Running out of space

I want to hold a garage sale. Where do I start? A garage sale is a great way to clear your house of clutter, make money and, most importantly, have fun!
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Running out of space?

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.

Our house is shrinking and our cupboards are overflowing. What can we do?

The good news is you don’t necessarily have to move into a bigger house to gain extra space. You might just need to de-clutter your surroundings and use your space more efficiently.

Here are 9 easy steps that could make a big difference to your living space:
  • Make a list from room to room of what should stay and what could go
  • If you haven’t used certain items in the past 2 years, chances are you won’t in the future. Go through all of your cupboards, wardrobes and drawers
  • Adding shelving units can make a big difference especially to children’s rooms and the laundry
  • Use the extra space under beds for storage of extra linen or toys
  • Hooks behind doors or in hallways help use space more efficiently
  • Use your local library regularly rather than buying and store books at home
  • Consider lending items of furniture that aren’t essential to friends and family
  • Hire a self-storage unit for the things you can’t get rid of but don’t need in the house
  • Once you’ve sorted everything, hold a garage sale

It’s official. We’ve outgrown our house. Now what? Are we better off extending or looking to buy a bigger home?

It’s a tough question isn’t it? Sometimes it’s faster and less traumatic for your family to buy a more suitable home than to renovate or extend. A new location can also provide lifestyle benefits you may not have expected possible. Ask yourself these questions when looking at upgrading your home:  
  • Will your local council approve the type of renovations you would need to complete?
  • Is your area likely to serve your needs well into the future?
  • Are you prepared to live through a renovation?  
  • Do you have enough time to renovate?
  • Are you prepared to supervise a renovation or would you need an architect?   
  • How much would the renovation cost, compared to buying a new home?

I want to move to a ‘family suburb’. What types of things make a neighbourhood family friendly?

It’s wise to ask lots of questions when looking for a family friendly neighbourhood. Knock on a few doors, talk to locals, and Google suburb reviews to see what experiences other people have had. Here are some things you should check for:   
  • Good primary and secondary schools
  • Easy access to buses or trains and/or good pedestrian access to the things you’ll need
  • The ability to enroll your children into the school you desire (based on your address)
  • The presence of other families in the street and general vicinity
  • Easy access to after school and day care centres in the area
  • Proximity to recreation centres, swimming pools, libraries, and community facilities
  • Safe parks and playgrounds
  • A low crime rate

Should we buy before we sell our current home?

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 old home to your new home, so there’s no need to rent or pay removalist costs twice
  • There’s no pressure to buy a new home that’s not quite right, because your settlement date is looming on your old home
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 your 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 we choose the right real estate agent?

One of the most important elements when choosing the real estate agent to represent you is ‘trust’.

An agent offering you the lowest commission rate and/or the highest appraisal is not necessarily the best option. To make your selection easier, take the advice of the professionals:  

  • Ask your colleagues, family, friends and neighbours if they are able to refer you to a proactive agent
  • If you are unable to receive referrals, search the internet for reviews from past clients of local agents
  • When you interview your potential agent, ask the following questions:
-    How many properties did you sell last year and last month?
-    How many buyers are you working with at the moment?
-    Can you provide me with an example of your marketing campaign?
-    How many salespeople do you have in your team?
-    What charges will I incur if the house doesn't sell?
-    If I am not happy with your performance, how do I cancel our agreement?
-    Can you provide me with a list of your past clients and testimonials?
-    How often will I receive feedback on the progress of my sale?
-    Can you provide me with 3 recent sales in the area, similar to my property, and what they sold for?
-    What is the average house price in my area?
-    Do you have similar properties to mine currently for sale?

Click here for more information on choosing the right agent.

First National Real Estate has over 400 offices around Australia & New Zealand. Our real estate agents would love to help you today. Click here to contact one of our agents

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 we minimise the disruption to our children when moving?

Moving home has an emotional impact on everyone, especially children. However, you can make the process more positive by following these easy tips:  

  • Show your children the property and explore the local surroundings together, well before the move
  • Visit new schools together and introduce them to their new teachers, before their first day of school
  • Explain how moving will benefit the whole family, offer exciting new adventures, new places to visit and opportunities to make more friends
  • Make the process of packing their belongings a happy experience
  • Encourage them to feel involved on the moving day by carrying their favourite toy or a small back pack of their favourite things
  • Make sure they have plenty of snacks available to eat and drink on the day of moving
  • Check out our resources area for extra tips on ‘Moving with children

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
Check out our resources area to find out how an 'exclusive listing' brings the best result.

What is a contract of sale?

A legal document offered in advance of the sale by the seller (Vendor), usually prepared by their solicitor or conveyancer, outlining the details of the sale of the 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.

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, using neutral tones, to brighten up dark areas or rooms
Looking for a guide to make selling 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.
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