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Selling your home takes a lot of time and effort, and if not properly planned can be a costly and stressful affair. A home sale is a big decision; there’s attachment to the place that has shared so many memories with you and your family. No matter how quickly you would like to find the right buyer, it pays to do everything right to maximise equity and make your home ready for the market. Unfortunately, there are a lot of common slipups that can turn your dream of a successful house sale into a prolonged nightmare that exhausts your health and demolishes your bank balance.
Here are seven common but expensive home-selling mistakes that can be avoided with a little forethought.
While it’s not essential to contract an agent, going alone without an agent just to save some money on fees can end up a blunder costing you more than if you had hired an agent. Good agents give guidance and support through the whole sales process. They offer marketing and pricing insights of your local area, inform you of your rights and obligations, point out repairs that need to be made to ensure your home is market ready. Your agent advises you of inexpensive worthwhile improvements to help you get the best possible sale price. It’s worth taking your time to find a good agent to work with.
What you think your home is worth may be markedly different to its assessed market value. Potential buyers who have a genuine interest in your home will be put off if they consider your sale price too high. Your agent’s market price research of houses comparable to yours, and the monitoring of recent house sales in your area, can help determine a realistic price tag for your home. A reasonable price, that is gauged a bargain by potential buyers, may even stimulate competition between them and get you a better offer.
To get the best price for your home you need it to look its finest. A home that is clean, tidy and devoid of junk, debris and personal effects, will have a sense of order and spaciousness about it. Make it easier for potential buyers to picture in their mind how the house will accommodate their own personal belongings. Practice a minimalist strategy by clearing away the litter from benchtops, tables and flat surfaces. Undertake all necessary repairs and maintenance. Savvy house-hunters will be checking that water flows from taps and that the doors swing and lock OK. First impressions count – make sure your home’s front garden, driveway and paths are well-groomed and organised. Does the house need a coat of paint to be sale-ready?
But getting your house neat and tidy for an inspection does not mean totally emptying it of furnishings, appliances and décor. Your home should be well-dressed or ‘staged’ for a good open-house showing. An empty house can give buyers an equally empty feeling. A house without any visual clues, a sense of dimension can make it difficult for interested parties to imagine how all your property’s spaces can be used. An empty house has no emotional connection with buyers.
There are certain particulars that you as a vendor are required to disclose. You have to disclose material facts about the property – anything that could affect the sale price or influence a buyer’s decision. Are there plumbing and sewage issues? Does the house have a termite infestation? Are there problems with property title? Are there any roof defects? Are the foundations secure, and with no cracks? Is there a shared-property conflict with your neighbour? It’s best to be up front with your disclosures – it could save you from a lot of trouble and expense later on.
These days selling a house is so much more than just placing one or two ‘For Sale’ classified ads in the weekend newspaper. The internet serves up an incredible array of innovative marketing tools. Online house profiles, high resolution images (which can be manipulated and optimised), as well as virtual reality walk-throughs of houses up for sale. Create a marketing strategy to promote your house (and open-house inspections) to a targeted audience of genuine buyers.
The money you spent on those renovations prior to sale exceeds the increase in market value of your home. See the Geostone blog on ‘Ways to Help Avoid Overcapitalising on Home Renovations…’
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