Viewing by month: October 2009

What makes a property saleable?

Having been in the real estate industry for over two decades now, I have seen, funnily enough, a great deal of other people’s homes. They have all been in various degrees of condition in terms of how they present, from shining new industrial ‘fortresses’ to dilapidated but charming old cottages. I do firmly believe that regardless of the quirks, condition or location of a property, somewhere out there will be the right buyer for it.

At CENTURY 21, our agents receive extensive training on how to connect the right people with the right property. Not only that, they’re local experts who have generally spent a great deal of time in the local community, so have to knowledge, expertise and contacts to find an excellent buyer for your property.

However regardless of this, there are obviously a lot of things a vendor can do to help shift their property quickly. A property that is well presented is also more likely to command thousands more than one that is run down and just not showing its full potential. It is basic sense that the better something looks, the more it will be considered worth. Here is a list of a few things to consider when presenting your property for sale: 

1. Consider your target market: You agent will be able to help here.  Present your property to suit potential buyers and try to understand their needs. For example, retirees often seek low maintenance outdoor spaces and easy access. 

2. Clean and De-clutter:  Every surface needs to be cleared of personal belongings, leaving only a few decorative pieces. Clean the home thoroughly, to be sure it looks as bright and possible, and make sure any odours are taken care of.  

3. Address faults and important issues:  Fix any cracking, pest damage, unsafe wiring, broken windows, etc - anything that puts buyers off. Be sure to use  

4. Consider the season: In warmer weather, make sure the air conditioner or fan is on, allow a breeze through and make the most of outdoor spaces. In cooler weather, make the house warm and cozy with rugs and throws, keep cool breezes about and light and fireplaces. 

5. Minor = Major: Minor works such as repainting, making cosmetic updates to bathrooms and kitchens, or turning the old shed into a living/work spaces can result in major profits. 

6. Redecorate and Reap Rewards: Think about repainting and possibly using professional property stylists. Use light, neutral colours, and modernize your home with new fittings and decorate touches such as cushions, vases etc.  

7. The Great Outdoors: Tidy up your outdoor areas, and consider brightening them up with some pot plants or garden features.

Property presentation is a large part of marketing your property. The way that you view your much-loved home of fifteen years is actually quite different from the way prospective buyers view it. Not to offend, but what is charming and homely to you (the brilliant DYI wallpaper collage job you did in the bathroom, your Star Wars memorabilia collection, your incredibly talented offspring’s paintings) may actually be quite horrifying, and potentially off-putting to buyers. They need to be able to imagine it as their own space – as an inoffensive, neutral, clean canvas in which to bring their personal touch, in order to fall in love with it. And that’s going to be quite difficult if it’s full of all of your accumulated ‘stuff’. 

Sometimes it is better to delay a sale, and do a bit of a makeover to help increase your sale price. Sometimes, this is not the case. There is a right time for every sale – and sometimes it’s immediate! So many factors come into play – the state of the economy, how quickly you need to sell, house prices in the area, which is why it’s important to have an agent on hand who is a local expert. It’s their job to help you achieve the best price possible for you most important asset  - your home.

If you’d like a free guide to real estate, which goes into more detail about how to present your property to achieve maximum sale price, please send your request to  who will promptly email you this great guide.

0 comments | Posted by Reality Bytes - Real Estate Training Blog on 26/10/2009 at 3:50 PM | Categories:

How is the real estate industry regulated in Australia?

In Australia, the real estate industry is regulated by the various State and Territory Governments.

Considering the responsibilities auctioneers and real estate agents have in holding deposits, money paid for sale items bought at auctions and rental money held on behalf of clients, in many states the real estate industry was unregulated until after the Second World War. In the 1940’s, the various State Real Estate Institutes, many of which were formed in following the First World War, lobbied their respective governments to have the real estate industry regulated and lobbied to have auctioneers and agents licensed to practice and to hold trust accounts.

Most State governments listen to the Real Estate Institutes' proposals and most formed Auctioneers and Agents committees which later were to become in the 1950’s semi autonomous government committees responsible to a Minister of Justice or the State Attorney General to regulate the industry by issuing licences and fining persons who had breach their fiduciary duty as an agent or an auctioneer.

To ensure these committees were not ‘toothless tigers’, the State Governments provided the required legislation to protect the public and allow the Auctioneers and Agents Committees to function effectively. During the 1990’s there was a push to bring all occupational licensing and consumer protection under a common set of rules and whilst each state and territory had their own separate legislation that regulated the real estate agency industry, Auctioneers and Agents committees were disbanded in favour of the State and Territory Consumer Protection and Licensing Authorities taking control whilst a common entry standards was established using a National Training Package so for the first time a licensed real estate agent or an auctioneer can practice in a different state or territory subject to residential status in some case or a commercial location.

Today all auctioneers, real estate agents, stock and station agents have to hold a licence issued by the respective State or Territory Government. In some States and Territories, Business Brokers, Livestock Auctioneers and Strata Managers have also have to hold a licence.Real estate sales staff and property managers and property management staff have to hold a certificate of registration issued by the respective State and Territory Governments. All CENTURY 21 sales staff, property managers and property management staff are registered and receive additional training to ensure that they are able to carry out their duties to the highest standard. 

0 comments | Posted by Reality Bytes - Real Estate Training Blog on 19/10/2009 at 5:07 PM | Categories:

Some interesting statistics on the real estate industry

Every year in Australia, hundreds of people complete compulsory state and territory Government Registration Courses to enter the real estate industry ether as sales staff, property managers or support staff.To many people, the real estate industry may seem ideal career in that you do not need any tertiary qualifications to commence a career that can eventually be very highly paid. It is still one of those careers where you can start at the bottom and work your way up, and where successful salespeople regularly take home perhaps three or four times the average Australian salary, even when the economy is not so robust.

With this in mind, you would think that everyone in the real estate industry would be happy and therefore there would be no vacancies. However, it is estimated that 80% of sales staff never renew their Government issued certificate of registration by the second year of their career.The reason for such a high turnover rate, I feel, that is mainly due to the fact that the fact that real estate sales staff must work as a ‘business unit’ themselves in an agency. Although initially they are heavily supervised and monitored, they have to generate their own income by canvassing home owners for listings and then obtain properties for sale and market them to qualified buyers and then negotiate the best sale price for the owner.

Although the hours in real estate are quite flexible, most sales staff work hours that would be considered by most as quite unsociable, particularly at night and on weekends, and although most sales staff receive a salary plus commission, if they don’t list and sell properties, they will only earn the base income which doesn’t really compensate for working such unsociable hours.The industry is also very highly competitive.

A recent survey by Macquarie Relationship Banking showed the following snapshot of the earning potential of sales staff in the real estate industry in Australia.  

1.      The average agency splits 40% of the agency income with the sales staff involved in the listing and sale of a property. 

2.      In a small agency – less than 10 sales staff - gave their staff 38% of the commission income to the agency. 

3.      In a medium size agency – 11 to 19 staff – the split of the agency commission to the sales staff was 42%. 

4.      In a large agency with 20 staff or more, the commission split was 46%. 

5.      35% of sales staff in larger agencies earned over $150,000 per annum in commission income whilst only 9% of sales staff in smaller agencies earned over $150,000. 

6.      19% of sales staff in medium size agencies earn $150,000 or more. 

7.      1% of sales staff earn over $1M in commission and 2% earned over $500,000 perannum. 

8.      The average top earning sales staff across Australia was $304,091. 

9.      Almost half of the real estate salespeople in Australia – 47% - earn between $50,000 to $100,000 per year.

Statistics for the real estate industry are not revised on a regular basis; however the most recent survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in August 2007 showed that 95,400 people were employed in the real estate sector, of whom 17,900 worked part-time. By state and territory, people working in real estate numbered: New South Wales 35,300; Queensland 24,000; Victoria 17,800; Western Australia 10,400; South Australia 5,800; Tasmania 1,300; Australian Capital Territory 600; Northern Territory 200 Separate 'count of business' data shows that at June 2007, there were 36,198 people working as non-employing agents, with their own Australian Business Number (ABN) acting as sub contractors. There were 14,835 real estate agencies which employ people. Total income from all sources to real estate agents in the year to June 2005 was $18,612 million with an operating profit before tax of $3,279 million.

The most recent ABS survey into Australian Real Estate Services was conducted in 2002-03 and the results are summarised below. Business activities covered in the survey included valuing, purchasing, selling by auction and private treaty, and managing or renting real estate for others. In 2002-03 the industry generated total income of $7,524.7 million and industry value added of $4,784.1 million. Those working in franchised agencies comprised 53% while those in non-franchised agencies comprised 47% of all estate agents. Females comprised 45%, and males comprised 55% of employed real estate agents in June 2003.

From my perspective, real estate is an extremely rewarding profession for those who take it seriously and work hard to keep their clients happy. It allows you to meet hundreds of different people, help them with some very important undertakings, and be rewarded for it both emotionally and financially.

2 comments | Posted by Reality Bytes - Real Estate Training Blog on 14/10/2009 at 2:36 PM | Categories: