How do we choose the best real estate agent when downsizing? One of the most important elements when choosing the right real estate agent to represent you is ‘trust’....
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Looking to Downsize?

The following advice is of a general nature only and intended as a broad guide. The advice should not be regarded as legal, financial or real estate advice. You should make your own inquiries and obtain independent professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances before making any legal, financial or real estate decisions. Click here for full Terms of Use.

Should we buy before we sell our current home to downsize?

The main advantage of buying before you sell is that you have certainty that your new home will deliver exactly what you’re looking for. Some of the other advantages are:
  • You can move straight from your large home to your new, smaller home, so there’s no need to rent or pay removalist costs twice
  • There’s no pressure to buy a new smaller house or apartment that’s not quite right, because your settlement date is looming

However, some disadvantages you should consider are:
  • Without having sold your current home, you don’t know what price it will achieve and this can make it difficult to budget effectively
  • If you have financed the full price of the new home, you may feel pressured to sell your old home urgently
  • If you have difficulty selling your old home, you may need to service two mortgages
  • Should you old home fail to sell, you may need to generate income by renting it out and this may make it more challenging to sell in the future

How do I know if my agent has given me a reasonable appraisal on my home?

Firstly, ask them how they arrived at their opinion and what other homes, similar to yours, have sold nearby recently. If your agent can’t justify their estimate to you, they’ll never be able to justify it to a buyer. Do your research. Check other recent sold prices on the Internet.

How can I renovate to improve my property’s appearance & value before downsizing, for the least cost?

First National Real Estate has a detailed ‘Home Sellers Guide’ that you can download here. It offers all manner of tips and renovation advice. Alternatively, we have a brief ‘Preparing your home for sale’ brochure.

However, it’s always best to ask about what’s most popular and effective in your locality. Contact a First National Real Estate agent and we’ll happily give you all the advice you need.

What is an agency agreement?

An agency agreement is the contract between the seller and real estate agent. It outlines details such as the agent’s fee (commission), the length of time the agreement will last (typically three months), the estimated selling price and any marketing arrangements. There are two main types:
  • Exclusive Agency Agreement – your property is listed for sale with just one agent exclusively
  • Open Agency Agreement - your property can be listed for sale by more than one agent at once

What is a contract of sale?

A legal document prepared in advance by the Seller (Vendor), usually prepared by their solicitor or conveyancer outlining the details of the sale of property. The contract of sale is legally binding when signed by both parties, Vendor and Purchaser.

The contract of sale sets out the terms and conditions agreed between a vendor and purchaser, which include:
  • Agreed sale price of the property
  • Deposit to be paid
  • Settlement terms and date
  • A list of inclusions being sold with the property
  • Any special conditions required prior to the sale of the property
  • A cooling off period (if applicable)  
Once duly signed between Vendor and Purchaser, legal representatives for both parties prepare for the property transaction to be finalised.

We’ve been here for so long now. How should we present our home for sale?

Presentation plays a major role when selling your home. First impressions count and encourage more buyers to take interest.
Here are 14 tips to make sure your presentation is the best it can be:
  • De-clutter your house - make sure all rooms and cupboards give an impression of space   
  • Conduct a thorough clean of every room from top to bottom
  • Make sure all fixtures and fittings are in good working order
  • Repair any broken items
  • Make sure bathrooms, laundry and kitchen are spotless
  • Make sure all appliances included in the sale are in good working order
  • Weed garden beds, mow lawns and nature strips, and trim the edges
  • Any rubbish or other debris removed from the garden
  • Sweep paths and driveways, and oil stains removed
  • All guttering and windows cleaned
  • Open curtains and blinds to let natural light to shine in
  • Air the interior of the property to remove unpleasant smells or odours
  • Consider a fresh coat paint in neutral tones to brighten up dark areas or rooms

Looking for a guide to make downsizing your home easier?

First National Real Estate has a detailed ‘Home Sellers Guide’ that you can download here. Alternatively, we have a brief ‘Preparing your home for sale’ brochure. Contact a First National Real Estate agent and we’ll happily give you all the advice you need about how to sell.

I’ve just bought a smaller home. Do I need to keep it insured until settlement?

It’s wise to insure from the moment you have signed a contract to buy your home. Risk passes from seller to purchaser, immediately upon purchase, even though you have not settled and taken possession of your new home.

What should I do to prepare for an open inspection?

Everybody knows first impressions are everything. So when you open up the doors of your home to the public for an open inspection, you'll want to ensure it's looking its absolute best.

Accentuate its features

Your home might possess many great features - and now is the time to really show them off.

Depending on what the season is, you might want to showcase some features more than others. In winter, light the fireplace or turn on the heating to demonstrate how warm and cosy your home can be.

Alternatively, open up all windows, blinds and doors in warmer months to let cool breezes flow into the home.

Throw out your junk

Open inspections are a time to clear out all of your clutter. Not only will this reduce how much stuff you'll have to take with you when you move, but it will also help to make your house look tidier too.

If you really need to keep all of your possessions, consider hiring some storage space for the short term.

Leave them to it

When people start arriving to look at your home, it's a good idea to pop out for a while. This will leave prospective buyers to feel more relaxed and free to roam your property.

If you have a dog, take this opportunity to go for a walk with it, as this will get both of you out of the house. Make sure you put you pet’s bowls out of sight as well.

Give your home a facelift

Have you had a good, long look at the front of your house? Does it look welcoming and attractive? If the weeds have popped up and there are nasty oil stains on your driveway, you might want to think about giving your home a quick facelift.

The front of your home is the first place a prospective buyer will look, so it pays to make this part clean and tidy. Don't forget to wash all of your windows and pull back the curtains, too!

What are the signs that you need a new home?

Moving into a new home can be a hassle. Nobody really enjoys packing up all of their belongings and carting them off to a new place. This can lead many people to stay in their houses for a long period of time, despite their needs or the family's changing over time.

But sometimes moving house is a necessary part of life. Whether it's due to a steadily growing family, children moving out or shifting for a new job, there are many reasons why you might need to relocate.

It's no longer what you want

There may be many things you like about your home, but over time, there may be other things you have begun to dislike.
For instance, perhaps you liked your home's proximity to a nearby primary school for your children.

But if your kids have all grown up and moved out, you might not appreciate the noise anymore.

You're strapped for room

When you bought your home, you may have thought two bedrooms would be sufficient. However, since you moved in, your family might have expanded - rapidly.

If you're so strapped for room that all of your kids are sharing bedrooms, it might be a sign that you need to move on to a bigger house.

Maybe you've accumulated a lot of belongings over the years and your garage is now full-to-bursting, bringing about the need for a home with an attic and other storage capabilities.


Over time your neighbourhood can change. The house next door might have once been occupied by a nice family, but has since become rented student accommodation. A busy shopping mall may have been erected at the end of your street. Perhaps the owner of the house next door has now become the neighbour from hell.

These are all good reasons why you might want to consider moving to a brand new area, as being happy in your home is extremely important.

If one or more of these signs is evident in your home, get in touch with a First National Real Estate agent to get closer to finding a house more suitable for your needs.

Are there any tips and tricks for an auction newbie?

The chance to market and sell a home within a set timeframe, while making sure full market value is achieved, has led to auctions becoming a popular way of buying real estate. However, if you're an auction newbie, the whole process can seem a little scary at first glance.

One of the best ways to ensure a successful auction purchase is to prepare well in advance and perform as much research as you can. Then you can be sure you will enter the market with the confidence you need.

Sort out your finances early

The first step when purchasing real estate by auction is to get your finances in order as soon as possible. Get in touch with a mortgage broker or lender to determine how much you can borrow.

This will give you an idea of your budget and what sort of price range you should be looking for.

You can also get your home loan pre-approved, which is definitely useful once auction day rolls around. Pre-approved finance can last for a few months, so this should be sufficient time to look for a home.

Set a bidding limit

Once you have your budget in mind, you can set your bidding limit. It's crucial to stick to this figure on auction day to prevent spending more than you can afford. Remember to leave some space to accommodate any last-minute bids, but know your absolutely final limit.

Select a strategy

Before the auction starts, it's best to determine a bidding strategy. Some buyers prefer to bid straight off the bat as soon as the auction starts, while others wait until the last few minutes as things begin to really heat up.

A few buyers may jump in with a large bid to knock others out of the water, or some people might up the ante with a series of small increments.

Whichever strategy you decide to adopt, make sure you keep your budget in mind and your feelings at bay!
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