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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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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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7 ways to give your bathroom a budget facelift

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

05 September 2018

Anyone who has looked into the costs of renovating a bathroom would know how expensive it is.

Known to be one of the most costly rooms in the house to renovate (second only to the kitchen), a bathroom renovation sets us back to the tune of $17,000 on average.

But there are ways to seriously spruce up your bathroom for a fraction of the cost.

Here are 7 tips to give your bathroom a facelift on a shoestring budget:

1. Replace fixtures and fittings (tap, shower and bath fittings).

2. Hang a mirror – an interior designer’s favourite trick because they create the illusion of space while serving as a decorative feature. Overhead mirrors are on trend right now, especially circular and curved mirrors with minimalistic frames.

3. Update knobs and handles on cabinets
– just be sure to keep them in the same place as the original ones.

4. Styling
– examples include a new toilet roll holder, good quality towels, a tray to hold skincare products and perfumes, a reed diffuser and some luxurious soap etc.

5. Add a tile feature
– a patterned or bold-coloured tile could be just the thing to revive a tired bathroom. The key word is ‘feature’. There’s no need to retile every surface – think a wall or shower niche.

6. De-clutter
– this is the single most budget-friendly way to freshen up your bathroom. Decorative storage items like a stylish wicker basket, store bought simple-to-hang overhead cabinets, a stacked towel rail or ladder etc. will help to retain both order and create style in your bathroom.

7. Re-grout your tiles
– this is a far cheaper way to freshen and revitalise the look of a bathroom than replacing the tiles. You will be amazed at how much more modern your tiling looks when the grout is fresh and clean.


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Where NOT to spend your money when renovating to sell

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

30 August 2018

The rule of thumb when renovating to sell is that you should aim to make three dollars for every dollar spent (the so-called ‘three-for-one’ rule). This is a good guide for you to gauge whether or not your money and time have been worth it.

Here are 5 renovation features that experts say rarely add value if you do them simply to make more money when you sell.

1. A swimming pool
While a swimming pool will appeal to many buyers if you already have one, it’s not worth installing one simply to make more money when you sell. They are a massive investment and great for lifestyle if you’re sticking around for a few years to enjoy it. But a pool won’t give you bang for your buck otherwise.

2. Extravagant fittings & fixtures
While it’s tempting to splash out on high-end inclusions before selling, unless you are selling to a highly niche market, extravagant and expensive fixtures and fittings won’t result in a good return on investment. That doesn’t mean replacing old for new isn’t a good idea. People love new carpets, appliances and window treatments etc. Just keep the three-for-one rule in mind when buying them.

3. Invisible features
If buyers can’t see what you have done, it’s unlikely to boost your return by much. Examples are things like wall and ceiling insulation, double-glazing on windows, and new air conditioning systems. What the addition of these types of features does do however is add to the marketability of the home (as long as you work with an agent who highlights these ‘invisible’ features as selling points). Just don’t expect to triple your outlay costs for these types of additions.

4. Fancy landscaping
A fancy high maintenance garden is as much of a turn-off for many buyers as no landscaping at all. If you have a garden, make sure there is some lawn and a simple, easy to maintain garden design. Don’t go overboard with water features, cladding, hidden gardens, paving and the like, unless of course you already have it all in place.

5. DIY work that is below standard
Doing a less-than-average job on a DIY renovation won’t only stop you from making more money; it can actually cost you dearly. Dodgy tiling and painting is easy to spot at home inspections. The harsh reality is, half-finished or sub par jobs devalue a house.

If you’re thinking about selling and want to know what it would be worth spending money on to improve the value of your home in line with the three-to-one rule, give us a call. We will provide you with a clear, honest market appraisal and recommendations on how best to present your home for sale in order to achieve the best outcome. Rest assured we will never advise you to spend money that won’t give you a good return.


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Classic timeless ‘trends’

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

23 August 2018

Whether in fashion, music or interior design, trends come and go. But there are some interior design trends that have hung around for so long (or keep resurfacing) that they have earned the title of ‘classics’.

Here is a list of interior design trends that have become classics in the home…

Shades of grey
We saw a resurgence in popularity of the colour grey in 2015 and it has hung around ever since. From soft light hues to bold charcoal greys and dove grey being regarded by many as ‘the new neutral’, it’s unlikely that grey is going away any time soon.

Marble
Natural stone will always be considered a classic and, of all the natural stone on the market, marble is the ultimate. While marble went out of fashion for a while around the GFC because people shied away from appearing ostentatious, people today are no longer afraid of having beautiful, natural and luxurious finishes in their home.

Fine craftsmanship
It’s the detail in the design that makes beautifully crafted pieces so timeless, making them well worth the investment.

Chandeliers
When chandeliers are mentioned many people automatically picture the traditional vintage crystal chandelier, which still has its place in the right home. There are many more contemporary styles of chandeliers on the market like those with exposed incandescent globes or art deco style pendant lights.

Open plan living
These days it’s hard to believe that dining rooms, lounge rooms and kitchens used to be separated by walls and doors. Open plan living suits the Australian way of life far better. It also lets in light, makes a small home look bigger and is far more functional than sectioned off spaces.

Natural timber
Natural timber softens a cold space and makes it more inviting. It’s become a classic in our homes because of the way it creates a sense of warmth, ambience and texture. Furthermore, natural timber endures the test of time.

Click here to read the full article, which includes a few more timeless classics and the complementary images.

 


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Renovating to sell? Here’s how NOT to blow the budget

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

16 August 2018

If you are renovating to sell, there are three key things you should avoid:

1. Over-capitalising (spending more than you stand to gain in the sale).
2. Not finishing the renovation and selling it half done.
3. Blowing the budget.

There’s no question that a beautifully renovated house that creates an emotional connection with buyers can help you secure the best price. But present a half-finished renovation because you’ve run out of money and you will reduce your chances of making top dollar because prospective buyers will look beyond what’s been done and only see how much work they’d have to do to finish it. Often it would have been better not to start renovating at all. This situation is particularly problematic for owners who end up needing to sell quickly because of how much they’ve spent on a half-finished project.

The number one reason renovations are stopped halfway through is inadequate planning. Without a proper plan, it’s far too easy to blow the budget.

Here are 3 tips to prevent you from blowing your budget when renovating to sell.

1. Start with a plan
Starting a renovation without a plan will lead you to spend more than anticipated. Renovators often estimate costs too broadly, or focus on the big-ticket items while overlooking the minute details and functional aspects of a renovation, such as plumbing and wiring.

Break down the costs of every aspect of a renovation, room-by-room, item-by-item.

2. Know what to scrimp on and where you can afford to splurge a little
A common mistake for people who renovate to sell is over-capitalisation. Take the time to research what the market value of your home should be on completion compared to what it is before you start. A good real estate agent will tell you how best to spend your renovation dollars.

3. Set aside some money for contingencies
Unexpected costs are an unavoidable part of the renovation process and should be planned for in the budget. Who knows what hidden damage you may find, like wiring or decking boards that need replacing, etc. etc.

It’s also important to understand exactly what is and isn’t included in tradespeople’s quotes to avoid nasty surprises.

It’s a good idea to set aside at least 10% of the total budget to cover unexpected costs.

Contact us if you’d like some independent, honest and totally obligation-free advice
on what it would be worth spending money on in your home in order to achieve a better price when you sell.


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10 Ways to Improve Your Home’s Street Appeal

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

09 August 2018

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

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

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

1. A coat of paint

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

2. Consider the view through your front windows

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

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

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

4. Your front garden

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

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

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

6. The front door

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

7. Attend to the roof

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

8. Wash the windows

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

9. Remove or hide eyesores around the home

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

10. Light it up

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


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Renovating the bathroom? Here are 3 things to consider

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

02 August 2018

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

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

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

1. Your budget for the project

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

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

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

2. The original layout of your bathroom

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

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

3. Hire a professional

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

• Skills
• Workmanship
• Availability
• Commitment to the job

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

Happy renovating!


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