Viewing by month: August 2009

Learning about real estate

There is an abundance of ways to learn about real estate. I of course recommend that you speak your local real estate expert – namely your CENTURY 21 office, but aside from that it’s probably never been easier to come to grips with most aspects of real estate. The internet in particular had made the exchange and access of information incredibly easy and rapid. What is interesting however is that one of the most referred to books when it comes to real estate investment was first published in 1959 and is still incredibly relevant today – you just need look on Amazon to confirm it!


William Nickerson wrote the book that is still snapped up by the masses - How I Turned $1,000 Into A Million In Real Estate—In My Spare Time. I know there are a ridiculous number of books on the market promising the secrets to wealth through property, but when you consider Nickerson’s book was way ahead of best sellers like  Rich Dad, Poor Dad this is the book on how to get rich from real estate that possibly started it all. Many still believe it’s the best of its genre.


His basic principal is to buy properties that need a bit of work, fixing them up and renting them out at a higher rate. The equity gained through this lets you trade up to larger properties. Nickerson himself started with a duplex and works up to a 30 unit apartment complex. Some of what he has to say I tend to disagree with – such as the recommendation to never use the same real estate agent you used to buy a property to help you sell it later. He says this is because the agent will have the low price you paid stuck in the back of his mind and he’ll try to get you to accept less in order to close a deal. I can’t say I agree with that when you consider your agent is striving to get the best possible price for a property, and are required to do so by law. Perhaps things in the USA in the late 50s were a tad different, so like anything translating to this day and age, you need to take it with a grain of sale.

But in a nutshell it’s a great read, and considering the man has since published installments to his first tales of wealth from real estate every 10 years or so, it would seem he does possibly know what he’s talking about. His $1 million reference became $2 million and then $5 million, so his story is probably not a bad place to start for wannabe investors. It’s also good for seasoned real estate shoppers to refer back to, unless you’ve surpassed his $5 million of course, and in which case you should be writing a book of your own I imagine.  

0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 17/08/2009 at 4:47 PM | Categories:

Fantasy real estate for a Friday

Living with a couple of tweens makes me fairly susceptible to the celebrity scene. If I don’t know the who’s who of the moment, there are times when I have no idea what my kids are talking about. But then on the flip side, there are those famous folk that I refer to who my kids are clueless about, and when I start talking real estate at the same time, they take on the same glazed expression I have when the name Robert Pattinson is mentioned.


I’m not really one for celebrity gossip, but I am very interested in property and the real estate market. I also have a penchant for looking at property way out of my price range, as I think many of us do, and I was particularly interested when I read that Julianne Moore and David Hasselhoff’s homes (probably should read mansions) were on the market. I find the international real estate market fascinating at the best of times, so throw in a couple of house-hold names and I have to admit I’m inclined to have a look at the details, especially when it comes to the prices and stature of these abodes.


For example, Julianne Moore’s house at West 11th Street in New York City is on the market for a staggering $11,995,000. With 5 floors, 6 bedrooms, 3 full and 3 half bathrooms, it’s definitely sizeable but it’s still just so much money to drop on a townhouse! The property was built in the late 1800's and has been meticulously renovated, as it used live its life as four separate apartments, and cost the current owners a measly $3.5m when they bought it 6 years ago. They must have spent some serious coin changing this place up to its current set-up, and although I still think the price tag is fairly preposterous, it is New York, and the place is pretty nice. One Powerball…


And then, there is the Hoff’s house on the other side of the USA. Seriously, who wouldn’t be interested to see where and how this man lives? I did have a good time looking through the photos of the ex Baywatch main man’s home, I have to admit. And after perusing the details of the aforementioned NYC mansion, the $4,195,000 Mr Hasselhoff is asking for his Californian pad almost seems reasonable, especially after it initially went on the market last year around this time with a price tag of $5.95m. Property records (not that I looked them up myself of course) show that the Hoff and his ex-wife paid just $1,980,000 for this home in 1996 and they actually purchased it from actor John Goodman. The property also has garaging for five cars. I have only hope KITT is one of them.  

2 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 14/08/2009 at 10:15 AM | Categories:

Things to think about when you move

Moving is documented as one of the most stressful events a person can live through, even for a real estate agent. It can be totally traumatic at times and even in the best scenarios, exhausting. In case you don't already have enough on your mind when planning a move, here are a few more thoughts to consider when you’re thinking about your moving date deciding on who to help you move.

If you’ve recently sold your home, the list of things you need to do before you leave can seem endless, and you need to keep in mind that packing your stuff into that moving truck is probably not the last step. Although it’s tempting to think you can clean your home yourself once it’s empty, after the effort of getting your house empty, it might be wise to get professional cleaners through.   

You should also try and time things so that the new owners aren’t rocking up to move in at the same time you’re still desperately trying to get out! I have friends that this happened to, and it’s not a great situation for either party.


If you really want to minimize the hassle of moving, considering using a removalist service that will pack and/or unpack for you. Some people are a bit funny about other people boxing up their possessions, but some removalists will actually insist on it for insurance purposes, so keep this in mind. This can ring true more frequently for bigger moves like interstate or overseas, and moving locally can be a very different experience. These factors obviously also have a big impact on price, and moving can be a costly exercise. Again, how much this affects how you do things varies from person to person, and I have friends who, after abysmal self-moving experiences now insist on using professionals every step of the way. Others would rather save a few hundred dollars and do the whole thing themselves. Like every aspect of real estate, it’s a very personal thing!

Keep in mind that every move is going to be a different experience to your last, and that all removalists are not alike. It does tend to get easier the more often you do it, but really, who wants to move often enough to perfect the art?   

2 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 12/08/2009 at 11:51 AM | Categories:

Learning from your mistakes

Ah the age old adage that you should learn from your mistakes. Some of us do, and some of make the same mistakes over and over. People also say that making mistakes is actually the best way to learn, and to a certain extent I agree – providing you do actually learn the lesson of course. And while all this is fine and dandy, at the time of being responsible for something going wrong, these little pearls of wisdom don’t make you feel that much better.

Even with all my real estate experience, I can admit that I still make mistakes. Of course it’s not very often, but on occasion it can happen. Regardless of how much training, experience and intelligence we have, the notion of human error is around for  a reason – no-one can do everything right all the time, and some of that has to do with individuals’ perceptions. When it comes to being a professional real estate agent, mistakes can be as simple as misjudging how frequently a client wants to hear from you. Some people have told me from their experience, if their agent has nothing to update them on, they don’t want to hear from them. On the flip side, other customers want to hear from their agent regardless of how little they have to say.   

Working in the real estate industry is an ongoing learning curve. Things can change rapidly, and adjustments have to be made. As a result, mistakes can be made too. But rather than viewing these situations as a negative, I think it’s much better to look at mistakes as an opportunity for growth and development. Some may even go so far as to say mistakes are a good thing for us, but again, this only rings true if you better yourself as a result.

Real estate is a constantly evolving industry and to be successful you need to roll with the punches and improve on your situation if you do find yourself the maker of mistakes. I know I’ve made my share, and I dare say I may make another (just one of course) as I continue down the real estate path I’m still journeying on.    
0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 10/08/2009 at 10:30 AM | Categories:

Should you downsize?

A lot of people think that bigger is better when it comes to owning a house. I think most of us have been invited to a friend’s new home masquerading as a mansion and wandered through trying not to gape and mentally calculating what they must be paying on their mortgage and how we could ever afford to live in something similar. But a big home isn’t necessarily the right choice for everyone, and there are certain groups of people who would prefer to downsize than live in a giant home, no matter how pretty it may be.


In many instances empty nesters look to smaller properties because the home they raised a family in is now full of mostly unused space, and as I’ve discussed before, more space than you need in a property can often be considered a waste of an investment. Singles often also downsize, I know of people who are actively looking for smaller apartments not due to the size factor,  but the size of their rent factor. Again, a bigger apartment may be great if you like to have room to roam around, but you pay for the privilege.


There are a few reasons why downsizing is a good option if you really don’t need a lot of space. A smaller home can offer up big savings that many often overlook. The cost of taxes, insurance, heating and other utilities keeps going up and you tend to pay more for a bigger space. If there are rooms you don’t often use, or a garden that’s proving more work than you care to do, a smaller place could make life a lot easier, and cheaper.


Downsizing doesn't necessarily have to mean sacrificing what you love in a home, or mean moving into an apartment small enough for you to touch all walls at once. If you know those features you’re not prepared to go without, it will actually help you narrow your search, but chances are you’ll find a smaller place that offers all of them. If you are willing to move out to a smaller and ultimately more efficient house, it could mean the difference in providing yourself with a comfortable retirement.

If saving money, or reducing your current level of spending, is a priority for you, downsizing could be a good place to start. And when we’re constantly being told that it’s never too early to start thinking about your retirement, cutting costs on what is probably one of your most expensive assets could ultimately lead to a more comfortable retirement for you.   

1 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 07/08/2009 at 8:47 AM | Categories:

What really makes a good location?

Everyone says that location is king in real estate, and there are obviously stats and data that prove that certain locations hold or improve their value more so than others. Beach and inner city locations tend to be on the list and house among some of the most highly coveted property, but in recent times we’ve seen that although location may be key, property type plays a major role too. Many people have recently lost money trying to sell inner city apartments even though the location may be incredible, for example. But the most important question when it comes to thinking location! Location! Location! is what makes a location the ideal for you?


At CENTURY 21, we see a lot of people buying and selling, and each of them has a different idea of what makes the perfect location. What may be a make or break aspect of a location for one person could barely rate a mention for another. For many people, distance to work and the level of commute required is a big one, but many others weigh up factors beyond just travel distance when deciding where to live, and I’m not just talking about costs either.


When it comes to location, most people have a list of things they want nearby. It could be amenities such as cafes and shops; it could be related to the stage of life their family is in – like seeking out particular childcare, primary or secondary schools, or for some it could even come down to proximity to family and friends – either closer or further away - the list is basically endless.

The type of lifestyle you want to have is fundamentally important in a location decision. If a suburb looks like it has everything you’ve been looking for, it’s still important to do the due diligence on the location and test drive the commute you’d have to do, research the schools in the area, and check plans to make sure the flight path isn’t being moved directly above your house, or a freeway isn’t about to be built through your front garden.  

Although in an ideal world the perfect house in the perfect spot will become available at the perfect price, there is the chance that you may not get everything you want from a location. For this reason it’s also important to know your priorities and be realistic about which ones you’re prepared to forego for others. Everyone has different priorities, and as I’ve said before, real estate is an incredibly personal thing.

What could end up being your ideal suburb could be someone else’s worst nightmare. At the end of the day, it’s all subjective and that’s what makes this industry so incredibly interesting, even years after I first got involved.    

0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 06/08/2009 at 8:54 AM | Categories:

The crazy world of real estate

I find that in every walk of life you come across very interesting people. There are certainly some interesting people in the city I spend most of my time in, and I guess it’s just laws of probability that mean the larger the population, the more there is of everyone, including the people who are a touch more out there.


I’ve blogged before about the fact that like in many occupations, real estate tends to attract a certain type of person. I’ve also mentioned previously that a lot of the necessary qualities to make it as a real estate agent are very good ones – passion, commitment, drive and serious work ethic for example. But at the end of the day, we are all still individuals and everyone has something, if not many things, that makes them unique.


I was reading about one such unique person just this morning – a person who happens to be a real estate agent - in what I think was a fascinating article. This piece was about a real estate agent that believes his vegetarianism makes him more trustworthy than his meat eating counterparts. What a concept! This agent is based in the San Francisco bay area, and promotes his eating habits as the main reason vegetarians selling their home should list with him. So dedicated is he to his cause in fact, that his website is called Veggie Reeltor. Not sure about the spelling of realtor there, but when the guy bases his whole sales pitch on his rejection of meat, it fades into obscurity somewhat. 


On his website, this vegetable-only eating real estate agent asks if it would be important to vegetarian clients to have an estate agent who is also vegetarian. Apparently this is a clear indicator of shared values and how you relate to others, and he also asks “why should the real estate profession be the exclusive domain of meat-eating right-wing conservatives?” I’m not sure your food choices automatically dictate your political opinions, but he’s demonstrating one of the above mentioned traits of successful real estate agents – passion, and he’s got some great testimonials on his website so I shall reserve judgment.

And in the wise words of my mum, each to their own, so who am I to judge really anyway? And on that note, I’m off to a steak house.     

2 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 05/08/2009 at 10:29 AM | Categories:

Century 21 celebrates 21 years by giving away $21k in 21 days!

As some of you may be aware, 2009 marks CENTURY 21 Australia’s 21st birthday. A significant birthday like a 21st is always worth a big party, and so we’ve decided to throw one of the biggest 21st celebrations this year! We’re encouraging everyone to get involved with the festivities, namely the chance to win a share of $21,000 over a 21 day period!


Not many of us expect to have a second 21st birthday, and when we do find ourselves at a 21st it has the potential to make many of us feel, well, old. But this is a 21st that will make everyone feel good! To celebrate our 21 years in Australia, and because we’ve established ourselves in so many areas of the country, we thought what better way to celebrate than to give back to the people who have supported u s- our local communities, and at the same time have a bit of fun.


The promotion officially launched yesterday, and the $21k in 21 days competition requires entrants to rurn something gold in honour of Century 21’s major corporate colour. Then you need to take a photo as proof, and upload it to the competition website – I have to say I’m not the only one who is looking forward to seeing how creative people can be. We’ve already had a couple of people turn their children gold, so I can’t wait to see what else is on the horizon!


There are obviously limits to what we want people to turn gold – we are responsible citizens after all! Graffiti or defacement of public property won’t be tolerated, but there are so many options that don’t require those elements that I doubt people will be struggling to think of what will make an impression. There have already been a lot of crazy ideas thrown around in here, and I think it’s actually a good thing that the team here at the Century 21 national office can’t enter because I’m sure I’d leave work one day to find my car turned gold!



Visit for full competition details, and to enter.


0 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 04/08/2009 at 10:25 AM | Categories:

How hard is it to sell a house?

I once had a friend say to me there are 3 things that everyone on the planet thinks they can do – be a stand-up comic, design their own house, and make a film. I think there are a few other things missing from this list. From my business experience in particular, it seems everyone thinks it can’t be that hard to sell a house, and everyone also seems to think they are a marketer. Of everything. And that ties in very nicely with thinking you can sell your own home.


Because almost everyone lives somewhere, whether it’s in an apartment, a standalone property, a duplex, the list goes on – a lot of people think they know real estate. For this reason, a lot of people also think how hard can it really be to buy or sell a home? With so much information available online and in the media, it’s not difficult to see why people think they have their hands on everything they need to know.

This is where great sayings like “a word to the wise” comes into play, because a lot of people may think they’re wise in this regard, but there is still so much they need to know – exactly why there are real estate agents doing the job that they do. A real estate agent with a network like that which we have at CENTURY 21 are bringing you years of combined experience from tried and true measures for real estate success. That’s not something just anyone can claim or get their hands on. Real estate agents also take on a lot of responsibility when working with a customer, by way of making sure they, and you, know your way around the legals and requirements of the sales process.  

So my word to the wise is, if you’re thinking of buying or selling, the smartest thing you can do is get a professional to represent what is possibly your largest asset.    


1 comments | Posted by Charles Tarbey on 03/08/2009 at 9:36 AM | Categories: