FAQ Sellers

With over 1,000 Buyers and Sellers reading our blog every day, we get a lot of questions. Here are answers to our most popular questions about selling a home in Hervey Bay.
Do I need a real estate agent to sell my house?
No. You can price, market, show and negotiate offers on your own home without the help of a real estate agent. Keep in mind though, that over 90% of home sellers do use an AGENT and find that the expertise, saved time and higher sold prices are worth the cost of commission. Of course we’re biased!

I need to sell the house I bought last year. Will I lose money?
That depends. What sorts of improvements or renovations have you done? How have prices changed in your neighbourhood in the last year? Is there demand for your type of property? Historically, it has taken home buyers 3 years to break even, after the various costs involved in buying and selling. You can read more about selling a property you recently bought in this blog.

Do I need a for sale sign on my lawn?
Some Sellers prefer not to have a ‘For Sale’ sign on their lawn. While it’s completely within your rights to request ‘no sign’, keep in mind that exposure to Buyers is critical to getting top dollar for your home. Your neighbours already love your neighbourhood – why not let them know your home is for sale so they can tell their friends and family?

How much does it cost to sell a house?
When budgeting for the cost of selling your home, you’ll need to take into consideration the costs of staging & prepping, real estate commission, legal fees and potentially, a mortgage penalty.

Should I get a pre-listing building and pest inspection?
Generally, we believe in getting pre-listing building and pest inspections for Hervey Bay houses. Knowing the potential issues with your house before it goes up for sale will give you time to remedy them, or alternatively, price them into your asking price. It will also encourage multiple offers in a hot market. We wrote a blog about Pre-Listing building and pest inspections too.

How much will it cost to stage my house?
Staging costs vary depending on the amount of labour required and how many accessories or pieces of furniture need to be rented and can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. Some agents (including the BREL team) have an inventory of staging items that they lend to their clients, greatly reducing the cost of staging. Effective home preparation can make a significant difference to the sold price though you should always have a frank conversation with your agent about what it might be worth spending money and time on before you begin the process.

Do open houses work?
Statistically, open houses account for 4% of home sales, though our stats are significantly higher (12-15%). As a Seller, you want to make it easy for Buyers to see your home, and open houses are one of the least intimidating ways for Buyers to do that. Of course, you’ll have a few nosy neighbours come by your house, but a good real estate agent will be able to concentrate their sales efforts on the real potential Buyers.

In almost every circumstance, we’ll recommend a well-advertised public open house on the first weekend of the sale. Note that open houses for units are somewhat less popular due to the similarities between condo units. It’s also important to note that many units do not allow open houses for security reasons.

Does marketing matter? Won’t my house sell if I just put it on the internet?
If sheer availability determined whether or not something would sell, then companies in all industries would save their marketing dollars. We believe that a comprehensive marketing campaign is essential to reaching more Buyers and that reaching more Buyers is essential to getting the highest price. Effective marketing reaches Buyers both online and offline. 92% of Buyers search for a home online, so it’s critical that they are finding your home, and that once they do, the quality of marketing makes it stands out from the crowd.

When should I sell my house?
If only there was one answer to this question! Historically, it depends on the suburb you are in. however from February to November sales in general are steady with December ,January and June the historically slower months, but depending on the type of property you own, having fewer competing properties in slow months might be a huge benefit to you. It’s best to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of timing the listing of your home with an experienced real estate agent.

Can I fire my real estate agent?
When you list your home with a real estate agent, you’ll be asked to sign a Listing Agreement(POA Form 6). This legal document will outline the price, commission and length of the contract. Typically in Hervey Bay, Listing Agreements are for 90 days. If you agent isn’t performing to your expectations, begin by having an honest conversation with him/her. If that doesn’t resolve your concerns, contact your agent’s Agency Principal – technically your listing agreement is signed with the Agency and not the agent, and the Principal will have the ability to remedy the situation. Some agents (like our team) offer our Sellers a satisfaction guarantee (you can read our guarantee here).

Who pays QLD stamp duty?
The Buyer pays QLD Stamp duty.

How much are legal fees to buy a house in Hervey Bay?
Legal fees vary by solicitor or conveyencer it is best to shop around in Hervey Bay. But it is up to you to choose, we work with them all. We love Swift legal simply as they have a mobile come to you service.

Should I sell before buying?
The answer to this depends on your personal goals and what’s happening in the real estate market. If you’re buying an in-demand property and selling a less desirable one, you’ll likely want to sell before buying. We looked at all the factors in depth in this blog: Should I buy or sell first?

How should I go about hiring a real estate agent to sell my house?
We always suggest you interview multiple people – Licence qualification (salesperson or fully licenced agent) skills, experience marketing plan and a personality fit are critical to having a good selling experience. Have a read of this list we compiled: 15 Questions to Ask Before Listing Your House.

Should I price my house for a quick sale?
That depends on the kind of house you have, the time of year, what’s happening in the real estate market in general and your goals. Remember it may be the biggest tax-free asset you own. Our broker/agents can give you the best opinion and strategy for your goals. We explored this strategy in detail in this blog.

Why isn’t my home selling?
That’s a tough question. Generally, a home doesn’t sell for one of 2 reasons: 1) it isn’t priced right; 2) your agent hasn’t been well marketed, Talk to your agent and ask to see: 1) what’s been happening in the market in your neighbourhood since you’ve been listed, 2) the marketing that’s been completed and 3) the feedback from agents/Buyers who’ve seen your home. It may be appropriate to seek another agent’s opinion.

I have 3 kids under 7 and my house is a disaster. Anything I can do to mitigate this?
Selling a home with young children or pets does present some unique challenges. It’s always important to be flexible with Buyers, allowing them to see your home when it’s convenient for them, most buyers are considerate of this and having open homes with specific times to view go a long way in resolving this.

FAQ Buyers

Is there any government money available to help first time Buyers? Are there programs to help with closing costs?

There are a number of programs to help first time Buyers in QLD: the Home Buyer’s Program allows people to receive a $15,000 Government Programs for First-Time Buyers in QLD,

Can I get out of an offer if I have a financing condition? Do I have to prove I didn’t get financing?

This seems to be an oddly frequent question – odd because if you get to the point of having made an offer, I’d like to think your Agent would have explained the financing condition to you. A financing condition is defined as “a requirement that is fundamental to the very existence of the offer.” A breach of a condition allows the Buyer to get out of the contract and obtain the full amount of the deposit back. If your offer is conditional on financing, you have a duty to seek financing in good faith (meaning you can’t just change your mind about the house the next day and back out of the deal saying you couldn’t get financing). Whether or not you have to prove you didn’t get financing depends on the wording of the clause your Agent used. We usually use a clause that says that the financing obtained must be ‘satisfactory to the buyer in their sole and absolute discretion‘, meaning that the terms, interest rate and lender need to be satisfactory – not just that someone has agreed to give you a mortgage.

Can I avoid paying Stamp Duty?

I love this question. No, you cannot avoid paying stamp Duty. Unless you don’t a property.

What happens if my building and pest Inspector misses something?

Not sure of this Di will research it

This is a great question! Unfortunately, most (probably all?) home inspection companies in QLD limit the amount of their liability to the cost of the inspection. So if they miss a $10,000 problem, you’ll likely only be able to recover the amount you paid for the home inspection (usually around $500). Before a home inspection, you’ll be asked to sign an agreement that will detail the home inspector’s liability. It will also detail the limits of what they are inspecting – for example, most QLD home inspections don’t include looking for termites or mould, and, of course, the inspector can’t see behind walls and under floors.

What is the normal number of days for closing on a house or unit?

There really is no ‘normal’ in real estate closings- we’ve seen closings as short as 2 weeks or as long as a year. When an offer is made, the Buyer and Seller agree to when they want to close, depending on their own personal and financial situations. Typically in QLD, we see closings in the 30, 60 and 90 day range.

Is down payment vs deposit needed in QLD?

This can be confusing as buyers have different understanding to the meaning deposit and down payment. When putting an offer on a property the maximum down payment or offer deposit is 10% of the value of the offer. Your lender or bank may require you to have a 20% deposit but this will depend on your bank. A deposit can range from a minimum 5% deposit to buy a house or unit, though banks will require you to get mortgage insurance if you default (i.e., don’t pay your mortgage). If you have 20% this insurance may not apply. You will need to check with your lender or bank on their requirements. If you have less than a 10%  down payment or offer deposit at the time you  put an amount that you can access within 3 days of date of contract should your offer be accepted. Down payment and offer deposit Strategies for the First Time Buyer blog.

Is it a good time to sell a house in QLD and buy a Unit?

Well, that depends on your goals. Is this an investment or do you live in it? There are important lifestyle differences between owning a Unit and owning a house (you can read about them in Condos vs Houses blog) and as we frequently report in our market updates, the unit and house markets in Hervey Bay behave very differently. If you’re looking to lock in the price appreciation of your house and spend less overall money on housing, than selling your house and buying a unit is a relatively safe alternative. If your number one priority is increasing the value of your real estate investment, then it’s important to remember that historically, houses have appreciated higher and faster than units. Best to talk to an AGENT to discuss your own situation.

I thought I qualified as a first-time buyer but I didn’t. Do I lose my deposit?

If your offer is conditional on financing and you discover that you don’t qualify as a first-time buyer during the conditional period (meaning that you won’t get to use up to $15K then you have a legitimate reason under the subject to financing condition. If you don’t have a subject to financing condition your offer is firm – meaning that there are no outstanding conditions, you are obligated to close on the transaction or risk losing your deposit and getting sued. Talk to your lawyer or AGENT asap.

How much are legal fees to buy a house in Hervey Bay?

Legal fees vary by solicitor or conveyancer it is best to shop around in Hervey Bay. But it is up to you to choose, we work with them all. We love Swift legal simply as they have a mobile come to you service.

How can I buy a house if I have no money and bad credit?

More importantly, WHY do you want to buy a house if you have no depisit and bad credit? This is how our friends in America got into problems. If you want to buy a house, take the time to save a deposit and fix your credit rating. Owning a home isn’t a right. Prove to yourself that you can be responsible enough to own a home by taking control of your financial health.

Who pays stamp duty in QLD – the Buyer or the Seller?

QLD stamp duty is always paid by the Buyer. Sorry.

Where is the best school in Hervey Bay?

Everyone has a different definition of what makes a ‘best school’, but check out Hervey  Bay School Maps to see how schools rank by neighbourhood. https://herveybayrealestateguide.com.au/schools

How can first-time Buyers conquer their fears?

Do your research and work with an AGENT, who understands the needs of first-time Buyers. Spend some time defining your real goals, take time in making the decision to purchase a unit or house and don’t spend all the money the bank is willing to give you.

What should I know before renovating a unit?

Every unit/townhouse has a body-corporate rules about what can and cannot be renovated, and owners have to get approvals for many alternations, from adding a wall to putting decking on your balcony. ALWAYS check your body-corporate rules before undertaking any renovation and get written authorisation. If you make alterations to your unit without the proper approvals, you may be required to tear everything down and it may cause issues when it’s time to sell your unit. It’s better to get approval than to ask for forgiveness later.

How much is a bank valuation?

Many lenders require an Valuation (meaning they send in an independent valuer to justify how much you paid for a specific property before they give you the mortgage). Fees for valuers vary greatly check with your lender or Bank they may pay the valuation fee for you.

Do I need a real estate agent to buy a home?

No. You can buy a home by yourself, with the help of a lawyer or with a real estate agent. Real estate agents represent Buyers and are paid by the Seller. They can help protect your interests by providing guidance on suburbs and specific units, buildings/houses, negotiate prices, help with obtaining financing/home inspections/contractors and have in-depth knowledge of unique Hervey Bay issues like termites ect. Of course, I’m biased, but if you’re about to make the biggest financial investment of your life, wouldn’t you want to do it with someone who lives and breathes the real estate market every day?

Should I wait to buy a house in Hervey Bay?

That depends on what you’re waiting for. If you’re busily saving for a deposit or waiting to get a salary increase to be able to afford the house or unit you want, then waiting is a good idea. If you’re waiting because you want prices to come down, recognize that’s a risky proposition unless you have the ability to predict the future. We’ve had Buyers who have been waiting for prices to come down for years and can now no longer afford to buy a house.

How much does a house cost in Hervey Bay?

House prices vary depending on suburb, location, size and features/finishes. If you’re looking to buy in Hervey Bay , check our site.

Who is the best real estate agent in QLD?

US of course, but were are biased. But it will depend on how you define ‘best’. AGENTS differ in the Bay and the amount of experience they have, the number of homes they sell and, of course, their overall approach to their clients. Decide what’s important to you, ask your friends/relatives for referrals, check online reviews and, of course, give us a call. If we don’t think we’re the best real estate agent to help you find what you’re looking for, we’ll put you in touch with someone who is. We have relationships with all kinds of agents all over Hervey Bay.

What does ‘+ bed’, ‘pets perm’ and ‘0 beds’ mean?

AGENTS love their bad acronyms. A ‘+ bed” is a room that isn’t officially a bedroom, usually an office or study. “Pets perm’ means pets are permitted in a unit building or rental. ‘0 beds’ means the unit is a studio or bachelor apartment and doesn’t have a separate bedroom. For more info on reading the internet listing, check out How to Read an MLS Listing.

What happens if I waive the financial condition and then don’t get financing?

Bad, bad things will happen. You NEED to confirm your financing during the conditional period, otherwise you risk losing your down payment and getting sued. There’s no point in having a financing condition if you don’t take the opportunity to make sure a lender will give you a mortgage during that period of time.