If the more positive outlook has encouraged you to put your property on the market in early 2020, here’s what you should know – and what you can do – before your campaign kicks off.
On the heels of a significant rebound in the Sydney and Melbourne markets in the second half of 2019, Domain economist Trent Wiltshire is expecting a gradual influx of new listings in 2020 as vendor confidence picks up.
Wiltshire puts the turnaround down to the three interest rate cuts and the expectation that the Reserve Bank will cut rates even further in 2020.
“The election results and the changes to lending rules gave people a boost in terms of lending power and the [First Home Loan Deposit Scheme] kicks in on January 1, which will bring a few first-home buyers into the market sooner than they would have come otherwise.
“It looks like the market is going to be pretty strong for a while and I think 2020 will be a good year for those looking to sell.”
Wiltshire says the market is starting to pick up in south-east Queensland and after five years of price falls, he thinks even Perth property might see some growth.
The Adelaide market remains steady, and while prices in Hobart are stabilising after a prolonged boom, Wiltshire thinks 2020 will still deliver modest growth.
Buyer’s agent and director of Beckett Property Thomas Georgiou believes the March quarter has the most buyers for the year – a combination of those who missed out in 2019 and an influx of new buyers entering the market in January.
Topping his clients’ wishlists are good school zones, proximity to a train station, home security features, home offices and in some cases, a multipurpose “wellness” room.
An increasing number of buyers are seeking single-storey homes and smaller block sizes to reduce time spent on garden maintenance.
Georgiou says renovated properties are proving a more desirable option with current buyers.
“Fewer people want to renovate due to the large increase in building costs recently,” he says.
Agent Tim Thredgold of Toop & Toop confirms Adelaide buyers are choosing new over old and describes the current trend as “the IKEA effect”.
“Buyers are not so interested in quality but are very interested in everything being brand-new, shiny and lovely,” he says.
“We’re seeing people overlook what we think are better properties because of their construction for a couple of sparkling surfaces.”
With buyers conducting their first inspection online via property portals, Thredgold says it’s more important than ever to nail the presentation.
“The internet plays into the hands of neat, shiny new properties,” he said. “If it doesn’t measure up, it goes further down the list and is forgotten.”
Thredgold says more and more people are finding themselves too busy to worry about minor renovations and alterations.
“They’d rather buy a property that’s all done and looking sharp and presentable.”
Thredgold says he’s seen first-hand where vendors have gone above and beyond and captured the benefit of that in a quick sale.
“They’ve spent a reasonably significant amount of money on preparing their property, and they’ve got good results,” he says.
Properties that are too personalised or have a unique fitout are often harder for buyers to connect with, says Georgiou.
“Items like family photos, furniture pieces or paint colours can subconsciously tell a buyer that it is still the vendor’s home,” he explains. “Vendors need to depersonalise their property and make it as neutral as possible to appeal to the widest possible audience.”
Georgi Bates, a director at Sydney northern beaches agency Cunninghams Real Estate, says the holiday break can be the perfect time to organise a garage sale.
“Get rid of all the things you store for memorabilia that you never get out, put things you don’t need on eBay or donate to the bushfire relief efforts which is a great way to give back to the community,” she says.
Bates also advocates for inviting an impartial third party to put an eagle eye over your property and provide feedback on what stays and what should go.
“People get very comfortable in their house, and they don’t notice small things,” she says. “Someone with a good eye – it could be a stylist or a friend happy to critique the house – could come over and provide advice.”
Vendor advocate Craig Knudsen of Melbourne’s Vendor Marketing says the holidays provide the perfect window for the clearing of cobwebs, a lick of paint and a garden overhaul.
“First impressions count so stand out the front of your house and see how it measures up,” he says.
Bates says when it comes time to put your house on the market, it has to be immaculate. That means dusting in places not on your usual cleaning schedule, cleaning windows and tidying inside appliances and wardrobes.
Bates says it can be a good idea to get a building report done so that you’re prepared for any problems that might come up for a buyer.
“And you may have time over the break to get any issues fixed and attended to,” she says.
After the cleaning and decluttering is complete, Knudsen always recommends that his clients engage a stylist.
“A good stylist will work in with the era of the home and style it accordingly,” he says.
Don’t forget to pay attention to your outdoor areas in the summer selling season when buyers are looking for lifestyle attributes.
Knudsen also likes vendors to prepare a list of the features and benefits of their home.
“They need to ask themselves how it differs from competing property,” he says. “They’ve lived and breathed their home for a period of time; they know what they love. Think about the things no buyer will discover in a 30-minute inspection.”
The Christmas break is also an ideal time to start talking to local agents to determine who will manage your campaign when you’re ready to list.
Knudsen advises against appointing an agent on likeability alone. He encourages his clients to look for “the best local agents” – those with substance beyond an agency’s brand marketing.
Knudsen says he looks for agents who are great listeners, superb communicators, passionate, committed, hard-working, good problem solvers and knowledgeable and experienced in the local market.
“When choosing a real estate agent you want one who believes in their abilities and will get you the best price,” he says.
Agents will also be able to give an appraisal of your home’s worth. Use this alongside your own research to ascertain your home’s potential value in 2020.