Monthly Archives: January 2015

Preparing for an open home

Guide: Preparing For An Open Home

When preparing for an open home, it’s true what they say, first impressions really do count. That’s why it’s so important that your home make a positive first impression on every potential buyer that inspects your home.

Simple measures like small, cosmetic changes to the interior of your home, moderate landscaping, repairs and de-cluttering can all greatly improve your chances of receiving offers. Even if your home is in a sought-after location, if you want to attract higher offers, making small investments in the appearance of your home at an inspection is a must.

Jo Chivers, one of the observers on property watch website Property Observer, noted that before properly preparing her apartment in a popular suburb, her open home attracted little interest and only low offers, which were well below expectations for the property and the area.

After making very small updates to her home, like installing more modern light fittings, and hiring a home stylist to stage her home, the property received more than double the number of inspections and attracted much higher offers. You can take a look at the difference here.

So when it comes to preparing your house for an open home, what are the top tips for attracting more potential buyers and higher offers?

  1.   De-clutter: The first tip is the simplest. It’s obviously a must to clean and tidy your home before an inspection, but it’s crucial to also get rid of clutter that could stand in the way of a potential buyer picturing themselves within the home. That means getting rid of personal nick knacks and photographs, unnecessary furniture or furniture within a room not designed for that purpose, for example a bed within a space traditionally used as a living area. Even if it means putting belongings and furniture into storage until the property sells, the investment will be worth it.
  2.   Repair: Make any aesthetic repairs well before inspection. Things as small as a chip in paint in an interior wall could detract from the overall feel for the home, so get these things up-to-date before your open home. You could also invest in updating features like tired curtains, older fixtures and fittings, or laying new turf if you have a patchy lawn.
  3.   Style: Once clutter free, consider using a home stylist or home staging service, like Chivers did above. The results can be dramatic. Home stylists will take a look at your space, and then loan you the furniture which is the size and style best suited for your home, which will make a space look bigger, comfortable and liveable. Again, this will help potential buyers to see themselves living in the space.
  4.   Photograph: Before even getting to your first home inspection, consider using a professional photographer to take quality, well-lit pictures of your home. After going to the trouble of updating, de-cluttering and staging your property, the last thing you want to do is turn people away before they’ve even inspected your home. Professional photos are taken with professional equipment, they can make spaces look bigger, well-lit and showcase them in the best possible way. Plus you benefit from the experience of someone who knows exactly how to take a photo that appeals. This way, you attract buyers looking online, scanning through ads, and looking through the paper. It’s about piquing interest to attract buyers to inspect in the first place.

Your property may not need all of the above, so it’s really about taking a look at your home objectively from a potential buyer’s perspective and assessing what needs to be done. What would distract you if you were inspecting the property? What would you want to replace or update if you were thinking of making an offer? If you were to say to yourself “this place is great… but”, how would you finish that sentence?

Once you’ve made a list of the possible things your property needs, you can employ the top four tips above to make your home a stand-out to the sea of potential buyers out there.


Top tips for buying a waterfront home

There’s something very special about a waterfront home – and even more special if it comes with a private berth for your boat.

But acquiring a home “on the water” can also be quite a complicated process, says Richard Gray, CEO of Harcourts Real Estate, not least because there are so many different locations and types of waterfront property to choose from in SA.

“We have several marinas, both on the ocean and inland; at least two island developments with waterfront homes that have their own docks or jetties; secure estates around large dams with both shared and private boating facilities, and of course many freehold properties right on the beach or riverbank, some in remote, very quiet locations and some close to bustling holiday resorts and even within easy reach of a major city.

“So it’s very important to do thorough research and find the home that most closely matches the lifestyle you envisage, ideally with the help of an agent who specialises in waterfront homes and will understand your priorities.”

Some factors to consider before you commit to a waterfront purchase, he says, are:

*On the coast or inland? If you love to go open-water sailing or deep-sea fishing, the answer is obvious, but if you prefer calmer waters, an inland location might suit you better.

*How deep is the water? If you have a boat, water depths and tides are essential considerations. The depths or drafts required for different types of boat can vary widely, as can the length of those boats and the size and strength of the dock required. You will need to inspect any property in a tidal location at both high and low tide and also establish where the channels and any sandbars are.

*Do you like the house? It’s all very well to find the perfect home for your boat, but you should also consider whether the house on the property suits you. Just as with homes in ordinary estate or suburban locations, you also need to think about the condition of the property and the floor plan as well as security and privacy. A spot on a dam popular with weekend watersports enthusiasts won’t do if what you really enjoy is a peaceful, natural environment where you can watch the birds or savour the sunset from your front veranda.

*Do you like the view? Uninterrupted views are paramount for most waterfront purchasers, so it’s important to check what the water looks like at low tide or high tide, or in winter as opposed to summer when there is more vegetation, or in the rainy versus the dry season. You will also need to be comfortable with any restrictions there may be on building height so as not to block someone else’s view, or removing trees that block your sight lines.

*What’s the weather like? Waterfront homes tend to take more abuse from the elements than the average property, and if you live on the beach, you can expect to have to deal with corrosion due to the salt air.You may have to take additional measures to protect such homes, such as installing storm shutters and stainless steel locks, and they may require more maintenance. In addition to that, of course, the weather will have a major effect on your ability and inclination to go boating.

*Will you need additional insurance? You should establish whether you will need any policies for a waterfront property in addition to your normal home owners’ insurance (HOC). Your lender may require special flood or wind insurance, for example.

*Are there any other restrictions or responsibilities? Find out whether you would be allowed to make any changes to your waterfront property, such as adding a seawall or buffer to counter erosion. On the other hand, if the property is in an estate, you’ll need to know what you would be expected to contribute to the upkeep and maintenance of the communal waterfront.


Top tips for buying a waterfront home

There’s something very special about a waterfront home – and even more special if it comes with a private berth for your boat.

But acquiring a home “on the water” can also be quite a complicated process, says Richard Gray, CEO of Harcourts Real Estate, not least because there are so many different locations and types of waterfront property to choose from in SA.

“We have several marinas, both on the ocean and inland; at least two island developments with waterfront homes that have their own docks or jetties; secure estates around large dams with both shared and private boating facilities, and of course many freehold properties right on the beach or riverbank, some in remote, very quiet locations and some close to bustling holiday resorts and even within easy reach of a major city.

“So it’s very important to do thorough research and find the home that most closely matches the lifestyle you envisage, ideally with the help of an agent who specialises in waterfront homes and will understand your priorities.”

Some factors to consider before you commit to a waterfront purchase, he says, are:

*On the coast or inland? If you love to go open-water sailing or deep-sea fishing, the answer is obvious, but if you prefer calmer waters, an inland location might suit you better.

*How deep is the water? If you have a boat, water depths and tides are essential considerations. The depths or drafts required for different types of boat can vary widely, as can the length of those boats and the size and strength of the dock required. You will need to inspect any property in a tidal location at both high and low tide and also establish where the channels and any sandbars are.

*Do you like the house? It’s all very well to find the perfect home for your boat, but you should also consider whether the house on the property suits you. Just as with homes in ordinary estate or suburban locations, you also need to think about the condition of the property and the floor plan as well as security and privacy. A spot on a dam popular with weekend watersports enthusiasts won’t do if what you really enjoy is a peaceful, natural environment where you can watch the birds or savour the sunset from your front veranda.

*Do you like the view? Uninterrupted views are paramount for most waterfront purchasers, so it’s important to check what the water looks like at low tide or high tide, or in winter as opposed to summer when there is more vegetation, or in the rainy versus the dry season. You will also need to be comfortable with any restrictions there may be on building height so as not to block someone else’s view, or removing trees that block your sight lines.

*What’s the weather like? Waterfront homes tend to take more abuse from the elements than the average property, and if you live on the beach, you can expect to have to deal with corrosion due to the salt air.You may have to take additional measures to protect such homes, such as installing storm shutters and stainless steel locks, and they may require more maintenance. In addition to that, of course, the weather will have a major effect on your ability and inclination to go boating.

*Will you need additional insurance? You should establish whether you will need any policies for a waterfront property in addition to your normal home owners’ insurance (HOC). Your lender may require special flood or wind insurance, for example.

*Are there any other restrictions or responsibilities? Find out whether you would be allowed to make any changes to your waterfront property, such as adding a seawall or buffer to counter erosion. On the other hand, if the property is in an estate, you’ll need to know what you would be expected to contribute to the upkeep and maintenance of the communal waterfront.


Top tips for buying a waterfront home

There’s something very special about a waterfront home – and even more special if it comes with a private berth for your boat.

But acquiring a home “on the water” can also be quite a complicated process, says Richard Gray, CEO of Harcourts Real Estate, not least because there are so many different locations and types of waterfront property to choose from in SA.

“We have several marinas, both on the ocean and inland; at least two island developments with waterfront homes that have their own docks or jetties; secure estates around large dams with both shared and private boating facilities, and of course many freehold properties right on the beach or riverbank, some in remote, very quiet locations and some close to bustling holiday resorts and even within easy reach of a major city.

“So it’s very important to do thorough research and find the home that most closely matches the lifestyle you envisage, ideally with the help of an agent who specialises in waterfront homes and will understand your priorities.”

Some factors to consider before you commit to a waterfront purchase, he says, are:

*On the coast or inland? If you love to go open-water sailing or deep-sea fishing, the answer is obvious, but if you prefer calmer waters, an inland location might suit you better.

*How deep is the water? If you have a boat, water depths and tides are essential considerations. The depths or drafts required for different types of boat can vary widely, as can the length of those boats and the size and strength of the dock required. You will need to inspect any property in a tidal location at both high and low tide and also establish where the channels and any sandbars are.

*Do you like the house? It’s all very well to find the perfect home for your boat, but you should also consider whether the house on the property suits you. Just as with homes in ordinary estate or suburban locations, you also need to think about the condition of the property and the floor plan as well as security and privacy. A spot on a dam popular with weekend watersports enthusiasts won’t do if what you really enjoy is a peaceful, natural environment where you can watch the birds or savour the sunset from your front veranda.

*Do you like the view? Uninterrupted views are paramount for most waterfront purchasers, so it’s important to check what the water looks like at low tide or high tide, or in winter as opposed to summer when there is more vegetation, or in the rainy versus the dry season. You will also need to be comfortable with any restrictions there may be on building height so as not to block someone else’s view, or removing trees that block your sight lines.

*What’s the weather like? Waterfront homes tend to take more abuse from the elements than the average property, and if you live on the beach, you can expect to have to deal with corrosion due to the salt air.You may have to take additional measures to protect such homes, such as installing storm shutters and stainless steel locks, and they may require more maintenance. In addition to that, of course, the weather will have a major effect on your ability and inclination to go boating.

*Will you need additional insurance? You should establish whether you will need any policies for a waterfront property in addition to your normal home owners’ insurance (HOC). Your lender may require special flood or wind insurance, for example.

*Are there any other restrictions or responsibilities? Find out whether you would be allowed to make any changes to your waterfront property, such as adding a seawall or buffer to counter erosion. On the other hand, if the property is in an estate, you’ll need to know what you would be expected to contribute to the upkeep and maintenance of the communal waterfront.


Top tips for buying a waterfront home

There’s something very special about a waterfront home – and even more special if it comes with a private berth for your boat.

But acquiring a home “on the water” can also be quite a complicated process, says Richard Gray, CEO of Harcourts Real Estate, not least because there are so many different locations and types of waterfront property to choose from in SA.

“We have several marinas, both on the ocean and inland; at least two island developments with waterfront homes that have their own docks or jetties; secure estates around large dams with both shared and private boating facilities, and of course many freehold properties right on the beach or riverbank, some in remote, very quiet locations and some close to bustling holiday resorts and even within easy reach of a major city.

“So it’s very important to do thorough research and find the home that most closely matches the lifestyle you envisage, ideally with the help of an agent who specialises in waterfront homes and will understand your priorities.”

Some factors to consider before you commit to a waterfront purchase, he says, are:

*On the coast or inland? If you love to go open-water sailing or deep-sea fishing, the answer is obvious, but if you prefer calmer waters, an inland location might suit you better.

*How deep is the water? If you have a boat, water depths and tides are essential considerations. The depths or drafts required for different types of boat can vary widely, as can the length of those boats and the size and strength of the dock required. You will need to inspect any property in a tidal location at both high and low tide and also establish where the channels and any sandbars are.

*Do you like the house? It’s all very well to find the perfect home for your boat, but you should also consider whether the house on the property suits you. Just as with homes in ordinary estate or suburban locations, you also need to think about the condition of the property and the floor plan as well as security and privacy. A spot on a dam popular with weekend watersports enthusiasts won’t do if what you really enjoy is a peaceful, natural environment where you can watch the birds or savour the sunset from your front veranda.

*Do you like the view? Uninterrupted views are paramount for most waterfront purchasers, so it’s important to check what the water looks like at low tide or high tide, or in winter as opposed to summer when there is more vegetation, or in the rainy versus the dry season. You will also need to be comfortable with any restrictions there may be on building height so as not to block someone else’s view, or removing trees that block your sight lines.

*What’s the weather like? Waterfront homes tend to take more abuse from the elements than the average property, and if you live on the beach, you can expect to have to deal with corrosion due to the salt air.You may have to take additional measures to protect such homes, such as installing storm shutters and stainless steel locks, and they may require more maintenance. In addition to that, of course, the weather will have a major effect on your ability and inclination to go boating.

*Will you need additional insurance? You should establish whether you will need any policies for a waterfront property in addition to your normal home owners’ insurance (HOC). Your lender may require special flood or wind insurance, for example.

*Are there any other restrictions or responsibilities? Find out whether you would be allowed to make any changes to your waterfront property, such as adding a seawall or buffer to counter erosion. On the other hand, if the property is in an estate, you’ll need to know what you would be expected to contribute to the upkeep and maintenance of the communal waterfront.