What does it mean to be Boutique?

A misconception about Boutique Real Estate is that we’re only for the high end market. The reality is that we are an extremely specialised business. We are good-vibes-centred, focused on customer service and professionalism.

With Villager, you can always expect the best representation in every transaction whether its through buying, selling, leasing, styling or short-term leasing. Not only is your agent one of the directors with 17 + years experience in the industry, you have the whole office across your property – working with you using our combined specialised experience.

“We don’t let things go cold or dodge hard conversations in messages. We follow-through with what’s at task. We sit with an owner through tough conversations and its all on the table.” –  Says Ben

Being a smaller agency, we are able to spend more time making you look good. This includes high quality marketing products to help specialise your journey even more than what you would get at another ‘bigger’ agency.

“We understand quality over quantity and that every client has completely different needs. So instead of focusing on the quantity of homes we sell, we focus on the service we provide because your opinion and customer experience has a far greater importance to us.” – Ben Tindall

What does boutique mean to us?

You never feel like a number. You come in, you get the director of each company (sales or property management) working with you and we have found this produces the best outcomes for our customers.

We’re not all suits and ties – we keep things light. We are a close team, we know when to let our hair down, and we know when to buckle down.

“We are about connections and giving people the best experience possible all the way through, past the transaction and its personal.” says Ben.

Because we are owner-operated, we can really explore options for our customers. That’s a huge part of the Villager difference.

If you are thinking of Selling in the near future, contact Ben to have a conversation about how we can help you make the best move. You can check out some love letters here

Dad swag, house in the bag.

So you’ve saved your pennies, your deposit is in, the bank gave you the all-clear and you are on your way to start lining up the open homes? That’s already a huge achievement.

But wait.

You’re over there thinking you’re ready and know exactly what you’re looking for. How it feels, beds, baths, garages etc. *cue dark storm clouds* what about those little things that we skim over when we are wearing the rose coloured glasses when we are really in-love with a property? We don’t want anything to come between you and buying it – right?

Well, I asked the expert of ‘de-railing dream homes’ – my dad, Victor – about what to look for and ‘sniff out’ before you buy anything!


Here’s how it went down: 


Lisa: So dad, I have so many questions but i’m going to keep this short and sweet. Okay..so…

*Victor Interrupts me* (he loves doing this)

Victor: I know what you’re going to ask…

Lisa: Oh really?

Victor: You can’t tell from just looking at a house, you have to really look deep at the house. Look for cracks in the walls. Look at the piers the house is on.. Are they cracked? Does the house smell damp. Is the area prone to flooding. What does the backyard look like with a lot of rain. How’s the drainage? Are there big trees around that could be a problem later. 

Lisa: Okay well, i was going to come to the outside after but you are just going to answer everything in one big go.. Okay then. What about those vines that search for water? Like your ‘favourite’.. Ivy..

Victor: Yes, you don’t want those kinds of problems especially if you are first home buyer. They search for water and that usually means your drain pipes. Now if they get in.. its a big problem could cost you thousands of dollars, Lisa. A lot of people don’t have someone who can help them with this kind of advice – you are lucky. 

Lisa: Dad, that’s why we are doing this. So people know these things so it helps them too. Omg. Okay Dad, what about if someone wants to renovate? 

Victor: You need to look at the walls and see which ones are the structural walls. This way when you start knocking things down, you don’t knock down your whole entire house. If you have a good strong foundation, you have a good strong house (most of the time). The problems start from the bottom.. from the peirs to the roof. You also have to look at the layout. How can this wall come down without doing too much work.

Like when you bought your house, you wanted to move the whole kitchen and i said no because then the plumbing job would cost you 10k and cut a new window.. oh my god.  Too much work Lisa.

Lisa: What about the deck? Remember how many fights we had over how i wanted those bi-folding doors and you were just like NO. 

Victor: Do you know what it’s going to be like in summer with flies all in your house? 

Lisa: I know. I am kinda glad that I listened. I think I cracked it a few times didn’t I?  haha  I’m such a child sometimes.

Victor: You will always be my little child.  

Lisa: Yes… hahaha

Lisa: Okay and what about the bathrooms?

Victor: Its always different but if there are loose tiles, cracked tiles and things like that. It could be a problem because of mould. And water damage is the worst thing.  And structural damage.. you will be up for a minimum of 7000 maybe more!

Lisa: I wish i had a bathtub. 

Victor: Come and use ours, we don’t use it. 

Lisa: Yeah kinda defeats the purpose of relaxation coming to your house with a million questions every 5 minutes.  So what you’re saying is really.. Here’s how to do things on a budget and if no one else can help you look-out for this stuff… 

Victor: YES. Because everyone is always on a budget. Especially now. 

Lisa: Don’t have a bathtub, use someone else’s.. Great budgeting strategy..

Lisa: The last time we looked at a house it was this one that I have. I remember when we looked at a few others.. And you were just like.. No. No. No.  I think you were jumping in the house to see if the house shakes.. That is the most ethnic thing. 

Victor: Yes, i do it all the time to see if it was built okay. And can you look under the house. Especially old houses to see if it’s al good under there.

Lisa: The jump test?

Victor: It has to pass the Victor test. I test for everything. You should always look around the house too. An inspection report is good, but it’s not like your own two eyes and gut feeling – you know. 

Lisa: Gut feeling. Yes. I think this is so important. Intuition. 

Lisa: So dad how can people contact you for advice and to do a walk-through with them so you can shatter their dream house for them?

Victor: No.  Lisa, they better not contact me. I have enough problems with helping you. 

Lisa: Omg I am just kidding.

Victor: It won’t shatter their dream-house. It will make it better because why would they want a rubbish house?

Lisa: Ok now we are going to do some quick questions. 

Victor: I thought I already answered everything.. 21 questions now?. I have things to do. 

Lisa: Omg. always rushing to nowhere. re-lax, you are retired, act like it for once in your life.

Lisa: Do you think that finding the right place is luck of the draw?

Victor: Sometimes you can be lucky.. But sometimes you wait for the right one. Thats how you find the right one. Some agents try to rush people into a decision but you have to be sure and flush the toilets and stuff to be 100% sure its the right one..

Lisa: Flush the toilets? What? 

Victor: Yes, to check if it’s all working good. Make sure it flows! 

Lisa: Okay this is the fun bit. Relax – geeze.  I can tell you’re getting annoyed at me, hahaha.  It’s a quick game.

Victor: Okay, hurry up.

Lisa: New or Old?

Victor: Now that I’m old, I want New. 

Lisa: Brick or Wood?

Victor: Brick (of course)

Lisa: Tiles or Floor boards?

Victor: Tiles that look like floor boards (less maintenance)

Lisa: Flat or steep?

Victor: Flat. Never again with the steep. 

Lisa: Up the hill or down the hill?

Victor: Up hill. 

Lisa: North or west?

Victor: North

Lisa: High ceilings or erm, short ceilings?

Victor: High. Who would choose short. What kind of question is that?

Lisa: Roof tiles or Aluminium Roof

Victor: Colorbond roof, Lisa. I didn’t used to like them (ask your brother). 

Lisa: Gas or electric 

Victor: Gas stove, electric oven.

Lisa: Garden or Balcony?

Victor: Garden! 

Lisa: Ocean view or Tree view?

Victor: That wasn’t a game.

Lisa: Okay, I’m done. Thank you, dad.

Love you. 



Landlord approved hacks for renters

There are definitely some benefits when renting, for example being able to pack it all up and move for lifestyle or work without a big mortgage to think about.

Renting also comes with challenges – like not being able to alter the house or renovate.

Believe it or not, most renters have the best insights for the properties considering they are living in them! I bet as I said that, you thought of a specific thing you would change huh?

The good news is that we’re here to help you creatively “modify” your rental space with 5 of the best styling hacks that are landlord approved – Thanks Courtney!

Mood lighting

Lighting can change the entire mood of the house. This is one of my favourite tips because it has the power to turn an over-lit room into a beautiful ambient space where you can actually enjoy your time. Choose some low-lit lamps on the floor, wall or table for that intimate space feeling.

Smart storage

If you are renting a place without built-in wardrobes or a linen cupboard, I feel your pain! But this is a great opportunity to get creative.  Sometimes its fun to solve a storage problem by turning it into a bit of a feature. You can pick-up some inexpensive baskets from K’mart or Target and fill them with some neatly rolled towels or take a clothes rail and display your best bed threads in the laundry.

Sweep it under the rug

You might find the perfect home, perfect street, great kitchen and then you look down and it has an old case of the: ‘Ew! What is this flooring situation’. A solution that is way less expensive than ripping it up and replacing it yourself – is to find some rugs and start layering it up. This look works really well on floorboards and old tiles too.

Hello Green

I love my leafy friends, the more the better in some spaces, but even just a touch of greenery leafery can elevate the vibe, bring a pop of green colour and give a natural organic element to your whole place. Whether you have a backyard, balcony or not, you will be surprised at how the addition of some indoor plants will have you home feeling more livable and tranquil than ever.

Mirror mirror (leaning) on the wall

Nice big mirrors are so on-trend right now. They are the heaviest of the must-have homewares and guess what – they look so good when they’re just leant against a wall or on a mantle, so you won’t have to worry about damage caused or trying to get it straight.



We hope our list helps! If you have any other questions about what you can do to prepare your property for lease, contact Courtney today.



Renting is where many people start to develop their own personal style. Get creative – A functional and beautiful living space in a house that isn’t yours is a challenge, but it is still possible. Lean in and get personal. If you’re at a loss, start with neutrals and work from there.

Villager Covid-19 Update

What a ride the last month has been and we are just a fraction of the way through it.

We are adapting and changing the way we do business everyday and whilst this is still all new to everyone here and everyone around us, we still have happy vendors, buyers, landlords and tenants. And while there has been a bit of a slowing down in enquiry coming through to inspect (for obvious reasons), the buyers who are showing up are ready to transact.

When it comes to inspecting property in NSW, there are some essential things we can do keep our Villager community and family safe.

We are taking all the precautions such as social distancing and as always our high level of personal hygiene when:

– Inspecting a potential new residence (1 person plus 1 agent at a time)

– Moving to a new residence or business place (2 people at a time)

– Undertaking legal obligations and property settlements

Public Auctions

Right now, public auctions are banned. But as this is one of our main services, we have adapted the way we do it. Most properties currently for sale will still sell via remote online Auction or prior. You can learn more about this process here

The new way we are doing open homes is working well.  We are still the same happy bunch of Villagers and our one on one conversations with buyers at private viewings is still a good vibe zone and takes us back to the good old days of pre-open home real estate. We are noticing that it lets us gain more insight into buyer needs and helps us qualify what they want with more specifics. This helps us match them with their most ideal property.

We are calling this the Villager New Normal.

Buyers and Sellers

Our sellers can feel at ease and understood that we are ensuring our buyers are ready to adhere to the Villager New Normal.

Because we are only one neat office on Darby street, we are ready to share everything we know as soon as we know it with transparency and clarity.

Our consultants are still in contact with buyers every day who still have intent on buying in the near future and are registered on our New Normal list of Villagers. It still is, as it always has been our top priority to match our buyers with homes.

If you are a buyer and intend on purchasing a property within the next six months, we would love to hear from you. Right now, there is a smaller pool of buyers and less competition, you are in the best position to let us match you to your best property according to your criteria.  We may have the right home already.

Buyers are still actively searching for property. Sellers are still wanting to sell their properties. We are continuing to find the most innovative ways of doing business.

Right now, home truly does begin here.
Ben Tindall.

Start before you’re ready

I have a closet bursting at the seams and because of this, things quickly become an unwieldy mess of clothes, shoes and accessories.

Some suggests it’s ‘self sabotage’ which I can see could be true, and in a nutshell that means I am putting off the inevitable (also true).

I’d be taking a wild guess here, but I’d say you thought of something specific on your to-do list while reading that last thing I wrote, right?

When it comes to selling, It’s most likely that we want our house to look perfect. We decide we need to do all the tasks that we have been putting off for the last however long.

But why do we live with them for so long and only fix them when we are no longer going to be there? One of the mysteries of selling I suppose?

But if there is one thing I wish I could tell last-year-Lisa – it would be: You can start any of those tasks before you’re ready to ‘mentally’ deal with them.

Read that again.

But what does that actually mean? It simply means, get out of your head and start moving forward. Because the longer you put it off, the longer you will think about it which often means ‘I’ll do it later’.

And let’s face it, later is when it becomes absolutely crucial = more stressy time for you.

We get a little glimpse into the lives of Sellers every day. Some might plant some trees a few months before they are selling, some might fix the leaky shower, some might lay a strip of grass over that weird spot where nothing grows properly.  But if you really want your home to look the best it can. My advice is to start before you’re ready to sell – I’m talking give your trees time to grow, give your paint time for you to change your mind again and give your mind some time to be still. 

So what’s the secret? Start before you’re ready and believe in the power of preparation!

If you’re like me and you need a push in the right direction, here are some steps I put together to help you get started to prepare to sell your home.


  1. Get out of your own head. You have everything you need to begin. 
  2. Set an intention for your task.
  3. Take action. Now is the time to physically start.
  4. Enjoy the process. Put some music on and enjoy the time you are taking to complete it. 
  5. Now that you have some momentum – Set your next task!

A nugget of truth:

We all start in the same place when selling a home – With fears, and personal challenges. But let me assure you, what you have right now is enough to begin your selling journey. The difference between being prepared and unprepared – is your choice to start anyway.


Get those extra-good tenants

Do you know what the number one secret to getting extra-good tenants is?

Be the kind of landlord your tenant wants to stick with. That means being polite, giving constructive feedback, sticking to your word and making their life easier. 

If we’re thinking similar, you’d know that a good tenant is worth their weight in gold and most of the tenants that we find will go out of their way to keep their landlords happy (okay, we might have a little something to do with that).

That’s a pretty good reason to invest in a property management team don’t you think?

Our Director of Property Management, Courtney helps to maximise investment properties in this area, weekly – getting Landlords better rental prices whilst keeping tenants happy!

Let’s have a chat soon so we can give you some more insights about our tenant selection process and see if we can help with yours.

Chat with Courtney now or have a look around our landlords page – Lease with us.

What do tenants notice first?

Like walking into any home, there are certain things that we pick up on before anything else. So to help out with getting the best out of your investment property, we thought we‘d put together a list of the things tenants notice first.

  1. Good advertising goes far

It seems a little obvious but professional photos and description of your property are extremely important when leasing your property. This helps to give your potential tenants the best first impression through an accurate representation of your property.  

  1. Friendly and Informative agent

Your Property Manager’s customer service levels matter. Tenants like anyone of us like to feel respected. How they are treated upon the first phone call enquiry or at the inspection will leave an impression if they really want to rent through a particular agency or not.

  1. Cleanliness & well maintained

How a property is presented at inspections will set a standard to how a property is expected to be maintained throughout a tenancy. Having the property professionally cleaned and all visible maintenance items repaired prior to inspections is highly recommended.

  1. Smells

There’s nothing more off-putting than living in a house with a funny smell. If your investment property is in need of a fresh scent or if you’re not sure. Here are some tips:

  1. Ask a trusted friend for their honest opinion.
  2. Place some freshly ground coffee in the space for a few days. This can help to lift some unpleasant smells. 
  3. Find the source of the smell and eliminate the cause.
  1. Quality of property

Finding a great tenant starts with the condition of the property.  It’s as simple as the laws of attraction. 

An average tenant will be looking for something average. A great tenant will be looking for something great that matches their standard of living. This is key to remember when preparing your property for leasing. 


We hope our list helps! If you have any other questions about what you can do to prepare your property for lease, contact Courtney today.

Is it a deal breaker?

One person’s deal breaker is another’s dream home.

Have you ever rejected a property purely based on personal preference?
We took it to the street and asked some Villagers what scenarios they’re willing to live with… and which ones they’re not.


Here’s what they said:

How does your property compare?

“My deal breaker is if its not pet friendly. Having a fence is always important so my little rascals don’t escape!” – Alan

“Deal breaker is air conditioning. Comfort is my number one priority. I want to always feel ‘just right’ “- Tom

“I can live with carpet in living rooms, but I can’t live without good natural light.” – Lindsey

“I can’t live without well-lit bathrooms.” – Dani

“I love to cook for friends so a small weird kitchen is not going to work for me. But I am willing to live with a small weird bathroom (which I currently have haha).” – Mon

“I don’t think I could live without some kind of outdoor area. I need to be able to open-up the house and walk outside.” – Paul

“Safety! A good area with a low crime rate is important for my young family.” – Carly


These responses are not unlike ones we’ve heard before. If you are looking to lease your property talk to Courtney today.