Tools, tips, industry knowledge & market trends.

You have found the home you like. You've heard that it's a 'buyer's market', so you're thinking of making an offer. 

The most important message you can convey when you are making an offer is that you are serious and that you can be trusted. Agents do not like buyers who say, "Give them an offer and if they accept let me know." This does not make the agent or the sellers feel confident. 

by Neil Jenman

In the midst of the recent real estate boom David and his wife found the perfect block of land. The place to build their dream home. 

Although the land was in the development stages, they didn't mind waiting. They paid their deposit, signed the contract and looked forward to the future. 

Barely six months later, a letter arrived from the developer's lawyers. The contract was cancelled and a refund of the deposit was on its way. However, if David would like to pay a further $48,000, the developer would consider another contract for the block of land.

by Neil Jenman

For years, the so-called three golden rules of real estate have been touted as - location, location, location. 

These three "rules" are not only wrong, they're dangerous. 

There are few better locations than the Melbourne Docklands or Sydney's Darling Harbour area or the Brisbane riverfront. And yet, consumers are losing millions of dollars in these lovely areas. 

Why is this so? 

Nine Reasons Auctions Get Lower Prices 

Home-sellers tempted to auction their homes should remember four words: AUCTIONS GET LOWER PRICES. 

Never mind what agents tell you, never mind what you read in the papers, auctions are a financial minefield for consumers. 

Despite the booms in many areas, thousands of home-sellers are turning their backs on auction and benefiting. But there are still thousands of sellers who don't realise, until it's too late, what happens to them at auction. 

They get a LOWER price, that's what happens.

How sellers can protect themselves against false quotes. 

Sellers who believe the false quotes given to them by the agents - and then sign-up with the agents - are placing themselves in grave danger. They are caught in the Quote Trap. They have signed a legal agreement with the agent. No matter what price their home sells for, the agent can still claim a large commission plus expenses. In some areas - most commonly South Australia, Victoria and the Northern Territory - agents may be legally entitled to place a caveat over the sellers' homes. Here's how to protect yourself.

by Neil Jenman

For too long, too many self-anointed property experts have given too much bad advice, especially about investing. 

But one commonly dispensed piece of advice is so bad it almost defies belief. It has fooled tens of thousands of investors.

The bad advice is this: "Always buy with your head not your heart." 

Such advice makes it easier for salespeople to sell bad properties. From a dump in the bush to a shoebox in the city, they tell you to love the deal, not the property. What nonsense.

One of the biggest problems for property investors is how to sort through the mountain of information thrust at them. 

The best rule is: If so-called "experts" have a vested interest, be sceptical. If commentators are independent observers, you can begin to trust their comments. Perhaps.

The Housing Industry Association (HIA) provides a case study. Compared to the real estate institutes and the organisations representing developers, the HIA is a reliable commentator. It releases monthly statistics and provides market analysis that's usually worth reading.

The great truths in life are always simple. And the basics of real estate negotiation are all based on simple truths. 

A major principle of negotiation is fairness. If you go into a negotiation with a win/lose attitude, it will rarely be pleasant. As the saying goes, "If you get involved in the rat race, even if you win, you are still a rat."

It's not just unethical, it's downright illegal. 

by Neil Jenman

What's the matter with us, today? 

As consumers, are we so intimidated and so fearful of confrontation that we will tolerate almost any form of deception? It appears so.

In real estate, it happens every day. Here's just one of thousands of examples.

An agent quotes prospective homesellers a price of $350,000 to $370,000. Based on this quote, the sellers sign-up with the agent. 

The agent then advertises the home for $300,000 (with a small + sign after the price). 

There was a time, not too long ago, when agents would tell sellers, "Yer'd be mad not to auction." More buyers meant more competition and more money. At least that was the theory. 

The reality was different - a booming market disguised the sins of auctions. Despite the crowds, few sellers realised that their properties were being massively undersold. They failed to see the difference between a high price and the highest price. 

by Neil Jenman

There's a heartbreaking story on page 2 of The Australian today (August 28, 2006). A 75-year-old man and his wife have lost almost all the equity in their family home. 

Twenty years ago, in 1986, this couple paid off their home. For the next 17 years they lived securely (as does anyone who owns their own home). 

And then, one day, in 2003, they met one of those wealth or retirement advisers (or whatever fancy name spivs give themselves) who advised them to "release the equity in their home" and invest in something that would give them an income.

by Neil Jenman

Australia's tax collectors are set to focus on Australia's property investors. 

It seems the folk at the Tax Office have had enough of what appears to be blatant rorting in the property industry. Anyone who can do simple maths can see that something seriously dodgy seems to be happening on a grand scale. 

In the financial year to June 30, 2006, property investors collected $17.6 billion in rental income and claimed $21.7 billion in expenses. 

According to their tax returns, Australia's property investors lost $4.1 billion last year.