bigstock-modern-living-room-with-design-18426827HOMEBUYERS and renters value a good neighbourhood above any other property feature, a new survey has found.

Nearly 70 per cent of respondents made this selection in a recent Aussie Home Loans questionnaire.

The results were generally in line with what professional valuers consider to be the property features which add most value to a home.

A modern kitchen was the third most sought-after feature, appealing to 63.4 per cent of respondents.

This was pipped by that man haven and all-round storage space, the garage (63.7 per cent).

More than half said they were on the lookout for big bedrooms, air-conditioning and a modern bathroom.

Lifestyle features such as a swimming pool (11.3 per cent) or a home cinema (3.9 per cent) were a long way down the wish list.

The main factors that deterred buyers were tobacco odour (67 per cent), a busy street location (65.8 per cent), a dirty interior (61.6 per cent) and noisy neighbours (60 per cent).

Herron Todd White Perth managing director Brendon Ptolomey said location was the biggest factor in determining a property's value.

For example, a 4x2 in Peppermint Grove was not going to be the same value as a 4x2 in a new estate.

After location, valuers would rank modern kitchens, modern bathrooms, parking spaces, alfresco areas and extra bedrooms as the biggest value add-ons for a home, Mr Ptolomey said.

"There is a massive emphasis on kitchens from the market place," he said.

"People are much more aware of what's in there, and they're aware of features like the size of the oven or finishes like stone bench-tops."

Extra features added to a kitchen's value, but storage was a bigger factor.

Valuers would rank a garage further down the list, but in newer suburbs an enclosed garage could add between $20,000 and $30,000 to a property, Mr Ptolomey said.

The number of bathrooms also added value. He said valuers were seeing more homeowners put in a third bathroom.

"It could be a powder room with a shower, or a laundry with a shower," he said.

"People tend to want to shove teenagers down the end of the house."

A second bathroom added more value than a third, however.

"A second bathroom is almost essential in today's market," Mr Ptolomey said.


Parking space could also increase the value of a property.

"The closer you get to the city and the more difficult it is to park, then it can add anything from $20,000 to $50,000,'' Mr Ptolomey said.

"We certainly see a difference in value between one and two-bay apartments in the city."

A patio upgrade could virtually be relied on to lift the value, provided the job was well done.

"There are not too many homes without an alfresco it's pretty important to the market," Mr Ptolomey said.

"It can be a massive selling point."

Valuers said it was difficult to judge the dollar benefit of an extra bedroom.

"There's no perfect formula - you can't say a fourth bedroom will add $10,000 to a property," Mr Ptolomey said.

"But they always get used as a bedroom or a study, or most often as the junk room."

But he said living area was vital and the space taken up by a fourth bedroom might be at the expense of a lounge room.

Curtin University property studies professor Andrea Constable said bedrooms were also subject to the "law of diminishing returns'' - a fourth bedroom would be likely to add value but a ninth bedroom probably would not.

REIWA president David Airey said storage was an underrated influence on value.

"We are living in smaller households but accumulating more possessions," Mr Airey said.

"Homes with plenty of storage space are likely to be more valued."

But extra features, such as swimming pools or outdoor kitchens, were likely to be an over capitalisation.

Mr Ptolomey said a swimming pool could cost $30,000 to put in and add only $15,000 to the property's value.

Top 5 killer features

1) Kitchen 
"A well-designed, functional and spacious kitchen with quality draws and cupboards, bench-tops and appliances is an increasing priority for home buyers.'' - David Airey

2) Bathrooms 
"The market values a second bathroom and toilet or ensuites very highly due to the convenience and privacy they offer.'' - David Airey

3) Parking
"The closer you get to the city and the more difficult it is to park then it can add anything from $20,000 to $50,000.'' - Brendon Ptolomey

4) Undercover al fresco area
"We see everything from a BBQ shoved under a patio to an extensive outdoor kitchen, under patios with high ceiling fans. It can be a massive selling point.'' - Brendon Ptolomey

5) Bedrooms 
"Many homes today are occupied only by one or two people. Regardless of this shrinking household size the desire for larger homes remains strong and the market tends to put higher values on four-bedroom houses and three-bedroom apartments. Extra bedrooms offer flexible lifestyle options such as a home office or guest room.'' - David Airey

(source: Perthnow)

WHO needs a man?

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

bigstock-Happy-Young-Woman-with-Sold-Fo-47691676Not financially savvy Gen Y women, who are outstripping their male counterparts in their determination to crack into the property market.

And Gen Y ladies also have a better grasp of finances, with 81 per cent understanding what a variable rate is compared to only 60 per cent of Gen Y men.

The men also lagged behind in understanding offset accounts (39 per cent compared to 50 per cent of women).

The Westpac Home Ownership Report found 73 per cent of Gen Y women were focused on the benefits of paying off their loans early, while only 56 per cent of the men were concerned about early ownership.

Almost half of women aged 18-34 ranked home ownership as their top priority, ahead of having a family (14 per cent) and marriage (5 per cent).

Rosalind Davis, 27, who bought her one-bedroom Randwick apartment for $425,000 a year ago, hopes to climb the property ladder by upgrading in a few years time.

She said home ownership is a goal for lots of her friends.

"I don't know if it is more important than getting married and having kids but it is more controllable. You can't control when you are going to meet the right person but you can completely control your income and save enough.

"It is definitely a priority for all my girlfriends.''

Researching on the internet and the ability to secure a loan without a formal interview with a bank manager made getting a mortgage less intimidating, she said.

"As a young woman going into the bank is a really daunting thing on your own. Now with the internet you can just figure out how to do it and just go for it,'' she said.

Gai McGrath, Westpac's general manager of retail banking, agreed: "I think those days of a man as a financial planner are long behind us.

"There is this cohort of young women who are very determined about getting a platform for financial security from a young age.''

She believes men of the same age may not be as driven because of the comforts of home.

"There may be something in the proportion of Gen Y men v Gen Y women who are still living with their parents,'' she said.

Social researcher Mark McCrindle said Gen Y women were better educated and commanded rising incomes.

Just under 30 per cent of men aged 25-34 have a university degree, compared to 40 per cent of women, he said.

"We are really starting to see the rise in the financial power of the next generation of women,'' he said.

"They are getting education, they are getting careers and they are taking charge of their financial future.''


REIWA responds to State Budget

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013
Real_Estate_BoomPresident of the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia, David Airey, has welcomed the decision by the state government to maintain the stamp duty exemption for first home buyers but said he was disappointed by changes to the First Home Owners Grant (FHOG).
“Maintaining the stamp duty exemption for first home buyers is a huge saving to many people, but slanting the FHOG towards new construction and away from established dwellings will not produce the outcome the government is expecting,” Mr Airey said.
The Treasurer adjusted the FHOG from $7,000 to $3,000 for the 70 per cent of people who purchase an existing dwelling.
New-builds will receive a boost of $3,000 to a grant of $10,000.
In defending the policy shift Premier Barnett said it would help stimulate construction and provide more homes.
“That argument is not supported by any evidence from over east where other states have already gone down a similar path,” Mr Airey said.
“Building a new home is a lifestyle decision that around 30 per cent of first home buyers are attracted to.  It is not a decision based on cost.
“The policy shift in the application of FHOG is unlikely to have any impact on boosting construction,” Mr Airey said.
Mr Airey said that, more importantly, the building industry didn’t need any stimulus and was currently flat-out meeting existing demand.
“Data from the Office of State Revenue show that for the June quarter, first home buyer applications for new-builds jumped by 36 per cent on the March quarter.”
“Grant applications from first home buyers increased from 1,522 in the March quarter to 2,075 in late July, reaching their highest level since September 2009,” Mr Airey said.
However, Mr Airey took aim at the 12.5 per cent increase in land tax for other owners, saying that owners were frustrated with increasing bills.
“This is a kick in the shins for property investors who supply two thirds of rental stock in WA. It will suck an extra $73 million out of their pockets as a punishment for being an investor.
The budget’s projected land tax revenue in 2013-14 is $657 million and is projected to raise an extra $338 million over the forward estimates.
“These owners already pay rates to local government for the provision of services yet get nothing from the state directly and subsidise government services which benefit the entire community.
“It's a great concern that the government remains so dependent on property taxes to run the state despite the enormous revenue earnings from resources,” Mr Airey said.
(source: Reiwa)

Renovating tips for first-home buyers

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

dog as a painter with a brush and colorSOME simple precautions can make life easier and cheaper when doing up old properties.

If the great Australian dream is buying a house on the traditional quarter acre block, then the fantasy is renovating it. Reality TV shows such as The Block, House Rules and Selling Houses Australia don't do anything to dispel the illusion.

Simply follow their lead, knock down a few walls, pull up the carpet to reveal original floorboards and a slap on a new lick of paint to transform a house from dull and drab to sleek and sexy. Well, that's the dream. Reality is something different altogether.

While buying the worst house on the best street is an opportunity to add value to a home, it can also result in stress, tears and cost blowouts if you aren't careful.


Before exchanging contracts, it's essential to conduct a pre-purchase inspection report.

Although they aren't mandatory, Philip Connor from Express Building Reports says it can save a lot of heartache and money.

A standard report will set you back around $500 and will tell you the present condition of the property, the structural integrity of the building and what potentially expensive problems you'll be inheriting.

As building inspectors no longer have to be licensed, Philip suggests the best way to find someone reputable is to look for a person with 15 years of practical experience and who is insured.

"My first question would be, are you insured?'' he says. ``If they make a mistake and they're not insured you can't sue them.''


A property inspection on a house reports on the entire property from fence to fence; it's a different story for apartments.

"With a unit you're inspecting only the unit and the immediate surrounding area,'' Philip says. "It can be problematic because you don't inspect lifts or other people's apartments.''

Philip recommends buying a house rather than an apartment, but if you can't afford to, choose a unit in a smaller block.

"You can get a better feel for the history of smaller buildings,'' he says. "Important issues that apply to units include noise and we don't inspect or comment on noise between units.

"The other is fire. If the unit block isn't certified for fire safety, you could be looking at $15,000-$20,000 to certify it.''


Philip says houses built between 1895-1920 can be affected by rising damp, and those built from 1920-1985 can have asbestos.

"One issue that affects all of these houses is drainage,'' he says.

"Rising damp, termites and wood decay fungi are all basically caused by poor drainage, so if you can solve the drainage problem you can often resolve all three issues with one stroke.

"It's inexpensive, just make sure that the water that comes off the roof is taken away from the base of the building using a stormwater system or conservation tank.

Then you'll need some patience.

"Once you resolve the drainage issue, you need to allow at least three to 12 months for the building to start to dry out,'' Philip says.


"Rising damp is like sex; every generation has to find it out for itself,'' Philip says.

"I've been around for so long I assumed everyone knew what rising damp was but that's not the case.''

Rising damp is when moisture seeps up from the ground through porous building materials, such as brick, and up through the walls of the home. It stains the walls, causes paint and wallpaper to peel, rots skirting boards and generates a musty smell.

While it's unpleasant, it's also treatable.

A damp-proof course, made from lead, slate or asphalt, is used to waterproof walls so moisture doesn't penetrate the bricks.

To ensure they do their job, Philip says the soil needs to be kept at least 500mm below the damp-proof course. ``Rising damp rises only to one metre above ground level, however if ground levels are built up it's going to go another metre,'' he says.


Philip says that inspections don't cover asbestos because it's virtually impossible to detect without ripping up the home.

"The company may say, `If we see fibro then we will flag that as most likely containing asbestos,' but here is the catch: there may be a painted surface that you don't flag as fibro, so you might miss it,'' he says. ``There are some fibro materials that do not contain asbestos, but as a general rule, you should always suspect fibro as having it.''


Philip says it's important to take a realistic look at the numbers before you buy.

"If you're buying a dump in a bad location, watch out. If it's in a great location, it changes the ballpark rules substantially,'' he says.

Paul Myors, energy efficiency specialist from Ausgrid, says renovations over $50,000 require a BASIX certificate, which measures a home's energy efficiency.

Approximately 60 per cent of a home's energy consumption comes from heating, cooling and hot water systems so a major renovation makes it easier to install insulation, reverse cycle air conditioning and a gas hot water system to reduce bills.

John Rose from TKD Architects believes it pays to be aware of local council requirements before buying, otherwise your dream of turning that single level semi into a split level home could be shattered.

"There are always development control plan differences between councils and that can be the character of an area, heritage or environment,'' he says.

"You have to know the local council code requirements, but having said that, in recent years a number of changes have happened to council codes to bring them into line. It's much easier these days to understand how a building can be placed on a site.''

John has seen an increase in clients asking architects to attend site inspections.

"Most people feel that getting a builder's advice is the most important thing but in reality you need to understand if and how you can make it into the home you want. Inner Sydney is full of cottages 40-80 years old that need a substantial amount of work done,'' he says.

"You need to make a judgment call on what good advice is worth to you. Most people are paying for one or two hours of an architect's time, which is between $150-$500.''

John suggests discovering what you can do to a property without approval before purchasing.

Top 10 costly repairs

David Hallett from Archicentre,, lists his top 10 renovation money pits.

Re-stumping:An inspection of the sub-soar area is the only way to tell whether the foundations are solid.

Roofs: A dodgy roof, which includes leaks, scracked roof tiles or poor guttering, can cost tens of thousands of dollars to repair.

Wiring: Blackened power points are an syndicator that the home's wiring is problematic.

Pests: If access hatches to the sub-floor or sceiling are blocked, chances are they could be trying to prevent access which would reveal pest infestations.

Plumbing: Rusted pipes in old homes may shave poor water flow. Check water pressure by having a few taps running to test pressure and see if the water is discoloured.

Painting: If paint has been used to mask a sproblem, you could be up for the cost of repair and repainting.

Plastering: Plastering can be as simple as sminor cracks or major work if restumping a home. Framing: affected by termites will also need replastering.

Rising damp: Damp walls encourage mould and weaken a building's frame.

Guttering and downpipes: Guttering that sis badly fitted, rusted or neglected can cause issues during heavy rains.

Stormwater drains: Underground pipework, including stormwater drains and sewer pipes can be expensive to repair.

(source: Perthnow)

What’s trendy in bathrooms right now?

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

BathroomNEUTRAL tones, luxurious freestanding baths, frameless showers and plenty of natural light and fresh air are all the rage in bathrooms nowadays.

But Angela Gianakis, an interior and exterior consultant for Outside Square, says functionality is always key.

Take freestanding baths, for example. She says they can look fantastic and are easy to get in and out of, but must also be easy to clean around.

Anyone upgrading their bathroom should think carefully about whether the freestanding bath of their dreams will be very difficult to clean around the back and underneath.

She also points out they need to be placed in a handy location to taps.

''Make sure you can add a bit more warm water without having to get our of your bath,'' she advises.

Frameless showers, which are easy to clean, can be found in many of the most modern bathrooms, but they also need to be carefully thought-out and installed in order to avoid leaks, Ms Gianakis says.

''The preparation for a frameless shower is important in making sure that they function well.''

Ms Gianakis says large windows and plenty of natural light are another trend in bathrooms.

''Lighting and ventilation are very important in a bathroom - we all know that things like to grow in warm areas,'' she says, adding small windows can be just as effective and sometimes more practical

''Remember that if you can see out, people can probably see in,'' .

She says she is not a fan of bathroom window treatments (such as blinds and curtains) because they tend to gather dirt, dust and steam.

Ms Ginakis says neutral-toned bathrooms are in vogue at the moment, but can be jazzed up with coloured feature tiles.

''Timber-look'' tiles are also very of-the-moment, she says. They can feature on a wall or around bathroom joinery.


Wealth creation from your backyard is simple. Craigie and the surrounding suburbs are perfect locations to achieve this for 2 reasons.

  1. Many properties have very large backyards, and
  2. The Government is currently making it easier for you to build in your backyard.

Historically, we all had “the ¼ acre block” with a small house on it at the front and a big yard out back,  which your  Dad mowed with the old Victor mower on a Saturday morning. By the time Craigie, Padbury and Duncraig were developed block sizes were reducing, but by today’s standard they are considered enormous. Even when first developed in the 1970’s many blocks could have had 2 homes on them. Many of these backyards can still be developed, which gives  you several options, including building a brand new home out back to move into, thereby allowing you to rent out the front home for income, or selling one of them for profit.

And to make things even easier the Government is currently reviewing the zoning for residential land in your area. Once this completed in the near future, you may be able to fit not one, but potentially two additional homes in the backyard.

The best point for you to begin from when you considering developing your property is to start with the end in mind.

What is the main reason you wish to develop your backyard?

Your finished home will be different based on whether you intend moving into it, selling it for profit or renting it out for income.

If it is for you to move into you’ll no doubt want to put in a few extra luxury items and features that you have done without for many years and now you are probably in the position of being able to afford them. Your current house may be too big, so you can now build a smaller more upmarket one which is better suited to your current needs.

If you are going to sell it, then who do you anticipate is going to buy it? The main groups of people out looking are couples who are either just starting out or who are just retiring, families with young children, families with older children needing more space than they currently have and singles or divorcees who want to stay in the area. Obviously completely different homes would be required. The available land in your backyard will help you make the decision. A smaller amount of land is going to mean a big family home may be impossible. So maybe a 2 Master Suite home is the best option as it will be appealing to Singles/Divorcees and Couples Young & Old. They can easily make up 50% of all people needing a home in your area.

To move forward and confirm what you can actually achieve involves you using the services professionals, bat as with all things in life finding the correct ones is important. So important in fact, that you should consider them as your Cornerstone Partners.

Why are Cornerstone Partners Important?

When undertaking a development project you would be wise to consider who will become your “Cornerstone Partners”, because they are the professionals who will make your project as satisfying and stress free as possible. They are:

  1. Your Builder
  2. Your Accountant
  3. Your Finance Broker and
  4. Your Real Estate Agent

Success Breeds Success

Successful people do not go to friends for professional advice. Successful people also know that cheap can be very costly. Successful people seek out other successful people who have knowledge they do not, and over time build strong business relationships, and sometimes friendships with them. So spend some time interviewing professionals, and once you are comfortable that they are trustworthy and operate ethically and reliably, you can move forward with your team in place. They are the foundation from which your project is built.

The major ongoing benefit that results from building relationships with ethical, trustworthy and reliable Cornerstone Partners is you not only increase your Wealth, but you do it using virtually none of your own time, because they know that by looking after your best  interests you will continue doing business with them. They have no interest in making things difficult or unprofitable.

Remember Build Your Success...

In the footprint of those who are already successful. Alan Reay is successful. He knows his business, your area and would be valuable to you. Smartastrata  is part of Peter Stannard Homes and we have been building homes for longer than Craigie, Padbury or even Duncraig have been on the map, so they  know their business. They are successful. Call your accountant and ask if he or she has investment properties and whether they have undertaken developing. It would be a great advantage if they have. And do the same with your Finance Broker. If they do not measure up spend some time finding the right person.

Next Time...  Find out why building trends have changed and what the future has in store.

Another Craigie home bites the dust!

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

Some of the more observant Craigie residents who live or walk their dog on the east side of Eddystone Avenue  may have already noticed that another Craigie home came off second best in a fight against the mighty bulldozer!

The latest home to succumb to the trend was 127 Chadstone Road, which is now nothing more than a level 695sqm block complete with garden the owners are not living in the shed!

Having bought the property on 2006 the owners loved the central location of the property, however, like many first time home-buyers they discovered the dilemma of a growing family in a smaller style home.

Inevitably this dilemma leaves a home owner with 3 main options:

1. Sell up and Buy a new bigger home

Unless you have the most perfect location (for your wants and desires) this is still the option most people take.  It offers you the flexibility to change not just your home but your suburb, location within the suburb, school districts, proximity to work and a whole lot more.  This option also offers you the quickest route into a new bigger home.
Cost: When working out your finances you will have to factor in your buying and selling costs.  

  • Real Estate Agents selling fee
  • Settlement Agents fees
  • Stamp Duty - on new purchase
While these fees will ultimately depend on what price range you buy and sell it is likely to be a minimum of $25k - $35k

2. Extensions

For people who love their location or current home (and the only issue is size) then extensions offer an alternative to moving home.  Extensions/renovations have become more prominent in Craigie recently as several years of solid capital growth has given home owners plenty of equity to plough back into these older style homes.  The main points to consider with extensions are:
Cost: The cost of extensions can be astronomical compared to the price of building a new home.  This cost may not be reflected in the homes market value on completion of the extensions, leaving many people overcapitalised in the short term.  While this may not be a problem if you have no plans to never know what the future holds!

  • Floor Plan: Marrying an extension to an existing home is not always easy.  Some work well while others are always going to look "tacked on".  Remember a good extension is one that isn't noticeable.....especially if you would like to recoup the money you invested when you eventually come to sell.
  • Living on a Building site:
    * Are you going to continue living at the home while the extensions are carried out?
    * How long will it take?
    * Are all the trades available?
    * Are you prepared for all the dust, noise and inconvenience?
  • Will you move out during the Building work:
    * If so, then what about security?
    * Will you take all your possessions with you?
    * Have you factored in lease costs if you move out?
    * You have to move twice (extra cost & inconvenience)

3. Demolish & Rebuild

The third and final alternative for a bigger home is simply to demolish the existing home and rebuild from a blank canvass.


  • Chose your own floor plan without the restrictions of marrying to an existing home
  • Building a new home is unlikely to be much more expensive than building an extension
  • All fixtures and fittings are new


  • You will need to organise alternative accommodation for the duration of the demolition/rebuild - which could be costly
  • Lease costs could blow out if building is delayed
  • You have to move twice - extra cost and inconvenience
  • You will need to ensure you are not over capitalising for the suburb or the location within a suburb.  A simple way to do this is add up all of your costs including -
    * Demolition costs ( approx $20k - $25k)
    * Building costs
    * Finishing costs
    * Cost of original property - and then compare the final figure with sale prices
    currently being achieved in you area
    For example
    :  The most expensive home sold in Craigie so far in 2011 is $510,000 ( a brand new home in Tremont Place) so if you demolish a home you had purchased for $400,000 and then spend $200,000 building a new home you would be over capitalised for the suburb, if however, you had only paid $200,000 for the original property then you new home would fall well within the suburbs current sale prices.

    Sell & re- buy?... extend?...demolish & re-build?

At the end of the day if you need a bigger home there is no right or wrong answer.

The owners of 127 Chadstone Road decided to bull-doze and rebuild but everyone has different requirements and different ideas and therefore will make different decisions.

The only thing that I am sure about is that our urban sprawl continues to drive North, East & South - you will see more older style homes in Craigie and the surrounding suburbs being bowled over or extended....maybe not by their current owners....but it will happen, especially if the city of Joondalup draft local housing strategy is passed in the next 2 - 5 years!