Crows Nest Woolworths

Where are the best suburbs to invest in lower north shore real estate?   Homesearch Solutions currently recommends the suburbs of Chatswood, Crows Nest & North Sydney as hot spots for your investment property purchase.  First of all this is because these are all areas that currently have appeal, great amenities and good proximity to […]

Beecroft buyers agent

Beecroft Buyers Agent

Acting for my client I’ve just exchanged on a Beecroft house at 10pm at home on a Saturday night, for a Canberra client relocating to Sydney.

Beecroft is a suburb in northern Sydney about 22km from the CBD.

The suburb is dominated by free standing houses – according to the last census in 2016, 90.2% of houses in Beecroft are free standing, 3.6% are semi-detached and only 5.9% are apartments.

Beecroft offers value, and there is a lot of interesting new retail and commercial development around the train station. Definitely a suburb to watch.


Interested in purchasing a home in Beecroft?  Give us a call.  We will give you assistance throughout the entire process of buying a property. We’ll help with everything from the property search to bidding on your behalf at auction or negotiating the best possible price.

Auction Story – a good end result for the underbidder!

I was the underbidder last Saturday for a renovated art deco unit in Randwick, as profiled on the 7 News link below.

Randwick sales are performing strongly and currently there’s a 100% clearance rate in the suburb.

All was not lost though as an owner of one of the other units in the building approached me after the auction. She was thinking of selling and she showed me her unit which was more highly renovated and had more outdoor space than the one I had been bidding on at the auction.

My clients loved the apartment, we negotiated successfully and my happy clients exchanged contracts today!


What is Underquoting?

Underquoting is when a selling agent states or publishes a price for a property that is less than their reasonable estimate of the property’s likely selling price contained in the agency agreement with the seller.  It is used as a tactic to increase interest from buyers and ultimately result in a higher selling price for the vendor.

” quote them low, watch them go…  quote them high, watch them die….” 

Underquoting can cause interested buyers to waste time and money on inspecting properties, getting reports and attending auctions based on misleading estimates of the selling price. It’s also illegal.

Buying a property is likely to be the biggest financial investment most people will ever make.   It’s a stressful time and buyers have the right to expect that a real estate agent will market a property ethically and professionally.

Underquoting Reforms for NSW residential property

To better protect consumers from the practice of underquoting, on 1 January 2016 Fair Trading introduced new laws.  These laws require selling agents to use their skills to make a reasonable and fair estimate of the likely selling price.

Under the legislation agents are required to base their estimated selling price on evidence, such as recent sale prices achieved for similar properties in the area also taking into account factors like location, architectural design, potential future use of the property, current market demand and market conditions.  They are no longer allowed to use vague price statements like “offers over” or “offers above” and they must also keep a record of all the prices they have quoted for a property.  If the agent has new evidence indicating a change in the estimated sale price they are required to update the estimated selling price in the sales agreement as well as all advertising, communications and marketing materials.

When real estate agents are inspected by Fair Trading officers they must provide appropriate documentation to show they have complied with the laws.

The role of the seller’s appointed agent to achieve the highest possible price on the property owner’s behalf does not mean they should manipulate buyer interest with false price information.

Agents who commit an underquoting offence may be fined up to $22,000 and could lose their commission and fees earned from the sale of an underquoted property.

Be aware that, simply because a property sells for more than expected, this does not mean underquoting has occurred.  Sometimes competitive buyer behaviour can result in a much higher sale price than what an agent could have reasonably estimated. However, the law now requires an agent to be able to show that their estimate was reasonable, up-to-date and evidence-based.

How to protect yourself from Underquoting

  • If the selling agent provides an estimate, don’t take it as gospel.  You need to do as much research as possible.  Visit as many open homes as you can.  Attend their auctions and get a feel for the level of competition and the actual selling prices achieved.  Compare this to the estimate given to you by the selling agent.  Extensive research is key to understanding the market and to developing a good understanding of a what a property is actually worth.  The more research you do, the more able you will be able to determine if an agent is underquoting.
  • Consider hiring a Buyers Agent to guide you through the sales process.  Buyers Agents are experts in estimating what a property is worth in the current market conditions and will be able to

What you should NOT do:

  • Don’t rely on prices that seem too good to be true. If the price seems to good to be true, it usually is!  This is where your knowledge of the market (gained above) can help you.
  • Don’t rely on one person’s judgement.  You need to talk to other buyers and licensed property professionals and do your own research.


Engaging Homesearch Solutions Buyers Agent is a good way to protect you from underquoting.  Our extensive experience and property databases ensure you will have the most up to date pricing and market information available.  

buyer agent

NSW Office of Fair Trading Property Industry Reforms

Property Industry Reforms set to rule out understated property prices

Agents will have clearer requirements to adhere to as a result of underquoting reforms as part of the proposed property industry reforms. The proposed laws announced by the Minister responsible for Fair Trading seek to prevent prospective buyers wasting time and money on inspections because a property price has been underquoted.

The reforms will restrict agents from advertising or communicating (in writing or verbally) any price for a marketed property that is less than their evidence-based estimated selling price recorded in the agency agreement.

About the requirements

Under the new laws, agents will be required to:

  • include their estimate of a property’s likely selling price in the agency agreement
  • record the evidence that informed their estimate and provide the vendor with this evidence in writing
  • ensure a price range is no greater than 10% of the bottom figure (eg. $500,000-$550,000)
  • ensure advertising does not include any imprecise or unclear statements such as ‘offers over’ or ‘offers above’ or $XXX,000+. Importantly, an agent must never include any price in an advertisement that is less than the estimated selling price in the agency agreement
  • record all quotes provided while a property is marketed
  • notify the vendor if the original estimated selling price is revised. The agent will be required to provide the vendor with evidence (eg. market feedback) for their revised estimate and amend the agency agreement. Agents will also need to update any marketing for the property as soon as possible to ensure that no price is communicated that is lower than the new estimated selling price for the property.

Together, the requirements provide a level playing field for agents in a competitive market. They also preserve the vendor’s opportunity to work with the agent to gain the best price possible for their property. Fundamentally, they will enable true competition between buyers whose interest in a property is not solicited on the basis of an agent’s understated price assessment.

Next steps

The reforms to the Property Stock and Business Agents Act 2002 will be before Parliament in the coming weeks. They are expected to commence in early 2016. In developing the reforms, NSW Fair Trading assessed comparable laws in other jurisdictions and consulted with key representatives from the real estate sector.

To help address questions you may have about the reforms, we have included further details on our Underquoting reforms page. You should also refer to the Agents – questions and answers section on this page to gain a deeper understanding of the changes and how to comply.

We will be providing additional information to support agents and consumers in understanding the new requirements closer to when the reforms will commence.

You can read more about these reforms by visiting the Fair  Trading website – click here.

Underquoting Real Estate

Written by Sean Nicholls for the Sydney Morning Herald on 4 September 2015

In moves to stop underquoting real estate, agents will be forced to nominate a property’s estimated sale price and adhere to that figure in advertising or face losing up to tens of thousands of dollars in fees and commissions.

The estimated selling price will be set in a formal agreement between the seller and the agent as part of a NSW government crackdown on the practice of under-quoting.

Advertisements containing the phrases “offers over” or “offers above” or any similar phrase will also be prohibited, and a hotline will be established for complaints.

The new rules are contained in amendments to the Property Stock and Business Agents Act due to be introduced to parliament next week as the spring property market gets under way.

underquoting real estate

The Minister for Better Regulation, Victor Dominello, said the new laws – which fulfil an election promise – would provide “clarity” for agents, sellers and buyers and strengthen consumer protection. “Under-quoting is illegal and misleads potential buyers looking for their dream home,” he said. “This legislation will help NSW Fair Trading identify and catch the rats in the ranks.”


The Department of Fair Trading defines under-quoting as making “a statement in the course of advertising a residential property for sale that is less than the agent’s true estimated selling price as recorded on the agency agreement”.

Fines of up to $22,000 already apply to agents who deliberately “falsely understate the estimated selling price” of a property. Only one under-quoting prosecution is now under way, against Bresic Whitney in Darlinghurst. There have been no successful prosecutions under the current act.

Data released by Mr Dominello’s office shows 263 complaints about under-quoting were lodged against agents in the past two financial years.

The most complained about areas were Castle Hill with 18 complaints, Epping with 14 and Neutral Bay with 13.

The small numbers are believed to be a consequence of consumers not being aware of what constitutes under-quoting and therefore not contacting Fair Trading.
Malcolm Gunning, president of the Real Estate Institute of NSW, said the government had consulted the industry to ensure the new rules would be “clear and, we think, effective”.

Written by Sean Nicholls for the Sydney Morning Herald on 4 September 2015

Significant Investor Visa

The New South Wales Government welcomes applicants for the 188 and 888 Significant Investor Visa program. Applications are welcome from 24 November 2012.

The Significant Investor visa is a new stream of the Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional subclass 188) and the Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent subclass 888) visa.

Visa applicants must:

  • Be nominated by a state or territory government
  • make an investment of at least $5 million into complying investments.

Applicants for this visa subclass do not need to meet the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) points test. The visa does not have any upper age limits or English language requirements.

Complying investments

Complying investments for the Significant Investor visa include:

  • Commonwealth, state or territory government bonds
  • Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) regulated managed funds with a mandate for investing in Australia; and
  • Direct investment into Australian proprietary companies. The enterprise must be operated for the purpose of making profit through the provision of goods, services or goods and services, with the exception being the provision of rental property, to the public. The company must not be operated primarily or substantially for the purpose of speculative or passive investment.

To be eligible for NSW nomination, applicants must invest at least 30% or $1.5 million of the $5 Million into NSW Waratah Bonds.

Information about NSW Waratah Bonds for Significant Investors is available here.

Processing times

Applicants can expect their applications for NSW Government nomination to be processed in 5 working days. The nomination is then processed by the Commonwealth Government.

Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) Significant Investor Visa 188

To qualify for NSW nomination under the Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) Significant Investor Visa 188, applicants must:

  • Demonstrate that they have at least A$ 5 million in assets that are unencumbered and lawfully acquired and readily available for transfer to Australia
  • Sign a declaration that they will invest at least A$5 million in complying investments including a minimum of A$ 1.5 million in NSW Waratah Bonds. To gain nomination, the NSW Government requires evidence that the applicant will invest in NSW Waratah Bonds; and
  • Commit to spending at least a total of 160 days in Australia for the duration of the Provisional Visa. The applicant will need to nominate that they intend to live in NSW.

Residency requirements

To fulfil the residence requirements of the Provisional Business Innovation & Investment Visa (188) and subsequently to be eligible to apply for a permanent Significant Investor visa, applicants must reside a minimum of 160 days in Australia over 4 years. This requirement can be met in any year.

As applicants will need to be nominated by the NSW Government to apply for a Significant Investor Visa, there is an expectation of NSW Trade & Investment and the NSW Government that the applicant has a genuine intention to reside here.

If an applicant chooses to extend their provisional visa, additional time spent in Australia is required. Applicants can only extend their provisional visa twice, by two years each time. Therefore, if an applicant nominated by the NSW Government chooses to extend their provisional visa once, they will be required to reside in NSW for 240 days over 6 years; if they choose to extend their visa twice, they will need to reside 320 days in NSW over 8 years.

Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) Significant Investor Visa 888

To qualify for NSW nomination under the Business Innovation and Investment (Permanent) Significant Investor Visa 888, applicants must:

  • Demonstrate that they have invested at least A$5 million in Australia including at least A$1.5 million in NSW Waratah Bonds in the last four years.
  • have spent at least 160 days in Australia (not limited to NSW) while holding a subclass 188 (Provisional) visa in the last four years immediately before your application for NSW nomination
  • Demonstrate that neither they or their spouse have had any involvement in business or investment activities that are of a nature that is not generally acceptable in Australia.

How To apply

Applying for NSW Government nomination is simple. To apply for NSW nomination you must:

  • Complete the State Nomination Application Form for Significant Investor (Provisional) Visa subclass 188 which details the applicant’s:
    • Name, date of birth and country of origin
    • contact details
    • passport and visa details (where applicable)
    • proposed investment/s detail
  • attach supporting documents; including:
    • Passport
    • Birth Certificate
    • Marriage Certificate
    • Commitment to invest in NSW
    • Evidence of funds
  • pay the application fee ($820 for offshore applicants)

 Top 10 Most Expensive Homes in the World

10.  Rybolovlev Estate – $95 Million


This house is the most expensive single family home in the country and, since it was owned by Donald Trump, it’s obviously the most expensive home ever fought over in a divorce case.  The 33,000 square foot oceanfront mansion has become a key part of the proceedings since Trump’s ex-wife Elena Rybolovlev demanded jurisdiction due to infidelity.

This home has 18 bedrooms, 22 bathrooms, and retails for $95 million, making it the most expensive single-family house in the nation…weird, we’re pretty sure we found nine more for this list.  Unless we’re suddenly on TopOnez.Net

Originally on sale for $125 million, it ended up being haggled down to a mere 95.  We guess the economy is hurting everyone these days.

9.  Silicon Valley Mansion — $100 Million


As the most expensive single-family home in the US, this house… wait, didn’t we just say that the Rybolovlev Estate was the most expensive single-family home ever?  Well, okay, this one went for 100 million so I guess it wins.

With 5 bedrooms and 9 bathrooms, and an indoor and outdoor pool (in case it rains, we guess), it’s all-in-all a pretty fancy house.

8.  Fleur De Lys — 125 Million


Despite being marketed as the world’s most expensive house, the Fleur De Lys somehow only falls on number 8 on our list.  Wow, that’s weird, huh?  It’s almost like people on the Internet are wrong.

Fleur De Lys has 41,000 square feet and 15 bedrooms, but apparently no bathrooms, which we think is a huge oversight either by the architect or the person writing the articles we’re using as sources.

7.  The Manor — $150 Million


Here we are, finally, the most expensive residential real estate listing in the US, according to Wiki-freakin’-pedia.  $150 million.  Feels pretty good to put that part to rest, doesn’t it?  Thanks, Aaron Spelling, for having the (7th) most expensive house in the world.

This house features 56,000 square feet, 123 rooms, a bowling alley, an ice rink and allegedly an entire wing devoted to Spelling’s wife’s wardrobe.

6.  The Pinnacle — $155 Million


Owned by Tim Blixseth, in Montana, this house is unique for two reasons: it has a private chair lift directly from the house to a nearby ski-resort (which Blixseth owns), and is the only house on this list so far named that doesn’t claim to be the most expensive in the world.

Also, we’re gonna call it right now: best back yard.  Because it’s a ski resort.

5.  Franchuk Villa — $161 Million


This five-story, freestanding 10-bedroom Victorian Villa also features an underground indoor swimming pool, panic room, and private movie theatre.  It’s also the world’s most expensive home (yeah, sure it is), at $161 million.

How fancy is this place?  Allegedly, during some remodeling, the noise made the Mayor of Moscow angry.  The house is located in London.  That’s right: the house is so fancy it doesn’t make sense.

4.  The Hearst Mansion — $165 Million


Top Three Facts about the Fourth Most Expensive House in the World: it was used in The Godfather, JFK spent his honeymoon there, and (holy crap, get this): it’s the most expensive home in the US!

It features three swimming pools, 29 bedrooms (you have to supply your own horse heads har har har), movie theatre and, for some reason, a disco.

3.  Fairfield Pond — $198 Million


Currently valued that way due to its property taxes, this 66,000 square-foot main house has a basketball court, bowling alley, and a $150,000 hot tub. The most valuable home in the US (again, according to Wikipedia).

2.  Villa Leopolda — $736 Million


Wow, that’s a big jump in price.  Built by King Leopold II of Belgium in 1902 and located on the French Riviera, this home was purchased by Russian billionaire Prokhorov, who is so rich he lost billions to the latest economic collapse and still had enough fun money to buy himself a three-quarter-billion-dollar summer home.  It has 27 stories, 19 bedrooms, and a rumored 50 full-time gardeners.

1.  Antilla – $1,000,000,000


This is it. The one you’ve been waiting for. The grand finale. The one billion dollar home. We give you…Antilla.

Located in Mumbai, Antilla challenges pretty much everything you’d expect about “what is possible in a home” and “what is possible for architecture.”  The 27-story house features six floors of parking, a health level with a jacuzzi, gym, and “ice room,” a ballroom level (for dancing?) several floors of bedrooms and bathrooms and even a four-story garden — because, yeah, we guess that’s possible.

The architecture is based on an Indian tradition called Vastu Shastra, which is supposed to be conducive to the movement of positive energy.  In keeping with this, each floor has not only a unique design, but an entirely unique set of materials and aesthetic design — meaning each room is meant to look like it’s from a different house.

Basically, this house has everything — things you can imagine, things you can’t imagine, and things you never thought to imagine but are now imagining because they sound like the greatest thing you’ve ever heard of.

Written By JF Sargent for

At an early stage in your house-buying plans you will need to make numerous decisions.   In order to help you, I have broken down some tips for what to look for when buying property that home buyers and investors need to take into consideration.

Subject to your budget, choose a suburb and property that suits your lifestyle or investment needs.

Residential home buyers

Choosing the type of house you want requires you to determine what you actually need and what your long-term goals are. You will need to think about the following:

Is this your dream home or a stepping stone?
Realistically, how long will you be living in the house?
Are you planning to have children?
Is the distance to work more important than having a garden or a big house?
Do you have the time, skill, patience and money to renovate or build a new house?
There will always be a trade-off between your needs and wants. Think carefully about what you really need and be honest about your own lifestyle and capabilities. All members of the household should be in agreement on basic needs.

If you work long hours or spend lots of time socialising at cafes or restaurants, a smaller home or apartment close to work may be more suitable than a large house that requires gardening and maintenance. If you are planning to start a family, maybe a quieter suburb close to parks might be more appropriate.

It’s a good idea to make a list of the features that you need and want in your home. You may wish to classify these features into “essentials” and “extras”, or to prioritise the features in terms of how essential they are to you and your family. You will never come across a house with every feature you want, and at some stage you may have to sacrifice one feature to get another.

If you are planning to be in this house long term, say for more than six or seven years, you will need to think about your future needs, especially if you have or plan to have children. Not only will the children like to have their own bedrooms, you may want to have an area into which you can escape, which makes open-plan houses unsuitable for the growing family. If the house has inadequate room, make sure that its floor plan is suitable for modification or an extension.


What sort of property do you want to invest in?
What is your financial position?
Do you want to be involved with an owners corporation?
Do you enjoy organising tradespeople?
Do you want to be able to drive past your property?
Location is essential. Good consistent capital growth is achieved in most areas where there is a stable and diverse economy. For that reason, inner-city areas are preferable to country or regional towns with a small population, and where the economy may be based on a single factor.

Once you have decided on a location, the area should be examined in terms of both the attractions and detractions of the immediate environment. In general, tenants dislike properties that have the following:

Railway at the back fence
Next door to public toilets
Facing a busy road
Small bedrooms with no built-in wardrobes
No off-street parking
Small living area
Small outdated bathrooms
Lack of heating and/or air-conditioning
No balcony or courtyard
Properties should be handy to:

Public transport
Parks or water
Areas of employment
Within sought-after “lifestyle” locations
In established residential streets

Written by Melissa Opie of Keyhole Property Investments for Property Observer on 30 May 2012.