The best laid plans can and often do go awry, and when it comes to selling your property sometimes even the most finely tuned strategy can fail in a buyer’s market. If your time to sell is now and you’re struggling to get the results you want, maybe it’s time to revisit the plan, make sure you’ve checked all the boxes and get yourself ahead of the competition with a different strategy. Here are five tips to get you back on track.
1. Understand the market
When there are a lot of properties and competition is tight for the ideal buyer, you really need to know what buyers are looking for to make sure you’re offering the goods. You also need to know what’s happening in the market you’re in so you’re not missing out on any key strategic moves. It doesn’t hurt to play buyer yourself – get some subscriber alerts from your favourite property search engine, with search criteria that match your property, and keep track of what’s selling and why. If a house in your neighbourhood that fits the same criteria as yours sold and yours didn’t, try to find out more. Pay attention to which agencies are selling the most houses – maybe there’s a hot new agent on the market and they are the key to sales success. If nobody else is selling at least you know the problem isn’t you. But if buyers are overlooking your property and buying others with similar attributes, then you almost certainly need to change your approach.
2. Validate your price point
In the process of researching the market you will get a sense of how other properties with the same criteria as yours are selling and most importantly – what the average price point is. Initially you would have had a property appraisal done and then talked at length with your agent about the ideal price point. If your property has been on the market for a while, it won’t hurt to revisit this discussion with your agent. This is especially important if your appraisal was done many months earlier in a changing market. Your property value may have dropped compared to others in your area, but more importantly an appraisal almost always comes with details around how the appraisal figure was reached. Within that detail you may discover some feedback that you can address to improve your property and your chances. Dropping your price is not without risk, depending on your situation, as is pulling your house from sale to try again later, so discussing tactics with your agent is absolutely vital. The one certainty is that every home find a buyer but only when it meets the market.
3. Lock in the best agent
The first two steps may lead you to to think that maybe the agent you’re using is not actually the best person for the job. We all discover our agents in different ways – through an internet search, a tip from a friend, or a flyer in the mailbox. Sometimes, it’s not until you’re actually in the game, that you realise your coach is the one losing it for you. Seeing other properties like yours sell and matching that success with others from the same agent, can be a clear indication that you have the wrong person on your team. We’re certainly not suggesting you should double down and get another agent in addition to the one you have – you need to get out there and find the best agent possible and lock them in, when your agency agreement has come to an end!
4. Bring out the bells and whistles
If you’re serious about selling your home, it’s assumed you have taken a professional approach to its pre-sale preparation and marketing. This means cleaning up and landscaping outside, repainting and repairing everything that needs it, getting a professional home stager in to make the house look its best – from rugs and sofas to fresh flowers and baking bread – and a photographer to capture high quality images of all of your hard work.
If you have then you need to take things up a level. Many real estate agencies just write their own copy in house for property listings and sometimes – shock, horror – it’s simply a cut and paste from previous listings. There’s nothing that says you can’t write it yourself, or hire a professional copywriter to write something unique and powerful that will capture the reader’s attention. Using other visual mediums too, can be extremely effective. Innovations could extend to drone footage of the local area (particularly useful if your property is in a scenic location), 360 degree images of living spaces or gardens, virtual tours of the entire property, panoramic shots that take in the full scope of the property or its views, or a video walk through with an inspiring and motivating audio track. Sometimes, you just need to re-organise the photos, change the ‘hero’ image that appears in search results, and make it look fresh again.
5. Roll out the perks
Just as buyers can prepare themselves to be the successful bidder, vendors can also offer some perks that make their property a little sweeter proposition than the others. Simple things like offering flexible settlement terms and evidence that all necessary inspections have been done are certainly appealing, but maybe a few perks might come in handy too. Keeping your gardener on to mow the lawns once a month for 6 months at your expense might be useful, or throw in some of the existing furniture in the sale as a bonus – who doesn’t love a free TV or an extra drinks fridge after all? It’s all about differentiation and not getting stale.