About 20% of homes agents list don’t sell right away – even in a sellers’ market. And in cooler markets quite a number don’t sell even within a few months.
And if your home has been on the market for weeks without a single offer, don’t de-list it just yet. This is according to Shaun Rademeyer, CEO of mortgage originator, BetterLife Home Loans, who says sellers should ask for feedback from their agent to establish the real reason their home hasn’t sold.
“Is your asking price too high for the market? What are the main criticisms or objections of potential buyers? What cosmetic changes might speed up a sale?” asks Rademeyer. “Second, you should consider your reason for selling. If you are only willing to sell if you get a certain price, and that price is not currently attainable, it’s possible that you’re not a truly motivated seller, and might indeed be better off taking your home off the market for a while.”
But if you are serious about selling, a slow sale could mean losing your own chance to buy the house of your dreams and make it tempting to accept a lower offer just to move things along.
“The speed of a sale generally boils down to two things,” says Tony Clarke, MD of the Rawson Property Group. “The first is the price-to-value ratio of the property, and the second is good, old-fashioned marketing.
“Buyers these days are well-informed. They know what kind of value they can expect within their price range, and if a home doesn’t reflect that, they’re not going to be making generous offers.” There are many instances where overpriced homes linger for months on the market and eventually sell for far below their real market value in the end, says Clarke.
Rademeyer agrees, saying the most common reason for a home’s failure to sell is that the asking price is more than buyers are currently willing to pay, but that any price reduction should result in increased marketing.
“You will need to talk to your agent about placing more, different or better advertising and holding extra show days,” he says.
Clarke, however, says that not all exposure is good “Great, enticing photographs with a detailed and accurate description listed on well-respected property websites will certainly speed up your sale,” he says. “Bad photographs with vague or ambiguous descriptions, however, can do the exact opposite.”
Trawl through just about any property listing portal and you are sure to see some shockingly bad interior photos – often of room corners, wet bath towels and messy spaces. Clarke says that Rawson Property Group agents are, however, trained in photography techniques for professional-quality interior and exterior shots.
“It’s always wise to approve the photographs and written description of your property before your agent posts them publicly,” he says. “And if you’re not happy, don’t feel obliged to move ahead with sub-par marketing material.”
Further to online marketing are viewings which are essential to give buyers a better idea of your home. Before a showing clean, declutter, and depersonalise as far as possible.
“Also clear out any unnecessary furniture so that rooms feel as spacious as possible, clean the windows and open them in summer, or put a few space heaters on in winter to take the edge off the cold,” says Clarke, noting that the garden, driveway and approach to your home need to be tip-top. “Scruffy lawns, mouldering leaves, untidy beds and weed-ravaged paving can give a property an air of neglect.”
If your property is, however, priced correctly but is not getting offers due to requiring some cosmetic improvements, should you stop marketing while the work is completed?
“In general, however, it is risky to take a property completely off the market once you have decided to sell,” says Rademeyer. “Market conditions are constantly changing and you could end up in a worse situation if prices in your area start to decline for some reason, or interest rates rise and the number of prospective buyers drops.
“The best course, in the huge majority of cases, is to follow your agent’s advice and do everything within your power to make your property saleable right now, so that you can move on to the next part of your life.”
Visit BetterLife Home Loans for more