REDUCE the stress – and get the right price – when selling your biggest asset.
Selling your home can be difficult and the costs of making a mistake are high. After years of experience in the industry selling and buying homes, here is my guide to being a smart seller.
Get the right agent
When working out who you might want to interview, choose agents who have a track record in your area and are known for selling similar homes.
Check your local newspaper’s real estate section and see which agents have the most listings online.
Check their profiles on Facebook and Twitter.
Once you have three or four on your list, try to attend their open for inspections to see them in action. Ask their opinion about your home and its value, what sales method they would use, their knowledge of the market and area and – my favourite question – what they think is wrong with your home. Then ask how they would overcome this when selling the property.
Find out what your home is worth
What your home is worth may not be what you want to sell for. Properties that sell for more than their market value are rare.
Remember valuation is an art, not a science. Look at homes for sale near you — are they worth more or less than yours? Are they nicer or uglier than yours? Be honest.
It is a tricky process but do get a rough idea before the agents come in. And when a figure is suggested, ask why and how it was calculated.
Get your own sense or what your property is worth; look in the paper and search online for homes like yours in your area as a start.
If you are really confused, get a valuation done. It costs just a few hundred dollars but can buy you peace of mind and give you an independent benchmark.
Marketing your home
You can’t sell a secret. Every buyer possible needs to know that your home is on the market and you need to reach the broadest number of possible buyers.
Choose the print and online options most buyers are attracted to and that have proven track records.
RP Data research shows the combination of print advertising with online is the most powerful way to sell your home.
Get involved and check every picture and line of text. Demand creativity, not essays. There should be good English with no typos; you and the agent need to proof read the content.
Make sure the number of bedrooms and bathrooms is correct and that the images show your home at its best.
Know and test your motivation
Except for real boom times, which are not that often, it is sellers who stand in the way of a sale, not the property.
If you are not adequately motivated, you won’t put effort into the presentation, will skimp on the marketing and your price expectations will lead to either no sale or a long time on the market.
Motivated sellers get the job done.
They look at what is going on around them.
Ask yourself if there are any negative personal or financial repercussions if you don’t sell soon?
Will you accept that you may not get the sale price you hoped for?
Is waiting not really an option? If you are realistic about these questions, congratulations, you are a motivated vendor. A motivated vendor will be realistic about these questions.
Which sale method is best for you?
Ensure you understand the different sale methods and the rules and protocols of each.
Write a list of the pros and cons of each method for selling your home.
A quick look online or in the newspaper will tell you how most homes in your area are sold.
If you follow the successful crowd, you will give buyers the sale method most common for their market.
Auctions are a good option if most homes in your area are sold in this manner, you need a sale within a defined period or your home is unique.
Many people believe that if a home put to auction does not sell on the day, it is a disaster. But research shows most homes that fail to sell on the day do sell quickly afterwards.
The benefit of the auction process is that it gives you an intense period of market feedback so you can adjust your price expectations. Get your pricing wrong with a private treaty process and your home can languish for months or even years.
No matter how great your home is, how creative and successful your marketing has been or even how strong the market is, negotiation is key.
Even if your negotiator is your agent, you, too, are involved. You need to be in a position of strength. One of the tricks is to put yourself in a buyer’s mindset. Learn what the buyer’s motivation is to buy your home.
Knowledge is power and you need to keep emotions out of it. A buyer often will try a low offer, and that upsets vendors. But see it as part of the game – and in many cases you would do the same. Don’t take things personally and remember that successful negotiating is one of the key reasons you are employing an agent, so let them handle it. If you trust them – you should because you vetted them thoroughly – follow their advice.