Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Burrawang - Best NSW Pub!

Julie and I are great mates with the owners of Burrawang Pub. Last night at the SMH Good Pub Food Guide Awards they won Best Country Pub AND best Overall Pub for NSW. We couldn't think of a more deserving reward for the incredible hard work and dedication they offer to the responsible drinking public. I recall back in the early 90's, Ed and Julie were looking for a run down pub they could weave their magic around and they certainly found it in the little village of Burrawang. Having done their time in various ownership and managerial roles in Jerilderie and Wollongong, they felt it was time to capitalise on their skills and experience. They took over at Burrawang in January 1993 and they were greeted within a couple of days of ownership with a huge hail storm that smashed most of the south facing windows and stripped all the wonderful trees of their leaves. Welcome to your new home! I've watched the long hours and tasteful evolution of the Burrawang Pub into its award winning persona over the past 19 years. And in fact Julie and I were married in the grounds of the pub in 2008.
Congratulations to Ed, Julie, Peter and all the team at Burrawang Pub.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Weekly Wrap up - Apart-Age is alive and well?

The recently introduced National Credit Code has had a side effect. Previously banks were comfortable lending to over 50's (even using 20-30 year loan terms) as most loans are paid out in under 12 years. The banks are now tightening their lending criteria. Lenders now 'ask for evidence of how the borrower will pay out the loan on retirement or death, using the code to explain their decision. The code requires lenders to ensure borrowers can afford to service their loans.'
I'd be interested to know the delinquency rate for a mortgagor who takes out a loan after the age of 50. I suspect it's quite low!
Real Estate Matters:
Reserve Bank decision due tomorrow on official cash rates. Like most of these monthly events, there are various opinions on which way the RBA will jump. Its unlikely to be anything greater than a 0.25% drop if at all. My betting is that they will keep their powder dry and leave rates where they are. The European situation is still very volatile and the RBA will likely want scope to reduce rates if things go really turtle up.
We saw 2386 unique visits to our web properties which has remained steady for a couple of weeks.
Auction clearance rates - Sydney 53% and Melbourne 55%

Quote for the week:
How old would you be if you didn't know how old you are?
- Leroy (Satchel) Paige

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Weekly Wrap up - Wollongong, the preferred riders destination

I took some time out to watch the world class cycling field on Satuday afternoon at Wollongong lighthouse. I noticed a few things:
  1. The road surface was superb - it was obvious someone had focussed on getting this right
  2. It was a class field - Stage winners on European Grand Tours, Olympic Gold Medalists, World Champions on both track and road, and the Russian Olympic Cycling Team to name a few
  3. They are damn quick - I clocked the Elite Men circulating at 42km/hr average and up to 48km/hr average in the last couple of laps
  4. It's difficult to get 90 elite riders around a near hairpin bend together at 42km/hr
  5. Hotmix is not very forgiving when you come off
  6. I forgot to put suncream on my thonged feet!
I've also subsequently read the Russian Team was so impressed with Wollongong, they've extended their stay by a week for more training.
I believe the drive to get the event to Wollongong came from David Farmer and Gordon Bradbery...well done leaders. Wollongong is ideally set up for sportsmen and women and with a rich tradition of elite sportsmen from the area this can only enhance our reputation.

Real Estate Matters:
Again we noticed Open House attendances were generally down with a fairly robust rain storm on Saturday morning contributing to the outcome. This was actually in contrast to the Sydney experience where afternoon auctions were fairly well attended with active and successful bidding.
We saw 2218 unique visits to our properties on-line for the week ending Saturday 26th November.
Auction clearance rates - Sydney 55% and Melbourne 50%

Quote for the week:
Think globally, act locally.
- Rene Dubos

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Weekly Wrap up - Wonderful news for Wollongong - Lets build on it!

Over the years, the Wollongong Mall and its environs have copped their fair share of flack. And it would be very hard to argue against the present mall being well past its use by date.
GPT is about to start the West Keira project, the Mall is getting a wonderful Christmas makeover and positive energy is returning to the CBD.
So how do we build on this?
It's time to revamp the total look of the city.
An example of the incredible change to habits can be seen with the Blue Mile project on the waterfront. Have you noticed how many people are using this now? And the coastal nay sayers who didn't want change are very quiet.
Should the old Illawarra County Council building on the corner of Burelli and Church Street be demolished? The argument is it blocks access to McCabe Park both visually and literally. What about the atrocity that is West Crown Street? How do we build on the lifestyle aspects of living in Wollongong (a Sydney based friend recently complained on line that his commute to work was now 2 hours each way - that equates to 40 x 24hr days per year out of his life. Tell me who has THAT worry living and working in Wollongong?). Bring it on!

I like the strategic themes as outlined in the Wollongong Futures Strategy Report 2025
  • Living City – urban environment, local communities, natural environment policies, lifestyle
  • Innovative City - regional economy, cultural industries
  • Connected City – transport, telecommunications
  • Inclusive City – social plan, equity, governance, community engagement
Real Estate Matters:
Our team has secured 4 sales over the past two weeks with open house attendance a little down on previous weeks. Is this a reflection of reduced stock levels or an early Christmas trend?
We saw 2321 unique visits to our properties on-line for the week ending 19th November.
Auction clearance rates - Sydney 52% and Melbourne 47%

Quote for the week:
A vision is not just a picture of what could be; it is an appeal to our better selves, a call to become something more.
- Rosabeth Moss Kanter

Monday, November 14, 2011

Weekly wrap up: Kiwi Spectacular

This weeks post is coming to you from Lake Tekapo on the South Island of New Zealand. Julie and I are here to attend a wedding at The Church of the Good Sheppard. http://alpinecottage.co.nz/pics/church2_fraser_gunn.jpg
And taking a little bit of time out too. There are a few things evident.
1. New Zealanders are some of the most 'house proud' people on the planet. Everything is spotlessly clean, no vandalism and some of the friendliest smiles anywhere.
2. Christchurch and environs are suffering from EAS. Earthquake Avoidance Syndrome. Christchurch got smashed on Feb 22 this year. They are slowly reestablishing the city with many buildings still to be demolished.
3. We are known as FIT's. Free Independent Travellers...not attached to a tour group.
4. There are All Black flags EVERYWHERE! Still!  
5. You don't need to go to Europe to see some of the most spectacular scenery on earth. It's just across the ditch.
6. There are some 35,000 kiwis a year moving to OZ to pick up great salaries as part of the mining/resource boom. That's how bad our skill shortage is.
7. Ad creators in eNZed have a wonderful sense of humour. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CtWirGxV7Q8&feature=youtube_gdata_player  
8. The lamb is sensational!
Let me expand on EAS a little. This is my term however Christchurch numbers are down incredibly. Even travelers are avoiding flying into the place. Generally they are flying into Wellington, catching the ferry across to Pucton, travelling down the west coast and flying out of Queenstown thereby avoiding the earthquake area altogether. And Christchurch is suffering. Property values have plummeted, much needed tourist dollars are missing and there's a collective paranoia. Jules and I will be travelling back to Christchurch tomorrow and in the tradition of kiwi ingenuity look forward to walking around the Cashel Street Mall.  http://www.smh.com.au/travel/travel-news/think-outside-the-square-20111102-1mvar.html 
As for real estate stuff in Wollongong? I have been kept in the dark by our wonderful team while we enjoy some time out. I have no doubt they are kicking some serious goals in our absence. 

Monday, November 7, 2011

Weekly Wrap up - Sydney to the Gong and beyond

Completed the Sydney to the Gong ride yesterday and apart from making sure sufficient oxygen to sustain life reached my vital organs on the climbs, I had 3hrs 30 mins to reflect on a few things.
We really have world class scenery. Botany Bay, Georges River, the wonderful rainforest of Royal National Park and then the stunning Illawarra coastline to the finish. We do live in an amazing part of the planet - sometimes taken for granted.
I was gobsmacked by the quality of the organisation that delivered 10 thousand of my fellow bike riders to the finish at North Wollongong. Major roads were closed including National Park, dedicated bike lanes operated for most of the 90kms and every important intersection had Police and volunteers to guide us safely through.
And then the fundraising bit. I've raised $1090 so far and this was made even more poignant via a post by a Facebook friend. She thanked me for the contribution as she was a recipient of the MS fundraising. Makes it that much more personal - Thank you, Maya.
To real estate matters!
We sold three properties through the week (including one at Auction) with 35 people through 5 open houses.
Auction clearance rates: - Sydney 56% and Melbourne 55% reflecting a steady turnover.
First home buyers are expected to remain the main sales turnover force until the end of the year and the Reserve Banks decision to drop official interest rates by 0.25% will inject a little more confidence into the market.
Once again - thank you to all my sponsors for the ride. There is still time to contribute if you feel so inclined. Just click the link in today's Blog title.
Quote for the week:
"It is not fair to ask of others what you are unwilling to do yourself."
- Eleanor Roosevelt

Monday, October 31, 2011

Weekly Wrap up - Get up to speed, Valuers!

We are spending an extraordinary amount of time working with Valuers on sale prices for properties.
When you buy, the amount you can borrow against a property is determined mainly by two things. Your capacity to pay (usually a maximum of 30% of your gross income for ALL debt based repayments - including credit cards, car loans etc) and the valuation of the property (a maximum LVR - Loan to Value Ratio of 80% - 90%). The rush by First Home Buyers has caught a lot by surprise. Not the least of whom are the Valuers. We now have two sales by genuine buyers competing with others being threatened by valuers. Based on the feedback from the valuers, I suspect you will see a lot more before they 'get up to speed'. I'm not sure what extra evidence they need. The market has moved up in the last month for properties under $400k. No question. Like a lot of forensic reviewers, the valuers react AFTER the fact. Lets hope its not too late for First Home Buyers to benefit from no stamp duty.
Auction results: Sydney 54% with Melbourne 48%
As I write this, the Melbourne Cup has been run and won and the RBA has dropped official interest rates by 0.25%.
The retailers are doing it tough and Australians are hanging onto their money to pay out debt. Lets hope this move by the Reserve Bank will tempt some to spend for Christmas.
Quote for the week:
If we did the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves.- Thomas Alva Edison

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Weekly Wrap up - No sudden deluge

No great big emergency, no sudden deluge...just a steady repeat of last weeks numbers.
We held 11 open houses with 71 attendees. A total of 3422 unique visits to our properties on the web and 3 sales negotiated.
Auction results: Sydney 56% with Melbourne 60%
Again we are hearing the lower end of the market is still the most active. We have negotiated $5.73m worth of sales since 1st September with a median sale price of $330,000.
I have included an excerpt from SMH Business Day Section from today:
"Australia's inflation eased more than expected in the September quarter, increasing the likelihood that the Reserve Bank will cut interest rates at next week's meeting. The dollar dived on the news. Headline consumer price inflation rose 0.6 per cent in the quarter and 3.5 per cent for the year - both tallies exactly as economists had predicted. The RBA's preferred measures of inflation, though, were both lower than the market had been expecting, a signal investors took to mean that the central bank would now have more room to cut rates on Melbourne Cup Day."I think this clears the way for a rate cut," said Shane Oliver, chief economist, AMP Capital. "The Reserve Bank had highlighted how important these numbers were....Our view has been that they will cut next week and this reinforces that."
Quote for the week:
Great things are done by a series of small things brought together. - Vincent van Gogh

Monday, October 17, 2011

Weekly Wrap up - A pat on the back, A brickbat and A bouquet

My wife and I were in Canberra on the weekend. White fluffy clouds, birds singing in the trees and a comfortable 22 degs. Saturday morning, my phone rang. One of our sales agents was obviously stressed. Danny shouted, 'I can't get there!'. Eventually the torrential events of that Illawarra morning emerged with his journey between open houses blocked by debris, flooded streets and police cars. THAT was a surreal conversation amongst our pleasant surroundings. This was the first open house on 1 Prospect Street, Mt St Thomas. Well...his Kluger found footpaths, water crossings and back streets to eventually arrive only a few minutes late to allow 9 people through the home. Well done Danny O'Neill - a truly committed sales agent!

Despite the weather we had 74 inspections on 10 open homes and a staggering 3,925 visits to our internet listings for the week. 2 sales were negotiated with 2 properties being close to sale.
Auction results: Sydney 55% with Melbourne 51%. Agents report the first home buyers in Sydney are out in force like the Illawarra with the removal of the First Home Buyers Plus scheme fueling buying decisions in the lower range. If you are thinking of selling, talk to us well before 31st December as we believe you will benefit from the extra buyer activity now.

Now - the Brickbat. On two occasions I saw bike riders in Canberra ignore red lights at speed. They didn't slow. How are genuine riders going to claim any credibility on the road while riding red necks do this?! I'm a regular bike rider and felt ashamed by their actions. Wake up guys!

And the Bouquet - Belluci's in Manuka is an institution and Julie and I had a wonderful meal there on Saturday night. The place was packed, service was fantastico, food was bellisimo but what really stood out for us was the acknowledgement we received from the chef, numerous wait staff and Maitre d' as we left! In an obviously busy environment, each one took time out for a warm greeting and goodbye. Easy to see why they are so successful and something we can all learn.

Quote for the week:
Appreciation can make a day, even change a life. Your willingness to put it into words is all that is necessary.
- Margaret Cousins

Monday, October 10, 2011

Weekly Wrap up - What a WOW of a weekend!

Let me start with the weekend results - 11 x advertised open houses, 2 x agent appointment open houses and 98 people through these 13 properties. In addition we have negotiated 4 sales from the weekend activity. That truly is a WOW!
We had an incredible 2,874 unique visits (average 143 per property) to our internet advertised properties for the week.
This reinforces our belief the Wollongong market is travelling well - in fact better than the general media would suggest.
Well done, Team.
Both of our auction properties were passed in on Thursday night with one of those properties being sold on the weekend. Of the 8 properties we have put to auction in the last 3 months, only one remains unsold. And that property was auctioned last thursday night!
Auction clearance rates for Sydney were 55% which is on the low end of normal and 60% for Melbourne (courtesy of Domain).

This weeks quote:
You can't wring your hands and roll up your sleeves at the same time.
- Pat Schroeder

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs from his Stanford speech in 2005.

"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything - all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.

"Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

"No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new.

"Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true."

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Weekly Wrap up - there are buyers out there!

With the long weekend and everyone elsewhere, we only opened 5 properties this past weekend and subsequently saw a small turnout at our open homes. However, it appears it was well worth it as a genuine buyer (who took a contract copy) turned up at one of the houses.
We had a total of 1,879 unique visits onto our sale properties from the web for the week averaging 104 per property.
What is also telling for the market is the 10 sales we secured for the month of September. I'm aware of some areas in the state (and also SE Queensland) who's offices are doing 10 sales for the year.
I also believe this is due to the sales team and their abilities - well done, team!
Auction clearance rates for Sydney were 57% and Melbourne - 44%. I suspect the Melbourne figure was due to the Footy grandfinal. (and really...who would auction in Melbourne on GF day!).
We have two properties being auctioned this Thursday 6th October with both attracting buyers. Will report the outcome next week.
In the meantime - happy house hunting.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Weekly Wrap up - First Home Buyers Rule...

We held 8 open houses on the weekend with 27 attendees. Lowest priced property via private treaty was $315,000 with the highest $565,000. We also have two auction properties going to the market on 6th October with price guides above $325,000 and $800,000 respectively. Most activity is in the first home owners arena with concerns about the removal of Stamp Duty concessions for First Home Buyers from 31st December fueling activity. In addition we had 1,638 unique visits to our properties on the web.
We sold 3 properties.
Auction clearance rate for Sydney was 59% with Melbourne 53%. This is marginally up on last weeks figure for Sydney (57%) and down for Melbourne (down from 57%)
The first home buyer trend is set to continue.
What do we make of this? Our sales team tell me buyers are still out there despite generally negative media about overseas issues. That tells me East Coast Aussies have money in their pocket and a cautiously optimistic view. Correct property pricing is paramount with buyers shunning properties overpriced by even a small amount.
If you are considering selling and your property is under $500,000, I would recommend you talk to us about listing your real estate now - to sell before these concessions are removed.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Last weeks wrap up!

We are seeing a mix of confidence levels in buyers at this time with open house attendees a little down on past weeks. On the flip side, those that turn out are genuine buyers. We notice that follow up calls to buyers will often find they have purchased.
A great indicator in your suburb is 'sold signs'. We are still seeing sale boards with sold on them in a comfortable time frame.
Clearance rates in the major capitals are on the low end of normal (57% in Sydney and Melbourne). Interestingly this is up from the winter clearance rates of 52%.
I heard an interview with the co-ordinator of the 'Jobs Market' on ABC Illawarra this morning. This will be held this weekend at the Illawarra Hockey Stadium at Unanderra. She has nearly 80 exhibitors with 1,000's of jobs available, some local and others out of area. This must be of some comfort to those potentially losing their jobs as a result of the Bluescope announcement.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Latest Property News from Ted Hanson

Friday 16 September 2011
Auction gavel poised above Berkeley school

The possible sale of the abandoned Berkeley South Public School would be a sad occasion for Berkeley mother and a former dux of the school, Phuong Barraclough.

Mrs Barraclough and her three siblings attended the now derelict school as children, and she would have liked her two-year-old daughter, Caitlin, to go there as well.

But the empty classrooms have not seen a student since the end of 2009, when falling enrolments forced the school to close its gates indefinitely.

Read the article

How are Australians spending their money?

Half the money that Australian households spend on goods and services goes on housing, food and transport, according to a major survey released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

The latest Household Expenditure Survey (HES) showed the average Australian household spent $1,236 per week on goods and services in 2009-10, an increase of 38 per cent ($343 per week) from the previous 2003-04 survey.

In contrast, prices as measured by the consumer price index (CPI) increased by 19 per cent, indicating a rise in real living standards over the five years.

The largest increases in average weekly household expenditure since 2003-04 were:

  • current housing costs (selected dwelling), up $80 (55 per cent), due in part to increased mortgage interest payments, up $35 (75 per cent) and increased rent payments, up $32 (68 per cent)
  • food and non-alcoholic beverages, up $51 (34 per cent)
  • recreation, up $47 (41 per cent)
  • miscellaneous goods and services, up $37 (46 per cent), partly due to increased spending on education fees for primary and secondary schools, up $10 (107 per cent).

The level of weekly expenditure varied across states and territories. Households in the Australian Capital Territory ($1,536) and the Northern Territory ($1,500) recorded the highest average weekly expenditures.

The lowest average weekly expenditures were in South Australia ($1,044) and Tasmania ($1,064).
The average weekly expenditure of households located in capital cities was $1,310, compared with $1,107 in areas outside of capital cities.

Couple family households with dependent children had much higher average weekly expenditure on goods and services ($1,748) than the national average. Households with one person aged 65 years or over had a much lower weekly expenditure ($446) on average.

Refinancing surges on back of competition

Mortgage sales surged in August as borrowers took advantage of the competitive lending environment to get a better deal on their home loans, mortgage broker AFG said this week.

More than $2.7 billion of mortgages were processed by AFG in August - the highest volume figure since March 2010. Refinancing accounted for 38.2 per cent of all mortgages, with a sharp increase in fixed rate home loans as lenders heavily discounted their rates.

Fixed home loans comprised 9.4 per cent of all loans processed compared to 7.9 per cent in July - the highest level since December 2010.

Mark Hewitt, General Manager of Sales and Operations said that while August figures are typically stronger than previous months, these figures trend well above seasonal expectations.

"Borrower expectations about interest rates shifted significantly during August", Hewitt said.

"We're seeing a lot of refinancing as borrowers take advantage of discounted products, but we'd like to see lenders create more flexible and competitive products for the new home building sector.

"It isn't just consumer confidence that is holding back this sector, it is also the availability of attractive finance options."

Along with refinancing, investment is the strongest sector of the market. New South Wales led the nation with 40.8 per cent of all new home loans for investment purposes. This compares with 38.1 per cent in Victoria, 34.4 per cent in Queensland, 33.5 per cent in South Australia and 33.4 per cent in WA.

First time buyers comprise 13.8 per cent of the market nationally. They are strongest in New South Wales (15.7 per cent) and WA (14.8 per cent) with less activity in Victoria (13.3 per cent), Queensland (13.1 per cent) and South Australia (9.3 per cent).

For the past two months, loan to value ratios (LVRs), the value of loans expressed as a percentage of property values, have moved up from 64.2 per cent to 67.7 per cent nationally, as the proportion of first home buyers entering the market has risen.

Five easy paint pick-me-ups

When time and money are in short supply, it's hard to think about big remodelling projects. But with a little imagination and a small outlay for top quality paint, you can quickly make big changes in the appearance of your home's interior or exterior.

Here are five ways to economically remodel with paint:

Idea #1

Paint just an accent wall. Instead of painting an entire room, consider painting just one wall in a different colour. A so-called accent wall can add visual interest to any space and create an opportunity to introduce another hue into your colour scheme.

Idea #2

Paint the area above (or below) a chair rail. If your home is blessed with chair rails, think about repainting just the wall area above or below the rail. The natural break created by the trim provides a convenient boundary for the new paint colour.

Idea #3

Paint just the interior windows and trim. Another option is to stick with your wall colour, but paint your windows, molding and trim. This can produce dramatic change in almost any room, but especially in those where the walls are painted in a neutral colour like beige or off-white.

Idea #4

Paint the front door. Ask any realtor and he or she will tell you that the front entrance is what creates the first impression about a home. By adding a fresh coat of paint to the door, you can ensure that first impression will be favourable. (Note to those who are selling a home: Repainting the front door may be the best investment you ever make.)

Idea #5

Paint just a few exterior architectural details. Even if you don't have to paint your home exterior for maintenance reasons, you might want to consider painting a few architectural details for appearance sake. Shutters are one possibility. But if you are lucky enough to own a house with some ornamental fretwork, flaunt it by painting the trim in a strong colour that contrasts with the colour of your exterior walls.

What exactly do I own when I buy a unit?

When you buy a unit it is most likely that it is purchased as a "strata titled" property.

This means you own the interior space (including balconies, courtyard, paint and garage) of the unit and share ownership of common areas within the unit block such as hallways, common walls, exterior grounds, pools, tennis courts and other facilities.

Having common ownership usually means you will have to pay a fee, normally quarterly, for the ongoing maintenance of common facilities. Before you buy a unit, make sure you understand what common area or strata levies you will have to pay.

This container takes the cake

When it comes to baked goods, cupcakes could be considered the jack-of-all-trades. Not too heavy, not too light, they're suited to a vast range of situations, and they always get the job done.

Playing off the diverse situations cupcakes accompany, Dutch designer Beerd van Stokkum has created Sweet Cake, a multipurpose container shaped like a giant cupcake wrapper. Made from a thick eco-friendly synthetic material, the wrapper can be used indoors and out, for anything from bathing a child to bedding a pet, potting flowers or acting as an esky - the list goes on. How sweet is that!

Easements are important

If the property you are buying has an easement such as a sewer line which crosses another property, make sure this is recorded on the property's title documents. Check also that there is a provision which allows you to enter onto your neighbour's property if and when you need to repair the easement.

If you are not sure if the property you are buying is affected by an easement, ask your solicitor to check the sales contract.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Another very satisfied customer!

Vendor Testimonial – 49 Parkes Street, Helensburgh
It’s the 1st of September and a letter has arrived at our new address from Southern Estates informing us that the sale of our Helensburgh property is now settled. What a great Spring beginning. The whole experience has been a seamless process that has been professionally handled by Southern Estates and associated services right from the beginning.
We met Jason Capelo while viewing our eventual new home in Wollongong. He was helpful and informative at every step. No question was too silly or enquiry problematic. The world that he opened up for us was thrilling in its possibilities and he handled the transition for us from buyers to sellers with ease and confidence. Danny O'Neill and all the other Southern Estates employees that assisted us were of the highest integrity and professional conduct.
The associated services of Solicitor, Mortgage Broker and Auctioneer worked as a team to assist us through the maze of red tape involved in property sales. The approach that Southern Estates takes in their business is to be highly commended. We consider ourselves lucky to have happened upon Southern Estates and wholeheartedly commend their services to other potential clients.

Sharon and Chris

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Latest Property News from Ted Hanson

Friday 19 August 2011
Chalices a signal of spring

WHILE a magnolia tree in full bloom is a joyful sight, the highlight for me is the emergence of the first pink bud on my deciduous M. x soulangeana. And the first one emerged last week. It was a magical and symbolic moment. Hopefully, it's a sign that the cold, grey days of winter are coming to an end and spring is around the corner.

Read the article

Taking advantage

Lower fixed rates have been enticing Australian borrowers to review their home loans recently, as lenders continue to bring out special product offers.

The average three-year fixed term interest rate (the most popular type) has not been this low since October 2009 and new home loan deals are constantly being released, according to independent mortgage broker Mortgage Choice.

Company spokesperson Kristy Sheppard said this week that more than one third of the broker's lender panel has reduced interest rates on some or all of their fixed-term home loans in the past week, some more than once.

"They are reacting to changes to their funding costs, subdued home loan demand and uncertain economic conditions by re-pricing fixed rate loans and continuing to bring out attractive loan offers in the hope of boosting the flow of customers walking through their doors", Ms Sheppard said.

"Borrowers are the overall winners in a landscape that provides more affordable home loan choices."
She warned, however, that mortgage holders considering switching loans and/or lenders should not be influenced solely by the interest rate.

Exit fees for the current mortgage should be considered, as well as other aspects of the new loan such as initial and recurring costs, ability to make extra repayments and redraw, flexibility, lender service and how long it will take to be approved.

"If choosing a fixed rate, investigate rate lock fees for securing today's offers and be aware of possible break costs if you decide to switch again during the fixed period", Ms Sheppard warned.

"Also consider how you will feel if you lock in and then watch interest rates fall down the track", she added.

An increasing number of borrowers are weighing up their home loan options via online comparison calculators. In the first fortnight of August, comparison website HelpMeChoose saw a 32% increase in refinancing enquiries when compared to the average for July.

"Online comparison sites are a great starting point for exploring loans, but nothing beats a thorough home loan health check", MS Sheppard advised, adding that working one-on-one with a mortgage broker who has a large lender panel allows the opportunity to compare your product against hundreds of others.

Does my garden look big in this?

Just as the clothes we wear can make us look slim or large, so too can the plants in your garden have an effect on its appearance, making it look tall, spacious, unkempt or squashed.

A few clever placements in a flower border along the line of the fence can make your property seem larger. Likewise, the shape of the garden beds and the paths and spaces between them will add to the illusion of distance.

If your back yard is short, try running a garden bed along each side, tapering away slightly towards the farthest end from the house. This will have the effect of making the landscape appear more distant.

When choosing plants to create the illusion of space, follow these general rules:

Group coarse-textured landscape plants near the house, medium-textured plants next and fine-textured plants farthest away.

Place plants with `warm' flower colours, such as yellows, oranges and reds, nearest the house.

Place plants with blue colours in the distant part of the landscape. Along with the blues, include some pinks and mauves.

Plants with silver or gray foliage provide a unifying base colour throughout the border.

Shifting the focus

The current carbon tax debate has drawn a strong focus onto housing design and energy saving products since pricing will impact both on materials used and the running costs of the home, a leading architectural body noted recently.

Archicentre State Manager David Hallett said considering the carbon tax is planned to be introduced in July 2012, it is prudent for people to consider its impact when planning a building project which can take up to twelve months to commence.

"Ultimately the cost saving starts with the design and siting of the home including making provision for natural light in the main living areas and the orientation of the home to gain the maximum benefit for passive solar heating and provision for water harvesting," Mr Hallett said.

"This is the stage where all of the ideas are assembled and thought through to ensure the best design for the budget is worked out.

"This stage can also be the most expensive time for new home builders or renovators, if they make a mistake on the original design and have to undertake costly variations, (which are) the greatest reason for cost blow outs on projects," he said.

The proposed carbon tax is a catalyst for people to look differently at housing design, materials and size, Mr Hallett said.

The first step is orientation to maximise the home's northern aspect, where exposure to the sun is easiest to control. Eaves and pergolas can be precisely designed to block the summer sun, yet still allow desirable winter sunshine to penetrate.

"It is important to prioritise rooms based on access to views and solar orientation," Mr Hallett said.

"An open-plan kitchen and living area, for example, should have top position, while bedrooms or bathrooms require less daylight, as they are largely used for short periods of time, or at night," he added.

By zoning the home, unused areas can be closed off, and cooling and heating appliances can be designed for maximum efficiency and minimum use.

Archicentre have compiled a checklist of improvements to the home to accommodate the coming changes:

· Insulate the ceiling
· Weather seal windows and doors
· Fit blinds, curtains or drapes
· Buy high star-rated appliances
· Install solar panels
· Replace single flush toilet cisterns with dual flush cisterns
· Upgrade the heating system to a more efficient design
· Install a rainwater tank
· Upgrade your hot water service
· Fit a grey-water diversion system
· Upgrade windows using double glazing or other high tech-glass
· Build a pergola or verandah to provide shade when needed

Renovating with pets

Renovating can be stressful, with timelines, budgets, noise, dust, living out of half the house at a time. If it's tough on us, imagine the effect it has on our pets, who just don't understand that knocking down that wall, ripping up the floors and putting new surfaces in the kitchen is going to improve their lives.

In fact, their whole world is likely to be turned upside down and they may react in unexpected ways. Placid dogs may become aggressive in the face of perceived threat, or may run away just because the gates are left open. Cats will invariably leave and not be seen again until it's all over. They may also feel the need to "mark their territory" where you least want it.

Here are some tips for making sure that your furry (feathered, fishy) friends are as comfortable with the chaos and change as possible:

Prepare your pet beforehand by changing some of its patterns - such as where it sleeps and eats.

Make sure your pet is micro chipped or wearing a collar with identity tags in case it `leaves home'.

Try to always have an area of the house where the pet(s) can stay out of the way of the tradesmen, noise, etc. If possible, keep that space familiar to the animal so that it knows where it is and can still feel like it is part of the family.

If all else fails, have a "foster family" or boarding kennel lined up. Remember that if you do this, the animal may be confused when it comes home and will need to be reassured with familiar items such as furniture, eating bowls or bedding.

Consider traffic
Before you buy a home, consider the traffic effects of surrounding roads and facilities. Visit the property at different times of the day to get an idea of traffic patterns, congestion, parking availability and noise. Allow for seasonal differences. For example, if the home is near a school, traffic patterns are likely to be very different during school holidays than at other times of the year.

Have your island and sail it too

At some stage we've all thought about sailing a yacht to a private island. Now it's possible to own both in one.

The people at Yacht Island Design like to do things differently. Using a twin-hull ship design (known as SWATH), they have built a large, flat surface area on deck to incorporate conceptual designs such as an island complete with guest cabanas, bar and mountainous volcano with a waterfall feeding into the on-deck swimming pool. Spread over two decks within the volcano, the owner's suite affords views to the front of the yacht and from behind the waterfall.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Latest Property News from Ted Hanson

Friday 12 August 2011

The Power of Auction Marketing

A few weeks back Southern Estates held 3 on-site auctions, with 2 selling under the hammer at above reserve prices. The 3rd property in Cordeaux Heights was passed in, as the interested parties could not purchase under auction conditions. Last week we negotiated and exchanged the sale on that property - also above market expectations. The auction marketing allowed us to identify the right buyers and achieve a great result for our clients.

Coming into spring, now could be the right time to achieve the best result for your property. Contact us on 4229 5344 to discuss how our auction campaigns can realise your property's full potential.

Finance steadies

Housing finance remained unchanged in June following positive results in the previous two months, according to data released this week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
In seasonally adjusted terms, the number of commitments for owner occupied housing finance was flat (0.0 per cent). This follows a rise of 4.4 per cent in May and of 4.8 per cent in April.
In trend terms, commitments for owner-occupied housing finance rose 1.0 per cent. The number of commitments (trend) for the purchase of new dwellings rose 1.9 per cent, the number of commitments for the purchase of established dwellings rose 0.9 per cent and the number of commitments for the construction of dwellings rose 0.9 per cent. In seasonally adjusted terms, the total value of dwelling finance commitments excluding alterations and additions fell 1.4 per cent.

Peter Jones, Chief Economist Master Builders Australia, said that the figures show the market has found a floor after eight months of interest rate stability.

"Despite some improvement seen in recent housing finance numbers the pace of recovery is likely to be slow, particularly given the strong headwinds still facing the industry", Mr Jones said. "Longer term, the weak underlying level of housing finance signals that the residential building industry will be unable to meet a serious undersupply of housing that has arisen, risking higher rents and house prices as more people chase less stock."

He added that Master Builders will continue to push for the need to address inefficient developer charges, land release regulations and the approvals process as part of reforms to remove impediments affecting the supply of housing.

What puts buyers off your home?

How much do you suppose a pile of crunchy dead bugs on a windowsill will affect the selling price of a $500,000 home? How about a life-size skeleton hanging in the closet, or an open coffin in the basement with a dummy vampire inside? Or an overly-ripe kitty litter box under the kitchen table?

The National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents (NAEBA), an industry body in the United States, conducted an online survey of their members to rate the things they found most annoying when showing a home to prospective buyers. The results of the survey are revealing, surprising, and sometimes downright weird. Here are the top twelve things the agents reported as most off-putting when showing a home:

Broken door locks preventing access to the house.Pet deposits in the back yard or dirty cat boxes.Missing light bulbs.Sellers that ask you to remove shoes and then have wet carpet or dirty floors.Having loose stairs or missing banisters.Low hanging dining room light fixtures in a vacant home.Closet doors that fall off or are not adjusted properly.Going into a vacant home and hearing animals in the walls.Dangerous children's toys left out.Dead cars in the driveway or yard.Political signs.Dead birds or animals in or around the home.

Silliness aside, there is an important lesson here for home sellers to have a good look around your house to make sure that things you tend to overlook may not be a distraction or distasteful to prospective buyers. Imagine you are a stranger, or take a friend or relative for a walk through - they will often notice things you don't (such as cobwebs, pet smells, or an overgrown garden).

Building expected to recover
Residential building is set for a roller-coaster ride over the next few years, according to a report released this week by industry analyst and economic forecaster, BIS Shrapnel.

The Building in Australia 2011 Report shows that the impact of residential building is forecast to be minimal in 2011/12 after being negative in 2010/11. BIS Shrapnel's Managing Director, Robert Mellor, said that the value of new dwelling starts is forecast to remain relatively flat - up one per cent - in 2011/12. "Despite weakening net overseas migration inflows, which have fallen from a record 300,000 persons in 2008/09, to an estimated 165,000 in 2010/11, construction nationally still remains below the level of underlying demand, although in some states the market is closer to balance", Mr Mellor said.

The report shows that the flat level of construction will set the scene for an improvement in residential dwelling activity in 2012/13.

After the lull in 2010/11, economic growth is forecast to strengthen through 2011/12, underpinned by strong rises in resource investment, which will in turn result in higher net overseas migration in response to increasing labour requirements. Moreover, dwelling activity is now well below underlying demand nationally, with this shortfall focussed in Queensland, Western Australia, and New South Wales.

BIS Shrapnel forecasts two interest rate rises in 2011/12, saying that with the rate of economic growth accelerating, this should still be able to support a rise in residential demand in those states where pent-up demand pressures are emerging.

As a result, the value of new residential building commenced is forecast to rise by 10 per cent over 2012/13.

"The gains are expected to be roughly felt equally across new houses and multi unit dwellings, with the upturn concentrated in Queensland, Western Australia and New South Wales", Mellor said.

"These states will experience a rapidly rising dwelling deficiency, while affordability has also improved after solid income growth and weak price rises in recent years.

In the other states, recent high levels of residential construction have meant that underlying demand and supply is more balanced and there is little upside."

The residential building upturn will be short-lived, however, and the subsequent downturn in residential construction will result in a substantial underlying deficiency of dwellings emerging across most states. Meanwhile, prices in most states are also expected to have declined in real terms and affordability will have improved.

Mellor predicts that through this period, non-residential building is expected to ease, freeing up additional capacity for residential construction into the subsequent cycle and allowing new dwelling construction to reach a higher level from 2016.

"The challenge will be for an adequate level of new land supply to be available to meet this potential upturn in demand", he concluded.

Improve your Location
Whether your house has water views or is next door to an electricity substation, make sure potential buyers are aware of the best features of your neighbourhood.

Fill your agent in on all the local amenities and how they have affected the quality of your life.

Prospective buyers who will be inspecting your house want to imagine themselves living there - and the more they see of the whole picture (schools, restaurants, transport, hospitals) the easier that is.

Raising the standards

Possible loopholes in the national energy rating scheme could prove costly to homeowners, according to consumer advocacy group Choice.
Choice warned this week that while energy efficiency can save households thousands in bills, instances of cost cutting by some builders and developers and poorly trained assessors are compromising the effectiveness of standards.

Industry concerns about the existence of collusion between sellers and assessors and the questionable use of energy rating software have also been drawn into the spotlight.

Choice spokesperson Ingrid Just said that currently, a new home's energy rating is assessed at the design phase rather than upon completion of the work. "We have seen evidence of dramatic discrepancies between promised versus real energy efficiencies once a home is built," she said.

Ms Just cited the instance of a home in north-western Sydney that allegedly required more than $100,000 worth of additional work to meet minimum energy and building compliance standards, despite already being certified for occupation. "The home owner was shocked to discover that the energy star rating they were given on paper was far less than the reality," she said.

At a time of rising energy bills, consumer confidence in energy ratings is crucial, especially ahead of the planned national roll-out of energy ratings for existing homes in 2012, according to Choice.

A recent government study into house prices in the ACT showed that an energy rating improvement of one star will increase a home's market value by 3 per cent.

"The whole point of energy ratings is to give credible information to consumers about the energy use of houses, so they can factor that into their decisions," Ms Just said.

"If homes aren't built to specifications or energy assessments aren't accurate, then buyers could soon find themselves paying the cost in higher bills and lower market value," she warned.

Prior to home energy ratings rolling out nationally Choice is asking for:* A survey of the number of newly built homes meeting minimum energy efficiency standards* Stronger regulation of post-design energy compliance for new homes* Assessors to be qualified and always chosen by the buyer rather than the building's builder, developer or seller* Greater information provided to consumers about home energy efficiency ratings and the most energy efficient ways to use their homes

Out of the frying pan, into the fire
There is an adage that you can't avoid death and taxes, as both are sure catch up with you. The latter certainly caught up with one UK man attempting to jump his way through an assumed loophole to avoid paying taxes for renovations on an investment property.

In the UK, building a house from scratch removes the 20 per cent VAT (Value-Added Tax, similar to our GST) otherwise incurred when refurbishing or renovating, the UK Daily Mail reports. To avoid the fee, the property investor demolished the house to start the construction fresh, disregarding the fact that the nearly 200-year-old house was registered as part of a conservation area, and that any demolition would require special consents.

He has subsequently been fined nearly AU$128K for the illegal demolition and a further $78K in costs from the council. The size of the fine is said to reflect the judge's determination that the man should not benefit from the sizable savings he'd hoped to attain.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Latest Property News from Ted Hanson

Friday 17 June 2011
Brace yourself for a grand cause

IT IS winter and cold, a downtime in your garden, but there is plenty of work to do in preparation for spring-summer.

ASSESS the structure of your garden now deciduous trees and shrubs have shed their leaves and summer perennials have been cut back. See how the land lies and what improvements can be made to ensure you have a good horticultural framework, such as different layers.

Read the article

Affordability improves

Housing became just a little more affordable in the early months of this year, according to a report released this week by the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA).

The REIA Deposit Power Housing Affordability Report for the March 2011 quarter shows a small improvement of 1.1 per cent in the level of housing affordability over the quarter.

REIA President David Airey remarked, however, that the news not good enough to get excited about.

"What needs to be highlighted is that the reduction in the proportion of family income required to meet loan repayments is explained by a decline in the average monthly loan repayment of 1.9 per cent and an increase of 1.2 per cent in the median family income over the March quarter," David Airey said.

Over the year, the level of affordability in Australia declined with the proportion of income to meet home loan repayments increasing 1.6 percentage points.

New South Wales remained the least affordable state or territory in which to own a home, with the proportion of income required to meet loan repayments decreasing to 37.2% - 3.0 percentage points above the national average.

"The Australian Capital Territory has now been the most affordable state or territory in which to own a home for over five years and New South Wales has held its position as least affordable for more than fifteen years," Mr Airey continued.

Despite the improvement in housing affordability in the first quarter of 2011, the total number of loans continued a downward trend that has been observed since the June quarter 2009, reaching the lowest quarterly level seen since the March quarter 1999.

The number of loans to first home buyers continued to decline, bringing the participation level of first home buyers in the market to the lowest quarterly level since September 1994.

"The slight improvement in affordability over the quarter is positive but a lot more still needs to be done to make owning a home in Australia achievable," concluded Mr Airey.

Appreciating depreciation at tax time

As the end of another financial year rapidly closes in on us, property investors are being advised to make note of all the relevant tax deductions that can be claimed, such as depreciation and `wear and tear' of the property.

Property related expenses that can be claimed at tax time include:

- Interest
- Accounting Fees
- Body corporate Fees
- Borrowing expenses
- Repairs and maintenance
- Management fees
- Insurance
- Legal fees
- Mortgage insurance
- Travel
- Rates
- Property depreciation/capital allowance deductions.

Bradley Beer, a Quantity Surveyor* from BMT Tax Depreciation, says that he is still coming across investors who are not claiming depreciation deductions.

"Unfortunately, depreciation is the most commonly missed deduction because it is a non cash deduction - the investor does not need to spend money to claim it, however it can still be claimed", Mr Beer said.

"It is incredibly important that investors understand the `ins and outs' of property depreciation in helping to achieve additional cash flow for their investment property", he added.

The following points need to be considered by every property investor:

As a property ages, items within it depreciate in value and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) allows property investors to claim tax back for this depreciation. Any owner of an income-producing property can make this claim, Beer says.

The same goes for a building's structure, which wears out over time and therefore that loss can be claimed. This is commonly known as `building write-off'.

Every owner of an investment property, new or old, commercial or residential should be claiming the maximum depreciation entitlements.

*Specialist depreciation focused Quantity Surveyors prepare Capital Allowance and Tax Depreciation Reports for investors outlining deductions available per financial year for 40 years.

Mr Beer added that a Capital Allowance and Tax Depreciation Report can also be submitted in retrospect, to allow a property investor to recover missed depreciation benefits by amending previous tax returns.

Obtaining a property depreciation report from a specialist Quantity Surveying firm is important to ensure that investors are claiming all of the items they are entitled to, and not claiming anything they shouldn't be claiming.

"This will keep their accountant and the ATO happy", Mr Beer concluded.

Housing finance lifts

The building industry welcomed housing commitment data this week showing a rise in April in the number of loans for construction or purchase of a new dwelling.

Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that loans to buy a new dwelling increased by a healthy 8.9 per cent in April 2011, while lending to build new homes posted a relatively flat result (0.4 per cent).

In seasonally adjusted terms, the number of loans for new housing in the month of April 2011 improved by 2.0 per cent in New South Wales, by 3.8 per cent in Victoria, 9.3 per cent in South Australia, 4.3 per cent in Western Australia, 13.3 per cent in Tasmania, 18.0 per cent in the Northern Territory and 30.4 per cent in the Australian Capital Territory.

Queensland was the exception to the broad-based monthly improvement where loans fell a further 5.7 per cent.

It was a different story over the three months to April 2011 where in seasonally adjusted terms the number of owner-occupier loans for new housing fell across all states and territories.

New housing loans fell by 11.9 per cent in New South Wales and were down by 13.1 per cent in Victoria, 3.7 per cent in Queensland, 9.1 per cent in South Australia, 8.1 per cent in Western Australia, 6.1 per cent in Tasmania, 5.8 per cent in the Northern Territory, and 9.8 per cent in the Australian Capital Territory.

Peter Jones, Chief Economist for peak building and construction organisation Master Builders Australia, remarked that the bounce in finance in April may be a precursor to a resumption in the much-needed housing recovery.

"The housing finance numbers show that the decline suffered in 2009-10 has been arrested, but given the headwinds, the pace of recovery will be slow", he cautioned.

Freedom from fear

As a nation, Australia is often known as the friendly neighbour. As individuals we're always happy for a chat, willing to lend our possessions and welcome people into our homes.

Australia accepts and assimilates numbers of refugees every year, helping people from troubled countries forge new lives in a safer environment, and although it happens frequently, it's easy to have it be a fleeting news headline without any understanding of what that actually means.

When refugees flee, they are forced to abandon everything they know, often becoming separated from family members and belongings, being left with little or no money.

This coming Sunday marks the start of Refugee Week (June 19 - 25), coinciding with World Refugee Day (June 20), where a focus is drawn to the positive contributions made by refugees to Australian society.

Refugee Week aims to educate the Australian public about who refugees are and why they have come to Australia, helping people to understand the many challenges refugees face coming to Australia while celebrating the contribution they make to our community.

This year's theme, "Freedom from Fear", hopes to draw attention not just to the fear that compels refugees to run, but the relief they feel when they are welcomed into another country and given the opportunity to rebuild their lives.

For further information and events details, visit www.refugeeweek.org.au.

A lamp that rocks

For newborns, octogenarians and most of us in-between, there's something inherently comforting about the motion of gently rocking back and forth.

Taking that comforting motion, design group Young & Battaglia have created a range of lights to relax any room setting. Made from Beech wood stands and white cotton shades, Rocking Lamps are just as the name suggests - a lamp with the body of a tiny rocking chair, so they function both as a steady and gently moving light sources.

High sights for the future

Good news for anyone who shared a dream of going to space when they grew up. Real estate developer Robert Bigelow has been working away furiously so that you have somewhere to stay when you get there.

Forbes magazine recently ran an article on the entrepreneur, who operates Bigelow Aerospace from the Mojave Desert near Las Vegas in the US. Having made a personal fortune in previous years through his own chain of hotels, Bigelow has since turned his sights sky high and beyond. The high-tech, low-cost inflatable space stations he's developing will one day be, if things go to plan, orbiting hotels 367km above sea level.

Inflatable space habitats may sound far fetched, but Forbes reports the technology is real - Bigelow's prototypes have been orbiting Earth since 2006. By 2016 Bigelow expects to have a fully functioning station in orbit, ready for tenants. Prices are said to start at $28,750,000 per astronaut for a 30-day tour.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How will the carbon tax affect you - click here

There is a LOT of debate about the Carbon Tax. Ultimately it will come down to us - the voters, and how it will affect our hip pocket. An example of unexpected consequences is the GST. We voted it in, however I don't believe anyone realised the far reaching affects it would have on the way we do things. I believe ultimately, the GST has been good for Australia. Will that be the case for the CT!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Is Wollongong actually heaven?

I recently attending the Australian Real Estate Conference at the Sydney Convention Centre . This outstanding two day event (alongside two and a half thousand estate agents and agency owners) showcased speakers such as Alan Jones, Rudi Giuliani (ex Mayor of New York City) and the very inspirational Nick Vuyicic (look him up). These people complemented industry specialists who humbly told their stories. And shared brilliant ideas!
But I also walked away with something else...
Years ago - whenever I spoke about Wollongong to attendees at this type of event, the answer was either 1. 'Where's that?' or 2. 'Why would you want to live there?'
Those responses have materially changed. Now it's...'what a beautiful place to live', and 'I love going there'. And this is from estate agents all over the country.
And...a lot of talk amongst the industry on the weekend was about working in a tough market. As an area, our property prices have remained firm with steady turnover. Just look at the sold signs.
Why would you want to live anywhere else?!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

To Style or Not to Style - Click here!

The opinion accessed by the link at the start of this post is a very interesting one. I don't believe this captures the true picture or the point of the exercise. Let me give you a couple of examples.
Recently we put a unit to the market...in the same complex in the same month of a recent almost identical unit sale. Upon advice from us, the owners replaced carpet, repainted walls and hired display furniture. The outcome was a sale $17,000 above the recent unit sale. So...for an investment of about $4,400, the owners returned 3 times that money.
We have advised owners in the past to move out of their homes and let our consultants loose. In one instance we achieved a stunning $65,000 better than our original estimate. All because the home presented properly.
So, Lucy Macken...would you let us loose on YOUR property?!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Success Story of the week!

Jason Capelo provides expertise in knowing how to make your property stand out from the rest and thinking outside of the square is Jason’s trade mark.
Jason’s recent property sale of $17,000 more than the most recent sale within the block, highlights his strategic and unconventional thinking. Through an effective marketing campaign and providing accurate advice he was able to provide endless benefits to the vendors. The power of professional photography and inclusion of professional styling services/display furniture allowed Jason to maximise the properties price to record levels. Jason’s way of thinking provided many benefits to the vendors and in turn created a better sale. From start to finish Jason went above and beyond to provide exceptional service and knowledge. To achieve maximum property price you need your property to stand out from the rest and Jason’s way of thinking will always help design a higher property price.


I recently engaged the services of Jason Capelo to sell my Unit in Wollongong. I needed to receive a certain sale price for my investment property so Jason advised be on the best way to present the unit to achieve this. He suggested a fresh coat of paint, replacement of the carpet and to hire rental furniture for an overall visual effect.

I could not believe the difference these few small improvements made to the unit. Jason was able to assist me with organising everything that was needed to put the property to the market looking it's best. The unit sold within the first couple of days of it being on the market and we received a sale price just under the asking price but well over what we had ever expected. I don't believe this would have happened had we not followed Jason's advice. He marketed and priced the unit correctly for the current market and had suitable buyers to view the unit. Overall we could not fault his services. The entire sales procedure was very smooth.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Latest Property News from Ted Hanson

Friday 13 May 2011
Delicious at the desk

Sometimes, the reasoning behind trading sandwiches in the school playground hits too close to home.

How many days at work can you eat the same boring lunch? Sure, ham on white bread is easy, but is "easy" what you want for lunch every day? And that frozen tray you march to the microwave. Whether it is "lean" or not can be debated, but it really isn't anything resembling "cuisine".

Here are some tips to spicing up a bagged lunch. Follow them, and you won't trade your sandwich with anyone.

Read the article

Apartments lift approvals
Approvals for new home building rose by almost a quarter in March 2011, led by a hefty jump in apartments, according to data released this week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Total residential building approvals increased by 9.1 per cent in March 2011 although they were down by 8.9 per cent over the quarter, due to low numbers in the first two months of the year.

There was a significant rise in approvals in the highly volatile private sector `other dwellings' segment, which were up by 26.1 per cent in March. Approvals for detached dwellings fell 1.3 per cent in the month.

Victoria recorded a considerable jump of 26.8 per cent rise in the number of approvals (seasonally adjusted), while increases were recorded in NSW (up by 8.5 per cent), Western Australia (up 3.4 per cent) and Tasmania (5.8 per cent).

Queensland and South Australia reported a decrease in approvals in March 2011, dropping by 15.0 and 22.5 per cent respectively. In trend terms approvals in the ACT were up by 0.3 per cent and Northern Territory approvals were up by 3.2 per cent.

Total approvals in the three months to March 2011 were 15.8 per cent lower than in the corresponding period a year earlier.

Women are thriftier homeowners

Australian women may still be less likely to own property than men, but they will do whatever it takes to keep paying their mortgage, according to a new survey released this week by the Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia (MFAA).

Women homeowners are significantly more likely to start taking their lunch to work after an interest rate hike than their male counterparts (56.1 vs. 46 per cent), the MFAA-Commonwealth Bank Home Finance Index survey found. Likewise, women who feel the burden of rate rises are much more likely to buy food in bulk or from cheaper sources than males (50.6 vs. 38.9 per cent),

MFAA chief executive Phil Naylor remarked that the results show just how personal a mortgage can be.

"Mortgages are not one-size-fits-all", he said.

Naylor said that while women did not have as much borrowings as men (they are far less likely to own both their own residence and an investment property) they were more focused once they did have a mortgage.

For instance, women mortgage borrowers were more likely to sell unused household goods than men after a rate-rise (30.5 vs. 22.6 per cent).

Mr Naylor said the HFI survey revealed some interesting differences between the genders when it came to mortgage finance, for instance women were significantly more realistic about the impact of economic events on household finances.

Women were less likely than men to say an interest rate rise had `little impact' on their household (21.4 vs. 28 per cent) and they were also less likely to say that rising petrol prices had little impact on their household (23.2 vs. 32.1 per cent).

The survey also found that women were also more optimistic about interest rates, with less of them (43.3 per cent) predicting interest rates will rise by 0.5 in the next year, than men (51.2 per cent). At the same time, they were more likely than men to consider that they will never buy property (43.1 vs. 25.8 per cent).

Women also expected higher standards of customer service when it came to their home loan, the survey found. Women borrowers were more likely to have experienced problems with a loan account and then had communication problems when they dealt with it, than males did (53.1 vs. 27.3 per cent); women borrowers were also significantly more likely to be unhappy with the overall customer service than men (51 vs. 30.3 per cent).

Mr Naylor said the female concern about customer service and being able to communicate about their mortgage perhaps explained why women borrowers, more than men, were more likely to go to a mortgage broker to find the right loan for their circumstances.

Home alone again!
Having burglars stop by isn't something we would usually laugh about, unless it's in the movie Home Alone, which brought an inspired sense of humour to the topic. Now the house in which all those hijinks went down has been put up for sale.

The blockbuster movie featured Macaulay Culkin as a young child who was inadvertently left at home when the family left for the Christmas holidays, and who then had to face up to some pretty inept burglars with toy-infused booby-traps and a wicked sense of humour.

The 1920s' mansion on Chicago's North Shore in which a lot of the movie was filmed is now on the market for AU$2.25 million, the UK Daily Mail reports. The three-storey home is described as having plenty of nooks and crannies in which to hide and no need for a security system - the new owners can just watch the movie again for a few pointers.

Values soften, rents up

Australia's capital city home values barely changed in March, but generally softened over the quarter, according to the latest RP Data-Rismark Home Value Index.

In contrast to these results, weekly rental rates are up 4.6 per cent over the last six months.

The Index shows that capital city dwelling values were flat in the month of March (down by just 0.2% seasonally adjusted). However, over the March quarter capital city home values dropped by 2.1 per cent.

Over the twelve months ending March 2011, Australian capital city dwelling values were broadly unchanged (-0.6 per cent).

According to RP Data research director Tim Lawless, while residential property owners may not have seen any capital growth over the past 12 months, many are realising robust increases in rental yields.

"In contrast to the fall in home values, gross rental yields have been improving with apartments and houses now delivering a gross return of 4.9 per cent and 4.2 per cent, respectively, in March 2011 according to RP Data-Rismark's estimates," Mr Lawless said.

In the non-capital city regions the story has been similar. In the year to end March 2011, `Rest of State' house values were relatively unchanged (-0.5 per cent). However, the March quarter was a weaker one, with house values declining by -1.8 per cent.

At the end of the March quarter, in the capital cities the national median dwelling price was $455,000. For all regions across Australia, the national median dwelling price substantially lower at $410,000.

The moderation in Australian housing valuations is likely to be warmly welcomed by prospective home buyers, particularly first timers who have been confronted with affordability barriers, Mr Lawless remarked.

He added that the tightness in the rental market combined with flat to negative change in home values is providing a boost to rental yields.

"Based on the RP Data-Rismark Total Return Index, we estimate that weekly asking rents are up 4.6 per cent over the last six months.

"While the highest yields are found in the Darwin apartment market (5.7 per cent), apartments in Hobart (5.4 per cent), Canberra (5.4 per cent), Brisbane (5.2 per cent) and Sydney (5.1 per cent) also offer attractive yields," Mr Lawless said.

He concluded by saying that key leading indicators point towards a sedate capital growth environment for the remainder of the year.

Courteous curtains

We love windows because they allow the flow of light and air into our homes, however in many cases they also let in outside noises.

Birds and small children may delight, but for those of us who live near airports, construction sites or busy roads, noise can be unbearable at times, so curtains that allow light in but block sound out are truly great news for the aurally afflicted.

Swiss researchers at Empa have developed lightweight, translucent curtain materials, which not only absorb five times more sound than regular curtains, they actually improve the acoustics within the room.

Check smoke alarms

Winter is the time of year when accidents caused by heaters or open fires can destroy homes or even result in the death of householders.

So, before the cold sets in, check smoke alarms to ensure they're in good condition and are working properly. State laws now decree that all homes must have smoke alarms installed, but they won't work with flat batteries!