Top 10 mistakes to avoid when selling your property
We’ve made a list, checked it twice, so you can avoid the most common and potentially costly pitfalls when it comes to selling your property.
Years of experience in this industry has taught us that shortcuts leave you short-changed, despite what you might read on the internet or hear from your mate at the pub. Selling your property is a massive event, so we’ve pulled together a list of things to watch out for when you decide to put your house on the market.
Overpricing the property, against recommendations
Too often, people want or hope for a figure that might not be realistic. Worst case scenario: you set an unrealistic price, the property sits on the market longer than you want, bills are piling up in the transition to your next home, and you end up selling for even less than the price guide. With time on the market, you’ve lost your negotiating position. Now you’re in a financial pickle. Don’t shoot for the stars; be realistic when it comes to pricing.
Listing with a real estate agent based on commission
I’ve seen this time and time again. A person calls and asks, “how much do you charge?” Most agents charge a similar fee, but there are those willing to cut their commission to get the listing. You could be buying an inexperienced or a low performing real estate agent, which means your small fee might end up being the most expensive choice because you miss out on a premium sale price.
Not investing in advertising
A lot of owners don’t see the benefit of advertising. This is very straightforward: you can’t sell a secret. The more people see it, means more potential buyers, they compete against each other, and the price goes up. It’s simple market forces at work, and you have to be visible to work it to your advantage.
Choosing a real estate agent who flies solo
You might think that this means more care and attention. But without a support team, a real estate agent working without a support team could be putting up a sign in Dapto while you’ve got a buyer for your property in Thirroul and they want to see the place. Then there are all the admin duties they have to do themselves, which all adds up to being spread thin and spending less time working on selling your property. Whereas having a support team means their attention is focussed on getting you a premium price.
Poor property presentation
A property could tick the regular boxes of price, features, location and so on, but buyers don’t want to make a substantial financial and emotional investment only to be unhappy down the track. This means that managing perception is vital. Clean up the yard, pack away tools, toys and anything else that looks out of place. Inside, you want the home to smell good. A bit of ambient music helps set the mood during inspections. Make sure your property leaves a positive, lasting first impression.
Choosing the wrong method of sale
Some agencies will push you toward auction, no matter what. But unless the property is exceptionally unique, hard to price, or the market is red hot, an auction may not be the way to go. There are exceptions, but generally, if there’s enough sales evidence to establish a price, there’s a fair amount of competition, an auction is not best for the vendor, it’s best for the agent. There are multiple ways to sell a property, from auction to tender, and the method used is based on market conditions, the property type, supply, and much more. An experienced real estate agent knows which method is the most effective for your property.
Avoiding holding open house sessions
We hold open houses because that’s what the buyers want. There are properties and circumstances where it’s not appropriate, but generally speaking, the best results are achieved when you tidy the place up, throw the doors open, and let people have a look around. Picture this: a young couple like what they see and ask for an offer form, and across the other side of the room, someone hears that, and they want a form too. Latecomers see people walking around with offer forms in their hands and talking to the agent. They all want this house. It’s now game on. They don’t need to be told to make a good offer; they will. That’s the power of a well-run open house.
Taking advice from unqualified people
Unfortunately, I’ve seen this too many times and it breaks my heart. A young couple buying their first home, they’ve found one, it’s in their budget, needs some work but otherwise, it’s a winner. If they’re close to the family, they’ll ask to bring mum and dad through to see what they think. But because mum and dad are at a different stage of their lives, they come with upmarket expectations for an entry-level home and tell the couple to keep looking. A couple of years later the couple is still looking, regretting not buying that house. Free advice from well-meaning family and friends could be the most expensive advice you receive.
Thinking you’ll save money by selling privately
If it were that easy, everybody would do it. Let’s say, for example, you sell your property for $1 million, you save the 2% agent’s fee, pocketing $20,000. Happy days. In reality, an excellent real estate agent would have got you a premium price, not only paying for themselves but getting anywhere up to 10% extra. You just gave away tens of thousands of dollars. Why? Because agents not only market your property well, they are skilled negotiators, whereas the homeowner is too emotionally tied to the sale to play hardball.
Not getting contact details from property inspections
First, during an open house, I’m responsible for the security of the property, and I take that seriously. Getting people to sign in and show ID helps keep people honest. The main reason to get contact details and check them is that you, the vendor, want me to chase down every lead. I can’t make follow up calls ask what they thought, do they want another look, and so on, if I don’t have their contact information. It’s a basic but too often overlooked part of the job.
The take-home message here is to talk to us early in the process so we can guide you through it, give you sound advice, and help you get a premium price. Start with a free appraisal, so you have an up-to-date price guide for your home.
Nothing excites me more than hearing the phrase, “it can’t be done”. To outsiders, selling real estate can look like a straightforward business, but there are numerous challenges and pitfalls that always make it interesting. But I love a challenge. I love working with people and helping solve problems. I’m the sort of person who takes on a sale that others have put in the too-hard basket. What I get out of it is the satisfaction that I’ve helped someone with a major moment in their lives, passing on my knowledge and experience gained from 24 years in the industry to help clients achieve their property goals.