The Negative Gearing Debate

 

Recently, there has been talk in the media at a Federal Government level, particularly from the Greens Party, about abolishing negative gearing. In simple terms, negative gearing is when the cost of owning a rental property outweighs the income that it generates each year. Negative gearing gives investors and landlords a tax break for having a loss in an asset, where they can claim a tax deduction against other income. At a time when we are in a cost of living and housing crisis, proper debate needs to be had around this subject, and I believe this should be around the whole taxation system rather than just one form of taxation. Currently, there are approximately 2.4 million landlords in Australia that provide private housing for tenants, with approximate 80% being mum and dad’s that only own 1 investment property. By targeting those who hold the majority of investment properties, it is really going to disincentivise them to hold onto those properties. We’ve already seen the effects of changes to Residential Tenancy Acts across the country, with numerous landlords selling up, and these properties purchased by owner occupiers, reducing the already scarce number of rental properties available.

 

In a time when we need more housing, not less, the debate should be around how we can encourage more investors to purchase properties and help meet demand for rental housing. I don’t believe the Government should have to do all the heavy lifting when it comes to providing housing, which is where private investment comes in. However, I do believe all levels of government have dropped the ball over a long period of time (that’s a whole other blog) for their lack of investment in social and public housing.  This lack of investment has significantly contributed to this mess, that will take significant amounts of time, money and strategizing to return to some form of normalcy, if it does at all. You can learn from history, and when negative gearing was taken away back in the mid to late 1980’s for 18 months, we saw major increases in rent, and price growth of assets skyrocketing. This certainly doesn’t help those that need a roof over their head, or address the issue at hand. Would it happen the same way again? Who knows, but we can only learn from our experiences.

 

I would be surprised to see any changes around the current format for negative gearing, mainly because my understanding is that most politicians have property that they negatively gear, so they would only be hurting themselves. This debate tends to rear its head every decade or so, much like the topic of daylight savings. With approximately 885,000 people moving to Australia in the last 2 years, we need to encourage extensive investment opportunities for landlords, not making it less enticing for them. If we remove the incentive for potential investors, the current situation will continue to develop, making it harder to resolve in the long run. In my opinion, the more appropriate  debate should be around GST. This hasn’t changed for over 20 years, and most western societies have rates close to 20% or higher, but again, that’s another debate for another time.

 

Whichever way the Government goes, there needs to be a uniformed strategy and plan in place. Governments will argue they have these in place, but the reality is, they’re either a hard copy document in a filing cabinet or a link online burrowed somewhere deep into a website. I’m sure it will be dusted off with elections to happen in the next 12 months but if we’re serious about fixing this crisis, action needs to start now and not wait for more budget announcements, tenders to be completed, government departments to sign off on projects and the list goes on. I would expect this topic to be front and centre for foreseeable future, and you’ll have an opportunity to question the very people that are not doing enough or being accountable. One thing we know for certain is that the housing and cost of living crisis is not going anywhere soon.

 

I hear the term “affordable housing” mentioned a lot by various politicians and media, however the one thing that has me baffled is, no one can explain to me what the dollar value figure is that is actually “affordable”. I suspect it’s because they don’t know precisely what it is, and due to the current market climate, things are evolving at a rapid pace so the figure would constantly be changing. There is a lot of talk of building affordable housing which is great, however, if the finished product is above the median price, is that really affordable?

Affordable housing differs greatly between areas. What is deemed to be affordable housing in Albany is very different to affordable housing in Perth or Port Headland. When we look to our Eastern State counterparts, a property in Sydney selling at $700,000 may be deemed to be affordable, however in Albany, that is certainly not the case.

As prices continue to grow, does that mean the “affordable price” continues to rise? At the time of writing this article, there are less than 20 houses available under $500,00. The median price for a property in Albany is currently $489,500. Does this mean that the median house price is affordable? If you are a Baby Boomer looking to purchase a property, in most instances, this price range would be deemed “affordable”. However if you are first home buyer, then this price is certainly not “affordable” in my opinion. For a first home buyer, I would see “affordable”  as being under $400,000 (keeping in mind the Government First Home Buyer Scheme relating to Stamp Duty is capped at a purchase of $430,000), but I struggle to see any developer, either private or government, being able to develop a  suitable product that has the desired land size and dwelling that will fit that budget. “Matchbox houses”  (small houses on small blocks ) are already selling for over $450,000 in Albany. To be able to purchase a decent sized family home on a reasonable sized plot of land, purchasers are looking at spending far more than the median price.

The idea of small and tiny homes, container housing and various other ideas are being discussed as short term solutions, but we’re yet to see this take off, or see how this would work in a real life scenario. It will be interesting moving forward to see what solutions are proposed, and if the median price is still considered “affordable”. One thing I would love to see is clarification as to what the criteria is to determine an “Affordable home”, and how this will continue to evolve in line with wage rises and available properties. We need to know this information, so that we are not selling false hope to those people thinking they will get an affordable home when it may not be even possible in the near future.

Hop into the spirit of Easter! Simply colour in the Easter colouring sheet, and return to our office on York Street for the chance to win an amazing Easter Hamper!

One entry per person. Entries must be received by 4pm Wednesday 27th March at 258 York Street. Each completed sheet gives entitles you to one entry in the draw.

 

Easter Colouring Comp (1)

It’s Exhausting being a Buyer

By Jeremy Stewart

Right now in the Real Estate Industry,  we are coming across a lot of buyers that are searching for property. Often, these buyers have been searching for some time. Although you don’t wake up one morning and say “Let’s move to Albany”, it truly is really being a buyer and it takes a lot of time, energy and patience.

 

In today’s market, there are limited listings – so when something new comes to market, you aare already competing with a large pool of buyers  and it can be a frustrating process. The endless email enquiries, text messages, phone calls and different agents as well, it can be overwhelming and cause a lot of frustration.

 

So, what can you do to help ease the process and make things a bit easier?  Here’s my top tips.

 

  • Pre-register you detail with an agent of choice (of what you’re looking for, preferred suburbs and any specifics. More info the better. Did you know any agent can show you all listed properties no matter the listing agent? This is called a conjunctional.
  • Be realistic – Real estate agents are busy people and often complete a multiple of roles in the community or have families. If you make contact and provide as much information as you can – a diligent agent will get back to you within 24 hours or sooner, don’t panic if you don’t hear from your agent immediately.
  • Notice –When you are looking to view a property, try and give as much notice as possible – it is very unlikely we will be able to show you the property on the day of your enquiry, but we can certainly schedule one for the coming days. This is because some properties are tenanted, and they require 72 hours’ notice in writing. Owners like to present the property the best and may need to make arrangements for them & their family.
  • Budget – Be sure to have your finances in order before you start seeking a property to purchase, having a pre-approval is advised if you’re getting finance and have your broker/bank contact details ready to go.
  • Entity – When making an offer have your entity and information ready to go. Making an offer and then changing the buyer’s name later may attract double stamp duty and no one wants that (other than the government )
  • Patience – Don’t panic and put unrealistic timeframes on yourself. If you must travel to inspect a property, give yourself time. Explain that you’re travelling so that the agent can explain to the seller. Most sellers are reasonable when waiting for inspection confirmations.

 

Overall, buying a property isn’t something you do every day (actually most people only do it on average 7 times in their lifetime ) so try to enjoy the process, take a deep breath and remember that there is a property out there for you and it will come up when it’s meant too. If you’d like to learn more about the buying process or would like to pre-register your details, reach out to myself or my team at Merrifield Real Estate who would love to help.

My 2024 Property Market Crystal Ball

By Jeremy Stewart

 

As we enter 2024, I’ve been asked what my thoughts and predictions are for the real estate market for the year ahead. So here they are.

Housing Supply – There will continue to be limited properties available both for sale and for rent. Local council building approvals are still low due to the cost of materials, labour and other costs, as well as tradesman shortages, which means we are not seeing many new homes being built or finished. Another issue facing many Sellers is “If I sell my property to make a profit, where do I go?” Yes, you may be able to sell your house for a great price, but this is only once piece of the puzzle. With increased prices and very low levels of stock, people are forced to go into further debt to purchase a superior home, or reduce their expectations and buy something that is not as good as what they already had. Unless you have a specific reason for moving, such as relocating for work or downsizing, then the added stress of selling and buying, just to make a few dollars, is not always worth it.  I expect the housing supply crisis featured in the media to continue throughout the year.

Prices – The basic principle of supply and demand are a driving force in the market. While there are more buyers than there are sellers, or more renters than there are landlords/investors, then prices are going to continue to increase. Many of the proposed larger scale social and community housing projects are still some time away from completion, and won’t available in the immediate future. If the Government continues to lack providing incentives to potential investors to purchase established houses for tenants, we can expect to continue to see rent prices increasing.

Regional areas – Many regional areas are undervalued compared to many cities and towns across the country, so savvy buyers will be looking to target these areas. People looking for lifestyle properties in regional areas will also consider the cost of living, and look for areas that provide solid fundamentals like good job prospects, quality education and medical facilities, climate/weather and much more. We are also seeing an increase in tenants making the move to regional areas, as the rent is more affordable than their metro counterparts. I would expect that the property market in regional areas will perform well, as well as the local economy.

Interest rates – In 2023, a high proportion of the countries top 25 economists got it wrong when making predictions.  They have access to exclusive data and are the experts in the field, so I take everything they predict with a pinch of salt. Being no expert in the field I will put my thoughts forward. I believe that we will still see rates go higher throughout the year, and then stabilise. Inflation will get to a point where it is no longer effective, and we will need a shift similar to what’s happening across the ditch in NZ. With our federal government not prepared to lift the GST rate, the RBA only has one lever to pull when trying to bring this down. In reality, interest rates are at the same level as around 2010/11, which was not all that long ago. The difference is that we now live in a society that has access to news constantly. In saying all of this, it is down to the RBA and the previous government taking reducing rates to an unsustainable level, and making unkeepable promises in the media that rates would not rise until 2024. So while it is not all bad new, it is still going to be a while before rates start moving in a downward trend.

Technology – This will continue to shift how real estate moves and business is done. In the USA, there are some amazing trends and developments happening, and we in Australia tend to follow suit in the years afterwards. With things like DocuSign, Facetime videos and virtual 3D technology, buyers no longer need to physically view a property to be able to purchase it. We are seeing this a lot more and I expect this trend to continue through 2024.

So, there you have my thoughts and predictions for the year ahead, based on my experience in the industry. I look forward to seeing what comes of the upcoming year, and would love the opportunity to discuss my thoughts with you at any time!

 

Floods and Fire – Do we need better Planning?

By Jeremy Stewart

 

As we come into summer, we are inundated with information from the media warning us about the prediction of  very hot, dry conditions, resulting in an increase in bushfires. Likewise, when winter approaches, especially in the east coast, floods are threatening communities, year after year.  I think back to 2021 and the floods that isolated the people of Elleker for weeks, and to 2018 and the bushfire in Torndirrup National Park that burnt well over 600 acres and threatened the lives and home of hundreds of residents. This begs the question, are the State and Local governments doing enough to mitigate the catastrophic effects of these weather events.

 

Do we need our Government to take more responsibility and consideration for planning in the areas that are more risk to floods or bushfire? This is a subject close to home, as Albany has an undulating topography, so falls into a high risk category for these weather events, both of which we have experienced first hand.

Planning is not an easy job, and not everyone is going to be happy, but it is imperative to find a balance. Planners have many different factors to consider, and the general public very rarely have access to the kinds of information that they rely on to make important decisions relating to bushfire and flood plans. I wonder, however, if the Planning departments are too reliant on current policies and red tape, rather than taking a hands on approach. By visiting the areas that are at risk and talking to the people directly effected by these decisions, could they come up with an easier, common sense solution?

 

Recently, I had a client experience this red tape and bureaucracy first hand, when they were asked to provide a non vehicle access lane for a land development. After having the requirements for this changed multiple times, the relevant City of Albany employee finally attended a site inspection, only to realize that the area was on a sloping site! This caused significant delays, cost and stress to the developer, who then had to make further amendments to satisfy the City’s conditions. Had the City had someone attend the site in the first instance, rather than relying on the mapping systems and plans, so much time, energy and cost could have been saved. They would have had a much better, first hand understanding of the area and the risks associated with the sloping site, drainage, flood prone areas and bushfire risks by seeing the property in person.

 

Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Having the knowledge that we do now, I doubt that many areas that are currently developed would be approved today due the to risk of bushfires and flooding. I look around the many areas of Albany, and am concerned for many properties, as we are at risk of both of these events. The question remains – should houses have ever been allowed to be built in these areas? Changes to the Building Codes and bushfire compliance and awareness over the last decade has helped to combat some aspects of the risk, however the government on all levels needs to get on board to reduce the risk even further. I hope that this can make way for a broader discussion on the topic.

Recently I walked into a home that we had listed for sale and one of the owners had two young kids. One child running around, the other a young baby in mum’s arms. I take my hat off to her as she was the inspiration for this blog, because I can’t imagine how hard it is to prepare a property for sale with a young family and this property was well presented.

 

So, you’ve decided to sell your home and as we know, presentation is the key in getting the buyer to create that emotional connection with the home that obtains strong offers at good prices. But I hear those mum’s say, how can I keep a place clean & presentable? Toys everywhere in a variety of rooms, dirty hands-on tables & benches, sometimes crayon writing up the walls, beds not made, and list goes on. It must feel like you’re always cleaning up and then the agent calls and advises we have a buyer we’d like to bring through for an inspection. Seriously OMG.

 

First of all, give yourself a break. You can’t be everything to everyone and we can’t expect it perfect. Things happen out of our control so cut yourself some slack. Doesn’t mean also that it’s an excuse for not making an effort to tidy up though. A few little hints however that may assist. Get the grandparents/family members/friends on standby. More hands make light work so you can smash out those jobs or get the kids looked after a while you get the house ready. Cupboards are for packing things away so work on storing items in there. Most men wont even look in there from my experience. Sheds are another good place to put things away. Potentially arrange set days & times for inspections. It’s much easier on everyone to bring several buyers through in a 2 – 3-hour period twice a week or whatever you arrange with your agent than it is having an inspection every single day.

 

Consider a holiday or vacation in the first week or two. This is when the most activity is going to be so give the agent full access as it only requires one clean. Get a lawn mowing contractor in for the lawns. Time is what we don’t have when we are busy bringing up a family so delegating or sub-contracting is a good idea. There’s plenty more things that we can advise, though the above are a good starter.

 

Lastly to the lady that inspired this story. Well done and what a great example you’ve set for your kids and other homeowners.

One of the big ‘grey areas’ that are often coming across the desk of a commercial property manager are the questions surrounding building maintenance works.  The questions are often relating to responsibilities – it is an Owner or a Tenant expense?

 

Most commercial leases are different, and they are written following an agreement of terms between the Owner and the Tenant.  Despite this, a general rule of thumb with commercial tenancies is that it is up to the Tenant to carry out all repairs and maintenance within the property.

 

This is very different from a residential lease, where the responsibility of repairs and maintenance falls on the Owner, and for this reason, we are often having to ‘educate’ new commercial tenants on their responsibilities.

 

Some of the more obvious items of Repairs and Maintenance, which fall under the responsibility of the tenant include keeping the electrical and plumbing equipment in a safe working condition; arranging regular servicing of fire equipment, air conditioning and mechanical equipment such as roller doors; cleaning out gutters and car park drains prior to the winter rains each year; keeping doors, locks and windows in working order; painting when required; pest control; cleaning …… and other items similar to these.

 

As part of professional property management services, it is good practice to inform tenants of their obligations, and to help them implement systems to ensure they are taking good care of the property they are leasing.

 

The exceptions to a Tenants repairs and maintenance responsibilities within a commercial property include structural works and works of a capital nature, as these types of jobs will always fall under the responsibility of the Owner.

 

To provide you with a general idea, structural works will include items such as the replacement of rusted roofing and support beams, the installation of new structures (if agreed), and necessary improvements to plumbing and electrical services.

 

Capital works are generally works required to be undertaken by a Landlord when major parts of the building or services belonging to the Landlord have reached the end of their life and require replacement.  Some good examples of this will include the replacement of an old air conditioning system or hot water system; the replacement of old and unusable doors and windows; and the replacement of rusted or deteriorated wall and roof sheeting, just to name a few.

 

Most commercial investors understand that a certain level of capital input is required every now and then to help maintain secure tenancies and thus contribute to a successful investment.

I recently turned the big 5-0, which is a bit of a milestone, and I’ve caught myself reflecting on my life so far. I am fortunate enough to be in great health, financially stable and have a family and friends who love me.  Apart from not being able to run as much as I used to and the wrinkles, I still feel like I’m half my age.

People who know me well understand that things haven’t always been so rosy for me on all of these fronts so I’ve seen both the good and bad in life and everything in between. After coming full circle in my first 50 years of life, I thought I’d share the realisations I’ve come to terms with so far. I like to incorporate these ‘lessons’ in to both my personal life and my professional role in real estate sales and hopefully there is something useful in this list for you to think about 😊

Here’s my list, in no particular order

  • Don’t smoke – this is a no brainer. If you do smoke, please quit.
  • Eat well – we are so lucky to have an abundance of nutritious food easily available to us and information accessible to assist with healthy choices. This is probably more important than exercising to maintain a healthy weight.
  • Choose your beverages wisely –every alcoholic drink you consume increases your chances of getting cancer. That should speak for itself.
  • Exercise regularly – this does wonderful things to maintain my mental health. Exercise is the best non-pharmaceutical medicine.
  • Don’t put up difficult people – you can try and educate them but these characters usually don’t change their stripes and are a waste of your precious time and energy.
  • Be kind – this can be testing when you are not receiving the same treatment back from other people but keep your chin up and be the better person.
  • Be loyal – but if the people you are serving do not value your contribution or demonstrate respect in return, walk away.
  • Be genuine – people can detect insincerity from a mile away and you are kidding yourself if you think people can’t tell you are faking it.
  • Nurture close friendships – you don’t need a lot of friends, and most people you know wont miss you when you’re gone, but treasure the people who really ‘get’ you.
  • Be aware of people around you – you have an impact on others wherever you go and whether you realise it or not, so be thoughtful and always leave a positive impression.
  • Don’t react in the heat of the moment – instead press pause and address the situation when you have calmed down and had a chance to think things through.
  • Don’t procrastinate – “eat the frog” and the rest of your day will suddenly improve exponentially.
  • Engage with people – eliminate the distractions and get absorbed in the moment.
  • Listen and watch – there is so much to learn from not talking and simply observing.
  • Travel – if nothing else you will soon learn to appreciate where you come from more.
  • Live within your means – if you can’t afford it, don’t buy it or hock yourself up for it.
  • Tell your parents you love them – they have sacrificed a lot for you and you mean the world to them.
  • Tread lightly on this earth – humans are ruining the planet so be conscious about the legacy left future generations.
  • If something goes wrong, stop for a moment and think about how significant it actually is. If nobody has died then it could be worse! I love the 5×5 perspective, where that if something wont matter in 5 years time, you don’t spend more than 5 minutes upset about it.
  • Whenever things are feeling like they are too much, remind yourself that no matter how difficult the situation, it will pass.
  • Remind yourself that you are one person in a large country on a huge planet in an endless universe so we are each pretty insignificant in the end. Don’t be a Muppet!

 

When it comes to real estate investments, many people gravitate towards major cities and urban centers. However, there’s a hidden gem in Western Australia that is often overlooked: the Great Southern region, in particular Albany. In this blog, we’ll explore why investing in real estate in regional Western Australia, particularly Albany and the Great Southern region, can be a smart move.

Affordability and Potential for Growth. One of the key advantages of investing in Albany and the Great Southern region, is the affordability of real estate. Compared to the skyrocketing prices in major cities, properties in this area offer excellent value for money. With lower entry costs, investors have the opportunity to own a piece of real estate without breaking the bank. Additionally, the potential for growth in the region is significant, as improvements in infrastructure, tourism, and industry continue to enhance the area’s appeal.

Natural Beauty and Lifestyle. The Great Southern regions pristine coastline, is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty. From stunning beaches and rugged coastlines to lush forests and rolling hills, the area offers a diverse range of landscapes that appeal to both residents and tourists. The relaxed and laid-back lifestyle, coupled with a strong sense of community, make Albany a desirable place to live. This combination of natural beauty and quality of life ensures a steady demand for real estate in the area.

Tourism and Economic Development. Albany and the Great Southern region has experienced significant growth in tourism, attracting visitors from all over the world. The area boasts historical sites, nature reserves, wineries, and unique wildlife, creating a tourism hotspot. The increasing number of tourists translates into a thriving local economy, with new opportunities for businesses and job growth. This positive economic trajectory contributes to the region’s real estate market, making it an attractive investment option.

Strategic Location and Connectivity. Albany’s strategic location is another compelling reason to invest in real estate in the Great Southern region. Situated just over four hours’ drive from Perth, Albany benefits from easy accessibility to major transportation networks. The Albany Regional Airport also offers flights to Perth and connecting to other regional centres, making it a service for both residents and visitors. This connectivity strengthens the region’s desirability and potential for further development.

Diversification and Rental Demand. Investing in real estate in the region provides an opportunity for portfolio diversification. By expanding your investments beyond major cities, you reduce the risk associated with a concentrated portfolio. Additionally, the growing population, coupled with a strong tourism industry, an agriculture industry that’s one of the main drivers plus investment in health, education & business creates a steady demand for rental properties. This rental market presents an attractive option for investors looking to generate passive income and secure their financial future especially with the extreme high demand and the low availability.

Overall investing in real estate in regional Western Australia, specifically Albany and the Great Southern region, offers a unique blend of affordability, natural beauty, economic growth, and lifestyle opportunities. As the region continues to thrive with increasing tourism and development, the potential for real estate appreciation and rental demand is significant. By seizing the opportunity to invest in this hidden gem, you can enjoy the benefits of owning property in a thriving and picturesque part of Australia.

Renting a house is often seen as a temporary solution, a stepping stone to owning a home. However, it is important to recognize that renting a house is a privilege that many people do not have. In this blog, we will explore why it is a privilege to rent a house.

Renting a house provides a level of flexibility that owning a home does not. When you rent a house, you have the freedom to move more easily than if you own a home. This can be especially valuable for people who may need to relocate frequently for work or personal reasons. Additionally, renting a house allows people to live in areas they may not be able to afford to buy a home in.

Renting a house can provide a sense of security. When you rent a house, you do not have to worry about the cost of major repairs or renovations. That responsibility generally falls on the landlord. This can be a relief for people who do not have the financial means to take on these costs themselves. Additionally, renting a house can provide a sense of community. Some rental properties have common spaces or shared amenities, which can foster a sense of belonging among residents.

Renting a house maybe more affordable than owning a home depending on where you rent. Owning a home comes with many expenses, including a mortgage, property taxes, council rates and home repairs. For many people, these costs can be prohibitive. Renting a house can be a more cost-effective option, particularly for people who are just starting out in their careers or who have limited financial resources. Or while they are aiming to save money for a house deposit to purchase in the longer term.

Renting a house can be a safer option for people who do not have the financial means to buy a home. It means when interest rates go up you don’t have to find that additional money that month. Yes, you are faced with rental increases and that’s unfortunately a by-product of the current market however it is reminded that it’s a privilege to have a roof over your head that not everyone gets.

In conclusion, renting a house is a privilege that should not be taken for granted. It provides a level of flexibility, security, affordability, and sustainability that many people do not have access to. While owning a home may be a long-term goal for some, it is important to recognize that renting a house is an important part of anyone’s property journey. And as such, we should strive to ensure that everyone has access to safe, affordable, and sustainable rental housing.

The City of Albany local government has the opportunity to be a leader in sustainable and environmentally friendly housing. By incorporating features such as rainwater tanks and solar panels into all new housing developments, the city can set an example for other local governments to follow. Yes, some estates have conditions and covenants but why isn’t every housing development required to develop criteria around this?

Rainwater tanks are a valuable addition to any sustainable housing development. In WA, where water scarcity is a major concern, the use of rainwater tanks can significantly reduce mains water consumption. By collecting rainwater, residents can use it for various household purposes, such as flushing toilets and watering gardens. Not to mention the rainwater tastes way better than the town water that is produced. By putting these in it reduces the demand on the municipal water supply, conserves resources, and saves money on utility bills. Furthermore, rainwater tanks can be incorporated into the design of new housing developments in an aesthetically pleasing way, contributing to the overall beauty of the community. Personally, I think they should form part of every new building approval application. If we are serious about this, then it will get implemented.

Solar panels are another important feature for sustainable housing developments. WA has abundant sunshine throughout the year, making it an ideal location for solar energy production. By installing solar panels on homes, residents can generate their own electricity, reducing their dependence on the electrical grid. This not only saves money on utility bills, but also reduces greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts associated with conventional energy production. Additionally, incorporating solar panels into the design of new housing developments provides significant environmental benefit. And what better time when cost of living is sky high that saving money is a major benefit.

In addition to rainwater tanks and solar panels, there are many other features that can be incorporated into sustainable housing developments. These include using sustainable materials in construction, maximizing natural light and ventilation, and incorporating green spaces and other natural elements into the community design. By adopting these practices, the city can create a more liveable and environmentally friendly community for residents. I’m by no means an expert of this stuff, however some discussion and consulting with some local architects in this space is a conversation that should be had.

Furthermore, sustainable housing developments can have a positive impact on the local economy. By incorporating local businesses and resources into the construction process, the city can create jobs and support the local economy. Additionally, by incorporating sustainable features into new housing developments, the city can attract residents who are interested in living in a more environmentally friendly community. This can create demand for local businesses that specialize in sustainable products and services, further supporting the local economy.

However, it is important to acknowledge that there may be challenges to implementing sustainable housing practices. One of the biggest challenges is cost. Incorporating sustainable features into new housing developments can be more expensive than traditional methods of construction. However, it is important to consider the long-term benefits of sustainable housing, such as reduced utility bills and environmental impacts.

Another challenge may be resistance from developers and other stakeholders who are accustomed to traditional methods of construction. It is important to engage these stakeholders and educate them about the benefits of sustainable housing. By demonstrating the economic and environmental benefits of sustainable housing, it is possible to gain their support and cooperation.

In conclusion, The City of Albany has the potential to be a leader in sustainable and environmentally friendly housing. By incorporating features such as rainwater tanks and solar panels into new housing developments, the city can set an example for other local governments to follow. This can have a ripple effect, leading to more sustainable communities throughout Western Australia and beyond. This can have a significant impact on the environment, the economy, and the quality of life for residents. While there may be challenges to implementing sustainable housing practices, it is important to prioritize the long-term benefits and work collaboratively with stakeholders to achieve a more sustainable future.

If someone asked you to invest $3,000 with a promise to return $20,000, you would probably assume it was a scam, or you would sprint to the ATM faster than Usain Bolt winning gold. But for nearly every listing I come across, a return on an investment such as this is 100% possible! All that is required is some consultation with your real estate representative and, compared to the potential gain, a relatively small financial commitment from you.  It’s quite simply the best low risk strategy for enhancing the value of your property, that nearly anyone can do when considering selling your home.

If I had a dollar for every time I heard from a buyer, following a viewing of a property, say ‘’Yes, we love it, but we feel it just needs too much to be work carried out’’ I could retire right now and move to Tuscany. (Or back home to the UK… Nah! Tuscany)

A recent trend in the housing market has seen many buyers demanding properties that do not require any renovation. This is due, firstly, to buyers being put off by the task of having to contact, organise and book the tradesmen to undertake the necessary work (with buyers often under – estimating what this can cost.) Secondly, buyers value their time! Painting walls, filling gaps, re-grouting, gardening, and mulching isn’t top of the agenda after moving in.

First impressions are the most important for buyers. You want to make them welcome even before they set foot in the house. A jet washed driveway, colourful plants set around wood chip mulch that compliments the colours and tones of the main dwelling give an excellent first impression. This sort of basic presentation can be done across the weekend (Also, don’t forget to remove any cobwebs!).

You would be surprised how sensitive buyers are to the smell of a house! No matter how wonderful your home is, if it smells like a soggy dog lived there, or someone has smoked 60 a day, or the house smells of stale cooking, it will be difficult to even give it away! Have the carpets professionally cleaned and the walls washed down, then invest in some air fresheners, the type that sit in the wall sockets. Depending on your house size and carpet coverage will depend very much on the cost.

Declutter, less is always MORE! You may have sentimental belongings and items in your home you love, but the buyer wants to imagine themselves living there. Lots of clutter on surfaces makes things look out of balance, untidy and small. Also, if you have dim yellow light bulbs, replace with 700lm cool white globes through the whole house. Believe me, this will make a massive difference and won’t cost a lot.

And about that leak you had last year that meant you had to have tiles on the roof replaced but you never got around to repainting the ceiling in the bedroom? (This is surprisingly common) Please don’t be that person to forget! Re-paint the ceiling. The bedroom is one of the most important rooms for buyers.  Yes, you’ll have a sore neck, but it only takes a day. Michelangelo took three years to paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling!

Dead grass makes people sad. Do you have a big back garden that looks like the Sahara Desert? Well, depending on your soil content, a 10 – 15-minute watering after sunset or before sunrise each day, for 2 weeks is enough to bring your grass back to life. This is a lot cheaper than most people think and may only cost between $20 – 40. (This estimate is based off my own water usage with a medium – low pressure.)

If you want to gain more knowledge about maximizing your property’s potential, contact Tommie Watts of Merrifield Real Estate today via call or text at 0476 514 921.

Sounds like a heading of a TV show doesn’t it! I’ve got a 2-year-old daughter (going on 5 years of age by the way she acts) and gee it’s been a whirlwind ride the last couple of years. We’re both so lucky to have an amazing mum that’s been part of this journey that helps with the heavy lifting since real estate is all day, every day. There have been great moments, there has also been some not-so-great moments. As they say you take the good with the bad, but I’ve learnt a lot that I didn’t expect too. So, what are my learnings from my 2-year-old that I can share with readers.

Well, the first thing that springs to mind is your attitude. 2-year old’s have plenty of this in buckets, but you need to make sure you’re approach to anything you do is positive. Creating a positive environment makes for better outcomes. It doesn’t matter what’s happened during the day if a deal fell over, you’ve had an irate client or things just haven’t gone your way, it’s about how you approach things. So, control the controllable and the rest is out of your hands.

Kids are inquisitive little buggers as well. They’re climbing all over you when you’re trying to get stuff done. They like to ask questions and more as they get older. They want your time most of all. My daughter loves the saying “one more minute” which ends up being like 5 – 10 minutes. Funny it doesn’t work the other way when I want to watch the cricket and she wants Bluey on TV! My point here is we all have limited time and so many people want this time with you. So how do you balance the correct amount? The answer? There is no correct answer. Everyone is different, everyone has different priorities and are at different times of their lives. So don’t be hard on yourself, workout what works for you and do it.

My daughter loves looking at the real estate ads in the paper to the find the picture of her Dad. Maybe a future real estate agent in the making? Who knows what the world of real estate will be like once she turns 18. Will community newspapers still be advertising properties? What will AI do to real estate? How much will be digital and how much will be face to face? People talk of blockchain and how it will impact the industry and associated industries? My point here is that everyone learns differently, and industries are always changing. Today’s 2-year-olds will be all over this and the one thing I do know is that by the time my daughter turns 18, the world of real estate will be a totally different landscape.

A key learning my daughter taught me is to expect the unexpected. Anything is possible, any single day. Some go to plan, other days don’t. But you wake up the next day and go again even better.

I do know that my daughter has made me more grounded in real estate. I live and breathe real estate however what I’ve learnt is a more balanced and better focus on things around me that are important. And that’s one of my greatest learnings from my little girl.

For those that know me, you’ll know that I am a sports lover. Anything with a bat or ball, I share an interest in. Cricket’s my thing and has been from a young age. Some will say it’s boring and like watching grass grow, others just can’t get enough of it. I’m the latter.  And so, it got me thinking about what traits salespeople have in common with those that come from a sporting background. Interestingly I’ve noticed that several ex professional sportspeople when they finish their sporting career, go into real estate and generally succeed. There are also every day normal people that play amateur sport that are great salespeople as well. So why is this so? The answer in my opinion is within the character traits and skill set of the individual.

Both require discipline, long hours with many hours on your own at various times of evenings, mornings and weekends, Training, teamwork, loyalty, skills development, determination, repetition, positive attitudes, the ability to play the long game, problem solving, effort, communication, competitive nature and so many more skills to name. There are so many traits that are similar when you break it down, which may explain why people from a sporting background generally go well in sales from what I can see.

I know from my personal experience that having grown up with sports all around me, that when I first entered real estate as a sales agent way back in 2003 that it really helped me with my career. It gave me a platform and confidence to launch from as I’d been known in the community to a degree when starting out a new career. The skills I’d learnt from coaches and mentors along the way made me a better salesperson. To be honest I probably didn’t realise it at the time but looking back now, I certainly do know that it helped.

So, if you are looking at hiring a salesperson no matter what sales industry you’re in, maybe the sporting field could be somewhere to look. That person could be the person you’re missing. You may be out supporting your daughter at netball or your son at a hockey tournament and subconsciously not know that an ideal candidate could be right in front of your eyes.

I’m also not saying that you have to be a sportsperson to be a good sales agent. What I am saying is that it certainly opens more opportunities and networks from my experience. And that in the world of selling can’t be a bad thing.

By Jeremy Stewart – Director