Looking to sell in 2015? Make sure you are prepared

If you are looking to sell your property in the New Year, December is the perfect time to start preparing, says Debbie Justus-Ferns, manager of Renprop Residential Resales. 

“There are so many things that homeowners who are looking to sell their property need to take into account and plan for, which is why being prepared is essential,” she says.
Justus-Ferns provides would-be sellers with five key areas to think about and plan for in the months ahead:
1.   See the big picture

Sellers need to forget that they are sellers and view their home from a buyer’s perspective. “This requires a critical eye,” says Justus-Ferns, who notes that sellers must look at what strong features their home has and determine which ones they would like to accentuate to create a good impression. “Sellers must feel like they would want to buy their own home back,” she says.

2.   Knowledge is key

Due diligence is always advised when buying or selling a home and potential sellers should research the estate agents who work in their area before making contact for a valuation or signing a mandate, says Justus-Ferns.
Sellers need to be confident that the estate agent they appoint is professional and will be able to achieve the best possible price the market will pay for their home in the least amount of time. “Estate agents who cut their commission are not professional,” she says. “If they cannot negotiate their commission, how can they negotiate the best possible price for your home?” she asks.

It is the seller who appoints the transferring attorney and should therefore also research which conveyancing attorneys they think would be the best candidates to work on the transfer of their property.
3.   Master your money matters

It cannot be emphasised enough that sellers must consider a market-related price. “Pricing a property should not be an emotional decision, but a purely financial one. Sellers undoubtedly have an emotional attachment to their home, which is why it is often difficult for them to set the right price. This is where an experienced and reputable estate agent will be able to assist,” says Justus-Ferns. She points out that the first four weeks that a home is on the market are the most critical in terms of capturing buyer’s interest. If the price is not right, buyers will not consider making an offer.
Other financial factors that sellers need to take into consideration are giving the bank notice for the cancellation of their bond. “Sellers often think this can be done at a later stage, but it is ideal for homeowners who are selling to notify their financial institution of their intentions, as there is a 90-day bond cancellation period,” says Justus-Ferns. “If the home doesn’t sell for whatever reason, or the seller changes their mind, the cancellation period will simply fall away. Giving notice well in advance will however give the seller a much more favourable bank settlement on their outstanding bond amount,” she explains.
Justus-Ferns points out that sellers will also need to save up for certification relating to electrical compliance, gas compliance (if there is gas piped into the home) and electric fence compliance (if applicable). Four months of property rates and taxes also need to be paid to the council in advance, which sellers will need to plan for.
Justus-Ferns advises homeowners to sort out any enquiries or issues they may have with the council regarding their services before putting their home on the market. “If a homeowner is withholding payment to the council as there is an enquiry being addressed regarding a bill, for example, the issue needs to be resolved before their home is sold, as this will hold up the transfer process and prove incredibly frustrating for everyone,” she says.
4.   Manage the maintenance

While it is not yet law that a home has to be inspected by a qualified home inspector before being put on the market, Justus-Ferns says that it is a good idea for sellers to consider calling in a home inspection company to assess any potential defects and quote on any major repairs that need attending to before the sale.
Cosmetic face-lifts will go a long way in making a home more appealing, so sellers should give their home a fresh coat of paint and ensure that everything – from windows and doors, gutters and drains to plumbing, electrical points and alarm systems, pools and pool equipment are in good working order.
5.   Dress your nest

First impressions count, so make sure that buyers have a good one. The entrance to the home is what buyers will see first, so make sure that it looks appealing and that the house number is clearly visible so it is easy to find.
“Cut the lawn, trim the bushes, tidy up the garden including any dog mess and have a general spring clean including having the carpets professionally cleaned,” says Justus-Ferns. Sellers should also clear away any clutter and think about making provision for their pets on show day.

“Dressing your house for sale is vital for success,” she says.
In conclusion Justus-Ferns says that sellers think the responsibility of selling their home lies solely with the estate agent they appoint. “Nothing could be further from the truth, as sellers play a key role in ensuring that their house is saleable. December is the perfect time for homeowners to prepare for the sale of a home as many people will be on leave and have the time to give their home a thorough check and some TLC.”

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