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How To Get Your Property Ready For Sale

By Amber Formosa

Getting the best price for your real estate takes some careful planning and a well-researched sales strategy. There are many decisions to make along your selling journey including your goal sale price, whether to head to auction or sell by private treaty, and how to present your home to buyers. When placing a property for sale on the market it is important to get your promotional strategy and market position right!

Determine your sale price
Do your research. Look into recent sales of similar properties in your area, attend local auctions and take into account the general state of the economy and what interest rates are doing. During your real estate agent search ask their opinion on a realistic sale price for your property. There is also the option of paying a registered valuer for a formal valuation. Characteristics such as the style and age of your home, size, level of up-keep and general availability of real estate in your area, will all impact buyer demand. Finally, you must consider your personal circumstances. The sale price needs to pay off your existing mortgage, cover all selling fees and, ideally, gain a return on your investment.

Property presentation: renovation, repairs and styling
During your home’s assessment by an agent or valuer, particular repairs or renovations may be recommended. Be careful not to over capitalise. There is little point in upgrading your property if the equity you gain is less than or equal to the money you spend. The extent to which you should improve your property for sale will depend on your access to finance, the time frame in which you hope to sell, and your agent or valuer’s advice.

One option is to hire a property stylist. They are trained professionals who possess knowledge of current interior design trends and experience in styling homes to attract buyers. If you choose to style your property yourself you should:

* make sure your home is clean
* remove unnecessary items that create mess
* remove personal items of value but retain effects that add homely character
* add some cost-efficient styling devices such as mirrors and new cushions, and make small repairs like touching up worn paint work
* make your home welcoming with fresh flowers and gentle lighting and, if possible, maintain an even temperature with air-conditioning or heating
* don’t forget to tidy your garden, front lawn or courtyard as potential buyers will make a judgement on your property before they even open the front door
* consider the type of buyer you are trying to attract and adjust your styling accordingly.

The way you present your property for sale will flow through from your advertising material, online and in print, to the day of inspection.

To sell by auction, private treaty or tender?
Along with researching the different types of sales in your local area and consulting with your real estate agent, there are other factors to consider with each selling option.

Selling your property at auction involves an open bidding process and requires setting a reserve price. This is the minimum price you will accept for your home. Your property will only sell at auction if the reserve price is reached, though negations can be undertaken with individual bidders in the event it does not sell. At auction the sale is confirmed when the hammer comes down. There is no contractual cooling-off period. While there are clear benefits in selling at auction, including having a set sale date (if the reserve is reached) and open bidding driving up the sale price, they can be stressful and do garner additional fees. The cost of holding an auction may be a problem if your property does not sell and you have to start the sale process again.

Private treaty
Selling by private treaty involves advertising your property for sale at a specified price. There is no official selling date. Buyers have a clear indication of your desired dollar figure, which helps with the negotiation process. The pace of a private treaty sale is much slower and there is the option of adjusting the asking price throughout the advertising process. Private treaty contracts for sale do contain a cooling-off period (normally five days) if a buyer changes their mind within this window they will generally pay out 0.25 percent of the property’s sale price to the seller.

Tenders are also known as blind auctions where buyers are invited to submit private offers (bids) by a specified date. After this date you review the offers with your real estate agent, there is no obligation to accept a bid at this stage. If the private offers are too low your agent can negotiate with potential buyers. Tenders may produce the benefits of an auction’s competitive bidding and fetch high market prices, but they can require more intensive advertising campaigns (as you do not have the publicity of an auction or extended time frame of private treaty) and there is a risk of the property being undervalued due to the closed bidding. Talk with your real estate agent to determine which method of sale is best suited to your personal circumstances and property.

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