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Feb 26, 2024

Mistakes to avoid as a first-home buyer

Whether it’s a new apartment or an old one – or even a house in the outer suburbs – finding an affordable home isn’t easy for anyone starting out. And in all the excitement of house hunting, it’s all too easy to make mistakes. The following tips are designed to put first-home buyers on the path to achievable and manageable property acquisition: Gain pre-approval Just knowing you qualify for a home loan is not enough. Before you start looking at properties, go to lenders and find out how much they are willing to lend you. This will help you focus your attention on houses you can afford, so you can avoid the disappointment of finding your dream home and then learning you can’t have it. Understand your mortgage options Getting a home loan may be easier today than it was in the past when you had to save for years for your deposit. But it’s also riskier and can be more expensive. A no-deposit loan comes with the added cost of mortgage insurance. You might like to ask yourself: would I be better off making a deposit and saving on the ongoing cost of mortgage insurance? Get advice from a variety of lenders and discuss all your options with them. Don’t borrow beyond your means Sometimes first-home buyers make the mistake of borrowing beyond their capabilities. This can stretch your finances to the limit and will not allow you to make improvements to your property when you move in. Worse still, you might not be able to afford to enjoy life in your new home. If you face unforeseen financial problems, it could mean having to sell your house before you have substantial equity in it. Be proactive Many first-home buyers will benefit from being proactive and doing independent research. In addition to getting in touch with professional real estate services, you can find auction results and past sale prices online. If you narrow your searches down to the suburbs and even streets where you want to buy, you can find out what properties are selling for. When a vendor’s agent, who will always be acting on their client’s behalf, gives you a price, you will be in a position to make a realistic counter-offer. Get a pre-purchase inspection report Some of the best real estate deals are older homes that need minor or cosmetic repairs and renovations. Some of the worst deals are older homes that need costly major repairs. Those major repair jobs might be hidden from view. Saving a few dollars by not getting a pre-purchase inspection report from an independent building inspector can cost you thousands of dollars after you move into your home. To be on the safe side, have a pest inspection carried out as well. Don’t underestimate additional costs When you buy a home, you pay more than just the cost of the house. Some additional costs include: home insurance moving costs inspection reports stamp duty council rates transfer fees Know your costs and budget ahead of time and you won’t be losing sleep when you move into your new home. Remove emotion from the equation Buying your first home is an emotional experience, so it’s too easy to let your emotions blind you. Take your cue from lenders to home renovators, who think of only one thing when they buy a house: “What will my return on investment be?” If a professional doesn’t think a house offers a good return on their investment, they walk away. If you are in the process of looking for your first property, give one of the RealWay Team a call so we may be of assistance. Property is our profession.

Nov 3, 2023

How to impress your future landlord

Being a responsible tenant not only enhances your reputation as a long-term renter, but also increases your chances of being highly valued by landlords or rental providers. A role model tenant (one that impresses) pays their rent on time, respects their neighbours, takes care of the property, and minimizes maintenance costs. What makes you the best among the rest? To secure a desirable and long-lasting tenancy agreement, it is important to impress landlords or rental providers by exhibiting certain qualities. Rental providers aim to protect their property and increase their investment potential, so the best tenants are reliable, financially secure, and respectful of their rental property rights and obligations. Reputable tenants with good references and rental history also demonstrate character and trustworthiness. Being a responsible tenant involves adhering to both written and unspoken rules regarding the property and surroundings, such as reducing noise levels during socially responsible times. Respectful tenants show innate respect for their landlord, fellow housemates, and neighbours, which creates a positive word-of-mouth reputation. This can increase your chances of being chosen for your next potential rental, house purchase, or even job opportunities. Your icing on the cake Top off the above qualities with truthfulness and anticipation. Anticipation involves open communication via appropriate channels with the landlord, especially for domestic situations such as leaky taps or faulty WC, loose cupboard doors, or damage to walls or tiles. By reporting these issues promptly, you can help prevent further damage and endear yourself to your rental provider. Honesty is also a crucial quality of a desirable tenant. Tenants should promptly report any accidents or incidents committed by household members, including pets. For pet agreements, which vary from state to state and property to property, full disclosure and ensuring that the pet adheres to tenancy rules and agreements can endear you to your rental provider. If you have any specific queries about the requirements for a property or your rules and rights as a renter or rental provider, get in touch with our team.

Oct 26, 2023

Interest Only Home Loans: pros and cons

Interest-only (IO) home loans are a popular alternative to traditional mortgages as they allow borrowers to pay only the interest on their borrowed amount for a period of three to five years, resulting in lower monthly repayments during this time. However, it is important to weigh the advantages and risks of these loans before deciding whether they are the right option for you. Pros of Interest Only Loans Advantages of IO loans include lower repayments during the interest-only period, which can help borrowers to free up cash for unexpected expenses or to invest in renovations or other projects. This type of loan can also be useful for borrowers who expect their income to increase in the future, as they can afford to make higher repayments later. Cons of IO Loans While IO loans may seem like a good deal initially, they also have some risks that borrowers need to consider. One of the biggest risks is that when the interest-only period ends, the borrower will have to start repaying the principal and the repayments can increase significantly. This can be particularly difficult for borrowers who have not planned for the increased repayments. IO loans can also extend the overall mortgage term, as borrowers will have to pay off the principal over a longer period of time. Furthermore, some lenders may charge higher interest rates for IO loans compared to principal and interest (PI) loans. IO Loan Expiration: How to prepare for it Before taking out an IO loan, borrowers should carefully consider what their full repayment amount will be once the loan expires. This will allow them to adequately prepare for the higher repayments that will be required. It is also important to note that interest rates may rise over time, resulting in higher repayments than anticipated. To prepare for this, borrowers may want to consider making higher repayments ahead of time or refinancing their loan altogether. Interest Only? IO loans can be a good option for certain buyers, particularly investors. However, borrowers should be cautious not to purchase a property that is beyond their means, as IO loans will eventually become PI loans. To avoid any surprises, it is important to carefully read and understand all loan documents before signing. This information is not intended to replace legal and financial advice. Please consult your financial advisor and legal team for information relating to your individual circumstances.

Oct 18, 2023

Strata Title: An overview of the basics

If you’re considering purchasing a strata apartment for the first time, it’s important to understand what strata title means and how it affects your ownership and living experience. In simple terms, strata title is a legal framework used for multi-unit buildings, such as apartments or condominiums. When you buy a strata apartment, you become a part-owner of the building and receive a “title” that represents your ownership share. Along with it comes certain rights, responsibilities, and obligations as a member of the strata community. As an owner, you have the exclusive right to use and enjoy your individual apartment. You also have access to the common areas and facilities shared by all residents, such as parking lots, elevators, swimming pools, and gardens. These amenities are collectively maintained and managed by the strata corporation, which is made up of all the individual owners. Being part of a strata community means you have a say in the decisions that affect the building. This includes participating in general meetings, voting on matters like bylaws, approving the budget, and electing the strata council members who oversee the building’s management. However, it’s important to be aware that living in a strata apartment also comes with financial responsibilities. You’ll be required to pay regular fees known as “strata levies” or “maintenance fees.” These fees contribute to the shared costs of maintaining the building, including repairs, insurance, cleaning, and the overall upkeep of common areas. Additionally, strata living involves following certain rules and bylaws that are designed to ensure a harmonious and well-maintained environment for all residents. These rules might cover issues such as noise restrictions, pet policies, renovations, and other matters that impact the community as a whole. Before purchasing a strata apartment, it’s crucial to thoroughly review the strata records and financial statements. This will give you insights into the building’s financial health, any ongoing maintenance or repair issues, and the overall management of the strata corporation. By considering a strata apartment, you’re gaining the benefits of homeownership while sharing the responsibilities with fellow owners. It offers a sense of community, shared amenities, and the opportunity to have a say in the decision-making processes that impact your living environment. Before making a decision, it’s recommended to seek professional advice, such as engaging a strata inspector or speaking with a real estate agent who specializes in strata properties. They can guide you through the intricacies of strata living, ensuring you make an informed choice that aligns with your lifestyle and financial goals. Further reading: "Why you should arrange a strata inspection report"

Oct 9, 2023

Selling your home? Some mistakes to avoid

Selling a home is a significant financial transaction that requires careful decision-making and planning. To ensure a successful and smooth selling process, it’s important to avoid common mistakes that can impact your experience and outcome. In this article, we will discuss six critical mistakes to avoid when selling your home, providing insights that will help you make informed decisions and maximise your chances of a successful sale. Setting an Unrealistic Asking Price One of the most crucial mistakes sellers make is setting an unrealistic asking price for their home. Overpricing can deter potential buyers and result in a longer time on the market, ultimately leading to a lower selling price. To avoid this, conduct thorough market research, analyse recent sales data, and seek guidance from a trusted real estate agent to determine a competitive and realistic asking price. A well-priced home will attract more buyers and increase your chances of receiving offers. Neglecting Necessary Repairs and Maintenance Neglecting essential repairs and maintenance tasks can significantly impact the sale of your home. Prospective buyers are likely to be discouraged by visible issues, which can lead to lower offers or negotiations that favour the buyer. Prioritise necessary repairs before listing your home, addressing any cosmetic or structural problems. Fix leaky faucets, replace broken fixtures, and ensure the overall condition of your home is well-maintained. A properly maintained home instils confidence in buyers and justifies your asking price. Failing to Stage Your Home Home staging is a critical component of the selling process that should not be overlooked. Failing to stage your home can result in a lacklustre presentation and make it difficult for potential buyers to envision themselves living there. Take the time to declutter, depersonalise, and arrange furniture strategically to create an inviting atmosphere. Consider hiring a professional stager or researching staging techniques to highlight your home’s best features and maximise its appeal. Inadequate Marketing and Promotion To attract a wide pool of potential buyers, it’s crucial to invest in effective marketing and promotion. Relying solely on traditional methods or listing your home on a few real estate websites may limit your exposure. Develop a comprehensive marketing strategy that leverages online platforms, social media, and real estate networks. Utilise high-quality photographs, virtual tours, and open houses to generate interest and showcase your property’s unique qualities. Disregarding Feedback and Market Trends Ignoring feedback from potential buyers and disregarding market trends can hinder your chances of a successful sale. Pay attention to comments about pricing, home condition, or recurring concerns. Adjust your selling strategy accordingly and make necessary changes based on feedback. Additionally, stay informed about market trends, such as changes in buyer demand or local property values. Being adaptable and responsive to market signals can help you make informed decisions and increase your chances of a timely and profitable sale. Choosing the right agent Selecting the right real estate agent is crucial to the success of your home sale. However, choosing the first agent you meet without conducting thorough research can be a costly mistake. Take the time to interview multiple agents, asking about their experience, track record, marketing strategies, and knowledge of the local market. Look for an agent who understands your needs, communicates effectively, and demonstrates a strong commitment to selling your home. A skilled and reputable agent will provide valuable guidance, negotiate effectively, and ensure a smooth selling process. Selling your home involves important decisions and considerations that can significantly impact your selling experience and outcome. By avoiding these six common mistakes – setting an unrealistic asking price, neglecting necessary repairs, failing to stage your home, inadequate marketing and promotion, disregarding feedback and market trends, and choosing the first agent you meet – you can navigate the selling process with confidence. Remember to prioritise research, planning, and communication to achieve a successful and profitable home sale. Get in touch with the RealWay team to know how we can help you sell your home smartly and successfully.

Sep 30, 2023

Different Types of Property Valuation

Property valuation is an essential aspect of the buying and selling process, but it can often seem mysterious and complex. To demystify this process, let’s explore the basics of property valuation to gain a better understanding of the different types of valuations available, how they are calculated, and their significance in the real estate market. Valuation, in simple terms, is the determination of the monetary value of a property. It provides an estimate of how much a property could sell for based on various factors. These factors include the property’s condition, location, aspect, features, recent sale prices of similar properties, and market projections that consider whether sale prices have been increasing, decreasing, or stabilizing. Valuations are presented in the form of reports that offer detailed information on the factors considered in determining the estimated sale price of a property. Valuations serve different purposes for buyers and sellers alike. For buyers, valuations are typically required by banks before securing a loan for purchasing a property. For sellers, valuations are crucial in determining an appropriate asking price. Both buyers and sellers can use valuations as a basis for informed negotiations. Various types of valuations are used at different stages of the buying and selling process. Let’s explore them: Automated Price Estimates Online tools are provided by lenders to offer initial indications of a property’s potential bank valuation. These estimates are helpful for getting a preliminary idea of the property’s value. You often see on real estate websites the ability to enter a property address to receive an appraisal, or evaluation of that property. This is an example of an automated price estimate. Bank Valuations One of the different types of valuations is one calculated by lenders to assess the maximum size and conditions of property loans. These valuations tend to be conservative, as lenders aim to manage the risk of loan repayment. Banks must make sure that the value of the home exceeds the amount of the loan being offered. Bank valuations are more focused on the financial aspect and may not capture the full market value of the property. Selling Agent Appraisals Conducted by real estate agents to attract sellers and maintain their reputation. These appraisals are typically more optimistic than bank valuations, as agents consider market projections and property features to present a higher value. They typically involve the real estate agent doing a physical inspection of the property. Local Council Valuations The property values are mentioned in the local municipal rates bill that property owners receive annually. These valuations determine the amount property owners will need to pay for water, sewerage, rubbish collection etc. Often only the land valuation is used for this purpose. Professional Valuations Detailed valuations are conducted by skilled professionals who consider a comprehensive range of factors affecting a potential property’s sale price. Private professionals offer this service to assist buyers and sellers in navigating the abundance of information from various sources. The final sale price of a property may align with the valuations or vary significantly. Nonetheless, valuations play a crucial role in facilitating informed decision-making when buying or selling a property. At the end of a sale, the house value is what the purchaser was willing to pay for it, but that still might not change the valuations provided by the means above. If you would like a free appraisal of your property, get in touch with RealWay.

Sep 26, 2023

Resale potential and buying property

When it comes to selling property for capital gains, timing is crucial. Additionally, having the necessary resources to upgrade to a better area is equally important. Before buying a property, it’s essential to consider its resale potential, especially in adverse circumstances, to ensure a profitable outcome. Stay focused and informed First and foremost, location remains essential. To determine a neighbourhood’s potential for future growth, analysts consider various factors, such as the overall appearance, quality of schools, access, shopping, crime levels, and absence of negative factors like living near a rubbish tip or freeway. By focusing on these factors, you can make informed decisions about purchasing properties that are likely to appreciate in value. Be strategic and patient with property decisions Saving for a property purchase should be a priority for those looking to invest in real estate. Even small amounts saved each week can make a significant difference in the long term. Paying fortnightly rather than monthly can result in more repayments per year, reducing the interest paid over time. Furthermore, any additional income, such as wage increases, tax refunds, or financial windfalls, should be put aside to accumulate savings for a future property purchase. Be disciplined and prepared Discipline and preparation are crucial for becoming proficient in planning your finances. By paying attention to various factors, you can make informed decisions about property purchases, ensuring you pay the right price for a property. Additionally, these practices can help you get ahead in life, making smart financial decisions that lead to long-term financial stability. Various resources are available to help you with your personal finances, so check with your local finance bodies for online calculators and budgeting apps. By taking advantage of these resources and implementing the practices mentioned above, you will be more informed about your property decisions.  By considering resale potential when purchasing a property you are taking into consideration factors that will influence your capital gain.

Sep 19, 2023

Setting the right price when selling your home

The real estate market is highly dynamic, and the final sale price of a property is determined by several factors. While the mortgage owed and the cost of purchasing another property are important considerations, they do not solely determine the listing price or the eventual sale price. An experienced real estate agent with local knowledge can provide valuable insights into the current market and research several factors to determine the pricing strategy.  Setting the right price for your property will be one key factor to a successful sale. To establish a suitable listing price, it is advisable to consult a local agent who possesses extensive knowledge of the area and understands the current market conditions. The agent will conduct thorough research, taking into account several factors that influence the pricing of your home. Research the comparable properties in your area One crucial aspect is assessing comparable listings in your vicinity. Researching the current or recently sold properties in your area that share similarities with your own can provide valuable insights. You should consider the listed price and final sale price of these comparable properties to determine a price range for your property. When selecting comparable properties, factors such as size, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, living spaces, parking facilities, additions, and inclusions should be taken into consideration. Additionally, consider the age of the property, as well as any potential improvements or renovations that have been made, as they can impact the price estimate. Research about withdrawn listings Examining withdrawn listings can also offer valuable information. These withdrawn sales provide an indication of properties that did not sell and can reveal whether they were on the market for the right price or faced other challenges. By analysing such cases, you can expand the range of pricing considerations for your property. Calculate and compare Once you have gathered all the relevant data on comparable sales in your area, you can consolidate the information to calculate the average listing and final sale prices. By comparing these figures, you can approximate the value of your home. However, for a more accurate estimation, it is recommended to consult a local agent for a sales appraisal or consider investing in a professional property valuation. In summary, pricing your home requires a comprehensive understanding of the local market dynamics. While factors like your mortgage and personal needs are important, consulting a knowledgeable agent and conducting research on comparable listings and withdrawn sales will provide valuable insights for determining a suitable listing price. If you want to make sure you’re getting the best outcome for your property, get in touch with our team now and let us help you navigate the market to get the best price for you.  Undertaking these research activities yourself is useful - RealWay's team of agents are experts at this and have additional property insight based upon their cumulative experience.