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Archive for August 2016

Six Silly Mistakes To Avoid When Selling Your Property

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Whether it’s your home or investment property, when it comes to selling it, you want to get the best possible price in the shortest amount of time with the least amount of stress.

Knowing what to avoid will keep costs down, save time and it will lead to a successful sale with both sides happy.

Here are some common mistakes sellers make when putting their property on the market:

  1. Overpricing Your Property

Many owners will get several agents in when looking to sell their property. Some agents will be truthful with you the owners and advise honestly what your property may be worth, however some unskilled agents find the only way they can get business is to promise the world including  an inflated asking price. The genuine agents will always supply comparable properties that have recently sold with photos and addresses for you to also do a drive past. Remember the best time to sell is in the first 7-10 days and the longer the property is on the market; generally you will receive a lower selling price.

  1. Not Using An Agent

We admit we’re biased on this one!

Yes of course you can sell your house yourself, but it is a lot of work, takes time, and in some cases, can cost you more if you’ve overlooked something.

A good agent not only takes the stress out of the process, knows the market and all the legalities, has the negotiating skills and can explain the paperwork and small print, but also they often have a database of people looking for your exact property they can market your property to.

We see too many private sellers believe they have saved on agents fees but end up underselling their homes by sometimes as much as $20,000 to $30,000.

  1. Scrimping on Marketing

Some agents will tell you today all you need is to put it onto the internet.

Yes the internet is vitally important but you also need to look at how it will be marketed on the internet, which portal will your property be shown on, will it have high quality professional photography along with floor and site plans.

However just as important as the internet, is advertising your property in the local paper. In Newcastle over 50,000 Saturday papers are still sold with the vast majority purchasing them for the real estate section.  Some of these people will also look at the internet but  a good percentage just rely on the paper.

To really ensure you get the best price for your property you need to be guaranteed anybody looking to purchase is aware of your property.

  1. Over Capitalising

Most people want a house they can move into, and then make their own mark on their home. Yes, make sure the property is maintained and do the repairs, redecorate if necessary with neutral colours, thoroughly clean it and tidy up the garden, but don’t go installing an entire new bathroom when perhaps upgrading the shower will suffice.

  1. Easy Access

Whilst it is easy to have  1 or 2 open houses a weeks some buyers still like the ability to have private viewings at a time that is suitable for them and this is where the vast majority of buyers still come from. Be sure to be flexible with your agents for viewing hours as a knocked back buyer with a viewing may have been the one who would have paid more than any other but you will never know.

  1. Economical With the Truth

You may not want to disclose past events or current faults, but believe us, when an inspector finds a problem or discovers an issue when you’re at the tail end of negotiations, it’s not easy. At best, contracts have to be renegotiated or the sale won’t go through and you’ll have to start all over again. At worst, you could be charged with criminal behaviour.

Want to know some more property selling top tips? We’re here to help!

Our knowledgeable and experienced team will help take the stress out of selling, make sure you avoid costly mistakes and will guide you through every step of the process. With over 40 years of business in the area, we are one of Newcastle’s longest established real estate offices, so give us a call on 02 4954 8833.

Archive for August 2016

Add Value and Increase Deductions When Renovating

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Putting in a new kitchen or bathroom, landscaping the garden, or any other major renovation will instantly add value to your property and potentially increase your rental income, but there are other advantages too.

Some property investors may not be aware you can claim some tax back on the depreciation of assets. If you are thinking of renovating, it is always important to list and value the assets in the property before a renovation – this should be done by a depreciation specialist or you can do it yourself.

You can then prepare a depreciation schedule of any furniture or appliances you have in the property.

While you will have an initial outlay for the renovation, here are three other ways in which you may be able to recoup some of your expenditure.

  1. Cost of the Renovation

Most costs associated with your property may be used as a tax deduction. If you decide, for instance to install that new kitchen, make sure you keep receipts for absolutely everything associated with the renovation.

As well as the new items you buy, you may also be able to include payments made to tradesmen working on the renovation, such as electricians and plumbers.

  1. Depreciation of Removed Items

Let’s take a look at that kitchen renovation again. As well as appliances such as the stove, rangehood and dishwasher, there are also other items to consider including blinds, light fittings, a sink, floor tiles, cupboards and joinery.

If any of these items are removed, they may have a remaining un-deducted depreciable value. This is known as scrapping, and you may be able to claim as a tax deduction the total remaining depreciable value for items thrown out in the year of their removal.

  1. Depreciation of New Items

Any new items you bring into the property, dishwashers, stoves, floor tiles etc will also depreciate in value in the same tax year, and you may find you can claim this too.

After the renovation is completed, a new depreciation schedule should be prepared listing all new additions that have been added and the existing depreciable items that will remain in the property.

When you are considering renovating your property, we always recommend you talk to your accountant or financial advisor as every situation is different.

Also, if you own a strata or community titled property, double check your renovations abide by any of the body corporate rules and regulations and you have permission to do the renovations, and don’t forget council permission may also be required for some building renovations.

If you would like to know more about property investment or the benefits of our property management services, our knowledgeable and experienced team would love to help. With over 40 years of business in the area, we are one of Newcastle’s longest established real estate offices, so give us a call on 02 4954 8833 or pop into our office for a chat.

Archive for August 2016

The Selling Property Process in NSW

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for sale apn

Selling property isn’t as daunting as it seems once you know the procedure and what you need to do – after you’ve worked out what costs are involved, here are some more guidelines to help you with your planning.

Do Your Research

Before you do anything, do your research. See what property is selling in your area and for how much. Get a feel for what the property market is doing generally – if you don’t have to sell immediately, you may choose to wait six months to see if the market picks up a bit more.

Choose an Agent

Generally, most people use an agent to help them sell their property. While it is possible to sell a property yourself, and we do realise we have a bias here, but a good agent knows the legalities and will guide you through the selling process.

Preparing Your Property For Sale

Talk to your agent to see if there are any minor repairs and renovations to be done which may increase the value of your property.

Contract of Sale

Before you can start advertising your property, you need to have a Contract of Sale.

The contract must contain a copy of the title documents, drainage diagram and a current Zoning Certificate (s 149) issued by the local council. If the property for sale has a swimming or spa pool, one of the following must also be attached to the contract from 29 April 2016:

  • a copy of a valid certificate of compliance, or
  • a valid certificate of non-compliance.

This requirement does not apply:

  • to a lot in strata or community schemes that have more than two lots, or
  • for any off-the-plan contract.

For more information on a Contract of Sale, visit the selling property page on the NSW Government Fair Trading website.

Method of Sale

You will need to decide how you’re selling your property – whether it is through private sale or through auction. Again, it’s probably best to do your homework and weigh up the pros and cons of both types of sale before making a decision.

Marketing Your Property

You will need to make sure people know your property is For Sale by advertising online or in traditional media. In addition, you may choose for additional signage to put outside the property.

Open Inspections

When deciding on open inspection dates, be aware of other events in the area, or national sporting events that may affect attendances. Timings are also important – if your property looks better in the afternoon sun, hold the inspection then. Also, make sure you give plenty of notice for when the inspection is been held.

Deciding on Which Offer to Accept

Once you’ve received your offers, look very closely on any terms and conditions attached to the offer. You may receive a high offer, but it has a long completion date; this may not fit with your plans. The purchaser’s offer may also be subject to an independent inspection, which may lead to further negotiations on the price.

Exchange of Contracts

Once both parties have agreed on the exact terms, a deposit is taken from the buyer and copies of the contract are given to the solicitors or conveyancers on each side.

Cooling-off Period

In NSW, the purchaser of a residential property has up to five working days to change their mind about buying a property after exchanging contracts. After this time, they have to buy the property. If the purchaser does decide to pull out during the cooling off period, in NSW and at time of writing, they will legally have to pay you 0.25% of the sale price.

There is no cooling off period if your property is sold at auction.


When the property is finally sold, a SOLD sticker is placed on the sign outside the property to indicate that it is no longer on the market. Both parties decide on a settlement date and you will need to move out with all your belongings that are not a part of the sale prior to or by this date.

In some cases, you can negotiate to stay longer and pay the new owners rent for a period of time.

If you are considering selling your house and would like to know more about what the process is and what costs are involved, our knowledgeable and experienced team would love to help. With over 40 years of business in the area, we are one of Newcastle’s longest established real estate offices, so give us a call on 02 4954 8833 or pop into our Cardiff office for a chat.

Archive for August 2016

Why a Pre-settlement Inspection Can Save You Time and Money

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Did you know you’re entitled to a final inspection of the property you are buying before you take possession of it? Known as a pre-settlement inspection, this inspection is your chance to check the property is in the same condition as it was presented to you when you bought it.

When you are buying a property, there is always a term in the contract that at settlement the property must be in the same state and condition it was in immediately prior to the contract date.

Once settlement takes place it is extremely difficult to make the previous owner responsible for repairs which haven’t been done as per the purchase contract, and to return items that you had thought were going to be included.

For an investor, the pre-settlement inspection is all the more important as ideally, you want the property at the standard you agreed on in the contract when you take possession of it so you can get it tenanted as soon as possible.

When to Have a Pre-settlement Inspection

The pre-settlement inspection should be timed to be as close to the time of settlement as possible. By being close to the time of settlement, there is less time for things to go wrong and there is still time for the problem to be sorted.

Ideally the property will have been vacated, or at least be relatively clear of belongings making it easier for you to inspect.

What to Check

These are common items to check at the pre-settlement inspection:

  • Are there any changes to the property?
  • Have all the agreed repairs been done?
  • Is there any damage caused by moving items from the house?
  • All of the inclusions listed in the contract are still in the property.
  • Double check remote controls for garage doors, security gates, air conditioners etc are present and work.
  • Any unwanted furniture and other exclusions have been removed.
  • The place is relatively clean, rubbish has been removed and the property will be in a reasonable state for handover. Remember, there is a difference between moral expectation and legal obligation.

What Else to Ask

Before this inspection, you should already have a history of the property and any previous issues however if you haven’t done so already, ask about other aspects, such as manual and warranties for any appliances which are being left.

Find out where the cut-off valves for water and electrics are (this information should also be conveyed to the tenant when they move in).

What Happens if There is a Concern?

If you do have a concern, and the property is not the same as per the contract, you have the right to withhold settlement until the concern is rectified. You also have the right to re-inspect the property again before settlement takes place to ensure the concern has been rectified.

What Can’t I Do?

You cannot add new conditions or request the seller fixes faults that existed at the time of your offer. These requests should be asked before entering into a contract.

If you would like to know more about pre-settlement inspections or more about investing in property in the Newcastle region, our knowledgeable and experienced team would love to help. With over 40 years of business in the area, we are one of Newcastle’s longest established real estate offices, so give us a call on 02 4954 8833 or pop into our Cardiff office for a chat.