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FAQ

What is the role of a real estate agent?


Real estate agents are qualified professionals that can help you sell your property. They are experts in the local and wider property market and provide informed property appraisals. They help guide sellers on the best method of sale and ensure properties are actively promoted and marketed to reach the maximum number of buyers. Real estate agents will assist in the negotiation of property sales and ensure this is done with the utmost confidentiality. Real estate agents work for the property seller and are focused on selling it for the most amount of money.




What is an exclusive listing?


With an exclusive agency agreement, you give only one agent the rights to sell your property. This may entitle the agent to be paid a commission if the property is sold during the fixed term of the agreement, even if you or another agent were responsible for the sale. An exclusive listing arrangement is most used for the sale of residential properties.




What is the agent's role at an open house?


An agent's job at an open house inspection is to listen closely and observe attendees to gauge buyer interest and motivation.

By engaging in conversation, the agent can learn more about a potential buyer's specific circumstances and requirements. This helps the agent to discuss the aspects of the property relevant to the buyer.

At the same time, buyers may need to view the property without pressure and talk about it with someone they have brought along. A good agent will be aware of this and only engage in conversation at appropriate moments




Why should I be out during an open


Getting a buyer to picture themselves living in the property - sometimes referred to as 'mentally moving in' - is one of the most effective ways to generate serious interest.

For this to be achieved, it is essential that they feel relaxed and unhurried. Buyers do not wish to intrude on the current owner's space, so your presence can sometimes act as a deterrent for them to stay longer and continue to consider the property carefully.




Why is it important to declutter before an open house?


Decluttering involves removing personal items as much as possible prior to an open house, to help the buyer, imagine themselves living in the property.

A first impression often lasts and excessive belongings can make a home seem smaller, darker, and less airy than it really is.

Modern homes and decor taste also tend to lean towards a sparser presentation, while too much clutter can leave buyers with the sense that finding storage space might be problematic.




What are the best tips for selling my home fast and achieving the best price?


If you’re thinking of selling your home, how you ‘position or stage’ it can mean the difference between getting a fast sale and a top price or having it sit on the market.

First impressions last so try looking at your home as if you were driving up to it for the first time. What does it look like? The driveway? The landscaping or lawn? Pay particular attention to the entry, walkway, and the front door area. Does it look inviting. Or do you see things that need to be done.

Get rid of any odours… Smoking and pets are the most likely cause or just dampness from humidity.

A coat of paint in critical areas (kitchen, master bedroom and bathrooms) can do wonders to change the appearance and make the home look fresher and cleaner. Or just touch ups where needed.

The way you live in a home and the way you sell a home are two different things. It’s an excellent time to get rid of items you won’t take and pack up treasures that you’ll be taking with you. An uncluttered home looks bigger and more appealing.

Part of our service is to come through your property with fresh eyes and advise you. This is no obligation.

Fix everything that is broken. Such as the window that is cracked, the broken screens, the leaky taps, running toilets. All those small annoyances that you’ve grown used to.

Clean the entire house top to bottom. Make it sparkle and if its more than your stress level can stand, think about having someone come in and doing it for you professionally. Don’t forget the windows.

De-clutter the whole house. Think about putting away family photos and moving furniture that is clogging up entry ways. The more space you show, the easier it is for buyers to see themselves living there.

Check the street appeal. A few colourful plantings and pressure washing paths and driveways can make the world of difference to your street appeal.

Painting. How are the walls? Do you have kids and pets? A fresh coat of paint goes a long way and remember to use neutral colours. If you have feature walls in colour it’s best to neutralise them.

Check your lighting. Make sure all your light bulbs work and are they all the same level of warmth or coolness. Also check bedside lamps. A very reasonable upgrade it to replace your light fixtures with down lights.




Should we have a professional building Inspection before we put our home on the market?


Home inspections eliminate any ‘surprises’ that can delay or even stop a home sale. They also help the seller negotiate better. In most cases, the buyer(s) will use weaknesses of the home (frequently from an inspection performed after the home is under contract) to negotiate a lower price at a time when the seller is most vulnerable.

Rather than become a victim of such tactics, you can show you’ve already taken their issues into account in determining your price.

Getting your home inspected before going on the market allows you to understand the true value of your home – knowing what you may need to fix or what to leave alone. It also helps you to price it better.

The strengths and weaknesses of your home are going to be known by the buyer at some point and the sooner you know them, the more you can act to minimize, eliminate, or adjust for them. Wear and tear are normal.




We Are Thinking of Selling Our Home what are the critical phases of the selling process?


If you’re selling your home, you need to be aware that there are many important phases of the selling process. A mistake in any of the phases can jeopardize a fast, sale for the best price.

Here are four of the phases…

1) Pricing the property to ensure the likelihood of stimulating offers. Many people try to set a high price thinking they can come down later. That’s a big mistake because above-market pricing reduces the number of serious buyers, stifles showings and discourages offers of any kind, usually netting the homeowner a lower price than they planned on getting.

2) Marketing the property to attain the highest number of showings from qualified buyers. Check your agent’s plan carefully to ensure they do more than just place a signboard and hold a few open houses.

3) Creation and Negotiation of the purchase contract. A good agent’s negotiating skills can make or break a contract of sale. Check their experience in these matters. Ask questions about past transactions they handled.

4) Managing the settlement process. During this phase, your agent must be on top of all the functions: inspections, valuations, financing, buyer contingencies, and more.

When interviewing real estate agents, make sure you address each of the four phases of the selling process.

Your dialogue will be pivotal in establishing trust that is crucial to you and your agent. If you have a question about selling, please call me at 0411 851 173




When is The Best Time to Sell My Home?


There’s no simple or specific answer to this. Every real estate market is different, therefore, the best time to sell a home will be different from real estate community to real estate community.

In most cases, however, the spring months are amongst the best times to be selling a home. While Spring is a good time to sell, you will likely have lots of competitive properties on the market at the same time.

In some cases, Autumn and winter may be better than waiting until the Spring real estate market.

This is due to a combination of many factors including lower competition and serious buyers are always looking for a home, as well as other factors.

Timing depends on what is happening in your life and what’s best for you or your family.

Since every home seller’s situation is different, you should discuss the timing of your home sale with your agent.




How is the Real Estate Market Right Now?


There are several market indicators that an agent should be able to share with you. These will help explain the condition of the local real estate market.

The over-riding market conditions are

1) A sellers or hot market where prices are rising because far more buyers are looking for the limited supply of housing available to them.

2) A buyer or cold market is where there are more sellers than potential buyers to purchase them.

3) A neutral market is where neither group is favoured, and the marketplace is in balance.

Another important indicator of market conditions is the average days on the market. The average days on market can indicate to a seller how quickly homes are selling when listed for sale.




Can I sell my house by myself?


It is not a legal requirement to use an agent to sell your property - you may elect to undertake the process yourself.

However, there are many reasons why people generally engage the services of a professional to ensure the best price.

Aside from the obvious expertise in marketing, negotiation and selling that an agent brings, most buyers also prefer not to deal directly with the seller. If buyers know you are not paying for an agent, they will usually expect to see the house price reduced accordingly.

In the end, selling a property on your own might lead to a lot of work and pressure, without saving any money or maximising the end sale value.




What does 'overcapitalised' mean?


The term 'overcapitalised' refers to a situation where you have spent more money on your property than you will recoup from the sale price.

While it is likely that any work you have done - such as landscaping or interior construction - will add value to the property, there is no guarantee that the full amount spent on these improvements will be seen in the eventual price of sale.

Other considerations are how many properties are on the market in your suburb and surrounding areas (This is because most buyers look in multiple suburbs), market absorption rates which describe how many properties sold compared to those listed, list price versus actual sold price and average sale prices to name a few.

In addition to these, are the prevailing economic conditions, government housing policy at the time, interest rates, consumer sentiment, which of the four seasons we’re in and so on.

Being aware of these facts and having a discussion with the agent, will put you in a better position to price your home correctly. You’ll also understand why a marketing budget to sell is so important as opposed to just advertising for sale.




What should I do to prepare my home for sale?


There are several things you need to know before listing your home for sale!

The expression “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” is true when it comes to selling a home. When selling a home, you must be sure that your home presents itself in the best possible light.

Making sure clutter is at a minimum, clean everything, freshly paint rooms, perhaps installing new carpeting and ensuring odours are non-existent are just a handful of things that should be done before listing your home for sale.




Should I have Open Homes?


Believe it or not, open houses are a controversial topic in the real estate industry. Some agents will convince a seller that they will get their home sold because they hold opens. Others have reasons not to do so.

Holding Opens or not very much depends on your own circumstances. There are of course alternatives that we employ as well, such as inspections by appointment, mid-week opens and a low-key approach.

You do not have to have open houses to sell a home. But it can take longer and lead to a lesser price.

However, after decades in the real estate and people business, I have found that opens are an integral part of selling a property far quicker than other methods.

Quick Tip for Opens: Make sure you have every light in the house turned on including standing and bedside lamps. Think about the last time you went to a new model display home; all the lights are always on. Open the blinds and let the light in.




What are the different methods of sale?


The most common method of sale is by a private treaty which accounts for around 70-90% of real estate transactions.

Others are an auction, expressions of interest, a price range, a fixed price and price on application.

Private Treaty


A sale by private treaty means you offer the property to the market at a listed price or a price range and invite offers from interested purchasers. This way you have the ability to vary the price whilst it is on the market, and you will also have the opportunity to consider each individual offer from potential purchasers.

You can accept cash unconditional offers, subject to finance and/ or sale conditions or additionally acceptable contingencies.

Auction


You set a reserve price with your agent (the minimum price you will sell your property for) and the agent prepares for the auction on the specified date and time. There are laws for conducting an auction, so it is best left to an experienced auctioneer on the day. If bids don’t reach your reserve price, your agent may negotiate with the highest bidder on your behalf. Also, online auctions are gaining popularity.

Auctions can induce a sense of urgency and strong competition amongst buyers; however, the stress of an auction can also put some buyers off. Only buyers who have unconditional offers as cash or pre-arranged finance can register and bid. Those who need to sell and/ or require subject-to-finance or other conditions cannot bid. There is no cooling-off period.

Tender


A tender is a formal sale process often used for commercial & industrial properties. Though seldom used in residential sales. It requires potential buyers to submit a proposal in response to the request to the owner’s advertised tender.

There is usually a time limit imposed when the purchasers highest & best offer must be made. There is usually no further negotiation.

Expressions Of Interest


An expression of interest is like a private treaty sale; however, a formal written offer must be submitted for the property usually by a specific date.

A variation is where no price is given, and buyers are encouraged to make offers. Unlike an auction, it is less stressful and allows for subject-to-conditions being made.

It can especially suit unusual property or where there a few comparable sales. It certainly has a place to be used for residential properties in these circumstances.

Price On Application (POA) – A property listed with a sale price of “POA” means buyers will need to contact the agent to receive pricing details. This is not often recommended as it annoys purchasers and many simply won’t call. It reduces the number of interested buyers significantly.




How long will it take to get my property on the market?


That depends on a couple of factors including which real estate agent you choose and how ready your home is amongst others.

Part of the getting ready stage is building a solid foundation to marketing, so your home sells quickly.

If you go on the market too soon and things are not ready, then it’s likely your place will take longer to sell.

At Suzanne Foss Real Estate, we take the time to stage your home, have photos taken professionally. Also, a floor plan and site plan drawn. Then write the advertising copy and have it ready for market.

A marketing contract has to be ordered from your solicitor/conveyancer. It usually takes 1-2 weeks to complete these pre-marketing activities.

The first two weeks once your home hits the market are the most important. We make sure everything is ready and in place so we can make the biggest impact when your home comes on the market.




How Long Will It Take to Sell Our Home?


Some factors impacting on time include: What is the state of the market? Buyers, sellers or balanced? Time of year? Location, age of home, style, size, amenities & condition? Is it owner occupied or tenanted? Is it vacant? Has it been presented well? How was it marketed or was it a secret? What was the pricing or selling strategy? Was it priced correctly?

Most of our own clients have sold within 2-6 weeks. Other clients’ properties have been Under Contract within 24 hours, and some have been on market the full 90 days of the agency agreement.




Why is Marketing important


Because the internet allows buyers to eliminate as many homes as possible before they view the property. That’s why it’s so important to have outstanding photos.




What commission do you charge?


Fees are negotiable. Though, remember the saying ‘You get what you pay for’ is very true when it comes to real estate.

Consider. If an agent offers a lower commission. Do you truly believe they will work relentlessly, market strongly and negotiate aggressively on your behalf when it comes to the price of your home?

It also means if the agent can’t negotiate their own wages… how can they possibly negotiate the best price for your home?

Winning the cheapest agent will cost you dearly on the lost potential of a true negotiator working on your behalf, to extract the highest possible offers, from several buyers.

Hard working agencies are not 9am-5pm workers. They are available 7 days a week, pretty much every day of the year.

They often take calls, texts and answer emails long before or after most people have started or finished work for the day. It’s not so much a job but a lifestyle.

Not all agents are created equal.

You want your agency to go into battle for you… You Want Them on your Side!

What you invest to successfully promote and sell your home is insignificant to the amount of extra money available to you from great marketing and negotiating.

Our sales system will bring in additional buyers who compete against each other to buy your home. Our superior negotiating skills drive these offers to the max.

We are a provider of exceptional service which brings you added value.

Of course, if you appreciate, there is a difference in us adding value to your sale, call us now 0411 851 173




What is the difference between a listing and selling price?


The listing price (or asking price) is the price a home is currently listed for sale at and how much it is advertised for. The sale price is the price a home sold for.

Often there is a difference between the figures. As the seller was ‘promised’ a great price, then ended up selling for its realistic price.

A competent agent, however, should be able to suggest a listing price that ends up being very close to the final sale price.




Can internet websites give me the value of my property?


This depends on what you are trying to achieve! If you are just after a general idea of value, then these sites are okay. They use different analysis to determine property value and the actual value can range vastly. They don’t know that you have upgraded your home, they just compare on beds, baths, car spaces and location.

It’s critical that when selling a home, the value is determined by a top agent, not an internet website!




How do agents determine the value of my house?


There are several methods that Real Estate Agents use to determine the Appraisal value of a home.

The most common method for determining the value of a home is by completing a Comparative Market Analysis, also known as a CMA and is an in-depth evaluation of recently sold ‘Comparable’ homes in the past 6-12 months.

A CMA isn’t a crystal ball that determines what a home will sell for, however, if performed by a competent agent, it should greatly narrow the sale price range.

A professionally completed CMA will take into account many features of not only the home but also the local area and neighbourhood.

Some factors to be considered include anything unique or special about your property, were some of the comparable sales a ‘forced’ sale, how was their upkeep inside? Further considerations are the location and presentation. Appraisal values from several agents should be similar.




Why is there a variation of prices quoted by agents?


Because agents compete against each other, to get your business. Some treat appraisals like election promises. They promise more than they can really deliver but don’t really mean it.

According to Choose Magazine –


“Going with the agent who gives the highest estimate, could be a mistake. Although the national industry body says it’s deceptive conduct for agents to mislead prospective vendors about their property’s estimated selling price, agents we spoke to told us the practice of exaggerating property values to sellers is still ingrained in the industry.




What is a Sales Agency Agreement?


A sales agency agreement is a document written to protect your rights. It includes details of the real estate agent who you have assigned to sell your property. It states what they promise to provide for you, along with an estimated sale amount or price range.

This arrangement outlines the amount of fees or commission payable by you for the real estate agent's services. A commission is usually only due when the sale of the property is completed.

The extent of the real estate agent's authority to act on your behalf - such as to exchange or make changes on a sale contract - is also stipulated within this document.

You have the right to negotiate with the real estate agent about the terms and conditions of the agreement and to ask for any legally-permitted changes to be made.

The sales agency agreement usually involves a fixed term, which is a specific amount of time the sales agency agreement cannot be ceased unless accepted by both parties. An open-ended agreement with no fixed term must indicate an alternative method for being brought to an end.

If you are unsure about how to end an agreement you should seek legal advice.

In the event that you are unhappy with any of the real estate agent's services, it is essential to officially bring the sales agency agreement to a close before signing up with a new organisation - otherwise both might be able to charge you a commission when the property is sold.