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Venetia Fong

3 Tips for House Hunting During Home Isolation…

By Home PurchasingNo Comments

With the whole world being forced to adjust to COVID-19, the property market is no different. Amidst the current pandemic, changes to social guidelines are restricting the way we buy property as we know it. But that doesn’t mean we need to halt our house hunting – just that we need to adapt our approach 

We’ve put together 3 tips to help you continue the search for your dream home during isolation!

1. Go virtual! 

Do you usually spend your Saturday hopping between one open home to another? Whether you enjoyed it or were being dragged along, the introduced ban on group inspections and in-person auctions mean that weekend abode searching can no longer be physically accomplished.  

In the wake of this prohibition, have unveiled a digital inspections feature, allowing you to explore the characteristics of the property from the safety of isolation. If enough interest is generated livestream and genuine time bidding is a possibility. 

Andy ReidGavl auctioneer and Sold By Auctions director, said, “In many ways, this is nothing new in the respect that telephone bidding has been available forever and a day, remote bidding has been available for hell of a long time.” Though many are expected to opt for private sales, online platforms keep auctions as an option for sellers who wish to sell under the hammer. 

2. Maintain relationships! 

While coffee catchups and champagnecatered meetings are sadly no longer permitted, maintaining relationships with your real estate agent has never been more important. The agent is the connection between you and the sellerthough with the changing environment, having regular contact is particularly necessary.

Utilising a buyer’s agent could also be extremely helpful in the current market – someone who is experienced and can communicate for you. When conversations are forced to be had over the phone, communication is key to ensure no material is misinterpreted and, you as the buyer, are fully informed. 

3. Do your research!  

We know, we know; everyone under the sun has told you that! Just hear us out… 

Unlike the others who merely lecture you on doing your research and leave it up to you, we are actually going to help you! With a quick search of your desired property on the Develo website, you can download a property report comprising a whole range of data including (but not limited to) easements, flooding, bushfire, biodiversity and heritage.  

Unlike the others who merely lecture you on doing your research and leave it up to you, we are actually going to help you! With a quick search of your desired property on the Develo website, you can download a property report comprising a whole range of data including (but not limited to) easements, flooding, bushfire, biodiversity and heritage – within a matter of minutes, with a few clicks of a button. 

This resource is great for efficiently obtaining property data on multiple houses before involving agents or entering negotiation stages. Further research or professional involvement may be needed if anything significant is flagged in the report. These reports are perfect to assist with house hunting from isolation which saves time, money and prevents stress by avoiding hidden surprises further down the track!

Is Honesty The Best Policy When Selling a Home?

By Home PurchasingNo Comments

Growing up, we’re always taught honesty is the best policy; however, does that mean everyone is always honest?  

Arguably, the words real estate ‘agent’ and ‘honesty’ are not used in the same sentence. However, this stigma is changing – as agents adopt a transparent approach to selling property.  

Historically, home buyers had to rely solely on the agents’ ability to provide all the information they needed before they committed to purchase a home. This dynamic led to some agents taking advantage of the situation, by purposely omitting details about a property to appear more attractive; hoping it would lead to a quicker sale. This leaves the home purchaser with issues they were unaware of at the time of signing the contract.  

With the introduction of the internet, smart phones and innovative technologies, the ability for homebuyers to research accurate property information even before they contact an agent or view a home has now become common place. Agents have adapted to the changing technological trends by doing the due diligence for their clients upfront. 

Alex from Develo sat down with Reuben Packer-Hill from McGrath Estate agents to chat about transparency in the real estate industry.

Reuben explained:

“The world that we are coming into now and the way that we have seen the real estate industry transform over the last ten years, is that there is so much more information available for buyers now – so why not be the service provider as real estate agents. Provide that information up front and be as transparent as possible, so again there is less friction through that buying process.”

Reuben also commented: 

“We have a (Develo) report prepared when we first go in for a listing presentation or appraisal, so that we as agents have a full professional understanding of what limitations a property might have” 

‘We provide the report to every customer we meet at open homes and at private buyer viewings” 

“From a negotiation point of view, it’s nice to be able to get any possible negatives out of the way up front, before spending days or weeks negotiating a price, holding your breath for a week or two for the due diligence period to expire, and then finding out there may be issues with the property” 

“This allows us (McGrath) to stand out from the crowd in terms of being as transparent with our consumers and customers as possible”

So – is ‘honesty’ really the best policy when it comes to selling property? By being transparent with his clients, Reuben has proven it helps the selling process – making it easier to build trust with buyers and sellers.  

The full discussion can be viewed below.

Brisbane School Catchments & Property Value

By Home PurchasingNo Comments

After receiving feedback from property agents across South-East Queensland, we are happy to announce that our reports now include school catchments!
But why is this information important for home buyers?
This week, we dig a little further to spotlight school catchments and answer some common questions.

What is a school catchment area?

A school catchment area is a zone which assigns children from within that area to make up the core intake at a local school. This ensures that every student from Prep to Grade 12 can access public education close to where they live, where each school reserves enough enrollment space for students residing in their local area each year.

Do school catchment zones affect property prices?

Whilst it is not guaranteed that certain suburb values will grow due to locality to a ‘good school’, data trends from previous years show that property percentage growth prices in the catchment of high performing public schools were generally higher than the average percentage city growth.

Why should I buy property in a good school catchment area?

Both owner occupiers and investors purchase homes in good school catchments for several reasons. These include:

  • Many parents are prepared to pay high premiums for property in a good catchment area so their children can attend high-performing schools over paying for private school fees.
  • Many homes within top school zones have seen increase in capital growth due to market demand and are likely to maintain price growth long-term.
  • Investment properties within sought after catchment areas are highly attractive to potential tenants, with many families opting to rent instead of purchasing.
What happens when school catchment areas change?

School catchment boundaries can change due to various factors such as whether the school reaches enrolment capacity, opening/closing, changing demographics etc. If you have a young family, it is wise to double check the school catchment zone before signing the contract.

There have also been cases where siblings have been unable to enrol in the same school as older brothers or sisters due to catchment area changes, which become a massive inconvenience for parents. If you are planning on purchasing a home with intention to enrol your child/children to a preferred public school, it is recommended that you buy a property as close to the school as possible to avoid being rezoned into another catchment.

If you do not live within your desired catchment area, you are still able to apply for enrolment -however a place is not guaranteed, and you may be placed on a waiting list.

What’s Your Bushfire Protection Plan?

By Property OverlaysNo Comments

Here in Queensland, we are lucky to be surrounded by beautifully landscaped gardens filled with exotic flowers and trees, and World Heritage-listed rainforests. Parks and green spaces are carefully planned by the council to provide places for the community to enjoy the summer sunshine – however, the potential for a bushfire to impact people and their homes poses a big threat to all of this. Through proper planning, reduction of risks on direct flame attack, radiant and convective heat exposure and ember attack on residential areas can be achieved.

The recent fires which destroyed parts of the Scenic Rim (including the Binna Burra Lodge) and Peregean Beach in the Sunshine Coast are a reminder that fire can get out of control quickly. And with summer around the corner, the potential for further disasters intensifies.

Whether you currently own a home or are looking to buy a home, it is imperative that you know this information about your property in order to be prepared. Councils offer mapping which clearly identifies those in high and medium risk areas, where Brisbane homes found to be in risk areas are then assessed, and plans to manage the property are identified.

The Australian Standard for the Construction of Building in Bushfire Prone Areas AS3959 states there requirements which need to be followed when constructing buildings in areas at risk of bushfire. Materials that are resistant to burning debris, flame or radiant heat will need to be used when building or renovating a home such as concrete and metal, and constructing barriers around the property is also encouraged.

It is the property owner’s responsibility to manage any hazards which may be present around the home, where things which can intensify a fire (such as leaf litter, twigs and debris, as well as flammable liquids and gases) should be removed. Ensuring that lawns are cut often, and shrubs and trees are also maintained will are some basic tips to make sure you’re prepared for bushfire season.

The level of risk your home is to bushfire will also influence your decision to leave, or stay with your property in the event of a bushfire. Make sure your have long hoses which reach to all corners of your property and ensure you are covered by home insurance. Should you need to evacuate, you have to be aware of alternate routes you can take to get you and your family (and pet!) off your property and onto safe roads and have back up plans to stay with family or friends.

September 30, 2021

How Does Noise Impact My Property?

By Property OverlaysNo Comments

Noise pollution can be a silent killer on the value of property. It is often hard to determine if your property is going to be affected by noise – that is, until you move in. Proximity to main roads, public transport, industrial and commercially zoned areas, construction areas as well as noisy neighbours are generally not consistent – therefore it can be hard to tell if your sweet dreams will be disturbed by loud noises during an open house inspection.

Whether you’re looking to buy, or just invest in property, one of the biggest mistakes you could do is to ignore the importance of noise. Whilst you can’t control who lives next to you, you can choose the best possible property for you to purchase. By choosing a house further away from busy, main roads and shopping centres, hotels and restaurants, you’ll find that that property will more likely hold it’s value over time, and be much easier to sell when the time comes.

One of the big red flags in purchasing property will be when you come across a house too good to be true. We mentioned in our previous post that purchasing a home at a bargain price could cost you a lot more than you anticipated. Whilst there are many reasons why the seller is looking to sell cheaply, you need to do some research on your prospective property after speaking to your real estate agent. Noise is reported to be one of the biggest issues for people after they have purchased property, where many have expressed that they would not have signed the contracts if they were aware. Just remember – it is not easy (or cheap) to reverse this decision!

One way which you can find out is by looking at Noise Maps, which clearly show which areas are affected by high levels of noise through the use of colour, and often also show contour lines to discern the boundaries. These are created through calculations made over time – however these can fluctuate with time of day, and seasons.

If you do find yourself in this situation, there are some design considerations you could implement if you are set on a particular property impact day noise. Barriers such as fences, trees and bushes can significantly reduce noise, and choice of glass (double glazed over single) used for windows can also shield your home from from such issues. Materials used in the construction of your home can also dramatically impact how sound penetrates the home, where dense material such as brick or masonry can assist with deflecting noise, and insulation can also be used to absorb it. Also, careful planning of spaces can make a big difference in the comfort of your home, where bedrooms should be aligned furthest away from the source of noise (such as main roads), with living areas in the front.

Your Noise Pollution Checklist –

Is my property in close proximity to….

  • Main roads or highways?
  • Airports/Flight Paths?
  • Railway Stations/Lines?
  • Shopping Centres?
  • Hotels?
  • Restaurants and Cafe’s?
  • Petrol Stations?
  • Parks?
  • Schools?
  • Hospitals?
  • Gyms?
September 30, 2021

7 Things You Should Ask Yourself When Buying Your First Home

By Home PurchasingNo Comments

You’ve been working hard, saving for years. The market is good, interest rates are low and you’re pretty sure you have enough in your bank for the deposit on your first house. Now begins the fun part – the search for the perfect property that you will call home.

Buying a house is exciting, however it requires careful planning and there are things you should consider before you sign to avoid remorse in the future. We look at 7 questions you should ask yourself before buying your first home.

1) Where do I start?

Before you even think about buying a home, talk to a trusted family member or friend who has gone through the process. They can offer advice and provide support when you need. You should also understand how the buying process works – what to expect and what you should do to make sure you are ready.

2) Can I afford it?

If you enjoy going on brunch dates on the weekend, Tim Gurner has some bad news for you. The 35-year-old Australian real estate mogul famously told Ross Greenwood on 60 Minutes last year that he “wasn’t buying smashed avocado’s for $19 and four coffees at $4” when he was trying to buy his first home.

There’s no doubt about it – buying a house is one of the most expensive things you will ever purchase. Therefore, having a realistic look at your finances and setting a budget on how much you can afford on your monthly mortgage repayments is imperative. You don’t want to get caught out on fees from your bank, which can affect your credit rating and impact other loan applications in the future.

Also be aware with other fees associated with purchasing your new home. Upfront costs from buying and moving furniture, stamp duty, building inspection fees, conveyancing and legal fees can add up quickly, so the highs you would be feeling from making such a purchase may be replaced with stress if you are not prepared.

3) Have you done your research?

You want to get the ball rolling immediately. But before you sign, ensure you seek advice from a lawyer or conveyancer to ensure that you are aware of any issues with the property, and in your contract of sale. You don’t want to get caught out on things such as easements and covenants after you’ve signed.

Also, look at different banks and lending institutions before you commit to a home loan. Compare all the costs that are involved before you commit to the right one for you.

Look around at the value of other similar properties in the area to make sure that your offer is at the right price. You should use a trusted realtor who will have your best interests when you are looking to buy, who can help you negotiate on a fair sum.

4) Is this where I really want to live?

You’re torn between two houses – a brand new, 3 bedroom townhouse in Morningside with a tiny outdoor area to hang your laundry. The price is a little higher than what you’d been ideally looking for, but it’s a short 5 minute drive to work, the gym is just down the road, and the suburb is safe.

And then there’s the larger, older house in Coopers Plains, which offers 4 large bedrooms and a pool but the carpets need replacing and a fresh coat of paint but it’s going for a great price. There were also a few interested looking people at the open house you went to on the weekend so you need to act fast.

List the details that are important to you – is it the convenience of shops, public transport and getting to work? Or are you looking for a property with a large backyard so you can have a dog and raise a family. These little questions can determine which property is the better option for you.

5) Can I see myself living here for a while?

You should ask yourself whether this house will be your home for more than a couple of years. Consider how it will fit into your lifestyle, and whether you can imagine yourself living there should things change, such as if you decide to start a family.

Also, see the home as an investment  – living in the right area of town can be financially rewarding. Your land value could dramatically increase over a period of time, meaning that you could get a lot more return than you expected when you do decide to sell.

6) What can I do/do I need to do to the house?

It can often be appealing to buy a house which requires ‘fixing’ just because it’s selling at a bargain price. Be aware that this may cost you a lot more than you anticipated, and you do not want to get trapped after you’ve signed the contract.

Make sure you take the time to arrange proper inspections before you buy, where structural faults, and plumbing and electrical issues can cost you tens of thousands of dollars. Ensure you have added up the total amount of money it will take to ‘fix’ the problems before you make an offer.

If you are looking to extend or renovate the house, make sure that the project will comply with any codes that your local council has enforced in order for it to be approved. For example, extensions and renovations to pre-1946 homes in the traditional building character overlay in Brisbane have limited design considerations and are required to comply with specific codes.

7) Is this the one?

You’ve found it – the house of your dreams you stumbled across on the fourth page of the real estate website you’ve been browsing on whilst sitting on the train going home from work.

You want to make an offer right now.

Take a step back – there’s no rush to buy your house so always make sure you take your time when looking for your house. Make sure you shop around on different websites before you decide on “the one” – you want to be absolutely sure.

Are You Ready For Storm Season

By Property OverlaysNo Comments

December marks the start of the wet season in Queensland, where the state will see the highest amount of rainfall for the year during this period. Our subtropical climate means that we are no stranger to thunderstorms, hail and even cyclones, and flash flooding in geomorphic low-lying areas can close off roads for days.

Home owners need to be aware of flood risks on their property in order to minimise the effect of flooding and be prepared for storm season. Councils have developed flood maps which identify the high risk areas and calculate the probability of flooding occurring based on studies and modelling the run-off of rainfall that will be collected at catchments. Changing landscape and infrastructure in a city can also change flood zones, where properties that are on the border of flood zones can still be at risk. An example of this is the Brisbane flood in January 2011, where suburbs that had never experienced flooding before were affected, and those that were flooded in 1974 had minimal damage in 2011. This has resulted in the Brisbane City Council updating their Flood Maps in 2011.

Considerations to flood data is crucial when buying a new home, where knowing these facts will minimise hidden surprises in the future. Knowing the history of the property, and being able to predict whether it will be affected by climate change in the future can often influence purchase decision and whether you are willing to take that chance. You may also have difficulty securing a home loan and can also affect the value of the property, so you should always be aware of these restrictions even before you inspect a home.

When renovating or building a house on property in a flood affected area, there will need to be considerations towards the height and the layout of the house. The bottom part of the home should be easily cleaned and renovated, or be raised in order to prevent water damage by flooding. This is exemplified through the vernacular design of Queenslanders, which have been praised for its ability to cope with the impact of floods, where their design sees living areas raised above ground level and allows for water to pass underneath. Materials used to construct homes should also be able to withstand water immersion and should be considered when building in areas with high risk of floods, and opt for tile over carpet for flooring.

There are many other considerations which you need to be aware of when looking at real estate – so don’t risk buying or renovating without knowing the facts! Our Develo property reports make this process easy by providing you with the information you need before you sign..

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