As I’m sure you’re aware, successful property investment involves holding your properties for as long as possible.
But sometimes you will have to sell.
Maybe it’s because you’re outgrown your current home – or the opposite when all the kids have left home.
Or perhaps, an investment property is under-performing, so you’ve made the wise decision to remove it from your portfolio so you can buy an investment grade asset instead.
Whatever your motivation is, it’s vital that you don’t make these common mistakes when selling your property to maximise your sales price and minimise your stress.
1. Wrong agent
Choosing an agent to sell your home can be a very individual decision.
That’s because we always gel with people differently, so the right agent for your personality might not necessarily be the perfect fit for someone else.
As well as the ability to develop a strong working relationship, you should also look for a sales agent that has recent and successful experience in your area.
You really want an expert who understands your local market inside and out – not a blow-in who pretends to know more than they really do.
To give yourself the best chance of choosing the right agent, do your research and make sure you interview a number of different prospects face to face.
Don’t fall for who is the flashiest; choose the agent who has strong marketing ideas to sell your home as well as plenty of local runs on the board.
2. No preparation
Sure you might think your home is your castle, but buyers won’t necessarily think the same way.
So to improve the chances of buyers viewing your property favourably, make sure you have it looking your best.
And that means inside and out – too many sellers forget that the first impression buyers get of their home is from the outside so mow those lawns and tidy up the garden.
You should also de-clutter as much as possible because you want buyers to be able to visualise owning your home not be confronted with photos of your family reunion in Bali in 2002.
Another common mistake is sellers whose heart really isn’t in it.
What do I mean by that?
I mean sellers who are really just testing the market.
When you think about it, what’s the point of that when you can get a valuation or a market appraisal that will do a pretty good job with much less effort on your behalf.
If you’re only considering selling your home, spend more time researching the market before you list it for sale.
That way you’re not wasting the agent’s time, which could come back to bite you if you want to use them again in the future.
4. No market knowledge
Similar to half-hearted sellers are vendors who lack current market knowledge.
You know the ones I mean, don’t you?
They are the sellers who still think it’s the peak of the Sydney property market and expect to achieve a record sales price, when many of the buyers have actually disappeared.
Likewise, vendors who can’t decide what price to list their property because they don’t understand their local market.
While your agent can and will advise you on market conditions, it is ultimately your decision what price you are prepared to sell the property for.
If you have no idea, well, no one else will be able to meet your price expectation because you never set one in the first place.
5. No flexibility
The thing is real estate is a game of negotiation, which is where professional selling and buying agents come to the fore.
They buy and sell property every day so are much more experienced in negotiation than the seller will likely ever be.
A common mistake with vendors, however, is being too inflexible.
Perhaps they have their heart set on achieving $650,000, when the market is indicating it’s really worth $550,000, but they refuse to budge.
Sellers are entitled to stick to whatever they number they believe they can achieve, just don’t expect a sale to happen if it’s unrealistic and you’re ignoring the feedback that the market and your agent is giving you.
6. DIY approach
A bit like refusing to negotiate, one of the most common mistakes since the advent of the internet is attempting to sell your property privately.
Sure the internet has given listings a greater reach than ever before, but there is a lot more involved in selling real estate than popping an ad on a real estate portal.
Some of the biggest issues that private sellers have is pricing their property correctly for the current market conditions as well as having the ability to negotiate.
That’s because, as I said at the outset, they see their home or investment property with rose coloured glasses, but buyers might see it as a rundown shack.
Having a third party, such as a selling agent, acting on your behalf can keep the sale on track because they are objective, whereas you are not.
The lesson from all of this is that selling real estate is harder than it looks.
And professional sales agents will earn their commissions through advising you on the current market conditions, preparing your property for sale as well as negotiating on your behalf.
That way, you’re much more likely to end up with a successful result rather than being stuck with a stale listing that no one is interested in.
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