5 Sure Fire Tips for Private House Sales Success

Hands up if you have sold a property, are trying to sell a property or thinking about selling and this very thought flashed through your mind…

“Maybe I could sell my own home and save a heap of money!”

I will bet that at least 90% of you have your hand up and gave this scenario serious, or at least fleeting, thought.

If that is the case, why then does the Sell Your Own Home Market represent a relatively small percentage of property listings in Australia?

New Zealand’s penchant to sell without agents is around 10%

It is difficult to quantify, but it appears that somewhere between 3%- 5% of the entire market is represented by ‘private house sale’ listings.

The emerging ‘each way bet’, PurpleBricks, doesn’t fall into the DIY category because if almost $9,000, with half upfront, is not a commission, well I’ll stand buggered.

What could be holding Australian home owners back?

New Zealand’s penchant to sell without agents is around 10%, the UK, around 20%, the US and Canada northwards of 30%.

Are we scared of something? Have we been brainwashed into thinking that hiring a traditional, commission based agent is the only way to sell?

As a passionate and vastly experienced Real Estate Consumer Advocate, I’d love to share my 5 Sure Fire Tips to Private House Sales Success to help you see that the alternatives are real, simple to execute and massively rewarding.

 1.  Give Mainstream Media a Wide Berth

“The market is crashing”, “Turmoil for the economy”, “Jobs under pressure.”

The more you watch and listen to the MSM, the more likely you are to feel anxious, inadequate, indecisive – and that is what it is designed to do.

(Psst…I haven’t watched or listened to a mainstream news or current affairs show for almost 15 years.)

Make your decisions based on your own research by finding and listening to independent experts who have a reputation for plausible reporting in their chosen field.

The muppet who is reading off the auto-cue is not your best source of balanced information.

2.  Be careful of well-meaning friends posing as experts.

One thing I have learned personally and professionally is that the more people you ask, the further you get from making a decision.

The minute you ask for a relative’s, friend’s or co-worker’s advice, you have pinned the Sheriff’s Badge of ‘Holder of all knowledge’ upon them and given them permission to impart their opinion, possibly based on little or no exposure to the subject you are trying to grasp.

Sure, if they work in or have excelled in that particular field, buy them a coffee and ask away.  If not, once again, find someone who knows the game and has played in it, with the bruises and scars to show for it.

3.  Switch On and Be Prepared

Poor preparation produces piss poor performance.

Prepare, prepare, prepare.

Prepare your legal requirements by instructing a lawyer/conveyancer to handle contracts and any supporting documentation.

Prepare and present your home/property as if the Queen was coming to say for a night.

Prepare your marketing with professional photos, floorplans, a benefit driven headline and a concise, yet informative narrative.

Prepare to qualify, engage and negotiate with buyers.  Asking the right questions, conducting helpful professional inspections, and finalising a win/win deal are vital keys to sales success.

4.  Concentrate on the Three P’s – Controlling what you CAN control.

Understanding the power of these three components is THE key to sales success.

This what every home seller can control and adjust at any time before and during the sale process.

Present your home to IMPRESS buyers

Portray and Promote your home to REACH the greatest number of buyers

Price your home to ATTRACT buyers.

Put quite simply, if you leave any or all of these vital components ‘swinging in the wind’ your chances of meeting your expectations will be hampered.

5.  Leave your emotions in a suitcase in a vault – any lose the combo

The biggest killer of a deal is allowing your emotions to lead the charge.

“If you sentimentalise property, you can kiss profits goodbye.”

Pride, anger and fear must be kept locked away or under control.

Judging buyer feedback or offers with these emotions at the front and centre is the quickest way to real estate demise.

Stick to the facts and the numbers whilst keeping a friendly, helpful demeanour and you will go a long way to sealing a win/win deal.


All in all, by following a few basic rules, behaviours and disciplines, selling your own home is not the herculean endeavour that some people (agents) will have you believe.

Come on Australia – let’s at least beat the Kiwis at something!

Share Now

No Porn Please When You Sell Your Own Home.

Its ok, I’m not going all weird on you or about to assault your senses – hopefully I have your attention though.

But a memory from a few years back got me laughing – as it did then (after the mystery was solved).

The reason the memory was activated was that a current member wanted to argue the toss about displaying their personal contact details on their listing.

As per usual, I explained that REA and Domain don’t allow it – not just Agent in a Box, but the entire real estate industry: traditional and private house sales.

This client thought they would push the envelope a little further and asked, “Is it in your terms and conditions?”

You bet.

So, to ensure the client was fully informed I sent him the actual T & C reference…

1.3 (j) states: All enquiries relating to properties listed on the website are filtered through AGENT IN A BOX and passed on to members. No direct contact details (e.g. phone numbers or email addresses) are permitted in any public content provided on the site by members.

Client satisfied – happy days.

However, 1.3 (k) prompted my laughter: Pornography, images or information of an illegal nature will not be tolerated.

Now, it’s a valid condition, because, sadly, the internet is awash with images that can challenge sensitivities and beliefs; and thankfully we are yet to encounter anything that would invoke this condition.

But it took me back to a moment that had me shaking my head, laughing at the same time and requiring me to draw on all my observational skills learned as an undercover/surveillance cop in a past life.

Quite a few years back I was selling a little old Queenslander which had been owned by the same family for many years.  Mum had passed away or was ailing in a nursing home and the family required the home to be sold.

One of the sons and his mate were residing at the home, and whilst its presentation may not have passed muster on Selling Homes Australia, it was priced in line with how it looked.

As money was tight for the family, I did everything I could to keep the marketing costs down, so I took the photos – as I had invested in a pretty good camera, and I was a dab hand at taking attractive shots for promoting homes.

The family got the home looking as best they could, and I took about a dozen or so happy snaps internally and externally.

The listing hit the big websites and a few enquiries started rolling in pretty quickly.

Then this; sent from one of the big sites:

“I have no option but to call into question your professionalism. Displaying pornography on your listings is a poor reflection on your business and is not doing any favours for your clients. I request that you remove the offensive image before I take further action.”

Holy shit!  What have I done?  What did I miss? Was there a porno on the TV at the time I photographed the loungeroom…what the???!!!

This Fun-Sheriff thought they had really caught me with my pants down.

Before even replying to this ‘offended’ buyer, I checked all the photos that were displayed online and all those I had downloaded to my computer on the camera.  Could I have been so unobservant?

I looked over every photo, and had my diligent PA do the same.  We could not see anything.

As my professionalism was being called into question, I swallowed my pride and instead of replying to the ‘buyer’ with, “WTF are you talking about?” I responded with, “We have scoured the images of this property and cannot find the ‘pornography’ you are alluding to. Could you be more specific?”

Fair quickly came the reply, “The bedroom shot. Above the dresser.”

Only one of the bedrooms, I recalled, had a dresser – the boarder’s room.

So, I donned my CSI cap and pulled up the shot and scoured it – enlarging, shifting the image…

And there it was, partially obscured by a lamp on the dresser – a shot of a scantily clad young lady, about A4 size, stuck on the wall.

Are you f*****g kidding me? Was this person looking at buying the place or one of the last Fred Nile devotees?

They must have studied the photo like a Where’s Wally puzzle for quite a while before making the horrendous discovery.

My reply, “Ok, I have found the ‘offending’ image after a full investigation. Your powers of observation are very sharp.  We’ll remove the image and re-photograph the room. Now, all that taken into consideration – when would you like to view the property?”

Response: “Thank you for that – I am just looking.”

Head shake, deep breath, brief maniacal laughter…move on. Thanks for your earth-shattering discovery.

I had a conversation with the family, and the offending ‘pornography’ was removed after I fielded quite a few, “Are you serious?”s, and another ‘clean’ shot was taken.

Yes, I did sell the property without any further offence to the anti-porn movement.

Let this be a warning.

If you intend to leave any of your intimate couple ‘Star’ shots hanging on the walls, or that photo of you in your budgie smugglers on the ‘1989 Contiki Greek Odyssey’ on the fridge – we will find it (or someone else will) and take appropriate action…after we’ve had a good chuckle.


Share Now

Will the effort to sell your own home sink like the Titanic?

I’ll put it out there from the get-go; I never saw the movie because I knew how it ended.

“So, what has the grim end for the Titanic got to do with me wanting to sell my house?” I hear you ask.

Let’s head to the bridge of that ‘unsinkable’ vessel on that fateful night in April, 1912.

But before that, did you know…

One of the richest men in the world, JP Morgan, financed the building of this, at the time, incredible ship.

JP Morgan was one of the architects of the ‘Federal Reserve Act’ of 1913 (USA), which allowed for the formation of the Federal Reserve – the most powerful Central Bank in the world, and the model for every other central bank controlling the currency and economy of almost every western nation, including Australia.

Three (very rich) men who opposed the formation of the Federal Reserve; Benjamin Guggenheim, Isa Strauss and Jacob Astor where aboard the Titanic on its maiden voyage.  None of them survived.

JP Morgan and Milton Hersey (to become head of the massive Hersey Family conglomerate) were booked to sail on the Titanic, but both cancelled at the last minute.

Back to the bridge.

Captain Edward Smith, commanding officer, peering through his binoculars at the threats that were presenting to the vessel, “Mr Wilde (First Officer), I’m not liking what I am seeing, I think our best course of action is to re-arrange the deck chairs.”

“Ummm, Sir,” a bemused Wilde sputtered, “I’m not sure that is our best course of action during this critical time.”

“Wilde – do as I ask.  The decks will look very inviting for the passengers in the morning.”

“As you wish Sir.”

And, as we all know why I didn’t go see the movie, smack bang into an iceberg.

Did Mr Wilde re-arrange the deck chairs? I doubt it.  I might have made up that conversation, but the analogy, ‘It’s like re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic’ is applicable to the sometimes well meaning, sometimes futile efforts of property owners when selling.

In this changing market; where buyers are being driven by the pursuit of value, some sellers who are not attracting or generating genuine buyer interest are shifting the deckchairs rather than taking decisive, meaningful action.

ALL sellers have control over ONLY three facets of the sale process and can tweak them at any time to draw a response from the market (buyers) – the three P’s:

Present your property to IMPRESS buyers

Promote your property to REACH buyers

Price your home to ATTRACT buyers.

Concentrating your efforts in areas that don’t come under any of those three controllable facets generally helps maintain a course to, well, nothing – but nothing, no buyer action, in Real Estate is tantamount to sailing headlong into a massive chunk of ice.

Sometimes I like to term it ‘Sticking a band-aid on a decapitation’.

If you are not getting the response you had hoped for when it comes to private house sales – almost always it is one of the three ‘P’s (Presentation, Promotion or Price) out of whack and inhibiting your efforts.

And 99% of the time it is that one ‘P’ that is the culprit.

This article should give you some idea.

When you set sail on the good ship Sell My Own Home, there is no doubt you want only but smooth sailing, but when the seas become a little treacherous, you have the ability to take the wheel and steer into favourable waters anytime you choose.

Share Now

2019: A good time to sell my house or buy one? Crystal Ball says…

Its over – again!

You (not me) possibly braved the traffic, parking rage, crazed mothers – with equally crazed scone grabbers in tow – flustered sales staff offering lots of ‘Merry Christmas’s’.

You had everyone over, or you travelled to the next suburb or next state to be with loved ones.

No matter how you celebrated the festive season, I hope it was filled with joy and love (Bah Humbug).

In just a few hour the clock and calendar tick over and we will find ourselves ready to take on the number 2019.

Can you believe it?  The twentieth year of the 21st Century!

So, what’s in store?

I’ve dusted off my crystal ball and peered deeply into what we can expect in the worlds of property, the economy, national and international politics.

If the ball spits out something you don’t necessarily like, let me know and I’ll see if the company I bought it off still exists and are offering refunds. Does ACME ring a bell?


Stay calm.

Yes, prices will continue to soften, but not at the alarming rate that mainstream media (MSM) would have you believe.

Here’s my latest rant about them.

Banks will be able to loosen their lending criteria once that pesky Royal Commission is forgotten and APRA remove the shackles; interest rates will stay low and first home buyers competing with investors will drive the market once again.

Confidence will creep back and the dooms-dayers will have to put their cue in the rack for a few more years.

The Local Economy:

I am going to lump this in with the probable election in Mid 2019.

Bill Shorten and his merry bunch of Marxist marvels will probably get a turn at taxing the living bejesus out of us and spending our money on shit that doesn’t really matter to most of us.

Consumer confidence and investment will take a hit temporarily then it will be back to ‘normal’.

Interest rates will stay low, yet these will be off-set by further/increased taxes because the pack-horses of our economy PAYG workers and small business no longer provide the windfall the ATO and Govt depend upon.

As Kerry Packer said to a senate committee, headed by pencilled necked pollies, in 1991; “You lot enact laws, but never repeal one.” And, “Of course I minimise my tax, anyone would have to have rocks in their head not to; because you lot don’t look after it very well.”

International Politics/Economy:

Trump will not be impeached.

But stay tuned for the cat to get out the bag regarding that dodgy bunch of southern Belles, the Clintons, in relation to their bullshit ‘foundation’ and collusion to stitch up/spy on Trump during his campaign in 2016.

Now that the Yanks are nett producers of oil and investment is flowing in, the world economy should remain healthy for the foreseeable future.

This is why your petrol is so much cheaper at the moment; the extortionists, oops I mean OPEC, have got too much of the stuff and can’t manipulate higher prices – but they will die trying.

Brexit:  If a second referendum is called, every chance all hell could break loose. (The ‘yellow vest’ movement in France and other parts of Europe are showing that working people are saying “enough is enough” – after the Rothschild puppet, President Macron hit the working class with a new fuel tax. See: Carbon Tax)

A democratic vote was taken and decided – the UK was to leave the European Union.

However, the self-entitled elites, with so much at stake, fearing for their free ride and trough of endless flowing cash to chow down on, no wonder this democratic process is under big pressure.  It’s hard to really predict what will pan out here. I really hope the UK get out.

All in all, I am really looking forward to 2019.

So here are a few others from my glowing orb:

  1. The property market will commence to rally (prices stabilise/increased buyer activity) by mid-year.
  2. There will be change of Federal Government, and look at it this way; you only have the choice of two washed up jockey’s to hop on a bloated, burnt out horse that will provide the same form as it has for the last few decades – crap! I wouldn’t back it with your money.
  3. Karl Stefanovic to find himself paying two lots of alimony.
  4. NZ will hold a referendum on legalizing pot and the ‘Yes’s’ will prevail. Did I hear a nett positive migration flow back to the Land of the Long White Cloud?
  5. The Neo-Cons will continue to demonise Putin and Russia in a hope to re-ignite the Cold War – won’t happen.
  6. Smith and Warner will be back in the Australian Cricket Team quicker than you can sing the opening verse of ‘SOS’ (ABBA).

The batteries on the CB are fading so I’ll leave it there for now.

Happy New Year to you all and once again, thank you for your support.



Share Now

Where did that one go?! Even got to sell my house – he still found me!

What did you make of 2018?

We all have ‘stuff’ going on at any given time, and hopefully the good stuff outweighed the bad for you in 2018.

For me and my beautiful cook, becoming empty nesters and diving into our second sea-change was very satisfying, yet not without some challenges to get there.

Many parents wait and wait for their kids to fly the coop these days.  Why wait? We sold and flew the coop instead! But they know where we live – the cook looked a tad miffed when I said, “Hey, let’s keep our new address a secret.”

My three boys are strong minded, independent young men, thriving with their partners and work life; well two of them – the eldest bloke has a loving partnership with Tinder.

I can honestly say, “Where did that year go?” But I believe that is because I had, and continue to have, a clear purpose.

I’ll give you one of my life tips to close out 2018.  No, its not about selling your own home or how to sell without agents, its about being better today than you were yesterday.

One of the men (or do I have to say ‘people’) of the moment is Dr Jordan Peterson, who has set the internet alight and tongues wagging with his no-nonsense brand of common sense, and observations on much of the noise being produced from ideological minorities and ‘progressive’ movements.

Yep, I’m listening to him and reading his stuff.  I might not agree with 100% of what he says, but if you want to push through your agenda, see him as an impediment and want to bulldoze your beliefs/ideology upon others, you had really better know your shit because he will slice and dice your argument in just a few sentences (even when he is being interrupted).

When we are drawn to an individual and what they share really resonates with us, there is usually a handful of takeaways that stick with us.

For me, my takeaway is, and I might paraphrase a little here, Jordan said, “Life IS chaotic, it is hard, but for those people who push through it and have a purpose, life can be pretty good.”

This helped confirm one of my own philosophies (here is the tip I promised): If you continue to look back you will continue to stumble and fall; look forward always, live in the moment and consider the past as a fond memory or most importantly, if required, a lesson.

What made you smile about 2018?  What did you learn from it? What will you do better tomorrow that can fix what might have happened today or prevent a repeat? What is your ‘WHY’- your purpose for the year ahead?

Myself and the team at Agent in a Box sincerely hope that 2019 is more purposeful than chaotic for you and that you have a very Merry Christmas 2018.

Oh…by the way.

Business as usual for Agent in a Box over the Christmas/New Year Break.

We won’t be handling any business on Christmas Day, but rest assured any enquiry or required assistance will be dealt with from Boxing Day on.

Thanks for your support and watch out for strange RV’s in your drive on Christmas morning.



Share Now

It’s all Crashing – ‘They’ said it was! I’ll Never Sell My House.

The following offering comes with this disclaimer:

**I love my sister.  She is one of the most caring, generous and empathetic souls I have ever known, but…!

If ever there was an avatar for the Australian morning show/news bulletin watcher, my sister Barb fits the bill perfectly. And to top it off she is a Real Estate junkie of epic proportions – even though she has lived in the same home for 34 years and the only way she is leaving is ‘in a pine box’, just like my poor old mum did.

The suggestion: “You could always sell your home” is blasphemy to Barb. And she’s like a cat playing with a mouse, before execution, when local agents knock on her door to see if it might be time for her to sell up.

She is one of the 300,000 or so who watch Kochie and Co. in the morning, and then slurps up the fast food news at 6pm along with a few million other Aussies.

And best of all – she believes it.

It’s crashing, it’s going down…

Earlier this week, Barb and her husband Pete, came to visit and stayed with us for a few days to help celebrate her birthday.

All mornings in my place are relaxed and quiet.  No TV, no radio – just quiet contemplation and preparation of a healthy breakfast. No, I don’t live in a monastery, but clear thinking begins with less mind clutter.

That had to change, temporarily, with Barb’s visit.  Kochie and Co. were summoned to beam into the loungeroom, “I’ll turn it right down.”

As I was pottering in the kitchen, checking a few emails and getting my thoughts in order, the silence was shattered…

“Craig, Craig!  Its crashing, its going down….”

“What?!” as I trotted into the lounge room.

“They said that property is going down 40%.  It’s going to crash.”

“Who is ‘they’?”

“Them, the show…”

“Who? Which ‘expert’?”

“Well, they just said it.”

I looked at the screen and saw four muppets sitting behind an impressive desk, with more muppets standing outside looking in, hoping that Aunty Beryl, at home, was watching and could see them waving like – well, muppets.

This collection of ‘I sit behind a desk, in front of a camera, and read a heap of shit that makes you think I am expert’ muppets get paid to pump out verbal diarrhea designed to frighten you and keep you vibrating as the lowest level possible, therefore controlling your thoughts and behaviours.

I have shared this with Barb (and my dear departed mum) more times than I can remember.

“Who was the ‘expert’ Barb?”

“They just said it…”

Read this if you want my current take on the market.

“Look, you know what I think about this crap.  The market IS NOT going to crash. I’ve told you a million times – it’s taking a breather, buyers were not going to keep chasing prices, and in 6-12 months it will be ‘ON for young and old’, again!

“Ok, but they…”

“They are pretty idiots, Barb.  One minute all you punters are believing that the blond one has her finger on the pulse of life, then the next, the news of who she is bumping uglies with has you all in raptures.  Please stop watching this shit…how do you want your eggs?”

In one ear and out the other.

Yet, only a day or so later, the doom and gloom headlines were broken by this article, which seemed to confirm that things aren’t as dim as they sim – and tells me that bargain hunters will drive the market along.

We all have a choice of who we listen to, but the crap we absorb for free, through our idiot boxes, can be the most dangerous of all the information we seek.



Share Now

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?


Share Now

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.

Share Now

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.


Share Now

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.

Share Now