Real Estate News

Real Estate and Christmas – A Killer Combo

Today is the 19th November and we are inching closer to another festive season. The Christmas Pageant has been and gone and department stores are littered with green and red tinsel and baubles, but what does it mean for property sales?

Not good things, unfortunately. Real estate is one of those things that requires people to be around. It demands one’s full attention and decisions are not made lightly, so with the distraction of family, friends and travel, not much gets done.

Traditionally, this “shut down” will happen at some point towards mid-December, and I tend to use the second weekend in December as the last useful weekend for open inspections or auctions.

If you’ve been thinking about selling and want to do something before Christmas 2014 – I’d suggest you get sorted for this weekend or perhaps put the plans on ice until 2015, which begs the question: When do things start getting busy again???

Here there is no hard and fast rule. When are people back from holidays? When are people getting serious about new years plans? The second week in January is a good place to start and anywhere from mid January could be considered a safe time to launch a campaign.

Use your break wisely if you are considering selling in the new year. Agents are usually hard at work until the phone stops ringing and BLOC Property is no different. Get educated about prices, strategy and marketing so that you can get ahead of the competition before a 2015 sale campaign.


James Polacek is an expert on real estate in Adelaide and isn’t afraid to tell the truth about property. If you want to speak with him about selling your property, or maybe you just want some friendly advice, try or his mobile 0403 527 398.

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BLOC Top Tips for Selling

Part of selling real estate is easy. The rest of it, which is the stuff that helps people achieve higher than market prices, low time on market and happy sellers AND buyers, can be tough. Here’s my take on the basics to put you well on the way to a great result.

1. There are things that cannot and will not change.

Don’t stress about them but don’t focus on them. You can’t change the suburb or the street you are in and you can’t change the fact that there is a power station down the road. A good sales person will always be prepared for questions on any detail and will be able to deal with them accordingly.

2. Presentation is crucial.

But don’t go overboard. Pick your market and spend wisely when presenting a home for sale or rent. Staging furniture can yield amazing results in many homes, but in others, using your own furniture that is nearly as nice (or nicer!) will work a treat. De-clutter, de-clutter, and then de-clutter some more!! It’s an easy recipe, right? A fully furnished home with as little in it as possible. Getting the balance right will attract buyers, and please use a professional photographer!

3. Get the marketing right.

Advertise in the right places at the right time. Understand where the buyers are and what they want to see in your ad. Don’t be deceptive but don’t be too forthcoming either, people are less likely to come if they already know everything. Sufficient internet presence is now non-negotiable and the newspaper is dying fast. It can still relevant for unique and high end real estate, just don’t be fooled by 3 year old stats about how useful your local real estate liftout is for your “normal” house – it probably isn’t.

4. Choose the right campaign.

Auction? Private Treaty? Tender? Expression of Interest? Auction and private treaty sales are the most popular in Australia but that doesn’t mean they are right for you. Find out or take advice on what works for your area, your type of property and your goals, because getting this wrong will confuse, mislead and turn away potential buyers.

5. Price your property correctly.

This is the most important ingredient to success and it can make up for mistakes in other areas. If your presentation is horrible and your marketing sucks, it won’t matter if your price is low enough! But that’s not the point. Do your research, seek the proper advice and make sure you are as close as possible, or just below, market value. Accurate pricing will attract genuine interest fast and result in a quicker sale for a good price. Have you ever seen a property start priced too high, sit on the market for ages, then sell for less than what it is worth? Food for thought.

6. Choose the right agent.

A real estate agent has the ability to shape your sale. They could damage your campaign with poor advice, enhance it with brilliant strategy and impressive negotiation, or they might just stand around at open inspections and ask for a fee. Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions – how do you negotiate? Why do you recommend this strategy, that price, and others? I find it is always best to ask open ended questions and let them talk. You should find out pretty quickly how committed they are to you and your property, and how qualified they are to help you. Ultimately, you are trusting this person with what is possibly your most valuable asset, so don’t just choose the agent that your friend knows – he or she might cost you tens of thousands of dollars.


James Polacek is a young expert on real estate in Adelaide and isn’t afraid to tell the truth about property. If you want to speak with him about selling your property, or maybe you just want some friendly advice, try or his mobile 0403 527 398.

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Constant review will reap rewards for your property portfolio

Property investment is incredibly popular in Australia – and why not!?

Hundreds of thousands of people continue to make money on property, with capital gains and rental income among the biggest areas of profitability.

Because property has performed so well for so long, it is easy to become complacent – many people adopt a buy and hold strategy without compromise, and some owners don’t review rental properties regularly (or at all!).

While property is not as liquid as some other assets, your portfolio should always be under assessment, and by reviewing and maximising rental income, your asset is worth more now, and later.

Unfortunately, nobody has a crystal ball predicting property values, but there are times at which it can make lots of sense (and more money!) to sell and buy at different times, diversify into different areas or types of property, or simply to buy in rising markets, and sell in falling markets.

Adelaide values grew 0.9% in September, and are up 3.1% in the third quarter of 2014.

Houses in Adelaide are achieving an average of 4.2% yield, and units 4.7%.

BLOC Property’s client portfolio has been consistently outperforming the market in 2014 – if you’d like help with a portfolio review contact us today at or call us on 7123 0823.

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Confused about government housing and construction grants?

The first home owners grant (FHOG) was famously of great assistance to rookie buyers in SA for some time, but the FHOG (for established homes) has now gone, potentially forever. There are still grants available but I am constantly asked how much or who is eligible, so hopefully I can help clarify the situation for some, and point everyone else in the right direction for clarification.

Firstly, RevenueSA administers these grants, so if you are still confused even after reading this, refer to their website HERE.

In short, the FHOG still exists, but only for new homes. If you are buying an existing home that has been lived in previously, unfortunately you’ve missed out. This opportunity closed at the end of June this year. The FHOG that DOES exist is $15,000 on offer for first time purchasers who are buying a home that has not previously been occupied or sold as a place of residence. Interestingly, there are circumstances where the government will consider a substantially renovated home to be “new” and as such will still offer the grant. This definition is a little more in depth and will not affect most people, but please feel free to contact me privately for an elaboration.

The housing construction grant (HCG) was $8500 on offer to any person or company purchasing or building a new home up to the value of $450,000, where the contract for that home had been signed prior to 31 December 2013. The home didn’t need to be finished prior to that date and the claim for the HCG can still be lodged up until 12 months after the completion of the eligibile transaction. The new home, in many cases, can be completed any time before 30 June 2015, so even though no purchasers will be newly eligible for this grant, you may be eligible to lodge a claim despite not realising it at the time.

The seniors housing grant (SHG) is a new grant that began on 1 July 2014, and is available to all people aged 60 years and over that will be using the house as their principle place of residence. The grant is capped at homes valued at $450,000 and begins phasing out for homes above $400,000. It is set to run until 30 June 2016.

For those that are interested in the off-the-plan stamp duty concession, it expired as a full concession in June this year, but continues as a partial concession until 30 June 2016. The calculation is not overly complex but is explained best on the RevenueSA website HERE.

Hopefully you’ve found out about some grants that you, a friend or family member might be able to take advantage of that you weren’t previously aware of!

If you need any more assistance I always welcome enquiries and would love to help.

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A better way to sell?

What is the best way to sell?

It is an age old question which will never die, because each property is different, will attract different buyers, different types of people and be found in different ways – so how does one decide how to sell their home??

Many of us will rely on an agent to provide us the best advice on the type of campaign to run and in a perfect world this is the best option. In that same perfect world every agent is skilled in their field, has done the appropriate research and knows their market well enough to know which campaign to recommend.

Unfortunately, some agents aren’t quite as skilled as they make out – many will spruik auctions/private treaty/tender as the “ONLY way to sell a home”, which seems rather unprofessional to someone like me. What if that home is in an area that attracts very few buyers and the vendor has extremely high expectations? All an auction will do is disappoint them, perhaps embarrass them, and damage their ability to maximise their return on their property. All a tender campaign will do is confuse people. What is particularly scary is that some agents will suggest an auction to deliberately shame their vendors and force them into reducing their price! Hardly sounds like working in your best interests…

The best campaigns are actually structured entirely towards the buyer – what would THEY think is a reasonable enough price to come to one of our opens? What type of selling method are THEY most likely to feel comfortable in? (to encourage the maximum participation rate) How would THEY like to be negotiated with?

It is no surprise that a potential purchaser is more likely to put their best price forward if they are comfortable in a transparent process in which they know what they are getting and trust the other people involved.

Put yourself in the buyers shoes, let them embrace the process while you embrace their money.

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Bad agents cost money – choose wisely.

Although this is a biased viewpoint (as a real estate agent myself) I just can’t stand bad real estate agents! It frustrates me that innocent, and likely quite lovely, people are going to lose out on potentially tens (or even hundreds in some cases!) of thousands of dollars by making a bad choice of sales representative when selling their home.

Sometimes you can spot them a mile away, and sometimes you need to get really close to find out what they are truly like. Unfortunately these things cannot be spotted by simply checking to see if they are “cheap” or what they have sold in the area. You’ll need to dig a little deeper.

Ask questions like:

“How did you sell that property?”

“Why did you recommend that method of sale and did it eventuate as you expected?”

“Can you elaborate on how you managed the negotiation process?”

A brief or flippant answer is NEVER a good sign.

A good agent will be a nice person. Naturally they need to be approachable to win business, but there are millions of nice people in this world, you’ll need to be quite probing when interviewing potential sales people.

An agent MUST give you their opinion on the value of your home – it is illegal (in South Australia) for them not to (there is a section in their agency agreement for this)! Ask them to justify it and compare your property accurately with other sales in the area and/or with similar attributes. Don’t be turned off just because their opinion is lower than what you want – the importance is that they have justified their opinion and have displayed a great knowledge of the market at this point. How they are willing to work for you comes later.

If they pass this test, you’ll want to start to start talking strategy. Try not to indicate how you’d like to sell your property, and ask them for a recommendation. Then ask them why they’ve made that recommendation. An answer of “well it seems to work better” is not satisfactory! An agent who knows how buyers behave will know why certain campaigns work better, why they appeal to different demographics, and why different campaigns suit different properties better than others.

You might want to reveal your goals at this point (they’ve already asked you a few times but stay tight lipped until now), because it’s important how willing the sales person is to work for you. You’ve seen the stats and heard their expert opinion and so by now you might realise that you actually want $20,000 more (or less!) than what your property might be worth, but how they respond is important. A lazy agent will love a low expectation, they see an easy commission and a quick sale! The same lazy agent will see your high price and might groan at the low likelihood of success… both very average responses and not the sort of agent you want working for you.

A good agent won’t really mind what your goals are – their job is to keep you informed at all stages and to make the best recommendation possible. A good agent will help you realise that you can sell for more than you thought originally, but also suggest that just because the statistics indicate otherwise, your ambitious sale price is not out of the question and should not be given up on just yet. A good balance of accurate advice and positivity is important.

Lastly I’ll touch on fees. Fees are forever being debated and are a continuous topic of contention. A high fee does not always mean a better agent just as a low fee does not mean a lesser agent. Professional fees for real estate agents in Adelaide will range from 1.1% all the way up to 3.3% depending on the area, type of campaign, and value of the property in question.

I am a big proponent of choosing the agent first, THEN negotiating the fee with them. The first figure out of their mouth is not likely the best they can do, and if you are impressed with their job of negotiating their own fee, they are probably a good person to have negotiating on your behalf when a buyer comes along! (If they immediately drop their fee at the slightest sign of doubt, you would be wise to walk away… imagine how quickly they will let the buyer pay less!)

I will elaborate further on the selling process and negotiation, stay tuned to the BLOC Property facebook page or this website for updates.

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