Thursday, November 23, 2017

Real estate tech-talk

The real estate tech sector is constantly being shaped by shifting market conditions and changes in consumer behaviours, forcing traditional real estate firms to rethink their core business models and embrace digital-first innovations. 

We know that Australians are some of the most tech savvy people in the world and as a nation we love buying property and living 'The Great Australian Dream'. With half of the world's population online, digital connectivity is helping to improve people's lives, and in real estate we are seeing that buyers especially, are savvier than ever. New digital tools are making the process of buying and selling property faster, simpler, more engaging and accessible than ever before.

Buyer's expectations are also much greater than they used to be... they want information, quickly and easily, and it needs to be up-to-date and available, whenever and wherever. A study conducted last year by 
found that 78 per cent of consumers were accessing property listings and information online - rather than through traditional methods alone
- using smart phones, laptops and tablets.

Team Toop is seeing first hand that new technologies are giving buyers the power to shape their property-seeking journey rather than passively absorb what they are being given. They are using their mobile devices to interact with properties more than ever before and prefer digital platforms like virtual inspections and live-streamed auctions.   

Earlier this year we launched ToopCreate, a new suite of property marketing tools for our Toop&Toop clients, and we have seen our new digital features generate a buzz in the marketplace transforming buyers' experience and sellers' results. These tools include:

 - Designed for iPads and Desktops, ToopFurnish gives potential buyers the power to digitally furnish and decorate their perfect living space.

 - Using an iPad or computer, buyers are able to digitally customise the interior of a home by selecting exciting new colours and textures for walls, flooring, countertops and cabinets.

 - Potential buyers from anywhere in the world are able to walk through a property online, and stop, look, and feel how that space would work for them - as if they are really there.

Technology and innovation continue to hold the key to reshaping and improving our real estate industry and we can't wait to see where it takes us next.

If you would like to know more about ToopCreate, the other technologies that 
Team Toop can offer, and how they can help you achieve the best result for your home, 
we would love to hear from you! 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The rise of the fur babies… now impacting tenancy rights

We now live in a world where Doggy Day Care is becoming the norm and households are spending more and more on their pets... $12.2 billion annually in fact! So it's no wonder this trend has crept its way into the rental market, and there are now new laws in place surrounding a Tenant's rights to have a pet.

Last month in Victoria, new laws were introduced where a Landlord can no longer apply a blanket 'no pets' clause in their rental leases. If a Tenant applies with a pet, Landlords will have to grin and bear it, or they may face going to the Tribunal. Landlords will still need to provide consent 
to the application, however they can only deny a request in certain circumstances. 

So what if this was to also change in 
South Australia?

For the 'glass half full' kind of people, this is not all bad. If 83% of people own pets, you will be (by default) increasing your Tenant selection pool dramatically. With more applicants interested in your property, you could expect to see your rental amount rise and your returns improve. 

The risk of course is how well behaved the fur baby is, and what damage could be caused to the property. It is not uncommon for pets to cause stains to carpets or curtains, and scratch wooden floorboards or window frames if left inside for long periods of time. Another challenge, is whether the bond amount collected would be enough to cover any possible corresponding damage at the end of the tenancy. 

Re-introducing Pet Bonds (currently these are not allowed in South Australia) or agreeing on additional inspections at a rental property upfront, are options that may help find middle ground so Tenants and Landlords both feel comfortable with the arrangement in place.

These laws are not here yet, but if you are considering allowing pets in your rental property, we suggest adding 'pets negotiable' on your property advertising. You might also want to ask that any Tenants applying with pets include a photograph of their pet(s) at the application stage. This will ensure that you know what type of pet you are agreeing to. 

If you are diligent with routine inspections and your Tenant is made very aware of their responsibilities to maintain the property, having pets in a rental property is definitely doable, as long as the right checks and balances are in place.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

The Adelaide property market is heating up!

With the weather really starting to warm up, cricket season nearing and just a few short weeks until the official start of our 2017/18 summer, we are seeing that Adelaide is certainly hot property right now with the number of homes for sale rising! 

Throughout spring, the number of properties advertised for sale typically climbs as vendors look to take advantage of the warmer weather and gardens in full bloom. The latest statistics from CoreLogic RP Data state that listings in Adelaide are 8.0% higher than a year ago and at their highest levels for this time of year since 2013. Market conditions for buyers right now are excellent, with auction volumes across our combined capital cities also reaching their highest-level year to date! 

The media hype and general buzz around the Adelaide property market is hard to ignore. Interstate and international investors are turning their attention to our city, local investors and developers are well and truly in the market and people who already own property are using their current equity to upsize. 

In the months of September and October, a significant number of our Toop&Toop sales were properties that sold in our ToopVault. These properties were not seen by the public, and were snapped up by our Vault members who were tired of missing out on property. These buyers put their best offers forward to secure homes before they became 'public knowledge', giving them the chance to get ahead of their competition. 

There is no doubt that this is a great market to buy in, but what about those wanting to sell?

In the past week, we have found many clients and potential sellers at our open inspections are asking us if it's too late to do something before Christmas.

The great news is - for those wanting or needing to sell - there is still six weeks left before Christmas to put your property on the market and seven more selling weeks of the year! 

So how long will the buyer demand last? It's always hard to judge. Around this time of year, we always begin to hear stories, predictions and opinions surface for the New Year. 

One thing is for sure... you can never predict the future. Right now the property market is in full swing, there is a strong demand for property, we are achieving some exceptional sale results including suburb record prices, and finance conditions for buyers continue to be the best 
we have seen. The momentum in the market 
is here right now and if you want to sell in 2017, it's certainly not too late.

Give Team Toop a call today to take advantage 
of our current market conditions. We would love to help you achieve a premium price for your property before Christmas!

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Adelaide’s property market is on the move… again!

The latest housing report by CoreLogic RPData has just been released showing positive signs for Adelaide and the majority of capital cities across the country. 

Adelaide continues to be the steady reliable performer and saw a healthy 5% growth in housing prices over the quarter. Nationally, Hobart achieved the highest average pricing growth over the quarter. Sydney and Melbourne are showing signs of slowing down, however have still recorded double digit growth, where Perth and Darwin were the only two cities to record negative growth over the quarter. 

Looking more locally, we've seen a high number of properties record double digit growth in median house price over the past 12 months. Top performing suburbs include: North Adelaide, Walkerville, Semaphore, Prospect, Belair, Woodville South, Fullarton, Somerton Park and Crafers.

This is consistent with what our team are experiencing. Team Toop are seeing between 800 and 900 active buyers each week at our open inspections. The market is running hot... and we don't see signs of this slowing down anytime soon. 

So what are the property predictions for 2018?

Adelaide is looking very strong. Property Analysts expect to see house price growth of up to 9%, ranking ahead of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane in terms of the predicted number of growth suburbs.

Those suburbs with house prices sitting around $450,000 (our median house price) are tipped to be the best performers. Over 45 suburbs made the list of areas to watch including Oaklands Park, Findon, Grange and Semaphore Park. 

We expect to see investor activity in Adelaide rise off the back of the slowing Sydney and Brisbane markets. In Adelaide there is a huge upside for Landlords. Here Landlords are reaping the benefits of a stable, yet consistent market of quality returns. Over the past quarter our Property Management team have seen yields of between 3.29% and 5.74% with the highest being achieved in Magill (4.67%), Enfield (5.02%) and Para Vista (5.74%).

Adding to this positive news is the number of projects that are underway in our state to help our resource sector. Looking ahead this will continue to be good news for the Adelaide property market.

We're in the middle of spring and the national Property Analysts agree, the Adelaide market is strong. If you want to make the most of our city's current conditions, give our team a call. We love talking all things property, and especially about the opportunities that exist here, right now, in our state.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Buyers and sellers… it’s not too late!

With November only a few days away and just eight weekends left until Christmas, many buyers are feeling the race is on for them to find and secure a property before this deadline. We find at this point in the year, many buyers get tired of missing out and are desperate to find a property so that they can be organised to start the new year in a new home.

While for those thinking of selling, some people believe they may be cutting it fine to put their home on the market now, with Christmas party distractions, and the festive season creeping in earlier and earlier each year, we can see how it may feel like that... however, our statistics actually prove the opposite.

We are finding each week the number of buyers subscribing to hear about our properties are increasing - last week our buyer bank grew 
by 60 people and the trend is following through 
to open inspections.

The buyer numbers through our weekend inspections are increasing substantially too. 
Two weeks ago buyer numbers were up 128 groups from 715 the week before, and then 
last weekend they were up again with a total 
of 843 groups through our properties. 

With demand at an all-time high, and with the urgency to purchase increasing daily, an auction campaign is a great way to leverage this momentum and achieve a premium price. Over the last few weeks alone we have sold 24 properties at or before auction achieving very strong results for our clients.

Auctions can be unpredictable and emotionally charged, but we have found these often produce the best results and often exceed client expectations. 

The auction process protects vendors as it allows you to deal with the serious buyers, the ones who are in a position to purchase the property free of conditions and with no cooling off period. Serious buyers also benefit from this as they can utilise their financial position on auction day to have an advantage over conditional buyers in the market.

RP Data states that not only does an auction help achieve premium results, properties sell on average 19 days faster by auction than properties listed for private sale in South Australia.

If you are wanting to sell before Christmas and leverage our current market conditions, there is still time! Feel free to contact Team Toop about how we can deliver a solid sale campaign this side of Christmas and capture the attention of our strong marketplace for your home.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Real estate’s night of nights. Thank you SA for all of your support!

Last Saturday was our Real Estate Industry's night of nights, the 2017 Real Estate Institute of South Australia's Excellence Awards. As we do each year, Team Toop entered every category that we could, because as a business we believe it is important to constantly test ourselves and our ideas. We believe it is what makes us grow, not only as people but also as a team, and helps drive us to continually improve for our clients.

The Real Estate Excellence Awards night was such an amazing night for our family, and we couldn't be more proud of our 
11 team finalists. It was exciting to see 
Sally Cameron take out gold in Residential Sales Person of the Year - Eastern, 
Mandy Doolan won Bronze in Residential Sales Person of the Year - Western/Beachside, Andrew Zardoukas was awarded bronze for Corporate Support of the year and Bronte Manuel recognised as the South Australian Auctioneer of the Year for the third year in a row!

As a business, Toop&Toop was recognised as the winners of the three largest corporate accolades on the night: Marketing & Communications, Innovation and overall winner... Large Residential Agency of the Year!

These awards were very special to us, as each of these categories are integral in delivering an exceptional real estate experience, service and results to our clients and the community.

Property marketing and communicating with buyers are fundamental skills for real estate agents and key to achieving a premium sale price for a home. The way an agent represents a property and how they create emotional connections through marketing is so important in creating competition amongst buyers.

Innovative thinking leads to innovative ideas, and ultimately to innovative products. These become the tools an agent can use to differentiate themselves and the properties they represent in the market. Innovation enables us to achieve exceptional results through products and services that are unique to Team Toop. This year we won the Innovation award for ToopCreate - an innovative suite of products that we are proud to bring to South Australia. These tools are providing exceptional value and results to both our buyers and sellers.

Just like in any business, underpinning everything is your team. Your team are the ultimate keys to success. In an industry where collaborating and sharing information is extremely rare, we feel so grateful to have a culture, environment and people that embrace teamwork and who love collaboration. To have a team who travel from all over the state every Tuesday morning to present their client's homes to each other and help one another sell all Toop&Toop properties is so unique, and a perfect example of teamwork coming to life in our business.

Last Saturday night was truly humbling on so many different levels. We are so thankful to our clients and the entire South Australian community for all of your support. It has been a huge year of change, innovation, results and achievements for our team and to have our community's support means so much to us as a family business. 

We are excited to now go on to represent South Australia in the Real Estate Institute of Australia's National Excellence Awards early next year. We hope we can make our state proud!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

We have 10,000 buyers looking for their dream home!

This week, we were so excited to see our ToopVault crack 10,031 members! That's 10,031 people in our buyer bank seeing properties before anyone else. ToopVault is the chance for serious buyers to see Toop&Toop properties prior to reaching the market and has been extremely successful in marketing and selling clients' properties.

Databases are talked about in real estate constantly, however unfortunately not everyone in our industry truly understands how to operate a database and how to unlock its serious power to produce valuable results. Our six full time IT programmers work on our databases daily because we have found that when you have a full understanding of database strategies and implement these correctly, the results are incredible!

The ToopVault is proof of this!

In our business alone we could quote a range of different database numbers. Our master database of 163,759 people is considered in itself impressive from a pure numbers point of view. However the question is, how valuable is this information when it comes to each client's property sale? How does this large number help? You quickly realise that it's irrelevant!

ToopVault, our specific database for active buyers, is growing by over 100 members a week. Why? Because people currently in the market for property recognise that it is adding genuine value to them as buyers. They hear about property before the public, they are able to refine their search criteria, view on any device (including exclusive extra features on our Toop&Toop iPhone App) and choose how often they receive property alerts.

As a result our clients' homes are the winners!

In the last financial year, ToopVault sent out 761,644 Vault email alerts... that's 2,086 notifications per day! We also had an average of 4,808 buyers click through to our clients' property web pages for more information per month wanting to see the full description, floor plan, photos and videos of our clients' homes.

We sell an average of one property a week through the ToopVault saving our clients' time, hassle and marketing costs. In turn helping buyers finally get ahead of the competition and purchase their dream property.

Taking the time and investing in the resources 
to understand how information can best be used is where your agent can add huge value to your selling strategy. If you would like to find out more about how many ToopVault members 
we have looking for a home like yours, and 
how we can leverage this demand to achieve 
a premium result for your property, be sure 
to speak to Team Toop this weekend!

Genevieve Toop


Friday, October 06, 2017

Poker face... It’s lease renewal time.

Typically between now and Christmas the majority of leases will be coming up for renewal. This can leave many Landlords unsure on what hand to play; and the stakes can be high.

To help paint a clearer picture of the market, there are two key indicators that can help determine how bullish you should be with your rental property... and whether you should bet high and 'go all in'.

The first is vacancy rates. This is the percentage of the total available number of properties that are vacant at a particular time. This month the national Property Investor magazine showed that Prospect's vacancy rate is 2.0%, Norwood's is 2.5%, Parkside is 2.6% and Mile End is 1.4%... and across the state it is sitting
at 1.9%.

Our Property Managers are finding that metropolitan Adelaide is a 'hot spot' at the moment, so to us, these particular numbers were surprising.

Across our portfolio, Toop&Toop's vacancy rate is sitting at 0.43%, and has been below 1.0% for some time. Finding out your agency's vacancy rate, prior to confirming your new lease, will give you a good idea of the number of properties that may be competing with yours.

The second is time on market. The industry average days on market is sitting at 43 days. However, this will vary depending on where your property is located, and what your property offers.

Since July this year, Toop&Toop's average days on market have ranged from five days in Mile End, nine days in Prospect, through to 12 days in Norwood. The time on market for your area will provide insight into the number of tenants currently looking for a property, and what properties are moving quickly.

These two key pieces of information will help you understand the current market, and what kind of position you are in, prior to deciding to renew your tenant.

As a Landlord, making an informed decision is essential so you know whether the cards are in your favour.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

South Australia is kicking goals!

It's been an incredibly exciting week for our state! There's been a buzz in the air ever since the Adelaide Crows secured their spot in our sporting calendar's biggest event for the year - the AFL Grand Final. From one South Australian team to another, we wish the Crows all the best in today's battle at the MCG!

Not only is South Australia kicking goals in football, it's kicking goals in real estate. With the end of September near, this week we experienced the highest volume of properties in our local real estate market in the last six months, with a huge 132 auctions scheduled across the board! 

Team Toop has been experiencing strong spring selling results first-hand with 42% of our properties selling prior to auction last week, including a four bedroom character home in Unley Park selling for the top price in Adelaide, and a renovated Prospect cottage which was the most viewed auction listing nationwide 

Our auction results have also been hot including a renovated bungalow in Colonel Light Gardens selling for $1.125 million on the weekend... a record price! 

With the results South Australia is achieving, our marketplace couldn't be in a better position for people wanting to sell their home. 

The overwhelming feedback that we heard from buyers this week is that they have been frustrated with not only the lack of stock on the market, but also the fact that they keep missing out on the properties they love. Buyers are hoping that when this long weekend and the Grand Final is behind us, new properties will flood onto the market over the next few weeks. 

The effects of lower stock levels over the last few months combined with the attraction of our Adelaide market from the eastern states, and on top of that the lowest interest rates we have ever seen, means we are experiencing a significant build-up of people wanting to purchase Adelaide property... that's even before the mass of spring buyers came into the mix. 

With just 12 weekends until Christmas, buyers desperately want to secure a home before this mental deadline. As an agent, this is a powerful window of opportunity to harness for sellers, and with the right sale strategies and marketing tools, incredible results can be achieved.

Our team is encouraging anyone who is considering selling their property to make
the most of this opportunity and Adelaide's hot buyers. We have been discussing with clients who were planning to sell in the new year, to perhaps re-visit this in order to take advantage 
of the current conditions and make the most 
of this 12 week window.

If you would like to find out more about how you could leverage our marketplace momentum, or to find out what one of our agents will be able to achieve for your property in this current market, please feel free to give myself or one of our team a call. Enjoy the long weekend!

Genevieve Toop


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Landlord ‘blacklists’ – could this be a thing?

We live in an interesting time where online 
peer-to-peer rating systems are becoming the norm - from cafes to taxi rides, no industry appears to be immune, even ours.

Tenants across the globe who are living in 
sub-standard conditions are using digital means to find a voice... and they are being heard.

Websites are popping up where tenants warn fellow renters about certain landlords, and some aggrieved tenants are questioning why there are not landlord databases or 'blacklists' for them to draw upon.

It seems that with the surge of property prices, many landlords have stretched themselves to enter the market - often without a contingency plan or sinking fund. Particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, rents have not kept up with the growth of house prices... and tenants are on 
the receiving end of things.

We've recently heard stories of tenants 
putting up with mould growing on the carpet, ceilings collapsing and living without hot 
water - unfortunately these stories are not 
too uncommon in the industry.

So as a landlord, how can you get ahead of this emerging trend so that your rental property stands out for tenants?

Having a good understanding of the tenancy legislation is key. For example in South Australia, it is a requirement for a rental property to be in a 'reasonable state of repair' and there are also strict requirements for the tenants to be given at least 48 hours notice to enter the property. If not followed, hefty fines can apply, even if you are 

And if you have an agent, it is their role to know the legislation inside and out and do the legwork for you. At Toop&Toop we are looking at new ways to support our landlords, and provide a greater level of service to our tenants. ToopFIX, our national award winning maintenance app is one example of how we're looking to tackle this industry problem.

With one third of the Australian population renting, tenants are looking for quality of service. We feel our role is to provide this to both landlords and tenants, whilst navigating through the legal framework. Creating an environment where quality tenants want to stay in your home for longer, and look after it, will be a win-win for all parties.

If you would like more information or advice, please feel free to give our Property Management team a call. We'd love to chat with you! 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Stand out this spring!

Spring is now here so if you're planning on selling your property during this busy time of year, here are some simple planning tips on how to better prepare your home for sale, and ultimately maximise your result! 

Presentation of your property is a critical factor in achieving the highest possible price. Even the most astute buyer will be encouraged by a well-presented property. People are emotional beings and will be stimulated by what they see, feel and hear. You don't need to renovate or invest a fortune, just simply make the most of what you already have.

1. Make the property feel inviting.

Buyers like to imagine that they'd enjoy living in a property, so make it easy for them to feel good about your home. Gentle music, a fragrant candle and a few scattered cushions can make 
all the difference on inspection day. The power 
of emotion is amazing!

2. Less is more. 
Clear the clutter. It will make it easier to keep the property tidy for inspections and rooms will feel more spacious to buyers.

3. Let the sun in.

Everyone loves sunshine when they are looking to buy, so open up blinds and curtains for inspections - and make sure windows are clean both inside and out. 

4. Fix outstanding repairs. 
Especially visible ones. Even the smallest of problems can make buyers wary about other less obvious issues. So it's best to fix what buyers will see and make the property appear well cared for.

5. Clean up lawns, gardens and rubbish.
This may seem self explanatory, yet it's often the garden that is last on the list of things to do. If you've spent time and money with your property's presentation, a small investment in finishing off gardens can be extremely worthwhile.

6. The kitchen.

A good kitchen can help sell a property. Not only is it an essential part of the house, it can be the most expensive and inconvenient room to refurbish, so its condition will influence the value of your property. If your kitchen is a little dated, you don't need to replace it, simply:

- Change cupboard handles to something 
more contemporary

- Put appliances out of sight and keep bench space clean and clear

- Pay special attention to the cleanliness of sinks, stoves and ovens

Wipe marks from cupboard doors and 
splash backs.

7. Kid's bedrooms.

Make it easier on the kids by packing up some of their toys and worldly possessions before you offer the property for sale. It will clear the space and help them to keep their room a little tidier during the sale. And if your children are distinctive in their decorating style, you may need to neutralise a little to appeal to a broader market.

8. Master bedroom. 
The master bedroom is another very important room for purchasers. Make it as inviting and relaxing as possible with candles, beautiful bed linen, cushions and throw rugs. And if the room is large enough, include a comfy chair, coffee table and a few magazines or books.

9. Pets and smells.

Many buyers do not appreciate pets and by not considering these purchasers, you can unnecessarily limit your market. Here are a few simple steps to consider if you're a pet owner:

Take your pets to visit family or friends 
during inspections

Move bowls, toys and bedding outside the house and make sure they are clean

Air the property before inspections and pick up any 'surprises' in the garden. 

It's an exciting time for real estate, so if you'd like to find out more about selling in spring, give Team Toop a call today. We'd love to chat to you!