In a market as volatile as the Australian housing market, it can be difficult to know what to do in order to come out on top.  Despite the media hype that ‘the market’ is falling, the reality is there are more than 15,000 suburbs in Australia and not all of them are experiencing the same market conditions.

Whether you’re a buyer, a seller, or trying to do both, there’s some fundamental principles that will help you make the most of the current market conditions.

Winning ways for buyers

If you’re thinking of buying a property, it’s important to keep in mind there is still significant buyer demand, so prices aren’t dropping uniformly and in fact, some properties are continuing to increase. 

While there is an opportunity to find some good deals, be wary of false ‘bargains’.  Selling agents are using the media hype to their advantage and marketing properties with ‘prices reduced’, when actually they’re not reduced at all.

Just like the agents though, you can use the current financial climate to your advantage when negotiating your purchase.  Softening markets are the best types of markets for buyers because you have a higher opportunity to get a good deal. Just be sure to do your research and only purchase a property if it meets your needs and budget.

It’s important to remember that you can’t out-think the market, so act when the time is right for you and then make good property decisions based on analysis of reliable information.  Use the following tips to optimise your position.

Buyer tips
  • Time to start bargaining – look for properties that have been advertised for two weeks or more.
  • Don’t buy a lemon in disguise – there’s some things that cannot be changed, so ensure any property ‘issues’ can be fixed otherwise move on to the next property on your list.
  • There’s a little extra time for due diligence so use it.
  • Don’t wait for ‘a better time’ – act when your finances are ready.
  • It’s still better to buy established property – avoid new builds.
Winning ways for sellers

If you’re thinking of selling your property, it’s crucial to price it competitively. In many suburbs, buyers are currently in the driver’s seat, so if your property is overpriced you could be stuck with it for a while.

If you have a property that has ‘irreversible’ issues – such as being located on a busy road, or a much smaller block than others in your area, the current market environment will be harder on your property.  Buyers will be more selective, so if your property has tricky issues you may have to lower your asking price and expectations.

As outlined above (where Agents are playing to buyers by marketing properties with fake reduced prices), there are definitely ways to maximise your position if you do want to sell now.  Use the following tips to make the most of the current market.

Seller tips
  • Make sure you don’t leave any questions for buyers – for example, don’t expect a buyer will pay a premium price if your property has a pool but you haven’t bothered to obtain a pool certificate – it’s really simple to fix the issue but buyers will think there’s a bigger problem looming.
  • Be realistic – it’s still better to guide a little soft on price and have buyers compete.
  • Re-evaluate your rent – even if you’re selling your home, ensure an updated rental appraisal is available to buyers – the shortage of rental properties is real.
  • Agent selection is critical – it’s always important to work with good agents but there will be a stark difference in results in the current market.  Ensure to watch how they treat their buyers as well as vendors (owners) before you decide who to select as your agent.
  • Sell or wait?  Let your personal situation guide your decision.  Don’t try and time the market.

While we can anticipate changes no one can predict with 100% accuracy where the market is headed, but by following these tips you’ll be sure to maximise your chances of success.

About the author

Debra Beck-Mewing is the Editor of the Property Portfolio Magazine and CEO of The Property Frontline.  She has more than 20 years’ experience in property investing Australia-wide and has used a range of strategies to build her property portfolio including renovating, granny flats, sub-division and development. Debra is a skilled property strategist, and a master in sourcing properties that have multiple uses and multiple exit strategies. She is a Qualified Property Investment Advisor, licensed real estate agent and also holds a Bachelor of Commerce and Master of Business. As a passionate advocate for increasing transparency in the property and wealth industries, Debra is a popular speaker on these topics.  She is also an author, podcast host, and participates on numerous committees including the Property Owners’ Association.

Follow us on facebook.com/ThePropertyFrontline for regular updates, or book in for a strategy session to discuss your property questions. 

Disclaimer – This information is of a general nature only and does not constitute professional advice.  We strongly recommend you seek your own professional advice in relation to your particular circumstances. 

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