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Jun 19, 2024

Get Your Price Right

Fremantle’s property market continues its positive trajectory with short supply and solid demand. This current imbalance is keeping up property values as buyers continue to compete for the limited homes available throughout the area. FOMO enthusiasm gives rise to some ‘unicorn’ selling outcomes too, with seller expectations sometimes rising faster than market sentiment. The short supply means agents are desperate for listing stock and, unfortunately, one response to this market is for agents to offer ‘happy prices’ to would-be sellers, the aim being to secure the listing and hope the market ‘catches up’ during their period of authority. friends, lovers and others have their own opinions Additionally, emotional attachment often leads homeowners to believe their property is worth more than a market consensus of a fair price. Opinion of market value for property is largely a subjective exercise; various agents will have differing views of market price, and friends, lovers and others have their own opinions that influence would-be sellers. Sellers who have committed to another property at a higher-than-hoped price will also be pressured to sell their own home for more than the market might bear. The result can be price expectations that exceed market reality. In truth, the value of a property is not determined until a buyer is found, negotiations finalised and the contract for sale completed. The combination of market information, comparative property sales analysis, demand and supply levels, buyer activity and property presentation provide an insight into what fair market price might eventuate for a property, but what does the anticipated or listing price have to do with the final market price? In short, plenty. Statistics show that sellers that over-price their property lose money in the end. Sellers that allow their property to languish on the market due to unrealistic price expectations (either derived from themselves or an over-zealous agent) end up fighting against the buyer sentiment of a “stale” listing; a property that has been on the market for above average periods of time. Such properties are often simply over-priced and buyers will discount them because they think “there must be something wrong with it if no one has bought it.” Sellers that discount listing prices to sell will almost always end up selling for less than if they had a realistic market price expectation from the beginning. Sellers are well advised to take in professional advice from a local REIWA agent and form a considered, unemotional opinion of value based on facts, evidence and reputable market data.

Mar 20, 2024

Selling to Buy

Supply of homes to buy remain well below the long-term average. REIWA reports 3,971 listings available broken down into 2,230 houses, 1,129 units and 612 vacant lots. This time last year there were 7,262 listings. Meanwhile, sales volumes last week were 1,036 metro-wide up from an average of 615 weekly transactions in 2019. The lack of supply and listing choice is exacerbated by would-be sellers’ lack of confidence in coming to market, fearful of not being able to find a property that meets their needs once they’ve sold. And, given the high levels of demand, offering to buy ‘subject to sale’ of their own property is often trumped by buyers without such buying terms. Normally, sellers would rely on moving to a rental property for a short period in the event they’ve sold and yet to find an alternate home. However, the rental market is tighter than the sales market with median rents at $640 per week up from $360 per week in 2019. A mere 1,817 properties are for lease on reiwa.com and vacancy rates are at less than one percent. So, how do sellers overcome this dilemma? Firstly, be ready to come to market at short notice. Once you’ve chosen your preferred agent, present your home and arrange for professional photography. That way, your agent will be ready to go to market within a day or two should you successfully buy. Secondly, if you decide to sell and need to buy, structure the sale contract to give you sufficient time to buy an alternate home by negotiating a longer settlement period. Thirdly, consider a negotiating a ‘rent-back’ period with your buyer. This may not suit the buyer of course, but if an investor ends up buying your property, then this option comes into play. At settlement, sellers can remain in their home, pay rent to the buyer and have the luxury of only needing to move once upon finding their next home. Fourthly, introduce yourself to as may agents as possible when searching for your next home, give them your contact details and let them know what you’re looking for. This gives you more chance of securing a home ‘off-market’ whereby more flexible terms around settlement and the like are common. Finally, have confidence you’ll find a suitable home after you’ve sold. Sure, you’re not likely to be spoilt for choice and you may need to compete to buy, but there’s sufficient stock coming through the market to meet most family’s needs.

Feb 29, 2024

Sorry, Disconnected

Sometimes, governments make decisions that have unintended consequences that impact the practical ways certain industries work. Canberra’s latest effort to over-regulate comes in the form of changes to the Fair Work Act that formalise an employee’s ‘right to disconnect’. The changes effectively mean an employee may refuse to monitor, read or respond to contact from an employer outside of the employee’s normal working hours. As an employer, I think it’s perfectly reasonable for an employee to ignore my phone call after hours, and unless it was a serious emergency, I wouldn’t be calling them after hours anyway. But, do we really need to make a law for it? For the real estate industry, the implications could be significant. The business of real estate – sales or property management – doesn’t happen during usual business hours. The laws extend to an employee (sales representative or property manager) refusing to monitor, read or respond to contact from a third party if the contact relates to their work. This includes contact from vendors, tenants, buyers and lessors. The obvious issues for national companies operating in Western Australia have been neatly overlooked by east coasters with the 3-hour time difference in summer could mean an effective workday starting in midday in Melbourne and Sydney and ending here two hours later. The changes could result in lost business if employees refuse to take urgent calls on a critical matter, such as a live sale negotiation. And what about a matter concerning safety at a property where property or person is at risk where a worker is required to manage such emergencies? The new laws are set to become law in July this year. After which, a tenant, needing assistance to get into their home after losing their keys at 6 pm can expect no reply from their property manager. A vendor, - in theory - wanting to know how Saturday’s home open went, can’t demand a response from their sales agent until Monday morning. As a result, many real estate employees will ignore the new laws and carry on providing service to their clients, tenants and buyers outside normal working hours. It won’t be until something goes wrong with the employer / employee relationship that challenges might arise. Employers could find themselves in strife with the Fair Work Commission if a disgruntled employee claims they were expected to work outside normal business hours without the right to disconnect. Employees working from home further muddies the water given these arrangements enable a degree of flexibility that transcends normal work hours anyway. Time will tell what impacts come from these laws that seem to be an answer to a question no one ever really asked.

Dec 14, 2023

Christmas Markets

Around this time of the year, property markets normally begin to slow in anticipation of and planning for Christmas festivities and the summer holidays that follow. This year is shaping up to be different with buyer enquiry remaining strong and sellers committing to coming to market during the Christmas period. Property values across Australia continue to grow, spurred on from the demand side by higher migration levels and low stock levels. The federal government have already predicted a 115,000-property shortfall by mid-2024 and with dwelling commencements stubbornly stuck below the long-term average, there is little relief for buyers on the horizon. The Real Estate Institute of Australia released the comprehensive September quarter Market Facts report this week, revealing Australia’s median house prices rose 3.2 percent in the past twelve months to rest at $990,807. Perth’s median house price was at $595,000, the cheapest major capital by some margin. Sydney’s median house price as at September 30th was an extraordinary $1,578,000. The remaining capitals (aside from Darwin) returned a median house price of between $710,000 (Adelaide) and $934,000 (Melbourne). With such a yawning gap between our local market and eastern Australia, there is a sense of inevitability that prices here will continue their upward trajectory and the Christmas season will have little impact in quelling buyer and seller enthusiasm. Most agents I speak with expect a flurry of fresh listing activity in January, with new stock to be taken up from buyers bereft of choice. A recent property my agency sold received 20 offers. Another 15 offers. That’s 33 buyers that have committed to purchase, have missed out and will keep trying until they succeed. It is going to take some time for this buyer pool to deplete given stock levels remain below the five-year average, and new buyers keeping entering the pool. Meanwhile, rents continue to rise up to $581 per week nationally and $550 per week in Perth for 3 bedroom homes. Returns on investment for buyers in Perth are at 15.1 percent, leading the nation by some margin. Investors will take note of these numbers and continue to grow as a buyer cohort adding further pressure to our undersupplied market. This year, there will be no Christmas slowdown and buyers holding back waiting for the Santa Claus to deliver a market correction are likely to find their Christmas stocking empty.

Nov 30, 2023

To Auction or Not to Auction

Why Auction my Property? With property listings across the Perth metropolitan area dropping below 5,000 whilst property transactions tack 25 percent above the five-year average, there’s little doubt that the current ‘sellers’ market’ conditions are likely to prevail for some time. With strong demand for quality homes our most popular method of sale, private treaty, normally attracts multiple offers and because buyers are making offers ‘blind’, it is possible to have a large gap between the best offer and the one second in line. The auction process is different, of course, with buyers unlikely to bid much above a competing buyer. It is reasonable to conclude, therefore, that selling by private treaty could deliver superior outcomes than an auction in the current market. But this is not necessarily the case. In such a strong market, buyers in open bidding competition know precisely what they need to pay to prevail at auction. With private treaty, buyers will often hold back from their maximum price hopeful they’ll get a chance to further negotiate with the seller.  The seller may choose to accept the best offer, perhaps unsure if they’ve extracted the best price. At auction, the seller knows they’ve extracted the best possible price from those bidding in open competition once past the reserve. Other benefits to sellers include a cash, usually unconditional contract at auction, a settlement period that suits their needs, a healthy deposit and the delivery of what is the very definition of fair market value. The “no price” marketing strategy in the lead up to the auction day is also beneficial as it captures all possible buyers, including those that may not otherwise consider the property if on the market at a fixed price by private treaty. The “start low, end high” nature of auctions also discharges agents’ fiduciary responsibility of obtaining the highest possible price. The auction process also “shakes the buyer tree” and reveals all possible buyers active in the market. Once past the reserve price, a skilled auctioneer will extract the best possible outcome and if two or more competing and motivated bidders are participating, the end result is likely to well exceed the sellers’ expectations. An auction campaign also gives sellers the chance to extract strong offers prior to auction day as some buyers may fear a ‘bidding war’ on the day of auction. And most properties that fail to reach reserve price on the day and pass-in sell in the days following. To give themselves the best possible chance of selling well at auction, sellers ought to set a realistic reserve price and talk to their auctioneer about having some flexibility around the reserve and how this may work on the day. When selling be sure to ask your agent about all the options when coming to market as there’s benefits with all methods of sale, including an auction. It’s a matter of choosing a method that suits your needs and circumstances and agents should be across the details of all options.

Sep 28, 2023

Preparing Your Home for Sale: Making a Great First Impression

Selling your home is akin to a first date — those initial moments are crucial. Just as you'd dress to impress and mind your manners, your property should radiate charm and care when it's time to list it for sale. The Power of Small Improvements In the process of getting your property ready for sale, it's often the seemingly minor tasks that hold significant sway. Those "I'll get to it someday" jobs around the house? Now's the time. Building that garden bed, freshening up the front fence, fixing the side gate, or bidding farewell to that old couch are prime examples. These tasks fall into the "small but impactful" category. Why Small Tasks Matter Addressing these minor tasks is essential for achieving a swift sale at the best possible price. Buyers notice these details too. A rusty downpipe, for instance, can appear as a major issue to them, potentially hinting at overall neglect of the property. The Balance of Renovation However, it's crucial to strike a balance. Beware of overcapitalising on costly renovations like bathroom and kitchen upgrades. Depending on your property and location these investments might not yield the desired return. On the other hand, a charming Fremantle cottage could benefit from such improvements due to the strong demand for turnkey properties in popular areas. General Guidelines for Presentation While specific recommendations vary by property and situation, some principles remain universal. A clean, tidy, and well-maintained home is your strongest asset. "Present it like you don't live in it," as one client aptly put it. Key Tips: Neutralise Interiors: Paint over bold wall colours to create a neutral canvas. Declutter: Store away trinkets, family photos, and personal items to create a spacious feel. Clear the Fridge: Remove magnets and children's artwork, maintaining a clean appearance. Consider Stylish Furniture: For vacant properties, renting tasteful furniture can significantly enhance the appeal and expedite the sale. Focus on Paint and Landscaping Don't underestimate the power of a fresh coat of paint and well-kept gardens. These relatively simple improvements can yield a substantial return on investment and attract prospective buyers. Professional Guidance Lastly, consider consulting a qualified home stylist. While it involves an investment, their expertise can be the difference between exceeding your selling price expectations and no sale at all. Property Preparation Checklist In the world of real estate, presentation matters. Before listing your property for sale, consider these essential steps: Minor Repairs: Address any minor repairs and maintenance tasks around the house. Neutralise Interiors: Paint over bold wall colours with neutral tones. Declutter: Remove personal items, trinkets, and excess family photos. Kitchen and Bathroom: Evaluate whether a renovation is warranted, considering the property's location. Landscaping: Ensure the garden is well-kept and attractive. Furniture Staging: For vacant properties, consider renting stylish furniture. Professional Advice: If uncertain, consult a qualified home stylist to optimise the presentation. A well-prepared property stands the best chance of attracting potential buyers and achieving a favourable selling price.

Sep 20, 2023

2023 Australasian Auctioneering Championships

This week I attended the Australasian Auctioneering Championships, hosted in Auckland. The best auctioneers from across Australia and New Zealand fought it out ‘theatre-style’. An amazing event with the very best auctioneers moving through extraordinarily difficult bidding sequences that, thankfully, auctioneers don’t normally encounter. Christchurch based Ned Allison taking home the 2023 major prize with a stunning call of a very complex bidding sequence. I’m an advocate for the auction process as a method of sale for several reasons. It remains the most transparent selling process with all buyers able to see competing buyers, with the auctioneer bound by an ethical REIWA code of conduct,  bringing fairness to the process. Buyers also usually have the time (unless the seller accepts an offer prior to the auction) to view the property several times, undertake all necessary due diligence, and be ready to buy on auction day. The benefits to sellers include cash, an unconditional contract, a settlement period that suits their needs, a healthy deposit, and the delivery of a price that is the definition of fair market value. The “no price” marketing strategy in the lead-up to the auction day is also beneficial as it captures all possible buyers, including those who may not otherwise consider the property if it were on the market at a fixed price by private treaty. the auction process ‘shakes the buyer tree’ In short, the auction process ‘shakes the buyer tree’ and reveals all possible buyers. If the property is being sold under an executorship arrangement, or the market price is difficult to determine, then auction may be the most appropriate method. And of course, let’s not overlook the X-factor an auction brings which, through fierce competition, sometimes delivers an amazing result well above expectations, one that can be hard to replicate with other methods of sale. Auctions may not be for everyone of course, it’s important that Sellers understand the process and feel comfortable with the strategy. Some sellers can sometimes feel under pressure to ‘meet the market’ on the day of auction if the highest bid is below their original reserve price. The lead-up to the auction day can be stressful too with multiple home opens and inspections during the weeks prior. Some buyers remain deterred by the auction process too; either too nervous to bid or unprepared to buy without certain conditions being met, such as finance approval for example. However, more and more these days, many buyers appear to be welcoming the transparency of the auction process over the blind, confidential negotiation of a Private Treaty sale.   Be sure to ask your agent about all the options when coming to market, as there are benefits with all methods of sale. It’s a matter of choosing one that suits your needs and circumstances, and agents should offer you that choice and confidently explain your options.

Sep 13, 2023

Pricing Your Property Right

Fremantle’s property market continues its positive trajectory with short supply and solid demand. This current imbalance is keeping up property values as buyers continue to compete for the limited homes available in the area. Although interest rates have stabilised and inflationary pressures have tempered some of the FOMO enthusiasm, the limited buying opportunities have buyers competing for homes. The short supply means agents are desperate for listing stock and, unfortunately, one response to this market is for agents to offer ‘happy prices’ to would-be sellers, the aim being to secure the listing and hope the market catches up during their period of authority. Additionally, emotional attachment often leads homeowners to believe their property is worth more than a market consensus of a fair price. Opinion of market value for a property is largely a subjective exercise; various agents will have differing views of market price, and friends, lovers, and others have their own opinions as does the property owner. take in professional advice from a local REIWA agent Sellers who have committed to another property at a higher-than-hoped price will also be pressured to sell their own home for more than the market will bear. The result can be price expectations that well exceed market reality. In truth, the value of a property is not determined until a buyer is found, negotiations finalised and the contract for sale is completed. The combination of market information, comparative property sales analysis, demand and supply levels, buyer activity, and property presentation provide an insight into what fair market price might eventuate for a property, but what does the anticipated or listing price have to do with the final market price? In short, plenty. Statistics show that sellers who over-price their property lose money in the end. Sellers that allow their property to languish on the market due to unrealistic price expectations (either derived from themselves or an over-zealous agent) end up fighting against the buyer sentiment of a stale listing; a property that has been on the market for above average periods of time. Such properties are often simply over-priced and buyers will discount them because they think “there must be something wrong with it if no one has bought it.” Sellers that have to discount listing prices to sell will almost always end up selling for less than if they had a realistic market price expectation from the beginning.  Sellers are well advised to take in professional advice from a local REIWA agent and form a considered, unemotional opinion of value based on facts, evidence and reputable market data.