Fairley Trade Chat #3: With Real Estate Agent Thomas Merriman

Fairley Trade Chat #3: With Real Estate Agent Thomas Merriman

In this edition of Fairley Trade Chat, we spent some time with real estate agent, Thomas Merriman from Ray White Upper North Shore.

We’ve met a number of clients looking to improve their home to sell recently, so we thought who better to chat to than a market expert, offering invaluable buyer insights as well as some great tips and tricks to help in preparing your home for sale.

What’s a good way to determine whether to stay and renovate or improve and sell?

I would recommend speaking to a local Real Estate agent and asking for an appraisal. Usually this will accompany a list of recent sales or what we call ‘comps’ (comparable sales), which will give you an idea of price and competition. 

This information will help you more easily determine whether it’s financially a good decision, which can impact most of the reasons why you would want to renovate or sell in my experience.

How can you add more value to your home for sale?

Start with some research on one of the ubiquitous Real Estate sites. Look for houses ‘sold’ and work out what they’re doing at a price point that might be attainable for your property if you replicate their selling points. 

In some areas a new pool is a big selling point, not so much in others. Where you can, try to balance bedrooms with bathrooms, for example 4 bedrooms with 1 bathroom is not a good selling point! 

Once you have done this research, speak with a qualified builder about the reality of achieving your expectations and weigh that up against whether you’re staying or selling and what value that will bring to you.

How do you determine your target buyer and how can you ensure that your home aligns with what they’re looking for?

‘Target buyers’ are a bit of a myth these days. I think in the current market we have a really good split of ‘first home buyers’ with cashed-up families, upsizers, downsizers and investors, in most price brackets. 

That being said, it’s fairly straight forward. If you have a two storey house with 1,500sqm of land and a pool, you can rule out downsizers, so cater to families for example.

What are the rooms that buyers care most about?

These days, it is rooms that flow between areas where families congregate. 

Traditional homes have a hallway with a bunch of rooms jutting out from it. If this is the case, most of these homes will have walls knocked through to create space to flow out from the kitchen into dining and living etc. Most ‘new build’ homes cater to this in their standard design. A good builder will be able to figure this out for you.

If you had a limited budget, which would be the area of the home you should focus on improving?

The kitchen. There is a lot you can do in a kitchen without spending too much money too. I.e replacing cabinet doors, rather than rebuilding the whole cabinet, replacing the bench top etc. Always consider painting as well.

Do you have any tips for ensuring you don’t over capitalise on the property?

If you do some basic research on what similar homes are selling and try to have a really realistic expectation of what your home is worth, you will know which lines to paint within. 

Renovating is like a cat with a ball of string, once you pull a strand the ball can keep rolling so make sure you focus on the areas that will give you the best return first and go from there.

Once you’re happy with the structure of the home, how does the seller prepare the home for photos and inspections? 

Declutter, declutter, declutter! 

I don’t believe in de-personalising the home, I think photos and kids toys are a good look, just be careful with how much. 

The person buying your house will no doubt be similar to you when you bought the house, whatever that looked like, so consider what you expected as a potential buyer. 

Try to eliminate as many ‘maintenance jobs’ as possible. Buyers don’t want to inherit hanging gutters or wobbly decks.

Property Styling

What are the real estate trends on the North Shore at the moment? What are buyers looking for and what type of property is the most popular?

We have a really split market at the moment, everything is selling at or before auction and selling to all different types of buyers. 

Predominantly we are selling homes to families, as schools and transport are the big ticket selling points in our area. 

I would suggest that whether your home is potentially going to be sold to be rebuilt or whether you know it will be sold to somebody as their forever home, you take the advice on preparation. We are noticing a lot of nice houses being bought for future ‘knock down rebuilds’ but they’re being rented for 12-18 months beforehand and if they are in good condition, the buyer knows they will be easy to rent. I capitalise on this point because it is so popular in a rising market to see this happening.

Fairley Constructions offers consultancy appointments with our head builder for anyone looking to update their property to sell. For more information or to make a booking, contact us here

Thomas Merriman is a sales agent at Ray White Upper North Shore. You can find him on Instagram here.

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