Hot tips to sell in a cooler market
Is the lukewarm property market giving you cold feet?
Even at the best of times, selling a property brings a lot of uncertainty – so what’s it like out there now that the market is a little cooler and what can you do to make for an easier ride? I’m not an economist, but I’ve seen first-hand what makes a house sell and what gives buyers cold feet so here are some ideas gathered from the coal-face that will make the transaction more straight forward for vendors entering today’s market.
Coco Chanel once said ‘In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different.’ The same is true of property and in a slower market it’s those homes that are too good to miss out on that succeed. Buyers lack imagination and they have a critical eye so they will buy a well-presented home more quickly and at a higher price than one that is poorly presented.
Start by de-cluttering – put excess belongings and furniture into storage and you’ll make your home look bigger and brighter. If a room is dark, look for ways to create more light. Quality taps and door handles can make an immediate impact for little investment, and a fresh coat of paint in a neutral colour gives the impression your home has been well maintained. Tidy the garden and make sure the front of your home provides the right first impression.
Pay for a home stylist to stage your property. Investing a little in making your property look its best pays off with a higher sale price. If your house is empty, hire some quality furniture to whet buyers’ appetites. You’re selling a lifestyle, not just a home.
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Attend to repairs and maintenance.
Ask your agent to list the repairs and maintenance they recommend you complete prior to going on the market. Get them to itemise the things that will deliver a faster and easier transaction and omit the things that won’t add value. Be critical and try to look at your home through fresh eyes. De-clutter like mad, clean the blinds and curtains, get the exterior and gutters professionally cleaned, paint the front door, water blast the deck – in short, repair and tidy the things you’ve looked past during the time of your ownership.
If there’s a defect on your title or an outstanding consent, get it rectified or consented before you list. Structures built without the necessary Building Consent post 1 July 1992 should be able to achieve a Code Compliance Certificate if they were built to the requirements of the Building Code. Structures built prior to 1 July 1992 should be able to achieve a Certificate of Acceptance if they were built to the requirements of the Building Code at the time. If consent can’t be obtained, think about the best way to disclose the status of the illegal or defective item. Your agent can guide you on this and they’ll line you up with an inspector who can document a report on any illegal works to allay buyers’ concerns and help them get their finance over the line.
These days it’s the buyers’ bank and insurance company who make the final call on whether a property is a sound investment. If an illegal structure comes up following your purchaser’s building inspection, there’s every chance your sale will stall or worse still, fall over, so it’s better to be on the front foot and negate or reduce these issues from the get go. The rule of thumb is ‘if in doubt, disclose’ and the more information you can provide your buyer, the more chance they’ll have securing finance. Knowing what’s under the hood of your property soothes the bank’s nerves.
Know your buyer.
The rules of the real estate game have changed and it’s the agents who have a knack for digital marketing who are succeeding. Ask your agent to create a campaign that targets the right buyer and get them to demonstrate how they’ve done this successfully with other listings. They should know what a rock star listing looks like in terms of views on TradeMe, what emotional triggers to pull, what day of the week to go live, what time of day to run open homes, and have some suggestions for which media tools to include in your schedule. Ask them what their contingency plan is if the first plan doesn’t quite come off. The free websites we create for our listings are a powerful indicator of whether or not a listing is flying because we can see the traffic that goes to them and where that traffic is coming from.
Be realistic on price.
There are so many free online valuation tools these days that your buyer will have formed an opinion on what your property is worth before they get inside it. You need to be across this detail and your agent will bring you their perspective too. As the market is constantly moving, they should keep providing fresh data throughout your campaign as well.
Get a good agent.
Take care choosing an agent to handle your property sale. It’s still pretty easy and fairly cheap to become a real estate agent in New Zealand. It might even be too easy – we have a market flooded with agents whose only purpose seems to be to ramp up the hype, and deliver very little actual value. Ask around and get referrals from friends who value similar things as you. Consider the way they structure fees, as often there’s very little incentive for agents to push for that extra $10 or $15k – which is money that can make a huge difference. To guide your thinking, download our free eBook ‘The Step-by-Step Guide to Choosing a Real Estate Agent.’
Fundamentally, selling in today’s market and getting a great price shouldn’t be about playing the greasy salesman – it’s about transparency, openness and making buyers feel confident. A great agent will understand that and work to reach a deal you’re thrilled with, that doesn’t leave the buyer with a bad taste in their mouth.
CASE STUDY: 72 Roberton Road, Avondale
Chanel also said a girl should be two things – classy and fabulous – and this bungalow in Avondale is a brilliant example of a property that transformed itself for sale and stood out in a quiet market. The vendors took our advice and vacated the tenants, obtained an outstanding Code Compliance Certificate, attended to some minor repairs and maintenance and staged the property for the market. As a result, the vendors enjoyed a ferocious auction campaign and the property sold under the hammer for a record in the area. Job done.
Antonia is the Director of The Property Market, Auckland’s best little real estate agency. They’ve already sold over $200m of property and they’re building a sweet, boutique business that does great work for a smaller number of clients. Their 2% commission fee delivers great savings and means their clients can invest better into their next home or enjoy a relaxing post-sale holiday. They’re fully licensed and they offer the same range of services as the big real estate agencies. See thepropertymarket.co.nz for more info.
** Terms and conditions:
Clients must agree to the terms supplied by Polished staging and sign an agency agreement with The Property Market before 5pm Friday 1 September 2017. The Property Market reserves the right to decline unsuitable listings and if a property is unsold at the expiry date of the agency agreement, the client agrees to pay the cost of staging. To be eligible for the offer, clients must arrange their mortgage through Squirrel.