Monthly Archives: October 2015
Purchasing a home is both a financial and emotional decision so the look and feel of your home will be an important factor in attracting interested buyers. Here are our top tips for helping you make your home more attractive to buyers.
1. First impressions count
What will people see the first time they walk up to your house? Make sure your property has ‘curbside appeal’ with a well-maintained fence, driveway, letterbox, front door, lawns, hedging, and exterior. Outdoor living is a big selling point so make your outdoor space inviting.
Remove clutter from your home and put it in storage. This includes oversized or too much furniture, large bench top appliances, and personal items like photographs, CDs, books and magazines. This will make your home appear bigger and allow buyers to picture themselves in the space.
3. The personal touch
Your house should feel like a home. Once you’ve decluttered, a few personal touches such as flowers, a bowl of fruit on your kitchen counter, and a pot plant here and there will do wonders to help buyers feel like your property could be their dream home.
4. Freshen up your walls with a coat of paint
Use a neutral, light shade to make your home appear more spacious. This also gives prospective buyers a blank canvas to visualise what they would do with a room. Don’t forget to paint or varnish the doors too.
5. Make your home sparkle
Clean every room in your home, including the windows inside and out. In particular, ensure your bathroom sparkles, remove any mould and replace your shower curtain. While you’re cleaning, you should eliminate the source of any unpleasant odours inside and outside your home. A bad smell will quickly turn off prospective buyers.
6. Do necessary repairs
Buyers don’t want to spend their time or money doing repairs to a home they’ve just bought. You can remove that barrier by fixing anything off its hinges, replacing broken tiles, repairing holes in walls etc. Replace threadbare carpet and ensure wooden floors are well maintained. Give your home some TLC so that buyers know that it’s been well looked after.
7. Kitchens sell houses
If you can afford to invest a bit of capital before you sell, spend it in the kitchen. Reface or replace your cabinetry and upgrade counter tops. If you’re whiteware is old, consider renting modern appliances.
8. Brighten your home
Aim for soft lighting throughout the home and bright light in the kitchen and bathroom. Use lamps to brighten dark corners. If you have old curtains or blinds, take them down and replace them with basic cotton or linen ones and make sure they are tied back to make the most of any natural light. Make sure you replace burnt out light bulbs.
We love our pets but not everybody else does. Be aware that many people have allergies to, or are simply not used to animals. Keep them out of the way when prospective buyers are visiting your home.
It may sound like a lot of work, but doing these simple things, can really pay dividends by helping you to attract interested buyers. Remember, you’re not just selling a property but a potential new lifestyle for the homeowner so put yourself in their shoes when preparing your home for sale.
As an agent working in relatively stable conditions, it can be easy to forget about the periods of influx our industry goes through, especially if you’re just starting out. The important thing to remember when living on a fluctuating income is, you need to putting a percentage of every sale aside, and building wealth now to offset the leaner times that do eventually roll around.
Of course it’s not only possible to survive in harder times, but thrive in our industry if you have the right systems in place. There’s a few ways that you can do this:
Enlist the help of an accounted who understands your industry
Do you have a good accountant who understands the fluctuating nature of the real estate business? This is really important, as a one size fits all approach won’t necessarily work for your budget or savings plan. So much sure you find someone who either works with others in the real estate industry or understands the nature of a fluctuating income.
This might seem obvious, but so many times those on a fluctuating income can see themselves setting aside only enough to pay the bills, with the remainder going towards discretionary expenses. Just because you don’t have the same amount coming in every month doesn’t mean you can’t set clear, achievable goals to save for and make a plan to get there.
Figure out what it is you want at the end of your career. Early retirement? Own your own office? Or just a large nest egg for security.
Invest in property
Do you own or are you saving to own your own property? I’m constantly amazed at how many young agents don’t own their own property. Over the long-term, property is still considered one of the most stable investments you can make. As mentioned above, set a goal to save a deposit in a reasonable timeframe, given your earnings over the last few years, and talk to an accountant or financial planner on the best way to get there.
Consider other investments
It doesn’t have to end with property either. If you’ve been having a particularly good quarter, with more cash in your pocket than you budgeted for, why not look at other investment options? Well-planned investments can help to bolster your income in leaner times, and can certainly help as we reach the end of our careers.
Give back to the community
When times are good, ask yourself what are you doing for charity? Supporting local charities, schools or community programs is not only a terrific way to give back to the community, it’s also a great way to become a bigger part of your community, something I believe is crucial in our industry.
This doesn’t always have to amount to financial support either if that’s not possible. You can always volunteer for a cause, or offer to raise awareness of their behalf. It could be something you encourage your office or franchise to take part in as well.
It can certainly be a challenge living well on a fluctuating income, but it’s definitely achievable with planning and guidance. Seek independent financial advice, implement a budget and set goals. Don’t be afraid of investment or giving back to community you work and live in.
When investing in property abroad, you should take care to manage your exchange rate risk appropriately, since currency fluctuations can have a significant impact on the overall success of your real estate investment.
Not only is it important to get a great deal on the initial exchange rate that you transfer your local currency at in order to purchase your property investment abroad, but subsequent exchange rate changes often require management or hedging in order to minimise risks and maximise returns.
The following sections cover some straightforward methods for managing your property investment currency risk efficiently.
Shop around for the best exchange rate when buying property abroad
A key thing to remember when making the initial currency transfer for an overseas property purchase is that you are generally not locked into using your local bank for foreign exchange transactions.
This means that you can shop around among various banks for the best exchange rate, which can often save you as much as 1-4% on your currency transfers. You can also use reputable currency transfer providers like OzForex, who work hard to make sure that all of your currency transfers will be both cost effective and straight forward to perform.
Furthermore, not only can you shop around for the best exchange rate on your large initial property deposit, but you can also get better exchange rates on your regular currency transfers if you plan on making periodic mortgage payments in a foreign currency.
Placing currency Limit Orders
Placing a Limit Order with your foreign exchange provider is another way to help you get the best exchange rate on your property-related currency transfers.
When you enter a limit order, you will need to specify an exchange rate level, a currency pair, an amount of one currency and whether you wish to buy or sell that amount at that level.
If the market exchange rate subsequently fluctuates to your specified level, then your foreign exchange provider will buy or sell the specified amount of currency for you automatically based on your instructions.
Limit orders are especially helpful because people cannot be watching the actively fluctuating foreign exchange market all of the time, and so they might miss out on a short lived exchange rate improvement. Although limit orders are often used when dealing through stock brokers, this useful ability is rarer among foreign exchange providers. Be sure to ask whether your currency transfer provider offers limit orders if you think you might wish to use them.
Managing currency risks with Forwards Exchange Contracts
Most real estate investments have a fairly long time horizon. As a result, people who invest in property abroad typically tend to manage their long term currency risk by using Forward Exchange Contracts as a hedge against adverse exchange rate movements.
These contracts permit you to lock in a market-determined exchange rate for a certain amount of currency and a given future delivery date. The Forward Exchange rate you receive is related mathematically to the prevailing spot rate and the current interest rate differential between deposits in the two currencies involved in the transaction.
Forward contracts can be used as much as 12 months in advance of when you anticipate actually needing the foreign currency to make payments related to your foreign investment property.
It could sound like a complicated process, but if you’re contemplating investing in an overseas investment property, or have one currently and are thinking of exploring some of the options above, talk to foreign exchange service provider who can walk you through your options.
Are you applying for a rental property, but you’re not sure how to put your best foot forward? Here we’ve canvassed some of the top tips when it comes to applying for a rental property from some of our property management specialists.
Have all your information clearly printed on the application with all supporting documents attached. This just makes the process that much easier and quicker for everyone.
Leave blanks on applications. This will only slow down the agency processing the application and means you could potentially lose the property to another fully completed application.
Make sure all referees are aware that you are applying for a property and ensure they’re happy and available to answer any questions. Sometimes these calls can come as a surprise to referees who are then less willing to give out a reference over the phone. Again, this further slows down your application and may mean you’ll potentially miss out on the property.
Dress poorly when going to a rental inspection. Treat the meeting as you would a job interview and make sure you leave a positive first impression. Dressing neatly gives the impression that you will be a neat and tidy tenant.
Make sure your payroll/HR department are also aware that you are applying for a rental property and give them permission to verify your salary information over the phone to the property manager. This information is important for a property manager to confirm as it will help to determine your capacity to meet regular rental payments. Note that this information is kept strictly confidential.
Be dishonest in your rental application. If you would like the landlord or property manager to consider allowing you to have a pet, be upfront about this expectation, be honest about your job status and salary and if you’re planning to live with a roommate. It’s always better to have these conversations before signing any paperwork to ensure neither you nor your property manager are put in an uncomfortable position after you’ve begun your tenancy.
If you are a fist time renter, you may be concerned about proving your rental history. Don’t worry, the main things your landlord and property manager will be looking for are your ability to meet regular rental payments, to take care of the property and meet the terms and conditions of the rental agreement.
If you do miss out on a rental property, don’t be disheartened! Speak with the property manager managing the property about other potential properties on the market, or to keep you informed of similar properties as they become available.
If you’re weighing up which option is right for you, consider both the short and long-term pros and cons of both.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2.16 million renting families are pet owners – and over 60% of Australian families have pets.
“Your customers will always be more persuasive than you.”
Personal recommendations carry so much more weight than expensive advertising. As real estate marketers we understand the power of social proof. We use it in our presentation and marketing materials to build trust with potential customers and convince them to do business with us.
Examples of social proof include:
- Real stories
- Client testimonials
Client testimonials are an essential part of social proof. Most people today will research online to look at your reviews before making a decision to call you.
One of the most powerful pages on your website is your testimonials page.
Group your reviews for bigger impact. A group of testimonials proves your claim “Lots of people are choosing me.“ Seeing testimonial after testimonial sends a visual signal that you have widespread appeal.
Use many short quotes to showcase as many people as you can. Twenty compelling statements are more powerful than five lengthy testimonials.
Your reviews need to be believable. What you need are real testimonials. Avoid clichéd or overly flowery praise. Talk about results and ask your clients what was their greatest concern or obstacle and how you helped them overcome it. The converted cynic is often more convincing than the raving fan.
Include names and locations with permission. Photos of your reviewers are further proof that your testimonials are real and they enhance the persuasiveness of the review.
Sometimes, you get a gem that says it all. It may be a story several paragraphs long or a three to five minute video. Separate these from your grouped testimonials and feature them as success stories. Stories capture our attention and wrap us up in the details and people are more likely to listen to and remember the message relayed.
Create a playlist of client video testimonials on YouTube linked to your website.
To get Google search traffic to find you first, you want you and your business to come up in the search with the most reviews. There could be several customer reviews written about you on other sites, such as personal blogs. Set up daily notifications in Google Alerts in order to find, and ask permission to repost, good reviews onto your website. Track Harcourts, your office, your name plus the word review.
If you have a Facebook business page it now comes with a ‘Reviews’ tab. You could offer a giveaway for people who send in a written or video review. The better your offer, the more reviews you’re likely to receive. Why not encourage all of your team to leave a review on your site.
Whenever you come across a negative review about you or your business, it is essential that you respond to it. If you have offered to help solve the problem in a public forum, potential clients will see that you care about your clients.
Visit us at www.harcourtsacademy.com to view our written testimonial eBook
Visit us on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/user/harcourtsacademy to watch our video testimonials from around the world
Put your audience first and helping them to be successful in real estate will take you a long way. Here are a few more handy tips to keep you in play.
The vast majority of today’s consumers go online to research real estate sales consultants before they invite you into their home?