Kitchen Renovations

Most people already know that ‘the kitchen sells the house’, but not a lot of people know the positive effect a remodelled kitchen can have on your health and lifestyle. In this blog, we will discuss a survey that was undertaken by recent kitchen renovators, as well as go through what should go into a kitchen renovation, in order to; have an updated space that suits you, be appealing to a large market when time comes to sell, and allow for prospective buyers to be able to inject their own style. Without tooting my own horn, but as an ex-kitchen designer, interior designer and now real estate salesperson, hopefully I can offer some knowledge to help with this topic.piechart

Lifestyle Change – A study has shown that 92% of people who have renovated their kitchens cooked at home at least 5 days a week. The obvious upside to this statistic is that most people were opting for less fast food or takeout after their renovation was completed.Family-In-Kitchen

61% of the people in the study also found themselves spending a lot more time as a family in the kitchen, whether it be discussing the ups and downs of the day while the grownups prepare dinner, or even eating at a brand new breakfast bar. In a world of social media and smart phones, spending more time with the ones you care about the most, has never been more important.

bakingIt’s fair to say, the aroma of cookies or a cake baking in the oven, is probably one of the best things on earth. The statistic of 52% of newly renovated kitchen owners found themselves baking much more often, in my mind, is enough of a reason to fork out for a new kitchen! Obviously, I am not promoting a lifestyle of eating cake and biscuits all day every day, healthy alternatives are a good idea.

Another key habit that a lot of kitchen renovators find themselves falling into (and this one wasn’t in the study) is cleaning! If you’re cooking in a dilapidated, tired, out of date, or unsuitable kitchen, you probably find yourself lacking motivation. Finding the energy to cook in a kitchen that you can’t stand, let alone cleaning and caring for the space, can often be very difficult. But keeping your kitchen clean is probably one of the most important health habits you need to be stuck in, because your kitchen houses some of the most dangerous bacteria. Whether that means renovating all or some of your kitchen, or even buying a new set of dinnerware or decorator items, do what needs to be done to motivate yourself!

How to Style – This is arguably the most stressful topic when it comes to kitchen renovation. What design style do you choose? How to correctly plan the kitchen? Do I need to hire a professional tradesperson?

There are many questions that can cloud our mind, and even make us put off the idea of renovations. But whether you want to turn your house into your home, make your property more appealing for resale, or a clever combination of the two, simplifying the process is the best thing you can do for your own sanity. We will cover a few of the common questions that come up in the renovation planning process, and in particular a kitchen reno.

What design style is best? – This question can be difficult to answer sometimes. Simply put, the best kitchen should suit your house.  If you are planning to live in your home forever, or live in a particularly trendy suburb you may be able to get away with selling a property with an ultra-contemporary and polished kitchen in a traditional home. But generally speaking, a well suited and practical kitchen is what most buyers look for in a home.

So what finishes are proving most popular nowadays? Benchtops have gone past granite, and most people are now opting for a composite or “Quartz” stone. Mainly for its price point, durability and longevity, ease of maintenance, and aesthetic. But due to a surge of natural finishes becoming more popular, we are seeing a trend of timber and marble benchtops. As a budget friendly option, laminate benchtops in a timber or marble effect are also peaking the charts in popularity. Flooring is remaining more or less the same, polished timber floors or a simple polished tile seems to be the go.island benchA recent spike has also shown that the focal point of kitchens has shifted from a trendy splashback subway tile to an island bench with lots of presence. Where possible, allow room for an island with a breakfast bar that the family can sit, while you prepare food. Boosting family togetherness and number of home cooked meals.

How to plan a kitchen? – When we say “plan a kitchen”, we are referring to the layout. What is the best layout for a kitchen? Quite simply put, it is the best possible layout that Kitchen-Triangleallows you to comfortably walk between the three main focus points of the kitchen, or ‘work triangle’. Walking a short distance between the preparation area/sink, storage (fridge or pantry), and cooking area (stove or oven), is what makes for an effective kitchen. However, you don’t need to spend thousands re-plumbing the whole space to move the sink to the left by 2 metres, by using your kitchen for about a week you will automatically realise why the kitchen isn’t working for you. It may not even be the layout that’s the problem, it may be a lack of storage or preparation space.

It is crucial that you get the layout right, even if it means laying out a pretend kitchen on the floor and walking between the focus points. A perspective buyer may not like the finishes you have chosen as much as you, but it is much easier to change a cabinet door style, or benchtop than it is to completely change the layout of the kitchen.

Do I need to hire a pro? – If you have the knowledge, motivation, and time to undertake a renovation process such as a kitchen, I would recommend doing what you can yourself. Not only to save labour costs, but also for the self-satisfaction. If you aren’t an experienced tradesperson, it is ideal that you have a plumber and electrician undertake those jobs, as the repercussions of a faulty job can be catastrophic. As far as hiring an architect or interior designer, I would only recommend doing so if you were undertaking very extensive renovations or structural changes. If you are simply changing some finishes and the style of the kitchen, doing some research online, or even talking to someone with design experience is enough to be able to achieve a designer look.

How much to spend? – This question is purely subjective. If you want a super salubrious kitchen with trims, panelling, solid marble, polished brass, bespoke cabinetry, and all the bells and whistles, you need to pay what it costs. Chances are you will see a good return on it too, but if you are trying to make your home a much more appealing space for yourself or buyers, you can get away with a sub-ten thousand dollar job. Changing the benchtop, fixtures and some paint can be all a kitchen needs to be more appealing. It depends what condition jwest7your kitchen is in currently. Don’t be afraid to spend some money on your kitchen, as I mentioned earlier, a beautiful kitchen will more or less sell your house.

In summary, if you are contemplating renovating your kitchen for profit or comfort, if you’ve got the means to do so, I say go for it! It can change your health and lifestyle, and most likely enhance the return on your property. I am in the office most days, or am happy to answer any questions over email (jeremy@eastsidepropertycentre.com.au), if you want some advice from someone who’s been in the industry.

Growth strategies from an award winning BDM and Leasing Specialist

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What does it take to become a successful BDM? If you had asked me two years ago, when I was a complete rookie to the industry and role, I would have told you to send out bulk flyers and letters and hope like crazy that someone called…

I hate to admit it, but my first three or four months as BDM of our family owned and operated boutique agency did (sadly) consist of just this. The BDM position didn’t exist before I started at the agency so I was figuring the process out as I went; I would spend hours preparing letters and DL flyers, chopping them, folding them and sending them out to prospective clients.

I learnt hard and fast that this passive method of prospecting wasn’t going to get me the results I made a career change for. There was very little growth occurring in our department and I knew I had to focus my energy on something more productive if I wanted to be a great BDM, so I decided to focus on four key things:

1.   Professional development

2.   The health of our current rent roll

3.   Create your own strategic and unique selling point so that you can outperform your competition

4.   Build relationships with industry affiliates

Professional development Immerse yourself in Real Estate SALES training; be it conferences, podcasts, books, Facebook pages, newsletters – anything that is going to help you develop as a sales agent, because a great BDM is a highly skilled sales agent for the Property Management department. Envision the type of agent you want to be and practice being that killer agent – every.single.day.

The health of our current rent roll Focus on nurturing the clients you have. There is absolutely no point in growing the rent roll if the one you have is being neglected. Give your current owners a call just to say ‘hey’, find out what their personal and professional goals are, ask how their kids or pets are going, or chat about their favourite sporting team. Building strong lines of communication builds trust, and trust builds business. You can’t expect your current clients to want to give you more business if you aren’t interacting with them and staying front of mind. Be their friend, take them out to coffee, send them flowers when they have a new baby or get promoted at work and I assure you, they will very willingly list their 2nd, 3rd and 4th investment with you and your team. If you are building a rent roll from scratch or working with a small rent roll initially, this strategy is crucial to your success.

Creating your own strategic and unique selling point (USP) so that you can outperform your competition while mystery shopping your market might seem daunting, it is 100% necessary. More than likely, your prospective landlord is going to interview at least one other agent before making a decision. When going into any listing appointment, be as confident and prepared as possible by knowing exactly what that other agent is going to offer the client, and then beat it, NOT by reducing your management fee. Beat them by having a unique selling point that is so good, your prospective clients don’t even question your fee. Our agency management fee is 1-3% higher than all of our local competition, yet we are organically growing fast than any of them. How? By focusing on our unique selling point. Be confident in it, sell it and review it often.

Build relationships with industry affiliates As mentioned, my rent roll was relatively small when I started. I also had just two sales agents (our Directors) to gain inside sales referrals from so I knew I needed to find another referral stream. I became affiliated with an extremely active Investor Buyers Advocate who fast became my best friend. We both realised that what we had to offer each other was essential to the success of our businesses. He referred me to his clients because he trusted the service I was going to provide and I over-delivered on service, which was a great reflection on him. I have replicated this relationship with a number of other industry affiliates and it has without doubt, been the key source of our growth over the past 2 years.

By focusing on these key areas of business, I have organically grown our department by 69% in just over two years and there is no sign of it slowing down. My presence and reputation in our key areas of business is consistently growing and on February 17th I was awarded the Real Estate Training Group’s award for QLD Property Manager and BDM of the year at the Celebrate Success Conference in Brisbane.

Becoming a successful BDM takes time, patience, practice and persistence. It doesn’t happen overnight, but when it does, it is worth every late night, early morning and Sunday appointment. If you would like further advice or assistance, feel free to drop me an email at rachael@eastsidepropertycentre.com.au