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How to buy a home in a sellers’ market

The property market, particularly in Cape Town, is sitting firmly in the sellers’ court, according to the Rawson Property Group’s Constantia franchisee, Nancy Todd.

“Demand has skyrocketed, prices are climbing, and stock is selling faster than it can be listed. Buyers hoping to buy a house in 2015 are looking at a fast-paced, high-stakes game where good preparation is the only way to successfully compete.

“Properties are listed on the web and sell within hours. Multiple offers are very common, and we’re even seeing offers over the listed price,” she says.

With many properties not making it to a show house, simply finding options to view can be a struggle for buyers. Todd recommends subscribing to updates on agency websites, and setting up alerts for listings in your areas of interest on property portals.

“You can’t afford to miss the boat,” she says, “so staying on top of new listings as they are posted is a must. Don’t forget about options like auctions either – they can be a great way to find a solid property at a good price.”

To increase your chances of finding a suitable property, Todd advises broadening your parameters a little.

“You can’t be as selective in a sellers’ market, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find a property that’s a great fit. Try searching within a radius of your preferred area, unless you absolutely have to be in a specific school catchment zone, or similar. Also, don’t overlook the ugly ducklings with big rooms and lovely gardens – there could be a swan underneath that old-fashioned exterior, and you’ll have a better chance of having your offer accepted if other buyers can’t see the potential that you can.”

When you do find a listing that sparks your interest, it’s imperative that you act immediately.

“Don’t wait – call the seller’s agent immediately and set up an appointment,” says Todd.

“And come prepared to make a quick decision if necessary. Make a list of must-haves, nice-to-haves and don’t-wants. That way, you’re clear on your needs and can quickly assess whether a property will work for you or not.

“If you decide you like the property strike fast and hard. Offer the full listing price or even a bit more if necessary. Being pre-qualified for a bond can help in situations like this. You have the benefit of knowing exactly how much you can offer, and the seller can feel confident that the bank will follow through with your bond.”

There are a few additional ways to make your offer more attractive than your competition, and Todd recommends saving up for a good deposit and starting the process of selling your own house right away.

“Sellers will almost always choose a cash offer over an offer that is subject to the sale of another home,” she says.

“There is also an emotional aspect that comes into play with sellers and buyers. Sellers often choose a buyer they like – not just the highest offer – so be kind, chat a little, and compliment the home. Explain why you like the house – it could help tip the odds in your favour.”

Todd also suggests making friends with the agents representing the house.

“Try to be polite, punctual and open with them, and don’t be afraid to ask them what you need to do to get your offer accepted. It might be as simple as being flexible on occupation dates. A clean offer is also always preferable to one with lots of conditions.”

If you come prepared and are willing to move fast, buying property in a sellers’ market isn’t as difficult as it might seem, says Todd.
How to buy a home in a sellers’ market
Published: June 17, 2015
Posted in: Advice
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The property market, particularly in Cape Town, is sitting firmly in the sellers’ court, according to the Rawson Property Group’s Constantia franchisee, Nancy Todd.

“Demand has skyrocketed, prices are climbing, and stock is selling faster than it can be listed. Buyers hoping to buy a house in 2015 are looking at a fast-paced, high-stakes game where good preparation is the only way to successfully compete.

“Properties are listed on the web and sell within hours. Multiple offers are very common, and we’re even seeing offers over the listed price,” she says.

With many properties not making it to a show house, simply finding options to view can be a struggle for buyers. Todd recommends subscribing to updates on agency websites, and setting up alerts for listings in your areas of interest on property portals.

“You can’t afford to miss the boat,” she says, “so staying on top of new listings as they are posted is a must. Don’t forget about options like auctions either – they can be a great way to find a solid property at a good price.”

To increase your chances of finding a suitable property, Todd advises broadening your parameters a little.

“You can’t be as selective in a sellers’ market, but that doesn’t mean you won’t find a property that’s a great fit. Try searching within a radius of your preferred area, unless you absolutely have to be in a specific school catchment zone, or similar. Also, don’t overlook the ugly ducklings with big rooms and lovely gardens – there could be a swan underneath that old-fashioned exterior, and you’ll have a better chance of having your offer accepted if other buyers can’t see the potential that you can.”

When you do find a listing that sparks your interest, it’s imperative that you act immediately.

“Don’t wait – call the seller’s agent immediately and set up an appointment,” says Todd.

“And come prepared to make a quick decision if necessary. Make a list of must-haves, nice-to-haves and don’t-wants. That way, you’re clear on your needs and can quickly assess whether a property will work for you or not.

“If you decide you like the property strike fast and hard. Offer the full listing price or even a bit more if necessary. Being pre-qualified for a bond can help in situations like this. You have the benefit of knowing exactly how much you can offer, and the seller can feel confident that the bank will follow through with your bond.”

There are a few additional ways to make your offer more attractive than your competition, and Todd recommends saving up for a good deposit and starting the process of selling your own house right away.

“Sellers will almost always choose a cash offer over an offer that is subject to the sale of another home,” she says.

“There is also an emotional aspect that comes into play with sellers and buyers. Sellers often choose a buyer they like – not just the highest offer – so be kind, chat a little, and compliment the home. Explain why you like the house – it could help tip the odds in your favour.”

Todd also suggests making friends with the agents representing the house.

“Try to be polite, punctual and open with them, and don’t be afraid to ask them what you need to do to get your offer accepted. It might be as simple as being flexible on occupation dates. A clean offer is also always preferable to one with lots of conditions.”

If you come prepared and are willing to move fast, buying property in a sellers’ market isn’t as difficult as it might seem, says Todd.


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