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Worst house, best street sale lands a bargain

A DERELICT inner city property, vying for the title of Australia’s worst house, sold for less than its land value yesterday after a gruelling auction in the rain that saw 26 bids in 13 minutes.

Worst house auction Dutton Park

Is this the worst house in Australia? It certainly is the cheapest in this part of Brisbane since 2016. Picture: Mark Cranitch.

The boarded-up 405sq m property at 22 Deighton Rd in the tightly held suburb of Dutton Park was sold sight unseen for $665,000 to a Carina couple buying their first home.

It was the cheapest house sale in three years for the inner city suburb according to CoreLogic property data.

Just half an hour earlier on the same street, a property previously dubbed “Australia’s worst house” also went to auction.

Just down the road, 50 Deighton Rd, Dutton Park used to look like this.

In 2015, the knockdown pre-war building at 50 Deighton Rd, was bought for $668,000 and then demolished to make way for a brand new five-bedroom house.

And now 50 Deighton Rd looks like this. The street is now looking to the new owners of 22 Deighton Rd, to see what they turn it into.

With no registered bidders, that property was passed in with a vendor bid of $1.45 million.

The Public Trustee of Queensland took 22 Deighton Rd to auction with 10 registered bidders among more than 60 standing in heavy rain on the footpath.

Worst house auction Dutton Park

Public Trustee auctioneer Simon O’Kelly almost lost his voice in the rain, trying to get the best price for the worst house in a million dollar suburb. Pic: Mark Cranitch.

After a long pause to start, Public Trustee auctioneer Simon O’Kelly suggested $600,000, then a bidder called out $400,000, which was left ‘in the pocket’ until another bid of $550,000 started the auction.

Of the 26 bids, almost half were jumps of $1000 or $2000 each.

Worst house auction Dutton Park

More than 60 people crowded around a skip and a caravan which were set up outside 22 Deighton Rd, Dutton Park. Picture: Mark Cranitch.

The rain eased only when Mr O’Kelly raised his wooden gavel to announce the property was on the market at $657,000.

A further six bids were made before the property sold for $665,000, well below the suburb’s median house price of $1.028 million.

The land alone has been valued by the State Government at $700,000.

“It was definitely nerve-racking knowing how much there is to do with it,” Adam Barbaro said after securing the winning bid with his wife Laura.

“What do they say, you buy the worst house in the best street? It’s a good street and if we can work hard and put some value into, that’s our way to get a leg up in the market isn’t it?”

While the property was a bargain for the buyers, it has also become a gift for three beneficiaries including Woolloongabba resident Tom Carter who was present at the auction.

Worst house auction Dutton Park

Buyers Adam and Laura Barbaro with one of the beneficiaries of the property, Tom Carter. Picture: Mark Cranitch.

“This house belonged to my grandmother’s cousin,” Mr Carter said.

“She passed away in 2010 but even when she lived here it looked like this.

“I’ve been underneath but she never let anyone upstairs.”

The other beneficiaries are a friend and a Catholic missionary society.

This article was first published in www.realestate.com.au. Here is the link to the original article: https://www.realestate.com.au/news/worst-house-best-street-sale-lands-a-bargain/

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First-home buyers across Australia’s capital cities: How they saved for their deposit

Saving for a first home can seem an insurmountable task. Whether you’re in Sydney, Brisbane or Adelaide, scraping enough together for a 20 per cent deposit can — and usually does — take years.

So Australians hoping to buy their first home will be buoyed by a new report which has found the average time needed to save a deposit has fallen over the past 12 months in major capital cities.

According  to the Domain First-Home Buyers Report, released on Friday, a dual-income couple aged between 25 and 34, who were each saving one-fifth of their post-tax income, would now reach their dream of owning a house faster in Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Darwin.

For couples in Canberra, Brisbane and Adelaide, it now takes one month longer to save for a house deposit than it did this time last year.

Certainly, getting that foot on the ladder is a tough task, wherever you are in Australia. Here’s how first-home buyers across all of our capital cities have managed to make the great Aussie dream their reality.


Anthony Medina and Jenny Gao recently bought their first home in Sydney. Photo: Supplied

Anthony Medina and Jenny Gao

Paid: $658,000

How long to save: 5 years

Sydney couple Anthony Medina and Jenny Gao bought their first home in March after years of saving.

Mr Medina decided to start saving for a deposit the moment he finished school and began working as an electrician, but he said it was hard at the outset to save much as an apprentice.

“I’ve been a bit lazy … I always thought of doing [it] but never really pursued anything,” Mr Medina said.

It was not until he met his partner Jenny two years ago that he seriously began saving and looking for property.

“I ran it past her and she thought it was a good idea as well,” he said.

Mr Medina said the combination of a few years of savings under his belt and the property downturn in the past year had created the perfect timing to get his foot in the door.

“I was planning on doing it a couple of years ago but now that prices have dropped, it seemed like a perfect time,” he said.

After saving $150,000 for their deposit, the young couple began looking in November in several areas, including Riverwood, St George and even Concord, where they are currently renting.

They had a budget of $650,000 to $700,000 in the hope of avoiding paying stamp duty.

In the end, they snapped up a two-bedroom unit in Kogarah for $658,000, paying just $1600 for stamp duty.

Mr Medina said they ended up settling for a unit because they wanted to stay within their budget and not live too far out west.

He said the past year of saving for a deposit was the hardest as they were paying $350 a week in rent.

“It was a lot easier maybe prior to a year ago because I was living with my parents; I still had a bit of flexibility but now paying rent, it’s hard to save when you’re paying rent,” he said.

They are a few weeks away from moving into their new home and are already thinking of ways of reducing the stress of their initial mortgage repayments, which will be about $2500 a month.

“We’re thinking of renting out the second room to get a bit of breathing space. if we can rent out just one of the rooms that would help us a lot.”

— Tawar Razaghi


Sarah and Nicholas McLoughlin
Melbourne first-home buyers Sarah and Nicholas McLoughlin. Photo: Stephen McKenzie

Sarah and Nicholas McLoughlin

Paid: $855,000

How long to save: 18 months

Melbourne couple Sarah and Nicholas McLoughlin bought their first home last November.

They snapped up a four-bedroom, two-bathroom home in Eltham through an expressions-of-interest sale for $855,000.

The McLoughlins had been renting in Eltham for 18 months before buying to save money for a deposit. This allowed them to save more money than when Ms McLoughlin had been renting a separate apartment in South Yarra, while Mr McLoughlin had been sharehousing with his brother in Eltham.

“We did save a bit. We just kind of re-prioritised going out so we saved that for special occasions – for friends’ or families’ birthdays – instead of going out for dinner once or twice a week,” Mr McLoughlin said.

Both have a career with the Department of Health and Human Services, working with people with disabilities.

They made an unconditional offer on the property to buy it.

“We started off by attempting to buy a place in October last year at auction. We didn’t know what we were doing and we sent my parents,” Mr McLoughlin said.

The couple watched the bidding action via an app as they were away when the auction was on. Mr McLoughlin’s parents made the highest bid for the property but, as the price didn’t reach the vendors’ reserve, it was passed in.

“After that we were a bit disillusioned,” he said.

The couple went to other auctions and decided to use a buyers advocate to help them out. They also used a mortgage broker who was a friend to get their finance.

They decided on a 30-year mortgage. As Nicholas is 45, he was asked how he planned to make the mortgage repayments after retirement age.

“We told them Nic would work longer than retirement age,” Ms McLoughlin said with a laugh.

The McLoughlins wanted the type of mortgage where they could still enjoy a good lifestyle.

“We still wanted to be able to save for holidays and have a good quality of life and not be overstretched,” Ms McLoughlin said.

“Saying that, our budget increased quite a bit on our journey of buying our house.”

They have so far only made one mortgage payment since moving into their home a month ago.

“It’s not too bad. It’s more expensive than renting but it’s easier than we expected. We’ve been adding a bit more to the joint account,” Ms McLoughlin said. “We’ve only got one bill so far and we haven’t paid the rates yet.”

— Melissa Heagney


Brisbane first-home buyers Jess Carmichael and James Mulligan at their Kedron home. Photo: Tammy Law

Jess Carmichael and James Mulligan

Paid: $635,000

Saved for: 2.5 years

Jess Carmichael and her partner James Mulligan had been living together in London for four years but buying a house back home in Brisbane was always part of the plan.

The couple, both town planners, did not have a specific goal in mind for their savings but had been putting money away for two years before they moved back to Brisbane in September last year.

For the next six months, they lived with her parents and made the most of the opportunity, saving like mad while researching in earnest.

“It certainly helped a lot. We paid a little bit of board but it was a nominal amount, certainly not equivalent to renting,” Ms Carmichael said.

“We spent a lot of that time researching where in Brisbane we wanted to buy, the average market values in those areas, and that informed our approach in terms of what we could realistically achieve within our budget.”

Settling on the character suburbs around Brisbane’s inner to middle-ring north, they had a list of features that were important to them, such as accessibility to public transport, proximity to parks and having an outlook.

“We looked from September to January, seven different houses every Saturday. It was exhausting but you need to do the research,” Ms Carmichael said.

“To be honest I don’t think a lot of agents took us very seriously because they could tell we were in that research phase.”

The couple enlisted a mortgage broker to help them navigate the home loan process and were conscious of not stretching themselves. They had a 20 per cent deposit, which Ms Carmichael said opened up better interest rate deals for them from banks.

After missing out on a house at Stafford, they snagged a gorgeous two-bedroom character home in a sought-after Kedron street via private treaty for $635,000.

“The only thing this house doesn’t have that the other one did was an outlook. We don’t have a view here. But we’re seven kilometres from the city and in a really nice spot, so we’ve done pretty well,” Ms Carmichael said.

“In hindsight we’re glad we didn’t get the house at Stafford. For the price we paid for this house, I don’t think we compromised really.”

Adjusting to mortgage life has been easy for the couple.

“We’ve actually worked out that our mortgage repayments are less than our rent was in London,” Ms Carmichael said.

“And I think we’ll find the bills more manageable to be honest. The challenge will be to work through a sequence of what we want to do for renovations and planning and saving for those things now.”

— Ellen Lutton


Perth first-home buyers Alicia Manningok and Brendon Dawsonok. Photo: Supplied

Alicia Manning and Brendon Dawson

Paid: $554,000

Saved for: 2 years

For Perth high school sweethearts Alicia Manning and Brendon Dawson, saving a deposit and buying their first home was the result of sacrifice and discipline.

The 27-year-olds moved into their new home in Victoria Park last August after years of savings and a shared dream of home ownership.

On completion of their university degrees and after finding jobs in their respective fields – Dawson is a solicitor and Manning a scientific advisor–  the pair rented and saved hard to build on their savings.

“We were just out of uni, so we basically kept living our uni lifestyle,” Mr Dawson said.

“We were fairly frugal and basically saved one of our incomes while using the other person’s income to live.

“It was hard because effectively we were living on the one salary for the two of us but I think the big advantage was for us was we’d been in a stable relationship for a long time, and we had shared money so it was much more doable and coming out of uni we didn’t have many expenses lifestyle-wise.”

After two years of knuckling down for a deposit, the pair embarked on their home search journey.

“We starting looking around for houses but ended up buying a block, which was probably a bit cheaper because it had an old service road that hadn’t been developed and probably won’t be for a couple of years,” he said.

The state government’s $10,000 WA First Home Owner Grant was an added bonus for the couple and helped sway their decision to build rather than buy an established home.

After securing the block, which cost $304,000, the couple spent another six or so months saving and searching for a builder.

Today, Mr Dawson and Miss Manning are loving living in their three-bedroom, two-bathroom home, which they built for about $250,000.

“It’s great to have somewhere nice that we are actually making payments for, that’s going towards an asset for us,” Mr Dawson said.

— Lisa Calautti


Adelaide first-home buyer Chad Nicolle outside his new home. Photo: Supplied

Chad Nicolle

Paid: $235,000

How long to save: 3 years

Chad Nicolle considered his options carefully before taking the plunge to buy his first home.

He paid $235,000 for a two-bedroom villa in the southern suburb of Morphett Vale, settling in October and moving into the home in February after the previous tenant moved out. 

A lifelong Adelaide resident, he had rented on his own for the previous nine years. 

“It took me a very long time to make the decision to buy a house,” Mr Nicolle told Domain. “I weighed up all my options and got into the habit of knowing what it would be like before I started.”

A redundancy payout from a previous job a few years ago gave his nest egg a boost, and he saved for three years before buying. 

So far, paying off a mortgage “hasn’t been too bad” for the 35-year-old, who works as a customer service manager for a fibre optic company and arranged his home loan through Sam Walker at Aussie in Prospect.

He estimated that he pays about $60 to $70 more a week to own rather than rent, and he sets aside cash for council rates and strata fees. 

“I don’t feel any different from renting. The only difference is I have two quarterly bills I wouldn’t have otherwise,” he said. 

This means he isn’t able to save as much money as in the past towards holidays or other goals. He is also in the habit of taking his lunch to work, but says his social life hasn’t changed. 

“I’m still living my life, I’m still doing the things that I want to,” he said. “It’s not as scary as what I thought it would be.” 

— Elizabeth Redman


Joshua and Natalie Graham purchased the home they were renting in December last year. Photo: Ashley St George

Joshua and Natalie Graham

Paid: $447,000

How long to save: 18 months

Paying off a mortgage can be a daunting task for many first-home buyers, but for those in the ACT you might be surprised to know it could mean more money in your pocket with some loan repayments less than the weekly asking rent.

With Canberra’s median asking rent prices the highest in the nation for houses, many renters are looking to get their foot in the property market.

Joshua and Natalie Graham used to rent their three-bedroom house in the southern Canberra suburb of Gilmore and were paying $430 per week.

In December, they purchased the house for $447,000 and they are now paying $380 per week in loan repayments – $50 less than what they paid for rent.

Mr Graham said they were a few months off from starting the search for a home, but when their rental was put up for sale, “buying the place was a no-brainer”.

“We had been saving and met with [a mortgage broker] 18 months before to look at our options and get ourselves into the best position to buy a place,” he said.

“We put in an offer, initially, a low offer as you do, and that got knocked back but we reassessed everything and offered them another $20,000 on top of our original offer and they accepted it.”

From July 1, stamp duty will be exempt on all properties in the ACT for first-home buyers under an income threshold of $160,000. While Mr Graham missed out on the incentive, he’s glad he’s didn’t miss the opportunity to own his rental now.

“The price of homes in Canberra is quite high and so that would’ve helped us. We obviously had the option to defer our stamp duty but because we got it at a pretty good price we decided to pay upfront,” he said.

“But if we were still renting we would wait until the exemption came into place.”

— Lucy Bladen


NOT FOR REUSE Thomas and Whitney outside their first home in Howrah
Thomas Webster and his partner Whitney outside their first home in Howrah. Photo: Supplied

Thomas Webster and his partner Whitney

Paid: $430,000

How long to save: 18 months

Thomas Webster and his partner Whitney recently bought their first property in Howrah, in the wider Hobart area. The couple, who are both in their 30s, paid $430,000 for the three-bedroom, one-bathroom estate through Charlotte Peterswald for Property.

Mr Webster points to challenges around affordability as a motivator for buying. “The rental market in Hobart is just crazy. There’s not much available and the cost is pretty ridiculous.”

The couple were on a rolling lease, which gave them the impetus to buy.

Mr Webster and his partner started seriously saving for a home about 18 months prior to buying. They originally tried saving money for their home loan individually, but soon found that approach wasn’t working.

“It was only once we starting saving together that we really gained momentum,” he said. “We set up a purpose specific account that we both contributed to fortnightly. We couldn’t withdraw money from it unless we both signed off on it.” 

Mr Webster said the most challenging part of buying their first home was the time required to develop an informed understanding of the property market, as well as managing the stakeholders involved. “We’re fortunate that Whitney was a teacher on school holidays, which allowed her to dedicate a fair portion of her break dealing with the bank, real estate agents and conveyancers.

“It was a steep learning curve but the reward of home ownership is well worth the journey.”

Mr Webster said the couple’s combined income and job security – from TasNetworks and from teaching – should make mortgage repayments feasible, but that if they had taken out a larger loan it could have been a different story.

— Isabelle Chesher

This article was first published in www.domain.com.au. Here is the link to the original article: https://www.domain.com.au/news/first-home-buyers-across-australia-813580/

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Sydney auctions: Owner-occupiers back in the market as they see value under the hammer

Owner-occupier buyers were in the driver’s seat in Sydney’s home auction market at the weekend as some property investors held back.

A spacious apartment in Cremorne Point sold to downsizing couple for $2.11 million, some $110,000 above reserve.

Across town, a period Kensington home changed hands for the first time since it was built in 1913. The property, at 32 McDougall Street, was purchased by a family with renovation plans for $3.2 million, $350,000 above reserve.

The city’s auction clearance rate was 59.5 per cent from the 353 auctions reported to the Domain Group (639 were scheduled). This was just below last weekend’s preliminary auction success rate of 60.9 per cent, subsequently revised down to 49.2 per cent.

Damien Cooley, of Cooley Auctions, said the number of registered bidders at auctions had spiked up through March.

The period house at 32 McDougall Street, Kensington, was bought by a family who want to renovate. Photo: Ray White Kingsford

Owner-occupiers, including downsizers and upgraders, were showing greater confidence in bidding, he said, but some investors were continuing to observe the demand levels for properties rather than purchase.

“The market is definitely better in 2019 than it was,” Cooley said. “That doesn’t necessarily mean that the prices are increasing but more properties are selling. I think this is coming off the back of buyers seeing value: the market has come back and vendors are recognising that the market is not as good as it was and they are more willing to sell.”

About 50 onlookers turned out for the auction of 14/14-18 Kareela Road, Cremorne Point, which offered three bedrooms and 241 square metres of internal and terrace space.

Belle Property Neutral Bay co-principal Matthew Smythe said the unit attracted six registered bidders, three of whom participated.

After kicking off with a starting bid of $1.5 million, the property drew bid rises of $25,000 and $10,000 before selling under the hammer for $2.11 million to downsizers from Cremorne.

14/14-18 Kareela Road, Cremorne Point. Photo: Belle Property Neutral Bay

Smythe said the apartment was inspected by 96 groups and had proved popular because of its quality renovation, attractive outlook and double garage.

“This was a strong auction and it sold for close to what it would have achieved at the top of the market in 2017,” Smythe said.

The McDougall Street house in Kensington was bought by a local family planning a renovation. The house had initially been expected by Ray White Kingsford to sell in the range of $2.7 million to $2.8 million but with a final hammer-fall price of $3.2 million, it did substantially better.

Other higher-priced sales reported this weekend included an extended period house on 1214 square metres at 7 Wallis Avenue, Strathfield. This property sold at auction on Saturday for $4.25 million through Georges Ellis & Co.

Meanwhile, a 1890s-built home on 840 square metres, at 47 Meymott Street, Randwick, fetched $3.37 million through McGrath Eastern Suburbs.

The 1890s home at 47 Meymott Street, Randwick, fetched a cool $3.37 million. Photo: McGrath Eastern Suburbs

AMP Capital chief economist Shane Oliver said there had been a slowing in the rate of decline of median house prices in Sydney, while auction clearance rates had bounced off their lows.

“Some might see that as a positive sign,” Dr Oliver said. “And, perhaps the market has been helped by talk of rate cuts, bargain hunters moving in and the possibility that there will be easier bank lending conditions with the royal commission being out of the way.”

Cooley Auctions runs dozens of auctions each weekend and, according to Damien Cooley, a flight to quality is clearly evident.

“All the buyers are flocking to the quality homes and they’re selling well whether they are a house or an apartment,’ he said.

This article was first published in www.domain.com.au. Here is the link to the original article: https://www.domain.com.au/news/sydney-auctions-814499/

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10 Mistakes to Avoid on Your First Real Estate Investment

Mistake #1: Bad Financing

Bad financing can be one of the most lethal mistakes possible. I have personally seen more real estate investors lose money or go out of business from bad financing than from any other mistake.

What is bad financing? For me, it includes a combination of the following:

  1. High interest rate
  2. Adjustable interest rate
  3. High monthly payment
  4. Balloon payment
  5. Personal recourse

Most residential bank mortgages at least save you from the first four mistakes because the interest rates are low, fixed for 30 years, with amortizing payments, and there are no balloons. But they almost always require personal recourse, meaning you personally guarantee the loan with your other assets and future earnings. This is probably a reasonable trade-off.

Many commercial, portfolio, hard money, and private lenders, however, do not meet any of these criteria. And that could be a problem, especially on your first deal.

If you borrow at 12 percent interest with a large monthly payment, a balloon due in one to three years, and full personal recourse for the loan, you are likely taking too much risk.

Why? Because the property will likely have negative cash flow with the high interest rate. A balloon note means you will have to refinance or sell in a very short period of time. As many learned in the 2008 credit crisis, trying to refinance when credit dries up is very difficult even with perfect credit and good income. And personal recourse means that if anything goes bad and your lender loses money, they could chase you around and take your other assets in order to collect.

I have always used a lot of private and seller financing for my real estate deals, and I keep this list of financing mistakes in mind. For example, I might trade off a little higher interest rate and a larger down payment in exchange for a longer loan term and no personal recourse.

Mistake #2: Bad Location

Real estate value always begins with location. The people and businesses who will rent or buy from you begin with location, and then they evaluate other criteria like the lot and the house.

Because it’s so important, you should study the best and the worst locations in your area before buying. There are investors who make money in bad locations, but it’s a challenging game that beginners should probably avoid.

I bought a lower-priced single family house once at a below market price with excellent seller financing terms. But the location was awful. I could not consistently attract good tenants because the neighbors were not pleasant (or safe) to live around.

On the other hand, I have bought properties in good locations that I made mistakes on, like paying a little too high of a price. The good location helped to bail me out of some of those mistakes.

Mistake #3: Misjudging Resale or Rent Value

I would argue that our number one job as investors is to understand how our end customers (renters and buyers) make buying decisions and then to translate that to a value. If we can’t determine the full value potential, we will have a hard time making a confident purchase offer that earns us a profit.

This job is important. But it’s not easy. It’s a skill that you must commit to learn and then continue to refine every day for the rest of your investment career.

On your first deal, it’s likely you are not yet an expert on value, so there are a few things you can do to help yourself:

  • Reduce your target market to a relatively small, manageable area.
  • Study all of the transactions in your market daily using tools. For me, this is like the daily weight training of real estate that keeps me fit and competitive.
  • Hire professionals for assistance. For resale value find a very competent real estate agent and/or appraiser. For rental values find property managers with multiple units in your area.
  • Take courses on valuation at your local Associate of Realtors or other continuing education school.

Mistake #4: Underestimating Repair Costs

It is inevitable that you will underestimate repair costs at some point. But you want to avoid enormous cost overruns that could cause you to run out of cash or face other problems.

To avoid large mistakes, learn a good repair estimating system.

Also be sure to get help from other more knowledgeable investors or contractors. Don’t be afraid to pay these people for their time and knowledge.

You can meet these people by:

  • Attending local meetups
  • Attending local real estate club meetings
  • Driving neighborhoods looking for remodel projects
  • Asking on the  Forums

Mistake #5: Running Out of Cash

Your investment properties are like your race car. Cash is like your car’s fuel. When out of fuel, even the most powerful race car in the world sits still. If you run out of cash, even the best investment property will hurt your wealth building.

So you want to avoid running low or running out of cash.

This usually happens for a couple of reasons:

  1. Underestimating repair costs (see mistake #3 above)
  2. Underestimating future capital expenses on a rental property

Capital expenses are big ticket items like a roof or a heating-air system replacement. If these costs hit you unexpectedly, it can become a big problem.

 Mistake #6: Letting Emotions Drive Your Decisions

This is a huge mistake for newbies. And it’s understandable. I mean it IS an exciting chase to look for your first deal.

But you have to balance your enthusiasm with cold, hard, and objective analysis.

I love enthusiasm. It’s critical as an entrepreneur because it helps you push ahead through the many obstacles you will face.

But I have also learned to never make big financial decisions with emotion alone. I use a process of analysis that filters each of my deals. I also run every deal by someone else, which typically means my business partner but sometimes includes other mentors and advisers.

My process begins with basic criteria, including general locations, neighborhoods, housing types, construction quality, etc. This helps me to filter down the enormous number of properties out there.

Then I use a deal analysis process to analyze the numbers. Here is my basic go or no-go system for a deal.

 Mistake #7: Choosing the Wrong Real Estate Strategy

Real estate investing has MANY strategies. And it’s easy to get overwhelmed or waste time chasing the wrong strategy.

Here’s a tip: You won’t find a perfect strategy. But you can find one that pretty well suits your unique strengths, your short-term needs, and your long-term goals.

So, instead of borrowing the perfect strategy for someone else, think hard about what you really want and which real estate strategy will get you there.

Mistake #8: Choosing Bad Contractors

Finding contractors who will do good work, finish up on time, clean-up after themselves, and charge reasonable prices is harder than finding buried treasure on a beach. Yet the people who do work on your fix-flip or rental deal will make or break its success.

Mistake #9: Not Using Your Due Diligence Period

Some experienced investors make offers with fast closings, in as-is condition, and with no due diligence period. This may help them get a lower price, but for your first deal this is probably not the best route to go.

Instead, include a short but reasonable due diligence period that allows you to get out of the purchase contract if you find a problem.

Here are a few of the important things I usually do during due diligence:

  • Obtain a very good professional third party property inspection
  • Repair estimates (see mistake #3 above)
  • Evaluate zoning and local ordinances (for example, the college town where I invest has a law that you can’t rent to more than two students in a residential zoning district)
  • Get a professional third party opinion of value and rental comps

Basically, you want to double check all of the key assumptions you used to make your offer. If you find that you made a bad assumption, you may need to renegotiate or walk from the deal.

Mistake #10: Not Learning From Your Mistakes

You have just read 9 mistakes to avoid, and I could probably tell you another 20. But no matter what you learn, you will still make mistakes. I guarantee it.


Real estate is an entrepreneurial venture. We entrepreneurs shoot for the stars, but we also take risks that could turn out badly. This can be a difficult pill to swallow on your first deal. But risk doesn’t have to be a bad word. I see it as a barrier to entry. It means that the less committed, pretender-investors don’t bother. They drop out when it gets too tough.

The successful real estate entrepreneurs aren’t perfect. They have scars to prove all of their past mistakes. But they learn to avoid the fatal mistakes that would knock them out of the game.  And they learn to always keep moving forward.

Forward movement. That’s what entrepreneurship is all about.


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‘A bit forgotten, in a good way’: Tweed Shire, a green pocket tourists tend to overlook

Bound by the Queensland border, the Pacific Ocean and the Border Ranges National Park, the Tweed – as it’s affectionately known by the locals – flies a little under the national radar.

“Being just south of the border, it’s a little bit forgotten, but in a good way,” says Sophie Carter, of Sophie Carter Exclusive Properties. “It’s not overdeveloped and you can live a coastal lifestyle that’s not as busy as the Gold Coast. We’ve got all the attributes of better-known areas, but without the hustle and scrutiny.”

Only five minutes from Coolanagatta Airport but not under the flight path, Tweed Heads is
the region’s urban centre and provides all the expected urban amenities. But it’s perhaps the shire’s riverfront towns like Murwillumbah that lure the most tree-changers.

Valley views

Mount Warning in the Tweed Range, Tweed Heads
Mount Warning in the Tweed Range, gathered in morning mist. Photo: Destination NSW

Owner and director of Madura Tea Estates Stephen Bright spent the first few years of his working life with a big accounting firm in Sydney before moving to the north coast in his 20s, looking for a rural lifestyle with employment opportunities.

“What was attractive at that time was that everything in the Tweed was so idyllic,” he says. “It’s a beautiful valley that’s very close to the far- north coast and beaches, with large tracts of rainforest and a very active agricultural scene in cane, bananas, dairy and logging. And within the valley there’s a significant amount of value-adding going on, like processing for milk and milling for timber.”

Stephen Bright of Madura Tea NOT FOR REUSE
Stephen Bright of Madura Tea describes Tweed Shire as idyllic. Photo: Supplied

Bright spent his first 17 years as an accountant in Murwillumbah before buying Madura Tea Estates. He has grown the hinterland business by expanding the product range and broadening the distribution through Australia’s largest supermarkets, in turn providing stable employment for the Tweed locals.

Madura now claims 4 per cent of the tea category within the grocery sector in Australia and a tour of the estate allows a close-up view of tea growing, processing and packaging.

Time for a cuppa

Generic shot of two people sharing a pot of tea
Madura Tea Estates has received approval for an on-site cafe. Photo: iStock

The estate has recently received approval to operate a cafe on site and Bright is looking forward to serving visitors with a cup of their home-grown brew in the near future.

“We’re on the tourist trail so it makes sense to serve light refreshments for visitors,” he says.

A strong cafe and dining culture is already well established in the Tweed, and Carter’s favourites include Cabarita Beach’s Paper Daisy, Cubby Bakehouse in Chinderah, Friday Hut Dining in Possum Creek and Ancora in Tweed Heads.

You’ll also find a cafe at the Tweed Regional Gallery.

Top home in the area

2402.53 Bay Street Tweed Heads
2402/53 Bay Street, Tweed Heads. Photo: Supplied

A recent renovation has furnished this penthouse with Carrara marble finishes and Miele appliances across a 563-square-metre floor plan.

The property has stunning views over the Tweed River and comes with its own rooftop pool.

Sophie Carter Exclusive Properties are selling the property with a $2.65 million guide.

This article was first published in www.domain.com.au. Here is the link to the original article: https://www.domain.com.au/news/a-bit-forgotten-in-a-good-way-tweed-shire-the-green-pocket-that-tourists-tend-to-overlook-809075/

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Bayside tenants pay Melbourne’s most expensive rent

Bayside renters can expect to dish out more than tenants across the rest of Melbourne and prices are predicted to keep increasing.

CoreLogic data shows it costs a median of $824 weekly to live in a house in the seaside suburbs, while those looking to rent a unit can expect to pay a median of $520 a week.

It’s the most expensive municipality for renters across Victoria.

The asking rent has jumped from $810 for houses and $500 for units in 2017, despite being a challenging period for Melbourne’s real estate market.

It costs $3900 a week to rent the five-bedroom house.

Bayside’s median asking rent is $824 a week for houses.

The median sale price for Bayside houses decreased by 4.1 per cent to $1.8 million during the same period.

Realestate.com.au general manager for rent Kul Singh said prices were impacted by softening sales conditions.

“Investors hold onto stock and look for rental yield growth, which impacts weekly rents, while buyers concerned with further declines also enter the rental market,” Mr Singh said.

Some of Melbourne’s most prestige rentals are found in the area.March 23: Jack Boronovskis’ Victorian property wrap

“These factors result in increased competition for rentals in popular areas, which often end in rental prices increasing.”

Investors are set to earn 2.4 per cent in rental yield a year on their Bayside house, which is below Melbourne’s average 3.1 per cent.

Greater Melbourne’s median asking price for houses is $430 a week, which is an increase from $420 in 2017.

6 White St, Beaumaris is on the rental market for $1600 a week.

The property includes a luxurious outdoor entertaining area.

It costs the same amount to rent in Tasmania, while Sydney, Canberra and Darwin are more expensive at $560, $550 and $500 respectively.

Melbourne units cost a median of $420 a week to rent, which is the third most expensive across the Australian capital cities, behind Sydney and Canberra.

Melton is the cheapest, with a $370 weekly asking price.

112 Beach Rd, Sandringham is for lease at $850 a week.

It’s priced close to the municipality’s median asking price.March 23: Jack Boronovskis’ Victorian property wrap

Mr Singh said inner-city pockets were more likely to have price jumps because of demand.

“We would expect to see the most popular rental destinations continue to become more expensive due to increased competition, particularly if supply of rental housing decreases as a result of the proposed Labor policies relating to negative gearing and investors,” he said.

This article was first published in www.realestate.com.au. Here is the link to the original article: https://www.realestate.com.au/news/bayside-tenants-pay-melbournes-most-expensive-rent/

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Healesville: The locals love living here and will tell you all about it

Warning: there’s something a little irksome about Healesville locals. They absolutely love living in Healesville, and they’re not afraid to tell you.

“It’s pretty much perfect,” says Benjamin McKenzie, who moved from Brunswick with his partner five years ago when the couple were expecting their first child.

“I really can’t think of a single negative thing to say about Healesville!” long-time local Mia McKay gushes. “I am wracking my brain.”

They’re not the only ones. Wander the main street and ask anyone you meet – you might just find yourself considering a move. And who could blame you?

Set amid the picturesque Yarra Valley, 52 kilometres north-east of Melbourne’s CBD, Healesville marries yesteryear charm with a drool-inducing spread of top-notch gourmet fare – restaurants, wineries, breweries, distilleries and cheese factories are dotted about the surrounding paddocks and hills.

Surveyed in 1864, after years as a layover point on the track to the Woods Point goldfields, the town evolved into a holiday destination for well-to-do Melburnians upon the introduction of a railway line, now resurrected as the Yarra Valley Railway tourist train between Healesville and Yarra Glen.

Cultural experiences abound, with the TarraWarra Art Gallery, Memo theatre and annual Healesville Music Festival (held each November).

There’s country horse racing, an organic market, and the spectacular Bicentennial National Trail that follows historic stock and coach routes all the way to Far North Queensland. Add the cute natives at the famed Healesville Sanctuary, and it all sounds pretty idyllic.

McKay and her partner keep horses, host local music acts on their verandah, and volunteer at the annual music festival. On a Friday night, you’ll find them at Watts River Brewery enjoying the live music and the company of other locals.

It’s a scene that McKenzie enjoys too, adding that he has struck up friendships with other new fathers, a sense of comradery forged over a drop of the house IPA.

The kitchen and pizza oven at Giant Steps restaurant in Healesville. Photo: Arsineh Houspian

The McKenzies have never regretted their tree change. “We were getting really sick of the city. It was so busy and polluted. It just felt exhausting … We took a chance and it’s been great.”

Healesville gave them more house and garden for their money, the fresh air they were craving and land enough for a shed, a veggie garden and backyard cricket.

Their property even has a creek flowing through it – I mean, come on. The family enjoys ready access to the bush, as well as the small-town community feel. Life has slowed, in the best of ways.

Barry Plant director Jenny Webb loves Healesville too. “It’s a place that has a slower pace and a country feel, but there’s lots happening,” she says. “People know and help each other here; it’s a nice place to be.”

Healesville property prices have “increased dramatically” over the past five to 10 years, according to The Professionals’ Lyndal McMath-Hall.

And while things have cooled of late – Domain data places the town’s median house price at $610,000 – McMath-Hall notes that as prices rose in 2016-17 buyers spilled over from out-of-reach suburbs such as Lilydale, Mount Evelyn and Mooroolbark, bringing an influx of first-home buyers and young families.

It’s famous for its eponymous sanctuary, but there’s plenty more to Healesville. Photo: Justin McManus

Property stock reflects the town’s wide appeal, with a spread that includes smaller units for around $350,000 to $450,000, new townhouses, large family homes that can fetch as much as $750,000, and sweeping million-dollar lifestyle properties.

And once people move here, Webb says, they tend to stick around, even if they need to upgrade or downsize to make it work.

With good schools, shopping and buses, and access to the CBD via trains from Lilydale, the town isn’t set up just for weekend crowds.

When pushed, McKenzie concedes if he has to find a negative, he could do without the tourists that make things “pretty hectic” on weekends. But McKay embraces the visitors – “If they’re coming to appreciate my home town, then I’m pleased about that, I take it as a compliment”.

After all, as Webb points out, without the tourist dollar there wouldn’t be so many jobs, nor the established infrastructure that the locals enjoy year-round. Perhaps not even so many world-class wines to sample without the steady stream of thirsty guests.

This article was first published in www.domain.com.au. Here is the link to the original article: https://www.domain.com.au/news/healesville-the-locals-love-living-here-and-will-tell-you-all-about-it-813171/

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Sixties-Inspired house hits the market

Reminiscent of the Peter Sellers’ film classic, The Party, this eclectic masterpiece must be seen to be appreciated.

Picture: realestate.com.au

The outdoor area includes an entertaining deck and pool. Picture: realestate.com.au

Selling agent Richard Young, from Caporn Young Estate Agents – Claremont, says the residence at 42 Alexandra Road, East Fremantle presents an “out-of-the-box” real estate proposition, heavily inspired by the 1960s film and unique décor.

“It’s a very edgy, contemporary home. It’s got amazing spaces and it’s just been very well done,” Young says.

“It’s really designed so that each of the spaces have their own amenities. So, the master suite is a true master suite with its own fridge, dishwasher, sitting area, TV area – it’s really quite a special property.”

Picture: realestate.com.au

The home features industrial-style floating staircases. Picture: realestate.com.au

Built by the current owners in 2012, the five-bedroom, four-bathroom property heralds an abundance of space and light, and natural stone and timber detail to create a private sanctuary.

With clean, geometric lines, a passive solar design and breezeway considerations, the home is set high on Alexandra Road with vistas extending across the treetops and to Fremantle Harbour.

Picture: realestate.com.au

The kitchen bench can accommodate 20 people. Picture: realestate.com.au

The property features travertine flooring, complete with underfloor heating in the living areas and bedrooms, and a separate study.

Entertaining has been a significant consideration in the design, with the kitchen bench large enough to accommodate 20 people and bi-fold doors that open from the living area to the pool deck, which also hosts an outdoor shower.

Picture: realestate.com.au

The house has two lounge areas. Picture: realestate.com.au

The kitchen has a Vintec wine fridge, built-in coffee machine, two separate larders and two integrated cupboard-concealed dishwashers and a fridge.

The two industrial-style floating staircases have been carefully crafted with steel frames against custom-made timber slats imported from Singapore.

Picture: realestate.com.au

One of the five bedrooms. Picture: realestate.com.au

There is integrated remote perimeter and front deck access from the two split-level, lower-ground bedrooms, as well as a below-ground cellar and safe, a ducted vacuum system, attic storage, garden water tank and rear access to the secure four vehicle carport.

This article was first published in www.realestate.com.au. Here is the link to the original article: https://www.realestate.com.au/news/east-freemantle-party-house-hits-the-market/

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Property trends: The Brisbane buyers turning their backs on renovated Queenslanders

Lifting and building in underneath a Queenslander has been the modus operandi of many a Brisbane renovator these past 15 years or so but there’s now a new breed of buyer who is begging for you to stop.

Property experts are reporting a rapidly growing number of house hunters who are bemoaning the lack of Queenslanders kept to their original one-level design during the renovation process, with one agent calling it the next big trend to sweep Brisbane.

Tyson Clarke of Queensland Sotheby’s International said he had a list a mile long of frustrated buyers chasing a single-level Queenslander.

“The emphasis has been on making Queenslanders bigger and better for so many years but I’m finding buyer after buyer who wants a smaller, well-designed character home,” he said.

“Bigger is not always better — my buyers don’t want that many bedrooms, they don’t want the stairs and they don’t want that much space.”

35 Emma Street, Kalinga was hotly contested when it sold earlier this year. Photo: Queensland Sothebys International

Mr Clarke said he had one client who had been searching for the right house for more than 12 months.

“She’s been looking for a year for a place with character that doesn’t have stairs,” he said. 

“She’s so frustrated and keeps saying ‘why do people keep lifting them and making them five bedrooms?’ She doesn’t want a Queenslander that’s been doubled or tripled in size. She wants the Queenslander in its more original form with only a few steps up to a front verandah.

“I have so many more clients who want exactly the same thing. So you can imagine what happens whenever one of these houses comes up — which is rarely — buyers are all over them.”

Earlier this year Mr Clarke listed a house at Emma Street, Kalinga — a two-bedroom, two-bathroom low-set character home that had been beautifully renovated — and it was snapped up within days for an impressive $1.27 million.

35 Emma Street, Kalinga was beautifully renovated but all on one level. Photo: Queensland Sothebys International

“People were all over that house. We had 210 individual groups come through. It was unbelievable how popular it was and everyone just kept asking if we had any more like it,” he said.

Mr Clarke recently listed a renovated cottage at 4 Owen Street, Wooloowin, in Brisbane’s inner north, and said he had 30 phone enquiries on the first day and 61 groups through in the first two open homes.

“Just think about it. The biggest section of the population is those who are retiring or nearing retirement. Over the next five to 10 years there’s going to be a massive transitional change to the whole structure of our city,” he said.

“The demand for homes like this is going to explode and, at the moment, there is so little supply of it.

“People want to downsize from something big but not always to apartments — they’re too restrictive. I know buyers who’ve moved into penthouses at Newstead and Teneriffe but they want to get out of them, they’re tired of having their pets in apartments.

Inside 4 Owen Street, Wooloowin. Photo: Queensland Sothebys International

“They want a character house in an inner-city location but they don’t want all the stairs and they want a backyard but not an enormous one; they’re asking me is there room for a veggie patch and a dog.”

Independent buyers agent Wendy Russell is based in Brisbane and said she was fielding the same requests as Mr Clarke.

“I recently worked with a woman who relocated from Sydney back to her home town of Brisbane. She was very specific — she wanted an original colonial Queenslander, all on the one level, nothing built in underneath,” Ms Russell said.

“We managed to eventually find it but it was done as an off-market deal. It wasn’t easy to find something. I’d say Tyson is right — these sort of buyers know what they want, they want it to be a home they can stay in the rest of their life, so they don’t want stairs but they still want the character and all the amenities of the inner-city locations.”

Mr Clarke said while there were still plenty of unrenovated single-level cottages in Brisbane, the challenge was finding cottages that had been renovated without being tripled in size.

35 Emma Street, Kalinga. Photo: Queensland Sothebys International

“Obviously for families, they’re still going to want that space. But there is such an important segment of the market here that’s being missed and it’s only going to become more of an issue in the coming years,” he said.

“I have a category of homes in my system called low-set homes. There are but a few on the list. And another category is low-set buyers — that list is chockas. There’s an opportunity here for renovators.”

This article was first published in www.domain.com.au. Here is the link to the original article: https://www.domain.com.au/news/property-trends-the-brisbane-buyers-turning-their-back-on-renovated-queenslanders-811577/

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Chinese buyers tipped to search for property as significant investor visa program matures

One group of international buyers looks set to keep searching for high-end homes in Australia despite the curbs on cross-border purchases.

Participants in the significant investor visa program, which allows a pathway to permanent residency in exchange for a $5 million investment in Australian business, are expected to be buying over the near term.

The program began in late 2012 and requires visa holders to lock up cash in shares or another business for a minimum of four years.

Experts say the visa has been popular with Chinese applicants, such as business people who want to split their time between China and Australia.

Those migrants whose four-year terms are expiring will then have the choice to apply for permanent residency, freeing up the cash. This would make funds available locally even as the Chinese government has clamped down on cash being taken out of the country.

From the start of the program to June 2015, some 879 visas were granted, according to the Department of Home Affairs.

In fiscal year 2016, 552 visas were granted, then 405 the following year before dropping back to 183 in fiscal year 2018.

Temporary residents in Australia can buy one established property to live in but are not permitted to buy established homes to rent out. Residential property investments are not allowed to make up part of the $5 million invested.

Those on the SIV program who gain permanent residency after four years are expected to have a realistic commitment to continuing business or investment, but with a permanent visa they do not face the same restrictions on the type of investment.

Carrie Law, chief executive of Chinese international real estate website Juwai.com, now expects some of the cash to flow out of approved investments under the scheme and into the premium property market.

Experts tip a rise in well-heeled buyers looking at high-end homes.

“Expect an increase in the number of well-heeled buyers looking at expensive listings,” Law said.

“By definition these buyers are very well-to-do. They are wealthy enough to lock up $5 million in strictly controlled investments for four or five years just to obtain a visa and residency in Australia.”

Kay & Burton partner Jamie Mi said the significant investor visa was popular with her international clients looking for prestige Melbourne homes.

She noticed several buyers in this situation, now applying for permanent residency, started looking for property last year and expects more this year.

“A lot of those Chinese buyers see good value in buying this year. Definitely, I would expect them to free up all their money to buy commercial or residential,” Mi said.

“I think this year to us, we will be really busy.”

Sydney Sotheby’s International Realty managing director Michael Pallier said someone releasing $5 million might upgrade the property they currently own, but had not yet seen buyers doing so.

“If they invested in shares it could be worth more than $5 million now … or could it be worth less,” he said.

“I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they would upgrade to a more expensive property.”

He is also seeing continued demand for property from international buyers who have received Australian citizenship and established themselves in Australia.

David Chin, managing director of China-focused consultancy Basis Point, expected visa holders who became permanent residents to use the cash for property focused business opportunities such as property development.

“They may be interested in non-bank lending opportunities where the banks have pulled back on lending,” he said.

“That’s a double benefit of keeping an eye on property market conditions … and deploying that capital.”

Alternatively, a business person could buy an Australian vineyard and use their existing Chinese distribution network to increase local wine production, he said.

Law said wealthy Chinese were flocking to similar visa programs all over the world.

“Some see this as a sign that wealthy Chinese are fleeing their country, but that’s not true,” she said.

“Most Chinese who get golden visas do not actually move overseas. They use their new visas and citizenships to make international travel and investment easier.”

This article was first published in www.domain.com.au. Here is the link to the original article: https://www.domain.com.au/news/chinese-buyers-tipped-to-search-for-property-as-significant-investor-visa-program-matures-812252/