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The biggest mistakes vendors can make when selling their home

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Selling potentially your most valuable asset can often be a complex process.

Notwithstanding the emotional stress and pressure the sale of a house can involve, there are legal issues to wade through, fees, settlement agents and legislation to navigate during the course of an average sale.

And whether you’re a seasoned property flipper or it’s your first time at the helm, there are pitfalls that can arise along the way.

However there are a number of simple and fairly straightforward ways to ensure you don’t end up making common and costly mistakes according to Abel McGrath Property Consultant, Janet Barron.

Choose the right agent for you
Ms Barron says choosing the most appropriate agent can be one of the most difficult hurdles when selling your home.

“It’s not always easy or straightforward and everyone has, sadly, heard tales of dissatisfaction in this respect,” Ms Barron says.

“What you should look for are trust and competency and that means selecting someone who is both transparent and respectful in their dealings and who has good market knowledge and effective communication and negotiation skills.”

Pricing is key
Pricing your home too high or too low can also be one of a seller’s biggest mistakes when heading to market. It’s just as important not to over-price as it is to under-price.

“Pitching your property at a level that is going to attract maximum buyer interest and that is realistic in terms of the prevailing market is crucial to a successful and timely sales campaign,” Ms Barron explains.

“Under-pricing puts vendors at risk of losing huge sums of money especially if your agent doesn’t have the requisite negotiating skills. Over-pricing can be a major deterrent to potential buyers and is equally as dangerous”.

Go in prepared
Lack of preparation heading into a marketing campaign is another common problem for buyers gearing up to sell.

“Although price is obviously key, preparation and presentation for a successful sale are really important factors. Over 90% of buyers utilise digital media when seeking a home to purchase”.

“The time taken and effort expended to make your property stand out amongst a multitude of competing properties on the market, therefore, cannot be underestimated.”

Don’t cut costs in a tightening market
Ms Barron says there is definitely a temptation for some buyers to scrimp on costs in a tightening market.

“It’s been a long time since Perth has seen a property market such as the one that exists now,” she says.

“The quality of your advertising and marketing campaign is critical in attracting maximal buyer enquiry although this need not necessarily be an expensive exercise.”
“A competent and caring agent can be invaluable in providing astute advice and guidance in this area.”

Don’t wait for the perfect time
Another common mistake vendors make is to wait around for perfect market conditions.

“None of us has a crystal ball in relation to the market. To put it simply, the very best time to sell your home is when it is right for your individual circumstances.”

Early offers can sometimes be the best
“On balance it’s widely accepted that early and first offers are often the best. The interest level in your home will never be higher than in those first few weeks of going to market.”

“Vendors should think very carefully before holding out for a higher offer in these circumstances.”

Janet Barron

How to overcome the challenges of renting your investment property in a tough market

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With the downturn from the mining sector now firmly cemented in the Western Australian economic psyche, industries, individuals and organisations have all had to rethink strategies for success as market dynamics change.

The property market has been no exception and indeed has been a clear indication for the broader population of the contraction in the local economy now that the height of the boom is well behind us.

Successful agents and property managers who are able to adapt to changing market conditions, read the nuances of the local market successfully and alter their approach accordingly, have remained on top of the game.

However, it’s a much altered landscape, especially for those who may have purchased properties in the heady days of the boom with high expectations for their return on investment.

Abel McGrath Property Manager, Amber Palfreyman, says sound advice and in-depth market knowledge, coupled with realistic expectations, is what is required to ensure your property doesn’t sit idle for months on end.

She says in today’s market, her clients need to really make sure their properties stand out from the crowd.

“Advertisements really need to catch the eye of potential tenants, professional photos are a must and presentation is of paramount importance,” she says.

Ms Palfreyman says landlords need to make sure that their presentation is spot on and that now may include installing air conditioning and investing in updating kitchens and bathrooms.

“Clients looking to leaser larger, executive-style homes are now faced with the reality that there just aren’t the potential tenants there who have moved to Perth for work in the mining industry.

“This means they just won’t be able to secure those top level rents that they might once have been able to.”

She says, in general, clients have reacted well to the down turn in the market although communication is crucial on a regular basis to ensure they are aware of where the market is at and what conditions it is dictating.

Ms Palfreyman says the majority of clients really listen to feedback on their properties and are willing to adjust their expectations accordingly.

“Some have had a continual tenant for five or more years and it can make it harder for them to understand where the current market is at.

“The market has been softening for a couple of years now and i think lessors realise that and are happy to meet the market in order to hang on to excellent tenants,” she says.
She says the down turn in the market has been felt across the board, with most suburbs feeling the pinch in terms of reduced rental rates.

“As property managers, we are here to ensure our clients get the best possible return on their investment minimise income loss, and this can only be achieved by listening to the market.”

She says it is vital to ensure research is done to ensure the pricing is right to keep vacancy times are kept at a minimum however she says landlords need to be realistic about the market and where it stands.

Accepting shorter term leases and being more open to negotiation over issues such as pets are just some examples of the how landlords are adapting to current market conditions.
“Offering incentives such as one or two weeks free rent, including white goods, gardening and lawn moving or free cleaning are all now part of the package to ensure you attract good long term tenants.

Ms Palfreyman says she expects that the current market will remain competitive for some time to come, but says it still remains one of the best times to buy an investment property.
“Now is the time to secure an investment property at an amazing price.

“You are not going to get the inflated returns that you once were, but if you do your research and purchase in the right area, with advice from a reputable agent, it really is a great time to buy.”

Amber Palfreyman

The Perth Property Market – the Year that Was

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The shimmer and sparkle of the Perth property market may have well and truly dimmed since the heady days of the mining boom, however it’s not all bad news for those with west coast properties.

Clearly we are in a correction phase and market demographics are changing considerably as we all adjust, however where there is doom and gloom, many see the bright light of opportunity.

However, with population growth grinding back and unemployment rising there are always risks as an economy moves from one stage to another, says Abel McGrath principal and licensee Carmel Gardiner.

She says although the year has been tough in terms of the general economic conditions impacting the market, there are still plenty of opportunities for those who do their research and act accordingly.

“At Abel McGrath, we’ve adapted to the market by providing our clients with constant updates on where the market is sitting in relation to both sales and property management,” she says.

“We’ve had some great results and we are maintaining a positive but realistic attitude.”

Ms Gardiner says despite the persistent scare mongering, giving clients reliable, well researched information is key whether they are buying, selling or renting or if they are landlords or tenants.

“We make sure we are up to date with daily fluctuations in the market and we meet and speak with our clients regularly to make sure we are all working together towards the same result,” Ms Gardiner adds.

She says in tougher more challenging times, the ability to offer first class service is what will elevate a successful agent above the rest.

“At Abel McGrath, we’re committed to doing this and services like constant communication and engaging with clients, is vital.”

With a federal election looming in a matter of weeks, she says the team will watch with interest to assess the impact that the result might have on both the sales and rental market.

“In more uncertain times like these, people really value honesty in terms of the advice and the information that you give them.

“The family home or your investment property are usually the biggest investments people have and we do not take lightly or for granted their decision to entrust us to take care of that.”

As far as the crystal ball goes in terms of predicting whether the Perth market has hit the bottom yet, Ms Gardiner says it’s the question everyone wants to know the answer to.

“Prices are now very good value and regardless of whether prices move up or down in the coming months now is a very good time to buy or rent,” she adds.

In terms of summing up the year that was, she describes the year as a very productive one.

“We haven’t let the economic downturn in WA effect our business.

“We’ve made necessary changes to assist our clients and our staff and I think having a healthy attitude and outlook has really helped us, not only survive,  but thrive in these more challenging times,” Ms Gardiner says.

“I really don’t think there is a better time to invest in WA property than right now – interest rates are at historic lows and prices are very competitive in most WA markets, although I would like to see how the election plays out.

“Selling your home, buying a new one or engaging a property management company to look after you is a big decision – the most important advice I can give is to ensure you give your business to someone you trust.”

Carmel Gardiner

All bases covered in the Wembley market

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Abel McGrath Property Consultant, Sam Bevan, and her colleague Investor Service Manager, Sandra Pereira, have come up with an innovative way to ensure their clients get the best possible service whether buying, selling or leasing.

Mrs Bevan and Ms Pereira have teamed up to offer double the service for their clients in the Wembley area, offering expertise on both sides of the property spectrum.

Both are keen to make sure the services they offer are a step ahead of their competitors and that the package they offer takes the pressure and onus off buyers once they have signed up to purchase.

Once Mrs Bevan lists a property, part of the listing process sees Ms Pereira step in to conduct a rental appraisal for prospective buyers and then offer her services should the property be bought as an investment.

“It just ensures that we are offering them optimal services and that all of their bases are covered from day one,” Mrs Bevan explains.

Mrs Bevan says when she recently sold a Wembley property to an investor, Ms Pereira was involved from day one providing a rental appraisal to prospective buyers and was able to step in and take over at the fall of the hammer.

“We have now leased the home for $1200 a week and it was a great way of working together to ensure our clients received the best possible result,” she says.

As a former property manager, she knows how important a strong leasing department is and how sellers and buyers quickly become landlords and tenants and vice versa.

“At Abel McGrath, every listing includes a rental appraisal, that’s just the Abel McGrath way,” Mrs Bevan explains.

“From the positive feedback we’ve had, it looks like there aren’t many selling agents out there who incorporate this into their service as a matter of course however that may change.”

Mrs Bevan says being involved in the community in which you sell is incredibly important in terms of building trust, developing local knowledge and getting to know the people in the area in which you work.

She says what sets her team apart, is bringing two extremely experienced female real estate professionals to the table, providing double the service to prospective buyers and sellers.

“Without question it’s about providing the best possible services.

“People will remember the level of service they received long after they’ve forgotten if they got half a percent discount off their selling fee.”

She says whether it’s engaging in a conjunctional sale to get a result or working with other agents in different ways, it should always be about getting the best possible outcome for the client rather than securing the highest agent commission.

Mrs Bevan says that although Wembley has also been affected by the down turn in the WA property market – a recent REIWA report suggested it has declined 9.1% in overall values in the last 12 months – she believes it will always be a solid performer and will return to positive growth.

“I am optimistic that what goes down must come up and Wembley will recover and continue to be a highly sought after location.”

She says, personally, she believes we will see another six months of sluggishness and then we’ll start to see some steady improvement.

“Some agents are predicting a crash and some say we’ve already turned the corner however, I believe if you can buy now, it is certainly a good time.”

If you would like to know more please do not hesitate to contact Sam Bevan or Sandra Pereira.

Sam Bevan