In capital city markets, particularly Sydney, home stylists (or home stagers) are in hot demand. These experts are not just about making your house look pretty and presentable when it goes on the market, they study the local real estate market closely, identify the buyers most likely to be interested in your property, then work their magic by introducing the right interior design trends to ensure your property is simply irresistible to those buyers.
Experienced property stylists claim that, at a cost of one to three percent of the current value of your home, a well-staged property will sell for seven to 15 per cent more at close of sale. Now that makes it well worth while taking into account the classic interior design trends that will appeal to a wide spectrum of potential buyers for your home.
A property stylist will first advise you to declutter and depersonalise your home, fix anything that isn’t working properly then give the interiors a fresh lick of paint in neutral tones. Most of your furnishings will then need to be packed up and sent into storage. Your stylist will then bring in hired furnishings, artworks and decorative accessories carefully selected and coordinated along a theme that will appeal to your potential buyers and that will maximise the sense of space.
Juliana Gowen, of Urban Chic Property Styling in Sydney, is a big fan of Hamptons Style as a classic interior design look that appeals to a wide spectrum of buyers.
“The Hamptons Style hails from the upmarket beach houses of New York’s Long Island,” says Juliana. “It’s elegant and sophisticated yet relaxed and beachy with lots of white timber, classic furniture and nautical touches that make it very appealing to a wide section of the Sydney real estate market. Whether your home is traditional in style or contemporary, you really can’t go wrong with this appealing look that buyers love.”
Another interior design trend Juliana recommends, especially for modern apartments and townhouses where creating a sense of space is imperative, is Scandinavian Style. “The white or blonde timber floors, lightweight timber furniture and natural materials and textures of Scandinavian Style create a fresh, modern ambience and feeling of space and light that buyers love, especially younger buyers,” says Juliana.
According to Juliana, other classic design trends that draw buyers like magnets include:
· A neutral palette
“Choose a neutral palette for walls, ceilings and trim,” says Juliana, “and you can’t go wrong.”
· Hardwood floors
Polished timber floors are still on trend. “Buyers just love them,” says Juliana, “They look great and are easy to maintain. They’re also attractive to people who have concerns around asthma.”
· A luxury bathtub
“Designer freestanding bathtubs look luxurious,” says Juliana. “They’re both visually appealing and practical.”
· A pantry
“A walk-in pantry in the kitchen is always a big hit with female buyers,” says Juliana. “Good storage in the kitchen is really important to them.”
· Built-in storage
“Add well-designed built-in storage, such as understair storage, wherever you can,” advises Juliana.
“Marble benchtops in the kitchen and Carrara marble in the bathroom are hot luxury touches that attract buyers,” says Juliana.
· White kitchens
“A white kitchen is timeless,” says Juliana. “It will always look fresh and doesn’t date.”
· Outdoor stripes
“It’s important to decorate your outdoor areas as well as your interiors these days,” says Juliana. “Striped upholstery and cushions always look effective on outdoor furniture. Or try a pair of white Adirondack chairs on the lawn with navy and white striped cushions.”
“A fireplace is always a big drawcard for buyers,” says Juliana. “If you don’t have a traditional fireplace the new bioethanol fireplaces have visible flames without the need for a flue or chimney.”
· Create a focal point
“Every room in your home should have a focal point,” advises Juliana, “be it an interesting chair or an artwork. It draws buyers’ eyes into the room.”
· Add greenery
“We use a lot of greenery when staging homes for sale,” says Juliana. “It energises a room and looks great for the sales campaign photography. Touches of greenery can really add to the appeal of a bathroom, so be sure to use some there as well as in the living spaces.”
“Mirrors are great for bringing light into a room and expanding the sense of space,” says Juliana, “but I always advise homeowners to be careful to check what the mirror reflects.
Juliana emphasises that, with rising property prices, buyers are looking for value. “How you present your home for sale is more important than ever,” she advises. “With these classic interior design touches you are likely to attract more buyers to open for inspections and help your property sell for the best possible price.”
If you’re looking to get the maximum result for the sale of your home, your local Century 21 real estate agent can advise you on what design trends most appeal to buyers in your local area.
When purchasing a property, there are many additional costs to consider on top of the agreed price. The biggest of these additional upfront costs is stamp duty, known in some states as land transfer duty. The cost of stamp duty will need to factored in when you apply for your home or investment loan and, be warned, we’re not talking a few hundred dollars here but a sum in the thousands.
A state government tax based on a percentage of the purchase price of the property, stamp duty covers the cost of changing the title of the property you are purchasing, and the ownership details.
How much is stamp duty?
How much you will pay in stamp duty depends on the state or territory you are buying the property in, the amount you are paying for the home and the type of property you are buying.
If you are a first home buyer, you may be eligible for stamp duty exemption or concessions, but again this will vary from state to state. Pensioners and health card holders may also be eligible for concessions or stamp duty exemption in some states.
Below are links to stamp or land transfer duty online calculators for each state and territory. Explore the site relevant to your property purchase for details of any first homeowner grants or stamp duty concessions you may be eligible to receive. You don’t want to miss out on what could be a considerable saving!
Legally, you will be required to pay stamp duty within 30 days to three months of settlement, again depending on the state or territory, on the property you are purchasing.
How stamp duty is calculated
In general, stamp duty will be calculated on the price you are paying for the property or the market value of the property, whichever is greater. This means that if you are paying $550,000 for the property, but its market value is calculated as only $500,000 then you will pay stamp duty on the higher amount of $550,000.
How to minimise stamp duty
If the market value of your intended property purchase is calculated as lower than the price you have agreed with the vendor, you may be able to negotiate a lower price for the property based on this, thereby lowering your purchase price and the amount of stamp duty you need to pay.
If you are building a new home, it could be worthwhile to lower your building costs (by choosing cheaper finishes and fixtures, for example) in order to save on stamp duty.
Another option to consider, especially if you are investing in property or willing to relocate, is to purchase your property in a state with lower stamp duty or stamp duty exemption for first home buyers.
It’s also worth visiting the above websites to see what the stamp duty thresholds are like in your state. For example, in most states homes worth more than $500,000 attract considerably higher stamp duty than properties below this threshold. If this is the case, you could consider only looking at properties below this threshold.
As you can see, researching stamp duty carefully before you go ahead and purchase a property is definitely a worthwhile exercise that could save you thousands of dollars. Even if you don’t save money, you will be prepared prior to searching for a property for this major additional cost.
If you have any further questions regarding stamp duty or land transfer duty, stamp duty on houses you are considering for purchase or stamp duty exemption, don’t hesitate to consult with your local Century 21 real estate agent for an expert opinion.
CENTURY 21, a real estate organisation with over 100,000 staff in 78 countries, believes the Reserve Bank’s decision to leave the cash rate on hold at 1.5 per cent will continue to support sustainable growth in house prices.
“Many pundits are predicting stabilising market conditions over the coming months and whilst capital city markets around Australia remain relatively buoyant, the dynamic between buyers and sellers in some areas may begin to shift,” said Charles Tarbey, Chairman and Owner of CENTURY 21 Australasia.
“Buyers may be placed in a better position to negotiate a good price, but should continue to be wary of overextending themselves as future rate rises are not out of the question.
“Even a slight upward movement in interest rates can significantly increase mortgage repayments, so buyers should ensure they adhere to a pre-determined budget and factor in contingencies for any changes that the year could hold,” said Charles Tarbey.
According to CoreLogic Home Value Index results for January, capital city dwelling values posted a 0.7% rise across the combined capital city regions with Hobart, Sydney and Melbourne leading the monthly gains.
CENTURY 21 encourages potential buyers who are looking to purchase real estate to ensure they have obtained the appropriate professional property and finance advice before doing so.
With over 3,000 offices, CENTURY 21 is the largest real estate sales organisation in the Asia Pacific region, a region vital to Australia’s continued economic success.