Advice and Opinion

Buyer hesitancy can cause considerable disappointment

For Sale

In a residential property market where demand exceeds supply – and this is still the situation in more Greater Cape Town suburbs than most people realize – it is surprising how often keen buyers lose out on the properties they really want for the simple reason that they have great difficulty in making up their minds.  This was said recently by Rowan Alexander, a Director of the Alexander Swart Property Group.

“In residential marketing we regularly come across buyers who, despite ongoing assurances from a reputable estate agent, suspect that if they look around a little longer they have a good chance of finding something slightly better and slightly cheaper – and they will continue to hold onto this idea even when they have found a house that in every way is ideal for them.  They then delay making a decision, only to find to their chagrin that some other less cautious buyer has put in an offer and had it accepted. Quite frequently,” said Alexander, “the thwarted buyers end up getting something less suitable and not as good value as the house to which they responded enthusiastically earlier on”.

“If a buyer does come across a home that is more or less right for his budget and for his family he may have to commit himself to paying a little more than he expected, but he should find some means of doing this – perhaps by raising bridging finance – rather than go on endlessly looking for a better deal.  All my experience shows that this tends to lead to great disappointment and unhappiness.”

Accurately priced houses in popular suburbs such those in which A S Property is active, e.g. Brackenfell, Kraaifontein, Durbanville and Kuils River, do not stick in a good market for long, said Alexander.  The average time taken to sell a house in, say, Brackenfell is 40 to 45 days.  If the buyer hesitates he is likely to find the home sold under his feet.

Conversely, said Alexander, those sellers who hope to cash in on the current good markets by overpricing their homes are adopting a tactic that time and again has given poor results.

“Buyers are far more realistic and shrewd than most sellers realize,” said Alexander.  “Most buyers today are avid readers of Internet websites and they very quickly acquire a good understanding of current price levels.  They cannot be suckered into paying 10% to 20% above the going rate.  All too often, therefore, the overpriced home sticks on the market until nine or 12 months later it sells for a reduced price, quite possibly below its true market value because in potential buyers’ minds it has acquired a bad image and a stigma.  Overpricing in the hope that an ignorant buyer will step up to the plate is, I can assure you, a strategy to be avoided at all costs.”