Author Archives: Terry Hansen

school

Should you buy based on school zones?

With the summer school holidays almost over, many parents are starting to think about where they want their kids to go to school in the years ahead.

Picking a school isn’t as easy as it seems however, with many schools requiring that their students live within designated school catchment boundaries.

This means that parents should start considering the school they want their child to go to years before they need to enrol them to ensure that they have time to move into the right zone if they need to.

A few things to consider:

Property prices and rents will be higher in popular zones

Everybody wants to put their child in the best school possible, which means localities around high-rated schools will be in high-demand, and this pushes up property prices.

Be prepared to spend a bit more to buy a property within a popular school zone compared to what you will pay for neighbouring suburbs outside the school’s catchment boundaries. The same goes for rental properties, as a lot of parents will choose to rent in an area temporarily to be in the right school zone.

– It may be possible to enrol out of catchment

Students can sometimes be enrolled out of catchment if they meet certain criteria and/or if there are enough free places available. Check with the school you want to enrol in if there is likely to be any spots available for your child to enrol.

Some schools are so popular that parents will line up overnight to make sure their child has first dibs on an out of catchment enrolment.

– School zones and reputations can change

Be careful of buying a property too far in advanced, based on the school zone it’s located within.

School zones can change over time, with some shrinking due to demand going up or vice versa. If you want to guarantee that your property will stay in a school zone then it’s a good idea to stay well within its boundaries.

On the other hand a school’s reputation may change over time, or you may find the school isn’t suitable for your child, so you may need to move again if you moved for a school too prematurely.

There’s a lot to think about when choosing a property for a family. If you need help finding a property to meet all your needs in outer western Sydney then contact Professionals Outer Western Sydney.

living-room

Appealing to buyers in a competitive market

The property market has cooled across the country and this means that

sellers may need to work that little bit harder if they want to dazzle buyers and sell in a short time frame.

In the current market a lot of buyers are taking their time finding the right property and being conservative in their offers, but there are things that sellers can do to make buyers act fast!

Get to know the competition

While no two properties are ever the same, it’s worth doing some research to find out if there other properties like yours currently on the market. If buyers have a lot of options available to them it could create less urgency to buy any one particular property unless it offers them something that is rare to find.

Price for the market

If you’re looking for a quick sale then you need to price the property to meet the market. Buyers will be turned away from an asking price that is too high, after all who doesn’t want to find a bargain?

You can have a high listing price for your area, but if you do then you need to have the features and location that back up the price you are asking for, otherwise buyers will simply look for a more affordable property option.

Make your property stand out

One of the best ways to get a property sold in a competitive market is to offer a property that is more appealing than the rest. This means that it can be a good idea to do some minor cosmetic renovations, such as painting or freshening up gardens, to make the property more attractive.

Styling a property can also make it stand out to buyers and is often well worth the investment.

Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes

If you’re confused about why your property may not be selling then try to put yourself in the shoes of a buyer. Is the property appealing for the price? Are there more affordable options around?

These are all things you need to ask yourself. If have a competitive asking price, your property presents well and you’re still confused as to why your property isn’t selling then it’s well worth discussing your concerns with your selling agent.

It may just be a slow market, or there could be another reason why there is a low level of interest in the property.

For any advice feel free to contact the Professionals Outer Western Sydney team.

building

Property owners reminded to phone up before filling in

Thinking about cutting or filling your block of land? Then make sure you get permission from council first!

The Penrith City Council has sent out a reminder to local property owners to phone the council before filling any areas of their property if they want to avoid facing hefty fines and clean up fees.

According to Penrith Council’s website, illegal landfilling is filling without the necessary planning or licensing approvals. This can happen when construction and demolition waste is used as illegal fill for landscaping, land modification, reclamation works, roads and noise mounds.

Penrith Mayor, Ross Fowler OAM pointed out in a statement that illegal fill can contain contaminants like lead, asbestos of chemicals. These substances are not only harmful to people’s health and the environment, but they can also devalue land.

“It’s also illegal to use fill to divert the natural overland flow of water, which could negatively impact or damage neighbouring properties,” Cr Fowler said.

“If you’re looking at doing some filling or earthworks, make sure you check with council first. Property owners are responsible for making sure they don’t illegally bring fill onto their land, including putting it where it could harm plants, wildlife or waterways or cause flooding.”

Landowners that accept illegal fill may be prosecuted up to $5 million as well as face expensive clean up fees to remove the landfill.

It’s not worth the risk to your property or your family’s health to do the wrong thing so before accepting any fill material for your site make sure to get in touch with council on 02 4732 7777.

You can also find further information by visiting www.penrithcity.nsw.gov.au/cleanfill.

garden

How a cool garden can cool your home

Homeowners are increasingly looking for inexpensive ways they can keep their home cool, (i.e. without having to keep the air-conditioning running all summer long) and an often overlooked way of doing this is by making the most of gardens.

A well-designed garden can help make a property far more bearable on a scorching hot day, while a bad design will have you reaching for that air-conditioning remote.

Make some shade

Try to find trees and plants that will provide adequate shade for you and your home.

Tall mature trees can be great for blocking out the sun and if they have narrow trunks they will still let any breezes through. Depending on the property however, medium or smaller trees and shrubs planted close to the property might be useful to prevent the sun from radiating in through windows or glass doors.

As well as trees it can be a good idea to install awnings, roller shutters or shade sails over windows to block out any harsh sunlight.

Be careful of adding heat sources

Concrete patios, brick walls and dark rooftops can be the biggest sources of heat. While it is better to try and avoid having large heat sources like this in your front or backyard, there are ways to subdue their affects.

Hedges and shrubs can help block reflected heat from the ground and vines can be used to help cover pavers or large areas of concrete.

For the roof you may like to consider painting it a lighter colour, or using a reflective paint that won’t absorb so much heat.

Choose the right plant types

Think carefully about the trees you plant in your garden, because the wrong types can lead to problems down the road.

First of all make sure that you don’t choose a tree with invasive roots, as this could affect your underground services. Also check that trees will be the right height when fully grown. Ideally a tree will be tall enough to provide the shade you need, while not blocking out things like solar panels or scenic views.

If you want your garden to be able to let in light in wintertime then choose a deciduous tree.

When planting trees don’t forget to also consider how they might affect your neighbours as well as local wildlife. It’s often best to choose native trees as they will have a better chance of thriving in your garden and will attract local fauna.

kitchen

Get ready to sell in 2019

It’s time to get the cleaning gloves on and the paintbrush out if you want to get your property in shape and ready to sell this year.

The start of a new year is a great time to assess your selling goals and start chatting to property agents to get a good idea of what you need to do at your property to sell for the best price possible.

You may not be ready to sell your home right away but by preparing early you can get a head start on any necessary property improvements and potentially time your sale so it takes place during a busy buying period.

A few things you can do to prepare your property for sale include:

  1. Focus on landscaping –Make sure your property looks neat and tidy and has solid street appeal to reel buyers in.
  2. Make a grand entrance – First impressions count! This means that the first room that people walk into should make a positive impression. This could shape how buyers view the rest of the property.
  3. Add a coat of paint – Fresh and modern paint colours will provide an instant property update both inside and out. This will make a property appear better in person, as well as in online photos where buyers often first discover a property.
  4. Remove the clutter – When you sell a property you want to sell the lifestyle that comes with it too, and that doesn’t include the washing up! If there is clutter and mess around your home this should be dealt with as a first priority.
  5. Make it light and bright – Light helps create a sense of space and calm, so it’s important to let as much light into a property as is practical. Consider things like new window treatments, skylights, mirrors or fresh paint colours to help lighten up rooms.
  6. Overhaul the kitchen – The main hub of the home will have a big impact on buyers, so make sure it’s a good one. Inexpensive updates include resurfacing cupboards and bench tops and replacing door hardware.
  7. Clean up bathrooms – For a sparkling clean bathroom that will impress even the most discerning buyers, clean all fixtures, tiles and grout, and leave no trace of any mould or mustiness.
  8. Fix it if it’s broken – Buyers will overestimate what it costs to fix even the most basic of items in a home. Plus, if anything is broken it will leave a generally bad impression. So don’t leave any stone unturned and make sure everything in the property is working before selling.
  9. Don’t forget the garage or shed – It might be normal for these rooms to get dirty and messy in day-to-day life, but that doesn’t mean they should be when selling. Every inch of your home should be clean and ready to make a good impact on buyers.
  10. Take advantage of the pros – If there’s any aspect of getting your home ready for sale that seems too tough then you can always ask for help. There are a number of service providers available to help make your selling journey easier including landscapers, tradespeople, cleaners, property stylists and much more. Your sales agent will be able to help with recommendations or point you in the right direction of what needs to be done to help you turn your property into the best property on the block.

Contact Professionals Outer Western Sydney if you need tips or advice to help you sell your home in 2019.

airplane

Buyers are back from holidays

If buyers did take a break from the market over Christmas then they are well and truly back, with a lot of property hunters looking to take advantage of current market conditions.

It’s no secret that Sydney property prices took a hit in 2018 and while this isn’t great news for sellers, savvy buyers having been using the weaker market sentiment to try and snap up a fantastic property deal.

In general, this means that buyers are being a lot more scrupulous. There is more stock to choose from so buyers may be less inclined to take on properties that are overpriced or have any major issues.

For sellers this means that it’s worth taking the time to present a property at its best as well as setting a realistic price. A good property will always appeal to buyers, no matter what might be happening in the market, so try to make your property as appealing as you can if you want to entice buyers in.

Interest in outer western Sydney

Despite negative sentiment in Sydney as a whole, there is continued interest in investment opportunities in the west, largely due to the construction of the new Western Sydney Airport and its ‘Aerotropolis’.

Ernst and Young have projected that the construction of the new airport will bring in an extra $1.9 billion for the Western Sydney economy, on top of an additional $140 million across the rest of Sydney.

There’s no doubt that the next few years will see huge changes for Sydney’s west. There is a great deal of private and public investment in the region, with new transport, schools, recreation and health facilities on the cards.

The outer western Sydney region has a lot of the fundamentals in place that property investors look for, and its relative affordability compared to the rest of Sydney add to its appeal.

Investors should note that there are marked differences from suburb to suburb though so it’s well worth discussing your investment goals and strategy with a real estate expert that is familiar with the many changes going on in the area.

For advice about what is happening in the outer western Sydney property market, contact the Professionals Outer Western Sydney team.

bathroom

5 things families look for in a home

If you’re looking to buy your “forever home” then you’ll want to find a property that will meet your needs as you change and grow into the future.

Houses can often be renovated (or perhaps even demolished and rebuilt) if you grow out of them, however it’s easier to buy something that has everything you need from the get-go.

Think about the features you may need your home to have if new family members come along, or if toddlers turn into teenagers. Oftentimes families need to upgrade their homes because they don’t have enough bedrooms or living space to keep everyone out of each other’s hair.

If you need a little help, here are some common features that families upgrading their homes will look for:

A big backyard

Kids love to run around and play and that means that a small courtyard or deck just may not cut it. However, if you live in an urban area you might be lucky enough to have a big park nearby that provides kids with a place to stretch their little legs.

Multiple living areas

Parents often have different interests to their kids (and different television shows they want to watch) so separate living areas are often a must.

A home with a media room or a children’s play area will definitely come in handy, and you may also like to use this space to keep toys and other items out of the main living areas where they can’t be seen by guests.

Lots of bedrooms and bathrooms

While many families are happy to share bedrooms or bathrooms if they need to, the extra rooms can make family life a lot easier. Having a separate ensuite for parents in particular can make a family’s morning routine go a lot faster, and every family is grateful for more time in the day.

Safety

Safety is a number one concern, particularly for families with younger kids. They will look for a home with a secure fence to keep toddlers from escaping, as well as look out for other safety concerns such as stairs or an unruly garden.

Storage 

Toys, clothes and other odd contraptions all seem to pile up as a child grows. While some things you may want to sell, other things can be hard to let go of so it’s well worth having a home with an ample amount of storage and built-in robes in bedrooms.

flipping property

2018 was a tough year for Australian property values

The Australian property market experienced its weakest conditions since 2008’s Global Financial Crisis in 2018, according to new data from CoreLogic.

Figures from CoreLogic show that dwelling values fell by 4.8 per cent nationally throughout the year, led mainly by declines in Sydney and Melbourne. Prices in Sydney were down by 8.9 per cent, and 7 per cent in Melbourne.

However it’s not just Australia’s major cities that struggled in 2018, with weaker conditions experienced across most of the country.

As CoreLogic head of research Tim Lawless pointed out, “most regions around the country have reacted to tighter credit conditions by recording weaker housing market results relative to 2017.”

One of the two exceptions to this was regional Tasmania, where the pace of capital gains was higher relative to 2017 resulting in a nation leading 9.9 per cent gain in values over the 2018 calendar year.

Conditions in Darwin also improved. The annual rate of decline here improved from a decline of 8.9 per cent in 2017 to a fall of just 1.5 per cent in 2018.

Last year’s figures shouldn’t be viewed in isolation however with CoreLogic noting that although Sydney and Melbourne recorded the weakest conditions in 2018, the peak to current declines are much less severe relative to Perth and Darwin, where values have been falling since mid-2014.

Sydney values are now 11.1 per cent lower than their peak in July 2017 and Melbourne values are down 7.2 per cent since they peaked in November 2017.

In Perth and Darwin where the downturn has been going for much longer, they have experienced cumulative falls of 15.6 per cent and 24.5 per cent respectively.

At the end of the 2018 calendar year, Sydney values were back to where they were in August 2016, while Melbourne values were back to their February 2017 levels.

Perth values were back to levels last seen in March 2009 and Darwin dwelling values were at October 2007 levels.

The full report can be found at the CoreLogic website.

pool

Tips to beat the heat in outer western Sydney

From waterparks to ice cold shopping centres, people from all over Sydney will be looking for things to do this summer to help them escape the scorching hot temperatures.

Luckily a lot of people are still on holidays, so it’s a great time to head out and discover some of outer western Sydney’s cooler destinations.

Where to escape the heat

Shopping centres – Shopping centres provide a popular air-conditioned escape when the mercury soars. The Penrith and Mt Druitt Westfields are popular shopping destinations in the west, or you can head to any of the many other shopping complexes dotted throughout the region. 

Cinemas – With plenty of new movies out for the school holidays it’s a great time to head to the cinemas and enjoy some cooler temperatures too.

Water adventures – Outer western Sydney is a great place to head to if you’re looking for water fun. Check out Wet’n’Wild Sydney, Penrith Whitewater Stadium, Jetpack Adventures or take the family down to Cables Aqua Park. It’s also worth checking out local council run pools for a cheap way to cool down.

Libraries and museums – If you’re looking for a bit of culture then don’t forget that there are plenty of libraries and some great museums in the west, including the Museum of Fire where you can learn about the history of fighting fires.

Cafes and restaurants – There’s a plethora of food options in the west with every type of cuisine you could imagine. Head to the Visit Penrith website for some great food options to try in the region.

How to keep cool at home

It’s not always practical to head out on a hot day so if you plan to stay home during a heatwave there are still a few things you can do to help keep cool.

  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Eat cooler foods and drinks such as fruit and salad and avoid warm ones.
  • Limit physical activity.
  • Stay out of the sun, particularly during the warmest parts of the day.
  • Wear light and loose clothing, as well as a hat and sunscreen if you need to go outside.
  • Take cold showers or baths.
  • Open windows and turn on fans to increase airflow. However you may want to close blinds to block out the sun at particularly hot times of the day.
  • Turn on the air conditioner if you have one (and close windows and doors if so to help it run more efficiently).
resolutions

How to tackle your New Year property resolutions

The New Year is always a time for reflection and new goals and for many people property is a popular item on their resolutions list.

While some year’s resolutions end up getting put to the side, this year is going to be different. With the right advice and a plan of action for 2019, it is going to be the year you can make your property dreams become a reality.

Own your own home

Step one – Set up a budget and start saving. Having a solid savings plan in mind will help you work towards the amount you need for a house deposit.

Step two – Talk to a lender or broker and find out what your borrowing capacity is, or even better, get pre-approval in place so you’re ready to make an offer on a property as soon as you find one that meets your requirements.

Step three – Start looking! Check out properties online, attend open homes and chat to local real estate agents. Keep looking until you find “the one” that you’re ready to make an offer on.

Sell up and find somewhere new

Step one – Decide whether you want to buy first and then sell your current home or vice versa. In general, it makes more sense to sell your current home first so you know how much you have to spend when buying your next one. There are options such as bridging loans however if you decide to buy first and then sell.

Step two – Get your property ready for sale by cleaning, de-cluttering and carrying out all necessary repairs and maintenance. The better your property looks at sale time the more enticing it will be to would-be buyers.

Step three – Talk to a Professionals sales expert to get your home’s sale off on the right foot. They will help you find out what your home is worth and provide advice on what can be done to maximise your sale price, such as renovating or enlisting a property stylist.

Renovate or rebuild

Step one – Set yourself a budget. This will provide you with a solid guideline you can work within and help you to focus on what really needs to get done. Try to be conservative when working out your budget and have a little extra put aside in case building costs blow out.

Step two – Work out what changes will make the biggest difference to your home and add the most value. If you’re selling then kitchens and bathroom renovations tend to add the most value, however these rooms can be the most expensive to change too.

Step three – Unless you plan on DIYing you will need to engage professionals to do the hard work for you. Aim to get a few quotes so you can compare and get different ideas and advice about what can be done.