Real estate


Should you buy new or renovate a do-upper

Should you buy new or renovate a do-upper?


Is renovating the way to go?

If you’re a fan of reality show The Block, then renovating may jump out as a great idea.

The great thing about renovating is the ability to inject your personality into your home. Do you want an airy, open-plan living room and dining area with a bold feature wall? Or perhaps a master bedroom with a window alcove for reading and a generous walk-in wardrobe speaks to you.

Plus, you may be able to secure a property in a great suburb for a steal. If you’re focussed on a particular location, this may be a good way to get a foot in on a trendy neighbourhood.

There are downfalls to renovating, though.

If you buy a property that’s in dire need of a significant makeover, you may have tradies hanging around for quite some time. If you’re at work or socialising with your other half a lot, this may not be an issue. But if you’ve got young kids or enjoy chilling out at home during evenings and weekends, then you may find this quite disruptive. You may even need to fork out for alternative accommodation in the meanwhile, which could put a real dent in your savings account.

Secondly, there are some renovations you can complete yourself. But when it comes to electrical wiring, plumbing and substantial building work, you’re relying on — and paying — others. So it’s essential to budget very carefully and put deadlines in place.

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Median house price to be at least $1 million in most capital cities by 2024 — Home Loan Experts

Median house price to be at least $1 million in most capital cities by 2024 — Home Loan Experts

PROPERTY prices are tipped to soar over the next decade as median house prices in most capital cities come with a $1 million plus price tag.

While it will music to the ears of current owners, for hopeful homebuyers it means they will be further squeezed out of a heated property market.

National house prices have skyrocketed at a rate of 8.43 per cent per annum in the 30 years until 2010 and given recent soaring growth rates it’s predicted Australians will need to stump up much larger deposits to afford properties that have risen beyond six digits.

Analysis by mortgage broking firm Home Loan Experts found the median house prices in all capitals is set to climb beyond $1 million and unsurprisingly Sydney will remain the most expensive city to buy — the average median house price in 2024 is tipped to hit $1.824 million.

Melbourne is the next worst where the median house price is tipped to reach $1.366 million.

Home Loan Expert’s managing director Otto Dargan is adamant property prices will continue to rise and said as a result homeowners would need to look at smaller properties including apartments.

“The days of the quarter acre block are coming to an end,’’ he said.

“Living in apartments will continue to become a much better trend.


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8 things that turn buyers off

8 things that turn buyers off

While every buyer is their own man or woman, there are some common complaints from buyers looking for properties that don’t pass muster. Know them and you can avoid them when it’s your turn to sell.

Clingy sellers

It can be extremely difficult to let go of a property, especially if it’s somewhere you’ve made a home and stitched together memories. But once you’ve decided to sell you need to commit to that process.

Give your agent room to do their job, and potential buyers the space they need to get hooked. Sellers that linger during an open inspection, or start regaling inspectees with merry tales of every last crevice will turn most people off.

Even if your stories are actually quite charming, you need to remember that selling a property is a business transaction, and stay as dispassionate and objective as possible. Keep your distance and focus on the next property in your life!


Walking into a property that’s not well presented is often the death knell for a sale. Buyers will turn off if they’re inundated with dust, dirt or other muck. Make an effort, and hire a professional cleaner, home stager, or both if you need a hand.

Thoroughly clean the entire property, including all those areas you think no one notices. Living areas, backyards, bathrooms and toilets should get extra attention (you’d be surprised how many people use the bathroom at an inspection).

You can’t really overdo cleaning when it comes to selling – properties that just look neat and acceptable might not be enough, especially if you’re commanding top dollar.

Your home should shine as much as it possibly can.


Ah, the good ol’ nose, always ruining things. Actually, we should be glad we’re so sensitive to smell, and that smells can have a big impact on our property buying process.

Setting up your place for sale can involved creating a set of inviting smells. But it should also involve getting rid of the unappealing ones.

Top of buyers turn off lists are pet smells. Even if we love our own animals, we don’t really want to smell other people’s, especially when it’s in an environment we’re trying to imagine kicking back and relaxing in.

Other smell turn offs are cigarette smoke, mustiness, food and overpowering perfumes or incense (if you’re dressing your home for sale, less is more).

8 things that turn buyers off


If your property is for sale, you usually need to do a little more than a quick spruce (unless you keep an amazing home all year round!). Declutter strategically and systematically, starting with those areas that will interest most buyers when they inspect your home, and the areas they’ll do most of their living in. A cluttered living room is harder to explain away than a cluttered garage, for example.

Getting a professional organiser in to help you out can be a great idea, especially if you’re overwhelmed with all the other business involved in selling a home – not to mention living your life around it.

A pro can look at your clutter objectively and take quick, decisive action to remove the excess and store the rest out of sight.


Call it the Goldilocks effect.

If a property is too hot or too cold your buyers will bristle. Though it mightn’t be a deal breaker it does invite pointy questions – does the heating or cooling work as it should? With such high ceilings, it is expensive to heat?

Buyers get turned off it they can’t experience your home at its optimal comfort levels.

No price

Fewer things will frustrate a buyer more than looking at an advertised property with no price. It’s a big complaint from our website users if agents haven’t included at least an indicative cost, and we understand.

Your listing is usually the first time your possible buyer will see your home. If the required detail isn’t there, it’ll have be something truly unique to get them to dig deeper, rather than just scrolling past to the next property that meets their criteria.

Budget is all important for a buyer. It’s not always possible to pin down a finite dollar figure, but if your property advertising doesn’t at least have a range listed, it’s a top turn off for buyers, who probably think they’re in for a nasty shock (even if the home is reasonably priced). Help them marry their budget to your property and be upfront.

No address

Buyers want and deserve to know where their investment is located. Sometimes the suburb alone isn’t enough; surrounding streets and amenities can often make or break a sale.

Make sure your agent includes the full address you have available so it’s easy for buyers to do their homework on your property (the more work they put in, the more likely they’ll ultimately buy).

Not including information can be seen as a way to hide less than desirable details, whether or not it’s the case. And hiding doesn’t help anyone.

No photos

Would you buy a product sight unseen?

Photos are the single most powerful tool to inspire a potential buyer to inspect a home, or make an enquiry. People need to imagine their lives in your property, or get an authentic impression of how it will stand up as an investment.

Work with your agent to create a series of photos or video that shows your home in its best possible light. No visuals bodes poorly.

Story:   Venessa Paech     Source:

Everton Park - Suburban Ease or Investment Hot-Spot

Everton Park – Suburban Ease or Investment Hot-Spot?

Located a convenient eight kilometres from Brisbane city, Everton Park may well be worth a look-see for your next family home or investment property.

Brimming with residential homes, Everton Park’s average resident is a youthful 37 years young; which spells growing families. Its transport links are not-too-shabby either, with South Pine Road a major transport corridor that runs through the suburb towards Brisbane city.

Residents can take their pick when it comes to busses and trains. Several bus services are available or a quick drive, walk or cycle to nearby train stations at Enoggera, Gaythorne, Mitchelton or Oxford Park will get you on your way.

We all know life isn’t a ‘retail experience’ but having good facilities nearby helps, with the North-West Homemaker Centre – which includes the only Spotlight and Harvey Norman in the north-west district – and a shopping centre with a major supermarket and specialty stores located at the intersection of South Pine and Stafford Roads.

There’s also our great local, the Everton Park Hotel, which hosts the truly unique markets, The Mummy Tree Markets.

Bordering Everton Park is Mitchelton, home to the Jan Powers Farmers Market and Brookside Shopping Centre, the major retail centre of the area.

Everton Park - Suburban Ease or Investment Hot-Spot

And if you want to get on your bike, there are also many local bikeways. Check out Google maps here to view trails, dedicated lanes and bike-friendly roads.

As for future infrastructure, The Qld Department of Transport and Main Roads plans to provide new transit lanes on Stafford Road between Everton Park and Kedron and a new bikeway that would provide a direct east-west route along Stafford Road, between Everton Park and Kedron, with the overall plan to improve east-west capacity.

Unlucky for some, but not Everton Park, the suburb has 13 great parks to choose from, with the star being Teralba Park which hosts (take a breath here): Everton Park Guide Hut, Mitchelton Sports Complex, activity space, barbecues, dog off leash area, fitness station, picnic area, playground and most importantly, a loo.

Its surrounding suburbs – Everton Hills, McDowall, Mitchelton, Gaythorne, Kedron, Stafford and Bunya – boast some pretty fine indoor and outdoor attractions, including State Forrest, aquatic centres and bike ways.

So, yes Everton Park is a place for families to survive and thrive but it is also a suburb that has seen property prices increase.

The average property sells for $508,000, rents for $420 per week and if supply and demand is anything to go by, Queensland averages 50 visits to each listed property with Everton Park averaging 85 visits to each property.

As of July 2014, long-term price growth for the suburb was 4.2 per cent, just behind Brisbane’s 4.8 per cent. But the interesting details lie in the average days on market at 49 days, versus Brisbane’s 69 days, and discounting at 5 per cent, versus Brisbane’s at 5.8 per cent.

So the take away here is that Everton Park is a suburb with much to offer. It has good transport links, many retail choices and it’s a suburb that because of its close proximity to the city of Brisbane offers owners and investors alike much bang for your buck, with city benefits at suburban prices.

Head or heart Five questions to ask when hiring an agent

Head or heart: Five questions to ask when hiring an agent

You’ve decided to sell. Even before you put in the hard-yards to get your property to a standard you think might fetch you the price you want, a wise person hones in on a selling agent first.

Appointing the right – or wrong – real estate agent to sell your property can greatly influence the outcome. Or put another way, can result in more money in your pocket. Or not. And, really getting the best price possible is everyone’s goal.

You could choose the first agent you like – and often initial impressions are true – but it makes more sense to choose someone you like AND someone who you know will get you the best outcome.

Cut through the fluff (otherwise known as talk, talk, talk) and put the following five simple questions to work for you when hiring an agent:

  1. How much?

This one’s obviously a no-brainer, but it’s the answer you should focus in on with your best possible listening ears. You see, many agents will tell you what they think you want to hear just to get your business. You are looking for an agent that deals in the currency of facts when it comes to setting the listing price for your home; too high and people will dismiss even viewing your property and too low, well … same. Property must be priced to attract those most likely to buy it.

 Head or heart: Five questions to ask when hiring an agent

  1. How long?

We all know that with experience comes wisdom: or sometimes weariness. Don’t choose the longest serving agency in your local area because of that fact alone. Choose an agency based on how long it takes them to sell homes, not years in business. Choose an agent who has life-experience and is enthusiastic, motivated and has good local-area knowledge.

  1. How many?

An indicator of the right agent for you is how many properties similar to yours they’ve sold recently. When backing up what they think your property may sell for, a good agent will provide you with recent, comparable sales data for your area. This is also a good indicator of how well they understand your area, your particular type of property and those most likely to buy it.

  1. Who?

A good agent will happily supply you with a list of previous clients. Don’t be afraid to call these people. Many will find it flattering that you seek their opinion. Some good questions to ask are: What did you like about the agent? How long did the property take to sell? Was there anything you thought they could have done better? Did the agent get the sale price you wanted?

  1. What makes you different to other agents?

Asking this question provides you a window into the agent’s selling style. It also allows them to demonstrate what stands them apart from their competition, both as an individual agent and as an agency.

Real estate agents are a critical part of the selling process. You’re choosing someone for a task that requires experience, skill and wisdom, not to mention, entrusting them with the sale of your biggest asset.

In the end, many would be loath to admit that it is the gut that rules the head in decisions great and small. But at least if you engage the head first and ask and listen, your gut decision about which agent to hire will serve in your best interest.

Five clever questions to ask when buying a house

Five clever questions to ask when buying a house

A great real estate agent respects that buyers are sellers too. And as the premier real estate agency for Everton Park, Stafford, Stafford Heights and McDowall, we know that people often buy and sell in the same local area, so it’s in everyone’s interest that buyers and sellers alike get what they came for.

So the agent is hired by the seller, but as a buyer how do you get the most from the agent? Here’s the clever part – ask the selling agent what might sometimes seem like obvious questions – and listen closely to the answers. Repeat, listen closely to the answers …

When buying a home, here’s our top five questions to ask an agent:

  1. Why has the seller decided to sell now?

Rather than asking the typical, “how motivated is the seller?” asking ‘why now?’ will give you far more insight into what the seller really needs and it might also tell you how urgent the sale is.

2. How long has the property been on the market?

If the house has been on the market more than three months, ask the agent why they think it isn’t selling. Are there problems that other people have realised that you haven’t? Is it overpriced? A long time on the market might mean the seller would accept a lower price, which leads to …

Five clever questions to ask when buying a house

3. Have you had any offers?

The best follow-up question to, “How long has the property been on the market?” is “Have you had any offers?” Some buyers miss the fact that they are negotiating against two entities: the seller and other potential buyers. Putting these two questions together will tell you a lot about how other buyers are reacting to this home.

4. What price do you think the owners would accept?

Ask the agent. You have nothing to lose by asking and often the agent’s answer can help you clarify your position.

5. Who set the price: the vendor or the agent?

A good agent will provide you with their justifications for the asking price and if needed will be able to provide recent, comparable sales data. As a bonus, you will find out a lot about the agent answering the question. If you are shopping for an agent to represent you, their ability to answer (or not) will tell you a lot about their expertise. Also, if the vendor has set the price, this really is an indicator to thoroughly check the market to ensure the price asked – or more specifically your offer – is realistic.

So, there you have it, the very best questions to ask when buying a house. Our team is always happy to answer your questions, because at our core, we believe in respect, transparency and truthfulness.

A great agent will always work to ensure both parties get what they want.

Bad tenants don’t only cause headaches they can cost property owners thousands

Bad tenants don’t only cause headaches they can cost property owners thousands

Bad tenants can be a costly nightmare, property owners can get stuck with massive clean up bills and may never see the back rent owned to them.

So how do you sift out the good from the bad?

According to Terri Scheer Insurance executive manager Carolyn Parrella, attracting the right tenant can make or break a landlord.

She said it was not only important to find the right tenant but to keep them happy also.

“If tenants are happy they may be more likely to pay their rent on time, stay in your property longer and look after it as if it were their own,” she said.

Follow her tips for avoiding dodgy tenants;

• First think about the type of tenant you want to attract.

“When choosing an investment property, think about the tenant demographic you want to attract, for example a family, sole tenant or couple, and choose a property that is likely to appeal to them.

“Properties that are close to good schools, shops and public transport are likely to be well sought after and may give you a larger pool of prospective tenants from which to choose.”

• Screen tenants.

Thoroughly check potential tenants’ references during the screening process.

“Speak with previous landlords or property managers and ask specifically whether they had any

issues with the tenant in the past,” Ms Parrella said.

• Present your property well.

“A property that is poorly presented by the landlord may be poorly cared for by the tenant. No one wants to live in a property that has stained carpets and marked walls.

• Appoint a property manager

Bad tenants don’t only cause headaches they can cost property owners thousands

“They have experience in screening prospective tenants and have access to databases that list

tenants with a history of defaulting on rental payments, damaging property and eviction.’’

• Attend to maintenance issues promptly.

“A tenant who isn’t getting the attention they deserve might begin to question their commitment to your property and become more careless with it.’’

Plus injury or loss as a result of a safety hazard might result in costly legal claims.

• Landlord insurance

“Even the best tenant can accidentally damage a property or lose their job and be unable to pay rent,” Ms Parrella said.

“Every landlord should have a tailored landlord insurance policy that covers them for both malicious and accidental damage, their legal liability and the loss of rental income.’’

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Demand for home loans misses forecasts

Demand for home loans misses forecasts

DEMAND for home loans rose in July, official data showed, but by much less than expected, as loans for owner-occupied homes slipped in the month.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the number of home loans granted in July rose 0.3 per cent in seasonally adjusted terms to 52,251.

Economists surveyed by Bloomberg had expected the number of housing finance commitments to rise by 1 per cent in the month.

Demand for home loans misses forecasts

Total housing finance by value rose 2.7 per cent in June, seasonally adjusted, to $28.571 billion.

The value of investor lending surged 6.8 per cent in the month to $11.513bn.

The number of loan approvals for refinancing rose by 2.4 in July.

Loan approvals for owner-occupiers, excluding refinancing, fell by 0.7 per cent in the month, to be also be 0.7 per cent lower over the year.

At 12.2 per cent, first-home buyers accounted for the smallest share of housing finance in the history of the data.


Story:   Mitchell Neems   Source:

Sales surge sees house prices defy talk of winter slowdown

Sales surge sees house prices defy talk of winter slowdown

HOUSE prices have defied predictions of a gradual slow down, posting the biggest jump over the three months of winter since 2007 as low interest rates continue to fuel the market.

Figures from RP Data, released ahead of today’s Reserve Bank of Australia monthly meeting on the cash rate, found prices across the capital cities increased 4.2 per cent to a median of $520,000 for the quarter to August 31.

Interactive: Growth in property prices

Sydney’s median price surged 5 per cent to $650,000 and Melbourne’s prices jumped up 6.4 per cent to $523,750, a growth rate far ahead of the other capital cities.

Canberra homes were up 2.4 per cent, Adelaide prices increased 1.5 per cent, Brisbane was up 1.3 per cent and Perth was up by 1 per cent.

Hobart was down 0.8 per cent while Darwin dropped 0.6 per cent.

Sales surge sees house prices defy talk of winter slowdown

Cameron Kusher, a senior researcher at RP Data, said while spring generally saw higher price growth than winter, he wouldn’t be surprised if this had reversed. “We saw a strong winter because of a lack of supply at the same time as low interest rates. Buyers could have a lot more supply to choose from in spring,” he said.

Worried about continued price growth, Megan Harold and husband Chris decided to sell their house in Sydenham, in Sydney’s inner west last weekend, moving to a larger house they purchased at the same time. “The way the market was going, we knew if we didn’t make the move now we wouldn’t get the kind of property we wanted,” Megan said.

The Harolds purchased in Earlwood, where larger block sizes mean it will be easier to ­reconfigure the house as their family grows.

Sydney realtor Maria Hodgson-Smith, from Day & Hodgson, said there weren’t enough houses to satisfy demand, with many selling before auction date as buyers became more aggressive.

Brian White, chairman of real estate agency Ray White, said the housing market was mimicking the economy with the resources-driven cities of Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide performing well, but completely outshone by the financial services-oriented cities of Sydney and Melbourne. Offshore investment had also underpinned those markets, he said.

Mr Kusher said price growth was encouraging many to invest in property, although he said once interest rates began to rise this should pull back as investors moved on to other markets. “Sydney prices have increased by 50 per cent since 2009, and Melbourne by 45 per cent, so a lot of people have built up a lot of equity in their home to invest, and there’s not been a lot of returns to be had with money parked at the bank,” he said.

Scott Haslem, chief economist at investment bank UBS, interest rates would begin to “normalise” around May next year, increasing again in June.

Story:  Kylar Loussikian and Turi Condon    Source:

Burdensome stamp duty costs taxing Australian home buyers

Burdensome stamp duty costs taxing Australian home buyers

Australia’s growing stamp duty tax is taking its toll on Aussie home buyers – leaving them in more debt and eating away at potential retirement funds.

A report by the Housing Industry Association (HIA) has revealed that the average Australian home buyer is forking out upwards of $15,000 in stamp duty alone – and that doesn’t factor in home loan costs, removalists, conveyancing or bank fees.

“In all but two of the eight jurisdictions, stamp duty will set buyers back at least $15,000 on the median-priced home. This form of taxation makes household indebtedness worse by increasing required borrowings,” Shane Garrett, HIA Senior Economist, said.

How much is stamp duty costing buyers?

One of the biggest one-off, upfront costs of buying a property is stamp duty. You are obliged to pay it when buying a home, and new research suggests the costs are remarkably high for some Australians taking out home loans.

Stamp duty costs in Victoria are the greatest of the entire nation — a home buyer in this eastern state will fork out an average $24,100 to meet this tax.

In Western Australia and New South Wales, the average stamp duty bill is $20,000, which is still behind the likes of Victoria but nothing to sneeze at.

“Stamp duty results in total mortgage repayments increasing by $46,400 in Victoria and by $37,100 in NSW. In WA, additional mortgage repayments will total $33,800,” Garrett reported.

Burdensome stamp duty costs taxing Australian home buyers

Stamp duty burns buyers’ wallets

For Australian home buyers, who in some cases are already struggling to save a 20 percent home loan deposit, the added stress of high stamp duty taxes is impacting their long-term financial circumstances.

“The burden of stamp duty is significant in all states and territories. With the exception of Queensland, the tax adds at least three percent to the cost of the dwelling. In Victoria, the typical stamp duty bill comes to some five percent of the dwelling price,” Garrett said.

“A better alternative for stamp duty would be to have it placed in buyers’ superannuation funds,” he suggested.

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