So you have finally decided that you are going to sell your house and move on with your life in another direction. Perhaps you are planning to upgrade to a larger house, downgrade to a smaller house, semi-grate to the Coast, or even emigrate. Whatever the reason for selling, invariably you would like to sell as fast as you can.
Below, I offer not only tips to sell your house faster but advice that will answer some of your house-selling questions and which can help to make the process smoother.
How quickly will I need to move?
One of the 1st questions that prospective sellers ask is how quickly they would need to move.
Should a buyer sign for your house today and if they are a cash buyer or have a pre-approved bond, the quickest that registration would take would be 6 weeks. Normally the process would be closer to 3 months from the original offer being signed and approved. In certain circumstances, it can take even longer than this.
So in a nutshell, you will have ample time to make your arrangements once you have signed. Also bear in mind that you can also add a special condition to the offer to purchase whereby you would only hand over the occupation of the house on a certain date and the applicable occupational rentals would be payable from the date of registration.
What can I do to make my house sell fast?
There are a couple of factors to take into consideration when selling your house in order for your house to sell as fast as possible.
1) Price: Setting a fair market price will be one of the major contributors to the sale of your property. I really suggest that you consult with a local estate agent and discuss what a fair price for your house would be.
Many homeowners judge the price of their house based either on the grapevine news of the property market around them or on their own personal wishes. Both of these invariably result in unrealistic asking prices for houses which many agents will agree to just to get your house listed on their books. They will then bring you an offer for a much lower price at a later stage and try to convince you to take the lower price.
a) Local property market grapevine – you possibly saw that a house in the area was advertised for R1.3mil and was sold. Of course, in your mind, your house is always better and so you decide that you should then be able to get at least R1.4mil in your pocket.
- What you did not see is that the owner of the house advertised for R1.3mil took an offer for R1.2mil.
- The R1.2mil included an agent’s sales commission of approximately R80 000 which means that the owner received only R1,120,000-00 for his house and not the R1,3 as you thought.
- While we would always like to believe that our house is better than the next person’s, this is only true in that your house is suited to your requirements and tastes. You have also grown accustomed to the layout and style of your house and therefore anything else is inferior.
I often encounter clients wishing to sell their house in order to relocate to another area. Often clients wish to sell their house in let’s say Dunnottar and move to a suburb such as Sandton or a more upmarket suburb in Pretoria. They look at similar houses in their destination and then try to sell their house in Dunnottar for the same price as they are having to buy in Sandton. This does not work, the housing market values in Dunnottar, Springs, and the surrounds are a lot lower than some of the upmarket northern areas.
In a similar vein, we are finding that some out-of-area estate agents are venturing into the local market. These agents are from areas such as Alberton, Bedfordview, Germiston, etc, and are valuing local properties as if they were properties from the market where they come from. As a result, we have come across some sellers who have been given totally unrealistic property values which they have zero chance of realizing. Please use a local agent who is familiar with the local market to obtain a realistic valuation of your property.
General tips for selling your house
1) 1st impression count.
When a prospective buyer is brought to your property ensure that whatever they see 1st makes a good impression. Go out of your way to keep that 1st impression good.
In one factory I worked at many years ago, as you walked into the factory area there was an entrance section that was always kept open and immaculately clean. I asked the factory manager why this little area was always kept so immaculate in comparison to the rest of the factory. His reply was, ”When the inspectors come to check our factory we always get good comments and great results. The 1st thing that the inspector sees is the immaculate entrance and thereafter what he sees does not matter much as his mind only remembers the immaculately clean entrance.”
2) The five senses
Above we dealt with the 1st sense of sight. As you can imagine it is hugely important in the sale of your house.
The second important sense is SMELL. Oh boy, I can tell many stories here. I will relate 2 of the more extreme ones so that you have an idea.
An elderly couple had put their house up for sale. When we brought clients to view the property, it was evident that the couple had recently finished cooking or eating their lunch. The entire house was permeated with the strong odor of cooked sardines, making it difficult to view the house and especially the kitchen area.
The second tale is possibly worse. We brought a client to view a smaller 1 bathroom house shortly after the seller had arrived home from work. The house was closed up, without fresh airflow and the seller had just been to the bathroom and relieved himself with a very smelly no2. No air freshener and no open windows resulted in agents and prospective buyers making a very hasty retreat out of the house.
The moral of the story is that smell is an important sense that buyers will subconsciously use when viewing your property. I am not saying that you should bake bread just before a buyer views (it does help though) but do make sure that your house smells pleasant.
A buyer will be listening to the sounds in and around your house. Loud music blaring with the latest rock music is not going to help. Consider playing some very soft background music that is soothing and which will make a prospective buyer feel relaxed and right at home and comfortable.
The last sense is Feeling. Allow a prospective buyer to get as much of a feeling for your property as possible. The buyer is trying to get a feeling for how they would live in the house so as much as possible encourage this. This would include removing all the excess clutter that you have lying around. Large open spaces are far better than areas filled with so much clutter that you can’t see the floors or walls.
In today’s times, I can not emphasize just how important it is not to be tempted to try to hide those little faults in your house. When you hide them they will invariably come back to bite you.
If there are faults in the house that you are aware of make sure that the agent is told and also make sure that they are included in any offer to purchase or other contracts that you sign. That way a buyer can not lodge a claim against you at a later stage for faults that were not declared.
If there is a leaking roof then either fix it prior to selling or tell the agent.
If there are damp rising problems, even if you have painted over them and they can not be seen, make sure that the fault is included in the OTP.
In a recent court case in Pretoria, a seller was ordered to refund over 25% of the purchase price of a property to a buyer as the seller had hidden faults that later surfaced. In this case, it was damp rising and a leaky roof.
Declare all prospective faults no matter how insignificant they may seem to you at the time.
Questions that potential buyers often ask the agents?
Why is it important to know what potential buyers often ask estate agents about properties? Well if you know the red flags that buyers see then you will know that you need to avoid the mistakes as much as possible.
1) Why are there so many agents selling this property? Often we encounter sellers who believe that they must have as many agents as possible listing their house. This often coincides with houses that are priced over their market value. The owner adds more and more agents in order to try to sell. There are properties in our area that have in excess of 20 agencies marketing the property and yet the property has not sold and will not sell because the property is overpriced.
2) I notice the house has been on the market for a long time. Why? Prospective buyers often watch the market for quite a while before buying. They notice properties that have been on the market for a long time. Once again many of these properties are on the market for extended times because the property is overpriced.
On the other end of the scale, there are some cases where wise buyers are looking for houses that have been on the market for longer periods of time. The reason for this is that they understand that the seller has possibly become disheartened and desperate and is now more likely to accept a far lower offer.
Realistically any property that has been properly priced and marketed should sell within the 1st three months of being listed. It is possible that some houses may be on the market bit longer even when properly priced and marketed but 3 months is a good guide. If your property has been on the market for over 3 months without any sales contracts then maybe you should call a local property expert and get his or her opinion on the property.
Sell your House Fast!
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