsake box for each member of the family– these are all those special items, from photo albums to old teddy bears and hand-made cards, which mean something to each family member. If you have kids they can help with this process.
  5. Make a trip to your local charity collection point– to drop off any items of clean, quality items of clothing no longer worn. Again, do this before you move. It will lighten the load and make you feel good at the same time.

The above points may seem obvious but it’s amazing how many people leave the ‘dreaded’ packing till the last minute and end up boxing everything they own. A little forward thinking and time spent clearing, sorting and disposing will have you feeling organised and excited for the big day.

A final tip – Make the most of the few weeks between exchange of contracts and settlement to get these jobs done.


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Inspections put you in control

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

28 April 2018

When it comes to building and pest inspections, most people assume that they are left to the buyers to arrange if they wish. But having your home inspected for structural and termite damage can be highly advantageous if you’re selling too.  In fact we recommend sellers arrange their own Building and Timber Pest Inspections prior to putting their home on the market.

Here’s why…

Ignorance is not bliss when it comes to your greatest financial asset

Arranging your own Building and Timber Pest Inspection allows you to address any issues and avoid last minute surprises. Even if your property appears to be structurally sound and termite-free, there could be hidden problems lurking in the foundations, roof, plumbing, wiring or walls that only a professional can identify.

While many buyers will still insist on having their own pre-purchase building and pest inspections conducted, showing them the reports that you have had prepared in advance proves you have nothing to hide about the condition of your property. It instills confidence in potential buyers.

It is an excellent way to ensure your property is presented in the best way possible

Unless your home is brand new (or almost new) there is always the chance that minor maintenance issues are identified. A professional builder will alert you to those and offer suggestions (as simple as a fresh coat of paint, fixing leaky gutters or repairing jammed windows) that will help ensure maximum visual appeal once your property is launched on the market for sale. We can even arrange to have the work done for you or put you in touch with reputable local tradespeople.

It delivers transparency

We pride ourselves on total transparency and efficient research. A Building and Timber Pest Inspection helps us understand your property – the best features and any issues that need to be addressed. It enables us to disclose any issues still outstanding, if they need to be disclosed.

Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and imagine how confident you would feel about purchasing from a seller who has pre-arranged reports in which everything is disclosed. It would give you assurance knowing how much, if anything, you may need to budget to address any minor repairs. It would also highlight that the sellers have nothing to hide.

What if you don’t arrange a Building & Timber Pest Inspection?

While it is not a legal requirement to do so, more buyers these days are obtaining a Building and Timber Pest Inspection as part of the Contract. If a professional inspection identifies serious structural defects and/or live timber pests and/or damage due to previous pest activity and the seller is unable or unwilling to rectify the issues at their own expense, the buyer may terminate the Contract.

In our experience we rarely find any issue that can’t be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction.

Nothing beats total transparency, especially in terms of the sale or purchase of such a significant asset.


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