The Unconditional Blog

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Archive for the ‘Agent Tips’ Category


Can the real estate industry demonstrate eco-friendly responsibility?

Posted on: March 17th, 2008 | Filed in Agent Tips, Website news

It may be the fact that today’s St Patrick’s Day, but I am inspired to write a post on green issues in the real estate industry.Can the NZ Real Estate demonstrate green action?

I was standing in line at the local Post Shop just now watching as someone came in to empty their post box. Struggling to extract the mass of ‘marketing flyers’ from local real estate agents she proceeded to unceremoniously dump all of them in the bin – a bin that was as you can see from this camera phone image (apologies for a shaky image) was already straining at the seams with yet more of these real estate flyers!

The real question here is – does the real estate industry realise how damaging this mass of wasted marketing material is to the environment?

I undertook a quick guesstimate of the impact of all of these flyers being dumped in rubbish bins – in a week. I estimate that based on 17,000 real estate agents in NZ the industry produces over 34 tons of paper (this excludes magazines and newspapers – just mail dropped flyers) per week!

Now courtesy of an online green calculator I found out that to produce this mass of paper uses up 816 trees per week – 42,000 trees per annum.

Now we are a real estate website so you may think we have a slight agenda here – we do!

We want to assist the property buying and selling public by providing the most valuable and effective means of searching for property of all types. You might also think that with the growth of the web as the preferred means of searching for real estate real estate, that agents might realise that random mail drops are neither cost effective nor environmentally friendly!

So next time you get the opportunity and are speaking to a real estate agent you might like to remind them of the impact on the environment that their mail drops is having to our beautiful country. Maybe it is time one or all of the real estate companies decided that going green would be a neat marketing tactic.

As for ourselves I can confirm that we here at are going greener – as of the end of this month we will cease to produce and distribute paper forms, invoices, letters and statements – collectively saving this country over a quarter of a ton of paper and allowing 6 more trees to live!


Thinking of putting your house on the market – don’t be afraid of being a tall poppy!

Posted on: February 24th, 2008 | Filed in Agent Tips, Buying / Selling a home

tall-poppies.jpgThat great NZ syndrome – don’t stand out from the crowd could not be further from the truth of what you need to do in today’s real estate market. If you don’t stick your head (read your house) up above the crowd of others in your areas then chances are you will not be viewed by prospective buyers and your house will not sell quickly.

The facts are clear – the level of properties on the market are at record highs and if you are thinking of selling or have your house on the market then you need to seriously look at the issue of presentation. Just look at our website – just 2 months ago we featured 94,000 listings, today 102,000 and growing at around 500 per week at the moment.

Just as you wouldn’t think of going to an interview in grubby clothes and an un-pressed shirt so you should address the same issue with your house. Think of prospective buyers as employers looking to interview your house – first impressions count.

Here are a few pointers to issues that you should think about.

Keep the place tidy – especially around open homes times and that all important photo shoot. Remember people take in information with their eyes far faster and more reliably than through their ears. So make the place look easy to move into. It is no good getting your agent to explain how things could look – make the changes and allow people to see the house.

Decorate where it is appropriate – but keep colours neutral. Plain colours open a place up and make it look bigger –as does removing clutter. Consider placing some of your stuff in storage whilst the property is on the market.

Have a think about staging a property. This service is growing in appeal as it so easy to make a big first impression with smart new furniture and well presented decor. It is even more important to think about this if the house you are selling is empty.

As a rule empty houses are harder to sell. Firstly because the lack of furniture leaves people with difficulty imaging how big a room is, as furniture defines a room. Secondly the lack of personal touches – that feeling of a cared-for house where people live generates a natural reaction of “we could live here” far more of the time than an empty house. Finally an empty house tends to give the buyer the upper-hand as the perception is that owners tend to be more desperate to sell an empty house as the implication is that the circumstances that required the family to move have occurred and now they desperately need to sell.

Gardens like the inside of a house should be kept tidy – this really makes a statement of care and attention by the current owners as well as creating an impression for the prospective owner of an easy care garden if everything looks tidy. Nothing would put off buyers more than a rambling jungle of a garden which invokes fear of excessive work.

The bottom line is likely to be that it is worth spending some money to enhance your property. That way you can more easily attract interest and thereby achieve a realistic price quickly rather than having to concede on the sale price to win the sale. For in today’s market speed-of-sale is becoming the objective as realistic expectation of price has already pervaded the market.

A little bit of calculating can be quite illuminating. Taking the national median-priced house at the moment of $345,000, with say a 75% mortgage of $260,000. To be able to sell after 21 days on the market could save you over $2,000 as compared to sitting on the market for the median selling period of 49 days. Additionally an investment of say $3,000 in cleaning up, a bit of decoration and some additional marketing could well see you sell at the asking price in those 21 days rather than conceding a sell based on reduced price of $10,000 after 49 days – leaving you $9,000 better off.

So go on don’t be afraid to be a tall poppy!….to assist you, have a look at some of the additional advice sections on the website:

The Essential Checklist for Home Sellers

A Guide to Open Homes

Moving Home Checklist


One relevant property picture is worth a thousand words

Posted on: December 2nd, 2007 | Filed in Agent Tips, Online marketing

With 92,000 properties on the website at this time, the question is as ever how to find what you are looking for? – whether it is a classic 50’s bach on the shores of lake Rotoiti, a city pad in Christchurch or a slice of rural lifestyle in Cambridge. The fact is there is no science to searching for property – it involves the right balance of “heart and head”, however there is one element without which no search can be complete – images.

Given the criticality of images as part of a property search it never fails to amaze me the number of properties that get posted on our site (and other property websites) with either no photo or photos bearing no relevance to the property.

I speak to what is sometimes thought of as “innovative marketing” by some real estate agents. The photo of a dog to highlight that his “master and mistress” are moving and “Ben needs a new home!” – or a 6 year old perched on the suitcases – “We’re off to OZ – the house needs to be sold!” or worse still a photo of the Taj Mahal – “Our home is a temple, it can now be yours”.

Such innovative marketing misses the key point about the internet – it satisfied a functional need, people want to efficiently and quickly peruse the equivalent of every real estate office window and filing cabinet – all from their home PC or office desk – what they want is relevant photos of the property, lots of photos, and lots of relevant photos. If an agent tries to be clever it can be damaging and counter productive as people skip the property and move on down the list of properties.

Agents please note the public are speaking!

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