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Deadly sins of selling

While the property market conditions continue to improve and more buyers gain access to finance, sellers may still find that the market remains a challenging one in which to sell a home, says Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.

He adds that although some sellers may not have the luxury of choosing the market conditions in which they sell their home, there are certain deadly sins that sellers can avoid in order for them to sell their property for the best possible price, in the shortest possible time and not jeopardise the sale in any way.

Goslett gives five top tips for sellers to give them the best chance of selling their home:

1. Don’t choose just any estate agent

Goslett advises sellers to make sure they choose a knowledgeable estate agent with experience in the specific area in which the property is situated. It is important that the agent is from a reputable company, which will have the support of a large network.  The agent must also present the seller with a marketing plan for their property. “Some agents may not be able to offer the seller much, so they reduce their commission figure and inflate their estimation of the property just to get the mandate. While this might be appealing to some sellers, it will only hurt them in the long run,” says Goslett.

2. Not reading your contract before signing

Read all the points discussed in the contract with the real estate agent. It is important for sellers to be well-informed as to what they are legally binding themselves to and what they are responsible for, especially considering the various mandate options that are available. Not being aware of the terms and conditions in the contract and what a seller is responsible for in a property sale transaction, could be a costly lesson to learn.

3. Don’t overprice the property

Ironically, getting the highest possible price for your property is not achieved by listing it at an excessive price and negotiating down, but rather setting a market related price. An over ambitious price will simply push buyers away before they have even seen the property.   If a buyer can get a property in the same neighbourhood for less money, they will opt for that property over yours as they will feel like they are getting a bargain. Overpriced properties take longer to sell, and usually end up selling at an even lower price than if they were priced right to begin with.  The estate agent can provide a Comparative Market Analysis of the area to gauge the correct price the home should be marketed at.

4. Don’t forget to showcase the home

Nobody wants to buy a house that is not well maintained and is dirty. Make sure that the home looks at its best for show day. This means making necessary repairs and ensuring that everything works and looks presentable. Goslett says that if a home is not clean and tidy, potential buyers will more than likely be distracted by the mess rather than the features of the home. Buyers would rather pay more for a home that has been looked after, than purchase a home in need of repair and attention. “It might be worthwhile for sellers to have their carpets professionally cleaned before putting their home on the market, this will add to the appeal of the home and leave it smelling great,” says Goslett.

5. Don’t be home on show day

Many buyers will feel like they are unable to freely roam around the property if the owner is at home. Goslett says that even if the seller is accommodating and friendly, buyers will still not feel as if they can take their time and explore the home at ease. He advises sellers to rather leave the show day hosting to their estate agent.

“If sellers want to sell their home successfully, they will not only have to work hand- in-hand with an experienced agent, but also do what needs to be done from their side.  It is important for sellers look at their property objectively and see what can be done to improve the chances of the sale of their property becoming a reality. An aesthetically pleasing home that is well-maintained and priced correctly, will appeal to far more buyers than an over-priced home in need of repair,” Goslett concludes.


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