Thank God for Christmas!

18.12.08 Of course we all know the reality that Christmas is a celebration of Jesus’ birth, but its commercialisation has had some other spinoffs in recent times, and this year we really should “thank God for Christmas”. With the whole economy resting on a knife edge of indecision, the experts around the world seem to be fairly unanimous in their belief that the best way out of these economic doldrums is for us to spend, thereby creating (or at least saving) more jobs and for those employees to in turn be better placed to spend themselves, creating more jobs, etc., etc. And what better time of year to be encouraging spending than at Christmas time?! Of course there’s all of the usual gift giving that goes with Christmas, but the economic stimuli are far broader reaching than that. Christmas is a time of year when families get together, so there’s money spent on travel, accommodation and food - my brother and his wife are flying in from Kenya for a few weeks and the way he eats should put a smile on the face of local producers! It’s also a time when we traditionally holiday, and whether that be in a luxury apartment or a tent, our spending will all help give the economy a bit more of a kick along to end the year on a positive note. So, combined with constantly falling interest rates and record government spending levels, I think we’ll see a positive impact from Christmas on the Australian economy, and hopefully that momentum will continue through into a successful 2009. And let’s not forget the positive impact too of having a well earned rest after a long year. We’ll be taking it in turns to spend time with our respective families and to recharge our batteries, so that we can provide uninterrupted, quality service through this busy time of the year. Remembering the true “reason for the season”, all of us at CENTURY 21 Westside would like to thank you for your support this year, wish you a safe, Merry Christmas and all the very best for a prosperous New Year. Until next year…

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas

11.12.08 ………and isn’t it just a fabulous time of the year! Christmas decorations everywhere, Houses lit up with beautiful Christmas lights, Christmas parties with colleagues and friends, holidays getting closer and children waking up every morning counting down the sleeps to Santa Clause’s visit. It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!!! On the flip side of this exciting time approximately one in five households in Australia is a victim of household crime. This means that a large number of homes are continually making themselves easy targets for thieves. It is important for both home owners and renters to ensure their homes are secure, in order to prevent post-holiday heartache. • Having beautiful foliage around your home goes a long way in presentation, but unfortunately provides a safe haven for thieves, a good idea to combat this problem is the installation of sensor lights which are activated by motion and usually scare away most would-be robbers. • If you are going on holidays take some time before you leave to create a ‘lived-in’ effect for your home whilst you are away. There are many products on the market that operate on timers, activating interior lights as well as other appliances, helping to create the desired effect. • Naturally alarms are an effective deterrent which can also stop thieves in their tracks. Work together with neighbours, always advise them when you are going away, give them a contact number and ask them if they would collect your mail or any papers that may be delivered while you are absent. This will keep your home looking lived-in. • If you’re going on holiday, remember to cancel deliveries, do not leave spare keys outside, and give them to a neighbour. Make sure that your garbage bins are put away and not left out. Be sure to lock all windows and doors. • Identify all valuable items by writing a list with the description and serial numbers of each item. Maybe use a ultra-violet pen and write your driver’s license number on TV’s, VCR’s and Stereos. Wishing you and your family a happy and safe Christmas. Until next week…Jocelyn Frost

What a relief!

4.12.08 The Reserve Bank’s decision this week to cut the interest rate for the fourth consecutive month will continue to provide relief to those invested in the property market. The cut of one percent comes as no real surprise to many and is most definitely a clear indication that there is an ongoing commitment to supporting the market place, including that for property, to stabilise. There is also a market confidence abound that this latest in the series of aggressive rate cuts will be a call to action for those buyers watching the property market to jump in and buy and will be a welcome move for those who have already taken the plunge. There is no doubt in my mind that dropping rates are definitely going to bring many of us relief. Those with mortgages will be looking forward to substantial savings especially when you consider that someone with a $400,000 mortgage will be around $200 per week better off than they were in four months ago. In light of the government’s recent initiatives to bolster even more activity , one of the biggest groups of winners in the housing market is still the first time home buyers. With falling interest rates and the increased grants available, first time buyers are sure to provide a much needed boost to the market. Activity on both sides of the transaction is starting to improve with supply easing and buyers coming back into the market ready to buy. What remains to be seen is what will the lenders do? Let’s hope that they see the benefits in working with the market and we see this latest rate reduction passed on to the fullest extent possible. Still, my advice to anyone about to buy is tie up your finance now so that when you come across the house you want you can act with certainty and confidence. Until Next Week ... Phill Broom

Mr Mum!

27.11.08 The past week I have been trying to do my best impersonation of my dear wife – and struggling! Allison turned the big “four-o” earlier this year and to mark the occasion she and her best friend have taken a week off at the Golden Door health spa. Whilst she has been enjoying the rest and quietude, I have been trying to manage the house and transport my three girls to all of their activities – and I am knackered! It’s a bit of a cliché that most men have no idea how hard it is to run a household, and I thought that I was pretty in tune with the day-to-day routine, but I can honestly say that this week has given me a real insight into the challenges of managing a family. Waking up, getting dressed, having breakfast, making lunches, getting to school, collecting from school, bath, cook dinner, eat dinner, homework, teeth, bed! And that doesn’t include any extracurricular activities like ballet, swimming and music! And, I haven’t done any vacuuming, dusting, cleaning or a single load of washing! In amongst all of this “domestic duty”, I’ve also been trying to squeeze in some work and assistance with running this business – look out for the two new properties coming to the market this week and the successful sales from last weekend too! Despite these challenges (and the associated exhaustion!), I have enjoyed some wonderful times with my children both individually and collectively. Whether it be a few minutes playing in the park, a snatched moment whilst getting them ready for bed, or just the simple pleasure of talking about life whilst driving to and from school, kindy and a host of other activities! The startling revelation personally, has been the realisation that I am NOT superman after all! Yes, I think that I have managed (alright, “coped” is probably more accurate!) rather well this week (and I have only put the TV on once for “assistance”!), but it would be remiss of me not to mention the terrific support of my sister and friends who have been able to look after Ella (aged 2) during the day so that I can still work during school hours. So, what’s the upshot of this week? Well, I certainly have a renewed respect for all of the hard work that goes into being a “homemaker”, and the pleasure of being able to spend some more quality time with my three beautiful girls. I’ll certainly be more understanding in the future when I come home from work and find that dinner isn’t on the table with my foot spa pre-warmed! Until next week…. Gerard Baden-Clay

Dress to Impress

20.11.08 SO YOU HAVE DECIDED TO SELL…………’s all stations go in preparing your home for sale. But were do we start? What should we do? If we spend money now to enhance our home will we get it back? First impressions always count; potential buyers always have several homes to choose from in the price range they are shopping in, so be sure that when they first pull up at the curb they can’t wait to see more. Have a check list, front and back gardens and then room by room. A new load of pine bark in natural colours will bring back life to the gardens, placing pots in odd numbers such as 3’s or 5’s always gives a sense of balance to an external space, especially for photographic colours. Bamboo screening is a cost effective way of hiding unsightly areas such as hiding garden sheds or to wrap around water tanks and turn them into a decorative curved wall. Inside the home always start by assessing the clutter, store away unnecessary items that crowd a space especially toys in children’s rooms. Provide an easy path for people to walk through when they are inspecting your home. Ensure the furniture layout does not obstruct people when they are walking around especially if you are holding open homes where you can often have 5 or 6 family groups inspecting at the same time. Quite often just re-arranging a lounge suite and open up a room and immediately give more space. Everything in your home should have a place and a purpose. We all live in chaos that is life, but when selling we need to create a little magic as buyers want to buy the dream. Just imagine walking around the project homes at a display centre, builders spend unbelievable amounts of money in decorating the homes so they can capture the hearts of the buyers. Are there areas that need a touch of paint or a splash of colour as a focal point? The idea is to make the areas seem larger and give it a feel of openness. It is important to present each room with a clear, clean sense of purpose. Create a lifestyle that captures the emotions of the buyers. Until Next Week ... Jocelyn Frost

Point of view

13.13.08 If you have been reading through the papers and online news sites at the moment you could be forgiven for thinking that the idiom “every cloud has a silver lining” should really read “every silver lining has a cloud” – isn’t it amazing just how fast the optimist camp converted to pessimism? But it is all really a simple matter of perspective, isn’t it? Glass half empty half full kind of stuff. For example take a look at the press around a recent consumer confidence survey that suggested that confidence in our markets has dropped by 20 per cent. Sounds pretty gloomy, but is it? If you look at the numbers from another perspective you would discover that almost 74 per cent of us, or those surveyed, think that we are alright and that whilst things are a little tougher it is going to be OK. It has always been amusing to me how some statistics are bandied about in order to suit the article or point of view being offered. A recent mainstream newspaper was sprouting data from Australia wide research with the catch line below. “Brisbane house prices suffered the biggest fall in the country in the three months to September, dropping 5.2 per cent.” I was surprised at the figures so I dug deeper but I had issues finding the supporting data. In fact, the data service provider that most professional use (RP Data) showed the median price change from the 2nd quarter 2008 to 3rd quarter 2008 had only slipped by 0.38%. When observing the same data across the past 12 months, September 2007 through to September 2008, one would see an 11% improvement in the Brisbane wide median house price. During my studies a professor offered me an insight into how important it is to get the data right and how it is almost more important to correctly interpret results. I was told an anecdote about a scientist who planted 30 trees and watered each tree a different amount as a way of simulating rainfall. At the end of the study some of the trees had grown tall and some hadn’t. Strangely, the scientist reached the conclusion that tree growth causes rain fall, or rather, that as a tree grows taller it rains more. That’s right, most of us would have reached the conclusion that as it rains more trees grow taller so tree growth is the result of rain fall not vice versa! Until Next Week ... Phill Broom

Kenmore Bypass Planning Study enters final stage

06.11.08 As I write this, I have just returned from the latest Kenmore Bypass Community Reference Group meeting on which I sit as a representative of the local business community and a passionate local resident. Many of you would by now have received “Newsletter 2” from Main Roads regarding the Kenmore Bypass Planning Study, which outlines some suggested options for the road should the State Government decide they wish to build one. If you haven’t got a copy, please email me and I will send you one by return email. Within this document are outlined some suggested options from the Main Roads Planning Team, and an open invitation for community feedback and consultation. Locally, there will Public Displays with staff on hand to answer any queries at Kenmore Village on Thursday 6th November (4pm-7pm) and Saturday 8th November (10am-1pm) and Indooroopilly Shopping Centre on Thursday 13th and 20th November (4pm-7pm) and Saturday 15th and 22nd November (10am-1pm). There will also be a permanent unstaffed display at Indooroopilly Public Library from Thursday 6th November until Friday 12th December (9am-4:30pm daily). If you can’t make it to one of the displays, please feel free to contact me directly and I will try to answer any queries you may have. As I reported to you a month or so ago, the planning team have conducted a wide variety of studies covering areas such as flora and fauna, air quality, noise, soil and geology, visual impact, water quality, cultural heritage, hydrology and hydraulics and social assessments and land use planning. It’s a very comprehensive process designed to try and develop the best possible solution for the area. But remember that this is just a planning study, and that at this stage there is no commitment and no funds to build this road. I would strongly encourage all residents to try and attend one of the public displays and make commentary on what could be the most important piece of infrastructure in this area in coming years. Until next week….. Gerard Baden-Clay

What women want

30.10.08 A stylish kitchen that is the heart and soul of the home!!!! How times have changed. Once the kitchen was a separate room where the woman (sometimes the man) of the house cooked a wonderful meal with only herself for company. The family would all be busy in different parts of the house and only come together when the meal was being served. When entertaining, friends would all sit in the formal dining room enjoying great conversations and sipping wine while once again leaving the poor ‘chef’ all alone. Now when women are house hunting one of the major requirements is a central kitchen with everything close at hand as needed. Easy to clean surfaces, innovative appliances and clutter free space so family or guests can socialize in the kitchen before sitting down for a meal. The kitchen today is where most Australians spend 50% of their waking hours, so time has come to get smart and streamline our kitchens. When house hunting I personally find that kitchens play a major part in a house a woman chooses. Most woman love the open plan feel of a kitchen where family and friends can gather for a quick cuppa and discuss the news of the day. If you are thinking of selling then give your kitchen a critical overview, sometimes just a new bench top can make a difference. Today a mix of reconstituted stone and polyurethane finishes brings glamour and a fresh new look. Or maybe you have decided to replace your kitchen before putting your home on the market, whatever your decision remember that a modern look with the latest European Stainless Steel Appliances and a 2-pac Cabinetry is one great makeover. Make no mistake, woman definitely love a modern kitchen that adds a stylish edge to a home where entertaining is easy and enjoyable. Until next week, Jocelyn Frost

Getting back to fundamentals

23.10.08 With a lot of talk this week again focused on the world economy and whether or not we are headed into global recession I wanted to take a look at what the impact some of these global issues will have on our local market. I’ve ranted on before about the simple economic principle of supply and demand and how property prices are driven purely and simply by this maxim. That hasn’t changed and nor is it likely to. But exactly what does that mean? Well, the good news is that we don’t have an excess of supply. In fact, we don’t have enough dwellings to meet demand. The consensus is that housing demand is continuing to grow at around 180,000 units per annum across Australia with supply averaging out at about 150,000 representing a shortfall of almost 17%. Locally it’s not much different. For example, in Chapel Hill about 220 homes are sold every year whereas estimated real demand sits slightly higher at 250 homes per annum. With similar levels of demand remaining unmet across the area modest price growth is most likely. Another reason why we aren’t likely to suffer the same fate as some other countries, most notably the USA, is that we aren’t likely to see a large number of forced sales at any price hitting the market. In Australia sub prime loans are known as non conforming loans and they account for a little over 1% of the mortgage market. In the USA they are estimated to represent about 15%. Should all of them fail at the one time then we would see a spike in activity but the net effect would be short lived. Now is as good a time as any to consider making a move and you should do so knowing with confidence that the fundamentals are still strong. If you would like more information on what your market place is doing, or if you would like to discuss how to make a smart move today please feel free to call us anytime. Till Next Week...

Putting the “more” in Kenmore

16.10.08 - It’s terrific to see this week, two outstanding opportunities available for sale at Auction here in Kenmore. 15 Fortrose Street is first off the line being open for inspection from 9:30am and auctioning on-site at 10:00am. A perfectly presented family home in a quiet street where the local children regularly play cricket (even though there is a fabulous park at the end of the street!), this property provides a great opportunity to secure your family’s future with easy open plan living and great entertaining and play areas. Complimented by a large shed and 5,000l water tank this is an opportunity not to be missed. 46 Gem Road follows immediately afterwards, with inspection from 10:30am, and auction on-site at 11:00am. Ideally suited for the executive family, this sprawling modern home presents great options for a growing family, and with numerous play and entertaining areas complimented by a fabulous swimming pool to train future Olympians in, this property represents a rare opportunity in a central position close to everything. Astute buyers have recognised that Kenmore represents untapped future growth potential because of its terrific position, great schools, shops and transport option. Originally the “it” suburb of the Western Suburbs, Kenmore has been usurped in recent years by the younger Chapel Hill, but as new land becomes more and more scarce in Chapel Hill, and older property are being improved in Kenmore, we forecast that Kenmore will again become the suburb of choice in the future. For more details about these properties or any other real estate matter, please feel confident to speak with me or any of the expert team here at CENTURY 21 Westside. Until next week…

Opportunity Knocking

11.10.08 - It’s been a roller-coaster ride in recent weeks on global financial markets, and many commentators are predicting that there’s more turbulence to come. Encouragingly, however, property remains a comparably stable investment, as people realize that “bricks and mortar” is a long term necessity and more likely to deliver sustained capital growth over the long term. In addition to this, the Reserve Bank’s welcome decision to drop interest rates by a full 1% earlier this week and talk of further rate decreases of up to a further 2% in the near future, mean that Buyer confidence in Real Estate is soaring at the moment. As mentioned in a previous message a couple of week’s ago: “One often hears the catch cry of “position, position, position”, and that is the key to the stability of the Western Suburbs as a whole. Homes in this area benefit from great schools, terrific shopping, improving transport infrastructure, wide open spaces, lovely parks, and all within close proximity of the city and easy access to the gold and sunshine coasts.” These are the “fundamentals” that underpin the value of the area and the future is looking even brighter too, with further proposed infrastructure for roads, transport and amenities, which will only add to the livability and therefore the value of the area. So if you are looking to secure your future in the area, we are pleased to present a selection of quality properties for your attention. For more details about these properties or any other real estate matter, please feel confident to speak with me or any of the expert team here at CENTURY 21 Westside. Until next week…

Let’s get real!

4.10.08 - I was watching the business news and taking in all the banter about ailing financial institutions, the USA’s bail-out strategies, finance ministers and opposition leaders duelling over whether or not the banks should and will pass on interest rate cuts and I got to thinking about our own real estate market place. Firstly let’s take a look at supply and demand. Ordinarily spring is a well supplied time of the year when it comes to housing stock. With the exception of 2006, spring has always lead the way in terms of volume on the market and volume sold. It makes sense – the lawns and gardens look good, the temperature is about right and our available time to purchase a home is pretty good as winter sports are over and summer ones haven’t really started in earnest yet. So, supply is starting to get back in line and you will notice that we are already bringing a number of good homes to market at the present. So what about demand? Well the buyers are out and they are buying. If you’re a buyer then I am sure you would agree with me that there are more buyers about now then there were a month ago and if you were looking this time last year you know that in the next few weeks those numbers will bolster even further. Historically at the time when buyer activity starts to energise the competitive nature of environment invariably results in prices rises. With most of the talk this week on liquidity and interest rates we have to give proper consideration to what effect these will have on real property demand and prices. Over the past few years getting the necessary finance to get into your preferred home has been relatively simple – if you make the grade and your risk profile is acceptable then lenders were competing for your business. Not so now though. With interest rates heading south but with bankers and lenders still nervous about risks and their returns we are noticing that their lending is tightening. They are asking for more evidence to support the mortgage and they are inherently more conservative with valuations. The effect is that for those with strong financials getting the finance shouldn’t be an issue but for some of us we need to act more cautiously. So what should you do? If you are ready to move then my advice would be to meet with your lender, broker or financial advisor and seek pre-approval, that way you can have every confidence to make a sound decision. Next, get out there take a look at some of our great homes and be prepared to act when you find that right home – else, you might regret not making the smart move.

Bypass or through road?

25.09.08 Last week I attended the latest Kenmore Bypass Community Reference Group (KBCRG) meeting to hear an update from Main Road on the technical investigations process to date. Over the past few weeks, various scientific studies have been conducted with a view to creating both a “base line” of what the current situation is in the area, and also to aid with creating a computer model that will enable the engineers to predict the impact of any proposed options. I was most impressed by the extent of the studies which were conducted across a broad spectrum of disciplines including Ecology (terrestrial flora and fauna surveys); Water Quality (historical data review and visual inspection); Ground Water (review of existing databases and physical identification) Hydrology and Hydraulic Modeling (review existing modeling, analyze impacts and investigate mitigation options); Soils, Geology and Topography (review of all geological units and identification of weathering and erosion concerns); Land Use (analyses of census, council and state data, and site visits); Air Quality (emissions model created from existing data and traffic counters around the area); and Socio-economic Analysis (Review of government data; 500m buffer; access and mobility patterns analyzed for cars, pedestrians, cyclists and public transport; and mitigation considerations). In addition to all of the above, there was also extensive explanation of the detailed noise monitoring that has been conducted right throughout the site and surrounding areas that may be impacted (taking into account such things as topography, etc.), and a summary of how they will create a computer model of the whole area which will provide noise levels and noise contours surrounding the corridor and incorporate noise treatments to address the noise criteria. The next KBCRG meeting will be towards the end of next month, when the details of the results of the investigations will be presented and the first draft options will be discussed. This is an important study for a transport option which, if implemented, will have a dramatic impact on the area well into the future. If you have a view on this, and would like me to pass it on, then please feel free to contact me any time on 1300 200 100. Until next week…

Fundamentally Great!

20.09.08 - Despite the world’s share markets taking a battering over recent months and particularly in the last week, the Real Estate market in the Western Suburbs remains as solid as ever, with strong price growth still occurring and opportunities still available for astute buyers to make the smart move here. So how is it that we are somehow sheltered from the economic storm lashing other parts of the country and the globe? Well, fundamentally it’s the fundamentals of the area! You have heard me talk about this many times before, but it has never been truer than now in these challenging economic times, that it is important to have confidence in the underlying fundamentals of property when buying and selling. One often hears the catch cry of “position, position, position”, and that is the key to the stability of the Western Suburbs as a whole. Homes in this area benefit from great schools, terrific shopping, improving transport infrastructure, wide open spaces, lovely parks, and all within close proximity of the city and easy access to the gold and sunshine coasts. These are the “fundamentals” that underpin the value of the area and the future is looking even brighter too, with further proposed infrastructure for roads, transport and amenities, which will only add to the livability and therefore the value of the area. So if you are looking to secure your future in the area, we are pleased to present a selection of quality properties for your attention, including a sensational land subdivision right in the heart of Kenmore (our “feature Property” this week) if you’re thinking of building your dream home. For more details about these properties or any other real estate matter, please feel confident to speak with me or any of the expert team here at CENTURY 21 Westside. Until next week…

It’s a Boy!

11.09.2008 We are delighted to announce the addition of a new family member at CENTURY 21 Westside! Last Friday evening Phill’s wife, Michelle gave birth to a healthy baby boy – Darcy Phillip Broom! After a brief stay at the state of the art Mater Mother’s Hospital, Phill, Michelle and Darcy have returned home to make a new life together as a family. For those of you have been fortunate enough to experience the miracle of bringing a new person into the world, you will no doubt join me for a collective “aaahhh” at the thought of the joy that Phill and Michelle must be feeling right now, and at how fortunate Darcy is to have been born into such a loving home. When I was speaking with Phill earlier, I asked if he had enjoyed any “fast-asleep-on-your-chest” moments with Darcy, and when he replied in the affirmative, I nearly shed at tear at the memory of such simple pleasures! I don’t think it matters who you have talked to or how many books you’ve read, nothing can prepare you for the roller coaster of emotions that the birth of your first child can evoke. As Phill so eloquently put it on the fourth day of Darcy’s life, “I think this is the most stressful thing I’ve ever done! If only I could negotiate with the little fella!” and for a man with an extraordinarily high tolerance for stress, that’s quite a statement! One of the benefits of being such a cohesive team, is that Phill has been able to step away from the office the instant Michelle went into labour, and the business has continued seamlessly. It’s one of the aspects of our business that we pride ourselves on - being able to deliver consistently to our clients through all weathers. We wish him and Michelle all the best as they get into a new routine in life, and we anticipate having Phill back on deck again towards the end of the month. So, on behalf of the whole team at CENTURY 21 Westside, a heartfelt congratulations to Phill and Michelle, and we look forward to seeing Darcy in a gold jacket at an open home soon! Until next week…

The father lode

Not so long ago a father was a success if he could put a roof over his family’s head. Now it takes a roof, deck, home theatre, teen retreat and pool. And that’s just the holiday house. These aren’t easy times to be a father, let alone a “good father”. Just as the world seems to be spinning faster than ever before, requiring us to work harder and for longer, not always fully comprehending why or what for, fathers are also trying to make better use of family time. To engage with their children. To empathise with their wife or partner. To not only lead but to inspire, comfort and understand. As far as job descriptions go, it’s fairly heady stuff. Working in the real estate business used to be about finding new owners for houses. Now, thankfully, we speak of families and “homes”. We don’t simply negotiate prices, draw up contracts and hand over keys. We help people move. I’m increasingly aware of the cost and time pressures placed upon modern families, not least of all because I feel them too. As fathers – I have three little girls, all being expertly groomed to look after me in my dotage! – we are all trying to do our best… and sometimes that’s even enough. I am fortunate to have a wonderful father whose ideals and practices I could do no better than to emulate. He strikes a nice balance between work and family, always with the understanding that when the see-saw comes to rest, it comes down on the family side. To my own father and to all fathers, best wishes for a great day on Sunday. You deserve it! !*!*!ALERT!*!*! As I write this, Phill Broom is not yet a father, but with his lovely wife Michelle, due to deliver any day now, please join with me in wishing him all the best for a long and successful “career” as a great dad! Until next week…

Big Bang!

28.08.08 This weekend marks the end of winter and the start of spring, and as usual the event is marked by the fabulous RiverFestival. Kick starting the RiverFestival is the spectacular RiverFire this Saturday evening. Whilst it may not be on quite the same scale as what we have recently witnessed from Beijing, this is Brisbane’s biggest and most spectacular fireworks display each year. As the Council proclaims, “Riverfire transforms our city into a massive celebration, as hundreds of thousands of people pack the banks of the Brisbane River and come together in backyards across the suburbs.” Whilst there are opportunities aplenty to get down to South Bank and other City vantage points for RiverFire, I usually like to take my young family up to Mt Coot-tha where we can experience the spectacular display from a “safe” distance, where the crowds are slightly smaller and the noise a little less threatening to young hearts and ears! Hopefully too, the F-111’s will perform their customary “dump and burn” again this year, which for me (as a frustrated fighter pilot!) is the highlight of the show! During the day, we have an equally impressive display of property for you to view! New to the market this week, are some fabulous homes across a broad spectrum of suburbs and price ranges – i.e. 5 Aldergrove Street, Chapel Hill (11:00am-11:45am); 495 Grandview Road, Pullenvale (12:30pm-1:15pm); and 20 Scandia Street, Kenmore (2:00pm-2:45pm). There’s more detail on each property inside this edition of Open Doors, or simply ask one of our expert team wherever you may meet them this week. Throughout the rest of the weekend and next week, RiverFestival continues with a dazzling array of events and activities, like the free BBQ breakfast at RiverBBQ and a broad selection of events for the whole family on RiverSunday. You can find out more information about the whole festival at where they say, “For ten days, Brisbane truly becomes the ‘river city’ as events, films and art installations about water and the river engulf us. Plus, the international RiverSymposium brings the world’s water experts to our shore.” So after an enjoyable day looking at houses, tap into the RiverFestival, or just do as I plan to and make the trek to a suitable vantage point and enjoy the RiverFire show! Until next week…..


21.10.2008 I love watching sport as much as anyone, and have been in heaven catching snippets of the Olympics in between business and family commitments. Whilst watching the Olympics, I have been struck by the number of parallels between the athletes’ feats in the sporting arena, and the myriad challenges that Buyers and Sellers face daily in real estate. We’re all familiar with many of the sporting related clichés that fill our vocabulary, but I’ve also identified 8 Gold Medal lessons that we can take from sport and apply to our day to day circumstances: Know the rules and play by them. Be aware of your rights and obligations, and always, always, always act ethically and within the law. Be precise, but act quickly. When you see an opportunity, don’t delay. Gather your facts together, and make a prompt decision. Remember that often opportunity doesn’t knock, it tip toes quietly by! Persevere. As the age old proverb states, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again!” Always ensure that you have done your preparation and know that you are acting based on facts and quality information. If you can’t get a result, change or start again. The caveat to Perseverance! Beware of being “pig headed” or ignoring the realities or a particular situation, and be prepared if necessary to change strategy or even start again from scratch. Be prepared to take risks. Some people say that you can’t get great rewards without taking great risks. I personally don’t subscribe to this theory, but I do strongly believe that in order to achieve your objectives you must be prepare to take calculated risks. Look wide. Be prepared to consider a wide variety of options. Sometimes you find the ideal solution presents itself from the least likely quarter – but only if you’re open minded and prepared to consider it! Be focused. Identify your objectives. Make your plans. Gather your resources. Chanel your energies into using your resources, following the plan and achieving the objective! Be balanced. Whilst trying to juggle all of the above, (much of which appears prima facie to be contradictory!) you must have a sense of “balance”. This enables you to make calculated decisions that quickly and effectively weigh all of the pros and cons and determine your next action. I hope that helps, and now here’s your chance to participate! In the spirit of competition, I’ll award a gold medal winning bottle of red wine to the person that can offer the best suggestions for which Olympic Sports each of the above “lessons” were drawn from! Just email me at with “Olympic Competition” as the subject, and I’ll announce the winner next week!

Accessible, Clear, Expert Advice

14.08.08, As a business, we are always listening to Buyers and Sellers so that we can do our best to serve you better, so I was delighted to be invited last week to be a guest speaker at’s national strategic planning conference in Melbourne, so that they could learn more about what life was like “at the coal face” of the real estate industry. It’s not everyday that one of the country’s most well know and respected companies calls to ask for your advise, but I was delighted to be able to assist, the premier real estate portal in Australia, to improve their operations and hopefully deliver an even better service to you, the Buyers and Sellers in the market place. CENTURY 21 has also recently signed a long term agreement with the preeminent real estate data supplier, RP Data, who have now expanded their service to provide consumers with online access to property data right around the country. Check out the new site, where you’ll be able to access detailed information about property, and also access some terrific tools for tracking your property portfolio, in much the same way that you do with shares. As president of the Kenmore and District Chamber of Commerce, I was recently elected to the Main Roads Department’s Kenmore Bypass Community Reference Group (KBCRG), to provide community input on plans for the Kenmore Bypass. The KBCRG has already met once, and will continue to do so on a regular basis until a final recommendation is made to the Government for the tract of land they own between Moggill Road and the Centenary Freeway. So, if you have any queries about Real Estate; the tools that are available for your due diligence; local business; or plans for the future of our suburbs, please feel free to call me or my expert team any time and we will be glad to help you make a Smart Move. Until next week….

On the road again!

09.08.08. People always have questions about property, even if it’s just a curiosity about what their property is currently worth, but few people pick up the phone to call a real estate agent unless they’re actually buying or selling.

That’s why we have been “on the road again” this week with our popular ‘Kenmore Village Roadshow’ - a unique and exclusive opportunity to provide expert, no-obligation advice to the local community in the setting most convenient to them. Once again, that opportunity was grasped by hundreds of people keen to find out what’s happening in the local area in these uncertain times, and I’m pleased to say that our Award Winning team of local experts were on hand to give clear advise.

We’ve got an absolutely fantastic team here and that’s no accident. Success attracts success and accordingly we’ve attracted very talented people into the fold. Anyone can sell a property, but only highly trained experts can secure a win-win result for buyers and sellers while also minimizing the stress involved for everyone.

And if you are thinking of moving within or into the area, we are pleased to be able to offer an exceptional selection of quality property across the price spectrum. As always, you’ll find our comprehensive list of Open Houses (in time order for your convenience!) at the front of every edition of Open Doors, but if those times are not suitable, please call our toll free hotline on 1300 200 100 to arrange a private viewing at a time more convenient to you.

You’ll also notice a snap shot of each property listed herein alphabetically by suburb. Of course, if you’d like more information about any of the properties, please speak to one of our team and we can provide a full property profile. Alternatively log onto our award winning website at where you’ll find a wealth of information, including detailed floor plans for all of Platinum Collection of properties.

Whether you’re buying or selling, we’d love to help you make the Smart Move to the Westside!

Until next week….

A new era dawns

31.07.2008. I alluded to it last week, but it’s now official! I am very pleased to announce the dawning of a new era for CENTURY 21 Westside as Phill Broom and Jocelyn Frost join me as partners in the business from 1st August, 2008. This date marks the third anniversary (to the day!) of Phill joining the business, and many of you would have experienced his exceptional skills and professionalism over that time. Combined with his formal qualifications in banking and finance and his extensive experience in international sales and marketing, Phill’s formidable business acumen offers exciting opportunities for the business moving forward. A native of the Westside, we are thrilled to welcome Jocelyn Frost “back home” after an extraordinarily successful sojourn to Redland Bay when she honed her Real Estate sales skills and became the number one Century 21 agent in Queensland for the past two years. Having also previously run a 350 strong sales team, Jocelyn brings seemingly unlimited drive and enthusiasm to the table, and completes our executive team. At CENTURY 21 Westside, we have always been proud of our point of difference in being a Real Estate Business, rather than just a traditional “cottage industry” style agency. The core of our operation is the business itself, which brings with it all those things that are vital to being an industry-leading business – professional integrity, ongoing training, market expertise, accountability, transparent ethics and profit-sharing. Consequently, we are consistently and extraordinarily successful in achieving the best possible results. And those results extend beyond the happy Buyers and Sellers we help to move, and beyond the accolades afforded are terrific team, to industry and commercial acknowledgement of our successful business practices. In recent times, we have been honoured to receive acknowledgement from: the Quest Business Achievers Awards (Finalists for the last 4 years and Winners in 2005 and 2007); the BRW Fast Starters List (Top 100 in 2008); and the REIQ Top Agency of the Year (Finalist in 2008). So, together with our exceptional team of professionals, Phill, Jocelyn and I look forward to helping you make your next move a Smart Move. Until next week…..

Crunching the figures

No doubt you’ve heard about the latest RP Data figures showing a whopping 62% increase in Brisbane listings compared to this time last year. Just to put those figures in perspective, Sydney recorded a 0.8% increase and Perth 2.4%. Obviously Brisbane is booming, but what I would also attribute this difference to, as I explained to both the Courier-Mail and Seven Nightly News last weekend, is the fact that new developments are now being advertised in a very different manner to the way they were 12 months ago. Let me explain. Brisbane is flush with new developments in order to keep pace with rapid population growth. Many of these are now being listed as individual lots rather than single developments (partly because this better marries with modern search engine technology and partly because developers know that they stand a good chance of selling each listing even before it has a house on it). For example, 12 months ago developers might have advertised their new 200-block project as ‘Project A’. Now they're listing each block of dirt under a separate title – that’s 200 new listings, not just one. It would explain why there are currently 126 properties presently available in Moggill (according to, not a dozen as there was this time last year. This shift in the way properties are categorised has quite possibly inflated Brisbane’s listing rate in recent times, and I think it’s an important factor to take into account because to put all the current market activity down to an interest rate reaction is to miss the fact that the southern states are not displaying anywhere near the same level of activity. That said, the SEQ market is still clearly booming – certainly we’ve got considerably more on our books than at this time last year – but supply and demand are still reliable tools and should ensure that people pay what homes are really worth.

Making history

Below is a transcript of a speech I delivered last week to Kenmore State High School's student leaders for 2008 History is made equally in large and small ways. This morning our Prime Minister delivered an earnest speech to a group of people who desperately needed to hear those words. Now, I don’t expect that all of you desperately need to hear my words but I will say that my speech here is earnest and, what’s more, that in our own small way we are making history today … we are contributing to the history of this esteemed school and, perhaps more importantly, to our own personal history. I mean that quite genuinely. While I have been invited here today to acknowledge the select group of young men and women who will lead this great school throughout 2008, I also came here because I wanted to speak to ALL of you. Each and every one of you. You are playing a role in the history and the future – the history of the school and in your own personal future. Can I just have a bit of audience participation? Please put your hand up if you have finished school already? Please leave your hand up if you were NOT a prefect at school. Look around you students. Amongst these proud people are captains of industry, exceptional teachers, devoted mothers and fathers, sporting champions, business leaders and dedicated employees. So you see, whilst today we are recognising the student leaders for 2008, this morning, I wanted to speak to ALL of you about three key things that should be important to each of us, and that we should embrace in order to achieve the most from this year. Those three things are teamwork, leadership and success. I’m so glad that you have allocated me an hour and a half on each of these subjects! I want to tell you about a very special person: my brother, Adam Baden-Clay. Recently, as you and our parents may have read in this week’s Westside News, Adam and his wife Nicole left Australia to join Free The Children, an international foundation that supports and educates needy children and their families throughout the world. Why would I tell you about this? Well, not just because Adam is my brother and I’m very proud of him but mostly because the Free The Children foundation could have been started by any one of you. That’s right – Free The Children was started by a fellow called Craig Keilburger when he was just 12 years old. Twelve years old! Craig was alarmed when he found out that children in the world were being made to work like slaves and so he gathered six friends together … literally, six mates in the school ground … and he formed a small charity to fight child labour. Guess what? Craig is now 24 years old and his organisation, Free The Children, is the world’s largest network of children helping children throughout the world. Free The Children runs operations in more than 45 countries and has built more than 500 schools around the world. It was my brother who showed me just how amazing this organisation is and who reminded me about just how powerful we are as 12 year olds … with the world at our feet and our whole lives ahead of us. In fact, we are powerful at any age if we choose to be. The school leaders we acknowledge today embody three key attributes: team work, leadership and success. Interestingly, these are the same three attributes I aim to inspire within my own business, Century 21 Westside, and in fact within my own family. What is teamwork? Teamwork is all about knowing what everyone is trying to achieve and, by extension, doing your bit to help. You know what the objectives and philosophies of this school are. You know what you can do to help, and you also know that if everyone lent a hand, then the acronym of TEAM – Together Everyone Achieves More - would become a reality. Leadership. To me, the most fundamental element of good leadership is to lead by example. That entails responsibility … responsibility for one’s own actions. Let me tell you that nothing impresses others more, nothing attracts people more, nothing compels people more, and nothing earns respect more than a leader who leads by example. If you want to see a clean school ground – you should pick up rubbish … and then ask for help. If you want dress standards to be better – you should dress well first. If you want people to be on time for class and events – you should always be punctual yourself. If you lead by example, others will follow. And finally, success. This year, The Scout Association celebrates 100 years of making a difference in young people’s lives. Scouting was started by my great-grandfather, Lord Baden-Powell, who led an extraordinary life and was by any standard a very successful man. And so today, I would like to leave you with his words and I will personally encourage you to not only make history but to make the future. Lord Baden Powell said this: “What is success? Top of the tree? Riches? Position? Power? Not a bit of it! We were put into this world of wonders and beauty with a special ability to appreciate them, and also in being able to help other people instead of overreaching them and, through it all, to enjoy life – that is, to be happy. That is what I count as success, to be happy. But Happiness is not merely passive – that is, you don’t get it by sitting down to receive it – that would be a smaller thing called pleasure. But we are given arms and legs and brains and ambitions with which to be active, and it is the active that counts more than the passive in gaining true Happiness” Congratulations to those of you leading the school in 2008, and best wishes to all of you on today … tomorrow and every day from now on. Thank you.

It's just not cricket

There’s no denying the local market is hot and that the pressure between agencies to secure a limited supply of listings for release to a super-keen band of buyers is intense. The 4069 postcode has no shortage of real estate agents, only a shortage of supply due to the established and contented nature of the community, so in short we’re dealing with a small pie being cut into very small pieces. And that’s okay. It’s exciting to operate within such a competitive market! In a perfect world it means that everyone has to lift their standards and services in order to excel, effectively raising the bar overall. In reality, however, such pressure has the opposite effect on some agents, reducing them to tactics and behaviour that compromise not only their own integrity but the integrity of the industry as a whole. If their behaviour didn’t affect me and the community in which I live and work, then I would have nothing to say about this. But it does directly affect me and it directly affects you. No names or pack drills here – I seek not to expose the offender but the practice, the practice being to erect For Sale signs on properties prior to any contract being signed. It is first and foremost illegal. It is secondly unethical. And it is finally reprehensible. I have witnessed two recent incidents in which a sign was placed outside a property without contractual authority. In one case, the home’s seller was advised by the agent that this was normal practice, even though the seller was still in discussions with other agents wishing to sell the property. (Presumably the offending agent thought their sign would send out a “Too late, back off” signal to the competition. It did not.) In the other case, the agent placed the sign on a vacant block of land without the seller (who lived elsewhere) even knowing. The seller must have got quite a shock when he called into town to check on his asset only to discover it was allegedly for sale. My information tells me that the agent’s explanation was that he was trying to do the property owner a “favour” by attracting interest in his absence. Whatever you might construe from that explanation, and the underlying motivation, the act itself is illegal. For Sale signs are one of the most important marketing tools an agent has going for them – the more there are up and about around the community, the more enquiries they attract. Success breeds success. It’s something I hope to breed a lot of myself this year, but I can assure you that when you see a Century 21 Westside sign in front of a property, it’s supposed to be there.