Very Basic Styling Tips For Selling

FACT: An empty room is a smaller room.

JUST PLAIN WRONG:  Furniture makes a small room smaller

empty new roomWhen I am faced with showing a vacant property I prep every buyer before they inspect the property with this reminder – “An empty room is a smaller room”.  But who believes a real estate agent?!

I strongly encourage every Beach & Bay seller to furnish a room, because without fail, if they do not, I guarantee buyers will make the comment that the room is small, in fact too small for their requirements and that great first impression is lost. Not only that, a buyer will go on to say “Imagine how small the room will be once furnished! “ This is so wrong but it’s hard to convince a buyer of this. Buyers need to see to believe.

small_bedroom_design_ideasRecently I had the situation where 2 identical properties were for sale by the same owner, one was furnished and one was not.  I would show buyers through the first unfurnished apartment  and, like clockwork, their initial reaction  would be “Oh the bedrooms are small, will they fit a double bed?”  Tape measures would come out, criticisms would be made…Then I would take them to see the identical but furnished apartment and their reactions would be positive, no concerns about fitting a queen bed  (maybe even a king) and tape measures would come out again but this time to actually confirm that indeed the rooms were exactly the same size as the other unfurnished apartment.

unfurnishedA furnished room shows dimension which in turn makes the room look bigger and it shows the buyer clearly the functionality of a room.  I’m not encouraging clutter, because a cluttered room is a disaster for presentation and of course can make a room look diminished. What I am encouraging though is hiring furniture, or if finances are tight, borrowing core pieces of furniture for rooms, a bed or a desk or a sofa from a friend or neighbour.

furnished-vs-unfurnished3Just remember, I can guarantee:

An empty property is a smaller roomed property = a harder sale = longer sale = reduced sale price


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Does Your House Smell?

No_smoking_sign_by_nadinefaourYes, this is a trick question. No one can answer this question about their own home yet it is one of those questions sellers often fail to consider. Some of the common smell offenders that seem to seep into the walls, curtains and floor coverings of a home are mould, pets, cheap cleaning products, cigarette smoke and even strong cooking odours such as garlic. Your friends might love your garlic meatballs but your potential buyers won’t like smelling them the next day at your open house.

So do yourself a favour and ask someone who will give you an honest answer to “Does my house smell?” before putting your property on the market because you can not be trusted with this question and if overlooked by the seller it can be very costly. Sometimes smells just do not go away overnight so take this into consideration before racing to get the for sale sign up.

multi-colored-candlesCandles, freshly baked pastries and coffee brewing is all well and good for inspection day but if the kitty litter is sitting in the lounge room you can kiss that quick, top price sale goodbye!


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The Real Estate Market in 2014

5/5 McDonald St, Cronulla

5/5 McDonald St, Cronulla

Last year saw real estate prices increase 10-15% in the Sutherland Shire after several tough years but this year the rapid increase in sale prices across Sydney has been so dramatic that I would estimate the price increase is already 10-15% for the 5 months of 2014, especially in the Sutherland Shire.  I do not think we have experienced this sort of price growth spurt since July 2003, when every house sold achieved a new record and properties for sale were in such short supply that people tended to buy first, then sell to avoid being without a home to go to.

241 Attunga Rd, Yowie Bay

241 Attunga Rd, Yowie Bay

It’s back to the days when pest and building inspectors are booked solid, most properties are being marketed as Auction, serious buyers need to attend the first open house if they want to secure the property and every TV channel has a show about renovating and selling!

Will this continue? Should we wait? Is this a bubble? These are the questions buyers keep asking me and I honestly don’t know. What I do know is that Sydneysiders are obsessed with real estate again, interest rates are low and there is a feeling of confidence again in the property sector. If only I had a crystal ball.

13 Seaforth Ave, Woolooware

13 Seaforth Ave, Woolooware

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Street to Deep Waterfront, Yowie Bay

Yowie Bay deep waterfrontMy vendors at 241 Attunga Rd Yowie Bay have decided to sell but it was a difficult decision, living right at the water’s edge, with views sweeping from Gymea Bay, North West Arm, The Royal National Park and Port Hacking. Their home is as much unique as it is special. It is not often that a vendor will tell me that they had a seal sunbaking on their deck!

Web_11It is the ideal lifestyle for fishing and boating enthusiasts and those who love the water. There are not many who live right on the water so it has its own peacefulness.

An inclinator or path access from the street level double garage takes you to the 2 bedroom cottage. Maximising the 20m wide deep waterfront position a massive timber deck stretches in front of the cottage and adjoins the pontoon and ramp. The aspect is west so there is no lack of sunshine and you will never lack friends with a position like this! When friends pop in there is plenty of room for alfresco dining and a covered terrace for rainy days, the purchaser of this home is guaranteed popularity!

DSC05518A unique deep waterfront position with panoramic views from the minute you step out of the car. Plus there is enormous potential to improve on the current dwelling if more size is required.

For inspections call Kylie on 0418 690 317

waterfront aerial shot

street to deep waterfront


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Pre-Election Info & Real Estate Update

As we head into the final weeks of the election campaign and winter, real estate agents are madly trying to sell their auction listings prior to Election Day which is notoriously and traditionally a quiet day in real estate. This election also marks the beginning of the spring auction campaign but there is a marked drop in auctions scheduled. Ideally you select an auction date either side of the election weekend but this year it was particularly hard due to the political turmoil in Australia and the shifting dates, and some properties have been caught in the shifting dates. On the weekend prior to the election there are 13 auctions scheduled to go ahead in our area, whereas on Election Day there are only 7 currently up for auction. As is always the case the following week the auction numbers will pick up dramatically and this happens no matter if there is a change of government or if there is a status quo, for some reason buyers don’t feel the need so urgently to buy a house at auction on Election Day.

Most agents are looking forward to the election being over so we can list more properties because winter has been a period of very limited stock and lots of frustrated buyers combined with attractively low interest rate opportunities. We are hoping that Spring and an increase in political confidence and stability will trigger down to encourage vendors to sell. Most encouraging for vendors is that Winter 2013 has seen a dramatic rebound in prices across Sydney, in particular in the $700,000 – $1.3mil price range. Surely this will encourage vendors to sell!

Where to vote?

Polling places will be open for voting between 8am and 6pm on Saturday 7th September. The Cook electorate covers as far west as Bonnet Bay & Como, east of the train line at Sutherland, all suburbs north of the Hacking River (from Grays Point to Cronulla and all suburbs south of the Georges River & Botany Bay) as per the map below.

The polling booths below fall between Cronulla & Caringbah:

  • Uniting Church Hall – Cnr Burke Rd & Gosport St, Cronulla
  • Cronulla Public School – 18-24 Burraneer Bay Rd, Cronulla
  • St. Aloysius Primary School Cronulla – 18 Giddings Ave, Cronulla
  • Cronulla South Public School – 121 Ewos Pde, Cronulla
  • Cronulla High School – Captain Cook Drive, Cronulla
  • Woolooware Public School – Riverview Ave, Woolooware
  • Burraneer Bay Public School – 161 Burraneer Bay Rd, Burraneer
  • Lilli Pilli Public School – Turriell Bay Rd, Lilli Pilli
  • Caringbah Public School – Port Hacking Rd, Caringbah South
  • Laguna St Public School – 204 Caringbah Rd, Caringbah South
  • St. Philip’s Anglican Church Hall – 402 Port Hacking Rd, Caringbah
  • Caringbah High School – 85 Willarong Rd, Caringbah
  • Sutherland Hospital Clinic – Kingsway, Caringbah


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Shortage of Properties For Sale, Winter 2013

The Reserve Bank meets today and the consensus is that that there will be a rate cut of .25% and with a Federal Election date now booked in this is good news for buyers. Yes I say buyers! Not since Winter 2003 have I seen a shortage of listings like this winter, where buyers come through an open house and eye their competition, recognising other buyers as bidders at the previous week’s auction, both being outbid by someone who went the extra $10,000.

In the current market buyers have to be ready to pounce, think twice and you will miss out. Mind you with fixed interest rates below 5%, it is a great time to be buying, there just needs to be more on the market for all the buyers currently looking.

Hopefully with the certainty of an election date and spring around the corner more people will decide to sell in the coming months and current buyers will be unpacked and moved in for Christmas 2013 in their new home.

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2013 Quiksilver King Of The Groms – Local Entrant Jared Nickel

Local Cronulla surfer Jared Hickel needs your help!

15 year old Jared Hickel needs your votes so he can represent Australia in France for Quiksilver’s King of the Groms 2013. As the only Cronulla surfer entered in the competition, he needs all your help to represent not only Australia, but also our beautiful Cronulla.

Please click on the link here to help Jared achieve his dreams! Voting closes in a few days.

Thank you for your support!

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Poliltics, weather and real estate

Last week I wrote a blog about how great it is to sell in winter right now, how there is no stock, the WEATHER has been relatively mild, the federal election not till September…

I think I jinxed myself. Today we have a new/old Prime Minister, they are talking about an election in August, not September and the weather has been, in the last week, nothing short of diabolical.

On a positive note, if you are a buyer and you have a serious interest in a property, looking at real estate in monsoonal rain is a smart move. But you also have to be practical, with the weather we have had in the last week, not many houses would come out the other end without a small leak, pool of water in the backyard. And ask yourself how your own home managed.

With regard to Australian politics and how they will affect the real estate industry in the next few months, it is really hard to say. The public seems to be completely over the shenanigans of our politicians so will we just go about our business, buying and selling real estate, until we have the chance to have our say, or will we sit tight and wait for August/September election day…

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Who sells their property in winter?

Smart people do!
Well at least this winter, if you do decide to sell, you would be considered a savvy vendor.

Winter weather has been relatively mild with few rain days, so most properties are still very presentable. Traditionally people wait till Spring, but I stress traditionally because now it’s not just the weather that affects the sale price.I would argue that supply and demand is one of the major influences on property prices. In recent months in the Sutherland Shire and across Sydney open house numbers have dramatically increased, days on the market have significantly reduced and prices are on the up, up, up!

If you are thinking of selling, I ask you this question, do you think you will get a better price in spring when you could be competing with lots of properties in a similar price range but the flowers are blooming in your yard? Or do you think you will get a better price in winter, when there are just a few similar houses on the market and an abundance of buyers clammering for the same home, your home?!

And just to throw a spanner in the works this spring, we have a federal election. Every time there is an election, the few weeks either side of that date, (for whatever reason) buyer activity drops off.

No year is ever the same with economic and political circumstances affecting the supply and demand of the real estate market, but this year, most agents are seeing a shortage of good properties to sell and very competitive bidding from buyers.

HSBC this week dropped their 2 year fixed rate to 4.59%! Who would have thought a fixed rate under 5% was possible even 12 months ago! It is now cheaper to have a mortgage than pay rent for a lot of people in a lot of suburbs in Sydney. This will only encourage more buyers into the market this winter.

So if you are considering making a move this year, I would encourage you to do it right now!

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Interview with local resident Colin Bisset – First time digital novelist, ABC radio broadcaster and Feng Shui Consultant

Recently one of my more mature clients (75yrs plus) rang me and was telling me about how he had just checked his iPad and was most impressed with his property ad online, but maybe could we tweak something just so the Google ranking was even better. Impressed and slightly shocked I asked him what tablet he was using and he said the latest mini iPad which his 3yr old granddaughter had taught him how to use…

Thus meeting Colin Bisset to discuss his new novel, Not Always to Plan, I had as many questions about the book as to how he was marketing his novel which he has launched purely as an e-book! Colin Bisset, a resident of the Sutherland Shire since 1996, has always had budding ambitions to write a novel.This year, in April, his dream was realised when his first book was released through Momentum Books.

“Not Always to Plan” is a book about death, family, marriage and finding your own way while being a parent, child, sister, daughter, son. A well-to-do, but not obscenely wealthy family living in a leafy beachside suburb of the Sutherland Shire, Ruth, Tom, Natasha and Ryan all have issues to deal with.  The novel has the background setting of a relaxed beachside suburb which we can all relate to. References to the local theatre and the café by the beach where certain characters go, make you feel like you are reading a book about a family you might know in a town you do know.

How long did it take to write Not Always to Plan?
I wrote about 16 chapters about 5 years ago and then left it, wrote another book but then came back to Not Always to Plan two years ago. So it was definitely a work in progress. My agent gave both books to the publisher and they decided to go with Not Always to Plan as my first novel.

What would you say the book is about in one sentence?
It’s about a family and 4 individuals in particular and how they are disconnected from their feelings and letting life pass them by before something happens which gives them the wake-up call/ opportunity to change direction.

How did you come up with the storyline?
Sometimes I start writing and the characters take on a life of their own and send me down a path. I am always jotting down ideas and I really wanted to explore the idea of how people find their purpose in life. So often we let life drift along without really knowing where we’re heading. How do we arrive at that point where we feel we’re on the right track? That’s what I wanted to write about while enjoying the chaotic way we go about it!

What made you set it in this area?
Write about what you know, they say, and I’ve lived here long enough now. I also wanted to write about a normal family – the father’s a dentist, the son has just left uni, the daughter works in a shop and the mother looks after an elderly parent. So they’re pretty normal. And I could just see them pottering around Cronulla, going to the beach, walking to the post office, taking the train up to Central. I’ve changed some things, obviously, but I think people from this area will definitely recognise places I’m writing about.

How are you marketing your 1st novel?
It’s a real journey! Especially as this novel was not an easy genre to classify so as a print book it might have get lost on the bookshelves. The book went “live” so to speak on Easter Monday, there was no fanfare, no book “launch” in the traditional sense, it really was a bit of an anti climax. But it was released to the world not just to Australia and that’s pretty exciting. Like most authors nowadays I have a website, a facebook page and a twitter account with a daily marketing strategy. At least this way I don’t have to go to every bookshop I know and re-arrange my book to the front window when no one is looking!

How did you choose the publisher?
They chose me! But I’m really happy as Momentum Books is the digital publishing arm of Pan Macmillan so they have loads of experience and handled the ebook exactly as they would a print version – same editting and design processes. This is a new area for all the big publishing houses so I’m pleased to be part of that.

Well I couldn’t put my e-book down, I became endeared to your characters very quickly and found myself saying cheering on a certain female in certain chapters without giving anything away. What genre would you classify the book and where do you recommend we purchase from?
I suppose it falls into general or family fiction – it’s not all sex’n’shopping so it’s not chicklit but there are elements of that in it. It’s meant to be a page-turner and the characters are all ages so I think there’s someone for everyone to identify with. It’s on Amazon, of course, but probably the best place to check it out is on Momentum’s own website.

Colin, I know you are already so busy with your radio work and your Feng Shui consulting but do you think you will write another novel at some stage?
No doubt about it! I can’t wait to get into the next one – I love the whole writing experience. I’m working with several ideas at the moment. And of course my Design Files are popular on ABC Radio National so it’s a fairly safe bet to assume my next novel will have a design slant…We’ll see.

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