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5 signs you’re ready to ditch the renting cycle

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

18 January 2019

Do you feel like you’re stuck in a renting cycle?

How do you know when it’s time to give renting the flick and buy your first home?

Here are 5 signs you’re ready:

1. You want to own an asset that will grow in value over time rather than fork out money on an asset owned by your landlord.
This is called capital growth. As your property value goes up, so does your equity (the difference between the value of your property and the balance on your mortgage). Later on you could potentially use your growing equity for things like a home renovation, a deposit on your next home, or property investment.

2. You are seeking greater stability.
The risk when renting is that you never know what the owner’s intentions are. If he/she decides to sell, you have no choice but to look for somewhere else to live (unless they sell to another investor and then you have to wait and see if they put the rent up). Owning your own home gives you stability.

3. You’re tired of being limited in terms of what you can and can’t do to make your home your own.
Are you tired of not being able to update the carpet, install an air conditioner, paint the walls or mount your TV on the wall? Buying a home means you have freedom to make changes as you see fit.

4. You have worked out that you can afford the mortgage repayments and other ongoing costs.
With historically low interest rates, a mortgage can work out to be more affordable than paying rent. Just be sure not to stretch yourself too thin. Don’t borrow to your limit as interest rates can’t stay this low forever. What’s more, there are some ongoing costs involved in buying a home that you don’t need to worry about when renting, like council rates, strata fees and property maintenance and repairs.

5. You have saved enough to pay the deposit (generally 20%) and other upfront costs.
Even if you are struggling to save 20%, it’s worth investigating your lending options. Some financial institutions will lend against a lower deposit as long as you meet certain criteria. Seek advice from a mortgage broker who can compare loans for you.

Think outside the box – consider ‘rentvesting’

Love the neighbourhood you live in but can’t afford to buy there? How about buying and renting at the same time?

This is known as ‘rentvesting’. It involves living in a rental property while buying an investment property in a more affordable area.

Make 2019 your year!

Now is one of the best times to buy in Perth in many years. But experts say don’t wait too long if you can afford to do it now.


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Planning to invest in 2019? Here are 10 tips for success.

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

11 January 2019

Have you set yourself a New Year’s resolution to invest in property? If so, congratulations! You have selected a great time to buy. However it is important not to jump into the investment market blindly. To get the most out of your property investments and to lessen the associated risks, take a look at the following 10 tips as suggested by leading Australian property investment expert, Michael Yardney.

1. Educate yourself
Subscribe to blogs, online forums and publications from reliable sources such as realestate.com.au, Investor Assist, and Australian Property Investor, to name just a few to learn the do’s and don’ts of property investing.

Research property prices, land tax and government charges as well as socioeconomic factors of the area you are interested in to determine whether or not it represents a good long-term investment prospect.

Michael Yardney says first time investors must understand how property markets work and “not believe the myth that all properties increase in value”.

2. Seek advice

Speak with local real estate agents and brokers to help you better understand the current local marketplace for the area you wish to invest in.

You may also wish to consult the services of an independent property strategist, mortgage broker, financial planner and/or accountant to help determine your investment strategy and borrowing capacity and locate a good high growth area.
A team of independent professionals will help you avoid buying a property based on emotion, which is the last thing you should do when investing in property (leave the emotion for buying your home).

3. Save early

Get into a habit of making regular deposits into a high-interest savings account so you can show your lender that you have financial discipline. It’s also important to set yourself a realistic budget if you are truly serious about investing in property.

4. Consider a family guarantee

Banks generally require you to come up with at least a 20% deposit of the purchase price (unless they allow you to take out lenders mortgage insurance, in which case a lower deposit is allowed).

The other option if you are brand new to the market is to consider using a family guarantor. This is where an immediate family member allows the equity in their property to be used as extra security for your home loan.

Say your parents are willing and able to be guarantor for you. Michael Yardney says to ensure you split the loan in two portions: the portion of the loan they are guaranteeing and the portion they are not guaranteeing. Then you should work hard to reduce the portion your parents are guaranteeing so you can release them as quickly as possible.

5. Consider borrowing options

Co-borrowing is another viable option for young investors. This is when two or more investors agree to share the costs of ownership. If you both have similar financial goals and circumstances this can work well.

Along with sharing the loan cost, the borrowers share additional costs such as stamp duty, strata fees or legal charges, as well as ongoing costs such as maintenance and repairs. Just ensure that all the necessary legal documents are in place first to avoid problems (seek advice from a solicitor).

6. Shop around for a competitive loan

The investment loan market is highly competitive. Do the right research and comparisons and you are likely to find a mortgage product with advantageous features like an offset account, the ability to make additional repayments, a redraw facility and minimal ongoing fees. Such features will allow you to lower your mortgage repayments and interest charges so you can focus on servicing your debt and reaching your investment goals sooner.

7. Pre-approval

Once you’ve found the right home loan, apply for pre-approval. Why? Because having pre-approval in place gives you greater negotiating power once you have made an offer an a property as you’ll be considered a preferred buyer over those who don’t have pre-approval in place (they are considered a greater risk).

8. Demonstrate financial discipline

The ability to save and practice financial discipline is a crucial part of real estate investing and getting approved for finance:
Follow these three fundamental rules:

1. Spend less than you earn,

2. Save the difference, and

3. Invest the difference and keep re-investing it until you have a big enough deposit.

Michael stresses, “Learn to sacrifice and don’t borrow more than you can afford, especially in a low interest rate environment.”

9. Plan for contingencies

Don’t assume everything will go smoothly. When you purchase a property – especially an older one – things can and do go wrong. It’s crucial to budget carefully to allow for contingencies. These could include the hot water system needing replacement, the tenant losing their job and no longer able to pay the rent, the oven breaking down etc. etc. Ensure you have enough funds in the bank to cover repayments and other expenses at all times.

10. Location & property considerations

Keep the following 3 variables top of mind before you dive in:

1. Your budget (determined by your lender).

2. The location – never compromise on this.

3. The type of property you buy – Michael says, “I’d rather buy an apartment in a great location, if that’s all my budget allowed, than a house with land in an inferior location.” Location is everything.


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4 things NOT to do when selling your home

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

14 December 2018

It seems everyone has an opinion on what you should and shouldn’t do when you’re about to put your home on the market – friends, family, work colleagues, everyone becomes a ‘property expert’ at a very important time in your life. After all, your home is likely to be the most significant financial asset you own.

No matter what the well-meaning people in your life tell you, here are 4 things you should NOT do when selling your home.

1. Don’t think like a seller
Rather than thinking like a seller, you should think like a buyer. Put yourself in the shoes of a potential buyer for your home and look at it as objectively as possible through their eyes. Painting a picture of your potential buyers will help you present your property in a way that’s likely to encourage them to part with their hard-earned cash.

2. Don’t choose the cheapest agent
Choosing the agent with the lowest fee over a professional agent who charges more can cost you dearly in the end. It can be the difference between achieving (or even exceeding) your asking price and falling well short of the mark. Look at testimonials, interview a shortlist of candidates to determine what sets one agent apart from another.

Ask them to demonstrate how they would negotiate with a buyer to achieve the best price, look at their recently sold prices of properties similar to yours in the area and ask them what marketing and communication strategies they will adopt to attract the right buyers and keep you informed. Think of it as a job interview where you’re the boss.

3. Don’t over-inflate the asking price
While price isn’t the only determining factor for buyers seeking their ideal home, it will influence which properties they put on their short list. Price your home too high and you may not even make the list meaning they won’t even come and take a look. Of course you can always adjust the price later, but the first two to three weeks on the market are crucial in generating that initial excitement.

Once a property has been on the market for a long time, you risk people starting to think there is something wrong with it. Listen to the advice of your professional agent as they know what the current market is prepared to pay for a home like yours.

4. Don’t skimp on marketing
An effective and engaging marketing campaign is the best way to expose your property to the right buyers and grab their attention. Saving a few hundred dollars and missing out on some vital marketing elements can cost you tens of thousands of dollars in the end, simply because your property wasn’t seen by enough or the right people.


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Styling tips for a Christmas sale

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

07 December 2018

If you are selling your home for sale over Christmas you may think you and your family will need to miss out on any Christmas cheer in the home this year. But that is not the case at all.

While we advocate simple styling when preparing your home for sale, there are ways to keep it simple and stylish while still incorporating some festive season cheer.

Tip No. 1 – less is more
The first rule is to keep it simple. If you normally love to go all out and deck the halls as well as every other part of your home with Christmas lights and decorations, you will need to cut back this year if you are on the market.

A beautifully decorated Christmas tree, a festive centrepiece on the dining table and perhaps a welcoming wreath at the front door would bring some Christmas spirit to your festive season Open Homes without cluttering your home.

Tip No. 2 – A subtle Christmassy aroma
Research has shown that pleasant scents help sell and unpleasant smells have the opposite effect. A tip when selling over the festive season is to create a subtle Christmassy aroma in your home. You could bake some gingerbread or shortbread biscuits, burn a festive candle or have a real Christmas tree.

Scents evoke memories and the festive season conjures up happy memories for most people. Ideally you would want potential buyers to imagine making happy memories in their new home.

Tip No. 3 – curb your desire to light up your home
When selling, it’s best to let the normal street appeal of your home sell it rather than the light display you take pride on each year. It can be a distraction for many buyers.

Tip No. 4 – Keep it classy
This tip is similar to keeping things simple but it goes a step further. We suggest classically elegant decorations (keep the inflatable Santa for your next home).


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It’s about perspective

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

29 November 2018

While Perth’s housing recovery remains fragile, we can’t lose sight of the fact that Australia’s GDP growth rate remains strong, confirming our resilience as a nation.

According to the latest National Accounts figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, we are now entering our 28th consecutive year of economic growth. Furthermore, between 2019 and 2023 our economy is predicted to outperform every other major advanced economy in the world. More significantly, Australia is the only country in the developed world to have experienced uninterrupted economic growth over the past 27 years. These are pretty impressive figures amidst all the ‘doom and gloom’ reports we keep reading about the national housing market.

What should we all take from this news? The bottom line is, while it may not always feel like it, we really do live in the lucky country, and things aren’t always as bad as they are portrayed in the media.

While the Perth housing market remains fragile, according to the latest figures released by CoreLogic, for the housing market to recover, demand must be created through sustainable employment opportunities in industries that are more stable than the mining and resources sector. With substantial infrastructure spending underway in WA, including the multi-million-dollar overhaul of many shopping centres like Garden City, those employment opportunities will come.

Our message to you is this …

If you want (or need) to sell your home or investment property, then you must employ a professional real estate agent who will work harder for you than anyone else, someone who has the experience to lead you through this less than ideal time.

Choose an agent who:

• Has the experience, skills and resources to implement world-class marketing campaigns that ensure your property will be noticed in a crowded market place,

• Won’t over-inflate your price or tell you what you want to hear just to please you but will be totally honest about the need to be realistic in your price expectation right now,

• Will advise you on the best way to present your house for sale so it appeals to your target markets.

• Will keep you informed every step of the way, and

• Suggests changes to your marketing and/or pricing to avoid the property become stagnant on the market.

As experienced real estate professionals, you can trust us to deliver all those benefits and commitments to you.

REMEMBER …

Last but not least, when you sell your home and buy another during a time when the market is less than ideal, the home you buy will also be priced lower than it would be when the market is performing well. So, the key is to focus on the changeover cost rather than just the price you achieve in your sale. If you wait until the market picks up, the price of your next home will go up too. So why wait?


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How to style that awkward space in your home

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

23 November 2018

Do you have a space in your home that you just don’t know what to do with? It’s that spot that is not quite big enough to be its own room but too large to do nothing with. Perhaps it has little natural light and seems in limbo between other rooms.

So just how do you optimise and style those awkward spaces? Here are five tips from interior designers.

1. Assess your home for spaces that need some love

Take a good look through your home to identify under-utilised areas that you normally pay no attention to. It could be the void under a staircase, or an awkwardly sized wall between two windows. For the void under the stairs, you could create some amazing storage or even create a small reading nook by adding an armchair or a bench seat that neatly tucks underneath when not in use, along with some nice shelving to display books.
For the awkward wall between two windows, consider adding a small floating shelf and some artwork.

2. Give the space a purpose

Consider functionality as well as aesthetics when assessing your awkward space. Perhaps your space lends itself to a compact study area or a media nook where family members can plug in their digital devices – the perfect 21st functional use of an awkward space.

3. Use the power of paint

Given that most awkward spaces in the home attract little natural light, it is a good idea to get creative with paint to combat this. Introducing a feature wall in a study nook is a great way to use colour to highlight the space and help add a distinction between other spaces in the home. If the space is quite dark, adding a lighter, cooler colour can help brighten it up while also creating the illusion that the space is a bit larger than it actually is.

4. Look for smart furniture

When it comes to furnishing small awkward spaces, take the time to measure the dimensions and physically look at items of interest in-store rather than buying them online. Don’t forget to bring your tape measure when shopping for the right furniture piece. It is also a good idea, where possible, to look for furniture items that lend themselves to having a dual purpose. For example, a bench seat can be used in a small entryway for seating, but can also be used to store shoes underneath.

5. Style it to perfection

Soft furnishings and artwork will add the finishing touch to the solution for your awkward space. A rug, a beautiful painting or photo, a feature wall, a statement mirror (always an effective style hack for creating the illusion of space) or a plant, and clever, decorative lighting will help define the zone you are creating and give it a warm, welcoming ambience.


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Should we stay or should we go?

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

15 November 2018

Love it or list it? Should we stay or should we move? It’s a commonly asked question in lounge rooms all over the country. Perhaps it’s on your mind right now.

We have put together a list of simple questions and suggested answers to help you decide…

1. Do you love your street and your neighbourhood but your bathroom is in a terrible state? STAY & RENOVATE THE BATHROOM

2. Are you planning to grow your family in the next five years and know you will outgrow the home you’re in? MOVE

3. Do you expect that your older kids will be leaving the nest soon? MOVE

4. Is the aspect and size of your home perfect, but it’s very dated? STAY & MODERNISE

5. Have you just had surgery on your hips, knees or back and you live in a multi-level home? MOVE

6. Are you on acreage and you hate gardening? MOVE

7. Do you live in the worst house on the best street? STAY & RENOVATE

8. Is your home too small but there’s no cost-effective way to extend? MOVE

9. Do you constantly have to do the car shuffle at home and you want to buy a boat or caravan but you’ve only got a single garage with no room on the block to extend it? MOVE

10. Do you have a pool you no longer want and you’re constantly maintaining it? MOVE

11. Do you envy the lifestyle of your friends who can walk to cafes and restaurants etc. from home but there’s nothing wrong with your house? MOVE

12. Are you keen to get your kids into a particular school but you live out of zone? MOVE

The above Q&A is just a guide. There is no definitive right or wrong answer. But it may help you rationalise your thinking before making a decision. Call us if you would like to have an obligation free chat about your plans and goals. We would be more than happy to come out and listen as well as take a look at your home.

No matter what your reason for moving there will always be buyers looking for a home like yours. Just married, just divorced, just had a baby, just retired, just got a new job, just had the kids move out, there is always someone looking to move.


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6 reasons to live in a walkable neighbourhood

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

05 November 2018

Living close to it all is no longer just reserved for inner city living. These days a lot more thought is being put into planning outer suburbs to make them more liveable and promote a greater sense of community, health and wellbeing.

The old-fashioned notion of village-like, leave-the-car-at-home living is enjoying a resurgence in popularity across the generations.

Here are six reasons why walkability should be a key factor when you’re looking for your next home.

1. Leave the car at home
We are so fortunate in the area we call home and service clients that so many of our suburbs are within a pleasant strolling distance from so many conveniences, from Garden City, public transport and restaurant/cafe strips to beautiful parks, cycle ways, the lakefronts and local schools.

2. Health and wellbeing
Leaving the car at home has obvious health and wellbeing benefits. And there have been University studies to prove it, comparing the health of people living in suburbs in which you need a car to get anywhere to those who live in communities that cater to residents walking more. It’s not just physical health benefits either. The stress relief people gain from a regular walk outdoors is well known too.

3. Child safety
From walking a few blocks to the local school or parks, or strolling to the shops, cinema and sports field with their friends, a well-planned walkable neighbourhood provides both safety and a happy, healthy environment for kids to grow up in. This in turn provides peace of mind and extra time for busy parents.

4. Getting to know the neighbours
How many people do you know that don’t even know their neighbours let alone live in an environment that encourages neighbours to look out for one another? A walkable neighbourhood encourages engagement and connectivity, just as people used to enjoy in villages a long time ago.

5. The chance to dine out close to home
There’s nothing better than being able to walk to and from your favourite local cafe or restaurant to meet friends for a coffee or a meal. No need to worry about where to park or how to get home if you’ve had a couple of glasses of wine.

6. Better on the hip pocket
Living in a walkable neighbourhood also delivers financial benefits. Proximity to public transport and amenities will cut down on petrol and motor vehicle maintenance costs. And, according to property expert, Michael Yardney, owning a home in a walkable neighbourhood can also boost your property’s value as it delivers so many features that people want.

The CSIRO’s new Liveability Ranking lists ‘living local’ (a connection to community, village feel, bike paths, walkways and public transport) among 17 features that contribute to a property’s overall liveability score.

Scroll down and you will see that many of the properties we currently have listed for sale tick so many of the boxes mentioned in this article. Aren’t we lucky to live where we do!


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What’s the key to a successful tenancy?

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

25 October 2018

If you own an investment property, you need assurance that you will receive both short-term regular income and long-term capital gain. While both objectives are, to a large extent, driven by the market, there is one sure fire way to dramatically improve the likelihood of achieving both – good property management.

Firstly, let’s take a look at the two main causes for a breakdown in a rental agreement:

The number one cause of a breakdown in a rental agreement is financial hardship. It only takes the loss of a job or a relationship change to leave a tenant in a dire financial situation.

Landlords can also face their own financial pressures, resulting from a number of things including tighter lending criteria, a shift from interest only loans to principle and interest, a reduction in rents over the last few years and loss of equity.

The result can be insecurity on both sides.

The second most common cause of a rental agreement breakdown is damage to the landlord’s property caused by the tenant.

How do you mitigate these risks?

The best way to mitigate these risks is to have your investment property managed by a good property manager. A good property manager will keep the lines of communication open, acting as the conduit between tenant and landlord. As soon as there are signs that trouble is brewing, the property manager can take steps to resolve the issue or, if it can’t be satisfactorily resolved, terminate the tenancy and find someone more suitable in as short a timeframe as possible.

REIWA receives thousands of calls a year to the REIWA Information Service from both property owners and tenants seeking advice and it is evident from those calls that there is a great lack of knowledge and understanding about the rights and responsibilities of each party.

The Residential Tenancy Act is complex. Hiring an experienced property manager with the skills and knowledge to deal with any situation that arises is the best way to safeguard against the early termination of a lease. When it comes to property managers, the benefits far outweigh the costs.

What should a good property manager do?

A good property manager works hard to maximise the return on your investment. To do this they focus on the big picture. There is a lot more to it than just collecting the rent.

He/she should:

• Find and keep the best tenants,
• Coordinate repairs and maintenance,
• Conduct regular inspections,
• Avoid lease expiry dates in periods of low demand,
• Maintain awareness of local development that may affect your rent, and
• Assess the rent annually so your rent remains in line with the market.

While we don’t handle property management in our agency, we can recommend some excellent property managers in our area. We have received excellent testimonials from the property investors we have worked with who use their services and would be more than happy to pass on their details to you. Contact us if this is of interest to you.


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Storage solutions on the wish list of more buyers

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

12 October 2018

These days we all seem to have accumulated so much ‘stuff’ in our homes that it’s hard to find a place for it all. That’s no doubt why an increasing number of buyers today are placing greater emphasis on the importance of storage solutions when looking for a new home.

Everything from built-ins and walk-in robes in bedrooms (once the exception but now more the norm) to sheds and garage/workshop storage solutions have become high on buyers’ wish lists.

While it is difficult to attach a dollar figure to the impact good storage will have on your property’s value, the existence of storage does affect the buying decision. If there are no notable storage solutions in the home, buyers will be inclined to factor in the need to add their own storage solutions when negotiating the price. On the other hand, having excellent storage solutions tends to improve the competitiveness of a home in a crowded marketplace.

What are the top trends in storage solutions right now?

• Butlers pantry’s – this feature adds to the prestige of a property and is something buyers increasingly have on their wish list.
• Study nook near the main living area – a place to observe kids doing their homework while cooking dinner and store iPads, phones and paperwork, keeping them neatly in one place and out of direct sight.
• Garage/workshop storage – with DIY becoming increasingly popular, people are accumulating more tools and materials which need to be stored somewhere, preferably neatly and out of sight from the house.
• In-roof and under-stair storage – making the most of every accessible space in the home for storage is seen in a very favourable light by a growing number of buyers.
• Customised wardrobe fit-outs. Move over walk-in and built-in robes. Today’s custom-designed wardrobes are next level. They offer a place for everything and are every buyer’s dream (especially women).

Storage ideas to consider if you are planning to renovate

Be creative and think laterally when assessing your existing space for storage solution ideas. Do you have a staircase you could do something with or a roof cavity large enough to access for storage?

Think about the end user when planning to sell. What are their needs going to be? Does your home suit families with young children, professional people or empty nesters? Each target group will have different storage needs. For instance a family with young children would find a games room with built-in toy and game storage cupboards and shelves a huge bonus while professionals may value a home office with built-in shelving for books, files and folders etc.

Last but not least if you are selling your home, make sure you showcase how your home’s storage solutions will enhance the buyer’s life. It’s not much use having a custom-designed built-in wardrobe if all your things are thrown in there in a jumbled mess. Let your storage highlight to the potential new owner how much more ordered their lives could be.


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