In the stock market, there is a saying: “Those who only know when to buy are just amateurs; those who know when to sell are the true masters.” In the property sector, the same principle is just as relevant.
However, we often hear more about how, when and where to buy property, instead of how and when to sell it, particularly how to sell it fast. Hence, TheEdgeProperty.com has engaged with two real estate agents to get some tips for a speedy home sale, especially in a market slowdown.
According to property agency and consultancy firm Zerin Properties real estate negotiator Kevin Low, finding a buyer for a residential property on the secondary market usually takes about three months, provided that owners are flexible in adjusting their asking prices. On the other hand, Low notes that certain houses can be listed for years without a buyer. “For example, some bungalows in Melaka have been up for sale for five to 10 years. Despite low prices, they still cannot sell, because the location is too far and the bungalows are poorly maintained,” he reveals.
Nevertheless, the right strategy can speed up the process.
1. Set a realistic price
Selling a house in a slow market amid a tight lending environment can be very challenging, says Low. Hence, he advises property owners to set realistic asking prices that reflect the current soft market. In order to find out the right price for a property, owners can consult banks to get a valuation on their property, which is free of charge.
“Owners can also check the latest transacted prices of similar properties in the area through property portals, or from the National Property Information Centre and agents who are familiar with the area,” he counsels.
2. Hire the right estate agent
Low says there are some black sheep among real estate agents who only want to conclude deals as quickly as possible. Thus, he suggests that owners do background checks on agents before hiring them.
“Firstly, make sure the agent is a registered real estate agent or negotiator. Then, ask the agent some questions about the property market in the area or check his or her property listings on the web to ensure that he or she is really familiar with the area,” he says, adding that owners can ask for recommendations from friends or relatives as well.
“In my opinion, house owners can appoint three to five agents, then eliminate them one by one based on their attitude and performance. Once you have found the right agent, you can give the exclusive right to market the property for a certain period,” he suggests.
However, he warns that it is not wise to appoint too many agents as it may create problems. “For example, owners will have to prepare many sets of keys for the agents who will be bringing interested buyers to visit the property, and if the property is a fully furnished unit that comes with nice decorations and furniture, the risk of these things being stolen is higher as there will be a lot of people coming in and out of the property,” he explains.
3. Be honest, friendly and proactive
Another tip in getting a quick sale, according to Vestcom Realty Sdn Bhd real estate agent Cogan Law, is for owners to be honest with their appointed agents, including regarding the reason for selling and the history of the property.
“This will help us get the big picture of how we should market the property and identify the right buyers and thus speed up the process,” he says.
Owners should also proactively follow up with the appointed agent to keep tabs on the sale. “From my observation, some agents will do nothing after they have posted their property listings on the web, so it is best for owners to keep in touch with their agents and build a good relationship with them,” advises Law.
If owners are selling a house they are still staying in, they must be ready to welcome interested buyers when they visit to inspect the property. The personal touch can help to sell the property faster, he continues.
Zerin Properties’ Low notes that owners should be friendly with their prospective buyers to ensure a good experience for both parties.
“I suggest that owners should leave everything related to price negotiation to the appointed agent to avoid disputes on the spot. Owners can share some information about the lifestyle, amenities and accessibility of the neighbourhood accordingly but it is best to let agents handle the marketing of the property,” he says.
4. Enhance your home’s kerb appeal
It goes without saying that a nice kerb appeal can make a sale. There are several ways to achieve that, such as through renovations and landscaping. One of the simplest and most efficient ways to improve the attractiveness of a property is to repaint the property, offers Low.
“A new coat of paint can achieve a lot with just a small amount of money. With that, the property looks brand new and feels comfortable,” he adds.
He also notes that a property will be more presentable if broken items are fixed and the garden and interior are clean and neat. “When interested buyers come, you should switch on all the lights and air-conditioners. It will enhance the ambience,” he suggests.
5. The devil is in the details
Instead of leaving it all to the agents, owners can help increase the chances of closing a deal if they take some trouble to ensure that their property looks nice and is in good condition.
“The first impression is very important as it can be nearly impossible to reverse. If the property is well maintained and decorated, it will give the impression that the owner is willing to take the effort in maintaining the property, so they worry less about hidden defects,” he explains.
Often overlooked is the cleanliness of toilets. “Toilets with stains will leave a bad impression, so we suggest owners clean them up,” he offers.
He also points out some cultural taboos to take note of to avoid offending interested buyers. For instance, the Chinese find the number four inauspicious. Hence, it is best to remove anything related to such taboos to catch a wider market.
This story first appeared in TheEdgeProperty.com pullout on June 9, 2017. Download TheEdgeProperty.com pullout here for free.