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Mar 13, 2017

The Importance of Presentation

Not unlike a first date, first impressions count. Just as you would dress to impress, smell lovely and chew with your mouth closed, presenting your home for sale ought to be preened with the same level of care. It is a good idea to get around to completing those jobs around the house that they you had been intending to do for years. Build that garden bed, paint the front fence, fixing the side gate, remove the old couch, etc are all typical examples of small jobs that fit into the “I must get to that one day” category. When preparing your home for sale, these “little” jobs are important in achieving an expedient sale at the highest possible selling price. This is because buyers typically notice the little jobs too; a rusty downpipe is easily and cheaply replaced yet can loom large in the buyer’s mind as a more major problem and hints that other areas of the property may be neglected. Of course, you need to be cautious about “over-capitalising” when preparing to sell. Replacing a bathroom and renovating a kitchen are expensive and depending on the property and its location may prove to be counterproductive in the effort to achieve the best price. A quality home on a generous lot in Hilton worth say $650,000 is probably more difficult to sell at $720,000 even with a new kitchen and bathroom that cost $70,000. This is partly because the property is already well above the median house price for the suburb. Conversely, an original cottage in Fremantle’s Solomon Street is more likely to benefit from renovations when preparing to sell due to the higher demand for “all finished” properties in one of our most popular streets. Obviously, each property and circumstance engenders a variety of options for sellers when preparing to sell and opinions from real estate agents on the matter are, as always, subjective. In general terms however, presenting a neat, clean and tidy home is always going to help your cause in selling at the best price, “Present it like you don’t live in it,” a client suggested recently and is probably a fair description. Paint out bright colours on internal walls, de-clutter by storing away trinkets and excess family photos, clear the fridge of magnets and kids’ school art and place items neatly in storage cupboards. For vacant properties, the hire of some stylish furniture makes a huge difference and almost always speeds up the sale. Small things do make a difference with paint and gardens another two areas of focus that can make a disproportionate difference to the selling price relative to their cost and the effort involved. It is also worth considering seeking advice from a qualified home stylist who, whilst relatively expensive, can mean the difference between expedited, possibly a higher than expected selling price and no sale at all. By Hayden Groves – REIWA President These comments are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the current opinions and policies of the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia.

Mar 2, 2017

Property Taxes and Pollies

In recent state and federal elections, many of the policies of the two main opposing parties have not been that different. Not so this time around as West Australians prepare to cast their votes on 11th March. Property related taxes have long been the “revenue play-thing” of successive state governments with (once GST revenue is excluded) these taxes contributing about a third of all state income. It is therefore an important income stream for governments responsible in the delivery of essential services. The problem with property taxes is they rise and fall in line with the free market; less sales transactions equals less transfer duty, less investment equals less land tax. With sales transactions less than half that of a decade ago transfer duty income has also halved given property prices have barely changed over the same period. Property investment is also very soft and aggregation rules around land tax coupled with a 35% rise in this tax over the past three years hardly encourages more investment. Property taxes need to be arranged in a manner that encourages mobility in the property market. The Barnett government’s announcement this week to give seniors (those aged over 65) a transfer duty exemption of up to $15,000 for those “right-sizing” their homes is intelligent policy. A substantial blockage in the current arrangement is the high cost of transfer duty for those seniors who are “asset rich and income poor”. Few feel encouraged to move to more appropriate accommodation when the transfer duty burden represents a full years’ pension at a purchase price of $750,000. The policy will bring to market family homes on larger lots more suited to family groups at higher values bringing the government more transfer duty than that lost to the exemption: a win-win policy. Disappointingly, Labor’s plan around property taxes in to introduce an extra tax of 4% to foreign property buyers. The justification for this is that “the east coast does it.” This is lazy, ill-conceived policy that ignores the current state of the Perth property market. The foreign buyer surcharges in the east is in response to red-hot speculative markets in those states and therefore a necessary move to slow those markets. In Perth, this will stifle already weak growth and affect jobs in the construction sector partly reliant on pre-sale commitments from foreign buyers. REIWA is committed to an apolitical approach to property matters and will back the side that develop policies that support home ownership, addresses affordability and encourages housing diversity. If property matters to you, picking a side this election should be easy. By Hayden Groves –REIWA President

Feb 15, 2017

Women in Property

It would be fair to question my credentials on this topic; for obvious reasons. However, all 19 of my staff are women from a variety of backgrounds and of varying ages so I have at least some daily experiences to draw on. Generally speaking, women are fabulous at selling residential real estate and make the best property managers. Women tend to develop a rapport with a property owner from their genuinely empathetic approach and have a better appreciation of the stresses associated with selling or renting a home. In these early exchanges, women also tend to take time to listen to the home owner and feedback advice that is in tune with their property needs. For a long time, real estate practitioners have had a reputation of resorting to unethical behaviours. Thankfully, for a variety of reasons, this has necessarily changed and on the whole agents now enjoy strong endorsement from the broader community for the fine work they do. However, the remnants of these biases float about from time-to-time with such negative perceptions usually targeting male sales representatives who are seen as being prepared to sell their grandmothers for a quid. Such views are almost always born out of ignorance with such stereotypes fast becoming a thing of the past. Yet if any such stigma remains, it is interesting that it doesn’t appear to apply to women real estate practitioners. And perceptions are powerful motivators. There is a perception that women are more trustworthy, more honest and better organised than men; important qualities for a real estate agent. But such perceptions are, of course, a generalisation and cannot be broadly applied to any professional sector. March 8th is International Women’s Day and in part is a celebration of the empowerment of women across society, including the work force. On average, we still pay women less than men to do the same job, although this certainly does not apply to women in real estate who often take the lioness’ share. In fact, the numbers have more women in real estate jobs than men albeit by a narrow margin. So, in anticipation of International Women’s Day, congratulations to all women involved in real estate, may they continue to grow the professionalism of our industry to the benefit of all. By Hayden Groves

Feb 9, 2017

How Not to Choose Your Agent

When the time comes to sell or lease your property, would-be vendors and landlords increasingly look to the internet to help shortlist agents that might meet their needs. Well established methods of choosing your agent such as noting the more active agents in your area by number of signboards, adverts in the Herald, recommendations from friends and relatives or visiting Home Opens to meet agents remain effective methods. In the on-line space, REIWA offers the excellent reiwa.com Agent Finder; an independent, credible source of finding professional agents. Also occupying the portal space are a myriad of commercial operators that purport to “find the best agent near you”. Conducting a Google search of “Real Estate Agents Fremantle” for example will throw up paid for adverts for www.localagentfinder.com.au, www.whichrealestateagent.com.au and www.openagent.com.au. These “intermediaries” claim they can find you the best agent. The truth is they merely run a portal and a call centre whereby they contact local agents offering them a lead for a property listing in exchange for a minimum 20 per cent of their selling fee. The consumer then contacts the participating agents, chooses one from the list and is astonished to find the agent will be paying a referral fee to the intermediary. Suddenly, the vendor’s confidence in their agent, one prepared to give up a portion of their fee to obtain a lead is undermined. Now working for less money, how hard will the agent now work for me? The main problem here is that successful, leading agents (therefore the best ones) don’t need to use them to get business. Why would they? The best agents get business on their merit and are understandably reticent to hand over 20-25% of their commission to an anonymous commercially motivated intermediary for nothing more than a lead. Consumers need to know that in using these sites, you’re simply not getting access to the best agents just the cheapest and most desperate. These commercial intermediaries are not the vendor advocates they purport to be. A consumer that chooses to pay an advocate to properly and genuinely seek out the best agent for their circumstances is, however, perfectly legitimate. By Hayden Groves – REIWA President

Feb 1, 2017

Top 5 questions to ask before making an offer on a property

If you're looking to purchase property in the near future (or even distant future) we wanted to make sure you're making an informed decision. In this light we thought it best to ask our staff what they thought the most important questions to ask were when purchasing a property. The following are dG Real Estate's Top 5 Questions to ask when purchasing real estate. Are all the improvements on the land approved by the local authority? Love the north facing extension on that home you're about to put an offer on? You could be in for a shock when council forces you to tear down your lovely extension because its an unapproved structure. When was the last timber pest inspection undertaken? Termites. What more do we need to say, they’re good at hiding and can undermine the entire structural integrity of the building. To cover all bases when you make an offer include a 'Timber Pest Inspection' condition. What are the neighbours like? Does the young couple on the corner throw a party every other weekend? Does the local park double as a community yahoo hangout? Asking these simple and straightforward questions can be a good indicator of what you’regetting yourself into. Mavis next door might think her trash is treasure, but that won’t help with street aesthetics. Are there any major developments planned for the area you’re looking to buy in? That beautiful garden may not be so enjoyable to sit in once a major highway goes through two doors down. What will remain in the property when sold? All your books won’t be so easy to read when you must store them in a box!  Turns out that book case you thought was fixed to the wall was a piece of standalone furniture and followed the sellers out the door to their new home. We hope some of these have got you thinking about your next purchase and hopefully we can be a part of it! - Team dG

Jan 23, 2017

Why “Now” is always a good time to buy

Should history be a useful indicator of the future, the value of the property you live in today will be worth at least double that in ten years’ time. The quintessential Freo limestone semi will go for around $1.5 million, an Arundel Court flat will fetch around over $500,000 and the ‘80’s brick four bedder in Samson will achieve over $1,000,000. The current flat market conditions makes it more difficult to comprehend how these future values might be realised yet, on average, when looking historically, Perth’s property prices rise by 10 per cent each year and values double every seven years. Sure, you need to choose when to buy and, of course, when to sell. A purchase in June 2007 meant paying the median Fremantle house price of $725,000. Seven years later the median was $823,500 and well short of the anticipated growth rate if following the “double every seven years” theory. The problem is that growth is not linear. If you had bought a year earlier in 2006, the median price was substantially less at $530,000. Ten years on, Fremantle’s regional median house price is $783,750 close to 50 per cent higher. Putting these specific numbers aside, the point is that buying and selling property historically shows some pretty impressive capital gains across relatively short periods of time. Simple math shows capital returns looking even better when holding property for fourteen, twenty-one and twenty-eight year periods. Putting these specific numbers aside, the point is that buying and selling property historically shows some pretty impressive capital gains across relatively short periods of time. Simple math shows capital returns looking even better when holding property for fourteen, twenty-one and twenty-eight year periods. With some very competitive fixed term interest rates available from money lenders at the moment and with plenty of choice out there, making the decision to buy property now with a view to holding it for at least seven years is probably a good one. Make sure you contact your local REIWA agent when it is time to sell in 2026, for if history repeats itself you should sell for about double what you pay today.

Aug 17, 2016

REIWA kicks off local discussion on Negative Gearing

The Real Estate Institute of Western Australia has kicked off a campaign to engage with the WA community as proposed changes to negative gearing are debated. In the lead up to the Federal Election, REIWA is seeking the thoughts and opinions of West Australians who use property to help shape their lives a nd secure their future. As part of the campaign, REIWA will share local research and survey results to ensure a balanced conversation on negative gearing. REIWA President Hayden Groves said that the current debate around negative gearing doesn’t focus on the role property plays in the lives of everyday West Australians. "The proposed changes to limit negative gearing to newly built properties will not fully address the issue of housing affordability," said Groves. "Housing affordability can only be solved with a combination of supply levers and planning and development policy reform. "Rather than tinker with negative gearing, we’ll be promoting the need for broader tax reform where the system is simple, fair and efficient. Changing just one part of a very complex system can lead to inefficiencies and distortions. "Over the coming weeks, we’ll be running a series of surveys with members of the WA public to find out what matters to them in regards to property ownership."

Aug 17, 2016

Perth Rental Activity Rises

Activity in Perth’s rental market was up last month, with tenants shopping around for better deals. The volume of properties leased during May was up 3.3 per cent on April, new figures by the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia have shown. The volume was up 7.4 per cent compared to May last year. REIWA President Hayden Groves said the analysis pointed to Perth Tenants taking advantage of improved choice in the market to secure a lease at a more affordable price. “It’s pleasing to see that although rental listings remain above long term averages, there is still plenty of movement in the market with leasing figures on the rise across the metropolitan area” Mr. Groves said. “With a wealthy supply of stock on the market and moderating rent prices tenants have a good opportunity to improve their living situation”. The increase in leasing activity during May was felt across most sub-regions, with just the central and south-east sub-regions missing out on higher activity volumes. “The north-east sub-region was the stand out performer in May, lifting 16.6 per cent in April followed by the north-west sub-region which saw an 11.5 per cent increase”, Mr. Groves said. “When compared to May 2015, the south-west sub-region saw the most notable lift in listings – up 21.8 per cent on last year, followed by the north-east sub-region, up 13.5 per cent”. While the central and south-east sub-regions were down last month, leasing activity in those regions was up 2.5 per cent and 6.9 per cent respectively compared to May last year.