Real Estate Tips

Click on the titles below to view a range of informative tips and hints on what to consider when buying or selling your property.

So you've made thedecision to sell. The marketing plan is in place and you're ready to have potential buyers walk through your home but, the question remains... are you really ready for this?

Here are some tips that have proven to be invaluable to the successful home seller.

The right preparation and just a little investment, whether it be time or money spent on sprucing up your home, can deliver significant financial results.


First National is familiar with, and understands, differing buyer requirements. To help us get you the best result for your home, we have provided some tips that have proven to be invaluable to the successful home seller.

  • Consider re-configuring rooms

If you are advertising a three bedroom home for sale, then that is what people will be coming to see. Consider re-organising the rooms prior to the sale to show them to their best advantage. Hire or borrow some bedroom furniture, and put excess items in storage.

  • Tidy up the garden

Keep in mind that first impressions count. Dig out weeds, put mulch on the garden beds, keep paths and the driveway swept, prune and shape trees and shrubs, and make sure rubbish bins are clean and tucked away.

  • Get rid of the clutter

Crowded shelves and drawers can make rooms and storage space seem cluttered and smaller. Consider putting non-essential items in storage throughout the sale period.

  • Not everyone loves your cat as much as you!

If you have pets, it’s also advisable to keep them out of the house, or ask friends or family if they will look after them during inspections.

Note:Remember to air your house as well as store your pets bowls and toys prior to inspection.

Remember first impressions last
Set the scene for your prospective buyer. Draw attention to your home’s best features by displaying fresh flowers and hanging decorative hand towels in the bathroom.

An open home is a great way to promote your home to prospective buyers. With the right preparation, an open home can be very successful

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First National Real Estate agents are committed to helping you plan a marketing strategy that will achieve the best sale price in the shortest possible timeframe.

Once you have decided to sell your home, the next major decision you must make is how much to ask for it.
Here are some tips to help you with this process.

  • Contact your nearest First National Real Estate Agent

Through expert local knowledge and national strength, First National Real Estate can assist you establishing a realistic price for your home. First National Real Estate will estimate a price based on location, age, size, features and market variables such as interest rates, buyer demand and the availability of financing.

  • Who do you believe?

Avoid being influenced by the experiences other people have had with the sale of their homes. After all, no two homes, streets, or seller relationships are ever the same.

An estimate of the sale price of your home can be obtained by researching sale prices that have recently been achieved, for similar properties, in your neighbourhood.

Remember, the true value of your property will ultimately be determined by the purchaser. It is the job of your agent to plan a campaign that will enable you to maximize their offer.

  • Pricing for the market

If your price is too high, you face the risk of preventing the most important ingredient of real estate selling – a combination of competing purchasers who are looking for homes in your price range.

  • Time is money

When it comes to selling your home, time is money. Every day a home doesn’t sell because it is incorrectly priced equates to additional expenses. These can take the form of mortgage repayments, interest, taxes, insurance and maintenance.

Like you, First National Real Estate has an interest in realising the best possible price for your home. Sound, up-to-the-minute market experience and efficient service will help you price your home to sell.

Realistic pricing increases the odds of achieving your desired sale price. A home that is on the market too long sends a signal that ‘something must be wrong with the property’.

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"WE'RE MOVING" - How to break the news to your kids.
Buying a new house and planning a move may be as much stress as you think you can handle, but remember that it’s likely to be a trying time for your children as well.

Here are a few tips First National Real Estate recommends when moving house with children.

  • Break the news about moving as soon as possible

Kids need time to get used to the idea of moving so give them as much information as you can about why the family is moving and what they can expect in their new home and suburb.

  • Make them a part of the process

If the child is old enough, let them pack some of their favourite items. It can help them understand that although the family will be in a new home, their belongings will stay with them. Personalise their boxes with labels and stickers.

  • Be cautiously optimistic

It’s important to be positive and optimistic because your children’s attitude will largely mirror yours. But don’t insist everything is going to be wonderful. Even if the new house is fantastic, it may still take time to adjust.

  • Explore the new neighbourhood

If you’re moving to a new suburb or town, use maps and other information from your new local council, or the internet, to explain where you’ll be living. Explain any differences in weather and geography and talk about nearby attractions that may be interesting, such as moving closer to the beach or a park.

  • Try to keep a routine

A child’s world is based on routine and it’s important to try and keep some semblance of normalcy throughout the relocation process. First National Real Estate suggests sticking to a set time for dinner every evening, no matter how chaotic things seem to be, and to continue to pursue regular family weekend activities.

For younger children and toddlers, it can be useful to speak to your doctor about issues such as implementing a new diet or the start of toilet training. It may be better to put new experiences on hold until you’ve settled into the new home.

Routines are understandably disrupted in major ways during moving and sensitive planning can help all family members, especially young children, better cope with the impending changes.

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“I want to hold a garage sale. Where do I start?”



  • Find a space to gather all items to be sold
  • Ask your family, friends and neighbours if they have items they would like to also sell
  • Clean and price all items
  • Work out how many helpers you need on the day
  • Choose a Saturday or Sunday, 3 – 4 weeks ahead to hold the garage sale
  • Check your local community guide to ensure no major events or sporting games will be held on that same date

Two Weeks Before

  • Place a brief advertisement in your local paper detailing the address, day, date, and start and finish times
  • Don’t include your name and telephone number in the advertisement

The Evening Before/Day of Sale

  • Place signage and arrows on the corners of your street and on both sides of major roads leading to your street. Ask your local First National agent if you may borrow their garage sale signs
  • Have all helpers wear a money belt or, alternatively, have one person handling transactions
  • Have plenty of change available
  • Have drinks and seating available for helpers

Getting Organised

  • Sort through your possessions to look for items you no longer need. Store them separately. Let family, friends and neighbours know you’re holding a garage sale and ask if they have any items they would like included. Ask if they would like to help on the day. Clean all items to ensure a good price

Date and Time

  • 9am is a good starting time as you will find serious buyers will probably start knocking on your door an hour or so before. An earlier start could result in buyers disturbing you and the neighbours. Remember to clearly state a finish time (12pm or 1pm) otherwise people will still arrive later in the day


  • Have plenty of change available – lots of small items will require plenty of small change. Large items may require you to break larger notes
  • Do not accept personal cheques. Ensure all items are paid for and removed immediately or at least on the same day. If people wish to pick up items later in the day, be sure to get the payment in full. If really pushed to hold an item, give a limited time, say half and hour

Advertising and Signs

  • Place advertisements in your local paper during the week of your Garage Sale as most hunters will normally check local papers. Daily papers tend to be expensive but some do have special sections and deals that may be worth investigating. Place an advertisement one week ahead and again the day before the event
  • Do not include your name or telephone number or you may be inundated with phone calls
  • Your advertisement should be brief. If you have special items that you think will entice buyers remember to mention them. List items such as furniture, baby goods, books, bric-a-brac etc.
  • Place signage the evening before or on the morning of the sale. Keep signs brief – day, time and address
  • Please respect other people’s property when putting up signs. Consider approaching local shopkeepers as they may allow signs in their windows. Also, consider community notice boards. These can be placed about a week before the event. Often your First National Real Estate office will also be able to help you with the supply of directional pointer signs

A Garage Sale is a great way to clear your house of clutter, make money and, most importantly, have fun!

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First National Real Estate understand when it comes to moving families.
We’re the experts.

With around 550 First National Real Estate offices throughout Australia and New Zealand, relocation has never been easier.

  • Find your new home before you leave your old home

First National Real Estate can help make moving from one home to another an easy process, whether you’re moving across the country, across town, or across the road. Our relocation programme means your local First National agent works with the First National Real Estate office in the area you are considering moving to.
That office responds by supplying a list of suitable properties as well as an information pack on the region.

  • Local knowledge makes for a sound decision

Many First National Real Estate members are second and third generation agents in their local area. They can share their local knowledge to supply information about your future location including schools; shopping centres, sports facilities and local organizations. This information is essential to making a sound decision.

  • Moving with young children

Ask for our “We’re Moving” leaflet online at or click here to go to "We're Moving" leaflet on this website.

  • Rent before you move in

First National Real Estate can assist with rental property should you need accommodation before you have access to your new home (or while you search for the right property).

  • Company Transfers

First National Real Estate offices are experienced with company transfers.

  • Search Online for more information

Searching for properties online is easy with First National Real Estate’s website:

As well as being able to search for residential properties to purchase or rent, you can visit the Commercial, Rural, Fine Homes, Business and Holiday Letting sections of the website to assist you with other real estate needs.

You can request a printed guide be sent to your home address by completing an online form.

First National Real Estate can help make moving from one area to another easy.
Not only can we sell your existing property, we can also assist in finding your new home before you leave your old home.

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What is your home really worth?

Although the value of your home extends far beyond dollars and cents, when you decide to sell, the first question you’re likely to ask is “What price can we expect in the current market?”

First National Real Estate agents analyse local sales trends and price movements on properties similar to your own.

  • What to expect

When putting a property on the market, most people invite several agents to offer their opinion of the property’s value. All too often, they will come back to you with a range of different prices.
Like all vendors, you would like to achieve the highest possible price. The temptation therefore, is to appoint the agent who suggests the highest figure. The risk then is that you may set your hopes on achieving that price, possibly committing yourself to the purchase of another, more expensive property, prior to the sale of your current home.
If the asking price for your home turns out to be more than the market is prepared to pay you may be disappointed, as well as placed in financial difficulty.

  • The key to a successful sale begins with establishing a realistic value

Establishing a realistic opinion of the value of your home is essential to gain the best possible outcome. It also requires a great deal of local knowledge and homework.
Your local First National Real Estate office is part of one of Australasia’s largest real estate networks and is ideally positioned to assist you with the sale of your home. Unlike many franchise operations, your First National Real Estate office is locally owned and operated. This signifies that each office functions with complete autonomy, and is not locked into any selling system.

  • Local Knowledge

All First National Real Estate offices are part of the community and understand local values. In fact, many of First National Real Estate’s members are second and third generation agents in their local area.
To ensure that you can make an informed decision, First National Real Estate analyse local sales trends and price movements on properties similar to your own. The office will then provide you with an appraisal – one you can rely on.

Whether you’re moving to another suburb or nationwide, First National Real Estate can help you find your new home.

With offices across Australia and New Zealand. First National Real Estate combines local knowledge with national strength to be at the forefront of real estate.

If you have confidence in one agent then offer them an exclusive agency agreement. Your faith will come from their reputation, knowledge, presentation and your feelings during the interview.

Why choose First National Real Estate for your Exclusive Listing?

First National Real Estate agents concentrate their efforts on targeting legitimately interested buyers using a myriad of industry leading technologies as well as professional skills.

  • What is an ‘Exclusive listing’?

An exclusive listing agreement appoints a single real estate agency to represent you in the sale of your property.

  • What is the key benefit?

The key benefit to an exclusive listing arrangement is control. You have one point of contact and one point of responsibility. Your appointed agent will be 100% committed to and 100% responsible for the outcome of your sale.

  • Quantity or Quality?

When it comes to buyers, it is quality, rather than quantity that is important. When offering your property for sale through multiple estate agencies, you may expect to gain attention from more buyers. However, there is no guarantee of this, and when open listed, no single estate agency is 100% accountable to you for their performance.

  • What does an Exclusive Listing mean for your agent?

Some people list their home with multiple agents. This is known as ‘Open or General Listing’. However, agents earn their income through sales, not listings, so they’re less likely to give a great commitment unless they’ve got a chance of success. Like all business people, estate agents dedicate time where they’re most likely to gain.

That means Exclusive Listing.

You are granting an agent responsibility and a good agent responds to that.
With this selling method, the pressure is off you because you now have the agent’s full commitment.

Choosing the right estate agent to sell your property is probably the most difficult task you will face.

Choosing the Agent that’s right for you.

  • What are the signs of a good agent?

When you speak to an agent, request an appraisal, not a valuation (this can only be done by a licensed valuer). When the agent inspects your home, make sure you give them an inspection! Pay attention to how they dress as this can reflect their attitude. Your agent won’t get buyers to part with large amounts of money if they don’t look and act professionally. If the agent doesn’t impress you, they won’t impress buyers.

  • Shop around

Shop for an agent the way you would shop for a good lawyer, accountant, mechanic, plumber or any other professional.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask direct questions

Ask things like: “How often can I expect to hear from you?” “What sort of feedback will you give me from potential buyers?”, and “How frequently?” “Who else in your office would work on the sale campaign?” “Are you too busy to take this on?” “Will you handle the sale personally?”

  • Ask about a marketing approach

Make sure you ask about how and where your property will be advertised and what types of buyers will be targeted. Does the agent have a buyer database, for instance? Web marketing is an essential component of any campaign but how effective is the agent’s website? What strategies will they employ to make sure buyers find your property on their website rather than another agent’s listings.

  • Ask for the agent’s feedback on your property’s presentation

An experienced agent will have ideas about how to improve your property to ensure a successful sale. They will be honest about any problems they can see. If you don’t get both positive and negative feedback about the property, you might be talking to the wrong agent.

  • Talk price

If one agent gives a vastly higher opinion of your property’s value, try not to get carried away. This is the most costly mistake a property owner can make – signing up with the most optimistic agent. You want a realistic opinion of your property’s value, one based on the agent’s sound knowledge of the area. Remember, it’s not the seller or the agent who decides what a property is worth, it’s the buyer.

  • What type of agreement to sign

When you’ve chosen your agent, you’ve another decision to make. What type of agency agreement should you agree to? Some people list their home with multiple agents. This is known as ‘Open Listing’. However, agents earn their income through sales, not listings, so they’re less likely to give a great commitment unless they’ve got a chance of success. Like all business people, estate agents dedicate time where they’re most likely to gain.

Another method of sale is a ‘general agency’. Consider this method from the agent’s standpoint again. Why should they work as hard on a sale when they’re only making 50% of their normal fee?

Finding the ideal combination of professionalism, experience and drive can be challenging in an industry where skills vary so widely.

With a plethora of different real estate brands in Australia and New Zealand – why choose a First National agent?

At First National nothing gets in the way of you and your needs. Whether you are buying or selling, you will always be treated as our top priority.

Our commitment – We Put You First – says it all.

We Put You First

The First National Real Estate network exists specifically to deliver on this promise. By choosing First National, you will be selecting a professional who understands your priorities and is backed by industry leading marketing systems, technologies and quality standards. So, all our agents have to concentrate on is serving your needs. We think that’s something of a first!

  • Local Knowledge

All First National Real Estate offices are selected based upon their ethical standing and superior knowledge of their region. In fact, many First National network members are second and third generation agents in their local community.

Whether you’re moving to another suburb or a different town, nobody is better equipped to help find your new home.

  • Guarantee of Superior Customer Service

Everybody offers guarantees, but what do they really mean? In some cases, very little!

That’s where First National Real Estate differs. Our commitment is to always provide the highest standards of customer service to our clients. To deliver such standards, selected First National Real Estate offices have implemented our Best Practice Quality Assurance System that leaves nothing to chance.

With around 550 offices throughout Australia and New Zealand, First National Real Estate combines local knowledge with national strength to be at the forefront of real estate. To find your nearest office call 0800 22 55 87 today.

Self-Managing Your Rental Property?
If you’re considering managing your own investment property, it’s vital that you familiarise yourself with the specific legal rights and obligations of landlords and tenants in your region.
These regulations may change frequently so staying up-to-date should become a regular part of your routine.

The lease or ‘tenancy agreement’ is the legal contract between the tenant and landlord or agent. This covers the amount of rent to be paid, the method of payment, term of the agreement, security bond amount and other conditions and rules.
These are two types of tenancy agreements:

AFixed Termagreement is for a set period of time. Even though the agreement will have an end date, it is still necessary for the tenant to give notice in writing, or in the case of the landlord, to give a ‘Notice to Vacate to Tenants/s of Rented Premises’ when a tenant is required to leave at the end of the agreement
APeriodic Termagreement is set from week-to-week or month-to-month. In the case of neither the tenant nor landland giving notice to end the fixed-term agreement, the agreement automatically becomes a periodic tenancy agreement

Before signing a tenancy agreement, the agent or landlord must give the tenant a copy to look over first. When both parties have signed, the tenant should be given a duplicate signed copy within 14 days.

First National Real Estate strives to ensure less stress, greater occupancy, quality tenants and, ultimately, greater returns for your investment.
First National Real Estate can assist you with your responsibilities as a landlord.

You will need to develop a faultless record-keeping system to regulate rental payments and maintenance requests.
Rent receipts should always be issued, along with records of bond lodgement and refund, and detailed inspection sheets. These documents will all be essential if you are required to attend a tribunal to resolve a dispute with a tenant.


Before occupancy, it will be your responsibility to ensure that the property is clean and secure, and that all appliances and facilities are in safe, working order.
Once the tenant moves in, you will need to ensure all repairs and routine maintenance tasks are carried out quickly and satisfactorily.


Finding the appropriate tenant can be more difficult than it seems. You will need to decide on an advertising strategy, arrange and conduct open and/or private inspections.
Be particularly careful to check applicants’ references, rental history and ability to meet payments. High-risk tenants will often target private landlords in the hope that they will be less thorough than a professional property manager.


When deciding what you will charge for rent, it is important that you find the right balance between what you would like to be receiving and what the market will deliver.
Inspect as many properties as possible that are similar to your property in terms of size, quality and location. This will help you set a realistic rent figure. You will then need to settle on payment methods, make the necessary arrangements and establish strict arrears control measures.


For the protection of your investment you will need to conduct regular inspections of the property and keep detailed records of your observations. Detailed feedback should be provided for the tenant, along with clear instructions regarding any actions you require of them.


You may like to consider simply handling these responsibilities over to a professional Property Manager at First National Real Estate.
With a sound knowledge of all relevant legislation, market trends, contacts with local tradespeople, rent control procedures, and a steady stream of potential tenants, First National Real Estate can handle the entire process for you.

Looking for a property manager?
Find your closest First National Real Estate agent.
Request a Property Management Guide here.

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