Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Thursday, January 22, 2015
Just over a year ago, we successfully sold our house privately (without the help of an agent), and purchased our new home privately as well. We've had so many people ask us how we did it, that I thought I should get it all down in a blog post before I forget what worked (and what didn't) for us. This is by no means a legal guide, it is more a light hearted look at tips and tricks that may just work for you too. It may be that you decide to sell through an agent (though please at least consider doing it yourselves), but are having trouble finding one through an agent. However you do it, I wish you luck, it's a stressful, but very exciting time!
* Firstly, I took pretty great photos for a very amateur photographer (Ok, so the one above was professional, clearly better than mine). It may be worth getting someone to help you with these if you feel they could let you down. When I was approached to feature in Your home and garden, I was asked to submit photos of our home, so I'd already de-cluttered and taken the best photos I could. Try to look at the photos through the eyes of a potential buyer, or pretend you're looking at images in a magazine and MOVE CLUTTER! Even if it's all pushed into the hallway (if you have one, we didn't) while you photograph a room, get it out! Your laundry basket and excess toys are not selling points.
* Do your homework. What have houses in your area sold for? How do they compare to yours? You can buy reports through QV and Zoodle in New Zealand. If you have time and don't plan to sell immediately, start going to open homes and follow up by seeing what properties sell for, by asking the agent or looking it up. You could get a registered valuation on your property, if this would give you peace of mind knowing what it is estimated to be worth.
* Get various Real Estate agents around for a free appraisal. Ask them what they think it is worth? How they would market it? Why they would sell your house a certain way, ie. tender over auction. This may give you an insight into your most likely buyer and the best way to sell to them. It may be that you end out listing with one of them if selling privately isn't for you, so it is still worth their time. And... selling privately really may not be for you. I certainly had times I would have preferred to have an agent, but in the end was very glad we'd done it independently. We were unsure of which way we would go and were upfront about this when we had an agent around, and through meeting them this way we had decided who we would list with, should our house not sell quickly privately. They advised not to drag it out too long before listing with them, as it could make it harder to sell. Yes, probably a ploy to get you listing with them quickly, BUT I do believe it makes sense also. How often have you disregarded a house because it's been on the market for a while? I know I have, I've wondered what's wrong with it, price? Gang house next door?
* Write a great advertisement for your listing! List all the things you love about your house, that you think are great selling points. We had a fabulous location, close to town, and this is what we could have written, but we looked up the exact distance and wrote that in our listing. Why put "close to town", when you could put "600m to town". We also left out the size of our house and it's gv. Neither of these were great selling points and people could ask us if it was important to them. We still sold our teeny house significantly over gv. We also bought over gv and were happy to do so as we felt we had a fair idea of what it would be worth if it had been listed by an agent. It's registered valuation proved was inline with what we paid, and expected it to be worth.
* We listed on trademe, which from memory was around $400... that's what our house cost to sell! Plus legal fees, which you still have to pay with a real estate agent anyway.
* Do a leaflet drop in your area. Have it similar to what you may hand out at an open home. A few great photos, say a square collage. You can edit photo's and make photo collages, at picmonkey. Include all the positives you want to mention, contact details and how they can view. Options you may consider are "Viewing by arrangement" "Phone to view anytime" or dates and time of open homes. Have a think about what will work best for you. I liked the idea of open homes, but was very accommodating afterwards for new viewers and especially those wanting to bring friends/family/builders through. Some people may wonder why you'd do a drop for people already in your area, especially if aiming for first home buyers. But, some of your neighbours may be renting and wanting to buy, have friends living nearby that love where they live, family that want to be closer, or see the potential for an investment property. I've come across all these scenarios. I think it's a sign of a good real estate agent too, when you receive a marketing flyer in your letterbox for a neighbouring property new to the market.
* We did an open home. After listing our house on the friday night, on trademe, we had an open home that Sunday. As recommended by a real estate agent, we didn't show anyone through prior (they wanted to!) as it creates more pressure/shows the interest when seeing a lot of people at the open home, as opposed to showing them through on their own as soon as possible, when they may get a sense of being the only ones interested. Ours went for 45 minutes and again, if it's not too long, you're more likely to have a busy one. We also needed the Saturday for last minute cleaning, weeding, staging.
* When deciding on the time for our open home, we looked up others due to happen in our area on the same day and overlapped. There was a comparable house about two blocks from us, having one from 1 - 1.45, so ours started at 1.30 to catch the viewers finishing there. We had signs made up with the day and time of open home and our address, with arrows to stick below these details and point them in the right direction. We put one opposite the other open home to direct those viewers to us! Cheeky huh? My Mum has a gallery and we put her big OPEN sign out front.
*CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN!!!
* Remove anything that doesn't help sell it, including in my opinion old cars. We're not big car people (I'd so much rather spend on my home!) and at the time of selling had a couple of real "gets us from A - B" cars, which without wanting to sound snooty, did our house no favours parked out front. We also loaded our old dungers up with extra bits. My husband drove around with a bassinette in his car for a week! Plus my extensive stash of (backbreaking to lift!) interiors magazines.
* You may want to print an info sheet. This can be good for people to have something to keep looking at. We ran out of time (after all the cleaning!) and this actually worked in our favour. People could ask anything they wanted and would get an honest answer from us, or they could obtain information from council, but I feel it may have helped us by not having the negatives (small floor area and low gv) down on paper. They were loving it for what it was (as we'd done for 6 1/2 years!) and placing their own value on it, rather than focusing on negatives, or showing their friends/family who may focus on it, or certainly have something to say about it.
* Fresh flowers. Do I need to elaborate? I love them!
* It's in the details! I do have some lovely white towels (just like in the image above) but... I also borrowed some off mum before the photo shoot, so I could ditch the others, including kids licenced beach towels. It looks far more luxurious, in what was essentially a basic, small bathroom. We also borrowed her lovely outdoor furniture. It's money in your pocket at the end of the day, so the more attention you pay to details and the more effort you put into cleaning and presentation, the more you will hopefully gain, regardless of whether selling privately or through an agent.
* We had a fair bit of interest, so decided to go for a "best offers in by" approach. In hindsight, we hadn't given people enough time to get things sorted for offers. I'm not sure what the best length of time would be, perhaps see what real estate are regularly doing. Somewhere between soon enough that urgency is created, not so long that people change their minds, or find another property.
* We also did a leaflet drop to find our current property and got extremely lucky. There weren't a lot of houses on the market at the time and there seemed to be a scrum for anything in the location we wanted, so doing a drop in our area meant we avoided this. In a dream world we wanted an extra bedroom, still to have a studio/sleepout, a garage would be nice, and we really didn't want to leave our area... or extend our mortgage too much to stay. We got all of the above, two blocks away. Sure, we need to do a fair bit of work and I compromised on my beautiful back yard, but we still got so much of what we wanted, all by going for a walk around the neighbourhood one evening. We made a simple flier, young family looking to purchase in your area, blah, blah, blah.. and got a phone call the next morning. Voile!
*We didn't get it for less than it would have been marketed at (real estate quotes littering the house assured us of this), perhaps we could have, but we had good offers on ours, were elated to find what we were looking for and really wanted to secure it and keep everyone happy. In my experience a bit of politeness goes along way. I would be much more inclined to negotiate with someone I liked, than someone who may have picked holes in every aspect of our home. Buying privately means you'll meet the owner, so bear in mind it would pay to have a pleasant relationship from the offset, for what usually becomes quite a stressful ordeal. Owners know their homes flaws and (usually) price accordingly, if not, at least remain polite when negotiating. Remember, it is their home, odds are there will be emotions involved in selling it.
Thursday, November 27, 2014
These adorable 'Hug a cloud' cushions have arrived in store. They're beautifully made from incredibly soft bamboo felt, with lovely embroidery and appliqued details. You can get yours here.
We're having a sale on facebook Friday 28th November 7-9pm. Pop on over for some bargains!
We had our first night market last weekend and it was fabulous! Soooo busy and such a great atmosphere. If you didn't make it, we'll be at the next one. Plus we'll be at Ngamotu Beach New Plymouth, for the Sunday 7th December market, come check it out, it's on from 9-3. For more market info go to The Seaside Market facebook page.
See you back here soon (I promise not to leave it so long!)
Thursday, October 16, 2014
A beautiful window display at Rachel Riley on Marylebone High Street.
One for you crafters/sewers, a John Lewis window display. Don't they do it well?
Lego London at John Lewis, almost as impressive as the real things.
Monsoon, the most adorable kids clothes EVER. Their dresses would give a bride a run for her money, absolutely beautiful little dresses, perfect for flower girls or other special occasions.
Sadly they don't ship to NZ. But here's a few that do:
Iconic and beautiful Liberty store.
Neals yard, Covent Garden. One of my all time favourite London streets.
and a couple more from my old stomping ground.
Love this view!
Spitalfields, you didn't disappoint!
Friday, October 10, 2014
I've just returned from an incredible two weeks in Europe with my sister, it was total bliss! We had four days in London, showing her the sights, exploring the shops and reminiscing.We then headed to France for the main event, my brothers wedding, which was a beautiful, perfect day in an idyllic french village. We finished up with a couple of days in Paris, sightseeing, shopping and working our way through the delicious patisseries. Again, total bliss. Throughout the trip I took loads of photos with my blog and it's followers in mind. I'll share them over a few posts, starting with this one on Portobello markets, Notting Hill. The sheer array of vintage goodies is just incredible, and although I wanted to bring SO MUCH home, my suitcase and the often exorbitant prices kept me in check. The atmosphere is fantastic though too. We got there early and wandered with ease before the crowds descended. The aroma from food stalls, great people watching and GORGEOUS buildings makes it one of my favourite experiences, which is why I spent many Saturdays during my OE roaming the market and why we booked our flights to arrive the night before!
I had to bring one of these wee trays home.
The street food, fresh produce and flower stalls were amazing. Oh to be local!
Oh, to live in one of the gorgeous pastel houses too! I suspect my husband wouldn't be too keen on painting our home pink, somehow it works so well in Notting Hill, New Plymouth? Probably not.
And for those Cath Kidston fans out there (I know a few of you are!), here's a peek inside her Portobello road store, my first visit to one of her shops. I loved the way genuine vintage props are used throughout her stores, I only wish they'd been for sale. She had the cutest tins, baskets and chairs. Check out the yellow kids chair in the last photo.
A few treats for the kids came home from here, love the ballet range!
See you back here soon with some pics from France, including a peek inside the cutest kids shop EVER!
Thursday, August 7, 2014
just kidding! Well, sort of. We're pretty normal in the way that we eat dinner, at a table, telly off (usually) and fully clothed. I like to think we eat pretty healthy, varied dinners and that although the kids definitely have their favourites (and like to tell me so!) we do also like them to try a variety of foods. Somewhere between washing, housework, running a business, raising kids and renovating, I seem to have lost my cooking mojo. That's when we started eating nude... well "Eat NuDe" to be precise. For the price of a coffee, Eat Nude will provide you with five balanced dinner meals planned for you, that's 5 recipes,a categorised shopping list and fantastic tips to save you time, money and calories. You can view a sample menu/list here.
Eat NuDe has been developed by one of my lovely cousins, Bronwyn, a dietitian passionate about making healthy meals easy, affordable and delicious. Given her knowledge gained from years of study and experience, it seems an absolute bargain to have meals planned by a dietitian, for around $5 per week! The extra tips you get access too are also invaluable. I personally found the portion size advice particularly helpful, as I have to confess to letting them slowly creep up, so it's great to get them in check. It's also great to print a shopping list, add (in the spaces provided) the few extras we need and head out the door for a purposeful and quick shop. No aimless wandering, throwing in a pile of ingredients with little inspiration or insight into what they'll turn into. Plus, if I do have two little rascals wanting to play hide and seek down the aisles, at least we're out of there fast!
Here's a snapshot of one of my favourite meal plans. We always have leftovers for my husband to take to work, which is great, a yummy healthy lunch, that he didn't have to buy. I've made the devilled sausages so many times since this week, it's now a firmly established family favourite on the two nights we don't Eat NuDe, in fact we had it tonight.
Included in each weekly plan is the 'twofor' option, which is basically two meals with little more effort than one. For example (we loved this) one week included a delicious chilli con carne one night, which if you chose to double, provided the base for yummy wraps the following.
One last thing, it is fantastic for getting you to try new ingredients. Things I'd wanted to try, but didn't really know what to do with, like haloumi, Israeli couscous and quinoa are introduced and really quite simple when a recipe is provided. I'd also never cooked brown rice and it's now all I cook, we love it. I know it's not that exotic, but I'm a creature of habit, habits which eat NuDe will help you break!
Meal plans are emailed every friday, so get in and subscribe before midday tomorrow and have your weeks meals sorted. Subcription always makes me think "committed", you're not. She has a range of subscription options, including just one week, perfect for trying it out, but like me, I'm sure you'll be back. So go on, check it and have a bit of fun getting your mojo back!