After 3 weeks, 4 weekends, 8 open for inspections, 22 nervous nights and 1 auction we have sold Bailey Ave. All done, all silent, no more bids, SOLD.
If you have sold a property before then you may well know what I am talking about. If not, then that “joy” possibly awaits you in the future…and if that future is now, then here is my advice to you having gone through the experience…
1. Find a real estate agent you trust and have confidence in – don’t worry what commission you have to pay him/her. The difference is relatively minor compared to the dollars you can make or lose by choosing the wrong agent. A good agent might be able to sell your house for significantly higher than you anticipate and that extra bit of many spent obviously could be well worth it! (the difference between 1.5% and 2.0% is $500 more for every $100,000 of your sale price)
2. When looking at agents, ask lots of questions about their processes, exactly what will happen on everyday from the time you appoint them through to settlement…Look for evidence that they are organized and systemized. Do they turn up on time? Do they follow up appointments or calls with emails? Do they get back to you in the time frame they promise? Look for testimonials (especially from people you might know and trust!)
3. Presentation is vital – Most people are really bad at imagining. So it is best to present the house well so they can see it with their own eyes. Show them how the house could be used/decorated rather than leaving it to them to figure it out. The simplest thing you can do, and the one agents will always talk about is de-cluttering. Seriously throw out or move into storage as much as you can so that the property feels spacious, neat and clean.
Fix all the obvious things that may be “road blocks” to a sale. What that exactly means will differ for each property…there is no point re-stumping a house that is likely to be demolished…but in an otherwise beautiful house creaky floor boards should be nailed down. We sanded and polished our floor boards and did touch up paint work (inside and out).
We moved out of our house during the auction campaign. Most people wouldn’t (because of the cost and inconvenience) but with 2 young kids running amok it was way too difficult to keep the house clean and neat. Even still we wiped benches, cleaned floors and got fresh flowers each weekend. The house we bought always had the smell of freshly baked cake when we went through…you can bet that did not hurt our impression of the property. Some places leave out lollies or chocolates or have music playing through the house. All these things contribute to building an emotional connection between would be buyers and the property.
4. First impressions count – if I had a dollar for every time my parents told me this. But there is no doubt it is true. So think about what you can do easily about the street presentation of your place (if it is a house). Tidy the garden, plant a few scrubs, even a few pots with flowers (that will come with you to your new place). All create a lovely welcome to would be purchasers.
5. You need to be comfortable and confident about everything that is happening. So if you have questions or concerns get on the phone to your agent and ask! You should expect that the agent will tell you clearly and well in advance what they need from you.
The agent should also report back to you after each “open for inspection” with details of how many groups came through, how many parties appear interested, how many parties asked to see the contract (and indication they might be interested) etc. And they should update that mid week after they have rung everyone who came through the property. If there is not sufficient interest then ask what action they would propose to remedy this.
6. In the days leading up to the auction you will be asked to set a reserve price. The agent, while looking to get you the best price, will like the reserve to be on the low side to guarantee a sale. Here is where it helps to have a really good idea as to what the property is worth (think in terms of a price range, not a single figure) and stick firm to it. Having said that, while you might set the reserve at the high end of the price range you may need to be flexible and adjust your expectations as the auction unfolds. As agents love to tell sellers “the property is only worth what people are prepared to pay for it”.
It is a stressful time, there is no doubt, but it is significantly easier if you are surrounded by a ‘team of experts’ that can guide you through the process and be there as a sounding board and to help you make the many decisions that will need to be made.
If we can help you with this, either by using our own experience or by referring you on to other professionals then please let us know.
Feel free to also check out our video on selling tips from a leading real estate agent.