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

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

 

 

 

Mum and Dad Home Loans

Christmas is fast approaching and we all appreciate the little gifts we receive from loved ones but is helping your adult child buy their first home a help or a hindrance?

It is not difficult to understand why adult children are turning to their parents for a step up on the property ladder. In a Parliamentary report titled, “Out of reach? The Australian housing affordability challenge” (8th May 2015), there are some shocking statistics. Up until 2001 annual income grew in line with housing prices, since 2001 the growth in property values has dramatically outstripped growth in household incomes. NATSEM [National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling] data shows that house prices increased by 147 per cent compared to income growth of just 57 per cent between 2001 and 2011. In dollar terms, the median price of a house more than doubled from $169,000 to $417,500 while after tax income increased from just $36,000 to $57,000. Whereas in 2001 an average home price in Australia was 4.7 times the average income, by 2011 this had increased to 7.3 times.

This graph below (source: Master Builders Association), highlights the housing affordability issue in Australia.

picture1-copy

The Housing Affordability Ratio is measured by dividing the median house price by the median income of the house purchaser. A ratio of 5 or less, below the green line, is considered affordable, a ratio of 7 or more, above the purple line is severely unaffordable. This horrific statistic can provide some insight as to why parents are assisting adult children fund their first home. Question is, should we be?

This can be a very difficult question to answer. Prior to gifting money to your adult child, funding their deposit or going guarantor on a loan, make sure you consider the following:

  • Will you have enough money to fund your own retirement if you assist your children?
  • If you go guarantor on the loan and your adult child’s circumstances change and they can no longer fund the mortgage repayments. Will you be able to meet these repayments? If not, there could be serious consequences for your own financial stability.
  • Should your adult child be in a relationship and live with their partner and things turn sour resulting in a relationship break up, watch the can of worms open up! If you paid the deposit or funded the home, the law may see it as a gift and the ex-partner walks away with half or more! Alternatively, if you are guarantor on the loan: What are the financial implications with the split?
  • Have you taught your adult child how to manage their finances on their own? If you are generous and assist them with their first home purchase they may not appreciate the value of a dollar. The best lesson in life when it comes to financial savings is delayed gratification. What you need to give up now to get something in the future can be a great value to instil in your child. If it is out of reach, then maybe it should never have been!
  • If the bank will not loan the funds to your adult child, the risk must be high. If you guarantor the loan you take on this risk.
  • Is your adult child willing to make sacrifices to invest in property? When I talk of sacrifices, I refer to their willingness to purchase in an affordable area that may be many kilometres from the city and to also manage their spending carefully.

This is not an exhaustive list but it does provide food for thought. If you do decide to assist your adult child it would be a good idea to ensure agreements are in writing and clearly understood. Life can often change course when we least expect it.

I have an adult child, still studying at University and living at home and understand the difficulty in wanting to provide for their financial future. Maybe times are changing and the reality of home ownership in Australia is now only a dream. Long term leases could pave the way for our kids into the future, so maybe you should be the one investing in another property!

Justine Thomson

 

The Great SA Property Rip Off

The headline may have caught your attention but this will catch your attention even more. I have calculated stamp duty payable across all states based on the July 2016 Adelaide median residential house price of $445,000.00 and the results will surprise:

QLD:     $0

WA:      $2,878

VIC:      $9,335shutterstock_84524770

ACT:     $11,260

NSW:   $15,515

TAS:     $15,910

SA:       $18,580

NT:       $19,688

The calculations assume the property is an established residential Torrens Title home purchased to live in.

Effectively, South Aussies are paying 4.18% in additional tax on a $445,000 residential home to live in, compared to their QLD counterparts who pay zip, zilch, nothing! And we pity our poor NT cousins who are ahead of us at 4.42%. I call it a tax because it is. The State Government aptly see it as our “fellow duty” to help out the State Administration to fund the coffers. The differential of the transfer fee between SA and the States is also worth noting but I don’t want to depress you even further.

Stamp duty in SA is a barrier for first home buyers trying to claw the end of their fingernail on the property ladder. Some available options for residential stamp duty relief is to purchase an off the plan apartment or buy land and build.

Over recent years we have had some reforms in residential stamp duty relief with off the plan apartments but is this the right way to go? A policy providing stamp duty relief for off the plan apartments will inevitably increase the supply of apartments under construction but will there be enough demand from South Aussies to live in apartments? We still have a good supply of land available North, South and in the Adelaide hills to support our current population growth. We are not yet Hong Kong with limited land supply and large capital values. The concern with current policy is apartment supply will outstrip demand and basic economics suggests this will have a negative impact on apartment prices.

It would only seem fair to spread the love of stamp duty relief across all types of residential purchases. Alternatively, we can all move to QLD!

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

Real Estate Fees – Friend or Foe?


My partner and I have sold many properties over the years and have used a myriad of different Real Estate Agents. Each Agent came to our home with similar style: walk through the property, appraise the property and then with much persuasion from us would disclose the cost of selling with their Agency. It was not a simple exercise. The fee conversation would go something like this:

Agent:  

“Our commission is 2% excluding GST.”

Us:   

“Is there room to negotiate because according to our calculations that is a $17,600 fee to sell an $800,000 home and does this include marketing?”

Agent:

“Our commission structure is based on the premium service we offer and whilst you may pay an additional premium compared to another Agent we will provide you more money in your pocket from the additional sale price we will achieve”.

Pretty much without fail, each Agent would say the same line. Then to complicate matters further, there would be the administration fee, marketing fee, form 1 fee and Government searches. These additional charges usually totalled another 1% of the property price. On $800,000 this equates to an extra $8,000.

None of this was provided in a simple to understand table. Figures were distributed in the same orderly fashion as people trying to board an EasyJet flight. We have been in the situation whereby some of these figures have not even been provided until it was time to sign the Sales Agency Agreement. For the last property we sold, valued at $800,000 the total cost from three Agents ranged from $20,000 to $36,000!

My partner and I would always wait before choosing an Agent to give us time to interpret the labyrinth of different fee structures. Often during this period, an Agent would call us back and suddenly be in a position to negotiate their commission. My brain is now rethinking the conversation in the living room: “Does this mean the more money on sale will now be out the window because they have reduced their commission?”

shutterstock_325157468None of this made sense. It got me thinking; if a Real Estate Agent is a true professional, no matter what they are paid, their job is to get you the best price for your property. In my simple world this is their job description.

For many years I was employed in finance as a CPA, specialising in superannuation. The company I worked for charged a fixed fee for service, it didn’t matter if you had $10,000 in super or $2 million dollars in super. The fee for service was based on the time spent to do the work. It got me thinking, “Why is this not the same for Real Estate?” I spent some years studying Conveyancing, to ensure I really understood property law and then obtained my Land Agents License with a view to making life simple for anyone looking to sell. Over the last few years I have been employed by large property developers and sold many properties. I wanted to be sure I understood all there is to know about selling real estate before launching the business model for SA Listings.

The business model is simple. We provide a full real estate agent service at an easy to understand, all-inclusive fee from $3,888 for land and $7,888 for house and land. We are Real Estate professionals not driven by incentives.

Eight years in the making, salistings.com.au now provides a simple fixed fee model in South Australia for anyone looking to sell.

Justine Thomson