So you’ve decided the time is right to sell. What now? The most important decision you will make is in choosing the right agent to sell your property.

Choosing the right agent is about choosing the best one for your circumstances and obviously one who will deliver you the best outcome. Simple, huh?

So, if you’d like a simple prescription (not simplistic) then do two things: One, ask tough questions, and two, really listen to the answers. Questions to include in your arsenal include:

1. Tell me about your sales track record?
2. How would you best market this property?
3. Testimonials. Can I speak to any of your clients?
4. Tell me about your staff and how you manage the office?

The question is what are the right questions

What you’re trying to determine is: can this agent sell my property fast and for top-dollar? Are their clients happy with the result? And are they organised enough to have a systemised office and team that functions like a well-oiled machine? A great agent needs great back-up support. Perhaps a visit to their office will help solidify your choice?

Above all, what you’re looking for is someone who you feel will effectively work in partnership with you. A great agent will effectively be an extension of you.

You’re looking for someone who is transparent. A great marketer and negotiator. And you can only determine this by examining their track record of: prompt sales, consistent high returns for their clients and of course, happy clients. And sometimes it’s a ‘gut thing’ too. You have to go with who ‘feels’ right…

You don’t know, what you don’t know, right? But sometimes it helps to know what the right questions are to ask…

Having just sold seven houses in four days, each with multiple offers, and one sight-unseen is testament to this agency’s skill in marketing and negotiation: attributes you should scrutinise when hiring an agent to sell your property.

The best possible situation any seller can hope for is to be faced with multiple offers, which can drive up the selling price and improve any specific contractual terms.

The devil is in the detail of any negotiation and many sellers will tell you, this can make or break a great sales outcome. Read here to see what some of our very happy clients have to say about us.

And it’s not just our agency that’s experiencing this upsurge in sales, with SQM Research tipping that following the election, property listings will really speed up.

Want a good agency? Pick a busy one

Obviously the other side of the coin is that we have many keen buyers. As deeply frustrating – and nerve-wracking – as it is to finally find the right property, make the offer, only to miss out, sometimes that’s just the way it happens. Someone else’s offer was greater. Great for sellers, not so great for buyers…

The good news for buyers is that for every miss, there’s always another property being polished and prepared for listing. Never despair.

For anyone considering selling, it would seem clear that Spring has sprung and the impending election will fast disappear into the rear-view mirror. Buyer confidence in the market is good.

The team’s sales-run of late is a great achievement for our agency and is testament to our commitment to you. And with this many of our sellers getting multiple offers, the timing is good if you’re considering selling.

Flutterby, and ask us how we can help you…

How do you choose the right agent to sell your property? Do you go with the agent you bought off? What about the agent who clearly has your street covered? Or do you go with referrals?

To determine the right agent, here’s the magic formula: Find the agent who will sell your home for the best possible price by generating maximum buyer interest coupled with astute negotiating – in partnership with you.

If you think you got a ripper deal when you bought your place, chances are, employing the same agent to sell for you might prove a ripper deal for your buyers, not you. Steer clear.

It’s a gut thing. But verify it with others too…

If you go with the agent who seems prominent in your area or street, then you might be getting closer to achieving your sales goal. There’s probably a good reason for their continued presence.

Often, finding the right agent comes down to a gut thing. A feeling. And verifying this ‘feeling’ with others can sometimes help cement your decision.

Seeking out client referrals can prove as valuable research. Honestly, no one actually gives a positive referral, unless their experience was exceptional.

And here’s a conveniently constructed segue… Over the years Madeleine Hicks has had many clients come back and ask her to sell their properties again or help with rental management. And many clients have written glowing referrals.

The team recently received this referral: “(Madeleine) achieved a higher price for us than what we had hoped for, always returned our phone calls promptly, and was at all times friendly and cheerful.

It was a pleasure to deal with Madeleine, and we would not hesitate to recommend her and her team to anyone buying or selling.”

When it comes to choosing the right agent to sell your property, do your research, go with your gut, and look at client referrals too: They can be a clarifying source of information.

To see what others have said about the team at Madeleine Hicks Real Estate, have a look here.

What does a photo tell you? A lot if you are hoping to sell your house.

With the widespread use of home stylists in property, the competition has never been stronger if you’re a vendor trying to catch buyers’ interest.

If you are styling your own property for sale, paying attention to the small details could make all the difference in how good your property looks in the marketing images – and how many people you manage to attract to your open homes.

Last week I helped a friend style her modest family home for sale. All the really hard work had been done – the repairs had been completed, the property had been de-cluttered, and everything was sparkling after a really good clean. But there were still some small touches that would really show in the photographs.

Read more

Want some really good news? Local agents say there’s a shortage of properties for sale out there, and plenty of keen buyers. And this means that for those considering selling soon, then sooner may be even better.

In selling your property, have you considered a key force in you getting the listing price, or better? One word: competition. Put another way, if more than one party is interested in your property, then chances are, they may just have to ‘outbid’ each other.

List your property before the Spring rush of properties hit the market – and those waiting for an election to be called – and you may just have more buyer interest. It’s a simple equation. Less properties for sale, equals a greater chance of more interested buyers.

It’s the sellers that typically come out in Spring, but the buyers are always out there.

Popular thought says that many planning to sell their home do so in Spring, when the flowers are blooming, and buyers are brave enough to leave their cave after the long Winter hibernation.

But the reality is actually different. It’s true that many people do wait till Spring to sell their property, but buyers are always ready to pounce for the right property.

With local agents talking about property shortages, this means that if you act now, your leap may just pay off handsomely.

And with the NAB tipping an interest rate cut for August, what better conditions would a seller need to list their property now?

HOME buyers follow their noses and the wrong scent could cost sellers a property sale, according to research.

Dr Avery Gilbert, a psychologist who studies human responses to scents, nominated tobacco and cat urine as the odours most difficult to cover up and warned the resulting bad impression could carry through to buyers’ cheque books.

Alternatively, baking biscuits or brownies might make buyers feel as though the house belongs to someone else and less likely to see themselves living there, according to Dr Gilbert.

The best bet is a clean, fresh floral scent. Anything non-man-made is a good bet.

Read more

Obtaining best price for your home is the goal. So how do we create competition and increased interest in our property when it comes time to sell?

Renovating or “tricking up” the outside of our home is one way.

Madeleine Hicks of Madeleine Hicks Real Estate Everton Park says, “The key to getting the very best price for your home is to create interest and hopefully competition between interested buyers. Sellers should do everything possible to enhance their property and make it more appealing to the market place.”

“Tricking up” your home needn’t cost a fortune. By following a few rules you can enhance your sale price without breaking the bank.

Trick Up The Outside For Best Result When Selling

Madeleine’s tips on renovating the outside of your home include:

  • Pick a colour scheme that enhances your home and its street appeal. Avoid colours that will clash with others or colours that are “out there.”
  • Choose the right sheen. Glossy paints generally show imperfections, but can look fresher. As a general rule use higher gloss paints for small areas, window sills etc, and save flat paints for the bulk of the house.
  • Replace the front door. The front door is your welcome point. If your door is shabby, warped or worn replace it.
  • Replace the letterbox. Again first impressions count, if your letterbox has seen better days, replace it
  • Install new house numbers.
  • Tidy the garden. Remove weeds and hide the garden hose.

If you are thinking of selling and would like the best possible price in the shortest possible time contact the team at Madeleine Hicks Real Estate on 3355 6845 or visit

A friend is thinking of selling her house. It’s an upmarket place in a swish spot. Would it be appropriate, she asked me, for her to be there during the open homes, keeping the agent company? Maybe serving wine and cheese to tempt would-be home buyers (it’s a nice home, and her buyers are likely to enjoy that kind of thing), and to answer any questions about the property.

It’s generally something not done in Australia but it’s not uncommon on TV lifestyle shows to see the vendors, having spruced up their place, springing forward to open the door for house hunters, and then guiding them around the property while the agent lurks in the background.

Being on site during open houses could go either way. One of the things that makes buyers fall in love with homes is that they can imagine themselves living there, and they might find that hard to do with the owner on hand. Many also like the freedom to open and shut drawers, check if the toilet flushes properly and jump up and down on the floorboards, to see if everything is in working order.

You would have to be thick-skinned when showing your own house because buyers don’t generally hold back in letting their thoughts be known about the state of a property, the choice of paint colours or even the furniture. Sometimes it’s just the house hunter talking through what they might change to make it their own, but for sellers who’ve worked hard on getting the place to be just as they want it, that might not sound so nice. Then again you’re selling and it won’t be yours soon anyway, so you’d just have to grin and bear it, really.

On the plus side, you would get to hear first hand what it is that buyers don’t like about your place, and you might have the opportunity to make a few changes before future open homes.

As a would-be buyer I think I’d be 50-50 about whether I wanted an owner present while I was snooping through their place. Not that I’m rifling through their drawers (honestly) but it’s hard to meaningfully “inspect” something under pressure. It would be great to be able to ask the seller about the ins and outs of the house – however, I would not want them looking over my shoulder every step of the way. I’d be comfortable if they were there, but perhaps confined to the front room or the kitchen, on hand if I had any queries.

Real estate agents might not be so keen to have the owner hanging about either, or would want to set some ground rules about price quoting and impromptu negotiations.

Then there’s the question of whether having an owner on hand would add to the value of the property, or potentially detract from it. And sometimes that might come down to mood and manner because let’s face it, not all of us are people-people, if you know what I mean.

Carolyn Boyd is a property journalist and keen follower of Australia’s housing market.

Buyers are prepared to pay more for a Melrose Place-type environment.

When good neighbours become good friends, it can not only make apartment buildings much more enjoyable places to live but also boost the price of the property.

One of the key things professional strata record searchers look at in apartment blocks or complexes when they’re examining buildings on behalf of potential purchasers is how friendly, harmonious and happy the residents are.

“That’s definitely something that’s included in our strata reports,” says the director of I&D Strata Searching, Matt Trachtenberg-Ray.

“What a lot of people fail to understand when they move into strata buildings is that they are moving into a community and the harmony of a building is just as important as how much they have to spend on fixing the concrete.”

For as well as such harmony making a building a far more pleasant place to live, with neighbours chatting in lifts rather than enduring stony silences and greeting each other on common property, it also means it’s much more likely that disputes will be settled quickly and amicably rather than through expensive legal action.

“It’s the tone of a building that’s important,” says the president of the Institute of Strata Title Management, David Ferguson. “A good building that’s supportive of the social fabric can be like having an extended family and, in turn, not to have a friendly building can be disastrous.

“It’s incumbent on people, and especially office-bearers, to make people welcome and run the building in a positive way. Where a building is known for a good living environment, there’s more demand for apartments and inevitably the competition will force prices up.”

That might mean buildings that host book clubs, wine-tasting evenings, playgroups, social occasions, sporting ventures and even – such as in the case of the city’s Highgate building – group holidays in far-flung destinations, such as Yemen.

At the vast Jacksons Landing in Pyrmont, for example, there are Friday drinks, BYO dinners, quarterly meals in local restaurants, tennis, a singing group, dog-owner get-togethers, newsletters and an annual Christmas charity fund-raiser concert.

“A lot of people now know each other as a result of them and it really enhances the building,” says Regina Knowles, who organises many of the events. “It creates a very friendly atmosphere, which people love.”

Smaller buildings can be just as welcoming. In JoAnn Holloway’s 12-unit complex in Bexley, there’s an affable ambience. In-house dinner parties for residents are a regular occurrence and everyone pitches in if there’s a problem.

“It makes it a very happy place to live,” Holloway says. “Occupants are always happy to help each other with chores, like moving furniture, gardening and even rescuing washing from the clothes line if it rains.

One elderly resident often passes on home-made biscuits and enjoys having a chat, while one time, when I was sick, a neighbour immediately offered to help and dropped off a meal. It’s wonderful.”

It all comes down to attitude, says the vice-president of the apartment owners’ peak group, the Owners Corporation Network, Brian Wood. If people say hello when they pass each other and engage rather than ignoring each other, it oils the wheels of a building.

“A good atmosphere in a building is completely fundamental,” he says. “If you have a good relationship with other owners, then you’ll get disputes or problems being resolved sensibly and practicably rather than escalating stupidly.”

Indeed, friendliness is the very reason that Robert Dodds recently decided to buy into the Motto building in Erskineville. He was happy to buy a one-bedroom apartment for $510,000 – $20,000 over the reserve – because he has friends already in the building who say it’s a very sociable place to live.

“During inspections I got the feeling that it’s a bit like Melrose Place,” says Dodds, in reference to the American TV show about the comings and goings of people in an apartment building.

“I liked this apartment’s big balcony, which will be great for entertaining, but the residents seem to be young professionals who are all pretty outgoing and friendly. It looks like a great place to buy into.”

Midday at the oceana

On a sunny weekend, there can be any number of residents socialising over a glass or two down by the barbecue, cabana and pool at Elizabeth Bay’s 65-unit apartment building Oceana.

“It’s just a very friendly building, with great amenities, which we all share with goodwill during warmer days,” says Ross Appleton, who’s lived there for nearly four years.



“We’re a diverse group of demographics and age groups but we do interact well and socialise with each other.”

There are many formal, organised activities but, every Christmas, everyone gets together over drink and food. And after each AGM – instead of, as in some buildings, trying to tear each other’s throats out over disputes – everyone socialises, with wine, beer and nibbles laid on.

In addition, if there are any major issues happening, such as the proposal to extend the nearby Elizabeth Bay marina, nearly every resident is happy to sign a petition. “If there are any disputes in the building, the sociable, friendly atmosphere enables us to work out a way around it,” Appleton says.

Oceana chairman Paul Johnson says it was a deliberate strategy to create a cordial feeling throughout the building. “We wanted to help people communicate more and it’s often much easier to raise issues when you’re talking over a beer,” Johnson says. “It works very well.”

Ice-breaker at horizon

Having a concierge in an apartment building often provides a pivotal point for residents to get to know each other, says lawyer Richard Gration. At his building, Darlinghurst’s Horizon, people will often stand and chat to the concierge and others will join in, helping to create a friendly atmosphere for everyone.

“The concierge is a significant factor in pulling people together,” Gration says. “It’s almost an ice-breaker that gives people the ability to make contact with one another.

“We also have regular organised social functions for residents, especially designed to facilitate neighbours meeting each other. They are always very well attended, with around 80 to 100 people.”

One resident paid caterers out of his own pocket for cocktail food while, for Horizon’s 10th birthday, a penthouse owner opened up his $15 million apartment for a function, which was attended by about 150 residents. There are also discussions happening about a tennis day on the complex’s court.

“A friendly atmosphere also means that the number of neighbour disputes tends to be a lot lower than that you’d expect from a building with 260 apartments,” Gration says. “People feel they can talk to one another like adults rather than rushing off to the courts or to the CTTT.”

Playgroup the key at Pacific Place

Enterprising apartment residents at one north shore complex have set up a playgroup to enable parents and toddlers to get together in a novel experiment to ensure a friendly atmosphere.

“This is great,” says mum Linda Prankerd, watching her daughter Alexandra, 1, play with her little friends from neighbouring apartments at Chatswood’s Pacific Place.

“I’ve lived in quite a few complexes but people here have worked really hard to make this one extremely friendly.”

The chairman of the 221-unit Epica building in the complex, Gerry Chia, organises an annual social that has now expanded beyond his building to include all four of the strata’s on the site. There’s also been a tai chi group at the complex, a card club, quilting club and all manner of social activities.

In an effort to increase the range — and allow the playgroup to meet even in wet weather — all the residents are now chipping in to pay for a community centre to be built at the complex.

“I think many people expect apartment buildings to be soulless places and that they’ll be lonely in high-rise,” Chia says. “But that’s certainly not the case here. Of course, not everyone wants to be social but we’re ensuring it’s friendly for everyone.”

Story by Susan Wellings –

  • Remove any objects such as children’s toys on the front steps, which might cause accidents.  Keep the front entrance and stairway    clear.  Try for uncluttered appearance.
  • Neat orderly rooms look bigger, especially bedrooms.  Tidy up all rooms for a spacious appearance.
  •  Check and double-check your bathroom.  Bright and clean bathrooms sell many homes.
  • When you are showing your home three is a crowd.  Avoid having  too many people present for inspections.  The prospect will feel like an intruder and will hurry through the house.  If possible go out for a short walk.
  • If you can’t go out, stay out of the way.  Do not accompany the prospect and the sales person around the house.  The Agent knows the Buyer’s requirements and can better emphasise the features of your house when alone.  They will call you if they need you.
  •  Love me, love my dog does not apply when selling a house.  Pets are best kept out of the way, even taken on a walk when there is an inspection.
  •  Never apologize for the appearance of your home.  After all, it has been lived in.  Let the real estate agent answer any objections that are raised, that is their job.

SELLING TIPS: What you can do to help

  •  Switch off the TV during inspections it is very distracting.  Put on some mellow music that will get prospective purchasers relaxed and in the mood for buying.
  •  It is best not to discuss price, terms, possessions or other factors with the buyer.  Refer them to the agent.  Real Estate Agents are better equipped to bring the negotiation to a quick and favourable conclusion.
  •  You and your Real Estate Agent need to work as a team.  If you feel they have overlooked some important selling points, feel free to discuss them once you are alone together.
  •  Sweep all the walkways to create an impression of constant maintenance to your house.
  •  Park extra cars, which do not fit in car parks, away from the property.
  •  Clean windows and window coverings.
  •  Make sure gutter and down pipes are clean and in working order.
  •  Open curtains and turn on lights so the house feels warm and bright.
  • Have an air freshener in the toilet and bathroom to have a fresh, clean smell.

It is important that a home gets a buyer in the right mood to buy, all the above tips and hints will help to do this.  You can also use the season to your advantage. 

 If it is wintertime make sure that the house is warm. It is very welcoming on a cold day and adds extra character if you have the fire burning.

 If it is summer time ensure that the house is cool by using, fans, air-conditioners or opening all the windows to make the most of any breeze.