After more than twenty five years in the industry, Bruce Swain, MD of Leapfrog Property Group, has noticed that sellers are prone to making one or more of five mistakes, which can result in their property stagnating on the market for months, and in cases forcing a lower sales price.
“These errors can really cost a home owner in the long run and are easy to avoid,” believes Swain.
“The value of a property is determined by what the market is willing to pay, regardless of alterations or improvements made to the house by the seller,” explains Swain. At the end of the day, a property that is priced higher than similar properties in the same area will not sell. “These days buyers are savvier and more informed than ever, largely due to the information available on property portals like Private Property and they quickly pick up if a property is unrealistically priced.”
It is imperative to look at similar properties within the same area when establishing an asking price – something a qualified estate agent will be able to assist with once they’ve done a professional assessment of the property and the area.
2. Sloppy Staging
It may seem like common sense, but ensuring that a home is clean and well presented for show days (and photography) is incredibly important; most buyers will struggle to see a house’s potential through muck and clutter.
“Sellers might not realise this, but it’s also a good idea to de-personalise a home for show days; buyers need to be able to imagine themselves living in the home and family photos and memorabilia can make that more difficult, so put the pics and the drawings away for a day,” advises Swain.
Pets are another issue, believes Swain. “You’ll likely get at least a few potential buyers who are either allergic or afraid of your dogs and cats. Besides which, a strong animal smell can be really off-putting – rather have the pets stay with a friend for the day, or outside if need be.”
A good estate agent will be able to assist with staging the property properly for show days.
3. Not working with a professional
Selling a property is a complex process and it will save a lot of time, and potentially money, to work with a professional real estate agent. “I think the best way to know whether you’ve got the right agent is to find out whether they know the area – are they on top of the latest property trends, asking prices and the like?” Swain recommends.
He goes on to note that sellers also need to ascertain whether their estate agent is registered with the Estate Agency Affairs Board (EAAB) and has a current Fidelity Fund Certificate. It’s also important to see what kind of marketing the agent provides: “They should be able to show examples of properties listed online (with excellent photos and property descriptions), properties profiled in the Sunday papers (where applicable) and should be able to detail a comprehensive marketing strategy for your home.”
4. Neglecting necessary repairs
Everyone has repairs around the house that they put off, but it’s necessary to have these seen to when putting a property on the market. Swain notes how a leaky tap or water damage on the ceiling can lead buyers to wondering what else may be wrong, after all, a lack of maintenance likely extends beyond what’s immediately visible.
“Buyers will often use obvious defects as leverage to decrease the sales price as well so it’s in a seller’s best interest to sort out these issues before showing the property,” advises Swain.
5. Failure to disclose
Swain says, “This issue is closely related to repairs – if, for whatever reason, the seller cannot rectify an issue, it’s imperative for sellers to declare patent defects (in as far as they’re aware of them) to the estate agent. Being honest about defects builds trust with potential buyers and declaring these issues can well save time and money down the line as the sales negotiation will be built on honesty and good practice from the get go.”
A property that’s been priced correctly, staged and marketed properly – complete with necessary repairs and disclosures – has a much greater chance of selling for the asking price, in a timely fashion.