Running out of space

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&r...
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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.

What’s the role of a real estate agent and whom do they work for?

The real estate agent has been selected by the seller to sell the property and maximise the owner’s price.
  • The agent organises marketing, open for inspections, passes on offers received, and negotiates with multiple buyers under the instructions of the owner
  • The agent does not take instructions from prospective purchasers but is obliged to communicate all offers received, regardless of whether he or she feels they are appropriate
  • The agent receives a commission based on a percentage of the sale price as payment for their services
Click here see how an agent can help you relocate your family.

What is an exclusive agency agreement?

An exlusive listing agreement appoints a single real estate agency to represent you in the sale of your property.

If you have confidence in one agent, then offer them an exclusive agency agreement. You will gain a greater commitment from a real estate agent if they are certain their time invested in your sale will be rewarded. Your faith in the agent of your choice will be influenced by their reputation, knowledge, presentation, and your feelings during the interview.

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

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!

Click here for a handy checklist when holding a garage sale.

What are the most cost effective renovations?

Performing a few renovations here and there can even help you to add some value to your home or investment property - an important step if you're thinking of selling soon!

Here are three budget renovations you might want to think about:

Refresh and repaint

Have you ever walked through your home and spotted countless chips, scratches and marks on your walls and ceilings? Perhaps your wallpaper has begun to peel or mould has gotten the better of your bathroom paint?

A few licks of paint throughout your home can do wonders. It's also an inexpensive and creative way to make your home look new again. Repaint cupboards, walls, ceilings and drawers to freshen up the interior of your home.

Tidy up the backyard

Green thumb or not, it's easy to get right into your backyard and give it a makeover. All you will need are some gardening tools, a few helping hands and a skip to tidy up your backyard and get it looking neat and tidy.

Topsoil, bark and plants are cheap additions to your backyard and can turn your garden from an overgrown patch into a manicured entertainer's paradise.

While you're at it, why not re-stain and refurbish some of your neglected outdoor furniture?

Replace fixtures and fittings

Have a look at the most-used items in your home and determine whether they're in need of replacement. Items such as taps, door handles, wall switches and light fittings can all easily become worn down over time due to overuse.

However, they're also not that expensive to replace. You might want to update some of these to ensure they tie in with the new decor in your home and are more functional.

Remember, DIY renovations require you to stick to a strict budget. Always keep this in mind when you're purchasing tools or hiring extra help.

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.

Neighbourhood

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!

How should I present a spare room for open inspections?

Opening up your doors to strangers to inspect your home may seem a little unsettling as an idea. The pedantic side of you might spring straight for the cleaning cupboard to ensure your home is in tip-top condition. Another part of you might go through your house to make sure each room looks its best. The shy person within may say, no, this is no way to market my home.

The spare room is often an area that isn't used for any other than storage. Whether it's a few bits of mismatched furniture or old boxes, many homeowners can put all types of odds and ends here and leave them to sit for a while.

If you're about to host open inspections at your house, or you're only permitting private appointments, but you don't know what to do with your spare room, here are three simple ideas to help you.

Office

Show off the practicality of your home by installing a desk, swivel chair and a computer. Many people now have the ability to work from home and by creating a quiet, peaceful area, you can show prospective buyers what your property has to offer.

Library

Grab a few bookshelves, a comfy chair, rug and a footrest and you can easily convert your spare room into a little library. Play around with the decor to get the feel you want - whether it's a light and airy space or warm, cosy reading nook.

Fitness room

Have you got a couple of pieces of fitness gear lying around? Convert your spare room into a small gym. Whether it's a Swiss ball, yoga mat, a treadmill or a couple of dumbbells, it's easy to show the potential the room has as a home gym.

If you happen to be short by a couple of items, ask a friend or family member to lend you a few things. Don't leave your spare room empty or filled with clutter - spruce it up in whichever way you feel to show buyers the potential and options your home has to accommodate their lifestyle.

Ultimately, showing people how your home could perform, rather than how you currently use it, often widens its appeal. That's what you're aiming for - attracting the broadest possible range of buyers so your agent can maximise your price.

How can I make more room for a growing family?

When you first moved into your home, you may have thought that three bedrooms were going to be enough for you and your family. However, over the years, you may have had a few more kids than you originally planned or taken in a relative.

This can cause a bit of a headache if you begin to run out of room, but here are three ways you can add more space to your home.

Attic conversion

The solution to your space shortage problem could actually be lying right above your heads. Instead of using your attic to store dusty old furniture, you can convert it to a liveable space. Either turn this into an extra bedroom, a living area or a playroom for the kids to make use of the space in the roof.

Granny flat

If you have an older family member or a teenage child, granny flats make a great option for them to maintain their independence while still living close to the family home.

Not only this, but they can also be rented out separately, should your family members move out of the property. You'll need to get council approval to build one, and if you're going to rent it out to the public then you might need to obtain a separate power and water meter for the flat.

Garage conversion

Another option is to convert your garage into a more liveable setting. However, you won't be able to just back the car out and throw in a bed - there is some other work involved in the process.

As it will become a living space, you'll need to get council approval and ensure it meets building standards. Other factors you will have to plan for include insulation, flooring, heating, lighting, electricity and plumbing.

The option you choose to use for your home depends on a number of things, such as your budget, how much room you have and whether you can obtain council approval. However, all three options have the potential to add value to your home, too!

What are the most important things to look out for at open home inspections?

Open house inspections can be equal parts fun, exciting and nerve-wracking, especially if you find yourself falling in love with a property at first sight.

However, there will be plenty of time to dote on your home in the future - inspections are all about keeping your eyes open for any signs that your potential new abode might be a major lemon.

Homes may not have voices, but that won't stop them from trying to tell you something. Here are some of the more serious open inspection red flags to be on the lookout for.

A shaky foundation

It's often said that a strong foundation is the most important part of whatever's built atop it, and this can hold true for houses. While costs can vary, cracked foundations are notoriously difficult to fix and can cost homeowners tens of thousands of dollars.

Keep an eye out for cracks on steps and walkways outside. Small cracks may be normal and come with age, but wide, horizontal cracks may be a dead giveaway that the home is falling apart underneath.

Wet worries

Nothing quite compares to the risks associated with water damage. Not only can moisture rot building materials, it can lead to the growth of mould and mildew. In turn, this can lead to serious respiratory problems for people with allergies.

Signs of potential water damage include dank, musty smells, water stains, mould spots and warped walls. While water damage itself can be fixed, even more important is what caused it. After all, a leaky pipe will be much easier to fix than a hole in your roof.

Pesky pests

Not only can vermin and insects make your skin crawl, they can also be terribly difficult to get rid of. The damage caused by pests like mice and wood borers can be far-reaching, and the costs associated with eliminating them aren't cheap.

During an inspection, take time to look around for signs of pest problems. These include dead bugs, animal droppings and mouse holes.
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