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20 Tips to Secure a Spring Sale

August 21st 2011

With the prime selling period approaching, Antony Lawes asks the property experts the questions every vendor wants answered.

With Spring (almost) in the air, here are some useful tips and information on how sellers can make the most of what’s arguably the best time of the year to sell.

1. What will the market be like?

The experts are split on this. The senior economist at Australian Property Monitors, Dr Andrew Wilson, thinks the number of buyers will increase this spring. ”As long as interest rates remain stable, buyers will become more active,” he says. ”And it looks like there’ll be one rate rise at the most this year now.” He also points to improving auction clearance rates. ”They were above 60 per cent last weekend.” A senior manager at BIS Shrapnel, Angie Zigomanis, expects that’s where they’ll stay but he says the overall economic picture will need to improve before buyers return in larger numbers. A senior research analyst at RP Data, Cameron Kusher, is more pessimistic. He sees growth slowing, houses taking longer to sell, clearance rates subdued and comparatively more houses on the market.

2. Will overseas issues affect the sale of my house?

Again, opinions vary. Wilson and Zigomanis say the recent sharemarket rally shows the underlying strength of the Australian economy. Kusher says overseas issues will not be as important as the current low consumer sentiment, which tends to lessen people’s desire to spend on big purchases such as property.

3. What are stock levels like – is there a huge amount of property coming on and how will this affect my sale?

RP Data says the number of houses on the market now is 19 per cent higher than for the same period last year. However, Wilson says the growth in the number of new houses becoming available is falling, which, if the trend continues, will ”provide a more competitive environment for sellers”.

4. How do I work out a price?

This can often be an inexact science but generally agents say the main ways to decide a price are by comparing the house with neighbourhood sales over the past few months as well as comparing it with others that are on the market at the same time. Ben Collier of McGrath Estate Agents says buyers are usually looking at several houses at once, so overpricing will only help the competition.

5. Should I give my house a quick makeover?

There are some things every seller should do to get a house ready, says Ray White Rockdale’s Chris Pappas. De-cluttering is one, so the house appears more spacious. Another is tidying the yard or garden. Collier believes sellers should always do as much as possible to present the house in the best light they can, as this will ultimately improve the chances of a good price. Scott Chadwick of Chadwick Real Estate says how the house is presented is how it will be shown in advertisements and ”those images are the main drivers for foot traffic and inquiry and inspection”

6. Should I sell by private treaty or auction?

It depends on your area – seek the agents’ advice and listen to their arguments. However, having a fixed auction date can help buyers focus on making a decision. It is also a good way to determine the price. But Chadwick says some vendors don’t like them and agents shouldn’t try to convince them otherwise.

7. Why choose an agent?

There are several reasons but perhaps the most fundamental is that few buyers like dealing directly with owners, says Peter Sutton of Ray White Turramurra. Buyers don’t give real feedback about a house and this means owners often won’t know what they need to change. Coleen Bowen from 2233 Realty in Engadine says a good agent is practised at negotiating and has a greater chance of securing a higher price than a private seller will.

8. How do I choose an agent – what sort of questions should I ask?

Invite three agents who work in your area to appraise your home. Don’t just choose the one who promises you the highest price or the lowest commission. Ask them to provide evidence for the price they say they can achieve. Bowen suggests considering what their marketing strategy will be and how many properties like yours they have sold . Sutton believes rapport between an agent and vendor is a key ingredient.

9. Do I need to have an open house?

Sarah Lorden of Sarah Lorden Real Estate in Balmain says private appointments and open houses can be equally successful but ”buyers often prefer to inspect a property without the pressure of the one-on-one environment in the first instance”. Also, they will often feel there is more competition if other buyers are in the same room. Sutton says open houses encourage people to attend who otherwise would not ring for an appointment and sometimes these buyers will fall in love with the house.

10. Should I be present?

Don’t even think about it. Being at your own open house is like chaperoning your daughter to the school dance – at some point you have to let go. If buyers are left alone they will linger in a room, Bowen says. ”People need to be able to come in and picture themselves living there, not see the owners sitting on the lounge.”

Continue reading theĀ remaining 10 tipsĀ on Domain.