Are you ready to buy or sell?

Despite the full or partial market closedown, the feedback from agents is they have a surprisingly high level of listings. In their view, it will be a strong opening when the market resumes tomorrow.

But, will the financial pressure of COVID 19 impact on the quality of properties about to hit the market? Are we going to see an influx of “B” and “C” grade properties dominate new listings as financial pressure starts to hit home?

So what do I do now as a Vendor?

Healthy competition for quality properties will most likely be a feature of the market when it opens tomorrow.  

What if I’m a buyer?

You may be up against some intense competition for quality properties which, in our opinion, should remain in short supply.

  • Have a good plan and strategy
  • Ensure your preparations are complete as time on the market for quality properties has recently been less than 30 days.
  • Have a flexible approach and research the opening market trends and direction
  • Do you know how to bid at an auction or negotiate pre-auction or private sale?
  • See our article for a “Ready for when stage 4 is over”?https://elapropertyadvocates.com/2020/08/16/ready-for-when-stage-4-is-over/

If you don’t know how to do the above, that’s where we come in. We search, assess the value, bid, negotiate and gain early access to pre and off-market properties through our real estate relationships.

Email or call us at ela Property Advocates, Guy Angwin guyjohn@iinet.net.au 0412 022 998 or Geoff Briscoe geoffbriscoe@tpg.com.au, 0419740351.

Victorian Real Estate is Open for Business

Date: 27 Sep 20

MEDIA RELEASE  FROM REIV TODAY                                         

The Real Estate Institute of Victoria welcomes the announcement today by the Premier of Victoria, Hon. Daniel Andrews, MP that private inspections for purchase or leasing of properties can recommence from 11:59 pm Sunday 27 September 2020.

Relaxing of the restrictions that have stopped Victorians buying, selling or leasing their property will see a slow and gradual return to real estate transactions in Melbourne. This will be an enormous relief to buyers, sellers and renters alike, many of whom have been suffering severe financial and emotional stress over the past few weeks. The announcement is also welcomed by the real estate profession as it will enable the first step in the resumption of property transactions and getting people back to work doing what they do best, helping Victorians find a home.

The REIV highlighted to government the impact that the ban on inspections has had on the property market. Spring is usually the peak time for sales however the inability to conduct any inspections saw the number of transactions plummet. The number of auctions over August was down by over 80% compared to recent years, with September numbers reduced to under 10 per week. Although virtual auctions and inspections were permitted, the reality is that most people will not purchase or lease a property sight unseen. Being able to inspect properties in a private and safe manner will enable on-line auctions and private sales to return.

The REIV appreciates the engagement with Hon. Melissa Horne Minister for Consumer Affairs, who took the industry’s feedback on-board and played an important role in developing a re-opening strategy based on the information provided.

Real estate agents will now be able to conduct inspections by private appointment. While we await further details regarding the Second Step, REIV Members are prepared with all safety measures in place to ensure the market can resume in a safe and efficient manner. 

Comments attributable to REIV CEO Gil King:
“This is great news for Victorians and should be seen as a positive and encouraging step towards a return to ‘normal’.”

Comments attributable to REIV President Leah Calnan:
“It is encouraging to see that the plight of many Victorians who were unable to make decisions about their own property has been reconsidered by the government.”

“This decision is recognition that the real estate profession can be trusted to conduct inspections in a safe and responsible manner. We have done so previously, and will continue to do so for the benefit of all Victorians.”

Is your pool and spa registered? November 1 is the deadline.

The Victorian Government has introduced mandatory registration for pools and spas commencing November 1 2020.

Registration:

Why take this step to register pools and spas?

It’s part of a new process to ensure all pools and spas comply with building and pool regulations. Right now the State Government estimates there are 222,000 pools and spas in the state but Russell Small, the General manager of Victorian Pool Safety Services, estimates it’s over 300,000. Voluntary compliance has not worked in the past resulting in massive non-complying numbers and uncertainty.

According to Mr Small from what he has seen so far, he estimates 85% of all private Victorian pools and spas don’t comply with protection barrier regulations.

But remember its registration by November 1, not compliance. Getting non-complying pools and spas up to regulations comes later, but if you don’t register your pool and spa by the November 1, 2020, deadline you could be fined between $330 and $1,652 

What to do now:

Here’s the process you should follow now:

  • Register your pool and spa with your council, it’s around $79 to do so 
  • Wait for your council’s response, they will write to you with a “build” date/year – this is important because that date dictates exactly which compliance rules apply to your pool or spa.
  • Then call in the experts; for example, Victorian Pool Safety Services  victorianpoolsafetyservices.com.au.
  • They or other pool experts will assess your pool and arrange compliance works.
  • Once the works are done and signed off the compliance certificate is issued.

And it’s not over then, every four years you will need an inspection to ensure continued compliance just like a roadworthy on a car.

Property Settlement risk:

And finally, after November 1, pool and spa compliance may become a significant settlement risk so attend to it now if you are buying or selling. There are examples now, according to Mr Small, where banks are asking for evidence of pools and spas complying before they will settle. Talk to your solicitor/conveyancer about this if you are buying or selling.

And email us at ela Property Advocates, Guy Angwin guyjohn@iinet.net.au or Geoff Briscoe geoffbriscoe@tpg.com.au, to search, assess and buy or sell your next property.

Would you buy a property sight unseen?

It’s an interesting question. There are many examples of purchases sight unseen, the most common being new off the plan residential towers.

In the past, for new properties, this has been quite normal with local and overseas buyers prepared to buy based on the developers marketing materials. 

But let’s talk about today under the current COVID-19 restrictions and here will discuss only established properties. Open For Inspections are effectively closed for around seven weeks hopefully re-opening 26th October – but nothing is certain. 

So even for established properties if you want to buy now, it will be sight unseen – except you can do a drive-by if it’s within 5klm of your home.

But we would advise extreme caution and here are some reasons. 

  • Depending on age, there may be no building guarantees.
  • Are the pictures you are looking at current – an accurate representation of the interior? 
  • You will not be able to do a pest and building inspection, so how will you know if the building is free of pests and structurally sound? 
  • Is the layout right for you just by looking at a floorplan and photos?
  • Is the asking price fair? Who says so? How do you understand the value of the property?
  • Have you considered how the bank will value the property with no access if you require finance?
  • If you can’t do a drive-by, does it fits your precinct needs, medical, schooling, shops and public transport?
  • What are the normal parking and traffic noise conditions?
  • What are your neighbours like?
  • What special contract conditions should you insist on given the exceptional circumstances? 

Buying sight-unseen is something that we do NOT recommend. For such a large investment, there are too many variables and potential negatives. 

However, if you are in a situation that means you must buy now, e.g. divorce, relocation, financial issues, etc., then call us. We will guide you through today’s challenging property landscape.

Please email us at ela Property Advocates, Guy Angwin guyjohn@iinet.net.au or Geoff Briscoe geoffbriscoe@tpg.com.au, to search, assess and help you buy or sell your next home.

Can’t find the house you want? Here’s why and what to do about it.

Been wondering why you can’t find the house you want?

Ok we know about “the now” – during the COVID-19 enforced shutdown there are almost no new listings. And when you go back to the end of 2019, Inner Melbourne median house prices surged, up 5.0% Q4 vs Q3 according to REIV data. However, it was on significantly reduced sales volume levels. So really 2020 never got going, with low stock levels and only February operating under conditions even close to normal.

The long term trend

But well before these recent events, there has been a decade long trend with average homeownership years rising. The latest data from Core Logic shows that homeowners are holding onto their property for much longer than they were 10 to 15 years ago. 

Nationally, the average length of homeownership has risen to 11.3 years, but Greater Melbourne sits at 12.5 years the highest in the country. 

Ten years ago, Greater Melbourne was 7.1 years – this increase to 12.5 years has had a significant impact on the supply of established houses. 

Adding to the length of ownership, the latest REIV data for days on the market for Metro Melbourne is important. It takes just 28 days today to sell a house versus one year ago when it was 46 days. These two trends help you understand why it has been so hard to buy your new house. 

So what can you do to be a successful buyer?

Well, we think the acute stock shortage will continue for many years. 

Today, you must have everything going for you, and that’s where we come in – we source, research and prepare you for success. We access pre-market and off-market properties and conduct an intensive search – an area our clients generally don’t have enough time for in their busy schedules.

And, with selling days down to just 28 days, you must act decisively. When we locate the home that fits your needs, we ensure your preparedness to act decisively, with research and due diligence completed, pricing researched and finance approved in writing, 

Please email us at ela Property Advocates, Guy Angwin guyjohn@iinet.net.au or Geoff Briscoe geoffbriscoe@tpg.com.au, to search, assess and help you buy or sell your next home.

Who owns the marketing photographs of your property?

We recently came across a couple of client issues relating to property photography.

Scenario 1 

A client was perplexed that an agent selected the same photos for a new listing today that were used in the sale of their house five years ago! 

However, the five-year-old photos are the property of the vendor who paid for them, and the agency is not permitted to use them without the vendor’s approval. Old images may also contain furniture, artwork and other items which are private to the original vendor.

Scenario 2 

So your Authority expires, you are not happy with your agent, and you want to list with another agent. You have already paid the original agent for the photographic shoot used for the internet listing, brochures, print ads and signboard.

Are you entitled to take the pictures and use them with your new agent to save some money?

According to standard agency terms and conditions yes you are. If you and your new agency are happy with photography, then ask for the working proofs from your first agency and use them.

Before you sign that exclusive sales authority to sell your property be certain the listing agent understands that the photos are yours and you would like them back. 

Email us at ela Property Advocates, Guy Angwin guyjohn@iinet.net.au or Geoff Briscoe geoffbriscoe@tpg.com.au, to assist you with buying or selling a property.

Buying Properties as Foreigners and Immigration today.

With Australian borders currently closed to immigration, I have been looking at my crystal ball to see what impact this may have on the property market, as now one in three Australians were born overseas. As part of my research, I found the following Jack Derwin of KPMG Business Insider Australia makes the following observations: https://www.businessinsider.com.au/australia-international-border-closures-cost-migration-2020-8 

  • KPMG has released a new analysis of the economic cost of Australia’s hard international border, calculating it would shave $117 billion from national GDP by the end of the decade
  • By 2030, stalled migration would shrink Australia’s 2030 population by 1.1 million people and have cost every Australian the equivalent of $2,800. 
  • KPMG economists model that if just 40,000 skilled migrants were allowed to enter, they would produce a near $5 billion boost.

Unfortunately, I don’t have an economics degree; however, it’s not hard to see these sort of numbers impacting the property market, probably more in the medium to long term than the short term. The reason I believe the impact on the short term will be less is because of the large number of buyers still out there from the pre-stage four who missed out on purchasing a property. 

However, here is a summary of what you CAN do and note, this article is general, and you should seek expert advice about your immigration circumstances.

Permanent Residents: 

  • Are free to purchase property just like an Australian citizen. 

Temporary Residents:

  • Is anyone residing in Australia on a visa that permits them to live here continuously for MORE than 12 months 
  • Can own property but need to apply to the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) to purchase real estate in Australia
  • Can buy no more than one established dwelling, which must be used as their principal place of residence.
  • Face very few restrictions for new dwellings subject to FIRB approval.

Non-residents/Foreign non-residents:

  • Are non-citizens who do not ordinarily live in Australia. 
  • Will normally be allowed to purchase new dwellings, but approval via the FIRB is generally required before each acquisition.
  • There is no limit on the number of FIRB approved new dwellings.
  • The Government’s policy is to channel foreign investment into new dwellings as this creates additional jobs and housing stock.

Buying real-estate at any time can be stressful but buying as a foreigner has its challenges. That’s where we can help you. 

Email us at ela Property Advocates Guy Angwin guyjohn@iinet.net.au or Geoff Briscoe geoffbriscoe@tpg.com.au, and we will help you secure your Australian property. 

Ready for when Stage 4 is over?

Are you thinking of selling?

With Stage 4 Lockdown the real estate industry is in partial “hibernation”, but as we wrote last week, for Vendors, this is a time to prepare your house and aim to be amongst the first online in Spring when the market “opens”. 

It’s the view of agents we work with that the build-up of demand is likely to follow the New Zealand experience post stage four where median house prices saw a solid increase.

Here’s a typical Vendor timeline, why you should start now and not sit on your hands over the next month;

  • Appoint an Agent – 1 – 2 weeks
  • Secure tradespeople (hard to get) and book in the work – 1 week
  • Get the jobs done – 1 week
  • Photos/Staging 1-2 weeks
  • Auction/Private Sale Campaign 1 month
  • Settlement 1 – 2 months (maybe longer) 
  • TOTAL: 4 months!

Some of these can be worked on simultaneously, but if you do nothing during the lockdown you may not receive the proceeds of your sale until 2021! We can show you how to minimise the timeline, and as your Vendor Advocate, there is no charge to you!

Are you thinking of buying? 

While you cant look inside houses, thanks to Dr Google there is still a lot of preparation you can do:

  • Pick your area – drive around if in the lockdown 5klm limit.
  • Research the suburbs you prefer on the real estate portals. 
  • Secure your finance in writing, ready to go. Why? – well, when the market opens, and there is competition, vendors will generally prefer an unconditional contract. The shortage of good stock will, in our view, continue. 
  • Research past sales and anything that may be listed now for price guides.
  • Study the floor-plan and land size online
  • Research public transport – does it fit your needs? 

Call us at ela Property Advocates via Zoom and discuss how we can assist you in achieving a successful sale or purchase in today’s market. Guy Angwin 0412 022 998 E: guyjohn@iinet.net.au or Geoff Briscoe 0419 740 351 E: geoffbriscoe@tpg.com.au

Where to from here? Get ready for Spring!

From today Wed August 5th 2020, buying and selling real estate will change – for at least six weeks. Real estate agencies will be closed, and physical open for inspections cease.

However, online auctions and online virtual open for inspections are permitted. But the Government’s logic for these online activities is unrealistic as onsite preparation for professionally prepared photography, floor-plan artwork, and 3D virtual tours is not permitted!

Where to from here?

Existing properties that are mid-campaign are rushing to complete online auctions. Agents will know their buyers and the Open for Inspections done.

What if you are considering a new listing and everything is ready to go?

That’s a discussion you must have with your agent or us as property advocates. Think about whether a listing is in your best interest now with no inspections permitted: or should you defer?

What if I have to sell now due to Financial/Divorce/other pressures?

In this scenario you will need to take the pictures, perhaps film a virtual tour on your phone and upload them to your agent. While not visually professional, listings will continue in all listing sites. You might have to sell your house subject to final inspection.

And if you don’t have to sell now?

Well, Spring is coming, and our view is there may be pent-up demand for good homes. New Zealand experienced a surge in median house prices after stage 4 ended. Geordie Dixon Director Jellis Craig Hawthorn is also anticipating a strong resumption to the market and getting their clients ready for listing.

It’s our opinion that you should be in the market sooner than later as Government support beyond September and the health of the economy, in general, is unknown.

Our advice is to get your home “Spring ready”, fully prepared for the following professional services.

  • Ask your preferred agents to submit their preliminary selling proposal for your consideration.
  • Engage an agent – we can help you with this as Vendor Advocates (at no cost) 
  • Repairs, maintenance and renovations – all can still take place during the shut-down. Book the tradies now.
  • Start the decluttering program. 
  • Engage your solicitor/conveyancer now so that all the mandatory documentation is ready by listing day.
  • Photography
  • Staging consultant

When the Government announces the stage 4 end date, discuss with your agent and re-assess the market. If the pent-up demand is high, book the remaining professional services through your agent and your Spring listing will be amongst the first. 

To help guide you through this period and getting you ready for the lifting of Stage 4, ring us for a more in-depth discussion. Guy Angwin M: 0412 022998 E: guyjohn@iinet.net.au or Geoff Briscoe M: 0419 740 351 E: geoffbriscoe@tpg.com.au

Brave buyers and vendors can get what they want.

With such different and uncertain times, buyers and vendors today need three ingredients to be successful and get what they want.

1.Patience  

Patience is essential in any market but even more so in these uncertain times. Housing stock is low in prime areas, and a significant share of sales are off/pre-market. At times the buying public does not even get to see a house that is for sale.

One agent we have worked with is reporting up to 40% of their sales are off/pre-market with a favoured method of sending emails out to Advocates. Often the property is sold quickly to those who are ready. 

Our message as Advocates is when the right property comes along, you can’t afford to hesitate. The buying environment has changed, and buyers need to adjust accordingly.

2.Readiness to buy – be brave

When the right property is for sale, you have to be ready. Vendors/Agents won’t be interested in conditional contracts – the most common being finance. You must have the funds to complete the transaction approved in writing and ready to go.

3.Buyer/Vendor Advocate advice

More than ever before its time to seek the advice of a buyer/vendor advocate – as we are up to date on how to find that exclusive property, price it and then complete a successful transaction. 

To find a property, understand market value and how to purchase, it has never been more complicated and to get what YOU want, call or email ela Property Advocates.

Guy Angwin M: 0412 022998 E: guyjohn@iinet.net.au

Geoff Briscoe M: 0419 740 351 E: geoffbriscoe@tpg.com.au