Seller Advice: Five Essential Moves in Your Quest for a Buyer
Category Seller Advice
As a home seller, you don’t control the real estate market – but to a large extent you can control the reaction that potential buyers will have to your property, and influence how long it will spend on the market and how much it will sell for.
Our top tips for achieving the best possible price in the shortest possible time include the following:
- Don’t 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 under- or overpricing, unqualified buyers, and dishonest and even dangerous individuals visiting their homes in the guise of potential buyers.
Rather bring in expert help from the start, in the form of a qualified and experienced estate agent who knows the market, has all the right connections, and will market your home properly, negotiate on your behalf and guide you through the whole sale process.
- Take time to pick the right agent. Seek out the top-selling agents in your area and interview several before deciding which one you 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 a good communicator.
Don’t make the 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. It may seem obvious, but a surprising number of home sellers don’t seem to be aware 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.
The fact is that the majority of prospective buyers want to see a home that looks as though it has been cared for. They will not look past cluttered counters, dirty dishes, unmade beds and grimy baths to try to discover the “hidden treasure” that lies beneath. If you want them to see your property as their dream home, you need 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.
- Don’t hover during viewings. Of course you’re anxious to hear what prospective buyers think of your home, but your presence during a viewing or on a show day is just likely to make them uncomfortable and keen to leave. If they can look around at their own pace and ask some questions without you listening in, they are much more likely to stay a while and give your agent a chance to point out all the great aspects of your home that you’d like them to notice - and that make a sale much more likely.
- Be flexible when considering offers. Price may be the most important factor, but it is not the only one. 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 faster and quickly 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.
Author: Barry Davies