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from the front desk ... Greetings all and welcome to the May edition of Harcourts news and views. OUR WINNING TEAM Saturday 18 May was the date. The Hilton Hotel Sydney was the venue. The Harcourts NSW Annual Awards was the occasion. With the Harcourt Team from across NSW in attendance, the annual awards dinner was a great experience. Lots of knowledgeable, excited and successful people in the room! The Kiama team is very proud to have won the following awards: 

Property Management Excellence - 3rd place - Congratulations to our hard working property management team who do such a fantastic job keeping owners and tenants happy while protecting their assets and homes. To

get this result against the other 22 Harcourts offices in NSW is a great acheivement. Inaugural Auction Encouragement Award - Acknowledging our success when it comes to extending an auction

service in the Kiama area. Values Award for 'Doing the right thing' - In conjunction will the Illawarra offices who all recently made the switch from Dougmal Harcourts to Harcourts.

Congratulations to all the winners on the night. It was a privilege to share the night with you and be part of the fun. Take care till next time. Enjoy this newsletter and feel free to pass on to family and friends. From Andy, Susan, and all the team at Harcourts Kiama

HAS THE INTEREST RATE CUT HAD ANY EFFECT? As you know, the official interest rate was dropped to it's lowest rate ever earlier this month with many banks and other lenders passing this on in full. “I believe that the latest cut to interest rates will encourage renewed consumer spending and should increase buyer activity within the housing market,” commented Mike Green, Managing Director of Harcourts International. “Many of Australia’s major banks have already passed on the rate cut in full, meaning the average loan repayment will now be $481 per week. This is $115 per month less compared to the figure recorded a year ago and should help to ease mortgage stress on home owners,” Mr Green continued. Here in Kiama the interest rate cut would make the average mortgage payment $497 per week. If you're paying more than that, it could be time to speak to our local Mortgage Choice broker, Helen Smith, to see if you can get a better deal. It's obligation free, at no cost to you, and we love Helen so much our staff members use her when looking for a morgage deal. We have seen strong buyer interest throughout May with many people begining their property search. If you are thinking of selling, then don't think you have to wait until the weather warms up! We have people looking to buy right now and can help you achieve the best possible result for a sale.

ARE YOU CONSIDERING BUYING AN INVESTMENT PROPERTY? Investors who fail to take advantage of the property market could regret it, the Property Investment Professionals of Australia (PIPA) has claimed. “You can’t deny it – the opportunity for investment in property is incredibly attractive right now,” said PIPA chair Ben Kingsley. “Another rate cut this month has brought the cash rate down to a historic low of 2.5 per cent and home loan interest rates have hit very alluring levels as a result. For investors, this translates into lower costs and better returns and for aspiring investors, it could mean that all important first purchase is now a very real possibility.” "With general sentiment and media commentary around property turning positive and property prices starting to show patchy increases, investors would be smart to consider a purchase now, before this opportunity disappears," Mr Kingsley said. “That said, it’s critical investors keep a cool head. The worst investment decisions are often made on a whim or with little research, so the proper due diligence steps, including seeking out expert advice, are a must,” he advised. Don't wait for the right investment property to be advertised, talks to us about your requirements and we'll find it for you. PROPERTY AWARDS Creditor of the month - SOS Plumbing Best Vacate – 83 Shoalhaven St, Kiama Pet of the Month – 22 Pacific St, Kiama

Welcome to our newest holiday property - Sandcastle on Manning. A beautifully presented two bedroom town house with a lovely rear courtyard that's just a stone's throw from Surf or Kendalls Beach. HOLIDAY PROPERTIES BUNK-BED ALERT! This article is a QLD issue at this stage, however it doesn't take much imagination to see why you should be aware. In Queensland, property managers and landlords will now face fines of up to $200,000 if they do not comply with new mandatory safety standards for bunk beds. The Queensland Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is warning owners of short-term rental accommodation to check their bunk beds or risk a hefty fine. According to Fair Trading executive director Brian Bauer, the changes - which come into effect on 21 October this year were designed to prevent bunk bed-related injuries to children. “Recent figures show almost 300 children present to hospital emergency departments in Queensland each year with bunk bed-related injuries,” Mr Bauer said. “Most of these injuries are to children aged six and under, and more than half of all injuries are to children's heads.” According to Mr Bauer, under the new regulation it will be illegal to supply or offer to supply rooms with non-compliant bunk beds, so owners as well as property agents share responsibility for safety. “The standard covers safety aspects such as guard rails, gaps and protrusions on the bunk bed, to reduce the risk of a child rolling out of the bed, or being strangled if their clothing is caught on the bed,” Mr Bauer added. “Mandatory safety standards have been in place for bunk beds sold in Queensland since 2002, so it is particularly important to check beds bought prior to this time. The Office of Fair Trading has developed a guide to assist accommodation providers to manage this upcoming change, including a simple checklist covering all aspects of the mandatory safety standards.”

Harcourts Kiama - Newsletter May 2013  
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