Go from for sale to sold in 5 fundamental steps

Regardless of whether a seller finds themselves in an active or slow market, there are some fundamentals about selling a home that remain true in any market.

“Nowadays, anyone with a smartphone and internet access can become a salesman. But, selling a home is slightly more complicated than selling an old sofa on a Facebook group. The assistance of an established, knowledgeable, and well-connected real estate professional can make all the difference when it comes to selling your home timeously and for full value,” says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.

For this reason, Goslett suggests that the first fundamental step sellers need to take is to find a good agent. “The basis for this decision can be summed up in three words: good, trust, and care. Choose somebody who you know is the best at what they do, who is trustworthy, and who cares about your needs. The first can be proven through stats and sales records. The other two characteristics are harder to prove and can only really be discerned through interactions with the agent. Meet either virtually or face-to-face (if COVID allows) with some agents before deciding who you will work best with,” he recommends.

Part of making this decision will involve reviewing the valuations the agents provide on a seller’s home. This is where sellers will reach step two of the selling process: deciding upon a realistic listing price. Because agents know they are competing for your business, Goslett warns that not all agents will provide realistic valuations. “The key is to find an agent who knows your area well and can tell you what properties in your area have sold for – not just what they’re marketed at. You will need to find an agent who will tell you what you need to know and not just what you want to hear.”   

After selecting an agent, step three, the marketing process, begins. The needs of each seller are unique, which is why Goslett advises sellers to talk to their agent about how they want the home marketed. “It is vital that sellers make their expectations clear from the beginning. Agents are there to advise you, but it’s your call whether marketing will include social media posts, multiple listing portals, global websites, and the lot – all of which are made available to you when you choose to list with RE/MAX. If an agent is not able to explain how they will be marketing your home, then you might need to go back to step one and reconsider who you have chosen to work with.”

At this point, sellers will need to determine a workable relationship with their agent so that viewings and show days can be arranged seamlessly. This is the slightly frustrating step of the process, but the right agent will try and make this the least disruptive to you as possible.

“Sellers need to remind themselves that this is one of the last steps in the process and should try and be as accommodating as possible. Once you reach the stage where offers are being made on your property, the agent will then negotiate the best deal on your behalf and, after signing your preferred offer, will help you navigate through the rest of the paperwork with minimal fuss,” Goslett explains.

The last step is one that many sellers tend to overlook – and that is to make a lasting relationship with your agent. “Even after your home is sold, you never know when you’re going to need real estate advice. Good estate agents can offer a wealth of useful information, from referring a reliable plumber to suggesting a great spot to invest in a holiday home. Keeping in touch with your agent can prove helpful well into the future,” Goslett advises.  

As a final word of advice, Goslett summarizes the above by saying that if sellers have chosen a good agent, the rest of the steps will largely fall into place. “Take your time choosing an agent, because the ease and success of the rest of the process hinge around this decision,” Goslett concludes. 

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