Pricing remains vital for successful home sales

When preparing to put their home on the market, sellers should be aware that price, accommodation, condition and position, are all factors that affect the saleability of a home, says Grant Gavin, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Panache, which operates in the KwaZulu-Natal north coast suburbs of Durban North and La Lucia.
“Position and accommodation cannot be altered without serious investment; which leaves price and condition as a seller’s two main focus points.  The pricing decision is perhaps the most important, and advice from professional real estate agents should be sought in this regard.  In our current market, buyers are very well educated on what represents market value, and over-pricing a property really does the seller no favours in terms of the marketing time period.”

This La Lucia home is on the market for R6.39 million.  A cut above the rest, this home boasts beautiful accommodation, with six bedrooms, four bathrooms and a granny flat on the property. It offers great sea views and boasts a fantastic entertainment area as well as guest rooms. 
Gavin says that RE/MAX Panache sole mandates are selling within three to four weeks on average.
“We are in a market that is still quite price sensitive.  Properties coming onto the market that are accurately priced, and reflect the market value of the home, are selling within the first week, sometimes even the first few days of being marketed.  However, we also have properties that are coming onto the market at an inflated selling price which remain unsold for longer periods until the necessary price adjustments are made.”
Adrian Goslett, CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, says that very often when a homeowner has lived in a property for an extended period of time, it is exceptionally difficult for them to detach themselves emotionally when setting an asking price. “Working with a reputable, experienced real estate agent and making sure that the asking price is correct for the particular area’s market from the outset, will ultimately make all the difference in achieving the seller’s ultimate goal of selling the property for the best possibly price in the shortest possible space of time.”
In terms of condition, a fresh coat of paint internally, or to a boundary wall, as well as some time and effort into making the garden presentable really go long way to creating a fabulous first impression.  “Buyers need to walk into your property and fall in love with the idea of living there, and so it stands to reason that a property in poor condition has less chance of creating the desired impression,” says Gavin.
Equally as important for sellers as price and condition, according to Gavin, is selecting the right estate agency with which to work.  “This sounds like a marketing punt, but it makes sense that should you want to sell your property in a reasonable amount of time, and for the highest possible price, that you choose the right estate agent who will give you the correct professional advice and marketing plan to get the job done,” he says.
Gavin’s last word of advice to sellers is to beware of the agency that values your home 20% higher than the others, as that is not in anybody’s best interests in the longer term. “Sellers should also be sure to list with an agency that holds the majority of the property listings in their area, because they will have a larger pool of buyers already working with their agents, ready to view your property the day it gets listed.”
Gavin says that most of the sellers in the Durban North and La Lucia area are those who are largely looking to upgrade, downgrade, or are moving due to employment transfers. “Financial pressure,” he says, “is not as much of a factor as it was perhaps a year or two ago, although some sales do still come about for this reason.”
Talking about the difference between asking price and actual selling price of properties in his area of operation, Gavin says that the percentage has decreased. “The national average of around 10%-11% difference between asking price and actual selling price is accurate for our area as a whole.  RE/MAX Panache however tracks performance on its sole mandates, and reports that for 2013 they selling at 94% of asking price, which is just 6% below asking price.”

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