Is now a good time to sell? This is a question that is regularly directed at real estate agents. The current state of the economy and the negativity emanating from all branches of the media is no doubt a deterrent to some homeowners selling on today’s market, but sales are still taking place. Irrespective of the market conditions there will always be people transferring or moving house for employment or family reasons so there is no right or wrong time but simply a challenge to make the most of whatever the current conditions may be. We list below some thoughts that may assist in a home seller’s decision making.

BUYING AND SELLING ON THE SAME MARKET. Accept the fact that prices have dropped from last year’s highs by probably 10%, though this varies between different locations and may be more. Chances are that what you perceive to be losing on your sale compared to the heady days of last year should be compensated for when you re-buy on the same market.

PRICING YOUR HOME TO SELL. Accurate pricing is paramount. Remember that you are competing with every other property on the market that is in the same or a comparable price range and location. Starting high and coming down is a fallacy! If your initial asking price is too high, you may not get an opportunity to negotiate, and your home will languish on the market. Ask your agent for details of other sales of similar properties. This is your best guide but don’t go back more than 3 to 4 months as market conditions have certainly changed in that time.

SELLING IN WINTER. Is this a good time to sell? Although there is an abundance of property for sale at the present time, there will be even more homes on the market come the months of September/October and on into summer. Homeowners like to present their homes in better weather, but sales are still taking place in winter and selling in a market where there is less opposition makes sound sense. If buyers like your home in the winter surely they will love it in the summer!

SELECTING YOUR AGENT. During the time your property is on the market you will be in regular contact with your appointed agent. Contact can be as often as daily, but your agent will accommodate whatever level of reporting back that you desire. Whatever arrangement you have, you must have faith in your agent and share with them openly and honestly what your desired target selling price is. In most instances, the sales record of your agent will be a good indicator of their marketing and negotiating skills.

There are two other key factors when selecting your agent. Firstly, what back up support do they have? Are they selling in isolation, or do they have the support of other agents in their sales team? Most agents have their own pool of potential buyers on a personal data base, and it is important to have access through these agents to this group of potential buyers. Secondly, select an agent who has been through the slow times, not just a boom. In boom times as we have experienced recently sales are relatively easy to achieve and not a lot of salesmanship is required to get a top price. Many of the top agents achieve their best results in a tight market.

Having made the decision to sell, let us address some items that will make your home competitive in the marketplace. As we mentioned earlier, you are competing for buyer interest with other homes in the same or similar location and price range, and anything that you can do to attract potential buyers will assist you in this respect.

PRESENTATION. First impressions count so anything that you can do to catch a buyer’s eye is worthwhile. There is a school of thought that believes houses either capture the imagination and interest of a buyer within the first 30 seconds of viewing or they don’t at all. In this regard the obvious one is to declutter. Too much furniture will make your rooms look small; make it look comfortable. This may mean hiring some alternative items of furniture or even hiring a professional home stager. Whilst you may be entirely happy with your existing furniture, a different style of furniture may alter the ambience of your home and contribute towards achieving a quicker, better sale. Over the winter months ensure your home is warm and cosy during inspections and open homes.

DECORATING. A little time and effort spent in presenting your home with a fresh and inviting décor will pay dividends. It is somewhat of a balancing act though deciding whether to do a makeover of your home before selling or to appeal to the do-it-yourself buyer who wants a property that they can add value to. Make a judgement call and if you decide to redecorate, keep it simple and keep it neutral. A fresh neutral presentation will beat a colourful one in the eyes of most home buyers.

There is no substitute for cleanliness and a tidy presentation. These items may seem obvious but often we see houses where a little more care and attention to presentation could be rewarded by a better sale result. On any of these matters, our sales team will be pleased to offer some advice and practical means of enhancing your sales prospects. Our initial advice comes free and without obligation, so we invite you to contact us.

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