TIPS IN PRESENTING YOUR HOUSE FOR SALE
- It is important to make certain that the first impression is a favorable one.
- You’ll never have more activity on the home than you will in the first three to four weeks of the listing. The reason is simple: there are buyers out there who have seen everything available and for one reason or another, haven’t bought. They are just waiting for something new to come on the market.
- When that new property does hit the market, buyers will scramble to look at it. It is common knowledge that the property will usually sell for the highest price during this time.
- Everything should look like it belongs even if it means storing some things until the home is sold. You are trying to create a feeling that makes potential buyers want to move in.
- Don’t wait to see if the house will sell first before implementing making repairs or replacing items. Once you do decide to do something, don’t do just the easy ones or just the bare minimum.
- The property needs to look good from the street. You definitely want to give the impression of a well cared for home.
- You are competing with every other home that is currently for sale: new and pre-owned, your area and other areas, those listed with agents and those trying to sell themselves.
- If buyers have a choice of two comparable properties similar in price, they’ll choose the one in the best condition. Just as on the other hand, if two properties are similar in condition, the buyers will choose the one that is less money.
- Stand at the street and look at the house. If all you can see are trees and shrubs, you have some yard work to do. One of the easiest things to do is trim the shrubs that are overgrown.
- If there are tree branches hanging low in the yard, they need to be pruned. A simple rule of thumb is to have all the limbs high enough so that you can walk under the tree.
- Air out the home. You are the last person to notice any peculiar odor in your home that may be blatantly obvious to visitors. Go on a search to find the offender. It may be a kitty litter box or a dog bed. It might even be a mildewed shower.
- Wash all the windows in the house, inside and out. While you’re at it, clean the window sills and the bottom of the window jambs, and wash the blinds.
- If it has been over a year since you’ve had the carpets cleaned, now is the time to do it.
- Put bright light bulbs in every socket. Buyers like “bright and cheery” so you have to keep it from looking like a dungeon.
- Even though it may be inconvenient, you will be far better off by selecting the furniture pieces that look best and putting the others in the garage, or better yet, in storage.
- All the grout in tiled areas should be clean and in good condition. There are excellent cleaners that will do the job without tons of scrubbing.
- Keep children’s toys out of the front yard and off the sidewalks and front entrance. Get the teenagers and children to understand the importance of keeping the house looking good while it is on the market. Take down the posters until the house is sold.
- Consider donating things to charity or have a garage sale to create extra space.
- The pool needs to be sparkling clean and free of leaves.
Methods of selling
Sole or exclusive agency
The Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) recommends sellers use the exclusive agency method to sell residential property as it is the most effective.
The REIQ recommends the exclusive agency method, where the sale of the property is in the hands of only one party, over an open listing, where the seller lists their property with a number of real estate agents.
An exclusive agency is advantageous to the seller as the appointed agent will be dedicated to selling the property. This saves the seller the confusion of having to liaise with more than one agent.
Furthermore, this method will save the seller the time and money involved in advertising and marketing costs when a number of agents are trying to sell the property.
Under the Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act (PAMD) 2000, a seller can only appoint an agent under this arrangement for up to 60 calendar days. During those 60 days the seller may decide not to renew the appointment if the property has not sold.
The seller can agree to make a further appointment up to 60 days, but the renewal cannot be made earlier than 14 days before the term expires.
Under any selling arrangement using a real estate agent, the seller and agent must sign a PAMD Form 22a – Appointment of Real Estate Agent (Sales and Purchases) in order to legally set the terms of the selling agreement.
Selling by auction is also an exclusive agency agreement and is therefore also subject to the 60-calendar day agreement period. The auction process requires the seller to pay the agent to arrange effective marketing and advertising plans to maximise exposure of the property and the auction date to potential buyers.
Under the auction system, the seller agrees to pay commission to the listing agent if the property sells before the date of the auction, at the auction or in an agreed period after the auction.
The same conditions that apply to the auction process will also apply to the tender process.
There are many advantages to selling a property at public auction, in particular:
An auction is a three pronged marketing push. The vendor has the opportunity to sell your property before auction, on the day of auction, or in the event the property is passed in, directly after auction.
There is an ability to set a reserve price and a settlement date to suit the seller.
As the reserve price is not disclosed it gives the seller a chance to test the market.
A written marketing plan with pre-agreed appointment times enables the sellers to arrange their lives during the lead up period.
The auction process by its very nature creates a sense of urgency; buyers have a definite time frame in which they must act. Buyers see the purchasers as competition rather than the seller. Auctions create a competitive environment.
With sale by auction in Queensland, all contracts are unconditional and no cooling-off period applies.
The first step in selecting the right person to conduct the auction is to consider who has the most to gain.
Choose someone with local knowledge of the area with the support of an agency that is keen to make a sale.
Auctioneers today are highly trained in their field having attended courses and sat written and practical professional examinations with the REIQ. Furthermore they hold current registration under the Land Agents Act.
When your auctioneer is a member of the REIQ you have the additional benefit of dealing with an auctioneer who is bound by the high ethical standards of the Institute as well of their profession.
Legislation requires that a written agreement must be signed between the seller and the auctioneer. In this, the auctioneer will require an exclusive agency for a specified period, which cannot exceed 60 days but by mutual agreement can be renewed.
This is considered by many to be the key to a successful auction by creating interest. There is a legal obligation to clearly explain to the seller where and how monies will be spent and show examples of the advertising mix. At this stage the seller’s input is very important to help identify the probable market.
Arriving at a reserve price:
It is the sellers right to set the reserve price, below which the auctioneer is not permitted to sell. Consult with your agents when setting the reserve price, as they will be familiar with recent sales of similar property in the area. Remember to be realistic when making your appraisal, bearing in mind supply and demand in the area as well as other general market considerations.
Selling before the day of the auction:
It is not uncommon for interested buyers to make offers on properties prior to auction day. Some will be on fishing expeditions of course, to try and find out the reserve. However, most will be genuine, in such cases the agent will discuss the offer with the seller, and a decision can made to either consider the offer, or continue with the auction as planned.
It is not unheard of for the seller to sell the property prior to going to auction. In this case the agent will generally – on the sellers instructions – invite all potential buyers to also make an offer. The seller then accepts the most appropriate offer and contracts are signed prior to the auction date.
On auction day, buyers will be held to the conditions of sale by public auction. In the course of conducting an auction there are a number of possible outcomes:
- Should the highest bidder reach or exceed the reserve price – the property is sold and the auctioneer will conclude a binding contract between the buyer and seller. The auctioneer may sign the contract on behalf of either or both parties if instructed to do so.
- In the event that the highest bid falls short of the reserve price the auctioneer will usually ask for the sellers instructions before passing the property in. This means the seller has the opportunity to accept the last bid, by placing the property “on the market” so that it may definitely be sold “under the hammer”. This factor often creates more excitement, which can encourage further bidding, and a better price may be achieved.
- It can be that the highest bid does not reach the reserve price and the property is passed in – the highest bidder is generally informed of the reserve price and may be given the initial opportunity to buy. Failing this, the property is placed on the market for sale by private treaty, at which time anyone may negotiate with the sole agent.
Tips for a successful auction
- Work out the appropriate advertising budget to ensure your property is widely advertised taking into account the identified market.
- Make sure the property is well presented because a potential buyer’s first impressions are crucial to a successful sale.
- Your agent will require that the contract and the accompanying statutory searches be available well in advance of your marketing campaign. Confer with your agent about this matter as they should be able to provide a tick list to help.
- Allow the agent to arrange as many inspections with prospective buyers as possible – it all creates interest particularly. At a local level this could have a significant effect on the turnout on the day.
- For most, the spectacle will be the main draw as well as the eventual selling price so confidentiality is of the upmost importance. The REIQ suggests that you do not disclose or discuss your reserve price with anyone except your agent/auctioneer.
- Advertising material should only refer to the general area of price, not the reserve price.
- A sale by public auction is arguably one of the most exciting, effective and rewarding methods of buying and selling real property.
- The REIQ has produced a Bidder’s Guide for residental property in Queensland, which seeks de-mystify and simplify the auction process and provide clarification on the roles and responsibilities of auctioneers and bidders.
An open listing is where the seller lists their property with a number of real estate agents in the local area.Under an open listing agreement, each agent can sell the property individually or work with another agent to sell the property.Only the agent that introduces the buyer to the property will receive the commission from the seller.However, the REIQ recommends using the exclusive agency method to sell your property the most effectively.
The Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act 2000 regulates the real estate industry in Queensland.
The Queensland Government has set the commission for real estate agents at a maximum of 5% of the first $18,000 of the sale price and 2.5% of the balance of the sale price. 10% GST is also payable on the agent’s commission.
Advertising & marketing costs:
Real estate agents will present an advertising and marketing program for your property designed to achieve for you the highest possible price. This can involve advertising your property through signboards, local newspapers, on property websites, or dedicated property magazines.
Remember that the agent must itemise these costs – before the Appointment of Real Estate Agent (Sales and Purchases) PAMD Form 22a is signed by the seller – and both parties must sign the Advertising Schedule agreeing to the advertising and marketing items and their costs.
A coordinated advertising and marketing campaign is particularly essential if you decide to auction your property – the more people who are aware of the auction date, the more likely it is you will achieve a high turnout on the day and consequently sell your property at the best price.
The REIQ strongly recommends the use of a qualified solicitor in property matters such as conveyancing.
Solicitor’s fees are negotiable – it is advisable to compare the fees being charges by a few different solicitors. Good referrals and past experience is valuable when choosing your legal representative.
Sometimes sellers are required to procure the Title Deed to their property through a solicitor.
Financial institution fees:
As the seller of property your bank or financial institution may charge you for their attendance at the Settlement to receive and discharge the mortgage. Fees vary between institutions.
REIQ Copyright 2005