5 Tips For First Time Sellers


By Allison Mifsud

When the time comes to sell your property, whatever the reason, you should follow a few basic principles to make sure you get it right. The first thing you should do is research the market, inform yourself and get mentally prepared to sell your house. Think carefully about your marketing strategy and then engage all the professionals you can afford, to help you do it well. This will allow you to be mentally prepared, as well as to emotionally disengage from your attachment to your home. You can then prepare yourself for the business of selling it, so that together as a team you can achieve the best result possible. There are a number of mistakes that can result in a property not selling , but if you work your way through these 5 tips, you can avoid the common pitfalls and enjoy a relatively stress-free sale! 1. Get a Good Agent Having a fantastic agent on your side is extremely important. Take your time to find someonethat other people have recommended and go to a few open home inspections to observe how they conduct themselves. You will need to trust them and have a good rapport for the sale process to deliver the best possible result. Your instincts will help you out in these early meetings and it’s a good idea to meet a few different agents until you find one that you feel confident will fulfil your needs. Some people are tempted to ‘hedge their bets’ and list with multiple agents but this rarely succeeds and usually results in complications and poor results. 2. Take Pricing Your Home seriously There are a number of things to consider when pricing your home and setting an inaccurate price point can be disastrous. Don’t just look at the weekly listings and pick a number in the same ballpark. As soon as you start thinking about selling you should be watching the local market. Once you have a good sense of what properties similar to yours are selling for, you can set up an appointment with your local real estate agent for a property appraisal. Appraisals are conducted under strict professional guidelines, so this will give you a good indication of your likely price point. You can then discuss this with your agent and agree on a price – including your ideal selling price and the minimum price you’ll consider. This will be important when negotiations begin. 3. Invest in Preparing Your Home for Sale So many vendors lose out when selling their property because they didn’t put enough effort in to preparing and presenting their home, or were too worried about those associated expenses. Dedicating some time and effort to get your property into its best, most presentable condition is never a bad investment. Usually a property appraisal will have advice built into the explanation of the final figure and those notes can be the clues for you to use to improve your property. If you’re not satisfied with the appraisal estimate, you can then work on your property’s weak points and arrange another appointment to try to get a better appraisal figure a few months later. Advice such as ‘given the poor condition of xxx’ or ‘considering the front room is unrenovated …’ offer you points of discussion with the agent, enabling you to identify issues seen with their fresh and experienced eyes, and fix them. In addition, many home owners take too much of a DIY approach to marketing their property and lose out on thousands in the final sale price negotiations. There are numerous ways to make your home shine on inspection day, but you have to get people to notice that you’re selling first! Engaging professional designers, photographers and home staging consultants will ensure your home has a professional finish and puts its best foot forward, whenever a potential buyer looks at it. This will require a reasonable financial investment but, if done properly, you will make this back in spades when your property sells. 4. Define Your Auction Strategy Any number of things can happen on auction day and it can be a very emotional time, so a good agent will arrange a pre-auction meeting to help set some fundamental expectations for what is likely to happen on the day. At that meeting you will lock in your reserve price so that if things get rough, you know your minimum acceptable price. Discuss with your agent whether there’s any flexibility with your reserve, as this will assist the auction strategy. 5. Have a Good Exit Strategy in Place If you haven’t bought your next property before you have sold, then you’ll need to consider your exit strategy carefully. It may be as simple as securing short-term rental accommodation until you buy, or you might decide to rent somewhere for six months to take some of the pressure off the new house hunting process. You might also be juggling complex financial and logistical arrangements as settlement periods between your old house and the new one overlap. Whatever you think you might do, make sure that you have discussed solutions with your agent so that when it comes to agreeing on a settlement period, your decision is not clouded by uncertainty about what will happen next. It’s also useful from a psychological perspective to start to prepare yourself for moving house, so that the transition from the old house to the new, begins before the cold hard reality that the home you know and love is officially no longer yours sets in. DISCLAIMER The following advice is of a general nature only and intended as a broad guide. The advice should not be regarded as legal, financial or real estate advice. You should make your own inquiries and obtain independent professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances before making any legal, financial or real estate decisions.