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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.

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.

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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Which rooms sell a house?

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

27 July 2018

A common question asked of real estate agents is, ‘Which rooms sell the house?’ In other words, is it worth spending money on one room over another to appeal to more buyers and hopefully achieve a higher sale price?

Kitchens and living rooms are always high on the list but outdoor living, master suites and bathrooms are also up there.

So how do you know where you should spend your time and resources when preparing your home to sell?

Consider your home’s market appeal

Who are your target buyers?

Are they a young family, a professional couple, empty nesters or investors?

Once you have determined the target market consider their needs/wants in a home and tailor your efforts to suit them.

For example, if your target market is young families, focus on the kitchen/living zone and the alfresco space. If it’s professional couples or empty nesters, consider how to make your home as low maintenance as possible, inside and out.

If you are unsure whether or not to make any changes to your home before you sell, adhere to the 3 simple rules below:

1. Don’t over-spend. Only spend time and money on the things that will make a difference to the resale value (as professional agents, we will advise you on this).

2. Less is more. Potential buyers want to be able to imagine themselves living in the home – don’t impose your personal style on them. Less is more when selling.

3. Ensure the home is structurally sound – great interior design won’t sell your home if it is falling apart. Attend to those broken gutters, window frame gaps and cracked tiles etc.

Speak to us about further ideas and solutions that will help you maximise your home’s sale potential and price.

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Home staging tips when selling in winter

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

21 July 2018

So you’ve decided to sell your home in winter. Contrary to what some may think, winter can be a great time to sell. For starters there’s generally less competition. There are also some great ways to make your home look warm, inviting and welcoming in winter.

Below is a list of simple inexpensive suggestions to make your home stand out and appeal to more buyers when selling in winter (many of these tips apply all year-round).

Preparing to sell

• Have your heating systems (e.g. air conditioners, gas heaters) serviced and the fireplace and chimney cleaned (if you have one)
• Check windows for any gaps and seal them with gap filler if necessary to prevent any chilly draughts flowing through the house
• Add cushions, throws, rugs and candles to create warmth
• If you have timber floors, tiles or polished concrete flooring, one or two well-placed rugs will add warmth and cosiness to a room
• Clean out gutters, unblock drains and tidy the garden
• Repaint or repair your front fence (if you have one and if required) as first impressions are everything when selling
• Steam clean curtains and wipe over blinds to remove dust and dirt and freshen your home

The day before the first Home Open

• Vacuum and mop floors
• Clear any clutter from table tops
• Open windows to air out your home (especially important in winter when windows tend to be kept shut most of the time to keep the warmth in)
• Remember to close the windows again before inspection day
• Ensure garbage bins are out of sight
• If you have pets, ask a friend or neighbour to check your home for any pet smells (as you may not notice them yourself) and attend to those if necessary

Show Time (the Home Open)

• Walk around the outside and inside of your property to ensure it all presents beautifully
• Ensure heating systems and/or the fireplace are turned on to create a warm, inviting ambience (but don’t make it too warm and stifling)
• Open all blinds and curtains to allow as much natural light as possible to flood in
• Place candles in the living areas and bathrooms
• Place a bunch of fresh flowers on the dining table
• Turn on all lighting, including mood lighting and outdoor lights.
• Ensure pets are secured (better still, take them with you while the Open Home is in progress)
• If it’s raining, place an umbrella stand at the front door and ensure there is a sturdy welcome mat for people to wipe their shoes on before entering your home (place a mat at the rear entrance as well)

Attention to detail is the key. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and think about the details that would draw you in. Home is meant to be a haven for anyone, so whatever makes your home more welcoming, appealing and comfortable in winter is what you should focus on.

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Snooze, you lose!

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

15 July 2018

We are seeing all the signs that the market is changing. As a result, buyers who wait to make offers because they think they have time on their side, like they did when the market was slower, are ultimately missing out on the property they love.

The past three properties we have sold have illustrated this point, so we thought we would share those three scenarios to ensure you don’t make the same mistakes.

Scenario 1
This property had been on the market for many months last year but failed to sell. A family had inspected it several times over a number of weeks. They talked about making an offer but were taking their time.

Finally they called Agent #1 and said they would like to put in an offer. In the meantime,

Agent #2 took a Buyer to view the property.

Agent #2 was aware there was an offer coming in, so they prompted their Buyer not to delay if they liked the property. As a result, their Buyer made an offer then and there.

Both offers were presented to the Seller and, in the end, the second buyer was successful in buying the property, as his offer was higher.

If the first Buyer had submitted their offer sooner, without competition, it probably would have been accepted.

Scenario 2
This property had been on the market for a few months but hadn’t sold yet. A family (Buyer #1) had inspected the property several times over a number of weeks, talked about making an offer but wanted to consider their options and look around some more.

In the meantime, a couple (Buyer #2) inspected the property twice and made an offer immediately following the Home Open. They realised there was strong interest from Buyer #1, so they offered full price. The Seller accepted their offer.

Buyer #1 missed out and is still searching for a property.

Scenario 3
This property had been on the market for a few months but hadn’t sold yet. A family had been considering it for a few weeks. Finally they made an offer and the Seller made a counter offer of $5,000 higher.

The Buyers didn’t respond for a couple of days.

In the meantime, another couple (Buyer #2) made an offer higher than the first offer.

Buyer #1 was given the opportunity to increase their offer, which they did, meeting the Seller’s original counter offer.

Had they just accepted the counter offer when the Seller made it, they would have been the successful Buyers. However the Seller knew there was an opportunity to get more from Buyer #2. As a result, the Seller accepted the second offer and Buyer #1 (the family) missed out.

The key lesson in all this is: if you think the market isn’t moving and you wait and wait to see if the price comes down on a property before you make an offer, you could miss out altogether!


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