Skeen News | Skeen Property Buyers +61 2 9033 8616

8 Tips to add value and increase equity

07 December 2016 TweetShareLink+1

1-Can you easily add another bedroom, bathroom or car space? Bank valuers and prospective purchasers use these features as value / buying criteria. This is my top recommendation 
2- Paint. A fresh coat in a neutral colour will brighten, freshen and modernise 
3- Floors. Same concept as painting 
4- Gardens. Adding greenery will soften up the feeling of an outdoor space adding appeal  
5- Screening. Privacy is a box that many people will need to tick when looking to purchase. A bamboo hedge can make or break a sale on a busy road or next to a block of units 
6- Light fittings, tap fittings, handles, blinds etc. These may be replaced by almost anyone who owns a screwdriver and is a very cheap and effective way of updating 
7- Property styling. Whilst this does not physically change the property itself and may not effect a bank val, it will most of the time drastically improve the buyers 'perceived value' by creating a great modern and fresh feel throughout the home 
8- Add a granny flat and increase the rental capacity. Granny Flat packs start from as low as $30,000 to buy and require council approval and the services of a builder or licensed carpenter to erect within a week or two. Fully finished, the costs are likely to be in the range of $50,000 to $100,000 depending on the size and style chosen but can result in hundreds of thousands of dollars being added to a property depending on the location. The addition of a granny flat can be the one thing that sets your property out against the rest and will result in a more saleable product that sells quicker than other conventional properties on the market.
I expect more steady growth to continue in the new year and into 2017.  
Any questions or need help then please call us 02 9033 8616


01 December 2016 TweetShareLink+1

Skeen Property recently secured a home in Rosebery prior to auction for a young family, and we thought we’d catch up with the new owner, Tom Etherington, to get his feedback on using Rob and Laura from Skeen Property for the search.

How long had you spent looking for a home before engaging Skeen Property?
It was the best part of two years. We kept changing our minds on what we wanted as we’d been renting a house in Clovelly but couldn’t afford to buy there. Well, maybe a shoebox. We thought about continuing to rent and buying an investment property, but at the end of the day, we wanted a family home.

Why did you engage a buyer’s agent?
Lots of reasons. I liked the idea that buyer’s agents get to hear about off-market opportunities and know how to get the real story from a real estate agent and are aware of all their tricks. Rob and Laura also had a really good idea of what the properties we looked at were really worth.

Where did you think we could help you the most?
Well, the main reason we engaged Skeen Property was because we missed out on a great house a couple of months before we bought. In that case a buyer’s agent used clever tactics to secure the home for their client, and we just weren’t prepared.

Did you have any reservations about using a buyer’s agent?
Not really. I was pretty sure that Rob and Laura would be better than me at every single stage of the process – from searching for homes to bidding at auction. I knew I’d save a lot of stress and money along the way.

How did you eventually find your home?
We looked at a few off-market houses that weren’t quite right. We were overseas for a while, and Laura visited one property and sent us pictures and a report on the place so we could make a judgement without having seen it. In the end, our house was already on the market, and all set to go to auction.

But it didn’t go to auction.
No, thankfully. Laura and Rob came up with a strategic plan to secure the property before auction at a price I was really happy with. The owner accepted our offer three days before the auction day. There was at least one other very interested party, but they just weren’t prepared for our tactical move. A similar thing had happened to us so I felt a bit bad for them!

How to get the most from your buyer’s agent

15 November 2016 TweetShareLink+1

So, you’ve decided to employ a buyer’s agent. Maybe you’re tearing your hair out after a long and fruitless search, keep missing out auctions, or perhaps you simply don’t have the time to look for yourself. Whatever the reason, there are a few things you should know to get the most out of the relationship with your buyer’s agent and achieve your property goals.

Your dream home is out there, and together we’ll find it.

First up, your initial consultation is your chance to lay it all on the table. Don’t be shy. Let us know exactly what your priorities are, what you’re prepared to compromise on, and what are your absolute deal breakers.

Make sure you ask lots of questions at this point. For you to get maximum benefit, it’s important for you to understand the entire property search process, the current state of the market, and how your buyer’s agent will negotiate on your behalf. Learn as much as you can so you’re ready to make informed decisions when the time is right.

It’s search time. At this stage, it’s important to be completely honest. You aren’t going to hurt your buyer’s agent’s feelings if you don’t fall in love with the first property they show you. Be upfront and let us know exactly what you love and what you hate so we can start building a picture of your dream home.

None of the properties you’ve been shown fit the bill? Try not to stress because you’ve hired a professional property buyer for a reason – rest assured we are exploring every avenue, street, cul-de-sac and laneway to find a property that fits within your criteria.

When you find the perfect home, let your buyer’s agent do the talking, negotiating and any bidding at auction. We are experienced negotiators and nobody is better placed to secure your dream home for the best possible price. Our experience and knowledge is invaluable at this crucial stage and we will guide you through the entire process efficiently and professionally.

In addition to negotiating on your behalf, we also have access to a trusted team of solicitors, mortgage brokers and strata and building inspectors. You can benefit greatly from allowing us to bring in these professionals to form your home buying team. They all have an established track record of completing the purchase process with the minimum of stress and expense.

Once you finally secure your perfect property, don’t end the relationship with your buyer’s agent. If you purchased an investment property, we can offer assistance with the management and leasing of that property. If you purchased a home, you might not need our services immediately, but may wish to invest in the future.

Just remember, a buyer’s agent is an invaluable asset whenever you need property investment assistance or advice.

• To find out more about working with a buyer’s agent contact Skeen Property on 02 9033 8616 or

How to avoid buying the little house of horrors

31 October 2016 TweetShareLink+1


So, you’re in the market to purchase a home. It’s exciting, but also daunting as you’re spending a vast amount of money and you really need to get it right. You can avoid your house hunting turning into a living nightmare by following these simple steps.

Get pre-approved finance
It sounds like a bit of a no-brainer, but you would be surprised by the number of people that start a property search before getting pre-approval. The first thing you need to do when searching for a property is to establish your budget, and, unless money is no object, you can’t set an accurate budget without first seeking finance.

Understand the FULL cost of the purchase
Many inexperienced buyers can fall prey to this one, and it’s a big one. The sale price is NOT the final price. When budgeting for your property purchase, ensure you include extra costs, such as stamp duties, valuations costs, rates, loan application fees, solicitor’s fees and mortgage insurance. These extras can add tens of thousands of dollars to the sale price.

Do a building and Pest Inspection
Firstly, Building and Pest Inspections are only effective if you use a well-regarded, independent inspector. Don’t simply follow the selling agent’s recommendation, find your own – chances are, you will need them more than once. Secondly, inspectors are trained to find every little fault in a property. Don’t sweat the little things, focus on the big problems (if there are any) and research the costs to rectify the issues.

Be wise to the role of the selling agent
As friendly as selling agents may seem, smart buyers understand that the agent is working in the interest of the seller, NOT the buyer. No matter how well you know your local agent, when it comes to the crunch, they’re not working for you. Agents are legally obligated to act in the interest of their client – worth keeping in mind when you’re serious about a property.

Don’t exceed your budget
Why is it that the house that ticks all your boxes is just a tiny bit more that you can afford? It happens to all of us – if you only had a few more thousand, but the thing is… you don’t. Your lender sets a borrowing limit based on what you can afford – overspending is gambling with your financial security. Always factor in changes, like rate rises, into your budget to avoid any unwanted financial strain.

Research the area
Do your homework if your property search is in an unfamiliar area. Remember, you’re not just buying a house but also the location, so it’s imperative to find out about local amenities, schools, transport links and even the crime rate. There are undesirable pockets in many popular suburbs – don’t get caught out on the wrong side of the tracks.

Check for Development Applications
Before purchasing a property, it’s wise to consult the local council for any Development Applications (DAs) that may impact the area. Are parking meters going in? Is there a new block of apartments being built on your back fence? These are things that will affect the future value of your property and will likely not be evident at the open home.

Meet the neighbours
It doesn’t matter how good your property’s location is, if you’ve got horrible neighbours, it can be hell. Before buying a property, talk to the neighbours, and ask them about the area and how they find living there. Driving around the area at the different times of the day is also a good idea, to get a feel for the neighbourhood.

• Follow this guide to avoid any nasty surprises when you’re making your next property purchase. For some extra help in the market, contact Skeen Property.

A GUIDE TO REAL ESTATE AGENT SPEAK – What they say… and what they really mean

13 October 2016 TweetShareLink+1

It’s Saturday morning and for most, the start to a nice relaxing weekend. But not for you, you’re attempting to purchase a property and a day of house hunting is about to begin… again.
So you get up and prepare to deal with those fresh-faced agents in expensive suits, who seem to stand in your way of buying ANY house. 
After months of active searching you probably heard every clichéd agent line in the book – but have you ever thought about what they really mean? Let’s decipher 10 of the most famous (and often infuriating) lines so you can be better equipped at those opens.
Price Guides
One of the most frustrating responses from agents is regarding price. Suppose the agent quotes “around $1.2 to 1.3 million”. If you’ve been looking for more than five minutes, you probably know quoted prices are always undercooked. Add at least another 10% to the higher end of the guide and go from there.  
Subject to Council Approval (STCA)
Flagging potential for improvement is a nice selling line for agents, but buyers beware. Agents add STCA to their marketing campaigns with little or no knowledge of what’s actually possible. If you’re serious about a reno, do your homework.
Close to Transport 
A well-worn line, and one that’s appealing when commuting is such a nightmare. But when they say ‘close’, do they mean your windows are rattling every time a train goes past, or you’re ducking every time a plane takes off? 
Plenty of off-Street Parking 
Can you really squeeze two cars into that space? On the brochure, it looks possible but if you get the measuring tape out it may only hold a Mini and a Smart car. If parking is important to you, measure, measure and measure again.  
Sought-After Area
Everyone wants to live in a sought-after area. After all, its sought-after for a reason.
But just by including that little phrase, the agent is sowing the seed for buyers to be prepared to pay a ridiculous price for a fancy location. 
Renovators delight
More often than not, ‘renovators delight’ translates to ‘deceased estate’, and you know what that means? Every room has different wallpaper; there’s a funky smell and wild animals have taken over the overgrown garden. 
Tranquil Location
This may be appealing if you’re looking at retirement villages, but if you’re buying a home then you’d better be prepared to travel long distances to get a coffee or any shopping done. Basically, it’s miles from anywhere.
Will Suit First Home Buyers 
On hearing this one you might think you’re in for a bargain, but this property is likely so unappealing that only rookie buyers and investors would touch it
with a fifty-foot pole.
Plenty of Potential 
Try not to get starry-eyed with grand renovation dreams here, you could need bucket loads of money to realise this property's potential. Not to mention a lot of time and heartache.
Recently Renovated
Turn-key properties are very appealing to some buyers, but make sure you look beyond the nice paintwork and shiny floorboards. Potentially, it could be a cheap renovation turnaround for a quick sale.
* We hope this bit of insider knowledge helps at your next your next open home. If you want to get even more of an edge in the property market, head to, or call or email us on +61 2 9033 8616, 

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Tel +61 2 9033 8616
Fax +61 2 9033 8600

Suite 25 Level 1
50 Yeo Street
Neutral Bay NSW 2089



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