Welcome to our blog!

Ever wished you could have your own personal Real Estate agent that would be available to help explain the buying and selling process? Well now you can!

This blog has been set up so we can help with all the difficult questions that you may have regarding everything in Real Estate. Our Pam Court Realty team literally want to share our knowledge and experience with you, so if you have any questions we would love to hear from you.

Thank you for reading!

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Opening Your Home

Now you’re ready to open the door to a fantastic price for your home – literally! Yes, open inspections are annoying (cleaning every Saturday morning!) but essential, because let’s face it, no prospective buyer is going to offer you hundreds of thousands of dollars for your home without giving it a thorough once over first.

Make a clean sweep… Before inspection day, make sure you’ve done everything you possibly can in the “Preparing your property for sale” section previously. Then give your place one last clean and de-clutter, removing everyday mess like shoes in the hall, the mail piling up, and pet bowls, etc.  It’s also a good idea to put away any small valuables or trinkets, not only to de-personalise the space, but also to avoid tempting light-fingered guests.

Do a walk through… It is always a good idea to walk through your property for a final inspection first, and try to look at it through a buyer’s eyes. Remove anything that makes it look cluttered, but also take care not to make it look empty and unwelcoming. Do you think your buyers will be impressed by what they see? Are you showing off your home’s best features?

Take your temperature… Experience shows buyers are turned off by properties that are too hot or too cool. So, it’s important to air out your house, then get your temperature right, depending on the season and time of day, etc. Buyers should walk in and feel fresh and cool (not cold) if it’s hot outside, or warm and toasty – not sweaty – if it’s cooler.

Image result for open home images

Get out of the house… As tempted as you are to hang around and see how the open home goes, it’s best to get lost and leave prospective buyers to it. That way, they can tour your place at their leisure, and talk honestly to their partners and to your agent about what they really think. Don’t forget to take your pets with you too, to avoid that doggy or moggy smell, and also in case any prospective buyers are allergic.

Be flexible with open times…People have busy lives, kids to pick up, meetings that run late, and other properties to view, so it’s important to be flexible with open times so prospective buyers get to see your home too. While your agent will usually schedule a weekend and a weeknight viewing, unexpected inspections can pop up so make sure you keep the place tidy and be ready to duck out for an hour sometimes at short notice.

Welcome the feedback… After the inspection, you’ll no doubt be very keen to hear what your agent and the prospective buyers have to say about your property. Whether it’s face to face, a phone call or a detailed email and report, it’s important to get your agent’s feedback and really listen to what they have to say – even if it’s not always glowing. If you do get some negative responses, try not to get upset or defensive. Instead, talk through it together with your agent and plan how you can address any issues, whether it’s adjusting your price range, changing your marketing tactics, or maybe making a few simple cosmetic changes to improve your property’s chance of selling for a great price.

  • Sourced from REIQ

Marketing Your Property

So you’ve signed up with a great agent, given your place a makeover, and now you’re ready to put it on the market. You and your agent have already agreed on a marketing plan. Here’s how the different marketing tools in the mix can work to make your property stand out to prospective buyers.

Professional Photography

Happy snaps are just not going to cut it when you are selling your most important financial asset. So professional photography is a must, for both online and other media. On photo day, make sure your home is spic and span, the garden is perfectly manicured, all the mess is hidden away, and there are fresh flowers in the vases.  Also try to schedule your agent’s photography on a bright sunny day, and at a time when you know the natural light in your home is at its best.

Signage

Your agent will arrange for a professional sign on your property to let people know it’s on the market. The sign, depending on the size you’ve chosen, will show buyers interior photos, basic features such as how many bedrooms and bathrooms, when it’s open for inspection, and your agent’s contact details.

Online Advertising

Before buyers ever set foot in your home, they’ll see it on their phone, tablet or computer first. Real estate sites such as realestate.com.au are where nearly all buyers start their property search these days, and your agent will no doubt be making the most of these to drive interested people to your door.

These portals allow you to upload video tours, showcase a whole range of photos, features and floorplans, and also track how many people have viewed your property – making them a powerful and essential marketing tool.

Your agent will probably also have their own website where they can show off your home in greater detail, with links back to the major sites.

Social media is also becoming a popular way to market properties more informally and get the word out to a mass audience.

Other Advertising

Printed flyers and floorplans can also capture the attention of local renters looking to buy, or homeowners looking to purchase. Interested buyers still stop to check out real estate agency windows whenever they’re in the neighbourhood.

Image result for marketing your property

  • Sourced from REIQ

Buying While Selling

Image result for buying a home when selling

Out with the old, in with the new. But which comes first? It’s never an easy call.  Here’s what to weigh up when deciding if you put up the sign, or put up your hand at auction first.

Sell First

  • You can wait until you get the price you’re really happy with for your existing home with no pressure.
  • You can go shopping for your new home knowing exactly how much you’ve got to spend.
  • You’ve got time to shop around and possibly negotiate better deals.
  • You can avoid the hassle and expense of bridging finance – which you’ll need if you end up owning two properties at the same time.
  • BUT if your old home sells faster than you planned, you could face the stress of having no place to live while you look for a new home.

Buy First

  • You can spend as much time as you like shopping around for your ideal next home, instead of feeling pressured to take anything just so you’ll have somewhere to live.
  • You don’t know exactly how much your old home will sell for, so you can’t lock in a budget for your new place.
  • If your existing home doesn’t sell fast enough, you may have to get bridging finance to fund both properties while you’re changing over.
  • You may feel pressured to accept a lower offer as your new home settlement gets closer.
  • You may not get as much as you hoped for your existing property, and have to make up the difference with your savings or a larger loan.

*Sourced from REIQ

 

 

GUTTER MAINTENANCE – Why is this important?

shutterstock_213280627_slider-765x318Industry standards recommend gutters should be serviced at least once or twice per year.  With all the crazy weather we are having and with storm season approaching we suggest a proactive approach to gutter care and maintenance. Obviously, the frequency of service should be assessed on a case by case basis depending on varying factors such as the property’s proximity to trees and falling debris, the time of year and wind and weather conditions.

If in the event of damage to a property, many insurance companies will not ‘pay out’ if the property shows signs of lack of preventative maintenance, including gutters.  Your property is of course one of your greatest financial assets so we want to ensure that your property is properly maintained.

Rather than be reactive to the possibility of an incident, as managing agents we care about our client’s properties and suggest a proactive approach. We advise regular gutter maintenance to help:

  • Prolong the life of your gutters
  • Removes sludge, grime and leafy debris that can cause blockages
  • Remove rust causing debris from your gutters
  • Eliminate the change of water build-up and serious damage to your ceiling and building structures due to blocked gutters
  • Reduce breeding areas for pests, vermin and insects, especially disease carrying mosquitoes
  • Save time and money overall
  • Prevent the risk of liability issues due to the risk of a fall
  • Reduce the risk of mould

Using a qualified experienced and licenced contractor can keep a record of all scheduled maintenance for insurance purposes and provide you with before and after photo’s along with a free roof and gutter report.

** Information provided by Gutter-Vac

“Knowing the market and pricing your property”

It’s not just about location, location, location. The real estate market in Australia is fluctuating constantly, influenced by economics, our ageing and growing population, infrastructure, new housing supply and many other factors.

When to sell? So how do you pick your timing? Your own life and finances will always be the primary deciding factors. But once you’re in the mode, it’s important to judge your market. Here’s what to consider:

Hot Market – A hot market is a sellers market, where there are more buyers than sellers and competition amongst buyers is fierce. With more buyers around, there’s generally a stronger focus on the location, potential and price of your property, rather than a long list of features or maintenance.

Pricing your property – Is the price right? That’s a very good question and one you’ll want the right answer for, to attract not only buyers, but the right buyers.

TIPS TO PRICING IT RIGHT

Property valueDo a little homework… Check out propertyvalue.com.au or realestate.com.au or onthehouse.com.au to see suburb reports and what properties have actually sold for in your area.

Ask for an agent appraisal…They should be able to give you an honest – not inflated – estimate of your home value, based on market conditions and the following factors:

LocationWhere your home is located, and even what street it’s on will have a major influence on its sale price.

Condition…Making sure your home is in its absolute best shape possible, and highlighting its best features – even if that’s simply the potential to renovate – are the keys to driving up the final sale price.

Similar sales…Real estate agents will also base their appraisal on recent sales right around you. They’ll analyse their own figures as well as the competition’s, and look for similar properties in size, location, features, condition and appeal, to let you know how much you can realistically expect for your property.

COMPLYING WITH THE FIRE AND EMERGENCY SERVICES (DOMESTIC SMOKE ALARMS) AMENDMENT ACT 2016

The Fire and Emergency Services (Domestic Smoke Alarms) Amendment Act 2016 (QLD), commenced on 1 January 2017 and imposes additional obligations on property owners/managers with regards to the installation and maintenance of smoke alarms at domestic dwellings.

So what are the changes…The changes are many and significant:

  • From 31 December 2016, smoke alarms must be replaced within ten years of their manufacture date or if they fail when routinely tested.
  • From 1 January 2017, only photoelectric smoke alarms which comply with Australian Standard 3786-2014 can be installed whenever a smoke alarm is replaced or a new one installed.
  • All smoke alarms must operate when tested and they must be interconnected to every other smoke alarm installed in the dwelling.
  • In respect to existing dwellings, the Regulation amends the Building Fire Safety Regulation 2008 and requires each storey with at least one bedroom to have a smoke alarm installed on or near the ceiling in each bedroom. If one or more of the bedrooms are connected by a door to a hallway, a smoke alarm must also be installed in the hallway. In dwellings where a hallway does not connect by a door to the bedrooms, a smoke alarm is required in a location between the bedroom and the remainder of the dwelling.
  • Additionally, for each storey of a dwelling which does not have bedrooms, a smoke alarm must be installed on or near the ceiling in the area of the stairway or otherwise inside the dwelling provided it is installed on a path of travel to an exit outside the dwelling.
  • All smoke alarms must now be either hardwired to the dwelling’s electricity supply or powered by a non-removable battery with a 10 year battery life.
  • In respect to dwellings where an application for a building approval is made after 31 December 2016 and the building work is a substantial renovation, the Regulation amends the Building Regulation 2006. For these dwellings, a smoke alarm must be installed on or near the ceiling in each bedroom of the dwelling or part of the dwelling and must be hardwired to the dwelling’s electricity supply.

So when do these changes take effect?…Notably, the Act imposes different time frames for compliance.

The Act will apply to domestic dwellings where an application for a building development approval is made after 31 December 2016 and the building work is a substantial renovation. The Act defines a substantial renovation as one undertaken pursuant to a building development approval for “alterations to an existing building or structure” and the alterations (or any structural alterations approved or completed in the previous three years) exceed more than half of the volume of the existing building or structure. Essentially, this type of dwelling is a new or substantially renovated property.

The Act will come into effect from 31 December 2021 for an existing dwelling in circumstances where a contract of sale is entered into or a new General Tenancy Agreement is entered into or an existing one renewed.

The final phase of the provisions will be applicable within 10 years, whereby all owner-occupied private dwellings must comply with the Act by 31 December 2026.

A failure to comply with the new legislation could result in a fine up to $609.50.

For more information visit the website: http://www.fire.qld.gov.au

* Sourced from the REIQ

NEW TAX RULES FOR ALL PROPERTIES WITH A SALE VALUE $750,000 AND ABOVE

From 1 July 2017, new tax rules will apply on any property transaction where the market value of the property is $750,000 and above. Although the new laws are aimed at foreign residents, real estate agents must be aware that these new laws also impact Australian residents selling properties above this value.

Australian resident seller/s, if you are looking to sell your property and you consider its market value to be $750,000 or more then you should apply for a clearance certificate from the ATO as soon as practicable to avoid 12.5 per cent of the purchase price being withheld at settlement.

If you are unsure about the ultimate purchase price but there is some prospect that it may sell for $750,000 or above (for example, it is being sold at auction and the purchase price is unknown or it is being sold by expression of interest) you should apply for a clearance certificate from the ATO as soon as practicable to avoid 12.5 per cent of the purchase price being withheld at settlement

How do Australian residents obtain a clearance certificate…A seller who is an Australian resident can obtain a clearance certificate by making an application on ato.gov.au/FRCGW (hyper link). If the seller is automatically assessed as an Australian resident, a clearance certificate will be issued within days of the application however, the process may take longer for more complex applications.

When does the clearance certificate have to be given?…Australian resident sellers must give the clearance certificate to the purchaser on or before settlement occurs to avoid the buyers’ solicitor withholding 12.5 per cent of the purchase price.

What if the seller is a foreign person?…Where the seller is a ‘foreign person’, the purchaser must retain 12.5 per cent of the purchase price and pay that to the ATO at settlement, unless the seller provides a valid “Variation Notice’ in which case the purchaser must remit the amount stated in the notice.

When will the new laws apply?…The new laws will apply to sale contracts (for $750,000 and above) entered into on or after 1 July 2017.

What types of properties do these rules apply to?…All property including, vacant land, residential property, commercial property, strata title and community titles schemes.

Foreign resident sellers…If the purchase price is $750,000 or above and the seller is a foreign resident, you should advise them that 12.5 per cent of the purchase price will be withheld at settlement by the purchaser and provided to the ATO.

Will the REIQ amend its contracts?…Yes, all REIQ property sales contracts (residential and commercial) will be amended to include provisions which reflect the above new tax rules.

**sourced from the REIQ

 

Housing Affordability & Investment Properties…WHAT’S COMING 2017 – 2018

Access to Super for First Home Deposits Individuals will be able to make voluntary contributions to superannuation of up to $15,000 per year and $30,000 in total, to be withdrawn subsequently for a first home deposit. The contributions can be made from 1 July 2017 and must be made within an individual’s existing contribution caps. From 1 July 2018, an individual will be able to withdraw these contributions and their associated deemed earnings for a first home deposit. The withdrawals will be taxed at an individual’s marginal tax rate, less a 30% tax offset. Couples saving for a first-home deposit can access this measure and double the benefit.

Super Contributions from Downsizing – Individuals aged 65 or over can contribute up to $300,000 from the proceeds of the sale of their home as a non-concessional contribution into superannuation, from 1 July 2018.

Travel Deductions Limited – Deductions for travel expenses related to inspecting, maintaining or collecting rent for a residential rental property will be disallowed from 1 July 2017.

Plant and Equipment Deductions Limited – Plant and equipment depreciation deductions will be limited to outlays actually incurred by investors in residential real estate properties from 1 July 2017.

CGT Discount Increased – Subject to various conditions, the Capital Gains Tax discount for Australian resident individuals investing in qualifying affordable housing will be increased from 50% to 60% from 1 January 2018.

Negative Gearing Despite pre-Budget speculation, the negative gearing rules remain unchanged.

** Information provided by: Australian Taxation Reporter **

 

Finance Health Check for Investors

Have you noticed of late significant increases in the interest rates you are paying on your loans?

focus-interest-ratesIf you have, it is due to the governing body for the banks (APRA) directing them to build their cash reserves. It may be time to look at one of the non major lenders.

With increases in investment interest rates and new restrictions on interest only loans, it is becoming tougher to borrow for investment.

In today’s climate of rate rises and banks lower borrowing tolerances it is now even more important to engage the services of a professional mortgage broker and not rely on any one bank for a solution.

Competition among banks has never been greater with large variations in home loan products, interest rates and lending policies.

Some banks will not lend at all to purchase investment properties.

Releasing the equity in your current property or finding the benefits you may be entitled to with different banks could be found by exploring your options with a professional broker. They could find opportunities to help advance your portfolio or streamline your current lending you may not even be aware of.

With the lending markets constantly changing it makes sense to re-evaluate your loans from time to time.

A discussion with a professional mortgage broker who could assist you with all important loan structuring, product selection and interest rates may enhance the performance of your property investment.

If you would like a free no obligation appointment to discuss your circumstances please don’t hesitate to call Tim Hansen from Your Property Finance (YPF Group) on 0413 305 900.

**Written by Tim Hansen, Senior Finance Broker for YPF Group**

Depreciation Schedules on Investment Properties

DID YOU KNOW… Only around 20% of Investors have a tax depreciation schedule done on their investment property, which means the remaining 80% are missing out on substantial ATO Tax Depreciation benefits.

Some frequently asked questions about Depreciation Schedules…

  1. So how does a depreciation schedule help me?

Simple. A depreciation schedule will help you pay less tax. The amount the depreciation schedule says you claim effectively reduces your taxable income.

  1. Is my property too old to claim depreciation?

The simple answer is NO. If your residential property was built after July 1985 you will be able to claim both Building Allowance and Plant and Equipment. If construction on your property commenced prior to this date, you can only claim depreciation on Plant and Equipment. But it will still be worthwhile.

  1. Shouldn’t my accountant prepare this report?

If your residential property was built after 1985 your accountant is not allowed to estimate the construction costs. Tax Ruling 97/25 issue by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has identified that only a fully qualified quantity surveyor brings the appropriate education, experience and training to provide reliable figures upon which to base a property tax depreciation schedule.

  1. Will you need to inspect my property?

The Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (AIQS) Code of Practice stipulates that site inspections are necessary to satisfy ATO requirements.  A trained Quantity Surveyor will ensure all depreciable items are noted and photographed. This guarantees you won’t miss out on any deductions. The documentation can then be used as evidence in the event of an audit.

  1. My property is renovated. Can I still claim?

Yes. You will need to report how much you spent on renovations. This is an ATO obligation. If the previous owner completed the renovations you are STILL entitled to claim depreciation. In either case, where the cost of renovation is unknown, a Quantity Surveyor has been identified by the ATO as appropriately qualified to make that estimation.

  1. How much will my depreciation schedule cost?

John Willats from Homesure charges a one-off fee of $550 (GST inclusive) which is fully deductible and reports display 10 years of claim.

  1. I bought my property 3 years ago. Can I still make a claim?

Yes you can. Your accountant can amend your previous tax returns up to two years back. There are some exceptions, so contact your tax agent or the ATO for clarification.

**Information supplied by Realestate.com.au