A Recent Interview on Community Radio

Thank you 2SSR 99.7FM- the sound of the Sutherland Shire – for inviting us to share some insights into the local property market with your listeners last week!

We discuss what makes the Shire’s property market unique and what things to look out for if you’re planning to downsize your home.

If you missed it, here’s the recording for your listening pleasure! 


Jo: This is Jo Ryan. Welcome to the podcast series featuring interviews from my radio program enterprise that’s broadcast on 2SSR 99.7. The sound of the Shire. Well, I’m pleased to be joined in the studio this afternoon by Kathryn Fantov who’s the managing director of innovative property advocates. And Kathryn provides a unique service as a vendor advocate. And if there’s one topic that people like to talk about, there is no doubt it is real estate. So I thought I’d get Kathryn on today just to provide some great insights to help our local community, if they are thinking about selling their house. So welcome to the studio, Kathryn.

Kathryn: Thank you, Jo. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Jo: Thanks for coming in. Everyone loves talking about real estate. The media likes talking about real estate. There’s countless publications that, uh, publish real estate stories in and week out. But if we focus on the Sutherland Shire, what would you say is unique about the Sutherland Shire housing market?

Kathryn: thanks, Jo.  well I’m sure all your listeners would agree that the Sutherland Shire really is a beautiful place to live. we’ve got the stunning crystal clear waterways, the natural environment on our doorstep. Everything’s so leafy and green. I mean, where else can you have easy access to two national parks in Sydney? 

Jo: That’s true.

Kathryn: and not only that, but it’s also the best value housing market that you’ll find along the Eastern seaboard of Sydney. And what we’re seeing is that more and more buyers are moving into the Shire from places such as the inner west Eastern suburbs, even the north shore, because they compare what they can buy over there with the same money that they can get here. And the Sutherland Shire just represents a great value lifestyle.

Jo: Yeah. And I’m sure a lot of people who have lived here a long time would agree with that. It, it is a beautiful place to live. I guess it’s hard also for young people to break into this market and interest rates is a topic, um, that is on the, the cards at the moment. And people thinking, you know, well that property prices go down. Are they gonna go up? Will it make it more affordable? So in your experience, how do you think that the recent interest rate rises impacted our local area?

Kathryn: Great question, Jo if only we had a crystal ball, right, exactly.


Kathryn:  well, we’ve always known that rates would rise and it was only a matter of time, but we are definitely in an interesting transition phase of the property market at the moment, um, properties are still selling. Um, however, instead of five or six buyers, what we’re finding is that there might be just two or three. So the clearance rates are a bit lower mm-hmm they are starting to decrease, um, and the gap between what sellers want for their property versus what buyers are willing to pay is beginning to get a bit wider. Mm-hmm um, and you’re right. I think first home buyers and young families who are just starting out will feel the threat of higher interest rates the most. Yep. Um, and it definitely impacts how much they’re able to borrow and therefore how much they’re willing to pay for a property.

Kathryn: Um, so the lower value properties in the outer suburbs of the Shire, and some of the high density apartment complexes are beginning to suffer as a result. what we’re seeing though is a return of investor activity off the back of the higher rental returns. Okay. As you know, the, uh, vacancy rate is at the lowest it’s it’s ever been so these types of properties are still selling.  however, not at the pace or the prices that we saw six to 12 months ago, but interestingly, the upper end of the market hasn’t been as badly affected, there are still some amazing prices being achieved for premium quality homes in the area. In fact, a few weeks ago, a waterfront home in woolooware road, Burraneer, I don’t know if you saw it sold for a record price of 20 million. Wow. It’s the highest price for a home ever achieved in the Shire. Okay. So obviously the prestige market is still going strong.

Jo: Yeah. Yeah. So it’s, it’s impacting, uh, the entry level market and, and investors you’re saying, yeah, that’s interesting. I didn’t think about the investor perspective and the impact of, uh, low, the low vacancy rates in

Kathryn: Terms of, yeah. Investors are, are seeing it as an opportunity to come in. And even if they’re paying a little bit more in their, on their home loans. Yeah. They’re making it up in their rental returns.

Jo: Yeah, sure. Interesting. Okay. So most people have sold their house or sold house throughout their lifetime and it is certainly can be quite overwhelming. So you work with people who are selling their homes. So what are the some key areas where people feel overwhelmed or consumed about what to do or where to start?

Kathryn: Um, I think one of the most difficult decisions for a lot of people is which agent should they choose? Yeah. So this is, this is a critical part of the process and they do need to get it right. Um, so people often come to me after they’ve already met with three or four agents, and they’re either confused or they’re frustrated. Um, they’re either really like all the agents they’ve interviewed and they can’t decide, or they’re frustrated by the thought of dealing with agents and would prefer to have someone else take care of it for them. Mm-hmm . And this is why we love this part of the, our role because we see every day how much stress and overwhelm it takes off people’s shoulders. Mm. The other thing people are often confused about is what they should do to their property before putting it on the market, um, painting carpeting, maintenance, uh, it really does all depend on the property and the person’s individual circumstances.

Kathryn: Um, if they’ve got the budget, then we usually go in room by room and write up a report of what they could do to the property to get the most bang for their buck. Um, we can even help them get quotes and coordinate the trades people. So it really does become a much less stressful exercise. Um, the other thing is decluttering. It’s a big one for a lot of people cuz we, we all accumulate so much stuff over the years. Um, and it become very overwhelming. Um, but when you look at it room by room, it’s a lot more manageable.

Jo: So would you suggest that people consider even getting offsite storage and just doing a big cleanup before they think

Kathryn: About yeah. So book in a council cleanup. Yeah, definitely. Um, uh, make use of those and then anything that you are looking to take to the next property, um, maybe put it into storage or, or leave it at, at the property mm-hmm um, if we are going to style the property, then maybe moving the bigger bulkier items out into storage. But um, but yeah, definitely the council cleanup is the way to go.

Jo: Yes. And that is two per year. That is correct. That’s right. And I noticed during COVID with the council cleanups that you had to book in like months in advance, I don’t know if you booked one during COVID but everyone must have taken that opportunity to clear out junk in their house. Oh yeah.

Kathryn: Yeah. Good idea.

Jo: So you work with people who are looking to downsize and also those looking to upsize. What, what are some of the key considerations that people should think about before they make that decision to move either way?

Kathryn: Well, for dance sizes, we find the majority of people, um, they’ve lived in their home for decades. Mm. And it can be difficult for them to take that leap into a smaller home. Um, the quest the big question is where are they going to move to? What can they buy? Um, well it could be an aged care facility. It could be a retirement home, or it could be simply an apartment or a single level Villa mm-hmm . Uh, and coming to terms with this after such a long period of time can also be very emotional for a lot of people. But we find once they’ve got a clear picture of where they wanna live or where they’re going to go, it makes the whole process a lot easier. Mm. Um, and it might be close to live closer to their family could be moving up to the central coast, um, could be to be closer to their grandchildren. Um, maybe a place that has a bit more of a community feel for them. Um, do they wanna be near public transport, hospitals, walking distance to the shops? Uh, once they understand how they want their future lifestyle to look, they can start to look around in those areas and get an idea of how much the properties are selling for.

Jo: Yeah.

Kathryn: Um, and as far as upsizes go, it’s, it’s a totally different, um, set of criteria. They’re looking for good schools, um, uh, parks mm-hmm, close proximity to beaches. Um, access to transport is also important for them and also shopping centers.

Jo: Yeah. Okay. And in terms of attracting buyers, so you’ve made the decision, you you’ve decided to sell your house. What, what are some ideas in terms of getting the best bang fit your, like you said, you’ve touched on it before. Do you paint the rooms? Do you get the garden done? Do you do a bit of styling in the house before you approach a real estate agent? Or do you do that as part of the sales process?

Kathryn: Uh, definitely. Definitely. Before you approach the real estate agents. Yeah. So, um, a better present at home is always going to sell quicker and for more money mm-hmm so it’s a good idea to get all the maintenance jobs done that you might have been leaving off for, you know, some time yeah. Buyers wanna see that the home’s been well cared for mm-hmm um, and if, if possible, um, we always recommend a repaint to lighten and freshen up the rooms, um, even re carpeting. It’s also great if, if the property is, is quite old. Yep. Uh, we also deal with a lot of deceased states. It’s, it’s amazing. How much of a difference painting carpeting and property styling, um, does to the overall overall presentation of a property mm-hmm um, these three things are the things that give the biggest bang for your buck.

Kathryn: So that’s painting carpeting and styling. Right. Um, but if, if the property’s vacant, um, definitely property styling would be the way to go. But if you don’t have the budget, then there is a thing that’s called virtual styling mm-hmm and that’s where the photos, um, online will actually look like they have furniture on them. They they’re digitally, um, um, modified mm-hmm to, to project a, a, a styled property mm-hmm . But what we often find is that when buyers get to the property and it’s actually vacant, they get a little bit let down. So we would much prefer that, um, that the property is actually physically styled. Right. It makes a huge difference.

Jo: Okay. And in terms of technology, you said, like, there’s the, the image of what the property could look like? Are people doing virtual tours anymore? Is it or stopped now that C’s over?

Kathryn: Um, look, some agents are still doing them. Mm-hmm um, uh, most of them are doing videos, so they have their, their standard property video, which is a bit of a walkthrough mm-hmm some of them have, um, the 3d tour where, you know, it’s like, you’re standing in the room and you can pan around to see the 360 degree view. Um, so yeah, it all depends on what the agent that you go with, uh, what they offer.

Jo: Yeah. Okay. Well, it’s a bit of was a great, uh, little insight and snapshot into what is a very emotional, uh, issue for a lot of people. If they do have a home and have their lived there for a long time, or their children have friends that local schools and things like that to make that decision to move. Uh, so we thank you for coming in, Kathryn.

Kathryn: Well, thank you very much for having me. It was, uh, great to be here.

Jo: You’ve been listening to another interview from the enterprise radio program, a show focused on news for, and about business and community organizations. I’m Joe Ryan, join me ONR 99.7 FM or tune into the program. 

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