As a home seller, you obviously can’t control inflation, interest rates or any other economic factors that have an effect on the real estate market – but you definitely can influence the reaction that prospective buyers have to your specific property, and take steps to increase the likelihood of your home selling fast.
So says Berry Everitt, CEO of the Chas Everitt International property group, who has the following top tips for sellers keen to substantially increase the likelihood of their homes being sold quickly, and at the best possible price:
Do not try to sell your home yourself.
“The truth is that most private sellers do not succeed and end up wasting a lot of marketing time before turning to an agent for help anyway. Some of the problems they commonly encounter are overpricing, unqualified buyers, and dishonest and even dangerous individuals visiting their homes in the guise of prospective buyers.
“Rather bring in expert help from the start, in the form of a qualified and experienced estate agent who really knows the local market, has all the right information at hand to help you set a market-related asking price, has the resources and platforms to market your home properly, and has the skills to negotiate on your behalf,” he says.
Take time to choose the right agent and give them an exclusive mandate
Writing in the Property Signposts newsletter, Everitt says sellers should seek out the top-selling agents in their area and interview several before deciding which one they want to work with. “Consider which agent is offering you the best marketing plan, has the most up-to-date information about price trends in your neighbourhood and is really committed to helping you sell.
“Do not make your choice based on which agent suggests the highest asking price for your property, as this could just be a strategy to flatter you and secure your mandate. The agent you want is the one able to back up a suggested asking price or estimated selling price with proper information about the prices that have recently been paid for similar properties in your area, which prospective buyers are your target market and how you are most likely to get them to view your home.”
Aim for a great first impression
This may seem obvious, he says, “but a surprising number of home sellers don’t seem to be aware – or to care – that inviting prospective buyers into a messy, dirty or smelly home is really not a smart move. Agents can tell plenty of tales about homes that perfectly matched a buyer’s requirements in terms of layout, size and features but failed to sell simply because the seller couldn’t be bothered to clean or tidy up before a viewing.”
Even though the majority of prospective buyers are shopping online these days and will often select homes to view based on the listing photographs, they want it to look the same way when they arrive in person. “They will in most instances not look beyond cluttered counters, dirty dishes, unmade beds and grimy baths to try to discover the ‘hidden treasure’ that lies beneath. So if you want them to see your property as their dream home, you have to help them by presenting it in a pristine state that makes a great first and second impression, otherwise they will quickly just move on to their next prospect.”
Do not “hover” during viewings
You will naturally be anxious to hear what prospective buyers think of your home, but your presence during a viewing is just likely to make them uncomfortable and keen to leave, says Everitt.
“But if they can look around at their own pace and ask your agent some questions without you listening in, they are much more likely to stay a while and discover all the great things about your home that you’d like them to notice – and that make a sale much more likely. Trust your agent to report back to you after each viewing.”
Be flexible when considering offers
Price may be the most important factor in a home sale, but sellers need to remember that it is not the only one, he says. “For example, an offer that is not conditional on the buyers having to sell their existing home means that you will be able to conclude your transaction more quickly and move on to your next home.
“Similarly, it may be worth considering a lower offer from a buyer who is able to pay cash or has already been approved for a bond, because it will save you time and money. Or it might be important to you to be able to negotiate your relocation date with your buyer to fit in with a job change or the end of a school term.
“So before you reject any offer out of hand, discuss it with your agent and consider all the pros and cons.”