As housing values in Australia continue to decline1 in six of the eight capital cities around the country, it’s a tough market for sellers.
If you are thinking of selling, you’ll need a good strategy to maximise your sale price, without overspending to get there. Preparation is essential, so we’ve put together a checklist of things to do before you list your home.
Engage a real estate agent who knows the local market well and whose advice you trust. Don’t necessarily choose the one with the lowest commission, or the first one you meet!
Buyers today are able to compare properties online, so do your homework and work with your agent to make sure your home is priced in line with the market, otherwise you’ll find prospect buyers are likely to look elsewhere.
If you're considering an auction make sure you talk to your agent about the market and only go to auction if you’re both confident you can get the right price in the current market. If you do go to auction, make sure you have a skilled auctioneer and also consider accepting pre-auction offers.
Talk to your agent about realistic selling costs, from commissions to photography, as these costs can add up quickly. You’ll also need to spend some time getting your property sale ready.
Your agent will be able to give you advice on where to concentrate your repair and update efforts and how they will increase the property’s appeal to buyers.
Consider outside as well as inside when setting your budget and remember that you can’t fix everything. Set a budget and stick to it! Below are some considerations for what to focus on.
- First impressions matter. For buyers with a busy Saturday filled with open houses, a disappointing exterior could see them strike your property off their wish list.
- Boost the street appeal of your property with a fresh coat of paint, mending any gaps in the fence and a spot of light gardening, such as adding a beautiful pot plant by the door (which you can then take with you to your new property!)
- Address quick (and cheap fixes). Any hazards such as rogue pavers, broken bricks or rotting panels on the deck should be fixed.
- Be transparent with your agent and advise any issues with the property you’re aware of. If there are any major or structural issues the buyer may decide to engage a building inspector to decide if they are happy to proceed with the property in its current condition.
- As a seller, you want to make sure potential buyers see the property as loved, but not worn –it’s definitely the small things that count!
- Give the property a heavy duty clean, from dirty vents to cobwebs, fingerprints on the walls and beyond
- For properties that have carpet, steam cleaning or even recarpeting (if it’s especially worn or daggy) can make a massive difference to the buyer's perception of the property and what they might be willing to pay
- Patching up and adding a fresh lick of paint to walls needing some attention is a great way to brighten the place up. Choose light, neutral colours that won’t be polarising
- Many sellers think that fancy renovations could see a buyer fall in love with the aesthetics and make a strong offer, however, this often isn’t the case. For homes that do need some improvements before selling, the highest value-adding renovations tend to be kitchens and bathrooms.
- If you’re short on time, you can call in a professional to style the house, however, for those with smaller budgets, simple touches around the home can make a surprising difference.
- Declutter, declutter, declutter: In ruthless Marie Kondo style, remove any non-essential items to depersonalise the home so prospective buyers can imagine themselves living there
- Stop and smell the flowers: Use flowers to create a fresh lived in feeling on the days of open inspections
- Create a sense of comfort: Add cushions and throws in the living room and bedrooms to increase the appeal of everyday living. If you’re buying new items, be mindful of choosing options you can take with you once you sell
- Add a touch of greenery: Scatter some indoor plants throughout the house
- Let there be light: Before every inspection, open all your curtains and blinds to let in natural light. If a room still feels dark, consider changing the bulbs to brighten up the room
All the preparations in the world can’t guarantee that the sale of your property will go to plan; you may not get the offer you were looking for, the sale could take much longer than planned, or might not sell. If this is the case, you could decide to rent out the property for a period, instead of selling right away. It’s important to remember that you always have options, think about a Plan B, if it doesn’t go as you imagined.
If you are thinking about selling, a State Custodians Lending Specialist can help reorganise your finance, for both Plan A and Plan B – give them a call on 13 72 62.
1Based from the research shared from CoreLogic.
The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and not necessarily those of State Custodians. The above is general commentary only and is not advice tailored to any individual’s financial situation. We recommend seeking advice from a mortgage or finance professional before implementing changes relating to your finances.
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