Nicholas Slatyer from Belle Property Cairns: Agent's view
As I write this at the tail end of the first quarter of 2019, it looks like we’ve had a very strong showing.
The volume of sales has been extraordinary given that the first quarter of the year is traditionally our slowest. I was prepared for the worst given November and December was very flat for us and everyone else I spoke to.
Why are we busy now?
I think at the moment we have a meeting of the minds with our buyers and sellers.
Sellers know that the property market in general (across Australia) is softening and are accepting of the prices we are getting.
There are some schools of thought that maybe we run counter-cyclical to the southern markets and maybe that is what we are seeing.
They say with golf that the good shots keep you coming back for more (with my swing not a feeling I’ve experienced) and we had one of those sales this month. We just achieved the highest price since 2013 for a residential property in Cairns. It’s a house I sold almost 10 years ago for $3.7 million and this sale, like that one, was pretty straightforward. This property is one of those special ones that if it is what you are after, you know you won’t get it anywhere else.
To the outside world, it must look like we put up an ad, do an open home or two, sign a contract and sit back and relax. By my reckoning, I think we do about 70% of our “sales” work after the contract is signed. One of the biggest issues for the uninitiated is the building and pest report. The amount of time we spend running around sorting out (generally) mundane issues is incredible.
Every house, even new ones, has stuff on a report. Late last year we lost a contact at over $1 million because of a report that read terribly. The owners were horrified. We had it checked and in total the repairs were just a few thousand dollars to rectify but the buyer was spooked, and I couldn’t fix the situation. End result - the buyer is without a very good house, the seller without their million dollars and the building inspector got $500 and rode off into the sunset.
In what is still a competitive market for sellers we are seeing very positive results from styling and prepping of homes for sale.
I think the name of the game at the moment is to get the house as close to perfect as possible.
Vanessa just basically re-invented a home that I thought might be quite tricky to sell. The sellers repainted the exterior (it was yellow), did a full interior styling, spruced up the gardens… everything basically. The target was high $600,000s and at the first open house we had 18 groups through, resulting in three offers and a sale at well over $700,000.
Still, it is a tricky market. Great results mixed with some not so great.