One of the biggest trends in renovating we might be about to see emerge is the mini-makeover.
Think: paints, cupboard handles, tap fittings, wallpapers (yes, wallpapers going up, not coming down) and the polishing of timber floors. Also light fittings and window treatments. Anything that changes the feel and adds a bit of pizzazz without spending the big bucks.
If that sounds like the ’70s revisited, perhaps it is. Hopefully not with such garish results, though. And yes, if you are thinking, ‘hang on, hasn’t everyone been doing this all along?’ In part you are right. But the difference is the mini-makeover will be used by householders to make do for much longer than in recent years.
Why will we see this replace bigger aspirations – at least for now? It’s a meeting of several forces. First, the property market isn’t going anywhere in a hurry at the moment, so the belief that you can do a big reno and flip the property to make a good quid is quickly dissolving. Second, Australians are saving more than we have in years and there’s a propensity to pay down debt. That means making do with what we have and not taking on huge loans to expand our lifestyles. More broadly, employers continue to report that the biggest thing employees are chasing isn’t dollars but work-life balance. Money is still important, yes, but there’s a greater focus on living a life outside of the office, and people aren’t jumping ship for an extra $5,000 or $10,000 like they were a few years ago.
So if they are working less and aren’t prepared to move for a bit more cash, it’s a fairly reasonable conclusion that people will be looking to make their dollar stretch further by extending the life of their current home.
There’s times in life when you wonder whether you have been living under a rock. Like a few weeks ago when a friend mentioned to me that she wanted to buy a robot to clean the floor. A what? Do these things actually work? I had vague recollections of seeing something that looked cheap and nasty on the TV that gave off the impression it might last about as long as a McDonald’s Happy Meal toy, and be about as useful.
But anything that breaks the daily grind of washing, sweeping/vacuuming and doing the dishes is welcome. And as it turns out, robotic floor cleaners have come a long way in recent years. After doing some research online, I found out there’s a few leading brands that have decent warranties and a good reputation among forums on the web.
Sure, they may cost a little, but with the floor clean, your house will look a lot nicer (and bigger) 24/7.
Christmas can really throw out the listing cycle when it comes to selling a property. Understanding this will help you to list your property for sale at the right time, and will create an opportunity for you if you are a buyer. Here’s what normally happens when an agent lists a property.
The Typical Listing Cycle
When a real estate agent lists a property for sale, they are granted a 90 day exclusive agency period (this time may vary). The first week of this is taken up by communicating with the owner about advertising and inspections, etc. In a lot of cases it is at least one week after a property is listed that it is first advertised.
The property will be new on the agent’s website, may feature in print media, and potential buyers are contacted. By this stage the agent has already used up around about 35 to 40 days of their exclusive period. They don’t really have long to go and without any fresh marketing, the agent may become desperate.
Now, Lets Throw in a Curve Ball- Christmas
Statistics show that the volume of both enquiries and sales always drops off in the weeks leading up to Christmas. This occurs no matter what the state of the market is.
So for probably 2 to 3 weeks before Christmas there is reduced level of enquiries, and then for 2 weeks over Christmas and New Year there is next to no enquiry.
Put this into context with the 60 day listing period and things become very interesting. A vendor needs to list their property with an agent no later than mid to late October to have an honest and full blown crack at selling their property. List any later than this and your sales campaign will be compromised.
People think it is just those that list in December that will have it bad, but think about if you were to list in mid to late October. Remember it takes about a week before you property to be first advertised, which means the first 4 weeks of advertising will be run through the quietest time of the year, and may not even make 4 weeks before Christmas comes.
So if you ever plan on selling your home at this time of year, ask yourself whether you can wait until the New Year, which is seasonally when property enquiry is at its highest. Perhaps get everything in place: interview agents, arrange appraisals and spend your Christmas break readying your house and gardens. Sign up an agent in the first week of January and hit the ground running!
The chief economist at Westpac, Bill Evans, predicted around the middle of this year that the interest rate would move downwards. Experts in media and finance mocked this prediction, and claimed it was either a publicity stunt or an attempt to pressure the Reserve Bank into actually lowering it. But he was right. On July 15 he said the cause of the first cut would be associated with European convulsions, and further cuts would be produced by the combination of the negative effects of these European events on consumer confidence and specific domestic issues.
Dr Evans also stated that domestic interest rates are essentially too high, and predicts a full 100 basis points drop through 2012. Assuming his projections will be correct, considering he has got it right so far, sometime during 2012 we will be paying 6% interest instead of 7% on our home loans.
Owner occupiers will be able to spend over 15% more money on their homes and still have the same repayments when having to pay 7% interest. In other words, interest only repayments on a %500,000 at 7% would equal $35,000p.a and interest only repayments on $583,000 at 6% equals $35,000p.a.
If owner occupiers will be able to pay more for no greater cost, and more people can afford to invest in direct property, there will not be enough supply to satisfy demand. Currently, supply exceeds demand and this has kept prices from increasing greatly.
If Dr Evan’s predictions are correct, we can expect at least a 6- 8% increase in average property prices next year. The media has been strongly focused on “massive” price drops in our property markets. They will quote anyone who says property prices will drop by 40%. The claim that our property prices will follow the United States markets proves that they have no idea what they are talking about. The markets could not be more different. And the fact that we have a total property shortage, a growing economy, growing population and such affordable property means that there will need to be a price correction. It will not be down, it will be up. Now and the first quarter of next year will be the best time to buy property in the strongest market in Australia.
If you are considering a property purchase please come in and have a chat to one of our experienced property consultants.
The last six months has seen a lot of people’s confidence in the property market waning, even though nothing in the market has significantly changed.
It has been clear people are still worried about the economy despite interest rates staying stable this year.
Early on in the year, in January and February, a number of properties were selling well above market valuation. In March we saw a huge shift where buyers lost confidence, left the market and are now sitting on the fence and waiting to see what happens. However, in saying that, properties are still selling in most.
What this year has shown are the properties that are good and those which aren’t. The properties that don’t tick all the boxes are struggling to sell, which is why investors always need to be buying better quality property. This year has proven it is worth paying for a better property in a top suburb than it is to get a lower price for a property no-one else really wants. The high demand suburbs never change and typically perform from decade to decade.
There has been a lot of talk about low auction clearance rates. But auction clearance rates are not the best way to describe a market. Good properties will often sell before auction and those that don’t sell on the day of auction, often sell in the next few days. So the number of days property has been on the market is regarded by those in the industry as a better measure.
The only reason regional properties seem to have been in slightly more trouble than the city properties is because there is more supply than demand. However, a good property still sells, and will continue to sell for the rest of the year.
In the next six months, the volatility of the market will lead to great opportunities. The current state of the market is temporary glitch and is expected to be back on track soon, but in the meantime it offers a great chance to find great homes at great prices, in both the luxury and normal property market.
If you have sufficient space, place a range of matching terracotta pots with plants agains the wall near your entrance. For the average sized doorway use the pots up to a metre high. If your home is an olders style, aged classic cone shaped pots with a rolled rim containing colourful flowers, like geraniums, will give a traditional welcome feeling. For more modern homes tall angular pots that taper downwards are very popular.Try and keep everthing symmetrical.
Often hallways are narrow and dark. If your house suffers from this problem, try painting the walls white to lighten things up, or add a sky light.
Your front door is the first thing your buyers see, so if it needs a lick of paint get out the brushes! You might also consider a new handle or knocker. This is an inexpensive way to update your door.
Guide buyers to your door with a paved pathway. Plain white pavers look terrific against a green lawn. If the steps to your front door look at a little shabby a great trick is to the tile the step rises, rather than ripping everything out and starting from scratch.
In many areas, security and privacy are selling points, so a low to medium wall at the front of your house can appeal to buyers. Dont forget to check with the local council to ensure all building regulations are met.
The garden is one place you can have fun with colour but rather than introduce lots of different colours into a small garden bed, try sticking to one shade, perhaps using varying tones. You can add instant colour with pots of whatever is in flower from the nursery.
Just like inside your house, your garden should be neat, tidy and clear of clutter. Weed your garden and keep the lawn trimmed when opening you home for inspection. Consider your plants – remove dead plants and replace with new specimens, but make sure they suit the conditions in your garden: you don’t want them to die before you sell.
You can give your garden a simple makeover before you sell by adding defining borders to your flower beds and adding a focal point. Timber borders are popular, or your can outline your beds with small shrubs or grasses. Add a few larger plants as focal points but keep them in proportion to the size of your garden.