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Get a free property appraisal and WIN*

A property appraisal with LJ Hooker is a great way to find out what the market is doing and making a decision to sell or stay based on current property prices is always a smart move.

Get the value of our experience with a free market update before November 30th and you’ll go into the draw to win 1 of 9 luxury holidays for two to iconic Australian destinations (valued at $10,000*).

To get your free property appraisal and to go into the draw, give me a call or send a text on 0448 310 700!

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*For full terms and conditions click here

LJ Hooker celebrates 90 years of innovation

On September 20 1928, 24-year-old Sir Leslie Joseph Hooker opened the doors to a modest real estate agency in Maroubra with big plans. He went on to become the founder of the largest real estate company in the Southern Hemisphere.

This month, on September 20, LJ Hooker agencies in every Australian state and territory are inviting their customers to celebrate LJ Hooker’s 90th birthday with them.

Our founder famously said: “Real estate is not about property, it’s about people”. That’s why our 90th birthday celebrations will commemorate the hundreds of thousands of sellers, buyers, investors and tenants over multiple generations who have entrusted a business with family values to guide them on their real estate journey.

LJ Hooker’s rich history can be attributed to its ethos to innovate. As our customers’ expectations of real estate has changed, so have we. Whether it has been introducing our brand to different communities by pioneering franchising in Australia, to helping sellers optimise the digital environment via LJ Hooker Boost, we’ve been making sure our customers’ experiences are like no other.  Click here to read our indepth 90 Years of Innovation eBook that walks through each decade and the milestones that were achieved.

To renovate or not to renovate when selling

Do you renovate before you sell, or just put it on the market as is?  This is a big question and unfortunately the answer is maybe…it is not a simple yes or no.  With so many variants at play, how do you calculate if you should put in the time, effort and dollars in to renovate before selling?

Must-do home improvements when selling

The importance of having a well presented property when you are looking to sell is super important.  The other way to look at this is if you don’t do at least these 6 jobs, you’ll be throwing money down the drain:

  • The big property clean – you want your property sparkle
  • Touch up any chipped paintwork
  • Remove or store your clutter and any highly personal items
  • Fix any obvious detrimental defects
  • Tidy the front garden
  • Ensure you have the best possible street appeal – sweep paths, ensure your gate is working, your street number is visible etc

Treat it as a business decision

When deciding on whether you should renovate your property before putting it on the market – whether it’s your family home or an investment, you should look at it as a business decision.  Will the renovations add value to your property immediately and will you be able to sell the property for more?  You are not renovating your home so you can enjoy the end result, you are purely doing it to attract more buyers and add value.  Don’t renovate with your heart or personal taste in mind. Think very carefully.

Real Estate expert Andrew Winter says “if your home is a genuine renovator it is probably better to leave as is.  Tidy up and do the essentials, of course, but recognize that this is an entry level home that may even have buyers fighting over it.”

He also suggests that “significant renovations are not advisable on homes that have been adequately looked after and are in line with your demographics expectations of size and style.”

Avoid overcapitalization

A priority if you are looking to renovate to sell, is to ensure you don’t overcaptalise, which means to improve a property beyond its resale value so you are not able to recoup the money when you sell.  An example would be if a home owner spent $200,000 on home renovations and then decided to sell the property, they may find that the renovations only added $100,000 to the value of their property meaning they have effectively lost $100,000 as a result of doing the renovation.  They have over capitalised on their property by $100,000.  And that isn’t good!  You need to do your research and think very carefully before renovating to sell.

Understand the current market value of your property

You can’t determine how much value a renovation will add to your property if you don’t know how much your property is worth before you event start.  The first step here is to get your home valued by a qualified real estate agent.

Understanding how much your property is worth in the current market, how much it has increased in value since you bought it and how much other properties are selling for in your immediate area is very important.  Plus, talk to your agent about the value of similar renovated and un-renovated properties in your area.  Keep in mind that each neighbourhood has a median sale price and an upper sale threshold and this can vary significantly even within one suburb as a result of the housing style, street scape and demographics of each area.

What do your potential buyers want?

It is tempting to want to put your own personal stamp on your property, but some features you love, might actually put potential buyers off.  Talk to your local LJ Hooker agent about what your buyer demographic would deem valuable, what features are really selling homes in the area.  This is all about following the crowd, playing it safe, not overspending and never allowing your personal tastes to dominate. It is about giving your buying audience what they want.

Agents, whilst they aren’t building experts, can give you a good insight into what are popular features for buyers in your area.  Consider whether your property has these features?

How much should you spend?

Once you know how much your home is worth and what your buying audience would value you can determine how much you want to spend on any renovations (if anything).  Professional renovator Cherie Barber, who has been renovating properties for more than 20 years says, if you are doing cosmetic renovations like painting, floor sanding, ripping up carpet and landscaping and are looking to sell your home in the near future or you are renovating an investment, allow 10% of your property value for your renovation budget.  For example, if your home is valued at $700,000 a good budget to work with is $70,000*.

She has some valuable insights into how much you should spend on each room here which would be worth looking at to give you an idea of room by room budgets here.

Renovating an investment property

If you are considering renovating an investment property you should consider things from a ‘need’ point of view; anything you do ‘needs’ to improve cash flow, rentability, or the value of the property.

You should ask questions like: Will it increase the rent? Will it increase the value? Am I better off without a renovation? It needs to be strictly a business decision.

6 questions to ask yourself before you renovate

  1. Has my property been well look after and is it in line with my potential buyers expectations of size and style?
  2. How much is my property worth in the current market?
  3. Can I add value to my property with a good spring clean and a coat of paint and avoid large expesnes?
  4. How much will the renovations costs, do you have the available funds, how much is the expected value to be added to the property, will the renovations actually cause your home to lose value?
  5. What is the condition of my current home – Will I be renovating more than 50% of my home? In many states and territories, if you renovate over 50% the rest of the home then will need to comply with current building regulations, such as new wiring, plumbing and energy rating and this can add a significant cost to your renovation.
  6. Will my renovation be in keeping with the style of homes in my area or will it stand out like sore thumb? Often many people like an area for its style of properties and a poor design that doesn’t compliment the surrounding homes can devalue yours.

*Make sure you consult your bank and your financial advisor before making any decisions about renovating to sell or not.

Buying Real Estate FAQ’s

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What questions should I ask the agent when buying a home?

  • Can you show me a recent property sales report to show what the house is worth?
  • Why is the vendor selling?
  • How long has the property been on the market?
  • Are there any known issues with the property, land or neighbours’ properties?
  • Exactly what is included in the sale?
  • How long have the owners lived there?
  • Is the property listed? If so, what grade is it? And is it in a conservation area?
  • How much are council rates / strata fees?

Why should I buy with LJ Hooker?

Enlisting the help of a trusted real estate agency can help you navigate the often-tricky world of residential real estate. With offices across most of Australia’s major cities, towns and suburbs, your local LJ Hooker real estate agent is perfectly-placed to provide you with advice and assistance relevant to your local real estate market.

Your local LJ Hooker real estate agent can also help you through every stage of the property buying process, including finding a property within your price range, organising finance, reports and searches, conveyancing and in some cases, even helping to connect your utilities.

What are the steps to buy a home?

  1. Own a home? Get an appraisal as this is a great way to find out how much equity you already have.  Your local LJ Hooker agent can give you a free property appraisal to help you here.
  2. Contact a Loan specialist to discuss your home buying plans and borrowing capacity
  3. Create a budget and save deposit
  4. Choose a home loan and apply for pre-approval
  5. Research property market and neighbourhoods and download our Free Open Market report
  6. Finalise property must-haves
  7. Start house hunt
  8. Lawyer / conveyancer to review contract
  9. Get a building inspection
  10. Make offer or bid at auction
  11. Sign contract and pay deposit
  12. Arrange insurance
  13. Process First Home Owner Grant
  14. Complete settlement and move in

What are the different ways to buy a home?

There are 4 main ways to buy real estate in Australia

  • Private treaty – when the vendor, or home owner sets the price they would like to sell their property for and their real estate agent negotiates individually with prospective buyers to achieve a sale as close to this price as possible.
  • Auction – which is a public sale conducted by a licenced auctioneer.  Properties are offered up for bid and if the reserve price is reached the property is sold to the highest bidder
  • Tender and Expression of Interest are processes wherein you submit a single offer, usually accompanied by a 5 or 10 per cent deposit, and it is accepted or rejected by the vendor.

What are the costs of buying a property?

  • Deposit – usually 10-20% of the home’s overall cost
  • Stamp Duty – differs in each state
  • Lenders mortgage insurance if you borrow more than 80% of the property purchase price
  • Building insurance
  • Legal help such as lawyers or conveyancers
  • Building, pest and strata inspections
  • Council rates and strata fees
  • Moving costs

How can I work out the budget I can afford to buy a home?

Talk to the experts at LJ Hooker Home Loans, they can help assess your current earning and assets and develop a plan with you.

What is the first home buyer grant?

The First Home Owner Grant (scheme) was established to assist eligible first home owners to purchase a new home or build their home by offering a grant.  The grant amount is determined by the date of the eligible transaction and each state has different rules and regulations.

What is stamp duty?

Stamp duty is a charge which is applied by state governments in Australia and is in relation to the transfer of land or property. The State Government charges may vary depending on the purpose of the property purchased.

Where do I search for properties?

Website portals such as  ljhooker.com.au, realestate.com.au and domain.com.au are excellent resources along with regional and local newspapers.  Also contact your local LJ Hooker real estate agent as they are experts in the local area and may know other properties that are up for sale

What research should I do before buying a home?

Doing due diligence on the property market gives you important understanding of where you can buy, and how much it will cost.

What happens on auction day?

On auction day if you are wanting to bid, you must register in the bidders record and you will receive a bidders number that you will use when bidding.

The auctioneer will outline all rules before the bidding begins, including their obligation to refuse bids after the hammer falls, to arbitrate bid disputes and also to refuse bids that come from those who have not registered for the auction.  There may be more specifics depending on where the auction takes place, so check the rulings and listen carefully to the auctioneer.  If you are the successful bidder and the property sells to you, you are required to sign the contract immediately and pay a 10% deposit.  There is no cooling off period if you buy at auction.

What auction terms should I know?

It is important that you understand these terms before your bid at an auction: Bidders guide, Inspection, Vendor and Dummy Bids, Rises and Advances, Reserve, On the Market and Passed In.

What should I look for in a neighbourhood?

To determine the right neighbourhood for you, consider your pace of life – are you young and is the proximity to friends and entertainment important or are you looking for a quieter suburb.  If you have family plans consider schools, transport and amenitites and safety of suburb.  Consider where you work and the daily commute.

What is the settlement?

Closing (also referred to as completion or settlement) is the final step in executing a real estate transaction. The closing date is set during the negotiation phase, and is usually several weeks after the offer is formally accepted. On the closing date, the ownership of the property is transferred to the buyer.

Do I need a pest inspection?

You don’t need a pest inspection but it is recommended that you get one to ensure the property you are buying has no major issues as this could save you a lot of money in the future.

Who is eligible to receive the first home owner grant?

To qualify for the first home owner grant you must meet the following criteria: each applicant is a person and not a company or trust, the applicant is a permanent resident or Australian citizen.  Each applicant must be 18 years of age or above. All applicants and / or their spouse / de facto, have not owned a residential property, jointly or separately in any state or territory of Australia before July 2000.  Each applicant must have entered into a contract for the purchase of a home and the total value of the home does not exceed the cap amount for eligible transactions (different in each state).  Must also be the first time an applicant/spouse or defacto will receive the grant and that at least one applicant will occupy the home as their principal place of residence for a continuous period of 6 months commencing within 12 months of purchase.

Different ways to buy real estate

There are a number of different methods you can use to purchase a property. The processes may seem a little daunting, but with the help of a real estate agent to guide you, you’ll be just fine.

In Australia there are four main types of selling methods auction, private treaty, tender and expressions of interest.

Each state has different regulations and laws you need to be aware of.

Private treaty

Also known as a ‘private sale’, this selling method requires the vendor (or seller) to set a price from the start of their campaign.

This enables them to receive and consider offers from prospective buyers throughout the time the property is listed for sale on the market. Through this method of sale, the owner can choose to extend their campaign.

As a prospective buyer, you can submit an offer through the properties real estate agent to the owner and potentially negotiate the price.

Once the offer has been accepted by the owner, there is a cooling off period. This is where certain conditions must be met in order for the sale to go through, such as obtaining finance or a sound home inspection.

Auction

Auctions are a very popular buying method in Australia, as there is a chance of snapping up a property quickly at a good price.

Before the auction day, you can make a pre-auction offer to the owner through the real estate agent. This is where you can submit an offer of how much you are willing to pay for the home. However, in order for your offer to be successful, it needs to be an amount that will attract the owner’s attention.

You will need to register your bid on the auction day to begin bidding on the property.

In most instances the owner will have set a minimum reserve price they are willing to accept for the property. If the bids do not meet or exceed this price, the property may be passed in, or ‘withdrawn’.  Should this happen, there could be an opportunity for you to negotiate a sale with the owner.

Some sellers allow part of the deposit to be paid at the end of the auction with the rest on a specific date. This will need to be identified in the contract.

Properties sold by auction are not subject to any conditions, which means you will need to complete an inspection prior to auction day and have your deposit cheque ready to go at the time of sale.  Unlike private treaties, auctions do not have a cooling off period. This means you need to be sure this is the property you want to buy.

Tender and expression of interest

These two selling methods are quite similar to private treaty, but they are usually associated with premium properties. They are more formal and both require written offers passed through the agent to the owner.

Expression of interest

  • You must send an ‘expression of interest’ document to be sent in by a specific date
  • The property price is not always advertised

Tender

  • Buyers need to submit a formal proposal as a response to the seller’s tender price
  • Buyers compete against one another by submitting offers, but neither party knows how much others are offering, similar to a silent auction
  • Properties are usually sold to the highest bidder

Check with your agent to ensure you are familiar with what regulations your state has around the different ways to buy a property.

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