The right price and the right agent

Sellers in today’s competitive market will need to make sure their house is priced correctly in order to secure a sale, says Maurice Lodewick, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Lifestyle Estates, whose office is situated in Nelspruit, the capital of Mpumalanga.

“We have found that in Nelspruit, much like most regions across the country, property that is priced above what is considered to be fair market value will stay on the market for a lot longer, if it gets sold at all. We have found that on average, homes in Nelspruit are on the market between four and six months before being sold. The longer a property remains on the market, the more likely the listing will go stale.  The question is what determines the perceived fair market value for homes in an area? Buyers will often compare the seller’s home with similar properties in that area that have been recently sold. If the seller is asking for more than what those properties achieved in selling price, they are likely to view the property as overpriced,” says Lodewick.

He adds that there are a few consequences of a property being viewed as overpriced. “Firstly, homes with exaggerated asking prices will lose the interest of prospective buyers and will eliminate any potential offers and secondly, overpricing can also limit financing options,” says Lodewick. “With affordability the number one concern of banks in the current market, the higher the asking price, the fewer buyers that will be able to show the required percentage of disposable income required to obtain finance.  A higher asking price will also mean a higher deposit amount for the buyer.”

Lodewick advises that sellers wanting to avoid overpricing their homes and lessening their chances of a successful sale should work with a reputable estate agent that specialises in their particular area.  “It is important that a seller partners with an estate agent that works in their area, because they will have an in-depth knowledge regarding the buyers in that area and what they are looking for, as well as the prices that other properties in the area recently achieved.  The seller should insist on the estate agent providing them with a comparative market analysis (CMA), giving them figures relating to pricing in the area. The estate agent must also provide the seller with a marketing plan,” say Lodewick.

He notes that a seller should choose the estate agent based on a few key elements, such as the strength of the brand that the agent represents. “It is also vital that the seller feels comfortable with the agent and is able to communicate with them. The estate agent must be honest and open when it comes to communication with the seller, especially considering the seller is entrusting them with what is possibly their greatest financial asset. The agent must be passionate and work well together with the seller,” says Lodewick, “The seller will need to choose the best agent for the job and award a sole mandate with a market related price. It is then the responsibility of the sole mandated agent to supply a service guarantee.”

According to Lodewick, many of the sellers in Nelspruit are selling their home for two main reasons: to upscale and buy a larger home and due to lifestyle changes to lock-up-and-go estate living. Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says that estate living has become a very popular option among buyers countrywide due to the security element and lifestyle offering these kind of properties provide.

RE/MAX Lifestyle Estates is currently marketing a double-storey home situated in a sought-after secure estate in Nelspruit. This well- presented, three-bedroom home consists of a study, four spacious living areas, a kitchen with a pantry, a lounge with a double sided gas fireplace, two bathrooms and a small TV room which has sliding doors opening out to the garden. It also offers two larges garages, staff accommodation and a store room. There is a bar area that flows into the entertainment area featuring a built-in braai, pool and a balcony with spectacular views over Nelspruit and an indigenous treed garden.

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