Real Estate Tips & Advice

A blog with tips and advice for selling or buying property

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“Eleanor has guided us through the preparation and sale of our aunt’s home during a rather traumatic life changing situation. Eleanor’s clear head approach teamed with a great amount of gentleness gave us the strength to get through it.

Eleanor’s attention to detail, knowledge of the market, professional approach and negotiation skills with potential buyers has brought us a marvellously successful result; we are very grateful and thankful to Eleanor.”

Selling in winter – A blessing in disguise

There’s this idea out there that selling your home in the winter time is a bad idea. You know – people don’t like going out in the cold, all the flaws will show up, there are fewer buyers around. And while some of these things are true, winter can actually be a great time to sell your home.

For a start, people shift houses all year round – people don’t get new jobs or move cities only in the summer. There will always be buyers, but in winter there are fewer houses on the market so there’s less competition.

With interest rates as low as they are this year, there are likely to be even more potential buyers out there wanting to take advantage of the low rates.

And while winter can show up the flaws, it can also be great opportunity to show how warm, cosy and inviting your home is. Yes, winter buyers are savvy – they’ll be on the look-out for dampness, lack of sun, and other issue that show up in winter. But there are ways to overcome these challenges.

If they love it in the winter – they’ll love it twice as much in the summer.
The first thing you can do is make a good impression. As I’ve said before, the way your house looks when they first arrive is very important. Little things can go along way, like being able to see the house number clearly or outside lights working.

Other things you can do is wash the outside of the house to make it look newer, and water-blast paths to keep them from being slippery. Make sure the gutters are clean too – this will stop water overflowing in heavy rain.
To stop people standing in the rain trying to get a gate open, make sure latches and hinges are clean and oiled. And you can also paint the treads of stairs with a white strip so people don’t trip.
Warm and cosy on the inside
Present your home as a refuge from the winter outside. Keep it warm and inviting – put on some coffee or do some baking to add good smells. You can put a welcome mat down for them to wipe their feet, a brolly stand and a place for their coats.

Keeping the lights on will help make your home bright and cheerful, as will clean windows with no condensation. And if a room looks out on to a fence or a wall, just close the curtains.

Remember to keep clutter to a minimum and empty rubbish bins regularly.

Finishing touches
Put some colour around the house, inside and out with flowers and potted plants. You can make it even more inviting by choosing a scented plant like daphne or lavender.
Make sure paths and the entrances to the house are clear and keep the lawns and gardens mowed and weeded. And if you have pictures of you enjoying your home in summer, have them out for buyers to look at – it’ll act as proof that your home will be even better when the sun’s out.
The best way to make your home cosy and inviting is to think about what you would like to see when arriving at a new home. What makes you feel safe and warm? Do this and the rest will follow.


Houses in blouses

Houses in blouses – Or generating a positive emotional response
Buying or selling your home is an emotional undertaking. Either you’re leaving behind a host of memories or you are looking for the right place to make new ones.
As Agents, it’s our job to make sure a house resonates with a potential buyer, in other words we need to appeal to their emotions. If a viewer can imagine living there it ceases to be a house and starts to become a possible home. There are a few ways to trigger an emotional response – from the way the house looks to the way it smell.
First impressions.
When a potential buyer pulls up to the house the first thing they will notice is how the house looks from the street. Mowed curbs and lawns, weeded gardens and a tidy exterior help give the right impression. A viewer might think, “Ah this all looks pretty low maintenance.” And the viewer begins to see the property in a positive light.
Generally, people find it hard to imagine themselves and all their belongings in a house. If a house has too much stuff in it, it will feel cluttered and cramped – especially if the stuff is not yours. At the other end of the scale if it is empty then the house can feel draughty and lonely.
The best way to overcome this is to have a few selected items in each room, universal items such as a couch and coffee table or a bed and dressing table. These can be offset with an un-assuming piece of art on the wall or perhaps a vase with fresh flowers. By doing this viewers get an idea of how things could look and can start mentally replacing thing with their own.
Creating good experiences
The way a house smells is important too. When people smell cleaning product the assumption is made that the house is clean. But other smells can trigger emotional responses too – cut grass, brewing coffee, baking bread or biscuits, fresh flowers, even the Sunday roast. Be rest assured smells like mould and damp, cat pee or the smell of wet dog evoke emotions too, just not the good kind!
There are other things that can have an impact too. Like opening some windows for that breath of fresh air. And speaking of windows make sure they are clean – clean windows let in more light. Finally, keep the floors clean and keep all your newspapers and magazines out of site.
All these can help in creating a positive emotional response from your potential buyers.

Agents Vs Private sale – DIY or Call in the experts?

These days there is a bit of a debate on the merits of selling privately or going through an agent. So I thought I’d weigh in.

Basically the biggest perceived benefit of private sale is saving money on agent’s fees.

If you decide to sell privately, high demand means you’ll probably still sell – but getting the best price is not as simple as it looks. The expertise of an agent means you’re likely to get a better price, so you’ll make money despite paying a fee.

Agents know what they’re doing

There’s more to selling a house than placing an ad on a few websites and putting a sign on your front lawn. You have to think about dressing your house, photos, advertising, open homes, legal issues, negotiating with buyers. It’s a big project that needs managing, and agents have that expertise and know how. We know what sells a house.

Things like dressing your house so that it’s presented in the best possible light, both in the marketing photos and when the buyers come to look. If you’re still living in the house or if it’s empty we give advice on how best to showcase your home.

Making sure the right people know

We take care of all the advertising and marketing. Our ongoing relationships with advertising agencies get us deals and discounts not available to individual sellers so opting for a private sale means your advertising can be more costly than you think. I should also mention that Private Sale websites and even Trade Me all charge to place a listing, with some of them increasing the charge with each photo you add. And there is no guarantee you’ll get the traffic needed though the website to find the right buyer. It’s a tough market out there.

Agents create competition through their wider advertising scope and by talking up the demand for your house. And because there is usually a team of agents working on your sale you actually get value for your dollar.

Reading the fine print

Agents also deal with all the legal issues – we’re governed by the REAA so you know there will be no surprises and there is protection for both sides. So because private sellers are not obligated to say anything about potential issues or problems, if something does go wrong there is no recourse for either party.

Mediator, negotiator, counsellor, confidant

Agents also act as a go between – setting up appointments to view, keeping track of open days, screening potential buyers and dealing with general enquiries. And most importantly, we are often able to deflect negativity. You see, it’s hard to know what a buyer truly thinks. Often they won’t be honest about their opinion in front of an owner for fear of conflict or offence. But because an agent is neutral, people are more likely to be straight with them.

So while you think you might be saving money through private sale, an agent is not only more likely to get a better price on your home, but they’ll save you time and stress. Getting the best possible price for your home benefits us both – and we’ve done it all before.

Till next time, Eleanor.

Dress for success – first impressions

House dressing

A potential buyer’s first impressions of your property is often the point where they decide yes or no.

People often make decisions on emotion, so if your property looks exactly like their dream home, their response is likely to be positive.

There are many ways to increase the appeal of our property, the most simple being a tidy garden and a clean house. You can take it a step further by adding flowers and de-cluttering inside.

On the flip side if your house is empty it can be hard for people to imagine what it will look like when they move in. It can feel cold and impersonal so people react negatively to it. This is where I recommend house dressing.

It’s amazing what a few pieces of furniture and some decoration can do to lift the warmth of a place. Here is an example of how much difference it can make:


For more information on house dressing and what you can do to increase the appeal of your property contact me today.

Ph: 04 894 7253 Mobile: 0274 483 579 Email:

photo credit: Favaro JR. via photopin cc

Market report September 2014

The median price for the Wellington region rose by $10,000 (+2.6%) compared to August, with prices rising in Hutt Valley and Pukerua Bay/Tawa, but falling across the rest of the region. Compared to September 2013 the median price also rose $2,500 (+0.6%) with Hutt Valley again seeing the largest increase with 13.3%.

The number of days to sell improved by one day compared to August, from 41 days in August to 40 days in September.
Compared to September 2013 the number of days to sell eased by 10 days. Over the past 10 years the median number of days to sell in September has averaged 34 days across the region.
Compared to August sales volumes rose 12.5% across the region, with sales up 33% in Upper Hutt, 32% in Eastern Wellington, 31% in Western Wellington and 27% in Southern Wellington. Compared to September 2013, sales volumes
fell 7%, with sales down 40% in Eastern Wellington, 27% in Northern Wellington and 15% in Western Wellington.

The trend in the median price continues to ease, although the volume trend is now falling. The days to sell trend is also now falling, with the overall trend for the Wellington region continuing to ease.


Sep-14 Aug-14 Sep-13 Sep-14 Aug-14 Sep-13
Upper Hutt $297,000 $348,000 $332,500 65 49 74
Hutt Valley $374,000 $330,000 $313,500 123 107 120
Northern Wellington $460,000 $460,000 $464,000 63 60 86
Central Wellington $485,000 $469,250 $488,500 50 54 38
Eastern Wellington $571,000 $631,500 $595,000 29 22 48
Western Wellington $500,000 $630,000 $520,000 34 26 40
Southern Wellington $550,000 $539,500 $551,000 33 26 19
Pukerua Bay / Tawa $395,000 $415,000 $392,000 63 65 74
Wellington $400,000 $397,500 $390,000 587 522 632