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What Is Zoning? | Century 21

What Is Zoning?

Every piece of land in Australia is subject to zoning regulations, so when you buy a property it’s important to be aware of its zoning and what that means in terms of what you can and can’t do. Can you extend the home, for example, knock down and rebuild or add a second dwelling? If you are not aware of the zoning laws and their implications before purchasing a property, then your future plans for it may well be skittled. 

So, what is zoning and why is it important to know about it?  

Both State and local governments enact zoning laws in order to regulate the use of land and buildings to control growth patterns and manage land use.  These zoning codes set out what is legally permitted on each block of land. 

How zoning could affect you

Major zoning categories include commercial, industrial, mixed-use, residential, agricultural and public use. From there, more specific codes can apply as well as “overlays” relating to heritage, flood mitigation and bushfire requirements. 

If your property is in a heritage zone, for example, there may be significant restrictions on renovations you can make to your home. If the land you are considering purchasing is in a high bushfire danger zone, then building a house on it will attract major additional costs to meet the local council codes. If buying a house in a flood zone, you may find your home and contents insurance premiums are exorbitant or that you cannot insure for flood damage at all. If you are planning to build on flood-affected land you may find that your local council requires that the home be built atop a high mound of earth, or that no building work is allowed at all. 

It’s not only important to know the zoning on the property you are looking to buy. It’s best to spend some time checking on zoning in nearby areas as well. The home you are interested in buying may be zoned as residential but if nearby land is zoned for a specific use, such as a factory or abattoir, or for high-density housing, the property may not be your cup of tea after all. 

Do your research 

Most state governments have websites which allow you to quickly find out the zoning for a particular address. From there, it’s best to speak with a local council planning officer to find out more details, including any potential rezoning in the local area that may be in the works. You don’t want to have grand plans for your new home, only to find out too late that you are not able to progress them or that a high-rise apartment block will be overshadowing you in the future. 

By understanding your local zoning laws, you are equipped with the knowledge you need to buy the right property, knowing what you can change to the current residence, what you can build, how large it can be, what the setbacks from boundaries need to be and much, much more. You can also find out about potential and planned changes in the local area that could impact your lifestyle or the future value of your property in either negative or positive ways. 

If you are buying via a Century 21 real estate agent, you will find that he or she is an expert in zoning laws and planned developments in the local area. If you have engaged a Century 21 agent to sell your property, you will find that he or she will advertise the property correctly for its zoning and be able to fully inform intending buyers on all zoning issues they might ask about. For more information, get in touch with the friendly and experienced Century 21 team today.

0 comments | Posted by Administrator on 26/07/2017 at 3:57 PM | Categories:

Selling A Deceased Estate | Century 21

Dealing with the loss of a loved one is difficult enough in itself. However, this already emotional time often comes with an additional load of ‘things to do’, including selling the family home or other property included in the deceased estate. 

A deceased estate can’t be sold until probate is granted, which usually takes four weeks but can take much longer, so if you will be handling the sale, or assisting with preparing the house for sale, take a deep breath and take your time. Your best ally at this difficult time will be a Century 21 real estate agent, who can guide you with empathy and professionalism though the whole process. 

Dealing with the legal issues

If your loved one left a last Will and Testament and named an executor to finalise their estate, the legal process will be quite straightforward. If they passed away intestate (i.e. without leaving a will) a member of the family needs to apply for a probate in court, which can be a lengthy process. 

From the time probate is obtained you will have 24 months to decide what to do with the property before ‘death taxes’ kick in, so you may wish to rent it out for this time.

If an executor has been appointed in the Will, then they effectively become the vendor of the property. 

Cleaning up the home

Your loved one’s appointed executor is responsible for removing all possessions from the home that have been left to beneficiaries in the Will and safeguarding them until probate has been finalised.

The executor is then responsible for dividing remaining possessions among family members, selling anything valuable that is then left, and removing the remainder to charity shops or the local dump. They may also wish to organise a garage sale which can help pay for lawn mowing and other maintenance required while the home is on the market. If this is too difficult an emotional process to deal with, there are deceased estate management companies that will deal with the sale and distribution of goods on your behalf. 

Before completely clearing out the home, speak with your Century 21 real estate agent to determine whether the home should be sold completely vacant or partly furnished. Empty rooms tend to look smaller than well furnished rooms, so your agent may advise you to declutter and depersonalise before the sale but leave some or all the furniture in place until after contracts are exchanged on the sale.  

If you don’t live in the area, your real estate agent for the sale will be able to recommend local tradespeople to undertake any necessary repairs and cleaners and gardeners to maintain the property in good order during the time it’s on the market.

Handling the sale

If you are the executor of the deceased estate, you will need to speak with your Century 21 real estate agent and determine timeframes for the sale, whether the property will be sold by auction or private treaty and set an asking price for the property.  If there are any instructions in the Will regarding the sale of the property, you are legally obliged to sell in accordance with these. 

To smooth the process, discuss the details of the sale with any beneficiaries who will share the proceeds and ensure everyone is on the same page and in agreement. Make sure everyone feels comfortable and included in the whole process in order to avoid resentments and disputes.  

Selling a deceased estate house that holds many memories is inevitably a painful process, so seek the best possible help and advice. Century 21 agents are experienced at dealing with emotionally charged property sales such as deceased estates and forced sales after a separation and will deal with you and your family members with professionalism, empathy and straightforward advice based on their in-depth knowledge of the local property market. 

0 comments | Posted by Administrator on 19/07/2017 at 3:45 PM | Categories:

Bank Valuations Vs Market Value | Century 21

The issue of bank valuation vs market value can be confusing for many home buyers when they find that the bank valuation on a property does not reflect the market value, and in some cases, comes well below it. 

How do bank valuations work?

When you apply for a home loan or to refinance your existing loan with another lender, the lender will set a value for the property you are buying or, in the case of refinancing, your current home, in order to assess how much they will lend you. The lender will send a property valuer to the property and, based on their report, value the property at the lower end of the scale provided by the valuer.

Banks and other lenders need to cover themselves in the event that you default on your mortgage repayments and the property needs to be sold. A bank valuation, therefore, is purely the amount the bank could reasonably recoup quickly should it need to repossess and sell the property. This is why, should you ever have the misfortune to fall into financial hardship and default on your mortgage payments, you are best to try and sell the property yourself for full market value before the bank is able to repossess it. 

What to do if a bank valuation is too low? 

Market value, on the other hand, is the price a property fetches on the open market. If you are buying a home, this is the price you have offered to pay for it that has been accepted by the vendor (usually subject to finance). Even if you have a preapproved loan, if the bank valuation on the property comes in at considerably less than the price you have negotiated you may be in trouble, as the lender may not be willing to go ahead with the loan as it no longer meets it’s required loan to value ratio (LVR). 

There are several ways you may be able to overcome this problem:

  • You can try negotiating a lower price with the vendor of the property. It may have been overpriced to begin with. 
  • You can dispute the bank’s valuation, citing evidence gleaned from recent sale prices of similar properties in the area.
  • You can request another valuation by a different valuer also engaged by the lender.
  • You can cover the shortfall from another source, perhaps by borrowing from family or taking out a personal loan. 

Some lenders charge for bank valuations, others offer free valuations when you apply for a home loan. 

What is the market value of my home? 

Of course, if you are selling your home you will be solely interested in your home’s market value and looking to get the highest possible price for it. You can engage the services of a property valuer but this is usually not necessary.

You can gauge the value of your home fairly closely by comparing it with similar properties in your area that have recently sold. Your best ally, however, is your nearest Century 21 real estate agent, who will have access to all the latest property data and will produce a written appraisal for you, outlining the range of price expectation you should achieve and recommending the asking price you should set for advertising your property for sale.

If you then work with your Century 21 agent to present the property in tip top shape for the marketing photos and open for inspections, you will be in a great position to achieve the best possible market value for your home – so you see, bank valuation vs market value is not nearly so confusing once you understand the essential differences!

0 comments | Posted by Administrator on 12/07/2017 at 4:01 PM | Categories:

4 Reasons Why Foreign Buyers Should Invest In Australian Property | Century 21

Buying property in Australia has become a popular investment strategy, with Asian buyers in particular being keen on property investment within Australia. Despite some recent government restrictions on foreign buyers, including a ‘ghost’ tax imposed on buyers who leave an investment property vacant, and banks tightening their regulations for foreign investors, there are still many good reasons for overseas buyers to invest in Australian property. 

The Australian property market has been among the world’s most consistent for the past 30 years and provides a low-risk environment for foreign investors. Most Australian property comes with a clear, freehold title and strict standards for construction have been in place for many years. 

There is also a vast variety of quality property to be found around Australia – from luxury new apartments and townhouses to solid brick older homes in central locations, from lower-end properties on the price scale to extreme luxury penthouses and waterside mansions. There is also great potential for investing in commercial property such as office buildings, hotels, shopping centres and warehousing, as well as well-established rural industrial buildings and farms. 

For potential migrants to Australia, investing in property is a wise move as it will provide a financial base in Australia with tax advantages once you become an Australian citizen. 

1. Low interest rates

With the official interest rate at a historic all-time low of 1.5% the Australian dollar could be driven down even further in the foreseeable future. For foreign buyers, a lower dollar means less impact from stamp duty, land tax and other fees that affect them when purchasing property in Australia.

2. A strong economy

Australia’s strong economic outlook, combined with rising property prices in many major cities and some regional areas, continues to assure foreign buyers of a safe and secure environment in which to invest. 

3. Infrastructure development on the rise

The 2017 Federal Budget, announced in May, included funding for major infrastructure projects across Australia, including large road, rail and airport projects. Such projects invariably attract development to the regions where they are being constructed, attract a higher population and see rising property prices. No doubt, many foreign investors will be looking to these regions for prospective property investments. 

4. Increasing population

Australia’s increasing population, especially in major cities such as Sydney and Melbourne, is putting pressure on property prices and creating a rising demand for new housing. Sydney alone is expected to increase in population from almost five million people to more than seven million people over the next two decades. The city will need to expand by at least another 726,000 new dwellings by 2036 in order to absorb this burgeoning population. 

In short, for foreign buyers investing in Australian property offers the following advantages:

  • A property market with low volatility
  • A variety of taxation advantages
  • The ability to leverage capital growth to build a strong property portfolio
  • Consistent, long-term rental returns
  • Increasing demand for rental properties pushing up rental returns in many regions
  • The ability to increase rents at market rates 

To learn more about how to go about buying property in Australia and the property purchasing process as a foreign investor, read our comprehensive guide here. 

At Century 21, our agents have the experience to guide you through the entire property purchasing process, expertly manage your portfolio and make your dream of investing in Australian property a safe, secure and seamless process. Century 21 has one of the most comprehensive listings of properties in Australia and is the perfect place to begin your search. Get in touch with us today!

2 comments | Posted by Administrator on 05/07/2017 at 3:52 PM | Categories:

RBA keeps cash rate on hold at 1.5 per cent

RBA rate hold: 1.5%

CENTURY 21, a real estate organisation with over 100,000 staff in 78 countries, believes the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) decision to leave the cash rate on hold is in the best interests of the property market as conditions may be cooling.

Chairman and Owner of CENTURY 21 Australasia, Charles Tarbey, said that whilst some may be concerned that signs of moderating growth are emerging of late, this could be in the market’s long term interests as it may create an environment of more sustainable growth.

“The effects of increased regulation and tightened lending conditions from banks is starting to show across the property market,” said Charles Tarbey. 

“It’s a strange environment where there are clearly markets within markets emerging. In light of these factors, providing stability around rates is probably the right decision from the RBA.

“However, it may pay for people to remember that rates can move quickly and they should plan for such scenarios to ensure they don’t come under future financial pressure,” said Charles Tarbey.

The latest CoreLogic Home Value Index recorded a 1.8 per cent rise in capital city dwelling values over the month of June. Capital city dwelling values were 0.8 per cent higher for the quarter across the combined capitals index, which is the slowest quarterly rate of growth since December 2015.

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. 

0 comments | Posted by Administrator on 04/07/2017 at 2:30 PM | Categories: