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Tips for Selling your Home

Discussion in 'Real Estate' started by Alan, 7th Feb, 2006.

  1. Alan

    Alan Well-Known Member

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    We've decided to sell our home in the near future and I was wondering if it might be worth starting a thread to assist people in this part of the process? If you have a tip, throw it in! :)

    As an investor, I'm more a 'buy-hold-draw equity' type of guy and it just occurred to me that I may be a little out of touch with the actual 'Sale' side of things.

    I just dusted off my copy of Neil Jenman's Real Estate Mistakes to refresh my memory on a few items.

    I'll try and remember to post some of my experiences as we go through the process. :)

    Ok.....let's start with getting a realistic valuation of the price of your home. I guess we have a variety of options here from personally monitoring recent sales, getting Agent Valuations through to Residex Reports etc.

    Jenman seems to like the idea of investing in a valuer before you even talk to a Real Estate Agent. What have been people's experience in this regard? What methods do you think work best for getting an accurate valuation and indeed, who has used a valuer before going down the sale path?

    Secondly, what tips do people have for choosing an agent?

    Now if I can just firstly get through this enormous 'To Do List' of things to be done around the house before sale I'll be a happy man! :eek:
     
  2. Mark

    Mark Member

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    Hi Alan

    Having previously been in the real estate game for many years I believe I can throw in some good advice. I am sure Jacque and other agents will soon respond.

    Firstly in terms of obtaining a valuation- I would identify 3 of the largest and most active agents in your area. Invite each of them in (separately) and ask for a valuation. I would tell them you are a serious seller whose reason for marketing is not to just "test" the market but to make a lifestyle change. Ask them to substantiate their estimate on comparative sales in your area (which I am sure they will do anyway).

    Once you have 3 estimates, identify the agent/agency with which you would want to work. More important than the highest valuation, factors that should effect your decisions should be relatability with the agent/s, their performance in the area and the number of homes in your area currently on their books. Once you have picked one I would offer them "exclusivity" for a period of between 45 and 60 days. Remembering that serious buyers are on the books of all the active agents in the area, exclusivity would give the agent more assurance in them spend time and money marketing your property. As a seller you want the agent to place your property on the top of their “to sell” list and in my real estate days I would only do that if I knew the seller was serious about selling and had given me exclusivity.

    I have tips on how to prepare your home for the best possible price......later.

    Hope this helps

    Mark
     
    Last edited by a moderator: 9th Aug, 2006
  3. Alan

    Alan Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Mark.

    Good advice......


    :)
     
  4. D&K

    D&K Well-Known Member

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    Hi Alan,

    Once you have the valuation, by whatever means, you can also consider selling it yourself as it's not actually that hard. We've sold two IP that way to pay off the PPOR. You can make up your own flyers with a digital camera and a few lines of text and vital statistics, visitor lists, "offer sheets" which acts as an excuse to discuss the offer with the better half after your open house, open house signs (we used recycled wood and paint), and a mobile phone SIM that you throw away afterwards to stop agents offering to sell the house for you.

    We found internet advertising to be very effective and we wouldn't bother with newspapers if we ever do this again. We actually sold one house via one of our open house signs at the end of the street (costing $3 in recycled materials for the set), but that was in a relatively new area where we could still attract drive-by customers!

    When you look at it most agents just open doors and point out "here's the kitchen" in case you didn't recognise one, it's not that hard.

    However, a good agent can be worthwhile, so if you use one, make sure they're a good one. We sold another IP (and I think I've broken this habit at last) interstate (Vic) and the agent was excellent. He said the fee was negotiable so I took his valuation and some others and then came back with a deal. Basically I think offered the first 95% of the valuation at a standard fee and then 10% for amounts over that figure (the market was cooling). He was happy and we went exclusive with him, it focussed his attention in giving the property priority, and we went to auction and were very happy with the result.

    Obviously if you are going to ramp up to these sorts of commission levels you want to be confident in your valuation.

    Just ideas,

    Dave
     
  5. Alan

    Alan Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Dave.

    Actually the last property I sold(and it was a while back :eek: ), was sold privately.

    Sold it in about three weeks and from memory for a better price than any of the valuations we received.

    Not sure what your 'property presentation' tips will be Mark, but we had a lovely bottle of red, a nice leather covered book and candles in the photo. Am I on the right track? :) Oh.......no......I don't have to bake bread too do I? :D


    Don't think I'll go the private sale path this time as I'm well and truly 'stretched' for time at the moment(and I think this may be a more 'challenging' market anyway.) Speaking of which, is it just me or does anyone else find that be it a DVD Recorder, PC, Camera or whatever! :eek: ..........you can't find the time to even learn 10% of its functionality?:(

    Enough of this........I have Dynabolts to put in and then another two pages of 'presale' items to attend to! :rolleyes:

    Hmmmm........I may still have that bottle of red for the best tip......
     
  6. Jacque

    Jacque Team InvestEd

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    Hi Alan

    Hehehe... I know where you're coming from with new technology and all the manuals- my 12 yr old daughter is actually better with most of the gadgets!! :D

    So you've decided to go down the REA road for selling.....

    If you had the time I'd also suggest trying the private sale avenue first, but this does take preparation and time out of your work day/schedule to show potential buyers through. Not to mention organising advertising, flyer distribution, taking enquiries and following up etc etc
    Time is money, as the saying goes.

    As far as selecting agents go, I'd second Mark's advice but also ensure that whoever is the lister is also going to be your salesperson. At the very least, ask the lister to bring over the salesperson so you can ask them all the questions!
    Ask them to all outline their marketing strategies first and ask why you should hire them over other agents, even before they give you a price. If you can stand the suspense, shortlist them down to 3-4, read all their material, decide on who and then open the envelope with their price estimate (You will have to ask them to do it this way beforehand, of course). This way you can be assured you won't be swayed by price alone and are selecting them on the quality of the service you think they can bring to the process.
    Select a local agent who knows their stuff, and can back up their claims of excellence with some satisfied client phone references. I do have a longer list of questions to ask when interviewing agents but I do believe that the following are the most important:

    1. How long have you been an agent in this locality?
    This demonstrates local knowledge and means they are more likely to be able to answer all questions from buyers about local infrastructure, amenities etc.

    2. What comparable sales have you had (if any) in my area and what were the results?
    A good REA should have already presented you with this information already, with evidence through RPData records. Be sure you follow up and look up (through sales data you can purchase or ask a REA pal who can do it for you!) the actual properties and their advertising histories etc. Compare them to other sales through other agents to see if you can notice any patterns etc. Time consuming, but a worthwhile exercise as you can also see which particular agent was the salesperson for each property. (Extremely valuable information for us buyers' agents :D I just love the new features of RPData!)

    3. Can you put me in contact with at least 3 of your recently satisfied clients?
    Also ask for written testimonials.

    4. How many properties have you sold in the last month?
    Rule of thumb is a good agent should have sold at least two, but this also depends on market conditions.

    5. How are you going to get me the best price for my property?
    Confident REA's should easily be able to substantiate their price estimation and the method by which they aim to achieve this. Their salesmanship should clearly shine here, in that they are able to convince you (and not by price alone!!) as to why indeed you should hire them over another REA.

    6. How have you come up with the price figure for my property?
    Again, supporting evidence of actual sales data should be presented here, as well as any other relevant facts that add/detract from your particular property. Include current market conditions in this as well.

    7. If I do give you the listing, and you're unsuccessful in selling, what are the costs to me?
    Ensure that you are fully aware of all advertising costs as most agents now pass on these costs to the vendor. Ask for a specific breakdown of where, when and how your place will be advertised and ongoing costs (if any) for these.

    8. What method do you suggest we sell with (private treaty, auction, tender) and why?
    I am not a fan of auctions unless it's a special or unique property or the market is a booming one (overemotional buyers paying more than they really should under pressure), but be sure you are happy with their strategies here, as it also depends on your locality.

    9. What will you do to introduce buyers to my property?
    Effective REA's should ideally already have buyers on their books, but often they actually don't :( From my interaction with several agents over the years, there have been very, very few who actually continue to maintain buyer contact past 3 weeks. Naturally, if you are interested in selling months down the track, they will be in contact for sure :D
    Some agencies do have particular staff whose role it is to exclusively look after buyers, however, and you may find an agency who do have genuine potential buyers on their books. However, don't be taken in by the hook of an agent telling you that, "Actually, we do have someone already on our books who may be interested in exactly your type of property!"

    10. Is there anything I can do to maximise the value of my property?
    Ask them to be honest here, as you will no doubt get the feedback via buyers over the campaign anyway. Naturally, most REA's just want to get the listing (and beat their competition!) so will tell you it's fine as is. Be aware of this and stress that you are willing to spend a bit of money on small improvements- see what they say.

    11. Are you prepared to keep me informed on a weekly basis, including feedback from any opens or inspections, during the campaign?

    12. What is your commission rate? How negotiable are you with this?
    This should ideally be the last question, as most agents charge similar amounts but the standout agent will more than likely get you more, particularly if their track record is impressive.

    Hope this has helped you a little bit.
    As far as actual presentation goes, well that's another whole thread :)
    But a few tips from my own experience......

    Clean clean clean - I'm sure you get my drift :)
    Clean window tracks, curtains, cobwebs, bathrooms, kitchen cupboards etc

    De-clutter. Consider storing excess stuff that tends to clog up the rooms. Eg: photos and pictures, toys, ornaments, extra furniture, appliances

    Ensure the aroma is nice. Nothing worse than pet smells or stale mildew to turn someone off. Try those Glade plug-ins- they do work well!

    Light light light. Let the sunshine in and open up the blinds, curtains etc

    Soft music sounds twee but it works- also allows buyers to talk to each other without the agent listening the whole time. Only really effective for prepared situations such as Opens.

    Garden- plant some cheery annuals and ensure all is weeded and well maintained.

    I'm sure others will come up with more.
    Looking forward to following the process as you go through.
    Happy interviewing!!!! :)
     
  7. Jacque

    Jacque Team InvestEd

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    I just realised I didn't address the valuer issue in your original post.
    I wouldn't bother unless you believe that having a valuation will assist you in achieving a better price. The valuers usually rely on agent estimates anyway, and a good agent should be able to provide you with a realistic price estimation. Unless your property is difficult for them to assess.....

    This would only be the case if there were few comparables or if your property was particularly special or unusual. Other methods valuers use include the summation (calculating land and building components) and capitalisation
    (more common with commercial property) methods, when enough comparables fail to provide them with adequate information.

    Having said this, if you feel a valuation could benefit you, then go ahead. If I were you, I'd also get a building and pest inspection done as well so there are no nasty "surprises" or opportunities to renegotiate when the buyer gets their own reports done.

    Oh, and about the bottle of red, I've also been promised one by a REA I recommended to someone local a few weeks back and I'm still waiting...... :)
    You guys and your wine are all talk!!!!! ;)
     
  8. Alan

    Alan Well-Known Member

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    Fantastic. Thanks Jacque. :)

    I hadn't thought of the pre build and pest inspection at all. Sounds a good idea.


    Awww.........I'll come good........I promise! :D
     
  9. Jacque

    Jacque Team InvestEd

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    Where do you live Alan? I'm coming over for that bottle of red.... :D
     
  10. Jacque

    Jacque Team InvestEd

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    Alan
    Did you end up selling? Would love to hear the end result, if there's been one yet :) Keep us posted!!
     
  11. Alan

    Alan Well-Known Member

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    Hi Jacque.

    We got within about a week of listing and then got 'diverted' with the Sale/Purchase of another property for a family member. It's taken longer than I expected.

    It's a long story, but as soon as we get this other sale/purchase sorted we'll get back to our own Sale.

    I haven't forgotten about the bottle of red I owe you for all the great advice either. :) Hmmm..........this question wasn't meant as a subtle reminder was it? Look at the bright side........it's 'aging'. :p
     
  12. Jacque

    Jacque Team InvestEd

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    Ah, port- good choice :)

    Looking forward to hearing the story when you do sell. A diarized account would provide for some great reading! Good luck with it all :)