Selling Your Home – Don’t Be A Victim

Selling your home can be a complex process. If you make mistakes, you may be unable to sell your home or have seller’s remorse. There’s no need for this if you keep in mind the following.

Overpricing Your Home

It’s important to be realistic about the value of your home. Sellers should insist their real estate agents present them with objective criteria for pricing. Comparative information is the most critical in getting a house priced properly. If you ask for too much, it’s hard to ask for less later on in the process.

Not Displaying  Curb-side Appeal (I know – an American term – but it works!)

You don’t have to invest thousands of dollars into redecorating your home. But there some basic steps you must take to present your house in the most positive light.

Overdoing Home Improvements

Don’t go overboard staging your home. It should feel warm and inviting. Lawns should be freshly cut, plant some flowers, organise the home’s interior, rid the home of foul smells and apply new coats of paint to all walls and doors.

Not Understanding The Buyer’s Offer

Carefully reviewing and understanding the offer or purchase contract is imperative. Here are a few things to look for:

1. Has the buyer agreed to pay down a significant deposit?

2. Is the offer contingent upon the owner selling his or her present home? If so, how is the selling process transpiring?

Home Inspection/Open Houses

Have general inspections done in advance. Even though buyers will often have the house inspected again, it’s best to prepare for any potential problems.

Withholding Information

While it is tempting to hide or fail to mention the snafus of a home for example, it’s a hotel for cockroaches or termites, located in an area that’s prone to floods or fires, it is best to give buyers full disclosure. This kind of information can greatly affect the value or desirability of the property.

Be Objective:

While you may think your pink walls or roman columns are fabulous, it is best to keep that opinion to yourself.

Poor Real Estate Agent Communication

Sellers should take a pro-active approach to the selling process and not rely completely on the agent. Sellers should insist upon regular updates about the house and never assume the agent has taken care of everything. It is the seller’s responsibility to ensure everything is running smoothly.

Investigate Buyers

Once you have an offer on the table, it is imperative to secure confirmation of loan approval from the buyers (or their conveyancer/lawyer). Many do not ask about this – you are well within your rights to do so – and generally the buyer will have a finance clause in the contract that they must adhere to (unless you sell at auction and that is another article entirely!).

If you follow these steps, you will go a long way towards avoiding being a victim in the home selling process.

Author: Melanie Burns

To discuss this article or anything else to do with your finances, please call our office today on 0434 087 735 or email us and we will be happy to assist you.

Three Character Attributes Every Successful Commercial Real Estate Investor Must Have

Known for his tremendous wealth, ability to put together the largest, most profitable commercial real estate deals, and famous reputation, and whether you love him or loathe him, there is no denying that Donald Trump is the commercial real estate investor icon of our times.

Although we know he has extremely creative financial and investment strategies, and expert legal advice from people such as George Ross, he has more than just the average investor. There are other investors who probably know as much as Donald does, or more. However, they do not have the successful qualities that allow them to create such wealth from commercial real estate and accomplish the goals Donald has.

Donald has three successful qualities that you need to possess to truly create the quality of deals and wealth he is known for. These qualities are his ability to build relationships with everyone he works with, his ability to sell the big picture, and strong, overpowering charisma that takes a room by storm.

Almost any deal can work to your advantage if you work on and develop these skills. You may have strength for one or another. However, in order to have this industry at your fingertips, you must master each one. Success is delivered through the relationship between these characteristics, as one is not as good without the other or by itself.

Being able to build relationships with everyone that you work with is absolutely critical in the commercial real estate industry. You want to rub elbows with the decision makers in your city; those who are in charge of council zoning and planning committees at every level of the city. Get past the gate keepers and speak to the core people asking for their advice and become close acquaintances on a first name basis. These relationships can be implemented before you even think about doing a deal where their influence may be necessary. Relationships will not only get you insider information, but will give way for special favours and a good word to others who may influence your accomplishments.

Charisma is the ability to ignite passion and motivation among all those who are in an ear’s reach of the person. Charisma allows everyone to breakthrough barriers that otherwise would remain standing. Those who are charismatic can make even opposing forces agree on a common goal and move forward ambivalently. Donald can do just this – igniting passion and excitement that lines people up to follow in his direction. He becomes a true leader that others happily follow because they believe in him and his message. This characteristic will let you bring people on board that otherwise wouldn’t even think about working in your favour. It is a very helpful and powerful characteristic to possess.

The final characteristic is selling everyone on the big picture – everyone who is influenced by the value created in the deal. The community, the city, builders, developers, banks and even businesses around the location in which the project is growing all need to understand what is not there currently. As you know, these projects that were once old, dilapidated buildings that did absolutely nothing but bring the city or suburb down, can be turned into multi-million dollar establishments that can change the value of the entire city.

Do you have these qualities? Do you see yourself having the same effect on others as Donald Trump has had on the many people he has worked for? Everyone can master these abilities with a little focus and practice. Study others who are successful and possess these qualities. And remember that they are most effective when working together, not standing alone.

Author: Melanie Burns

To discuss this article or anything else to do with your finances, please call our office today on 0434 087 735 or email us and we will be happy to assist you.

Known for his tremendous wealth, ability to put together the largest, most profitable commercial real estate deals, and famous reputation, and whether you love him or loathe him, there is no denying that Donald Trump is the commercial real estate investor icon of our times. Although we know he has extremely creative financial and investment…

Timing the market: how the cycles affect your portfolio

Having a thorough understanding of the real estate cycle enables you to time your move accurately and maximize your returns.

Most real estate investors face many challenges in building a profitable real estate portfolio. Determining whether to purchase or liquidate, raise or lower rents, or deciding which sector of real estate to participate in can be determined more easily and profitably by understanding the real estate cycle and the important attributes of its behavior.

It is tough to be at the beginning of a trend. People tend to follow the crowd (or the media) and consequently buy yesterday’s deals. It is much easier to profit when you are buying at the beginning or even in the middle of a cycle. If you can accurately time a rising market, you can benefit from higher rental income due to higher occupancy which results in upward pressure on property values and conversely liquidate when the opposite is evident.

Fortunately for real estate investors, the movements of real estate prices are slower and more predictable than the stock market due to the slow response to promising or discouraging economic movement.  The real estate cycle displays different characteristics based on whether the property is a free-standing house, a high density unit or a commercial property. Property values in office buildings are generally more susceptible to swings in a cycle than industrial buildings, retail buildings, apartment buildings and residential.

Demand drives each of these sectors. In the case of office buildings, the demand for office space is tied in directly to employment and the financial sector. Demand for industrial space is powered by manufacturing, transportation and the need for warehouse space.  Demand for retail space and apartment units is stimulated by population and growth of income.

All cycles are local

The real estate cycle can vary significantly from city to city and even down to suburb, compared to aggregate national statistics. A local real estate cycle can react differently based on economic demand for housing and can have longer or shorter peaks or troughs than the national cycle and nationally reported statistics.

It is important to understand the local real estate cycle wherever you decide to invest in order to make decisions that will be profitable. Being able to predict what will be happening in your local market based on specific key indicators will allow you to analyze expected returns, forecast property income and potential value increases or decreases. This can also aid in buy or sell triggers in your portfolio based on over or undersupply in the market.

Stages of the real estate cycle

There are typically four stages to each real estate cycle. In order to properly analyse, you need local data describing historic appreciation or depreciation which ultimately boils down to supply and demand.  For instance, demand for office space increases as a result of higher employment which in turn stimulates retail and residential demand. Conversely, demand for office space decreases as the value of market rents goes up. This factor spills over to retail and residential.

One must be aware of other indicators that are prevalent in each of the four stages of “top”, “down”, “bottom” and “up” of the cycle, specifically pertaining to residential properties.

1. Top of the market

Many Australian metropolitan cities today have been touted as being at the bottom of their market whereas others are on their way back up, some are booming and yet others remain stagnant. Historically cycles last from seven to 10 years, which allows us to learn from the past and better prepare for what and when our next move should be.

There are key indicators that are indicative of any real estate cycle. At the top of a market, prices are high. This sounds like an obvious statement, but what contributes to factors driving prices up?

Typically when there is high demand, the price goes up. This is usually triggered by employment opportunities, an enticing lifestyle or a retirement destination.

To properly analyse a residential market, you need to know the if the number of sales are increasing month to month, the number of days on the market it takes for a property to sell, if multiple offers on properties are becoming common – this drives property prices up even higher.

Other indicators can be observed just by driving around observing the construction industry. If stock is low and demand is high, people are generally very optimistic.

Vacancy rates will be lower so there will be less “For Rent” signs evident.

Your game plan

  1. If you can raise your rents, now is definitely the time.  Renew leases. With low vacancy and high migration to the area, there is high demand for properties. However, if interest rates are low, renters may be jumping into new homes.
  2. Once over-building is evident, you may consider liquidating one or more of your properties, particularly any underperforming properties, which may sell for a great price.
  3. Buy-reno-sell strategies can work well at the beginning of this phase provided the property is acquired under fair market value.
  4. You may consider selling later in this cycle.

2. A down market

A downward trending market happens after the top of a cycle. This move can be subtle at first. Many inexperienced investors can “get caught” during this shift, resulting in potential losses.

This can result from maintaining a selling price higher than the market will bear rather than anticipating the downward trend and unloading the property with good pricing or speculating in preconstruction.

A downward trending market occurs when new construction exceeds demand and/or prices hit maximum affordability. Once this happens, prices begin leveling off, demand slows down, and public optimism becomes uncertain.

When a market has too much inventory, sales decrease, ultimately triggering the amount of listings to increase.  This causes the average “days on the market” (DOM) of each property to increase, naturally triggering a downward pressure in prices. The market ultimately dictates when the decline will stop and what prices are reasonable.

Vacancy rates begin increasing as tenants have more choice of units and landlords begin offering discounted rents or move in specials.

Your game plan

  1. If you missed selling at the top of the market, sell fast and don’t hold out for top dollar.
  2. You may need to decrease rents or offer incentives to attract or keep tenants.
  3. Many landlords will have higher vacancies and may be highly negotiable on price (wait until later in the cycle).
  4. If you don’t sell now, hold your existing properties until the market corrects.

3. The bottom

At the bottom of a market, general public perception of the economic outlook is negative. Higher unemployment prevails and the banks’ lending criteria becomes more stringent. Prices tend to decline and it is not until prices ultimately begin to increase and vacancies begin to decrease that you will know where the bottom is (or was). Foreclosures or power of sales become more frequent and economic pessimism prevails as demand continues to slow.

New construction during this time drops. However, new builds already underway still come on line. Many contractors either become renovators or get out of the business.

Your game plan

  1. Take buying slowly but start buying distressed properties later in the cycle.
  2. Holding and waiting for the “up market” indicators if you are looking to ultimately sell.
  3. Provide furnished rentals to keep your unit rents up.
  4. Approach builders who have unsold inventory and purchase one, several or all of their unsold inventory at a discount or with a purchase option.

4. The Up Market

During this time falling housing prices have bottomed out and are stabilizing and demand is slow. New inventory is down as new construction is almost at a standstill. However, as the cycle continues and demand becomes more evident, new construction begins as does pre- construction speculation.

In an “up” market prices will begin to increase based on stimulation of the local economy, thus increasing demand. With less property available, there are less listings, the days on market decrease and multiple offers on property become prevalent.

From a rental perspective, this creates a diminishing supply of units, which triggers lower vacancy and higher rents.

Your game plan

  1. Buy for bargain prices from other investors who still haven’t realised a new cycle has begun.
  2. Increase rents.
  3. Buy, reno and sell.
  4. Refinance existing properties to buy more.
  5. Sell if you can move the equity into a more valuable property.

The public is usually driven by the media who are usually trailing the middle or even the end of a wave. This gives those who are studying the key market indicators a distinct advantage. However, acting when no one else has acted takes knowledge, courage and sometimes trusting your gut.

To discuss this article or anything to do with your finances, please call our office today or contact us via email and we will be happy to assist you.

Having a thorough understanding of the real estate cycle enables you to time your move accurately and maximize your returns. Most real estate investors face many challenges in building a profitable real estate portfolio. Determining whether to purchase or liquidate, raise or lower rents, or deciding which sector of real estate to participate in can…

investment property

Investment Property – 5 ways to sniff out secret sales

Investment Property - 5 ways to sniff out secret sales


Wouldn’t it be great if you could find an investment property before it went onto the market? We reveal how you can find secret property sales.

If you are a buying property for yourself and want to get access to unlisted properties you need to get clever.

1. Become better friends with your local real estate agent
As the key contact between sellers and buyers, agents are the first to be aware of properties for sale – yet so many people are shy about handing over their mobile number at open inspections.
How are you ever going to be made aware of deals or changes in a vendor’s expectations unless you make contact with the agent? You need to persuade the agent that you are very serious about buying an investment property.

Make sure they know you are pre-approved for finance, are serious about buying and can make a quick decision followed by a signed, unconditional contract.

People are often scared about telling an agent what their budget is, as they think the agent will make them pay more. I always say that I can buy up to any amount if it is the right deal, but I am only prepared to pay what it’s worth – and I will get an independent valuation to double check the figure.

2. Letterbox drops
Do what the agents do and letterbox drop in the areas you want to buy.

If you are a serious buyer for the right investment property, the vendor can save time and money by going directly to you. It takes more personal effort and will cost you some money, but spending a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars could get you a great property at a great price.

A lot of vendors always think their property is the best in the street and want a fortune for it, but some do not keep up with the market and want something more realistic.

3. Get organised
Make sure you are ready when the right deal comes along. Get pre-approved for finance and have your valuer, building inspector and strata inspector all in place so they can check you are buying the right property at the right price.

You are never 100% guaranteed of any deal when it happens, so at some point you have got to make a decision and jump in. The more organised you are, the more likely that decision will become easier.

4. Tell friends, family and colleagues you are looking to buy
Often those close to you will know of someone else looking to sell, so spread the word. People love talking about property, so if you mention you are looking every time you talk to someone it won’t be long until you make the right connection.

5. Pay a professional
If you buy an investment property once every few years and a buyers’ agent does it every day and has all the industry contacts, who do you think will buy better? Sometimes you’ve got to spend a dollar to make two.

To discuss this article or anything to do with your finances, please call our office today and we will be happy to assist you 0434 087 735 e: [email protected]