What is an Off-Market property?
You've probably heard of the term off-market and wondered what it means. Basically it's a property that's for sale, but it's not being marketed at all. So it's not going to be on any of the internet sites and there's usually going to be no photos or brochures. The only way that the agent will sell it is by contacting me as a Buyers Agent, but also calling up all of their database of interested buyers.
And why do people sell their properties off market?
Two reasons. One is people like to be private and not have everyone knowing their business and knowing that the house is for sale, and how much it is, and having all of the photos available online. Also properties often start off-market for the month before they go on market, in case anyone's interested in buying it before it properly goes on the market.
What is a buyers agent?
People often ask me, "What does a Buyers Agent do?"
I'm a Licensed Real Estate Agent, the difference is that a Buyers Agent works in the best interest of the buyer, whereas the selling agents who are selling the properties have to work in the best interests of the sellers. So you will always get a better price working through a Buyers Agent.
What I do is understand your requirements and search for properties and provide detailed reports, set up inspections and go and inspect them myself. And then when you find a property that you like, I will then help with the negotiations, getting the best price and knowing the area. Knowing the agents and how they all operate really, really helps with these things.
And then I also help with all of the paperwork that's particularly important for buying rural properties and doing the final inspections.
Then of course helping with the settling in, hooking up with schools and all of the sports groups and what have you, and just understanding the local area.
So really what a Buyers Agent does is save time and money and just make the whole process a lot easier when you're moving to a totally new area that you really don't understand.
School Buses in the Highlands
There are school buses that travel through all of the towns of the highlands and all of the roads, picking up children.
The bus drivers' all get to know the children so that it's a really nice community feel. And the rural children on properties have the fun of the bus picking them up and dropping them off right at the gate to their property.
Schools in the Southern Highlands
There are some fabulous schools in the Highlands. Some very high quality public schools, both primary and high schools, and also some really well-resourced private schools. Actually, some of the best in the country are here in the Southern Highlands.
Children all catch the bus to school, so it's all very easy, and people comment that Highlands' children are very polite, which is always nice.
You might have noticed in the Southern Highlands driving around that there are a lot of large properties, usually 40 hectares or 100 acres, and in amongst them are scattered one, three and five acre properties, and you think, what are these?
They're great because they get to borrow the views of all of the larger farms around. What they are are concessional lots that were given out by the government in the late 80s, early 90s due to drought hardship and it was a way of giving all of the farms money because they could then sell those concessional lots on and get some money and to keep them going through the drought.
So they're nice little interesting feature of the Highlands and very nice place to live in.
Autumn in the Highlands
Autumn is a beautiful time in the Highlands. The nights are getting cooler, they're around five to nine degrees and we'll start getting frost sometime in late April, which is just fabulous.
It's not very windy usually in autumn, so there's a really nice fog quite often in the morning and a mist covering everything, and when that happens it'll clear up into a beautiful blue sunny day, but cooler.
All of the trees lose all their leaves around the same time because of the cold nights, so autumn is just glorious with so many different colors and textures and everything around. So it's a really nice time to be living here.
The Importance of Aspect in the Southern Highlands
So you've heard people talk about aspect in the Southern Highlands, what does it mean?
We have very cold nights here, nights get below zero, and sometimes we even get snow, but there's always a lot of frost around in winter.
In the winter, the sun is further north, and so the sun comes in at an angle from the north. So in your house, if you have northern facing windows, you'll get a lot of winter sun, which is just fabulous. And you wont' get the summer sun, because then the sun's coming directly from above. So it will increase the temperature in your house by probably about five degrees on a nice sunny day. And you get to stand in the sun and warm up which is just lovely.
So when you're looking for a house, probably best not to buy one with a massive garage in the north-east side but to look for one that has good light in winter and you'll really appreciate it.