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!

sig3

*For full terms and conditions click here

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

buy-buying-realestate-FAQs-658

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.

Styling Your Property To Sell

Benefits of Styling Your Property to Sell

Competition is high in the real estate market…so how do you make your property stand out from the crowd, attract more buyer attention and sell quickly?  The answer from 98% of our top agents is to ‘Style your Property to Sell’.

What is property styling

Property styling is all about spending time organizing, tidying, decluttering and decorating your property and garden to make it look fantastic at open for inspections.

It is about employing design and presentation techniques to your home to create a visual marketing tool which will increase the potential of your home attracting the most amount of buyers and ultimately a quicker and more lucrative sale.

The benefits of home styling?

A survey of LJ Hooker agents found that:

  • 98% of agents believe that styling your property to sell can help achieve a higher sales price.
  • 83% of our top agents believe styling can add over 2.5% to your property’s sale value.  So if you had a property worth $600,000 that’s an additional $15,000…alot of money!
  • 2% of our agents believe it helped influence a quicker sale and 88% believed it triggered multiple offers through private treaty and more bidders on auction day.

Whilst you can employ an expert to help you style your property, not everyone has the budget so here is some practical advice to help you prepare 3 key areas of your property for sale.  For room by room tips download our Styling to Sell eBook.

Create an entrance:

Your entrance is the first thing people see so you need to ensure you make a great first impression from the street so would be buyers are excited about coming in to take a closer look.

Spending just a few hours on improving the entrance and front garden will help you make a great first impression. Here are some easy ideas to transform the front of your home – be warned though you’ll need to get your hands dirty.

  • Add a fence – If you don’t already have one – add a fence around your property. This allows you to separate your home from the street and will have the added advantage of making your front yard seem bigger.
  • A good front gate – Make sure your front gate is clean and in good condition – it’s the first thing people come in contact with – so check yours out and get it swinging.
  • Make sure you can easily see your home’s number and if possible add lights in case buyers do a drive by at night time.
  • Neat clean and cared for – Clean out your gutters and make sure your roof and windows are clean and free of spider webs.
  • Power wash your path and make sure it is swept before open home inspections. Spend some time weeding and trimming the garden beds. Maybe add some flowering plants to bring in a bit of colour. Make sure your lawn is mowed and any leaves are raked up.
  • Paint your garage door – visually this often takes up a lot of space so making it look great can make a big difference to your street appeal.
  • Having a neat and well cared for front garden –  this gets potential buyers excited about finding out more – that’s the feeling you are trying to create.
  • Keep garbage out of sight – Make sure your garbage bins are out of sight and clear out your letter box each day in case people are driving past – you want buyers to feel this is a loved and cared for home.
  • Add a path – If you don’t have an established path, consider laying one to help guide your buyers to your front door. Plain white pavers look great against a green lawn but there are many great options to choose from depending on what your budget and taste is like. They will make a big difference to your entrance.
  • Light me up – Ensure your outside bulbs are bright enough and working well, in case buyers do a drive by at night time. Make sure that the street or unit number is clearly visible and that the doorbell works.
  • Don’t have a front yard?– Make an impact by adding window planters, some clean shutters, good lighting and clearly visible house numbers.

Styling your Kitchen

The kitchen is the one room that can make or break a sale. It’s usually the most expensive room in  any house, so prospective buyers don’t want to see a kitchen that needs a total upgrade.

This doesn’t mean a total re-fit, but there are some small things you can do to make your kitchen more appealing.

  • Clear the clutter – If you have more on your kitchen benches than in the cupboards you need to clear it away.
  • Add appliances – Buyers know just how expensive a new oven or dishwasher can be, so they may shy away from your house if they think they will need to spend up big on replacements for these appliances.  If your appliances are out of date, consider replacing them. It may be a worthwhile investment.
  • Fresh coat of paint – A fresh coat of paint can work wonders in a drab kitchen, especially if cooking splatters have become a feature! Don’t forget your worn tiles, a little primer and paint can make a huge difference.
  • Do up your doors – Swapping cabinet doors can give your kitchen a whole new look. If entirely new doors are outside your budget you can make a huge difference by simply replacing the handles of your cupboards and drawers.
  • Lift the lighting – The lighting in a kitchen is something buyers will take careful note of. Installing fluorescent or spot lights under the top cupboard can provide light for benchtop work areas or consider adding a pendant light above your benchtop for some visual interest.
  • Benchtops – Many people think that replacing a scratched and stained benchtop is just too costly, but not all benchtop materials are that expensive. Consider using laminate or the slightly more expensive options like corian. This small investment could save your sale!
  • Fix the floor – If your kitchen floor is a little worse for wear, lift the lino and if you have them, polish the floorboards underneath – if they are in good enough condition – otherwise lay vinyl flooring, which is easy to clean.  Alternatively you may like to use tiles for a contemporary cool feeling.
  • Add some personality – Add vases of cut flowers, a bowl of fresh fruit or lemons on the bench. These personal touches will add something special to the room.

The Bathroom

Buyers today like beautiful bathrooms – they want a room they can relax and pamper themselves in, no matter what size or condition your bathroom is in. It’s important to spend some time and money making the most out of what you have.

  • Clean your tiles and grouting, make sure your windows, mirrors and shower screens are spotless and free of streaks.  Replace your soap bars with liquid soap, there will be less mess to take care of.
  • Clear the smell –  Nothing will put a buyer off faster than a bad smell, so make sure you air your bathrooms well, open the windows, use the extractor fan and add some potpourri or air freshener if needed…but don’t go over the top as buyers might think you are trying to hide something.
  • Fix the fittings – Cracked basin, toilets or tubs give the impression the room is unhygienic, so consider replacing these. It’s not that expensive provided you don’t change the plumbing.
  • Replace your vanity or mirror and add new lighting fixtures to make a really good impression on your buyers.
  • Buyers will lap up luxury – Today luxury spa bathrooms are very popular, but we don’t all have this look. You can however add a little luxury to any bathroom.  Fresh plump towels, some handmade soaps, plant or fresh flowers and some boutique bath products set out in your bathroom will give that feeling of luxury.
  • Space savers – If you have a small bathroom don’t clutter the limited wall space with towel rails, put them on the back of the door. If you are renovating a small bathroom, consider wall mounted sinks and toilets. Use big mirrors to make the room appear twice the size, not only will they enhance the feeling of spaciousness, they are also very practical.

Consider replacing a cabinet sink with a pedestal sink – it will make the room feel much bigger.

The bathroom will also seem less cluttered if you keep the colour scheme simple and light as well as ensuring you have good storage to hide all those bits and pieces.

A new coat – Stained or chipped bathtubs and basins can be easily fixed by enameling companies that can give your fitting a whole new look. They can even enamel old tiles, so if your bathroom’s colour scheme is straight out of the 1970’s this simple inexpensive process could save your sale. Add to this a fresh coat of paint on the walls and you have a whole new bathroom.

For more advice on how to style each room of your home download our Styling to Sell eBook.

How to choose the best real estate agent

A property, whether it is your family home, first home, investment or something in between, is often your most valuable asset.  As a real estate agent is responsible for the sale of your home, choosing the right one is a big decision.

Their connections, local market knowledge and real estate expertise play an important role in ensuring you get the sales results you desire in the shortest time possible.

To ensure you’re choosing the best agent for the job, here are some important features you should consider when choosing your real estate agent.

What features should a good real estate agent have?

Licence:  In all states and territories in Australia and New Zealand, all real estate agents have to be licensed in accordance with local legislation. The legislation also regulates such matters as trust accounting, continual education of licensees and those engaged in the business of selling, managing property and renting. In some areas this legislation also prescribes the form of agency agreement or contract to be used.

You should check the licence details of all real estate agents you are thinking of using before signing up with your preferred choice.   The good news is all LJ Hooker real estate agents are licenced in their state or territory.

Local Agent:  It’s important that the agent you choose knows the area you are selling in and that they are aware of other properties for sale and properties that have recently sold.   LJ Hooker has over 5000 real estate agents right across Australia working in your local area.  They are experts at knowing the local market and can give you an honest appraisal on the expected value of your property and assess how it is placed in the market alongside similar properties.

Experience:  Does the agent display local knowledge of your area and do they have experience in the method of sale you are looking at using?  Can they show you any comparable previous sales?

Market Knowledge: The agent should be able to give you a local market report of your area and surrounding areas. They should know about property trends, schools, transport, demographics and the sorts of buyers looking for homes in the area.  Ask your local LJ Hooker agent for our industry leading Local Market report packed with property information, trends and insights just for your neighbourhood.

See them in action: An excellent way to assess an agent is to see how they perform at an open for inspection.   At the inspection watch their behavior, were they on time? Do they stand at the door and welcome attendees and capture their details?  Do they highlight the property’s features and could they answer any question you put to them?  Did they follow up after the open for inspection offering more information? And was their marketing of the property of a good standard?

Trustworthy: Honesty and trust are key to any good relationship – especially in real estate.

Approachable: You’ll need to find an agent who you feel comfortable with, who will listen to your concerns, answer honestly your questions and who is approachable by you and prospective buyers.

References: Don’t be afraid to ask for references and referrals, as speaking with past clients can give you an idea of how the agent has performed previously.

Professional expertise: Can they clearly outline the activities and marketing they will undertake and offer a guarantee of service?  Can they show you their recent results including sale prices, time on market etc?