Doing your research is the key to a good sale

Peter and Nicole Knott and their daughters Ilsa, 4, and Layla, 18 months, in the Balmain home that they’re selling. Photo: James Alcock Peter and Nicole Knott and their daughters Ilsa, 4, and Layla, 18 months, in the Balmain home that they’re selling. Photo: James Alcock

Peter and Nicole Knott and their daughters Ilsa, 4, and Layla, 18 months, in the Balmain home that they’re selling. Photo: James Alcock

When it comes to working out the right price to put on your property at sale time there’s no substitute for using up a bit of shoe leather.

“You have to get off your rear end and get out and look around at other property for sale,” says CPM Realty agent Sam Elbanna.

“Too many people just look at houses online, then give theirs to the agent who quotes the highest price. But there’s no substitute for doing homework yourself, physically inspecting other properties, seeing what they go for, and then selecting the agent who’s going to be the best negotiator on your behalf.”

These days it’s easy to track how much homes sell for on the internet but it’s sometimes hard to cast a completely objective eye over your own to recognise its true worth.

“Try to look at it with an outsider’s, unbiased eye,” says Raine & Horne Bondi Beach associate director Hannan Bouskila. “Every property has its pros, but don’t forget to factor in the cons. If you’re on a busy road, you have to be honest to yourself about how that could affect the price.”

An added difficulty is the start of a new year, and not knowing how prices will move.

Domain Group senior economist Dr Andrew Wilson says there’ll only be some areas – such as the inner west, lower north shore and the north west – that will continue to experience strong demand.

“But most places are unlikely to get the overall growth that we’ve had for the past two years, and with prices rising at such a rate,” he says. “That makes price-setting a bit more problematic.”

It also makes sense to access an online research database like the Domain-owned APM PriceFinder, or CoreLogic RP Data, advises Gerry McPhee of sales advocacy and buyers agent Handmcphee.

“We use them to look at comparable sales over the last six months, and take in different factors like the size of the accommodation, amenity and square meterage of land and so on,” he says. “It’s never an exact science, though.

“In the last boom, sales were sometimes as much as $200,000 over the original estimated price. The problem is now we’re looking at last year’s data without knowing how the market will be this year.”

Jason Field, Sydney director of National Property Valuers, suggests employing a professional independent valuer – costing from $500 to about $1500 – to help come to a price for your property. “How else will you really know what it’s worth?” he asks.

“An agent obviously has a conflict of interest in putting a value on the property as they want to sell it and the difference in commission to them of a sale $10,000 more is negligible, whereas that can make a big difference to a vendor.

But carefully thinking it all out first will definitely pay dividends, says Bouskila. “As well as working out what your home is worth, try to think laterally, too.

“Maybe you could point out how you could build a second-storey attic, or get a DA approved for an extension, or permission from the owners’ corporation in an apartment block to take a wall down and put in bifold doors. That always helps push the price up!”

The ten factors that make up a property’s price

1. Location – is it close to schools, near a park, part of a tight-knit community?

2. Transport – is it on a bus route, by a station, or is it a long walk to either?

3. Amenity – how many bedrooms does it have? Is there more than one bathroom? Does it have secure parking?

4. Size – is it a spacious home with good-sized rooms on a large piece of land?

5. Design – does the home flow well, with seamless indoor/outdoor spaces?

6. Outdoors – is the space outside usable, level, sunny and with some shelter?

7. Facilities – some people love pools, some like walk-in wardrobes, others prefer a wine cellar

8. Condition – is the home in need of a small touch-up, or a complete knockdown and rebuild?

9. Lifestyle – is the nearest cafe a buzzy neighbourhood hub a few doors down or 10 kilometres away and in the middle of a soulless shopping centre?

10. Potential – is there an opportunity to add value with an extension outwards or upwards, or a good renovation?

Source: Sam Elbanna, Hannan Bouskila, Gerry McPhee, Jason Field, Andrew Wilson.

Case study

Peter Knott and his wife Nicole have been thinking over the last year of putting their three-bedroom home in Balmain up for sale. With two daughters, aged one and four, they felt it was time to upgrade to somewhere with a little more space.

“So we’ve been keeping an eye on the market all that time,” says Peter, 37, the commercial director of an engineering firm.

“We checked out recent sales in the neighbourhood to see what they went for, and compared them with our house, to see the kind of price we could expect.”

They also selected Belle Property as their agents, as they’d always been impressed with their branding, and asked them for their advice too. “We looked at sales in the area, and also at the quality of the home,” says agent Benjamin Martin (Phone 0403 738 517).

“They did an absolutely flawless renovation two years ago and the indoor-outdoor flow to the courtyard and garden makes it perfect for young families or people who like to entertain. As well, we took into account the location, in the middle of Balmain and Rozelle, close to parks, and with a cafe across the road.”

Peter and marketing manager Nicole, 35, are now selling the 151 Beattie Street property at auction on February 7 with a price guide of more than $1.1 million.

“People say the market could be a little bit flat this year,” says Peter. “So we also had the house styled to show people how beautiful it really is.” Feature property

18 Carrington Street, Lewisham Price guide: $850,000+

When agent Namir Mikha was called in to put a price guide on a three-bedroom freestanding house in Lewisham, he checked out all the sales over the past four months within two kilometres.

He then compared the homes, in terms of facilities, position and size, and advised the owner to bring in a stylist to give it a little more pizzazz.

“I’ve been in real estate for 15 years, but when I went back, I thought, Wow!” says Mikha, of Laing + Simmons Newtown (Phone 0414 535 516). “I wouldn’t have recognised the house!”

Happily, owner James McVeigh had just bought another home 500 metres down the road for himself, his wife and their 10-year-old son, so they’d they had moved everything out to allow the stylist plenty of scope to showcase the interior.

“I’d done some renovation work before, and I repainted the house and did up the backyard, but the stylist really made it sparkle,” says health worker McVeigh, 50, who’d lived there for 15 years. “I think that then became a factor too in setting a price.”

The house, with both formal and casual living spaces, floorboards and high ceilings, on 186 square metres of land close to parks, cafes and public transport, is now going for auction on February 7 with expectations of more thyan $850,000.

“We had 103 email inquiries in the first four days,” says Mikha says. More photos: Domain苏州美甲美睫培训学校.au.

Or try these:

1/6 Ellalong Road, Cremorne  $1.2 million+

The fabulous views from this recently- renovated upper duplex have been taken into account when pricing the property. Its size – a roomy 188 sq m square metres – is also a factor, as well as its three bedrooms and location close to Middle Harbour public school. It has polished floors, a gourmet stone kitchen and a dining area with bi-fold windows. For auction February 14 via through Vernon Partners agent Adam Vernon (Phone 0430 824 123). More photos: Domain苏州美甲美睫培训学校.au

18/7 Greenknowe Ave, Potts Point  $390,000

This sunny and quiet studio apartment is close to all the attractions of this popular area and has been recently renovated. In an art deco building, it has high ceilings, polished floors and a sleeping alcove. It’s also pet-friendly and was previously rented for $490 a per week. For sale by Cheryle (subs: corr) Lanthois of the Carrington Group (Phone 0417 389 438). More photos: Domain苏州美甲美睫培训学校.au

82 First Farm Drive, Castle Hill $2 million+

Five bedrooms, four bathrooms and secure parking for five cars give an indication of the price of this fully- renovated home with its great views of the Blue Mountains. Buyers may also pay extra for the joys of a dedicated home theatre and a separate study. In addition, there’s a walk-in cool room and a large rumpus room with a full bar. For sale with Guardian Realty agent Ben Jobberns (Phone 0402 444 171). More photos: Domain苏州美甲美睫培训学校.au

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