Top Tips for First Home Buyers

To assist First Home Buyers get a step up on the property ladder, there are a few incentives you need to be aware of. To help assist, SA Listings has compiled this go to “Top Tips” for first home buyers looking to purchase in SA.

Top Tips Towards Home Ownership

First Home Super Saver Scheme: You can make contributions to your super account from your before tax pay to save for a house deposit. You are limited to $30,000 per person and capped at $15,000 per year. If you are self employed or your employer does not allow you to do salary sacrifice, you can claim a tax deduction on the after-tax contributions. To find out more, contact your Superannuation Fund direct.

Stamp Duty Savings: There are a couple of ways you can save on shelling out too much stamp duty! The SA Government allows for a stamp duty concession if you purchase an apartment off the plan anywhere in SA. What does “off the plan” mean? This means it is a new building that is yet to be constructed or it is a new building for which construction has commenced and the Commissioner is satisfied the work has not been substantially completed or it is an existing building where the Commissioner is satisfied that the building is to be substantially refurbished and the work has not yet commenced or has not been substantially completed.

The amount of stamp duty concession that applies depends on two things:

  1. What stage the construction is at from the date you enter the contract and 
  2. What the market value of the apartment is that you purchase.

To calculate how much stamp duty you need to pay for an “off-the-plan” apartment, there is a great calculator available on the Revenue SA websiteStamp Duty Calculator

Another way to save on stamp duty is to build. By purchasing a block of land and then building, you only pay stamp duty on the land, saving you considerable money. This additional money can be put towards the build rather than to State Government coffers. For example, if you buy a block of land for $150,000 and build a home for $200,000, you will only pay stamp duty on the land only. At current rates the stamp duty on $150,000 would be $4,830. If you had purchased an established home at $350,000 the stamp duty would be $13,830. This is a saving of $9,000! As a first home buyer this is a considerable amount of savings.

First Home Owners Grant (FHOG): The FHOG is a once of grant paid to eligible first home buyers on the purchase of a new build or construction of a new home. To be eligible for the grant the market value of the property purchased must be $575,000 or less. The amount of the FHOG is $15,000. If you purchase a newly built home, the grant is paid on settlement, if you construct a new build the grant is paid on date of first progress payment.

Pre-construction Grant for “Off-The-Plan” Apartment Purchases: For contracts of “off-the-plan” apartments entered into between 20 June 2017 and 30 September 2017 the State Government is currently offering a $10,000 pre-construction grant.

Savings: Don’t forget good old fashion savings. By saving a few dollars everyday, this can go a long way towards your first home deposit!

At SA Listings we know it is tough for first home buyers to dip their toe onto the property ladder but with sound knowledge and a good understanding of managing your money, the dream can be a reality! We hope this blog assists all those aspiring first home owners and should you have any questions, please send us an email or message us on facebook and we would be happy to help.

Justine Thomson

Please note: Information provided in this blog is current as at date of going to print 

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

Preparing Your Home for Sale


Pay attention carefully, this blog could add thousands of dollars to the sale price achieved by your home, with only a relatively small outlay, plus some hard work and elbow grease! How? Well, the formula is simple:

  • Fresh paint on walls: preferably a neutral or crisp white – it’s amazing what a coat of paint will do
  • De-clutter: everything packed away in boxes, except the bare essentials
  • Minimal furniture: key pieces only with modern soft furnishings and accessories
  • Well kept garden: fresh mulch, neatly cut lawns and healthy plants
  • Clean windows and walls
  • Clean pavers and driveway
  • Repair any noticeable damage to the home: patch holes in walls for example
  • Remove mould from bathrooms and refresh grout
  • Basically, present a clean sparkling home that smells fresh!

Clients often ask how the home should look for photography and opens. To help clients visualise what is needed, I can provide pictures of furniture to be showcased in each room, such as those shown below. Take note, while each room in your home will not look exactly like this, I want clients to take away from these pictures the number of furniture pieces in each room and the way it is styled with the soft furnishings and accessories.

Finalcollage

The property image above, listed and sold recently by SA Listings, was styled for minimal cost and achieved a sale result of $46,000 in excess of Vendor expectations. Note the following from the photos:

  • Formal lounge includes 3 key furniture pieces: lounge, coffee table & cabinet
  • Bedroom includes 3 key pieces: bed and two side tables
  • Second bedroom includes 3 key pieces: bed, desk and chair
  • Kitchen: totally clean bench tops with exception of minimal accessories
  • Lounge includes 4 key pieces: lounge, chair, cabinet and coffee table
  • Meals includes 2 key pieces: kitchen table and 6 chairs
  • Outdoor area includes 2 key pieces: outdoor table with chairs
  • Front yard and rear yard: neat, tidy and clean

In addition to the key furniture pieces, the soft furnishings and accessories in each room really make it pop. Think eye-popping paintings, lamps, neutral toned rugs and fresh flowers, with a common colour scheme. For bathrooms, all you require are matching towels and a beautiful soap dispenser on the vanity.

A big mistake commonly seen in homes on the market, is overcrowding in each room with too many furniture pieces. This can have the impact of making rooms appear small and cramped. Whilst it may be difficult to live without these pieces, for the limited period it is showcased to market it is well worth taking the pain to achieve the gain.

We hope you found this blog informative and if the styling process is too overwhelming, SA Listings can assist you with professional styling. We offer a unique styling service with affordable styling packages. To find out more contact us at http://www.salistings.com.au/contact

Justine Thomson


 

What Price to Offer?


As an Agent I am often asked the same question from each and every potential purchaser, “How much should I offer?” The answer to this question is: there is no answer! As the Agent selling the home I work for the Vendor and my role is to achieve the best possible price for them – but I’m unable to advise you, the purchaser, of what price you should offer for the property.

However, to give you some insight into ways to determine the offer price to secure the home of your dreams, SA Listings suggests you think about the following points:

  • Do your own research on the area and current market sale prices for similar properties. To assist you with this, a good Agent should be able to provide you with a list of recent sales of comparable properties in the area.
  • A good Agent should always consider current market prices for similar properties sold in the area and should price the property accordingly. Your own research, plus the agent’s comparable price list, should give you an indication of where you believe the property price sits. Remember, the price advertised will be the Vendors expectation so your offer should, as a minimum, be in this range.
  • Have you missed out on previous properties you were interested in? If so, the reason may be is you are low-balling your offer in the hope of securing a property below current market conditions or you may be seeking a property outside your budget. I can tell you, the chances of securing a property using this approach is slim. A good Agent prices the property in accord with current market conditions and if you low-ball an offer the Agent will likely recommend the Vendor reject it. The likelihood of securing a property using this tactic is as probable as daily rain in Dubai. Do not low-ball, go in with your best offer from the start.
  • Consider carefully any conditions you include with the offer. An Agent may recommend a Vendor accept a lower offer if no conditions are attached, for example, a cash unconditional may be more attractive than subject to sale. So be prepared: have finance pre-approvals in place, offer an appropriate deposit and know what you are prepared to do regarding settlement timeframes. Being prepared here provides confidence to the Vendor of your ability to pay for the property and shows you are serious about the property and your offer.
  • Remember, each property is unique and if you have been searching for some time and this property ticks most of your boxes then don’t miss out, put your best foot forward from the start. Too many people miss out by trying to snag “that bargain” when in reality, had they put in a realistic offer initially they would have secured the property.

contractOne final note, don’t bother asking the Agent where your offer sits compared to others. A good Agent will not disclose this as it is against South Australian legislation. The agent is unable to tell you any details of other offers, other than the fact there are other offers. If you wish, you can ask for this in writing.

If this home is THE ONE, your inner Zen, your sanctuary, the right floor plan, the right location and within budget then don’t be influenced by other offers, just focus on what you want, what you can afford and put forward your best and final offer. You may not get a second chance. If your best offer is not good enough, be prepared to walk away, another one will come along.

If after reading this blog, you are unsure on how to go about the negotiation process you can always engage a Buyers Agent to act on your behalf. SA Listings offers this service – for more information contact SA Listings at info@salistings.com.au

Justine Thomson

Staging a Home for Sale


The whole world is a stage – but should your home be?

What is it buyers look at when visiting an open home? Frankly, ask three different people and you may get four different answers! While one may step back and take in the larger picture of the home as a whole, another may look at the same house through the eyes of the furniture, the art, or even the family photos on the wall, and yet another will simply cast a critical eye over the structural integrity of the home. It may even be that it is easier to answer what is it buyers look at by first ensuring there is nothing in the home that will turn them off as soon as they walk in.

Some examples? Tired, ratty old furniture that has seen better days, magazines or books in the loo, and whilst you may simply love your collection of every set of commemorative babushka dolls from the twentieth century – it may be many buyers will not.

Now of course, most people have some idea that in order to correctly present your home for sale you need to “de-clutter” and “de-personalise,” but what about the styling through out the home? This is where the services of a home styling or staging professional can help – with interior designing skills to make your home stand out that extra mile.

A home stylist will cast a critical eye over the home, and will be able to provide appropriately styled furniture and accessories to suit. For example, large furniture pieces may be comfortable, but they may be cramping the space available, making it look smaller than it really is. Changing them over for smaller, less intrusive pieces that match and compliment other pieces in other rooms creates a sense of space and style. Styling gives potential purchasers an idea of what the home could be for them, not what it currently is for the vendor.

A home stylist may also remove items that stand out and draw the attention of buyers, such as loud artwork or rugs. Again, a flowing sense of style throughout the home will help ensure the home appeals to as broad an audience as possible.

Remember, first impressions count. You want buyers to walk into your home and imagine living there with their family, inviting their friends over to a home they are proud of, a home that is up to date and on trend.

Not every home will require the expense of a stylist or staging. But in some cases, the outlay of a moderate expense may mean a greater return come settlement day.

master_bedroom_before_and_after_long_distance_interior_design_online_grande1

Should you be interested in property staging, during the appraisal of your home the SA Listings’ team is able to discuss options that best fit your property and budget.

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

Build or Buy Established?

A common question often considered by first home buyers, families and people down sizing is whether to build a home or buy an established property. Being a Real Estate Agent I have been asked this question many times. In fact, our Plasterer Nev, who is working on our current renovation asked me this question only the other day. The answer to this question is not like a maths question, there is no right or wrong, it all comes down to your individual circumstances. To assist here are some important tips to know.

Stamp Duty

This is a State Government tax paid on the purchase price of a property. The Government call this a duty but it really is another tax! It is a progressive tax. What this means, is the higher the purchase price the higher the stamp duty. If you were to purchase a residential home for $350,000 the stamp duty would be $13,830, this is 3.95% of the purchase price and if the residential home is purchased at $600,000 stamp duty would be $26,830, this is 4.47% of the purchase price. The higher the purchase price the higher the stamp duty. Now here is the trick, if you buy land only and then build, you only pay stamp duty on the land price. This can save you considerable duty and the additional funds saved can add value to the build! For example, if you are a first home buyer and you decide to build and let’s say the land is priced at $150,000 and the build at $200,000, you only pay duty on the land, totalling $4,830. This is a huge saving of $9,000 from purchasing an established residential home at $350,000.

At present, stamp duty exemptions for apartments purchased off plan are also available. You can find out more about these exemptions by referring to the Revenue SA website.

To calculate stamp duty payable on a property, there is a Stamp Duty Calculator available on the SA Listings website, refer http://www.salistings.com.au/stamp-duty-calculator

Let’s hope one day, the State Government will reconsider the imposition of stamp duty for all home buyers and implement a fairer system for all. Some would call me an optimist!

Government Grants in SA

There really is little on offer by the Government in regard to grant money to assist with purchasing a home unless you are a first home buyer.

First Home Buyers Grant: If you are an eligible first home buyer in SA and purchase a new home, a new home is defined as a home that has not been occupied or sold as a place of residence and the market value of the property is $575,000 or less, you may be eligible for the $15,000 First Home Buyers Grant. If you combine the First Home Buyers Grant with the potential stamp duty saving on a new build, this can be a considerable amount of money saved.

To find out more about available grant money and eligibility requirements, refer to the Revenue SA website.

Your Needs & Budget

An important consideration when purchasing any property is your budget. If you are considering building, ensure you have a fixed price contract, often builders will include provisional amounts for unknowns such as footings. Ensure you factor into your build budget a contingency amount for these provisional sum items and for any changes you may make along the way. Don’t forget additional items outside the build contract such as soft furnishings and landscaping.

When you buy an established property you know the purchase price and it is easier to manage the budget, however, maintenance and renovation items should be factored in.

When you build, you can choose exactly what meets your needs. Size of rooms, design of the home, type of build materials and overall style. When you purchase an established home, you often have to sacrifice some of your needs as it can be difficult to find a home that exactly meets your style, taste and size requirements. A rule of thumb is, if you have been searching for your dream home for longer than 12 months then it probably doesn’t exist on planet earth and you will need to create and build it.

Alternatively, you could buy an established home that doesn’t exactly meet your needs but with some renovation will. Buyer beware though, renovations can be painful to live through and can also blow the budget! We have been renovating a heritage villa for four years now and the budget versus actuals correlates with the changes to Elvis’s appearance over the years – from healthy and fit to sad and big.

The Unknown

When you build, there can often be fear of the unknown. How you imagined the home to be is not the reality of the build. To overcome this, it is important you have a great rapport with your builder who can visualise the working drawings.

Buying an established property, you know exactly what you are getting, especially if you splash the cash for a thorough build inspection. I highly recommend Chris Short in Adelaide for anyone requiring a build inspection.

Build or Buy?

If you consider each item in this article it should assist in answering the question for you. Having lived through three builds and three renovations, hands down for me, the build was much easier and more cost effective for us. On the flip side, the satisfaction achieved from renovating in conjunction with the ability to purchase a home with history cannot be underestimated.

Justine Thomson