Monthly Archives: December 2015

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The Future Of Drone Technology

We talk to Jason Wills, Head of Technology at Harcourts International about the future of drones, and what this means in real estate marketing. 

Over the last 12 months, drone photography has become a widely used tool for many Harcourts real estate agents. I recall back in 2008, one of our iOS App developers returning from America with this amazing contraption. He told me it was a drone helicopter and he could control it with an iPhone App. The drone had a camera built into it that could shoot photos and video.

We went down to our office car park and took the drone for a spin. Four rotating blades gave the drone its lift and just by touching controls on the iPhone app you had a bird’s eye view of the world and could shoot photos. Zoom controls were also available.

At that moment I realised that the days of hiring helicopters or cherry pickers to capture the overhead aerial shots were over.

Another game changer had arrived and the possibilities were endless. I guess what amazed me about this technology, was just how cheap it was to get started. Buy the drone hardware, download an App from the Apple store and that’s it.

Throughout the Harcourts organisation, which now spans ten countries, all our photography suppliers offer drone aerial options. Many high-end properties, project developments, lifestyle blocks, and rural properties have some wonderful drone videos available.

So what’s next for drone technology?

Amazon have already trialed delivery of packages via drones so we will see this come to pass as soon as the FAA give the all clear. Police and military are using drones for security purposes and monitoring. Domino’s pizza has trialed pizza delivery in the UK which has to be one of the best uses of this technology! Here is a video of their service.

 

In many countries there is talk of regulation and even users obtaining a drone pilot license.

But for Harcourts International, we love to innovate and we will continue to adopt new technology and share this with our clients and our team members throughout the world.

Follow Harcourts Technology on Facebook for exciting technology updates as and when they happen here.


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Hot Tips for Selling in Summer

It’s getting to be the hottest time of the year and as the sun comes out, so do the hats, cold drinks and backyard barbecues.

Summer is the season that most long for all year and a season where many prospective buyers are braving the heat to look for their next home. Here are a few tips to make your home more summer-friendly to prospective buyers which will enhance the chance of achieving the best result for your property.

Brighten with colour

Using the right colours can add a summery, fresh and cool look to your home and you don’t have to spend lots of money on repainting the walls. In fact, a common interior design trend these days is to keep walls fairly neutral. Instead, invest in bright, summery cushions and décor, fresh fruit and bright flowers which will give your home that fresh, and colourful edge.

Let the outside in

Open your windows and any sliding or bi-fold doors. Although air-conditioning is a quick way to cool down your home, consider using the air-conditioner only prior to a home inspection and then open windows and doors to let in fresh air and summer breezes.

Allowing natural airflow through open windows and screens, with fans turned on at a low speed, can help to show how naturally cool your property is, as well as highlighting outdoor entertainment areas and gardens.

Freshen up the garden

Make sure the grass and garden is tidy. Your garden is often the first thing to make an impression on potential buyers, and first impressions are important. In summer, our lawns and shrubbery tend to grow faster and some plants need additional watering, so ensure your lawn is mowed, hedges and unruly shrubs are trimmed, and any wilting or dead plants are revived or removed.

Make the most of outdoor spaces

Summer really is the best time of year to showcase your home’s outdoor area, so spend some time making it look as appealing as possible. Put away any pool toys or play equipment, consider replacing or buying new outdoor cushions for seating areas, place a bowl of fruit or fresh flowers on outdoor surfaces or even a jug of cold lemonade, sweep and tidy entertainment areas and even consider staging these areas to show just how inviting the space is in the warmer weather.

Overall, the best tip for selling this summer is to put on your ‘buyers shoes’ and take a look around your house as if you were inspecting it for the first time on a hot, sunny day. Think about what appeals most to you and think of what you can do to further enhance that area. Also take the time to consider what needs to be done to fix any problem areas. Happy summer selling!


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Property Management Experts Turning To Technology To Work Smarter

Around the globe, more and more industries are investing heavily in emerging technologies and coming up with creative ways to use this technology to work smarter.

We’ve seen this trend lately within the real estate industry, particularly in regards to property management. At Harcourts, we’ve found that building the technology to equip our agents with the tools they need to do their job well has become critical.

Throughout the year, we provided our property managers with solid technology resources that we trust which are used to streamline the maintenance process between the client, the property manager and the contractor.

It’s definitely one of the clear benefits of being a part of a large real estate group who can afford to invest the time and money into ensuring their business is tech-savvy, as well as the resources to train you on how to get the most out of an app or program. Harcourts has both a dedicated technology department and e-business department. We see the areas as distinct from one another, but recognise the importance of both in a market where real estate professionals and consumers alike are embracing technology.

Consumers themselves are increasingly tech-savvy, especially when it comes to real estate, with most popular real estate websites also offering an accompanying property search app. We’ve seen an ever-growing number of people using technology to find properties for lease and to research before committing to inspecting properties.

There has also been an increasing number of renters turning to google maps, particularly street view for example, allowing prospective tenants to find out more about a property without having to view it in person first. This is one way technology helps qualify the tenants that are seriously interested in a property.

Technology is also improving efficiencies, CRM tools that allow you to keep track of all of your clients and tenants, apps which allow you to more quickly and easily stay on top of inspections, and time management and task allocation tools, mean that property managers should have more time to spend attending to the needs of their tenants and landlords, resulting in more satisfied clients.

These days, technology is helping us to manage every aspect of the customer lifecycle, from the beginning of a relationship, on an ongoing basis and at the end of the leasing/managing process. My view is that this gives our property managers back the valuable time they need to continue to build and strengthen relationships with their tenants and clients and at the end of the day, that’s reason enough to be investing in technology.


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8 Easy Tips that will Help Sell Your Unit

If you’re preparing your unit for sale or maybe just thinking about listing your unit the approach you take may need to be a little different to preparing a house for sale.

Why? In Australia over the past 12 months, the number of units sold has actually dropped, whereas the number of houses sold has risen, according to research conducted by Corelogic RP Data.

In this kind of market, it’s more important than ever to highlight the advantages of owning a unit to potential buyers.

After all, units tend to be a more affordable option than stand-alone houses, particularly when they are close to city centres. They’re lower maintenance and come in a range of styles and sizes, so you don’t always have to compromise on space.

Here, we’ve asked two of our experienced sales consultants who have helped sellers to sell many units in both CBD and coastal locations, what advice they give owners who are preparing a unit for sale.

Tip 1 – Always work with a unit and apartment specialist

Make sure you’re sales consultant has sold a number of similar properties before. It takes a very specialised skill-set to have success selling a property against others that are very similar and it’s often a much more difficult process than selling houses.

This is why it pays to use a sales consultant who knows the area well, and is well-versed in selling units.

Tip 2 – Start working with your sales consultant early

Make sure to choose your sales consultant and start working with them in advance of the property going on the market, says Bridget Gabites, of Harcourts Solutions Inner City.

“If I have four to six weeks up my sleeve I can work with my clients to make some simple, affordable and important changes to the apartment to give it some unique appeal.

“We compare the apartment to the others in the complex and something as simple as wallpapering a feature wall or putting ceiling fans in can be enough of a change to give your property the edge when going to market”, says Bridget.

Tip 3 – Advertise if the unit is pet friendly

Not all body corporates allow for pets within a unit, but it pays to do your research. Generally, units aren’t allowed a blanket ‘no pet’ policy unless it has been voted on and passed by owners, so make sure you find out, as the ability to own a pet can attract a much wider pool of buyers.

Tip 4 – If you have money set aside for the property, use it wisely

Harcourts Coastal sales consultant, Tina Sander says she has helped more clients attract the best price for their unit through great marketing rather than spending huge sums on home improvements and staging.

“I often say to clients if you have $10,000 set aside to promote the property, invest in a great, tailored marketing approach because this will ultimately ensure your unit is seen by the most buyers and this will ultimately help you to achieve the sales price you’re after”, says Tina.

Tip 5 – Make your unit stand out from the crowd

When selling a unit or apartment within the inner city suburbs or even in a coastal community, your main competition often comes from other units almost exactly the

same as yours – it can be really difficult to get an apartment to stand out from the crowd.

So focus in on your apartment’s most unique feature. That may be the view, the size, or a recent renovation. Work out what your winning factor is and make sure your sales consultant concentrates on it in their photos, the title of the advertisements and the written copy – your buyers need to be totally aware of the reason to buy your apartment over any others.

Tip 6 – Add small, appealing touches during open homes

Styling your apartment for inspections and marketing photos is essential to have it stand out from the crowd, but it doesn’t have to cost the earth. The first obvious step is to declutter, then it’s a matter of working with your sales specialist to figure out which small touches will make all the difference to buyers.

Think of adding bright, decorative pieces like throws, cushions and flowers, and make sure candles are lit and soft, appropriate music is playing during open homes.

“I always bring candles and music to each open home for my clients”, says Tina, whose believes it’s these small touches that will help your unit stand out from the neighbours.

Tip 7 – Make the most of your sales consultants time

Make sure to have two sales consultants at your open homes, this is something you can request through your sales consultant. One consultant should be at the front of the building and another upstairs in your apartment. Your lead sales consultant should be with the buyers talking through all the features and benefits – not standing at the door.

Tip 8 – Give potential buyers as much as information as possible

Giving buyers as much information about the unit as possible is a good idea so they know exactly why it is that your apartment is the one for them over a similar one.

“I make sure I have a detailed property booklets which include a floorplan ready to give potential buyers, which answers any question they might have on the unit”, says Tina.

“When it comes to selling coastal units, we also invest in aerial shots that show exactly how far a property is from the beach, so that buyers can really see the benefit in buying this particular unit”.

Choosing the right sales consultant, and working with them early are the first key steps to successfully marketing and selling your unit. If you’re based in Brisbane or the Gold Coast in Queensland, why not contact our sales specialists mentioned in this blog post?

Brisbane sales specialist, Bridget Gabites, at Harcourts Solutions Inner City can be reached on 0424 628 877 or at bridget.gabites@harcourts.com.au.

Gold Coast sales specialist, Tina Sander, at Harcourts Coastal can be reached on 0418 878 901 or at tina.sander@harcourts.com.au.