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Archive for the ‘Buying / Selling a home’ Category

7

The 3 P’s for selling your property

Posted on: April 29th, 2008 | Filed in Buying / Selling a home, Online marketing

It is classic textbook marketing theory – there are 4 P’s of consumer marketing:

PRODUCT / PRICE / PLACE / PROMOTION

Now in the case of real estate the “place” (which in consumer product terms is where to buy a product) is rather constrained as you cannot buy the house you want except where it is now and will likely be forever more! – So we need to discount this “P”. Although it is the driver of ‘location, location, location’ you cannot change or influence it.

So that leaves just 3 P’s of marketing a property – The right product at the right price, promoted in the best way to appeal to the target audience of buyers. Today’s property market is cluttered with a stockpile of properties all fighting for attention. For those of you as property owners looking to sell here are some valuable reminders collected from my discussions with real estate agents, as well as what I judge to be good sound business sense. If you have any other ideas and thoughts please add a comment to this post to share your thoughts with others.

PRODUCT

To get the product right is all about impressions, not just first impressions when someone walks in the door; because in today’s market it is even harder to get people to leave their armchair and visit an open home. The reality is that your house has to leap off the web page because that is where most prospective buyers will find details about your property. So in order to attain that standout “wow factor” look to the presentation of the property on the website search page. To achieve this simply get the best photography as well as devise great copy describing the property.

For photography nothing beats quality and quantity. People spend a lot of time viewing real estate websites; on average for realestate.co.nz this is close to 10 minutes for every visitor, and in that time they want rich, engaging content. Many properties now feature upwards of 20 to 40 images, this give prospective buyers great information. Be very conscious of picking the right photo to be the first photo as this is the one that is displayed on the search results – this is the photo that has to work hardest get people to click through for more details.

For description of the property key facts well laid out with good easy to read language is critical. Make sure you critique the proposed copy, get your friends to review it as well – is it engaging, relevant and interesting?? – don’t be afraid to make changes to add impact.

PROMOTION

As detailed in the post “Thinking of putting your house on the market – don’t be afraid of being a tall poppy!” – The need to stand out in today’s market is critical. Having resoundingly destroyed the myth of newspaper advertising for property let me highlight the merits of choosing a new service on this website to promote your property with maximum impact.

For less than the cost of a colour page in most print publications you can have your property featured on the home page and on the suburb page – attracting an audience which often exceeds 4,000 viewings in a 2 week period. This type of promotion is in high demand so speak with your agent or contact us. Remember this promotion is working 24 hours a day for 2 whole weeks, not just a page on a daily paper becoming part of tomorrow’s recycle bin collection.

PRICE

This is where the reality of today’s market really hits home. With plentiful choice, buyers in today’s market are looking for properties that are realistically priced. That is not to say that only bargains will sell. However properties without an asking price will be at a disadvantage as buyers are more likely to regard these properties as less actively marketed.

When the market is running hot as it was a year ago and properties typically sold with 4 weeks, not stipulating a price was not a great problem. However a year later with many properties staying on the market for many months – transparency of price expectation will certainly illicit a response from prospective buyers – even if it is to reject the property as the price is outside their range.

It is worth remembering that whilst we encourage all our customers to individually price all property on the website, they may for many reasons choose not to, preferring to identify the property as by negotiation, or some other phrase. In this case for these properties we mandate the requirement for property to be presented with a hidden price range; this range drives the search engine function of the site, helping in your refined search.

And as a last piece of advice on pricing, have a read of this article regarding research in the US which states that selecting a price with lots of zeros is less effective than more accurate pricing – $374,500 being better than $380,000.

1

The solution to selling your home – just add life insurance!

Posted on: April 18th, 2008 | Filed in Buying / Selling a home, The lighter side

Real estate has always been known for colourful and flamboyant eye-catching headlines designed to entice the prospective buyer to consider this house or that apartment. This puffery has over time incurred the wrath of consumer rights advocates and regulators.

It is therefore rather fitting that the imagination of one Wisconsin real estate agent in association with a canny vendor has come up with what could be the ultimate eye-catching marketing concept.

Buy my house and have the opportunity of getting your money back! – No; not some kind of bizarre money back guarantee scheme, but a legal and innovative gamble.

How to sell you home - just add life insuranceBob Fanning and his agent Wayne Peters are offering the prospective buyer of this 5,600 square-foot $489,900 house a free term life insurance policy to the value of $500,000 – the insured life is that of the vendor Mr Fanning. The wise buyer will be morbidly hoping that Mr Fanning dies within the 10 year term of the policy for the buyer to collect.

This morbid twist of marketing has the full consent of Mr Fanning’s wife and family as it is a separate life policy established purely as a marketing tactic.

For the record Mr Fanning is 69 years old, and in case you suspect that foul play may be looming to bring a swift end to Mr Fanning’s life, the attorneys have allowed for that eventuality nullifying the policy should Mr Fanning meet an untimely or suspicious end or for him to commit suicide.

As for the odds: Fanning said he has no health problems, though he joked that he’s “too short” for his weight. Both his parents died before age 79, as did a sister. He said he’d be willing to disclose medical records to a buyer.

I must thank Steve Koerber of Barfoot & Thompson for posting this news story on his blog. Thanks Steve for adding a touch of the lighter side to this week’s news!

13

To auction, or not to auction: that is the question..

Posted on: April 16th, 2008 | Filed in Buying / Selling a home

Whether ’tis nobler to suffer the ignominy of being passed in, Or to take action against a sea of advice , and by opposing sell by private treaty? To tender: to negotiate ; No more; and by a negotiation to say we end the heart-ache of endless open homes……. (with due apologies to Mr William Shakespeare)

The auction debate for NZ propertyThe process and experience of property auctions are a hot topic of debate especially in today’s marketplace with such sluggish sales. There are as many “jaw dropping” stories of auctions with buyers carried away by the “heat of the moment” with property selling for many thousands and even hundreds of thousands of dollars more than predicted, as there are entire auction events with not a bid in sight!

So lets look at the principle – the auction, why and when.

The purpose of an auction is to gather together a group of prospective buyers to establish the true demand-led price of a property – this theory works for property, as it does for cars, art and even 81 year old single malt Scotch!. It is used as a highly efficient means of quickly establishing the market price and completing the sale – note the key elements here are Speed and Transparency.

That is the theory of auctions, what of the reality. Do auctions better suit or favour buyers or sellers? Classically both scenarios can exist.

For the seller of a property, an auction enables the marketing of their property to be managed around a defined time period with all activity culminating at the auction; when ideally a group of prospective buyer will arrive having done all their property inspections, searches and background checks, armed with their cheque book ready to pay the deposit. They will then enthusiastically bid against each other until the final bid seals the deal and the property is unconditionally sold on the fall of the gavel. Great – but not always the case, often nobody bids, or nobody turns up, or the bids don’t not even come close to the reserve price – these all lead to that ignominy of a house being “passed in” and the reality that you are back at square one – just another house for sale.

For the seller the costs of an auction do not amount to much more than a normal house sale, save for the cost of an auctioneer for the event. The marketing costs for an auction should not be any different than for any property sale – all you are doing is highlighting the date and time of the event.

For the prospective buyer the auction can be less of an attractive option (I am thinking here of the normal house buyer rather than property investors). The event of the auction is nerve-raking with the public exposure and pressure of the event – the need to be bidding from the head rather than the heart. The need to have done all those pre-event checks. Certainly for every time when euphoria creeps in, there are as many times when intimidation and embarrassment hold people back. Now for a seasoned property investor an auction can be a time to apply skills to “manage” the event to their ends by smart bidding, especially when the property has not attracted much interest and the seller is close to desperation to sell.

The reality is that a mainstream property well marketed (that means a reasonable marketing budget of around 0.5% to 1% of the selling price) through the appropriate media of specialist real estate websites and selected specialist real estate magazines will attract the target audience of interested buyers who are in the market at that moment in time. These potential buyers will act quickly (even when the market is quiet) and make enquiries and view the property – the price of the property will be fairly easy to evaluate based on similar recent sales. Quickly then the market will show you the demand and you will sell or not based on that demand. In this case an auction does not really add anything to the marketing programme apart from a true “call to action” through an enforced deadline.

If however the property is truly unique and hard to price (this does not always have to mean high price) and shows itself to have a good level of interest (best established through the local real estate professional’s experience and knowledge) then an auction is the best way to seek out the right price – that is how fine art, antique and collectibles do it – so what better way for a property of such true value and appeal.

9

Latest REINZ sales statistics show no clear direction on price

Posted on: April 13th, 2008 | Filed in Buying / Selling a home, Real Estate Industry

The press release from the Real Estate Institute (REINZ) detailing the sales statistics for March came as no surprise in terms of the number of properties sold in the month.

The figure of 5,186 was pretty clearly flagged in the Barfoot & Thompson sales report released on the 4th April which showed a sales total of 632 a 56% decline from March last year. With a market share of between 11% and 12% the B&T data is clearly a lead indicator for the total market.

NZ house sales dataTracking the sales in unit volume (red line) and value (blue line) clearly shows how steep the fall off in sales has been. The number of house sales has been falling since their peak (measured on an annualised basis) of 121,777 in April 2004. The latest fall began almost a year ago when annual sales were steady at around 103,000. That number has now fallen to 81,000 and the likelyhood is that by year end we could well see an annualised sales volume of close to the troughs of the late 90’s with around 65,000.

While the sales volumes were in some way predictable the median price was less so. The explanation from REINZ was “an especially noticable drop in under $400,000 properties” – now this would lead to a higher median. However examining the detailed stats in my mind does not wholly support this assertion.

Making a year on year comparison for sales of sub-$400k properties showed just 3,125 in March 2008 vs. 6,832 a year earlier – a 54% decline. However total sales were down 53% – not that significant a difference. In terms of proportion of total sales sub-$400k properties fell to 60.9% in March from 64% in Feb, but tracking back a year or 2 shows the same somewhat seasonal fall off. Extending the tracking period to a 3 month moving average does not show any great difference.

What is far more interesting is the $600k to $1million segment of the market. This price bracket represented in March 12% of all sales with 614 properties, it was down 49% – slightly less than the total market. This segment is noticable for the fact that it has grown from 6% of sales 3 years ago and continues to track ahead of the market.

You will recall that the median price from the B&T report showed a similar rise in their average price from $495k in Feb to $522k in March.

Now median prices can be misleading as we continue to be told especially when volumes fall – however a sample of 5,000 is pretty significant statistically – 10,000 is better. As ever the true indicator of property prices will be shown when individual reports emerge of properties sold below the price purchased a couple of years ago. Until then I think we will have to patiently wait and see, as are most of the property owners who seem resigned to “tough out this market” and hold off moving.

………………………….

Update 14 April

The latest QV report for March seems to echo this sentiment that there is as yet no clear indication on the direction of pricing.

Their view supporting the fact that the average New Zealand sale price decreased to $388,894 this month (from $393,240 last month) was a function of “The drop in average sale price this month is a reflection of more activity at the bottom end of the market, and less at the top end, rather than any significant drop in value. Many investors may be seeking to reduce their exposure to increasing mortgage costs, and having made good capital gains over the last few years are now looking to sell”

It is likely that if we do witness such sell off then pricing will be depressed but with such a significant drop off in sales so quickly we could be experiencing a “hunker down” mentality which could ride us through the next 12 – 24 months.

21

Will we see property prices rise before 2018?

Posted on: March 27th, 2008 | Filed in Buying / Selling a home, Media commmentary, Real Estate Industry

The opinion piece posted by Bernard Hickey on the Interest Rates blog yesterday titled “Don’t expect capital gains until 2018” has certainly captured the interest of main media and the public at large.

The premise of the article, which is well worth reading takes the position that affordability criteria sets the long term property pricing trend line. We are currently well off this line today. The likelihood is that unless unforeseen circumstances intervene it is unlikely that NZ property will re-attain their peak median price ($352,000) again until between 2018 and 2027 – a staggering 19 years at the most pessimistic!

Now I do not profess to be as close to the financial markets as Bernard, however I do consider myself sufficiently well read of the market factors today as well as being well positioned to see the trends in the real estate market through the website. I have also witnessed property markets falls – specifically having owned property in the UK in the late 1980’s.

The fact is whilst I completely agree with Bernard as to the reasons behind the current state of the market, the underlying drivers that have got us here and the factors weighing heavily on the future trends; I at this point tend to take a different view of the long term outlook. Whilst I cannot see any great silver lining on the billowing dark clouds ahead, I do not see such oppressive blackened overbearing clouds for the next 19 years!

Here’s my take on this situation:

To view the market as a homogeneous group is to over simplify, equally to segment the market too finely can lead to bias and misrepresentation, however I hope to make a point by doing a degree of segmentation.

Let’s for a moment look at the motivations of differing groups in the property market today.

1. For those that purchased their properties as a home to live in pre-2005, then a sale in today’s market or even next year’s market in the face of falling prices will only see them lose a paper value of their home. Should circumstances change for these people and they have to move house and sell; they could justify selling at what might appear to be a “paper loss”. These people are more likely to stay put and ride out what they see today as a storm – why sell?.

The net result for this group will be less people selling their home.

2. For those that bought between 2005 and 2007 – for these people I would suggest that they are pretty concerned and to some extent extremely worried as to whether they paid what now might amount to a too higher price for their property. They may be worried that the value of their “asset” may actually be worth less than their mortgage. For these people a psychological phenomenon will kick in where logic says sell now (to at least realise some net gain) however the reality is that they do not sell because they deny the reality of the situation and feel the urge to stay – this is what happens with shareholders that start to see stock prices fall, but for property this scenario will be compounded by the fact that a home is more than just a financial investment.

The net result of this is that this group of people will not sell their home unless driven to by extreme circumstances such as financial hardship.

3. The other group are people who are cashed up as investors looking to buy-to-rent or people who sold in the last 6-12 months and are now more cautious about buying, as well of course first time buyers. These people whilst less motivated to buy than a year or so ago will be keeping close tabs on the market. They will not be adding to the stock of houses on the market; equally they will not be taking properties off the market by buying property.

These 3 groups whilst not the most exhaustive set of players in the market would represent a a significant component of the market. The net impact of their actions will be to significantly reduce the stock of properties coming onto the market and equally significantly reduce the demand side of the market buying up properties.

As a measure of the skittishness of the market our website has seen a steady increase of properties being added at the rate of close to 1,000 per week taking the current stock of just homes for sale to over 65,000 from the total site inventory of 107,000. This represents a inventory of close to 12 months based on current sales level – this stock level will fall. Not as a consequence of sales, but as a consequence of the reaction of the groups above as they pull back and hunker down!

I would expect to see that in the next 6 months (especially heading in to winter) a continuing fall in sales volumes – this full year to around 72,000. A significant fall from the heady days of 2003 at 120,000+ and a level not experienced since 1993.

Prices will fall – we could well see median prices down from the current $337,500 to around the $300,000 mark. The big issue here is that with declining sales the median price point will become more erratic especially at a local area level where with small sales volumes individual sales skew the figures. We may well see some very inconsistent swings in prices. Compounding this will be the fall out from the speculative investment property sector collapse (Blue Chip etc.) This will drag median prices down as the majority of these properties are sub-median priced. This outcome could occur without any change in the average price for most of the rest of the market.

As caution slows demand and the “ride out the storm” mentality dries up listings; sales volumes could well fall to a level where a new state of equilibrium is reached and the market responds with supply meeting demand and the pricing logic kicks back in as people always need to move for a whole host of reasons. House purchasing is a naturally liquid and dynamic market and cannot be likened to other bubble markets (stock markets, tulip bulbs, precious stones), they cannot dry up. Homes are just that; a home – one of Maslow’s 3 primary needs and as such reflect genuine demand for a roof over our head either as a rental property bought to rent out to meet a rental demand or a house to live in.

The view that we will see a stagnant property market for near on 20 years is for me too close to pure economic theory of straight line graphs, and too far removed from reality – we live in a global connected world and a global economy with enormous mobility and liquidity – too much of the global economy relies on financial service which themselves rely on property as a key investment source for the property sector to stagnate. Don’t get me wrong – the future is not bright – but to say we are all going to have to wait 10+ years before we can move house to enjoy capital gain is for me a hard pill to swallow – it may well be a more traditional 3 to 5 cycle of which the remainder of 2008 & all of 2009 are not looking that pretty.

4

Mortgagee sales statistics continue to show property hunters searching for a bargain

Posted on: March 11th, 2008 | Filed in Buying / Selling a home, Money Matters, Website searching

Property seekers in NZ clearly feel that in today’s buyers market there are bargains to be had and the rich pickings will come from mortgagee sales. That is why the #1 search term on realestate.co.nz in the past week has been mortgagee – beating long term favourites pool, villa and furnished (as in furnished apartment – I guess?).

istock_000004598824small.jpg

I cannot claim credit for this logical analysis of search terms – I was drawn to it by Bernard Hickey who writes an excellent blog on Interest.co.nz. The blog covers a wide range of financial issues of which mortgagee sales have captured his readers interest. He has responded by creating the “Mortgagee Index” at the suggestion of one of his readers.

This index measures the number of listings on both realestate.co.nz and trade me property that feature as “Mortgagee Sale” properties. As at the 3rd March, Bernard had a level of 167 listings; up from 154 the week prior. To assist him in monitoring this index I provided not just the number of listings on our site with the word mortgagee or mortgagee sale (as at today 149), I also provided data on the number of searches undertaken on our site by people searching for these types of properties. Here is the latest data.

During the last 7 days the #1 search term used on realestate.co.nz was mortgagee recording 705 searches in 7 days – this amounts to 3.7% of all searches over the past week. At this time last week the term mortgagee was also #1 recording 1,646 searches over the prior 14 days – amounting to 3.8% of all searches over that period.

Similar terms capturing interest were mortgagee sale #59 with 50 searches and urgent #143 with 31 searches.

Other big searches being made on the site:

  • lifestyle #9 with 223 searches in the past 7 days, a huge increase from 0.6% to 1.2% of all searches
  • queenstown #13 with 126 searches in the past 7 days, increasing from 0.5% to 0.7% of all searches
  • beach #8 with 224 searches in the past 7 days, falling from 1.5% to 1.2% of all searches
  • pool #3 with 430 searches in the past 7 days, falling from 3.5% to 2.3% of all searches

So clearly it looks like property searchers are hunting out that mortgagee bargain whilst sadly accepting that summer is over and it’s time to think of the escape from the city to the lifestyle section!

16

Property purchasing options: co-buying and fractional ownership

Posted on: March 9th, 2008 | Filed in Buying / Selling a home, Money Matters, Property Investing, Renting

The emerging wisdom of the crowd is clearly saying we are about to witness a significant correction to the housing market. (As a point of note the phrase wisdom of the crowd comes from the title of James Surowiecki’s excellent book which I coincidentally have recently read and would thoroughly recommend).

If it is any consolation – we are not alone when it comes to the property market hitting the wall in NZ. Most developed countries are to a greater or lesser extent are either about to witness this correction, or are deeply in it!. The only question is when and by how much, this useful chart from The Economist presented on Lance Wiggs blog shows the scale of some of the European property market corrections.

Whilst property is for some people a speculative investment from which to earn incremental income and establish a passive asset for retirement, the majority of home owners buy property for the pleasure of ownership and the very primal need to shelter themselves and their family.

As an option renting a property can and does meet this need. At this time there are clear arguments that renting is cheaper than buying. When you stack up mortgage repayments as well as repairs and maintenance and compare that to rental costs the incremental costs can be over $17,000 per year. However the downsides such as surety of tenure, inability to make the place your own and the thought of paying someone else’s mortgage still drive well over 60% of NZ’ers to own their own place.

Conventional wisdom always sees property purchase tied to the “nesting” mentality driving people to buy when setting up home with a partner. So with relatively low affordability the question for many is how to get on to the property ladder. Looking to trends overseas it shows that there is more people choosing for deep pragmatic reasons to buy property in partnership with friends and business partners as a means to take that first step on the ladder.

Naturally wherever there is a good idea involving the aggregation of interested parties around a shared need the web intercedes with smart functionality – this has proven to be the case with co-buying property. This concept has spawned a thriving business for a couple of UK based entrepreneurs who have taken their learning in facilitating the meeting of prospective co-buyers from their UK base to offer the service here in NZ as well as Australia and Canada. The NZ version of Co-buywithme has been operation for about a year and has over 500 members from all areas of the country and all walks of life; some looking to co-buy a first home, others looking for a shared ownership in a holiday bach; whilst others see the opportunity to explore investment property. As ever the web creates the facility for anonymous interaction – it is then up to individuals to make the buying decision, the parallels with online dating could not be more similar.

Utilising the same model of shared ownership, when people hear of fractional ownership they immediately think “time-share”. That concept may have slipped in the credibility rankings from the 1990s, but the idea of a more permanent holiday escape without the exposure to high property prices has seen this emerging segment of fractional ownership emerge over the past 5 years.

Fractional ownership is perfectly targeted to the “never-grow-old” mentality of baby boomers who fancy having a holiday home for more than a couple of weeks a year. Fractional ownership allows between 2 and 5 owner to collaborate in the purchase of a property with joint ownership rights to the title which can be sold independently and in so doing divide up the access to the property into meaningful time periods. There are a growing number of such properties being marketed in NZ’s vacation centers offering the chance for overseas buyers to grab a slice of NZ summer partnered with a kiwi family enjoying the winter activities, thereby allowing each to enjoy the benefits of a quality property for half the equity and half the mortgage and also half the appreciation in value (in time – potentially!).

41

NZ’s Property slump – compelling facts cannot be ignored

In the past on this blog I have accused the media in general of self serving sensationalism when it has come to reporting the state of the property market in NZ, and the likely path that this market will take in 2008.

sst-headline-2-mar-08.jpg

Well now is the time to come out and say congratulations to Esther Harward, the feature writer of today’s headline story on the Sunday Star Times entitled “Snapshot of a Property Slump“. The article is balanced and factual, it is unemotional and as someone who has been paying close attention to this market place and commenting on it on this blog in posts such as “Will 2008 see house prices rise or fall?” “Is NZ facing an impending property crash?“, I can say I agree 100% with the article.

NZ is in a property slump. That word is well chosen – it is balanced.

We are not in the midst of a crash. We will likely see a more subdued market than we have witnesses over the last 5 years. Some properties in some areas of the country will experience price falls. Others will be able to hold a steady price at a much slowed sales pace; whilst as the article states others will be havens of opportunity which may well see some inflation pegged growth. The net impact of all this through the year will be shown in the aggregated median price and total sales both falling – the article estimates prices by as much as 10% – that is possibly quite likely; taking last months median price down from $340,000 to around the $300,000 level – the kind of levels last seen in early 2006.

The NZ property market is not one market but many thousands of markets, each with their own characteristics, drivers, demands and appeals. However all are impacted by universal issues such as mortgages and the economy. The latter is becoming more critical every day as rates continue to rise. The Reserve Band is currently hesitant as to whether to hold these high rates and risk the dollar’s spiraling appreciation and consequential “crash landing recession”; or whether to loosen rates as the US is currently doing and in so doing allow inflation to become unchecked. A tough call as ever for Alan Bollard.

7

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

0

The joys of Invercargill

Posted on: February 22nd, 2008 | Filed in Buying / Selling a home, Property Investing, Regional News

Politics brings out the worst in people, but you have to have respect for Tim Shadbolt – he is the very epitome of a walking advertising billboard for that Southland city.

Yesterdays’s challenging interjection in the government’s housing affordability inquiry to which I have referred to on more than one occasion on this blog is another classic example of this one man promotion machine capturing the headlines – this time is is “Auckland to blame for country’s housing woes”. He claims that in Invercargill many families could easily afford to buy a three bedroom house for under $150,000. This statement got me thinking as to what you could buy in Invercargill for this money – quite a bit really!

Currently there are 35 houses in Invercargill city with 3 or more bedrooms, by comparison Auckland city has zero and Tim’s former home Waitakere offers no options.

(By the way if you do a search out of interest for Auckland or Waitakere, please be aware that you will find homes in this price range, but as you will see they look to be a bit too good to be true. That is because some agents tend to send us information on pricing for which the range is a little large, we unfortunately have to take their content at their word and display it. Our role cannot reach to auditing content – we get somewhere close to 7,000 new or amended listings daily. Although having seen some of these “error” I will highlight this to the respective agents today!)

This selection in Invercargill though is very interesting, how about this 4 bedroom home in Appleby at just $142,000 this is great value – beautiful decorated, but not sure about the duvet cover!

If you don’t mind the tin fence then this one in Appleby at just $140,000 would seem to be a steal given it has a fixed tenancy paying $190 per week – that is a 7% yield! Would have looked a bit better if the tenant had made the beds before the photos were taken!

But my winner would be this fabulous art deco 4 bedroom home in Bluff – shame just the one photo but it is a classic and a cheque for $140,000 will secure.

Just before we all rush off to Invercargill with our sacks of gold to swell the local council’s coffers with due rates and licensing trust contributions, I would like to correct Mayor Shadbolts assertion that the only other countries in the world with a similar concentration of population in a single city were Uruguay, Armenia, the Bahamas, Iceland and the small African state of Gabon. I would encourage him to visit a very successful, very prosperous, very sophisticated collection of countries collectively called the Nordic region. Norway, Denmark, and Finland all have similar populations to NZ and have a dominant supersized city accounting for over 30% of the populations – the cities of Oslo, Copenhagen and Helsinki respectively!.

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