Nick's Weekly Blog


Nick Lord - Director and Licensed Estate Agent
NICK LORD - DIRECTOR & LICENSED ESTATE AGENT


1st December
2017 The Year That Was


It’s hard to believe we are in December already and Christmas is a few short weeks away. 2017 has seen some major changes in the real estate industry which has impacted how we do business.

The first is the introduction of an additional layer of buyer protection which requires us to provide a Statement of Information for every property we market. This document includes the price of the home, the median house price for the suburb and 3 recent comparable sales.

The second is the increased use of video imagery and drone imagery in the marketing of properties. These give the prospective buyer a far better look at the property in question and a useful overview of the neighbourhood and its proximity to key locations, amenities and landmarks.

The third is the introduction of the $20,000 first home owners grant for new homes bought or built in regional Victoria. This serves to entice buyers into regional Victoria whilst at the same time stimulating growth in the building industry.

All positive initiatives to benefit buyers of real estate in 2017 and going forward.


24th November
Maxwell Collins Christmas Windows


We are pleased to present our Christmas Window display for 2017 which is viewable as of now and up until the end of December. With 3 magical windows lit up to represent iconic Christmas themes there is something for all ages to enjoy.

So if you are planning to bring the family down to the waterfront to see the Christmas Tree why not stop at our offices at 55 Myers Street, Geelong first to get you in the Christmas spirit.

Special thank once again to Peter Maxwell who is the driving force behind this display every year. If you enjoyed the windows and would like to spread some of your own Christmas cheer this year, donations to our Bethany Giving Tree (in our front reception area) would be most appreciated.


17th November
Getting It Done For Charity


Maxwell Collins is once again well representated at this year’s Run Geelong event, which raises much needed funds for Barwon Health’s Paediatric Rehabilitation Services. It’s a great opportunity to get out with family and friends in the fresh air and walk or run the 6 or 12km course. The event is being held this Sunday 19th November. If you haven’t registered to take part, it’s not too late. You can register here at http://runaustralia.com.au/location/geelong.

Our support of Give Where You Live is ongoing throughout the year but at Christmas we give focus to Bethany Community Support by being involved in their Giving Tree Appeal. We put up a Christmas Tree in our front reception and invite staff, clients, suppliers and members of the general public to donate a Christmas gift to help families in need this Christmas capture the Christmas cheer we take so much for granted.

As part of our strong commitment to support worthy causes in the Geelong community we have been pleased to pledge our help of late to the Salvation Army Family Christmas Celebration, the Cancer Council Victoria Geelong Relay for Life and the Osborne Park Association Christmas Carols event by the provision of prominent advertising signage.

Finally, we have once again created our Christmas Windows, which will be turned on tonight (Friday 17th November). We encourage you to bring the kids along to our office at 55 Myers Street, Geelong after dark to view our magical display of Christmas themes and lighting.


10th November
Looking for a Character Home?


If you are looking to buy a character home we have some great ones on the market right now.

For the renovator we have 17 Orchard Street in East Geelong, a lovely Victorian weatherboard home comprising 3 bedrooms, good sized back yard and single garage. This is neat and tidy and could be lived in now and renovated later.

311 Autumn Street in Newtown has just come onto the market for auction in early December. It is full of character with lovely street appeal, beautiful manicured gardens, 3 bedrooms, study and single carport. Situated close to the CBD, this one really is a Newtown classic.

50 Richmond Street, East Geelong is also going to auction in early December. It is a character Californian Bungalow style property, very neat and well presented, comprising 2 bedrooms and single garage. It too is ripe for renovation and would ideally suit first home buyers and investors.

For a real piece of history you can’t go past 33 Maud Street, Geelong. This impressive and imposing Victorian villa was built circa 1880 and incorporates all the best period features combined with the comforts of modern day living. It comprises 3 bedrooms and double carport and its city fringe location will ensure it gets plenty of interest.

For more details on these properties or any others please refer to the listings on our website. If we can assist you with an inspection, please do not hesitate to call.



27th October
What is the Due Diligence Check List

If you are actively searching for a property to buy chances are you have seen or been given a Due Diligence Check List. Before you buy a home, you should be aware of a range of issues that may affect that property and impose restrictions or obligations on you, if you do buy it. The Due Diligence Checklist aims to help you identify whether any of these issues will affect you. For the last 3 years (since October, 2014), all sellers or estate agents must make this checklist available to potential buyers of homes or residential property.

Sellers, conveyancers or estate agents must:
1. ensure copies of the due diligence checklist are available to potential buyers at any open for inspection
2. include a link to this webpage (consumer.vic.gov.au/duediligencechecklist) or include a copy on any website maintained by the estate agent or the seller (if no estate agent is acting for the seller).
3. include a copy in the Section 32 Statement which form part of the Contract of Sale.

The checklist mentions a variety of important points such as fire and flood risk, land boundaries, planning controls, owner corporations and buyers rights. To view the complete checklist visit the link cited above in (2).


20th October
2017 Auction Window Closing


We are now half way through Spring and the end of the year is fast approaching, with some stores already displaying Christmas merchandise, the early appearance of which seems to polarise the community (mostly against it).  If you are thinking of selling your property in 2017 with auction being the most appropriate method to maximise your ultimate sale price, all the marketing would need to be in place and ready to go by mid November at the latest (with a standard 4 week auction campaign and the last appropriate auction date being 16th December). This means you really should be looking to talk to an agent about selling within the next 2 weeks.

Missing the 2017 auction window means that your property would not come onto the market until early January, with a scheduled auction date around the end of January or the first week in February, 2018. A standard settlement period is 60 days, which would push out the finalisation of your sale into April, 2018, almost 6 months from now. So if you would like your sale to be effected in 2017, why not give one of our experienced sales agents a call to capitalise on this busy spring market. They can advise you on the estimated selling price of your home, the best method of sale and provide tips on presentation to maximise the appeal of your property. If you wait until January, your best buyer may be at the beach!


13th October
It's Time for Outdoor Entertaining


Is your outdoor area in need of some urgent action? With spring in full swing and summer fast approaching, now is the time to concentrate your efforts on revitalising your entertaining areas. Here are some simple tricks to update and invigorate without blowing your budget!

Sweep and Spruce
The weather over winter can wreak havoc with outdoor areas. Sweeping away the dust and dirt is a must…but sometimes not enough. Decking can often use a bit of TLC. Decking oil is simple to apply and provides a deck with the natural protection it needs to see it through the hot summer months. If you've got pavers or tiles, then a simple clean with a high-pressure water cleaner is sure to do the trick.

Outdoor furniture
To update tired outdoor furniture, you can't go wrong with cushions and covers. Outdoor sofa settings are instantly revamped with new covers and bold colours will complement wooden frames, and stand out against the backdrop of your garden.

Lighting
Evening entertaining is lovely on a hot night. Spotlights are useful if focused on the BBQ area and candles and lights that dim for your seating areas will create a more soothing and relaxed ambience. Citronella candles make short work of any mosquitos without the zzzap!

Remember: Keeping it simple is often the best and small changes can create a big impact!


6th October
The Spring Market is Hotting Up!

We are now into October and the weather is becoming a bit warmer, the AFL and NRL seasons are done and dusted and the last term of the school year starts next week. How quickly 2017 is flying by.

September has seen no lessening of buyer demand for properties, in fact the reverse is happening - numbers through open houses are steadily increasing the further into Spring we get.

First home buyers are well represented with the abolition of stamp duty (conditions apply) and the government incentives to build or purchase a new home. Investor interest is also strong in homes and units across all suburbs and price ranges. Combining that with steady ongoing demand from builders, developers and existing home owners and the result has seen more interest in properties coming onto the market and a noticably lesser time on the market. In particular, affordably priced homes in the northern suburbs - Corio, Norlane, North Geelong - are selling very quickly, often before any marketing has commenced, the demand is that strong.

All of this, together with interest rates still at traditionally low levels, has the ultimate effect of creating upward pressure on pricing and producing some very pleasing results for our vendors. You may be surprised at what your home is worth. If you are thinking of selling, of upsizing, or downsizing, or would just like to crunch the numbers for the purposes of forward planning, why not give one of our experienced sales representatives a call. Any one of them would be very pleased to assist you.


30th September
Unlocking the Equity in Your Home

With interest rates at historical lows, property remains a financially rewarding investment in the long term with houses doubling in value roughly every 10 years. Astute investors do their research, locating well positioned properties in areas where there has been proven rental demand and lifestyle value.

If you are in the market for an investment property, having an existing mortgage, especially if it is for the home you live in, is highly regarded by lenders. It also provides the opportunity to use your existing equity as a deposit for your investment property.Equity - the difference between the value of your property and the amount you owe on your mortgage - can be a powerful tool for building real estate wealth.

To access any existing equity will involve refinancing your mortgage. Why not take the opportunity to look at your mortgage options and compare rates.If the amount of interest you pay on your investment loan, together with property maintenance costs, is greater than the income you receive (rent), your property is considered to be negatively geared and this difference can be used as a tax deduction.

If you are looking at refinancing to create an investment property portfolio, always base your loan repayment calculations on conservative figures to ensure you can cope comfortably with an interest rate rise of two to three per cent above the current rate.



23rd September
The Choice to Move or Renovate

As families grow, needs change. Here are some tips to ensure your next property decision is the right one.

1. Have your home appraised- obtain an accurate understanding of the current market value of your home. We should be your first port of call - we know your suburb inside out. Be sure to also ask us how much your home would be worth in the current market if it was renovated.

2. Establish renovation costs - speak to a builder or two so you know what you'd be up for should you decide to stay where you are. Remember, it's important not to overcapitalise when renovating. You should be able to increase the value of your home through renovation by more than the amount of money you spend on the project.

3. Look at the cost to purchase a renovated property - you may find that for the same amount you plan to spend on renovating, you can buy a larger, more comfortable home that will provide more capital gain potential in the long run.

4. Be honest with yourself = are you up to the task of renovating your home? Tackling a renovation is a big job - many people love it but if you're not a fan of choosing tiles and taps, living in one room for six months or liaising endlessly with builders and tradespeople, maybe renovating isn't for you?


16th September, 2017
Something for Everyone This Spring

The Spring selling season has well and truly kicked into gear with our auction schedule filling up rapidly for the remaining weeks of September and well into October.

All buyer demographics are covered in our forthcoming auction campaigns. We have great investment options including an entry level unit in Highton, an very affordable home in Corio, a neat unit in Francis Street, Belmont and homes in Grovedale priced between $350,000 and $450,000 which would also equally suit first home buyers. We also have a character home in East Geelong which is about to commence marketing and at the higher end of the price spectrum we have just commenced marketing a large impressive home with spectacular views in Wandana Heights and a totally unique property near Deviation Lookout in Newtown (also with magnificent views) which would lend itself to re-development into a prominent Geelong icon.

These are just a sample of the properties we have coming up. If you are looking to buy, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our sales team and if you wish to sell we would be happy to assist you with a market appraisal and a competitive, professional service.



9th September, 2017
Our New Website

To coincide with the start of Spring we have just launched our new revamped website at www.maxwellcollins.com.au. It’s a much more vibrant, clean and user friendly interface and works equally well across all devices, both hand held and desktop. The rationale behind our new site is to be an information portal. Rather than just displaying properties for sale and lease, we hope to be able to assist our clients and the public at large with a wide range of information across the broadest spectrum of real estate issues and to provide a forum whereby you can ask any of our sales and leasing staff any real estate question, at no cost and with no obligation.

Whether you are a first home buyer concerned about the auction process, or you are looking to build your first home and want to discuss the purchase of land we can help. From stamp duty rates and concessions, to tips on presenting your home for sale, our aim is to assist you.  We can help you with median house prices for your suburb and comparable sales data upon which to base your future planning, or to find the best tradespeople to assist with maintenance on your home or investment property. If you have any question at all for us, please don’t hesitate to ask and if you are thinking of selling why not visit our website and read some of our reviews from past vendors and purchasers and watch one of our successful auctions.


2nd September, 2017
Spring Is Here!

Finally!  Winter is behind us and we can look forward to some warmer weather, a bit of sunshine to break up the grey and gardens starting to bloom.   In addition to which, Geelong has made it into another finals series which adds to the positive vibe around the town.

To coincide with the start of Spring we have just launched our new revamped website at www.maxwellcollins.com.au.  It’s a much more vibrant, clean and user friendly interface and works equally well across all devices, both hand held and desktop.  The rationale behind our new site is to be an information portal.  Rather than just displaying properties for sale and lease, we hope to be able to assist our clients and the public at large with a wide range of information across the broadest spectrum of real estate issues and to provide a forum whereby you can ask any of our sales and leasing staff any real estate question, at no cost and with no obligation.

Whether you are a first home buyer concerned about the auction process, or you are looking to build your first home and want to discuss the purchase of land we can help.  From stamp duty rates and concessions, to tips on presenting your home for sale, our aim is to assist you.  We can help you with median house prices for your suburb and comparable sales data upon which to base your future planning, or to find the best tradespeople to assist with maintenance on your home or investment property.   If you have any question at all for us, please don’t hesitate to ask.


26th August, 2017

Own Your Own Home This Spring!

The spring property market is fast approaching, and if you are looking to purchase a new home or investment, here are few tips to prepare you for success.  The key to a successful home purchase is using research and facts - not emotions - to make the right choice. The process may require patience, but here are three keys steps to helping you make the right decision:

1. Decide on your budget
Looking carefully at your finances will determine how much you can afford to spend on a home. Look at your income, assets and current debt level.  If your lender says you can repay $1,200 a month, but you know you are struggling with a rental of $1,000 a month, you probably know that you don't need any more than you already have.

2. Research
Spend the time to find the home you want. Start by checking out neighborhoods. You should consider the schools, parks, public transport and lifestyle advantages.  When choosing between homes, look at the size, number of bedrooms and baths, design and amenities. Decide what your "must haves" are and what the "nice to haves" are.

3. Negotiate the right price
Don't get caught up in having to get the home and lose sight of how much you can afford. Recent sales in the
area will give you a fairly accurate guide to the home's value. If you are bidding at auction, make sure you have attended a few before you bid yourself.  This will give you the confidence to bid up to your set limit.


19th August, 2017

5 out of 5...!


It was a big weekend of auction action here at Maxwell Collins last Saturday with 5 out of the 5 properties put up for auction selling under the hammer. Auctioneers Duncan Skene, Shaun Carroll and Peter Maxwell were kept very busy with the bids coming thick and fast and a resulting aggregate of $290,000 over reserve prices achieved.

58 Barwon Boulevard, Highton, 3 Dundas Street, Herne Hill, 12 Hilltop Street, Herne Hill, 2 Torquay Road, Belmont and 105 Maud Street, Geelong all saw good crowds turn out to see each home knocked down under the hammer to 5 ecstatic buyers.

These exciting results show that the market is continuing to be very strong and we anticipate that it will get stronger still as we approach the Spring selling season. Our auction calendar is beginning to fill for September and with a minimum of 4 weeks marketing as a lead in to an auction, now is an ideal time to consider whether you should take advantage of this red hot market in Spring.

If you would like a market appraisal, please call one of our sales team. There is no obligation and you might be quite surprised by the estimated price.


12th August, 2017
Prepare Now For Spring Selling


The spring selling season is fast approaching and experience shows that vendors who invest in going that "extra mile" with presentation, especially in a tougher market, usually achieve a quicker sale and sometimes, a higher price. Property styling is one way to improve a home's prospects for selling as fast as possible for the highest price. It also allows the vendor to create a 'wow' factor in the home that will leave a lasting impression upon buyers.

Property stylists are flexible when it comes to the sellers needs. They can simply take a look at a property and incorporate furniture and artwork that blends well with the abode. Alternatively, a full end-to-end property styling make-over can be undertaken.

Here is a list of some of the tasks property stylists can advise on:

1. Home and Garden Maintenance - including weeding and rubbish removal
2. Handyman services - re-hanging a door, replacing a window frame etc
3. Styling - declutter, reposition, supply rental furniture and matching accessories
4. General Ideas - offer those final special touches

A good indication of the average price for property styling is somewhere between $2000 - $4000. And any good stylist should be happy to work within a set budget. Ask us how we can help you best prepare your home for sale.


5th August, 2017
Update on Land

We are very pleased to announce the launch this week of Stage 7A of Phalaris Park Estate in Lovely Banks. Located in a quiet pocket just off Matthews Road and very convenient to all established amenities and the ring road, the previous releases have proved very popular, all selling out within several weeks of launching. We have already had strong interest in Stage 7A so we implore any prospective buyers to be quick, as we anticipate this stage will sell out as fast as the previous ones.

The next stage at Bay Breeze Estate at St Leonards has just been pegged with lot boards going up in the forthcoming days. Stage 1 has sold out so here is the next opportunity to secure a block in this popular seaside hamlet.

Stage 10B at Highton Ridge continues to sell steadily and we are not far from releasing the next stage in this development, which will be Stage 3 Riverside. Stages 1 and 2 have been sold out for some time, so it is exciting to be able to offer Stage 3 in the next month or so.

Ashbury Estate in Armstrong Creek is selling rapidly, with our most busy week for enquiry yet. There are only a few blocks left in Stages 6 and 7 currently for sale.

Don’t forget the government regional grant of $20,000 for first home buyers who build a new home (conditions apply).


15th July, 2017
The Next Boom Suburbs.....?

The last couple of months has seen some extraordinary sale results achieved in suburbs such as Herne Hill where for instance an unrenovated 2 bedroom home sold for $587,500 ($127,500 over the reserve) to a prospective owner occupier. This trend is coming about through buyers being priced out of the traditionally more expensive Newtown and Geelong West and therefore looking to more affordable options further  afield.

With that in mind, it is interesting to consider what $587,500 would buy you in say Highton, Grovedale, Waurn Ponds or Armstrong Creek and the answer is (in most instances) a large modern 4 bedroom and double garage home with no renovation required (likely even brand new in Armstrong Creek). So with the large disparity between the relative bang for your buck in these suburbs compared to Herne Hill and Hamlyn Heights, it is worth posing the question. Are these suburbs undervalued? Will the next trend see a boom in pricing in Highton, Grovedale, Waurn Ponds and Armstrong Creek? With demand across the board exceeding supply and the abolition of stamp duty for first home buyers (conditions apply) the answer seems a very likely yes.


8th July, 2017
Thoughts On the Year to Date

It’s startling to realise that we are already half way through 2017. The end of the financial year has been and gone, Term 2 school holidays are well underway and it’s already Round 16 of the AFL season.

The first half of this year has been incredibly busy in terms of real estate. The demand for homes continues to rise in a red hot sellers market, which will be made even more hot by the abolition of stamp duty for first home buyers (meeting a fairly broad criteria) by introducing a whole new tier of buyers into the market. Analysts predict that this will put even more upward pressure on house prices. So if you are in the fortunate position of being a home owner now might be a good time to reflect on your goals for the rest of the year. Whether it is to sell, upsize, downsize, invest or retire, we can offer you the best advice to ensure your decisions are the right ones for a successful 2017 and peace of mind going forward.


24th June, 2017
....and More on the Market

House and unit sales are running hot and we are often selling property before any official marketing commences. Hardly a day goes by where we don’t hear prospective buyers lamenting the fact that there is nothing out there for them to buy. Some of the buyers on our list have been looking to purchase for 12 months or more, unsuccessfully. With very limited property on the market across Greater Geelong generally and motivated buyers competing fiercely at auction to buy what is available, we cannot envisage a better time to sell.

Spring is traditionally thought to be the best time to sell. If sellers wait until then, they are competing with all the other properties coming onto the market at the same time, which will dilute the buyer pool for each property and possibly impact the sale price. This is why now is such a great time to sell. Supply is limited, demand is through the roof, competition for homes is at an all time high, first home buyers are competing with cashed up investors and the prices we are obtaining right now are reflective of all those factors.

If you are thinking of selling, don’t wait until Spring. The time to sell is right now.


17th June, 2017
The Market - No Signs of Slowing

In my 17 years in real estate it is hard to recall a time when the market has been so red hot. Properties in sought after suburbs are literally flying out the door as demand continues to exceed supply, resulting in some amazing results in suburbs such as Herne Hill, Hamlyn Heights and Newcomb, which have historically produced more conservative results.

We are seeing a lot of disappointed buyers at auctions, who continue to search for that perfect property which keeps eluding them as they are outbid week in and week out. Winter also traditionally sees a drop in homes coming onto the market, which decreases the amount of properties on the market resulting in an upward push in prices.

So what does this all mean for you, the home owner? It means that your home may well be worth far more that you think it does. Far more than any prevoius appraisal you might have had and far more than comparable homes in your immediate vicinity which may have sold more than 12 months ago. It means that now is about the best time to sell that we have seen. If you are thinking of selling, we would be happy to provide you with a no obligation opinion of the value of your home.


10th June, 2017
An Astonishing Result in Herne Hill

Last Saturday, our Sales Manager Eugene Carroll and our Auctioneer Shaun Carroll took a 2 bedroom home at 6 Hilltop Street, Herne Hill to auction.  The reserve was set at $460,000 after consultation with the vendor in the days prior to the auction and on the day a good crowd of about 60 turned out for the auction.  When the bidding hit $460,000 the property was ‘on the market’ and was to be sold. What no one
could foresee was that fierce bidding between 3 determined buyers would push the eventual sale price up to $587,500, a whopping $127,500 over the reserve price.

As you could imagine, the vendor was absolutely blown away by the result, particularly bearing in mind the home is only 2 bedrooms. The eventual buyers purchased it for renovation as their own future residence.

This exceptional result is a clear indication that buyers who are priced out of Geelong West are now prepared to pay significant dollars to live in neighbouring (and burgeoning!) Herne Hill.


26th May, 2017
Professional Training & Development

At Maxwell Collins our philosophy is to be at the cutting edge of real estate. This means we are heavily committed to continual professional training and development for our sales team so that we can offer you the highest level of real estate services. Whether this involves the latest digital techniques for marketing your property, or perfecting our skills for negotiating the best possible price for your property our sales team are always looking for ways to make our clients’ real estate experience the most seamless and stress free possible.

Our next major training undertaking is the annual Australian Real Estate Conference 2017, the most prestigious training event in the country, being run on the Gold Coast this weekend and involving the best speakers in the real estate industry from Australia and all over the world. Our sales team are looking forward to the event and can’t wait to be back next week to implement new strategies and techniques to assist our clients to the best possible outcomes. It’s always pleasing to see the extra level of enthusiasm and commitment that this sort of training immediately brings to our already talented sales team.