Street Appeal

Step -1 To Selling A Property = Street Appeal

If straight, white, glistening teeth make your smile shine brighter, then a fantastic fence will make your listing more desirable to the buyer of your dreams. Have you ever looked at a house with a little fence that comes up to your kneecaps? Well, that’s not the kind of fence I’m talking about, it is neither functional nor beautiful. It’s completely superfluous. So, now your brain is thinking about an 8-foot Colorbond fence, isn’t it? Well, that would be functional, but not exactly beautiful. When I need a fence, I always get my fencing Toowoomba contractors to come up with a design. They seem to know how to keep the kids and critters in the yard while turning the heads of passers-by.

I’m talking about the kind of fence that gives you true street appeal. The kind that entices buyers to make an offer. So, how can a great fence help you sell that home?

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A good quality fence makes families and animal lovers tick their real estate boxes. No one with young children wants a house without that fence line barrier to keep the kids in and keep them safe. On a similar note, animal lovers will be happy with a fence to keep their pooches safe in the yard. Knowing you can move in and not have to worry about the fence is a real attraction for buyers.

A functional fence also needs to look great. A good fence will match the tone of the house, So a grand old brick home will need a brick pillar fence with an impressively large gate. A lovely, renovated cottage will do well with a white picket fence. An acreage with a winding driveway and manicured lawn needs a big post and rail fence. Without a front fence, your vendor’s property just won’t feel like a home to potential buyers.

If a home is an important piece of art, then the fence is the frame. It gives a sense of completeness. When you have a fence, you can funnel potential buyers through the front gate and along the front path, past the geisha girl tree (magnificent in its shade of heliotrope), and through your grand entrance. Without a fence, your buyers just kind of trample around the lawn and find their own weird way into the house (missing that beautiful geisha girl and the grand entrance). Set your vendors up for success and encourage them to get a fence that oozes ‘street appeal’.

Buyers pay more for a house that requires them to do no work. Get your vendor to do the work for them, erect that magical front fence, and collect the extra 20% on the sale price. If you make it part of your process of preparing a home for the market, you and your vendor will enjoy watching the offers roll in. No time for ‘sitting on the fence’, so to speak; Get that front fence happening today!


Find Good Contractors And Keep Them

Have you ever heard the saying, ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know’? Well, what you know in real estate sure does help, but who you know makes all the difference. It takes a lot of people to sell a house, and it’s our job as real estate agents to bring it all together.

If you don’t have a list of rock-solid contractors that will answer your call any time during the day or night, you need to try harder. Never underestimate the value of a good relationship with a quality contractor. It can make your life easier and your listings present more favourably.

A huge part of doing business as a real estate agent is having a list of good, reliable contractors to call upon when you inevitably need them. This list should be contractors who are local people with who you have a proper working relationship with. You want the best people in town, and you want them to instantly recognize your number when you call and answer straight away. They need to feel that they’re being looked after by your agency, and in turn, they will look after you. If you make sure you have that very handy list of plumbers, electricians, pest sprayers, bond cleaners, roofers, and handymen (to name a few), your properties will be maintained and ready to make money all year round.

When I was a baby agent, I went to value a property in a lovely part of town. This house had been on the market with a different agent for 6 months with no offers. The owners changed to my agency and I was determined to do what the other agents couldn’t. I was going to make this house sell. The house was in a very desirable area and it presented beautifully from the outside. It was when I walked through the front door that I was smacked in the face with the reason no one had wanted to buy this place. The smell was just not right. The carpet had that weird smell that gets into your nose and turns you off your food. It smelled musty, stale, dusty, and just really gross. I could not ignore this buyer barrier.

I called carpet cleaning Toowoomba, a family-run, local business. When Joey turned up, I felt like I had been rescued. He walked in and instantly knew how to fix that particular smell. He was friendly, non-judgmental, and enthusiastic about his job. He had expert product and equipment knowledge and returned that afternoon with a product designed for dampness and cat-related smells. It worked. The smell disappeared, the carpets looked brand new, and the house was inundated with great offers after the next open home. Joey agreed to be our carpet cleaner contractor and has appreciated the steady work ever since. It’s a symbiotic arrangement. He gets more work, and we get a reliable local to make our carpets presentable whenever we need. He even recommends the best treatments and chemicals to apply based on the kind of carpet and complexity of the job.

Joey is just one of the brilliant contractors on my list and his contribution to the success of my career has been enormous. You will never regret having a list of great contractors, your vendors, your clients, and your commissions will always be better off for it!

Find A Good Gardener

Real Estate Trick #1 – Find A Good Gardener

Over a 30-year career in real estate and property management, I have come to realise the difference between the expensive areas and the not so expensive areas. It boils down to the gardens. Have you ever driven down a street with dead, patchy grass and overgrown masses of sticks that used to be bushes? It just doesn’t make you want to move in, does it? Now, imagine rows of houses with green mowed lawns, neat garden beds, and colourful shrubs and flowers. It feels like a place you could really settle into, right? You’re not alone. Statistically, your house price increases by around 20% when you swap that overgrown weed forest for some beautiful, landscaped gardens.

When Merryn and I renovated our Australian dream last year, we employed the team at gardener Toowoomba to create an Eden for us. They planted bare-rooted roses and trees, created perfectly trimmed hedges, along with colourful agapanthus’ and a stunning geisha girl tree. We also painted the front exterior of the house.

This project immediately improved the value of our home, but the newly renovated gardens gifted us an unexpected benefit. While the paint begins to fade and crack in the hot QLD sun, the gardens only become more established, the roses and trees grow larger, and the geisha girl seems to grow more beautiful and attract more butterflies every year. Even if you’re not thinking of selling at the moment, the sooner you get a gardener to work some magic, the more your garden will grow and your property value will grow along with it. What I’m trying to say, is that if you get a great gardener and attend to your little slice of heaven, it will be an investment that continues to improve the value of your house year after year.

Some people have excellent green thumbs there is no doubt. When it comes to increasing the value of your home, unless you have an eye for design and an endless amount of time and energy, you really need to hire a gardener. Most people add to their gardens after a spontaneous trip to the hardware store for something to do (and a sausage sandwich) on a Saturday morning. There really isn’t a lot of planning going on and the garden ends up having different elements stitched together over a season. On the other hand, a professional gardener will come up with a plan from the start which includes green grass, paved walkways, outdoor living spaces, and vegetation that grows well in your area. Get it all done at once and you’re Saturdays can be spent lovingly weeding, pruning, and watering your pride and joy. Your gardener may also make space for your BBQ area so you can still enjoy your regular weekend sausage sizzle too!

I’ve seen too many vendors neglect the garden and focus too much attention on which scented candle that they plan to burn during an open home; They always regret it when they’re drowning in a sea of low offers. Do yourself a favour, add real, long last value to your home; Hire that gardener. The grass really will be greener on your side of the fence!

Choosing The Right Agent

Whether you own a million-dollar mansion or a humble beach shack, when it comes time to sell your home, the person who sells it really does make a difference. I suppose it’s like any industry; When you have inside knowledge, you know exactly what you want.

When Isaac was four, Merryn and I decided to enrol him in swimming lessons. If it were up to me, I would’ve just signed him up for whatever I could get at the closest pool. Merryn however, spent 10 years as a swimming teacher and she knew that the right swimming teacher makes all the difference. She turned up to three swim schools in town and conducted on the spot interviews (bordering on interrogations) with the coordinators of each one. She toured the facilities and watched the swimming instructors with a close eye before enrolling him in the swim school of her choice with the teacher of her choice. Isaac benefited greatly and he’s now on the cusp of becoming an elite surf sport athlete.

It’s exactly the same when it comes to choosing the right agent. I’ve been in the industry long enough to know that not all agents are created equally. Finding your right agent, in my opinion, comes down to 2 things: Doing some stalking, and feeling the vibe.

Do some stalking.
Get out your phone and scope local homes similar to yours. Pour through the sold listings and see which agents are making great sales. The next thing you need to do is start attending lots of open homes and take note of the agent. Is the agent friendly, respectful, happy to answer any question about the home? Which agents make buyers feel more comfortable?

Feeling the vibe.
Once you have your shortlist of agents, make an appointment with each one to see which one gives you the best gut feeling. When you sit down with a potential agent, you should feel comfortable asking any seemingly dumb question that is on your mind. They’re the experts and they should take the time to explain the process to you. Ask them questions about how they have achieved their sales and what their confidence level is for your property.

You want a confident agent who has the skills to back it up. One way to gauge that special combination is to ask for a ‘no fee until sold’ arrangement. Ask for a deal where no fee is paid until your home is sold, and sold for the price you want. You will quickly find out which agent is for you.
Don’t be afraid to look around when selling your home. The outcome means a lot to you and your family. You have every right to take your time and find the best one for you.

Real Estate – Real Talk

Welcome To My Blog: Real Estate – Real Talk

No more shop fronts, no more open homes, no more for sale signs. After 30 years as a real estate agent in the Darling Downs of Queensland, I have sold my last home. I honestly doubted if my retirement would ever come, because a little part of me never wanted to close on a career as dynamic and energetic as property management. Ironically, the very same career has afforded me the financial luxury of retiring at the age of 52. Now I have time to write my thoughts down in this blog without any kind of sales filter. Just me, my experience, and my honest beliefs.

‘Real Estate – Real Talk’ is precisely what you will find within the walls of this blog. My brain is now an open home for anyone to walk through (remove your shoes first, naturally), and my wealth of knowledge from a career that straddled both sides of the digital age is for sale for the low low price of zero dollars.

Within, you will find my finely tuned advice on every aspect of property management. From tips for aspiring agents, to my personal take on how to make your own home ready for the market. I have no purchasers, no vendors, no commissions, no marketing. It is a surreal sense of freedom that certainly does take some getting used to after three decades in the property game. While I get adjusted to life without the pressures of property management, I will divulge my accumulated mastery in the same way a vendor must divulge their family home of memories before vacating. While vendors accomplish this with a thorough clean and champagne toast, I will achieve this by writing this blog. Instead of a champagne toast, I’ll have an old-fashioned whiskey from the comfort of my living room recliner. So, relax, pour yourself a glass of your favourite drop, and enjoy Real Estate – Real Talk.