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Style Tips: Yellow House Interiors and Beach & Bay Realty

Does styling your home prior to selling make a difference? You bet it does! Kathryn from Yellow House Interiors and Kylie from Beach & Bay Realty tell us more…

Image: Fenton and Fenton - www.fentonandfenton.com.au

Image: Fenton and Fenton – www.fentonandfenton.com.au

How can a stylist help an agent?
Kathryn: A stylist can help by working with the agent on the presentation of the property. A stylist can discuss ideas on how to make the property looks its best and then implement those ideas to increase the appeal and value of the property.

Kylie: A stylist can be an agent’s secret weapon. It’s hard for an agent to make suggestions as sometimes people can take an offence. When an independent person like an experienced stylist offers their point of view, vendors are more open to their opinion. In the competitive and sophisticated real estate market today hiring furniture is normal and becoming more and more common.

How much value can simple styling add to the sale price?
Kathryn & Kylie: A massive difference!

Kathryn: If the property is styled correctly it automatically goes up in value in the eyes of potential buyers. Property values can increase exponentially if the vendor invests some time and thought into how the property looks, feels and overall presentation.

Kylie: The Sale price and speed of sale increases when a property is styled. The leaking tap in the bathroom must be fixed! Little things can be deterrents from the property itself.

What are the most basic styling improvements that you both agree can boost the overall feeling of a property for sale?

1. Clean and de-clutter.

2. Choose the right furniture to make the property feel bigger.

3. Choose accessories and artwork that enhance the property but do not distract.

4. Painting the property can go a long way. Lighten and brighten the colour scheme throughout.

5. Attend to and fix any small jobs before sale. You want the property to look in great condition.

Master Bedroom - Yellow House Interiors

Master Bedroom – Yellow House Interiors

What’s the biggest mistake a seller makes when they put their property on market?
Kathryn: That they overlook getting the property styled by a professional. A lot of people think that they can do it themselves. Calling in the professionals saves you time, money and at the end of the day you will know that you have sold for the highest price possible.

Kylie: The biggest mistake is selling a property vacant with no furniture.

If you had to avoid a certain item, statue, accessory or ornament in a property, what would it be?
Kathryn: I think it would have to be Grandma’s Old China collection! Get rid of it quick!

Kylie: Photographs of the family, it can be a distraction from the property/room itself if potential clients recognise any familiar faces – keep it neutral. The kitchen bench needs to be bare with a simple centrepiece like a bowl of fruit. Take off the fridge magnets! Bathroom should be 5 star hotel clean with new towels and please put the toilet seat down!

3 products-page-001

Spruce up your home with these today!

Any favourite products to spruce up your home?
Kathryn: Here are some great products which will help your property stand out from the crowd…

1. Titan Table Lamp from Freedom

2. Hamret Copper Dish from Citta Design

3. November 1927 from Society 6

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Great Time To Buy

soldhouseIt’s a great time to buy real estate, right now

Now you wouldn’t have heard this from me a month ago and you probably won’t hear this from me in a month’s time but, today, this week, and this weekend, if you are in the position to buy a property then go out there and give it your best shot. ASAP.

The property market in Sydney has been going crazy and prices have increased dramatically in this first half of the year but several, very recent factors are coming into play right now which have created a little pocket of opportunity for buyers.

10348231_10152459011644312_7862929635639049698_nHave you noticed that the auction clearance rates have dropped significantly in the last 3 weeks?  It won’t last and let’s face it, the clearance rate is still quite good compared to previous years. It’s a short term phenomenon.

The things that have changed in the last few weeks:

Firstly and possibly most importantly buyers who have been looking this year and have been thus far unsuccessful are now jaded, tired, fed up, cranky and many have taken a month off to refresh, i.e. they are not going to open houses, instead they have decided to take a real estate break and get their lives back for a few weeks, gone away for a weekend, gone to see the kids play soccer etc instead of going from one open house to the next, all day Saturday.

1911606_10152289518374312_646615506_nSecondly, the media has now been reporting for a few months that things have been selling for $100,000, $200,000, $300,000 in excess of the reserve and painting the picture that buyers will pay whatever to get into the market. The media is usually several months behind reality too but buyers have started to feel completely ripped off and are taking a step back to consider what they are paying.

1264281_10151917506959312_1923611023_oThirdly, vendors expectations have been going up and up and up as each sale achieves a new benchmark sale price.

Fourthly, the budget announcement, again this is just short term jitters but it’s to do with confidence, confidence in the economy, in our government, in securing employment to keep paying that mortgage.

So now is not the time to give up, some vendors have bought and need to sell so they must quickly meet market expectations, the budget will iron itself out and buyer confidence will be back. Then you will be again competing with too many buyers and not enough sellers as is normally the case in the winter months in a great market. So, don’t stop looking now buyers, get out there and secure that property before it’s on the move again, and I think you only have a couple of weeks! Good luck!

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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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Have you just bought a property?

One of the things that we recommend our clients do on settlement is to change the locks on your new property as soon as you can.

Prior to you purchasing the home, the keys to the property could have been in any number of peoples possession: tradespeople, previous tenants, real estate agents, cleaners, photographers, ex partners, neighbours, kids, kids friends, grandparents, nannies etc. All these people have the opportunity to misplace keys or facilitate the keys ending up in the wrong hands. The last thing you want is to experience a theft or intruder in your new home.

If worst case scenario you are robbed at home and you haven’t changed the locks and the intruder uses a key, you will struggle to get a claim approved by most insurance companies. On that note another thing that is top priority is to get you home insured, as soon as you exchange contracts unconditionally is highly recommended.

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Junk mail survey results

Earlier this month we took a survey on Facebook on real estate junk mail. Junk mail advertising is something we normally don’t do at Beach & Bay but we thought we should ask local residents if they wanted us to.

The survey results came in with a resounding NO! but there were some interesting comments emailed to us because the participants wanted to remain anonymous. These comments were interesting because they showed us that it is not as clear cut as ‘no’ to junk mail.

It seems that real estate junk mail is acceptable if it is clever and residents are not bombarded. One person went as far to say that real estate agents must think property owners are morons by the type of advertising they put in their letter box. Do you think we are going to fall for the line….

“We have 500 cashed up buyers who missed out on your neighbours property and want to buy yours!”

Oh dear, so it seems it is ‘no’ to junk mail that is boring and tacky and is delivered too often and ‘yes’ to smart advertising with a clear message and every so often!

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Auctioneers Vs Agents – What role do they play?

This is the 2nd last post in our Auction Series. If we haven’t covered a topic you would like more information on, it’s not too late! Just send us an email to info@beachandbay.com.au and we are happy to extend our blogging!

An auctioneer and an agent have very different roles during a real estate auction. An agent is responsible for the marketing of the property during the auction campaign; establishing where the property sits in the marketplace with regards to price; and ensuring that the vendor is consistently updated on buyer feedback.

Prior to auction day the agent will meet the vendor and discuss what feedback buyers have given on price, how many buyers are interested, how many contracts have been issued and then the vendor will set the reserve.

On auction day the auctioneer’s role is to encourage bidding, take bids and sell the property under the hammer. You could say that the auctioneer is the showman, as they take centre stage on auction day.

Thus the main difference between the two roles is that the agent is responsible for the lead up and preparation for auction day, and the auctioneer is responsible for the performance on auction day.

The agent also has a role on auction day and the work the agent has done in the weeks prior to auction day lay the foundations for a successful auction.

On auction day the agent will often work the floor, encouraging bids from buyers or consult with their vendor when bids are slowing down.

The agent also exchanges contracts after the fall of the hammer as most auctioneers race off to their next auction.

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Reality Real Estate Part 1

Most people think that the life of a real estate agent is glamorous and easy. We recently had a work experience girl here and I think we opened her eyes to what really happens in the day to day life of a real estate agent. That got us thinking maybe we should share some stories with you. Consider this a reality real estate blog series.

Kylie Emans – Licensed Real Estate Agent at Beach & Bay Realty (12 Years experience)

What is the funniest and most embarrassing thing that has happened to you as a real estate agent?

I probably would have to say the time I did an open house at a property that WAS NOT for sale!

I was working part time before I finished my Licensing course so I helped out at an office on weekends doing opens. They gave me the address which was on the corner and it was 1 of 2 townhouses. Basically I put my open house sign out of the one I thought it was and opened up the house and waited for people to turn up. I did think it was rather messy for an open house and I did a bit of tidying up. I had about 6 groups through the house and about 35 minutes into it I noticed a mature couple walking down the driveway with grocery bags and I thought it was a bit weird. Turned out they were the grandparents and they had popped in to see their kids on the way home! They were shocked to see that a complete stranger was standing in the lounge room and even more shocked when I told them how my key opened the front door! While apologising profusely I made a hasty retreat, I have never moved so fast.

Turns out it was the townhouse next door I was supposed to be opening!

Open House Sign

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Kylie’s Interview On Being A Real Estate Agent

Yvette completed work experience at Beach & Bay Realty last week. One of her tasks was to interview Kylie Emans (Managing Director, Licensed Real Estate Agent) about working in the real estate industry.

Yvette: Why did you decide to get into real estate?

Kylie Emans: I like meeting different people and I have always had an interest in property. I thought that being a real estate agent would suit me because I like variety and dislike sitting at a desk all day long. I also thought that real estate was a field where there wasn’t discrimination against women.

Real estate agents don’t have a good image and I wanted to change this by being ethical and professional and having the highest qualifications, so I studied at university and TAFE.

Y: How long have you been a real estate agent for?

KE: Since 1998 so about 11 years. I worked part-time in real estate prior to this and completed a 4yr licensing course at TAFE before becoming a Licensed Real Estate Agent.

Y: What skills do you need to have?

KE: To be a real estate agent you must be hard working, flexible and have good negotiation and communication skills.

Y: What is your favourite thing about the job?

KE: In real estate everyday is different and you constantly have the opportunity to meet new people and sell different properties. These would be my favourite things.

Y: What is the most important thing you need to remember when selling a house?

KE: When selling a person’s home you have to remember that you are selling (in most cases) their biggest financial asset. It is important to be conscious of that at all times.

Y: What is the hardest part about being a real estate agent?

KE: Recently it has become very easy to qualify to be a real estate agent so we have to compete with poorly educated sales agents. These agents usually don’t stay in the industry for long and can reduce the professionalism of the industry with their lack of knowledge, lack of education and lack of experience.

Y: What type of people do you think are most suited to this type of career?

KE: The people who are most suited to real estate are people who are flexible and good with people. It is also important that people don’t get deterred by rejection, because there is a lot of that in this industry.

Y: Are there any other important facts you think people should know about real estate agents?

KE: Real estate agents do work hard and good agents are worth every cent. Highly skilled agents should be respected like lawyers, teachers etc.

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The Beach & Bay Realty Difference

Beach & Bay Realty has been in business for 9 years. We are a boutique agency, built mostly on referrals, positive word of mouth and repeat clients.

Real Estate Agents often get a bad name (and sometimes for good reasons!) so at Beach & Bay we want everyone involved to have a pleasant experience when they deal with us (from the vendors and buyers, to the solicitors, valuers, and pest and building inspectors!).

We focus on the quality of our service, not the quantity, so you may notice we aren’t up to our ears in listings. As a vendor, this is a good thing for you, meaning we provide a very personal service and can strictly monitor the individual sale of every property in our office.

What we do

  • Work discreetly with buyers and sellers and aim to provide a well informed, friendly, stress free sale.
  • Provide cutting edge marketing using the very latest online technology and social media campaigns. We use blogs, twitter, facebook, youtube, virtual floorplans, email newsletters, google maps…if it’s online, we’re on to it!
  • Provide professional, ethical service

What we won’t do

  • We will not interrupt you and your family during dinner with phone calls harassing you to list with us.
  • We will not chase you after a market appraisal day in and day out. We figure, if you like us, you’ll let us know eventually.
  • We do not aggressively mass letterbox drop to try and get listings
  • We do not doorknock (unless specifically asked by a genuine client), and on the odd occasion when that does happen, we will not intimidate you or pressure you to sell.
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ETHICAL AGENTS LEFT DISAPPOINTED AGAIN

The heading read “ Real estate agents busted for low quotes” on news.com.au this week and our first reaction here at Beach & Bay was “finally they catch those dodgy agents that ruin the reputation of the industry”.

Amongst ethical agents it is a source of never ending frustration that some agents continue to list auction properties that on the agency agreement with the seller are at a much higher figure than what those agents quote to buyers.

In 2003, the State Government introduced the Property, Stock and Business Agents Act, banning underquoting but we as agents have not seen much change, the same offenders continue to do the wrong thing. In principle it was good to hear that the Office of Fair Trading was inspecting and fining agents for this breach.

On closer inspection of the reports in the news, we were slightly alarmed. From what I read it seems that real estate agents need to throw caution to the wind and forget about being conservative in giving an owner a price for what their property is worth, in this very uncertain market or maybe we need to study palm reading.

The news.com.au article mentions the McGrath agency at Lindfield’s case where they have been fined for the following:

They quoted on the agency agreement $820,000 to $920,000. This means the owner agreed with the agent that their property was worth somewhere between these 2 figures. Then the article says “But Fair Trading investigators found buyers were told of a likely selling price of over $820,000”. Now surely the cisn’t getting narky over the wording of this? Should they have quoted to buyers “$820,000 and over”, rather than “above $820,000”?

The property later sold at auction for $1.1 million. Now this doesn’t seem to have been an issue, at least not the way the article was written. And really this can not be a problem because it is an auction and people are supposed to get carried away, auction properties are properties that are unique, that can’t be compared, are scarce and are auctioned because they are difficult to price. I am hoping the problem does not lie in this final price because from now on if the price goes way above our agency agreement we might have to stop the auction and tell people they are getting carried away and they must stop?

If I was John McGrath I would be fighting this case too, if these are all the facts. The main point with this example is that the owner/vendor/seller has agreed with the agent as to what they think their property is worth. If the buyer thinks it is worth more, that is the buyer’s problem.

Real estate agents in NSW are the most regulated industry you can find and yes I agree that there are agents doing the wrong thing all over town. But the above case is just going to make us as agents scared to open our mouths with any quoting. Maybe for auction properties we should just tell buyers to go and do their own research.

And one other point I would like to make is we are working for the seller, they are the ones who pay us. Mind you we wouldn’t make any money if we didn’t have any buyers.

In USA they have buyer’s agents and seller’s agents and both get paid. Maybe this is something we need to think more about because as a real estate agent in NSW we have a very conflicted job.

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