By Michael Matusik, 13th September 2012
If you can get past the headlines, things real estate-wise are definitely looking up – but you might need your head read if you’re planning to sell an property soon, depending on where it is and when you bought it, of course.
Some pretty low forced sales in Melbourne (for example) have seen many investors deserting a sinking market – dropping hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process. Weigh up the current low interest rates and it might pay to tenant your worst investment as best you can, and wait out the storm.
Things are generally looking up in Sydney and Brisbane, although a sudden flood of stock in Spring might make things tougher.
So what can you do if you have to sell in a tough market? There are five things you must do to win a sale sooner rather than later.
1) Wake up and smell the roses
I’m not your agent and I’m not talking you down – but you need to be realistic on price. Yes, it might hurt. An overpriced property in a tough market will sit there, draped in cobwebs, while its vendor dreams of better times. See what other properties are selling for, then take a good hard look at yours. No one wants to take a hiding from a bargain-hunter in six or 12 months’ time.
2) Present it like you mean it
In a tight market, you need to knock the socks off every buyer that comes through the door. Make it clean as a whistle, leave no stone unturned in the garden – and please, do not forget the windows, inside and out. Buy flowers for the kitchen before every open house. Aim for show-stopping perfection. You want your property to be remembered for good, not evil.
3) Promote it as best you can
Make sure the property’s very best feature is in the headline of the internet ad, and any other ads you feel you want to pay for. Always get professional photos taken, but shop around - and make sure you own the images if you change agents later. Ask your agent to do a letterbox drop, or offer to do one yourself.
4) Out with the tenants; in with the furniture
It’s a sad fact of life that your tenants are unlikely to share your personal financial goals. It’s even more likely they will not have the place looking ship-shape for each and every inspection, and the longer a sales campaign runs, the grumpier they’ll get. Aim to sell a property immediately after a tenancy – that way you can have free access to get the place cleaned and ready for sale and your agent can conduct inspections at will. If your budget permits, try furnishing even just one or two rooms to really make a good impression. The living area and the main bedroom should do it.
5) Stay strong
If push comes to shove, only you can make the decision to cut your losses and meet the market, or hold on for a better offer that may or may not ever come. There’s a wealth of psychology to selling – and tough markets are tough, so don’t let it do your head in. If you can’t secure a sale in a time period within your comfort zone, have a backup plan – like re-tenanting the property beyond a certain date, or even taking it to auction. Listen to your agent, but make sure you’re in the driver’s seat.
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