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10 tips to make moving house a breeze

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

24 May 2019

Just the thought of moving house is enough to send many people running for cover. With a little careful planning however, you can take the stress out of your next move.

Here are 10 tips to make moving house a breeze:

1. Do a big spring clean – it doesn’t matter what time of year it is, spring-cleaning is a great way to start the moving process. After all, the less stuff you have, the less you need to pack. By clearing out the things you no longer use, you will feel lighter. It will also give you a sense of making a fresh start in a new home and give you a great excuse to buy some new pieces for your new abode.

2. Start dismantling any furniture items you can, making them easier to move out of your current home and into your new home. A good tip is to put any nuts, bolts and screws into a small zip lock bag as you dismantle each item, taping the bag to a piece of the furniture for easy assembly later.

3. Save on space – Pack items of clothing from last season and things like blankets, sheets and towels into vacuum sealed bags. Make the most of suitcases and laundry baskets by packing what you can aside them.

4. Use white paper towels rather than newspaper to wrap crockery and glassware to avoid having to wash them before putting them away in your new home.

5. Take photos – this may seem like an odd tip, but it’s surprising how many people like to have a similar furniture layout in their new home as it’s familiar. Its also a good idea to take photos of furniture items to be dismantled so it’s easy to see how it goes back together (unless of course you still have the instructions).

6. Distribute the weight evenly by packing heavy items at the bottom and lighter items on top. It’s also a good idea to pack your heaviest items in smaller boxes, leaving the large boxes for your lightest items. The last thing you need is to hurt your back when moving!

7. Label and make a list – label every box with a number, the contents and the room it is to be placed in once at the new home. A back-up list of box numbers and contents is a good idea too, in case any boxes go missing.

8. Pack one room at a time – this will prevent you from becoming overwhelmed with the enormity of the task. Remember to leave the most used rooms till last (in most homes this would be the kitchen and bathrooms).

9. Set aside the things you will need for your first night in your new home – by packing those items separately, you will have easy access for a meal and a good night’s sleep, so you’ll be refreshed and ready to tackle the rest in the morning.

10. Safety first – Don’t pack dangerous goods such as corrosive, flammable, explosive, spontaneously combustible, toxic, oxidising or water-reactive goods. Items like LPG gas bottles and mower fuel fall into this category. You should also take extra precaution when packing sharp objects like knives, ensuring they are packed well and not poking out of any boxes.

Thinking of moving? Ask us for advice on local removalists. We’ll also give you an obligation free property appraisal and a presentation on how we would achieve the very best result for you in the sale of your home.


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Take your agent for a ‘test drive’

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

18 May 2019

You only get one shot at achieving an excellent outcome when selling. So choose your agent wisely.

If interviewing a number of agents, why not take them for a ‘test drive’ before making your decision. Ask them to role-play a negotiation with you. You will soon discover that negotiation is the key skill that sets agents apart, a difference that can equate to tens of thousands of dollars in your pocket.

Why?

There’s an art to professional negotiation. It can literally make or break the outcome of a sale. In fact, negotiation is the only means by which an agent can generate a good profit for their client.

As a property owner, the agent you choose acts on your behalf. While your agent must present all offers from buyers to you, it is their job to negotiate with the buyer first if the offer doesn’t match the value in the home.

There is a saying in real estate that the worst thing you can do as a seller is put the wrong agent in front of the right buyer. At Shelmark, we take the sale of an owner’s property very seriously. We will work harder and smarter than any other agent to ensure you receive the outcome you deserve.

Don’t entrust the sale of your greatest financial asset to anyone less than a skilful negotiator.

Why not put us to the test!


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Tips to attract buyers in winter

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

10 May 2019

While winter may not be the most popular time of year to sell, savvy sellers can use the season to their advantage.

Here are some tips for the winter sale:

1. Make it warm, welcoming and cosy
When the sky is grey and the temperature chilly, there’s nothing like entering a warm, welcoming home with decor that creates the right ambience to make potential buyers feel at home. Touches like throw rugs and homewares in warm, earthy colours will add to the atmosphere. If you have a fireplace or underfloor heating, use these features to your advantage. Just don’t over-heat the home.

2. Plan open home times strategically
If your main living space is flooded with natural light mid morning, that would be the best time to have your open homes, not when you have to turn all the lights on.

3. Make the most of less competition
With fewer people on the market it’s so much easier to stand out from the competition. Remember, while the buyer pool may be smaller, those that are looking to purchase in winter are generally more serious contenders. So take advantage of having your home beautifully presented and professionally marketed to capture the attention of those serious buyers.

4. Pay attention to the little touches
There will be times when it’s unavoidable for inspections to occur on overcast, wet, windy days. Ensure the entry to your home is well lit on overcast days and provide a sturdy doormat for people to wipe their feet on before entering your home. An umbrella stand and coat rack are also nice, practical touches. Place a couple of umbrellas in the stand for people to use when checking out the garden if they don’t have their own.

Play your cards right and you will find winter can be a wonderful and profitable time of year to sell.


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Is your gas heater safe to use?

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

02 May 2019

With days becoming shorter and winter’s chill beginning to kick in, many of us are starting to dust off our heaters and get them ready for the cooler months ahead. But if it’s a gas heater, how can you be absolutely certain it’s safe?

April 29 marked the start of Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week, an annual national event run by the Chase and Tyler Foundation to raise awareness of fuel burning appliance safety.

Did you know you could be putting your health and the health of your family at risk when turning on a gas heater that hasn’t been serviced in accordance with recommended guidelines?

In May 2010, Vanessa Robinson, a single mother of two boys, Chase, 8, and Tyler, 6, woke to every parent’s worst nightmare. Her boys had died while they slept alongside their mother in her bed as a result of a silent, odourless killer – carbon monoxide. The cause of the poisoning was a leak from the gas heater at the other end of the house they were renting, which had not been serviced or maintained. Vanessa almost lost her life as well and spent several months in hospital to recover. She founded the Chase and Tyler Foundation in 2011 to raise awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide.

Recommendation
It is recommended that all gas heaters be serviced every two years by a qualified gas fitter. If the heater is more than ten years old, it should be serviced annually. You can check the date of the last service by viewing the service sticker attached to the appliance. Adequate ventilation is also important. If you have a gas heater in your home or a rental property you own, click here for more detail. A must read.

National safety alert on 4 gas heaters
This year’s Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week coincides with a national safety alert on four gas heater models following a tragic death from carbon monoxide poisoning in Victoria.

The four models in question all failed safety tests, prompting the national alert. They are all open-flued gas space heaters. Click here to learn which models pose a risk and what to do if you have one.


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7 features buyers look for when house hunting

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

26 April 2019

To capture the attention of the right buyers for your property when selling you have to think like one of them. Put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself, “What is on my wish list for my new home?” Understanding this will help you recognise which features you need to accentuate when preparing your home for sale.

Interestingly, what most buyers actually want isn’t just the big ticket items you would expect.

Here are 7 features in a home that matter most to buyers:

1. More than one living area – while it may not be practical to add an extra living room to your home in the lead up to a sale if you have a small space, it is worth highlighting any extra living space (even if it’s only a sunroom) in your marketing. This also applies to open plan living, which is especially appealing to families. Often open plan areas can be worked into 2 living spaces (e.g. a lounge area for the parents and a play area for the kids) with some clever space planning.

2. Renovated or modernised wet areas – kitchen and bathroom renovations are big ticket items that feature prominently on the wish list of most buyers. If you haven’t done a full renovation, it’s worth highlighting any modernisations you have done. For instance, upgrading handles and tapware can do wonders to lift an older kitchen or bathroom.

3. Alfresco living – today’s modern, fast-paced lifestyle calls for a relaxing outdoor space at home. An alfresco area, particularly a covered, all-weather space that is readily accessible from the main internal living area, is high on most buyers’ wish lists.

4. Natural light – the more you can enhance and highlight your home’s natural light when selling, the more appealing it will be to buyers. Open your blinds and curtains and let the light in on home open days and inspections. There’s nothing less inviting than a buyer entering a dark home with all the lights on in the middle of the day.

5. A backyard – it doesn’t have to be big. Even a small yard with a lawn just big enough to kick a ball or play with the family pet is appealing to buyers with kids and/or fur babies. If your home is more suited to the downsizer market, the lower the maintenance of the backyard, the more appealing it will be.

6. Storage – Everyone loves a home with plenty of storage because it makes it so much easier to keep the place tidy. So make sure all the storage spaces in your home, from linen closets and built-in robes to workshops and garden sheds, are prominently featured in your marketing.

7. Generously sized bedrooms – If your home’s bedrooms are all large enough to fit double or queen sized beds, ensure your marketing says so. Better still, if your home is to be professionally styled, put a double bed in at least one of the minor bedrooms so buyers can see this for themselves.

As long established local real estate professionals we know what buyers want and work hard to showcase those features in your professional photographs and marketing copy.

Contact us to learn more.


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Live mode versus sell mode

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

18 April 2019

One of the most common mistakes people make when they put their property on the market is to put it on too quickly.

The time it takes to prepare a home for sale depends on the state of the property, the motivation of the owners and the time and money they have to spend on it. The duration between ‘live mode’ and ‘sell mode’ hinges on two key things – the preparation required and the owner’s end goal. So what do we mean when we say, ‘live mode’ and ‘sell mode’?

When an owner is enjoying and living in their property, they are in ‘live mode’. However, when an owner decides to sell, a shift in mindset has to occur.

It is important to prepare the home correctly and turn it from a home they enjoy living in, to a home that buyers could imagine themselves living in – a marketable property that is ready to be advertised, showcased and sold.

Tips to transition your home from live mode to sell mode

• Start the move now by packing away any items you don’t absolutely need while the property is on the market.
• De-clutter. This doesn’t mean removing everything to the point where the home looks bare and uninviting. It simply means creating space so a potential new owner can imagine moving their possessions into each room. De-cluttering will also give the illusion of extra space in more compact homes.
• Depersonalise. Take down your family photos, Grandma’s tapestry and your children’s artwork. Let the property breathe.

Buyers coming through a property want to visualise themselves living there. They can only do that if the property presents not as the owner’s home but as their potential new home. A professional agent will help you showcase the property’s best features and how the potential purchaser could live there.

Transitioning from live mode to sell mode generates the emotional connection needed to drive a successful sale.


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The profit in your garden

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

11 April 2019

When preparing their home for sale, most people pay close attention to the house itself, but often neglect to consider the state of their garden. And yet the garden can have a massive impact on the profit of a sale.

In real estate, we refer to the front shot of a property as the ‘dollar shot’. A purchaser’s expectations are established from the moment they set eyes on a property. Most will do a drive-by to determine whether or not to inspect a property. If a buyer drives by and sees rubbish piled high at the side of the house and an unkempt garden they will think, “Not this one. The owners don’t look after it”. Then they will cross that property off their open home list and move on to the next one.

An inviting garden creates a very important first impression
If the front garden is well maintained, the lawns are mowed and neatly edged, the shrubs and trees pruned and the garden beds weeded and filled with vibrant colour or lush greenery, buyers get an impression of a very well-maintained and loved property. It encourages them to feel an emotional connection to the property and imagine themselves living there. This is crucial because, without an emotional connection, a buyer is very unlikely to make an offer. Think of your garden as a marketing tool and a means to enhance the property and ensure it creates an impact. There’s profit in a well-maintained, landscaped garden.

Start early and think ‘less is more’
If you are preparing your home for the market, start as early as possible and adopt a ‘less is more’ approach. Ruthlessly cutting back and pruning your garden over a single weekend just before listing gives the impression that the home has been rushed to market. A better approach would be to take the time to tend to your well-established garden in the months and weeks leading up to the sale.

Consider investing in some beautiful pot plants to strategically place in and around your home. Not only will you be able to take them with you when you move, but well placed pot plants create atmosphere and a stunning visual impact, especially in the marketing photography.

To complement your well-maintained garden, gurney the driveway and have the exterior of your house professionally washed, including the windows. For a few hundred dollars, a professional exterior clean will remove cobwebs, invite the sunshine in, and leave the exterior of your home looking fresh and clean. In most cases, a professional exterior clean and gurney will have your home looking so good that it won’t need repainting.

Don’t underestimate the impact of a garden. Not only does it create a great first impression, but there’s also the potential to make serious profit from it. Look after it and it will look after you.


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What are the greatest energy guzzlers at home?

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

05 April 2019

We’ve all been there. You receive your quarterly energy bill, gasp at the figure and wonder where on earth all the energy goes in your home.

Are certain appliances greater energy guzzlers than others? Or are the occupants of your home solely the reason why the graph on your bill indicates that you are consuming the energy for a household of five when there are only three of you?

Where does all the energy go?
According to recent federal government research, heating and cooling are the biggest contributing factor to high energy bills. The research showed that heating and cooling accounts for 30% of the energy bills in Australian households (add 10% to that for the cooler parts of the country).

This is followed by hot water (20%), refrigerators and freezers (12%) and IT and home entertainment (8%). You may have expected the last one to be up higher.

How to reduce your energy consumption
A great place to start reducing your energy consumption is to focus on the number one contributor – heating and cooling. For instance, if you have a tendency to leave the air conditioner on overnight, stop. Use an extra blanket in winter or open windows in summer instead. It’s also better for your health.

So what about individual appliances? Are some greater culprits than others?

Yes. It all comes down to the energy rating. The more stars, the more energy-efficient the product is compared to other models in its category.

Appliances with a higher star rating may cost more at the outset but they’ll probably save you more in the long run.

Let’s take a look at an example. Based on an estimated energy price of $0.3 per kWh, a television with a seven-star label would cost you approximately $30 per year to run. Whereas a television with a three-star rating would cost $120 a year. Imagine doing the calculations with all the main appliances in your home. The savings can be significant.

Here are a few other tips to reduce your energy bills at home.

In the kitchen:
• Keep a good gap between the wall and your fridge for air flow, ensure the seal is tight and don’t overfill it.
• Wait until the dishwasher is full before running it.
• Cover pots and pans to reduce cooking time.
• Turn appliances like kettles and toasters off at the wall.

In your living areas:
• If you have a/c, set it to a lower temp in winter (e.g. 18-20 degrees) – also applies to central heating – and a higher temp in summer (e.g. 24-26 degrees). Then dress for the weather.
• Prevent drafts in winter by checking seals around windows and doors.
• Close curtains and blinds at night in winter when the heating is on as a lot of heat is lost through glass.
• Replace traditional lights with LED lights and switch them off when leaving the room.

In the laundry:
• Use the cold wash cycle.
• If you do use hot water, set it to 60°C.
• Use a clothesline instead of a dryer.
• Wait until you have a full load before washing.

In the bathroom:
• Install low-flow showerheads.
• Have shorter showers (four minutes or less). Good luck enforcing that if you have teens at home!

For more ideas on ways to save energy, visit www.poweringforward.energy.gov.au


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Tips to keep your home inspection ready

by ShelMarkblog In Uncategorized

29 March 2019

You’ve prepared your home beautifully to go to market. It’s been freshly painted and de-cluttered, new carpets have been laid, the timber floors have been polished and it presents beautifully inside and out.

Now for the real challenge – how to keep it that way for the duration of the sales campaign?

Here are some tips to keep your home inspection ready.

1. Use your campaign photos as a template
Properties look at their absolute best when the professional photos are taken. If the agent or photographer has styled your home in a certain way on photo day, you can be confident that they have done so for good reason. Reference the photos to see which lights have been switched on for effect and how your cushions and throw rugs have been placed etc. Then copy what was done on the morning of your open home or before a buyer inspection.

2. Clean and tidy as you go
Let’s face it. Unless you move out, life goes on as normal in your home. And we all know what that means, especially if you’ve got kids and pets! Mess is part of life. But if you keep personal effects and clutter to a minimum during the campaign, you’ll find there is less ‘stuff’ to create a mess with.

Simple things like making the beds every morning, keeping on top of the dishes, wiping over the kitchen and bathroom benches at the end of each day, and hanging, folding and putting away clothes will help keep your home inspection ready without the overwhelm factor at the end of the week. Get your kids to help (a small reward can work a treat).

3. Move out
Moving out may not be possible for everyone but it is a growing trend for sellers, especially those with kids where both parents work full time. It’s the easiest way to keep your home looking like a show room for the entire campaign. Some people are opting to move in with family for a few weeks or into an Airbnb. If you can pull it off, moving out is worth considering.

4. Relocating the family pet
We talked about this in our blog last week but it’s equally relevant here. If your dog or cat is shedding or they are at home alone a lot while you’re at work, it could be worth investigating if they can stay at a family or friend’s place or at a boarding kennel while your home is on show.

5. Be disciplined
It’s not uncommon for sellers to be super motivated and organised in the first two weeks on the market. But come week 3 or 4 and things can become a bit lax. It’s important that you stay the course. Remember, the greater the effort you put in while your home is on show, the better the outcome.


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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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