Eat, Drink and Be Selling: It’s Not The End of The World!

How many End of the World prophecies have you heard of in recent memory?

It’s ok, I’m not channelling Jim Jones

From Marshall Applewhite’s Heaven’s Gate Cult who all had to ‘pull the pin’ to hop on the back of the Hale-Bopp comet to eternal life in 1997, to the interpretation of the Mayan Long Calendar that had us all evaporating on the 21 December 2012 – there is always someone willing to call it.

What if I told you the end of the World, and life as we know,  comes every year on the 25th of December?

It’s ok, I’m not channelling Jim Jones (stop mixing the kool-aide), I’m just sharing the long-held beliefs of many of my former, current and potential clients over the last sixteen years.

If I had $10 for every-time I heard the following assertion/statement, it is highly likely I would be able to afford my dream of an office under a palm tree, with clear turquoise water three steps away and a steady supply of breakfast through to dinner cocktails to keep me upbeat about my challenging surroundings;

“Nothing happens in December and January. There is no point in trying to sell until the New Year.”

I’m TOO BLOODY busy to take a vacation…

This urban myth continues to be rolled out by almost every home owner that has reached that decision that it is time to go; whether by a private house sale or through an agent – as the year (just a number on a calendar) draws to an end.

Why do I know it is a myth?

Because I have lived and worked through 15 or 16 of them and I have only ever taken one serious vacation during the time frame we are discussing today.

And that time frame is 1st of December to the 31st of January.

And do you know why I only took one serious holiday in that time period over the last 15 or 16 years?

Because I was (and still am) TOO BLOODY busy from the 1st of December to the 31st of January!

Busy – listing and marketing properties for sale, taking and qualifying buyer enquiry, conducting inspections, negotiating and putting deals together.

Hell…I remember one Christmas Eve, showing a couple three or four houses during the day, then at about 5.15pm (I’ll never forget the time) as I was preparing to do my Christmas shopping, the husband calls and says, “We want to make an offer on house X.”

Waddaya do?

I dropped everything (an IOU to the Mrs would have to suffice) and to cut a long story short, a very happy seller and buyer had a great deal by 7pm.

Here is the scoop.

During the ‘End of the World’ period there are three days, yep three days, where the market takes a break.

The 25th, 26th and 27th of December, then another possible breather on the 1st of January.

Here’s how buyers (the market) behave during the end of the world.

On the 25th-27th of December they drop all tools and head off to far flung corners of the country to visit the relatives they moved away from so happily years ago.

Tons of chook, prawns and turkey – as well as oceans of sav blanc and TED’s (or Asahi’s if the kids were forced to buy dad a present) – are consumed like all the human race is about to undertake a mass hibernation or even extinction.

As they emerge from the food and alcohol coma of the 25th, there are three huge undertakings to embark upon on the 26th:

Consumption of the left overs, the Boxing Day Test and the big sales.

So much to do, so little time.

It was not uncommon for to me to showing properties during that Christmas/New Year period

The 27th brings forth a day that should be dubbed; ‘I can’t be f*cked day’ – as Australia have capitulated on Day 1 and we have to watch the other mob rack up 500+ runs, the left overs are down to a couple of slices of ham and nana’s fruit Christmas Cake, and the buyer’s remorse from the Boxing Day sales is a deep as it is painful – “Did I really need that Google thingy that will tell me what time it is in Estonia when I ask it?”

But then…on the 28th, laptops fire up, phones get feverishly fingered and those who were thinking about a move start to act.

It was not uncommon for to me to showing properties during that Christmas/New Year period and locking down two, three or four contracts.

Sure, all the poor, slave-like lawyers scuttled away until about the second week of January, but a locked and loaded deal would be waiting for the little dears on their email after their two week Cook Island breather.

The long and short of it is – serious property buyers generally put their cue in the rack for about three to five days over the Christmas period, then they come out swinging after ‘I can’t be f*cked day’.

The big question is: If you want to sell your own home when the end of the world comes, will you be ready for the day after?


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Take My Word For It; When Buying or Selling Your Own Home – Dont!


An ambiguous headline?

It is meant to be in a way.

I want to grab your attention – as all headlines are meant to – because this is an important subject.

Does it mean – don’t sell? No! Don’t Buy? No!

What I want to discuss is when you sell your own home or use an agent, or you are buying, don’t simply take someone’s word at face value.

It could cost you.

A little due diligence can go a looooong way!

The reason I want to bring this to your attention is a recent conversation I had with a client who had decided to sell her own property.

Whilst her situation was unique, it is an issue that occasionally raises its head, and can lead to pretty serious implications.

I’ll refer to her as Cathy.

The issue didn’t arise from Cathy selling privately, she was doing a great job – dealing with enquiries and engaging buyers.

The issue arose from when she bought her property.

A few years earlier, when Cathy bought the property, the agent had apparently promoted it as a twenty-two (22) acre allotment and sold it as such.

As it was a big lump of land, she took the information on face value and decided there was no need to question the size of the block as is was purported.

However, things got a little interesting when Cathy came to an agreement with a buyer just recently.

Based on her purchase of the block, and what she believed to be fact, Cathy promoted her twenty-two acre property in good faith.

When Cathy and the buyer agreed to a price and terms, the buyer did a little due diligence before signing on the dotted line – which is advisable with any property purchase.

To Cathy’s dismay, the buyer had discovered, via a title search, that the block was in fact nineteen (19) acres, not twenty-two.

Cathy had taken the word of the agent she bought through and placed her faith in the legal representative that handled the contractual obligations when she bought it.

She was mortified.

You can imagine that the buyer immediately believed he was being ‘dudded’, however, Cathy in no way, shape, or form had gone out to mislead anyone.

This buyer had proven to be flighty in the early stages of negotiation, and this unforeseen and completely unintentional oversight was enough to exacerbate his ‘flightiness’.

Happily, the deal has stuck and once a couple of standard conditions on the contract are satisfied it is all systems go.

For buyers, the moral to this story is don’t simply take anyone’s word – an agent, a seller, even a legal eagle – on face value. A little due diligence can go a loooong way.

In most cases, none of the players involved intend to deceive or misrepresent a property, but some vital information can be missed or slip through the cracks.

Ask questions and do a little homework to be certain.

Hey, before I got into Real Estate sales I bought a property that was promoted and plugged by the agent as being three (3) acres – then after I dived headlong into a career in Real Estate, I found out that I had bought two point six (2.6) acres. As it was a lifestyle acreage block, with very little chance of it ever being a development proposition, I thought, “Well, big lesson there. Hey Tony (the agent), you owe me 1600 square metres!”

For sellers, know what you are selling.

Know your block sizes, know if any easements exist, know the approximate size of dwellings/houses on the block, know the approximate age, be up front with any improvements that have been carried out…disclose any ‘material fact’ about the property that could be seen to affect the buyer once they take possession and ownership.

This article does talk about some extreme cases, but highlights the importance of fair and timely disclosure of relevant facts.

Providing transparent and accurate (as possible) knowledge of your property, that can be verified, will satisfy even the most suspicious buyer and prevent any nasty repercussions.

Take my word for it.

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Cough Up or Shut Up – Only Sell Your Home to Buyers with M.A.N!

The business of selling a residential property is pretty straight forward – but there is always someone who wants to re-invent the wheel.

Here’s how it should play out…

A home/property owner wants to, needs to, or has to sell and move on.

Owner hires an agent or explores a private house sale option.

The home or property owner, or their agent, promotes the property to attract buyers.

Buyers respond – enquiry – inspect – make offer – come to an agreement with the owner – make it legal – owns it.

As I have discussed, at length, in past offerings, as long as the buyer has got the M.A.N. – a straight forward deal should be executed and the property ‘changes hands’.

A quick reminder:




Without all three, a genuine buyer does not exist and exploring the possibilities of achieving any deal are almost non-existent.

However, there is always someone out there who will try to re-invent the wheel (innovate) and profess that the most important ingredient of the ‘qualified buyer’ scenario, MONEY, is not that important – and there are ways around it to enable smart (see struggling) buyers to purchase residential property.

I have come into contact with quite a few ‘smarties’ armed with ‘knowledge’ from out-of-the-box spruikers who make a nice earn from their gullibility.

The ‘smarties’ are usually eager potential investors and buyers who want in on yet another get-rich-quick property system.

Recently one of these spruikers, Rick Otton, was fined $18m – yes – Eighteen Million Dollars by the Federal Court for engaging in ‘deceptive and misleading conduct’ through his ‘We Buy Houses’ platform and a book he published; ‘How to Buy a House for $1’

Instead of seeking reputable sources of finance, ‘clients’ were taught methods such as: Rent to Buy, Vendor Finance, Sandwich Lease Option and other ‘gems’.

Otton came to my notice not long after the sh*t hit the property fan with the GFC.

Some owners fell on hard times and couldn’t sell (because of a lack of financed buyers) and many buyers could not secure finance because of the tightening of credit from credible sources (banks etc).

It was a tough time for the property market.

My first exposure to Otton (indirectly) was when I showed a couple a property I was selling for the owner, and buyers, in general, were not thick on the ground.

This couple was confident, and my initial qualification indicated they might have the BIG ‘M’.

We started talking offers and price, and whilst they were some way off offering a price that would get the owner interested, I explored what conditions/terms they would require to get a deal done.

The one thing I will pay them credit for is that they were prepared!

They presented me with a list of conditions that basically heaped all the risk on the seller, gave them the key and the seller would get their money when the buyer on-sold the property in 12 or 18 months – oh and with a deposit that would barely secure a new lawn mower.

My inner voice was yelling, “You have got to be f*cking kidding me?!”

My outer voice said, “Right, where did you learn this purchase method?”

“Oh, we follow a guy called Rick Otton.”

“That’s great, I don’t know Mr. Otton, but you may want to let him know that that is NOT the way I will do business for any of my clients.  If you can’t raise sufficient funds to buy this home outright – you will have to look elsewhere.”

“Oh, we know someone will want to run with this deal.”

“Good luck finding them.”

When I told the seller of this attempted deal, he was so grateful that I had cut them off at the pass.

Over the next year or two I struck a couple more of these ‘disciples’ and they got the same short shrift.

More recently a client called to say she had been approached by a potential buyer who was offering a ‘rent to buy’ scenario to purchase her property.

My first reaction was – “Hold everything!”

I then explained that this was fraught with danger, and even if she was going to consider it, she must seek trusted legal advice before even entertaining the offer any further.

Happy to say that she rejected this offer and the buyer miraculously came up with the MONEY to complete a conventional purchase.

Buying a home or property is no different to any other transaction.

If you, as a buyer, don’t have the ability or capability to present the full, agreed amount to transfer ownership, take a walk.

If you can’t cough up, then shut up and find someone who is willing to sell based on a promise and a warm handshake.


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Phones Ring, Emails Ping: Ignore the Bear sh*t and Sell Your Home.

Can you smell that?

Its as comforting as the smell of fresh cut grass; that cleansing inhale as new rain hits the dry concrete; the aroma of steaming coffee as you enter your favourite café…

Yep, that’s right folks – time to enjoy the settling fragrance of a level(ling) property market.

Let’s ignore the smell of what the Bears might be leaving behind – “Bears?  What Bears?!”  Read on to find out.

Buyers have regained their sanity – they won’t chase any old price at the moment.

Some sellers are losing theirs – “What?! My property is NOT worth X anymore?”

Keep calm – whether you are selling through and agent or ready to sell your own home, everyone still has their shirt on.

If you listened or watched all the economists and opinion setters who have gathered on the fateful ship – HMS Doom and Gloom – you may well be jumping on a high speed tug boat, with bull horn in hand, ready to demand the Doom and Gloom drop anchor and let you on board for the all you can eat and drink voyage to economic oblivion.

Or, you could stick with a brave band of rebels (me included) on land, who know the Doom and Gloom will run out of steam and limp back into port with its passengers wondering why the hell they set sail in the first place.  Not much will have changed here back on Terra-Firma.

Yes – there has been a slight ‘correction’ in property prices (mainly driven by Sydney and Melbourne), but what goes up, must come down – gently.

There is always someone calling a ‘Bear Market’; prices in stocks and property sliding – and the Bears have been active for a few years now – predicting price drops of 15%, 20% and some even up to 40%.

NOTE:  Stop watching tripe like 60 Minutes!

At the end of 2012, as we were recovering from the almost ‘arse falling out of pants’ correction of 2009/2010 – the median price in Sydney was $594,000.

In March 2018 it hit $1,150,357!!

Do Bears sh*t in the woods?

Apparently, mostly.

So, how long can we bear the Bears who would prefer to sh*t in our backyards and keep scaring the sh*t out of us?

It’s still all hands to the wheel for us.

Yes, the state of any market is determined by the numbers, but consumer (buyer) behaviour at any given moment can be accurately measured by response to the stock on market – enquiries on property for sale.

If you prefer the hard numbers (with a human touch), read this article by respected Core Logic Economist, Tim Lawless.  Tim is one of the rebels on the dock waving goodbye to the HMS Doom and Gloom.

As for ‘frontline’ measurement – through buyer enquiries (action) – it’s still all hands to the wheel for us.

…”I’ve Sold!”

The Phones Ring and the Emails Ping from buyers wanting to enquire on and inspect our clients’ private house sales.

Sure, the numbers are down a little (5-10%) since the Banking Royal Commission, which has ‘forced’ the banks to (temporarily) tighten up on lending; but the enquiries just keep flowing and the emails from our sellers saying, “I’ve got an offer” or “I’ve sold!” don’t seem to have waned too much.

The sellers who have adjusted to the softer demand from buyers are reaping the rewards and can move onto their next purchase with the leverage to be able to drive a bargain at the other end.

A recent article I wrote outlines how to take full advantage of a less confident, but still active market.

As I’ve said before, and I’ll say it again, this is the ‘blip’ we probably needed so everyone could take a breather, reset and go again.

PSST: I’ll let you in on a secret.  Google: 18 = 4 + 4.  Tell me what you find.

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How to Sell without Agents- why one phone call saved a client $15,000

Have you met an Agent who claims to be the Pied Piper?

The thing that struck me so hard during the following conversation was the fact that they are still doing it.

Who? Doing what?

Agents, telling porkies to get potential sellers to sign on the dotted line, especially those owners who are conducting their own private house sales.

But it wasn’t until I dug a bit deeper into this client’s initial request that I found out that she was acting on a promise, that, at that time, had little substance and if she acted on it, it may very well have cost her $15,000!

Although this story is true, I am not using the client’s real name – so for this purpose, her name is Lorraine.

Lorraine called, and her first question was, “How do I take my property off the market?”

Seeing she had only been on the market for a few days, my suspicions were raised so I thought I had better investigate.

“You’ve only been out there for a few days Lorraine, what has happened?”

“A local Agent has got a buyer for my place and he doesn’t want me to continue to sell my house online – he wants me to get it off the sites?”

“Ok, interesting. When did the buyer see it?”

“Oh, they haven’t.”

“Right, so you have signed an agreement with the agent.”

“No, but he said for him to bring the buyer I have to take it off the net.”

Qualify the Agent as you would a potential buyer.

“When is he bringing the buyer?”

“I think sometime next week, he wants to pop over on Sunday (remember this is Tuesday) to sign an agreement.”

“Let me get this straight.  You have an agent who may or may not have a serious buyer, without an agreement and he wants you to take your property off the market until this buyer materialises?”

“Ah, yes.”

“How much does he want to charge you for commission?”


“Hold everything Lorraine! That is $15,000 for potentially walking a buyer through your door – and who had probably seen your ad online anyway! What if there are other buyers looking at your property online right now?  They will come to you. You must remember that buyers follow property, not agents. If you take it down now, you run the risk of missing out on serious buyers and putting all your eggs into this Agent’s basket – without any guarantee of a sale with his ‘buyer’.”

“But he said that they missed out on  a property down the road and they are keen.”

“If they are that red-hot, then why are they coming to look next week and not now?!”

“I don’t know?”

“Lorraine, this, sadly, is part of the standard procedure for quite a number of agents to enable them to snare listings. You sign up with them on the promise that they have a very keen buyer, the buyer fails to materialise, and if they do there is no guarantee that they will buy it; and you have signed a listing agreement that might have you locked in with that agent for the next 90-120 days, and if they are able to attract a genuine buyer – you are $15,000 poorer.  And you had it all in hand, controlling your own sale, in the first place.”

“Oh, I never thought of this.  The average person doesn’t know this stuff.”

“You need to tell the agent this…” I then went onto explain how to take control of this agent and his claims to having a buyer.

“That makes so much sense, Craig.  Maybe I should leave the house on the net for now?”

“My word you should.  Keep me posted Lorraine.”

“I will, thank you so much.”

No agent owns a buyer and trying to control buyers is like trying to herd cats or rats – 

And believe it or not, that afternoon Lorraine received three direct buyer enquiries via her ads appearing on the big websites. No agent in the mix. $15,000 still in her pocket.

When you are approached by an agent when you want to sell your own home, with claims of having a buyer, or hoards of them, ask questions.

Qualify the agent as you would a potential buyer.

Don’t take his or her claim on face value.

As I said to Lorraine; Buyers follow property, not agents.

Agents aren’t the Pied Piper of Hamelin!


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How long will it take to sell my house and for how much?

These are two of the most commonly asked questions asked by anyone ready to, or thinking about selling their home, whether with a traditional agent or by private sale.

  • How long will it take to sell?
  • How much will it sell for?

It takes a brave person to answer either or both those questions with complete surety.

…the property market’s version of the Davinci Code.

The property market is awash with (recent) historical data that paints a picture of what has been going on in any particular suburb or town for the quarter (3 months) prior to the moment a property hits the market.

Core Logic, one of the leading property data sources have developed a Hedonic Price Index which they claim can measure property market movement/prices on a daily basis.

Hats off to them and I am the last person to dispute impressive maths, but even I, with 16 years of marketing and sale experience still look like the dog who has seen a UFO land when I try and decipher the property market’s version of the Davinci Code.

Pricing property and determining how long it will take to sell is not something that could be categorised as an exact science.

There is one factor that can’t be quantified, just yet, and that is human emotion.  Fear and greed drive the property market and either switch can be flicked by buyers and sellers in a heart-beat – but it takes weeks, even months, for that fear and greed quotient to be truly measured.

For me, the best two measurable indicators that display the health of any market are:

  • Median Price (although I prefer average price but almost every data platform runs with ‘median’)
  • Days on market.

Median price is the middle price when taking into account the lowest sale price to highest sale price in any given area/suburb/town.

Days on market are generally measured from the day a property hits the market to the day an enforceable contract is executed.

As I like to keep things simple; it stands to reason – the longer the average days on market become, the greater likelihood that a market is slowing down.

Less buyers, taking longer to decide on the best value property for them.

Generally, the median price falls as days on market rises.

The opposite applies when buyers are more confident, less stock (property) on the market and decisions are made quicker.

Economics 101 – Supply and Demand.

…things may not be as dim as they sim.

Its not rocket science, but these two indicators are generally your best market barometer.

So, let’s look at some capital city suburbs for median price and days on market.

I simply stuck a pin in each capital city, for a suburb around 5-10kms from the CBD.

To help you form an opinion on how each suburb is faring days on market greater than 30-40, generally indicate a slower market.

However, I have to say, some of the numbers I am seeing, and the amount of buyer enquiry flowing through our agency says that things may not be as dim as they sim.

(Data supplied by

Everton Hills (10km from Brisbane CBD)

3 bed home; Median Price $535,000; Days on Market – 38

Marrickville (10km from Sydney CBD)

3 bed; $1.4m; DOM – 26

Caulfield (10km from Melbourne CBD)

3 bed; $1.69m; DOM – 44

Bellerive (3.2km from Hobart CBD)

3 bed; $588,000; DOM – 20

Cheltenham (9km from Adelaide CBD)

3 Bed; $534,000; DOM – 70

Claremont (8km from Perth CBD)

3 Bed; $1.1m; DOM – 64

You can see that it’s a pretty mixed bag, with Hobart and Sydney leading the way for quicker turnover, with Perth and Adelaide properties taking longer to land a buyer.

Ok,what is the answer to “how long and how much?”?

Days on market and similar recent sales is the way baby!

A little objective research goes a looooong way to finding the answer.



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How to Put Buyers on The Bench When You Sell Your Own Home.

The ‘bench’ is a very handy tool to keep buyers warm, and ready to get into the game.


Have you finally lost your mind, Craig?

Kitchen bench, workshop bench…?

Why would a buyer want to sit on my bench?

Luckily I am still able convince the medicos that a I am sane – just.

Having coached junior rugby league for fifteen years, an average (at best) player in my younger days and always a keen observer and avid supporter – I draw quite a few analogies from sport to further my explanations and observations of the property and business world.

In this particular post, I want to show you, if you are looking to sell a house privately, that the ‘bench’ is a very handy tool to keep buyers relaxed, interested and ready to get into the game.


Many team sports don’t just rely on the players who take the field at the start of any game.

There is usually a number of ‘reserves’ who can be called upon when one of the ‘starters’ gets injured, shows poor form or needs a quick chat with the coach.

Players who start from the bench aren’t necessarily poorer players.  They may have a role as an ‘impact’ player, not quite at full fitness, or new to the team and getting used to structures and game plans.

In rugby league, for example, the teams with the strongest ‘benches’ generally prove hard to beat and go a long way into playoffs and finals.

The bench is a critical part of any team’s success.

And it certainly is when it comes to selling your own home.

Your ‘bench’ comes into play at the time, or just after, you secure a deal and a contract on your home or property.

Yes, you have a buyer, however, as with nearly all contracts, there are conditions that need to be met before your buyer becomes the new owner.

The most common conditions are:

  • Approval of Finance &
  • Building and/or pest inspections.

Most contracts allow for anywhere between ten and twenty-one days for these conditions to be met by the buyer.

This is called the ‘conditional’ period.  Yes, you have a deal, but if any of the conditions can’t be met – the buyer can’t obtain finance or the building inspection scares the buyer off – the property goes back on the market and a new buyer is sought.

It pays to have all your bases covered!

It is during this conditional period of the sale that you should continue to take enquiries from other buyers – put them on the bench – in case the current contract ‘falls over’ on any of the conditions.

To make any prospective buyer feel comfortable taking a seat on your bench you simply tell them…

“We have a conditional contract on the property. We’ll know soon if it sticks.  Would you like to know if it fails to complete?”

Nine out of ten buyers will say, “Yes please!”

Keep their details, and if the contract does fall over, bingo – go to your bench and get your reserves onto the field.  Usually another offer/contract isn’t far away.

And if your current contract does stick, it’s nice to tell any bench players that they won’t be getting a run today – the property has sold.

Using another sporting analogy – it pays to have all your bases covered!


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Kids: Cute or a Costly Distraction When Buying or Selling a Home?

Just as I was about to snatch Captain America, snap him in half and bask in the glory of watching Damian lose his shit, mum said she would get back to me after she spoke to hubby.

When buying or selling a home, whether represented by an agent or you’ve decided to sell your own home, if you have young children, I suggest you read this story to ensure your attention is on a very important job – getting the deal done.

Firstly, let me qualify that I am father of three grown sons, who were very energetic toddlers and active growing children.

I understand the demand for attention that they possess and how adults can be easily distracted from any task by the actions of their little darlings.

I sorted this out very early on, when I had the ‘brainwave’ that I could work from home with my children present.

As soon as I would pick up the phone to do some business, my boys saw this as a green light to demand my attention.

From a simple “Dad, dad, dad….” to full blown tantrums when their attempts for attention were not met, I decided that important adult functions and interaction (making a living) were not going to be compromised by a three-year old thinking he is the centre of the Universe.

One day after quite a few, “Billy (name changed to protect the guilty), please be quiet, dads on the phone” pleadings, I calmly said to this client, “Can I call you back in just two minutes?” and terminated the call.

As I was pausing my conversation, I looked straight at my boy, and instantly he knew things were about to go down!

I ‘gently’ grabbed him by the hand, calmly walked him to his bedroom, sat him down and with my nose about 1cm from his, and blasted out like a Regimental Sergeant Major, “If you interrupt me on the phone once more I am going to knock your block off – get it.”

With that, the tears welled as he weighed up whether he might take one more stab at an untimely interruption or would he prefer his head remain in place in the middle of his shoulders.

The likelihood, in his mind, of the latter far outweighed the temptation of the former.

You’ll be happy to know that his current therapist said these images will fade by the time he is thirty-five.

I slowly shut the door and returned to the job of earning an income to feed, clothe and house my little scone grabbers.

“Hi, Sorry about that…”

Up until the time I realised working from home was not all that is was cracked up to be, disturbances from then on were few and far between.

I’m sure the recipient of my ‘tough love’ filtered word through to his siblings that if they want their heads to stay in their current location, don’t bug dad when he is on the phone.

Should you feel the need to report this parenting style to Child Services, they will not have any trouble tracking me down and the ‘victims’, my kids, will probably laugh at the Officers sent to investigate, and commence their own interrogation to find out what life is like as Public Servant.  (Trust me, my mob have been well schooled).

Now that you know I have been there, done that, got the tattoo, I can say with heartfelt sincerity to potential home buyers and sellers; if at all possible, if you have kids under, say, 10years old, try to have them looked after at home by an iPad or similar device, or leave them to visit a kind aunt, neighbour or grandparent if you are going to inspect one or any number of homes or attempt to sell your own home.

There is no way on earth you can calmly and diligently inspect or carry out an inspection of yours or any property with children wanting your attention or running wildly through the home.

I have met parents who are on the ‘Open Home’ or inspection trail with a couple of little darlings in tow, and if I struck them after about their fourth or fifth inspection, the parents looked like they’d been ten rounds with Mike Tyson, and the children were in a mind altered state of boredom, ratty tiredness or imminent starvation.

There is no possible way these intrepid buyers (or sellers for that matter) can make a logical decision and clear observations with the mayhem unfolding amongst the rug rats.

The only valid input that could be useful from a child accompanying their parent on an inspection is if the kid is going to sign the bloody cheque to buy the house!

An inspection I conducted on one particular home motivated me to write on this subject.

A three-year old boy, with perfectly workable and functioning legs, was bolted to the hip of his mother who was inspecting this home – and it didn’t take long for him to weave his evil and distracting magic

His grandmother was present, as was a brand new, still in the package 30cm Captain America doll which the little petal had firmly clenched in his arms.

Mum must have been on the Michelle Bridges 12 week challenge, because she schlepped that kid all over the house, up and down stairs, along with Captain America, for about 20-25 minutes. I was exhausted just watching her.

Each time mum wanted to ask me a question, and I was about to respond, her little angel would press the stomach of his mini Super Hero to enable the built-in speaker – “Avengers Assemble” or “Let’s go boys”. It was cute for about five seconds.

Anyway, at the end of the inspection, and with her muppet still attached to her hip along with Captain America, mum wanted to talk turkey about an offer.

Great.  She had quite a few questions, but ‘Damian’ had more presses in his finger than I had responses.

Each time I went to answer one of mum’s questions, the kid stared straight at me and pressed the button for Captain A to blurt out another call to arms.

It was hard to shift my gaze from mum, because if I had of gazed at Damian, my look would have set his head on fire and burned out his beady little eyeballs.

During this I kept thinking, “step in anytime grandma.  I’m sure there is a tree to show Damian in the backyard”.  But no, those bolts into to mum’s hip were tightened good and proper.

Grandma, although a lovely person was as useful as an ashtray on a motorcycle and no help to me, or her daughter.

Just as I was about to snatch Captain America, snap him in half and bask in the glory of watching Damian lose his shit, mum said she would get back to me after she spoke to hubby.

Suffice to say, she didn’t follow through with an offer, because she probably didn’t hear a word I said during the three way conversation between her, me and Captain America.

In all seriousness, buying or selling a home is a serious business.

As a buyer, you need to look closely, take in all the important features, the nicks and bumps that the home may possess and decide if it represents value as a potential family castle.  And you will have questions you will want to ask the owner if they are selling privately. The little ones can run riot and listen to Captain America on the day you move in.

So, buyers, eliminate distractions, ask questions and take your time to look, in order to make the right choice for one of life’s biggest investments – your next home.

The same goes if you are selling your own property, be attentive to those who are inspecting and don’t get distracted by the little people who may inhabit your current home.

Bribery, threats and even some gentle torture might just give you the opportunity to concentrate for an hour or so and get a deal done.







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Unless you are the owner of the ‘Star of Africa I’ diamond, you may need to re-think using the term ‘Unique’.

Wouldn’t it be the case that if something was so unique, the number of people interested in it/able to afford it would narrow down dramatically?

And the less people you attract will limit competition and therefore, ultimately, the sale price?

Unless you are the owner of the ‘Star of Africa I’ diamond, you may need to re-think using the term ‘Unique’.

Sure, as a marketer I understand better than most, that when you are offering a product or service you really need to define who your ‘target market’ is.

The current buzz term for this is referred to as a ‘niche’ market.

Come up with an idea that will solve the problem or satisfy the need of a specific group of people who see a solution to their issue, and they believe the cost of engaging that service of product will make their lives better, easier, happier (value)– AND there are enough of those people for your idea to make you a living or rich – then you have cracked line #1 of the successful business code.

However, when it comes time to sell your own home, it is important to identify who your ‘market’ is, but the more niche you believe your market to be and unique your property is, the harder the sales process can actually become.

‘Unique’ in the eyes of those home sellers who believe their property IS unique, usually leads to the biggest inhibitor of the sale process – unrealistic expectations.

Leading a marketing campaign with the term ‘Unique’ can be a recipe for disaster.  More than likely you are narrowing your potential market to a very small percentage of buyers who may share your vision and tastes.

I find that ‘Unique’ properties are generally offered by someone who purpose built their property to their specific tastes and specifications, to suit their lifestyle at that particular time.

And because that property was a labour of love, injected with loads of sweat tears, pride and cash, generally the expectations on price can repel even that small percentage of buyers who are even remotely attracted to it.

I had a conversation with a lovely lady the other day who described her property as ‘Unique’ at least four or five times in the first two minutes of our chat.

Sure, it wasn’t your run of the mill property – a small acreage with a business attached but I knew right there and then her potential marketing theme of ‘Unique’ would make matters more difficult to find a suitable buyer.

“Why not see your property and attached business as a LifeStyle OPPORTUNITY for someone? Work, rest and play all in the one place?!”

She went a bit quiet and then said, “Yes, I never thought of it like that.”

A simple adjustment to the marketing message changed the way she thought about her own property in such a way that she was thinking more about who might buy it, rather than boasting about its ‘Uniqueness’.

Do you want to sell your own property and believe it is unique?

Stop and think for a minute about what benefit the home or property offers to a potential buyer and shine the spotlight on that.

Remember: buyers react to benefits, not features or general terms such as ‘Unique’ – especially in a market that has steadied up; and buyers have more choice, whilst placing value at the top of their wish list.

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This Property Life – #2 SERIES #1

The stories of the people behind, and in front of, the scenes in Australia’s most talked about industry.

The Tim Tam Test

“Oh, strong and black thanks Maree – just how I like my men!” Beth Myrvold’s cackle was enough laughter for everyone, as Maree’s husband, Blake, a proud Afrikaner, smiled politely and continued to look courteously at the swath of sheets and brochures in front of him on the kitchen bench.

Beth, one of Eastcastle City Property’s gun agents, whose knack for humour to build rapport was still a work in progress, had been called in by the De Cocks as they were thinking of selling and heading up the coast for a quieter life around Shell Bay.

“Thanks, Maree. Oooh, Tim Tams! Are these the vegan ones?  Ah, doesn’t matter, one won’t hurt.” (“Tim Tams,” thought Beth, “They’ve gone top shelf bikkie here – I must be a big chance.”)

This beautifully presented three bedder, with pool, entertaining area and sought-after man-shed would be a prime listing for Beth, and surely would not hang around too long.

“Shell Bay.  What a lovely spot. Have you got your eye on anything up there?” As a four-year property sales veteran, Beth knew how to open a conversation designed to find out whether or not these home owners were likely to sell, soon.

“Yes, we have Beth, a gorgeous cottage on a quarter acre one street back from the main beach. We love it,” gushed Maree

“Well we have to sell this first dorling,” shot back Blake, ensuring his wife’s enthusiasm didn’t keep him awake at night for the next 20 years.

“So, Beth,” Blake fixed his gaze on Beth as she chomped into her second Tim Tam, “You’ve had a good look around, what will we get for this?”

“Ummmm, well Blake and Maree, you’ve had a look at the market report I dropped in, and you can see the recent sales of properties that would probably compare to yours,”

This was the moment of truth that every agent dreaded.

Would the price guide that Beth was about to blurt out, match the expectations of the anxious, yet sometimes ruthless, home owners?

The number she offered could mean the difference between a third Tim Tam and the listing, or an abrupt ending to their cordial meeting and those almost fatal words, “We’ll have a chat and get back to you.”

Beth felt like time had stood still as she took another sip of her coffee and played the “guess the right price” game a dozen times in her head.

“Ok, based on what the market is doing right now in Linwick…the great position, beautiful presentation…ahhh…well…I’m pretty sure I can get you around…$825,000?!”

All fell silent.

Blake’s eyes remained transfixed on Beth and the non-verbal pause felt like it went on for hours. Beth’s heart was in her mouth and she nervously picked up a couple of the documents on the table and put them in a neat pile – a bit like a newsreader does after they’ve delivered twenty-five minutes of doom and gloom then finished off with a happy piece about Sammy the Surfing Ferret.

Just then, as Beth thought the bulletin had drawn to a close, Blake looked straight at Maree with the hint of a nod, and she thrust her arm across the kitchen table, grabbed the Tim Tams…and said, “Beth, would you like another?”

Beth’s ‘veganism’ vanished as quickly as the smile that had appeared and taken up her whole of her face, “That would be lovely.”

More from Beth and The De Cocks later.


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