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“You will not find two more hard working and professional real estate agents than Shelley & Mark”

Making the decision to sell your home or investment property is one of life’s major milestones. Whether you are selling to upgrade, relocate to another area, cash up or downsize, it can be an exciting journey or a complex and overwhelming one without the right support and guidance.

At SHELMARK we work hard to ensure the property sale journey is as easy and stress-free for you as possible. We call it the SHELMARK Difference.

Contact us for an accurate, obligation free property appraisal today or to learn more about how we work differently to help you.

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Downsizing with style – 10 tips from a designer

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

08 November 2019

Have your kids left home and you’re considering your next move? Or maybe you have already bought a smaller place to downsize to and you’re currently in the planning stages to move?

Downsizing (or ‘rightsizing’ as we prefer to call it) is an exciting time in your life and a wonderful opportunity to lighten the load and and trim back the to-do list, making space in your life to do more of what you love.

However downsizing can also be daunting for those who fear that moving to a smaller space means sacrificing the style they love in their bigger home. The truth is, just because you’re moving to a smaller space doesn’t mean you have to downgrade your style at all.

Here are 10 tips for downsizing with style from an interior designer:

  1. Only keep the things you love

There’s no better time to get rid of the things you no longer love or need than when moving to a smaller home. It could be the perfect excuse to let go of large furniture pieces and replace them with new pieces you’ve had your eye on. Selling your old furniture is a great way to help finance your new purchases.

  1. Be as bold as you dare

Some people think that bold bright colours can’t be used in a smaller space. However don’t be afraid to go bold with colours and textures, as this can actually help bring smaller spaces to life.

  1. Plan for the future

Take care when selecting new furniture items to ensure they consider your potential future needs. For instance, don’t choose a bed that is too low or too high as it may be impractical when you get older.

  1. Give yourself room to move

This may seem like an odd piece of advice when downsizing, however even when moving to a home with fewer bedrooms, you still want to ensure the rooms you have are spacious enough to allow good access around the bed, dining suite and other furniture in your home.

  1. Deck the walls

While your new home likely has less wall space, that doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your entire art and photographic collection. Consider creating a feature wall by covering one wall with your favourite pieces.

  1. De-clutter

One of the best things about downsizing is the extra freedom it gives you because your new home will be so much easier to maintain. Having a lot of trinkets on display will make furniture harder to clean and will also make the space look more cluttered and smaller than it is. If you can’t bear to part with any of your treasured pieces, consider rotating them for display in your new home.

  1. Avoid slip hazards

Ensure your new home has non-slip tiles/flooring in all wet areas.

  1. Let there be light

Good lighting makes a huge difference to the functionality, aesthetics and safety in the home. And strategically positioned mood lighting will add warmth and ambience to a space and can be used to highlight certain decorative features.

  1. Beware of sharp corners

By sharp corners we mean table tops and benches etc. This is good advice not only for you but also for when the grandchildren come to visit.

  1. Spoil yourself

It can be an emotional time in your life when leaving the family home. Why not splash out a little and use some of the equity you have freed up in the sale of your home on something you have always wanted but couldn’t afford for your new home. It could be a statement piece of art, the latest steam oven or perhaps a new BBQ for your balcony or alfresco space.

We have helped many couples downsize successfully over the years (we have also done it ourselves). So if you are thinking of downsizing but are yet to sell the family home, contact Shelley on 0417 963 670 or Mark on 0411 552 309 for an obligation free appraisal and advice on how to achieve the highest possible price for your existing property.


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Tips to naturally beat the heat at home this summer

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

31 October 2019

Summer is just around the corner. If you’re wondering how you will keep the family cool as the mercury rises without blowing your energy bills, this article shares a few simple tips to keep your home cool and comfortable this summer without rushing off to buy an air conditioner.

Seal gaps around windows & doors

Many people think of winter and draught prevention when it comes to sealing gaps in the home. However, gaps around windows and doors can also let cool air escape and hot air in to your home, so sealing them prevents this.

Update your window furnishings

Did you know that glass lets in an enormous amount of heat and also allows cool air to escape? Opt for natural fibres and consider full solar blackout backings on curtains and a sheer layer for temperature control.

Blinds with solar block-out and exterior screens and blinds are also very effective for heat control.

Create shade

Creating shade around the perimeter of your home, especially in areas facing the sun when it is at its hottest, is another great way to keep the heat at bay. Shade sails are great because they can be removed in winter when you want to attract more sun. Deciduous vines are also great for this purpose. They will reduce the heat in summer but allow the warmth and light inside when they drop their leaves in winter.

Learn when to open windows & when to shut them

It’s best to shut windows, curtains and blinds on hot summer days to prevent the heat from entering your home and open them in the evening to welcome in those cooler evening breezes.

Window glazing

If the budget permits, double-glazing will help to keep your house even cooler. Check the rating of any windows you buy – Australian windows are rated for thermal efficiency by the Window Energy Rating Scheme (WERS). Even the choice of window frame will affect temperatures. Timber and PVC frames can offer great thermal protection, but aluminium windows, which are generally a cheaper option, are now available with improved thermal performance.

Thermal mass

Thermal mass is material, like concrete, brick or stone, which can absorb and store heat. Brick walls and concrete floors are good examples of thermal mass. Naturally, this is one to consider if you are renovating.

Insulation

Good insulation is one of the most effective ways we can keep our homes cool, and this isn’t something that only applies to new homes and renovations – existing homes can benefit from retrofitting with good insulation.

Install ceiling fans

Ceiling fans come in all shapes, sizes and styles to suit any decor. They provide cooling at a fraction of the cost of other methods.

So keep your cool this summer and minimise your energy consumption by following some or all of the tips in this article.


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How to find an ‘up-and-coming’ suburb

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

24 October 2019

We all have that one dream suburb we’d love to buy in. Perhaps it’s close to the city and all the action. Or maybe by the river or ocean is more your style.

However for many people, especially first homebuyers, the dream suburb is well beyond their budget. But all is not lost as there are many ways to compromise. It just takes a little lateral thinking. 

Up-and-coming suburbs are suburbs that are close to highly sought after suburbs. They offer similar amenities but at a much lower price point because they haven’t yet been ‘discovered’ like their pricier neighbouring suburb has.

According to realestate.com.au Chief Economist, Nerida Conisbee, there are a few simple ways to identify an up and coming suburb.

According to Ms Conisbee, changes in demographics in a relatively cheap neighbourhood is usually one of the first signs an area is up-and-coming. 

“These are generally suburbs that attract a lot of first home buyers and they’re not suburbs that are new suburbs,” she says.

“If the area has a lot of old homes and there are a lot of old people living there, and then you start to see a lot of young people moving in, then you can generally see that it will probably become up-and-coming.” 

The place to start when deciding where to live, according to Ms Conisbee, is to work out what you can live without because choosing an up-and-coming suburb when you can’t afford your ideal one will invariably require you to compromise in some way.

Ms Conisbee says, “The housing stock is often very different, so the houses may not be as nice or you’re often further away from something people desire such as a beach, a really good shopping precinct, a train line or a good park or a school.

You may be closer to something people don’t like such as a large freeway or a very busy road or there may be something that’s a bit unattractive about the area.

So you have to look at ‘what could I live with?’ for a start. Are you prepared to live near a busy road or further from the beach, and can you improve the home – versus things you can’t change like the fact that it’s near a main road or away from a train station? These are the sorts of considerations I’d be thinking about.”

Find an up and comer near your dream suburb

Realestate.com.au has provided an interactive tool to give you an idea of up-and-coming suburbs near your dream suburb based on demand and median price. Click here, scroll down and type in your dream suburb. While you’re there, watch the video of Ms Conisbee explaining how to pick an up-and-coming suburb in more detail.


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The truth about the banks & interest rates

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

17 October 2019

With the cash rate at an all time low and banks being ‘bashed’ for “profiteering” by federal politicians and the media for not passing on the latest rate cut in full, are you wondering where the truth actually lies in all the rhetoric?

To understand the truth you have to start by knowing how mortgages are actually funded.

For starters, funding for mortgages comes from a variety of sources and is not solely reliant on RBA rates.

Secondly, banks have more deposit (savings) customers than they have mortgage (home loan) customers. They also have to balance the needs of all clients in addition to shareholders (which is almost everyone with a super fund).

There are many in the community that don’t celebrate falling interest rates at all – people with term deposits, for instance, who are currently being hit hard with falling interest rates.

Falling rates also squeeze the banks’ interest rate margins and they are already under pressure from a number of factors such as slow loan growth, increased costs and remediation from the Banking Royal Commission (this one was necessary and we are certainly not condoning the banks’ behaviour).

One thing we definitely wouldn’t want to see happening in this country is Australian banks being downgraded by international ratings agencies. Why? Two reasons:

  1. It would increase their costs of funding and drive mortgage rates up.
  2. Financials make up a third of the ASX 200 and the Big 4 banks make up a quarter. This represents a large proportion of almost every super fund.

There is no question that our national economy needs stimulus to grow. But slashing interest rates is not the only way to tackle this. For instance, the government could spend on infrastructure and get money into the community by increasing Newstart or Pensions where it is likely to be spent.

The RBA only has one lever to stimulate growth – interest rates. As rates get lower and lower this becomes increasingly ineffective. So while the government says it relies on the RBA to do the heavy lifting and publicly blames the banks for not passing on the cuts in full, they are failing to address the full story. It would seem blaming the banks is becoming more of a marketing ploy to deflect interest away from them and pass the buck. The RBA has stated numerous times that interest rate cuts alone aren’t enough to stimulate the economy.


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Buying a property? Procrastination could cost you!

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

11 October 2019

Unfortunately, it happens all the time and disappointment is the result. Buyers losing the property they love because they want to think it over or keep looking in case something better comes along is the adult version of letting go of a balloon – you’re never going to get it back.

Think about it. The house you love and want to talk about and ponder overnight before making an offer could be the same house someone else was thinking about the night before. The situation becomes even more frustrating when buyers see the property they love sold for a price they would have been prepared to pay. 

Here are the most common mistakes buyers who miss out on the home they love make.

Thinking the market hasn’t bottomed out yet

Generally, the only sign we get if the market is at its lowest point is when it starts to improve. By then it’s too late, as the market will have begun escalating and you’ll end up paying a higher price.

Waiting for a price reduction 

It may surprise you to know that many properties are sold before they have an advertised price reduction because somebody made an offer and the owner accepted it. This means other buyers don’t get to see it or get a chance to put an offer in. Buyers commonly miss out to the person who steps forward. 

Not listing your current home for sale

Many people worry that if they list their home before they find their next one, they could end up having to rent for a while (or worse, move back in with the parents or in-laws) if they sell before they buy. However, if you are serious about moving, it is important to be ready to buy. And that means having your own home sold or at least listed to ensure you will have access to funds for a deposit.

Over-thinking

Many buyers fear there could be something better or they’re making a mistake if they make an offer too quickly. However, in our experience, most buyers end up back at the first home they looked at, often disappointed to find it has sold while they were shopping around. If your heart and head are telling you, ‘this is the one’, don’t over think it. Make an offer.

Not having your finance in order

Shopping around and applying for a loan takes time. To avoid disappointment, it is strongly recommended that you obtain approval in principle for a loan before you start seriously house hunting. This will also give you your spending budget.

Not letting your agent know you’re looking

Some homes these days are listed for sale without being advertised at all. This is called a Silent Sale. We have just listed a property silently and will be alerting buyers that have registered their details with us and whose requirements and budget match the property, inviting them for a VIP inspection.

Don’t let the home of your dreams slip away because you failed to act. If you love it, make an offer.


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Nearing retirement with a mortgage? Follow these tips …

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

03 October 2019

Are you approaching retirement but concerned that you still have a mortgage? If the answer is yes, you are not alone. There are many reasons why more Australians today are still paying off a mortgage later in life ranging from getting into the market later and going through a divorce to changed work and business situations. People today are also living and working longer and banks have relaxed the rules around having to repay debts before retirement age.

That being said, having a mortgage hanging over your head when you retire is less than desirable because it will limit what you can do when you have all the time in the world to do it. So here are a few tips to help you clear your mortgage and be debt free in time for your retirement (as long as the money you save is put straight into your mortgage).

  1. Increase your income

This may be easier said than done but there are ways to do this if you think outside the box. You could approach your boss about a raise or a promotion if you can prove you’re worth it. If you run a business you could take on an extra job or two per week. You could even consider renting out a room in your home or get an Uber licence for some extra cash each week.

  1. Lower your spending

As you approach retirement it is the ideal time to take a close look at your current spending habits and redo your budget if you have one. Not only will this help you work out where you could save money now, it will also give you an idea of how much you will need to live comfortably when you’re no longer working.

  1. Work longer

We are living longer these days and, generally speaking, ageing better. There is no hard and fast rule stating that you must retire at a certain age. If you still feel fit and well and enjoy what you do, why not work beyond the official retirement age, especially if you still have a mortgage to repay? Or perhaps you could consider semi-retirement. Whatever works for you and helps you move into retirement comfortably.

Downsize

Do you really need to hold onto the home you raised your children in anymore? Depending on your equity, downsizing to a smaller, cheaper home could clear your mortgage completely. And it would be a lot easier to maintain as well!

Tap into your Super

Under the current Superannuation rules, you can access your super without paying additional tax if you’ve reached your preservation age and use these funds any way you choose, including paying off a debt.

The earlier you plan a course of action to pay off your mortgage the better. But as you can see in this article, even if you are approaching retirement with a mortgage, all is not lost. There are many positive steps you can take now to retire debt-free.

 


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5 Deposit Hacks for First Homebuyers

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

27 September 2019

Whether it’s you or your ‘kidults’ (adult kids) trying to enter the property market for the first time, saving up the deposit can seem like an insurmountable challenge. It’s like climbing a mountain. If you haven’t done your preparation and planning in advance, reaching the summit will be a long shot.

The key is to do your research and understand what it will take (including the sacrifices that have to be made and the planning required) to get there. Ultimately it comes down to being clever about both your saving and your spending.

Here are 5 home deposit hacks that will help you (or your kidults) achieve that goal.

  1. Join the 5% club

95% of people spend first and save later. That leaves just 5% who do the reverse. That’s where you need to be if you are saving for a deposit. Start by creating a budget, accounting for every dollar you spend. And that means everything. The seemingly insignificant $4.50 a day you spend on a coffee is equal to $1,080 a year based on a 48 week, 5 day a week working year.  If we’re talking about a couple, that figure would double. Then imagine if you’re spending $12 a day on lunch. No doubt you get the drift.  Aim to save around 10% of your wage with the end goal being to save enough to equal 20% of the value of the type of home you wish to purchase.

  1. Change your priorities

Making sacrifices is necessary when aiming for any major goal and saving a deposit for a home is no exception. Take a packed lunch to work rather than buying it (this will save you around $3000 a year), restrict ordering takeaway or don’t take out at all, even if it means having baked beans on toast occasionally. It’s about changing your priorities to focus on the long-term goal.

  1. Act like you have a mortgage now

Living the mortgage life before you have one will help you acclimatise so it doesn’t come as a shock when you do have a mortgage. It will also help you succeed in getting a loan approved because you will be able to demonstrate a regular savings pattern in line with mortgage repayments. Work out how much you will be paying on a mortgage based on how much your first home is likely to cost less the deposit you will have saved. Another bonus of putting away fictitious mortgage repayments each month will be that it will significantly boost your savings towards the deposit.

  1. Commit!

We are currently experiencing record low interest rates and suggestions are they will fall even lower. If you can find a way to save the deposit and get approval in principle on a home loan, commit to making that purchase while median house prices are still low in Perth. If you can’t afford to buy the home you want to live in consider an investment property and have the tenant help build your equity while you are still living at home or flatting with friends to keep your living costs down.

  1. Take advantage of incentives

There are a number of incentives on offer for first homebuyers from the government and even from some lending institutions. For instance, in WA the First Home Buyers Grant is available for eligible first homebuyers who are purchasing a new residential home or building a home on vacant land. For the purchase of established homes you may be entitled to zero or reduced transfer duty. There are also other incentives that may apply to you. Click here to learn more and for a list of FAQs about first homebuyer assistance in WA.

 


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The pros of inner city apartment living

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

20 September 2019

Whether you’re buying your first home, next home or downsizing from the family home, buying an apartment close to the city can bring many benefits, from better health and a more fulfilling lifestyle to saving money and living more sustainably. In fact there are many benefits to an inner-city lifestyle often overlooked.

With the population growing, the Great Australian Dream of the traditional house on a quarter acre block is changing. For starters, with the population of Australia expected to climb 60% to 37.6 million by 2050, smart, responsible urban planning is the future.

Studies have shown that inner city apartment dwellers tend to be healthier, happier, and more active and socially engaged than people living in the suburbs.

Here are 5 reasons why.

  1. AFFORDABILITY – Buying an apartment in a great lifestyle location is usually more affordable than buying a house in the same location. There is also the strong potential to save money living close to the city because so much is accessible by foot, bike or public transport, saving the cost of petrol and upkeep on the car (some decide to ditch the car when they live near the city). This leads to a more sustainable way of life, which is kinder to the planet and the hip pocket.
  2. WALKABLE NEIGHBOURHOOD – Urban living means living within walking distance from entertainment and recreational precincts, schools, work and public transport. All this walking makes urban dwellers more active, which in turn leads to numerous health and well-being benefits. Most urban residential areas these days are also built within close proximity to green open spaces.
  3. LIFESTYLE – There’s always a buzz around urban areas that you don’t typically find in the suburbs. And no matter what you enjoy doing, there’s something close to home to suit all tastes, from dining out and bar hopping to shopping, the theatre, live bands and museums/art galleries. Furthermore, because people work much closer to home, they spend more time at home with their loved ones, leading to greater happiness.
  4. LESS TO MAINTAIN – With a smaller home and only a terrace/balcony garden to look after, urban apartment dwellers spend less time looking after their homes and more time doing what they enjoy.
  5. ACCESS TO ONSITE FACILITIES – Many apartment complexes today include excellent onsite facilities for use by residents and their guests. Facilities may include a pool, gym, sauna, BBQ area and residents lounge area. So not only is there the potential to save a fortune in gym membership fees, but there is also greater incentive to work out when the facilities are right there on your doorstep.

 


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Renovating your kitchen? Consider these 6 tips first.

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

13 September 2019

Most people consider the kitchen to be the heart of the home. It’s where family and friends gather to chat, cook, eat and simply enjoy each other’s company. So is it any wonder that it is one of the first rooms people choose to update in the home?

If you are thinking about renovating your kitchen, don’t start until you have read the following 6 essential kitchen renovation tips.

1. Create a kitchen that suits how you use it

This point is most important if the purpose of the renovation is for the benefit of you and your family rather than specifically to sell your home. Ask yourself how you like to use the kitchen. Do you love to cook and entertain groups of family and friends? If so, ensure you design a kitchen that complements this. Plan lots of bench space and good quality cooking appliances large enough to cater to the numbers you like to cook for. On the other hand, if cooking is not your passion and you’re less likely to regularly whip up a feast for a crowd, you should consider a kitchen design with more emphasis on appliance storage rather than large ovens and cooktops.

2. Good function and flow

There’s no point having a beautiful looking kitchen if it lacks functionality and flow. When designing your kitchen, ensure your most used elements, such as the fridge, sink, oven and cooktop, are positioned so that you can easily transition between them. For instance, avoid placing the fridge cavity opposite the sink, as they are commonly the two most high traffic areas in the room. Put a high priority on bench space too as insufficient bench space will create challenges when preparing meals. If you are including an island bench in your design ensure you allow sufficient space to move all the way around it and flow from fridge to bench to cooktop to sink.

3. Storage solutions

Even in the smallest space, ample storage is a must in a kitchen. There are clever ways to ensure no space is wasted with the inclusion of customised drawers, cabinets, shelves and even hooks inside the pantry for very compact spaces. Designing to minimise clutter will ensure you end up with a clean, modern, functional kitchen.

4. Ensure you have enough power points

Carefully consider how many power points you will need in the kitchen before it is designed. This will save frustration later when you realise you don’t have enough for all your appliances, not to mention the cost of having to bring the electrician back to fix it.

5. Create sufficient bench space for your favourite and most used appliances 

Many of today’s kitchen appliances are made to be on show as much as they are to be functional. So rather than hiding all your beautiful appliances away, think about where you would like to place them on the bench (close to a power source).

6. Select your major appliances first

Most people who renovate a kitchen want to upgrade their major appliances like the cooktop, oven, dishwasher, fridge and rangehood as well. By selecting your appliances first it will be easier to find cabinets and countertops that fit them rather than the other way around.

Renovating the kitchen of an investment property you intend to flip? 

If you are a property flipper (someone who buys property and renovates it to sell based on a strategic budget) the one thing you shouldn’t scrimp on in the kitchen (and bathrooms), according to house flipping experts, is the aesthetics – things like quality tiles and splashbacks, stone benchtops and quality appliances – because these are things today’s buyers notice and will pay more for.


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What do Perth homebuyers want most in a home?

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

06 September 2019

They say there is a buyer for every property but the catch is that it often comes down to price.

If you are thinking about selling and want to know what features would add the most market value to your property you have to think like a buyer. And not just any buyer, but buyers looking for property in your area.

There are a number of features that are typically regarded as being highly desirable by today’s homebuyers in Perth. And because these features are what most buyers want, they will be more inclined to pay more for a home that has them.

While some of these features (like the number of bedrooms and bathrooms) are hard to change without an expensive renovation, others can be adapted to suit or highlighted in the marketing. This list is also good to know if you’re in the market to buy, as homes with these desirable features will tend to hold their value or achieve better capital growth than those that don’t.

Features more buyers in Perth want that add the most market value are (in order of priority):

  1. A 4-bed house or 3-bed apartment

Did you know that the number of bedrooms in the typical Perth home has doubled from 2 to 4 in the last 50 years? This is despite the fact that the size of the average household has reduced. Nonetheless the desire for larger homes remains high because extra bedrooms offer flexibility and savvy buyers are aware of the future re-sale advantage it gives them.

  1. A second bathroom or ensuite

This one really needs no further explanation. Who doesn’t value a two plus bathroom home (unless you’re the one cleaning them)?

  1. Plenty of storage

Our households might be shrinking but we are still managing to accumulate just as much stuff that needs to be stored. Often underrated and under-promoted, storage is a feature you should include in your sales marketing if it is an asset in your home.

  1. Home theatre

In today’s digital world it seems the games/rumpus room of yesterday is today’s home theatre. This is increasingly become a central feature of the home and is highly desired by today’s buyers in Perth. If you have a games room/multipurpose room, you could consider adding some carpet and good light blocking drapes, hanging a flat screen TV on the wall and promoting it as a home theatre to add instant market appeal.

  1. Off-street parking

The perceived value of a lock-up garage varies depending on location. Overall though, parking doesn’t rate as highly as internal living areas.

  1. An alfresco area

Our temperate climate in Perth lends itself to outdoor entertaining. So it’s probably no surprise to you that outdoor entertainment areas, especially those that expand the main living area of the home with good indoor/outdoor flow and connectivity, are on the list and will add market value to your home.

Because every home and every suburb is different, it’s always best to speak to local experienced agents like us who know what buyers in the area will pay more for BEFORE making any changes. Call Shelley on 0411 552 309 or Mark on 0417 963 670 for an obligation free, accurate market appraisal and property consultation.

 


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