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Questions to ask before listing your home

Just as buyers need to do their research before taking on homeownership, those who are considering placing their home on the market also need to spend some time contemplating certain aspects before they list their property, says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.  In fact, there are three questions that every homeowner should ask themselves before placing their home on the market.
 
Question one – Is it the right time to sell?

There are phases in the property market that will favour buyers, and there are phases that will favour sellers. It all depends on the economic environment and conditions that surround the property market. While there is generally a market trend throughout the country, there will also be certain areas that buck the trend due to specific, unique circumstances that influence a particular market. “Ideally, before listing their property, a homeowner should talk to a real estate professional with extensive working knowledge of their specific market who can analyse current sales inventory and trends,” advises Goslett. “A good agent will be able to determine whether it is the prime time to list the property to get the best possible price. In certain cases there may be all kinds of reasons to hold back on listing the home, such as a large number of homes on the market in the area that are similar to the seller’s.”
 
Question two – Is the price right?

According to Goslett, setting the right asking price is imperative to getting the best possible result out of the home sale. “A crucial mistake that many sellers make is overpricing the home to counteract buyer negotiations. The problem with pricing a home above its perceived fair market value is that many buyers won’t even take the time to view it. Buyers would rather look at other properties that they deem to be priced at what they consider a reasonable, market-related price. All overestimated prices will do is make properties that are priced correctly look like a bargain buy,” advises Goslett.
 
He adds that a home that is priced correctly will appeal to a wider range of buyers and be sold within the shortest possible time. When a buyer is comparing properties that are in a similar area and offer similar features, price becomes the number one factor that will influence their decision making process.
 
How does a seller know whether their home is priced correctly?   “An estate agent will be able to provide the seller with a comparative market analysis (CMA), which will give them an accurate indication of what other homes are selling for in their particular area. Factors that are included in a CMA would be the average price per square metre in the area, recent sale prices of similar homes and comparative prices of other properties that are still on the market. This information will help establish a reasonable price bracket for the property,” says Goslett. 

Once the agent has the correct price bracket for the home, they will then determine what features or unique qualities could set the property apart from others in the area to give a more accurate gauge of the home’s value.

Question three – What is the exit strategy?

Although it is possible to have an estimated time frame as to how long the property will be on the market, it is impossible to pinpoint the exact day the home will be sold. The seller will need to establish a plan in case it happens quickly.  “Before the home is listed it is a good idea for the seller to know where they will go if they are in between homes. They will need to decide whether they would want to stay in their current property and pay occupation rent, or move to a temporary housing situation with a friend or relative perhaps. A post-sale plan will take some of the anxiety out of selling your home,” says Goslett.
 
He concludes by saying that having the answers to these three questions will help to ensure that the process of selling a home is less stressful and a far easier procedure to handle.


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