Selling your home quickly not only means you can move on with your life – you also don’t have to keep it pristine all the time, juggling your schedule to make time for viewings. However, during tougher economic times sellers need to pull out all the stops in order to yield the highest possible return in the shortest possible time.
Many homeowners are struggling to sell their homes at all let alone getting top dollar realised and, in a market where buyers are spoilt for choice, it’s especially important to pull out all the stops to ensure that your home captures buyer’s attention. Buyers are also increasingly well-informed, so sellers with a clear understanding of the market, an awareness of current trends and realistic price expectations will always capture buyer’s attention first. Whilst there are a number of factors over which sellers have no control and which are best handled by property professionals, however there are several things a seller can do to attract investors and help to clinch the deal.
Pick the right time to sell your home
You may not have any choice in the matter, but if you do, spring and summer are typically the best times to sell, as families want to move and settle in before the school year starts, and home viewings and inspections are always easier and more pleasant in nice weather. Plus, homes always look more appealing when the sun is shining.
Appoint the right agent
In a slow market, this is critical and exuberant enthusiasm is not enough. You not only need an experienced professional but one with a thorough knowledge of the market in your area as well as a good sales track record. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Consider sole mandate
Many sellers understandably believe that appointing more than one agency will ensure a faster sale but this is not usually the case. Sole mandates create a real working commitment between seller and agent to actively work together to procure the best and fastest sale on the property, with the least disruption and stress which affords the seller peace of mind during what can be a very stressful time. It gives them better control over how their property is marketed.
An accurate evaluation is the best evaluation
This not only determines the final sale price achieved but also the length of time a home spends on the market. Listing your home for the highest possible price may seem like the sensible thing to do as we expect buyers to negotiate it down, but unfortunately it doesn’t work that way.
It is critical to price your home correctly right from the beginning because when buyers have as much choice as they currently do, they look for value for money and will usually opt for a similar home at a better price. And, if your home spends too long on the market, potential buyers will begin to wonder what is wrong with it.
The seller’s selection of a conveyancing firm is equally as important as their choice of an agent as their experience and familiarity with the process is pivotal in achieving a seamless sale and driving the transaction towards registration with minimal delays.
Don’t leave compliance certificates until the last minute
Property owners are required by law to ensure that the property is legally fit for sale and before the transfer can take place, the transfer attorney must be in possession of the relevant compliance certificates.
These don’t take long to acquire if all is in order but, if problems are discovered, you also have bear the costs of the necessary work to be done before the certificate can be issued, which can delay transfer or even scupper the deal if left to the last minute.
Ensure you have a current set of council-approved plans
While house plans are not a legal requirement of sale, many buyers are now requesting them and these can take months to finalise. This lengthy process will almost certainly sour the deal.
Tackle the DIY
There is no need to go overboard and renovate your home which can also result in over-capitalisation, but things like dripping taps, broken lights and chipped tiles will be noticed positively. A fresh coat of paint or varnish on an old front door also won’t go amiss.
Presentation is everything
If a buyer walks in and has a great first impression, the whole viewing is relaxed. Viewing someone else’s occupied home is slightly uncomfortable for most people anyway. When it’s scattered with their personal bits and bob’s it can make them even more uneasy.
It’s also a distraction from what they should be looking at – the merits of your home. Remember that it’s all about imagined lives – potential buyers must be able to imagine themselves living in the house and it’s hard to do when it’s so obviously your personal space.
Create the illusion of space
Pack away extra seating, unnecessary bits of furniture like too many occasional tables and other unnecessary items that will make rooms seem smaller. Especially if your home is on the small side. Clear countertops of as much as you can.
This allows potential buyers to imagine their appliances in your kitchen – and the meals they will prepare there. Also, half empty wardrobes if they are over-full and untidy, so that viewers don’t get the impression that there is too little storage space in your home.
This very important as it’s where first impressions are first formed so always tidy both the garden and the entrance to your property. Trim bushes and don’t neglect the pavement outside. Make sure the pool is sparkling clean, even if you are selling your home in the dead of winter.
Light it up
Maximise the natural light in your home as good light tops most buyer wish lists and many buyers are happy to overlook other flaws if the home seems spacious and light, bright and airy. Wash the windows, tie back the curtains and if necessary, change lampshades and increase the wattage of your bulbs.
A picture is worth a thousand words
Don’t waste all the effort you have gone to by snapping a few pics with your cell phone. Liaise with your agent and arrange for a professional photographer to really do your home justice.
Be flexible with showing times
It can be a challenge juggling a show home (and keeping it pristine!) alongside a busy work and a full family schedule. However, the simple fact is that the more available you make your home for viewing, the greater the chance of it moving off the market.