Land Title in South Australia

When buying property in South Australia, be it purchasing land, a house, investment property or even an apartment, you are purchasing a “title” specific to the parcel of land or property which determines the type of ownership. Essentially, the main difference between the types of “titles” is whether or not the land is “shared” or owned in “common” with other owners. There are two main titles in South Australia, Torrens and community.

Torrens TitleA South Australian invention, Torrens title is a system which records and registers land ownership. Your name is “registered” on the Torrens title register when the Certificate of Title is lodged at the Lands Titles Office. You then become the owner of the property to the exclusion of all others.

This means that you, as the property owner, are responsible for everything within and related to, your property. You are wholly responsible for council rates, services of water, sewerage, storm water and any land tax applicable on the land. This title is particularly relevant to free-standing homes and some townhouses.

Community TitleThis an updated version of the older strata title, meaning that you own your block of land (or apartment) but you share aspects as a “community” i.e. responsibility of common areas is shared with other owners. While strata title is still relevant for existing titles, all new common allotments are now community titled.

A property such as a villa, townhouse or unit is often purchased under community title. When you buy one of these properties, there are ‘common areas’ (driveways, gardens, entryways and so on) used by all of the people living in the development or apartment block. These common areas have to be maintained by all of the unit owners collectively, through a community corporation, because they are shared. The individual owner is responsible for upkeep of the inside of their land and property, but they must share the expense of maintaining common areas.

Your lot entitlement (in simple terms the proportional size of your property compared to the entire property) determines your share you contribute to insurance and other fees charged by the corporation. All community schemes have by-laws that include provision for the administration, management and regulation of the use and enjoyment of the common property. The by-laws are an extremely important aspect of community title new purchasers must be aware of – how much are the fees and what rules exist that you must abide by. For example, many community corporations restrict pets to certain sizes or numbers.

Moiety TitleNow rare and sometimes referred to as a cross lease, moiety ownership of a property comes from being the registered owner of a share of the land the property sits on. The owner then leases the right to occupy their property, along with the right to use common areas, from the other unit owners. It is now common for moiety title to be transferred to either community or Torrens title.

Should you have any questions regarding the title of your land or apartment, or are considering purchasing a property and are unsure of the responsibilities that come with the title, please be in contact at info@salistings.com.au.

Justine

National Property Statistics

Australia’s housing market correction continued through August with the CoreLogic Report National Home Value Index tracking 0.3% lower over the month. Since peaking in September last year, values have been consistently tracking lower, down a cumulative 2.2% through to the end of August 2018.

The good news? Adelaide! As we have continually said, slow and steady wins the race, and while 1.0% annual growth does not seems spectacular, it points to value and affordability in South Australia. This coupled with renewed business confidence in the State is great news for both home owners and those looking to get into the market.

Screen Shot 2018-09-03 at 10.27.55 AM

Source: Corelogic.com.au

As always, please be in contact should you need assistance with any property matter.

If interested in an individual property appraisal or statistics on your suburb or local area, please email info@salistings.com.au.

Justine

Selling a Tenanted Property

Selling a rental with tenants requires a number of additional requirements the owner and agent must abide by to ensure tenant rights under Legislation are met. While these requirements initially may seem onerous, by keeping a tenant “in the loop” with timely communication, any issues can be dealt with before they become insurmountable problems. There are pros and cons to selling a tenanted property:

Pros:

  • Rental income continues while the property is on the market.
  • Buyers benefit from purchasing a tenanted property – reducing costs such as letting fees and time vacant after settlement.
  • Potential buyers see the property as “rentable”

Cons:

  • Increased legislative requirements for notice to tenant
  • Reduced flexibility for opens
  • Possible lack of control over the standard of presentation of the property
  • Potential buyer pool – buyers after vacant possession may not be interested

A successful campaign of a tenanted rental keeps the tenant “in the loop” before, during and after the sale. A tenant who does not know what is going on, is uncertain of their future, or is kept in the dark with open times and notice will likely not be accommodating with access to the property for opens.

So, how do you do this?

Notice of Sale

It is a requirement before entering a residential tenancy agreement to advise a prospective tenant if owners have or intend to advertise the property for sale. A tenant can terminate a tenancy if the owner enters into a contract for the sale of the property within 2 months after the start of the tenancy agreement and did not inform the tenant of this intention.

Issue Correct Notices within Required Timeframes

On deciding to sell a tenanted rental property, an owner must advise the tenant with at least 14 days written notice they have entered into a sales agency agreement. Advertising the property or access to the property for the purpose of showing prospective purchasers cannot occur before this 14-day timeframe expires.

Once the initial 14 days has passed, the right of entry to the property for opens is outlined in the Act. These requirements include no more than 2 occasions within any 7-day period, at a time previously arranged with agreement of the tenant. If an agreement cannot be reached, at a time within normal working hours with reasonable notice. Reasonable notice is not defined, but at least 7 days minimum is advised.

Once the property is sold, the tenant must be advised in writing within 14 days or as soon as possible after the contract of sale is entered into of the name of the purchaser and the date from which rent is to be paid to him or her.

Remember, the tenant has a right to stay at the property during any open inspections, including on auction day. The tenant is also entitled to the quiet enjoyment of the property – continuous driving past or prospective purchasers walking around the property may not meet this requirement.

SA Listings tips:

  • Start an open and honest dialogue with the tenant as soon as the decision to sell the property is made.
  • All notices MUST be served in a timely manner, erring on the side of caution.
  • Provide the tenant with a complete schedule of inspections as soon as possible.
  • Any property manager MUST be in the loop with the decision to sell, plus the intended schedule. Consider combining routine inspections with other required access (such as photo sessions) in order to minimise tenant disruption.
  • Consider a small rent reduction throughout the campaign. This will show the tenant you are conscious of the disruption to the tenant’s enjoyment of the property.
  • Stay flexible. The tenant must not unreasonably refuse to allow access. However, be prepared and willing to negotiate access times.

SA listings will happily arrange for all of the above requirements to ensure your sale campaign runs smoothly. We also partner with experienced property managers who understand the needs of both tenants and landlords throughout a sales campaign.

Planning and preparation is needed. But if done, there is no reason the sale of a tenanted property should not go smoothly. Contact us for more information.

Justine Thomson

Exceptional Sale Results without Excessive Commissions

The results are in! SA Listings has selected our last 18 recent sales to statistically prove you get the same results, if not better from a fixed fee Agent compared to a traditional commission based Agent. The results also prove that brand does not matter when selling your home. SA Listings, a relatively new player in the Adelaide real estate market has successfully sold the last 18 properties with an average of 23 days on market, achieving an average of full Vendors asking price and savings in excess of $110,000 in Agent fees to boot!

SA LISTINGS – CLIENT RESULTS AND AGENT FEE SAVINGS
Property Address % of Asking Price Days on Market Agent Fee Saved*
92 Folland Ave Northgate 105.24% 4 $7,312
72 Rapid Ave Lightsview 102.19% 7 $9,400
1/91 Myrtle St Prospect 100.00% 31 $4,590
11 Allen Ave Brooklyn Park 105.00% 11 $7,310
4 Paddington Ave Northgate 108.00% 9 $7,662
109/220 Greenhill Rd Eastwood 98.33% 49 $6,980
140C North East Rd Walkerville 99.11% 34 $6,320
140B North East Rd Walkerville 98.23% 31 $6,210
14 Epsilon Crt Woodcroft 100.00% 16 $3,250
14 Rapid Ave Lightsview 100.00% 52 $1,920
8 Welsh Rd Lightsview 108.70% 5 $7,750
14 Holmeswood Crt Para Hills West 98.00% 46 $3,680
74 Rapid Ave Lightsview 100.00% 1 $7,360
10 Rozells Ave Lightsview 100.00% 7 $7,150
2 Rivergum Cls Walkey Heights 97.00% 20 $6,860
13 Welsh Rd Lightsview 97.22% 21 $9,400
19 Rapid Ave Lightsview 100.00% 26 $6,540
21 Rapid Ave Lightsview 100.00% 43 $5,000

Average Ask Price

Average Days on Market Total Agent Fee Savings
100.95% 23 $114,694
*Savings based on traditional Agent Commission in SA of 2.2% inclusive of GST

The savings in Agent fees is conservative, as it does not take into account significant savings achieved by our clients in marketing fees. Several of the properties listed above had no marketing fees at all as they were successfully matched to purchasers on the SA Listings buyer database. We have in fact, been told by our clients of well known brand name Agents charging additional fees of up to $2,000 for use of pre-market listing techniques, whereby, your property is listed on their website and database for viewing only by their registered subscribers, prior to listing to the general public. This is astounding! One would expect the Agent commission to cover the cost of the Agent actually matching the registered subscribers on their database to your property. Is that not their job? At SA Listings, we database match and contact all relevant parties we believe would be interested in your property. This service is incorporated in the fixed fee package at no additional cost to you, we believe our job as your Agent is to sell the property for the very best price at an affordable cost to youwithout fee gouging!

Also as a consumer be aware, there are some new Agencies providing a low fixed fee but the package does not incorporate a full agent service. Please read the fine print and ask questions of the Agency selling you the packages.

Remember, SA Listings provides a full agent service for an affordable fee with the highest service from listing to settlement, to find out more visit www.salistings.com.au

Justine Thomson

Take Advantage of a Government Incentive


NRAS, or the National Rental Affordability Scheme. Don’t be bamboozled by the big words, the scheme is easy to understand and provides benefits to a wide demographic of people in Australia. Not only do investors benefit from NRAS but so do tenants and those looking to get a step up on the property ladder. So what is it? Why did it come about? And how does it work?

NRAS is a Federal Government initiative introduced in 2008. It was designed to encourage investment in residential housing to assist people on low to moderate incomes with an opportunity to rent homes at 20% below market rent values. It is not social housing; rather, it is a scheme to provide affordable private rental homes to individuals and families who meet the income threshold. To attract investors, tax-free incentives are provided to those who invest in and own approved NRAS properties.

NRAS was designed to assist in addressing housing supply and affordability. Pressure on the private rental sector, increased rents, the difficulty of low to middle income households to access affordable private rental homes, plus the reduced supply of public housing contributed to the NRAS initiative being created.

NRAS provides benefits to both investors and tenants:

Tenants: Eligible tenants can access private rental accommodation at 20% below the market rate. Tenants’ income may increase up to 25% before their eligibility is affected. Current income eligibility rates are available here: https://goo.gl/vHuAtF

If you are interested in renting an NRAS property and meet the eligibility criteria, it can be an affordable housing solution, to assist you in meeting your financial goals.

Investors: Approved investors are eligible to receive the NRAS incentive for up to 10 years for each approved dwelling where the conditions of allocation for the dwelling are met including renting the property at least 20% below market value rent.

The NRAS incentive for the 2017/2018 year is as follows:

Federal Contribution:          $8,335.75

State Contribution:               $2,778.58

Total Incentive:                    $11,114.33

The NRAS incentive comprises two components: the Federal Government contribution is a tax offset and the State Government contribution is a direct cash payment.

The benefits for investors can be significant. For example: If Jane invests in an NRAS property where the market rent is $300, she must rent the property out at $240 per week to be eligible for the NRAS incentive. Jane effectively receives $3,120 less in rent per annum for her property. However this is more than compensated by the above annual NRAS incentive she receives from the Federal and State Government. To understand the full benefit of the NRAS incentive and what it means to you financially, it is best to speak with a qualified Accountant or Financial Planner before purchasing an NRAS property.

SA Listings has a strong understanding of NRAS and works closely with relevant providers in South Australia. SA Listings currently has a NRAS property available in Evanston, South Australia. To find out more about NRAS either as an investor or as a tenant, please contact SA Listings for more information.

Justine Thomson

Selling Yourself

If you are considering selling your home in 2017 there are many paths you can take:

  • Sell it yourself
  • Engage a traditional real estate agent on commission with a full agent service
  • Engage a real estate agent at a fixed price with a full agent service

Selling an $800,000 home could cost as little as $2,610 if you sell yourself or up to $17,675 if you utilise a traditional commission agent.

If you are considering selling on your own, think carefully about the following:

  • Appraise the property correctly by using publicly available information about local sale prices and consider an independent valuation to assist
  • Ensure you present the home well for photography
  • Prepare relevant marketing material
  • Ensure all relevant documentation is available to a potential purchaser to enable an informed decision to be made, example: council rates, water rates, copy of title etc
  • Be prepared to arrange inspections by appointments and opens at various hours of the day
  • Be prepared to meet potential purchasers and take on board any negative feedback
  • Follow up with those people interested in your home and be prepared to take the emotion out of the sale negotiation
  • Engage a Solicitor or Conveyancer to prepare the Contract and Form 1

People often underestimate the work involved in selling a home and the level of professionalism required to negotiate the best conditions and price. Selling a property is an emotional and intense experience. It can be easy for a seller who decides to sell it on their own to run into trouble with incorrect information provided to a prospective purchaser or the inability to remove the emotion from the sale. A real estate agents market knowledge and negotiating skills can be particularly useful when it comes to listing a property for sale. Following is an indicative table of costs under each model.

Cost to sell an $800,000 Home by Private Treaty Sell On Your Own Sell with SA Listings Sell with a Traditional Agent @ 2%
Base Price $1,295.00 $7,888.00 $16,000.00
Professional Photography Inc Inc $200.00
Sign Board Inc Inc $150.00
Listing on realestate.com Inc Inc $500.00
Brochures Inc Inc $110.00
Open For Inspection Manage Yourself Inc Inc
Form 1 $330.00 Inc $330.00
Government Searches $385.00 Inc $385.00
Contract Preparation $600.00 Inc Inc
Total $2,610.00 $7,888.00 $17,675.00

In 2017 there is choice and the flexibility to now sell your home with a full agent service at a lower cost to a traditional commission agent. So why create a headache for yourself and embark on selling alone when you can engage the service of a real estate professional at a transparent fixed fee. Whilst you think you will save thousands by selling yourself, it could in fact cost you thousands in the final negotiated price!

Justine Thomson

 

SA Homes Top Ten Wish List

I thought with 2016 recently ending and the New Year ringing in, it is an apt time to review the most common search words buyers use when seeking a property in SA, to assist any would be seller in 2017.

Many will be surprised pool is the number one search word when seeking properties in SA. For all those lucky enough to have a pool, the cost to run, maintenance and amount of times utilised often outweigh the benefits a pool can bring but at sale time this can be a bonus. A pool can be an attractive garden feature and for families a must have in our dry, hot summers. If your kids have flown the coop and you are thinking of ditching the pool, think twice, especially if you have plans to one day sell your home and downsize.

The old fashion granny flat is back in vogue! Statistics prove our kids are staying at home much longer these days and often do not consider leaving the family abode until in their late twenties or early thirties, sigh…. Grandparents are also becoming a part of the extended family, assuming a carers role for children when both parents work. To give extended adult families breathing space it is little wonder the granny flat is a highly sought after commodity. If you are fortunate enough to have a granny flat and are considering taking your home to market, it would be worth spending some coin on reinvigorating life into this space. If used as storage, clear out the boxes, de-clutter and style as you would a second home.

The corner block has always been a sought after find in SA but even more so since the State Government zoning changes. If you fall into the new zoning categories for higher density living, the corner block can be correlated to the golden goose who lays the golden eggs. Make sure you check with your council for current zoning requirements before putting your home on the market. The right zoning can add tens of thousands to your sale price. A good agent should be aware of the possibilities in your area when it comes to potential development or subdivision and should factor this into the market price.

Top Ten Property Search Words in SA

  1. Pool
  2. Granny Flat
  3. Corner
  4. Views
  5. Beach
  6. Shed
  7. Esplanade
  8. Cottage
  9. Character
  10. Investment

To maximise the return on your property consider the top ten search words and ensure your Agent takes full advantage of known characteristics your home has in meeting buyer needs.

If considering selling your home in 2017, we would love to hear from you and assist you in making the most of your properties attributes: salistings.com.au

Justine Thomson

Pinpoint the Perfect Agent


Deciding to sell your property can be one of the biggest decisions you make in your life. Along with your savings for retirement, the property you own would be one of the highest valued assets in your portfolio. The decision to sell and who to appoint to sell your property should be done with utmost care.

How do you know who is the right agent for you?

From experience, I would suggest interviewing a minimum of three Agents before appointing one right for you. If you are an employer looking for the right employee to fill a job role, you do your due diligence first before deciding on the right candidate. You don’t want someone who turns up late, cannot do the task at hand or is disrespectful. The same decision making process should be applied when reviewing Agents.

To sell or not to sell? A good Agent will consider whether now is the right time for you to sell your property taking into account market conditions, reason for selling and your needs. Securing the listing should not be their number one focus. The number one focus should be what is best for you.

The biggest brand or most popular Agent by size may not necessarily be the right Agent for you. Flashy cars, the largest billboards or designer suits does not make for a good Agent. A popular Agent can be working with many clients and may be spread too thinly. Professionalism, knowledge of real estate and the ability to negotiate are critical skills of an Agent. My partner and I many years ago had a number one Agent come to appraise one of our properties and all the person did was talk about themselves. No questions were asked about us and our needs. Once the Agent left the property, my partner made the comment, “Elvis has now left the building!” We looked at each other, laughed and agreed this was not the person we wanted to represent our property and us.

Referrals are important. A good Agent will have a list of positive client testimonials and with prior approval from their past clients, be willing to provide you with their contact details. It is always a good idea to call one of their past clients to get an understanding on how they perceived the service they received.

Licensed and professional memberships of the relevant State Government body and real estate organisations in their State. In SA, a Real Estate Agent must be licensed by the Office of Consumer and Business Affairs and carry their license on them at all times. A good Agent in SA would also be a member of the Real Estate Institute of SA or the Society of Auctioneers and Appraisers. Membership of professional organisations means they are interested in their own professional development. Be wary, if an Agent cannot show you their license, consider them to be Frank Abagnale, the guy who before his 19th birthday successfully performed cons worth millions of dollars by posing as a pilot, doctor then prosecutor. We recommend no license, no appointment!

Knowledge is often underestimated and can be difficult to determine from an interview. However, if you ask the right questions, their knowledge should be evident. Questions like:

What do you consider to be the market appraisal for this property?

What areas of improvement to the property will assist us in maximising price?

What is the current market like for property in our area?

What would be the best way to market this property?

How do you qualify a buyer?

What qualifications do you have?

A good Agent should not need to be prompted by you, they will impart their knowledge throughout the initial meeting. Use your intuition and watch their body language. A lot can be garnered by body language. Beware of dominant body language, this is when a person makes the rules by interrupting you, using inappropriate language and standing over you. We are not looking for a round with Muhammad Ali, we are looking for someone who can build rapport and knows their profession.

Fees are also an important consideration. At SA Listings we are of the belief a good Agent does not need to be incentivised to obtain the best price for your property, for this reason we charge a fixed fee, no matter the value of the property. The role of a good Agent is to negotiate the very best price and conditions for you. When comparing fees ensure you have information not only on commission but also marketing costs, Government searches and Form 1 preparation. To compare apples with apples you need the entire fee structure. For more on fees, please refer to SA Listings earlier blog: “Real Estate Fees – Friend or Foe?”

We hope this article has been informative and assists in ensuring your property journey is a successful one.

Justine Thomson