Using the right agent means you have a partner in the selling process, someone who offers commitment, who has local knowledge, and the expertise to make your selling experience as painless as possible for you.
Your agent should be able to give you an accurate picture of the state of the market which will help you price your property realistically. They should be able to provide you with factual evidence of properties recently sold in the area, properties currently on the market, general market conditions, and buyer feedback on expectations in the market place. They can advise on the best method of sale and develop a specialised marketing plan to maximize your exposure to the market.
Your agent should be a personable person, someone who listens, who builds rapport easily, is trustworthy, regularly communicates with you, and understands your needs. They should also be able to demonstrate highly developed negotiation skills.
- Ask agents what they think will attract buyers to your property.
- Ask the agent what they are going to do to acquire the best price for you.
- Seek advice on any improvements you could make to increase the chances of a successful sale or even a higher price.
- Be careful not to choose your agent based solely on the selling price they quote. Some agents overprice a property just to get the listing. This can be detrimental to your chances of selling.
- Is the salesperson well presented?
- Is the material they are offering you professionally prepared and informative?
- Is the agent positive and enthusiastic?
- Visit some open homes in the area to see how agents approach their work.
- If you are not completely at ease see at least three agents before you make your final choice.
- Does the agency have a proven track record?
- How important is customer satisfaction – view testimonials.
- Does the agency offer you a guarantee of service?
METHODS OF SALE
The most common methods of selling a residential property are Private Treaty and Auction.
After vital, current property market research and analysis, the property is placed on the market with an asking price. The agent should then provide a strategy and use his/her knowledge, skills and marketing expertise to achieve the set price.
The property is marketed without a specific price. New legislation requires the agents to provide a reasonable estimate or price guide to potential buyers. The owner can set a reserve price on auction day. The property will not be sold if bidding doesn’t reach the reserve price unless by consultation and agreement with the owners.
Auctions conducted by a licensed auctioneer can be held either ‘onsite’ or in rooms’ on a specific date at a specific time. Auctions are usually preceded by a specialised marketing programme and provide the owners with an unconditional contract should they be successful. There are ‘X’ factor properties where auctions may produce a more competitive spirit and a better than expected result may be achieved. There are some additional expenses involved with auctions.
Whilst in other Australian states real estate commission fees are deregistered, in Queensland the standard maximum REIQ commission is set at:
5% of the first $18,000 of the sold price
+ 2.5% of the balance of the sold price
+ 10% Good & Services Tax (GST)
The commission fee is negotiable. However, beware of agents who are too willing to discount their own fees. Research reflects these types of agents do not have the enhanced negotiation skills when it comes to achieving the highest price possible on your behalf and their service standards may not meet your expectations.
TYPES OF AGREEMENTS
An open listing allows you to appoint any number of agents to sell your property and also retain the right to sell it yourself (in which case there would be no commission fee payable). Only the agent who successfully completes a transaction would be paid as per the agreement you signed with them.
Whilst having a number of agents trying to sell your property may seem like a good idea at first there are a number of pitfalls – intrusion on your privacy with the number of inspections you allow and the number of open homes, the marketing and associated costs with numerous agencies or the lack of marketing and lack of commitment. With many agents trying to get a sale at ‘any cost’ the result may not meet your expectations, with greater attention being paid to the buyer rather than the seller. There is no time frame and either party can end this agreement in writing.
Only one agent is appointed to market and sell your property whilst you retain the right to sell it yourself. This appointment can be for a maximum of 60 days and if necessary should be renewed prior to expiry (PAMD Form 23). The agent should provide a higher level of commitment under this type of agreement. Should your agent not meet your expectations within the term of this agreement you will need a cancellation of the agreement in writing from the agent before you enter into another agreement. Failing to do so could result in a claim for commission fee from both agents should the property sell within the term of the original agreement.
Only one agent is appointed to market and sell your property. Even if you introduce the successful buyer to the property a commission fee will be payable to the agent on settlement. This appointment can be for a maximum of 60 days and if necessary should be renewed prior to expiry (PAMD Form 23). You should expect the highest level of commitment and performance from this type of agreement.
A successful real estate agent is committed to achieving results using his/her knowledge, negotiation skills and all marketing avenues available to him/her. Real estate agents will provide the highest level of commitment to those exclusive listings where the owners are also demonstrating their commitment to the selling process.
Queensland law stipulates that under the Property Agents and Motor Vehicle Act 2000 you cannot have a real estate agency or licensed real estate agent sell your property without a completed and signed appointment to sell (PAMD Form 22a). The agreement provides details of all parties to the agreement, services to be performed by the agent (agency), the type of agreement, commission fee payable on settlement of the transaction, fees and charges and authorised expenses payable to the agent.
Getting the highest possible price for your property should be the primary objective of your agent.
The decision on price should be based on facts and a detailed analysis taking into consideration your personal circumstances. You should never confuse how much money you need with how much buyers are currently paying for similar property. Overpricing your property can have a detrimental effect on your sale potential. Buyers today are more informed and have ready access to property information.
Consider the following:
Recent sale prices in the area – local papers, real estate agent’s web sites and attending auctions are a good source of current information. Your agent should be able to give you a detailed, factual report.
Similar properties currently on the market in your area – attend open homes or ask your agent for specific details on properties currently on the market. Discuss with your agent how you can make your property stand out from the rest’ to attract buyers.
Your target market – what type of buyer will be attracted to your property? Investorsand developers need to make good returns on their investments and will have no emotional attachment. Newlyweds and first home buyers, even with the latest incentives, have a limited budget and are usually highly emotional as are established second home buyers. Discuss these options with your agent who should have an idea as to what type of buyers are currently looking in the area.
The simple fact is your property is worth what buyers are currently willing to pay.
It is important to stress at this point that the salesperson’s negotiation skills are critically important at this stage of the sale process if you want to achieve the best possible price.
WHEN IS THE RIGHT TIME TO SELL?
The short answer is any time!
Some prefer spring when everything is in bloom, fresh and new. Some prefer summer when holidays are on and interstate visitor numbers are at their peak.
Yet others feel the state of the property market, combined with the economic climate, is the most important factor.
The fact is people are buying and selling property all year round no matter what the current conditions are. The cycle of life ensures this will always be so.
Consider the following:
- Selling and buying in the same market levels the playing field.
- Are there any current economical incentives that will escalate buyer numbers?
- How many other properties similar to yours are on the market – too much competition can mean a lengthy drawn out sale.
- Visit local open homes yourself to gauge buyer numbers.
- Ask agents about current buyer expectations.
- Advanced technology providing instant accessibility by the public means timing is less critical these days.
Providing your property is priced right, well presented, well maintained and ideally located there are buyers all year round.
MARKETING YOUR PROPERTY
There is no point putting your house on the market to sell if you don’t show/tell anyone it’s for sale.
Don’t tie up your agent’s ability to maximise the property’s exposure to the market. Selling is a joint venture between you and your agent. Finding an agreed marketing campaign is the most effective assistance you can give to achieve a successful outcome.
Consider the following:
- Your agent should have an existing data base of buyers he/she can contact personally.
- Direct marketing (brochures/flyers) to the surrounding neighbourhoods is often successful.
- The internet is fast becoming the number one source of buyer enquiry. The agent’s web site and www.realestate.com.au are a must.
- The local newspaper and specialised real estate publications still have a role to play in exposing your property.
- Signboards like the internet are your 24/7 advertisers.
- Open homes are simply pre-organised inspections. Remember the easier you make it for potential buyers to view your home the easier it will be to sell. Several groups of buyers attending an open home can promote competition and increased interest.
- Your target market – which specific group of people are you trying to attract?
A specialised marketing campaign should be tailored based on your urgency to sell, your budget, your personal requirements and the type of property you are selling.
The most effective marketing campaigns utilize a combination of proven marketing tools to attract potential buyers to your property.
Beware of agents pushing for costly, excessive advertising that is not always needed. This only serves to lift the profile of and benefit the agent, rather than attracting potential buyers to your property.
Beware of agents who offer ‘no advertising costs’ as this usually means no advertising at all. This can be detrimental to maximizing your exposure to the market place.
PREPARING YOUR PROPERTY FOR SALE
You only get one chance to make a first impression! Why will buyers choose your home over similar properties currently on the market in your area?
Sellers often underestimate the effect that small details can have on the appeal of their home. A little forethought, effort and expenditure will not only improve your opportunity of a successful sale it may even reap greater monetary reward.
A minor makeover can improve the home’s general “wow” appeal.
When potential buyers walk into your home they need to feel ‘at home’.
Consider the following:
- Street appeal – if a buyer drives by will they stop and admire?
- Attend to gardens, lawns, roof, guttering and fencing.
- Attend to outdoor entertaining areas, outdoor furniture, pools and sheds.
- Clean windows inside and out.
- Kitchens and bathrooms hold the most buyer interest – clean and clear all surfaces.
- Clean out excess and clutter, both inside and out.
- Natural light is best but if this is not possible make sure rooms are well lit.
- On hot days turn on air-conditioning – on cold days add warmth.
- Remove pets and pet odours.
- Fresh flowers and indoor plants add life.
- Create the ‘mood’ with targeted background music.
- Some areas may need a fresh coat of paint – choose light neutral colours.
SELLING A TENANTED INVESTMENT PROPERTY
- Ensure the tenants have been legally informed that the property is for sale.
- Ensure the required legal notice is given to the tenants prior to inspections.
- Advise the tenants that the purchaser could be an investor and it would be in their best interest to keep the premises clean and tidy during the sale process if they want to be seen as ideal tenants.
- Have any outstanding maintenance attended to.
- A professional clean of the interior and exterior at the commencement of the campaign may be warranted.