Failing to prepare is preparing to fail

Preparation is a key element when it comes to achieving the optimum results during a property sale

While many areas across the country are experiencing a shortage of properties available to buyers, sellers still need to be prepared and put in effort to ensure the best possible result when putting their home on the market, says Gerrit Stenvert, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Outeniqua, whose office services the Garden Route, George and Victoria Bay to Great Brak.

“Although the market currently favours sellers, it doesn’t mean that they should sit back and merely hope for the best outcome. To ensure that their property is sold for the highest possible price within the shortest period of time, they will be required to put in some time and effort. Regardless of the market phase, sellers still need to put in some work to make sure they achieve the most favourable result,” says Stenvert.

He notes that before placing their home on the market, sellers should inspect the property and ensure that, to their knowledge, all maintenance issues have been dealt with and everything is in good repair. “Apart from those that are specifically looking for a fixer-upper, most buyers want a home that they can simply move into without having to spend additional money on costly repairs,” says Stenvert. “A well-maintained property will be far more attractive to a wider scope of potential buyers.”

Added to that, Stenvert says that first impressions last, so if possible the seller should try and increase the home’s street appeal by beautifying the access and entrance. “These areas of the home are the first things that potential buyers will see, so it is important that they are inviting and aesthetically pleasing,” advises Stenvert. 

He notes that once the home is ready to be put on the market, sellers should ensure that they obtain a market value estimate from a reputable and Estate Agents Affairs Board (EAAB) registered real estate company, before listing the property. “While the neighbour may be a very well-informed financial broker, it unfortunately doesn’t make them a real estate specialist.  Sellers should understand that their property is in ‘competition’ with other properties and market price will prevail not gut feeling or personal opinions,” says Stenvert.   

Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says that an experienced real estate professional will be able to perform a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) to accurately determine a fair market-related listing price. Correctly pricing the property is crucial to the success of the property sale transaction.

 Stenvert provides sellers with a few more tips to ensure their home selling success:

- Make sure that the property is readily available for the viewings. Most buyers want to view properties in short notice and a seller’s chances diminish greatly if access is denied.
- Open all curtains and put the lights on, buyers appreciate well-lit homes.
- Ensure that the interior of the home is neat and tidy.
- Pleasant smells and visual elements, such as freshly brewed coffee and a bunch of colourful flowers go a long way to activate an emotional need for belonging and building memories.
- Leave the marketing of the property to the real estate professional.  An experienced estate agent will have the training and know-how to appropriately and effectively expose the property to the right target market.  
- In the case of tenanted properties coming into the sales market, sellers should negotiate proper and clear terms with the tenant regarding the marketing of the property. Failing at this may keep a seller out of the market for longer than necessary.

He notes that when looking for an agent to sell the property, sellers should always ask agents for proof of current registration with the EAAB.  Sellers should avoid listing their properties with agents that cannot produce these documents.  “For many, their home is their biggest asset, so why entrust it to someone who is not a professional?  Would you allow a doctor who is not registered with the Medical and Dental Council to operate on you or your child?” asks Stenvert.

According to Stenvert, sellers should also be aware of their responsibilities in terms of the sales agreement. He adds that a professional real estate agent will present the seller with a sale agreement and ensure that both parties are held to the agreed upon stipulations and conditions.

“The seller should ideally work with the agent who has the highest premiere market presence and market share and give them a sole mandate to market the property. This will eliminate wasting time and will decrease the turnaround time of the sale,” Stenvert concludes.

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