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Selling tips for pet owners

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

22 March 2019

When selling your home, keeping it inspection-ready at all times is hard enough without having pets to contend with as well. While we love them dearly, pets do add an additional challenge to the table when selling. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

Here are some tips when selling with one or more pets.

Remove your pet from the property during Open Homes
You could ask a close friend or neighbour to look after your pet while your home is on show. Or perhaps you could consider doggy day care. Check online for services available near you.

Let your pet have a holiday away from home during the sales campaign
While it may not be practical to remove your pet from your property for a number of weeks, it is a great idea if you feel comfortable leaving your pet in someone else’s care during that period. It will make keeping your property inspection ready much easier and less stressful.

Remove pet hair
Anyone who owns a dog or a cat, depending on the breed, knows how much hair they can shed, especially in the warmer months. Pet hair all over the carpet and furnishings is a turn-off for prospective buyers, as is constant sneezing for someone allergic to dogs or cats.

When selling, it’s important to ensure the experience for buyers coming through is a positive one.

Paying a professional to clean your carpets and other hair-heavy areas before the campaign starts is money well spent.

Remove signs of your pet & their odour
There is no point removing your cat from the home during inspections if you leave the litter tray in the laundry. The same is true for your dog’s bed, toys, bones and droppings in the back yard.

Once removed, pay attention to any lingering pet odours. Most people find that removing the evidence will also remove the odours. But just to be sure, create a subtle (but not overpowering) aroma in the home. Freshly baked bread, muffins or freshly ground coffee are still popular choices. These days the choice of quality plug-ins, essential oils and fragrant candles are also excellent choices to enhance the mood in the home and remove any lingering doggy or feline odours.

Don’t stress
Last but not least, remember you’re not the only one who loves their four-legged friend. Many potential buyers specifically look for a home that is pet friendly – a home that is fully fenced with some lawn in the back yard, a home that may have a doggy or cat door installed, a home that is close to parks and trails for walks with their best friend etc.


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The right story sells houses

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

15 March 2019

They say a picture tells a thousand words and we couldn’t agree more when it comes to selling property. What many people fail to put enough emphasis on though is the story that accompanies the photos – the copywriting.

Here’s why professional copywriting is just as important as professional shots when selling a property.

1. It tells (and sells) the story
Great copy takes prospective buyers on a journey. It enables them to imagine themselves in the picture – living in the home and in that location, making new and wonderful memories there.

2. It focuses on the benefits
Rather than simply listing the features of a property, well-written copy highlights the benefits to the specific target markets for the property. For instance, if the target market is families with teenage children, it will highlight things like the games room, the two living areas and that the master bedroom is separate to the ‘kids wing’; in other words, all the features that give parents and teens the space they need to come together and spend time apart (anyone with teens will know the benefit in that)!

If it is a property targeting families with young children, on the other hand, it would highlight things like the benefits of having a lawn area large enough to kick a ball, the pool that is in full view of the kitchen and the fact that children can walk to school safely without having to cross a busy road.

3. It is well-written and polished
Copy that is riddled with spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and incomplete sentences tarnishes a property marketing campaign and can turn buyers away. Well-written, error-free and succinct copywriting conveys professionalism and entices buyers to want to know more.

At the end of the day, buyers don’t buy unless there is emotional engagement. By selling the story and the benefits, professionally written property marketing (copy and photos) encourages buyers to become emotionally engaged and fall in love with the dream. After all, a home is far more than just bricks and mortar.

For all these reasons we always use a professional copywriter as well as a professional photographer for all our property marketing campaigns.


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Make an offer or risk losing your ideal home

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

07 March 2019

As real estate professionals, it is frustrating when we are faced with a disappointed buyer who failed to secure their ideal home simply because they hesitated to put forward an offer.

This is made even more frustrating for them when they see the property sold for a price they would have been prepared to pay.

The times we see this happen most often is during a soft market, such as the market we have been experiencing in Perth over the past couple of years.

So we thought we would share a few common traps to avoid when buying property.

Assuming the market will keep going down
If you wait until you think the market can’t go any lower, you can almost be guaranteed that it will rise and you’ll end up paying more. You have a window of opportunity when the market is calm so this is a good time to make offers. The only sign we will 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.

Waiting for a price reduction
This is a very common mistake. Many properties are sold before they have an advertised price reduction because somebody made an offer and the owner accepted it. The offer is usually below the asking price, but you won’t see it or get a chance to put your offer in. The bottom line is, if you are interested in a property, submit an offer. Otherwise you will miss out to the person who steps forward. Homes are sold to people who act decisively.

Waiting until you’ve found the perfect home before you list your own home on the market for sale.
It is important to be ready to buy if you’re serious about securing the perfect home. This means having your own home sold or listed on the market for sale so you will have ready access to funds for a deposit on your new home.

Procrastination
If you love it, make an offer. Don’t be concerned that there could be something better. In our experience, many buyers who like to shop around in case they find a better home end up back at the first home they looked at, only to find it has sold in the meantime.

Failing to secure finance
Shopping around for finance and obtaining finance approval takes time. To avoid disappointment and know, with certainty, how much you have to spend, our best advice is to secure your finance early (or at least approval in principle) if you’re serious about buying.

Failing to register your details
Some homes these days are listed for sale without being advertised at all (we talked about the Silent Sale method in last week’s newsletter). Registering your details with us, including what you are looking for in a property, allows us to alert you to all the properties (advertised and non-advertised) that match what you’re looking for.

Remember, you could be competing with many other buyers for the same property, especially when the marketplace is moving quickly. Being prepared allows you to act decisively. If you love it, make an offer.

If you’re thinking about moving, contact us so we can help ensure you don’t lose the home you love to someone else.


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Why overpricing your home is a bad idea

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

01 March 2019

It may seem logical to think that setting the price of your home above market value when selling might be a good idea to give buyers room for negotiation. You may also think that doing so would allow you to pay the agent their commission without compromising what you receive from the sale proceeds. If you think this sounds like a win/win, you’re not alone.

The reality however is that overpricing your home could actually do more harm than good. Why? Because an overpriced property is likely to take longer to sell.

Overpriced homes attract fewer buyers at open homes and fewer clicks online. This then causes buyers to lose interest and perhaps even wonder if there is something wrong with the property. And the longer a property lingers on the market, the lower the price when it eventually sells.

Properties that are realistically priced from the get-go, on the other hand, are more likely to sell within the higher end of its value scale in a shorter timeframe.

Of course, there are a number of things that contribute to the time a house spends on the market. However, the initial pricing structure has proven to be one of the most influential factors in determining the time to closing.

There is a common misconception that real estate agents have a tendency to undervalue properties in order to get them sold as quickly as possible. However a professional real estate agent is more concerned with ensuring their client’s property is accurately priced in line with current market conditions.

With this in mind, it is important to be receptive to your agent’s advice on the price point and also on how to prepare your property for sale so that it attracts the market you are going for. A well-presented, competitively priced and professionally marketed new listing attracts a lot of attention, increasing the prospect for a favourable sale price without the need for a price reduction. It’s about taking advantage of the early momentum. As they say, first impressions count, not only with the look of your home, but also in terms of its price point.

Contact us if you would like a current marketplace appraisal of your home.


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How an offset account can help pay your home off faster

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

22 February 2019

Anyone with a mortgage will know that the goal is to pay it off as early as possible in order to pay as little interest as possible.

There are many ways you can reduce your debt, including depositing lump sums when you can. One of the best ways however is to open an offset account.

What is an offset account?

An offset account works like a normal transaction account except that it is linked to your home loan account. This means it allows you to reduce your loan account more quickly because any money in your offset account is offset against the balance of your home loan. This reduces the amount on which interest is calculated.

Because interest on your home loan is calculated daily, the more money you can keep in your offset account, the more interest you will reduce.

Here are some tips to make the most of an offset account:

1. Have your salary paid straight into your offset account if you can.
2. Refrain from dipping into your offset account as much as possible.
3. Pay day to pay expenses using another transaction account or a credit card. If using a credit card, ensure you pay it off in full before the due date to avoid paying interest.
4. Consider setting up more than one offset account. Doing so gives you options for managing your finances the way you want to. For instance, you could have separate offset accounts for savings, bills, holidays etc. to help make budgeting and saving for different things easier.
5. Check the conditions of your home loan with your lender as some financial institutions or loan types only permit you to have some of your offset account’s balance offset against your loan. Some financial institutions also charge a monthly fee for offset accounts, while others are free of charge.

At the end of the day, anything you can do to reduce the amount of interest you pay on your mortgage will benefit you in the long term.


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The pros and cons of ‘rentvesting’

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

16 February 2019

If you have been following our newsletters lately you would probably have noticed the term ‘rentvesting’ in recent newsletters. It’s not a term we made up but a buzzword for an alternative way of getting into the property market and achieving property ownership.

So what is rentvesting?

Rentvesting is simply renting where you want to live (typically in an area you love but can’t afford to buy in) and buying an investment property in a more affordable suburb to rent out.

Just like any investment strategy, there are pros and cons that should be considered.

THE PROS

Live where you want, while still getting your foot in the door of the property market

Rentvesting allows you to live where you want to live and invest where you can afford, enabling you to get into the property market sooner using a lower deposit.

Freedom and flexibility

Let’s face it, when you’re young, perhaps without any kids, the ability to move around as you please is very desirable. This could be to a different suburb, state or even country. Renting allows you to do that (within the terms of your lease of course).

Tax incentives 

Property investors have the benefit of being able to tap into numerous tax benefits, which aren’t available to owner occupiers. Tax deductible expenses include advertising for tenants, repairs and maintenance, home insurance, and water and council rates.

The opportunity to build an investment portfolio

If the rent being paid by your tenants is more than your loan repayments, you will benefit from extra income. This could enable you to reinvest these extra funds elsewhere and use it to grow your property portfolio at a much faster pace than if you were waiting for a property to appreciate in capital growth.

THE CONS

Being a tenant 

A rentvester is in the unusual situation of being both a tenant and a landlord. As a tenant you must deal with regular inspections and the uncertainty of having to move should the owner decide to sell. Furthermore, as your home is not your own, there are restrictions on what you can and can’t do to it to make it how you want it to be. If you are looking for a long term permanent home for the security, then rentvesting would not be for you.

Paying off someone else’s mortgage 

Many people refer to rent money as ‘dead money’ because it is essentially helping the landlord pay off their mortgage. If you can’t bear this thought then reconsider rentvesting. The whole premise behind it is to live where you want to live and buy where you can afford, so it requires a change in mindset.

Time consuming 

Being a tenant and a landlord simultaneously can be time consuming. Having a good property manager will make it much easier and far less stressful.

You will miss out on the FHOG

The First Home Owner Grant (FHOG) is only available to first homebuyers who are buying an established or building a new home to live in themselves. So if the first property you buy is an investment property you will forfeit your eligibility for the grant. Click here for more information on the FHOG eligibility requirements in WA.

You may be up for Capital Gains Tax

When you sell your investment property, you will have to pay Capital Gains Tax (CGT) on the profit margin unless you live in the property for 12 months before selling it.

How to rentvest successfully

Successful rentvesting requires you to do some research before you jump in. Analyse the average rental returns and capital growth predictions of a median priced investment property in a suburb you are considering investing in.

Once you’ve done that, compare this to the rental returns and capital growth of the property you want to live in/rent (in the more expensive area).

If the sums and lifestyle advantages don’t add up, reconsider the idea of rentvesting. But if you love where you live and want the freedom and flexibility to move around before you settle down without sacrificing the chance to get your foot in the door of the property market, give rentvesting some serious consideration.

Everyone’s financial situation is unique

Always seek independent financial advice before making a decision of this magnitude.


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How to stay cool without blowing out your power bill

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

08 February 2019

As we swelter through another heat wave in Perth, it may be very tempting to crank up the air conditioner or head to the nearest cinema or shopping centre.

So when we saw an article on how to keep cool without ramping up your power bill written by an experienced building designer with a Masters degree in sustainable design it caught our attention.

He says there are a number of measures we can all take to reduce the internal temperature of our homes at various times of the day to the point where the need for air conditioning will be reduced, saving money.

His number one tip is to protect your home from the sun during the hottest part of the day.

Lower temperatures in the home at the start and end of the day by opening all doors and windows, using cross ventilation to draw a breeze through.

Then, as the mercury rises, close all the openings and window treatments (as a lot of heat transference comes via glass windows) to reduce radiant heat from entering.

Block-out shutters or external venetians are great options but if you don’t have the budget to retrofit your windows you can simply call in to your local nursery and invest in a small tree with a good-sized canopy to plant near your windows to the east and west of your home.

There should be no need to run your air conditioner well into the evening when the temperatures have dropped by ten to fifteen degrees. Reducing the running time of your air conditioning by as little as an hour a day will result in a significant saving on your power bill at the end of the quarter.

Furthermore, opening your windows to let fresh air in will also improve indoor air quality, which is particularly important for people with allergies and respiratory conditions like asthma.

If you intend to make some structural changes to your home to make it more sustainable, here are a few tips:

• Install louvred widows to the southern and northern ends of the house. Given hot air rises, this feature will expel hot air and draw cool air in.
• Minimise the use of brick and concrete externally as they are very effective at storing heat.
• Soft, cool landscape features such as a pool, water feature, timber decking and soft soil gardens are excellent for combatting heat transference.
• Wall and ceiling insulation is a must, especially in hotter areas (the higher the R-value rating, the more heat resistant the insulation).

Stay cool. Autumn is just around the corner.


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Chinese New Year facts & what the Year of the Pig represents

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

01 February 2019

With Chinese New Year approaching next week (Feb 5) we thought it would be interesting to share some facts about this festival that marks the beginning of a new year on the traditional Chinese calendar.

In 2019 we farewell the Year of the Dog and enter the Year of the Pig, which is the last in line of all 12 zodiac animals.

The Pig is said to be a lucky animal representing carefree fun, good fortune and wealth. Water zodiac signs (Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces) are predicted to have the most success in the Year of the Pig 2019 (according to the Chinese zodiac).

Those born under the sign of the Pig are said to be natural nurturers and have gentle, accommodating personalities. However their weakness is that they can be somewhat naive and overly sensitive.

Random facts about Chinese New Year

1. It is thought that the most fireworks in the world are set off that night.

2. There are 12 zodiac animals and each year is represented by one of those animals on a rotational basis – rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.

3. Your own zodiac year is considered your least fortunate.

4. The colour red is said to defend against misfortune, hence the prominence of the colour during celebrations and in the homes of Chinese families.

5. Approximately one-sixth of the world’s population celebrates the Chinese New Year.

6. Celebrations last for a few weeks and typically culminate in a Lantern Festival, which falls on the first full moon of the Chinese New Year (aka the Lunar New Year or Spring Festival)

7. It is tradition for families to exchange gifts of cash on Chinese New Year while the streets are filled the sounds of bells ringing and fireworks and the sights of lion dances being performed.


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Why your first property purchase trumps all others

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

25 January 2019

For those of you who are in your second or subsequent home, you will no doubt have memories (fond or otherwise) of your very first home of your own.

No matter how humble, that first home got you on the property ladder. It was an important stepping-stone to where you are now and towards your next move.

If you are saving for your first property (or looking to buy now) take your time to carefully research the market and the areas you like. Ensure your decision fits your budget and your lifestyle and don’t be too concerned if the place you can afford is not in the suburb where you want your kids to go to school one day. Remember, it is a stepping-stone. Most people don’t live in their first home forever.

REIWA President Damian Collins says the first home you buy is the most important because its capital growth is how you create equity to be able to afford to trade up to the next home.

“Most people buy at the lower end of the property market for their first home and through their lives, many move into higher price brackets as their family and income grow,” he says.

The key is to think long term. Don’t get too caught up on the idea that your first home has to be perfect. Chances are it won’t be and it may need some work to make it how you want it to be.

“Quite often existing homes that are a little older in established suburbs grow in value more than brand new homes in the outer suburbs. It’s nice to have everything brand new, but remember, the first property is the stepping-stone to your dream home,” says Mr Collins.

The other option you could try, as discussed in last week’s newsletter, is to rentvest.

What’s rentvesting?

More than the latest buzzword in property circles, ‘rentvesting’ is when people rent a home (often in a location they want to live but can’t afford to buy) and purchase an investment property in an area that fits their budget. They then rent out the investment property to help pay off the mortgage and pay their rent with a goal of selling the property later for a capital gain.

It could be a means of entering the property market sooner and plan for the second property purchase to be a home to stay put in for a while.

Again, it all comes down to doing your research and buying the first property in an area that has great potential for good capital growth in the not too distant future.


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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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