First Time Seller’s Guide

Saturday 24 Oct 2020

Selling your first property is a major decision, both financially and emotionally. It’s very different from buying your first home. Instead of considering your own needs and preferences, you instead have to consider what appeals to as many potential buyers as possible, so you can maximise your profit. Selling a property can be daunting, so it comes as little surprise that many people feel overwhelmed and have fears about it. The important thing is to not let these fears get in the way of achieving your goals. By doing your research and engaging with a local real estate expert, you can reduce the risks and sell your home at the best possible price, and with minimal stress. Below are a few tips on how to get prepared and help guide you through your first property sale.

Stage Your Home

The first thing you need to do is get your house in order. Start by cleaning and repainting. Make sure you keep the colours neutral throughout the home to appeal to the widest range of people and allow for flexible furniture choices. Light tones around windows make the space feel bigger. Flatter and lower sheens in the paint finish can help hide imperfections. Other easy ways to stage your place and add value to your home include replacing appliances and fixtures i.e. taps, cabinet hardware, light fixtures and even new blinds or curtains can make a world of difference.

Remember that street appeal plays a huge role in how a property is perceived and valued. After all, the front of your property is the first thing potential buyers will see and first impressions last. Make sure you get rid of all the clutter. For more home styling tips, check out our recent blog on Styling Tips for your Home or How to Boost your Property Value.

Find an Agent

A good real estate agent is essential if you want to sell your property for the best price. Find an experienced local real estate agent that you’re comfortable with, who has good knowledge of the local area and a strong track record of selling property. You may want to shortlist several potential agents. Visit open for inspections they are running to see how they present properties and how they engage with potential buyers.

Talk to the agent and cover topics such as their previous sales results and how those results were achieved. Ask them about the local area and what sales trends they’ve noticed. Ask them about the different options for selling your home and how they’ll potentially market your property.

Importantly, make sure you’re aware of all fees and charges, including the agent’s commission and any advertising and marketing costs associated with selling your property. Once you’ve done your homework, make a decision and remember to trust your gut! This will be a partnership where both of you will need to work together to achieve the same goal, and you need to feel comfortable that they’ll put you first.

Agency Appointment

Once you’ve found the right agent, you’ll meet with them to make some key decisions. This includes picking a sales method, which can be auction, treaty, private sale or expression of interest. The best method depends on your circumstances and market conditions i.e. COVID restrictions in your area. Your agent will recommend the best approach depending on the situation and your goals.

It’s important to decide on a selling price that you are comfortable with, taking into account the original purchase price, property valuation and your agency’s appraisal. Do your own homework on other sales in your area with comparable properties, looking at things like land size, number of bedrooms and nearby amenities. Remember to carefully review the agency agreement before signing, and, if you’ve previously listed exclusively with another agent, be sure to cancel the previous agreement in writing (even if the dates on the agreement have expired).

Property Appraisal vs Property Valuation

Property appraisals are provided by licensed real estate agents, drawing on their expertise about the local area and buyer profile. It also involves running a comparative market analysis that looks at similar properties that sold within the last 90 days. The closer they can match your property to others sold in the area, the more accurate the appraisal will be. Agents also consider current competition, broader market trends and the condition of your property.

A professional valuer, on the other hand, provides a figure based on market analysis without considering factors that may generate interest from specific buyers. This often means a lower figure compared to an appraisal and there will be a fee for the valuation – which can be relied upon for legal purposes. Property appraisals are an excellent way of understanding your property’s potential market value at that specific point in time, but they are informal and can differ from agent to agent.

The figure an agent provides in their appraisal will reflect how much they think you could obtain if you were to list your property with them. Always be careful when using online tools and resources to value your home, as they might not use the latest data. The risk is to overprice or under-price your home for sale. It’s always better to do your research and talk to a real estate expert in your local area rather than risk over or under-pricing your home.

Costs to Consider

When selling your home, you will need to make sure that you are aware of and account for the following costs: legal and conveyancing, marketing and advertising including photographs of your property and signage, agent commission, property styling – unless you have an eye for interior design, moving costs, which may including packing and transport, and lastly pest and building inspection reports. Remember to also take into account any maintenance or repair work needed to either complete the home or fix issues with the property before selling.

Marketing Your Property

Marketing and advertising is essential for achieving a successful sale and often the fun part! This includes professional photos and copywriting for physical and online marketing. Having a video and virtual tour produced is a great way of capturing your property in the best light and angles. Other advertising and marketing will include signboards for outside your property, listings on real estate portals like domain and realestate.com.au, social media and digital marketing and print media advertising like local letterbox drops and agent database marketing. Each marketing strategy will differ, and your agent will tailor your advertising to your specific property marketing objectives.

Listing Your Property

The best day to list is either a Thursday or Friday, just in-time for the weekend. This gives potential buyers plenty of time to plan their open for inspections and get your property on their list of weekend open for inspections. Property sells all year round – there is no “best time to sell”. The right time depends on many factors, including the property itself, the surroundings and neighbourhood you live in, economic factors, market conditions and your personal situation.

Negotiating and Accepting Offers

When the time comes to actually sell the property and negotiate with potential buyers, you should trust your agent to represent your interests. This is why choosing the best agent is so important. You need to have complete faith in them to get the best result for you. It helps to remain flexible and open during negotiations. This includes maintaining realistic expectations.

Think about what you’re willing to give up and what are absolute deal-breakers. Be honest about any damage or flaws a buyer may point out about your house. If there is a problem, you can offer to reduce your asking price to help offset the cost of repairs.

Close with confidence

After accepting an offer, you’ll need to fill out additional paperwork before the sale is closed. Once the transaction is complete, there may be a cooling-off period where the property is under contract but both parties can still pull out. Remember to read the sale and purchase agreement carefully as it is legally binding. You can negotiate the terms and conditions of it, but once it’s signed there’s no going back.

Celebrate your sale

Settlement is the final stage of the sale and concludes with the buyer completing payment and taking legal possession of the property. At this point, you will have now officially sold your home. It’s your new first and an accomplishment worth celebrating!

For more support or advice about selling your home, or to engage a real estate agent in your local area, contact your local First National Real Estate Agent today.

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 DISCLAIMER The following advice is of a general nature only and intended as a broad guide. The advice should not be regarded as legal, financial or real estate advice. You should make your own inquiries and obtain independent professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances before making any legal, financial or real estate decisions.