Selling a home can be quite a process at the best of times. In the current market, it is particularly difficult, and sellers need to pull out all the stops to make their properties stand out from that of their competition.
According to Jill Lloyd, Veteran Agent and Area Specialist in Claremont and Clarepark for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty, appointing the right agent to partner with is important but it is equally important for sellers to take an active role in the process as there are a number of things a homeowner can do to significantly facilitate the sale.
“In an over saturated market, sellers cannot afford to sit back and simply wait for that one buyer who might be able to see past the flaws to the home’s potential or recognise a rough diamond in a sea of worthy competition”.
“There is undoubtedly an element of luck to selling a home quickly, but if you’re doing everything right and working closely with your agent, it’s only a matter of time before the right buyer will come along.”
Jill shares seventeen ‘tired and true’ tips to ensure that your property will stand out from the crowd in a tough market, selling as quickly as possible for the highest possible price:
Research and prepare: Before you contact an agent, do your homework and research the market in your area. What are similar properties selling for, what features are popular, which listed properties stand out for you and why?
Play the agent field: Good agents are worth their weight in gold, but the wrong agent can just as easily scupper a deal. Interview at least two agents and don’t be won over by the highest valuation received, especially in a tough buyer’s market when the highest valuation is usually not the best valuation. Rather select an agent based on their skill sets, local market and area knowledge, the company’s marketing ability and their track record in your neighbourhood.
Pocket your pride and price your property right: You can’t afford to price yourself out of contention, especially in a strident buyer’s market. If you have appointed a strong agent, you should trust them to guide you. Remember that there is a difference between market price and the bricks and mortar value – and there is always a ceiling to what the market is willing to pay. Rather create a bidding war with competitive pricing than have your home sit on the market for ages with no offers.
Touch up – but don’t over-upgrade: Quick fixes always pay off, but you are unlikely to see a return on investment for major make-overs just before selling. Make sure all fixtures and fittings are working, replace broken door handles and fix leaky taps. If possible, give the interior and exterior a fresh coat of paint, but stick to a neutral palette so that the new homeowner can add their personal touch and splash of colour.
Don’t underestimate the importance of the kitchen: It literally is the heart of the home and it’s the one room where you can splurge a little more when touching up – and recoup most of the money. If you have a little extra cash, buy one quality stainless steel appliance because when people see one high-end appliance, they assume all the others are also good quality. It will also update the kitchen nicely.
You only have one chance to make a good first impression: Before setting foot inside, a buyer will already have formed an impression and judged your home, so don’t neglect to spruce up the kerb appeal. Paint the fence, mow the lawn and it’s never a waste of money to plant some flowers or greenery if your garden is bare. Entryways are also important so make sure your front door is presentable and if you have a porch, outdoor furniture and a pot plant won’t go amiss.
Professional photographs – and plenty of them: With so many properties on the market at the moment, you need to grab potential buyer’s attention and the best way to do this is with quality photographs that show your home to its best advantage. A meagre selection and pictures depicting mess and clutter will ensure your home attracts very little interest.
Compare your advert with others: Have a look at your property ads online and compare them to other similar properties in the area. Particularly examine the photos, what the lead image is, how big the rooms look and also read the property description. If yours doesn’t stand out from the others, ask your agent to amend the advert.
Keep it light and bright: Good natural light features on most buyer wish lists so maximise the light in your home by cleaning the windows, tying back curtains, opening blinds, increasing the wattage of light bulbs and trimming bushes and trees outside windows. A light, bright and airy home is much more sellable.
Be flexible with viewing times: Yes, it’s a pain, but the sooner you let prospective buyers view your home, the sooner it will sell.
Always be show-ready: You never know when your buyer is going to walk through the door and it’s very possible that he or she will want to view at short notice. Don’t leave dishes in the sink, make sure the bathrooms are always sparkling and that bedroom floors are sock- and underwear-free.
Never show the property yourself: It may be true that no one knows your house better than you, but viewing properties when the owner is at home can make buyers feel very uncomfortable. They are also less likely to ask questions or voice opinions for fear of offending the homeowner. Rather give your estate agent a set of keys and schedule viewings for when you can be out the house.
Make it Experiential: Potential buyers should be able to imagine themselves living in your home so make it as inviting as possible. Try to stimulate all the senses with enticing aromas like freshly baked biscuits, brightly coloured flowers, set the dinner table with good china. The goal is to make people feel reluctant to leave the warmth of your home.
De-personalise your home: This is very important because the more personal items in your house, the less potential buyers can imagine themselves living there. Pack away photographs and personal clutter, keep the fridge clear of kid’s drawings.
Half-empty closets: Storage space is one thing every buyer looks for and over-stuffed cupboards will give the impression that there is insufficient storage in your home. If possible, take half the stuff out of your closets then neatly organise what’s left. Buyers will inevitably snoop, so make sure all your wardrobes and cabinets are clean and tidy.
Clear the garage: Yes, it’s the perfect place to hide the clutter from the house and its where you store all the things you seldom use, but rather take the opportunity to clear it now to make a better impression and save yourself the hassle when you move. A messy garage will detract from the effort you make in the house.
Conceal the pets: Not everyone is a dog- or cat-lover and being welcomed by wet licks or stumbling over a smelly litter box could put of a keen buyer. If possible, take the mutts with you when people are viewing – or spoil them and take them for a walk.