Looking at wanting to sell your property? On the market to buy a new property? Whatever your personal situation, expert advice and tips are generally very welcoming when it comes to the real estate industry and property. We caught up with Talia Tomaino, Sales Consultant at Jellis Craig Armadale, to get some thoughts on helpful tips and advice when it comes to the selling or buying a property.
Firstly, Talia how did you get into the Real Estate industry?
I began working as a receptionist and worked my way into a sales role over a couple of years. I wanted to try and gain an understanding of the real estate business as a whole and did so through working on reception, in the property management department, administration and advertising before progressing into a sales role. Basically, if you want to be able to conduct open for inspections and auctions you must have an ‘agents representative’ certificate; which is gained through the Real Estate Institute of Victoria (REIV). Further to this you can go on with studying and gain your estate agent licence which I am in the process of doing. Agents that hold a full licence can own/run their own real estate business. I also completed a qualification in interior decoration/styling early on in my career as I found that giving advice to clients on presentation for sale of their property was becoming more popular.
What would a typical day involve for you as a Real Estate Sales Consultant?
That’s the best thing about real estate; no two days are ever the same! I like to, however, run to a ‘planned’ week whereby I have blocks of time allocated to complete tasks. For example; Mondays are predominantly spent in the office on the phone following up buyers that I have met at property opens and auctions that weekend. For me, Tuesdays, Thursday and Friday mornings are allocated to meetings or training. The majority of my appointments, i.e. private buyer appointments or property market appraisals, are done in the afternoon/evening as I work around my client’s availability. Of course, Saturdays are packed with open for inspections and auctions at properties and at my busiest time of year I usually have these on the hour from 10am – 4pm each Saturday.
Can you talk us through the process once a client comes to you wanting to sell their property?
It all depends on the client and their specific needs however, generally speaking, if a client wants to sell their home I would initially meet with them at the property so I could have a look around. We would then sit down and discuss what they are hoping to achieve. Generally vendors at this stage seek information regarding the sale process, sale method, advertising, value, home presentation and professional fees. Once the owner is comfortable and we have come to an understanding around all of the above a sale authority is signed and the process begins.
From an agent’s perspective, the auction process remains the same no matter what property we are selling, whether it be a $300,000 unit or a $3million home. The property would have concluded a 4 week sale campaign and the auction occurs on the fourth Saturday and is advertised to occur at a specific time unless sold prior to. The property is open for inspection on auction day for half an hour before the auction is due to commence, this gives buyers a last minute chance to walk through the property, talk to the agents and the auction rules must be displayed during this time under Victorian law. Once the auction is underway the auctioneer will read the rules and make a brief summary of the property and its features before asking for an opening bid. Every auctioneer has their own style so this is where auctions can differ a little, however generally speaking bidding will start and continue until the property is sold either under the hammer or through a post auction negotiation scenario. The only way a property can be sold under the hammer is when the vendor’s reserve price has been met. The vendors will instruct the agent of their reserve price directly before the auction is due to commence and if bidding reaches that price the auctioneer will declare the property ‘on the market’. It is important to remember this phrase as a buyer as it basically means that any bidding that occurs after this is to actually purchase the property not to negotiate afterwards. On the other hand, if bidding does not reach the owners reserve price the property will be passed in and buyers will have the opportunity to negotiate to purchase post auction. My team’s success rate at auction or on auction day last year was 95%, well above the Melbourne average which hovered around 68%.
What mistakes do people make when preparing their property for sale?
People are getting much better at presenting their homes for sale. I think there is an expectation of home presentation driven by TV shows like The Block and home owners are ensuring that their property looks ‘top notch’ before they go to market. Rather than touching on mistakes people make at this time, I will explain the pointers that I give clients to ensure mistakes aren't made.
I always advise clients to de-clutter their property first and foremost, and when I say de-clutter, I mean it. Get rid of anything that you don’t need and that is taking up space. Look online at properties that are listed for sale and look at how minimalist the furnishing and styling is. A big tip - buy a plastic tub and use it before each open for inspection to get rid of those ‘everyday items’ that you never see when walking through a home that is open for inspection, i.e. dishcloths, toothbrushes, bath matts, tea towels etc. Once the tub is packed, take it to the car with you when the open is running so the things are out of sight and so you can use them again easily throughout the campaign in between open homes.
Another big thing to remember when preparing your home for sale is don’t put too much effort/money into things that may not achieve a definite return for you when it comes to the sale price. For example, I sometimes have clients that are thinking of selling however they think their kitchen is dated and would consider renovating the entire kitchen for sale. This would be a significant investment and unless you were staying in the home for a couple of years to enjoy it before selling there is no definite guarantee that it will make you more money when selling. A prospective purchaser may want to come in and renovate again, to their taste, and you have effectively wasted your money. Things that are important to complete before sale more so that will impact the overall sale price are details like painting, patching, cleaning carpet, polishing floorboards etc.
If you were to give advice to a home owner wanting to sell their house, what would be your Top 5 Tips?
- Consider having a stylist through your home to offer presentation advise and styling tips
- Do not undersell your property when it comes to marketing; it is important to have a mix of online and print media presence for the campaign. You get one shot at it- make it worth it!
- Pick a high profile company and a sales agent/team that you feel comfortable will represent you well in the marketplace
- Try not to constantly compare your home to others that are similar. No two properties are the same and ultimately the buyers will decide the value of the home.
- Buyers don’t care what time of year they buy; don’t think that the property market is driven by seasonal change. Sometimes owners think it is best to sell in Spring (garden may look better) however, in fact, this could be the busiest time of the year with the most properties on the market therefore more choice for buyers. Have a think about selling at different times of the year when less is on the market perhaps in Winter or at the beginning of the year.
If you were to give advice to a potential buyer, what would be your Top 5 Tips?
- Ensure you do your research! Keep track of every property you look at and what it sells for. This will help you develop an understanding of what properties are worth.
- Be open with the estate agent. There is really no use in ‘playing your cards close to your chest’ when buying property. Talk to the agent, get their opinion/advice and have them keep you informed of the progress of the campaign. They should make you feel very comfortable in the buying process.
- Always have an unbiased friend or family member look through a property with you. Sometimes they will pick up on things you haven’t.
- Select a reliable solicitor that can act of your behalf in the buying process. Good solicitors will conduct the conveyancing for you once you have purchased a property however they should also be happy to look over the Contract of Sale and Section 32 documents of any properties you are interested in.
- Don’t be afraid to be involved in an auction. Some buyers think that being involved in an auction will mean that they will have to pay more to purchase a property when in fact the auction process is the most transparent, fair and reasonable way to buy a property. At an auction you know exactly what people are willing to pay for the property and are not being deceived in any way. Know your budget, have a set tactic come auction day and give it your best shot!
What has been your most challenging sales job?
As with all jobs there are some challenges that are inevitable however in the real estate industry I would think that some of the most challenging times can come out of a poor performing market. I worked through the GFC (2008) and it was tough. People were not selling and not many were looking to buy, the market looked fairly bleak for a while there and as a commission earning sales person that was rather challenging. Many estate agents didn't survive however, I was lucky enough to work in a great company and with a great partner and we continued to grow our business through this challenging time and ‘come out the other end’… so as when the market returned we were able to get straight back to it!
What has been your most rewarding sales job?
There are lots of perks in this job and lots of reasons to smile however I think the most rewarding part of my job has to be securing a sale. Having an input in a sale and making an impact in both the vendor and purchasers lives is very fulfilling. Working with owners that love their home, and selling to people that will inevitably love that home just as much, is a very rewarding and pleasurable experience.
What do you love most about your job?
Without sounding cliché there are actually too many things to list… but if I have to narrow it down to one thing it is probably the ever changing environment I work in. No two days are ever the same and I am constantly meeting new people in the marketplace, both seller and buyers and building new relationships. I love working with different people and get a lot of job satisfaction from helping them achieve their property goals.
Any trade secrets you could share with our readers?!
- Buyers- Avoid expression of interest campaigns.
- Buyers- Bid strongly at auction (can intimidate other parties)
- Sellers- Strongly consider the auction method of sale as it is the best way to maximise price in the marketplace
Thanks so much to Talia from Jellis Craig Armadale for sharing with us valuable tips and advice for both sellers and buyers when it comes to purchasing real estate .