What Questions Do You Have? – Real Estate FAQ

Send them to [email protected] or www.Facebook.com/PlazaRealEstate
We’ll answer them for you. Also, check out detailed articles in our Blog.
Unsure of any terms? Check for Abbreviations and the Glossary.

For Frequently Asked Questions on Covid-19 – CLICK HERE

Is This a Good Time to Buy or Sell a Home? – Covid 19 and Real Estate

Here are Some Previous Real Estate FAQ’s.


To make it easier for you, Frequently Asked Questions: Q&A is set out as:

  1. Before Going to Market
  2. Property Value & Pricing
  3. On Market & Contract
  4. Buyer Questions
  5. Miscellaneous

1. Before Going to Market Questions:

Q. Could You Give Me A Few Tips for Selling My Home Fast and for Top Dollar? 

A. If you’re thinking of selling your home, how you ‘position or stage’ it can mean the difference between getting a fast, top dollar sale, or having it sit on the market for a long time.


Look at your home as if you were driving up to it for the first time.
What does it look like? The driveway? The landscaping or lawn? Pay particular attention to the entry, walkway and the front door area.

Get rid of any odours… they’re a big turn-off.  Smoking and pets are the most likely cause. Have carpets cleaned!

A coat of paint in critical areas (kitchen, master bedroom and bathrooms) can do wonders to change the appearance and make the home look more valuable.

Get rid of that clutter!

The way you live in a home and the way you SELL a home are two different things.  You have to move anyway, so get it out of the way.

An uncluttered home looks bigger and more appealing.

Here are some more tips when selling  10 Things To Do

Make your home look like it’s on Show. Then relax, it’s our job to sell!

Q. A Real Estate Agent Suggested That We Have a Professional Home Inspection Performed Before We Put Our Home on The Market.
Why should we consider this?

A. Getting your home professionally inspected before you put it on the market seems like a strange thing to do at first glance.

In fact, many agents don’t even think of having homes inspected before they list them.

But once you understand how it can benefit you, the home seller. It turns out to be a very prudent decision.

Here’s why…

Home inspections eliminate any ‘surprises’ that can delay or even kill a home sale.  They also help the seller negotiate better.  In most cases, the buyer(s) will use weaknesses of the home (frequently from an inspection performed after the home is under contract) to negotiate a lower price at a time when the seller is most vulnerable.

Rather than become a victim of such tactics, you can show you’ve already taken their issues into account in determining your price.

Getting your home inspected before going on the market actually allows you to understand the true value of your home – knowing what you may need to fix or what to leave alone.

It also helps you to price it better.

The strengths and weaknesses of your home are going to be known by the buyer at some point anyhow.  And the sooner you know them, the more you can act to minimize, eliminate, or adjust for them.

In reality, wear and tear are normal, but as a homeowner, you don’t get to neglect your home for decades and not expect to pay for it.

Here are 3 More Good Reasons

Real Estate Legislation as of 1st July ’08 advised buyers to take more precautions and check more things before buying as per the Form R3 Buyer Information Notice document which every buyer is given at some point in time. As a seller, you can either ignore this or Be Prepared. See Forms & Fact Sheets.

Q. We Are Thinking of Selling Our Home and Heard There are Four Critical Phases of The Selling Process We Must Examine With our Agent.
What Are Those Phases?

A. If you’re selling your home, you need to be aware that there are many important phases of the selling process.  A mistake in any of the phases can jeopardize a fast, top-dollar sale.

Here are four of the phases…

1) Pricing the property to ensure the likelihood of stimulating offers.  Many people try to set a high price thinking they can come down later.  That’s a big mistake because above-market pricing reduces the number of serious buyers, stifles showings and discourages offers of any kind, usually netting the homeowner a lower price than they planned on getting.

2) Marketing the property to attain the highest number of showings from qualified buyers.  Check your agent’s marketing plan carefully to ensure they have the ability to do more than just place a signboard and hold a few open houses.

3) Creation and Negotiation of the purchase contract.  A good agent’s negotiating skills can make or break a contract of sale. Check their experience in these matters.  Ask questions about past transactions they handled.

4) Managing the settlement process.  During this phase, your agent must be on top of all the functions: inspections, valuations, financing, buyer contingencies, and more.

When interviewing real estate agents, make sure you address each of the four phases of the selling process.

Your dialogue will be pivotal in establishing trust and a personal chemistry that is crucial to you and your agent.  If you have a question about selling your home, please call me at 08 83961100

Q. When is The Best Time to Sell My Home?

A. There’s no simple or specific answer to this.

Every real estate market is different, therefore, the best time to sell a home will be different from real estate community to real estate community.

In most cases, however, the Spring months are amongst the best times to be selling a home.

Whilst Spring is a good time to sell, you will likely have lots of competitive properties on the market at the same time.

In some cases, Selling a home during the Autumn and Winter months actually may be better than waiting until the Spring real estate market.

This is due to a combination of many factors including lower competition and serious buyers are always looking for a home, as well as other factors.

In reality, timing depends on what is happening in your life and what’s best for you or your family.

This helps determine what you do next.

Since every home seller’s situation is different, you should discuss the timing of your home sale with your agent.

Q. How is the Real Estate Market Right Now?

A. There are a number of market indicators that an agent should be able to share with you. These will help explain the condition of the local real estate market.

Generally speaking, the over-riding market conditions are 1) A sellers or hot market where prices are rising because far more buyers are looking for the limited supply of housing available to them.

2) A buyer or cold market is where there are more sellers than potential buyers to purchase them.

3) A neutral market is where neither group is favoured and the marketplace is in balance.

These have also been described as high tide, low tide and dodge tide.

Another important indicator of market conditions is the average days on the market. The average days on market can indicate to a seller how quickly homes are selling when listed for sale.

Other considerations are how many properties are on the market in your suburb and surrounding areas (This is because most buyers look in multiple suburbs), market absorption rates which describe how many properties actually sold compared to those listed, list price versus actual sold price and average sale prices to name a few.

In addition to these, are the prevailing economic conditions, government housing policy at the time, interest rates, consumer sentiment, which of the 4 seasons we’re in and so on.

Being aware of these facts and having a full and frank discussion with the agent, will put you in a better position to price your home correctly. You’ll also understand why a marketing budget to sell is so important as opposed to just advertising for sale.

Q. What Other Steps Can I Take to Make My Home Sell Faster & For More Money?… asked Alice

A. The one ‘mistake’ sellers often make is failing to see their home from the perspective of a potential buyer.

Alice, here are a few helpful tips.

First, make your home available to show buyers.

This sounds obvious, but one of the most frequent complaints of agents is they can’t get proper access to the home.

Next, realize that ‘first impressions are lasting ones.’  Drive up to your home as a prospective buyer would.  What does the home look like from the street?  Is the front yard manicured?  Are trees cut back?  Will it pass the test?

Then, get rid of clutter.  The way you live in a home and the way you sell a home are two very different things.

So eliminate those knick-knacks, ceramic thimbles, and other distractions from the true features of your home.  Less clutter, the better.

Buyers are attracted to your home because of the ‘lifestyle benefits’ they perceive they’ll get living there.

They’re looking for a ‘home’, not a ‘house.’  So highlight those special features. A few areas to think about are the entry, the kitchen, main bedroom, and the main bathroom.  Make sure everything is light and bright.

Fix problems ahead of time.

Consider getting a property inspection before you show the home.  This will root out any problems and give your place a documented ‘clean bill of health’ to speed the sale.

So, if you’re like Alice and thinking of moving soon, our FREE report, Preparing Your Home for Sale, is worth its weight in gold to you.

Q. What Things Should I Do To Prepare My Home For Sale?

A. There are several things you need to know before listing your home for sale! By not properly preparing a home for sale can put you as the homeowner at a huge disadvantage.

The expression “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” is absolutely true when it comes to selling a home.  When selling a home you must be sure that your home presents itself in the best possible light.

Making sure clutter is at a minimum, clean everything, freshly paint rooms, perhaps installing new carpeting and ensuring odours are non-existent are just a handful of things that should be done before listing your home for sale.

Talk to your agent about recommendations for your own property.

Here are 10 Tips to get ready for buyer inspections.

Q. Will You Be Holding Open Houses?

A. Believe it or not, open houses are a fairly controversial topic in the real estate industry.  Some agents will convince a seller that they will get their home sold because they hold opens. Others have reasons not to do so.

Holding Opens or not very much depends on your own circumstances. There are of course alternatives that we employ as well, such as inspections by appointment, mid-week opens and a low-key approach.

You do not have to have open houses to sell a home. But it can take longer and lead to less money.

However, after decades in the real estate and people business, I have found that Opens are an integral part of selling a property far quicker than other methods.

Quick Tip for Opens: Make sure you have every light in the house turned on including standing and bedside lamps. Think about the last time you went to a new model display home, all of the lights are always on.

Here are 8 Mistakes to avoid at your house open.

Q What Different Methods of Sale Are There?

A. There are 9 Different Types of Sale…

The most common method of sale is by a private treaty which accounts for around 70-90% of real estate transactions.

Others are an auction, set sale, tender, expressions of interest, price on application and a low-key sale. Private sale has a better alternative called the partner program.

Private Treaty # 1
A sale by private treaty means you offer the property to the market at a listed price or a price range and invite offers from interested purchasers. This way you have the ability to vary the price whilst it is on the market and you will also have the opportunity to consider each individual offer from potential purchasers.

In South Australia, you can offer a single fixed asking price, a price range of up to 10% or no price given. Other variables or different wording such as Offers from $, Offers Over $, are no longer allowed.

You can accept cash unconditional offers, subject to finance and/ or sale conditions or additionally acceptable contingencies.

Auction # 2
You set a reserve price with your agent (the minimum price you will sell your property for) and the agent prepares for the auction on the specified date and time. There are laws for conducting an auction, so it is best left to an experienced auctioneer on the day. If bids don’t reach your reserve price, your agent may negotiate with the highest bidder on your behalf.

Auctions can induce a sense of urgency and strong competition amongst buyers, however, the stress of an auction can also put some buyers off.

Only buyers who have unconditional offers as cash or pre-arranged finance can register and bid. Those who need to sell and/ or require subject-to-finance or other conditions cannot bid.

Those who need to sell their property to buy yours and/ or require subject-to-finance or other conditions cannot bid.

There is no cooling-off period.

Set Sale # 3
Combines private treaty, price range selling with the intensity of an auction campaign and allows subject-to-conditions into the mix.

As the name suggests a date 25 days after the marketing begins is the targeted endpoint or deadline to have all offers and registrations of interest presented for the seller’s consideration.

If the vendor receives an acceptable offer at any time during the marketing campaign, all registered buyers are contacted. They have 24 hours to the close of business the following day to submit their best and final offer.

An additional advantage is that unlike auction, your price is never publicly disclosed. Any offers are not disclosed to other buyers.

Here are some more specific details on how the set sale works.

Tender # 4
A tender is a formal sale process often used for commercial & industrial properties. Though seldom used in residential sales. It requires potential buyers to submit a proposal in response to the request to the owner’s advertised tender.

There is usually a time limit imposed when the purchasers highest & best offer must be made. There is usually no further negotiation.

Expressions Of Interest # 5
An expression of interest is similar to a private treaty sale, however, a formal written offer must be submitted for the property usually by a specific date. This process is also seldom used for residential.

A variation is where no price is given and buyers are encouraged to make offers. Unlike an auction, it is less stressful and allows for subject-to-conditions being made.

It can especially suit unusual property or where there a few comparable sales. It certainly has a place to be used for residential properties in these circumstances.

Price On Application # 6 – (POA) – A property listed with a sale price of “POA” means buyers will need to contact the agent to receive pricing details. This is not often recommended as it annoys purchasers and many simply won’t call. It reduces the number of interested buyers significantly.

Low-Key Sale # 7
Although a competitive marketing and sales process is normally the best way to achieve the highest price for your property. Sometimes, there are good reasons to sell your home without opening it up to the market. You can read the Low-Key Sale Blog Here. 

Q. Tell Me More About Low-Key Sales.

A. These have also been called various names depending on the company wishing to brand itself.

We’ve seen them called Off-Market Sales, Pre-Market Listings, Registered Buyers Only, Quiet Listing, Discrete Sale, The Vault, By-Appointment Only, Targeted Marketing, Pocket Listings, Buyers Advantage, Whisper Listings, Silent Listing, Stealth Marketing and Secret Sale.

No doubt there are other terminologies, however, they do NOT all mean the same thing… A Low Key Sale.

Though, some of these other names do not inspire confidence. Do they?

A number of new agencies and business models purport to introduce buyers without any or minimal marketing claiming it saves sellers money and time.

Sounds quick, simple and easy. BUT does it really benefit you

If it’s a secret and no-one knows, how can this help you?

It cannot… it only benefits the lazy or unscrupulous agent and their friends.

We’ve seen and heard too many stories of people taken advantage of, in what ‘was meant’ to be an ‘Off-Market’ sale.

We don’t do that!

Our past clients have used a Low-Key sale in situations where they had a need to be private and discreet.

For exampleThey did not wish to alert the neighbours or there’s been a separation or divorce involved, it’s a forced sale, the owners have been threatened, the owners are moving and do not want certain other people to be aware they are leaving. At other times someone in the property has been unwell or there’s been a distressing family situation, the sale has involved a deceased estate, it’s been tenanted for a long term with little access for improvements, there may be undesirable tenants. There have also been times where the older owners were awaiting a place in a retirement village or rooms in a hostel. Or it’s simply that they were not in a hurry and wanted to skip any fuss. So a low-key was perfect.

However, it means that overall there are Fewer Buyers and Therefore Less Competition for the property.

All of our past and future clients are made aware of the benefits as well as any downside to the Low Key Option.

There is essentially nothing wrong with this strategy a) If it suits your personal circumstances and b) That you are fully informed in advance.

It can also mean a longer time on the market.

Low-Key can mean bringing in purchasers from a buyer database, or those who missed out on other premium property and are prepared to pay for the opportunity to secure a home with little or no competition.

This can be extended to include additional online and offline marketing with or without a signboard. The option to jump to a premium marketing campaign is only a step away.

Let me know if you’d like to know more. Are your circumstances such, that a Low-Key Sale may be the most suitable option for you? Call 08 83961100.

Q. What About Private Sale? # 8

A. In this case, it means private sale as in ‘for sale by owner’.

Sellers often mistakenly believe they’ll save the agents fee. That’s exactly what the buyers think too. So no-one really wins here. I know many investors and professional buyers who target private sellers because they usually buy the property for much less than it’s worth. There’s often little negotiation plus an agent is not there to protect the seller if things take a turn for the worse with potential buyers.

Here’s something you may like to know:

As founder and CEO of ForSaleByOwner.com, Colby Sambrotto naturally put his own techniques to work selling his personal property. Unfortunately, despite his best efforts, nothing happened. His trendy New York condominium sat unsold for six months!

Eventually, he gave up. Mr Sambrotto not only hired an agent, he even agreed to a full fee and marketing budget. His decision paid off, and his condo was soon under contract.

What was the key?


Based on his knowledge of the market, Jesse Buckler pushed the CEO to raise his asking price. When they listed the condo, the savvy agent set their sale price $150,000 higher than originally marketed.

Despite his expertise in the FSBO sphere, Mr Sambrotto didn’t realize he was sabotaging his very own sale. By incorrectly pricing his trendy condo in a hot market, he actually scared away potentially interested buyers!

Sometimes that’s all it takes to close the deal on an unsold home –

An Expert…

And when the expert you hire helps get your home sold for more money, it’s really a no-brainer.

CEO of ForSaleByOwner.com or not, Colby Sambrotto would certainly agree!

And he’s not the only one: Craigslist founder Craig Newmark has stated at multiple conferences that he loves his real estate agent. His business gives many owners an opportunity to post their own home for sale. Craigslist gives owners a platform to attract local buyers including Australia, without an agent. 

But, when Craig has real estate deals to do, just like Mel Gibson, Nicole Kidman, Vince Colosimo, Tina Arena & other celebrities…

THEY hire an agent.

Q. Is There an Alternative to Private Sale? # 9

A. Yes, it’s called the Partner Program

Partner Program Explained
Rather than just be left on your own or a with lack of local support. We developed a system for sellers who want to DIY or be more involved.

So, if you want to save on agent fees and do not want the traps and pitfalls of a For Sale by Owner by Private Sale.

This is the Partner Program…

We provide all the marketing and everything needed to sell your property as well as negotiate on your behalf. We do it all, except you do the opens yourself and save some money in the process.

Check out Partner Program here.

Q. Our Elderly Parents Are Looking To Sell, What Advice Do You Have?

A. Taking it slow and easy is important as there are many emotions involved, particularly after being in one’s own home for a long time.

We’ve helped numerous families in this situation ranging from both parents or only one surviving parent, selling. With them being in complete control of their faculties and of the sale.

Other times have included one or both parents being in a retirement village, aged care home, in respite or incapacitated.

The sales part is relatively easy as our marketing systems will certainly get the job done in a timely fashion without any added stresses.

Here are more tips on Selling Mum and Dads Home.

The more difficult part is the getting ready stage.

You or your parents may need to decide what goods & chattels are being taken with them, what can be gifted, discarded or sold?

There may be some additional preparation works required. This could range from a freshen up or a full redecoration of the property and gardens.

Here are 5 Steps to Downsizing to help you make it easier.

Q. We are Involved in a Deceased Estate, What Advice Do You Have?

A. Sorry For Your Loss.

Usually, as Executor or Executrix, you are responsible for arranging aspects of the Estate including Property Sale.

It’s imperative you get good legal advice and make a plan.

Considerations include, you can Market and Sell the property, but it cannot Settle until probate is granted.

If someone died in the property, then any interested parties would need to be informed, but it is not necessary for this to be public knowledge.

Does the property need any renovation, repairs or improvements?

Are assets to be removed or disposed of? There is a range of other scenarios to consider, so call us on 08 83961100.

When selling, we have more direct involvement with relatives and family members.

It’s also important that there is a clear understanding of who gets reported to and that if there are any beneficiaries involved, they try to keep their emotions in check as much as possible.

Though we are sensitive & understanding of the sometimes angst and high emotion that may be involved. We know how to deal with this calmly and with consideration.

Documents required for these various situations may include guardianship papers, enduring power of attorney, probate being granted and so on.

Q. I’m Ready to List My Home, How Long Will it Take to Get it On The Market?

A. That depends on a couple of factors including which real estate agent you choose and how ready your home is amongst others.

Part of the getting ready stage is building a solid foundation to marketing, so your home sells quickly.

If you go on the market too soon and things are not ready, then it’s likely your place will actually take longer to sell.

At Plaza Real Estate, we take the time to stage your home, get photos taken then professionally edited and adverts copywritten. We set up a unique website, just for your property and do quite a bit of marketing before your home even hits the system.

It usually takes 1-2 weeks to complete these pre-marketing activities.

The first two weeks once your home hits the market are the most important. We make sure everything is ready and in place so we can make the biggest impact when your home comes on the market.

If you have not already seen it, check out our Before Appraisal Page for more info.

Q. How Long Will It Take To Sell Our Home?

A. This is an excellent question.

Across the board, time on market has generally been for a few months and onwards. We’ve seen competitor properties advertised for sale for 4, 6, 8 months or more through to years!

Some factors impacting on time include: What sort of market is it? Buyers, sellers or balanced? Time of year? Location, Age of home, Style, Size, Amenities & Its Condition?  Did the owner occupy or was it tenanted? Is it vacant? Has it been presented well? How was it marketed or was it a secret? What was the pricing or selling strategy? Was it priced correctly?

Most of our own clients have sold within 2-6 weeks. Other clients properties have been Under Contract within 24 hours and some have been on market the full 90 days of the agency agreement.

Q. You’ve Mentioned Marketing a Few Times, Why is This Important?

A. Because the internet allows buyers to eliminate as many homes as possible before they…

  • actually, get into their car
  • to look around the community
  • drive through the neighbourhood
  • before they examine your street
  • then consider the outside, before
  • they step inside to inspect your house

As any of these can be a show stopper!

It’s imperative that Online & Offline Marketing, especially the Photographs & Your Property Presentation meets their expectations.

We Need to Make Sure, They Turn Up and are ready to buy!

Q. How Much Commission Do You Charge?

A. Fees are negotiable. Though, remember the saying ‘You get what you pay for’ is very true when it comes to real estate.

Consider. If an agent offers a lower commission. Do you truly believe they will work relentlessly, market strongly and negotiate aggressively on your behalf when it comes to the price of your home?

Say, you were told by your boss, to work for a reduced hourly wage from your ‘normal,’ would you toil as much as you regularly do?

The answer is probably not, as you would you likely feel cheated by your boss.

It also means if the agent can’t negotiate their own wages… how can they possibly negotiate the best price for your home?

If they feel stiffed them on a fee, do you honestly think, they will really have your back and be there protect you when it counts?

Winning the cheapest agent will cost you dearly on the lost potential of a true negotiator working on your behalf, to extract the highest possible offers, from a number of buyers.

Hard working agencies are not 9am-5pm workers. They are available 7 days a week, pretty much every day of the year.

Often taking calls, texts and answering emails long before or after most people have started or finished work for the day. It’s not so much a job but a lifestyle.

Some other facts to keep in mind: Unlike lawyers who get paid by the hour, or doctors who are paid by the appointment, agents don’t get paid unless they make a sale.

Choosing an agent based solely on the fact they offer the lowest commission is a huge mistake made by home seller’s when selecting an agent to sell their home.

And no, not all agents are created equal.

You want your agency to go into battle for you… You Want Them on Your Side!

In 2018, even the Real Estate Institute of NSW President made a statement that fixed fee agents are not a good option when the market is cooling down.

Realistically, our fees are less than your first price reduction with the wrong agent.

To put it into perspective.

The buyer of your property pays stamp duty and a transfer fee which equates to around 4.5-5.5%. This is far more than the agent’s fee.
Stamp Duty & Transfer FeesCalculator

The buyer has mortgage repayments around 5% give or take… for every year of the loan.
Home Loan CalculatorCalculator

These are Far in Excess of the Agent’s Fee, Which You Pay Just ONCE.

What you invest to successfully promote and sell your home is insignificant to the amount of extra money available to you from great marketing and negotiating.

Our sales system will bring in additional buyers who compete against each other to buy your home. Our superior negotiating skills drive these offers to the max.

You cannot buy prime rump steak for the price of minced beef. A Mercedes Benz costs more than a Hyundai. A premium product costs more than seconds. And the difference is far more than half or one percent.

However, unlike the above examples, we are not a commodity!

We are a provider of exceptional service which brings you added value.

What you get, is the difference between a poor to average price versus a terrific result and a great price which can transform your life.

According to Domain.com.au – If an agent renegotiates his own rate downwards, how good will he or she be at negotiating your sale price?

We Change People’s Lives… Let Us Change Yours.

Your Home is Likely The BIGGEST ASSET That You Own! Why Would You Sacrifice it to The Weakest Agent?

Quite frankly, with all due respect & courtesy. If the only thing that counts is getting the cheapest agent and not the best, then do not contact us.

Of course, if you appreciate, there is a difference in us adding value to your sale, call us now 08 83961100.


Q. How Can We Find a Cheap Agent?

A. Let me ask… Would you Dare risk taking your wife, husband or partner to McDonald’s for your wedding anniversary?

Serious question!

I’m guessing it’s an out and out no.

Just too big an occasion to place in the hands of McDonald’s right?! Nothing wrong with a burger now and then, but not for your anniversary! Such an important occasion especially as it happens just once a year.

And you’d agree that selling and moving home is also a very important occasion, yes?

It’s probably one of the biggest, most important decisions you’ll make and this happens only once every 7–10 years on average.

A huge occasion then?

Just like your wedding anniversary!

“Why then would you consider risking your biggest, most expensive asset, your precious home, in the hands of a real estate agents’ cut-price equivalent to McDonald’s?!”

Q. We Tried 2 Agents, One was Cheaper, the Other Was Not. They Both Told Us a Tremendous Price and Our Home Did NOT Sell – What Are You Going To Do Differently?

A. Sorry to hear that, it’s frustrating when your life is essentially put on hold… after a failed sale.

Firstly, we’ll work with you to find out what went wrong, as there are 15 Factors which affect your property successfully selling or not.

We’ll go through these together and isolate the issues.

We will be forthright, upfront and will make suggestions on how to fix them… so your place gets sold & you can get on with your life.

We’ll discuss proven online & offline marketing options that really work.

And We Offer You a Risk-Free Guarantee.

Call me on 08 83961100 to get started.

Q. Can We See Some of Your References Then?

A. Certainly please check out our Reviews here. (There’s quite a few there, so just keep scrolling. They may take a second or two to load.)

2. Property Value & Pricing Questions:

Q. What is The Difference Between a Property Valuation and an Appraisal?

A. A Sworn Valuation is carried out by a Licenced & certified Property Valuer. It can be arranged by the lender to assess that the property value covers the loan amount. It can be arranged by sellers to settle an estate, for separation or other reasons.

The Valuer must report on the facts, as they are legally responsible for the information they provide. Severe penalties apply if the Valuer attempts to mislead. The comprehensive Valuation report can be relied upon in court if necessary.

An appraisal, however, is the real estate agents’ opinion of your property value. Usually when trying to gain your listing.

They base their appraisals on other sales in the area and their experience. Remember, real estate agents are working for the vendor (which could be you) who pays the commission on the price they actually achieve, not the official valuation.

The difficulty with comparing appraisals is that some agents simply ‘bid’ the highest price which may have nothing to do with real value or that a buyer is likely to pay.

So, here’s a warning… don’t just fall for being told the highest price. It’s flattering, but may not be true. You can read more here.

Q. What is The Difference Between a Listing Price and Sale Price?

A. This question can be answered very easily.

The listing price (or asking price) is the price a home is currently listed for sale at and how much it is advertised for.

The sale price is the price a home actually sold at.

Often there is a difference between the figures. As the seller was ‘promised’ a great price, then ended up selling for its realistic price.

A competent agent, however, should be able to suggest a listing price that ends up being very close to the final sale price.

Pricing includes the Logical Price as well as the Emotional Price.

Q. Can I Determine How Much My Home is Worth From an Internet Website?

A. This depends on what you are trying to achieve!

If you are just after a general idea of value, then these sites are okay-ish.

What do I mean by that? Well, each of these sites uses different analysis to determine property value and the actual value can range 20% or even more.

Anyone who has bought a home, sold a home, or just looked at homes, has likely heard of websites such as RealEstate.com.au and Domain.com.au which offer links to ‘How much is your home worth’ sites.

These are also commonly referred to as third-party real estate websites.

Third-party real estate websites are not local to every real estate market.

These third-party real estate websites provide estimates of home values for practically any home in Australia.

How is it possible that a third party website that is headquartered in another state can provide an accurate home value for a home located in your state?

It’s not!  These third-party websites, use computer generated home values based on varying degrees of accuracy, calculations and formulas.

These websites provide estimates which can create a false sense of hope and lead to frustration.

A home seller who discovers their home is worth $50,000 or $100,000 less than the online estimate is going to be understandably upset.

It’s critical that when selling a home, the value is determined by a top agent, not an internet website!

Our site offers What’s My Homes Value? and uses an Automated Valuation Report.

This is the same information and data which Banks & Finance Companies use for Over-the-Desk Valuations.

It’s a good place to start to get a general idea but if you’re actually looking to sell, call an agent.

Better still, call us on 08 8396100.

Q. How Do Agents Determine How Much My Home is Worth?

A. There are a number of methods that Real Estate Agents use to determine the Appraisal value of a home.

The most common method for determining the value of a home is by completing a Comparative Market Analysis, also known as a CMA.

A Comparative Market Analysis is an in-depth evaluation of recently sold ‘Comparable’ homes in the past 6-12 months.

A CMA isn’t a crystal ball that determines what a home will sell for, however, if performed by a competent agent, it should greatly narrow the sale price range.

A professionally completed CMA will take into account many features of not only the home but also the local area and neighbourhood.

Considerations that a professionally completed CMA include, but is not limited to:

  1. Building Size in Square Metres of the Property
  2. Number of bedrooms
  3. Number of bathrooms
  4. Number of living rooms
  5. Vehicle parking or storage
  6. Upgrades to kitchen & throughout
  7. Quality of fixtures and fittings
  8. Age of the property – Year it was built
  9. Improvements or additions
  10. Size of the Land and its features
  11. Location; main road or quiet neighbourhood street?
  12. Style of residence
  13. Outdoor features

Other factors to be considered include anything unique or special about your property, were some of the comparables sales a ‘forced’ sale? how was their upkeep inside? and so on.

Further considerations are the location and presentation.

Appraisal values from a number of agents should be similar.

Q. So, Why is There Such a Variation in Prices Quoted by Agents.

A. Because agents compete against each other, to get your business.

Some treat appraisals like election promises…

They promise more than they can really deliver but don’t really mean it.

According to Choice Magazine –
“Going with the agent who gives the highest estimate, could be a mistake. Although the national industry body says it’s deceptive conduct for agents to mislead prospective vendors about their property’s estimated selling price, agents we spoke to told us the practice of exaggerating property values to sellers is still ingrained in the industry.”

Quoting from the same Choice magazine article. –
“The number one reason that agents give high appraisals is to avoid losing business.” and “Avoiding the ‘quote trap’, where agents inflate their valuations to get your business, is a top priority for sellers.” he says “There’s an old saying in this industry that the biggest liar gets the job” Others said “Some agents quote high prices to try to get sellers to sign up.” and “Agents are still inflating prices to get the seller’s business.”

They work on the idea that whoever tells you the highest price lie, will get your business.

And, that’s often true. People ‘want’ to believe the highest price, even when they ‘know’ it’s not really true. A bit like still wanting to believe in Santa Claus.

The ‘hope’ that the biggest price is true is often too strong to ignore… Unfortunately, it does not end this way as the final sales price is typically ‘far below’ the false promise and in many cases even ‘much less’ than the real price, it should have sold for.

The difficulty for you is not to be swayed by a sweet-talking salesperson, convincing you that your home is better than sliced bread.

Something to consider. When you’re given an answer, to your question of What it’s Worth? Are agents telling you, What will it be worth someday in the future? OR Do they mean, What it’s likely to sell for now?

Have they told you a price that just makes you happy or Have they told you the truth?

A happy price today will likely mean a very unhappy price later. Whereas, the truth may not necessarily make you happy today but will, when you actually get the money.

You cannot spend a promise and if the over the top price is not achieved. You are left short of where you likely wanted to be. This may well ruin your life’s plans.

We’ll simply tell you the way it is, no false promises.

Q. How Much Is My Home Worth?

A. Most homeowners want to know how much their home is worth. One of the best parts of owning a home is the ability to make it your own and improve it how you’d like.

If you are just after a general idea click our Home Value Analysis link and fill in all of the details requested.

You can ‘share’ this page with your friends using the social media links on this page.

If you want to know what it’s really worth call us 08 83961100 Now or  Schedule a Call.

Q. Why is Capital Value Different Than What You Say My Home is Worth?

A. Capital value is not the same as the market value or a property valuation.  There are many homes that have sold for significantly more than their capital value and others that sold for far less.

The capital value of a home is used for the purpose of taxes in your local council rates and government charges on emergency services levy, SA water and such.  For example, the capital value of a home is multiplied by the local tax rate to determine what your yearly council rates are.

The capital value has no impact on how much your home is actually worth to a potential buyer in the marketplace.

Unfortunately, there are many home buyer’s who believe that a home listed higher than the capital value is overpriced.  This is not always the truth.  Home buyer’s also question if something is wrong with a home if the list price is much less than the capital value.  The reality is that capital value has absolutely no impact on how much your home is worth. It is for tax purposes.

Many homeowners don’t pay attention to their capital value, just to find out the valuer general has been slowly raising it, year after year, even though the market value hasn’t necessarily been increasing.

Q. Should I Price My Home Higher To Leave Room For Negotiations?

A. Many sellers believe they should price their home $20-$50-$100,000+ higher than what a competent agent suggests, to leave room for negotiations and low-ball offers.

In reality, a well-priced home will sell quickly and will sell for close to the listing price.

There is really no need to leave room for negotiations, as today’s home buyers are very well educated.

A seller who prices their home too high to leave room for negotiations can actually be costing themselves more money than if they price it to reflect the suggested market value.

Sellers often chase an ‘Emotional’ price, whereas buyers will pay a ‘Logical’ price.

You can read more about the dangers of overpricing here.

Part of the difficulty here, of course, is that some agents will deliberately overprice your home to secure your business, with the intent to drop your price later, to secure a sale.

In spite of this, if you want to ‘Ask More’ for your place, you certainly can. As long as you are aware of the potential problems in doing so.

Q. I’d Like a Better Idea of What My Place is Worth… What Can I Do?

A. If you’re interested in a specific, real estate market value, call now on 08 83961100 or drop me a note and we’ll reach out to you to schedule a time to help you.

P.S. We’ll tell you the way it is, without exaggeration. We’ll also show you how ‘Marketing Your Home to Get it Sold’ is different from just ‘Advertising it For Sale’.

Q. What is a Virtual Appraisal?

A. Simply where a Qualified Real Estate Agent assists in giving you a likely value estimate without physically being present in the property.

Q. Why do I Need a Virtual Appraisal?

A. You don’t have to, an in-person Appraisal is still available to you, should you wish! Call 08 83961100 to do so now.

However, a Virtual Appraisal is convenient for a number of reasons.

  • Given Covid 19 restrictions from 2020 and beyond, the Virtual Appraisal assists in the Social Distancing required and is very much a hands-off approach. It is particularly useful if you or a family member is concerned about any health issues
  • If you are not in a hurry and want a more accurate idea than an Online Automated Valuation the Virtual Appraisal is ideal
  • If you are in a hurry, want an idea of value, and get started in Marketing, all this can be achieved virtually and contactless
  • You have close friends, family, or elderly relatives concerned about their health, who own a property and need your support or they do not possess the technology needed to make this happen
    Discover More about Virtual Appraisal Here.

3. On Market & Contract Questions:

Q. How Long Does The Listing Agreement Last?

A. The Listing Agreement in South Australia is an exclusive right to sell contract agreed in writing between you and your agent, using a document called the ‘Sales Agency Agreement’.

A Residential Sales Agency Agreement is usually for a period of 90 days.

This allows time for preparation, marketing, negotiation, awaiting any subject-to-conditions and then time for settlement.

Occasionally agents seek a time extension for the sales agency agreement to allow this to happen.

Q. What Happens If I’m Not Happy and Want to Cancel the Sales Agency Agreement?

A. This is not one seller’s like to ask when selling a home, however, it can come up occasionally. This may happen because your circumstances changed or if you are dealing with an incompetent agent.

The hope when selling a home is for a quick sale and for top dollar.

This isn’t always the case, though.

Every State and Agency Agreement has different terms but generally speaking, if you decide to cancel the listing agreement, you are likely responsible for any expenses incurred by the real estate agent and their company.

If you are not happy with your current agent and have a real problem, after discussing it with them & it cannot be satisfactorily resolved. You can call Consumer & Business Services on 131 882 for advice.

Q. Margaret asked: We Entered Into a Sales Contract With Someone Who Wanted to Buy Our Previous Home.
The agent representing the buyer at that time presented us with a “pre-qualification” letter from a lender. Later we discovered the buyer was rejected for financing.
How did this happen?

A. Margaret, you allowed the term ‘pre-qualification’ to lull you into a false sense of security. The loan amounts referenced in pre-qualification letters are conditional on verification of income, employment, funds on deposit, credit report, and more. A lender can issue a pre-qualification letter after just a simple 10-minute phone interview with a prospective purchaser.

As a seller, your best vehicle for peace of mind would be a pre-approval letter accompanying the offer to purchase.  A pre-approval letter is a stronger commitment to lend money and is issued only after verification of the crucial financial items mentioned. Things can still go wrong and they sometimes do, but it’s less likely.

Q. What Should I Do To Prepare My Home For Buyer Inspections?

A. Preparing a home for showings can be a job in itself.  A home that is well prepared for home buyers will likely sell faster than it’s competition.  Making sure a home is cleaned, decluttered, bright, and that no foul odours are present are just a few things that sellers must do to prepare their home for viewings.

Here are 10 Tips to help you further.

Better still, ask us when we come out to see you.

Q. What About Pets?

A. Pets ideally should be removed or secured before the inspection.

It is easy for animals to get out of the house when people are coming and going. Also, ensure bedding is put away and droppings removed.

Even friendly pets can add to the stress level of some buyers. Some people are just plain scared or intolerant of animals and pets.

Please remember, purchasers have to “Love your home, not your pets”.

Q. Do You Have Any Advice on Moving with Pets?

A. Certainly, check out your Free Moving With Your Pets Report Here.

Q. What Ideas Do You Have on Moving with Children?

A. Find a Free Report with great ideas for Moving With Your Children Here.

Q. Should I Be Present During Showings at My Home?

A. The short answer – Not really!  There are a few reasons why sellers should not be present during showings.  The primary reason is potential buyers can feel uncomfortable to ask difficult questions as well as talk openly and freely with the agent about your home.  They do not want to say something that could offend you as the seller.  The best idea is to leave shortly before the scheduled time and come back once you are certain the buyers have left your home.

Sometimes you may not be able to get away. If that’s the case, please stay in the background. If we say something to the buyer, ask us afterwards as everything we say and do is for a reason. It’s usually got to do with negotiating or encouraging the buyer to make an offer.

We can discuss this further when we meet.

Q. Why Do You Need My House Keys and How Will You Look After Them?  Who Has Access to Them?

A. We will need keys to access your property in order to show your home to prospective buyers. We will always provide you with notice of an appointment unless you have requested otherwise (eg. the property is vacant).

The keys are kept in a miniature lockbox, called a key-safe. This is secured to say the gas meter box or other discrete location.

The key-safe is accessed by authorised staff only.

If you would rather not hand over keys and be there to let us in and out, that’s fine. Though this may restrict availability to show buyers through if you were out.

Q. Do I Need To Be Home When You Bring Potential Buyers Through?

A. No, you do not. A sales consultant will always escort a potential buyer through your property.

As long as we have keys and/or alarm codes to your property, you will not need to be in attendance.

As previously mentioned, buyers feel more relaxed when viewing a property without the owner present.

We will always notify you in advance.

Q. Why Isn’t Anyone Looking at Our Home?

A. This can be a fairly complex answer.  In many cases, however, the reason a home is not being looked at by potential buyer’s is due to the price.

Buyer’s who feel a home is priced too high will choose to look at other homes before yours, likely finding one before they reach yours.

Other possible reasons your home is not being looked at could include unsightly kerb appeal, a poor location, mediocre photographs, lacklustre marketing efforts or poor follow-up from your agent.

If this has happened to you, maybe you need a change in direction. Tell us more about it when we meet.

There are around 15 Factors that can Influence a Sale.

You are probably not aware of them yet, indeed many agents don’t know about them either.

We’ll discuss those with you to make sure you get sold.

Q. My Friend, Has Had His Land on The Market For Over 12 Months With Another Agency, What’s Wrong?

A. It’s probably similar reasons to the above. Without seeing it, it’s difficult to give a definite answer.

We’ve seen this sort of thing happen time and again, especially with development sites.

It’s often that the agent or seller is asking a retail price for what is essentially wholesale or raw land.

That is, the buyer or developer has to put in all the services, electricity, water, sewer and perhaps gas before it becomes a usable block. Or even needs to knock down the existing property, clear the site, remove debris and pay subdivision costs.

It’s a bit like having the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle and trying to sell the picture on the box. It’s incomplete, not ready and needs additional money spent on it to finish it.

At other times it’s a matter of mediocre marketing and poor follow-up by the selling agent.

Ask your friend to contact us or on 08 83961100 or Here.

Q. Can You Recommend Service Providers Who May be Needed Throughout the Transaction?

A. Yes.

We can recommend high-quality mortgage professionals, conveyancers, contractors, tradespeople, gardeners, painters, movers and storage facilities… as well as other services needed throughout the home selling process

Q. We are Separating and Preparing for a Divorce. Who will You Work For?

A. Both of you!

Our job is to sell the property for as much money as possible in a realistic time frame.

Most people have enough going on in their lives without the added angst and burden of a strained relationship. We are sensitive and understanding of the sometimes difficulty involved. We aim to make it easier on both of you with as little stress as possible.

Regardless of who invited us in, we act for all parties on the title to get your property sold. We do not take sides.

Q. How Do You Keep Us Informed?

A. Regularly & Often or as specifically requested by you.

Sellers have many differing situations. These include singles, couples, families, estate sales, separation or divorce, a forced sale and such.

We tailor our communication and reports to your circumstances. Whether that is to 1 central contact or to multiple parties as needed.

For example, a separated couple could receive duplicate reports, texts & phone calls consecutively. An estate sale would report to an executor or executrix or otherwise as nominated. A forced sale could also include communicating to the bank or finance company with your instructions and authority.

In reality whatever you need is what we’ll do.

You will always be kept informed. Your privacy and confidentiality are assured.

Q. How Frequently and by Which Methods Do You Communicate With Your Home Sellers?

A. The frequency and methods of communication will vary from agent to agent.  At a bare minimum, you should expect to hear from your agent at least once a week when selling your home.

The methods in which an agent communicates with their sellers should be tailored to each individual sellers circumstances.

We’ve found that most of our clients prefer contact 2-3 times a week. Some choose daily exchanges. The method depends on your preference and use of technology. These can include phone conversations, email, text/ SMS messaging, facebook, messenger, Linkedin, Skype, snail mail, video, face-to-face in the office, workplace or at home.

We keep our vendors informed every step of the way so timely, considered decisions can be made. Some examples are; booking open times, feedback on photos and editorial, feedback from buyers, comprehensive market reports and the like.

However, when negotiations are underway it could be multiple times per day, hourly or even more.

P.S. If you’ve baked some fresh cake or biscuits, you’re welcome to call us over for a chat with coffee or cuppa’ tea, at any time. 🙂

Q. What Do We Do When We Get an Offer?

A. Sometimes few offers are made depending on the state of the market or the marketing and advertising campaigns being used.

Hopefully, the agent presents ALL offers to you.

Many agents suggest you have 2 or 3 options.

Option 1Accept the Offer
Option 2Reject the Offer
Option 3Counter the Offer

These may be your only real choices.

However using the Set Sale strategy, usually brings in multiple offers.

This is when Your Secret Weapon comes into play.

Option 43 Phase Negotiation

Ask us about this at your appraisal. (Most agents don’t know about it)

Q. What is a Contingency?

A. Some buyers decide when buying a home they need certain conditions to be met before proceeding.

A Contingency can be summed up as; ‘X’ must happen by ‘Y’ date before ‘Z’ can proceed.

These are usually referred to a ‘Subject to’ conditions. An example is buyers would like to find a suitable property before selling their existing home.  ‘Subject to Sale’ means that the potential buyer of a home must sell their existing home, before being able to purchase the ‘new’ home. These usually involve specific conditions to be met by a certain date. Other ‘Subject to’ conditions can include Pest or Building Inspections and Finance Clauses.

Almost anything can be included here as long as both buyer and seller agree.

The wording of the Contractual Agreement must be phrased correctly to protect both parties.

Q. How Does the Subject-To-Inspection Phase Work?

A. Inspections are a common contingency that buyers make their purchase offers subject to.  There are many different types of inspections and tests that a buyer has the right to perform. In most cases, inspections are at the expense of the buyer.

They have a specified number of days to complete the inspections. The time-frame for these are usually within a week or so to allow the seller piece-of-mind knowing that their property has indeed sold if it passes inspection.

Q. Why Do You Offer a Guarantee?

A. We offer a Guarantee because we are sick and tired of sellers being told an asking price which is not true. Or being offered a fee which is not feasible if the agent is to do a proper job of marketing the home for top dollar and negotiating strongly on your behalf with buyers.

Simply put, We Will Sell Your Property, by Marketing to Sell, not just Advertising it For Sale.

Q. What Happens if The Valuation Comes in Too Low?

A. In addition to ensuring there are no safety hazards at a home, the bank Valuer is also making sure that the home ‘value’ is at least what a buyer and seller agree to.  This isn’t always possible, though.  If a Valuer determines the value of the subject property is lower than the agreed purchase amount, there are a couple different scenarios.

Seller Makes Concession

This is a common result when a Valuation comes in too low.  The seller can agree to sell the home for what the Valuer determines as the Valuation.

Buyer Comes Up with the Difference

The buyer must bridge the difference between the purchase price and the Valuation.  This scenario is fairly uncommon as many buyers find it hard to pay more for a home than their bank Valuation indicates it’s worth.

The Transaction is Cancelled

Unfortunately for both the seller and buyer, this can be the result of a property sold above Valuation. Sometimes both buyer and seller renegotiate a price to complete the sale. However, if the buyer does not want to bridge the difference and the seller does not want to make the concession and adjust the sale price, then the transaction is cancelled.

Read more about Property Valuation here.

Q. After Settlement, Can We Stay and Rent-Back Our Old Home From The New Owner Until We Find a New Home? (We don’t want to have to move twice!)

A. Make sure you ask your agent this question so they can be aware of it during marketing.

This is certainly a possible option. But, can only really be explored once you find a buyer to ask if they are willing and able to postpone their own move into the house.

Homebuyers mostly want to move in on settlement day. Investor buyers are likely more amenable as they are looking to rent out their new investment anyway.

However, if you get a great price do not risk losing the sale by insisting on a rent-back period.

4. Buyer Questions:

Q. How Can We Find Out More About Buying a Home?

A. Easy! You can read our Free Home Buyers Guide here.

Q. Should I Talk With a Bank Before Looking at Homes?

A. Unless you are paying cash, then the answer to the question is a definite YES!

There are lots of reasons why you should talk to your bank. (By bank we mean bank, building society, credit union or finance broker) Then get pre-approved before looking at homes.  First and foremost, this will help you understand exactly how much you can afford.

There is little reason to look at homes that are listed for say $450,000 if you can afford up to $300,000.

If you’re a first-time home buyer, talking with a bank is strongly suggested, as there are first home buyer programs available from time to time.  These programs can vary from state to state, so knowing exactly what’s available to you, is critical.

Another important reason to talk with a bank before looking at homes is so you understand exactly what costs are associated with buying a home.  These can be thoroughly explained by a mortgage professional.  You’ll also get advice on the type of financing you should be looking to obtain.

Q. Why Should I Consider Getting Pre-approved Before Buying a Home?

A. Years ago, buyers didn’t worry about financing their home purchase until after they found the home they wanted to buy.  Once they had an accepted offer, they’d shop around for a few weeks or so and then submit a loan application.

Sellers today are very unlikely to consider this sort of buyer as it’s a bit like taking pot luck.

Home buying is highly competitive in most areas. To compete, many buyers are now getting pre-approved for a mortgage.  This way, the buyer is seen as more stable, has greater influence in negotiating a purchase price and can act quickly when they find a home they really love.  A pre-approved home buyer can be seriously considered.

There are two parts to mortgage approval:  1) approval of the borrower and 2) subject to a satisfactory valuation of the final selected property.

Mortgage pre-approval is a process whereby the borrower is approved for a specific mortgage amount.

The pre-approval is usually good for a period of time.

Getting pre-approval is impacted by your Credit Score.

Final mortgage approval also requires a contractual agreement that is signed by the buyer and the seller and a satisfactory property valuation.

Q. We Own a Home, Should We Buy Another Before Selling Our Current Home?

A. There is truly no concrete ‘correct’ answer to this question as again it depends on your personal circumstances.  There are pro’s and con’s to buying a home before selling your current home and the same can be said about selling your current home before buying another.

Buying a home before selling your current home

The biggest benefit to buying a home before selling your current home is the fact that you have a suitable property lined up.  This can reduce the stress and pressure of having to find a home once your current home is sold.

This however also can create disappointment and heartbreak.  If you are unable to purchase a new home without having to sell your current home, your purchase offer is going to be subject-to-sale and transfer of title of your current home.  If your current home does not sell in a timely manner, this can lead to you getting “bumped” by a non-contingent buyer and you losing out on the home you fell in love with, which can be devastating.

Selling your current home before buying a new home

The time it takes to sell your current home is unpredictable depending on the marketplace at the time.  There is no crystal ball that exists that can tell you exactly how many days it will take.

Selling your current home before buying a new home will put you in an ideal position to negotiate on the new home you’re purchasing due to the fact you are purchasing without the sale contingency of your current home.

One risk of selling your current home without buying a new home first is the chance of not having a place to live.

There are options if your current home sells before buying another one, though.

You can request a longer settlement period to give you extra time to look if the buyers agree.

There is sometimes a possibility of a ‘rent-back’ negotiated with the buyers.  A ‘rent-back’ would allow you to remain in your current home for a certain number of days after settlement and pay an agreed ‘rent’ to the buyer.

However, if you received a great price and the buyers want to move in, then it’s likely worth the consideration of storing your belongings and renting elsewhere or staying with friends or family for a while until you find a place of your own.

I can almost guarantee that if this is an option, you’ll certainly find a new home quickly.

Here are some more details on this question, if you would like to read more.

Q. Can I Get The (FHOG) First Home Owners Grant?

A. The FHOG is a government provision designed to help ease some of the burdens of your first property purchase.

You could be eligible for the one-off FHOG if you are buying or building a newly built first home. (As of 30 June 2014, an established home ie; one already built and previously lived in, is no longer eligible for a grant.)

Your new residential property in South Australia may include a House, Unit, Townhouse, Apartment or a Flat.

The size of the grant varies depending on your intended purchase. Your grant could range from $5000 up to as much as $21300.

You can view the different grant options, eligibility criteria and how to apply here.

Q. How Many Homes Should I Look at Before Putting in an Offer?

A. We often get asked this, it’s a simple answer.  The answer is, there is no specific number of homes you should look at before buying a home.

More impotantly is What are you looking for in a home?

Don’t feel that if you were to purchase the first home you look at that you’re making a mistake.  Same can be said if it takes you looking at 25 homes at Open Inspections.

The advantage you have is that much of the legwork can be saved by doing it online, then check out the ones you think you may really like.

If you are First Home Buyers, check our First Home Buyers Blog. articles for more useful information.

Q. What Things Should I Consider Before Making an Offer on A Home?

A. Even before starting to look at homes, find out what price home you can afford.  In general, you can afford to buy a home equal in price to three to four times your gross annual income.

More precisely, however, the price you can afford to pay for a home will depend on six factors:
1) Your income; 2) The amount of cash you have available for deposit, stamp duty, settlement costs, and cash reserves required by the lender; 3) Your outstanding debts; 4) Your credit history; 5) The type of mortgage you select and 6) Current interest rates.

The process of buying a home is much easier if you start out by getting pre-qualified or even better pre-approved by your lender for a home loan.  This amount will let you know how much home you can buy and makes you a more credible buyer.

For more information, check out our Blog articles by Clicking the relevant category.

Q. How Much Should I Offer the Sellers?

A. When buying a home, you are the only one who can determine how much you should offer a seller. Certainly, it’s suggested you ask for the agent’s advice and thoughts, but ultimately you are the only person who can determine how much you should offer.

Remember the agent ‘works for the seller’ unless you have employed a ‘buyers agent’ whom you are paying and they are working for you.

You’ll have a better idea of comparing the home you want to others asking prices you have seen. Though by now you have likely realized asking prices can be all over the place.

Also check What is included in the sale.

Ask yourself, what is the most you are prepared to pay? Is this really the one? Could you let it go if you missed out?

Q. How Long Does the Seller Have to Respond to My Offer?

A. There is not a standard answer to this question.  A purchase offer will have a ‘life’. The ‘life of the offer’ can vary from 12 hours to 3 or more days.  There are many circumstances that can affect the length of the ‘life of the offer.’

The agent should be able to advise you on the ‘life’ of your offer depending on the market as well as buyer and seller circumstances.

The same goes for a counter-offer, as most negotiations are not open-ended and depending on circumstances, ‘time is of the essence’ could apply.

It’s important to keep communications open and ensure the agent keeps you informed.

If you are not sure what’s happening, just ask.

Q. What If My Offer is Rejected?

A. When a purchase offer is submitted there are generally four possible responses from the seller.

The first is an accepted offer, the second is a counter-offer, the third is a rejected offer, and the final is an offer that is ignored and not responded to.

If your offer is rejected, meaning the seller says no and doesn’t counter, you have the right to place another offer.

Though, it’s not very common that an offer is just rejected, ignored and not responded to unless the seller is offended by a very low offer.

Q. Do You Act as a Buyers Agent?

A. No.

We will help you buy a property that we have for sale and answer all of your questions openly and transparently.

However, we act for the sellers.

The ‘Sellers Agent’ has a fiduciary relationship and has a responsibility, to work for the vendor.

If you employ a ‘Buyers Agent’, you are legally obliged to pay them to act for you.

They cannot ‘act for you’ and be paid an association fee by the selling agent.

Q. What is a Mortgagee Sale?

A. Mortgagee Sale is when the Lender has taken possession of the property as the buyer has defaulted on their loan. The lender is now selling the property.

These can be smoother transactions but you must get good advice from your own conveyancer or solicitor and check the paperwork. Unlike, in the USA where these are called foreclosures, mortgagee sales are not usually advertised as such and are on a need-to-know basis.

If you’re considering the purchase of a property like this, it’s important to understand that most are sold on an ‘as-is’ basis.

Q. We Are Going to Buy at an Auction – What Do We Need To Do??

A. Make sure you pre-arrange finance or have cash available. Usually, a 10% deposit is required on the day if you are the successful bidder.

No subject-to conditions re allowed.

Bring your ID as there will be registration paperwork to complete and a bidding number will be supplied.

If you want a building inspection, get it done well beforehand as per information further below.

Q. Why Didn’t the Agent Give Me a Price Guide at Auction?

A. In South Australia, there are 3 pricing strategies allowed.

1. A single fixed price eg $499,000 or $850,000 or $1.2M
2. A price range of up to 10% eg $350-$370,000 or $600-$660,000
3. No price is given

Often at auctions, no price guide is the strategy, so the agent is not allowed to quote any pricing.

However, agents can provide sales evidence of properties sold in the area.

If you are considering buying at auction it’s important to do your own research and calculate how much the property you are interested in, compares to others you have seen.

Q. Can I Bid at an Auction Where My Bid Includes a Subject-to-Sale or Subject to a Finance Condition?

A. No. All bids at auction are to be either cash or unconditional.

You must pre-arrange finance so you can confidently bid up to your limit if necessary. Make sure you do this in ample time.

Q. Can I Have Any Conditions at Auction?

A. You can request a variation of some terms which must be agreed in writing by the vendor before the auction proceeds.

a) Normally a 10% deposit is stipulated on the fall of the hammer. You can request this to be a specific dollar amount or a higher or lower percentage.
b) Settlement date is usually 30 days. You can request this to be a longer period.

Remember that the seller has to agree, so your request should be realistic.

Any changes must be agreed to in writing.

Q. Do I Have the Option to Get Any Inspections Done?

A. When buying a home, you have the option to perform several types of inspections.

The purchase offer you write can be ‘subject’ to a satisfactory building inspection, pest inspection or other relevant inspections.  In most cases, it’s recommended that when buying a home, you at the bare minimum have a building inspection.

These must be specified and agreed to in the contract paperwork including the type of inspection and date to be performed by.

A building inspection can often be arranged to be done in a matter of days.

If buying a property at auction, however, any inspections must be requested and carried out well before auction day. A subject to building inspection is not acceptable at an auction.

It’s always worth asking if the seller has pre-arranged any of these inspections and if they have, request to view a copy.

Q. What Do I Need to Bring to The Auction if I Intend to Bid?

A. A bidder registration form will need completion and you will be required to show proof of identification. This must be sighted and recorded by the agent.

Check our Forms & Fact Sheets page for a Bidders Guide.

Ensure you have means of paying the 10% deposit should you be the successful bidder on the day of the auction.

Q. Why Should We Get a Building Inspection?

A. The building inspection is optional but it is your opportunity to identify major flaws, safety matters and neglected repairs. It is the occasion to deliberately go through the home looking at everything and understanding its overall health and condition.

It’s also a time for you to get familiar with the basics of your new home. If you have never lived with a septic system or used gas appliances before, the inspection is great opportunity to learn and ask questions or at least find out what you need to know before moving in. It also provides the opportunity to work out a future budget for other future maintenance items.

Chances are that you won’t do this ever again so take the time and be there in person! Wear and tear are normal. No home is perfect! You should expect to see evidence of routine maintenance. Obvious neglect by the homeowner is something you can address in any negotiation afterwards.

A building inspection, however, is not a time to go to the vendor and get money back from them. It is not the chance to make a shopping list to get new taps because you found one that sticks a little when you try to turn it. It is not the ability to get a cash back or upgrade things you don’t like.

If you find major defects or things you absolutely do not want to deal with, the building inspection is your chance to walk away if you are still in the cooling -off period, but it isn’t the time to ask the sellers to remodel the home for you!

Again, if there are previously unknown major problems you are allowed to ask to sensibly re-negotiate.

Q. When Should We Get a Building Inspection?

A. If buying at an Auction – There are no subject-to-conditions so the inspection must be done well before Auction day. It pays to ask the agent if the owner has done a pre-sale inspection. Bear in mind it may or may not be as thorough as you require.

In other purchasing situations, you can usually add a subject-to-building/ pest/ other clause/s in your offer. These will have a date assigned to be done by.

We recommend where possible to have inspections, done during the cooling-off period. If there is a major problem, just cool-off or try to renegotiate if necessary.

It is not really advisable that you get the inspection done before making an offer. As the vendor may reject your offer and you have paid for inspections unnecessarily.

Q. Why Don’t Agents Label Their Properties ‘Under Contract’ on Real Estate Advertising Portals Straight Away?

A. We understand this can be frustrating if you are are a buyer looking at the property, only to discover, it’s too late.

However, there are a number of reasons for this.

When someone has ‘bought’ a property, it is often ‘subject-to’ or ‘conditional’ on something happening, like Finance or Sale of another property.

During this period, some agents leave the property advertised in case the conditional element ‘does not’ take place.

For example, ‘Finance’ is declined or the ‘Subject-to-sale’ fails to sell.

This can and does happen.

This means the original property is back on the market and if it was labelled ‘Under Contract’ too soon, any backup buyer or interested party would not have the opportunity of seeing or buying it.

Another reason is, as skilled agents we collect details of buyers looking for ‘such a property’ and when one becomes available we can inform registered buyers immediately.

Q. What Other Costs Do We To Need to Budget For?

A. Apart from the property itself other purchaser expenses include:

Stamp Duty – This is the biggest one. Other costs are relatively small in comparison. Stamp duty rates vary between state and territory governments and also depend on the value of the property you buy. You may also have to pay stamp duty on the mortgage itself.

Conveyancing/ Legal Fees – Your Conveyancer or Solicitor will attend to all the legal processes around your property transfer of ownership, including title searches which you pay for.

Building Inspection – This should be carried out by a qualified expert before you purchase the property. Your Contract of Sale could include subject to the building inspection, so if there are any previously unknown structural problems, you can still back away from the purchase without any significant financial penalties or re-negotiate.

Pest Inspection – This is best carried out before purchase to ensure the property is free of problems, such as termites.

Lender Costs – Most lenders charge establishment fees to help cover the costs of their own valuation as well as administration fees. Your financier or broker can let you know what your lender charges are.

Moving Costs – Remember to factor in the cost of a removalist, unless you have arranged all of your family and friends to help. (You’ll find a ‘Moving Checklist’ on our Forms & Fact Sheets page to make it easier.)

Mortgage Insurance Costs – If you borrow a value that’s greater than 80% of the purchase price of the property, you’ll also likely need to pay Lenders Mortgage Insurance. You may also choose to take out Mortgage Protection Insurance.

Ongoing Costs – If you buy strata or community title, ongoing fees are also payable. You will need to include council, water & sewer rates along with regular loan repayments. It is very important to also take out building insurance once your deposit is paid and contents insurance. Your lender will probably require a minimum sum insured for the building to cover the loan. Maintenance and upgrade costs need to be considered also.

After all of that… Congratulations, you are a proud homeowner!

Q. We Like One of Your Properties – How Do We Make a Offer?

A. If you’ve attended an Open Inspection, you may have picked up an Offer Form. Complete it and return it by Email, Fax, Messenger for example or drop it off to us. It’s best not to post it as that may take a few days which could be too late if there is strong interest.

If you do not have a Form, visit our site, look under the BUY Tab and Click Offer Form which will open a PDF document.

Here’s a quick video explainer.

Ensure you add as much detail as possible and include all contact numbers in case we need to reach you in a hurry..

If there are Subject-to conditions, include these details as well.

Do you have your pre-approvals in place if it’s subject-to-finance?

Check with your finance source about how much time they need to approve a loan. They usually need 4 weeks for this, so do not make the time too short.

If you need to sell your property, to buy this one, please let us know so we can give you the latest information and an updated appraisal by calling 08 83961100. We won’t let you down.

Q. What Paperwork is Used to Buy a Property?

A. In South Australia, the most important Legal Documents are the Residential Contract of Sale and Form 1 Notice.

The Contract must be signed and dated by all parties either physically on a paper document or with a verifiable electronic signature signed through DocuSign or another approved platform. Signing via a PDF reader will not be sufficient. The purchaser must receive a fully executed copy forthwith, which means pretty much straight away or as soon as practical if a physical copy is used.

Form 1 must be signed by the Vendors and by the agent or an authorized party on their behalf. Only 1 buyer is required to sign as receiving a copy.

Once both documents have been duly signed, dated, and delivered, the property is known as being Under Contract.

Often additional information is served with Form 1 and can include a Property Interest Report, Certificate of Title (CT), Land Titles Office Searches, Council Searches, Certifi8cate of Emergency Services Levy, Certificate of Land Tax Payable, SA WaterCertificate of Water and Sewer Charges & Encumbrance Information, State Planning Reform Fact Sheet, Form R3 Buyers Information Notice

Q. When is the Deposit Due?

A. It is due after the agreed Contract has been signed by all parties AND the Form 1 Notice has been served either by hand delivery or email sent. It is then due 2 clear business days later. Weekends or Public Holiday are not included.

For example, if Documents were signed and delivered on a Monday, then 2 clear business days would be Tuesday & Wednesday with the Deposit due on that Thursday. If delivered on Friday then Saturday & Sunday are not business days, so Monday & Tuesday are, and the Deposit is due on that Wednesday. Should that Monday be a Public Holiday, another Business day is needed, therefore the Deposit is Due on the following day, being Thursday.

Q. Where is the Deposit Paid?

A. The Deposit agreed to in the Contract document is paid into a Trust Account.
Ask your agent for details. The Trust Account could be the Agency Trust Account or the Vendors Conveyancers Trust Account depending on the practice of the Real Estate Agent.

Please NoteIf you are transferring any funds. Double-check Account Details and talk to the relevant Agent/ Conveyancer/ Solicitor/ Bank or Broker before doing so.
We have heard reports that scammers have hacked emails and set-up fraudulent account details.

If money is paid into the wrong account, it will be lost.

5. Miscellaneous Questions

Q. A Few Agents Told Me, That You Had Left The Business. Is That True?

A. No – Definitely Not!

I’ve been helping people to sell, buy, research & invest in property for well over 30 years.

My gorgeous daughter Kaija was born in the year 2000 and looking after the family has been a priority. This was even more so when I was granted sole custody around 2005 after a long-drawn-out separation from her mother earlier.

So being a full-time, single dad raising a little girl, meant I was less in the public eye than previously.

Since I don’t mix much with many real estate agents, a rumour started, that I was not in the industry.

I never bothered responding to those making up false stories.

The rumour was far from the truth as many faithful, loyal and appreciative clients can attest.

I simply focused on looking after my daughter, as well as making sure my client’s needs were taken care of.

There have been many people besides family to ‘Thank’ along the way who supported me in a very difficult time.

Anyone who has been divorced or separated can certainly relate to and understand how tough it can be.

This is another reason I empathise and truly look after anyone selling their home, who going through their own separation, grievance, divorce or difficulty.

I just went about looking after my little girl and my business with quiet determination, without telling the world.

This also meant that for a number of years I was not seen everywhere. I cut back on business meetings, networking events, training conferences and so on.

Why? Because – I made sure I was at home and available for my daughter as much as possible. I was always her Dad and made sure I was there for her.

Nappy changes, milk bottles and bedtime stories became snacks & lunches for kindy, then primary followed by secondary school.

In fact, Kaija often attended Open Inspection with me. She would read, play quietly or colour in pictures. As many buyers also had young children with them, Kaija would look after kids at the kitchen table and help them with colouring in or do other activities, leaving their parents free to wander about.

To this day, we still provide colouring-in pictures to youngsters. You may well have seen these along with giveaway water bottles, lollies & other useful information made available at our Open Homes.

When Kaija was older, she would help me in taking down names and contact details of prospective purchasers.

I’m really a private sort of person. So not everyone was aware of this apart from some clients, friends and those close to me.

Privacy, reliability and confidentiality are things I hold dear for myself and all clients, whether they be buyers, sellers or investors.

Trust is all-important.

I am very much here to help you, regardless of your own circumstance.

I will not let you down and never take sides.

Here are some photos of my daughter Kaija and I.

Q. Our Friends Told Us They Had to Sell Their Home as The Banks Were Sending Nasty Letters.
How Did You Help them?… Asked Jenny & Tom.

A. Jenny and Tom, your friends were lucky to call us when they did. If they had left it any longer, it may have been too late.

The bank may have taken over completely and they would have been evicted and had no say in the matter.

We have been involved with mortgagee sales for many years now, in fact, our earliest ones were over 20 years ago, so, we have learned a thing or 2.

As it turned out, we contacted your friends Bank Manager and then the collections department who we had dealt with previously.

As they knew how we operate and they were sure we’d get the job done in a timely manner and would clearly communicate progress with them, because of this, they allowed your friends to stay in control.

There was a fair bit of hand-holding along the way and a lot of sensitivity involved. This helped them work through this and the final result was more than worth it for them.

We worked with them to a deadline, to thoroughly prepare the property, arrange top-class marketing both on-line & off-line, including magazine quality photographs and editorial.

This eventuated in a prompt sale, which meant your friends could actually apply for a mortgage again, once they got back on their feet financially.

Whereas if they had left it to the banks, this option would have been closed to them.

If you know anyone feeling the pain of too big a mortgage, ask them to call us on 08 83961100 for a fully confidential chat or visit www.BeatTheBank.net.au
There are options available.

Q. What Is a Vendor Bid?

 A. A bid made on behalf of the vendor. ‘Vendor bids’ are commonly made and announced as such by the auctioneer on behalf of a seller. This is to get the bidding started if a bid is not immediately forthcoming at the commencement of an auction. They may also be made during the course of an auction. They cannot be made after the reserve price has been reached.

Q. What Is Settlement Day?

 A. The settlement day is the date the property is handed over from the seller to the buyer. This is arranged through the conveyancer or solicitor and all necessary documentation has been completed and monies exchanged for the title. The original certificate of title remains in the lands title office. A registered copy is provided to the buyer or the bank retains it if there is a mortgage.

Keys are handed over for the property and vacant possession is given.

It’s time for you to celebrate!

Q. I Do Not Understand Some of the Words or Abbreviations Used. How Do I Find Out What They Mean?

A. You’re in Luck – as we’ve made it easy, so you are fully informed about what you need to know.
Check out Meanings Here.
Check out Abbreviations Here.
You can also Check out more information on our Blog Articles Here.

Q. My Friends Need Help, But They Do Not Speak English?

 A. That’s fine. We can help them. For a start, most of our website can be translated into any language. Simply go to the end of our Home Page and ‘Select a Language’ from there.

If we visit with your friends, we use some marvellous Translation Apps to help us understand each other.

If they wish, you or other friends are welcome to assist also.

Q. One Agent Offered Us 20,000 Frequent Flyer Points if we List With Them. Can You Match This?

A. It may interest you to know, that ‘Points’ can be worth as little as 0.567 cents or as much as 0.762 cents each according to the experts at Choice and Finder.com.au.

This equates on average to about $120-$140 give or take.

If I were to even pay you, say $150, to sell your $350,000.00, $500,000.00, $900,000 or more home.

Would you be really excited and thrilled to get this?

I imagine, not likely.

So no, we don’t try to match any offers which do not add value to your home sale.

We put our energies into marketing & negotiation strategies to get you thousands of dollars more when you sell.

Q. Should I Include My Appliances or Leave Them as Negotiable?

A. It’s not usually the case to leave personal appliances, such as the refrigerator, freezer, washing machine, dryer and such. The decision whether to include appliances or make them negotiable is ultimately up to the seller.  When deciding whether to include your appliances, consider that they do may not add much value to a home, since appliances are considered personal property.

Sometimes clients leave them behind for a modicum price as they are downsizing or moving somewhere it is not practical to take them.

If you cannot take them with you, another option, of course, is to sell them or donate them to a worthwhile charity.

Built-in items such as stove, hot water service, in-wall air-conditioners and heaters are expected to remain as part of the property.

If you are unsure which stays or goes, check out Important Notice to Vendors – Inclusions or Exclusions or ask us.

Q. I Have Friends Thinking About Selling.
How Do I Refer them to You?

A. Thanks for asking. Much of our business comes from recommendations of people who see us as knowledgeable, reliable & trustworthy. We certainly won’t let them or you down.

You can call 08 83961100 or Eriks directly on 0418804900. We’d be very pleased to help them.

You can also Refer a Friend here.

Q. Another Agent Claimed You Pay Secret Commissions, Do You?

A. No!

We do, however, reward people who refer us business and offer sponsorship to clubs, groups, schools, organizations and the like.

There’s no secret to this, everything we do is transparent, above-board and up-front.

Q. Why Should We Refer People to You?

A. First of all, we want you to only introduce us to the people that you care about because we believe the people you really care about deserve to get the best advice possible when it’s time for them to make an important real estate decision.

When you do that, you’ll be a hero for making the introduction!

After all, there is nothing worse than referring a person to someone you care about and then they do a lousy job… because that reflects back on you.

So when you want to be a hero we want you to feel comfortable knowing your friends and family will get the best advice so they can make the wisest choice.

Have an inspired day!

PS When you do notice someone who could use our help, just take out your phone, look up my number 08 83961100 and call me. We can talk about how we can best help the person you are referring to me.

Then, imagine how good you’ll feel when you know that your family and friends are getting the reliable help they need and that they can count on us to make their dreams come true.

Q. Do You Offer Any Sponsorship to Clubs or Schools?

A. Yes, we certainly do. You can rely on us for long-term support. You’ll find all the details here. Or call us on 08 83961100.

Q. Our Club is Looking for a Real Estate & Property Speaker, Can You Help?

A. Yes! Sometimes clubs, groups, schools or organisations need new & interesting things to discuss.

We’re pleased to offer our Services to talk to you and the members involved.

You can pretty much ask us anything about Residential Real Estate & Property Matters. Book Here.

We’ll Guide You Home! 

Our Purpose

It’s important that YOU know, our purpose is for YOU to be so outrageously happy with the help we provide that you’ll gladly introduce us to at least two people you really care about before your transaction closes. Not because you feel obligated, but because you truly believe they’ll benefit.

present-1209742_1280 reverse image TEXT - A gift of Listening

Ask Your Own Question/s Here…
There are no silly questions! There are only good questions. Asking questions is the best way to be prepared and fully informed when it’s your turn to buy or sell.
Ask us anything, even the toughest of questions as we’re glad to help you get on with your life. 

Thank you, talk soon!
Best time to call
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Request A Call

Please remember all information is for general purposes only, please check with us & other experts before making a final decision that may affect your personal situation.

Got more of your own questions? Email [email protected] or call 08 83961100 to arrange a chat with people that care.

Alternatively, Book a Free Consultation or Get Your Home Value Here. We’ll Guide You Home!
Feel free to browse the rest of our Blog for more tips tricks and helpful info you can use.
Not sure of some of the terms & meanings used? Check our comprehensive GlossaryAbbreviations and FAQ’s!
P.S. If you are part of a Club, Group, School or Organisation and need someone to ‘Speak about Real Estate & Property’, You’re Welcome to ask or Click Here. For Sponsorship, Click Here.
Want to read in Another Language? Go to our Home page & Scroll to the bottom and choose Translation.
Want Proof of our ability? Check Client References.

Your Home SOLD in 90 Days or Less or We SELL it for FREE!
Our FEES are Less than Your First Price Reduction with the Wrong Agent.

Thanks for reading
What else would YOU like to know about? What would make a great story?
Do you have any specific questions or advice on buying, selling, renting or investing? Real Estate trends? Local, interstate international? Info on the buying or selling process? How to sell or buy? What NOT to do?
What can you TELL us about?
Your neighbourhood – What do you love? Shops, Parks for families, pets, to relax? Restaurants, pubs, hotels, places to go, things to do? Anything else at all? Share Your Own Real Estate, Property, Wisdom & Experiences… The Good, The Bad or The Ugly? What have you learned that other people should know?
Know someone who needs help?
You can
 REFER them here.
Whatever Topic or Suggestion you have… email us at
 [email protected] or call 08 83961100. We’d love to hear about your ideas.
Like most things in life, these are recommendations only. It is not legal advice, it may or may not suit your own circumstances and you may need to make your own additional enquiries.
Regards Eriks & Team 
Plaza Real Estate 

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