How to crack into Northern Beaches property in 2022

It’s no secret, Sydney’s Northern Beaches property market boomed in 2021. In fact, over the course of the year, the cost of buying a house on the Northern Beaches surged by a staggering $867,500 – nearly $17,000 a week – taking the median house price in the region to almost $2.8 million.

For buyers, the huge property price gains over the past 12 months means, at times, it can feel like you’re treading water. Each day you spend searching is another day that prices rise, which can result in months of fruitless searching without a successful purchase.

In this challenging environment, Nook Money’s Mortgage Broker Cat Denney sat down with Matt Nicastri, Sales Agent from Cunninghams Real Estate Dee Why, to find out how buyers can boost their chances of securing property in today’s ultra-competitive market.

Matt, what’s your key piece of advice for buyers who keep missing out?

First off, get clear on what you’re looking for. Then do your research to see if what you want is within your budget. After that, attend auctions to see what properties are selling for and how competitive the bidding is. The more info you have, the more empowered you are when you come to buy.

I say this because it helps a lot to have realistic expectations. Buyers often find themselves treading water because they’re looking at properties outside their budget.

After that, if you still keep missing out, ask yourself a few questions. Is your list too narrow? Are you too fussy? Are you looking for a unicorn? And make sure you’re on the same page as your co-buyer. I often see couples who want different things, which can create challenges.

Is it worth trying to purchase pre-auction?

It depends on the property and how much interest there is. If there are several potential buyers, the vendor will likely go to auction. If you suspect it will go above your budget at auction, you’re best off offering pre-auction in the hope you tempt the vendor to take it.

Another point to note here is that some properties just won’t sell pre-auction. For instance, if it’s a deceased estate an auction is the most transparent process for everyone involved.

Irrespective, it’s advisable to stay close to the agent and try to gauge the level of interest in the property and then act accordingly.

If you’re going to offer pre-auction, when is the best day to do it?

The key rule here is don’t make an offer on a Friday – unless you can exchange contracts on the same day. Otherwise agents will use your offer to shop it with other buyers on a Saturday.

Also, if you do offer pre-auction, make it confident and reasonable. You can’t low ball it with this strategy. The response from the vendor will immediately tell you if you’re in the market.

And remember, it’s not always only about price. Factors like settlement length and release of deposit funds to the vendor pre-settlement can be used to increase the appeal of your offer.

What questions should you ask an agent?

Speed’s the priority on this front. You want to determine as quickly as possible if you’re in the market for a property to avoid wasting time.

Some questions that help work this out are: What are you guiding? If you fast forward to auction day, what price are you hoping to be communicating to the vendor? As an agent, what number would you be happy with?

Try and ask the same question in different ways to see if the agent gives you more info. Gathering intel on price helps but remember it can change over the course of the campaign.

Why do agents underquote and how much extra should buyers add to the price guide?

This is a tricky one to answer. It’s hard to apply a general rule on whether properties will go above a marketed selling price, or why this happens. It’s unwise to generalise and say, for instance, ‘add 10 per cent’ as you might skip a property that ends up within budget.

In my experience, it’s rarely the intention of the agent to underquote. The agent will always guide a price that represents value, and then the market dictates the rest.

In a fast-moving market this process can be difficult as historical data goes out of date very quickly. Agents base price guide on recent sales, but the market can move a lot in that time.

Again, do your research and ask key questions to understand how the agent arrived at the price guide. As mentioned, make sure to look at comparable sales and attend auctions.

Is there a benefit in using a buyer’s agent?

Absolutely. People who use a buyer’s agent definitely have an advantage. In a rising market, the buyer’s agent will help you buy quicker so you’ll spend less time in the market as prices are going up. They help you buy before prices get away from you.

In a bull market, a buyer’s agent can cut a search term from six months to six weeks, and with prices rising so fast, this represents a significant saving on a purchase price.

By contrast, in a slower market, a buyer’s agent will do proper pricing analysis to make sure you’re not overpaying. So, from what I have seen, they’re definitely worth the investment.

Does it help to have a pre-approval?

Absolutely. When you know your budget with pre-approval you can bid more confidently. You’re also more attractive to vendor as you are ready to go.

Plus, in a competitive market like Sydney, you often need to be prepared to make unconditional offers if there is a lot of interest in the property. You’ll feel more comfortable doing this as a buyer if you’ve got a pre-approval.

Inside Tip

Cat Denney from Nook Money strongly recommends pre-approvals so you can shop with confidence. She says it’s particularly important for self-employed applicants as income analysis can be complicated and your list of lender options can be limited. This is particularly the case if your business has been impacted by COVID-19 and/or you’ve received COVID-19 grants.

Bathroom elements


Bathroom elements