Top Resources For Finding Properties

listingsWhen looking for properties the first step is to look where people are advertising them. When I first started in this industry the go-to place was the regional real estate monthly newsletters that held all the local listings. In these advertisements you could get a feel for what was selling and where. Since then a lot has changed.

It is easier to find bulk information thanks to the power of the internet. Websites work for both the sellers and buyers allowing the former easily get their listing in front of a large audience, and allowing the latter to browse tons of information from their phone. Below is a list of my favorite places to get information on property listings.

Zillow – This website sprung up a few years ago but has quickly become the biggest resource for property listings online. It was once just a startup but is now a full fledged website that provides thousands of users the ability to post and view listings. What makes Zillow great is its easy of use, even an older guy like me can make sense of the interface in a second. l

The website is laid out as a large window that shows a Google Earth view of city of interest. Users can see everything from street names to satellite images. Overlayed on top of this map are icons showing homes within the area the user is viewing. If the user pans or zooms in this area the list of icons updates automatically to show new listings in this area. Each icon is a graphic that shows the price range of the listing. Searches can be done for listings based on criteria like number of rooms, price, style, and more.

I like this website because it is the best for getting a broad overview of what properties in a given area are available and for how much. There is even software on the site that estimates how much a property should be worth based on its location and the price of surrounding properties. Users can then drill down into the details of each listing to get pictures, contact information, and more to help them in their search.

Trulia – This is another popular website that cultivates listings from multiple sources to give viewers a list of all the properties for sale in their area. The search can be refined by minimum and maximum price, number of bedrooms, and number of bathrooms. Listings give street addresses and have multiple pictures that give a good idea of how the properties look. Users can get in contact with the sellers real estate agents through simple buttons to send automatic emails.

Local Papers – Even though this method is a little dated I still can’t help myself checking out my weekly local newpaper to see what is on the market. Typically these advertisements are for more large scale homes, ones whose price can usually justify the marketing price of paying for one of these adds. Although if you are in the market for a smaller home sometimes the classified adds can produce some good information, or at least give you some leads on where to start. Ads like this can also tell times when open houses are available, giving you a chance to walk through the home and get the full run down from the sellers themselves.

Keeping Your Eyes Open – With all the online and print resources there is still the oldest resource in the book: a for sale sign in the yard. Next time you’re driving or walking through town make it a point to keep your eyes out for these signs, you’ll see a lot more of them when you’re really trying to.


How To Write the Perfect Property Listing

House-for-saleWhen trying to sell your home the first step is to get the word out to potential buyers, and the more the better. Its simple, unless people know your house is on the market it will be sitting there forever with a ‘for sale’ sign on the front yard. And a sign like that won’t cut it anymore. Sellers need to have print and online property listings to advertise their space where buyers are looking.

However, not all listings are the same. Bland and boring listings won’t get any attention. When buyers are looking at resources that show them hundreds of listings a once it is important to have yours stick out from the crowd. The more eyes on your listing means a quicker sale at a higher price. After years in the business I’ve come up with a set of guidelines that I believe every successful listing should include.

1. Amazing pictures – Beyond all else people get the most information out of images, text just doesn’t compete. When humans scan the pages of magazines or websites they’re eyes are naturally drawn to the images. For this reason having a good listing picture is the most important part of the listing.

The pictures you choose should highlight both the properties interior and exterior features. For interior ones make sure that the house is decorated appropriately and that there are no traces of any personal household items, these should look professional as possible. For high-end listings I’ve even had clients hire a person to stage each room with rented furniture and wall hangings to make them look extra special. Pictures of kitchens and bathrooms can do particularly well for a listing as these rooms are what people concentrate on when shopping.

For exterior photos you’ll really want to show of the scale of the property if it is a large area. To do this you’ll want to hire some professional photographers who have done this in the past. Often times they’ll use either apple picker trucks, or sometimes even remote control drones, to get a birds eye view of the property. These are great shots that will catch any buyer’s eye.

2. Online listings – For the most part print is a dying format for real estate listings. The days of waiting around for a weekly publication that contains the newest listings is long gone. The convenience of the internet has made it the go to place for both sellers and buyers to go for the latest, up to date information. Websites like Zillow have become huge in recent years because it allows buyers to shop an entire city at once for places within their price range and with the right number of rooms. If a property isn’t listed on a site like zillow then it isn’t getting half of the interest it could be generating.

3. Simple contact information – Listings should clearly show the contact information the buyer will need to get in contact with the seller. The main thing used to be a phone number but nowadays it is more common to provide either an email address or a website URL. If you have a dedicated website for your property and display it in the listing, you can drive buyers to a site that really showcases the property well beyond what any static posting could ever do. If providing an email address the be sure to replay to any inquiries as fast as possible to show common courtesy.

Follow these three tips and you’re listing will get you all the traction you need in order to sell quickly.

House Shopping For New Families

nursery roomOver the years I’ve had the pleasure to work with a lot of young couples and new families who were looking to buy their first home. It was often the case that a young couple had recently gotten married and were looking to move out of urban centers and into a place where they could start a family. While some people manage to make room for kids in apartments most couples find that they’ll need get a place with a little more room to grow, especially if they see it expanding into multiple kids.

When searching for new homes for families there are a few different criteria that I try to lead my clients too. As a father myself, I know what finding the right place means. It is the place where a child’s first memories will be formed and where the family will settle for a few years at least.

The first thing that I recommend is a house with the right number of rooms. We know a one bedroom apartment won’t cut it anymore, so a new home will have to be expanded on that. There should be at least one master bedroom for the couple, preferably with an attached bathroom.  The next necessity is a dedicated nursery. This is where the expected infant will sleep at night and will hold the crib and all its supplies. The nursery can also be set up as a great place to breastfeed the infant. Typically mothers will want an area that is familiar to their child to make the experience easy for both of them. Mothers can keep their nursing supplies, like pumps, bras, and bottles all together in the nursing room for convenient storage. Nursery rooms should be large enough for a crib and the child’s toys.

The second recommendation is a large property that allows children to get some much needed outdoor time. Parents don’t need to invest in acres of land, but something as simple as a small backyard can make a huge difference for children growing up. It gives them a place to get some fresh air and out of the house. In a time where pediatricians are saying that children are spending too much time indoors and infront of screens a way to get outside is a great thing to have. A small backyard is a great place for a sandbox, kiddy pool, or a place for a jungle gym; All things that will keep kids entertained for hours on end when parents need some reprieve.

A third thing that new families should always consider is what schools their house serves. Depending on what district a house lies in will determine which public schools the children get enrolled in. For most families this is a huge deal because there is a strong dedication to getting their children a good education, and we know all schools aren’t made the same.

For younger clients I try to always stress the importance of budget. For the most part these couples are just a few years into working at entry level positions in their career field, so income isn’t quite where it will be when they have more time to raise in the ranks. And we all know that children aren’t inexpensive themselves. Couple that with mortgage payments and you’re talking about a lot of expenses. This is where financial due diligence pays off tenfold. Couples should sit down and go over how much they make and come up with a monthly budget for what they can afford. They should only be shopping around for houses which fall inline with this budget or they’ll find themselves in trouble after a few months.


Tips On Buying A Home In Australia

Australia is an amazing place to live. There is a great community, government, unique wildlife, and properties to buy. If you’re shopping around for homes in Australia then I’ve got some advice for you. I’ve been in the Brisbane realty market for a while now and have seen it all. I know the ins and outs of what makes a good home purchase within the entire country.

sydnewLocation, location, location – This is the biggest factor to consider when buying a new home. The right location can make or break any home and effects everything from cost to quality of life. When looking in Australia there are two main location options: either on one of the coasts, or inland. Both have their own benefits and negatives.

On the coasts you will find the majority of Australia’s population, these are where the main epicenters are located, which include Sydney, Brisbane, and Perth. These are thriving towns that drive the economy and have high density populations.

Homes here are typically apartments, or if you go further out, townhouses. This area draws young professionals who like the night life and busy living, and also well-to-do industrialists who work in the city’s financial sectors. There is a lot of money going in and out of these areas so the cost of living can be quite expensive.

Inland is great for those people looking to buy homes with larger properties, on the order of acres at a time. If you desire seclusion and the freedom to take care of your own land then this is your best bet. Inland properties an be miles from the nearest neighbors, allowing their owners a great amount of privacy to act as they want. Be wary though, living that far from help can require some extra measures to ensure you’re safety.

One thing that is recommended is red dot sight equipped on a rifle. This will be used for self defense in case of any dangers posed by wildlife, and for protection from any humans. Many people living in the area never report any crime, it is a safe place to live, but it never hurts to be prepared for the worst. Every home should be outfitted with the most basic survival gear including medical kits, radio, and firearms. The firearms should have a long range optic that allows for shots to be taken at large distances.

Price – Finding a house that is not overpriced is a task in and of itself. The market is currently a sellers market, meaning there is a lot more demand than there is available properties. So landlords have the upper hand when it comes to setting the prices here. Even so, do not rush to buy a home before really taking a look at how its price compares to other homes of the same quality.

When living in the city the current going rate is about twenty dollars per square foot. For inland homes, the price is closer to ten dollars per square foot. The reason it is much more expensive in the city is because the demand is greater with more people trying to move to the capital and other large cities where they can find work.

A strategy here is to talk with multiple real estate agents when looking for a home. Let them know that you have done your research and will not pay more than the market is dictating at the time. The most important part is to have the confidence to walk away from price negotiations at any time. Remember, real estate agents are working for you, not the other way around. If they are not performing up to your standards then it is just like any other employer, you’ll have to let them go.