Selling in a tough market

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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.


And something more on yesterday’s post about small apartments

Ideally for mine, one bedroom apartments should be no smaller that 60 to 65 sqm (including balcony) and two-bedroom apartments no smaller than 85 to 90 sqm gross.  In a perfect world the one-bedroom stock would be about 70 sqm and two-bedders about 100 sqm.  But perfect world’s these days are rare indeed.

I don’t really like – nor do I think they will rent as well many such off-the-plan developments current advocate – the current trend towards extremely tight two-bedroom apartments.  These are often, now, the size of a one-bedroom apartment (i.e. under 70 sqm).  So apartments can be too small.

Also for mine, when looking to buy a new apartment – apart for price, size (apartments + overall development), location, quality & development team pedigree – buyers should also be very critical of design.  Important things when it comes to apartment design/inclusions include:

  • galley kitchen
  • separate bedrooms (both with direct natural light)
  • equal ensuites
  • robe space
  • linen store
  • separate laundry
  • study nook
  • ceiling height
  • air conditioning, ducted preferred
  • parking provisions, including visitors

See you just cannot fit all the important stuff into a shoe box.

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