3 questions you must answer if you are thinking of selling

Blackbird and Finch Blog - 3 questions you must answer if you are thinking of selling

3 questions you must answer if you are thinking of selling

Blackbird and Finch Blog - 3 questions you must answer if you are thinking of sellingAre you thinking about selling your home? If so, you need to answer three key questions to help set the scene for your agent to set-up a successful sale and marketing campaign.

No one knows your home quite like you. You know all the good things (and the bad) about what it is like to live in your home. If you have lived in your home for some time, you can become a little blase with the home, forgetting why you fell in love with it originally.

When I’m invited to inspect a home that will potentially be placed onto the market, I like to ask the owners to fill out a little survey on what it is about your home that you love.

Question 1
Why did you buy your home?

You may have looked at a couple of properties or 50 before making the final decision on the home you are in. Perhaps it was love at first sight, the first and only home you looked at. But what was it that drew you to this particular property that you now call home?

I’ve never met anyone that buys a property for no particular reason. $300,000, $400,000, $500,000 or more is a lot of money to spend, so there has to be a compelling reason as to why you chose to buy your home.

Often, the reason will be attributed to one or more of the following:

– Location (e.g. it was close to the school, work, park)
– Outlook (e.g. north facing, views, city glimpses)
– Potential (e.g. great renovator, worst house in best, future opportunity)
– Configuration (e.g. two separate living areas, granny flat, suitability for home office)
– Convenience (e.g. nothing to do but move in)
– Size (e.g. small or large enough to accommodate your growing/shrinking family)
– Price (e.g. a steal at the time, was within your budget).

Question 2
What are the best/worst things about your home?

I like to find out what it is that you love about the home, what you will miss when you leave and what comments friends and family make about your home when they visit. The answers help me to write compelling copy for advertisements and brochures and also assists when I am inspecting your home with a buyer.

Is one of the best things that you get to see the sun setting each afternoon from the lounge room? Does the outdoor entertaining area provide a fantastic space for large get-togethers with family and friends? Is it the fact that the kids have their own separate space to chill out in away from the main living area that you relax in?

The flip side to this question is, what are some of the worst things about your home. Is the school traffic in the street during drop-off and pickup times excessive or frustrating? Is it too hot to walk out onto the back deck in summer without shoes on? Or is the house cold in the mornings until the sun has warmed it up because you have no heating? Every house has some negative aspects. As long as we know about them, we can work around them to ensure your house is viewed at the best time of the day.

Question 3
What plans did you have for the home that you haven’t yet done?

You may have planned to add in a second living area, an ensuite, or a pool to the backyard or it could be as simple as you were going to replace the carpet. Sometimes we like to dream about what we would do if money was no object. Perhaps you have done everything that you wanted and it is just perfect. This question sets the scene for what improvements could be made by the next owners and also creates a profile for me as the agent on the characteristics of a potential buyer.

Just remember, the reasons that you bought the home will likely be the same reason that someone else is going to buy it. It’s just a matter of finding the right buyer for it that’s going to love it as much as you did, and arming your chosen agent with all the information they need to present your home in the best possible way.

For an agent, it is an honour and a privilege to be invited into your home. If you are thinking of selling feel free to contact Simone on 07 4642 0007 or 0400 824 634 to explore the possibility of us working together to achieve a great outcome so you can move onto the next phase in your life.

3 tips to help get your pet approved

Blackbird and Finch Blog - 3 tips to help get your pet approved

3 tips to help get your pet approved

Blackbird and Finch Blog - 3 tips to help get your pet approvedDid you know that 62% of households in Australia own a pet? Unfortunately for pet owners that need to rent, their furry, feathered or scaly companions can make it difficult to find a new home when the time comes. Tenants are forced into finding new homes, fostering them out with family members, hiding them or worse still surrendering their pet to secure a property to live in.

There are just over 630 properties available for rent in Toowoomba at the moment and only 200 of them are willing to accept a pet – that’s 33%, nearly half of what the market requires.

Pets in rental properties often get a bad rap, but in our experience, honest pet owners are responsible, do the right thing and treat their pet like family. These tenants will look after a property like it’s their own home and meet their pet obligations. They will ensure their pet, just like children, don’t cause damage and if they do, will repair it promptly.

Tenants often get frustrated by owners not allowing pets but these few tips might help you secure a great property for you and your best friend when applying for a rental property.

1. Consider the property size and condition

Purchasing a Great Dane might seem like a great idea for security however a large dog needs a large yard. Consider the property and what type of pet would not cause damage which may be costly to repair. Dogs can damage a yard if they are tied up or ‘run’ along the fence in the same spot continuously creating a worn trail.

Cats can damage carpets or curtains by clawing or by rubbing along them. Cats have an oil in their coats that can remain in the carpet or curtain fabric even after cleaning. Replacing carpet or curtains could be a costly exercise. Perhaps a property with no carpet may be a better option if your cat is an inside cat.

If you don’t already have a pet and are looking to get one, perhaps a reptile may be a better option than the standard domestic cat or dog.

2. Supply a picture and registration details

Once you have decided on a pet, or if you already have one, take a picture of the pet to give the landlord an idea. Just putting outside dog on an application doesn’t explain the size or breed of the dog. Often lazier dogs are preferred over the working style dogs, so you may be missing properties because of a lack of detail to give an owner all of the information they need to make an informed decision.

Research pet registration and costs and advise the landlord that the pet will be compliant with local laws and supply the registration details if already registered.

3. Offer more rent

For tenants already in a rental property, be aware that many owners are dubious about pets and may not be keen. As you are asking to change the terms of the lease perhaps offer additional rent to help get your pet approved. In other states, a pet bond may be applicable, but this is not an option in Queensland. Offering to renegotiate the terms of the lease may just help the owner agree to your pet request.

Finally, make your tenant application stand out from everyone else and show how much you love and care for your pet. If you have an inside pet, be honest and upfront about it. There are owners that will allow an inside cat or dog but we agree they can be hard to find.

Check out Obi’s page – we setup this page for a couple moving to Toowoomba and were trying to find a property that would allow ‘Obi’ to live inside with them. Obi’s wrote his own letter and it made all the difference – helping them to secure the perfect property for both Obi and his parents.

If you are having trouble finding a home to suit you and your pet or if you are an owner that would like to discuss allowing pets in your property feel free to give us a call on 07 4642 0007 or email rebecca@blackbirdandfinch.com.au.


Mortgage Stress - R U OK?


Mortgage Stress - R U OK?Last week in the media it was reported that the 4350 (Toowoomba) postcode was the worst in Queensland for mortgage stress and the fourth highest in Australia.

1 in 5 households are feeling the pinch of living expenses, yet interest rates are at an all-time low. A forecasted increase in interest rates later this year will see further pressure on families, couples, and individuals that are already struggling with the cost of living and making their mortgage repayments.

The strain of mortgage pressure is unbearable for some – not only affecting their health but their relationships with the ones they love the most. People fear not only losing their home but letting their partner or children down. They can’t imagine starting all over again, explaining to friends and family what has happened and are embarrassed by the situation they find themselves in and thinking about this amplifies their stress and anxiety.

Lifeline identifies the following scenarios as indicators that you may be under financial pressure:

• Late bill payments or often seeking extensions
• Minimum or missed payments on credit cards
• Spending less money on necessities, e.g. food
• Increasing debt from credit cards or loans
• Legal action for debt recovery
• Fear of eviction from being behind in rent or loan repayments.

The triggers for financial pressure, unfortunately, are associated with other life changing events that are often ranked as the most stressful events that will occur in your life.

The top 10 stressful events are:

1. Death of a spouse
2. Divorce
3. Marital separation
4. Imprisonment
5. Death of a close family member
6. Personal injury or illness
7. Marriage
8. Dismissal from work
9. Marital reconciliation
10. Retirement

When something goes wrong in our lives we tend to adopt the glass half empty rather than the glass half full point of view. We think worse-case scenario but this may not be a realistic perspective of the situation. Asking for help is often the hardest step, but by getting a clear picture of your current situation, as early as possible, can mean it is possible to turn things around. I’m not saying that it will be easy. I’m not saying that it won’t be uncomfortable and confronting, but by addressing the situation as early as possible and putting a plan into action before the bank takes away your ability to control the situation is a much better option.

Today, September 14 is R U OK day. Suicide remains the leading cause of death for Australians aged between 15 and 44 with more than eight deaths by suicide in Australia each day. And for every death by suicide, it is estimated that as many as 30 people attempt to end their lives – that’s approximately 65,300 suicide attempts each year (https://www.lifeline.org.au/about-lifeline/lifeline-information/statistics-on-suicide-in-australia).

Is a house worth your life? The answer is NO. Will your family and friends be better off without you? The answer is NO. If you find yourself under financial/mortgage pressure there is always a way out. It may not be the ideal scenario but there is a way and you would be surprised at the number of resources, people, and companies to help you through it.

If you don’t know where to start to get things back on track feel free to contact Simone on 07 4642 0007 or 0400 824 634 for a confidential chat or check out the resources below.

R U OK? is an Australian suicide prevention charity. Its mission is to inspire and empower everyone to meaningfully connect with the people around them and to support those struggling with life.

Find out more: ruok.org.au
Need help? Find help now.

Lifeline’s Factsheet on Financial Pressure is available here.

Who do you trust when life takes an unexpected turn

Blackbird and Finch blog post - Who do you trust when life takes an unexpected turn?

Who do you trust when life takes an unexpected turn?

Blackbird and Finch blog post - Who do you trust when life takes an unexpected turn?Do you remember playing the trust game as a kid? You stand up tall, with your eyes closed, your ‘friend’ stands behind you and you start to lean backward. Will your friend catch you in their arms or will they let you fall to the ground and get hurt?

Thinking back to playing this game as a kid, my true friends would always catch me. No-one wants to see a friend get hurt, but the kids I didn’t know well and were merely acquaintances would have no hesitation to let me fall to the ground.

The word friend is greatly overused these days, thanks to Facebook and similar social media platforms. I receive ‘friend requests’ all the time and I have no idea who some of the people are. Why would I want them to see what is happening in my life, see photos of my kids and my home, where and when I am on holidays?

The days of keeping things private seem to be a distant memory and in regional cities and towns, it seems like there is only one degree of separation between you and the next person.

When you are going through a life changing event, especially a painful one like separation, divorce or financial hardship, you have to make hard decisions on who to trust and confide in. You need to decide how much of your change in circumstances you want to divulge to family, friends, work colleagues and acquaintances.

I have been witness to friends shouting from the roof-top that they are separating from their partner – posting it on Facebook with no hesitation on who knows their business. Their relationship status has changed from ‘in a relationship’ or ‘married’ to ‘separated’ or ‘it’s complicated’. I have also had friends separate very quietly – only finding out about it months later when the feelings aren’t so raw and they feel that they can talk about it.

When life changing events occur, our emotions are raw, especially within the first couple of days or weeks when we are trying to process what has happened. Think back to your feelings when your children were born, the day you got engaged or the day you heard a dear family member or friend passed away.

If it is good news, we all shout it from the roof-top, tweet to let the world know and post on Facebook. But how often do you see posts from family and friends when things aren’t going well in their life – rarely? We try and keep up the perception that everything is rosy in our world.

But what do you do when the bubble has in fact burst? Maybe it has been a slow progressive downward spiral, thinking that things will get better and you told yourself to just give it a bit more time? Perhaps yesterday you woke up and everything was fine, but today your world has come crashing down and everything you thought you knew is being questioned.

When your world is turned upside down, you need to lean on those nearest and dearest to you. The ones that love you unconditionally, who are there for you no matter what and will help you to pick up the pieces. You need people that you can trust and rely upon. Don’t rush into making decisions without consulting with trusted advisers.

If you find yourself in the position where you want or need to sell your home so you can start to move forward, you need to find an agent you can trust. An agent that understands what you are going through and is there to hold your hand. An agent to guide you when you need guidance and an agent that you unconditionally trust to do the right thing by you and your family.

Always remember that as a seller, the agent is working for you –  you get to call the shots. If you are uncomfortable with an aspect of the sale, trust your instinct and speak up. Explain why you are uncomfortable and ask for alternatives.

But you don’t want a ‘yes’ agent either – someone that will only tell you what you want to hear. You need them to tell it like it is, not to sugar coat it or butter you up. An agent that is not being honest and open is doing a disservice to you but also to themselves. You need to know all the facts so you can make an informed decision.

You need to be able to have a frank, open and honest discussion about your situation, your timeframe and what you hope to achieve so you can put the wheels in motion to start moving forward and not backward.

If you would like to book a free 15-minute, confidential discussion with Simone to discuss your situation text ’15minutes’ to Simone’s mobile 0400 824 634 or click on the ‘Need Help’ button to have an online chat.