All signs in our housing markets currently point to a softening of buyer activity and transaction levels, which is a sure sign that we’re entering a slower phase of the property cycle.
Whether this is a long-term transition or a slight seasonal glitch in the housing matrix is really still uncertain, but what we do know is the rate of things like ‘days on market’ are starting to rise.
So as we seemingly find ourselves in a period that’s more favourable for buyers, where more stock means less competition, what can vendors do in order to accommodate the changing conditions and make your home stand out from the crowd?
- Keep it real.
One of the biggest blunders we see sellers make in a market that’s slowing off the back of a significant frothy phase, is to set unreasonably high expectations when it comes to the asking price.
They might do a bit of research, see that things were going gangbusters for the last few quarters, and mistakenly think this will continue.
Don’t alienate your market by asking a price that in no way reflects the current conditions or owner-occupier opinion. The best way to accurately ascertain the most appropriate asking price for your property is to…
- Seek advice from multiple agents.
But don’t be tempted to engage the one who ’blows smoke’ you know where.
Have at least three agents visit the premises to provide their expert opinion as to where your house sits in the market of the day.
Be wary though, as some agents will attempt to secure your listing by quoting an unreasonably inflated asking price and then gradually conditioning you to accept a lower offer.
Ask to see the data their valuation is based on, in order to get a clearer understanding as to how they came to the figure suggested.
- Do your own research and be prepared.
Don’t be tempted to just sign a sales authority that binds you to one particular agent without first undertaking some of your own research into the local market.
This is arguably one of your largest and most important assets after all, so you need to take the process of selling it very seriously.
Agents are less likely to tell you what they think you want to hear if you can demonstrate that you’re not entirely ignorant when it comes to the property game.
Here’s where a little bit of knowledge can go a long way and with so much market data literally at your fingertips, it’s never been easier to get a sense of how a particular location is performing.
- Present your home to perfection.
First impressions count. The initial introduction potential buyers have to your property is via your chosen agent’s online marketing campaign.
Professional photographers can generally make anything look good, but they can’t Photoshop out-of-control clutter or signs of neglect from a picture.
It’s critical that you maintain the property in a clean and tidy order for the duration of the marketing campaign, paying particular attention to readying it for the big photo shoot and creating that all-important ‘kerb appeal’.
One of the best ways to de-clutter and keep your property picture perfect is to pack away any personal belongings you don’t need to access, stowing away boxes in an offsite storage unit.
Keep lawns maintained, garden beds weeded and the exterior looking its best. By minimising any potential for mess, you’ll have less cleaning to do at the drop of a hat and be able to…
- Make your home available for viewing at optimal times.
Potential buyers can’t always make it to a pre-scheduled OFI, particularly if it’s at a time where people tend to have prior commitments. Consider Saturday mornings for instance, where many parents are ferrying kids to and from sporting events.
It’s important that you’re flexible in when you’ll allow the agent to bring someone through. Ideally, provide them with a key under the strict proviso that they accompany anyone to the premises. This means they can show people through during the days when you might be at work.
If you make arrangements for your agent to conduct inspections at your property when you’re not contactable to confirm arrangements beforehand, they should let you know about the prospect’s feedback in a timely manner.
Of course if you’re selling an investment that’s currently under a lease agreement, you’ll be required to provide plenty of notice to your tenants when it comes to arranging inspections.
- Think about updates.
A coat of paint, new light fittings or drapes and even some cosmetic updates to the kitchen and bathroom(s) can make the world of difference when it comes to giving your property that extra competitive edge.
Importantly, try not to overcapitalise on any refurbishment works, thereby eating into your potential profits, and make sure you renovate according to your market rather than your own personal tastes.
For more advice on renovation costs, click here.
- Consider all reasonable offers.
Don’t be one of those vendors who receives a reasonable offer, reflective of current market conditions, only to stubbornly dig your heels in and ‘wait for more money’.
You may end up having to accept an offer below your initial expectations after months (or even years!) of waiting anyway, as often occurs in instances where vendors fail to heed the advice of an agent suggesting they should sell.
While you wait for bigger returns, the next property you could have been buying will likely have increased in price, thereby cancelling out any extra little cream you might manage to get on top of the deal you could’ve already done.
Be prepared to entertain all reasonable proposals. If someone is dangling on the end of your hook but isn’t quite there yet with a decent price, have your agent do some work to reel them in with a counter-offer.